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Switched and Scattered

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Things are pretty okay, he thinks. It’s hard for him, sometimes, to realize that--but at the moment, walking home from the hospital after spending the afternoon with his mom, it just sort of hits him.

It’s weird, because Shouto is so used to violently swinging anywhere from intense disassociation to borderline panic that he doesn’t usually let himself get wrapped up in everyday life. It would be too overwhelming for him, usually--but currently, walking in the fresh air, bones pleasantly sore from easy personal training that morning, Shouto realizes that he’s fine. He’s okay. He might even say he’s happy.

Sure, the events that transpired in Hosu weigh on his mind, but it’s not unbearable--everyone had made it out all in one piece, and if anything it just made him feel closer to his classmates. And that’s nice, because he’s never really had close friends before. It’s strange suddenly having so many people care about his well-being, but it’s not an unwelcome experience. And thanks to the people he’s surrounded himself with, he’s found that he’s more comfortable with himself than he’s ever been. More sure of the choices that he’s making. Thinking about it that way leaves a warm, content feeling in his gut, leaving no room for the usual anxiety.

That’s probably what influenced him to do it--he doesn’t usually go out of his way like this, but he also doesn’t want the good vibes to leave quite yet. Besides, he’s been meaning to find a gift for his mother, anyways. That’s what good, attentive sons do, right? They buy gifts?

Shouto realizes it was probably a mistake to decide to visit the mall on a Sunday when it’s at its most crowded, but he was walking right past it anyways, and now that he’s walked through the front doors he’s feeling committed. It shouldn’t be too hard, really. Wander around a bit, find a nice gift, then continue walking home.

Except Shouto completely underestimated the sheer size of the place, and forty-five minutes later he finds himself standing in the middle of the food court, more than a little bit lost and still without a gift.

Maybe he should have thought this out some more--impulsiveness is decidedly not his strong suit. He thought that maybe walking by the stores would cause something to pop out, but he keeps second-guessing himself before making any purchases. He’s been talking with his mom for a few weeks, but he still comes up at a loss on what she might like. Maybe something warm? The weather’s getting colder, now, but--well. She’s also got an ice quirk. He doesn’t think her ice affects her quite like his own does, since his body only gets frostbite when he overuses it, and he doesn’t think he’s ever seen his mom use her quirk since he was little. So maybe, instead, she’d like something to do? A hobby? She’s mentioned reading a novel a few times. What kind of books does she like? Does this mall even have a bookstore? He might have passed by one, already, but all the outlets are starting to blur together and--

And someone runs directly into him, colliding softly with his back.

He recognizes the nervous stutter before he even turns around to face him. “A-ah! Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going, I’m sorry--oh! Todoroki!” Midoriya’s face slips easily from slight panic to comfortable surprise, and not for the first time Shouto marvels at how expressive he can be. How do all those emotions fit on his face? “What are you doing here?”

“What, am I not allowed to go shopping?” he retorts easily. There’s something about Midoriya that makes him feel like he can get away with being cheeky.

“Wha--no, that’s not--I mean,” Midoriya sputters, waving a hand around. He’s gripping his phone, loosely, and it buzzes in his hand. No wonder why he ran directly into him. “Todoroki,” he finally manages, sounding exasperated. “You know what I mean. I thought you usually visited your mom on Sundays.”

Shouto nods, and tries to ignore the skip in his heartbeat over the fact that Midoriya knows his schedule, because really, it’s common knowledge at this point, calm down. “I just got back from visiting her, actually,” he explains, and Midoriya’s phone buzzes twice in quick concession. “I didn’t want to head home yet, so I figured I’d try to find something to bring her next week.”

“Oh! That’s nice of you. Did you already have a gift in mind?”

He shakes his head. “I was hoping to run across something around here.” He doesn’t mention the fact that, really, he just doesn’t know his mother all that well. He tries not to beat himself up about that too much, since it’s the whole reason he’s been spending all his weekends with her. It helps that Midoriya’s here--he always makes it easier to think positively.

Midoriya’s phone vibrates again, but either he doesn’t feel it or he’s ignoring it. “If that’s the case, do you mind if I walk with you? I was headed towards the bookstore, I was--uh--I was going to pick up some new comics that came out,” he says, a bit sheepish. And honestly, Shouto’s not sure why he’s embarrassed, since having a nerdy hobby is better than having no hobby at all. Personally, he spends most of his downtime sleeping.

“The bookstore sounds nice,” he says, grateful to have an excuse to spend more time with Midoriya--who’s phone continues to buzz in earnest. Shouto frowns and points to the offending object. “Are you going to answer that, or…?”

Midoriya looks at the phone as if it had suddenly materialized in his hand. “Oh! Right, sorry, that’s just--it’s probably just Uraraka. I was texting her and Iida before I ran into you,” he says, unlocking his phone with a swipe and then quickly typing out a message. “She was just wondering where I went.”

Shouto just nods, patiently waiting for Midoriya to finish up, dipping his hands into his pockets and feeling a bit awkward. It only takes a moment for Midoriya to send off the message, but an impossible second later his phone buzzes again, and his eyes dart from the screen to Shouto and back to the screen. “Uhm,” he starts, a light blush darkening the freckles across his cheeks. “Uraraka says she doesn’t believe that I ran into you, and she wants--er, that is, can we--do you mind if we take a photo together real quick?”

Shouto’s gut instinct is a flat ‘no’, because despite all the progress he’s made towards being okay with himself, it’s still really hard to look in a mirror sometimes. Most of the times. But Midoriya does this thing where he bites his lower lip, and instead of a hard refusal what comes out is a soft, “Sure.” Damn it.

Midoriya practically beams, and at least Shouto can take comfort in the fact that his smile is so bright it’ll definitely blind anyone who looks at the photo. And the next thing he knows Midoriya is squished up against him, one arm lazily wrapped around his waist to pull him closer, and wow Midoriya is really warm, and fuck he really did not think this through.

“Say cheese!” Midoriya says, holding the phone above them. And then he taps the button, and the store behind them explodes.

Shouto feels the heat before he feels anything else, blowing past his ears and blowing his hair in wild directions. And then he feels Midoriya tense beside him, the arm that had been wrapped loosely around his waist shoving him down to the ground just as a thousand shards of glass fly past his head. His ears ring, and it’s hard to hear anything past the deafening noise, but when he turns his head to his right Midoriya’s mouth is moving so he just nods his head to agree with whatever he’s saying. He trusts his judgement.

And then Midoriya is pulling both of them up on their feet, and in his dazed state it’s really hard for Shouto to not get distracted by the muscles in his arms. Instead, he busies himself by rolling his jaw, popping his ears, and--ah, that’s a lot better. The ringing is still there, but it’s faint, and now he can properly hear the chaos around him.

He takes a moment to assess the damage, mentally patting himself down for injuries before glancing over Midoriya to do the same. He seems fine, eyes already trained on the store that housed the explosion, eyebrows furrowed in concentration as he takes in the scene.

As for Shouto, the only thing that really hurts is his ears, thanks to Midoriya’s terrifyingly fast reaction time. The broken shards of glass just barely grazed him. Other than that, he distantly notes that he feels… Warmer than usual. He doesn’t think about it too hard, since Midoriya did just have his arm wrapped around him and they are standing in the middle of a burning food court. It’s probably nothing.

“Todoroki,” Midoriya snaps, drawing his attention. “I don’t see any signs of a villain around, but--well, we can’t use our quirks, we don’t have hero licenses yet, but we can still--”

Shouto doesn’t even let him finished, just cuts him off with a curt nod as he runs for the building, dragging Midoriya behind him. People are evacuating the area, pushing past them, and the overall panicked noises in the area are making him antsy to spring into action. Except he barely makes it within ten feet of the opening before suddenly ice comes shooting out of his right hand, unbidden, shards piercing the floor and freezing up his arm.

And then Midoriya shouts, “Todoroki!” and two thick hands wrap around his ears and a warm body slams into his back and pushes him to the floor just as another explosion permeates the air around them.

The ringing is unbearable now, echoing in his head and leaving no room for thoughts to form, but he feels hot and cold all at once, his body temperature fluctuating wildly. Unthinking, he raises a hand--cold--to his ear, accidentally thumbs against whoever tried to cushion him from the blast and feels frost crystallize against the skin.

The hand shoots away from him, and suddenly Shouto feels lighter, and--oh, Midoriya was on top of him, that explains a lot. He heats up at the thought, and normally he can just will the flames away but suddenly his entire shoulder catches fire and he can’t seem to put it out. Embarrassment feels just as hot in his throat as it does on his shoulder until the ringing in his head quiets down enough for logical thought to return, and Shouto thinks, this isn’t normal , and then, there’s a reason for this.

There’s another explosion in the building in front of him--weaker, this time, but he still feels the heat wash over him. Or maybe that’s just his quirk? He’s not sure how much of the fire around him is his own and how much has spread from the building, but if it’s anything like the ice that’s quickly spreading from his right side then it’s definitely a cause for concern.

Shouto tries to stand up and makes it only to his knees before his own ice traps him to the floor. He slaps at it desperately with his left hand, both ice and fire crackling in his ears as he tries to free himself. If he had a moment to consider his emotions at the moment, he might recognize how terrifying it feels to have no control of his quirk--but currently Shouto has a lot more on his mind, the first thought being ‘Midoriya’ and the second thought being ‘where the fuck did he go?’

His question is answered a moment later when strong arms wrap around his waist once again, and Shouto’s stomach lurches uncomfortably when they tug--hard. It’s enough to snap Shouto away from the ice he had encased his entire right side with, and as soon as he’s free Midoriya practically drags him away from the scene before he can trap himself again.

And strangely enough, as soon as they make it a decent distance away, the temperature fluctuation stops, and suddenly Shouto can put out the fire that has already burned away the entire left half of his shirt. He looks up to stare at the boy currently dragging him away from the wreckage, and his breath catches in his throat--he looks worn already, and it’s barely even been a few minutes since the first explosion. There’s scuff marks across his cheeks, and dark patches of skin that are rubbed red from where it had contact with Shouto’s fire.

I burned him.

The realization causes him to fling himself out of Midoriya’s arms, trying to ensure that he can’t hurt him anymore than he already has, but as he steps backwards away from him Midoriya reaches out and grabs him by the elbow.

“You can’t go back there,” he huffs, probably misreading why Shouto was so anxious to get away. “I… I think someone’s got an amplification quirk, or something, and it’s causing everyone to go haywire.”

That… Certainly makes sense. At least now there’s a plausible reason for Shouto’s power to backfire like that. Numbly, he nods, turning his head to look at the damage.

And then Midoriya tries to push past him to try and get into the building again, and Shouto’s brain helpfully supplies him a mental image of Midoriya jumping into the building and simultaneously breaking every bone in his body--and before he can even think to swallow the bile in his throat he reaches out to grab Midoriya by the elbow. “Wait--what do you think you’re doing?”

“It’s fine,” Midoriya says, and Shouto tries very, very hard not to think about all the times Midoriya has said that same thing before practically executing a perfect swan dive directly into danger. “At least, I think so--I didn’t activate my quirk at all earlier and I managed to get you out of there, so I mean--I can still feel it, like it’s amplified, but as long as I don’t purposefully use my quirk I don’t think I’ll break anything.”

That doesn’t really do much to relay Shouto’s fears, but he supposes he doesn’t really have a choice. He trusts Midoriya to take care of the scene, even if he doesn’t necessarily trust him to take care of himself. Plus, it makes sense--Midoriya’s quirk is one he has to intentionally turn ‘on’, while Shouto can’t really turn his off. His body is constantly fluctuating temperatures whether he likes it or not.

He lessens his grip on Midoriya, who flashes him a determined smile. “Call for backup. In the meantime, I’ll grab the people stuck inside the store and bring them to you, yeah?”

Shouto barely gets out, “Sounds like a plan,” before Midoriya goes running off into the burning building once more.

The first time he runs into the building is the most nerve-wracking, but moments later he comes out noticeably unbroken and with two victims over his shoulders, so Shouto lets himself breathe a sigh of relief. Midoriya gently transfers the two of them over to Shouto’s care, and he delicately frosts over as much of the burnt skin as he dares without his hero’s license. He doesn’t really think he’d get in trouble for helping where he can, but they are still in training, and it’s not like he hadn’t learned a thing or two that night in Hosu.

The second time he runs out of the building, he’s only carrying one person over his shoulder, and seems to be rolling some kid with some sort of shield-bubble quirk out of the store like he’s in a human-sized hamster ball. The bubble diminishes as Midoriya closes the distance between them, and once again Midoriya transfers the victim over his shoulder to Shouto before running back in.

The third time he runs out of the building, Shouto is starting to wonder exactly how many people were in the store when it blew up. He’s carrying three people this time--two over his shoulders and one in a bridal carry. The man in his arms is crying furiously, both hands covering his mouth as smoke comes curdling out from the spaces between his fingers, sticky and black like tar. When Midoriya hands him over, he says, “Explosive burps,” and Shouto creates ice cubes in his hand for the man to suck on.

The fourth time, Shouto is starting to worry about how divided his attention is, trying to tend to the wounds and emotional stability of several panicked civilians. It’s not even like he has his first aid kit on him, since he’s not wearing his hero suit. Hell, he’s barely wearing his regular clothes--his own fire made sure of that. He should probably be more worried about that than he is, but again, he’s pretty preoccupied.

Midoriya comes out again with a woman in her arms, and she seems frantic--which isn’t really a surprise, all things considering. It’s hard to hear her at first, but as Midoriya scrambles to get her to safety her words become clearer in the air. “--and he didn’t mean to do it, I swear, he’s just--old, and confused, and scared, p-please understand! You can’t take him to jail, he needs to go back--the nurses will know what to do, so please, don’t--”

Shouto can see Midoriya tense--a squeeze, too gentle to be a hug but enough to be reassuring. “It’s alright, ma’am,” he says, voice impossibly soft in comparison to the cuts and scrapes he’s sporting. “He’s in good hands. I promise to do everything I can for him.” When he turns to Shouto, he’s already ready for him, and their fingers brush as Shouto takes the woman into his own arms.

She gasps, loudly, the second both of them have their hands around her, and for a moment Shouto swears he feels electricity zip straight through his fingers, up his arms, and then down his spine--and then the woman collapses, a dead weight in his arms.

He glances up at Midoriya, unable to mask the panic in his eyes, and he finds it mirrored in Midoriya’s own. She didn’t just…? No, she’s still breathing. He can feel the slight exhale run through her body as he holds her. It calms him down, just a bit, but--

Did you feel that, too? He wants to ask, but Midoriya’s already turning away.

“There’s still one more,” Midoriya says in lieu of an explanation. And then he’s gone.

The store is looking incredibly worse for wear, and if Shouto didn’t doubt his own power at the moment he’d go over and freeze the ceiling in place so it didn’t collapse. Besides, he’s got a small crowd full of health liabilities to take care of. So he does his best to curb the feeling of dread he’s suddenly feeling, and attempts to calm the anxious group he’s been left in charge of.

Midoriya makes it out of the building just before the door frame collapses.

Shouto prepares to receive one last hurting civilian to his ever-growing herd, but instead of bounding straight back to Shouto like before, Midoriya takes a sharp turn left, away from everyone else. Shouto squints, and--and it’s hard to tell with the distance, but Midoriya’s veins are glowing, bright and and colorful and familiar, and it is absolutely a bad sign.

I think someone’s got an amplification quirk, or something.

That’s probably him, then. Shouto bites at his tongue, anxious, but there’s nothing to be done about it. Midoriya made the right call to distance themselves from everyone else. And if he happens to break any bones, well--it’s not as if it’s a sacrifice Midoriya hasn’t made before, on an even less important situation than this.

Shouto can’t dedicate too much of his attention on the two of them, but it doesn’t stop him from trying--Midoriya looks desperate, mouth moving a hundred miles a minute as he talks to the man in his arms, body still glowing with destructive power even as he sits completely still.

It’s taking a toll on him, Shouto can tell--thankfully, it’s not long too long after that the pros arrive on the scene. The building had barely been burning for less than ten minutes, and the remains of the fires are stomped out by Backdraft himself before it can spread to any more stores. The eight survivors Midoriya had hauled out of the building and placed under Shouto’s care were rolled away on stretchers to have full body assessments done in the ambulances. Shouto just barely manages to convince them that he doesn’t need medical attention, and only manages to do so by promising both to put on a new shirt and to get himself checked out after the situation is properly taken care of.

Meanwhile, Midoriya sits alone with the old man with the amplification quirk, still glowing, frantically yelling at everyone to stay back--and, unfortunately, it takes another ten minutes for another ambulance to arrive, this time manned by a team of quirkless nurses. By the time they had managed to take over the situation, Midoriya looked like an egg about to burst, body visibly shaking with tension as he tried to reign back control of his body.

Shouto didn’t dare approach him until the man was safely carted away, no matter how badly his legs wanted to disobey him and run directly to Midoriya’s side. He looked absolutely wrecked--burnt and strained, scrapes running up and down his arms as if someone had taken a cheese grater to him. His body was still glowing brightly, destruction coiled tightly in his limbs, straining to break free--but his lips were pulled back in a smile, teeth flashing as if he didn’t have a worry in the world.

The man with the amplification quirk was finally taken back under hospice care after several grueling minutes, and when the coast was clear Shouto wasted no time closing the distance between the two. Wordlessly, he tentatively placed cold fingers on the back of Midoriya’s neck, and is pleasantly surprised when he feels Midoriya vibrate under the touch.

“Thanks,” he murmurs, knocking his head slightly back to lean into the cold. Shouto hums in response.

“You look tired,” Shouto tries, because he knows they need to talk about something but he isn’t exactly sure how to get to that point of the conversation.

Midoriya glances at him, a wobbly smile pulling at his cheeks. “Do I? ‘Cause I feel like I could go run a marathon right now. God, I’m practically--I feel like I’m buzzing. Is that weird? I feel like that’s weird. It’s not like normal--it’s not adrenaline, I don’t think. Like… You know how Kaminari sometimes chews on his phone charger after he pulls an all-nighter? I imagine it’s like that. Like my battery was completely drained and then recharged in a millisecond. My tongue feels all tingly. So do my fingers.” As if to emphasize his point, he brings his hands up to wiggle his fingers, but to Shouto’s dismay his entire hands are shaking.

Really, Shouto’s face is probably going to get stuck like this with how deep he’s frowning. He would have thought that was already the case if it weren’t for the boy in front of him being the direct cause of most of his smiles, these days. “Midoriya, I think you’re going into shock.”

Midoriya just snorts. “You’re just saying that because I just mentioned Kaminari.” Shouto’s eyebrows furrow, but it does nothing to deter Midoriya. “Really, I’m fine. I think this is just… I had to hold my quirk for so long without it breaking, or else I would have imploded so hard I’d have flown through the roof, you know? Now I got all this leftover quirk juice.”

Lord, bless him with patience. “There had to be a less disgusting way to phrase that sentence.”

“Mhm. Maybe so. Here, can I just--” Midoriya takes a shaky hand to reach for the cold one on his neck, moving Shouto’s grip from his neck to his face, and Shouto tries not to feel too smug about how his hand just engulfs the entire span of freckles across his cheeks. Midoriya just slumps against him, gripping at Shouto’s wrist, and now with multiple points of contact Shouto can feel how Midoriya’s body is practically vibrating against him. “God, that’s so much better.”

Shouto’s suddenly very glad that Midoriya is pressed up against his right hand instead of his left, because he’s starting to feel distressingly warm. If Shouto hadn’t known any better, he would have tried to pin the heat on the man with the amplification quirk--as it is, he’s having a very hard time not burning Midoriya. Again.

… Again.

“Midoriya, I--” His mouth suddenly tastes like ashes, so he coats his tongue with an entire layer of ice and lets it drip down his throat, desperate to get rid of the taste. He wants to apologize, but he isn’t even sure where to begin. “You should let one of the paramedics look you over,” he says instead. Coward.

“Hm? Yeah, probably,” Midoriya agrees, and wow, he must really be feeling it if he agreed to that so easily. “That can wait though. I think those guys over there want to talk to us first.”

“Who?” Shouto turns his head without moving his hand from Midoriya’s face (he can feel Midoriya’s breath against his palm and it’s doing all kinds of illegal things to his heart rate), and sure enough, there’s a group of professional-looking adults quietly talking to each other and side-eyeing the two of them from where they stand next to the last of the paramedics. When they catch Midoriya and Shouto looking in their direction, one of them starts to walk over.

“Detective Naomasa!” Midoriya exclaims, gently pushing Shouto’s hand out of his face. “What are you doing here? This is hardly a crime scene.”

“Happened to be in the area, is all,” he explains, adjusting the hat on his head. “When I heard someone drop your name over the coms, I figured I’d stop by and have a look. I take it you two had quite the part in this?”

Shouto bristles, already assuming the worst, but Midoriya beats him to the punch before he can jump too far and reach the natural conclusion. “Right… We, uh--we aren’t gonna get reprimanded for this, are we?” He asks, still visibly jittery from the aftereffects of his quirk.

Detective Naomasa is quick to shake his head. “No, not from how I understand it, at least. This isn’t like what happened in Hosu. There will still be paperwork to do, of course, but since you both were under the influence of a quirk, you’ll hardly be blamed. It’s not like you hurt anyone, either.” Shouto lets out a quiet sigh of relief, and his breath comes out frosty.

“Oh, then--that’s good!” Midoriya smiles, but his face is kinda twitchy, and Shouto can see him subtly try to shift his weight from foot to foot. “I’m glad to hear that, I was getting a little worried,” he rambles. “By the way--uh, the man with the amplification quirk--what did he…?”

“Right. Turns out the poor man was senile, and managed to escape the watch of the nurses in the hospital he was in. It’s all been taken care of, now, and after a quick check up he’ll be sent back under their care. I’m sure they’ll be more careful in the future.”

Midoriya nods thoughtfully, and--okay, if he doesn’t get looked over by one of the nurses real soon, Shouto is going to drag him over there himself, because Midoriya’s fidgeting is starting to make him feel antsy. “Is that everything?” Shouto asks, hoping to curb the conversation.

Detective Naomasa hums for a moment, and then nods. “Sure. The paperwork can wait--all we really need is a few signatures and a quick rundown of your quirks before you leave. We’re trying to organize a quick list of who was affected and how, in case it pops up later. For now, why don’t you two get fixed up?”

Oh, good, finally. Shouto nods, and turns to push Midoriya towards the paramedics, but Naomasa stops him by the shoulder before he can escape. “By the way,” he adds, a grin widening his cheeks. “You two did good today. Thanks for your help.”

Midoriya positively beams from the praise, and Shouto can’t help but feel a little infected by it as well.

They both get looked over and get the okay to head home--Midoriya got the brunt of the burns, as well as a few minor holes on his back where a victim with a porcupine quirk couldn’t control his quills, and Shouto’s biggest injury was actually to his ears after the initial explosion went off. Luckily, according to the nurse who looked him over, the constant ringing he hears should fade away by the end of the day.

“Hey, we’re still on for sparring tomorrow, right?” Midoriya asks as he leads them out of the building.

Shouto nods. Quirkless sparring has been a regular occurrence between the two of them ever since the Sports Festival, and while it was weird and awkward at first, it really helped them feel out the beginning of this strange friendship they seem to have found themselves in. Shouto finds that he looks forward to their meetings after school each Monday almost as much as he looks forward to seeing his mother on Sundays--it’s become such a crux in his schedule that he isn’t really sure his week would feel complete without it. Plus, it’s more time to hang out with Midoriya, which comes with some obvious benefits. “Of course.”

Really, the confirmation shouldn’t have been anything he didn’t already expect, but Midoriya gives him such a wide smile that Shouto can see his gums. He’s got a dimple on his left cheek when he smiles like that, and Shouto’s fingers itch to poke it, which he quickly restrains.

“Cool!” He chirps, and then--“Oh, wait, Todoroki!” He gasps. “We never got to make it to the bookstore. What about your gift…?”

Shouto shrugs. He really is too considerate. “It’s not like I don’t have the rest of the week.”

Midoriya tugs at his lower lip with his teeth--distracting --as if considering something. “Well,” he says slowly, “next time you go out looking, I could come along if you’d like. Maybe I can help pick something out. Besides!” He adds quickly, nervously. “I never did get around to buying my comics.”

Shouto’s brain jumps from the words ‘hanging out ’ to ‘date ’ so fast that he doesn’t remember the thoughts that got him there, and he mentally beats his brain with a stick, because it’s not. Midoriya’s just being kind. Shouto coughs, trying to compose himself. “I’d like that.”

Midoriya shoots him another award-winning smile, and Shouto’s legs might as well be made out of wet spaghetti. Luckily, Midoriya is turning away and waving goodbye before Shouto can make too much of a fool of himself. “Alright, then, see ya tomorrow!”

Shouto watches him as he goes, and only turns to head home when he’s nothing but a little green dot in the distance.


When Shouto wakes up the next morning, he’s cold.

That… Sucks. He really, really hopes he isn’t getting sick. He never really feels the temperature around him unless he’s overusing one of his quirks, but sometimes when he gets feverish his body has a hard time fluctuating between hot and cold, and his quirk acts up in strange ways. If he’s already feeling the chill in his room like this, it must mean he’s coming down with something, which Shouto really can’t afford to deal with right now.

He must have kicked his covers off in the middle of the night, because his legs are all tangled up in cloth, and that’s weird, too, because he’s usually not a restless sleeper. Shouto groans, bringing his hands to rub the sleep from his eyes as he tries to kick himself free, except--

Shouto’s eyes practically fling themselves open as he pats gingerly at the smooth skin around his left eye. The nice, smooth, unscarred skin around his left eye.

He shoots straight up, suddenly feeling very awake, and his stomach lurches in place as he suddenly realizes that he’s not lying on his tatami mat on the floor, but is rather sleeping a few feet higher than he ought to be. He feels displaced, and while it’s way too early to be making several unsettling realizations all at once, he still makes another one: this isn’t his room.

All Might stares down at him from every conceivable corner, the bright colors of posters and action figures harassing his eyes in the morning light, forcing him to squint. Well--not just All Might. As Shouto blinks and tries to take in the room around him, all the while attempting to still his rapidly beating heart, he notices heroes of every caliber hanging from the walls. The place is practically a shrine.

Hesitantly, Shouto stands up from the bed, and as the blurriness of sleep finally fades from his eyes, he makes one last realization. He can see. He’d almost forgotten what it was like to have two working eyes, and now suddenly, as he stands up, his depth perception is all off and he practically stumbles in place. He can see. Through both eyes.

Desperately, Shouto glances through the room, searching for a mirror of some sort, and then proceeds to trip on his way over to where one hangs on the wall. When he finally steadies himself, he glances up, and--

He stares directly into the reflective green eyes of Midoriya Izuku.