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The words begin to muddle together, Izuku’s vision going fuzzy while his brain power continues to steadily decline. His emerald eyes glance over to his phone as his finger lazily presses the home button to turn the screen on. He groans when he realizes that it’s long past midnight, and he still has to get up early for class tomorrow.

His crooked fingers close the notebook shut. He looks over at his bed that seems to be a million miles away and knows that he’ll definitely wake up aching if he were to fall asleep while hunching over his desk.

Izuku decides that he’ll regret it in the morning before letting his eyelids flutter shut, sleep washing over him like a heavy tide.

He dreams of rolling in a field of flowers, the petals varying between red and white. The sun is beaming down on his freckled skin and Izuku believes he would like to stay here forever. The atmosphere is tranquil and there’s a sense of security that laps over him.

Izuku sits up and plucks a dual-colored flower from the field. He twirls it with his fingers, watching the red and white petals blend to pink as he spins it like a pinwheel. He breathes out a sigh of content and affection before he hooks the stem of the flower behind his ear.

The flowers separate around him to avoid getting squished as Izuku falls back. He giggles, the petals tickling his cheeks. His muscles relax at the serenity of the environment. It’s not an environment he recognizes, and yet, it feels familiar.

It feels like home.

A knock jolts him awake, the noise such a harsh contrast to his dreamland that the shock causes Izuku to clumsily fall out of his chair. A mumble of annoyance escapes his lips, his hands pressing against his carpeted floor to push himself up to his feet.

Izuku lets out a wince when the soreness of his body registers. Yeah; he definitely regrets sleeping at his desk.

“Deku-kun!” Uraraka sings on the other side of the door. “The mighty trio has arrived!”

Green eyes widen in panic, his hands scrambling to grab his cell phone. He clicks the home button and audibly gasps when he realizes how late he let himself sleep in. He only has ten minutes to put himself together if he wants to make it to class on time.

“Midoriya-kun, do not tell me that you have just woken up! You are at a very high risk for tardiness!” Iida dictates before quickly adding, “We have brought you coffee, so please put yourself together so you are not marked late!” Izuku allows himself to smile. After his awful childhood, Izuku’s appreciation for his friends is on a whole other level. 

“Yes, sir,” he teases on his side of the door. He hurriedly puts on his school uniform, groaning every time he moves too abruptly. His joints feel as if they belong to an eighty-year-old man with arthritis. His finger hooks the back of his chunky red sneakers over his heel before he heads over to his door, twists the knob, and swings it open.

His heart does a cartwheel when his eyes meet with three friendly faces. Uraraka beams at him as her hand reaches forward, four fingers encircling around his wrist. “Ahhhh, you got yourself ready so fast, Deku-kun! You probably beat Iida’s record!” she jokes, a soft giggle bubbling out of her mouth.

“As impressed as I am by you getting ready so quickly, please refrain from sleeping in so late next time!” Iida scolds while his left arm swings around in a robot-like fashion. His right hand juts out, presenting a to-go cup. “Like I said, we have brought you coffee.” Izuku takes it gratefully, thanking him. “I only added milk, though! Midoriya-kun, you add an obscene amount of sugar to your coffee and I am more than willing to play the villain when it comes to your health!”

Izuku huffs in disappointment. He appreciates the thought, obviously; but, black coffee? Okay, well not completely black coffee; but, no sugar?! Just the thought of it makes him cringe. Without sugar, it tastes like bitter bean water! So what if he enjoys adding milk and five packs of sugar to his coffee? It’s how he likes it!

Izuku’s nose scrunches up as he eyes the coffee-filled to-go cup. It’s not like he can just throw it away; his friends went out of their way to do something nice for him. If he were to throw it away, it’d be as if he threw away their kindness! What kind of friend would that make him?! Oh God and they paid for this! With their own money! It’d be like throwing away his friends’ kindness and their money!

Before his internal battle can progress any further, he feels a nudge against his arm and peeks up to see Shouto looking down at him. Uraraka and Iida are both walking in front of the other two, so neither of them can see when Shouto hands Izuku three packets of sugar.

“Iida is right; you should cut down a bit,” he muses while Izuku eyes the packets of sugar as if they are made of gold.

“Thank you, Todoroki-kun!” He smiles before it quickly morphs into a scowl, pain shooting through his neck due to him turning to look at Shouto too quickly. “Ah…” His scarred hand goes up to rub the back of his neck. “Damn it.”

“Are you all right?” Shouto questions next to him. “Did you hurt yourself?”

Izuku shakes his head, grimacing once again as he irritates his sore joints. “I just slept wrong last night. I fell asleep at my desk, even though I knew this would happen, so I kind of did this to myself.” He lets out a soft, embarrassed giggle. He sees a flash of worry in Shouto’s mesmerizing eyes and waves a dismissive hand at him. “Don’t mind me,” Izuku reassures.

They continue to walk next to each other on their way to their classroom in silence. Izuku can physically feel those mismatched eyes watching him, and it’s making his heart do all of these weird gymnastic-like flips in his chest. Something inside of his stomach tickles, Izuku taking a large gulp of his coffee to try and suppress it.

Shouto sighs next to him. “Midoriya.”

Izuku is about to respond when his voice gets stuck halfway. He feels Shouto’s palm press against his nape, the pads of his fingers delicately ghosting over his Adam’s apple. “T-T-Todoroki-kun,” the freckled boy stutters profusely and has to use all of his control to not drop the coffee cup in his hands. “W-what are you-“

His stuttering comes to a halt when he feels heat begin to radiate from the palm of Todoroki’s left hand. It transfers to his own skin, soothing his sore joints instantly. He doesn’t even try to hold back his sigh of relief. The lids of his eyes flutter close as pleasure travels through his entire body.

He can hear Uraraka clear her throat in front of him and he snaps his eyes open as he is brought back to reality. “We’re uh, here.” She nods her head to the classroom. Izuku face feels as if it’s on fire and hopes it isn’t too noticeable. By the smirk on Uraraka’s face, he knows that it definitely is.

Shouto removes his hand from Izuku’s neck, his fingers lingering at the nape where his green curls meet the skin and Izuku finds himself having to bite back a moan.

Wait… am I turned on right now? Izuku thinks to himself. He lets himself peek over at Shouto and watches as he tucks a strand of red hair behind his ear. Izuku’s eyes abruptly look away when he feels a sensation of warmth start to form in his gut.

All he did was touch my neck! That’s no big deal, right? Friends do that, right? Yeah, of course they do!

Izuku’s mind is going a mile a second as he makes his way to his assigned seat. He sits himself down and places his notebook on the desk, forcing his eyes to stay on it to avoid making eye contact with anyone. He probably resembles a tomato with a bunch of freckles dotted all over it.

Todoroki-kun was just helping me out. He noticed that I was uncomfortable and was being a good friend. Yeah, totally platonic. There’s no reason to get so worked up, idiot!

His conscious is mocking him and calling him a fool for overthinking something so small. A heavy, solemn sigh flows from his parted lips. He can see Shouto walking towards him out of the corner of his eye and tries to focus on his breathing. Izuku resists the urge to grasp at his chest, internally screaming at his heart to slow the fuck down.

“Midoriya,” Shouto starts softly and Izuku thinks he’s going to pass out. “You need to eat.”

Izuku is practically hypnotized as he watches Shouto place a banana, a clementine, and a granola bar in front of him. “Eh?” Izuku flusters. “I can’t take your food!”

Shouto’s eyebrows come together in confusion. “Hm? It isn’t my food,” he says while holding up an apple to show Izuku that he has his own, “I bought that specifically for you.”

He turns around and begins walking to his own desk, adding, “Breakfast is important,” over his shoulder before he takes his seat.

Izuku stares at the fruit and granola bar. He can feel his cheeks growing warmer, the heat traveling all the way down his neck and to his chest. His heart is doing weird things again and Izuku cannot tell if it’s doing gymnastics, if it’s dancing, or if it’s just jumping around mindlessly like a madman – knowing how he is, it’s most likely the third option.

He takes another sip of his sweetened coffee and attempts to ignore the fact that Shouto had been thoughtful enough to sneak him some sugar packets. He attempts to ignore the fact that Shouto had been considerate enough to buy him breakfast. He tries to not look too much into it.

Izuku folds his arms on his desk and buries his burning face in them.

He’s tries to convince himself that the reason for his pounding heart is the sugar and caffeine.

“Oi, Midoriya!” Izuku lifts his head up, careful not to agitate his sore neck. His green eyes meet with bright red hair and a friendly, shark-toothed smile. Kirishima’s smile falters, his hand gently pressing against Izuku’s forehead. “Man, do you have a fever or somethin’? Your face is as red as my hair!”

Izuku mumbles, “I’m fine,” before mustering up the best smile he can manage. “You don’t have to worry about me, Kirishima-kun,” he tries to reassure.

Kirishima huffs, his eyes shifting over Izuku’s shoulder. A smirk grows on his lips, his sharp teeth coming into view again. “Well, I think your boyfriend is worrying about you enough for the both of us.” His eyes shift back to Izuku, one of his eyelids dropping to wink.

Izuku is pretty sure his heart is short circuiting. He waves his hands frantically at Kirishima in denial. “W-what are you talking about?! Todoroki-kun and I are just friends!" 

Kirishima’s laughter fills his ears as the redhead ruffles his green curls, making his hair messier than it already is. He hums in a way that shows he clearly is not believing a word that comes out of Izuku’s mouth.

“Mmm, whatever you say,” he sing-songs.

The door swings open, Aizawa standing in the entrance with his signature yellow sleeping-bag wrapping around his body. Kirishima lets out a quiet ‘oh shit’ before scurrying to his seat.

If Izuku wasn’t self-conscious before, he sure as hell is now.

-

It’s times like this that Izuku remembers how grateful he is for the people he can now call his friends. He recalls when it was announced that the class would be moving into the dorm rooms, and Izuku was more than happy – he still is.

He reminisces to a few weeks after everyone had gotten settled in their respective dorm rooms. Yaoyorozu, being the angel that she is, had offered to help everyone study before one of their big exams. The members of Class 1-A had all gathered in the common room with their school supplies. After about two hours, studying seemed to have been put on the backburner because now they were all lounging around with FRIENDS playing on the television screen.

It had been Kaminari and Kirishima’s bright idea to make this a tradition. The class should meet to study for a few hours, and then finish the night off with an episode of a series or a movie.

And that is why Izuku is currently sitting in between Shouto and Kaminari with their notebooks out, Bakugou’s ‘lovely’ barks of dictatorship acting as background noise as he yells at Kirishima for not understanding a particular equation.

“Midoriya.” Izuku holds back the impulse to jump at Shouto’s voice. The way Izuku’s name rolls off of his lips, even if it’s only his family name, makes him quiver. He is hyperaware of his accelerating heartrate, and hums to the other boy in response. He definitely does not trust how his voice would come out if he were to try and speak. “I think the answer to number four is actually ‘x equals thirteen’.” He leans in closer to the freckled boy, the heat of the left side of his body pressing against Izuku’s arm, to point his pencil at the question in Izuku’s notebook.

The aroma of fresh linen, musk, and just the slightest hint of vanilla fills Izuku’s senses. He swears his eyes practically triple in size when he comes to realization that this heavenly blend of fragrances is radiating off of the gorgeous boy that is currently pressed against him.

Izuku feels dizzy. His muscles lose tension as a sensation of ecstasy overcomes him. Shouto is just so close and he smells so good. He smells clean and sweet, but he also just smells like a man. Izuku thinks he’s approximately five seconds away from melting into a puddle.

“Midoriya! Oi, earth to Midoriya!” Izuku snaps back to reality at the loud noise that is Kirishima. When he sees he’s gotten Izuku’s attention back, he bursts out laughing. “Ah, I thought we lost you for a second. Something on your mind?”

Izuku can feel the blush (that might as well just become permanent at this point) spread on his freckled cheeks. “S-sorry,” he mumbles, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Does your neck still hurt?” Shouto questions from next to him.

“Mm. A little,” he replies while rereading question number four. “Oh, you’re right. The answer is thirteen-“

Warm fingers brush along Izuku’s nape. Despite the temperature, goosebumps come to rise on both of his arms. “Keep your neck up. You’re probably straining it from looking downwards too much,” Shouto whispers as he gently presses the heel of his palm right where Izuku needs it.

“R-right…” Izuku is screaming.

Internally, of course.

He can see Uraraka and the knowing grin on her face. There’s a gleam in her eye as she shoots Izuku a subtle thumbs-up. She turns her attention back to Iida and Tsuyu before she can see the humiliation that twists Izuku’s features.

“Is this making you uncomfortable?” Shouto surprises him with the question. “I can stop.”

Even though Izuku is practically drowning in embarrassment, the last thing he wants is for Shouto to think that him touching him makes Izuku uncomfortable.

Another reason is the fact that Shouto’s fingers feel way too good for Izuku to tell him to stop.

“N-no.” He curses himself at his inability to not stutter. “It feels nice. Thank you, Todoroki-kun.”

Shouto’s lips turn up into a small smile. It’s barely-there and probably no one else can see it aside from Izuku; but, it’s there and God, it is beautiful.

“Ahhhh, I can’t read another word!” Kaminari surrenders. He closes his book and tosses it to the end of the table. “I don’t even want to look at another math question. If I do, I think I’ll die.”

“Don’t be such a drama queen,” Kirishima teases at the end of the table.

Bakugou lets out a noise that’s something between a snort and a laugh. “And who are you to talk, Shitty Hair?! We’ve been studying for almost two fucking hours and we’ve only answered fifteen out of fifty fucking questions!” Bakugou yells, the volume of his voice and level of anger in his tone increasing with each word.

“Okay!” Yaoyorozu jumps up from her spot, clapping her hands together to get everyone’s attention. “I think it’s time to shift over to the movie portion of the night, yes?”

There’s a noise of agreement from the class before everyone shuts their notebooks.

Izuku makes himself cozy on a random couch. His body sinks into the cushions, comfortably sandwiching between Uraraka and Iida with Shouto sitting on the ground. He’s using Izuku’s shins as a back support and his knees as a head rest.

Izuku laughs in amusement as he watches Jirou and Kaminari battle on what movie to watch. They’re currently fighting over whether to watch Mulan or The Breakfast Club.

“We’ve already watched The Breakfast Club, Pikachu! Twice,” Jirou growls.

“We’ve watched it twice because it’s a damn good movie, AUX Cord!” Kaminari fires back. He’s baring his teeth like some kind of wild animal while Jirou narrows her eyes at him.

“What is it that you have against Mulan, huh? Do you dislike the idea of a female protagonist? Do you dislike the idea of a woman showing strength?” she leers, taking a threatening step closer to him. “Kaminari… don’t tell me you’re sexist?” She brings a hand over her mouth and gasps overdramatically.

“S-sexist?! What?! N-no, I’m definitely not! Absolutely not!” His hands flail around in denial. “I just really like-“

“All in favor for Mulan, raise your hand!” Jirou interrupts. Her sharp eyes send a message that says something along the lines of ‘if you don’t raise your hand, I will not hesitate to murder you’.

A majority of the class raises a hand, including Izuku. He has to admit that Jirou has a point; they have watched The Breakfast Club already and haven’t been able to watch Mulan yet.

Izuku, out of the corner of his eye, can see Shouto glance up at him before he raises his own hand as well.

Had he been waiting to see if I would raise my hand?

Izuku dismisses his fantasies when he hears Jirou let out a howl of victory, Kaminari groaning obnoxiously in defeat. A bubbly chuckle leaves Izuku’s lips when Kaminari overdramatically falls to his knees while screaming, “Why God, why?!”

Jirou clicks the ‘rent movie’ button on the screen and returns back to Yaoyorozu’s side on the couch adjacent to Izuku. The movie plays and Izuku cannot help singing along to the soundtrack. A vibration in his pocket jolts him, causing Uraraka to raise an eyebrow in curiosity. He apologizes with a sheepish smile, and she sighs before returning her attention back to the movie 

He pulls his phone out of the pocket of his oversized hoodie and raises his eyebrows when he sees the text message’s sender.

Todoroki Shouto - iMessage

He looks down to see Shouto already looking back up at him with those breathtakingly beautiful eyes. Izuku thanks the Gods above that the darkness of the room is camouflaging his ridiculous blush. He gulps down the lump that is starting to form in his throat. Todoroki Shouto never seems to fail to take Izuku’s breath away.

That bastard.

Is it even legal to be that beautiful?  

Izuku turns his attention back to his phone when he sees Shouto motion towards it with a slight nod of his head. He unlocks his phone to open the new message.

Todoroki Shouto [9:47pm] – You should audition for The Voice.

Izuku let’s a giggle slip, biting down on his tongue when both Uraraka and Iida give him a side-glance. He shakes his head to silently dismiss them and, while they look far from convinced, they direct their attention back to the movie.

His eyes go back to his phone and he knows he’s smiling way too big. Shouto making jokes, even though they’re small and don’t always sound like a joke, causes Izuku’s heart to smile. He’s so proud of how much Shouto has grown as a person since meeting him over a year ago.

Midoriya Izuku [9:48pm] – popstar by day, hero by night ( ˃̵ᴗ˂̵) و

Todoroki Shouto [9:48pm] – You use those a lot.

Midoriya Izuku [9:48pm] – use what? emoticons?

Todoroki Shouto [9:49pm] – Is that what they’re called?

Midoriya Izuku [9:49pm] – todoroki shouto… are you telling me you don’t know what emoticons are?

Todoroki Shouto [9:50pm] – I know what they are, I just don’t really know how to use them.

Midoriya Izuku [9:50pm] – well, you just use them to express your emotions through text since the other person can’t actually see your face. so like, i’m happy right now so i would use something like o(^ ▽^)o 

Izuku glances down at Shouto when he stops answering and can see him staring at his phone screen. He can picture Shouto’s eyebrows creasing together adorably as he struggles to figure out ‘the language of emoticons’. Izuku finds the image endearing.

His phone buzzes.

Todoroki Shouto [9:53pm] – ( ◡‿◡ )

Todoroki Shouto [9:53pm] – Did I do that correctly?

Izuku has to bring his hand up to cover his embarrassingly large smile.

Oh my God he’s so cute what the actual fuck someone punch me in the face.

Midoriya Izuku [9:54pm] – yes, good job (b ᵔ ᵔ)b

Todoroki Shouto [9:54pm] – What is that one doing?

Midoriya Izuku [9:55pm] – it’s giving you a thumbs up!!

Todoroki Shouto [9:55pm] – Oh.

Todoroki Shouto [9:55pm] – \(*^ ^*)/

Izuku bites down on his bottom lip to battle against the laugh that is dying to escape. Izuku’s fingers tap away at his touch screen, his thumb hovering over the send button. 

Midoriya Izuku – hahaha you’re so cute

He sighs.

Midoriya Izuku [9:56pm] – hahaha, good job! ( ´ `) *: ・゚

Todoroki Shouto [9:57pm] – I didn’t know Bakugou had his own emoticon.

Midoriya Izuku [9:57pm] – ?????

Todoroki Shouto [9:57pm] – ( ° °) ╯彡┻━┻

Todoroki Shouto [9:58pm] – The resemblance is uncanny.

Izuku’s body moves on its own. He doesn’t want to disturb everyone else with his laughter that is bubbling its way out against his will; so, to muffle his inevitable giggles, he leans down to burrow his face in his knees.

Except, he isn’t met with the feeling of his hard kneecaps pushing into his cheeks. Instead, he’s met with strands of silk and a familiar fragrance. His nose fills with the aroma of fresh linen, musk, and just the slightest hint of vanilla–

Holy. Shit.  

He snaps his eyes open to see that he’s using the top Shouto’s head as a suppressant. His lips are touching Shouto’s scalp.

He slowly takes his face away. Izuku gulps and it feels like he’s dry-swallowing a handful of pills. “I-I’m… I’m sorry.” His chest tightens.

His stomach churns and twists, his thoughts spiraling into a chaotic frenzy.

Way to go, Izuku, he scolds himself. Todoroki-kun probably thinks I’m a freak! He’s going to think I’m weird and he’s going to be mad that I invaded his personal space and then he’s going to start distancing himself from me and then it will get to a point where he just stops talking to me completely and then-

“It’s fine.” Shouto’s soft voice breaks through his internal panic attack. “It didn’t bother me, so you can stop worrying about it.” He turns his head, that is still touching Izuku’s knees, to properly look at him. Izuku searches for any sign of discomfort or any proof that Shouto is just lying to make Izuku feel better; but, he’s left empty-handed. “I know you’re worrying about it. Stop worrying about it.”

Izuku’s teeth sink into his bottom lip. “O-okay.”

Izuku tries to direct his attention back to the movie, but his heart is on overdrive and he can’t seem to calm down. He feels a gentle nudge and peeks over at Uraraka.

“Are you all right?” she mouths. Her worrisome expression doesn’t budge when Izuku tries to assure her with a timid nod. “Do you want to leave?”

He shakes his head. If he were to leave, that would only make Shouto worry about him more.

His body sinks further into the couch, his eyelids falling shut. Izuku attempts to focus on the music, I’ll Make a Man Out of You currently playing. He sighs as his exhaustion creeps up on him. The fatigue takes over, the melody becoming nothing more than a distant hum in Izuku’s ears.

Sunlight beams upon him. Izuku welcomes the heat it radiates and lets out a sigh of content. The salty smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves tenderly collapsing onto the shore, the tickle of the breeze grazing his skin; all of it brings Izuku pure bliss.

He gazes at the ocean, the color of the sun reflecting off it and changing its usual blue color to something closer to turquoise. He ambles towards the water, feeling the temperature decline as he gets closer. He dips his foot in cautiously and a shiver runs through his body.

The water is ice cold, but the sun’s intense heat is just as extreme. Izuku inhales a deep breath before he dives right in.

The cold shock exhilarates his senses and Izuku welcomes it happily. It’s as if he’s been injected with adrenaline and all of his senses are heightened. Izuku’s body trembles from the thrill. His head flowers up from the water, and his freckled cheeks meet with the warmth of the sun once again.

He grins up at the sun, his limbs treading the water to keep him afloat. It’s the perfect combination of tranquility and excitement. He feels invigorated.

He feels alive.  

“…doriya.” The paradise around him begins to fade, his vision black as he stares at the inside of his eyelids. “Midoriya,” the voice coaxes.

Izuku’s groan laces with fatigue. “Mnf.” He rubs his tired eyes with his fists.

“You have to get back to your dorm.” Izuku flutters his eyes open to see Shouto’s face merely inches away. “Everyone else has gone back.”

Izuku’s eyes search the rest of the common room to see that him and Shouto are the only ones left. “Oh,” he mumbles. His large eyes lock with Shouto’s and he can feel his heart do a somersault. “Were you, um… were you waiting for me?”

Shouto responds with a single nod of his head. “Uraraka said I should be the one to wake you up.”

Dammit, Uraraka.  

“Ah! I’m sorry. You didn’t have to.” Izuku flushes and itches his burning cheek. “Thank you, though.”

“I didn’t want you falling asleep in an uncomfortable position again.” Shouto reaches out and presses his fingers along the side of the Izuku’s neck for the third time that day.

Yes, Izuku has been keeping count.

“You worry about me too much.” Izuku’s laugh wavers as his nerves catch up to him. “You should, um, get back to your dorm. I’m sorry that I made you wait for me.” He looks away, no longer having the ability to keep eye-contact with someone so unreasonably perfect – it’s not good for his heart. “I’m just going to make some tea and then I’ll go back, too.”

Shouto looks down and rubs the back of his neck. “Would you… mind if I joined you?”

Izuku’s heart does another somersault. “O-of course not!”

Izuku insists on making the tea, asking Shouto how he likes it. Shouto seats himself at a circular table with four chairs on each side while Izuku shuffles to the kitchen area. He prepares two mugs to their personal preference and slides into the seat next to Shouto.

A comfortable silence rests over them. Izuku is appreciative that him and Shouto don’t have to have a conversation when together – they simply enjoy each other’s company. He blows on the steaming liquid before taking a cautious sip. 

“I think… I love someone.”

Izuku chokes.

Shouto looks at him, unbothered, and waits for Izuku to compose himself. “I’m sorry,” he coughs out. “That just, uh, caught me off guard. W-who is it, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I don’t even know if I like them,” the taller boy mumbles, seeming to completely ignore Izuku’s question. “I’ve never liked anyone romantically before, so I don’t know if that’s what this is.”

Izuku drums the side of his mug with his fingers. “Are you… asking me for advice?”

Shouto’s eyes slide over Izuku’s face. “I guess. You’ve liked someone before, correct? You liked Uraraka during our first year.”

“U-uh, yeah. I liked Uraraka.” He takes a tentative sip of his tea in hopes to use the boiling beverage as an excuse for his reddening cheeks.

“You were friends before, right?”

“Yes.” 

“How… did you know when your feelings were no longer platonic?”

Izuku pauses. He’s takes one look at Shouto’s expression and can see how distressed he actually is. Izuku realizes that he has to put his feelings aside and take Shouto seriously.

Even though it really fucking sucks to give relationship advice to the boy he’s kind of in love with. His heart squeezes painfully in his chest.

“Um.” He looks up at the ceiling. He hasn’t told anyone this, but he actually doesn’t count Uraraka as someone he had a serious crush on. Izuku thinks it was a crush, but after experiencing his feelings towards Shouto, he can’t label it as… real. So, instead of explaining his past feelings for Uraraka, he opts for the present. “I noticed it when touches were no longer just skin touching skin – they became a catalyst. A simple touch, and my heart,”— Izuku unconsciously places his hand on his chest — “would just go crazy. It… feels like my heart is doing gymnastics or something.”

“That sounds kind of painful.” 

Izuku chuckles. “It can be, sometimes,” he admits. “Whenever I saw them, I would just feel lighter. I mean, I would internally start freaking out because, well, it’s me,” —Shouto laughs and Izuku smiles at the sound — “but, it’s like seeing them reminds me that this person is real – this impossibly perfect person is actually real and I can see them.”

“Do you… want to be near them?”

“Mm,” Izuku hums in reply. “It’s strange, though.”

Shouto tilts his head in confusion. It’s one of the cutest things Izuku’s ever seen. “Strange?”

Scarred fingers trace the rim of his mug. His tongue pokes the inside of his cheek as the cogs in his brain turn, trying to find the proper words.

“It’s… never enough,” he says after a few more beats of silence. “No matter how close that person is, it never feels like enough. It’s never satisfying enough; you just want to be closer all of the time. They just… feel like home.”

Shouto’s eyes are studying Izuku’s face and he holds back a squirm, feeling hot under the intensity of his stare.

“So,” Shouto starts. “How did you know that that was love?”

“You, uh…” Izuku twiddles his fingers that quiver nervously around his mug, “you want to, like, uh… do stuff that you wouldn’t normally, uh, do with a friend.”

“What kind of stuff?”

“L-like… hold their hand,” — Izuku flutters his eyes shut as the image of Shouto possesses his thoughts — “and just… hold them in general. You just think about touching them, wanting validation that they’re there,” — he sighs — “and um… you think about k-kissing them.”

“Kissing?”

“Y-yeah… a lot.” A light laugh leaves Izuku’s lips. The imagery of Shouto kissing someone else makes Izuku feel nauseous. He clenches his fists, fingers digging into his palms and knuckles going white. “There’s… one more thing,” he mumbles. He opens his eyes slowly, giving the mug of tea his full attention.

“One more thing?” Shouto repeats Izuku’s statement in a quizzical tone.

Izuku offers a small nod. “It’s um, wanting them to be happy.” Shouto says how he had figured that was a given, but Izuku raises his voice just a bit to talk over him and adds, “Even if them being happy isn’t with you.”

Shouto blinks. “What?”

“I want them to be happy, and I selfishly want to be the reason for that happiness.” Izuku can feel his eyes begin to burn and he curses himself for being such a crybaby. “But, for me, it’s about putting that person’s happiness before my own; so, even if the person I love would be happier with someone that isn’t me…” — he hiccups and looks downward, his forest green curls covering his face — “then it’s okay. As long as they’re happy, then it’s okay. Well, I mean, it’s not okay… but…”

Izuku doesn’t dare look up at Shouto. He feels naked. He can feel boiling hot tears rolling down his freckled cheeks. He’s shrinking underneath Shouto’s eyes, his shoulders curling forward as his chest caves in.

“Midoriya.” The sound of chair legs scraping against the tiled floor fills the room and Izuku can sense Shouto’s presence next to him. He feels a cold hand press onto his shoulder blade, a thumb rubbing small patterns into his skin. “Do you love someone?”

Izuku knows Shouto isn’t an idiot and already knows the answer, but he nods anyway. “It’s pitiful.” He laughs humorlessly. “They’re so out of my league it’s pathetic; I’m pathetic.”

“I don’t think you’re pathetic.” Shouto’s voice is centimeters away from Izuku’s ear and it causes the smaller boy’s breath to stutter. “I think you’re the farthest thing from pathetic.”

Another humorless laugh. “Oh, is that so?” Izuku sniffles and brings the heel of his palm to wipe away his tears. “And what would that be?”

“Amazing.”

Izuku freezes, his palm dropping from his eye as he turns to look at Shouto, who is on his knees and is staring at him with serious eyes. There’s hardly any space between them, their stumbling breaths mixing together.

“Huh?” 

“I think I know how I feel, now,” Shouto whispers. Izuku's heart is a ticking time bomb and Shouto leaning forward to press his forehead upon his own is only speeding up the countdown. His eyes are unblinking and it feels as if they’re staring into Izuku’s soul. “I’m in love with you.” 

Izuku body turns to stone.

“Huh?”

“I’m in love with you,” Shouto repeats, refusing to break eye-contact.

Izuku shakes his head as his brain tries to process the words coming out of Shouto’s mouth. The words sound like a completely different language. His brain is short circuiting because there is no way – no way in hell this strong, incredible, gorgeous person…

No way.

“T-Todoroki-kun.” Izuku releases a shaky laugh. “Now isn’t r-really the time t-to be joking a-around,” he’s a stuttering mess, his cheeks coloring.

“I’m not joking,” Shouto deadpans.

“Y-you are.”

“I’m not.”

“You have to be.”

“But, I’m not.”

“There’s no way you can be serious.”

Shouto pressures his forehead further into Izuku’s, the tips of their noses touching. “I’m serious.”

One second.

Two seconds.

Three seconds.

Izuku's eyes widen. “Oh.”

They fall silent again, the gears in Izuku’s head cranking back to life as it once again tries to process all of this. The sound of his heartbeat rings in his hears.

He hears Shouto sigh before he moves his head away. Izuku holds back a whimper at the loss of touch, panic spreading through his body when he sees Shouto begin to stand up.

“I’m sorry,” he mutters as his hand goes to cover his face. “You can just… I’m going to go back to my room.”

No, no. No, don’t go.

Izuku’s body moves on its own, his arms launching forward. His fingers wrap around Shouto’s hand. He musters up the courage to gently tug, his attention on the floor.

“Please… stay,” Izuku whispers. He isn’t even sure if Shouto can hear him, but he thinks the small pull of his hand is enough of a message.

Shouto takes a step back towards Izuku. “Okay.”

The two boys, Shouto standing and Izuku sitting, fall into another silence. It isn’t their usual comfortable quietness – it’s tense. Izuku’s nerves are gnawing away at his body, his heart doing all kinds of ridiculous things. He’s still holding Shouto’s hand.

“I just… don’t understand,” Izuku pushes himself to say after a solid five minutes.

“What is it that you don’t understand?”

Izuku looks up, tilting his head back so he’s properly staring at Shouto’s face. “I don’t understand how someone… how someone like you… can feel that way towards someone like me.” 

Shouto’s jaw drops slightly. “W-why?”

Did Shouto just… stutter?

Izuku can’t help but smile. “Because you’re you,” he breathes out.

Shouto gets down on his knees so he’s eye-level with Izuku. He maneuvers his hand, and Izuku feels his breath hitch when Shouto makes it so his fingers can slip in between the spaces of the other’s.

“And you’re you.

Izuku’s insecurities seem to melt away when he studies Shouto’s expression – he’s looking at Izuku like he’s his whole world.

“You’re… you’re not joking?”

Shouto shakes his head, strands of red and white silk dancing together. “I’m not joking,” he replies. “Would you like me to repeat it?”

“I-I mean – I don’t, ah…” Izuku turns his face away in hopes to conceal his embarrassment.

He gasps when he feels a cold hand press onto his cheek, forcing him to turn his head back. Shouto is staring at him with so much adoration that it’s overwhelming. “I’m in love with you.”

All of the oxygen has been stolen from Izuku’s lungs. He opens his mouth, then quickly shuts it. He can’t seem to find his voice.

Shouto waits patiently, his hand still cradling Izuku’s cheek. His thumb brushes along the cluster of freckles, connecting one to another as if he’s tracing constellations. Shouto is studying every single feature of Izuku’s face – like he’s trying to memorize it.

His heterochromatic eyes gloss over and they admire Izuku as if he’s the most precious thing.

Izuku is in a daze. 

Someone this amazing… loves me. 

His eyes are burning and Izuku can see the shock make its way into Shouto’s expression when he lets a few tears escape.

“I-I’m sorry,” Izuku replies when he hears Shouto ask him why he’s crying. He giggles and leans into the hand still holding his cheek. With Shouto looking at him like that, he feels a new wave of confidence wash over him. “Hey, Todoroki-kun.” 

“Mm?” 

“Can you kiss me?” His voice goes hoarse, leaking with desire. His tongue swipes over his lips as he takes in deep, savoring breaths. “Please.”

Shouto’s eyes cloud over, a combination of relief and lust. He closes the miniscule distance between them and fulfills Izuku’s request.

Shouto’s lips are soft, gentle, and taste like peppermint. It’s tender and loving, yet it also sends Izuku’s senses into a frenzy. A jolt of electricity travels through the entirety of his body, and he sighs into Shouto’s mouth in both content and exhilaration.

“Midoriya–“

“I love you,” Izuku mumbles against the other’s lips. He separates them, but stays close enough so that his lips still ghost over the other boy’s. “I’m in love with you.”

Shouto doesn’t answer. He just goes back in to close the distance once again, his hand leaving Izuku’s cheek and traveling to the back of his neck. His fingers bury themselves in Izuku’s mess of curls, pushing the smaller boy’s face closer to deepen their kiss.

“Say that sooner,” Shouto pants in between kisses.

Izuku giggles. “Mm. I’m sorry.” He leans down and buries his nose in the crook of Shouto’s neck. “How can you be so cool about all of this?”

“What are you saying?”

“I mean… you’re so calm,” Izuku mumbles against Shouto’s collarbone. His free hand reaches up to cover his own heart, the speed of the thumps equivalent to a hummingbird’s wings. “My heart is going insane.

Shouto takes his fingers out of Izuku’s hair to grab the hand he’s pressing against his chest. Izuku lifts his head from his neck and watches in awe as he places it atop of his own heart. Izuku gasps, the vibrations of Shouto’s heart pounding against his palm like a drum. “So is mine.”

“So fast…” Izuku breathes in astonishment.

“This doesn’t happen when the feelings are platonic, correct?”

A laugh bubbles out of Izuku. “No.” The heat of his blush travels down to his chest when he feels Shouto’s heartbeat accelerate. “I think you might be in love.”

“Mm,” Shouto gives Izuku a small smile and rubs their noses together. “It seems that I am.”