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Soft Fire Makes Sweet Malt

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Out of all of Izuku’s friends, Iida had been the hardest to convince.

“It’s on a school night,” he had said, placing his hands firmly on the desk for emphasis.

“It’s on a Friday,” Uraraka said.

“It’s on a school day,” Iida replied, “and I go to bed at 8:30.”

“But I already told Mina that I’d try to get everyone to come,” Izuku said. He had twisted a strand of his hair sheepishly around his finger. “I think she was really looking forward to it being the whole class.”

“Come on, Iida. It wouldn’t be the same without you!” Uraraka had said, grabbing Iida’s arm. Iida had flushed and looked away, but Deku could see something resembling a smile twitching at the corners of Iida’s mouth.

 

And that was how they’d ended up standing at Mina’s door as the last ray of tangerine sun set over the crest of the street. Iida was wearing the same polo shirt he had worn to Izuku’s birthday party several weeks ago, and Izuku was twisting his favorite white shirt around his fingers. Mina lived in a modest home, far from the opulence of Yaoyorozu’s house, but its front door still sat invitingly.

Izuku reached forward and knocked gently on the door. After a moment, Mina pulled the door open, one eyebrow quirked in confusion.

“Hi, Mina!” Izuku said, waving sheepishly.

“Hey, Midoriya,” Mina said slowly. She glanced around the empty street. “It’s eight right now, right?”

“Yes,” Iida replied.

“The party starts at nine.”

“Yes,” Iida repeated.

“So you guys are here an hour early on purpose?”

“It was kinda Iida’s idea,” Izuku said quickly. “We thought that maybe you could use some help setting up for your party. I know we should have called ahead of time to let you know, but we were already on the way over…”

“Midoriya, don’t worry about it,” Mina said, opening the door wider and holding a hand up to him. “That’s sweet of you guys.”

Izuku and Iida stepped over the threshold, looking around as they took off their shoes and placed them by the door. The walls were painted a pleasant yellow, and family photos filled the far corner of the room. The attached kitchen gleamed in the setting sun coming in through the window.

“Do you guys want a beer or anything?” Mina asked. She opened the fridge before glancing back at them. “No,” she said, her eyes scanning down the length of Iida and Izuku. “I don’t suppose you would.”

Izuku glanced at Iida, who was staring resolutely across the room. Izuku had promised himself (and more importantly, his mother) that he wouldn’t be drinking tonight, but it seemed rude to refuse Mina in her own home. And there was something nervous gurgling in his gut which was prompting Izuku to take a drink.

“I’d like one!” he said.

“Really?” Mina and Iida looked at him in confusion.

“Yes, please. If that’s all right with you.”

“Yeah no, of course it is.” Mina pulled out a can of Kirin from the bottom drawer of the fridge and handed it to Izuku. He popped the tab and took a swig, leaning against the counter. He shot up again when the pungent flavor hit his tongue, washing the flavor of freshly-mown lawn down his throat. He pursed his lips and tried not to cough. Mina took out another beer, smiling at him.

“You don’t like it, do you?” she asked. Izuku paused, then shook his head.

“I don’t blame you. These are technically my parents’ and I’ve always thought they tasted like piss.” Mina popped the tab on her own can and took a long gulp. “Lucky for me, I don’t have good taste.”

She walked over to a row of cabinets and started pulling out stacks of plastic cups, setting her beer on the counter. “I can make you something sweeter, Midoriya. Iida, you sure you wouldn’t like anything? It doesn’t have to be alcohol.”

Iida perked up and turned to Mina. “Actually, if you happen to have some tea...”

Mina giggled. “Tea it is. Midoriya, how do you feel about strawberries?”

Iida and Izuku watched Mina hum quietly as she worked, filling the electric kettle and pulling colorful bottles out of the fridge, pouring them into a cup. She slid it across the counter to Izuku, and he picked it up, marvelling at the bubblegum-colored liquid sloshing inside.

“It kinda looks like you, Ashido!” he said, holding the cup up to Mina.

She giggled, hoisting herself up on the counter. Her thighs pooled on the black formica, and she propped her elbows on her knees cheerfully. “Hopefully it tastes just as good as I look,” she said, tossing a curl of pale pink hair behind her ear.

Izuku tipped his head back and let the liquid pass his lips. His eyes widened over the rim of the glass.

“This is amazing,” he said, already tipping the cup back up to his lips.

“It’s shochu and strawberry vodka,” she said, nodding sagely. “It’d be hard to make it not taste good.”

Behind her, the electric kettle clicked off. Mina leapt off the counter and dashed to the counter, pouring the bubbling water into a teapot and looping her pointer finger through a mug handle.

“Do me a favor and grab those bottles,” she said, nodding at the vodka and shochu sitting on the counter. Izuku gathered them carefully in his arms, and he and Iida followed Mina down the narrow steps towards the basement. To Izuku’s surprise, music was already blasting from a set of astounding speakers sitting on either side of the door.

“You’re playing party music already?” Izuku asked, setting the bottles down on Mina’s desk with a clink.

“I’m always playing party music,” Mina said. She walked to the far corner of the room and set the teapot and mug on a small white table next to a winged armchair.

“For you, Iida! Your own spot! To be the overlord of all you survey!”

Iida sat primly in Mina’s chair and poured himself a cup of tea. “When do you expect the others to be arriving?”

“I think Uraraka and Yaoyorozu and the rest of them will probably be a few minutes early,” Mina said, sitting on the edge of her bed. “Kirishima and Bakugou will probably be late. And Denki’s definitely going to get lost.”

Izuku giggled. “Hasn’t he been to your house before?”

“Yes! And yet every time, he asks me what street I live on! Every time!” Mina threw her hands up in despair.

“Do you really expect the whole class to show up? Is there enough space in this one room for everyone?” Iida asked. His eyes flicked around the plush room, which truthfully was crammed full of tchotchkes and fluffy decorations. A row of pillows lined the baseboard, and a curtain of iridescent streamers pinned to the wall fluttered in the hiss of the air-conditioning vent.

“Well, I’m sure there will be a few students who can’t make it,” Mina said, swinging her feet off the side of the bed. “And I know Mineta won’t be here because he asked me for my address, and I gave him the one for the karaoke bar two streets down.”

“No!” Izuku put a hand over his mouth. “Did you really?”

“It’s my party! Why should I invite someone who makes everyone else feel uncomfortable?” Mina said. “I have to look out for the girls. And for me as well. I can barely tolerate him when he’s sober, you know? I don’t know what I’d do if I had to deal with a drunk Mineta loose in my house.”

“I suppose you’re right.” Izuku looked down into his cup and saw that it was nearly empty. The tips of his ears were burning. “I’ve never really seen anyone from our class drunk before.”

“That’s because we’re all too young to drink,” Iida said. “Honestly I feel like I shouldn’t even encourage it by being here.” He tapped nervously on the side of his mug with a finger.

“Don’t worry, Iida,” Mina said, leaning forward and patting his knee. “The fact that you’re here means that the others feel like they can come to you for help if they need it. That’s the sign of a good class rep, I think.”

Izuku smiled. Mina had always had a knack for telling people what they needed to hear. She was one of those rare people who was able to become everyone’s friend, slipping from teasing to comforting with such ease that it was difficult to even notice she was doing it. Even though their class had split into different friend groups, Mina was the one person who was able to float between groups without a single break in her stride. There must be something so freeing for Mina about knowing that she had the ability to convince anyone to like her. The corners of Izuku’s mouth quirked. He certainly wouldn’t know what that felt like.

“Honestly, I’m expecting Todoroki and Tokoyami to show up fairly soon,” Mina said thoughtfully. “They seem like the sort of boys who would show up to a party early without knowing any better.” She glanced up at the two boys and grinned. “No offense,” she said.

Izuku felt a blush creep up his neck. He leaned back, hoping the dim light of the room would hide his flustered face.

“D-Don’t worry about it,” Izuku said, holding the cold cup to his cheek to cool himself. “So, Todoroki’s coming?”

“I mean, you tell me. You were the one who invited everybody,” Mina said.

Izuku nodded. “He did say he was interested in coming. I suppose it just didn’t really occur to me that he meant it…”

“Why? Is it a problem if Todoroki’s here?” Iida asked.

“Are you two having a fight?” Mina said.

“No!” Izuku waved a hand defensively in front of him. “No, not at all. Todoroki and I are fine. I just get...nervous around him.”

“But I thought the two of you became friends after the sports festival.”

“We did. It’s not...it’s not the bad kind of nervous, I mean. It doesn’t matter.”

“I’m struggling to understand what you mean,” Iida said.

“It’s fine. It’s not a problem-”

“Midoriya!” Mina said, sitting up and pointing at him. The grin on her face made Izuku’s stomach flip. “Do you like Todoroki?”

“I...of course I like Todoroki. We’re friends.”

“You know that’s not what I mean.”

Izuku put the cup in front of his red face and groaned.

“You do, don’t you? Oh my God, you do!” Mina got up from her bed and began to pace around the floor. “I can’t believe I didn’t know this before. I should have known. The way you look at him in class is so obvious now…”

“Midoriya looks at Todoroki in class?” Iida asked.

“I shouldn’t say looks. More like stares. Pines might be more accurate.” Mina grinned at Izuku, who put his hands in front of his face. He had tried to stop himself from looking at Todoroki ever since Uraraka made fun of him for it, but all too often in class he would find himself tilted back in his seat, watching the flicker of red-and-white hair out of the corner of his eye. He had thought, mistakenly, that no one else had noticed.

“Why don’t you ask him out, Midoriya? I’m sure he’d say yes!” Ashido said.

“No!” Izuku cried. “Absolutely not. I would die of embarrassment before that happened.”

“But why? Lots of people think you’re very cute. I don’t see why he’d say no.”

“Ashido does appear to have a point, Midoriya,” Iida said. “Even if Todoroki wasn’t interested, it seems unlikely that it would have a noticeably negative effect on your relationship, especially given your shared experiences…”

“But imagine knowing that you shared a hospital room with someone who had a crush on you? Wouldn’t that make you uncomfortable? Or maybe he’d think that the only reason I said what I did at the Sports Festival was to ingratiate myself, and that I didn’t really mean it. Even if it doesn’t have a negative impact on our relationship immediately, Todoroki would start to wonder after turning me down if I still liked him, or I’d been able to move on. It would cause a strain between us and could eventually lead to us no longer talking, or him openly resenting me. Also,” Izuku said as an afterthought, “people don’t think I’m cute, Ashido! I don’t know why you would say that.”

“Well, if you don’t agree with me, that’s your decision. But I said what I said.” Mina shrugged.

“Well, even if someone does think that I’m c-cute,” Izuku stumbled over the word, “it’s not Todoroki. He probably doesn’t think much of me anyway. Which is why this must be kept a secret at all costs, understood?”

“Of course, Midoriya. Whatever you’re comfortable with,” Iida said, nodding seriously. Mina rolled her eyes.

“Fine,” she said. “But I still think the two of you would make an adorable couple. Your hair together reminds me of watermelon.” She walked over to the desk stacked with colorful bottles, leaving Izuku to puzzle at her statement. Mina gathered them in her arms, walking over to a cooler on the side of the room. The clink of glass knocking together reminded Izuku of something.

“You don’t think anyone will get super drunk and break anything of yours, do you?” he asked, looking around at the room. “We’d be happy to help you move things if you’d like-”

“Don’t worry about that,” Mina said, waving her hands. “This room has survived Denki trying to learn how to breakdance. Nothing can be more destructive than that.”

Izuku and Iida laughed. Izuku tossed his head back and giggled, watching the pink light of the room play against his closed eyelids.

“Ashido,” he asked. “Would it be all right if I had another one of those drinks?”

 

Forty-five minutes later, Izuku was sitting on the floor, back to back with Uraraka. Their heads bumped together as they stared at the neon lights dancing across the ceiling.

“How are you feeling?” Uraraka asked him.

“Very...buzzy,” Izuku replied. Uraraka giggled.

“Do you want to try some of my drink?” she asked. “It’s not as strong as what you were having, but it tastes nice. It’s called a peach fizz.”

Izuku reached behind him and grabbed Uraraka’s cup. The cold liquid bubbled up against his lips, and some of the carbonation went up his nose. He sneezed and handed the cup back to Uraraka.

“It’s good,” he said, his eyes watering as his sinuses burned. Iida glared at him from a few feet away.

“Midoriya, are you sure you haven’t had too much?”

“Quite sure!” Izuku said, grinning. “I don’t feel sick or anything, so I’m fine! Besides, it would be rude to get too drunk while visiting someone else’s house.”

“I don't know about that. Kaminari doesn’t seem to be having an issue with it,” Iida said, glancing over at the sprawled form of Kaminari on Mina’s bed. Kirishima was standing over him, talking quietly to Sero and Bakugou.

“What do you suppose they’re talking about?” Uraraka asked.

“Maybe about what happened in study hall the other day? With that note that Mina passed around?” Izuku said.

“Oh, I almost forgot about that! I’m still so mad that I didn’t get to read it!” Uraraka tossed her head back and slapped her palm on the carpet. “Of course Todoroki had to burn it right before I could take a look at it. Leave it to him to not know how to pass a note properly.”

Izuku placed his cup to his lips to stop himself from saying anything. But when he realized the cup was empty, he couldn’t stop the words from spilling out of him.
“I don’t think it was his fault. I’m sure if Mr. Aizawa hadn’t caught him he would have passed it to you. After all it-”

“Oh, you just like watching him use his quirk, don’t you, Deku?” Uraraka asked, looking over her shoulder to stare at him.

“Oh, no! That wasn’t what I meant,” Izuku said, holding his cup up to shield his face. He wedged his bottom lip between his teeth to stop the embarrassed smile from crawling over his cheeks. “I’m just saying that I don’t think he meant to destroy the note specifically so that you wouldn’t be able to read it. That’s all.”

“Midoriya, you seem to be trying to change the subject,” Iida said quietly. “When we were discussing this earlier with Ashido, you said you were romantically interested in Todoroki.”

“I…”

“Well, of course he is! Everyone with eyes can see that,” Uraraka said, waving a hand. “I bet even the teachers know that you like him, Deku. Honestly, I think Todoroki is the only one who doesn’t know.”

“Uraraka! Don’t talk about this so loud,” Izuku hissed. Of course, no one else in the room seemed to be paying attention to them. The rest of the girls were all sitting in the far corner of the room, talking to each other. Mina kept glancing over at Kirishima and his friends, who were still sitting on her bed. And Todoroki was leaning against the far wall, deep in conversation with Tokoyami.

“He’s right over there, Deku. And he’s wearing that shirt you like.”

Izuku’s lips twisted at Uraraka’s words. Todoroki was indeed wearing the white V-neck shirt which Izuku had always liked on him, the one with the neckline cut just slightly lower than should be considered appropriate. He wondered momentarily if that shirt was just another one of Todoroki’s small ways to rebel against his father. He couldn’t imagine any parent being all right with having so much of their child’s chest on display. Izuku’s cheeks burned.

“Well? Aren’t you going to go talk to him?” Uraraka asked.

“What? No!” Izuku said. “He’s talking to Tokoyami right now. I can’t just go over there and interrupt. I don’t even know what I’d say, anyway.”

“Just tell him that he looks nice. You think he looks nice, don’t you?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Then tell him that! Who doesn’t like to be complimented?”

“I-”

But Uraraka had already taken his wrist and was dragging him across the room. Deku held his cup to his chest like it was a life preserver and watched as Todoroki and Tokoyami’s eyes flicked up to watch Uraraka’s approach.

“Hi, guys!” Uraraka said, waving cheerfully and stopping to stand in front of them. “Deku and I wanted to come over and say hello. Are you having a good night?”
Deku thought a silent thank you to Uraraka for starting the conversation and not just abandoning him in front of the two boys. He should have known that she wouldn’t be actively trying to embarass him in front of Todoroki. That was much more Mina’s style than hers.

“Tonight has been going well so far. Ashido’s house is very nice,” Todoroki said quietly, looking around the room.

“It’s not my preferred color palette, honestly” Tokoyami said.

“Heh, I think it’s pretty cute,” Uraraka said, rubbing a hand sheepishly behind her neck. “It is a little bright, though. What do you think, Deku?”

Izuku jumped. “Me? I...I like it just fine. Ashido has some really beautiful collections.”

“She does!” Uraraka said excitedly. “Did any of you see the Rainbow Moon Chalice she has? It lights up and everything! And she has the Stallion Reve and the most beautiful figures of Sailor Uranus and Neptune, and all of those PreCure wands...”

“Ashido has PreCure wands?” Izuku asked. He turned to look around white shelves which stretched along the walls. His eyes lit up when he saw what looked like a bright pink candy cane supported on a small wire stand.

“She does!” he said, running forward to get a closer look. Uraraka followed him, while Todoroki and Tokoyami watched interestedly from their spot in the corner.

“Deku, I thought we were supposed to be talking to Todoroki,” Uraraka whispered in his ear, but Izuku could not be distracted.

“Mina!” he cried, staring up at the shelf. “These are amazing!”

Mina appeared behind them, staring up and putting her hands on her hips proudly.

“Aren’t they just?” she said. “I love all of my gorgeous children. Sorted in chronological order and everything.”

Izuku reached out and pointed to the first one. His finger blurred slightly in front of his eyes, and Izuku blinked. He couldn’t possibly be drunk after two drinks, could he?

“Deku, that’s not…”

Uraraka’s voice hazed through his ears, and Izuku realized he’d been talking the whole time, listing off the names of the different PreCure series each wand belonged to. His finger was hovering on a glittering purple wand sitting on the next shelf over. It was short, with a design of raised ridges along the side and a strangely oblong, pointed top.

“I’m not sure what anime this is from.”

Uraraka put her face in her hands and shook her head.

“What?” Izuku asked, turning to her.

“Ashido, Do you use any of these? Or are they just for display?” Tsu asked over Izuku’s shoulder. She had appeared silently, and Izuku jumped at the sound of her voice.

“Wait…” Izuku said. He glanced back up at the shelf and looked at the row of objects, varying in length and width, but all possessing the same basic shape and a flared base you wouldn’t see on a magical girl wand…

“These are-”

“Definitely not wands,” Uraraka said, grabbing Izuku’s wrist and pulling him away. Izuku blinked, a blush creeping up his face as he was towed back to the corner with Tokoyami and Todoroki.

“Midoriya,” Tokoyami began as they approached. He wasn’t laughing, but the feathers along the crown of his head were puffed up gleefully. “That wasn’t your brightest moment…”

“I would have gotten them confused too,” Todoroki said. He looked at Izuku, a smile twitching across his lips. The blush on Izuku’s face spread to the tips of his ears, and he wished for the earth to open up and swallow him whole.

“I don’t really know anything about wands or sex toys, so I definitely wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference,” Todoroki continued, shrugging. “Don’t feel bad, Midoriya.”

Izuku’s eyes widened at the sound of his name on Todoroki’s mouth. Even though they had known each other for months, he had never gotten quite used to hearing it. And now that he was suffering from whatever embarrassing side effects this terrible, evil drink was causing, the fluffy pink feeling in his chest was stronger now than he had ever felt before.

“You look nice tonight, Todoroki,” Izuku mumbled into his cup. He looked up to see Todoroki’s eyes on him, a look of faint confusion painting his features.

“Uh, you too, Tokoyami!” Izuku said, quickly turning to him. Tokoyami looked down at the black hoodie he was wearing and cocked his head in Izuku’s direction.
“Not to say that you don’t both always look nice,” Izuku continued, his mouth officially going on its own, solo quest and leaving his brain behind. “You just look particularly nice tonight. Sorry, maybe it’s just the drink. I mean, I mean to say-”

“Tokoyami.”

Tsu slouched over to them, and put a hand on his shoulder. “Can I show you something for a moment?”

Tokoyami followed her, and Izuku silently thanked her for interrupting his rambling speech. But he was still standing in this lonely corner, and now Todoroki was staring at him, waiting for him to continue the conversation. Izuku gulped.

“Have you been drinking?” Todoroki asked.

“Uh, yes. I have. Only two drinks, though. I’m not drunk, or anything. Mina made them for me.”

Todoroki smiled slightly. “I think you might be more drunk than you think. You don’t normally call your friends by their first name.”

“I...really? I didn’t even notice I was doing that. I’m sorry!”

Todoroki shrugged. “Don’t be sorry. I don’t mind.”

“Oh? All right. I could call you by your first name too, if you want.”

Todoroki blinked at him. Izuku stared back, trying not to let his heart hammer its way out of his chest. He felt like he was about to have a heart attack and didn’t fully understand why, but if Uraraka was so determined to get him to talk to Todoroki then he couldn’t let her down.

“Would you like a drink, Shouto?” he asked.

Todoroki’s eyes widened, and in the pulsing lights of the room, they looked like strange planets. Izuku’s eyes might have been failing him, but he could have sworn there was the slightest dusting of pink along Todoroki’s cheeks.

“Yes,” he said.

Izuku marched over to the blue cooler which sat along the far wall. He kneeled down to open it and pulled out the two pink bottles he’d recognized from the kitchen earlier. He pulled out a cup and poured from both bottles at the same time, one in each hand. He handed the cup to Todoroki before refilling his own.

“Do you like it?” he asked, getting back to his feet.

Todoroki looked down into the cup, appraising it, before bringing it to his lips. Izuku watched his throat jump as he swallowed.

“It’s...very sweet,” Todoroki said.

“It is. But I like sweet things,” Izuku said. His shoulders slumped. “You don’t really like it, do you?”

Todoroki looked at him, then took another gulp. “I like it,” he said, nodding. Izuku smiled.

The music shut off suddenly. Izuku caught his breath, suddenly feeling incredibly vulnerable in the silent room. Todoroki was still looking at him with the strangest expression, the lights throwing sharp shadows along his face, and his eyes looked so unusually bright…

“We’re going to play a game,” Mina called to the silent room. “You all have three options: Spin the Bottle, Never Have I Ever, or Truth or Dare. Your choice.”

“Are we in fucking preschool?” Bakugou said. Mina raised her eyebrows and turned to him.

“My house, my decision. If you don’t play, then I’m cutting you off from the pantry. And this party’s gonna get a lot less fun when you’re sober.”

Iida raised his hand.

“As designated driver, Iida is excluded from the rule about the pantry,” Mina said. Iida put his hand back down.

Silence fell across the room. No one seemed too enthusiastic about the idea, and Izuku’s heart flipped when he saw Mina’s shoulders slump in disappointment. She had put in all this work to give them a nice time. The least they could do was indulge her in this one harmless request.

“Well, I think it sounds fun!” he said. Everyone turned to look at him, and he forced himself to keep speaking even as the glares pierced his skin. “We should play Truth or Dare. I feel like we all know each other a little too well to play Never Have I Ever at this point.”

There was a moment of silence. Then Kirishima nodded from the other side of the room. “Agreed,” he said.

Mina smiled warmly at Izuku before turning back to the others. “Truth or Dare, then? No objections?”

No one spoke.

“All right then! Gather round, my children.”

Izuku turned back to Todoroki, who was looking bemusedly around at everyone shuffling towards the center of the room. “Would you-”

“Hey, Deku. Wanna sit with me?” Kirishima asked.

Izuku turned to look at him in surprise. “Uh, sure?” he replied. It was an unexpected request, but he was flattered that Kirishima had thought to ask him.
From behind Kirishima, Bakugou got up from the bed.

“Fine! Jesus, fuck…” he muttered. Kirishima grinned and turned back to Bakugou. Ah. So that’s what he was after. Izuku shot a conspiratory smile in Kirishima’s direction.

In the confused shuffling, Izuku ended up sitting between Kirishima and Mina, separated from Todoroki by her and Uraraka. Uraraka raised her eyebrows and tilted her head towards the ground, silently offering to switch with Izuku, but before he could get to his feet, Mina spun and pointed at Kirishima.

“Kirishima! Truth or dare?”

Izuku momentarily zoned out of the conversation, watching Todoroki from several feet away. He couldn’t help but think that maybe he had made Todoroki uncomfortable by using his first name earlier. Maybe he should have apologized. Would he even have the opportunity to apologize later, and would Todoroki even care?

It was so hard to regulate his behavior around Todoroki. The only reasonable interactions he had ever had with him had been in the middle of seriously dangerous situations, when his head was pounding and could drown out his constant overthinking for once. But in everyday life, he couldn’t say more than three words to Todoroki without becoming a sweaty, blustering mess. There was something about him which intimidated and excited Izuku in equal measure. The feelings had only been exacerbated when Izuku realized that there was a reason he trusted and relied on Todoroki so heavily in combat, and why he was always the first one he invited to out-of-school, the first person he thought of when Izuku wanted to spend time with his classmates. Todoroki occupied such a large space in Izuku’s brain that he couldn’t believe it had taken him so long to realize that he liked Todoroki as more than a friend. Once he had admitted it to himself, as well as Iida and Uraraka, Izuku had allowed his imagination to run wild, imagining what it would be like to go on dates with Todoroki, to hold his hand or walk him home after school. Occasionally, his brain went to less school-appropriate places, and Izuku had to pinch himself quickly to keep his face from flushing and his heart from pumping in his chest. Even in his imagination, Todoroki knew precisely how to turn Izuku into a complete mess.

“Deku, truth or dare?”

Izuku looked at Kirishima, whose voice had punctured his thoughts. Mina was glaring at Kirishima, but Kirishima was looking at Izuku, waiting for an answer.

“Uh, truth, I guess?”

“Who do you have a crush on?”

Izuku opened his mouth, but his voice died in his throat. No. No. This must be a terrible nightmare. It was all his fault for encouraging Mina to play this game, and now it was too late. He had willed this question into existence with his thoughts, it was what he deserved.

“Oh, Deku!” Uraraka sat up on her heels, pointing at him. “You’d better tell the truth! I’ll know if you try to lie.”

Izuku stared at her, then down at the ground. A prickle of sweat was building on the back of his neck. His stomach squirmed, sloshing with pink froth. He couldn’t possibly get his mouth to form the words.

Instead, he buried his face in his hands and pointed at Todoroki.

His classmates erupted with shrieks and whistles, and Mina grabbed his shoulders and shook him.

“Midoriya! I can’t believe it, I didn’t think you were going to do it!” she cried.

Izuku glanced up and looked around the circle, at his classmates who were all looking at him and laughing. He had never enjoyed being the center of attention, even as a little kid, and the feeling of wet, squishy vulnerability made him sick to his stomach.

He looked over at Todoroki before he could stop himself, and his breath caught in his throat. Todoroki was staring at him, wide-eyed, with frost creeping up over his cheeks.

Izuku’s mouth dropped open. Was...was he…?

“Midoriya,” Uraraka said. She was looking at him meaningfully, twin spots of glee gleaming in her eyes. “Your turn to pick someone.”

“Oh! Right,” Izuku said, looking around the circle. “Jiro!” he said.

Jiro glared at him with a challenge in her eyes. “Truth,” she said.

“You used to be a K-Pop fan, right? Tell everyone about the fanpage you made in middle school.”

Jiro groaned and threw her head into her hands while Yaoyorozu giggled. She began to speak, but Izuku had already stopped listening. He already knew the stories about the fanfiction Jiro had written as a kid, and couldn’t pull his attention away from the frost on Todoroki’s face. It was still there, speckled like spots of diamonds along his pale skin and glinting in the dim light of the room.

Todoroki was staring at the floor, but every once in a while he glanced back in Izuku’s direction. Izuku met his eyes every time, completely unable to look away. There was something in Todoroki’s face, a question which Izuku desperately wanted to answer, but not here in front of all his classmates. But there was no way to get Todoroki alone without abandoning the game and disappointing Mina. Although, she didn’t seem very focused on either of them, instead opting to glare at Kirishima over the bottle of vodka in her hand. Izuku couldn’t imagine what Kirishima had done to upset her, but perhaps he could serve as a distraction, and Izuku could try to get Todoroki alone…

“Todoroki!” Toru cried from across the room. Todoroki looked up at the empty space between Sero and Yaoyorozu, an approximation of where Toru was probably sitting.

“Yes?” he said.

“Truth or dare?”

“Oh. Dare.”

“Will you put on some of Mina’s makeup?”

The class snickered as Mina sat up on her heels. “Todoroki, don’t answer that. It’s not a question, you’re doing it. I’ll be right back.”

She scrambled to her feet and ran over the the enormous white vanity sitting squatly on the opposite wall. She yanked open a drawer and pulled several metal tubes out before running back and skidding to a halt in front of Todoroki.

“Have you ever worn eyeliner?” she asked.

Todoroki eyed the long tube in her hand. “That just looks like a pencil,” he said.

“Pencil eyeliner,” Mina corrected. She kneeled down in front of him and reached for his face. “Don’t worry, everyone looks good in eyeliner. It’s might make you cry, though.”

“Wait-” Todoroki said, but Mina dived in, one hand holding Todoroki’s chin in a vice grip while the other sketched delicately at his eyelid.

“Just try not to blink,” she said gleefully. A long black line appeared across Todoroki’s eyelashes, and soon Mina had her thumb underneath Todoroki’s eye, pulling it down slightly to run the pencil along his bottom lashline. She pulled away, and Todoroki immediately blinked, looking at the ceiling to prevent the tears from spilling over his eyelashes.

“Wait, hold on, I still need to do the other eye!” Mina’s fingers darted, spider-like, to Todoroki’s other eye.

“Why does it burn like that?” Todoroki asked.

“It doesn’t burn. I think you might just be sensitive,” Tsu said.

“Yeah, Todoroki, you’re just so sensitive,” Mina said, leaning back and admiring her handiwork. Todoroki blinked at her, and then looked around at the circle of his classmates.

“Oh Todoroki, Mina was right. You look great!” Uraraka said. Todoroki glanced over at Izuku, and his heart shuddered in his chest. Uraraka wasn’t wrong. If anything, she had undersold the effect. Todoroki’s irises looked ethereally radiant against the black of the pencil. In the dim light, the flat blue of Todoroki’s left eye looked like a supernova, engulfing the galaxy that was the rust-pink scar along his face. And just as if he too were in deep orbit, Izuku found that all the air had been sucked from his lungs.

“Wait, one more thing.” Mina uncapped the second tube and twisted a bright pink lipstick up. “Give me your face one more time. And don’t close your mouth.”

She smeared the color on unceremoniously, and Todoroki’s nose wrinkled.

“It tastes like plastic.”

“Wrong. It tastes like beauty.” Mina capped the lipstick tube and sat back on her heels to admire her work. “Todoroki, you are a timeless beauty. Has anyone ever told you that?”

“No, they certainly haven’t,” Todoroki said. His tongue flicked along the pink lipstick sticking to his lips and teeth. Their classmates giggled at the sight.

“I think you look very handsome, Todoroki,” Toru said. “I could never wear a color that bright on myself.”

“I don’t think handsome is the right word for it, Toru,” Uraraka said. She wasn’t laughing, but her mouth was twitching as though trying to suppress a smile.

“What does it look like, then?” Todoroki asked. He looked up as Izuku, and Izuku thought he was going to die.

The lipstick on Todoroki’s face perfectly matched the flustered blush dusted across Todoroki’s cheeks, neck and ears. His eyes look bright and overwhelmed, his lips plush, and Izuku fought an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch him, to take his face in his hands and confirm that what he was seeing before him was a real person and not some sort of dream come to life. He couldn’t believe that he was still sitting there with Todoroki across from him, and that Todoroki was still looking at him with that bemused, eager expression on his face. It was the most open expression Izuku had ever seen on his face, and he wondered if it was just the effect of the alcohol. Or was Todoroki this happy often, and just preferred to keep it buried deep inside himself?

“Midoriya.”

Izuku looked around at Jiro, who was looking at him with a curious glint in her eyes.

“Truth or dare?” she asked.

Izuku shook his head, reminding himself what game they were even playing. His brain hadn’t been working properly the whole night, and the effects of the alcohol and Todoroki made it even worse. “Wha-? Oh, dare.”

It took a moment for him to realize that he had picked by far the more dangerous option, as a vindictive smile spread over Jiro’s face.

“Wait, I meant-” Izuku said.

“I dare you to kiss Todoroki.”

Izuku’s mouth fell open in a silent protest. Uraraka put her hand over her mouth as the circle gasped.

“Deku,” Uraraka said quietly, leaning over Mina to hide her mouth from the circle. “You don’t have to do it if you feel uncomfortable. Not in front of everyone...”

“I...I don’t mind. Jiro dared me. I have to do it.”

“You’re allowed to drink instead of doing the dare,” Todoroki said. Izuku looked up at him, at his galactic eyes and ridiculous magenta lips. “I don’t want to make you do something you don’t want to do,” he said.

The murmur of his classmates grew quiet in Izuku’s ears. He was too busy probing Todoroki’s face, that bewildering face, searching for the answer he was looking for, the unspoken permission that he could do this. That Todoroki wanted him to do this.

Izuku got to his feet, walked unsteadily over to stand in front of Todoroki, and plopped down onto his crossed legs. Todoroki immediately shifted underneath him, startled. Izuku closed his eyes momentarily, relishing the sensation of Todoroki’s muscles moving beneath his own.

“Is this all right?” Izuku asked. Todoroki blinked slowly, delicately. Frost began to build on the tips of his eyelashes.

“Yes,” he said.

Izuku leaned forward and pressed his lips firmly against Todoroki’s. One hand curled beneath Todoroki’s chin, and the other found itself wadded in the neck of that gorgeous, perfect white T-shirt. Todoroki kept his hands balled into the carpet at his sides, his chest tight and stiff against Izuku. Izuku could feel Todoroki’s pulse jackrabbiting beneath his knuckles, and it prompted him to move forward, pushing past the thoughts racing through his mind’s eye like streaks of neon lights and sinking deeper into the hazy warmth of Todoroki’s mouth. It tasted like plastic, and beneath that the sweet stickiness of strawberry shochu.

But then Todoroki parted his lips, and Izuku felt his soul leave his body.

The sweet wetness of Todoroki’s mouth might as well have been some kind of ancient nectar of the gods. It filled Izuku with a cotton candy fluff feeling in his chest, light and sugary and rushing into his pounding heart. And beneath that gorgeous, heady taste which could only be described as Todoroki-flavored, there was something else.

A carbonated zing flitted across Izuku’s tongue, and he pulled back in alarm. A string of spit stretched and broke between their lips, and the classmates closest to them giggled and gagged at the sight of it. Todoroki pulled his head back as well, looking at him with concern. Izuku reached up a hand and felt his own lips, varnished with lipstick and saliva and still tingling from Todoroki’s tongue.

“You...you taste like popping candy,” Izuku said before he could stop himself.

“What?” Todoroki asked. His eyebrows raised in a look of absolute astonishment.

“Just now. You tasted like...it felt like soda, like bubbles…” Izuku kept his fingers pressed against his red mouth, feeling for the sensation of the carbonation. But it was gone. His tongue felt numb with the absence.

“Wait, are you serious? Todoroki has Pop Rocks spit!” Mina cried, clapping her hands in glee. “I can’t believe it.”

Izuku awkwardly got up from Todoroki’s lap. He suddenly felt a prickle of shame rise at the base of his spine. He hadn’t meant to take it as far as he did. He had thought that perhaps, just maybe, Todoroki had wanted it to happen to. Izuku had deluded himself into thinking that maybe he wasn’t the only one who had wanted to touch, wanted more than just looking...but instead he had made Todoroki uncomfortable and said something idiotic, just as he’d been doing the entire night. No wonder Todoroki kept staring at him. He was probably wondering why Izuku was so dysfunctional, so incapable of behaving like a normal person.

“I’m going to take a minute,” Izuku mumbled, stepping away from the circle of classmates. “I’m sorry, Ashido. Just, one second.”

“Deku? Is something wrong?” Uraraka said, reaching for his hand. Her brows were pinched with concern. Izuku reached forward and squeezed her hand momentarily, hoping that he could convey without words that he was all right, but needed a moment to himself, away from the eyes of his classmates, to be alone with the thoughts pounding angrily against his eardrums.

He backed up, away from Todoroki, turning and walking to the end of the room. He didn’t know where the bathrooms were, and there was nowhere private to go besides behind the curtains of Mina’s canopied bed. Izuku crawled onto the pink comforter and pulled the curtains closed behind them. They were semi-opaque, thin enough for him to see spots of light on the other side, but his classmates were completely obscured from his view. Izuku put his face in his hands and sighed.
There was a whisper of fabric as the curtain was drawn aside. Izuku looked up to see Todoroki’s face peering at him from between the gap in the curtains.

“Midoriya. Can I join you?”

“I…” Izuku’s voice caught behind his tongue. Naturally he would have to do better than this to escape burning embarrassment scalding his throat.

“If you want to,” Izuku said.

Todoroki crawled onto Mina’s bed and crossed his feet awkwardly, staring down at his hands. The rest of their classmates were still talking loudly among themselves. It didn’t seem as anyone was planning on bothering them, and the dull roar was enough to mask Izuku and Todoroki’s soft sounds.

“I’m sorry for that,” Izuku said quickly before his nerves could get the best of him. “That was humiliating. I should never have put you through that.”

“What? What are you talking about?” Todoroki looked up at him, confusion printed on his furrowed brows. Mina’s pink lipstick stained the crease of his chin, reminding Izuku of how it had gotten there in the first place. His stomach lurched.

“When I...when I kissed you, I didn’t mean for it to go as far as it did. I shouldn’t even have said anything when Kirishima asked me who I liked. You must be so embarrassed.”

Izuku stared down at his hands, feeling a scratch at the back of his throat. He closed his eyes and willed himself not to cry.

“Midoriya. Why do you think I’m embarrassed? I’m not.”

Izuku’s head jerked up. He stared at Todoroki, who was looking at him impassively. “Wha-? But we just made out in front of our classmates.”

Todoroki shrugged. “I didn’t have a problem with it. If they didn’t want to watch, then they wouldn’t have dared you to kiss me.”

“But...but you probably felt some pressure to agree to it-”

“I would have said no if I didn’t want you to do it. And I didn’t say no.”

Izuku huffed out a shocked laugh. This had to all be a dream. There was no way Todoroki was really saying what Izuku thought he was saying. “Well, I’m sure given the option, you would say no now.”

“I wouldn’t.”

“I...Todoroki,” Izuku said quietly. He leaned towards Todoroki, slowly, as though cautious of scaring him away. “I’m sorry if I’m reading this wrong but, is this your way of telling me that you would be okay with me kissing you again? I just want to clarify.”

“Yes.”

Izuku let out a high squeak, shocked at Todoroki’s candor. Todoroki blinked at him, and Izuku coughed behind his fist, hiding a faint smile. “You could stand to be a little more enthusiastic,” he said. He eyes flitted down to his hand resting on Mina’s pink quilt. “I’ll think you’re just saying this to be polite-”

Todoroki moved faster than Izuku had expected, although he should have been used to his quick reflexes at this point. What he was not used to was Todoroki capturing both of Izuku’s hands in his own and pulling him forward. Izuku fell out of his seated position and fell chest-to-chest into Todoroki. His lips parted as the wind was knocked out of him, and suddenly Todoroki was upon him, breathing into Izuku’s mouth. Todoroki kissed enthusiastically and sloppily, but Izuku didn’t mind, couldn’t have minded something less in his life. Todoroki’s mouth was as sweet and carbonated as it had been minutes before, and the delicate skin of Izuku’s mouth was quickly becoming oversensitive against the buzzing, popping sensation. Todoroki’s soft lips and tongue nudged at his own, and Izuku allowed himself to become pliable in his grasp, sighing as the edge of Todoroki’s teeth pressed cautiously into his bottom lip. Izuku tilted his head, pushing himself so close to Todoroki that their cheeks pressed together. He gasped. A thin layer of ice had formed on Todoroki’s cheekbone and temple, chilling Izuku to the bone as a sharp shiver ran down his spine. His toes curled in his socks and he leaned forward, chasing the sharp sensation on his skin. His mouth slid and separated from Todoroki’s in order to press an open-mouthed kiss to the corner of his lipstick-stained lips. Izuku was panting softly against Todoroki’s frigid skin, and he could feel Todoroki’s butterfly pulse against his fingertips. Izuku’s hands were still captured in Todoroki’s, but he yearned to be released and run his palms over the boy in front of him, longing for confirmation that this was really happening.

“So,” Todoroki said quietly. “Clearly I’m not just trying to be polite.”

Izuku pulled back to look at Todoroki’s face. Any remnants of Mina’s lipstick which had survived had been smeared across his cheeks and chin, and the black eyeliner under his lower lashes had smudged into a dark cloud. His pupils were blown, black holes swallowing the planets of his irises, and his lips were glazed with spit. Izuku stared at Todoroki’s mouth, entranced and hungry in equal measure.

“I can’t think of anything charming to say right now,” Izuku said. His brain felt as though it were filled with television static. All he could hear was the rush of blood in his ears and the long, thin thread of need in his strained voice.

“You’re not normally at a loss for words,” Todoroki said. The corner of his mouth twitched up in a smile, and Izuku felt a twinge in his heart like a plucked piano string.

“Kiss me again.”

“Well, I suppose those are words-”

Izuku rushed forward and crashed his face into Todoroki’s, wrapping his arms around his waist as tightly as possible. They bounced heavily onto Mina’s mattress, and Izuku crawled forward to press his forehead against Todoroki’s, leaving their legs to tangle helplessly. Todoroki’s hair was sprawled on the pink fabric, and he looked up at Izuku in surprise. Izuku felt surprise as well, finding himself staring down at Todoroki, feeling the jut of his hipbones against his own and a hot, insistent press between his legs. It was better than anything Izuku could have ever imagined, and all he wanted was to do was to give and give.

Izuku swooped down and peppered small kisses along Todoroki’s collarbone, mercifully exposed by the V-neck of his shirt. Izuku shuddered at the way Todoroki’s breath caught in his throat when Izuku pressed his lips against his jugular, the way his tendons strained as he arched his neck for better access.

“I must be hallucinating. This can’t be real. It’s too good.” Izuku leaned back, watching sprinkles of pink and purple blossom across Todoroki’s pale skin. “You are too amazing, Todoroki.”

“I thought you called people by their first name when you were drunk.”

Izuku stared determinedly down at Todoroki’s face. He placed a thumb on his chin, tilting Todoroki to look him dead in the eye, and spoke as clearly as he was able. “I am no longer drunk, and Shouto, you are too, too amazing.”

Todoroki reached up and placed his hands on Izuku’s cheeks. Izuku let out a long, slow breath through his teeth as one side of his face prickled with cold, the other electrified with heat. He was relishing the feeling of Todoroki losing control, of slowly coming undone.

Mina had turned the music back on, quieter than before but still loud enough to make the speakers bump against the wall. The bass buzzed beneath the carpet, up the bed, and beat a tattoo on Izuku’s ribs, alternating with the thumping of his heart. Todoroki’s hands on either side of his face blazed burning and freezing in equal measure, making Izuku feel feverish and light-headed. He licked his lips, tasting the zip of salty sweat along his tongue.

“Midoriya, can I tell you something?” Todoroki asked.

“Of course.”

Todoroki’s eyes flicked across Izuku’s face, as though he were trying to commit it to memory. “I am also not drunk. And I think you’re beautiful.”

Izuku’s mouth fell open as a hot flush spread across his cheeks. His face sank deeper into Todoroki’s hands, letting the sprawling fingers obscure him. “I-I’m not. You’re beautiful,” he said quietly.

Todoroki huffed. “I doubt that’s ever been the case,” he said.

Izuku opened his mouth to protest, then clamped it shut. Don’t overthink, he yelled at himself in his head. “Let’s just agree to both be beautiful, okay?”

Todoroki grinned lopsidedly. The sight was sweeter and more endearing than Izuku would have thought possible. He leaned forward to press his lips against Todoroki’s once more, firm and insistent. Todoroki’s mouth was a thing of beauty as it parted beneath Izuku’s lips, but Izuku was selfish. He wanted more. He wanted everything Todoroki wanted to give him.

Slowly, his hands travelled downwards, pressing against Todoroki’s chest, the muscles of his heaving stomach. Izuku stopped at the tops of Todoroki’s thighs, feeling the muscles quiver beneath delicate fingers. Todoroki was breathing heavily, hissing through his teeth, and Izuku could feel the hard press of an erection against his own. The pressure was getting close to unbearable, and all Izuku wanted was to run his hands between Todoroki’s legs, to feel, to taste-
There was a rasping sound above them, and Izuku and Todoroki looked up. There appeared to be no one standing in the large gap in the curtains, but the fabric hung at an unnatural angle, pulled back by an invisible hand.

“Oh no, Mina, they’re still here. They’re...oh my- I’m so sorry, Midoriya!”

Toru’s voice squealed in embarrassment as she pulled the curtain closed again. From the other side of the pink fabric, voices began to rise in shock and glee.

“Toru, what was that?”

“No! Deku? Todoroki? What the hell are you two doing in there?”

Izuku and Todoroki broke apart, ungracefully detangling their limbs and shuffling to opposite sides of the bed.

“Oh, my God,” Izuku whispered as the sounds of his classmates grew louder. “No, no. This is my fault…”

Todoroki turned to look at Izuku, his eyes sharp as glass shards.

“Come with me,” he said.

The hard edge of determination in his voice made it clear that Izuku could not object. He got up awkwardly from the bed, his erection rubbing painfully against the zipper of his jeans.

Todoroki walked around the foot of the bed and grabbed Deku’s wrist in one freezing hand. With the other, he parted the pink curtains.

“I can’t believe you two! In my bed? In the same room as everyone? Are you serious?”

Mina ran up to them, bizarrely dressed in Kirishima’s clothes. Must have been one of the other dares that Izuku and Todoroki had missed.

Izuku felt all too aware that he was standing in Mina’s room surrounded by his classmates, his face covered in her lipstick and Todoroki’s spit. He would be shocked if Mina let him anywhere near her home ever again.

“Ashido, I’m walking Midoriya home,” Todoroki said in a forced business-like tone. “Thank you for inviting us into your house. Sorry for defiling your sheets.”

“Todoroki, you don’t have to walk me home,” Izuku said quietly. “I can get Iida-”

“No! Stop,” Mina said. Her eyes were trained on Izuku and Todoroki’s connected hands. A wide smile crept up her face, and she looked at them with bright eyes. “I’m not evil, I know true love when I see it. Deku, I’ll take care of Iida. You two head out.”

Izuku’s face burned in a hot flush, and he looked around to see Iida and Uraraka sitting once more in the corner of the room, in deep conversation. “But I promised him that-”

Mina stepped forward and grabbed Izuku’s upper arm. She pressed her lips close to his ear, whispering quietly enough for Todoroki not to hear. “I’m doing you a favor. For all our sakes, don’t you dare pass up this opportunity.”

Mina straightened up and grinned with every tooth at the pair of them, patting Izuku warmly on the shoulder. “Be safe, both of you! I’ll see you Monday!”

Todoroki pulled Izuku up the steps two at a time and stopped at the front door, standing over him as Izuku struggled to lace his sneakers up with shaking fingers. The moment Izuku got to his feet, Todoroki held the door open for him. Izuku stepped into the cool late night air, letting the floral scent of the surrounding trees settle in his lungs. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself.

But then he felt Todoroki’s scalding hand on his back, directly between his shoulder blades, and Izuku had never felt less calm in his life.

“Do you mind if we stop somewhere before I take you home?” Todoroki asked.

Izuku shook his head stutteringly. “No, not at all.”

They walked down the street, which was quiet apart from the faint hum of nocturnal insects and faraway rumble of cars. Todoroki didn’t speak, and Izuku was in no mood to open his mouth and let a torrent of stupidity flood his lips. In the cool air, his mind was back to racing, and Izuku couldn’t believe that this was really happening, that any of it had in fact happened. It just seemed so improbable that someone like Todoroki, resilient and aloof and capable of breaking Izuku down limb from limb, would have the patience to so much as hold a conversation with Izuku, let alone be interested in him in any way. The last thing he should do was speak and break whatever spell had been cast over them. He was unfamiliar with this part of town, but Todoroki was walking with purpose and seemed to know where he was going, and Izuku allowed himself to be pulled along for the ride.

The turned a left at the end of street and walked over a bridge, the trickle of a small river flowing beneath them. The neighborhood splintered off, a small gravel road leading towards the gate of a park. The two boys ducked inside, and Todoroki led the way down the bank of the river to a narrower path close to the water. Izuku’s mouth parted as he looked around in wonder at the cherry trees, heavy with blossoms, which lined the water’s edge. Several streetlamps clogged with flowers shined a rose gold light on the pathway, which was dotted with small wooden benches facing the bank on the opposite side.

“Oh, this place is beautiful!” Izuku said. Todoroki glanced back at him, his face illuminated gently in the glow of the streetlamps.

“I’m surprised there’s no one here,” Izuku continued.

“It’s late. And not many people know this park is here. I come here sometimes to train, and I don’t often see anyone.”

“I suppose you’re right.” Izuku tried to look up at Todoroki, but his heart thudded against the back of his throat and his head wouldn’t move. He kept his gaze trained on his shoes, feeling Todoroki’s eyes burning into him, and hoped Todoroki would do what he felt too awkward to do himself.

Todoroki stepped quietly towards him, the fallen blossoms rustling beneath his feet.

“Why did bring me here?” Izuku asked.

“I just wanted to be alone with you, away from the others.”

“Oh.” Izuku looked at at Todoroki, wincing at his inarticulate reponse.“I thought...I don’t know what I thought.”

“You seem to be doing that a lot tonight.”

Izuku quirked a small smile. “It’s your fault. You make my brain not work properly.”

He chuckled quietly, but Todoroki didn’t laugh in return. He stared at Izuku, his eyes darkening almost imperceptibly in the dim light. Izuku’s stomach performed one frantic flip before Todoroki’s lips met his. He kissed him gently beneath the cherry trees, and the perfume of the flowers and the slide of Todoroki’s lips against his made Izuku light-headed. He reached forward and balled his hands in Todoroki’s shirt, pulling him forward and licking at the seam of his lips. The pressing heat of need, which had dimmed in their walk to the park, flared fully back to life in Izuku’s lower belly. He had to get these damn pants off before he died.

“Todoroki,” Izuku whispered, pulling away from lips. Todoroki leaned forward, chasing Izuku’s mouth with his own, but Izuku put a hand out to stop him.
“Can we move to one of the benches, please? Standing is a little u-uncomfortable right now.” He blushed and shifted his weight from foot to foot. Todoroki glanced down, and his eyes widened at the sight of the obvious bulge in Izuku’s pants. Shame flared in Izuku’s face, and he tried to take a step back, escaping out of the circle of Todoroki’s arms.

“Don’t-don’t look! That wasn’t what I was trying to get you to do!”

Todoroki didn’t reply. He only took Izuku by one freezing hand and pulled him towards the nearest bench, partially obscured by the curving branches of the trees. Izuku let out a huff as Todoroki manhandled him into a seated position on the bench. He scooted over to make room for Todoroki beside him, but he didn’t sit down. Instead Todoroki kneeled down, slowly, until his face was level with Izuku’s kneecaps. Even though he was the one looking down, Izuku had never felt more exposed in his life. He pinned his knees together as Todoroki reached up to settle his hands on Izuku’s thighs. He must have felt the muscles trembling beneath his fingers, because a wrinkle of concern creased his forehead.

“Are you nervous?” Todoroki asked.

“No. Just...just embarrassed.” Izuku replied. He didn’t want to elaborate, couldn’t possibly give voice to all the thoughts pounding in his temples. But Todoroki was looking up at him bemusedly, and his head was less than a foot from Izuku’s aching erection, and any semblance of common sense was blown away with the evening air.

“You don’t have anything to be embarrassed about. No one’s going to see us here,” Todoroki said.

“No! It’s not that.” Izuku put his face in his hands, hiding from Todoroki’s probing eyes. “I’m just worried that, that you won’t like what you see. I mean to say, I just can’t understand why you would want to do this with me. I know that I like you, I like you a lot, so much that Uraraka teases me for it all the time, but I never ever thought you would be interested in me in return. I just, I don’t know, feel overwhelmed? I don’t know if that’s the right word. I just don’t want you to feel like you’ve made a mistake by doing this with me.”

Todoroki blinked slowly up at him. Izuku’s eyes flicked back and forth, waiting for him to say something.

“Midoriya. I’m going to try and make something as clear as possible. I don’t do things that I don’t want to do. You know that much about me. I wouldn’t be here if this was something I didn’t want to do. And right now, the thing I want to do specifically is blow you and see if I can make you scream. Does that sound all right to you?”

The breath in Izuku’s lungs huffed out as though he’d been punched in the stomach. He stared down at Todoroki, looking entirely impassive apart from the fractals of frost along his face. Hesitantly, he relaxed his legs. Todoroki did not waste any time in peeling Izuku’s knees apart and reaching forward to press one hand between his legs. Izuku gasped, his hands flying down to Todoroki’s shoulders, shaking with the effort of not pushing him away.

“Wha-what are you-”

“Do you want me to do something about this?”

“I...only if you want to.”

“I want to. I promise.” The heel of Todoroki’s hand pressed more insistently against Izuku.

“Ah!” Izuku bit his lower lip, forcing himself to take a deep breath before any more embarrassing sounds could come out of him “Okay, then.”

Slowly, Todoroki undid the button of Izuku’s jeans, pulling the zipper down. Izuku sighed at the relief from the zipper’s sharp teeth, and lifted his hips slightly so Todoroki could wriggle the waistband lower on his hips. A dark spot had already formed on the front of Izuku’s dark grey underwear, and his eyes widened when he saw it.

“Oh my God, that’s so embarrassing-”

Todoroki leaned forward and pressed a searing, open-mouthed kiss against the bulge in Izuku’s underwear. “No, it’s not,” he said, looking up at Izuku’s stunned face. “You have to stop saying that.”

His heart was beating so loudly that Izuku swore Todoroki must be able to hear it above the hiss of the rushing river behind him. Todoroki’s fingers hooked onto the waistband of Izuku’s underwear and pulled it down agonizingly slowly. Izuku knew he was taking his time, wanted to create a good experience for Izuku, but the sluggish pace was making him lose his mind. Izuku pressed his hands into his eyes.

“Todoroki, please just do it. I can’t-” he hiccupped as the first breath of cool air ghosted over his exposed skin, burning hot against the night breeze. “I can’t take it anymore.”

Todoroki paused. Izuku glanced between his fingers to see a light dancing in Todoroki’s eyes. “Midoriya, keep your hands away from your face,” he said. “I like hearing the noises you make.”

And with that, Todoroki plunged his mouth down onto Izuku’s cock, taking it in one fluid movement.

Tears pricked the corner’s of Izuku’s eyes as his nails dug into the damp wood of the bench. He felt the fibers coming apart under his fingernails as Todoroki began to move his head experimentally, pulling his head back and pressing his tongue gently to the underside of the head. Izuku let out a gasping, spluttering moan as the strange effect of Todoroki’s carbonated spit spread along his skin. The sensation zinged up Izuku’s spine, and his legs curled around Todoroki’s waist, holding him in place.

“Oh, my God, Todoroki, your mouth...how are you doing that?” Izuku panted.

Todoroki let go of Izuku’s dick with a filthy pop. “Doing what?” he asked.

“No, wait, I didn’t mean to make you stop,” Izuku said, pushing the heel of his foot insistently into Todoroki’s spine. Todoroki resumed his ministrations, but his eyes stayed trained on Izuku, waiting for him to continue.

“I suppose you’re used to it, since it’s you’re mouth and all,” Izuku continued breathlessly. “But your saliva has this really interesting effect where it feels as though it’s carbonated. Given that you don’t have a-ah!- a gas quirk or anything similar, I can only assume it’s due to some sort of chemical reaction between your two halves as they split d-down the center. I don’t know if it has any benefits in battle, but it certainly has an, oh, benefit here. Oh yes, yes, yes!”

Izuku’s hands tangled into Todoroki’s thick hair as heat built low and insistent in his belly, taut like a coiled spring. Todoroki was moving his head slowly up and down, taking as much of Izuku as he possibly could, and Izuku was tingling across every inch of his skin. Todoroki’s hands pressed against the insides of Izuku’s thighs were shocking in their duality. Izuku arched his back off the damp wooden bench as Todoroki adopted a swishing method, twirling his tongue around the head of Izuku’s cock. Slowly, the tingling became secondary to the feeling of changing temperatures. Izuku’s body realized what Todoroki was doing before Izuku himself realized. He looked down at Todoroki, whose brows were furrowed in concentration, and realized that Todoroki was shifting the temperatures of his tongue; hot on one side of the head, and cold on the other. The effect was endearing and disorientating and so unbelievably hot that Izuku’s eyes rolled into the back of his head.

“Todo-....Shouto...please, I can’t-”

Todoroki looked up at him, his eyes luminous in their determination. He sank his head down until his nose was nestled against Izuku’s skin, and slowly dragged his blunt nails down Izuku’s inner thighs.

Izuku came with a high-pitched whine, his nails scrabbling at Todoroki’s scalp and his legs clamping down on either side of his head. Todoroki kept his lips clamped around Izuku, swallowing around him until Izuku lay his head back, panting and sweating, against the bench.

Todoroki got to his feet, brushing crushed cherry blossoms off the knees of his jeans and rubbing his ears which had been crushed by Izuku’s thighs.

“Wait! Don’t go so far away,” Izuku said, sitting up and pulling at Todoroki’s wrists.

“I’m not going anywh-” Todoroki said, but his center of balance shifted and he stumbled onto the bench, straddling Izuku clumsily. Izuku arched up and pressed his mouth greedily against Todoroki’s. Todoroki’s mouth tasted of the harsh, musty brine of Izuku’s cum and sweat, but Izuku found that he didn’t mind all that much.

He twisted his tongue lazily around Todoroki’s and wrapped his arms around his neck.

“I guess this means that you liked it?” Todoroki said as they broke apart, breathing heavily.

“Did I like it?” Izuku asked incredulously. “I thought I was the only one who was going to be saying ridiculous things tonight.”

Todoroki huffed out a self-conscious laugh. “Well, I only thought it would be nice to ask…”

“It was amazing,” Izuku said. He leaned forward and pecked Todoroki on the side of his bruised neck. “Honestly. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”

“You don’t have to repay me.”

“Well I’m certainly going to try!” Izuku said indignantly. He reached down between their bodies and felt for Todoroki’s erection. There it was, pressed between their stomachs. That couldn’t possibly be comfortable.

“Let me take care of you?” Izuku asked. “It’s the least I can do.”

Todoroki didn’t meet his eyes. He simply looked down and nodded.

“Was that a yes?” Izuku asked, pressing his hand more firmly against Todoroki’s cock.

“Ah! Yes,” Todoroki said, a puff of icy breath shooting between his lips.

“Yes?”

“Yes!”

Izuku grinned and poked Todoroki in his side. “Let me move, then. I want to make this comfortable for you.”

Todoroki rolled off of Izuku and sprawled along the bench. Izuku shifted over to make room for him before curling into Todoroki’s side, resting his head on his shoulder.

“Is this good?” Izuku asked. Todoroki nodded.

Izuku reached down and popped the button on Todoroki’s jeans. He mercifully pulled the zipper down much quicker that Todoroki had done to him earlier, but stopped and sniggered when he saw the pattern on Todoroki’s underwear.

“These are cute,” Izuku said, poking at the little green cacti dotted along Todoroki’s underwear. Todoroki groaned and looked away.

“It was laundry day today,” he said.

“And yet these are still boxers you own,” Izuku said, giggling. “It’s okay,” he said, tilting Todoroki’s chin back towards him. “I love them. They’re adorable.”

Izuku pressed a chaste kiss to his lips at the same time as he slipped his hand beneath the waistband and wrapped his fingers around Todoroki’s dick.

The two of them gasped simultaneously, exhaling into each other’s mouths. Todoroki choked on his own saliva as the calluses and raised scars on Izuku’s palm pressed into his delicate skin. But Izuku was distracted by shocking weight pressing into his hand.

“Don’t let this go to your head or anything, but you’re much bigger than I thought you’d be,” Izuku said, running his fist loosely along the length of Todoroki.

“Were you thinking I’d be anything in particular?” Todoroki asked, cocking an eyebrow at him.

Izuku ducked his head, smiling slightly. “I would be lying if I said I had never thought about it.”

“I’m sorry if it’s a problem...”

“Don’t you dare say you’re sorry. This,” Izuku trailed his hand once more down Todoroki’s cock, “is the greatest discovery of my whole life.”

Izuku began to move his hand in earnest, and another puff of icy air exiting Todoroki’s mouth. He was breathing heavily, neck arched to look down and watch the shifting forms of Izuku’s hand beneath his underwear. Izuku leaned forward and pressed his lips to Todoroki’s stiff jaw.

“Relax,” he whispered, peppering small kisses along Todoroki’s cheek.

“Easy for you to say,” Todoroki panted. “You weren’t so relaxed a few minutes ago.”

“But you’re the more dignified of the two of us.”

“Yes, clearly I’m very dignified right now,” Todoroki deadpanned. Izuku’s hand twisted on the upstroke, and Todoroki crumpled against the bench, a soft moan escaping his lips.

“Very dignified,” Izuku said, punctuating each word with a kiss along Todoroki’s burning skin. “So charming, and well-mannered, and positively diplomatic.” He parted his lips and dragged his tongue up the length of Todoroki’s jaw, pressing his teeth into Todoroki’s earlobe. Todoroki let out a strangled whine, hand scrabbling on Izuku’s upper arm. His hips were canting erratically into Izuku’s hand, searching for even more friction along the rows of rough calluses.

“You are ridiculous. I’m s-so lucky,” Todoroki gasped.

Izuku chuckled incredulously into Todoroki’s ear.

“Let’s just agree to both be lucky, okay?” he said.

Todoroki nodded, lips parted to let freezing breaths out into the air. Small sighs filled Todoroki’s mouth, and he felt his brain fill with sweet pink cotton as Izuku’s hand moved faster and faster along his skin.

“Midoriya,” Todoroki said, strained and quiet. Izuku nodded and leaned forward to press a slow, wet kiss on Todoroki’s mouth. His freezing lips were spiked with frost, and a tremor traveled down Izuku’s body, rattling each individual vertebrae and causing his hand to move even faster.

“You are amazing,” Izuku breathed, watching the muscles in Todoroki’s face clench and unclench. “Absolutely incredible. I...I can’t believe this is real. You’re a dream.”

Todoroki came in his hand with a low moan, his eyes shooting open and boring holes into Izuku’s face. Izuku worked him through it, pressing soft kisses onto his neck and collarbones. Slowly, Todoroki’s convulsing muscles stilled, and he lay boneless on the bench.

“One second,” Izuku said, getting up and removing his hand from Todoroki’s pants. He stumbled down to the bank of the river and washed his hand off in the cool water, hoping that it wasn’t actually some sort of toxic drainage runoff. He shook the excess droplets off his hand and turned to head back towards the bench. Todoroki was already getting to his feet, his jeans already fastened at his waist again. Izuku raised his eyebrows as he looked at the front of Todoroki’s pants.

“Good thing it’s laundry day, huh?” Izuku said.

Todoroki huffed, reaching out and grabbing Izuku’s waist. The grin widened across Izuku’s lips as Todoroki pressed his cold lips to his. There was a rustling sound at Izuku’s front. Izuku drew away from Todoroki and looked down to see delicate fingers quickly refastening Izuku’s button, which Izuku had forgotten to do up himself.
“You won’t want to walk back home like that,” Todoroki said.

Izuku looked up, hoping for something witty to hop out of his mouth. But Todoroki’s gaze was averted, gazing down at the gravel beneath their feet, and Izuku’s mouth filled with the slick slime of questions instead.

“Uh...so I h-have something to ask you,” Izuku said. “It’s really silly, and don’t feel like you have to. I won’t be upset if you say no. I know that we sort of did this in the wrong order so I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t want…”

“What is it?” Todoroki asked.

Izuku twisted the hem of his T-shirt in his hands. Spit it out, it’ll be easier to just say it rather than fuss over what he might say…

“Would, um…would you like to go on a date with me?”

Todoroki blinked slowly at him. “You...you know the answer to this, don’t you?” he said.

Izuku let out a shrill laugh, the corners of his mouth twitching. “See, I’m not going to answer that because I’m worried I’ll guess incorrectly-”

“Yes,” Todoroki said, overenunciating the word. “The answer is definitely yes. Ashido would find me and kill me if I said no.”

“I mean, if you’re only saying yes because Ashido-”

“Midoriya. I’m joking. I’m saying yes because I like you.”

“Oh. Oh! Really?” Izuku stared incredulously up at Todoroki. “That wasn’t the answer I was expecting.”

“Midoriya, am I going to have to tell you that I like you every five minutes, just to be sure that you know? Because I will, but I feel like that would get old very quickly-”

Izuku let out a breath of laughter. A sticky bubblegum feeling blossomed in his chest, and he threw his arms around Todoroki’s neck in a tight hug. He was grinning so widely it felt as though his skin might crack. “That’s...that’s good! That’s great!”

Todoroki chuckled and wound his own arms around Izuku’s waist. His temperature difference had evened out somewhat, but Izuku still felt a prickle at the press of Todoroki’s palms against his spine.

They stood beneath the pink, honeyed light of the streetlamp, the ripple of the river and the rustle of the wind through the blossoms accompanying their slowing pulses. Both minds were quiet, mouths silent, and neither made a move to separate.