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A Gift From One's Own Hands

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It’s difficult to know the line between humble and self-destructive.

 

At least, that’s what Tenya Iida thinks. Twenty-four years old, running his own pro hero agency, and living up to the will of his engaged older brother. He doesn’t know why he does it, but honestly sometimes it ceases to matter. It’s been like this for four years, and he has no idea what he's going to do with the rest of his life.

 

This morning in particular, a day after his brother’s birthday, Iida feels plain. When he looks in the mirror he sees a blur and realizes that he forgot something mildly important. Then again, why couldn’t he just use contacts? So he does, letting out a small huff of breath that must be a sigh, but he doesn’t want it to be one. Sighs lead to things that make him want to lay in bed all day. Bed referring to the couch, of course. Instead of dwelling on the ever-present option of sleep, he bends over the sink to reach for a small box beside the faucet, pulling out the horrid contraptions that make him see well. It's not like he exactly hates the contact lenses themselves, but more he despised their function. If he had the choice, he would just stay blind forever, staring up at the ceiling from the couch. There didn’t seem to be an particular issue with such a thing.

 

Whenever Iida wakes up, he always has a stuffy nose. Today, it’s just itchy-- a fortunate fact he very much appreciates. As he pulls apart both his eyelids, he purposely twitches his nose to make sure he doesn’t sneeze and poke himself. Such an action could make his impaired vision worse. With a shaking hand, silicone hydrogel presses against his retina and he pulls his fingers away, blinking rapidly until his vision clears in his right eye. Having a lopsided view of himself in the mirror made his unpleasant features seem at least mildly better. Then he realized that he could not stay like this forever and set the left side even. It surely wasn't better, and seeing himself clearly in the mirror was displeasing. Seeing himself clearly in a mirror was probably his least liked thing of the day.

 

“Good morning,” he chirps gently to himself in the mirror, offering the kind of smile that you give purely out of pity. No offense to himself, even though it was most definitely intended. Sometimes Iida thinks that everyday is not his day. He never looks good, he always notices that one of his eyes droops more than the other, and sometimes he hates having to be a leader to so many good people. The blue-haired man was beginning to think that maybe , just maybe, everyday wasn’t his day just because he was unworthy of having one. His phone, he realizes, has been buzzing for the last minute without him knowing. For a long moment, he thinks of not answering, soon deciding such an act would be immoral and out of character.

 

The screen instantly goes to his ear as he presses the accept button, letting out another one of those breaths. “What’s wrong, Tensei?” His voice is concerned, but he knows that with an upcoming wedding, everything can seem life-ruining. Especially since they were discussing his brother here. Not to be rude, but Tensei was the king of overly-dramatic reactions.

 

I’m sorry, Tenya, it must be quite early for you, ” his older brother’s voice comes from the other end, gruff as though he’s been sick for a few days. It must have been the time of day, since a clearing of a throat came from the opposing end a moment later and his voice was perfectly clear. “ Do you have work today? I need some help. ” Blue eyes flit to the mirror, ignoring the reflection as feet move outside the bathroom and into the hall.

 

Iida heaved a small breath, convincing himself it wasn’t a sigh before replying, “No, it’s fine…” Even years after the Hosu incident, Tenya felt the need to pick up every single call from his family members just in case. In fact, now he was feeling bad for even thinking of ignoring such a call. “I do have to work, but I’m sure they won’t need me until the end of our conversation. Did something bad happen?” He heard a faint voice, recognizing it as Tensei’s fiancée, Todoroki Fuyumi. Sounds of laughter could be heard through the speaker, sending a small twinge to Tenya’s heart. But this was good. His brother was happy. Happiness brought about memories of his joyful childhood, spreading nostalgic warmth around his body. Though such a feeling could be melancholic, his mind began to wander to before. Sometimes he didn't like remembering certain parts that happened in the past, but being such a young child had been wonderful.

 

The speaker brushed up against something, creating a scratching sound that scared Iida back into reality. “ Sorry about that, ” Tensei’s voice returned, slightly happier than the last response. Tenya focused on the words coming from the other end, closing his eyes. “You’re not the romantic type, but… ” His older brother’s voice lowered dramatically. “ What kind of flowers give off the most ‘I wanna be with you forever’ vibes? ” Hearing the word ‘vibes’ come out of a thirty-nine year old man’s mouth was, albeit, mildly amusing, but Iida brushes that aside and looked at his apartment door blankly.

 

Flowers…

 

They weren’t his particularly favorite thing. A few reasons played into such a frivolous opinion, but they were good ones. “ Tenya? ” A solid and strong voice drew him back into his thoughts, worried. “ I thought you got up and left. ” The blue-haired man hummed gently to explain he was still there. Tensei could be quite funny.

 

Iida glanced at his feet, wiggling his toes absentmindedly, “I think Camellias are quite nice. Beautiful, actually…” he paused, letting his shoulder gently crash into the wall. Such an action should have hurt, yet there was no thought that told him it was physically paining. “Sorry to be such a prick, but why do you need me to tell you this? I’m positive you could have just looked up such a fact.” He cleared his throat, sliding his shoulder against the wall as he walked towards the middle of his apartment. The floor was cold, and against his bare skin it felt harder than usual. Perhaps it was his mood this morning, or something else.

 

That’s true, ” Tensei paused, the chair Tenya assumed he was in letting out a very loud creak. Not the most satisfactory sound. “ but we both know that you and grandpa would spend hours in the garden naming them off as quickly as you could. Why not get advice from an expert? ” Tenya smiled gently, reaching a hand up to awkwardly scratch the back of his head. His brother must be quite delirious to think that someone such as himself was an expert at anything. It was true, his words, though. Tenya had been close with his grandfather, simply because the old man knew peace. He didn’t speak much, and thought he flowers were just as important as his family. To have such care for something struck him quite hard, in realization that his grandfather was peculiar. Not bad, of course, but just strange.

 

Iida took a few steps forward into his living room, placing a hand on his hip as he began to pace. “I appreciate you considering me an expert, Tensei,” blue eyes darted to the apartment door, tracing over the genkan and the emptiness that it displayed. Three pairs of shoes, lined up perfectly neat. Sneakers, sandals, and dress shoes. It was honestly all he would ever need. “May I ask if that’s all you needed me for?”

 

A moment of silence passed between them, a female voice suddenly came from the other end, “ Tenya-kun! Hi! ” Fuyumi was bright and cheery...and unexpectedly loud.

 

His blue hair shifted with his head as he leaned away from the speaker, a small pain twisting his earlobe. When he had assumed the phone safe again, the screen was pressed to his ear. “Fuyumi-chan...How are you doing? Is Tensei treating you well?” It was a silly question; his brother was one of the kindest people he knew. How could such a gold-hearted man not treat his lover nicely?

 

She giggled gently at something that was not part of their conversation. “ Ah, yes, he is! I stole his phone from him and now he’s trying to get it back, though. ” Tensei shouted incoherently from the opposing end, and she laughed even louder.

 

He took a moment to listen to the words pass between them, waiting for a good pause to speak once more. Interrupting people was not one of the things he enjoyed doing. “Well, I’m quite elated to see you two, but Tensei was about to tell me something important,” he cupped a hand over his mouth and the speaker as if it would make any difference. “I hear it’s a surprise for you.” The noise Fuyumi made was very clearly an inquiring one, but it was announced in such a high pitch that she sounded like a mouse.

 

Really? Your brother is such a gentleman! I better hand the phone back .” Her giggling was still audible even after Tensei had taken his belonging back and had begun speaking. Iida was half-heartedly listening, only offering a few mild grunts, an ‘I love you,’ and ‘goodbye, see you soon.’ As soon as the hang-up button had been pressed, his phone was on the couch and would stay there until Iida had drank at least four cups of coffee.

 

This morning, he didn’t like wood flooring, coffee-makers, or himself. Obviously such negative thoughts were going to put him in a bad place (dying from stress,) but he honestly couldn’t help it. What exactly was there to like about whatever he was? His friends could easily argue with him for hours, but they didn’t know that he thought like this. They didn’t know that he was hurting. Though that might have been debatable, he didn’t quite grasp that people knew him better than he thought. Friends were supposed to know you well.  

 

Today, he didn’t like wood flooring because it was cold. And if he ever wanted to just give everything up for the day and fall asleep on the ground, it would be uncomfortable. Sometimes it was very likely for him to just collapse, simply because he was highly compelled to sit there until death. He didn’t like coffee-makers because they were loud, and increasing the pain that his head was intaking. How was this day already--

 

Wait…

 

His friends . Iida rushed over to the couch, sticking his hand in between the two cushions and triumphantly whipping out the piece of technology. His notifications had somehow been silenced, despite the fact that the call from Tensei had shown up. Most of the texts were from the old Class 3-A’s group chat, and the rest from Mei Hatsume. They had been good friends since their second year of highschool, in which she had finally revealed her interest in books, something that Iida deeply enjoyed. First, he looked at the texts from the bizarre pink-haired woman.

 

-- hey tenya look at this!!!!!

real babies this time!!!

they might be mine!!!!--

 

Below, Mei had sent a selfie of her and a four year old boy playing blocks in a small play area, her smile stretching from ear to ear. With his strangely identical pink hair and smile, they looked like a mother and son. Tenya found it uncanny, and stared at the photograph for a few moments longer. It was really such an oddity that they shared the same exact shade of hair.

 

-- Why are you thinking of adopting a child?

You are too young, and have many more things to accomplish. --

 

Less than five seconds later, Mei replied:

-- screw off,, he’ll be mine soon enough. ibara likes him too --

 

Ah, that was right. Mei and Ibara had been married for two years already. The wedding was nearly nonexistent, except for the fact that they’d walked into court and just signed a few papers and exchanged measly vows. Tenya didn’t lack respect for people who enjoyed simple things, as he was such a person himself. The annoyance, more so, was in himself forgetting that they had been married. A more grand event would’ve helped him, as his memory could fail him on occasion. But he supposed that at a point such as this one, it was appropriate for a child.

 

-- Pardon me, I had forgotten that you and Ibara were married.

The young boy you were playing with was quite cute.

It seems he also enjoys your company. --

 

It took a moment for his friend to respond, but he only assumed that being at a friendly place with seemingly even more friendly children was mildly distracting. Especially if they were seriously considering going through the tedious adoption system. Both women were good, and obviously had no crimes on their record. Ibara was far to religious for such a ‘sin,’ and though Mei was very much chaotic and very much evil, she could never bring herself that low.

 

-- wklrjfhlsdkjfh r u ok man?

oh, btw im coming to work 2day --

 

-- Wonderful. I suppose I’ll see you then.

Good luck, by the way.

Let’s hope you can adopt sometime in the next few years. --

 

Iida closed his eyes and breathed out a chuckle, finding the old class’ group chat. Uraraka was spamming all of them about how excited she was to go to a concert in disguise. Midoriya was congratulating her, and Hagakure was saying how she never really needed a disguise when she could always just take off her clothes. Ojiro then proceeded to chide her about sharing too much information, though they all understood how strange she was. The only issue with Hagakure saying such things was Minoru Mineta’s horridly perverted responses.

 

-- Good morning, everyone!

How are you all?

Do you have anything you’d like to share?

(Not you, Ochako-chan. I’ve heard enough.) --

 

It took less than half a millisecond for anyone to respond, though Iida didn’t think it was actually possible to type that fast. Apparently, Uraraka was a bit more of texting fiend than he had originally thought. She surely wasn’t into reading, though.  

 

Ochako: -- hhjhjhjhjhj

IIDAAAAAAAAA-kUn --

Izuku: -- hey, iida!!

Mina: -- TENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA --

Denki: -- guys look what i found --

The picture he’d sent was clearly at a supermarket, focused on his girlfriend and a huge watermelon sitting in a pile of average sized ones.

Kyouka: -- das ugly,,,

glad u finally found ur long lost twin,

b-i-c-t-H --

Momo: -- Denki, someone will kick you out of the store. --

Shouto: -- I saw a bird today and thought it was Tokoyami. --

Fumikage: -- racist --

Tsuyu: -- tru --

Rikidou: -- koji found a wolf outside and domesticated it --

Koji: -- His name is Rina! --

Eijirou: -- how cuteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

but y a girl’s name???? --

Tooru: -- does it matter, ei-kun???

He’s a WOLF --

Ojiro: -- idc what u name him send a pic --

Koji sent a picture of a wolf cub curled up at his feet on wood flooring.

Yuga: -- I CANT STOP SPARRRRKLINNNNG --

Hanta: -- I CANT STOP TAPPINNNGGGGGG --

He sent a blurry picture of a tape covered bathroom, focusing on his wife’s angered expression. Iida was concerned for his friend’s safety, but only until someone else messaged the rest of them.

Katsuki: -- EIJIROU STOP THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! --

Eijirou: -- no, i wove u --

Mina: -- AWWWWWW KATSUKIIIIIII-cHaN U HAVE TO WOVE THAT.

HE’S UR BESTIE --

Denki: -- TRUE DAT MFs --

Katsuki: -- sHuT uP --

Hanta: -- he’s so embarrassed rn

i love it. --

Ochako: -- ei-kun,

u live with katsu-cHaN?? --

Eijirou: -- naw im just bugging him

on snapchat --

Tenya: -- Make sure there’s no cyberbullying!! --

Izuku: -- iida-kun, im sure there isn’t any --

Momo: -- does anyone have any fb memes? --

Momo: -- oh srry wrong phone.

It’s KYOUKAAAA --

Kyouka: -- Give it back! --

Tenya: -- Kyouka-chan, don’t be mean… --

Katsuki: -- EIJIROU WHERE DO YOU LIVE SO I CAN COME AND MURDER YOU?? --

Eijirou: -- u know where i live, sweetie --

Mina: -- dying rn?? --

Tsuyu: -- Eiji-kun, if he knows where you live,

you might want to run --

Fumikage: -- tru --

Katsuki: -- i’m blocking u

motherfucker --

Eijirou: -- wait no!!!!!!!!

katsu-chan don’t do that!!!

i thought u woved meeeeee!! T^T --

Eijirou: -- katsuki please

im actually crying rn --

Eijirou: -- katsuki

i’ll do anything come on --

Momo: -- Bakugou!!! --

Shouto: -- u dickhead --

Izuku: -- kacchan, come on --

Tenya: -- Dude! --

Tsuyu & Fumikage: -- tru --

Kyouka, Tooru, Ochako, & Denki: -- STOP DOING THIS TO HIM!!! --

Mina: -- no srsly we hate it when ei-kun is sad. --

Hanta: -- stoooooooooooopppppppppppppp --

Yuga: -- oml guys i just passed ei-kun in the hall

and oh boy IS CRYING --

Yuga: -- oh wow katsuki just went chasing after him

this is gold. Imma video this --

Everyone was sent a recording and proceeded to watch the redhead run down an apartment hall with a cap over his head, bawling with his hands covering his face in sadness. An ash blonde head followed after, calling his name. Yuga ended the video, grinning.

Mina: -- im cryin boys --

Ochako: -- same i hate when kiri cries. --

Izuku: -- im also crying. --

 

Iida sighed, turning off his phone and plopped down onto the couch, swinging his feet up onto the coffee table. Maybe he should just sit here all day, staring at the wall. That would be nice. But then he looked at the time and sighed, clambering to his feet with a groan like an old geezer. His coffee-maker dinged, calling him to begrudging attention. Feet dragged against the cold floor, creating a noise that he did not have enough energy to dislike.

 

The blue-haired man placed his elbows on the counter, having lost any particular willingness to stand. “Come on, Tenya…” With a mutter, he reached out for the pot of caffeine, dragging a plain white mug along with it. “You have more paperwork than you want, but that’s okay. Just get it done...” With the full porcelain dish in one hand, he lumbered around his house, picking up a few skewed articles of clothing before kicking open his closet. Clothes, clothes, clothes . Arguably another unlikable part of his day. The coffee went down his throat in once surprising drink, but he didn’t even regret it as a burning sensation welled up inside his esophagus.

 

In the end, Iida ended up in dress pants matched with a blazer of the same color, a button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled down three quarters, and black leather dress shoes to pair along with it. Right before he was ready to leave, his phone buzzed with a message from Mei. It seemed a little late to ask him such a thing.

 

-- hey man are you alright?

like, seriously...if there’s smthn bothering u,

we can talk about it uwu --

 

But he didn’t text her back. If she required an answer so very much, he would inform her of his state when he arrived at work. Instead, he shoved the piece of technology in his pocket and grabbed his car keys, stepping discreetly out into the hall. The people in his apartment building knew that they lived next to a pro hero, but the landlord had given them discounts to keep them all quiet. In gratitude, Iida paid him extra for rent. Since the media could not stay still for long, he always headed out through the alley, taking shortcuts to his agency. Today, the traffic he’s stuck in isn’t horrid, but it makes him impatient enough to tap his fingers on the steering wheel from lack of anything else to do. When he was slightly younger, he could sit still for hours , but being such a busy and multitasking person the helpful skill had long since left his arsenal.

 

When he pulls up to the large building, newscasters and camera crews are blocking the main entrance door, demanding answers to questions that Iida thinks are sometimes unnecessary. From the back door, Nami --his assistant and cousin-- comes out and approaches his sleek black car, carrying a clipboard against her chest. Nami is, like most of the people in the world, intricate and strange. A Quirk from both her parents gave her one of the fastest functioning brains in the world. A mix of Engine and Heightened Sensory. Though she is brilliant, she does have odd and impulsive tendencies that make her uncooperation on occasion.

 

Iida stepped out of the driver’s side, meeting her halfway. The asphalt crunched underneath his shoes, a sound that reminded him of bones breaking. “Good morning, Nami-san,” he inclined his head towards her, earning the same gesture in return. “What’s going on at the entrance?” He inquired politely, turning to lock his car before they headed inside. They moved swiftly through the door, matching pace with each other despite Nami’s considerably shorter height. Iida was used to looking down on people. Literally, of course. He would never bring himself to demean good and fair people.

 

“Someone heard that Pro Hero Red Riot was coming to Ingenium Agencies for a transfer, and they’ve been here since last night,” she paused, blue hair pinned up tightly in a bun. Nami nodded to workers as she passed by them through the hall, pushing into Tenya’s office. The blue-eyed man looked out for his pink-haired acquaintance, but she was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps, he thought to himself, she had already gone to work the lab below the ground floor. “Tenya-kun, it’s important for you to not only run this agency, but also defend it.” Her words were correct, and he knew this well.

 

Iida nodded stiffly, wilting into his chair at the sight of the papers. “Give me a moment, please,” he sent a nervously sweaty hand through his hair, sucking in his bottom lip. “Is Red Riot scheduled for today?”

 

Nami was a good assistant-- for the most part. Her shoulders lifted into a shrug, bottom lip jutting out as she tilted her head to the side, as if she didn’t know everything about the agency better than he. “If you want me to go check, I will, but honestly it shouldn’t matter with that huge mob outside,” her brown eyes flitted to the window as though she had spotted something in need of her vital attention, suddenly narrowing in crinkled slits. Then she thrusted her palm out towards the man at the desk, grimacing. “Hand me your phone, Tenya-kun.”

 

His cousin was competent enough, so he dug it out of his pocket and gently handed it over, watching as she turned it on. Nami has plenty of phones. In fact, he should probably be more prepared like her, but he’s growing absent from the hero seen more recently. “What...do you need it for?” he arched an inquiring brow, examining his cousin as she scrolled through something. Whatever it was seemed rather important, as her gaze never wavered from the bright screen. “Na...mi-san?”

 

She cocked her head in his direction, furrowing her brows into a scowl. “Tenya-kun, please understand that I am doing this for a very good reason because of something I require you to do.” He tried to comprehend this for a moment, but it was too late. He watched, in mild horror, as one of his most trusted friends violently threw his phone to the ground and stomped on it. Her heel jabbed into the screen, grinding against glass. His phone had been expensive. He had needed something that would run fast for work, but also have a lot of storage space, and he needed it up to date with new technology so he could keep track of everything.

 

After her shoes had finished mutilating the screen, she turned to him with a cheery grin, dusting her hands off. He gaped at her, blinking slowly to bring himself back to his senses. Then, using a trademark ‘Tenya’ move, he directed both his open hands towards the shards of screen on the floor. “Why?” His voice came out weakly, as though he’d given up on practically everything. Which was true, in a certain sense, but Nami didn’t know that. “What did you want me to do so badly that made you think you should do this?”

 

Nami stood there for a long moment, making direct eye contact as she slowly forced her lips into a thin, pursed line. She was guilty --he could read her well-- but she was also disappointed. “Go down there and deal with the media,” she pointed straight to the ground, even knowing that the media were not right beneath them. “You took on this company even when I offered in your place, Tenya-kun. Run it like you mean it, and not half-heartedly. If you continue on like this, I will make sure my spot as president is secured tightly.” Tense out of slight annoyance (and possibly out of inane fear of Nami), Iida stood abruptly, knocking his chair back slightly.

 

“Excuse me for a moment then,” his tone was calm, emotion devoid from his eyes as he stepped towards his office door. “Let’s hope I won’t fail this time..” The woman still standing over a broken phone grinned, though she had no idea why he had implied that he’d failed to push the media before. If he wanted to, he could become the most intimidating person she’d ever met. Besides herself, of course. Iida took dutiful steps towards the elevator, stepping inside with a heave of breath. Though he wore a confident expression, his insides were bubbling with nervousness. He didn’t like these kinds of things anymore. Fists clenched at his sides in a desperate fight to keep his sweat glands from producing too much perspiration, he inhaled sharply and clenched his jaw as tight as possible. When the elevator chimed merrily, it revealed a very tensious situation where some of his employed pros were holding back one specific newscaster and camera crew from a popular news station.

 

They turned, both looking at him for help. “Iida-san, please save us!” He gave each of them a determined nod, standing up straighter and dusting himself off before he approached the doors. The newscaster at the front of the chaos looked up at him in awe, waving her crew over. He appreciated her eager expression, but the circumstances were not ones where he would greet her with utmost kindness.

 

“It’s the pro hero Ingenium, and president of the Ingenium Agencies!” Her microphone stretched out towards his face, prodding and poking at his personal life. Iida felt like running, but his employees were standing beside him as they held back the ground, hoping to be saved despite their title as heroes. Though, that was rather rude to pros. They deserved to be saved in their times of need, too. “Can you confirm the rumors about Pro Hero Red Riot signing a contract with Ingenium Agencies for a trial employment? Can we expect the pro to be staying?”

 

Wearing a face fit for a stoic president, he spoke calmly with his chin up proudly, “I cannot. Ingenium Agencies reserves the right to discretion, and will uphold that right no matter how hard you push.” Iida knew he was on live television, but he was in the moment of now and worrying would do him no good. Whatever nervousness was gone, replaced by a small fire of annoyance with these people and how their jobs worked. From the age of fifteen, he didn’t enjoy the press. They could conduct themselves in severely better ways. “If you would please clear up the front of my agency, it would make your lives and mine much easier. And, if you must know, I am prepared to call the police at any point in time.”

 

At that point, most of the news groups had broken off from the mob, leaving three. The very eager woman who had first questioned him, Channel 5, and 24/7 Heroics. A young man shoved past the eager woman and placed his hands on his hips as if to scare Iida, who was nearly a foot taller. He judged that the man was maybe around twenty-seven, and possibly 170 centimeters. “Hanamoto Aoba, from 24/7 Heroics,” like before, a mic was shoved into his lips, nudging him to spill all the important things. “Are you in a relationship, Ingenium-san? Is your brother, the previous holder of your magnificent pro hero name, still alive?”

 

Tensei, after the Hosu incident had finally died down, went off the radar because of his fated hospital meeting with Fuyumi. They were friends for quite awhile, and she helped him disappear from the media. Not that they were in hiding, but his brother worked from home and under an alibi. His boss knew his secret and that was all. As for Tenya’s dating life: it was nonexistent and he did not care one single damn bit. “No, I’m not. And for any bit of information you might also want to suck out of me, I am not interested in having one at all whatsoever,” he paused, willing his bottom lip not to fit itself underneath his top row of teeth in hopes that it would keep his mind calm. These new reporters needed to consider other people’s feelings when it came to asking about sensitive topics, but Iida knew that was how it functioned in the world. What if Tensei really was dead? No one wanted to tell the world that! “As for my elder brother, nothing can be said. Good day.” With that, Iida held his muscular arms out and barricaded them away from the entrance as his employees shut them out, watching them hang their heads in disappoint as they went.

 

Dusting his hands off, Iida gave a friendly smile to both his employees. They bowed and thanked him, hurrying off to start their patrol. When the tall man’s eyes glanced out his double glass doors, they followed a car slowly turning into the alley that snaked around the back of the agency. Its license plate gave everything away. He was glad to know that his requested Pro Hero was here. But that wouldn’t exactly fix his phone. Not that Tenya was being spiteful . Nevermind, he was totally being spiteful.

 

The murderer came from the elevator a second later, showing her normal toothy grin. “I’m glad you took my advice seriously,” she tightened her grip on the clipboard, a guilt-ridden expression suddenly taking over a pretty face. “I’ll buy you a new phone and help you with everything. Fortunately, I didn’t destroy the SM card…”

 

“Nami-san, do me a favor and make sure you pick up the shards of screen on the floor,” he brushed off her offer, glancing around the lobby of the building. The receptionist returned from the file room, her eyes flitting at the door cautiously as she sat. A few of his data trackers also stepped out from their office room, just as skittish as their co-worker. “I’ll go greet our visitor.” Her blue bun bobbed with a nod as she pushed through a door to the stairs. Iida shifted on his feet, ducking into the narrow hall to the back alley.

 

The handle was cold, something that was normal but struck Tenya by surprise. Mildly unnerved by the fact, he pulled back to reveal a car the color of led, speckled with sparkles as a head of red hair appeared from the driver’s side. “Iida-kun…” Kirishima’s face was paler than normal, lips spread into a thin line that came from feeling nauseous. “I apologize for the late entry. You might’ve seen what happened earlier.” Ah, yes. Eijirou’s eyes were dried, red from tears that could have possibly been considered unnecessary, but Iida didn’t want to offend.

 

“Indeed I did, Kirishima-kun,” he held his sour expression, still quite bitter with his cousin and her foolish actions. She was loved, of course, but not particularly liked at the moment. “Let’s forget about that for today, hmm?” Iida gently gestured inside, watching as bright red eyes began tinted in a faint glossiness that maybe the blue-haired man recognized as happiness. Sometimes letting things go is better. Tenya should probably tell himself that, but he doesn’t, and instead directs his trial employee and highschool acquaintance through the hall and up the stairs.

 

Kirishima, having been put in a slightly better mood, began to talk, “How are you doing, anyway? You never talk about yourself in the group chat,” his voice is chipper and healed of any negative emotions. Iida isn’t really that surprised, seeing as how the redhead can occasionally act like a dog. “Midoriya-kun is always blabbering to Ocha-chan about how worried he is about you.” Iida tightened his grip around the stair railing, but he did not cease movement.

 

“Izuku asks about me?”

 

At that, the redhead arched an inquiring eyebrow. Iida wasn’t one to just casually throw out people’s given names, nonetheless without anything following. One of the few people he did that to was his older brother, and only because Tensei had requested it. “Yeah, he does. To a lot of people. Todoroki-kun is getting tired of it.”

 

It had caught Tenya completely off-guard, but intent on keeping composure, he proceeded ascending. “I-I...didn’t know that,” he sputtered for a moment, his free hand instinctively jerking about. Suddenly aware of his movements, he adjusted his glasses and scrunched his nose. “Nobody seemed to ask me how I was doing in the mornings, so I figured you were a bit too busy for me.”

 

Kirishima chortled as they reached the door to the second story, something that the blue-haired man found mildly perplexing. “Nobody ever asks how anyone else is doing unless they saw them on the news that week. Iida-kun, it’s not that we don't care , but more like we know someone will tell us when there's something up. You never talk about yourself and prodding makes the worst things worse…” he faded off, stepping into the busy office behind the towering man. A pro hero and her sidekick stepped into the elevator, hurriedly talking about something important. Iida took a moment to ponder Kirishima’s words as he walked, the corners of his lips quirking at the thought of his friends being so close to one and other. Their school life and relationships with each other had been most enjoyable. Laughing, pretending that their world view hadn’t been shifted from experiences, and living. Just living.

 

But he was at work, and work was for things impersonal. He pushed open the door to the break room, noticing that one Pro Hero -- her name was Ring Wheel-- stood in there. She turned, grinning with her mask obscuring her face.

 

“Red Riot! What an honor to be in your presence!” She bowed to him, facing Iida and showing the same respect. “Well, I best be heading out. My Quirk is needed downtown.” Ingenium Agencies was stationed at the heart of Osaka, its hero coverage reaching the entire prefecture.

 

Iida bowed to her in gratitude for her service, turning to Kirishima. “You don't have to make a patrol until this afternoon, but I do have some unfortunate paperwork for you to do,” he paused, watching as the redhead put on a mock face of disappointment. “but you can stay in here until Nami-san comes to get you.”

 

He split a childish grin. “I haven't seen Nami-chan in a really long time!” At his amusing excitement, Iida gently smiled and left the redhead alone in the break room. His feet, knowing the building all too well, found their way into his office where Iida Nami was standing over a trash can with a small dustpan and broom.

 

“All cleaned up, Tenya-kun,” she showed a loose grin that was unfit for the rest of her business-like appearance, standing up straight. “How is our star hero doing?” Iida glances out the window, then at the extremely small red chip Nami had left on his desk beside her clipboard.

 

She's a bit rash, he can easily admit, but he loves her and that's how it goes. Sometimes, just on occasion, Tenya thinks of how lucky he must be. His family is quirky, strange, and all-around insane, but it's a good thing. They know what to do when things seem completely lost. But then Iida usually loses his train of thought when he is brought back to his very dreary reality. “How about we get working, and purchase a new phone later?” He suggested, plopping back down in his seat to rest his elbows in the wood. She hummed in agreement, pulling a piece of paper off her clipboard. Nami was unbothered by his dodging of her question, as it was a normal thing when Iida fell into deep thought.

 

Her painted fingernail tapped a small chart near the top left corner, mouth spreading into a small smile. “We're top in Hero Agencies as of last week, and it's important to uphold the position.”

 

He nodded; he already knew this fact and it was the reason why he'd personally asked Kirishima to sign a trial contract. “Of course,” blue eyes watched as her lips spreading into a devious grin.

 

“And since we already have Red Riot here, why not reach higher and ask people like Froppy, Pinky, and Can't Stop Sparkling? Maybe even... Phantom Thief ?” she shrugged her shoulders in response to her own pitch, turning her head slightly to the side. “Eh? What about it?” It took so long for her cousin to respond, she had begun to think he’d fallen asleep with his eyes open.

 

Iida’s gaze, distracted, flitted to the window and then back to his cousin’s. “Let's see how Red Riot rates our agency, Nami-chan,” he paused, intertwining his fingers. “but your ideas are always very smart.”

 

She smirks, “ Obviously . But, look, it's probably really getting stressful for you with Tensei-kun’s wedding coming up, so you can get off early and buy your phone then. I'll give you my credit card.” She reached for her pockets, only to be stopped by Iida’s response.

 

“Nami-chan, you probably need a break more than me,” he let out a soft sigh, glancing at his watch. “You were here yesterday when I was absent, and you stayed here all night finishing preparations for Red Riot.”

 

She waved it off, trapping her paper underneath the metal clamp. “No worries, kiddo. Let's wing it,” one of her shoulders shrugged nonchalantly as she headed for the door. With one hand on the knob, her eyes slid across the wall to her treasured relative. Face solemn, she began speaking once more. “Tenya-kun...please feel better soon. You've been down a bit lately, and you're making everyone worry. Don't use the 'stress’ excuse, because no one believes it…” A brown gaze fell to the floor as her mouth prepared to continue. “I understand pain. Everyone does. Maybe not the same as you, but some form of it. Let them in. Let them be stabbed by the same needles as you to understand. We love you that much, Tenya. So do your friends. So does Tensei.”

 

“Nami-chan…” he heaved a deep breath, noticing her bite down on her bottom lip as hard as possible. “Nami-chan, don't cry.”

 

She shook her head, closing her eyes. “I'm not crying, Tenya-kun, but I'm worried about you. Let us in! You don't think of yourself when you open your eyes every morning. And we brush it off because we don't think about it. We don't think about living in the way you do. Because no one should live thinking that they don't deserve to be considered,” Nami only took a moment to breathe. “So, please, Tenya-kun. Do something.” She slipped out quickly, gently closing the door behind her. He stared at the place his cousin had been in, taking in her words. What she had said was begin to jumble up in his head. All those things made his brain ache.

 

They…knew? They knew he was like this?

 

But that wasn't how things were supposed to be. He was supposed to be the support for everyone else. He was the person they didn't have to worry about. He was there for them so they didn't have to be there for him. That was how he wanted it to go.

 

So Iida Tenya, twenty-four, sat there for a long time and he thought. Not about everything. Just about the words his cousin had spoken to him.

 

At the end of their shift, he noticed that Mei had been missed. It was either her pure talent for sneaking, or she had come and gone faster than she was scheduled.

By the time he turned the knob to his apartment, his phone had been completely fixed and replaced. Nami had asked to be forgiven for speaking to him so harshly, but there was nothing to be forgiven. She had done what she thought was right because she wanted him to be happy. That was being family.

 

Still, Iida didn't want to think about her words. He’d thought about them enough today. He was too scared to change. Change made him think of all the horrible outcomes. The eventualities that could ruin his entire existence. Not that it was important. When he plopped down onto the couch, he turned on the new and strange electronic in his hand. His contacts had been transferred, and notifications were already working again.

 

His mother had messaged him about two minutes ago:

 

-- Tenya, I'm glad you got your phone replaced.

Can you come visit me sooner than Sunday for family dinner? I get quite lonely these days. --

 

Mr. Iida had died a few years back from simply being old. It wasn't anything horrible. He had passed in his sleep with a smile of a happy dream upon his face. To be honest, Tenya used to think that was how all people died when he was younger.

 

-- How about tomorrow?

Nami said that Cousin Shinriki was coming to work for once that day, and everything is usually very calm on Wednesdays. --

 

His mother's fingers were quick:

 

-- Wonderful!! I love you very much, but I am tired. Good night. --

 

At that, he decided not to bother her and plugged his phone into the charger on the counter, flicking on a few lights. And, in his sour opinion, his spine was far too young to ache in such a way. His feet dragged themselves about the apartment, approaching his closet. A t-shirt was thrown over his shoulder nonchalantly as he tossed off his work attire, picking up the askew piece of clothing and slipping it over his head as he plopped down on the couch.

 

It was late, almost midnight, and he was too exhausted to put a blanket over his body. So, sitting up, he felt out of consciousness.

 

A strange noise filled Iida’s ears the next morning, waking him when he did not want to be woken up. It was his phone, ringing from a call. Not an alarm, but a phone call .

 

Oh, god, his eyes were burning. The contacts he'd put in the previous morning were dried against his retinas. Without as much as a flinch, he peeled them off his eyes and tossed them into the closet trash can, seeing the normal blurry room.

 

Per usual, he did not want to get up. But he did, shuffling over to his phone and answering the call without bothering to read who it was from. “Hello?” His voice was groggy and low, almost to the point where it would be unrecognizable. A hand slid down the side of his face, tugging on his eye bags. He didn't care what time it was. Even if it was the middle of the afternoon, he didn't want to be awake.

 

Tenya-kun? ” It sounded like Midoriya. “ Hey, uh, I apologize for calling so early but I’m standing outside your apartment door. I wasn't sure if you'd gotten my text, but I just wanted to come and make sure. ” Outside his door? Texts? This was too much for a half-awake mess of a human being. But it was Midoriya they were talking about, and for the green-haired man, Iida would do a lot. So he replied and ended the call, groping around for his glasses before stumbling into his open closet to grab a pair of flannel pants. Struggling them on while he stood, he flailed through his living room.

 

Next, he clambered over to the genkan, sliding into a pair of slippers before he opened the door to a considerably shorter person. “Please, come in.” Midoriya skittered past him, carrying a dripping umbrella. He plopped it into a small bucket beside the doorway, slipping off his shoes.

 

“Sorry about this. I had to sneak here through the alleyways,” he showed a smile that seemed, in a strange way, cracked. Iida took a moment to observe it, half-heartedly listening to words coming out of Midoriya’s mouth. Partially because he was distracted, and partially because he was still barely awake. “Todoroki-kun returned back to Tokyo today, so now I'm a bit lonely and-- and, well…” His words fell short, but his friend didn’t question why. He just understood that some sentences are more difficult to end than others.

 

Iida watched him closely, searching for a tell of any sort. There was clearly something wrong with Midoriya. “Go ahead and make yourself comfortable,” he gestured towards his current bed, making sure his feet were bare before he entered the kitchen. Sometimes he forgot important things. “Do you want anything before we talk?” Green curls shook with his head as he stood idle, glancing around the nearly bare apartment. Iida noticed his eyes fell on one of his few bookshelves, scanning the trio of picture frames atop it. Ah, yes, he’d forgotten those. One, he remembered, was of his mother, father, Tensei, and himself. Another of him and his grandfather, and the very last a high school graduation picture with all his friends.

 

The blue-eyed man moved around the room, gently sighing before he offered a smile. “So, what's wrong? You're acting quite astray.” Midoriya stiffened slightly at his words, the corner if his lip twitching in an attempt to convinced himself that recent events had not broken him and would not at any point in time. With no reply, Iida added, “Penny for your thoughts?”

 

Scarred hands were where Midoriya’s green gaze fell. “I never knew my father that well, but recently we got news that he…” Pure green eyes slid to the wood floor, pondering his next words as his hands fell to his sides. The action was small, but it spoke to Tenya in such a way that he understood what was going to come out of his friend’s mouth. “He got into a vehicle accident during a rainstorm. They don't know the details, and the person who crashed into him couldn't see through the fog to know what had happened.” It was as if, to Iida at least, the moment had frozen.

 

Occasionally, there comes a time when we don't know what to do. Whether to stay or leave, choose left or right, do or don't. When that time floats along, forcing everything else in the world to cease, we might choose the wrong thing. And when we do, we have to own up to our decision.

 

But if we pick the right one...Everything can change. So when Iida was faced with this moment, he recalled times where the panic Midoriya was feeling was pushing down on his own chest and twisting his stomach. The blue-haired man, standing there, pulled someone into an embrace and did the thing he thought was right. “I'm not going to say sorry. It won't do anything for you.” Izuku, having known the tall man for a log time, returned his hug. “Because things like these just suck. Pardon my language, of course.” Something wet fell against his shoulder, hitting his heart harder than he'd expected.

 

“Thanks, Iida-kun,” a muffled voice came from Tenya’s shirt, and a head of green curls lifted up. “Sorry for coming to you randomly.” He sniffled quietly. “I wasn't even sure if you were home or not, but you were the first person I thought to go to…” It was an honor, Tenya felt. The number one hero in Japan thought to come to someone like him for help. Though they were good friends, great even, he still felt proud.

 

Iida gently hummed in acknowledgement of his words, stroking the back of his head. “What about your mother?” At that, Midoriya took a deep breath, pulling away to get a better look at his friend. Again, Iida noted, Izuku’s actions simply said what he did not want to.

 

“I was with her when she read the letter out loud to me,” he spoke in a shaky tone, tightening his grip around Iida’s shirt. “and then I stood up and I left. She even tried to chase after me in the rain, but I kept walking. L-Like I didn’t even care.” In response to Izuku’s words, the blue-haired man clicked his tongue sympathetically.

 

For both Midoriyas, of course. “I see. Why don’t we go to her?” He paused, running a hand through green curls again only to watch them bounce back up. “She probably needs you right now, Izuku-kun.” Midoriya’s lips pursed up into a look of pain, something that very few people enjoyed seeing. Perhaps a villain, but Tenya was not one.

 

The green-eyed man sniffled, nodding as he let go of the taller man. “Yeah...but you’re not dressed, silly!” Iida glanced down with a very small instinctual smile on his face. “You haven’t seen my mom in awhile, so you have to come.” He nodded, chuckling before he took a step away from his companion.

 

“Yes, I suppose,” Tenya heaved a deep breath. “Wait a moment.” He held up a hand as he rushed down the hall to the closet, pulling out the first thing he could find. He slipped into the bathroom, pulling off his glasses to avoid meeting gaze with the reflection. Midoriya mulled around the kitchen, turning on his phone to check the group chat. While he was doing that, Iida did the same, setting the piece of technology aside to get ready.

 

Ochako: -- OMIGOOOOOOD YALL

IT WAS SO MUCH FUNNNNNNNN --

Mina: -- YEETS FOR ALL --

Izuku: -- congratulations, ocha-chan --

Eijirou: -- yes, congrats!!

uwu --

Denki: -- pwidfjvnaksjdfnjkldfsn

im dying rn,

since when is kiri-chan working with ten-kun???

Eijirou: -- oh, yeah, that’s right!!

i have a trial contract with ingenium agencies!! --

Izuku: -- iida-kun didn’t tell me anything about that!!

i’ll ask him once he gets dressed. --

Shouto: -- do you having something to tell me??????????????????????? --

Izuku: -- oh my god, sho-kun, nooooooo!!!

we’re just hanging out today~~

i gotta talk to you later --

Shouto: -- are you sure?

and alright --

Izuku: -- i promise, bb!!! --

Minoru: -- AW SHIT HOMIES

THE GAY BITCHES R CHEATIN ON EACH OTHER --

Tsuyu: -- stfu --

Fumikage: -- tru --

Shouto: -- izuku, maybe we need to talk about this --

Izuku: -- askjldfalksjdfnlkajsdfnlkajsdfnlakjsdfnasdflkjasndlfkjnasdfj

r u messing with me?? --

Shouto: -- fooled u --

Mina: -- ofc lmao --

Katsuki: -- YTF IS SHITTY HAIR WITH ENGINE LEGS????? --

Eijirou: -- calm down, man.

it’s just a contract. --

Katsuki: -- I REFUSE --

Hanta: -- has anyone ever heard of ‘overusing caps lock syndrome’??

it’s common among those who are mentally disturbed --

Tooru: -- hidfasjdfnlkjnasdljkfnlasjdfn yes, i have,

heres this totally legitimate wikipedia page --

Ojiro: -- don’t listen to her --

Koji: -- ive just gotten a pet fish you guys --

Katsuki: -- FUCK UR DAMN PET FISH

WHY IS MY FIANCĖ HIDING THINGS FROM ME --

Mina: -- wtf did u just say? --

Denki: -- kiri-kun, what do you have to say about this??

i cant believe you didn’t tell me --

Eijirou: -- katsuki wth --

Eijirou: -- did u just say --

Eijirou: -- cause last time i checked --

Eijirou: -- i dont have a damn ring on my finger --

Eijirou: -- and if you were thinking on proposing --

Ochako: -- YOU GUYS WERE DATING?? --

Izuku: -- idk that either… --

Mina: -- um, me either --

Eijirou: -- asdfjnasldfnlaskjdfnlaksjdfnkalsdfaksdalskjdfnlaskjdfnalksjdfnlaksjdfnqifir okay guess it’s time for confessions:

i love katsuki bakugou --

Katsuki: -- sTaWp --

Eijirou: -- and i want to marry him --

Mina: -- got this bitch crying in the club --

Denki: -- i thought u guys had kids --

Shouto: -- is that kirishima-kun and bakugou-kun’s secret love child? --

Izuku: -- shosho-kun, ily but wtf?????? --

Eijirou: -- will you marry me, katsuki? --

Shouto: -- i’ve never been present for a proposal --

Katsuki: -- ... --

Katsuki: -- eijirou… --

Katsuki: -- eijirou did you not look at the post-it note i left you this morning --

Eijirou: -- oh god. --

Eijirou: -- katsuki, please forgive me --

Eijirou: -- hold on, im calling you --

Mina: -- relationship status????? --

Momo: -- I just looked through the messages and it looks like something very bad is about to happen.

Bakugou-kun just came back from his patrol and he’s on the phone. --

Kyouka: -- i’m eavesdropping rn y’all --

Mina: -- YAAASSS GIMME THE TEA --

 

A few minutes later, with everyone on edge, Kyouka sent a recording. Iida, out of pure curiosity, began playing it.

 

Bakugou’s voice was barely audible. “That’s your excuse?” Kyouka gently chortled from behind the camera, positioning it to peer into the break room through a slight crack in the door. “No, no, I get it .”

 

“Oh, shit,” the woman filming murmured, and no one was sure if it was towards the conversation or something else. The camera shook, bumping loudly against the door. Apparently not loud enough to draw Bakugou’s attention, though.

 

“So, now we’re just pulling stuff out of our asses?” The blonde man placed a disapproving hand on his hip, raising an annoyed eyebrow below his mask. “Alright, have it your way…” A long pause fell over the video. “Just buy the cage-free eggs! It doesn’t matter!”

 

And then Kyouka cracked up and the blonde man noticed her, which was where the video promptly ended.

 

Iida glanced at the messages.

 

Eijirou: -- he thinks cage-free eggs make a huge difference

T^T --

Mina: -- im so??

Confused?? --

Hanta: -- what was all the marriage stuff about earlier then????? --

Katsuki: -- oh thats a comedic bit we’re working on --

Izuku: -- i was crying for you kiri-kun --

Eijirou: -- if it makes you feel better i didn’t know it was a comedic act either.

The post-it note he was talking about says :

‘2 broke to buy you a ring, will u still marry me?’ --

Ochako: -- i didn’t know katsu-chan could be cheesy. --

Eijirou: -- and then it says,

'buy eggs when u go to the store later.’ --

 

Iida turned off his phone, gently laughing before he pulled a shirt over his head and stepped out of the bathroom with his glasses in one hand. Though everything was a blur, his feet knew where to go. Midoriya turned, though it was just a green blob of movement to Tenya.

 

“I'm ready, Izuku-kun,” he shifted in his t-shirt, noticing that today everything was disoriented. It was strange, but he'd felt like it before. He just...wasn't right. The green-haired man smiled as Iida slipped on his glasses and headed for the genkan. “Can you check to see if it's raining outside?” His curls bounced with a nod, and he glanced at his home screen.

 

Iida watched him grimace. “Yeah…” his eyes slid down to Tenya’s pants, an eyebrow arching. “Tenya-kun, I don't think I’ve ever seen you wear sweatpants.” The blue-eyed man resisted the urge to look down and make sure he was indeed wearing sweatpants, but he would regret looking at his log-sized legs.

 

“Ah, really?” He responded in a pitch that was far too high for an answer, sitting down to put on his tennis shoes. “You’ve known me for so long, I wouldn't have expected such a thing.” Midoriya shrugged nonchalantly, almost too casually for the crying he had just done. Iida was just glad he seemed a bit better, though it might’ve just been a façade. Poofy green curls moved as he sat down beside Iida and reached for his own shoes, pulling them on with little effort.

 

Once both of them had gotten prepared (and Iida had grabbed himself a coat) they slipped into the back alley and ran to Iida’s car in the rain. “You have a really nice car, Iida-kun!” He chirped optimistically for the situation and weather, but Iida just figured it was an instinctual response to convince himself everything was alright. People did that many times, Iida had noticed. In fact, he’d done it himself plenty of times. It just never seemed to work.

 

“Do you still live in the same place?” The blue-haired man inquired gently, plugging his phone into the car charger. On his notifications, there was a text from his mother. His mother…He'd completely forgotten. Curious, he lifted up the phone to check what she'd written.

 

-- Oh, my, Tenya!!!!!!!

Are you with Izuku-kun???

I nko-chan told me what happened and I freaked out!!!

She's coming over to spend a few days with us after we talked a few things out.

Such a nice woman…~ --

 

Iida turned the screen towards Midoriya, who read it extremely fast. He nodded, pursing his lips into a grimace. And they were off towards the Iida estate, which happened to be a long three hours away. The rain pattered against the window, creating a slack to the silent tension between the two men.

 

It was maybe half an hour before the green-haired man beside Iida began talking. When he did, Tenya nearly flinched at the sudden loud sound, the rain patter become muted. “Shouto-kun thought I was hanging out with you this morning because we were together,” he chuckled nervously, watching as Iida nodded.

 

“I was watching the group chat as I got dressed,” blue eyes watched the road intently, though he wasn’t awkward in the situation in the slightest. “Todoroki-kun is quite the comedian these days, isn't he?” Izuku bobbed his head up and down gently, following the man's gaze towards the soaked alleys ahead.

 

He opened his mouth, shutting it a moment later as though he were a gaping goldfish. “How have you been doing? I can't remember the last time we hung out just you and I.” Iida gave a single shoulder shrug, glasses gently slipping down his nose.

 

“Family business can really get you in a loop,” his voice was low, barely reaching over the gravely crunching below the tires. He regretted his poor choice of words, mulling over them with that familiar guilt dragging and pulling at his stomach. The car dipped down the end of the alley, sliding onto the smooth asphalt. “Did Todoroki-kun tell you about Tensei's wedding?” A pause fell between them.

 

A green eyebrow arched. “Why would he tell me about your brother's wedding?” It took him a moment of silence before he let out a small surprised breath. “Oh! Fu-chan! That's right. She's engaged to Tensei-kun.”

 

His blue head shook up and down. “Indeed. And by the way you responded me, it sounds like he didn’t talk about it,” he held up a knowing finger, inclining his head towards the green-haired man as though he were in the middle of scolding. “On a different note, why do you call her Fu-chan?”

 

“Well, there's Sho-kun, Na-kun, Fu-chan, and Rei-san. That's for the Todoroki family, since I go over so much,” he lifted a hand to scratch his curls, giggling sheepishly. “You do know that we're together.”

 

Iida didn't mean to chuckle, but he did. “Of course I do, but those nicknames would be for animals, Izuku-kun.” At that, the green-haired man’s face grew a light shade of red. The man beside him bit his lip, trying not to burst out laughing. It would make Midoriya feel bad, and he didn’t want to do such a thing.

 

“I know that,” he grew slightly indignant, words sharp as he turned his face away. “You don't have to tell me, Tenya-kun.” With his childish reaction, the younger man chortled, completely intending it.

 

After a few hours had passed, they finally pulled into the very enormous Iida estate way off in a considerably more rural area. The style was quite old, dirt where most of the cars were parked before the entrance to the courtyard. Once he had his car turned off, both men stepped out and headed for the looming ajar gates. It was only sprinkling there, but donning coats, neither took a particular care. Tenya pushed open the wood door, revealing a garden pond and a few trees littered around. A few statues were placed around, quite small. Most were raccoons or toads. Surrounding the courtyard were the halls with sliding shoji doors, Sakura print brightening up the bottom of the yellowed paper-like substance.

From the steps leading up to the main doors, Mrs. Iida stepped out. She was considerably taller than Inko, who was standing right beside her. “Come in, you two! We have to talk!” She violently wave them into from underneath the porch roof, wearing her sandals. The tone she was using sounded urgent, though Inko looked hesitant to engage in any sort of conversation.  

 

Tenya nodded his head with Izuku. “Yes, mother. Come on, Izuku-kun.” They both approached the doors, watching as the woman slipped off their shoes by the genkan and slid into their slippers on the wood floor. Both younger men followed suit, hanging their damp coats on the hooks. Mrs. Iida moved down the halls skillfully, pulling open some of the rooms floored with tatami mats. Inko skittered after her as though she were a rat, completely ignoring her guilt-ridden son. Tenya instantly noticed this, deciding to simply keep an eye on their behavior.

 

“Tenya, Izuku-kun, go sit down in the tea room,” The older blue-haired woman turned to look at Inko. “Dear, you should go sit down with them.” The shorter green haired woman bit her lip, nodding before she followed after Tenya. Such hesitance to leave the older woman showed that they had done some very serious discussing before the two men had arrived, but Iida only showed Inko the best reassuring expression he could.

 

Inko looked up, smiling at the blue-haired man. “Oh, honey, you look so big! I heard you're running your own company with that dear, dear Nami-chan.” He nodded, eyes quickly flitting to Izuku, who was hanging his head not-so-subtly behind them.

 

“Ah, thank you, Inko-san! I am, actually, and she's the best assistant I could ever ask for,” he grinned, pressing himself to become relaxed and at ease in a situation where a mother was ignoring her son. But then it his joyful expression suddenly dropped. “Izuku-kun came to me this morning...I just want to tell you that we're here. We've gone through it too, though that can't ease any of the pain.” She nodded, smile wistful. Iida noticed that her eyes were filled with a certain shine that he knew was unbelievable grief. It was expected, as the man she married must've been the love of her life. Some marriage circumstances weren’t always like that, considering Rei Todoroki and her divorced husband.

 

Her green eyes, still bright despite her graying hair, moved to peer into the room they stepped into. The flooring was still wood, with a small coffee table in the middle of an otherwise bare space. Pillows encircled the furniture for sitting. Iida sat, gesturing for the other two to do the same.

 

Inko most gladly did, but Izuku stood in the doorway for a long moment. She looked up at him, for once meeting his gaze. Slowly, both of the kneeling figures watched as he got to his knees in front of her and bowed. The blue-haired man sitting there looked at his friend, then to the mother of him. Izuku did need to apologize, but not on such a grand scale.

 

“I'm so sorry, mom,” he didn't bother lifting his head. “I shouldn't have run away like that, especially when you needed me. Please accept my apologies and stop ignoring me.”

 

She crawled over to him, placing a hand on his curls ever-so-gently. The obvious movements of a mother. “Oh, Izuku...I could never be mad at you, especially in a time like this.” Her eyes flitted down to his scarred hands. “I-I just...He meant so much to me…”

 

“I know, mom,” Izuku’s voice was muffled but very clearly agonized. “I know and I'm sorry that I don't get it. He left when I was so little.” When he lifted his head, tears were streaming down his grown up face, and his mother joined in on his pain, wilting over his form with her arms around him.

 

Iida watched this, clenching his fist. A lot of things weren't fair in the world, but sometimes we just had to deal with it. Mrs. Iida stepped into the room carry a tray of tea, quietly setting on the table before plopping herself down next to the two green-haired adults. When she bent her head to their level, only a few words were murmured before they slowly stopped crying.

 

Today was not Iida’s favorite day. Nor was it --of the people in the room-- anyone else’s.

 

Everyone drank tea in silence. Over the course of the next few days, the Midoriyas were off the radar. Pro Hero Deku made absolutely no appearances anywhere, but no suspected anything much. Well, perhaps a few insane fans, but nothing else. Society continued on.

 

His father's funeral was held near a quiet village surrounded by peaceful ricefields, in a church that was very small. Inko had decided she wanted it more American, as that was where he had worked for many years of his life. Tenya and his mother were invited, as they had been with the family for many years. And Mr. Midoriya’s few co-workers and family attended, along with the still rather aloof Todoroki Shouto. Overall, fifty to sixty people had come, which Inko had also decided was many, but not too much so.

 

Iida stood near the entrance to the Sanctuary, carefully watching Todoroki as he stood beside Izuku. It wasn’t that he was concerned about the couple, but rather about Midoriya himself. The taller of the two bent over, whispering something in the green-haired man’s ear. His arms were protectively around Izuku, pulling him as close as possible.

 

A head of curls bounced as his head shifted to look up at his lover. Todoroki’s neck craned, and Iida averted his gaze before he felt invasive. Suddenly, heels clacked loudly against the floor from behind him and he was attacked by a shockingly tall brunette. Not attacked, but more jumped on. He barely stumbled, though, being such a sturdy man. When he glanced over his shoulder, he met eyes with the solemn (but still rather energetic) Uraraka Ochako. Worried she might fall off his shoulder, he grabbed her around the waist and carefully lowered her to the ground, grimacing.

 

“Ochako-chan,” he gave her a nod, and she carefully returned it. “Can you give Izuku-kun some space for right now?” She turned her head carefully, snapping it back in Iida’s direction as soon as she saw what was happening.

 

“Yes,” her response was stiff, movements jerky and robotic. The way she reacted almost seemed as though she had no clue how to deal with public displays of affection. Though it was rare, it still did happen many places, especially when society was growing out of old customs such as that one. “Is the viewing going to happen, or was the accident too much on his body?”

 

He glanced around, lowering his voice and head before speaking. “I think it's happening right now, but Izuku-kun didn't want to go in,” he paused, watching one of the Midoriya family walk by them. He hadn’t met all of them, but he knew that Inko and Mr. Midoriya had many relatives from both sides. “I overheard him and Todoroki-kun talking earlier, and apparently he didn't go in because he didn't think he could stand next to his mother. Some of his uncles are in there now with her.”

 

The brunette turned back towards the two men, who had disappeared from their spot near the bathrooms. “Oh, wow,” her voice was honestly surprised, so Iida bent down to her level to see what was happening. Todoroki and Midoriya were barely visible from around the corner, but it looked like they were talking in a very serious voices in between ‘displaying affection’ rather roughly. Tenya enjoyed avoiding such vulgar words to describe their actions. “Iida-kun, how's Tensei-kun? I heard he's getting married to Todoroki-kun’s older sister. Fuyumi-san, is it?”

 

“Ah, he's fine,” Iida shoved his hands in his pant suit pockets, standing up straight. “You are on our guest list because of Todoroki-kun and me, though. Tensei and Fuyumi-chan let us invite any of our highschool friends.” She nodded, though she was still in a sullen mood. Inko came into the hall of the cathedral, face hollow in a deep look of horror. A man stood behind her, murmuring words into her ear that slowly relaxed her narrow and tense shoulders. After the casket had been shut, people began filling the pews.

 

Overall, the service lasted five hours, and everyone's head hurt by the end. Iida and his mother headed home, but not before saying goodbye to Uraraka, Todoroki, and all the Midoriyas. Once they arrived at Tenya’s house, he leaned across the center console and gave his mother a hug before stepping out into the rather dark alley. It was sunset, and orange shadows barely skimmed past the roofs of the buildings on either side of them.

 

“We'll have Sunday dinner next week,” she nodded reassuringly, though it was more for herself than for him. When he didn’t respond, she grew worried. “Are you okay, Tenya-kun? I know it’s difficult when you see people you love in pain.” He glanced down through the window at her, taking a moment to breathe. An answer had to be picked out from the thousands of things stirring inside his brain.

 

He wasn’t. That was the truth. “Of course, mother,” but anything and everything for his mother. “I will see you next Sunday…” She gave him a wave, watching him enter the apartment building before driving off. Iida clambered up the stairs to his floor, entering his housing space with a very long sigh. He was deserving of one, as it had been a very tortuous week for more than enough people. Tenya collapsed onto the couch, checking his phone to see multiple texts from Mei, Nami, and the group chat. But he did not check them, and instead fell asleep without having to think of anything else.

 

When morning came along and his alarm went off, Iida went about his usual routine, feeling the horrible lingering feeling that everything was just a big loop and he had nothing left in this world. It was a nice world, at least. He had good friends, neighbors, and family. In fact, Iida didn’t even know why he felt this way about everything. Why he was, on plenty of occasions, quite lethargic.

 

But then he took a moment before leaving his apartment to think. Iida didn’t really like thinking. It left him in a place where nothing felt good. Today, when he got to doing the thing he didn’t really quite fancy, he didn’t feel out of sorts. It was more a feeling that he needed change.

 

With that, he went off to work through the crowded streets. This morning, two more cars than usual were parked in the alley. Kirishima’s and Nami’s, of course, but also a silver car that seemed just as expensive as the other ones. Iida stepped out, examining the license plate before peering into the windows. In the back seat, Bakugou Katsuki was sleeping soundly, limbs thrown carelessly about his car. Such a thing would be off-putting to someone such as Nami, but Iida was used to his friends and their strangeness. Still, out of pure worry, he knocked on the window. The blonde didn’t respond, and the blue-haired man decided that it was no longer any of his concern and headed inside. No crazy group of news reporters were out today, a fact that lifted a certain amount of stress of Tenya’s shoulders. But then he saw Nami frantically scribbling things down at her desk when he passed by the woman’s office, a wire telephone in between her cheek and shoulder.

 

When he took a moment to listen, he noticed she was speaking strangely fast in English. Nami generally only spoke that fast if she was working with an important American figure in the Pro Hero world. To her, every American Pro was important, due to her great interest in the culture. She was an All Might fan, like a large portion of the population even this many years after his retirement. Granted, such a powerful man was a legend, and legends stayed for hundreds of years.

 

“Hey, Iida-san, Iida-san!” One of his younger employees, Erika, ran towards him with paperwork in her arms, looking rather frantic. “Look at the news, sir! We’re getting calls like crazy because of it!” Erika grabbed onto his arm before he could respond and dragged him into the bullpen, pointing up to the television they had installed in the corner of the room. It was for keeping up to date on news, and it seemed they were using it exactly as he had intended. Despite Erika’s concerned movements, he was proud of his employees being responsible.

 

A crowd had gathered below it, watching as three figures moved across the screen. It was clear that a news channel was catching heroes saving the day again. The area around them was near the bay, but everything was rocky, and debris was falling from the sky. Very few bystanders were at the scene, and two of the three heroes had already moved them out of the way. It looked to be Red Riot --who Tenya thought was in the building-- and Ring Wheel. The third addition to their group wasn’t visible until the camera shifted behind a particularly large rock and revealed Deku, who seemed to be in a fight with the villain.

 

The villain clearly had a metamorphic Quirk, taking the very strange form of some kind of lion-like creature. Iida watched this for a moment, his blue eyes following every single movement before they shot down to Erika. “Why are we getting calls because of this attack?” It took her a moment to respond, as she had previously appeared entranced by the news flashing across the screen.

 

She set her large stack of paper on the floor, spreading it around before picking up a single sheet. “Pro Hero Deku-san recently was moved to number one hero, as I’m sure you know, but this here also says that Red Riot is on the top ten list! Ring Wheel is number eight, too, which means we have crazy powerful heroes out there right now! Two of them are from our agency, and the world knows it!” A phone rang from behind them, and Erika nearly pounced on it to answer. Iida glanced back the screen before looking at the door, watching Nami step into the room quickly.

 

She spotted Tenya and jogged over, holding out whatever she had recently been scribbling down on. “An owner of an American Pro Hero agency wants to interview you for having more than two top twenty-five heroes working under your employment,” she paused, heaving a long breath. “but you’d be gone for Tensei’s wedding.”

 

In that instant, he didn’t even bat an eyelash to answer, “Tell him we need to reschedule. If he requires such an interview so badly, he’ll make the proper adjustments accordingly. Maybe the week after would be better.” It was rather cocky of him to suggest an idea such as that one, but when it came down to the important things, he needed to initiate what he thought was good.

 

Nami bit her bottom lip, glancing behind her blue-haired cousin to see Erika talking to someone. “Are you sure? What if he doesn’t want to reschedule? This is a really big opportunity; this agency is one of the best ones in America, you know.” He knew very well.

 

Iida nodded knowingly, finally tearing his gaze away from the television. The crowd was finally dispersing, murmuring excitedly to each other as more phone calls began ringing out in the relatively quiet work space. Each employee rushed to answer it, and the silence that had once been there was noisily interrupted by conversation on top of conversation. “It doesn’t really matter, Nami-san,” his tone was gentle, as though he were nicely correcting someone. “Tensei is considerably more important than any interview, no matter the importance or popularity of this agency or the person who runs it. I wouldn’t judge someone for taking the same actions as me. Please explain to this person that an unmissable family matter is happening that week.” She took a moment, nodding in a rushed manner before hurrying back to her office. Tenya stood there, hands in his pant suit pockets for a long moment, directing his employees back to their desks. Then he exited the room, briskly walking down the hall towards his office.

 

When he entered, the phone sitting on his most prominent piece of furniture rang for its very last time before playing a voicemail. “ Hi, Tenya-kun! I figured you were at work today and decided not to bother you for awhile. Then I just couldn’t resist! ” There was a small pause, and Iida identified the caller as Fuyumi. She was always checking in on him, something he found rather heartwarming. “ I went through the boxes Tensei’s took with him when we moved in together, and I found so many baby pictures! Please reply when you can, so we can maybe set up a little outing for me to give you them! Unless you want your mom to have them, of course. Bye! ” His brother’s fiancée was enjoyable company, and she seemed to have a positive effect on the people she talked to most frequently. He need optimism right now, so he called her back as soon as he plopped down at his desk.

 

“Ah, hello, Fuyumi-san,” she picked up almost instantly, a fact that he appreciated. “Thank you for calling, and please don’t feel like you’re ever bothering me. Your company is very nice. Anyway, I’d be happy to meet up sometime.” The white-haired woman giggled from the other end, but it was muffled through the phone line.

 

A moment later, she replied, “ Oh, gosh, Tenya-kun. You’re so nice .” Fuyumi paused, a shuffling noise emitting from her speaker. “ I’m free all the time now, since Summer break is still going on. Though it does get a little lonely without all those kids in my class. When do you have a day off? Or maybe time for a little cafe excursion? You seem a little too old for me to call it a friendly date.”

 

He nodded, gently breathing out a laugh. “Sunday afternoon would be nice. And I don’t mind what you call it-- my friends still refer to such things like that.” He took a moment to add in a laugh, making sure their conversation stayed lax. “How are you doing? Besides the small loneliness?” She let out a gentle sigh.

 

I’ll text you about all the details later. Also, I am very stressed. Tensei is working, working, working, and only doing a small bit of planning. You know, we have nearly everything ready, but the reception needs a bit more work ,” more shuffling sounded in the background, and it was made clear she was walking somewhere. “ He got the flowers, napkin colors, tablecloth colors, lighting, but I still need to figure out placement and who we’re getting the cake from! There’s a lot more than that, but it would take a while to explain each thing… ” Iida grimaced, internally chiding his brother for being the unlikely workaholic he was.

 

When he realized Fuyumi had stopped speaking, he responded quick, “He can be a little work-centered, as you might’ve realized, Fuyumi-san. If you ever need any help, we can figure something out…” He took a moment and glanced out the window, looking at the reflection of his building through a parallel one. “The Iida family is here to help you. By the way, did Shouto-kun ever tell you--”

 

He was cut off by the woman on the opposing end. “ Sorry to interrupt --thank you and all-- but, yes, Shouto did tell me of the tragedy that took place. He said you attended the service with your mother. May I say that I had no idea you and Shouto were friends?

 

A blue eyebrow arched curiously. Fuyumi had been with Tensei for about three years now, and surely she’d seen him and Todoroki talking at least once . “Really?” his gaze shifted back to his desk where a pile of the usual paperwork sat. He didn't like paperwork, even though it kept his mind busy when he didn't want to actually think. “Well, you know Midoriya-kun--” she hummed in acknowledgement of Iida’s words. “--he and I are really great friends.”

 

Well, Ku-kun always talk about you, but Shouto-kun never does …” She faded off, leaving Iida to wonder where the nickname ‘Ku-kun’ had come from. Izuku was obviously strange when he gave people pet names, but Iida didn’t know that Fuyumi also did that. “ Shouto-kun doesn’t have many friends. He’s with Ku-kun, as you might know, but he never hangs out with anybody. Says he doesn’t have time, but no one really believes that.

 

Tenya pulled a pen out of the small cup he had near the edge of his desk, grabbing a blank piece of paper to write down their coffee date down. “Good to know Midoriya-kun talks about me to everyone,” he let out a sheepish laugh, eyes flitting up to the closed office door. “Alright, so how about noon on Sunday?” The noise she replied with sounded like agreement. “Cool. If you need anything, call me on my personal cell phone next time. You’re family.”

 

Sounds good! Thank you, Tenya-kun. Please have a good day ,” he could hear the smile in her voice before she hung up, leaving him in an eerie silence. When he set the telephone back down, the pen accidentally slipped out of his hand, falling to the floor. Bending over to grab it, he noticed a crumpled piece of paper underneath the desk. Curious and annoyed by the trash, he grabbed his pen and the parchment before rising.

 

After the uncrumpling of paper, Tenya recognized his old handwriting on it in pencil. Firstly, he’d never noticed the piece of paper before, and secondly, when had he thrown it down there? Instead of pondering useless thoughts, he read over what was written.

 

DON’T THROW THIS AWAY!

 

Tenya, you probably think that you’re a piece of crap. Just saying, future self, you probably can be. But it’s not like you’re selfish, ugly, or weak. If you look in the mirror, anyone can see that! This is coming from an eighteen-year-old who doesn’t have the wisdom of living, and whenever you re-read this, you may or may not either. Honestly, there are things we all regret. You probably don’t remember all those little things, since they are indeed small and may be just a fraction of your memory. Or maybe you do, because you’re still the same damn person. Well, this is supposed to correct that. You’re not selfish, dude! You always make sure everyone is doing their best, enjoying their lives, and being happy. You’re still the class representative and president at heart. To hold that position you can’t be selfish. No one wanted to impeach you. And you’re not ugly. I mean, come on, everyone likes tall guys who have a lot of muscles. Besides, even if you were, your personality is too good to hate. Next, you think you’re weak still. Not true. To first support someone, you must be strong enough to support yourself. And you can! You do it everyday when you wake up and get out of bed. You tell yourself that today might be the best day of your life. And there’s a possibility you don’t do that anymore, and you’re even more depressed, but try it! Try saying it to yourself. I promise that after awhile, you’ll start feeling it!

 

Love yourself,

Tenya~

 

Iida stared at the led upon the paper, swallowing the tense lump in his throat. Where had this been hiding? He surely hadn’t been in the agency at all when he was that young. Without second guessing anything (simply because he did not feel like,) he opened one of his drawers and shoved the letter to himself inside. His eighteen-year-old self was rather wise. Tenya brushed this thought aside, pushing his chair back to stand up. Before he could reach the door, however, Nami burst through it and shrieked excitedly at him.

“Tenya, Tenya, Tenya!” She jumped up and down, squeezing her hands so tight in fists that her knuckles began to turn white. He arched a blue eyebrow in curiosity, watching as she shoved an envelope at him. “My boyfriend is finally coming back home! The letter just came here!” Once she had finished jumping, she began hopping from one foot to another rapidly due to the lack of ways to express her emotion on such a grand level.

 

He pulled the out letter inside it hesitantly, only skimming over it. Then, with a collection of all his emotions, Tenya grinned. “Congratulations, Nami-chan,” he pulled the woman into a hug, feeling her still jumping frantically. Knowing the hug wouldn’t do much, he grabbed her shoulders and pushed her away slightly, trying to hold her down. “but please calm down. We’ll have to celebrate tonight.” She nodded vigorously.

 

“Of course,” after a moment, she heaved a deep breath and stopped hopping. “I’ve gotta go finish my work.” Pulling away, he let her go and handed over the letter, watching her back disappear around the corner. This day was growing more and more hectic…

 

The villain Ring Wheel, Red Riot, and Deku had been fighting was apprehended at around 6:00 P.M, with the heroes being treated with first aid only. Ingenium Agencies congratulated their Pros, and sent them home early. At around ten that night, Nami and Iida were standing in the lobby, clearing out their employees. The older woman looked up at her cousin, making no particular expression. “Did you ever figure out where Bakugou-san went after you say him sleeping in that car this morning?”

 

He nodded quickly. “Kirishima-kun woke him up and they went home together. Their relationship has been a little stressed these past few days, and I’m sure one of them just needed the comfort,” Tenya paused, flashing a smile to the tired and trudging Erika. “Anyway, why don’t we go buy a cake to celebrate?”

 

Fortunately, he knew her cousin very well, and she split a grin. “Sounds good with me! Let’s look for the one by great uncle’s house...It used to be open until midnight,” she laughed gently, watching as Iida joined in with her joy. “He used to take us there whenever we did well at school.”

 

“Yes!” He pointed an amused finger at her. “And then my mother told him we would get sick from being so smart!” Nami clutched her stomach, gripping the door handle as tight as possible to stop from collapsing. Those were good times. Good times that didn't seem too long ago, but were still just as nostalgic. “Oh, Nami-chan, we have to go there.”

 

With the closing of the agency, the two drove in Iida’s car all the way out to his grandfather’s old home in hopes that their childhood bakery had stayed in business. And today, Iida decided it was a good day. Both blue-haired adults stepped out of the car, and from inside the bakery, light made the parking lot warm and visible. It was cold, but not too terribly much. However, when they stepped inside, they were hit with a comfortable heat.

 

“Holy moly, are those Iidas I see?” The baker, who was much older than they had remembered (as that was how time functioned,) poked his head out from the back of the store, grinning. “What was it? Nami and Tenya? What brings you here so late?” Both relatives stepped up to the counter, undoubtedly excited. Nami looked at the cake display, grinning.

 

Tenya cleared his throat, “It’s been awhile! There was a special event and we couldn’t resist coming here. Can’t believe you’re still open so late.” He followed Nami’s gaze, seeing she had spotted her favorite cake.

 

“Tenya-kun, we gotta get that one,” it was simple, not unlike Nami’s style, and it was vanilla. “Want me to pay?” He shook his head, pulling out his wallet. The baker showed a smile to Nami, turning to Iida with the same expression. The two cousins and the baker caught up, explaining a few things about their family before sitting down at a table to have a slice of cake. It was pleasant, that moment, and everything in his world seemed a little less stressful. Perhaps it was the memories in bakery, or the letter he'd written to himself.

 

And, sitting there, Tenya smiled in reminiscence of something good. They invited the baker over to share a slice, and he took it after a short and silly argument about how it would be rude of him. But just the three of them took that moment and locked it in a place where it could not be forgotten.

 

How lovely, Iida thought, people could be.


 

Tenya Iida noticed that a month could go by quickly. Nothing too eventful happened (a few wedding things, but they didn’t go wrong), and he wasn’t able to reschedule that important interview. It didn’t matter, really. Tensei’s wedding was today, and he’d never be late to such a thing. So, wearing his suit, he hurried out the door. That morning, he’d been staring at himself for an hour, telling himself that everything was all going to be okay. And he supposed it was. Though he did not have a speech prepared for the reception, he did have something else. Neither Tensei nor Fuyumi wanted a traditional marriage, so they'd taken Western themes and decided on that instead.

 

His feet carried him to the entrance of the cathedral, entering with his head held high in hopes that the sour memories would not hit him. Today was happy, and that had been decided already. Tensei approached him quickly, grinning nervously. It made sense, considering the fact that they were nearing the time of the marriage. “Tenya! I’m glad you’re here,” they hugged quickly, and then stepped into the large Sanctuary aisle, approaching the altar. Though the rows of pews were empty, Tenya noticed his brother was still holding his breath. This was so very important to his elder brother. “It’s going to start soon, man...This is crazy.”

 

Iida laughed gently. “Please, don’t get nervous now. I’ll be close by to remind you of your vows, anyway.” The laugh they shared was sheepish, and slightly nervous on Tensei’s part. Tenya wished him luck, and that was the last thing they spoke to each other before Tensei became a married man.

 

Tense, Tenya watched the pews fill with people murmuring happily. Tensei clasped his hands together, glancing at the doors where his soon-to-be wife would enter. Weddings were longer than Iida had expected, but he distracted himself by looking at the front rows. Rei, Natsuo, Shouto, his mother, Nami, a very large portion of the Iida family, Izuku and Inko, and a few of Fuyumi and Tensei’s friends. Plus Uraraka, who was sitting near the back with a huge grin on her face. Then the bride stepped through the door, arms linked with Enji Todoroki. In her free hand, a bouquet of white flowers matched her dress. Tenya watched as his brother instantly relaxed, cheeks sticking out in a huge smile. Fuyumi Todoroki reached the groom, standing across from him with a veil barely hiding her made-up face. The priest began to speak. Tenya wasn’t listening, though; he wasn’t interested in getting married and didn’t really have to pay attention.

 

What he did pay attention to was when the ring-bearer approached --one of the Todoroki cousins-- and offered up two beautiful pieces of jewelry. They kissed, and Tenya shifted in his spot uncomfortably. No matter who it was, he didn’t like watching anyone show affection. Maybe it was his personal opinion, or maybe it was society that had made him that way.

 

Pictures were taken, and Nami caught the bouquet that was thrown by Fuyumi. She and her boyfriend cheered ever-so-happily. Then everyone flooded out onto the lawn, where Tensei had decided their reception would be. Tenya sat down at an empty table, watching as people flocked around the newly-weds. It wasn’t that he felt alienated. The feeling welled up inside his stomach was happiness. He was so happy . But he couldn’t bring himself to smile.

 

Shouto and Natsuo Todoroki eventually came to sit at the same table, drinks in their hands. “Glad to have you as a brother-in-law,” Shouto offered the slightest hint of a smile, glancing over his shoulder at Midoriya. Tenya nodded and expressed joy the best he could. The two seemed very comfortable around him, considering their many different meetings.

 

Natsuo grinned without hesitation. “Fuyumi’s so happy. She deserves it…” he faded off, something suddenly catching his eye. “Holy crap, look!” Both Todorokis turned their attention elsewhere, saying goodbye to Iida before running off. Sitting there, by himself, he heard a conversation between Rei and Enji Todoroki. He knew the legal complications between the two. Enji Todoroki was divorced, sued, and was forced to retire. However, the two adults had somehow managed to conduct themselves properly for this event. On Todoroki Rei’s part, she was allowed to act in an unpleasant manner towards her ex-husband, and yet she didn't. She was civil.

 

“Oh, I wish Touya were here,” Rei spoke in a gentle voice. “He would be so happy. And how might you be doing, Enji?” Iida sensed nothing sharp or even relatively cold in her voice, but he wasn’t surprised. He knew Mrs. Todoroki well, and she was quite calm.

 

Enji cleared his throat, “Alright...Still apologizing to those two boys,” out of the corner of his eye, Iida saw him cock his head in the direction of Shouto and Natsuo. “I completely understand their grief. You?”

 

“Great, actually,” she glanced down at her wrist, reading a watch. “Shouto-kun always brings his boyfriend to my house for dinner. He’s so...happy. I’m assuming Izuku-kun has not spoken to you.”

 

Enji spit out whatever alcohol in his mouth onto the grass, hacking. “No, no, he has…” the redhead faded off, trying to catch his breath. Rei gently patted his back until he had finally stopped. “And has made it very clear he doesn’t want me anywhere near my youngest son. Look, he’s giving me the stink-eye right now.” Iida couldn’t help but look in the green-haired man’s direction, where he was indeed glaring in Enji’s direction.

 

Rei replied smoothly, “No, I think you’re crazy, Enji. He’s talking to his mother.” She then chuckled lightly. “Have you ever spoken to Inko-chan? She’s such a good woman. Her husband recently died, though.”

 

“I have, actually,” he replied. “She raised her kid well if he hates me.” Rei laughed again, patting his arm out of pity this time. He found it just as funny, and went on to laugh. “I hate me too.” Iida lost interest in their conversation, and noticed the newlyweds, bride’s maids, and men of honor sitting down at a large table with the rest of the guests. Tensei hurriedly waved him over to the seat beside him, and he complied as quickly as possible.

 

Once silence had settled over the wedding attendees, Tensei cleared his throat and stood. “I believe that my best man, and brother, was going to make a toast?” Tenya nodded, pushing any nervousness in his gut so far down he’d never reach it. With that, he stood and took a glass of champagne up in his hand. This was it. The moment where he proved that he could be strong when nervousness was beating down on him as harshly as the sun in summer.

 

The expectant guests drew the nervousness up until his eyes fell on Nami and his mother, who had smiles on their faces that were worth a million joys. They were waiting for him to offer up this beautiful speech that he didn’t have prepared. So he took a moment, breathed, and spoke what came from his heart. “Being married is a joyful experience, huh? I mean, I’ve never tried it, but I don’t really plan on it. And if I did, it would only be once,” a snicker came from a few of the guests, though he began to think it was out of pity. “but, many don’t get to come across this joy.” He noticed Shouto glanced at Midoriya by his side, and Nami at her lover. “I am so elated that my older brother gets to feel this beautiful emotion. I hope their marriage continues to thrive on such love, and that our connected families can support them in all of their journeys. Even though my brother is already graying,” he received an eye roll from Tensei. “He will be able to love his beautiful wife for a very long time. And I hope that, eventually, the love that you have grows too great to be defeated, and binds you after death. I wish you the very best.” Iida gave a bow, and sat down, lifting his glass along with everyone. It was then he realized tears had come from his eyes, and a few others were crying. Fuyumi, Tensei, his mother, both Midoriyas, Rei, Natsuo, Nami, and Uraraka.

 

Despite the sounds of crying that were heard that day, happiness was spread through the air.

 

After the reception, some of them decided to head off to a bar. Mrs. Iida, Tenya, the newlyweds, Shouto, Midoriya, Natsuo, Nami, Rei, and Enji were among them, plus an already drunk Uraraka. Inko decided to take her home before any damage was caused and wished everyone goodnight.

 

Sitting at the bartop, exhausted, was Tenya. His brother plopped down beside him, sighing. “How ya’ doing, kiddo? Though you ain’t much of one anymore.” Tensei patted the younger man’s head, coughing slightly. Tenya slouched over the counter, resting his elbow on the wood. It was the end of the day and he was ready to sleep. Sleep for so long he wouldn't wake up until the weekend was over.

 

“I’m just fine,” he paused, lifting up his head to take off his glasses. “And you can call me kiddo. I don’t care. You?” Tensei chuckled for a moment, glancing over his shoulder at Izuku, Shouto, and Fuyumi, who were chatting and drinking.

 

It took him a moment to respond. “I’m great, but in my opinion, you don’t seem ‘just fine.’ You know, Nami told me what she said to you. About how she noticed you were down...And she’s right, man. It’s difficult to know that your family knows exactly what’s wrong.” Iida set his chin back down on the counter, blowing his bangs out if his eyes.

 

“You got married today, stop talking like that,” the younger man chided, turning his face to look up at his brother. “If you want to discuss my depressed attitude, refrain from doing it at this moment. Go be with your wife.” He waved his hand in Fuyumi’s direction weakly, letting out a small groan in pain from the action.

 

Tensei chortled, taking a rather rough swig of his beer. “She’s bonding with her brother and almost brother-in-law.” At that, Tenya lifted his head curiously, sudden aware of what was happening. Tensei slapped a hand over his mouth, speaking through it in a rushed tone. “Oh, crap, you didn’t know they were engaged?” There was too much happening. First his brother, next Mei and Ibara, then Bakugou and Kirishima, and now Shouto and Midoriya? This was getting to be difficult.

 

He shook his head violently. “No idea. When did that happen?” Tensei sucked in both his lips nervously, hopping down from the stool. He cleared his throat, shifting awkwardly on his feet. It was clear he was guilt-ridden. “I won't tell. I promise.”

 

“Well, Fuyu kinda pried it out of them,” he scratched the back of his head with a sheepish expression, closing his eyes. “Don’t tell anyone that Shouto doesn’t have a ring yet either. Fu said he was a little embarrassed by it.” Iida nodded, watching as Fuyumi waved her husband over. Tensei gave his brother another pat on the head, running over to her. So Tenya sat there longer, chin resting on the bartop.

 

Everyone was getting married. He didn’t like it. It would make him feel...out of place. Sero, Kyouka, and Yaoyorozu were already married. So were Koda and Satou. Then there was Asui and Tokoyami, plus Aoyama. They were still young. Why did they need to get married so early on?

 

Tenya didn’t know how long he was sitting there along until Fuyumi came up beside him. “Hello,” her voice was bright, but still a hint concerned. “Tenya-kun, I want to thank you.” He raised an eyebrow, reaching for his glasses as he sat up. It was only appropriate, so he didn’t look like he was ignoring her. Fuyumi was too good to be ignored.

 

“I appreciate it, Fuyumi-chan, but why would you need to show any gratitude?” He inquired gently, blinking a few times to get the world clear again. His brain was aching, something that nearly ceased his speaking altogether. It was difficult to withstand such pain and try to participate in an adult conversation. “It’s not like I’ve done that much for you two.”

 

She shook her head, gently laughing. “I’m not just thanking you on my part. I’m thanking you on everyone’s part. You’re the first person most of us turn to because you always tell us not to panic when we’re worried, and ask us what the problem is and how we might be able to fix it when we’re sad. Then, no matter what, you must find some way to make us content. And I want to make sure you treat yourself equal to everyone else.” She clasped her hands together, letting them sit in her lap.

 

At such kindness, he smiled gently. “Right…” it took him a moment to think of something to add before continuing. “I should, but it’s difficult.” This time, she raised an eyebrow curiously. “It’s not that I hate myself, but I have a problem liking myself.” Saying these words out loud made him realize what he had been doing these past few years. He had been picking away at his confidence in short bursts so that he was nothing but a hollow shell of pain.

 

Having heard this, she reached out and patted his shoulder, biting the inside of her bottom lip. “No one can help you through this stage in your life. I went through the same exact thing, and I realized that I had to help myself. It’s not being indifferent to people’s care and love, but it’s finding yourself. Maybe you won’t get through this stage in the next five years, or even the next decade, but there will be a point where you see that you are so worth it,” Fuyumi paused, looking down at the countertop. “and when you finally see your reflection, you’ll be able to just smile. When you love yourself, you don’t have to call it vanity. And when you show people this love, you aren’t being self-centered. It just expresses how strong you are. That you’ve been at that same difficult place plenty of people go through, but you’ve improved . You’ve been this shell, and then expanded. Grown out of it into this force that is confident, and brave, and can be happy . I’m not saying that it’ll happen tomorrow, Tenya-kun, but I am saying that it will happen. We all feel lost at some point or another.” She let out a gentle sigh, showing him a face that understood. That told him it was okay to be stuck sometimes.

 

She was correct. Surely this change would not happen in a night, but it would hopefully come soon.

 

With the end of her small speech, Tenya finally blinked. He’d been listening so intently, he might’ve forgotten to breathe. “Thank you, Fuyumi-chan,” and he gave her a genuine smile. She nodded with a quick bow, hurrying off to go join the others in their laughter.  

 

Over time, people started winding down. Shouto and Izuku headed out quickly, wishing the bride and groom happiness. Iida told them that he wished both of them the best, and that he apologized if he'd invaded their privacy by finding out about the engagement second hand. Rei and Enji both left at the same time in their respective cars, and Nami went with her boyfriend. Once again, Iida saw them off, telling them to inform him of when they would be getting married. Nami assured it would be soon enough. Natsuo stood around the entrance, and Tenya waited silently with him until a man came to pick him up. He figured it was his boyfriend or husband, as they exchanged a few whispers and held hands when they approached the car. Iida and his mother went around picking up the party’s mess while Fuyumi and Tensei got into their car and headed home. Overall, it was a good day. Plenty of pictures, memories, and joyful things.

 

Tenya picked up a piece of trash, watching as the bartenders slowly started to shut things down. He turned, looking at his mother. She smiled at him weakly, and eventually they had everything cleaned up. The two stepped out of the bar as the employees locked up, wishing them a goodnight.

 

Mrs. Iida turned to her son, smiling. “I love you, honey. Ah, and Nami is hosting family dinner next Sunday, just so you know,” she reached out and grabbed Tenya’s arm, walking with him towards her car. With that comment, he recalled that tomorrow everything would reset to the way it was before. “You know, I miss your father and grandpa.”

 

“Me too, mother,” he replied gently, letting her lead him wherever she needed to go. “but they surely had a wonderful life.” She nodded, reaching into her purse for her keys. Once the car had clicked unlocked, he pulled open the driver’s door for her. A moment passed between them that was silent. All that could be heard was cars rushing by on the streets beside them.

 

Hesitantly, she let go of his arm and plopped down. “Take care of yourself and Nami, alright? She can get a little crazy.” He nodded with a small chuckle, watching as she pulled her car door shut.

 

Tenya waited until she had driven away to get in his own car, heading home in the darkness. The apartment building was dead silent, as was his dwelling, but it didn’t really matter to him. Getting ready for bed, he stared at himself in the mirror, half-heartedly thinking of Fuyumi’s words.

 

Maybe it was worth a shot. Thinking the way she described, he meant.

 

It’s difficult to know the line between humble and self-destructive. But Tenya Iida is starting to figure out exactly what those things mean.


 

 

[End: The Possibility That Positivity is An Option]


~~~


 

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