16 years old
It was a sunny March day, the breeze rustling the newly budding flowers lining the park Shouto and Izuku were walking through. It was one of the final days of end of year exams, and Izuku had asked Shouto to walk with him for a little bit before they went back to the dorms. Everything was so hectic, with packing up for the couple weeks they’d get off before returning to school in April, and cramming in what they could before spilling their knowledge on paper. It was relaxing to just forget about all of it and admire the nature around them for an hour or so.
Though, Shouto noticed that Izuku wasn’t as relaxed as he was. He fidgeted with his hands, picked at the buttons on his dress shirt, readjusted his tie over and over again. He was nervous, but about what?
“Is everything alright? Are you worried about exams?” Shouto asked, slowing his pace until he and Izuku were standing still. The wind blew the curls of Izuku’s bangs back, and even from the side, Shouto could see the curve of his brow, deep in thought.
Izuku didn’t respond. Well, he did, but not directly to Shouto. He muttered nonsense to himself, sorting out his thoughts and formulating what exactly it was that he wanted to tell Shouto.
“Midoriya.” Shouto poked at his shoulder for good measure, hoping it’d shake him out of his daze.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m just...thinking,” Izuku mumbled, his gaze transfixed on a crack in the sidewalk instead of at Shouto.
Shouto sighed. He never minded Izuku’s muttering. He found it endearing, really, but Izuku had been quiet since they’d arrived. Now, he was a mess of thoughts. It worried Shouto.
“Can you tell me what you’re thinking about?” Shouto asked, softly.
Izuku’s face flared red. “I mean, uh, I was planning on it, but...not yet. I’m...not ready to tell you quite...yet.”
That wasn’t the reaction Shouto had expected at all.
Izuku covered his face with his hands, the embarrassment of freaking out like that in front of his best friend making the heat almost unbearable. He was still thinking it over. He’d...been thinking this over for months now, but he didn’t want to screw it all up now that the day was here.
“You aren’t feeling sick, are you?” Shouto asked, even more confusion etching his features than normal.
Izuku shook his head frantically, still trying to regather his thoughts to come up with what he can tell Shouto right now. Or, he could be blunt and get to the point of it instantly. Though, that didn’t seem like him.
“I’m not sick, it’s just…” Izuku shifted his eyes away from the ground finally, dared to take a look at the boy worriedly staring at him. Without hesitation, his body felt all warm and melty again. His legs almost gave way, and his hands shook. “I wasn’t planning on telling you so soon. I’m not prepared, but honestly, I uh, I don’t think I ever will be.” He tried his hardest to take in a breath to calm his nerves. “To put it simply, I...um, I…” He cursed himself for being so nervous about this. Once he just said it , this pent up energy would be released, and he’d feel better. He took his deep breath successfully this time, and blurted, “I wanted to tell you that I like you.”
Izuku wouldn’t dare look in Shouto’s direction.
Shouto was a little bit surprised. “That’s good to hear, I like you, too.” The words were...new, and didn’t quite flow from his mouth. But, he wouldn’t have wanted to say them to anyone but Izuku. It made sense to him.
“Really? Are you sure?” Izuku asked, in complete shock. He forced himself to turn his attention over to the person he’d just poured his heart to. The butterflies that were swarming in his stomach and threatening to breach his throat didn’t ease up. Really, they seemed to become more excited, and his whole body felt jittery and overly warm.
“I don’t think I’d say it if I wasn’t serious.” Shouto tilted his head, noticing the shift in Izuku’s mood.
Izuku clenched his fists, nodding frantically, “Yeah, of course. I didn’t think you were lying to me. I’m not sure what I thought at all.” He gulped, trying to stop his thoughts from moving faster than his mouth and brain could keep up. “I just don’t want things between us to be uncomfortable, I think.”
Shouto shook his head. “Nothing needs to change. We can just...take it slow, right?”
“Yeah. I would prefer that,” Izuku confirmed.
They realized they’d been standing in the middle of the sidewalk for a little longer than would be considered normal, so they continued with their walk.
Izuku was able to focus on the scenery a little bit better now, with the worry of what he’d say gone. Though, he was very much aware that Shouto was walking considerably closer than he had been earlier.
Exams had passed, and Shouto found himself sitting in Izuku’s room nearly every day of the break before their second year started. They had moved back out of their dorms for the time being, and Shouto preferred limiting the time he spent at his house. This really meant he only came home to sleep and eat breakfast, and giving Fuyumi company for as long as he could stand.
Izuku had gladly agreed to let Shouto stay at his house during the day. He’d even offered to let him stay overnight, but Shouto feared it would cause even more problems with his father if he did so.
The time they spent together over the break allowed them to get more comfortable with what their relationship was now. It was a few days after their initial confessions that they officially became a couple. They decided to go on a few simple dates before school began again, enjoying the alone time.
When school did start again, nobody was all that surprised by the news. Most of their classmates saw it coming, and showered them in embarrassing compliments and jokes.
The time in high school was simple, they learned more and more about each other, to eventually strengthen their bond as they got older and needed to depend on each other more. It all had started with a walk under cherry blossoms.
21 years old
Shouto grimaced as Izuku rushed off to take care of a distress call for the third time that day. It was nearly 9 pm, Izuku's shift had been over for hours, but yet he still had felt like he was the only one who could take the call.
It was something that Shouto admired about Izuku, but it became dull and rather annoying to sit in their apartment alone nearly every evening. He always could tag along, but he didn't have the same endless energy that his boyfriend seemed to have.
Shouto sighed and uselessly waved at the closed door.
His own costume was hung on one of the matching hooks by the front door. It seemed that its teal counterpart was always missing.
Shouto bit at his lip, thinking over yet again how he wanted to break the news to Izuku. He was worried that it would make him upset. Izuku was always, always so passionate about his heroisms. He was also the best partner Shouto could ask for. But there was this nagging feeling in his gut that told him that being in the center of the action was not for him.
They hadn't been considered full fledged heroes for long either. They had worked as sidekicks up until the beginning of that year, then registered as official heroes to begin working as such. When Shouto filled out the paperwork, and handed in his records, it didn't feel right.
This wasn't the path he had chosen for himself. It was the path that had led him to meet all of his friends, and who he'd believed to possibly be his soulmate; although, when he'd been asked as a child what he wanted to be when he grew up, “hero” was never what came to mind.
Shouto never had the heart to tell Izuku that before. But it was becoming unbearable to begrudgingly fight villains, come home exhausted, and find that there was no boyfriend to cuddle up to at the end of his day. He began to hate his job, and had been looking at what else he could do with the qualifications he already had.
He wanted to do something where he could keep himself busy and be satisfied with his work everyday, so he didn't have to rely on Izuku to comfort his bad mood.
While he thought of this, he kept himself busy tidying up the kitchen and living room. He'd cook something once he got the call that Izuku would be on his way home, so the food wouldn't get cold.
He'd decided that now would be a good time to bring up his career shift. He wasn't too vital a part of their agency yet, and while he'd been well-known by practically all of Japan for years, there were plenty of young heroes with more dedication and potential than he did.
It took about two hours for the call to arrive, and Shouto both let out a sigh of relief and felt a sense of dread. He always, always worried about Izuku's well-being when he was off on hero missions. Shouto had seen heavy damage to his boyfriend’s limbs, and was always the one to check on him until the healing process was done. He constantly wondered if there'd be too much damage to fix one day, but that thought in itself sent him into blind panic, so he forced it out of his head.
He was happy to know that Izuku would make it home without a scratch. Though, he didn't want to make Izuku upset with what he was about to tell him.
Izuku sat in the back of a taxi, staring at the night lights of the city, watching as they swished past. He rubbed at a tiny bruise on his wrist, caused by the villain he'd been pursuing. The fight was easy, but the villain had managed to grab at his wrist a little too tight before Izuku could land a solid blow.
The majority of his overtime was spent filling out police reports, rather than actually fighting. That was when his exhaustion began to kick in.
In all honesty, he hadn't been sleeping well, and the consistent villain attacks drew him to work more than his body was capable of. He was considering taking tomorrow off. He knew Shouto would appreciate it. It was clear to him without his boyfriend saying a word that he was worried and annoyed by Izuku's excessive work schedule.
He had to lay off on it a bit.
Part of him felt guilty for wanting to rest. If he were to live up to All Might, he needed to be accessible at all times. But he also needed to spend time with Shouto. It was a juggling act that he was failing miserably at.
He arrived home finally, at nearly midnight, and threw his shoes against the shoe rack, relieved to slide into more comfortable slippers.
Exhaustedly, he called out, “I’m home!” in the the direction of the kitchen, where Shouto always was when he arrived home late. He sat down on the couch when he got his response and flipped through the channels on TV.
Once he'd settled on something, two mugs were placed on the coffee table, along with bowls of fresh ramen.
Being served like this so frequently wasn't something he'd expected Shouto to do. There was never a time they'd established this routine. One day, Shouto had decided to do this and it became a habit after a while.
“Thank you,” Izuku said, picking his mug up quickly when he realized how scratchy and tired his voice sounded.
Shouto plopped down next to him and absentmindedly grazed his fingers along Izuku's arm as he took a sip from his own mug. “Are you okay?”
When Shouto's fingers reached his wrist, Izuku captured them in his hand. “I'm tired, but I'm fine.”
Shouto hummed. “You know, I miss seeing you.” He felt along each of Izuku’s scarred and calloused fingers.
“I see you every day, though. Is something wrong?” he set his mug back down on the table to shift his attention to Shouto. Though, Shouto’s attention seemed all over the place, like he was nervous and hiding something. It worried Izuku; it was rare that either of them kept a secret, and even then it was for something small like a present or surprise date. This seemed...much bigger.
Shouto bit the skin of the thumb on his other hand and sighed. “Yeah, a little bit.” He hadn’t planned exactly how he’d explain this but he figured Izuku would understand what he was saying anyway. “I feel like I never see you anymore. And I don’t mean in the morning and at night, I mean we never have any days to ourselves because we’re both working all the time. You moreso than me, but that’s not really my point.” He took another breath and tensed his shoulders. “I think I want to change my career. I know it doesn’t solve everything, since your schedule won’t change much, but at least mine will be easier to work with. Aside from that, I realized I don’t like being a hero either. I was thinking of going into something medical instead, specifically paramedics. I think with the qualifications I already have, and with some more training, I could start pretty quickly. But I didn’t want to look into it until we talked about it.”
This development definitely surprised Izuku. He had seen how hard Shouto worked to become a hero. He thought that was what he was happy with doing, but he also noticed that Shouto never wanted to come with him on extra shifts. He always looked...tired, and Izuku never pressured him into tagging along.
“Okay, if that’s what you want to do, I trust that we can make it all work.” Izuku paused and smiled. “I was actually thinking about taking tomorrow off, if you want. I know you’re working too but…”
Shouto interrupted him, “Yeah, I’d like that.”
27 years old
Shouto was fiddling with a pen and looking over the incidents that had happened that week, when his phone vibrated in his pocket.
He pulled it out cautiously--his boss was particular about personal matters while on the clock. Though, the only one who’d text him at this time was Izuku, and it could be important, so he happily took that risk.
I need you to come here as fast as you can, there’s a kid who got hurt
Shouto’s heart leapt to his throat when he saw the location. It was just outside a preschool, and it was only 5 minutes away.
He frantically typed out a response as he pulled his uniform jacket on and strode toward the back door. Distantly he heard his boss rapid-fire asking questions but he blocked every one of them out as he hopped into one of the ambulances and started it up.
Shouto stopped and stared at his whitened knuckles on the wheel, making a mental note to call his boss when the situation was safe. His heart was hammering, nothing like this had occurred before in his time working as a paramedic. Generally, the rescue heroes took care of major catastrophes. They were just in charge taking care of those injured afterward. This must've been a particularly severe case if Shouto was not only a part of the rescue, but was contacted directly by Izuku, rather than getting a call through the police or their emergency phone.
Shouto arrived at the location Izuku had sent and his stomach dropped.
He could barely make out Izuku, crouched next to a child with electric blue hair, who was crying uncontrollably and clutching his chin, blood leaking through his fingers. There were multiple bodies lying in the alley nearby, only one seeming to be alive, tied up and clearly a cause of the disaster that was in front of him, judging by his outfit and the tears in it.
Shouto hopped out, and called to Izuku over the blaring sound of the siren.
“Get a stretcher, reinforcement will be here in a little bit,” Izuku ordered, returning his attention back to the child as quickly as possible.
Shouto did as he'd been told.
“Hey,” Izuku said softly to the child once the stretcher was rolled nearby, “can you still walk?” He waited for the nod, smiled, and looked back at Shouto. “Okay, that's good, can you lie down here? You're going to be okay, Shouto will take good care of you. He's really smart, and he knows how to make you better.”
The child hiccuped with tears, shakily swiping them away from his eyes. Still, he nodded and dragged himself on the stretcher.
Shortly after Shouto pushed the stretcher into the back of the ambulance, the reinforcement came. More ambulances pulled into the small area in front of the school, and the casualties were gradually taken away from the site.
A police officer talked to Izuku about what had happened, which Shouto took as his turn to head to the hospital.
Izuku held up his hand and shook his head. “No, I had someone take over for you. I only want you to be there when Itsuki wakes up. I...feel like I should fill you in.”
The school had been attacked. A shooter had entered the building and killed a teacher. The pro heroes who'd been called were Itsuki's parents. When the heroes arrived, an underground villain had shown up as well, with the full intent of killing the two heroes.
Itsuki, who was only four, had been the bait for the murder of two fairly high ranking heroes. There were four culprits in total, with three escaping, and only an accomplice being captured.
It was a devastating day to all who were involved, aside from the triumphant villains.
Shouto's heart sunk. If only he'd known, he would have come to help. But, he wasn't a hero anymore. He still had his license if need-be, but he'd only had to use it once since quitting his hero career. It made his life more peaceful, but in situations like this, he felt like he wasn't giving enough to his city. What could have happened if he had been there with the victims of the crime? Would he have been able to save them? Would he have been a casualty in this as well?
“Shouto,” Izuku said, touching his arm gently and snapping himself out of his internal regret. “Are you okay?”
Shouto shook his head. “Honestly, I'm not. That kid...he's without parents now. And they...they seemed like such caring parents. If they came here to save their son and died for him.” He bit his lip, hard enough to pierce skin and draw blood. He wasn't in a nightmare, this was real life. “He's too young to deal with this.”
The same would have been said for Shouto's childhood. He didn't want to see a child suffer alone like he had.
“I know. And I want you to be there when he wakes up. He passed out once he was pulled into the ambulance, the shock caught up to him. He might feel better if he sees you first. You're a somewhat familiar face.”
Shouto swallowed, hoping the dryness would disappear from his throat. “Okay. Do you know much about him besides what you told the officer?”
“Not really, he wasn’t able to talk to me that much.”
“Got it, I’ll look after him.” Shouto then noticed how rough Izuku looked. A large gash ran across Izuku’s cheek, from his cheekbone to his chin. He was clutching the right side of his abdomen, and both of his arms had various slashes through his costume. “Are you okay?”
The response he received was exactly as he’d expected. “I’m fine, I’ve had worse, remember?” Izuku heaved a sigh. “Of course I’ll have to be fixed up, but I don’t want you worrying about me. It’s more important you focus on Itsuki, he’s been through a lot.”
“Of course. I’ll take you to the hospital too, then?”
Izuku gave a shaky but amused smile. “I guess you will.”
Shouto helped Izuku get situated in one of the patient rooms and quickly filled out a couple of notes on the clipboard for the doctor to look over. He was reluctant to leave but gingerly kissed Izuku's cheek, below where he'd been cut, before he left the room to find where Itsuki had been taken.
When he found the child's room, his heart sunk to see how many needles poked into the young boy's arm. He hadn't realized how injured Itsuki was before, since he was so focused on the dead bodies near him. There were scrapes on his arms and his abdomen, a large gash (much like Izuku's) on his chin that appeared deeper in comparison.
His eyes were closed, and the muscles in his face were taut, like he was having a bad dream. Shouto considered waking him up, but feared it would interfere with his stability.
Shouto pulled a chair beside the bed and sat, looking over the notes that the other paramedic and doctor had made about his condition and what would be required to bring his vitals back to normal. It seemed to Shouto that the largest concern was his mental state, and possible head trauma. Everything that Itsuki had just witnessed was worse than what most heroes saw on a daily basis. To be so young, and to witness the death of both parents was sure to cause problems for him not only in his daily life, but with his overall mental health.
The machine hooked up to Itsuki was steady, which eased Shouto’s conscious significantly.
After a couple of minutes, Shouto noticed a shuffling from beside him as he scribbled down more notes of what his concerns are. He turned to where the boy was lying down, to see he was attempting to prop himself up in bed, and looked confused.
“Don’t sit up. You’ll hurt yourself,” Shouto softly warned. He stood from his seat and gently touched Itsuki’s shoulder. “You need to get rest, okay?”
The boy only seemed to become further confused. He jumped when he looked at the various tubes running from the inside of his arm. “Wh-what?” His eyes began to well with tears. “Who are you? Where’s mommy and daddy?” He sniffled and shifted again, but didn’t make much attempt to get up when he realized he was attached to the machines next to him.
“I helped Hero Deku save you. Do you remember him?” Shouto decided it was best to avoid the second question for the time being.
Itsuki nodded, messy and sweat-drenched locks falling into his face. “I think I remember. He’s really cool.” A tiny smile came to Itsuki’s mouth, but it disappeared quickly after. A worried expression replaced it. “He saved me? From what? Did he save mommy and daddy too?”
Shouto exhaled, apologizing in his head to the innocent child sitting in front of him. “There were villains. They were trying to hurt you. But you know, Deku is a really good hero, and he saved you. You’ll be okay now.”
It was clear Itsuki was annoyed that Shouto still wouldn’t answer all of his questions. He was a smart kid, possibly too much for his own good. “I know. But, did he save them too?”
Shouto squeezed his eyes shut and braced for the overwhelming emotions that would come next. “No. I’m so sorry, Itsuki. He tried to do everything he could to save them but he couldn’t.”
There was silence, for almost an entire minute. Shouto sat, heart pounding in his ears with anticipation. He watched as the boy's expression went blank, like he needed to process what had been said, and then he balled his tiny fists and started crying.
Shouto was used to dealing with overly emotional people; between living with Izuku and seeing patients who'd lived through a number of tragedies, it wasn't new to him to console somebody. But it was new to him to watch a newly orphaned child learn of the news.
Softly, as to not upset Itsuki further, Shouto asked, “Do you need anything from me?”
Itsuki nodded, violently wiping away the consistent streams of tears. “Come...here.” He hicupped and sniffled between words.
Shouto rolled his chair even closer to the hospital bed. He held out his hand to Itsuki. Most patients calmed down when they were able to hold someone's hand. But, Itsuki just shook his head. He leaned forward best he could, but Shouto stopped him again. He instead leaned into the cushiony mattress. “What is it you want me to do?”
“Hug...m-mommy and daddy did when….I was sad,” Itsuki explained, choking on his own sobs. The recollection of the memory sent him into a much more intense wave of crying and shaking.
Shouto pulled a knee up on the side of the bed and pulled the small child into his arms. He trembled horribly, his tears soaked into Shouto's uniform instantly, and his fingers dug into Shouto's back.
“It'll be okay. I'll be taking care of you for now. You'll be able to do whatever you want when you're all healed. Maybe Hero Deku will come with us to go somewhere fun.”
He really didn't know what would happen once Itsuki was healed. Assumedly, he'd be put into the foster care system. Hopefully he'd find a new permanent home quickly. But he planned on sticking by Itsuki as long as he could.
Itsuki couldn't say much of anything in his state. His convulsing sobs halted when Shouto was talking, and the thought of being able to hang out with his favorite hero, who had also saved his life, was reassuring. But the rawness of the news was too strong for Itsuki.
He had never felt more pain than a measly paper cut in his four short years of life. To be hit with this suddenly felt like a bad dream. At first, he'd even thought it was a dream, but when he could feel the gut wrenching twist in his stomach, he knew it wasn't. The interesting looking man who was hugging him made him feel a little better.
“Okay,” was all Itsuki could manage, his voice shallow.
Shouto pulled away from him and nodded. “I'll sit here with you until the doctor comes back, okay?”
“Okay,” Itsuki repeated.
He wouldn't actually be “okay” for a long, long time.
Izuku was nearly finished being patched up, the pain becoming a dull throb, and he waited for Shouto to return to the room. The nurse asked him if there was anything else he needed, but he shook his head. She left him alone, and told him that Shouto would be back in a couple minutes.
In his solitude, Izuku was able to think about the day’s events more thoroughly.
Itsuki was alone now. His only family had been his parents, who had both been murdered, and Izuku felt a sinking feeling in his stomach when he thought about it. No child that young should lose his parents like that. Really, nobody ever should have to witness that gruesome a death, especially one of a family member.
A part of Izuku told him that he had to do something about it, but he was still considering his options.
That’s when Shouto returned to his room, offering a small, slightly pained, smile. “You doing okay? He's stable, but he's understandably devastated. He's really happy you were the one who saved him. He's a big fan.” Shouto's lips twitched in an attempt of a smile.
Izuku laughed softly. “I’m doing good. I'm glad he's able to recover physically for now at least.” Izuku hesitated on how he wanted to proceed with explaining his thoughts. “I may have a solution to help him recover more quickly and where we both can see him.” He paused, reading Shouto's expression as having interest, though he was scribbling on the clipboard. “Have you ever thought about wanting to be a parent?”
Shouto stopped what he was doing, and raised his eyebrows at the sudden question. “It’s...crossed my mind a few times… Are you saying…?”
“I was just thinking, since we live together, and we have stable jobs...and this newly traumatized and orphaned boy needs a home.” Izuku started getting nervous bringing the topic up. They’d never talked about something like this before, and he had no idea how Shouto would feel about it, considering his old home life. “I just feel bad for him, and I wouldn’t mind taking him in, since I saved him and all.”
Shouto sat next to Izuku’s bed on the spinning chair. “I’m not opposed to that idea at all. I just...don’t know if I’d make a good father.”
“I understand that. We don’t need to make a decision right now, and I won’t be upset if you don’t want to.” He grasped Shouto’s hand. “There’s other options for him for the time being.”
Shouto’s eyes cast to the ground under his feet. “Yeah, I know.” He considered the offer deeply, running through all that would come with taking in Itsuki, how big of a commitment it would be for the two of them. Yet, he knew they’d be able to handle it. He also knew that the two of them taking him in would be more beneficial than casting him off to any old foster home. Itsuki already knew both of them, and would likely be able to trust them more quickly.
“You really want to raise him, don’t you?” Shouto asked, a warmth coursing through his body with the words.
Izuku winced. “Yeah, I do. I know it’s throwing ourselves into this without preparation, but I think we can make it work.”
Shouto shook his head. “I’m on board. I want to take care of him with you.”
The hand that was tightly laced through Shouto’s relaxed, and he wasn’t able to comprehend anything before he was being firmly kissed.
Izuku pulled away with the largest smile spreading across his face. “We’ll take great care of him. We’re...going to be parents now. That’s...god, that’s really insane. We’ll have a family now. Like, a real one.”
Shouto traced his thumb along Izuku's jaw. “Don’t you think we should get married too? If we’re going to be a family and all.” He was only half joking.
Izuku flushed, “You just agreed to adopt a child with me, and now you’re going to nonchalantly propose, god, you’re too much.” He leaned into Shouto’s chest, seemingly overwhelmed by the progression of the conversation. “I also have no idea if you’re joking or not,” he realized, raising an eyebrow.
“Only slightly.” Izuku buried his head further so there was no way Shouto could see him. “I want to marry you, I have for a while, but things have been hectic, so I knew throwing in wedding planning would be too much for our schedules,” Shouto admitted, brushing his fingers through Izuku's hair. “Of course if you don’t want to, that’s fine. I didn’t even plan on asking today.”
Izuku stared at his boyfriend, though now possibly fiance? He was astonished by how Shouto could just...say these things without thought. Then again, he had also just asked a tall order of him so maybe it was fair.
“I want to. Of course I do, I guess I just never considered it to be a part of our future. But you’re right, if we have a kid to take care of, that’d just make sense.”
“Would you still marry me if he wasn’t a part of this?” Shouto questioned.
“Yes? I love you, Shouto. You know that. I’ve just been busy with everything else, that I didn’t think of it? I’ve been happy with how we already are, but I’ve never been opposed to the idea of marriage.” Izuku explained, brushing fingers along Shouto’s cheek. “Plus, it should be fun to plan, especially if our son is in attendance.”
Shouto jolted at the words, but they made him unreasonably happy and excited. So much was happening at once, and it was all he could do to contain his overflowing emotions.
The containing didn’t last long, since in the next minute he was nearly climbing onto Izuku’s hospital bed to kiss him senseless.
31 years old
Izuku couldn't sleep. Today was something he was stripped of when he rose to the top of the hero rankings. He’d taken the day off, for once. The only other times he was able to do this was for holidays and emergencies. But he had been feeling overwhelmed and in turn felt like he hadn’t gotten any quality time with his family. Though, with the giddiness he felt of having a whole day free, he lost precious sleep.
He stopped trying to get rest when it became 5 am, so he carefully removed himself from under the covers, where Shouto had been clinging to him. His husband grumbled a bit from the sudden movement but settled back into sleep soon after.
Izuku decided he had time to make a nice breakfast for his family before they woke up. It had been a while...a long time , really, since he'd been able to take his time making a decent breakfast for Shouto and Itsuki. With the way Izuku and Shouto's jobs were, they ended up working most weekends, and Itsuki would go to a family friend's house. The weekends they did get off, some sort of event would be going on that they had to rush to. Generally a press conference or interview which, Izuku didn’t hate , but they definitely became dull after a while.
It was tiring, to say the least, but Izuku expected this from the beginning.
He was the number one hero now, which required him to be available as often as he could be. Though, oftentimes when he needed a day off he could fall back on the others in the top ranks. They weren't much below him at all, really the only difference was the amount of speeches Izuku had to give compared to the others.
Shouto also worked strange hours and was constantly busy. But he was able to stay home with Itsuki when the need arose. He was an expert at caring for all of the stomach bugs and colds Itsuki got throughout each year.
Izuku scrolled through a couple recipes he had bookmarked on his phone and decided on making pancakes and bacon. It was simple, sure, but he knew it was one of Itsuki's favorites.
As he got to mixing ingredients and arranging the bacon strips on the pan, the realization of today truly hit him.
Itsuki, who he and Shouto saved four years before, was eight years old now. They'd been caring for him half of his life, the first half being a total mystery to them. It felt like Itsuki had always been a part of their family, but clearly that wasn't true.
They had worked with him through all of the nightmares and traumatizing flashbacks. They were there to get excited when his quirk had manifested when he was six years old.
Izuku often didn't think twice about calling Itsuki his son when talking to others. Really, he and Shouto had legally adopted him, he had every right to consider Itsuki his child.
It was then, with this sound of batter grilling and meat sizzling on the hot iron pan, that Izuku heard a small mutter behind him.
He turned around and his cheeks softened into a smile. “It's early, why are you up already, Itsuchan?”
“I heard you,” the child mumbled, rubbing at his tired eyes. His vibrant blue hair was mussed from his sleep. “Is Papa up yet?”
“No, he's still sleeping.”
Itsuki nodded and slid into a chair at the table, eyes still nearly shut. “Breakfast smells good.”
“You think so? That's good,” Izuku said, smiling at the pan in front of him and poking at the side of a pancake before flipping it over.
Itsuki made more a noise than any sort of comprehensive word in response. He seemed too tired to string an actual thought together. Izuku chuckled quietly to himself. This image in front of him reminded him of when he and Shouto were in high school.
Izuku would sit in the common area, sipping at a cup of tea late at night, and Shouto would groggily join him on the couch. He'd slump over on Izuku's shoulder almost immediately after they sat down.
Long strands of red and white slipped through Izuku's fingers as he eased Shouto to sleep. Most times, Shouto only pretended to be sleeping so he could feel the comfortable presence of Izuku carding his hands over Shouto's scalp.
Once, Izuku wanted to test something out. He paused, leaned his head a little closer to Shouto's and whispered, “I love you,” grinning as he waited for the expected response.
Shouto jerked his head up, and even in the dim lighting of the late hour, Izuku could see the rosy coloring of his boyfriend's cheeks.
“Did I startle you?” Izuku asked, laughing at how focused Shouto looked. He was obviously still tired, so Izuku felt a little bad, but really the reaction he got when he surprised Shouto was worth it.
Shouto huffed, and muttered, “How can you just say that…”
“Do you think it isn't true?” Izuku pouted exaggeratedly.
“Of course I believe you…” Shouto trailed off, then hummed in thought, and responded, “I love you too. But, I was trying to sleep, Izuku.”
“Sorry. You did seem peaceful.” Izuku slid his fingers through Shouto's. “Ok, you can sleep now.”
Shouto stared at Izuku, seemingly confused, but quickly kissed him before burying his head back into Izuku's shoulder.
The way Shouto acted back then, when they had been in their third year of high school, wasn't much different from how he acted as an adult. Itsuki seemed to have picked up on the way Shouto would bury himself into sleep when he had the time to. Sometimes when Itsuki came home from school, he'd flop down on the couch, snuggled up to either Izuku or Shouto when they were available, or would pull one of his massive stuffed animals to curl around.
Izuku watched as Itsuki leaned forward to lie his head on the table.
“Itsuchan, why don't you lie on the couch for a bit? You can take a nap if you want, breakfast won't be ready for a little bit longer,” Izuku suggested.
Itsuki pulled himself to his feet and mumbled, “Mkay Dad.”
Izuku worked on cooking in silence, aside from the quiet snoring of Itsuki and the sizzling from the pan.
When all the food was being plated, Shouto stumbled into the kitchen, his hair loosely tied at the base of his neck. Izuku glanced at him, giggling softly at the disheveled appearance of his husband that so much mirrored the way his son had entered the room not an hour before.
“I see you're up,” Izuku commented as he slid the last of the pancakes on a large plate.
Shouto snaked his arms around Izuku's middle and pecked at the warm skin at the base of his neck. “Mmm, yeah.” He moved to kiss his jawline.
Izuku turned his head to meet Shouto's lips, pulling away just to mutter, “You know, I think Itsuki is becoming a lot like you.”
“How so?” Shouto asked, raising an eyebrow.
Izuku twisted around to fully face Shouto and explained, “He’s just as tired as you.”
Shouto sputtered and hung his head, lying his forehead against Izuku’s shoulder. “You really think I was the one who taught him that? I’m not sure that’s how it works, Izuku.”
He was met with a breathy laugh from Izuku who nodded. “I know, I know, I was just joking. I think it’s funny that you have that in common, though.”
Shouto hummed and untangled himself from Izuku’s hold to start brewing the coffee he practically had to live on. When the machine was set up he shuffled into the living room. “Should I wake him up for breakfast?”
“Yeah, go ahead.” Izuku pulled the carton of orange juice out of the fridge and poured a glass to set at Itsuki’s seat. He put the other plated food in the center as well, along with an empty plate for each of them.
Shouto tapped on Itsuki’s shoulder, the pressure increasing slightly each time there wasn’t a response. He ended up shaking his shoulders a bit, and muttering, “Itsuki, it’s time for you to get up.”
Itsuki rolled away from Shouto and curled into his blanket more. He grumbled something Shouto couldn’t quite hear.
“Breakfast is ready, you don’t want it getting cold, do you?”
Itsuki then turned his head sharply at Shouto and narrowed his eyes, “You can just warm it back up, though.”
“Not the point.” Shouto huffed a bit. Who was it who taught him to respond like that? He was awake at the very least, so Shouto had done his job. “Come on.”
Slowly, Itsuki crawled off the couch and wobbled his way into the kitchen to his seat. Izuku and Shouto also sat in theirs, on either side of Itsuki. “Thanks, Dad,” Itsuki mumbled with his head tilting toward his plate.
“Of course, Itsuchan.” He paused, then smiled widely in the direction of his son. “Your birthday is coming up, isn’t it?”
Itsuki’s eyes which had been droopy and uninterested in conversing with his parents this early, lit up at the mention of the special day.
“Oh! What are we doing?” It seemed as though once the talk of celebrations began, Itsuki became much more animated and interested.
Izuku chuckled. “Can’t it be a surprise? I promise you’ll like it.”
The boy’s nose crinkled, and he raised an eyebrow, an expression that didn’t seem to suit a child his age. “If it’s anything like your idea of fun, I won’t.” He didn’t say this with any malice, but with a past of failed excursions when Izuku tried dragging him along to museums and sightseeing.
Shouto sighed. “I think we’ve learned our lesson.”
“What do you mean, you don’t think I’m fun?” Izuku asked, placing a hand over his chest in an offended gesture.
Itsuki giggled. “No, you’re fun, Dad.”
“Good. Glad you don’t think I’m lame,” Izuku said, turning his attention to Shouto, who was refraining from laughing due to the exchange. “What’s so funny over there?”
Shouto waved a hand in front of his face. “Nothing. You’re just cute.”
The warm smile that was revealed as his hand pulled away made Izuku's stomach flutter; even after being together for fifteen years, the genuine grins that Shouto gave because of him were Izuku's favorite thing.
“Shooouuuchan stop, ” Izuku groaned, hiding his face behind his hands.
Itsuki doubled the groaning in the room, but in exasperation of watching the exchange between his dads.
“You're cute too, Itsuki.”
Eyes narrowed a bit at that, and Itsuki crossed his arms and slumped in his seat. “Papa, I'm not cute , I've been working on a super special move that all the villains will be terrified of!” He pulled his hand up and punched the air lightly.
“Really? You'll need to show us later. You think it's scarier than Dad's?” Shouto said, humoring his son's confidence. Itsuki had seen plenty of Hero Deku battles, both in person and on TV. When Shouto was watching him and a disaster struck, Itsuki had to tag along very rarely, but not before he was secure in the ambulance and hidden from any villains still lurking about. He liked poking his head up to watch a little bit. And often when the TV was on at other people's houses he stayed at, the news and documentary channels played footage.
Even with all the incredible things he'd seen his dad do, he nodded. “ Way scarier than Dad's.”
Shouto and Izuku regarded each other and sputtered with laughter. “Ok, show me after breakfast, Itsuchan,” Izuku told him, grinning with pride and humor.
Itsuki didn't look sluggishly tired anymore, happily chewing and nearly bouncing in his seat out of the excitement that came with showing off his improved quirk.
To see that this boy who had been so broken four years ago was now full of inspiration was incomprehensibly rewarding to both Izuku and Shouto. Both of them had played a role in the upbringing of Itsuki, to the point that the boy hardly remembered his biological parents. He still knew who they were; there was a table against the wall of the living room with small shrines dedicated to the heroes, but Itsuki could only recall the morning of their death. He had been young, and the day was so traumatizing for him, the memory was limited.
In a way, they felt guilty that Itsuki lost that part of his past, but seeing him so joyful in the current day was well worth it. Without them, he wouldn’t have been able to learn to love his power. When it had first manifested, he was reluctant to test it out in fear that he would hurt someone like those villains had done to his biological parents. Through talking, small tests, and reassurance (from Shouto mostly), he was able to understand the downfalls and benefits of having his quirk.
Izuku was incredibly proud of Itsuki for working on it by himself, enough that he even came up with a special way to use it to his advantage, like he’d learned so many years ago in high school.
“I’m very proud of you, Itsuchan. No matter what it is that you want to do with your quirk, I know you’ll be incredible at it. You’ve grown so much,” Izuku told his son, who hadn’t realized that he started talking again.
Itsuki lifted his head from his nearly empty plate and gave a wobbly grin, showing off the three teeth he’d lost in the past couple years. “Thanks, Dad.”
“Really, we both believe you are an innovative and bright kid,” Shouto added.
Itsuki nodded, his face turning red, “You think I can be a hero like Dad?” He hung his head a little. “I just have a shield quirk, that isn’t really heroic.”
“That’s definitely not true. We had a friend in high school with a very similar quirk who’s an incredibly successful hero now. I’m sure you know him, he’s number four right now,” Izuku explained, shaking his head and gesturing wildly.
Itsuki’s face lit up. “Wait, you were friends with Red Riot?”
“Technically, we’re still friends. He’s just busy. But that’s not the point. He’s a great hero who also thought his quirk wasn’t good enough for heroics, but look at how far he’s come! Maybe I’ll give him a call to do a mini training session with you one day. Though, he is really busy…”
Izuku was muttering and overthinking again, and Shouto cut him off, “Babe, it’ll be okay.”
“Right.” Izuku then scanned the table. “Are either of you still hungry?”
Shouto stood up to take his plate to the sink and rinse it off. “I’m fine, I can clean up if you want to go to the backyard with Itsuki.”
Itsuki nodded and also rose from his seat, struggling to push the large chair back under the tabletop. He rushed outside, quickly changing his shoes and not minding that he was still in his pajamas.
“You ready?” Izuku asked, standing across the yard from Itsuki.
“Yep.” Itsuki strengthened his posture and steeled his expression at his dad. “Are you ready, Dad?”
Izuku chuckled. “I don’t know, I’ll try to be.”
The rest of the morning was spent running around in the dewey grass, Itsuki’s pajama pants becoming soaked and chilly. Izuku felt light watching Itsuki acting so carefree and confident in his progress. It bothered Izuku that he was gone from Itsuki’s life so often, due to his demanding hero work.
Though, Shouto took great care of him on his days off, and their high school friends loved listening to Itsuki talk about this and that. Along with that, he was beginning to go to school and had a few friends, some of which were the children of Izuku and Shouto’s high school friends. He did well in school so far, though he’d had to start late, being homeschooled briefly until his mental state had mellowed out. He still had attacks occasionally, but the nurse was aware of his past and was kind in accommodating whatever needs Itsuki had.
Shouto stood by the back door, watching the two of them sprint through the soaking wet grass, Izuku using the smallest possible percentage of One for All he could (which really did nothing more than sting), and Itsuki with his arm wrapped in bark to block the attacks, swinging his other arm to land light punches.
He leaned against the handle and sipped at his second cup of coffee, humming in contentment.
These moments were the ones he lived for; they were simple. All he’d ever wanted was to see the people he now cared so deeply for in a state of contentment. He was glad that Itsuki bonded to Izuku so well, though he struggled a bit more with connecting to his son. It wasn’t that they didn’t get along, moreso that they didn’t have many interests in common and their personalities weren’t very similar. Aside from the sarcastic comebacks and permanent desire to take a nap, of course.
Even so, it amazed him that this was where life had led him. He felt he could relax sometimes even among the chaos between his and Izuku’s jobs. Watching Itsuki grow up was like a therapy for him.
For once, he could say he was truly satisfied, and he was sure Izuku would say the same.