“Hey, Deku,” Kacchan said. He reached up and lightly tugged on a green curl at the side of Izuku’s head. It slipped through Kacchan’s fingers as he let go. Kacchan smiled—a genuine, warm smile—and said, “Your hair looks nice today. Whatever you did to it this morning, you should keep doing it.”
Izuku’s head still felt the tingle from where Kacchan had touched him, unable to speak as the words refused to come out. He felt like he’d been hit upside the head by one of All Might’s punches from the shock and his pulse quickened.
By the time his brain caught up with the embarrassment of being caught off guard by Kacchan’s random praise, the other had walked away.
“What was that?” Izuku whispered.
He touched his hand to his head, digging the fingers into the soft curls and put his other hand to his chest. His heart was beating fast; his cheeks felt flushed. He looked at his reflection in one of the windows on his walk to school and squinted. Izuku looked the same as usual. So why did Kacchan say his hair looked nice today?
And even if he thought it, why did he bother to say it at all?
Izuku shook his head and slapped his cheeks.
Whatever the reason, it had to be a one time thing. Kacchan might be feeling off this morning and said aloud something he usually kept to himself.
Izuku shouldn’t mention it.
It’d be worse if Kacchan realized what he’d said and took it back.
“Nice move, Deku!” Kacchan yelled across the training field. He shot Izuku a proud smile and put his hands on his hips. “You’ve been practicing that, right? It was way faster than last time I saw you do it!”
“Y-yes,” Izuku stammered. He shuffled from one foot to the other, looking away from Kacchan’s proud gaze. He smiled as he stared at the ground, wringing his hands together and said, “I did.”
His heart then did that thing where it beat faster, which Izuku did not need when his pulse was already elevated from training. Kacchan said a final “Great work!” before returning to his own spar with Kirishima. Izuku stared after them and put his hand to his chest again.
Two compliments. In the same day.
One for his looks and one for his training.
“Are you okay?” Todoroki asked. He flicked the gathered ice off his fingertips and crossed his arms “You’re red.”
“I am?” Izuku asked. He pulled off his glove and put his hand to his cheek. It felt overheated and he had to be blushing. Again. “I guess I am.”
Todoroki looked at Izuku and back over to where Kacchan was still fighting with Kirishima. He shouted “Nice!” but the exact words Kacchan were saying were lost in the haze of Izuku repeating “Your hair looks nice” and “Nice move, Deku” one after the other.
He felt warm and fuzzy inside; almost giddy hearing those words come from Kacchan’s lips from such a kind smile.
“Do you want to take a break?” Todoroki asked, raising his eyebrows. He looked Izuku over and said, “I can wait if you need a minute?”
“I’m good!” Izuku shouted. He waved his hands and got back into position. “Let’s finish the sparring session. I’m better with that last move, but I still want to practice it more.”
“Alright,” Todoroki said. He gathered his fire in one hand and said, “I need more practice myself.”
Izuku cleared his head and dove back into the early morning training. He wasn’t sure what was up with Kacchan, but two moments were nice.
He still wouldn’t mention the odd behavior.
Kacchan might stop.
“You’re really good at that, aren’t you?” Kacchan said, putting his hand on the desk, leaning over Izuku’s shoulder. The base of his ribs and abs touched Izuku’s side as he leaned, firm and too, too close.
Izuku finished the full body shiver that started at soon as the word “good” left Kacchan’s mouth and stared at his desk. Izuku whispered, “Good at what?”
“Drawing,” Kacchan said. He put his other hand on Izuku’s opposite shoulder and moved the hand on the desk to point to the sketch he’d been working on of Uraraka’s Quirk release pose. “You always make diagrams with your notes and you’ve gotten a lot better.”
“Practice helps,” Izuku said. He shifted his thighs as his body continued pummeling his senses with the sound of Kacchan calling him “Good.” Izuku swallowed thickly, closing his hand into a fist to hide how clammy they’d become. Izuku felt nervous and sick and boy did he want to hear Kacchan say that again. He mumbled, “Thanks.”
Kacchan straightened and ruffled Izuku’s hair. “It almost makes me wonder what else you’re good at that I didn’t notice.”
Izuku slammed a hand between his legs on the chair and sucked in a breath. That had been just vague enough for his body to take it the wrong way.
Did Kacchan even know what effect his praise was having on Izuku? He had to. Kacchan always knew what he was doing.
However, why Kacchan wanted Izuku flustered and on the verge of jumping out of his chair to tackle the other into a hug and never let go, he had no clue.
“I’m sure you’ll show me in time all the things you can do well,” Kacchan said, patting Izuku’s back. He walked back to his desk to grab his bag. He threw it over his shoulder and put a hand in his pocket. “That’s pretty much your status quo these days.”
Izuku didn’t answer; his throat had swelled with his emotions.
“See you tomorrow,” Kacchan said. He tapped Izuku’s desk and snorted. “Don’t stay too late after class working on those. You’re meeting your friends this afternoon, aren’t you?”
“Yes, we’re watching a movie.” Izuku sat up. Kacchan had paid attention to that? He remembered? First the compliments, then an interest in his life—Was Kacchan trying to be friends again?
That had to be it. Izuku felt his chest tighten in joy at the thought they were finally breaking the barrier between them. Kacchan wanted to be friends again and he had jumped into it with the same bravado and boldness he put into everything else that he was doing.
Izuku almost cried on the spot.
“See you, Deku,” Kacchan repeated. He knocked his elbow playfully into Kirishima as they left the room, chatting with smiles.
Izuku slumped in his chair, his heart still beating too fast and his ears ringing with kind words.
After the movie, where thankfully neither Uraraka, Iida, or Todoroki noticed anything wrong despite the whirlwind of thoughts running through his mind, Izuku closed the door of his dorm room and ran through the day again.
Kacchan had said his hair looked good.
Izuku sat on the bed.
Then Kacchan had said he’d been good at sparing, complimenting his moves and training ethic.
That had also been nice to hear.
Their last encounter had been the kicker and the one still fresh in his memory: “You’re really good at that, aren’t you?”
Izuku bit his lip and put his hands between his legs on the mattress. He fell on his side and squeezed his thighs around his arms.
His imagination had no problems taking that phrase and twisting it into whatever he wanted. It was vague enough and left so much room for more things that Izuku wanted to hear.
He wanted a thousand things in place of the “that” in the sentence.
“You’re really good at making me smile, aren’t you?”
“You’re really good at making me feel good, aren’t you?”
“You’re really good at—”
Izuku cut his own thoughts off and flushed as the additional thought came to mind, covering his mouth. That might be getting too far ahead of himself.
But it had been good.
So, so very good to be called “Good.”
He groaned and rolled over, grabbing his pillow and shoving it over his head. If Kacchan kept up complimenting him so much every day, Izuku wasn’t sure how much his heart could take it.
He’d already gotten this excited from something so little. From one little phrase: “Good.”
Izuku vowed not to say a word about it to Kacchan.
As much as he dreaded how he’d be able to keep his composure if Kacchan continued, he dreaded the thought that he might stop even more.
Kacchan being nice—saying nice things—was a literal miracle and Izuku cherished it. When they were children, Kacchan had been nicer, but he’d never told Izuku he was “good” at anything.
This was all new and all nice and Izuku shifted his hips into the bed, returning to thinking about the things Kacchan had said all day as he settled in for the night.
He wondered what Kacchan would say in the morning.
Izuku didn't see Kacchan on his way to school, but he got to class in record time as his eagerness to see Kacchan took over his thoughts. Izuku burst into the room and spotted the blond next to Kirishima's desk.
“Morning, Kacchan!” Izuku said, waving. He walked over, perhaps pushing his luck by starting the conversation, but Kacchan and been nice yesterday—he had to at least want to be friends again. “How are you?”
“Buzz off, Deku,” Kacchan said, snarling over his shoulder. “I’m busy.”
Izuku stopped and stared, dropping his hand. “What?”
“I said, buzz off,” Kacchan said, reaching over and flicking Izuku in the head. He turned back to Kirishima and said, “Where’s that asshole, Kaminari? He needs to pay up.”
“Pay up?” Kirishima asked. “What are you talking about?”
Kacchan sneered and crossed his arms. He tilted his head back and his hair fell in his face which wore his usual scowl. There was no sign of the kindness and openness that had been there yesterday. “That loser probably didn’t want to pay up because he knows I won.”
“Won?” Izuku asked, his heart tightening worse in his chest. “Won what?”
“None of your business,” Kacchan said. He snapped his head up as the odor opened again and yelled, “Kaminari! I did it! You pay up!”
“I don’t believe you!” Kaminari said, stomping over. He crossed his arms and frowned. “There’s no way you did it. Not all day.”
“Ask the twerp!” Kacchan said, pointing at Izuku. He turned to Izuku and asked, “Was I mean to you at all yesterday?”
“No,” Izuku said. He snapped his head between Kacchan and Kaminari and whispered, “What’s going on?”
“Dammit!” Kaminari said, throwing his hands up and ruffling his own hair. Small electric static sparked and he growled. “I didn’t think you could do it.”
“Do what!” Kirishima yelled in Izuku’s place. He rubbed the back of his head and stared. “What are you two talking about?”
“I bet Bakugou a hundred bucks that he couldn’t be nice for a day,” Kaminari said. He crossed his arms and pouted. “I tipped the odds in my favor by specifying he had to be verbally and especially nice to Midoriya since he’s usually the worst to him.”
“Why’d you take that bet?” Kirishima asked. “It’s not like you need the money.”
“Because I insulted his pride,” Kaminari said, flushing and looking to the side. “He did turn me down at first, but then I said he was just avoiding it because he couldn’t do it, so he took the bet.”
“And I succeeded beyond the original stipulations of the bet,” Kacchan said. “So pay up.”
“Shit,” Kaminari said. He dug in his pockets for his wallet and opened it toward his face, so that no one could see how much money he had. “Goodbye, savings.”
“Wait!” Izuku yelled. He grabbed the side of Kacchan’s blazer and tugged it. His eyes watered and the tears he’d inherited from his mother fell down his cheeks. “Are you saying you were only nice to me yesterday because of a bet? All those nice things you said were just a lie? You don’t want to be friends again?”
Kacchan’s eyes went wide and his mouth hung open. He stood speechless and the shock stayed on his face.
“Ha!” Kaminari shouted. “That means I win after all!”
“What are you on about now?” Kacchan asked, the irritation returning to his face. Izuku continued to clutch to his blazer, his hand trembling. “You just don’t want to pay up.”
“No, no,” Kaminari said, smirking. “The way I see it, pretending to be nice all day and then taking it all back was in fact very cruel! So you were being meaner than usual yesterday, so therefore, I win the bet.”
“Bullshit,” Kacchan said.
“That doesn’t matter!” Izuku yelled! He shoved Kacchan away and sniffed. “You’re both idiots.”
“Hell,” Kacchan said under his breath as Kaminari said, “Oops.”
Izuku ignored them both and went back to his desk. He wiped off his face with his sleeves and gathered himself together enough for class to start.
Kacchan eventually took his seat in front of Izuku, glancing at him over his shoulder. He looked subdued, maybe even guilty.
Izuku was going to use that.
Because he was going to get Kacchan to call him “Good” at something one more time before the day was over.
Izuku had earned it.