It all started with a suggestion.
Well, perhaps that wasn’t quite right. Todoroki’s suggestion had definitely thrown Izuku’s life off its usual course, but that wasn’t where the situation began.
It started, as a lot of accidental property damage often did, with an explosion from Bakugou.
In his friend’s defence, they didn’t realise the explosion would take out the plumbing in Izuku apartment and flood the place. Nor did they realise that Izuku would have to move out while it was getting fixed, or remember that Kirishima was having family visit for an extended time. So even though Bakugou offered to put Izuku up while repairs were being done—“just come fucking live with us, you damn nerd!”—there really wasn’t any space for him.
Izuku didn’t want to go back home to his mother, nor did he really want to inconvenience any of his friends. Determined to take care of himself, he was looking up hotel rooms when Todoroki spoke up and ultimately doomed Izuku to a life of lovesick pining.
“Why don’t you just move in with me?”
Izuku tried to protest, but Todoroki had a spare room and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Unable to think up a proper argument, Izuku soon found himself with a new roommate and a crush that wouldn’t be going away anytime soon.
How did one function when living with the person they’d been crushing on since they were fifteen years old? Izuku was of the mind that you didn’t function, because his life had turned into a giant, pining disaster and didn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.
His boss had also told him to take some time off while the repairs were being done because, in his opinion, he would run himself into the ground if he kept on overworking himself. Izuku wasn’t entirely sure if he agreed with that assessment, but he agreed on taking that break, and he found himself hanging out at Todoroki’s apartment with nothing to do while his housemate was at work.
That was how the cleaning started.
Izuku had to do something to keep himself occupied and earn his keep. So, while Todoroki was off being a pro hero, Izuku stayed home and scrubbed the floor, did the dishes and any other chore he could think of.
He didn’t think it was a big deal until Shouto came home, looked around at his now spotless home, groaned and put his head in his hands. “Midoriya, did you clean my apartment?”
Izuku froze, suddenly flashing back to the times he and his classmates had been caught doing the wrong thing by an irate Aizawa-sensei. “…Yes?”
“You’re supposed to be resting.”
“I’ve been resting!”
“Cleaning my apartment is not resting.”
“I’m fine! I don’t really need this time off anyway—”
“Midoriya, please go sit down and take a break.”
“Todoroki-kun, really, I’m fi—”
Todoroki moved forward to grab him by the shoulders and push him towards the lounge room. The sudden contact made Izuku’s breath catch, and he hoped Todoroki wouldn’t notice the blush burning his cheeks. He spluttered a few incoherent protests, but Todoroki ignored him completely.
“Sit,” Todoroki said, pushing him down onto the lounge and speaking as if Izuku was a very disobedient dog. “Stay.”
“I—” Izuku tried to protest one more time, but faltered at the stubborn look on his roommate’s face. “Okay.”
Todoroki nodded to himself and disappeared into the kitchen. He returned moments later with a glass of water. “Here, have this and relax.”
“You’re the one who should be relaxing; you just got home from work,” Izuku said, even as he reached for the glass.
As he handed it over, Todoroki used his quirk to cool down the water just enough for it to be refreshing to drink. Izuku’s eyes widened at the sight and he sat up in interest.
“Whoa, Todoroki-kun! That’s such a handy trick! Do you do that with all your drinks? How do you make it so you just freezes a little bit? Did it take lots of practice to perfect it? How does it differ for hot drinks? Can you warm drinks up with your left side? How hot can you make them?”
As he muttered on, he missed the soft, satisfied look that Todoroki sent him. Nor did he notice Todoroki turning on the TV and quietly walking out of the room to change out of his uniform. It was only hours later that Izuku realised that Todoroki had distracted him with his quirk to get him to forget about cleaning and rest for a while.
The thought made him smile because it showed how kind and considerate his friend was, but also could he not? Izuku was woefully head over heels for his old classmate, and any amount of attention or thoughtful actions from him made Izuku’s heart want to beat out of his chest.
But that’s okay, he could deal with his crush. Maybe. Probably. Hopefully.
The cleaning disagreement also presented Izuku with a new problem: how was he supposed to help Todoroki and thank him for letting him stay if Izuku wasn’t allowed to tidy up? Fortunately, the answer came a few days later, when a tired and punch-drunk Todoroki came stumbling home after a late-night patrol.
“Todoroki-kun?” Izuku said, stumbling into the kitchen and rubbing sleep from his eyes with the back of his hand. “Are you alright—?”
He paused at the sight of Todoroki with a cracked egg on his left arm that was being fried by his flames. Izuku blinked and rubbed his eyes a bit more, but no, that was definitely his crush trying to cook an egg on his arm.
“What are you doing?” he couldn’t help but ask, even though the answer was obvious.
Silence reigned in the kitchen, the pair of them just looking at each other until Todoroki piped up with, “You said I should embrace my quirk.”
“Not like this!”
“Kaminari said this would work,” Todoroki looked sheepish.
“Please never, ever, get cooking advice from Kaminari-kun ever again.”
Todoroki sighed and looked down at the half-cooked egg on his arm. “Deal.”
They both had a silent agreement to never mention the Egg Incident again, and Izuku now had an answer to how he could help out and thank his friend.
The next time Todoroki came home from a long day at work, cold soba was waiting for him on the kitchen table. Todoroki frowned at it, as if confused as to how it got there, before turning his gaze to Izuku.
“Midoriya, did you make this?”
Izuku sat at the table and nodded, nervously playing with his hands. “I hope it turned out okay. I’ve never made it before and I just Googled the recipe, but—”
Todoroki smiled, soft and fleeting, but it stole the breath from Izuku’s lungs. It seemed like Todoroki was a renowned thief, because he was always stealing something from Izuku. His breath, his heart, his ability to form coherent sentences; Todoroki stole them all.
“It looks great,” his roommate said and sat at the table. “Thank you.”
Izuku couldn’t help the pleased grin that formed as he watched Todoroki dig into his meal, nor the wave of longing that came with it. How nice would it be to always do this? To always prepare a meal for them? To share food and conversation after a long day? To live together permanently, instead of the temporary basis they were in, and to share a home together?
Todoroki had had a difficult childhood, that was sure. His homelife back then left much to be desired. Now they were adults, he deserved the best home Izuku could give him. Somewhere warm and safe that his friend could be comfortable in. Izuku might not be living there forever, but he was determined to turn the sparse apartment into a home.
“What is it?” Todoroki asked through a mouthful of soba and Izuku belatedly realised he was staring. “Is there something on my face?”
Izuku shook his head and smiled, soft and besotted. “No, you’re perfect.”
They fell into a routine after that.
Todoroki would get up for work and there’d be breakfast and a lunch bento waiting for him. When he got home, dinner would be ready on the table. Todoroki had tried to argue that Izuku didn’t need to do it, but Izuku was stubborn and wouldn’t hear a word it of.
“It’s the least I can do,” he said, and his housemate had to reluctantly give up his protests.
Izuku also started cleaning again, but not so zealously as before. It seemed like Todoroki picked up on that, because Izuku kept finding little All Might figurines as he went around the apartment. One was hidden in the linen cupboard, another was peeking out from behind the TV when Izuku dusted, and another announced, “I AM HERE!” the moment Izuku opened the pantry.
“You wouldn’t happen to know where these figurines keep coming from, would you?” Izuku asked over dinner, after days of his impromptu All Might hunt around the apartment.
“What figurines?” Todoroki said, guileless.
Izuku narrowed his eyes at him. “Todoroki-kun.”
“I have no idea what you mean,” his crush took another mouthful of katsudon and looked completely innocent.
“You don’t need to buy me All Might merch. You’re doing enough for me as it is.”
“Do you like them?”
Izuku blinked at the unexpected question. “Huh?
“Do you like the figurines?”
“Well then,” Todoroki finished his meal and stood up to take his bowl to the sink. “That’s all that matters.”
“Todoroki—” Izuku tried to protest but Todoroki breezed past him, only pausing to place something on the table before continuing on.
It was another All Might figurine.
Well, two could play at that game.
Izuku ordered a bunch of merch online and eagerly awaited for the day it would arrive. Thankfully, Todoroki was at work when it did, so it gave Izuku time to hide things around the apartment and get ready to surprise his housemate.
“I’m home,” Todoroki called when he finally made it back that night.
“Welcome home,” Izuku walked out to greet him. “How was your day?”
“It was fi—” Todoroki finally caught sight of Izuku and cut himself off a strangled noise. He cleared his throat and tried again. “What—what are you wearing?”
“It’s my new pro hero Shouto hoodie!” Izuku beamed and held his arms out so Todoroki could see the whole thing. It looked just like his uniform and was super comfortable. Izuku loved it. “It came today. Isn’t it great?!”
“It, uh, yes. You—it—looks good.” Todoroki’s voice sounded rough. “I need to go have a shower; I’ve still got debris on me.”
Caught up on trying to decipher the strange look on Todoroki’s face, or the meaning behind his tone of voice, Izuku belatedly noticed the rocks and dirt still clinging to his friend’s costume.
“Oh!” he said, following Todoroki towards the bathroom. “The raid today! How did it go? Kacchan was there, right?”
“It went well, building debris notwithstanding.”
“Debris is kind of a given when Kacchan’s around.”
Todoroki huffed a laugh. The small smile that pulled at the corner of his mouth felt like a victory, and Izuku was inordinately pleased that he was able put it there. Todoroki’s smiles were rare and precious gems, and Izuku would happily spend the rest of his life mining for them. He could be the richest person in the world, all because of Todoroki’s smiles.
“I suppose you’re right,” his housemate agreed, dragging Izuku out of his thoughts.
“R-right,” Izuku made a valiant attempt at pulling himself together. “Uh, what would you like for dinner?”
“Whatever you want,” Todoroki shrugged and disappeared into the bathroom.
Izuku took another second to compose himself before heading towards the kitchen. He’d only made it a couple of steps before Todoroki’s voice called out from behind him.
“Midoriya, why is there a miniature All Might figurine holding my toothbrush?”
He grinned and turned back around to face him, thinking of Todoroki’s response when he’d brought up the All Might merch. Making his expression as innocent as he could muster, he said, “I have no idea what you mean.”
The worst part of sharing an apartment with Todoroki were the nights.
The nights were when his imagination went into overdrive and he let himself fantasise that the apartment really was his home. That he and Todoroki were together and Izuku wouldn’t have to eventually move out. That he could greet Todoroki with kisses when he came back from work, instead of just a simple “Welcome home!”
How nice would it be to share a room with Todoroki? To fall asleep in his arms? To rest his head on Todoroki’s chest and listen to his heartbeat? Izuku longed to lay beside him. To know that Todoroki was safe, warm and content, and be lulled to sleep by the symphony of his breathing.
Izuku wanted to wake up next to him. To spend those few precious minutes in the morning before he had to get up just basking in the beauty of Todoroki asleep. Izuku wouldn’t watch him for long. Not really. Just enough to assure himself that he was awake and not dreaming that Todoroki was at his side.
The staring would wake Todoroki eventually, but that was okay because it meant that morning kisses could happen. Short at first, just a peck and nothing more, but they’d improve as Todoroki woke up properly and began to respond to Izuku’s attention.
Kisses that lingered. Kisses that were so good they could ignore their morning breath. Kisses that deepened, that made them breathless and set hearts racing. Kisses that nipped, sucked and soothed. Kisses that travelled, ghosting over skin and leaving fire in their wake. Kisses that burned, that made them so desperate for more, all they could think of was warmth and home and love.
Izuku’s fantasy shattered into a million pieces.
He wasn’t supposed to think of that word. Thinking about it made it real. Acknowledging it made him realise how far he was gone. Made staying in the apartment all the harder now he knew exactly how strong his feelings were.
Izuku grimaced and shoved his head into a pillow.
Okay, Izuku could deal with the fact that he was in love with Todoroki. He’d been hiding his feelings for years, so discovering that they were deeper than he originally thought shouldn’t be a big deal.
...But it was. It was such a big deal.
Izuku no longer knew how to act calm around the object of his affections. He would go red and stutter so horribly, he was sure Todoroki thought there was something wrong with him. The only consolation was that he noticed his housemate would do the same whenever Izuku would wear his Shouto hoodie. Not to the same degree, of course, but there was definitely some kind of reaction whenever Izuku wore it
He didn’t quite know what to make of that, and it put all sorts of fanciful notions in his head. Thoughts like maybe his feelings weren’t as unrequited as he thought. Or that maybe the reason Todoroki acted weird about the hoodie was because he liked it, and not because he hated it like Izuku originally suspected.
He tried to bury such thoughts. It would do no good to get his hopes up and then have them crushed when they turned out to be false. No, the best thing to do was push aside his feelings and act normal; like a friend. He could do that. He’d been doing it for years, after all.
Unfortunately, Izuku wasn’t as good an actor as he thought. He resorted to staying quiet for fear he’d say something embarrassing, which only resulted in concerning Todoroki. It got worse when his friend would ask what was wrong and Izuku would give him a blatant lie as an excuse; Izuku couldn’t handle the hurt that would shine in Todoroki’s eyes.
It was almost a blessing when he received the notification that he could go back to his own apartment and to work. At least that way he wouldn’t be tiptoeing around Todoroki’s place anymore, terrified he’d accidentally blurt out his feelings.
The morning he was set to go back home, he had his bags packs and waiting by the door. Izuku was all ready to leave, but he didn’t know how to say goodbye, or bridge the chasm that had formed between them since Izuku had realised the depths of his feelings.
They stood in an awkward silence. Izuku shifted his weight from foot to foot with his head bowed, unwilling to look up and face Todoroki. What could he say? How could he even begin to describe what was going on in his mind? That the reason he was so distant was because he loved him?
“Midoriya,” Todoroki began, his tone of voice screaming uncomfortable.
Izuku’s head shot up. “Thank you for letting me stay here, Todoroki-kun!” he blurted before the other man could say anything else. “It was very kind of you and I appreciate it a lot. If you ever need a place to stay, you’re always welcome at mine!”
Desperate to get the goodbyes over with, Izuku bowed, grabbed his bags and made a mad dash for the door. He’d just managed to get his shoes on when Todoroki’s voice called out behind him, sounding desperate and filled with an emotion Izuku couldn’t identity.
Izuku froze and turned around. He was struck dumb at the sight of Todoroki standing there, his arm outstretched as if to grab him and stop him from leaving. A beat passed and he lowered his arm, but he didn’t say a word.
Stay, the pining side of Izuku wanted him to say. Ask me to stay and I’ll never leave.
Todoroki opened his mouth to speak, closed it, swallowed and tried again. “Midoriya...take care.”
A feeling of bitter disappointment rose up inside of him. Izuku felt like he had just missed out on something beautiful, but he composed himself enough to force a smile and reply, “Thank you, Todoroki-kun. Goodbye.”
It seemed so final. Too formal. An ending Izuku never wanted to see. He gave Todoroki one last, sad smile and walked out the door.
He made it to the elevator before the tears began to fall.
Days passed and Izuku felt listless. His home didn’t feel like home anymore, and he missed the companionship that came with sharing a place with someone.
Well, perhaps it was more accurate to say he missed Todoroki.
Izuku had become too used to Todoroki’s apartment. He kept looking for things in the wrong cupboard, only to realise he was in his own kitchen and not the one he’d spent the last few weeks cooking in. The usual noises of his neighbourhood now seemed exceptionally loud, after staying so long in Todoroki’s quiet little home, and he missed the room he had stayed in.
But most of all, he missed the way Todoroki would smile when he found an All Might figurine Izuku had hidden for him, or the smug, pleased expression he wore when Izuku found one. He missed how Todoroki would light up when he spoke of his family, or the way he laughed when Izuku told a joke. He missed their shared meals, wishing him a good morning and a good night, and watching TV together.
He just missed Todoroki.
He wanted to go back, but didn’t know how to explain it without revealing his feelings. Izuku knew he had to mend the strain their friendship was under, but he didn’t know where to begin. What could he do? What could he say?
How did you move forward, when all you wanted to go was back?
Izuku sighed. Hopefully he’d figure out the answer soon.
“Let me get this fucking straight,” Bakugou paced Izuku’s kitchen, looking irate as ever. “You’re in love with the Half ‘n Half bastard, he’s in love with you, and you just fucking left his apartment?!”
Izuku sighed. Inviting his childhood friend over to see the repairs to his new kitchen was a bad idea. Talking about his feelings for Todoroki was an even worse one.
“Todoroki-kun isn’t in love with me, Kacchan.”
Bakugou rolled his eyes. “The hell he isn’t! The only one who doesn’t know he’s in love with you is you, you damn nerd!”
“Why the fuck is this my life?!” Backgou ranted at himself. “Why am I giving relationship advice to fucking Deku?! What the fuck?!”
“Kacchan, really. He’s not—”
Bakugou glared at him. “That candy cane fucker has been in love with you since the moment you made him use his fire, and fuck you for making me say that out loud!”
Whatever protest Izuku was about to make died instantly. He blinked at his childhood friend, trying to make sense of what he just said. “He—what?—really?”
“Yes! So go back over there and tell him!”
“I can’t just do that!”
“Why the fuck not?!”
“Because you’re wrong and he doesn’t love me like I love him! He can’t—I’d know.”
Bakugou went quiet and Izuku winced; experience told him that when his friend went quiet in an argument, explosions were bound to happen.
“I’m sorry,” Bakugou voice was low and spelled danger. “Did you just fucking say I’m wrong?”
“No! That’s not what I m—”
“Fuck you, Deku!” Bakugou marched over to Izuku’s sink and raised a hand. Sparks danced over his palm. “I’ll fucking prove I’m right!”
“Kacchan, wait! No! Not the new kitch—!”
Izuku grinned uncertainly at Todoroki’s surprised face. He stood at his friend’s door, surrounded by bags of the few things he had managed to save from his once again flooded apartment.
“H-Hi, Todoroki-kun. Is your spare room still free?”
Todoroki automatically stepped aside to let him in. “What happened?”
“Kacchan happened.” Izuku brought all his things in and sat them by the door. “Sorry to inconvenience you again.”
“You’re never an inconvenience.” His friend helped Izuku carry his things to his room. “What did Bakugou do this time?”
“He picked a fight with my sink.”
“Of course he did. I’m not even surprised.”
“I’ll try and get it fixed as quick as I can.”
“It’s okay, Midoriya,” Todoroki sat Izuku’s things on his bed and turned to head out and get more. “You can stay here as long as you like.”
Izuku followed him out into the hall. He watched him walk, aware of the tense line of Todoroki’s shoulders since the moment he had opened the door. The observation made his heart ache.
“I didn’t think you’d want me here,” he couldn’t help but blurt out, causing Todoroki to freeze in his tracks. “I almost didn’t come here myself.”
“Why not?” Todoroki asked without turning around.
Maybe it was better this way. Maybe it would be better to confess to Todoroki’s back, without seeing the expression on his face. Maybe is was best to confess now before he unpacked, so he could make a fast getaway when it all blew up in his face.
“Because it hurts to be so close to something you can’t have,” Izuku said, his hands fisted at his sides. “Because being so close makes you want more, but you need to keep your distance before you lose yourself entirely. You make me lose myself, Todoroki-kun. My heart and mind are filled with you, and I can’t stay here and just be your friend when all I want to do is be yours.”
The tension in Todoroki’s shoulders eased, but he didn't turn around. “Midoriya—”
“I want to be yours, and I want you to be mine, and I want this little apartment to be our home. I miss living with you, and your laughs and yours smiles, but I know I can’t have that and it hurts. That’s why I didn’t want to come here, and it’s why I shouldn’t be here. I’m sorry, Todoroki-kun. This was a mistake—I’ll go grab my things.”
Izuku went to walk away, but was stopped by Todoroki finally facing him. He walked towards him, his expression unreadable and his steps filled with purpose. Izuku’s flight or fight response couldn’t decide to run away or deal with whatever harsh rejection Todoroki was about to give him, and Izuku simply stood there watching him.
Firm hands found his waist and pushed him up against the wall of the hallway, causing him to gasp. But Izuku didn’t get a chance to regain his breath, as he found himself being quite thoroughly kissed. He gave a squeak of surprise that was swallowed by Todoroki’s lips and then threw himself into the task of kissing back.
He clutched at Todoroki’s shirt, while Todoroki’s lips trailed across his skin to kiss his neck and causing Izuku to shiver at the sensitive touch. Through his haze of ecstasy, he could feel the other man smiling against his skin. A wide smile, larger than the usual tiny smirks he was used to, and Izuku thought it to be the biggest injustice in the world that he couldn’t see it.
He lifted Todoroki’s head to see him absolutely beaming; a smile so bright and beautiful that Izuku wanted to cry in joy at the sight.
“Home doesn’t feel like home without you in it,” Todoroki said, sounding breathless. “Izuku, how could you not know? If you wanted any of those things, if you wanted me, all you had to do was ask.”
Izuku stared at him, open-mouthed. First, he’d just kissed the life out of him, then referred to him as Izuku and now he’s saying that...that…
“Shouto-kun, do you—can we—I mean…” he trailed off, unsure how to phrase what he wanted to say.
Shouto leant in to press a gentle kiss to his lips. “Ask, Izuku. Please ask.”
He thought back to when he left Shouto’s apartment, and what he wanted to hear that day. “I love you, Shouto-kun. Can I stay here with you?”
Shouto smiled and Izuku struggled to breathe. He was sure his face was red and his pulse was thundering in his ears, but it didn’t matter. He’d finally confessed how he felt and Shouto was looking at him like he’d just given him the world.
“I love you, too,” Shouto said. “Of course you can stay. Forever, if you’d like.”
Izuku beamed and cupped Shouto’s face in his hands, bringing him in for another kiss. He tried to put as much feeling as he could into it. All the emotions he had tried to hide and everything he felt in that moment. Happiness, relief, excitement, love; he poured it all into the one kiss and could feel it returned from Shouto.
They pulled apart, only going so far as to lean their foreheads on each other. The pair were beaming, their chest heaving, and it was the start of something beautiful.
“I’m home,” Izuku told him, revelling in how wonderful that felt to say.
Shouto smiled and leant in again. “Welcome home.”