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Call a Man Cold

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Todoroki Shouto was used to hearing people whisper behind his back. Hell, sometimes they straight up gossiped to his face.

-

All I felt from those eyes was a cold rage…

…Your eyes looked exactly the same.

-

And honestly, it’s not like Todoroki did much to discourage what people said. If anything, he probably only added fuel to the flames.

-

Objectively speaking, I’m stronger than you. More capable…

… I will beat you…

…I’m not pretending to be anyone’s friend, here.

-

So, it wasn’t any surprise to hear what people (his classmates, other students, passers-by on the street, the press, his teachers, the-) had to say about him.

-

For being a kid, he sure has pretty cold eyes, doesn’t he?

Yeah, yeah, just give me the cold shoulder, Todoroki…

We now move to recent video of Pro Hero Endeavor’s son. Note the cold and aloof expression

man, if todoroki didn’t look so cold all the time, 10 outa 10 would bang!

I dunno, man. I would invite Todoroki, but he’s so cold, it’s kinda intimidating, you know?

-

But just because Shouto was used to it… that didn’t mean he still didn’t listen.

In fact, one word kept popping up, something that even Shouto (limited social skills, introvert, quiet, shy-) couldn’t help but notice.

Was he really that cold? Did people just think that because of his ice? He isn’t trying to be cold, he just-

There was one person that Shouto could always count on to be brutally honest, though.

-

Everyone’s…giving it their all. To win…to achieve their goals…to make it to the top!

…And you’re gonna win with half your power?

If you become number one without giving it your all, then I don’t really think you’re serious about denying him everything!

-

Shouto placed his pen down to turn fully to Midoriya. “Midoriya, can I ask you something?”

His friend (and honestly, the fact that Shouto can even call someone friend-) didn’t even glance his direction. Midoriya merely hummed around the pencil that he had stuck in his mouth, glaring contemplatively down at the infinite series before him. Shouto paused, uncertain (was that a yes? Honestly, he’s only done homework with someone else a few-), before plowing forward. “Do you think I’m…cold?”

Midoriya’s head turned toward Shouto far faster than he was expecting. “What?”

Shouto thought he had been perfectly clear, but… “Do you think I’m- “

Midoriya shook his head, interrupting him. “No, no I heard you the first time.” (Oh, this is another one of those linguistic conventions that Shouto had trouble picking up on. Maybe if he’d had a normal-)

The other boy placed his pencil down on the table, shaking his head. “What makes you ask that, Todoroki?”

Shouto was quiet for a while, before he tilted his head. “I hear what people say about me behind my back,” he stated bluntly. “I was just wondering if it was true.” To anyone else, Shouto knows his voice would sound cold, knows that his face would seem cold, knows…

But Midoriya knows him, right? If there’s anyone who can tell the truth, it’s Midoriya.

Midoriya leaned forward in his seat, his brow crinkling. “And you believe what people say behind your back?”

Shouto folded his arms and leaned back. “Obviously not. That’s why I’m asking a secondary source.”

Midoriya just stared blankly at him for a second. “Asking a secondary-You know what never mind.” He shook his head. “No, Todoroki, I don’t think you’re cold.”

Shouto raised an eyebrow. “If I’m not cold, then what am I?”

“Y-you’re, ah…” For some reason Shouto didn’t understand, Midoriya started blushing. “You’re, you know…”

Shouto’s brow furrowed in confusion. “I don’t know; that’s why I’m asking you.”

Shouto was further befuddled when his friend put in head in his hands and started muttering. “Just straight up asking me that…. can’t believe he said that with such a straight face…never had someone ask me what I thought of them before…”

Shouto opened his mouth to say something before closing it and letting Midoriya continue to do his thing (were all friends this weird? Is it just Midoriya that does this thing? Or is it not weird at all and Shouto is the one who is-)

Sighing, Shouto picked up his pen and used it to poke Midoriya in the shoulder. The side of his lip quirked up when the other boy jumped surprisingly high into the air. “If you can’t think of any other way to describe me,” Shouto began, “then I must be cold.”

It seemed perfectly logical to Shouto. After all, it seemed that most people he interacted with all agreed that he was cold, so reason follows that Shouto was cold in actuality.

Apparently Midoriya didn’t agree though.

His friend sat bolt upright (and oh, did Shouto know that look on his face, he saw at the sports festival, in Hosu, at the training camp, in the hospital-) “You are not cold!” Midoriya’s face was flushed, but his eyes were set with determination. “You’re not. I just can’t think of the right word to describe you, right now.”

Shouto nodded. He understood taking time to think before speaking. “Alright. Let me know when you find the right word.”

Midoriya relaxed his posture, looking almost smug as he did so. A second later though, he groaned and picked up his pencil. “In order to find the power series representation of the natural log of one minus x-squared, I first need to take the derivative of the natural log, but I can’t forget to do the chain rule! And I can’t forget to integrate again at the end… oh, and the constant of integration needs- “

Shouto shook his head before diving into his own homework.

-

Honestly, Shouto had nearly forgotten about his question (that’s a lie. There’s no way he would’ve forgotten-) the next time Midoriya brought it up.

They had been sitting in the cafeteria, eating lunch. Iida was going on a rather loud tirade on the importance of honesty with Uraraka cheering him on in the background. Shouto was picking at his lunch, making a mental list of what assignments they had already been given, when he felt a gaze falling rather strongly on his head. Turning, he noticed Midoriya staring at him rather intently. He tilted his head in a silent question.

Midoriya suddenly seemed almost…flustered? “Ah, it’s just…well, you-you’re rather shy, aren’t you, Todoroki?”

Shouto paused for a beat. Shy? (Yes, he’s quiet. Yes, he doesn’t know how to act with new people. Yes, he-). He set his chopsticks down and folded his hands in his lap. “Ah, yeah. I, ah, guess I am.” He opened his mouth. Closed it. “Is, ah, is that a bad thing?”

Midoriya’s hands started flailing wildly. “NO! No, it’s not a bad thing at all! I was just thinking about that conversation we had a while ago, about how I would describe you, and- “

“Is that how you would describe me? Shy?” (Better than cold, at least. Endeavor was never shy, so at least-)

Midoriya hesitated, calming down. “No. Well, I mean, in part I guess, but, like, that’s not the big part of you, you know?”

Shouto didn’t.

-

It’s after battle training that Midoriya strikes next.

Shouto’s friend marched straight up to him in the locker room with a rather fierce look on his face. “You’re competitive.”

Shouto was forced to paused with his gym uniform half-off as he considered that. “I-really?” (Competitive, just like your father. Competitive, like Bakugou. Competitive-)

Midoriya must’ve read the look on his face because he frantically began waving his arms around. “Ah, not in a bad sense! More like, in a sense that you refuse to let up, you know? You expect to do well, and so you do!”

“Oh.”

Because really, what can Shouto say to that? Competitive... The word turned over and over in his mind. “So… I’m…. shy. But I’m also… competitive?”

The grin that Midoriya gave him would have been enough to melt even Shouto’s thickest ice. (Honestly, Shouto didn’t know it was possible for someone to have a smile that bright-). “Yeah!” The smile faltered a bit. “But… that’s still not right.”

His friend walked off muttering, and Shouto shrugged, moving to finally put on a shirt.

-

Honestly, Shouto wished that he could understand how Midoriya’s brain worked. It would be nice to have some warning whenever Midoriya had a random, crazy thought.

“Aha! Protective!”

The sudden yell was nearly enough to make Shouto drop the robot he had been carrying. They were in the middle of a rescue simulation, and the robot was very sensitive to what went on (And Shouto doesn’t have the best history with rescue missions, what with the USJ and the licensing exam and-)

“Midoriya!” Shouto hissed. “Now is not the time!”

Ignoring his friend for probably the first time ever (Oh gosh, Shouto hopes that Midoriya isn’t offended by that. He doesn’t know what he would do if-), Shouto took his robot over to the evac point and pushed the occurrence out of his head. Was it honestly too much to ask for one instance of rescue training to go without a hitch?

Shaking his head, he dove back into the exercise, forgetting all about his friend’s outburst.

That is, until the exercise ended seventeen and a half minutes later.

“You’re very protective, aren’t you?”

And honestly, if Shouto wasn’t such a reserved person, Midoriya probably would have had him jump a meter in the air. Shit, but Midoriya should wear a bell or something…

This time, Midoriya was grinning. “You like to take care of people.”

Shouto paused, considered it. Gave a sharp nod. “Yes.” Another pause. “Is that your final answer?”

For some reason (crap, has Shouto said something stupid? Did he unintentionally make another reference again-) Midoriya busted out laughing. “No,” he wheezed out between chuckles. “No, that’s not my final answer.”

Shouto rolled his eyes and turned away from his still-laughing friend.

-

Shouto had no idea how they had ended up in this situation (it was probably Midoriya. No one besides Bakugou could say no to-)

What should have been a routine shopping trip had ended up with the entirety of class 1-A at a cat café of all things.

Shouto could blame Ashido for coming up with the idea, or Kaminari for having the brilliant plan of using Midoriya’s puppy dog eyes as their weapon of choice, but ultimately…

Shouto stared at the sight before him.

He thinks that Aizawa must just really like cats.

The man in question had laid down along one wall, his sleeping bag pulled all the way around him.

And he was positively covered in cats. As in, Shouto could barely see the bright yellow beneath the sheer number of cats on the hero.

Of course, Shouto himself wasn’t much better. Apparently, cats really liked his left side (at least someone likes it. It’s good for something even if it’s just attracting cats-).

Sighing, Shouto sat down and just let it happen. Some cats wrestled over which one got to sit in his lap (with a rather fat, rather smug tabby the apparent winner), some just rubbed up against his warm, while somehow…

“Oh my gosh,” Midoriya whispered from beside him. “There’s a kitten on your head.

Shouto held back a grimace. There were so many cats on him, and he really didn’t want to disturb any of them.

A computerized click had him slowly turning his head to level a stare at his best friend, who had just shamelessly taken a picture of the cat-covered boy (Why did Midoriya take a picture? Was that a normal thing for friends-). Midoriya simply smiled and shrugged. “It was t-too cu-cute not to take a picture of,” he defended, blushing.

Shouto just barely resisted the urge to shake his head, remembering his, ah, passenger at the last minute. He exhaled sharply through his nose before reaching up and gently scooping the kitten from his head. He held it up to his face as it gave a few pathetic mews. The cat had black fur, but its big green eyes were almost like-

A soft smile made its way to Shouto’s face, and he carefully cuddled the adorable cat to his chest.

A sudden gasp had his gaze once again turned to Midoriya, who had a light in his eyes that Shouto didn’t quite recognize. “That’s it,” Midoriya breathed.

Shouto was puzzled. “What’s what?”

Midoriya smiled, not a wide grin that lit up the day, but a soft smile like the stars on a clear night. “You’re gentle.

Shouto hummed, waiting for Midoriya to continue and explain as he had previously, but the boy in question just gave a small shake of his head and a slight chuckle. “Yeah, gentle.”

Huh.

Gentle.

Shouto could live with being gentle.