A hero nerd as big as Izuku couldn’t call himself as such without having attended at least one hero con, and throughout the years, whenever money allowed it, he had been to plenty. He loved it all: the panels, the merch, the guests, the cosplayers. Every part of it was just as exciting the tenth time as it had been the first, even when most of the stalls were the same every year, if some faces were so often present, they became familiar.
Izuku had tried to cosplay his favourite hero once, his mother had helped him fix up his All Might onesie into a more proper suit that earned him some excited compliments and a few requests for photos. Though Izuku isn’t really one for being the centre of attention—seeing as most of the time when eyes were on him, it was for all the wrong reasons, it seemed—, it had been a nice change of pace from his middle school interactions. At the cons, he was among his people, so to speak.
People of all shapes and sizes, from all sorts of backgrounds, came to these events to share in their love and admirations of Japan’s heroes. And the people who noticed him were just as enthusiastic about them as he was. It was nice, to not be looked at as the quirkless kid who aspired to be more than he was meant to. No one knew him, who he was, whether or not he had a quirk or what it might be. No one really cared either. They knew he loved heroes and that was that, enough to strike up a friendly conversation before they parted ways after only a few minutes.
When he started at U.A., things changed slightly though. After not only the villain attacks, but the sports festival as well, Izuku grew a little more recognisable than he had originally expected. Now that his face had been imprinted in hero aficionados’ minds as the kid who broke nearly all the bones in his arm in the fight with Endeavor’s son, people started approaching him even as he was just dressed as casually as any other day of the year. The con had happened not that long after the event was broadcast for all of Japan to see, so he reasoned that it was only natural the fight was still fresh in people’s minds. They were bound to forget about him once the hype had died down, and the next convention he managed to go to, he would go just as unnoticed as he had done in the past.
Or at least, that was what Izuku thought would happen.
To be fair, he hadn’t expected to get himself a boyfriend between then and now. He most certainly didn’t expect it to be the very boy with whom he had fought to make him noticeable in the first place. And the thing about Todoroki is that his hair doesn’t really qualify as something one could consider discreet. After the hero nerds found out who he was, who his father was, it was unlikely that they would forget.
In retrospect, Izuku should have expected this particular outcome. But he didn’t. And he invited Todoroki to come to the convention with him because he thought it could be fun, a bit of a date but not really. He just wanted to enjoy something he loves with someone he cares about. It seemed harmless.
But then people saw Todoroki, they recognised his hair, his face, his standing in the hero world. They saw Izuku beside him, their fingers laced together as they absentmindedly browsed an artist’s table. First came the shoulder taps, then the questions of whether they really were Endeavor’s son and the guy he had thrown out of bounds in a fit of blazing glory, and finally, the long, awkwardly silent stares as the cogs turned in these people’s brains. Some legitimately shrieked in uncontained excitement, and Izuku was torn between feeling amused at these stranger’s enthusiasm for their relationship, guilty for the way it made Todoroki shift uncomfortably and anxious about the possible consequences it could have.
Luckily, everyone was relatively nice and only wanted some pictures with some of U.A.’s most promising. It made Izuku feel like some sort of celebrity, which was a little strange. Todoroki kept mostly to himself though, almost cowering behind Izuku as he made all the small talk for the both of them. He was clearly thankful when people didn’t pry at his standoffish behaviour, though Izuku had done his best to steer their attention off of him to begin with.
Despite most simply approaching them about their iconic fight, however, they had a few stray encounters that were… interesting, to put it nicely.
It was definitely weird finding out that some people shipped them together ever since the U.A. sports festival. According to them, it was something about some obvious romantic tension—a couple of people may have called it by a slightly different name—that made Izuku blush so hard he was worryingly close to passing out from the lack of blood reaching his brain. Apparently, there was even a forum in some dark corner of the internet dedicated to speculating whether there was something between them in the little glimpses they caught of their lives when they were thrust into the media for one reason or another.
Izuku didn’t know whether to be impressed or extremely put off by the fact that these complete strangers had pieced together their mutual feelings long before they had managed to do it themselves.
Regardless, it was an overall taxing experience. Between trying to enjoy what the con had to offer and running around the venue to reach all the things that caught their eye as soon as possible, and handling their supposed fans and/or supporters (shippers?) while doing his best to keep them from poking at Todoroki’s life… Izuku got to the end of the day utterly exhausted. Conventions always took a lot out of him, no doubt about it, but this… this was a whole other level of tiresome.
If Izuku had a say in it, the next time they went together would go without a hitch. No people nearly cornering them with questions or requests that sometimes were borderline invasion of privacy. He knew that they meant well, but it was still clearly uncomfortable for Todoroki to be in these situations, so Izuku would like to find a way to avoid them entirely in order for him to actually have a good time.
“You want me to go with you to another one of these?” Todoroki asked, and Izuku realised with a start he had mumbled his musings out loud.
“Ah, sorry, you probably don’t want to go to something like this again, huh? After how this one went, I don’t really blame you, since it’s not even your kind of thing…”
Izuku smiled bashfully, though a hint of sadness settled in his chest at the thought of not getting to enjoy his boyfriend’s company at the next convention without people bothering them about something or other every few minutes. With a small shake of his head, Todoroki pulled Izuku into his arms, letting himself fall back onto one of the empty couches on the common room with him on top of his chest and stomach. Another rush of blood pooled in Izuku’s cheeks and he buried his face in Todoroki’s shirt in a futile attempt to hide it.
“I just didn’t think you’d want the attention I draw to us. I like spending time with you, especially if it’s something you like doing…”
A little whine of embarrassment sounded muffled against Todoroki’s chest and Izuku bit on his lower lip for a moment before lifting his chin and propping himself up on his elbows to look into his boyfriend’s tired, mismatched eyes.
“We could wear disguises… Maybe even couple’s cosplay… If you wanted, of course…”
Todoroki hummed softly, letting his head fall back against the armrest and his lids droop closed. “That would be nice… People wouldn’t really recognise us…”
Izuku tried to agree but was cut off by a large yawn, covering his mouth just in time to stop the little yelp from escaping his lips entirely when Todoroki wrapped his arms around his waist and pulled him closer to his chest. His breaths quickly settled on an even tempo and Izuku shifted to a more comfortable position, closing his eyes too and listening closely to Todoroki’s calm heartbeat. The exhaustion from the convention finally took over him as well, and by the time Iida woke them up to go up to their dorms before curfew, they had spent hours napping it away in each other’s arms. Even if the day didn’t go quite as he expected, Izuku couldn’t really complain about how it ended.