The soft meow probably would have startled him, if it had not been for his quirk specifically dealing with animals. What did startle him, however, was the fact that the cat that had made the noise was laying on the common room couch, curled up next to one of the top students in class 2-A. And it seemed like Todoroki was asleep.
Not wanting to wake his always tired classmate, Kouji tried to turn around as quietly and quickly as he could. Unfortunately, however, it didn’t seem to be quiet enough not to wake the hero, who called out his name with sleepy eyes. Slowly, Kouji turned around and gave a small wave to Todoroki, signing a quick “Sorry for waking you!”
Todoroki shrugged, “It’s really fine, Kouda. I didn’t really mean to fall asleep, anyway.” He looked down at the cat then, sighing, “This one just has the need to constantly keep me from doing anything else.” In response, the cat chirped happily.
“What’s their name?” Kouji signed, hoping his classmate caught that. When it seemed that he didn’t, he repeated the question out loud.
Todoroki looked at him, then, and Kouji suddenly remembered that most classmates had yet to hear him talk, and Todoroki was certainly one of them. After a brief, tense moment, Todoroki smiled softly and said, “Her name is Surprise. She’s my mom’s, but I’m watching her while she gets more settled into Fuyumi’s new apartment.”
Admittedly, Kouji didn’t know much about Todoroki, or his family. His confusion must have shown on his face, because Todoroki chose to elaborate, “Fuyumi’s my older sister. My mom is moving in with her while my parents’ divorce gets finalized, but I really don’t think Fuyumi is going to let her leave, anyway. She’s also the one who named Surprise, by the way. She told my mom it was English for ‘hope’ or something, and it kind of stuck.”
Todoroki looked back at the cat, Surprise, before saying, “No one’s quite had the heart to tell her that that is not, in fact, what ‘surprise’ is English for.” he shrugged again.
Kouji quietly moved forward, unsure of if Todoroki was going to want to keep talking to him. When he made eye-contact with the shy boy, he once again had a small smile. “You’re very nice and easy to talk to, Kouda.. do you want to be friends?” And Kouji had never really been able to say ‘no’ to anyone, and this time was not when he would even want to say it.
So he said ‘yes’.
It wasn’t until about a month later that Kouji found out why, exactly, Todoroki had decided to talk to him that day. They were sitting in his room because they both found Todoroki’s just a tad uncomfortable (unfortunate, really, it was really well done). Surprise had just gone back to live with his mother and sister, and Todoroki was definitely pouting (though he would deny it should anyone point it out).
Over the few weeks that they had been regularly communicating, Todoroki had seemed to really pick up sign language fast. He was almost as good at it as Kouji himself was. In return, Kouji didn’t have much of a problem speaking to get his friend’s attention.
It was still weird to him to refer to Todoroki as a ‘friend’ rather than classmate or teammate. It just seemed different, somehow, but not necessarily a bad different.
The two of them had just finished that night’s homework, when Kouji finally worked up the courage to sign and ask, “Why did you want to be my friend, Todoroki?”
Todoroki was quiet for a moment, which Kouji was now able to interpret as him thinking about his answer. Todoroki preferred to be clear and concise with his words, which Kouji had come to appreciate.
“Well,” Todoroki finally said, “Izuku had been bothering me for some time about making new friends and I had, truthfully, wanted to be friends with you since the sports festival. I just didn’t really know how to go about it.” he shrugged, which to most would have seemed like a bit of a dismissal. To Kouji, however, it was a sign that Todoroki didn’t know where this conversation was going to go, and he didn’t like that he didn’t know.
While it doesn’t really surprise him that Todoroki went out of his way to do something that Midoriya had ‘bothered’ (translation: mentioned once as an offhand comment that it would be nice if Todoroki did this thing) him about, it was a shock that he had wanted to be his friend for any significant length of time. “Why?” he finally decided to sign, “I never said a word to anyone, or even did anything special.”
Todoroki shrugged again, “You just looked a little lonely, I guess. I knew what that was like, and I wasn’t avoiding the mere idea of friends anymore after the sports festival, which would probably be why. Besides, you were quiet and I figured you probably wouldn’t make me talk.”
It was quiet for another moment before Todoroki spoke again, “Is that bad?” his voice sounded small, which Kouji found weird coming from his friend. Todoroki was always so sure of his words, and didn’t really seem to care what others thought of him. Maybe that wasn’t entirely true.
“No, I don’t think that it is. Whatever the reason, we’re friends now. I like that,” he signed, “Besides, my bunny likes you,” the sign was accompanied by a pointed look at the aforementioned animal sitting on Todoroki’s lap, seemingly content.
Todoroki smiled softly, which is as close to a blinding sunshine smile as he could probably get. “I guess, but it’s probably only because that side is warm.”
Kouji shrugged, “Maybe,” he signed.
It was about two months after their conversation that they were sitting in the common room, Todoroki reading and Kouji doing homework. They were the only two in the room, which was sort of odd considering it was a weekend, but they weren’t exactly complaining.
It wasn’t until Yaoyorozu and Jirou walked into the room that Kouji began to tense up. Fortunately for him and his fragile heart, they didn’t stay long, only venturing to the main floor because Yaoyorozu forgot her notebook down there the night before.
It seemed that Kouji’s relief was short lived, however, because a mere five minutes after the girls left, Todoroki spoke up, “So are we not supposed to mention your giant crush on Jirou, or is that fair game?” it sounded like it was meant to be an offhand comment, but as Kouji turned his head faster than Todoroki had been able to finish his sentence, he was able to make direct eye-contact with the half-and-half hero-in-training. There was a different type of smile on his face this time, surprisingly. It took a moment for Kouji to figure out what it was, but once he did, he flushed all the way from the top of his head to his feet. If he had Todoroki’s quirk, he surely would have burst into literal flames.
Todoroki was teasing him.
Deciding that two could play at that game, and that it was only fair, Kouji signed back, “It’s only fair game if the fact that you’re absolutely in love with Midoriya is.”
Kouji swears to this day that the scorch marks on the common room ceiling were not his fault.