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They're going to get ice cream when it happens. Shouto guesses that they should start to expect villain attacks when they're out; they're famous, after all. Though, he thinks with a bit of derision, he does sometimes miss being able to go out and NOT have some small time thug try to get the jump on the UA students that held their own against the League of Villains for some stupid attempt at momentary glory.

One second Izuku is beside him, laughing and chattering about a hero analysis video that someone made on their class, and the next second he's being dragged into a narrow alley by a petty criminal, his ice cream cone plopping sadly to the sidewalk. Shouto is immediately pissed off. He'd gotten the chance to spend a day off with Midoriya, and now he was going to have to kick someone's ass for attacking his best friend; That is, if Midoriya doesn't kick their ass first.

He ducks into the alleyway that is FAR too dark for this time of the afternoon, what is up with that, and instead of finding him in a scuffle with a villain, he finds Izuku on the ground, and whoever grabbed him nowhere to be seen. His heart leaps to his throat. He scans the area cautiously for a moment before immediately rushing to his friend's side. He gently turns him over, and cradles him in his arms. Izuku's head lolls to the side. He's out cold.

"Shit," Shouto murmurs, and out of the corner of his eye, he spots a glint of movement. Without even thinking, he shoots ice in that direction. There's a strangled yelp as the ice encases the villain. Shouto looks up then, and finds a grungy looking man attempting feebly to somehow squirm out of the pillar of ice that surrounds him. There are curled horns atop his head, and his matted blonde hair falls into his eyes. Aside from the horns, he looks relatively normal.

Shouto sets Izuku down gently, and then stands. He lets flames light up along his face and left arm, and ice begins to crystalize the ground around his right foot. The villain whimpers.
"What did you do to him?" Shouto has no doubts that he paints an intimidating picture.

"N-n-n-n-no! Nothing! He's just knocked out!" the man cries, teeth chattering from the cold.

"You'd better hope so," Shouto tells him darkly, "for your sake."

He puts out his fire, steps out of the circle of ice, and turns away to call in to the police and let them know the situation.
He turns back to the thug one last time, "You'd better hope they get here before the frostbite sets in." The villain swears.

Shouto sighs and sets about picking Izuku up, securing him in his arms before heading out of the alleyway and in the direction of the nearest hospital. He'd declined to wait for the police to arrive, noting that it'd be faster if he just took Izuku himself. They happened to be oddly close.

A few blocks into his walk, by some bizarre twist of the universe, Shouto hears a familiar voice frantically shouting his name.

"Todoroki!" he looks to his left to find Kirishima running across the street with absolutely no regard for the cars that he's cutting off, dragging an extremely irritated Bakugou by the wrist behind him. Of all the people to encounter... He's grateful for Kirishima. He's kind, he cares about his classmates. He probably just wants to help. But Bakugou... He's probably the last person that Shouto would want to see right now, besides his father. He wonders, if Kirishima hadn't dragged him over here, if Bakugou would even have stopped.

"Todoroki, dude!" he yells again, and Shouto really wishes he wouldn't. He's drawing the attention of the passerby on the street. He finally, blessedly reaches them, so he can stop yelling.

Kirishima holds his hands out as though he's going to try to take Izuku out of his arms, and Shouto flinches back on reflex, cradling Midoriya closer. "Woah, dude, relax," Kirishima says kindly, waving his hands, "What happened? Is he okay?"

"He should just be knocked out. Some small time criminal tried to drag him into an alley." Shouto answers, adjusting his hold on Izuku. He's heavier than he looks. He's rather... dense, in more ways that one. Shouto nearly snorts at the thought. "I'm taking him to the hospital. I don't know if the guy used his quirk, or hit him over the head, or what happened. He needs to be checked out."

"We'll come with you!" Kirishima exclaims brightly, and Bakugou explodes.

"I'm not going anywhere with that damn loser! He went and got himself knocked out, that's HIS problem! I'm not going to that fucking hospital!" Shouto really wishes he'd stop screaming. He's drawing attention to them again.

"Bakugou!" Kirishima turns to face him, grabbing him by the shoulders, shaking him slightly, "We gotta go! One of our friends is hurt and we gotta be there for him! It wouldn't be manly to just leave him!" For one tense second, Shouto thinks that Bakugou might literally blow Kirishima up. He really, REALLY just wants to get Izuku to the hospital.

Then, by some miracle of God, he just shrugs out of Kirishima's grasp and grumbles irritatedly, "Fucking FINE jesus CHRIST but we're not fucking staying there." Kirishima grins widely, and throws an arm around Bakugou's shoulder.

Shouto takes that as his cue to start walking again. They reach the hospital in another handful of minutes, and they're checked in with relative expediency. The police calling ahead for them undoubtedly helps their case. After a wait that is most likely far shorter than it feels, because it feels like an eternity of picking at the dead skin around his fingernails and restlessly jiggling his leg so hard that he can feel Bakugou's annoyed glare, a nurse arrives to show them to Izuku's room. Shouto is surprised at the willingness of the hospital staff to allow non-family to see Izuku but he chalks that up to their class's close relationship and penchant for landing themselves in hospitals with increasingly high frequency. He's grateful either way.

Shouto has seen enough of Izuku in a hospital bed for the rest of his lifetime. Even for something so minor, the sight of his best friend in a hospital gown hooked up to these godforsaken machines makes something hot and fearful blossom in his chest. One of these times, he might not wake up. And Shouto... He had a lot to regret.

"He ends up in here a lot, huh," Kirishima's soft voice interrupts his train of thought. He glances behind himself to find Kirishima looking despondent. The expression doesn't suit him.

"Of course he does, the fuckin' loser," comes Bakugou's rough voice. Shouto is ready to light up his left side, tell him that he's free to leave at any time, when Bakugou continues, "Don't make that face," he knocks Kirishima's shoulder, "He's too stubborn to die or anything stupid like that." Shouto unclenches his fists. He has to suppress the smirk that threatens to crack his face. He's trying to reassure Kirishima. Someone has tamed Bakugou. And from what Midoriya had told him, that was no easy task. He catches Kirishima's grateful smile out of the corner of his eye, and decides not to poke any fun at Bakugou now, if only for Kirishima's sake.

Shouto crosses the room and drops into the seat next to Izuku's bed, sighing heavily. He leans forward, propping his elbows on his knees, and watches Izuku's still form for a moment. "I know it's not even his fault this time," he grumbles, "but I wish he would stop landing himself in here."

Bakugou tsks loudly, muttering something about how if Todoroki "wasn't so up the dork's ass then he'd care less", and Kirishima slaps him on the arm. Bakugou shoves him in response, and Kirishima snorts.

"You care about him a lot, huh?" There's a hand on his shoulder then, and it's comforting in the way that only Kirishima can be.

Shouto doesn't look up. Instead, he lets his hand find Izuku's where it rests on the hospital bed. He presses his fingertips to the inside of Izuku's wrist, feeling his pulse thrumming there. Of course he cares. Izuku has changed his life. He means more to him than anybody else he's met. More recently, with some prodding from Yaoyorozu, he's been confronted with the idea that his feelings might be something that could be considered a little less than platonic, but he'd panicked at that immediately. He knew she was right, but he doesn't need to spend any more time than strictly necessary wondering what it might feel like to have Izuku be his. "He's my best friend," he decides on quietly.

Bakugou makes a disgusted noise from his place in the doorway. "You're gonna make me fuckin barf," he spits.

"Cut it out, man," Kirishima says wearily, and Shouto misses the look that passes between the two of them, something of an understanding about Todoroki's situation that makes Kirishima's smile bittersweet and Bakugou's mouth twist downward in impatience. He can't meet Kirishima's eye.

"That's not all, is it?" Kirishima asks patiently.

Shouto looks up at him warily, mouth tilting downward. He's ready to deny it, but he realizes abruptly that he's not making a very good case for himself. After all, he's sat next to Izuku's hospital bed, feeling his pulse to reassure himself that he's alive after a minor encounter with a small time villain. He sighs again. He's not ready to have this conversation at all, let alone in a hospital with Bakugou making snide comments in the background.

There's a soft groan to his right, and then a squeeze to his hand, and Shouto snaps his head around to watch Izuku's eyes flutter open. He's immediately on his feet, still not letting go of Izuku's hand. He perches himself on the edge of the bed, and squeezes Midoriya's fingers.

"Hey!" Kirishima exclaims, and Midoriya's eyes flit to him. His eyebrows knit together in confusion. "There you are! We were worried."

"Izuku," Shouto says more softly, and Izuku's eyes settle on him, then. "How do you feel? Are you alright?"

"Wha- where am I?" Izuku asks hoarsely, looking between Shouto and Kirishima in confusion. So he didn't remember being knocked out.

"In a hospital, obviously," Bakugou scoffs from the doorway, "Idiot."

Izuku is immediately more alert, scooting backwards and looking more panicked that Shouto has seen him in a long time, "K-Kacchan! What are you doing here?"

Shouto frowns. He's seen Izuku afraid of Bakugou before, but he hadn't been this bad since the beginning of their freshman year.

"Cool it, loser," Bakugou says sharply, "Kirishima dragged me here. Like I'd ever choose to come here."

Izuku looks like he doesn't quite believe him. He turns his head back to Shouto and Kirishima, looking between the two of them again.

"Is... Is one of you Kirishima?" he asks in a small voice.

Shouto turns and catches Kirishima's eye. He's caught in an expression of open surprise. Then he catches Bakugou's eye, and for once, even he has nothing to say. He turns back to his best friend.

"Izuku," Shouto asks carefully, "What do you remember from today?"

"I..." Izuku's eyes dart around the three of them, "I don't remember anything," he admits quietly. "Should I?" he asks then.

"What's the last thing you remember?" Bakugou crosses the room then, coming to stand next to Kirishima. Izuku eyes him nervously, fingers twitching against Shouto's own. He doesn't like how nervous Bakugou's presence is making him. It makes Shouto uneasy. He knows things are different between them now, there's no reason for Izuku to be so intensely frightened.

"Being... in school?" Izuku's response comes as more of a question than anything else.

"WHICH school?" Bakugou asks impatiently, tapping his foot against the tiled floor.

Izuku shrinks back a bit, "Our... Middle... School? What other school would we be going to?"

Bakugou swears loudly, and Izuku flinches. "I'm sorry!" he exclaims nervously, "Do I know you two? SHOULD I know you?" he asks frantically, looking at Shouto and Kirishima again. He doesn't remember them. What the absolute FUCK did that villain do to him? Why does he think he's still in MIDDLE SCHOOL?

"I'm... Eijiro Kirishima," their classmate offers up.

"I'm Shouto Todoroki," Izuku looks down at where he and Shouto's hands are still joined. Then he looks back up, squinting at Shouto, mouth quirking downward.

"Why- What is- Are you my boyfriend or something?"

Shouto thinks that his heart might have actually stopped, and he chokes on the breath he was taking. He stares at Izuku helplessly. Of course he would think that. He woke up in a hospital bed to a boy that he DOESN'T remember holding his hand, invading his personal space, and calling him by his given name. What else was he supposed to think? He doesn't know that they're oddly close best friends and this is what they do.

Bakugou starts to snort into his hand. "Yeah, that's your boyfriend alright," he says with mirth, "You're fucking obsessed with each other."

Shouto actually feels his soul leave his body. He's going to freeze Bakugou to the ceiling.
"OKAY, that's enough out of you, let's go!" Shouto watches Kirishima shove Bakugou toward the door, the latter still cackling into his palm.

There's a squeeze to his fingers. Shouto whips his head back around, fully intending to correct Bakugou's statement and tell Izuku that they are NOT, in fact, dating, but he's rendered absolutely dumbstruck by the dopey grin that's spread across Izuku's face.

WHY, in the name of everything that is good and holy, is Izuku looking at him like THAT? Even if he does think that they're together, he doesn't remember Shouto either way. He can't possibly be that happy about it.

Then it hits him. Izuku thinks he's still in middle school. He's painfully aware of how incredibly lonely Izuku had been before coming to UA. He hadn't even had anything close to a friend. So the idea of being with someone, of someone caring for him enough to choose to be in a relationship with him, must be overwhelming.

Would Izuku look at him like that if he remembered him? If Shouto confessed his feelings to him?

NO.

That didn't matter. Because Izuku DOESN'T remember him, and he CAN'T just let him think that they're together. That's just not fair. But how is he supposed to just... Say no to that face?

"IZUKU!" comes a familiar voice from the doorway, "Izuku, honey are you okay?!" Inko Midoriya crosses the room quickly and takes her son's face in her hands, seemingly taking stock to make sure he's still in one piece.

"Mom!" Izuku smiles widely, "I'm okay," he laughs, waving his free hand at her and scooting back out of her grasp.

"What happened?" Inko asks.

"We were attacked by a villain," Shouto explains, "He knocked Izuku out." Inko gasps, but Izuku seems to take it in stride, barely flinching at the new information.

"Do you know Shouto?" he asks, still grinning.

"Of course I do, honey," Inko says warmly, albeit a bit confusedly, patting Shouto on the head. "It's nice to see you again, dear."

"You too," Shouto says dumbly.

"Kacchan told me that Shouto is my boyfriend."

Shouto freezes, staring up at Inko helplessly. He watches her eyes flit to their joined hands. She looks at Shouto quizzically. Her hand settles on his shoulder. The smile never leaves her face, despite the confusion in her eyes.
"Can I talk to you outside, dear?"

Shouto nods, his throat stuck, and he finally extricates his hand from Izuku's. He frowns lightly at the loss of contact, and it tugs at a place behind Shouto's ribs. He follows Inko outside the room, and she gently closes the door behind them.

Inko watches him expectantly for a moment, and he shrinks under her gaze.
"Would you like to tell me what's going on?" she asks, not unkindly.

Shouto presses the heels of his hands into his eyes, and shakes his head. He's met Inko before, of course, but he's never spoken to her at length. She's a sweet woman, but to be honest, he's still intimidated by her. She holds the same fire and determination inside of her that her son does.

"We were just getting ice cream," Shouto groans, "Neither of us even saw him but he dragged Izuku into the alley and knocked him out. I don't know what he did, but Izuku can't remember anything. He thinks he's still in middle school."

"And why does he think that you're his boyfriend?" Inko asks. If Shouto had been paying more attention to it, he might have detected the barest hint of amusement in her voice.

Shouto groans again, taking his hands away from his eyes. "I... Might have been holding his hand," he suddenly finds his shoes incredibly interesting, "And I might have been calling him Izuku."

Inko cocks her head to the side curiously at that.

"He asked me to!" Shouto supplies quickly. "He told me I was his best friend and that if we were going to be best friends we might as well be on a first name basis so I just..." he trails off, still not meeting Inko's gaze. "And then he asked, and Bakugou said yes before I could stop him, and then you showed up before I could say anything else."

A moment passes in agonizing silence.

"He talks about you a lot, you know," Inko says, and he looks up to find her smiling warmly at him. "Shouto," she asks then, her jaw set in determination, "Do you care for my son?"

"Of course I do," he answers without hesitation, and he feels his cheeks heat up immediately. Flames flit across his fingertips, and he brings his hands together in an effort to stop himself from fully lighting on fire.

Inko sighs then, "Katsuki has a mean streak. That started early. But he's always been perceptive."

Shouto eyes her curiously.

"Izuku may not remember who you are, but he must remember how he feels about you."

Shouto's cheeks burn again, but before he gets the chance to ask what Inko means, they're interrupted.

"Hello," a woman in a white coat who Shouto can only presume is Izuku's doctor greets them cheerfully. Her head is topped by a shock of short blue hair and her skin is tinged green. When she continues to speak, Shouto can see that she has sharp fangs. "You're Izuku's mother, I presume?"

"I am," Inko nods.

"I'm Dr. Tao. I've been overseeing your son. Is he awake yet?" the doctor asks.

"He is," Shouto confirms.

"Excellent. Let's head in, okay?"

She opens the door to Izuku's room, and Inko and Shouto follow her inside.

"Izuku?" the doctor asks, "Hello, I'm Dr. Tao. We have information on the quirk of the villain who attacked you."

"Okay?" Izuku responds. Shouto takes his seat next to Izuku's bed and Izuku immediately reaches for his hands again. His blush reaches the tips of his ears, but he doesn't pull away.

Dr. Tao begins, "The villain has an amnesia inducing quirk. It affects individuals differently, but typically the memory loss affects short term memory, ranging from a few weeks to a year, and it should resolve anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. He used his quirk to knock you out. I assume you don't remember encountering him?"

Izuku shakes his head.

"His victims typically don't. He's been rendering people unconscious and robbing them."

"Oh goodness..." Inko murmurs.

Dr. Tao turns her attention to Shouto. "You brought him in, correct?"

Shouto nods.

"You were there when the villain attacked?"

Shouto nods again.

Dr. Tao smiles, "You were very lucky this young man was there, Izuku."

Izuku smiles then too, "I am very lucky."

Shouto tears his gaze away from the softness in Izuku's eyes, because if he doesn't now, he might never look away again.

"Mrs. Midoriya, you're free to take your son home. Just keep an eye on that memory, and if it doesn't come back after 48 hours, give us a call, alright?" Dr. Tao looks at Izuku sternly for a moment, "Get some rest. No more villain encounters for a while, you hear me?"

"Yes ma'am!" Izuku nods enthusiastically. His smile is contagious.

They leave him to get dressed, and when he's finished and situated, they check out of the hospital. Izuku sticks close to his side, shoulder bumping against Shouto's. It's going to be a long two days

Chapter Text

It's decided that Izuku should stay at home for the night, especially being that it's a Saturday, and there are no classes the next day. They'll spend Sunday at the Midoriya home, and on Monday they'll get Izuku reacquainted with UA and his classmates. Hopefully by Monday night his memory will have returned.

Shouto climbs into the back of Mrs. Midoriya's car, only to have Izuku follow him, settling in close next to him. Inko pauses for a second at her son's actions, but quickly regains her footing. Shouto wills the blush on his cheeks away with all his might. He tries to discreetly press his cool hand to his cheek. Izuku leans into his side.

Shouto is struck by how incredibly affectionate Izuku is acting. Of course, he's affectionate with his friends normally; he's hugged Shouto more times than he can count after particularly good training exercises, or after winning one of the stupid games that the class has come up with to play in their off time. And that's not to mention the times that Izuku has fallen asleep on him during late nights in the common room, or curled into his side for comfort when Bakugou picked a horror for the class's movie night.

But there's something different about Izuku being this affectionate when he thinks they're together that makes Shouto's heart clench painfully. Even more confusingly, Izuku STILL DOESN'T REMEMBER HIM. He's just taking Bakugou's word and Shouto's lack of refusal that they're in a relationship. It's incredibly naive, but somehow ridiculously endearing that Izuku would take to dating him so quickly.

The ride home is quiet. At some point, Izuku curls his fingers around Shouto's, and it's all he can do to keep from letting ice encase their hands. He's having a horrible amount of trouble controlling his quirk, and it's making him uneasy. Before too long, they're home. Izuku squeezes his hand gently before letting go to get out of the car, flashing Shouto a sweet smile over his shoulder. Shouto starts to think that these two days might really end up being the death of him.

Shouto has been to the Midoriya home before. He's spent nights there to avoid going home. He's endlessly grateful for the kindness of Mrs. Midoriya, and even more grateful for the kindness of her son. He's spent evenings collapsed onto the couch in their living room, Izuku's head in his lap, giggling over some stupid movie that they'd found on TV. He'd had to dig his fingers into his palms to stop from running them through his best friend's hair.
He's spent nights curled up on a spare futon next to Izuku's bed, wondering what might happen if he crawled into bed behind Izuku and wrapped him in his arms.
He always decided that he was far too lucky to even be there in Izuku's company in the first place, so he'd better not push it.

He can't imagine how much more difficult it's going to be to hold back if Izuku was going to keep being so... sweet. He doesn't have the time to worry about that right now, though.

Once they're inside the Midoriya home, Shouto plops himself on the couch as he's done dozens of times before. Izuku joins him immediately, sitting close enough that they're pressed together from shoulder to knee.

 

Shouto is positive he's going to die before these two days are up.

Mrs. Midoriya perches herself on the coffee table in front of them, and folds her hands in her lap. "You must have a lot of questions," she says, frowning sympathetically.

"Just a few," Izuku's smile is rueful.

"Well," Mrs. Midoriya sighs, "Where do you want to start?"

Izuku sinks into the couch behind him, leaning a little more heavily onto Shouto's shoulder, "I guess... When is it?""You're in your first year of high school, sweetie," Inko answers.

"And... Where do I... Go?" Izuku looks apprehensive.

"Honey..." Inko smiles, and Shouto watches her eyes grow brighter. Izuku definitely got his penchant for crying from his mother. "You got into UA."

Izuku goes deathly still next to him for a moment, and he sits back up slowly, "I... I what?"

Inko laughs tearfully, nodding enthusiastically, "You got into UA, Izuku!"

Izuku's hands come up to cover his mouth, and a quiet, desperate sound tears its way out of his throat. There are tears rolling down his cheeks, over his hands. Shouto wonders if this is how he'd reacted the first time he found out that he'd been accepted into UA. It tugs at his chest, and he can't help himself. He reaches out to lay a hand on Izuku's knee in an attempt to be supportive.

"But," he sobs out, muffled behind his palms "but I'm quirkless."

Shouto hopes desperately that his confusion isn't apparent on his face. Izuku had confided in him that his quirk had manifested extremely late, just before the UA entrance exam, to be exact. Was his memory really so far back that he still believed he'd had no quirk?

"You got your quirk, sweetie. We don't know how it happened. But you have one!" Inko exclaims, swiping at the tears on her cheeks. "Don't you feel different? Take a look at yourself."

Izuku pulls his hands from his face and takes in his crooked fingers and scarred, forearms. "Wha- I don't understand," he's suddenly up on his feet, and then he's disappearing into his room. Moments later, he pops back out of his room, bare chested and holding his shirt in one hand. His eyes are wide, and he's all confusion. "When did this happen?!"

Shouto feels himself go red as Izuku stands in his doorway and looks down at his incredibly toned arms, flexing slightly. He activates his cold side immediately, and ices his palms together until it stings to maintain his composure.

"I don't know, honestly," Inko shakes her head.

Izuku makes his way back to the couch, tugging on his shirt as he goes. He takes his seat again, and Shouto suddenly has no personal space again. Izuku has gone from shirtless, to basically in his lap in less than 30 seconds, and it is the farthest thing from fair.

"What's my quirk?" Izuku asks, suddenly focused.

Inko looks to Shouto, "I think you might be able to answer this better. You've seen more of it than I have."

Izuku's full attention is on him, and it knocks him off balance no less than usual.

"You've got..." Shouto pauses, trying to find the right words. In all honestly, the way he wants to describe his best friend is nothing less than reverent. There's no way he can sit in front of the two of them and wax poetic about how absolutely astounding it is to watch Izuku fight. Even if he DOES have the tendency to break his bones, the passion with which he throws himself into his battles, and the intensity of facing Izuku himself leaves Shouto awestruck. He becomes suddenly aware that he's been silent for too long. He settles on something honest.

"You're incredibly powerful." It's not a lie, it's just not the adoring praise that had immediately filled his head. "They put your quirk down as 'Super-Power' in the records."

Izuku makes a thoughtful sound, and considers his hands again. "The scars?" he asks.

"You have a tendency to break your bones." Shouto answers dryly.

"Your body isn't used to your quirk," Inko clarifies, "So when you use it, it hurts you."

"You're working on it." Shouto adds helpfully. "Slowly."

Izuku seems to be at a loss again. He watches his hands, bemused. It must be a lot to take in, Shouto thinks.

"How about you boys go relax for a bit," Inko suggests gently, "I'll start dinner." She stands, and smooths Izuku's hair back, pressing a kiss to his forehead. "Go, go" she waves them off.

 

Shouto has been in Izuku's room dozens of times before, but when Izuku closes the door behind them this time, it sets his heart pounding far too fast for comfort.

He should tell Izuku. He should tell him they're not together. It's not fair to let him think that they are. He opens his mouth; he intends to tell him, he really does.

But then Izuku turns around and fixes him with a smile that is far more gentle than he deserves.

And Shouto is struck by the fear that this will be his only chance. It's his only chance to know what it might be like to have Izuku be his.

It's stupid.

It's selfish.

It's not FAIR.

This isn't ABOUT him.

He HAS to tell him.

"Did we meet at UA?"

His moment is gone. He kicks himself for the twinge of gratefulness that flickers through his chest.

"We did," he nods.

Izuku moves to sit on his bed. He gazes down at his lap, and sadness flashes across his face. "I'm sorry I can't remember you."

"It's not your fault," Shouto sighs, crossing the room to sit next to Izuku on the bed.

"But I wish I could," Izuku insists. He furrows his eyebrows, mouth turning down into a frown. Shouto watches him blink harshly, his eyes growing glossy again.

"You will," Shouto finds himself reaching out, covering Izuku's hand with his own. He's a sucker for those damn tears.

He'd grown accustomed to comforting his best friend through touch. He'd found that Izuku responded best to a hand on his shoulder, or a hug, or even ruffling his hair when his emotions got the best of him. He was a very tactile person. He knew that was why Izuku gravitated toward him so closely. He probably wasn't even thinking about it. But he felt dishonest, comforting him this way, reciprocating that touch.

But what else was he supposed to do? Shove him away? Embarrass him? Shouto wasn't good at these things. He was in too deep to know how to tactfully dig himself out.

Memory or not, feelings or not, Izuku was still his best friend, and he cared about him. And he wanted to take care of him. He needed to get Izuku through this.

Shouto decided he'd do whatever was necessary to make sure Izuku was happy through these next two days. And... if that just HAPPENED to benefit Shouto or his feelings... Well... That was really just an added bonus then, wasn't it?

If he was going to be Izuku's boyfriend, well, damnit, he'd be the boyfriend that Izuku deserved.

Chapter Text

"I want to know more about you," Izuku smiles brightly, and something unclenches in Shouto's chest.

"I'm afraid I'm not very interesting," Shouto mumbles in response. He feels his ears warming. What can he really tell Izuku about himself? He's a mix of awkward and antisocial with a swirl of family issues, and there is no WAY he's unloading all of that onto Izuku right now.

Izuku's hand settles over his own on the bed, "I highly doubt that," he smiles. "I don't see how the son of the number two hero could NOT be interesting!" his smile is wider now.

Shouto feels a roll of revulsion in his stomach, and he tries not to let the hurt lance too hard through his ribs. 'He doesn't remember,' he tells himself, 'Izuku would never,' he swallows. He manages a shaky smile back, huffs out a fake laugh. Izuku's room had become suspiciously devoid of Endeavor merchandise after Shouto had relayed his early life with the man to him. His expression turned notably sour any time anyone mentioned Endeavor from that day on.

"You must have learned a lot from him," Izuku sounds almost... wistful, as though he was lamenting that HE couldn't have grown up under Endeavor's tutelage. Shouto swallows hard. He had learned from Endeavor.

How to only speak when spoken to.

How to hide in the darker corners of the house.

How to protect the spots that would hurt most when his father swung at him.

The only thing worse than growing up under Endeavor's thumb was imagining Izuku in his place. The idea made his heart pound. He was careful enough to keep Izuku away from his father NOW, and he was very aware that his best friend could protect himself.

'He doesn't KNOW,' he snaps at himself again.

He forces himself to nod. "I did," his voice trembles more than he's strictly comfortable with, "I learned... a lot."

"Do you have the same quirk?" Izuku asks excitedly, gaze traveling across Shouto's face, eyeing both sides of his hair, taking in his mismatched eyes, "Or is it a combination of both your parents? That would explain your appearance," he trails off into mumbled words, one hand coming up to his mouth, muffling himself.

Shouto finds his mouth turning up despite himself. The muttering had always been a habit, then. It put some of his classmates off, at first, and still perplexed some, but Shouto couldn't help but find it endearing. Izuku was incredibly perceptive. But he managed to be frustratingly dense sometimes. Shouto waits for the mumbling and theorizing to stop before he lets himself answer.

"My quirk is called Half Hot-Half Cold, officially; Fire and ice." he explains simply.

And Izuku explodes into a million different questions. About if Shouto would show him, if his quirk use was limited to its respective side, if he could use both at the same time, before he claps his hands over his mouth, looking terribly embarrassed with himself. "I'm so sorry," he squeaks, cheeks flushed red.

"How about one question at a time?" Shouto suggests, not unkindly. He was willing to entertain him. He knew it would absolutely frustrate Izuku to not have his questions answered. And Shouto wasn't exactly opposed to having Izuku's full attention on him. "You want me to show you?" he asks, and Izuku nods enthusiastically.

"Yes, yes please!"

Shouto starts with ice, being much more comfortable with his right side. He lets frost climb up his fingertips, slowly encasing his whole hand. The sting of cold is familiar, grounding. He watches Izuku's eyes widen, a giddy smile stretching across his face. His gaze shifts to Shouto's other hand, outstretched between them. Shouto lights his left hand up in flame, the feel of it prickling across his skin.

Izuku is openly awestruck, green eyes glittering prettily with the light of the flame in Shouto's hand. It wasn't entirely different from the way that Izuku looked at him when he first used his flames during the sports festival. It was, however, a touch more reverent than the way the Izuku typically looked at him.

"It's beautiful," Izuku breathes. He looks as though he wants to reach out, to trail his fingers across the frost coating Shouto's hand.

It makes Shouto flush, the back of his neck prickling at the attention. He was used to praise about his quirk, being told how strong and powerful he was. But beautiful wasn't something that he remembered ever being called. In any sense of the word. This sort of praise was much more... Sincere. Much more intimate. Izuku wasn't looking at him for the power or destruction that he could bring about with his quirk. He wasn't looking for a USE for Shouto. This was different. He admired Shouto's quirk for what it was.

Shouto puts out his flame, pushes the warmth into his right side to melt the ice on his fingers. Izuku watches him do that in amazement as well. He actually reaches out then, taking Shouto's hands in his own, thumbs pressing into Shouto's palms.

"Does it hurt?" Izuku questions, and Shouto is slightly taken aback . No one has ever asked.

"After a while it can," Shouto answers, "but it's the same with anyone's quirk."

Izuku hums thoughtfully, turning Shouto's hands over in his own. He seems to settle into quiet contemplation. "It's amazing, Shouto," he murmurs then, looking him full in the eye, "You're amazing."

Shouto's breath catches, affection for Izuku surging through his chest, and Izuku's eyes flicker back down at the sudden temperature fluctuation in the hands he was currently holding, one suddenly too hot, and one too cold. He looks amused, a corner of his mouth twitching up, but he doesn't comment on it, which Shouto is endlessly grateful for. He isn't exactly eager to explain to Izuku that his quirk tends to act up when he's flustered.

"I um..." Shouto clears his throat, reluctantly pulling his hands from Izuku's, cheeks still warm, "There's something that my mother taught me to do a long time ago. I haven't... tried it in years but..." he trails off, raising his right hand and activating his quirk. He calls the ice forward slowly, holding his breath in concentration. It slowly takes shape in his hand, forming a clumsy sort of heart. He can't find the courage to meet Izuku's eyes.

His mother had shown him how to make shapes. He'd been delighted, watching her form ice crystals into delicate flowers inside her palms. She'd started him with simpler shapes. He was fond of making her hearts. They tended to be jagged and lopsided; he'd tried to fix them with his fire, and he'd nearly always ended up with them half melted and not really looking much like a heart at all, but she just smiled and thanked him, telling him they were beautiful. His father had eventually found him making these small sculptures, and he'd dragged Shouto into the training room for hours afterward, punishing him for using his quirk for something so frivolous. He'd ended up bruised and emotionally broken, vomiting in the corner of the room from the exertion of it all. Shouto hadn't made anything at all after that.

But for Izuku, Shouto was willing to try again. He warms his left hand just so, brushes his fingers over the jagged edges of the ice in his hands, leaving them smooth and glossy. It was still lopsided, and definitely clumsy, but he holds it out to Izuku nonetheless.

Izuku takes the heart from him with shaking fingers, and Shouto finally glances up to find tears welling in his wide eyes. Izuku stares down at the heart that's just beginning to melt in his palm, and then looks back up at Shouto like he'd just plucked a star straight out of the sky and handed it to him.

"I know, it's stupid," rushes out of Shouto's mouth before he can stop himself, reaching out to try to take the ice back, to melt it as though that will melt his embarrassment.

"It's wonderful," Izuku interrupts him fiercely, pulling the ice close to his chest and cradling it there.

Shouto watches him helplessly for a moment, before stretching his hand out again to try to take the heart back. Izuku squints at him defensively. "It's melting," Shouto says gently. Izuku looks unconvinced. "I can make you more, whenever you want," Shouto finds himself promising without his own permission.

Izuku reluctantly holds his hand out, places the heart into Shouto's waiting left palm, but doesn't take his hand away from Shouto's own. He watches Shouto expectantly, and Shouto heats up his left hand carefully, melting the ice between their palms, letting it sizzle into vapor. The admiration hasn't left Izuku's face for even a moment. It makes Shouto fidget with discomfort. Not because he hasn't spent months wishing that Izuku would look at him like that, but because he just can't shake the guilt of his dishonesty. It's not fair that he's looking at him like that.

Then Izuku casts his gaze down for a moment, and he looks like the events of the day are finally catching up to him. His shoulders slump, and Shouto squeezes his hand.

"What is it?" he asks gently.

"I'm just... tired." Izuku answers hesitantly. Shouto waits for him to continue, because he knows he will if given the opportunity. He tends to fill silence as a default. "It's been a long day, yaknow?"

Shouto hums in acknowledgement, still waiting.

Izuku sighs heavily then, "I guess I'm overwhelmed. It's... Well, everything, really. It's all kind of hard to believe." He shakes his head, squeezing his eyes shut against what Shouto is sure would be a flood of tears. His voice breaks when he speaks next, "I've got a quirk," he chokes out, "I've got a quirk and I got into UA and if someone had told me that was going to happen a year ago I would have thought they were just making fun of me like always because things aren't fair and I just-" he cuts himself off with an unsteady breath, shaking his head, and looks at Shouto then. "And then there's you," he says much more softly, tears finally spilling onto his cheeks, "I never thought that anyone would- someone like you could- with me-" he shakes his head again, biting his lips.

He doesn't have to finish; Shouto already knows, and it hurts just as much as the first time he'd heard Izuku say it. His classmates in middle school, they'd always told him that no one would want to be with quirkless Izuku Midoriya. No one even wanted to be his friend, so how could anyone bring themselves to do something like DATE him? He was plain, and worthless, and no one wanted him. Shouto had held his hands, and told him fiercely that they were wrong. He'd almost let the confession spill out then and there, but he'd choked on the words when Midoriya had told him he was a good friend.

Shouto found himself reaching for Izuku's cheeks, something he wasn't brave enough to do then, and something he was selfish enough to let himself do now. He swiped his thumbs at the seemingly endless tears that streamed from his best friend's eyes, and he tried unsuccessfully to keep his voice from trembling when he told him: "You're wonderful. I've thought so since I met you. You were always special," he let his fingertips slide into the hair behind Izuku's ears, palms cradling his face, "and you'd STILL be special if you didn't have a quirk. You'd still be you, and that's what matters." He felt his heart pounding in his ears. Izuku was watching him like he'd given him the answers to the universe, eyes impossibly wide, cheeks flushed pink. Shouto had never let himself be so honest, and he wasn't sure that he would have been able to say it under different circumstances, but right now, watching his best friend buckle under the weight of his own insecurity, he can't bear to let his fear get in the way.

A desperate noise tears its way out of Izuku's throat, and then he's in Shouto's lap, arms wrapped around his shoulders, face buried in his neck. Shouto's breath catches, and he wraps his arms around Izuku's waist instinctively. Izuku absolutely melts against him, and Shouto can't help but hold him a little tighter, sliding a hand down his spine and pleading with his own quirk to level his temperature. This isn't exactly the time to freak out about the way Izuku feels in his arms. He needs to focus on comforting him. He presses his cheek to the side of Izuku's head, letting himself relish in the feeling of how soft Izuku's hair is. He itches to get his hands into it. Still not the time for that.

It takes less time than he expects for Izuku to stop sniffling against his neck. Eventually, he heaves a sigh, and pulls back slightly, arms still looped around Shouto's shoulders. The look he fixes Shouto with is intense and endlessly grateful.

"Thank you," he says earnestly, letting his scarred hands settle around the back of Shouto's neck lightly.

Shouto nods, swallowing thickly. Izuku is in his lap, closer than he's ever been, and his thumbs are swiping over Shouto's skin with a gentleness that no one else has ever bothered to touch him with. It's all he can do to swallow back the frost that threatens to puff out when he breathes. Izuku leans closer, settling his forehead against Shouto's own, and Shouto lets his eyes flutter closed when Izuku's nose brushes his. Every point of contact absolutely burns, and the only reason that he's sure it's not his quirk threatening to tear him apart with the force of his own emotions is that Izuku isn't scrambling away from him in pain. If anything, Izuku is leaning closer.

"You make me feel... safe," he whispers, breath fanning against Shouto's skin. Tears prickle behind Shouto's eyes. It feels like his lungs are in a vice. He wants more, wants to hear more, wants to feel more, wants it so badly that it makes his head swim. He wants to lean closer, wants Izuku's hands to sink into his hair and wants to taste the way he smiles. He's so close, he's right there, it'd be so easy.

"Even though I can't remember you..." everything shatters, and Shouto is slammed back into himself, "you still make me feel so safe," Izuku murmurs affectionately. "I want..."

Shouto lets his eyes flutter open, and he's struck by how DANGEROUS all of this is. Something within him pleads to just let himself have this. Something else, something much sharper, screams absolutely not. It takes everything he has to bring a hand up and settle his fingertips against Izuku's mouth, stopping him gently. Izuku jerks back, surprised, and the hurt that washes over his face lances right through his heart.

"What- Did I do something wrong?" he asks, sounding smaller than Shouto has ever heard him.

Shouto shakes his head, "No, no of course not," he insists urgently.

"Then why-"

"I want you to remember me." Shouto cuts him off, "I'm sorry, please understand, it's not your fault." he finds himself begging. The last thing Shouto wants to do right now is hurt him.

Izuku doesn't look at him for a long moment, tense and closed off. "It's okay," he says quietly, "I understand. I think..." he pauses thoughtfully, "If I were you, I'd want you to remember me too."

Relief slides through him, but he's not without regret. He knows it's better this way; he's already taking far too much. It still hurts to give up the chance.

"Tell me how we met?" Izuku suggests lightly.

Shouto will never stop being grateful for him.

"Well," he starts, and he can't help but smile at the memory now, "we're in the same class at UA, obviously, but the first time we REALLY talked was at the Sports Festival."

Izuku cocks his head questioningly, "Why did it take so long?"

"I... Kind of... Thought you were a threat? So I might have... Declared war on you?" Shouto says sheepishly, not meeting Izuku's eyes.

Laughter bubbles out of Izuku suddenly, much to Shouto's delight. He watches the boy on his lap, enchanted with the way he tips his head back, the way his eyes crinkle, the curl of his lips, the scrunch of his nose. He's beautiful; he looks ethereal in the golden light of sunset that filters through the window. It paints his skin a rosy hue, dances on the ends of his curls, and Shouto really does regret not kissing him earlier.

"Me?" he asks through his giggles, "You were threatened by ME?"

"Well... Of course," Shouto answers, "After seeing how powerful your quirk was..." he shrugs, "I was a lot different back then."

Izuku's laughter quiets, "Different how?"

"I..." How does he start? How does he unpack all of the trauma that Izuku has begun to undo? How can he tell Izuku that he's the first friend that Shouto has ever had, and the first person to ever make him feel like he's more than a tool? How can he possibly explain that not even the most severe beatings from his father could make him use his fire, but that all it took was a few words from Izuku to make him feel like his quirk was HIS?

"I was... angrier. A loner." It comes out without him really meaning to say it. "I felt like... I had something to prove, and anybody who got in my way was an enemy. I didn't like using my fire, so I felt like I had to work twice as hard with half of what I had to do it."

"Why?" Izuku questions simply, and Shouto finds that he can't think of an answer that doesn't lead to him spilling a whole lot of baggage onto him that he doesn't think either of them are prepared for at the moment.

"You don't want to talk about it," Izuku says when Shouto lets the silence stretch. It's not a question.

Shouto shakes his head. Izuku hums comfortingly, stroking his fingers over Shouto's shoulders. Shouto flashes him a grateful smile.

"You were the one that changed all that, you know." Shouto offers after a moment. He figures Izuku deserves to know. "At the Sports Festival. We were matched in an event and you were frustrated that I wouldn't use my fire. I didn't want to. You... convinced me otherwise. We became friends after that." He chuckles, "You didn't give me much of a choice in the matter."

"And how long have we been... together?" Izuku asks, face flushing despite the fact that he's been in Shouto's lap this entire time.

"Not long." It's not technically a lie. It's not. "It took us a while to get there." He thinks that makes it sound more believable. Izuku accepts the answer easily, nodding and humming quietly.

"Who won?" he asks.

"Hmmh?"

"The Sports Festival, who won?"

"It would have been you, if you'd stopped being so stubborn." Shouto huffs out. "But you decided to save me. They had to stop us, Midnight and Cementoss," he knows Izuku will know who they are, obsessed with heroes as he is, "We were going to destroy the stadium and you were hurt." He reaches to take Izuku's hands from where they rest on his shoulders, turning them over in his own. He runs his thumbs over the scars that marr his best friend's fingers, remembering the way his face twisted in pain every time he moved; the swollen purple of his hands and that despite ALL of it, despite Shouto being an absolute jerk and despite the incredible pain, Izuku didn't stop until he made Shouto realize that his power was his own.

"I'm sorry," Shouto murmurs lowly, "these are my fault."

Izuku's fingers tighten around his, "It was worth it," he says with conviction, and Shouto looks up from their joined hands to find determination blazing in his eyes, "I don't remember how it happened, or why I did it, but I'm SURE it was worth it- that YOU'RE worth it."

Shouto closes his eyes against the sudden sting behind them. He's almost cried far too many times today and it's getting a bit ridiculous for him. He swallows around the lump in his throat.

"Thank you," he says quietly, and he MEANS it. He really, really means it. He wishes Izuku could understand just how MUCH he means it. He looks at Izuku again once he feels like he won't burst into tears immediately.

Izuku opens his mouth to speak again, and he's interrupted by a soft knock at the door.

Inko's voice follows a moment after, "Boys? Dinner is ready now."

"Alright mom, we'll be out in a second," Izuku answers without taking his eyes from Shouto.

There are so many things he wants to say, so many thank you's he needs to express, so many ways that Izuku has changed his life, so many reasons that Shouto has come to be so deeply and incredibly attached to him...

He won't call it love, not right now. He can't. It hurts too much. This feels too real, too much like what he wants to admit that he's in love. It's not the right time. Izuku won't remember, he won't understand, and the truth of it all weighs heavily on Shouto's shoulders. A bone-deep weariness settles into his chest.

He's not-

It's not love.

Shouto can't afford for it to be love. Especially considering what will happen when this is all over.

He lets Izuku slide off his lap and takes the hand that's offered to him, lets Izuku lead him to the table where his mother waits for the two of them, smiling brightly.

He lets the Midoriyas chatter away during dinner, interjects where he needs to, and answers that questions that are directed toward him.

He lets Izuku lead him back to his room after dinner. They're both exhausted, and decide on sleep without much of an argument for any alternative. It has been a long day. They'll have plenty of time tomorrow for everything.

Shouto lays on the cot on the floor with the same weariness weighing on his lungs, listening to Izuku's steady breathing and wishing for some semblance of peace.

He's in love.

Shouto doesn't sleep much that night.