Izuku had moved to New York shortly after the crash. His father had reluctantly accepted custody of him. Izu didn’t want to leave Japan. He’d already lost his mother. Losing everything else seemed too much. He’d left his two best friends, Uraraka Ochako and Iida Tenya, and his mentor Toshinori Yagi. Though he didn’t know it yet, he’d lost his sense of comfort and safety.
When he’d arrived in New York, he found a small apartment (if you could even call it that) and a man he’d only seen in pictures. He quickly found out that this man was very unhappy. Midoriya Hisashi was a public service worker, a drunk, and an ex-con. The only things the fridge was ever stocked with was beer and milk, the milk usually being spoiled.
Izuku quickly learned his place in his new life. Between school and the job he had had to pick up to feed himself and pay Hisashi rent, he had little to no time at home, which was perfectly fine with him. Hisashi was a mean drunk and seeing as Izuku was the only other person in the house, he was usually the object of his father's anger. It had taken a few weeks before Izuku had given up on doing more than sleeping there when his father was at work.
It was on one icy Wednesday night when he was working at McDonald’s when a tall Korean boy walked in. The first thing that Izuku noticed was his hair, split perfectly down the middle, half white and half red. The second thing was how incredibly hot this boy was. Izuku knew he was gay, but damn was he gay .
The boy walked to the register where Izu was having a gay panic. “Hi,” the teen greeted. Izuku gave him one of his award-winning smiles.
“Hi! Welcome to McDonald’s. What can I get you?” He asked.
The other boy gazed at the menu for a moment before locking eyes with Izuku. Izuku blushed under the gaze. The boy’s eyes were shockingly mismatched, one being a light grey and the other being an electric blue.
It took Izu a moment before he realized that the boy was talking.
“I’m so sorry,” Izu rushed out nervously. “I didn’t get that. Can you please repeat it.”
The boy nodded. “I said, I’ll have a 20 piece nugget, large fry, and an Americano with 3 shots of espresso for here.”
Izuku blinked and checked the time. 0300. He sighed. “I feel ethically obligated to tell you that it is 3 am,” The other boy just nodded. “Ok. That’ll be $7.50. Can I get a name for that order?”
“Todoroki,” The boy said, handing him a card.
“Your order will be right out.” Izu turned and went to the back where his manager, Shinsou was ‘working’ the drive-thru. “Shinsou!” he stage-whispered. The tired teen looked up from his phone. “There’s a hot boy-”
Shinsou cut him off, running a hand through his wavy, shoulder-length hair. “-and you want me to get the order together so you can gi stutter at him.”
Izu glared at him but nodded. “Fine,” Shinsou growled. “But you owe me one,” he called out to Izu’s back.
“Here’s your drink,” Izu said as he handed to warm cup to Todoroki. “Out of curiosity, why are you ordering a coffee at 3 am?”
Todoroki sighed, taking his drink. “I don’t wanna go back home and I can’t be falling asleep on a park bench in an area like this. Plus, the scenery is better here,” he said, winking at Izuku. Is heart did a backflip and settled somewhere in his throat. Before he could say anything else, Shinsou silently placed Todoroki’s order on the counter.
Todoroki took it and headed off to find a seat. Halfway there, he turned around to face Izu. “I never caught your name,” Todo said to him.
“Midor-” he cut himself off. This was America, not Japan. You told people your given name here. “Izuku.”
“Well, Izuku. It was nice meeting you. I’ll see you around sometime.” Todoroki shot him a small smile that made Izuku’s cheeks flush pink under his freckles.
“See you around Todoroki-kun,” he said without thinking. As soon as Todoroki was out of sight, he lightly banged his head on the counter. Idiot, idiot, idiot. Why had he used honorifics? Stupid Japanese. Though Todoroki was obviously Eastern Asian, he spoke with no accent. He probably thought Izu was a weirdo.
Izuku spent the rest of the night hiding out in the back, working the drive-thru. When the shift change came, he spent the entire walk home thinking over his conversation with Todoroki. Over and over and over again. Hating himself for every little mistake he’d made. By the time he’d finished his 20-minute walk to the apartment, he’d managed to convince himself that Todoroki hated him.
He quietly snuck into the apartment, cringing at the scent. Though he ‘lived’ there, the smell hit him every time. It smelled of cigarettes, booze, and sex. The smell belonged in the strip club, not in a place that housed a high schooler. Ignoring the scattered clothes and empty beer bottles, he headed to the tiny bathroom.
He stared at his face in the mirror. His emerald eyes had large bags under them from rarely sleeping and his hair was a curly mess. He sighed as he started the shower, shivering as the icy was his hit bareback. His shower lasted just long enough to wash everything. He tied one of the towels around his waist and walked to the kitchen where there was a small cupboard reserved for his stuff. He pulled out a fresh pair of boxers, socks, blue jeans, and a forest green hoodie. He then moved as quietly as he could manage around the kitchen, fetching himself a bowl of cereal. As he closed the fridge, a bottle that had been precariously set on the edge fell, shattering on the floor.
Izuku immediately froze. “Izuku!” a gruff voice yelled. Izuku cringed and set the carton of milk down on the counter. He turned around to see a half-naked man stumbling towards him, obviously still a little drunk from the night before.
“You absolutely useless son of a bitch,” Hisashi growled at Izuku, looking at the mess. The older man punched Izuku in the face. He cried out, hands flying to cup his now throbbing cheek. Hisashi grabbed the collar of his son’s shirt and threw him to the ground right into the shards of shattered glass. Izuku yelped as the glass pierced his arm and side.
“Clean it up, you worthless piece of shit,” Hisashi said before turning and going back to his bedroom.
Izuku carefully picked himself up from the glass and sighed. Yet another outfit that would need to be soaked in hydrogen peroxide. He decided against immediately taking care of his injuries and instead cleaned up the mess that had been made. He then put all the food back and grabbed a change of clothes, his backpack, and his wallet before leaving the house.
He got to the local public school quickly, dipping into the bathroom before class. He had approximately 20 minutes before other people would start arriving and 30 minutes before class starts, 35 if he accounted for the teacher’s pause before actually starting.
Izuku locked the door to the bathrooms with the key he’d copied from the janitor’s cart. He then took off his hoodie and assessed the damage. It wasn’t all that bad. He pulled a small first aid kit from his backpack and got to work removing the shards of glass from his arm and side. He then wiped them down with antiseptic and threw on his change of clothes. He then sprayed himself down with cologne to try to cover up the scent of the beer he’d been pushed in and unlocked the bathroom. This whole process took a little over 15 minutes. He decided to head to class early and wait there.
The door was locked, but that wasn’t an issue for Izuku. He quickly picked the lock and turned on the lights. He took his seat near the back and slumped forward, thinking about that morning’s events.
His cheekbone was now red and purple, though the most he bothered to do to hide it was pull up his hood. Nobody would ask what happened besides maybe Shinsou. To everyone, he was just the weird new kid from Japan. Izu was fluent in English but still had a noticeable Japanese accent that a few kids in the class would mock.
He didn’t get bullied all that much, but he did get bullied more than others. Maybe something about him just said ‘easy target’, but he didn’t know.
The bullying wasn’t as much of a bother to him when compared to his dad’s actions. He kept thinking about what his dad said. What Hisashi would call him. Worthless. Useless. The more he thought about it, the truer the words became.
He was so deep in thought, he didn’t notice people were filing into the room. He finally looked up when Shinsou placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder and tapped his fingers twice. This had become their signal for Shinsou telling Izu it was him and simultaneously asking how he was. Izu tapped the desk once, telling Shinsou that he was, in fact, not ok.
Shinsou just sat in his seat next to him because the homeroom teacher had called the class. Izu looked up, only to be met with the ruby eyes of one very familiar blond.
Recognizing him, the new boy made a beeline for Izuku’s desk. He slammed his hands down on it making Izu jump at the loud noise. “Kacchan,” Izuku said by way of greeting.
“Deku! Where have you been? You disappeared without a fucking word. What the fuck are you doing in New York?” Bakugou said all this very quickly, all in Japanese, ignoring the confused looks their classmates and teacher were giving them.
“I’ll explain at lunch. Now sit down before you get us both in trouble.”
Katsuki huffed and took the seat behind Deku. Izu was unsurprised when a folded sheet of paper landed on his desk. It was a note from Shinsou. ‘How do you know the new kid? What happened to you this morning?’
Izu quickly scribbled down for him to wait till lunch and after giving the note back to Shinsou, promptly put his head on his desk and fell asleep. The bell woke him and he startled awake. Damn. He slept through the whole lesson. Shinsou handed him a copy of the notes he’d taken.
“Thanks, Shin. You’re a life-saver,”
“I figured you could use the sleep,”
The rest of Izuku's classes past quickly and before he knew it, it was lunchtime. He went and sat in his usual spot on the stairs, even though they were technically off-limits during lunch. Katsuki was the first to join him, having had to go down those stairs.
“Explain you fucking Deku,” Kacchan demanded.
“Just hold your horses. I’ll have to explain most of the same things to Shinsou and I don’t want to repeat myself,” Izu explained.
As they talked, a group of students who routinely picked on Izu made their way down the stairs. One of them kicked Izu hard in the hip as he passed him.
“Oi!” Izu said. “Watch yourself, Monoma.”
“Did you hear something?” Monoma asked his posse. “I think the little chink is talking to us.” He turned back to Izuku. “You should go ship your useless all back off to China.”
Kacchan just sat there stunned as the group walked away, each of them having kicked Izu on their way past. “Are you okay?” Kacchan asked, this time speaking in his unaccented English.
All he got in response was a sigh. Just then Shinsou showed up. “Are you going to explain now?” Shin asked.
“Sure, but I’m going to first answer Katsuki’s questions cuz he asked first,” Izu explained. “I’m sorry I left so suddenly. Everything kind of happened in a blur. I moved here after the accident to live with my dad. I’m sorry I didn’t say goodbye, but I didn’t have a choice. I had barely had enough time to pack my necessities, and I would have called, but I don’t have a phone,” Izu paused for a moment to gauge Kacchan’s reaction before continuing. “Shinsou Hitoshi, meet Bakugou Katsuki. We’ve known each other since before we were born, but we lost contact after the move. Now he’s here. I’m assuming he came here because his Dad got transferred for work again.” Katsuki nodded in confirmation, a bit surprised that Izuku was able to guess why he’d moved. “And to answer Shinsou’s question from earlier, I ran into some shady folks the other night. That's all.”
Katsuki looked puzzled but figured it wasn’t all that unexpected. In the Bronx, trouble was a likely thing to stumble upon. Shinsou, on the other hand, looked sceptical but kept his mouth shut. He knew Izu would tell him what had really happened eventually.
They sat in silence for a while, eating. Shinsou was the one to break the silence, “Did you not bring any food, Izu?”
“I’m not hungry, Shin. Please don’t push me,” Shinsou dropped it even though he didn’t want to. As long as he didn’t start doing that again.
After lunch and school, Izuku headed back home. Upon arrival, he set his alarm, pulled out his bedding and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
He awoke to his alarm blaring Courtesy Call in his ear. Groaning, he shut it off and sat up. He sighed and pulled on his uniform and cleaned up his bed. He grabbed his bag and walked out the door. It didn’t matter to him that he was 2 hrs early for his shift.
Izu settled on waiting out the remaining time in the restaurant. He took a seat in the back by the window and pulled out his homework. He worked quickly and efficiently, finishing well before his shift would start. He decided to pull out his book.
That's the way he stayed, in the corner nose deep in Six of Crows, until 2100 finally rolled around. He would have kept reading, but Shinsou came around to drag him back behind the counter.
“How do you feel, with Katsuki in the states and all?” Shin asked.
“In all honesty, I don’t know. It’s weird. He moved away when we were 6 and came back a few years ago. I’ve been here about a year so all in all, we’ve only really been friendly for 9 years. I think it will be nice to have another person who will talk to me.”
“Are you going to tell me what actually happened to your face, or will you just leave me to guess?”
“Its nothing,” Izu said, shrugging a bit uncomfortably. “I made a bit too much noise, got my punishment. Simple as that.”
Shinsou looked at him concerned. “You know you’re always welcome at my place.”
“I’m not going to be a burden on you and your folks. You’ve done enough already. As it is, I’ll never be able to repay you.”
“It’s really no problem,” Shinsou insisted. He tended to be very convincing and able to get his way, but Midoriya was different. He could stand his ground against Sinsou’s insistence.
"I said no Shinsou. I can't take you up on that, besides, if I disappeared for too long, I'd be punished all the worse when I got back," Izu told him. "Probably raise the rent too," he added as an afterthought.
"He's not still taking your money, is he?" Shin said, though he already knew the answer.
"Of course he is. He charged me 15 hundred a month for rent and utilities, then I pay for food and my metro and bus passes and anything else I need slash want. I've even caught him stealing from my savings. I can't even pick up any more hours to make up the difference because I'm already working over the legal limit."
"Not that our manager cares," Shinsou added.
"I might just say fuck it and pick up a few shifts over the weekend," Izu sighed. Their conversation was cut short by the late-night wave of customers. It was past midnight before they finally got a real break. Shinsou took his 15-minute break, leaving Izuku to manage the counter and the drive-thru. A few hours later, Izu decided to take his break and take some food while he was at it.
He sat with his hamburger and coke zero in the back, hiding from Shinsou. Despite the fact that he hadn't eaten all day, all he could do was nibble at the patty in front of him.
His head whipped up as someone entered the restaurant. It was a familiar, dual haired boy. After Shinsou took his order, Todoroki made his way back to find a seat. He spotted Izuku in the back and walked over to his table.
"Can I sit with you?" Todoroki asked. Izu just nodded as Todo's food was brought out, courtesy of Shinsou.
After a moment of silence, Todoroki spoke up. "I'm sorry, but I forgot your name."
"Call me Izuku," He said. In her nerves, his accent became a little thicker.
This sparked Todoroki's interest so he asked, "What other languages do you speak?"
Izuku blushed bright red and gathered up his abandoned burger. "Japanese," he answered simply and threw his trash away.
He returned to his seat and was shocked when Todoroki started to talk to him in fluent, unaccented Japanese. "Would you be more comfortable speaking in this language?" Todo asked. In his shock, all Izu could do was nod. "Do you want to play 20 questions?" Todoroki asked, interested in starting a conversation.
"I would love to, but you'll have to come to talk to me over the counter. My break ends in 2 minutes."
"That's fine with me," Todoroki agreed.
They moved back to the counter, Shinsou moving to the back area to give them some semblance of privacy.
"What's your full name?" Izuku asked, starting off their game.
"Todoroki Shouto, Shouto being my given name. And you?"
"Midoriya Izuku, but please don't call me Midoriya,"
"What's your favourite colour?" Todoroki asked.
Izu laughed a little at the simple question. "Green, definitely,"
Todoroki smailed, "Like your hair," Izu nodded. "I'd say mine is the lightest blue you can imagine. Favourite animal?"
"Bats. I just think they're so misunderstood and get a bad rep from pop culture but they're actually just really adorable. What about you?"
Todoroki thought for a moment, "I'd have to say red pandas. Mostly because they're cute."
"Why do you come here so late at night?" Todoroki shuffled uncomfortably at the question. He stood a bit stiffer and looked at his hands. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I understand," and Izuku really did. There were somethings you just didn't share with strangers or potential love interests.
"Thanks," Todoroki, looking up, nut his posture was still stiff.
"Why are you fluent in Japanese?"
"I was born in Korea. We then moved to Japan for my dad's business. We came here a few years later. My dad's really strict about my studies. By the time I was 10, I was fluent in 12 languages, only 4 with an accent."
"So what languages do you know?"
"Nope," he said popping the 'p', "It's my turn to ask a question. When did you come to the US? It can't have been that long ago,"
"I've been here for about a year. My accent is mostly gone except for when I'm nervous or I've been speaking Japanese for a while. Now answer my question."
"I know English, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Thai, Cantonese, Spanish, and French without accent and Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, and Swedish with an accent. I learned Korean and English before any other language and went from there. What about you? What languages do you know?"
"Nowhere near as many. I know English, Japanese, Spanish, and Korean. I know just enough Mandarin to get by. Any other language is completely useless. Where do you want to visit and why?"
"Iceland because it's one of the few places I haven't been. I want to see the black sand beaches. How about you?"
"That sounds really nice. I want to visit the Caribbean. I like warm weather and tropics."
"What's your favourite food?"
Izu shifted uncomfortably. He and food did not have a good relationship. He saw it more as a necessary evil rather than something to be enjoyed. As far as he was concerned, food was fattening and a fat pig like him should not go anywhere near the stuff. But he had to answer Todoroki's question. "I guess I'd say tea. I know it's not food, but I enjoy it so much. How bout you?"
"Cold soba is the best thing in existence. Nuggets are a close second," Todo said, a smile brightening his features. Izu's heart flipped. He immediately wished that had a camera so he could immortalize that forever.
"What grade are you in?"
"I'm a junior,”
“What school are you at? I’m at Horace Mann,”
I did some mental calculations and scanned Todoroki’s appearance. Then it struck me. He’s rich. Like hella rich. His clothes were simple enough, but it was all well made and definitely cost more than any single item Izuku owned. That wasn’t saying much, though because he couldn’t even afford to have a phone. “I go to Bronx Haven,” Izu said. “Please, pleeeeaaaase don’t take this the wrong way, but are you like, rich?”
Todoroki rubbed his neck, “I guess. I mean, my dad has a lot of money. He owns a pretty big company and is Mayor. He wants me to take over the company, but I don’t want to. I want to do something that actually matters.”
“So what do you wanna do?”
“I want to be a surgeon,” Todoroki admitted. “What about you? What do you want to do?”
“I guess I’ve always wanted to teach. I want to be a Classic English Literature professor. I love all the classics. Everything from Shakespeare to Harry Potter.”
“So what's your favourite book then?”
Light shone behind Izuku’s eyes. “I love the Inheritance Cycle. It was one of the first English books I read, so of course, it’s very important to me. I also LOVE Harry Potter. Well written, though I will say that JK /Rowling should stop adding to it. She made a good thing and now she should just leave it alone. If she wanted to add more to the storyline, she should have written about the marauders and not about Newt Scamander. Not that I don't like the Fantastic Beasts lore, I just don’t think it was her best option. A marauders series would have been more beneficial to the fan base,” Izuku continued to ramble on for a while until he cut himself off.
“I’m sorry. I was rambling and it wasn’t polite,”
“It’s ok,” Todoroki assured him. “So, if you like Harry Potter so much, what's your Hogwarts house?”
“Gryffindor!” Izuku said, happy that he hadn’t completely lost Todoroki when he went off on his rant. “Where dwell the brave at heart,” He brandished an imaginary sword in the air and laughed.
Todoroki blushed scarlet at the boy’s actions. When Izuku looked at him expectantly, he realized the teen was waiting for Todoroki to talk. “I guess I’m a Ravenclaw. Witt beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure and all, but I do lean towards Gryffindor as well sometimes.”
“I can see that,”
Just then, a middle-aged Karen walked in and scoffed at the two. “Don’t you work here?” she asked rudely.
“Yes ma’am,” Izuku said, quickly going to stand behind the register. “What can I get for you?”
“I’ll have an egg McMuffin and a large black coffee.”
“Will that be for here or to go?”
“Can I get a name for the order?”
“Karen,” Izuku let out an involuntary snort. “Are you making fun of me?” she asked, taken aback. Izuku realized his mistake and started to panic a little.
“No miss. Sorry. Your total will $5.24.”
She handed him her card. He returned it and quickly grabbed her coffee and gave it to her, then returned to the counter to talk with Todoroki while Shinsou prepared the woman’s food in the back.
“Whose turn is it?”Izuku asked, continuing on in Japanese as they were before Karen had walked in.
“I think it’s yours.”
“Well then, what song describes you the best?”
Just then they were interrupted by Karen. “Excuse me, but this is America. Please speak English.”
The two teens gave her a disbelieving look. She misinterpreted this as them not understanding and repeated herself slowly. “SpEaK eNgLiSh,”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but I don’t think we were hurting you,” Todoroki said.
Izu internally cringed, knowing the situation was going to escalate. “You insolent little heathen!” she yelled. “You should have respect for your elders. It’s polite to speak English in America. I didn’t come here to listen to Chinese,”
At this point, the woman was full-on yelling. Shinsou had come out from the back to see what all the commotion was about, and was just standing there dumbfounded.
Izuku, on the other hand, was starting to panic. His body shook and fear rose up in his throat and squeezed his lungs.
“You fucking orientals. You’ve corrupted everything. You should all just be shipped back to China if you’re not going to speak English in an American establishment. I’m going to speak to your manager. You’re all going to get fired for being so rude,”
She went on and on, Todoroki standing there, looking bored, Shinsou frozen in shock, and Izuku having a panic attack. Izuku made a choked whimper, that caused Todoroki to look at him. He quickly took in his tear-streaked face and panicked eyes and deduced what was happening.
“Ok,” Todoroki interjected, cutting the woman off. “You need to get out now,”
“Yes I can,” Todoroki pointed to a sign near the register. “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Now you are disturbing the peace. You need to leave now.”
Karen turned, huffing to leave, but not before spitting out a few more insults. “You fucking faggots. I’ll get you all fired. You can’t treat an American citizen like this. I’ll get all your asses deported!”
As soon as the door shut behind her, Shouto and Shinsou rushed to Izuku, who had turned around and was now sat behind the counter with his knees to his chest, sobbing and hyperventilating. Todoroki reached out a tentative hand to comfort Izuku.
“Don’t,” Shinsou said calmly before Todoroki could touch the boy. Turning to Izuku, Shinsou said gently, “Hey, hey. You’re safe. Izu, come back here.” Izu shook his head, his sobs increasing. Shinsou decided to take a risk and hesitantly touched Izuku’s hand.
It was violently jerked away and Izu pushed himself back into a smaller ball.
“Please!” The sobbing boy pleaded. “Please don’t hurt me.”
Todoroki was highly confused and concerned. Who would want to hurt him? He watched as Shinsou tried again, this time managing to take Izuku’s hand without the smaller boy jerking it away violently. He placed the hand on the ground under his own.
“Okay Izu, I need you to focus on what you feel.” Izu nodded to show he understood. After a moment, Shinsou spoke again. “Now focus on what you hear.” This went on for a few more minutes until Shinsou had gone through every sense and Izuku’s breathing had returned to normal.
Tears still rolled down his face, but he was no longer panicking. Shinsou pulled him into a tight hug that Izu gratefully accepted. After a few minutes, they pulled apart. Todoroki just sat there awkwardly, concerned, but not wanting to make things worse.
“I-I’m sorry T-Todo-Todoroki-kun,” Izu said, highly embarrassed.
“No need to apologize. I’m just concerned about you.”
Izuku nodded. They got up and Todoroki went to the other side of the counter. “Go home, Izu,” Shinsou told him.
“But-” Izuku tried to protest.
“No buts. I’ll clock you out when I clock out. Just go home. Get some sleep if you can.” They both knew Izuku wasn’t going to get any sleep. Izu wasn’t even going to go home. He couldn’t. If he had to see that sorry excuse for a father after an episode like that… Well, nothing good would come of it.
Izu sighed and retrieved his things. “Good night Todoroki, Shinsou,”
He was almost to the corner when a voice from behind him yelled out. “Izuku, wait!” Izu turned around to see Todoroki running down the sidewalk towards him. He stopped to wait and Shotou finally made it, stopping right next to him.
“I never got your number,” Todoroki explained.
“That's because I don’t have one.” He rubbed the back of his neck and studied his shoes. “I don’t have a phone,”
“Oh,” was all Todoroki said. He must have thought that Izu was just blowing him off. He wanted to explain that it's because he was too poor to afford one, but how could you explain that to suck a privileged boy as Todoroki? He sighed and turned.
“See you tomorrow,” was all he said before heading into the dark to the park across from his apartment building.