I'll be home for Christmas.
Izuku was used to being alone — and by being alone he meant being single — every Christmas since freshman year at Yuuei. He didn’t like to dwell on it, remembering bitterly his first year at the world-renowned school that pumped out heroes every year like a well-oiled machine. He wasn’t in the Hero course during his time there, and not because he didn’t pass the exam. He didn’t even bother to take it without a Quirk. It was stupid of him to even think of doing so.
He just went ahead and joined the General Ed department, passing the Entrance exam easily. Luckily all of his studying during middle school paid off and he passed with the highest grade in his class. But he didn’t like to think about Yuuei unless he was reminiscing about his second, or third year. Those were the best years in school for him, where he gained a ton of confidence in himself career-wise. He knew exactly where he was going in life.
In fact, he’d ended up doing exactly that as soon as he graduated. And he was still doing it, able to afford his own apartment. It had been something he never really considered until Shinsou told him in passing that he’s always dreamed of opening up a tattoo parlor one day if becoming a hero never worked out.
He said that he’d probably end up doing both either way, just like how Present Mic had a radio station. Needless to say, it sparked something in Izuku and he realized that maybe he should have a business too. He could open up a cafe because he’d always been gifted at making sweets and coffee.
It was strange how easily all of this came to him while he went to Yuuei, and he ended up getting a few heroes with culinary Quirks to take an interest in him. He was kind of novelty among the culinary world filled with people with Quirks. How could he make such delicious sweets without a Quirk? Hard work and determination to be inventive with his ideas. He got sponsored by many heroes and eventually transferred to a culinary school in his last year of high school.
During that year he learned how cut-throat the food industry was, and he realized that this was his battlefield. Just as heroes had a battlefield out in the streets with villains, his was in the kitchen. But as he was saying, he was a novelty in the culinary world, and that earned him easy press and media. And that was a good and bad thing. Most critics raved about his cooking prowess, and how it rivaled those with Quirks to give them an edge. Some were less kind, saying that he should just give up.
Izuku had never given up, not when his mother cheered him on and supported his every decision. Even the most difficult choice of his life. Leaving Yuuei. In the end, it was perfect for him. He finally got the chance to throw away his dream of being a hero, and he finally stepped out of the bone-crushing depression that had been nagging him for so long.
Of course, he still kept in contact with Shinsou, his best friend since the very beginning of all of this. They texted often, and Izuku tried his damndest to not lose this connection. Due to his job he never had much time for anything other than creating new coffee flavors, perfecting his latte art, or picking up any manager shifts. His cafe was the busiest one in his town, so he was constantly called in the morning rush, a panicked manager rambling into the phone about some disaster or another.
He’d always come running, ready to fix any problem and help the store run smoothly once more. Then he’d spend the rest of his night serving customers, having nothing better to do.
All in all, his cafe was his child, his life, his income, and his everything. But right now he was busy talking to Shinsou who was currently trying to convince him to come to a party that Izuku really, really didn’t want to go to. He didn’t want to see anyone from the former class of 4-A. He didn’t want to risk them reminding him of the horrible Christmas of their freshman year.
“Please, Midoriya you have to come,” Shinsou begged, a whine obvious in his tone. Izuku shook his head vehemently, his bare feet pacing around his kitchen. He was making himself instant ramen. Yes, he owned a cafe, but that didn’t mean he didn’t survive of ramen alone. Half the time he didn’t have a chance to cook. He never gave himself the time. The only light on in his apartment was his kitchen light, and he pressed his phone between his shoulder and ear so he was talking hands-free.
“Not over my dead body! Why can’t we go for hot chocolate and see the lights in the mall like normal people? I don’t want to go to a party with a bunch of Pro Heroes who remember the worst Christmas of my life,” Izuku shot back, sticking his chopsticks into his steaming noodles, as he walked over to his living room. The television was on, playing an American Hallmark movie. He understood enough English for the movie to make sense, and for a moment he zoned in on it, almost forgetting he was on the phone with Control Freak himself. He almost forgot to listen to Shinsou’s reply.
“Don’t be like that, I doubt they even know who you are!” Shinsou reasoned. “Plus isn’t Bakugou, like, in Korea right now anyway? What’s the harm if you go just one time? Maybe you’ll enjoy it!”
“I’ll think about it, but I doubt I’ll enjoy it,” Izuku relented. “I’ll probably be too busy anyway,”
“Oh come on, that cafe will still be standing if you take a day off, dear god,” Shinsou told him. He was always Izuku’s voice of reason, but Izuku shook his head even though Shinsou couldn’t see him. He had things to do almost every day of this month. He couldn’t take a day off. Not until Christmas Eve, when he’d spend the day with his mother. Even then, it was only for a few hours and then he’d have to work. He had no plans on the actual day of Christmas, and he didn’t think he’d even bother getting up that day if he was being honest. He’d probably watch movies and maybe, just maybe he’d take a long bath. Then that would be his day. Nothing more, and nothing less. Just like always.
His tradition. Shinsou knew this, and every year he tried to get Izuku to at least go to a party or two. So far Izuku had refused, but each year it was getting harder and harder. He was in desperate need of friends, and Shinsou knew that too. And that’s why he kept asking. And asking. And asking.
Izuku slurped up his noodles, an annoying testament to his refusal. “I’m not taking a day off for a Christmas party,”
“Oh come on, Midoriya!” Shinsou groaned on the other end. “You need to let loose! You need to hang out with other people, and keep yourself from locking yourself up in your house watching Hallmark movies,”
“Hallmark movies are masterpieces, you uncultured swine,” Izuku grumbled. “And I like being by myself,”
“No one likes being alone,” Shinsou replied. “Please come,”
“No way, can we talk about this later? The lead actress is finally about to confess her love,”
“No, let's talk about it now,” Shinsou grumbled, “Don’t hang up—“
“Oh!— Sorry, the movies getting good! Talk to you later Shinsou!”
And the line went dead and Izuku smirked at his phone. A few seconds later Shinsou sent him a disappointed text.
Shin: You really hung up on me…
Deku: Don’t make me go to that dumb party. We can just hang out without having to go to a party.
Shin: Can we go get hot chocolate and talk about it?
Deku: Fine. When?
Shin: Tomorrow? At night? Don’t fucking tell me you’ll be working because your cafe isn’t even open very late.
Deku: Fine. I hate you.
Shin: See you then. Love you.
Deku: Love you too, good night!
Shin: Good night.
Izuku shut off his phone and finished off his bowl of ramen as he returned his full attention to the movie playing on his television. It was a cute sappy movie about a girl who was an ice-skater, and after losing competition after competition she eventually lost interest in the sport. And of course the man of her dreams shows up and her love for the sport is revived as soon as they step out on the ice together. And of course, the man just so happens to be an ice-skating coach.
Izuku spent the rest of his evening cooped up in his apartment, watching the movie until it was over. He replied to a couple of texts from his mother. She’d been asking if he had time to come over on Christmas Eve, and he was quick to reply.
Mom: You’re coming over for Christmas Eve, aren't you?
Izuku: Of course. I’d never miss a chance to visit you, mom!
Mom: I’m glad to hear it! I’ll see you then honey.
He turned off his television and his kitchen light before finally going to his room. He spent the next two hours working on his computer, simply exchanging a few emails with the managers of his cafe. He also took a look at how the store itself was doing and was relieved to find out that he’d been making a lot of money this year. A lot more than last year. That was always good.
After obsessing a little too much over his cafe’s finances, he spent the last of his energy doing something he only did in secret now. He scrolled through page after page of hero conspiracies and random articles. He scrolled across one that made him stop for only a second. Ground Zero Comes Home for Christmas!
He barely acknowledged it as he scrolled around, a little ticked off not being able to find anything worth his time. Usually, there was some scandal going on with a hero that made it on everyone’s social media, and he was kind of disappointed that nothing seemed to be happening this year. No hero was caught kissing another. No hero was caught doing anything .
He’d admit that he was kind of obsessed with drama like this, but only because his life had a lack of it. But he couldn’t be too angry or disappointed, not with all of his success in life. He would survive if nothing interesting happened this year. So he plugged his phone into his charger and called it a day. He was picking up a shift at his cafe tomorrow for one of the managers that had a family emergency. Not that he minded working. Sometimes he enjoyed it, finally forcing himself to interact with his customers and his employees.
He rolled over in his bed and closed his eyes. With nothing on his mind except what kind of cookies, he and his mother should bake for Christmas.
For now, everything in his life was simple. And there was never a single thought in his mind that it might not be so simple in a few days.
He woke up to the shrill sound of his alarm going off on his phone. His apartment was dark, seeing as he was awake way before the sun had risen. From the warmth of his bed, his hand shot out of the heavy comforters to reach for his buzzing phone. His hand fumbled before he finally wrapped his hand around it.
Izuku turned off the alarm on his first try and groaned loudly into his pillow. He hadn’t managed to get much sleep last night, and it was very evident as he untangled himself from his bedsheets. As soon as he left the warmth of his bed he shivered, wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep and forget about any of his responsibilities.
He drifted like a ghost around his apartment, unplugging his phone from his charger, and grabbing a bundle of clothes. He went into his bathroom, regretting it as soon as his feet came in contact with the freezing cold tile. He threw his clothes on the sink, and hopped in the shower, hoping to warm himself up before he had to venture into the cold morning. He ran his fingers through his short hair, a mess of wet curls as he showered.
He’d gotten it cut into an undercut a few months after graduating culinary school, and he really liked how it looked on him, so he ended up keeping the style. As soon as he was more awake he left the relaxing warmth of his shower and toweled himself off, shaking the droplets of water out of his hair. He donned his cafe’s uniform, a clean cut dress shirt with his sleeves rolled up to his forearms. A brown apron with his logo on the top right on his chest. His logo was a coffee cup with the three words Melting Mocha Coffee stitched on the inside of the cup.
He brushed his teeth and ran his fingers through his hair again, and he checked himself in the mirror. Izuku looked a little tired but other than that he thought he looked fine. It really didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to run into an old childhood friend or anything. That person was still in Korea and probably wouldn’t come home to Japan until at least a week from now.
He left the bathroom with a grief-ridden sigh, every part of him beginning to stay in the warmth of the shower. He refused to cave to his body’s need to be warm. He’d survive long enough to get to his cafe. He left his room, his phone cold in his hand like most of his apartment. Slipping on his shoes and grabbing his hat he left his apartment without a word.
Needless to say, he should’ve checked the weather. There was snow literally everywhere , and it fell in thick layers of it. The roads were a disaster, as he left his apartment complex and began his walk to his cafe. But the weather didn’t seem to be stopping anyone. Not in the slightest. An excited buzz ran through his body as he got closer and closer to his store. He practically lived for a disastrous shift, and he had no doubt that a couple of his employees would call in. That was fine. He could do it practically by himself if he had to.
Finally, he reached the front doors and whipped out his set of keys from his pocket. The store was still dark, and he was a little early no one would be here until five-thirty a.m., but he wanted to get as many sweets baking as possible. He also needed a cup of coffee if he was going to stay awake the entire day. Or maybe he’d drink some hot chocolate.
Definitely hot chocolate. He grabbed his phone from his pocket and set an alarm for six a.m., which was an hour from now. When his store opened. He got his earbuds out and listened to Christmas music as he waltzed into the kitchen and flicked the lights on. It was like clock-work, making cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, and scones. He made them all in bulk, throwing them in display cases. He started another batch of sweets and headed into the front of the store where he filled up the coffee tanks with straight black coffee, and checked all of his creamers. Everything was well-stocked. He made himself a quick cup with a smile. Then he went back into the kitchen to get everything out of the ovens.
He iced the cupcake with expert hands, and dusted the cookies with sugar and sprinkles. He placed that batch of deserts in the display case too and jumped a foot in the air when he almost bumped into a salary manager with long chocolate brown hair. Yuuri Makoto if he remembered correctly. He yanked out his earbuds and apologized profusely. “I-I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you there. I got kind of distracted…”
“Oh, no worries Midoriya! I saw you baking and I decided to stay out of your way and get the front of the store ready for the day,” Makoto responded, her long acrylic nails strumming against the countertop.
“Thanks for that!” Izuku replied, with a smile. “Is there anyone else working this morning? Or is it just us?”
“Ah, my sister is cooking this morning, and she should be here a little after we open, but other than that we don’t have anyone. I got a few texts from my co-workers saying they couldn’t make it,”
“So just the three of us then?” Izuku pondered aloud. He saw Makoto nod. “That’s doable! You know how to cook too right? I might have to have you help with the desert orders while I man the front of the store,”
“Do you think you can handle it alone up here?” Makoto asked, an impressed smile gracing her soft round face.
“Totally,” Izuku reassured her. “I can make coffee faster than I can drink it, and trust me when I say I should be a professional coffee-drinker,”
“Alright, that would be amazing to see!”
“I hope it gets busy enough for it,”
“With the weather like this, I'm sure it will, Midoriya-san,”
“Good, I’m up for a challenge,” Izuku smirked at her and she grinned back, her eyes shining with anticipation. That’s when his phone buzzed loudly on the countertop, and Izuku turned it off. He grabbed his keys and opened the doors. It was instant, and he almost didn’t even get the chance to return to the back of the counter before a crowd swarmed him, begging for fuel.
A line easily formed itself, and a tired-looking woman was first. “What would you like to order today ma’am?”
“Straight black,” She mumbled, half awake. He smiled, and he glanced at Makoto. She was already there filling a plastic cup full of hot liquid. He turned to the woman and recited the price to her. “That’ll be five dollars and fifty cents,” He shot her a soft smile and she handed over the money. He threw the money into the cash register and handed her the cup of coffee.
She smiled to herself softly as she left the line and headed back outside. Izuku zoomed through coffee orders, and eventually, Makoto’s sister entered the scene. Izuku handed a man with a crying baby in his arms a muffin and a triple chocolate mocha. Another woman ordered a scone and a cookie along with a pumpkin spiced latte. Soon enough the store was filled with sitting customers sucking up all of their wifi.
The line got longer and longer, and soon Izuku had Makoto move to the kitchen to help her sister bake. He pumped out order after order, cups of coffee blurring together in hours of fast-paced work. He vaguely remembered almost tripping over himself once or twice as the rush after rush got a little intense, but he lived for it.
He loved the feeling of sweating and trying to catch his breath as he danced around making cup after cup of delicious coffee. Later if you asked him what someone ordered that morning shift he wouldn’t be able to recall a single one. It all swam together.
He left around one in the afternoon, yawning with a new cup of coffee in hand. The snow had calmed down and was at a lazy pace, almost like cherry blossoms in spring. He marveled at the beauty of it, unaware of a man with spiky red hair gasping slightly. He took a sip of his coffee and looked back up at the sky with a small smile. He didn’t even register that the man took a picture of him. Izuku just turned around and headed back home to change and nap before he went back out to meet up with Shinsou for the night.
His walk back to his apartment was sweeter than when he’d ventured out. The snow was calm, and children ran around with their families. Festive lights were being strung up all around, and even the moodiest of people were singing Christmas songs under their breaths. He doubted a certain someone enjoyed Christmas in the slightest.
He trudged up to the floor where his apartment was and jammed his keys into the lock once he reached his door. As soon as he kicked his door closed behind him he threw off his apron and took off his hat. He kicked off his shoes and downed the rest of his coffee before walking over to his trashcan and throwing it away. Izuku went into his room and looked around for a sweater and jeans. He grabbed his charger from his nightstand and finally found a grey sweater somewhere in the depths of his closet.
He got dressed in some random pair of jeans and put a sweater on over his dress shirt. He went back into his living room and plugged his phone into the charger in there, practically face planting into his couch to catch a nap before Shinsou blew up his phone with texts and calls.
He was out like a light, only to wake up what felt like seconds later to Shinsou throwing open his door with a loud slam. Izuku startled out of sleep, a snore cut off by him falling off the couch.
“Were you sleeping?!”
“No, no way. I wasn’t,” Izuku mumbled, masking a yawn. “I’m totally awake,”
“You fucking better be!” Shinsou exclaimed, “We’re going ice-skating and going to look at the Christmas lights. I’m bored and I need someone to listen to me rant about Denki,”
“Alright, just let me get my shoes and stuff, I’ll be right there,” Izuku grinned and went into his room for a second, finding a beat-up pair of sneakers and a thick cardigan. He stuffed his keys and wallet into his pocket along with his phone.
He returned to Shinsou, and his friend smiled at him warmly. Izuku bid farewell to his apartment for now. “So? What’s going on with Denki?”
“Dear God, that man is so fucking dense! Like all I want is to go on a fucking date with the guy, and he just-- doesn’t get it! It just flies over his head…”
“Maybe it’s because of his Quirk,” Izuku reasoned as they walked down the stairs and outside into the frigid night air. Izuku rubbed his hands together with a shiver. “He does get a little dumb if overuses his Quirk...what if it affected him in the long run?”
“He’s always been dense,” Shinsou sighed as they locked their arms together. The snowflakes around them floated in a slow dance, and for a moment Izuku got distracted. “Ever since high school,”
If Izuku was being honest, he was kind of jealous of Denki and Shinsou. At least they could spend Christmas together, and not just with their family. Sometimes Izuku found himself wishing he didn’t isolate himself in his apartment — it’s not like he hated Christmas or anything. He enjoyed it to the fullest, hanging out with Shinsou and his mother, but sometimes he wanted to truly be with someone.
But every time he thought about it and debated dating people again he just shut himself down. There was no way someone would want to date a Quirkless person. No freaking way.
“—and he doesn’t even realize what mistletoe is for!” Shinsou ranted as they got nearer to the skating rink. Their first stop every year when they went out to celebrate Christmas. This was their tradition. Go ice-skating, rant about Denki, get hot chocolate, rant about Denki, see the Christmas lights, and go their separate ways. “Sometimes I want to knock him the fuck out,”
Izuku laughed at that, his shoulders shaking as they went inside the skating rink. He paid the lady at the desk for their entrance and for their skates. He tied his and nodded at the right parts as Shinsou spoke. They skated aimlessly on the ice, slow Christmas music blasting on the speakers all around them. “Anyway Midoriya, how’s your love life going?”
Izuku glared over his shoulder at Shinsou. “You know how obsolete relationships are in my life, Shinsou,”
“Aww! You can’t tell me there’s not at least one person you’re interested in,” Shinsou replied, skating lazy circles around Izuku, who glided over the ice easily. They did this every year, and eventually, they ended up getting really good at ice-skating without realizing it.
“Never. You know how I am about dating…” Izuku began with a frown. “It just won’t work out with someone like me,”
“Don’t beat yourself up like that! Being Quirkless has nothing to do with dating!” Shinsou argued.
Izuku shook his head, exasperated. “It has everything to do with dating,”
“Well first off, laws against Quirkless discrimination don’t even exist. The lack of protection acts leaves a huge opportunity for employers to fire Quirkless people without a reason. It can affect if you can buy a house. Or a car. It can affect if you’re eligible for loans. And it definitely has everything to do with dating,”
“Okay, I get it about the laws and stuff. But be specific about dating, Midoriya,”
“I highly doubt that someone will like me if I’m Quirkless,” Izuku told him, a smile on his face that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I tried to date on time like two years ago, do you remember that?”
“Yeah, some guy named Akito, right?”
“Yeah. Anyway, it was all great until he found out I was Quirkless, and it must’ve been a huge turn off because he completely ghosted me!”
“Okay, listen. Someone will come along and not give a fuck about that, I promise,” Shinsou told him, skating backward so he was looking Izuku in the face.
And somehow Izuku doubted that.
Katsuki has just gotten off his plane really late at night when he received a text from Shitty Hair. Oh, wait, no — Kirishima. His anger management agent told him to stop calling people derogatory nicknames, no matter how tempting it was.
The text he got was out of the blue, and he hadn’t been expecting its contents at all. He was expecting a meme, a selfie, a rant, or a social media post. What he wasn’t expecting was a random picture of a random guy that he didn’t recognize with a killer haircut and a badass tattoo that began somewhere under his shirt and ended at his wrist.
He ignored the picture after looking at it only once. It never registered for him who exactly that was. Katsuki was walking to his apartment in the snow, grumbling about it being too damn cold when he got another text from Kirishima.
Shitty Hair: You saw my picture. I know you did, it says you read it.
GZ: And? What does that random guy have to do with me? Am I supposed to know him?
Shitty Hair: He’s your type though, isn’t he? Small, obviously gay, and badass? C’mon, you can’t tell me that guy didn’t look at least a little attractive to you. I know you’re self-centered and all, but at least admit to that.
GZ: Shut up. Even if he was cute, I wouldn’t go telling you about it, or anyone else.
Shitty Hair: So you do like him?
GZ: No. I don’t like anyone.
Shitty Hair: Aw! Does Blasty boy have a crush?
GZ: I will not hesitate to block your annoying ass.
Shitty Hair: Hey, let's not make any threats…
GZ: Then shut up. I don’t like anyone.
Shitty Hair: Fine. “You don’t like anyone.” I know the truth in my heart.
GZ: Fuck off.
Katsuki glared at his phone like it was the cause of all this and stuffed it in his pocket without so much as a second thought. He didn’t care about some random guy with sick ass tattoos. He didn’t even know the guy. He lugged his baggage into his apartment complex, taking the elevator to the correct floor.
His keys were in his hands before he even reached his apartment. He was quick to throw his assortment of bags in the entryway. He took one bag to his room, determined to change before he went back out to visit his mother. Yes, Ground Zero, the number one hero in Japan visits his mother. What a fucking shocker.
He rummaged through his bad like a madman looking for anything comfortable. Eventually, he settled on a hoodie and a pair of loose-fitting jeans.
Katsuki spends a while just trying his best to unpack his belongings, and by unpacking he meant haphazardly throwing his clothes into his dresser and closet. He drags his other bags into his massive bedroom and unpacks those too until all of his stuff is back where it belongs.
That’s when he finally leaves his house, sending a quick text to his mother that he was on his way over.
Katsuki: Hey I’m on my way ya old hag.
Mom: About fucking time!
Katsuki: Why the fuck are you already yelling at me?!
Mom: Because I love you, asshole!
He’s not quite sure how to respond to that. He’d never been good at expressing his emotions, even with his own mother, so he doesn’t reply. He just puts his phone in his pocket with a small smile and goes back outside. And what he sees once he’s out in the snow is weird.
He’s just walking along the sidewalk, minding his own business when some fucking prick bumps into him. He looks up. And did a second his whole world freezes.
He sees someone he hasn’t thought about since high school. And suddenly he’s pissed. Pissed at himself because it’s fucking Deku. And he looks different, with a new haircut, tattoos and…a boyfriend clinging to his side.
And not just any guy. Shinsou Hitoshi.
Suddenly the picture Shitty Hair sent makes a lot more sense. It had been a fucking gorgeous picture of Deku.
Katsuki hasn’t seen or thought of Deku in years, but suddenly here he is. And Katsuki is reminded of their freshman year together. Full of regrets, all the wrong words, and not enough apologies.
And for some reason, it pisses him off. For some reason, he wants to scream and curse himself for being so stupid and cruel.
And for some reason, he wants to kiss the nerd.