The first thought that entered Midoriya’s mind was a groggy desire for water. And immediately after that: Todoroki?
Midoriya let out a small whimper at the cramping pain that shot up his neck the second he attempted to turn his head. Wrenching his eyes open was no small feat either, and Midoriya let out a frustrated groan from between chapped lips. A startled gasp sounded somewhere over to his right, and he tensed before feeling a cool, gentle hand press against his forehead.
“Izuku,” his mother whispered, and finally Midoriya’s eyes inched open. He could feel them stinging with unshed tears at the sight of his mother, hovering fretfully over him and obviously distraught.
Izuku winced at the pain in her voice, and Inko nervously waved her hands, palms skating over his cast but not quite touching. “Oh—oh! What’s wrong, what hurts?”
“No, no, I’m fine,” Midoriya quickly said, reaching out a free hand to pass over his mother’s in hopes of calming her. Instead, the sight of his arm (his only free arm, as the other was wrapped in a cast) made them both pause.
New scars littered Midoriya’s skin, ragged and a sharp contrast to the training scars he had received before.
“Recovery Girl did the best she could,” Inko whispered, finally taking Izuku’s free hand and squeezing as gently as possible. “But you know there had to be consequences…”
“I know,” Midoriya replied, watching as his mother traced over the newly healed skin. All at once, a new wave of panic overtook him, and he clutched at his mother’s hand as if it were a life support. “My friends? Where is everyone? Where is Shouto? I want to see him. Where is he?”
His voice cracked on the name, and his mother placed a placating hand on his forehead. “Sweetheart, they’re alright, I promise. Look, your friend Iida is right there, in that bed. See?” With a turn of his head, Midoriya could see Iida laid out on a bed not far from his own, the rise and fall of the covers taking the edge off of some of his own worry. “And Todoroki… he’s fine. I heard he’s up and walking around, but I’m sure he’ll be by to see you soon. And everyone else is either at home, or in different rooms.” Now her own voice seemed to shatter, and Midoriya’s mother placed her son’s hand on her cheek, tears wetting the back of his hand. “What you did was incredibly dangerous. Do you understand me?”
“Yes,” Midoriya said, chastened. “But mom… that villain. What happened to him?”
Inko opened her mouth to reply, but before she could, a rumbling voice sounded from the doorway. “We’ve recovered him from the rubble. Alive.”
Midoriya turned to see All Might in full form, even as his edges seemed to shake with the effort.
“Mom,” Midoriya said quickly, “may I please have a moment with my teacher?”
Inko pursed her lips, but without another word, she pressed a kiss to Midoriya’s cheek and passed All Might with a respectful nod.
The second that the door closed behind her, All Might cast a wary glance about the room before stepping towards Midoriya’s bed and sliding the privacy curtains shut. With a weary wheeze, the man literally deflated, looking even more frail and worn than the last time that Midoriya had seen him.
“Alive?” Midoriya asked softly as his mentor gently lowered himself onto the seat the Inko had previously occupied. “So, he’s not…”
“No,” All Might replied gravely, and coughed quietly into the back of his hand before continuing. “I trust that you… aren’t disappointed by that, are you?”
“No,” Midoriya echoed after a moment’s pause. “I would never… I could never kill someone.”
All Might looked down wordlessly at his hands, and Midoriya blinked at him, wondering if he had said the right thing. Wasn’t that what being a hero was all about?
“The authorities have already come by and spoken to many of the teachers, myself included. Your classmates have already been informed as well. In order to spare you kids the repercussions of the law—because as you know, we cannot have under aged students running about and apprehending villains—we have had to, unfortunately, tweak the narrative.”
“You didn’t tell them about us fighting Stain,” Midoriya said slowly, the realization dawning on him quickly. “You didn’t tell them how we…”
“How could I?” All Might replied, spreading his hands. “I think poorly of the fact that we cannot give you kids the recognition you deserve. But,” he continued, eyeing Midoriya seriously, “you must to understand, my boy. In order for you to be able to continue your education—in order for you to be allowed to continue your training—this cannot be public knowledge.”
All Might leaned back in his hair, a small sigh escaping him as his back met the seat rest. “I would very much like you to return to your schooling unhindered, young Midoriya.”
Midoriya glanced away, down at his scarred hand. “I… I know.”
All Might was silent for another moment, before he cleared his throat. “And there is another matter I’d like to discuss with you.”
“Yes?” Midoriya said, looking back up at his mentor.
All Might matched his gaze evenly, even as the corners of his mouth turned down in a severe looking frown. “At the end of the battle… you… what are you feeling now?”
“Sore?” Midoriya replied, glancing at his battered form.
“No, no,” All Might said, looking suddenly far more tired than usual. Pained, even. “My boy… Young Todoroki was awake when we got to you both. He was almost incoherent. Now—“ All Might stopped himself and passed a hand through his hair. “Now, I am not telling you this to make you distraught. I am telling you this because I need to know what happened. You were the last to wake up, so we’ve spoken to all the other students, young Iida included. However, Todoroki has not said a word beyond the time we found you and your friends, but I have heard about Stain’s notoriety. All of what he is capable of.”
Midoriya seemed to freeze as the severity of All Might’s words kick started the last of his memories from the end of the battle. The crumbling building, the flash of a sword, Todoroki’s eyes boring holes into his—
Midoriya pressed a hand against his mouth as he doubled over, desperately attempting not to retch. All Might was at his side in an instant, a wide hand pressed against the his back. From across the room, Midoriya heard Iida splutter into wakefulness, before thundering footsteps sounded. Not a second later, Iida flung back the curtain, violently rubbing sleep from his eyes and fumbling for his glasses.
“Midoriya!” he belted out, looking worried. He eyed All Might standing at the side of Midoriya’s bed warily, and recognizing All Might, turned back to his friend. “What is the matter?”
Midoriya squeezed his eyes shut, feeling the last of the spasms leave his body. In lieu of an answer, he clutched at the front of his hospital gown, desperately searching for any sign of Todoroki.
Where are you.
“I didn’t realize at first,” Midoriya began, feeling himself begin to babble. “I didn’t realize the empty feeling because I’ve felt it for most of my life—I’ve only had it a short while, how could I lose it? How could I lose him?”
“You have not lost him,” All Might interrupted sharply, cutting across the beginnings of Midoriya’s panicked monologue. Iida seemed to blanch at the sight of the tip of a chest scar, peeking through the top of Midoriya’s hospital gown. “Has he passed? No. No, he has not. A connection is what it says on the tin, but it does not define your relationship with young Todoroki. Isn’t that right?”
“R-right,” Midoriya echoed, consciously loosening his grip on the front of his clothing.
“Do you care for him any less, now that you no longer have it?”
“Of course not!” Midoriya shouted, before immediately cowing down. “I—I mean, I’m sorry, All Might, but I—“
“That’s right!” All Might continued insistently as if Midoriya hadn’t said anything else. In front of them, Iida began to nod emphatically, seeming quick to agree with the “stranger’s” words. “I would never discount the importance of being soulmates, but I do not doubt your importance to each other, either.”
After letting out a shuddering gasp, Midoriya seemed to feel more grounded. The anxious pulsing at his temples had soothed, and he unclenched his hand to carefully cradle his cast. “That’s right,” he repeated softly, feeling the pounding of his heart settle in his chest. “He’s still important to me, and that would never change.”
“Midoriya,” Iida began, sounding so grave that Midoriya and All Might turned to him immediately. “Had I gotten there sooner… had I been able to find him before…”
“It’s not your fault,” Midoriya cut in, blinking up at his friend. “You couldn’t have known.”
“I wanted to seek him out myself,” Iida protested, the corners of his lips turning up in an uncharacteristic snarl. Beside him, Midoriya felt All Might tense.
“But—“ Iida’s face smoothed out, and he reached up to rub at his eyes behind his glasses. “I know. I know now—had I stayed, lingered any longer, our friends would have been in incredible danger. I only wish I had made it back in time with pro heroes before… before Stain had woken up.”
“You didn’t know,” Midoriya repeated weakly, pressing his good hand to his chest again. “And I’m fine. Todoroki is fine.”
“You knew to leave for help, and that could arguably be one of the more important qualities of a hero,” All Might interjected, punctuating his sentence with a weak cough. “There isn’t anything to be gained by seeking revenge.”
Iida was silent for another moment, before settling his glasses back into place with a solemn nod. He looked up again to eye All Might’s frail form curiously. “Who are you, sir?”
All Might spluttered. “I am—I am a family friend of Midoriya, here.”
Midoriya’s mouth quirked up in a nervous smile of relief when Iida accepted this with a shrug. The relief at waking up safe and sound, with everyone well, was an incredible relief. Still, there was at least one person he needed to see with his own eyes before his nerves could be soothed.
Midoriya looked up stonily, gulping. “Where is he? I want to see him.”
All Might let out a long sigh. “Young Todoroki? Now that, I don’t know. He took off a little while ago, it seems. He was awake for quite a while.”
“Oh,” Midoriya said, voice small. “He’s gone?”
Part of him—no, all of him—had desperately wished that he would have woken up to Todoroki sitting at his bedside as well. And Midoriya was worried about him as well. Why didn’t he stay?
“Well, we can help you find him… after the necessities have been completed. You’re going to have to speak with the authorities, but fear not! I will come with you!” All Might coughed self-consciously into a fist when Iida seemed to perk up at the familiar intonation, looking curiously at the withered looking man.
“All Might. I’m a big fan of him,” said All Might.
“Okay,” Midoriya said reluctantly, over Iida’s hum of understanding. “I’m sure I’ll see him soon.”
As Midoriya waited for All Might to bring the investigators, he glanced over at a nearby tabletop, where he found his battered cellphone lying broken and useless. There was no chance of contacting Todoroki… and even if he could, would Todoroki have even picked up?
“Interesting. My teacher came in a while ago—All Might, Midoriya, I’m sure he will return to check on you—and he was wearing the same suit. Though yours is a little… bigger…” Iida coughed. “Nevertheless, it is a fine suit. You and our teacher have good taste.”
“Indeed we do,” All Might replied faintly, and Midoriya couldn’t help but smile in amusement.
--- --- ---
“Where are you?”
Todoroki ground the words out like they pained him. It wasn’t far from the truth—those had been the first words he’d spoken ever since Stain had happened, and ever since, he hadn’t allowed himself even a single drop of water from the moment he’d woken up. All of him had been too preoccupied with the aching, gaping feeling in his chest. Not again.
The first thing he’d done upon waking up in the hospital room was detach himself from whatever they’d hooked him up to, his head swiveling to catch sight of his soulmate. A nurse, who had happened to be in the room at the time, screamed as he’d violently tore himself up and away from his bed.
But she couldn’t have stopped him anyway. The moment he’d seen Midoriya lying across the room in a hospital bed, Todoroki had all but stormed over to his soulmate’s side, chest heaving with anxiety.
Midoriya had merely been asleep, a newly scarred hand resting on his stomach, and a white casted arm propped up by a pillow. His brow was furrowed even in rest, and his mouth seemed to move in a wordless mumble. Todoroki snorted—no doubt his soulmate was dreaming of analytics of different heroes. (Part of him hoped if he had to dream about any hero’s statistics, it would be Todoroki’s. He even found the idea kind of romantic.) Todoroki had let out a sigh before slouching down to press a kiss to Midoriya’s forehead (and the nurse had let out a tiny squeak behind him).
He had spent much of his time by Midoriya, even as the investigators came in to gather him and his classmates together for questioning. Even before that, All Might had come to their room personally with words of warning, to which Todoroki and Iida—temporarily wakened by the anxious fussing of the nurse—had taken seriously.
Now though, Todoroki was storming the halls in new clothes that his sister had brought from home. And, according to her, his father was there as well. Not that Todoroki had been granted the honor of his presence, no. But even so, Todoroki was intent on finding his father.
He’d been on multiple floors already, and Todoroki could feel himself begin to burn/ice his clothes out of sheer irritation. Not wanting to find himself stuffed into yet another ill-fitting hospital gown, Todoroki paused before another corner of the hallway to will his temper down and quell the stinging he was feeling at his sides. He tried, hard, not to think about how dull even those sensations had become without the thrum of his connection to Midoriya. With a low huff, Todoroki moved to round the corner.
Not a second later, he heard the familiar rumble of a voice used to being listened to, and he backtracked immediately, honing in on the source like a missile. Endeavor was in the middle of speaking to one of the people Todoroki recognized as one of the authorities. Not that it mattered to him. With a final, definite sounding crash of the sound of Todoroki bumping, and knocking over a thankfully empty trash can (unintentional—Todoroki was a lot dizzier than he had let on to the doctor and nurses), he got Endeavor’s attention with a bang.
“What are you doing?” his father said sharply, already sounding both dismissive and resentful of his son’s presence. “Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
“Got treatment,” Todoroki said bluntly. “I need to speak to you.”
Endeavor’s faced remained carefully neutral, even though his eye seemed to twitch. “It can wait.”
Ignoring this, Todoroki stepped forward and jabbed himself in the chest with a thumb. He glared back at his father’s face, constantly aflame just like his goddamned ego. “I don’t have it anymore.”
Endeavor’s eyes widened. “What?”
“I don’t have the soulmate connection anymore,” Todoroki said, each syllable dragging against his throat. Every word was emphasized with a sharp jab to his own chest, almost as if he were drilling a hole into where his connection used to be, a new scar in its place. It was so, so worth the pain of hearing the words out loud when he saw the shock displayed on his father’s face. The investigator beside him looked stunned as well.
“I don’t have it,” Todoroki repeated, knowing the heat he was feeling was probably making his throat and face red, turning him harassed and wild looking. “Stain took it, and destroyed it. But I still love Midoriya.”
Endeavor’s face went from carefully molded disdain to disgust in a second. “Pathetic.”
“This changes nothing,” Todoroki continued as if the man hadn’t even spoken. “I’m going to stay with him, grow old with him, and fight all the villains in the world with him. And if you can’t get that, then that’s too bad. There isn’t any more of a connection for you to threaten to make me use.” And with that, Todoroki spun on his heel, righted the trash can, and left.
--- --- ---
Where are you?
Upon returning after his search for his father, Todoroki did not find Midoriya back in the same hospital room that he had left him and Iida in. The sheets were neatly folded, and the nurse had carefully told him that his friends had been discharged. In the time that it had taken Todoroki to find his father, Midoriya had been taken home by his mother—or so an odd looking, skinny man passing by the door of the hospital room had informed him. Todoroki had eyed him with distrust until the nurse had nodded her head in confirmation, and Todoroki had let out an almost silent sigh of frustration.
Wouldn’t have Midoriya chosen to wait for him? He was almost sure he’d told someone to tell Midoriya that he would be back soon… “Almost” being the keyword.
Todoroki cursed in a low undertone, mentally berating himself for not having stayed by Midoriya’s bedside until the boy had woken up. What if Midoriya took it as yet another sign of being jilted, especially now that they technically no longer had a connection?
‘It wouldn’t surprise me if that soulmate of yours just chose to let you waste away, while utilizing the strength for himself. Aren’t I right?’ A trust placed there by his time with Midoriya, a seed of hesitance planted by a conversation with his father, and words that had snaked around and further weakened Todoroki’s own shakily built confidence.
‘Shut up! You don’t know him! Todoroki would never just use me.’ Midoriya, wholeheartedly believing in the kind of person Todoroki was.
‘My… my father said…’ Todoroki, still not even knowing for sure what kind of person he wanted to be.
Todoroki had frozen the door he’d leaned up against, and both the skinny looking man and harried nurse had let out twin yelps of shock.
His sister came by to collect him not long after that, warning him in undertone that their father seemed in a particularly bad mood “for some reason”.
Now he was in his room, the day after waking at the hospital, silently berating himself over the fact that he had absolutely no way of contacting Midoriya. Both of their phones had either been lost or smashed in the ensuing rubble after the fight with Stain. Stain, goddamn him. Todoroki gritted his teeth as he inspected the scar, laid out in a diagonal direction across his chest. The radio silence from Midoriya had drove him to roll out of bed and grab at a slightly wrinkled UA uniform set.
Todoroki passed a hand over the newly formed scar, and the corners of his lips curved downwards. With a steady sigh, he pulled on his uniform shirt, watching until the cloth was buttoned and covered the last of his reminder of what he’d lost. The heat and anger had dwindled into a low simmer, and rather than anything else, Todoroki knew all he wanted was to see Midoriya.
As far as he knew, the knowledge of what had happened between him, his friends, and Stain had stayed hushed information between those who had been directly involved, as well as the authorities. But there was no way someone like grape-head (Mineta?) could have kept their mouth shut, despite not having been there the entire time. Rumors were bound to fly—but just how many of them were in regards to his connection with Midoriya?
His severed connection. Todoroki scowled slightly, watching his brows furrow in the mirror. Just the thought of entering school again while so many questions were left unanswered (the villains, the nomu, how Stain was able to cut the connection as if it were ribbon), Todoroki wanted, desperately, to see his soulmate.
And he’s still my soulmate, Todoroki thought resolutely, unconsciously tapping one finger on the knot of his tie in an anxious rhythm. Nothing changes that.
I just need to know if he knows that.
But with no phone and no soulmate connection, Todoroki knew his only way to see Midoriya as soon as possible was to go to school and fend off any rumors that might have started to spread.
His spirit wavered, however, when he found himself stepping into class with barely a minute before the bell, only to see Midoriya’s seat empty.
With only the slightest downturn of his lips to belie his dismay, Todoroki slid into his seat, acknowledging Yaoyorozu’s wave of concerned questions about his whereabouts during the attack with mumbled excuses. Most of his classmates seemed to leap from the same two topics and back, chattering excitedly about their upcoming hero internships, and lowering their voices nervously over what they’d seen in the news.
Todoroki could see Uraraka slumped over her desk, head down and most likely asleep. Iida looked even more composed than he usually did, nothing but the fists on top of his desk proving just how rattled he still was. In fact, most of the students that had been present when Stain attacked had shown up for class attendance (and Asui kept discreetly slapping Mineta the second the boy even tried to open his mouth).
They were all here, but Midoriya wasn’t.
Todoroki turned his head away, scanning one last hopeful time for the chance that Midoriya was just tucked away in another corner of the classroom, when he locked eyes with Bakugou.
With a start, he realized that the boy was fuming—and in reality, was not even looking at Todoroki in the first place. Todoroki realized that Bakugou was glaring daggers at Kirishima, who had wandered over to speak with Yaoyorozu. Todoroki could see a bandage discreetly peeking out of former’s uniform sleeve.
Raising his eyebrows, he turned back to shoot Bakugou a curious glance, which the boy returned with a snarl once he noticed Todoroki looking at him. Whatever was going on with those two, Todoroki couldn’t have cared less. Especially not when he saw a flash of green appear at the front of the classroom.
With a loud scrape against linoleum, Todoroki pushed back his chair at the sight of Midoriya nervously grimacing at the ground, one of his arms bandaged up in a clean, white cast. Before he could open his mouth to say something, Aizawa cleared his throat, loudly.
“Class,” he said slowly, enunciating every word, “is in session.”
Todoroki carefully sat himself back in his seat, going completely silent when he realized that Midoriya wouldn’t even look at him.
His soulmate’s eyes were fixed on his shoes as he walked over to his desk, only responding to Uraraka with a smile when she reached out to give his uninjured arm a comforting pat. Soon, most of his classmates were alive with anxious chatter, loudly and worriedly questioning Midoriya if he had been attacked by one of the creatures they’d seen onscreen.
“I said class is in session,” Aizawa echoed sternly, but Todoroki caught the cut of his eyes towards Midoriya, belying his concern. Aizawa’s gaze even found Todoroki’s, which the boy returned steadily, acknowledging that his teacher was aware of what had taken place.
Then his eyes found the back of Midoriya’s head, silently determined to watch the latter right up until the bell, and feeling déjà vu to when he’d been trying to deal with the beginnings of their connection in the first place.
Midoriya had heard everything.
When he’d been fully discharged from the hospital, Midoriya had given his mother some sort of harried excuse and detached himself from his company. He hadn’t been ready to leave, not without Todoroki.
In reality, it wasn’t even too hard to find him.
Todoroki had been mid-shout when Midoriya had been about to round the corner, and if it weren’t for the content of his words, Midoriya would have darted out immediately to stand by his side. As it was, it seemed he’d caught the tail end of a confession that left his ears burning.
“I don’t have it,” Todoroki had said, heat suffusing his words. “Stain took it, and destroyed it. But I still love Midoriya.”
Midoriya squeaked, and was grateful that Todoroki and Endeavor (Midoriya’s eyes narrowed in concern from where he peeked nosily around the corner) were too concentrated on each other to pay anything else any mind. “I’m going to stay with him, grow old with him, and fight all the villains in the world with him. And if you can’t get that, then that’s too bad. There isn’t any more of a connection for you to threaten to make me use.”
When Todoroki had spun around, looking furious, Midoriya backpedaled and hastily flung himself through the nearest doorway. Peeking through the glass panel, he watched nervously as Todoroki’s head passed by in a rush, his heart thrumming in his chest. He’d turned around then to lean nervously against the hospital door, only to come face to face with a concerned looking old man, leaning against a headboard.
“He loves me,” was all Midoriya had said weakly, before turning back to wrench the door open again. (Faintly, as he left, Midoriya thought he could hear a soft, “the youth is so lively these days.”)
Now, sitting in his desk chair and feeling the heat of Todoroki’s stare on his neck (déjà vu, much?) Midoriya sorely wish he had stayed, lingered long enough for Todoroki to see him as he came around the corner.
It would have been so much easier than waiting for one whole near-sleepless night, wondering just how to eloquently pass his own feelings to Todoroki.
He felt shy--more shy and awkward than he’d ever felt in his life, all because Todoroki said he loved him. Midoriya shuffled in his seat, torn between nerves and excitement. What would he do now? Wait for his soulmate by the doorway and declare his love, right where everyone could see? Bakugou would probably die from laughing at him. Although—Midoriya clicked a mental pause button on his happiness, remembering the explosion during the Stain fight. It hadn’t been hard to put two and two together, but now, with everything calm, Midoriya wondered just how Bakugou would react to having an actual soulmate. Midoriya couldn’t imagine Bakugou being “loveydovey” with anyone.
A harsh kick to the back of his chair shook him from his thoughts, and Midoriya turned hastily in his seat, automatically guilty at the idea that Bakugou had sensed the direction his thoughts had taken him.
“You’re muttering again, idiot,” Bakugou ground out, and Midoriya blinked at him. The tone of his voice lacked the usual bite, and the boy seemed weary, despite lacking any visible signs of a wound. Midoriya frowned in sympathy at the memory of how his first connection with Todoroki had left him completely drained, despite him not having known who his soulmate was at the time. Not to mention that Bakugou and Kirishima hadn’t even yet had their second contact, and his and Todoroki’s had left him completely shattered, in more ways than one.
Speaking of which… Midoriya’s eyes drifted from Bakugou’s irritable expression to Todoroki, seated in the back row. When their stares connected, Todoroki leaned forward a little further across his desk, his frown deepening. With a squeak, Midoriya wheeled back around in his chair. His ears were burning. Did Todoroki notice? Todoroki could probably see. Midoriya ducked his head lower, bringing his shoulders up, and Bakugou let out an annoyed snort from behind him. Faintly, he heard something snap in the back row, and Midoriya heard Momo softly offer someone a fresh pencil.
Midoriya felt that just going, I feel the same way! was too… bland. Or something. Todoroki deserved so much better. His soulmate had stood up against his father, again, all in the name of defending Midoriya. He’d instantly felt ashamed of himself for even thinking that the lack of a soulmate bond meant anything—Todoroki was still important to him. Midoriya felt the blush on his cheeks return full force, and he pressed his good hand against his face.
The rest of the class periods seemed to pass by in a blur, and Midoriya watched almost fearfully as the clock in front of the classroom ticked down to the last five minutes before the lunch break. It was now or never—well, not never, but Midoriya refused to wait any longer to speak to his soulmate. It was stupid of him to have just let Todoroki pass by like that, without showing himself and revealing to the other boy just how much he knew. And how happy that had made him. Midoriya tensed when the bell rang, and stood up so fast his chair clipped the edge of Bakugou’s desk (which was met with a low snarl).
---- ---- ----
Midoriya was crying. He was sure of it. Todoroki blanched when Midoriya had promptly turned in his seat after they’d locked eyes, only to hunch over and pass a hand across his cheek a moment later.
Todoroki was horrified. Just how much had he led Midoriya into thinking that Todoroki didn’t want him anymore? He blinked a pencil that Yaoyorozu offered him, confused for a split second until he saw the remains of his previous writing utensil, sitting half destroyed in his hand. Not taking his eyes off of Midoriya, Todoroki accepted the pencil with a murmured thanks, and didn’t even use it for the following class periods.
The second the bell rang for lunch, and Todoroki stood just as Midoriya did. There was no way he was letting there be any chance that Midoriya would avoid him, whether it be out of a sense of self-preservation, or out of some misplaced respect for what he might have assumed Todoroki’s wishes were. That maybe, possibly, Midoriya had concluded that Todoroki had returned to his initial opinion—distaste and disregard—of soulmates.
No way in hell was Todoroki going to risk that.
“Midoriya,” Todoroki said abruptly, and he winced a little when the word carried across the room like a whip lash. More than half the class paused their own conversations to wheel around at Todoroki, who was too worried about Midoriya to care what anyone else thought at that point.
He stepped deliberately towards his soulmate’s desk, and Midoriya looked positively terrified. And tear-free, confusingly enough. When he finally stood in front of Midoriya, Todoroki paused, taking in wide green eyes and ruffled hair. He… actually hadn’t thought this far. It had been so much easier to convey his thoughts to his father. Todoroki couldn’t even remember what he’d said, aside from the obvious. An impromptu ‘I love you’ would probably scare Midoriya shitless, despite Todoroki being unable to think of any other three words aside from the phrase.
For the lack of anything better to think of, Todoroki ground out a pained, “Izuku”, before grabbing his soulmate’s chin and leaning in for a kiss.
It seemed like a good idea… for all of three seconds. Their lips parted with a wet pop as Midoriya shoved him forcefully away, and the sound was punctuated by loud squeals from the girls and horrified groans from the boys.
“Shouto!” Midoriya said, and even though his tone was a mixture of horrified and reprimanding, Todoroki felt gratified to hear that they were still on a first name basis. The relief was probably why he didn’t stop himself from reaching forward and tugging Midoriya into a hug, which set off yet another round of surprised squealing from the girls.
Todoroki had a distinct feeling that he was definitely not supposed to be acting like this, but… He pressed his cheek against Midoriya’s, part of him flashing back to the sight of his soulmate lying unmoving next to him, bleeding out from the cut on his chest, and Todoroki found that he didn’t really care whether or not he was judged for this.
“I love you,” and well, those weren’t the words Todoroki had meant to say. Still, he gritted his teeth and plowed on. “Being bonded to you was the best thing that ever happened to me—but all it did was show me something that I would have realized at some point in the future. Whether or not we’re connected by some sort of mythical tie, I don’t think I’ll ever want to end what we have.
I love you,” Todoroki continued, feeling his left side start to burn with embarrassment, especially when he realized Midoriya was still rigid in his arms, “whether we have a soulmate connection, or… or not.”
“What the fuck,” Bakugou said emphatically. Somewhere to his right, Todoroki thought he heard Kirishima sigh wistfully.
“Shouto,” Midoriya said, and Todoroki tensed.
“Even if you don’t believe me, I’ll prove it to you,” Todoroki interrupted solemnly, squeezing Midoriya tighter. “I…”
“You’re going to stay with me, grow old with me, and fight all the villains in the world with me, right?”
Todoroki froze as he registered what Midoriya was saying, and why, exactly, it sounded so familiar.
Midoriya leaned back a little in their embrace, a nervous smile on his face. “I, um… I overheard what you said to Endeavor in the hospital,” he mumbled, too low for their classmates to hear. “I was actually going to talk to you about that now, but you, um. You beat me to it.” Their faces flamed up at the same time, and Todoroki had the distinct feeling that he should let Midoriya go immediately, if the smoking on his left sleeve was any indication.
“Alright, alright,” came a bored voice, and Todoroki felt the budding flames on his arm extinguish immediately. Aizawa was glaring at them both, looking pained to have to waste his energy on something like this. “Whatever is going on here needs to be happening somewhere else. That is not here. Privacy,” their teacher continued, “which is something you should have thought of before starting a soap opera in the middle of my classroom.”
Todoroki schooled his expression into his usual poker face, but even he knew it was too late. Uraraka had covered her face in secondhand embarrassment, and Bakugou was scowling furiously, as if the whole ordeal had caused him extreme pain. Todoroki didn’t even bother looking at the rest of his classmates as Midoriya extracted himself from the hug and grabbed at Todoroki’s hand to lead them out of the classroom at a near run.
“Midoriya,” Todoroki said as they came to a stop in a deserted hallway, thankfully free of students who had already left to seek lunch. “Listen, I’m sorry if I—“
“I’m sorry!” Midoriya interrupted, wheeling back around to stare at up at his soulmate. “I heard you yesterday, and you said all those things, and I just got nervous! I didn’t mean to make you think that you had to do… all of that…” Midoriya trailed off with a blush before letting go of Todoroki’s hand to cover his face. “Not—not that I care what anyone thinks, but that was…”
“Sorry,” Todoroki repeated, feeling chagrined.
“No, no,” Midoriya said vehemently, removing his hand from his face and reaching for Todoroki again. “I… it was nice, hearing it all again.” He ducked his head away in embarrassment.
“I already know,” Midoriya continued, “that we don’t need the connection to be together. It was nice for a time. But now that I have you here, I don’t think… I don’t think I need much else.”
Todoroki absently noted that the tips of Midoriya’s ears were beginning to turn violently red. Cute.
“A-and I already know we’re going to be great heroes, with or without an amplification. You know? I have a goal,” Midoriya’s face turned extremely serious, “and a mission. I want to be the best.” He looked up at Todoroki, finally. “And it’d be nice if I could reach that goal with you.”
Todoroki passed a hand through his hair, exhaling. “You know… it’s going to be a little tough for you to be the best if I’m the best.”
Midoriya’s mouth fell open for a second, before happiness lit up his face, and he lightly smacked Todoroki on the arm. “You—that was a joke! You’re making jokes now!”
“Trying, at least,” Todoroki replied, letting a soft smile overtake his face. He grabbed for Midoriya’s hand again, entwining their fingers and pressing their hands against his chest. “It’s a weird feeling, and it’s definitely going to take some getting used to, not being able to feel you right here. But still…” Todoroki let his other hand come up to cradle Midoriya’s chin. “I guess I could just make up for it.”
“Wha—“ Now Midoriya’s face was a full on red, and Todoroki would have laughed (maybe, possibly) if he hadn’t been aware that his face was probably the same exact shade, despite his efforts to stay composed.
“Isn’t it your turn?” Todoroki murmured, and even though he felt like something out of one of those cheesy romcoms his sister couldn’t stop watching, it seemed to have the right effect. Midoriya stuttered out a set of incoherent phrases before squeezing his eyes shut and leaning forward.
Todoroki’s eyes were already half lidded, ready to lean down the rest of the way to meet his soulmate—
—when Midoriya pushed away, blubbering nervously. Todoroki’s eyes flew open in consternation, and he stared down at his soulmate in confusion.
“By the way, I wanted to ask before, but then everything happened and it seemed like there was never a good time to ask something like this, but I still wanted to ask if the option was still out there, and—“
“Izuku,” Todoroki interjected, squeezing his soulmates cheeks together. “Stop. What?”
“A date,” Midoriya said breathlessly. “Would you like to go on a date with me?”
--- ---- ---
Todoroki uneasily smoothed down the front of his dress shirt, patting down at a stubborn wrinkle as if he had the power to smooth it out himself.
Actually… Todoroki paused for a moment before letting his hand hover tentatively over the fabric.
Half a second and one moment of misjudged power later found Todoroki hastily extinguishing his own fire with his other hand, effectively icing his own shirt and rendering the clothing useless and unwearable.
“Ah…” Embarrassed, Todoroki immediately shucked it off, tossing it into the trash can next to his desk. Luckily no one had been around to see that, and aside from the acrid smell of burnt fabric, there was no other sign that Todoroki had essentially set himself on fire. Number one heroes definitely did not misjudge their own power so embarrassingly like that, and Todoroki spent a good few seconds silently chastising himself, before the chime of his cellphone alerted him to two things.
One, he had a text message from Midoriya.
Two, he was about to be late to their very first date, if the numbers gleaming above the text message notification were any indication.
Startled into action, Todoroki wheeled around. With uncharacteristic franticness, he flipped through the shirts hanging neatly in a row in his closet. Every single one of them were alright for public appearances next to his overbearing father, or important interviews with academic hero officials, but—a date? What did people even wear on dates these days? He had half a mind to ask his sister (god forbid he ask his father), or even resort to searching up images of stills from famous romance dramas (there had to be a perfect example in that drama his sister had mentioned once, right?).
The chime of another text alerted Todoroki to the fact that he had time for absolutely none of those things, and he let out a tiny sigh before grabbing at an unassuming plain tee hanging off to the side of his closet, and throwing on an open button up on top of it. One pat of his pocket to check if his wallet was still there, and Todoroki was out the door, pausing to roll up his sleeves before sliding his phone unlocked to check his messages.
Todoroki, the first one read, I’m about to leave my house! I’ll text you when I’m a few minutes away. And then, a smiley emoticon. Todoroki was sure he hadn’t seen Midoriya use one of those before, and he had to fight back a tiny smile himself.
I told him to call me ‘Shouto’, Todoroki thought, beginning to jog.
Ah! I forgot my wallet! the second message read. I’m sorry, I might be a little late. But I promise I’ll hurry!
Relieved that he wouldn’t be keeping Midoriya waiting, Todoroki tapped in a quick response, balancing his attention between the screen and the sidewalk before him. If Midoriya had to double back home, Todoroki certainly had enough time to make it. Take your time, Todoroki tapped into the message box, there’s no rush.
Midoriya’s delay brought him enough time to make the next train and arrive at their meeting spot, and looking around, Todoroki couldn’t see a bushy head of dark hair in the crowd anywhere. Feeling slightly relieved, Todoroki plopped down onto a bench, content to wait and people watch.
Ever since Midoriya had assured him that he still liked Todoroki, connection or not (Todoroki began to blush a little at the thought), Todoroki had been determined to prove just how much he liked Midoriya too.
He studied one couple, standing close together by a fountain, shoulders touching and hands entwined, and he imagined doing that with Midoriya. His blush became more pronounced, and he had to focus not to set himself on fire once again. Even so, Todoroki did his best to curb any secondhand embarrassment at the thought—he wanted to show his affection in a casual manner (the spectacle he hadn’t meant to put on in the classroom was horrifying to look back on), and if it meant doing things like… that… Todoroki was willing to give it a try. Kind of.
He glanced up at the sound of Midoriya’s voice, feeling the involuntary blush on his face coming back full force. His soulmate looked flushed too, though that might have been from the running. Midoriya looked chastened and nervous, and he spewed out apologies between gasps of air, even has he braced his hands on his knees.
“I hope you didn’t wait long, I—I totally forgot that I left my wallet in my backpack, and when I was leaving my mom was even like ‘don’t forget your money!’ But even so, I completely blanked out, just because I was kind of nervous, and I’m really sorry, y-you don’t want to hear about all that—but again, I’m just really sorry I’m late, and—“
“Izuku,” Todoroki said, and the stress of calling his soulmate by his first name in a relaxed public setting made it come out sharper than Todoroki had intended. Midoriya froze, looking terrified, and this was not how Todoroki wanted their first date to start out.
“Uh… It’s fine,” Todoroki said, clumsily slipping an arm around Midoriya’s shoulders. They stood there in silence, side by side and staring off into the distance like a pair of dumbstruck tourists. Todoroki spared the couple by the fountain a quick glance—he thought, maybe, that he might have done it wrong.
“Um…” Midoriya mumbled, ears bright red.
Yup. Definitely wrong. Todoroki gave a tiny unintelligible mumble before extracting his arm from around Midoriya’s shoulders. A hand stopped him before he could move too far away though, and Todoroki looked over in surprise, only to find himself face to face with the reddened tip of Midoriya’s ear.
“Can—can we stay like this?” Midoriya asked sheepishly, ducking his chin closer to his chest. Midoriya’s hand left his wrist to twine their fingers together, and Todoroki felt a blush heating his cheeks.
“I… yes,” Todoroki said, bringing his free hand up to scratch nervously at the back of his neck. Midoriya’s palm was warm in his, and it was all he could seem to focus on.
“So… where did you want to go first?” Todoroki asked, silently applauding himself for getting a coherent sentence out. Midoroya pursed his lips, looking genuinely thoughtful at the question.
“Have you eaten yet?” Midoriya said after a moment. “I’m not too hungry yet, but we can grab something if you want to.”
“Maybe coffee?” Todoroki suggested. Making plans was easy. Being with Midoriya was easy. Maybe he wouldn’t be so bad at being a normal boyfriend after all.
“Sure!” Midoriya replied, smiling eagerly. “And then after that, there’s a new All Might exhibition that’s just been constructed, so it might be fun to look around there too! I heard they’re showcasing a lot of pro heroes with amazing quirks, not just All Might—“
Todoroki smiled back, giving the hand in his a gentle squeeze. More than easy, he amended. Natural, just like breathing.
Todoroki glanced back down at Midoriya questioningly, and the boy beamed back at him. “I forgot to… to give a greeting,” he said shyly. “And it was my turn anyway, right?”
Todoroki only had a split second to form his mouth around the beginnings of a question before Midoriya’s lips were on his. The other boy lingered for a moment before leaning back, an embarrassed flush suffusing his face again.
“S-so,” Midoriya said hastily, averting his eyes shyly to his feet. “Coffee, right?”
It was kind of a shame that Midoriya wasn’t looking at him, really, because Todoroki couldn’t stop smiling at his soulmate.
“Yeah,” he replied softly, squeezing their hands together again. “Let’s go.”