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Shinsou can’t sleep. He can never sleep. The Sports Festival was ten days ago. He hasn’t had a good night’s rest since then.

The first four days had been the worst - the two days off and then the weekend. It was all the same “Good try”’s, the same assurances that he did his best and he’d have better luck next time. It was getting noticed on the train, half-stares from strangers whispering their speculations to each other. He lies awake thinking about those moments, about what he should have said, what he should have done. He thinks about how each odd encounter underlining his floundering dream would have ended if he really were the sort of charismatic type to make it to the top.

It’s really the number of times that it happens - he really hadn’t expected much in the way of attention in the end. On the field, he hardly registered the forest of TV cameras scattered on the sidelines of the combat arena. His focus had been on the action, doing what he had to do to finally get his shot. It was only after everything was over that he realized how closely he was being watched. Recordings of the playback coverage that he watches and rewatches mostly feature the favorites to win - the stars-of-tomorrow Heroics kids, of course. But every time Shinsou sees himself on television on his living room wall, a shudder of realization shakes through him and his suspense drawn to center by the gravity of it all.

In the face of his loss, he had walked off that field with his jaw set tight and Midoriya Izuku’s blood all over his palm and a declaration of intention on his lips. It had been enough to get him off the stage with no more show of emotion than his chin wobbling a little bit. At least he could count that as a small victory. At the time, reminding himself that he could come under review was barely more than a tactic to keep himself from flying apart even more. But watching himself on the sports channel, staring at the murmuring crowd trading words about his potential… He feels like his vow to join the Heroics Department was more than just posturing.

When the picky gaze of the cameras had occasionally flicked to him, the eyes of all of Japan had followed. If that didn’t get the Heroic Department’s attention, he wasn’t sure what would.

The possibility snares him over the long weekend when he has nothing to do but think, tangling his sense of logic into something wishful and naive. Those four days pass abuzz with a nervous energy he can’t direct tittering through his thoughts and making him promises. He fantasizes about All Might or Eraserhead or some other pro lingering in the doorway of his gen-ed class, telling him Nezu-sensei has something important to discuss with him. He imagines being asked the question he’s been waiting to answer, daydreams about the looks on his classmates’ faces as he walks out of the room. He imagines everything that would finally change.

The vision is so tangible in his mind that he returns to school the following Monday with an an air of preparation about him, an instinctive eagle’s focus on any sign of what he’s pretty sure is coming. He snaps to attention involuntarily whenever he hears footsteps in the hall, his eyes follow teachers that happen to cross his path. He rests his chin on his hand and stares out the classroom window, rapping the end on his pencil against the corner of his notebook to vent his nervous tension. He hopes it makes him look like he doesn’t care. Like he isn’t waiting.

The anticipation is amplified by the enthusiastic greetings from his peers, a hero’s welcome back into the general education department. He gets clapped on the back, arms slung around his shoulders, cheered for showing off what the gen ed kids can do. His attempts to remind them that he lost in the first round are spoiled by a stubborn little half-smile he can’t wipe off his face. The entire class gets into it except for Makeo, who’d made a show of rolling her eyes when the guy who got first place in the hero exam was revealed to be the speaker for all freshmen, who complains about the favoritism shown to the hero department louder than anyone else. She spends a good chunk of the morning building up the gen ed department as the better choice anyway, the department that could get him a real job, the department that wouldn’t get him killed by twenty. Why, she demands, does he care about the heroics department so much in the first place?

It hard for him not to snark at her for that. Maybe he wants to be famous. Maybe he wants to save lives. Maybe a petty little part of him just wants to prove the assholes wrong. What does it matter? He wants it just like everyone else does, probably more. He’s pretty fucking sick of having to justify that. Having this quirk doesn’t make him so different from everyone else that he shouldn’t even look at the world the same way. He can’t really blame her, though. He knows what she applied to UA for, and they all have their ways of comforting themselves. Besides, that thinly-veiled bitterness is what made them friends to begin with.

Nobody came to tell him he had the chance to transfer that day, or the day after that, or any day since then. Shinsou knows the world of heroics is fast-spinning, a little universe of its own where decisions are made quickly and with confidence. It’s already been over a week. He’s given up on hoping.

Whatever. It can't be helped.

He closes his eyes and rolls away from the sharp red pressure that is the glare of the clock, waiting for the rest he knows he won’t get. Tomorrow is going to be miserable if he doesn’t manage to fall asleep soon.

His mind drifts towards the number of times this has happened to him, how often he’s spent these sleepless nights browsing the Internet for a solution for his restlessness, giving himself headaches from the bright screen in low light. The list of suggestions was long and fairly useless. Hot baths, warm ginger tea, weird stuff about sea slug guts… Folk remedies didn’t make much of a difference. Excluding a few.

When he'd first run across a particular suggestion, he’d thought it was some kind of weird pervert’s joke. But checking a few other sites all gave him the same advice: if he wants to sleep, he ought to just jerk off. At the time, he’d closed his browser and crawled back into bed, skeptical and annoyed. Why did he have to spend his midnights stumbling into this nonsense? Getting to sleep was easy and natural for the rest of the world. Why not him? Another two hours of frustrated tossing and turning passed before he finally snorted in resignation and gave it a shot. The worst part was that it actually works.

He doesn’t enjoy doing this. It reminds him too much of blatant suggestions from classmates, lurid comments on how he could make a girl do anything, whatever he wanted, with a single word. He knows what they mean, and the implication makes him feel sick. People actually think him capable of that. That’s how they might use his quirk, if it belonged to them. But this technique is the only thing that works. It’s 3 AM and he has to do something. His stomach is still roiling as snatches two tissues from the box on his nightstand. He shucks his sleep-pants with business-like apathy and settles down onto his back, drawing the comforter over himself in an unneeded enforcement of his privacy. Time to get this over with.

The first task at hand is coming up with something to think about. Most of his stray thoughts aren’t exactly sexy - his mind wanders to the orange tabby that hangs around the park before he comes up with anything else. He tries to correct himself towards the hiked up hems of skirts and long milky legs, the cast-shadow lines on well-muscled abdomens. Nothing sticks. There's no appeal in it, not when he's this exhausted. But he idly strokes himself to hardness anyway - he doesn’t have to be into it for it to make him pass out.

Inevitably, even with his cock in his hand, he remembers the Sports Festival. It had been his first real execution of his quirk in years, the end of a long and careful drought of nothing more than tentative mental touches. Little brushes of control to show it off to curious classmates. His own limitations were obvious on the field, even as he allowed himself to lead his peers around by the brain. He wasn’t practiced with that part of himself like the hero department kids were with theirs. Still, his quirk had gotten him by on the obstacles the festival presented, and bravado covered the rest. Relearning his own quirk had been a rush job, but he’d thought that he’d gotten the hang of it.

That was before his fight with Midoriya Izuku.

He still doesn't know what happened, he muses, twisting his wrist on an upstroke. A brief loss of focus, some lapse of control. A blunder as small as a twitch of a few fingers that cost him everything. Midoriya’s back had been turned and walking away from his own victory, and maybe that’s where the rush had gotten to Shinsou, maybe that’s where he’d made his mistake. Because suddenly Midoriya had snapped his head up to stare at Shinsou over his shoulder, wild-eyed and fingers swelling purple-thick with blood, and suddenly Shinsou was gaping at his failure face-to-face.

The fight was over quickly after that. Shinsou knew it would be from the start, that he’d be screwed if it came down to a one-on-one battle of physical might. It was obvious from Midoriya’s build, the way his sleeves clung to his powerful forearms, the way he closed the gap between them with acute, undaunted purpose. This was far from Midoriya’s first fight. He was in the Hero Department after all.

Midoriya’s got the body and the personality of a hero, too. Unsuspicious, loyal, trusting - all good traits that are exploitable by bad people. The easy way Midoriya spoke to him after the match reflected that, casual words while clutching his arm, chest heaving. He had his rightful triumph to celebrate, but instead Midoriya chose to focus on him. Shinsou had taken two rapid shots of control only to release him just as quickly. It was meant to be a warning, but he can appreciate the risk Midoriya takes by being innocent. By being something other than cynical and jaded.

The thoughts of that encounter are taking his body someplace loose and eager on the backs of the memories recalling his broad chest, his powerful legs, the grim determination set in his jaw. The minor, disinterested heat brought to life just by going through the motions begins to flower into something a little more real. Shinsou isn’t completely stupid. He knows what it is that’s making his skin tingle and his heart speed up - Midoriya Izuku is a punch to the gut repackaged into freckled cheeks and a pair of eyes to match the name, and Shinsou can’t be bothered with pretending he doesn’t want him.

He could imagine how it might be if they were lovers. If they were bound together by something more than the chain-link of opponents squabbling for recognition from the rest of the world. He could come up behind Midoriya, press his chest to the lean, corded strength of Midoriya’s back. He could find the dip of bare skin where his shirt is riding up and touch it with his fingertips. Midoriya might flinch, but then he’d hum a quiet note of acceptance, approval, and Shinsou would flatten his whole hand to glide up his back. Midoriya’s body is so powerful, so capable in its potential, so ready to coil and spring at a moment’s notice. But it wouldn’t be taut with readiness now - instead, he would be relaxed, at ease, tensing only slightly at to Shinsou’s exploratory touch.

“You should be a little more nervous,” he would warn. His palm would travel to his front, down the tight ripples of Midoriya’s stomach. Maybe he would be bold enough skirt the top of his waistband, tempting that dusting of hair heedless of that border. “I could make you do anything I wanted, you know.”

“I guess...” Midoriya leans into him, his body warm and alive in Shinsou’s arms. He tips his head back against Shinsou’s shoulder and peers up into his face, a question detailed in the subtle knit of his brow. The big green eyes searching Shinsou’s face and the smattered boyish freckles suit him too well. They’re too congruent with that boundless innocence that would lead him to wonder why Shinsou was even bringing that up right now when they’re already so close.

A pulse of want spikes in his belly, and he adjusts his grip. The head of his cock is damp and he smears the wetness with his thumb. In his mind, Midoriya is covering his hands with his own, guiding them to his hips. He lingers there for a moment, just feeling the contact between them, and pulls away with a smile. “But you wouldn’t do that.”

“I could.”

Midoriya grins up at him over his shoulder, laughing at him in a generous way. “You wouldn’t, though.” He says it like he’s stating the obvious. Like Shinsou being a good, well-meaning person is just a fact. Meanwhile, he lifts the hem of his labeled white t-shirt to reveal his well-muscled stomach and then his chest, a slow escalation until he’s pulling it over his head and down his solid arms. The shirt drops to the floor and he just stands there, presenting himself a little sheepishly, warm smile alight with a glow similar to the blossoming blush across his freckled cheeks. Shinsou’s only possible response would be to catch him by the shoulders and kiss him.

They’d have to meet half-way to make up for the height difference, Midoriya tipping his chin up and fluttering his lashes, letting his lips part in anticipation as Shinsou stoops. His lower lip is plush, pliant, easy for Shinsou to lick into his mouth and suck on, and Midoriya would make a surprised little noise low in his throat and kiss back.

He runs his thumb of his unoccupied hand over his bottom lip, imagining. Midoriya is far from passive, that much was made clear in their brawl. He wouldn’t be content to go still and swoon in Shinsou’s arms. Maybe he’d break their kiss and round on him, crowding Shinsou despite his size, hands demanding and everywhere, up the back of Shinsou’s shirt with unabashed intent. He’d have to get on his toes, but his kiss would be furious and claiming. He’d get him by the chin and do everything right. The fast collision of their mouths would give Shinsou little choice but to open up for him, yield and let Midoriya do as he will with his confident, plundering tongue, making Shinsou gasp on the breath he was losing to this dizzying rush.

Shinsou would find himself stumbling backwards, urged back by Midoriya’s want until his knees hit the bed and they tumble in together. His mind tries to question the fantasy, demanding an explanation for how they went from an empty non-descript room to a huge, luxurious bed, but he ignores it, stroking himself a little faster as an assertion that logic can shut the hell up.

Midoriya finds his wrist, pinning Shinsou with one hand and rucking his shirt up with the other. He wouldn’t be able to keep himself from arching up, flinching in a good way at the shock of touch against his bare skin. He mimics it in real life, brushing his knuckles against his abdomen and thrusting up into his own grip.

Shinsou lets his hands roam in turn over Midoriya’s stomach, his chest, his arms, his body taut and glorious, a vision of what Shinsou wishes he could become. His mouth is reclaimed and their fingers lace, Midoriya sinking down against him. He licks the inside of his lower lip, dragging his teeth against it, imagining what it would be like to get kissed like that - fierce and demanding and deep. His shirt is tugged off and thrown to the side, and Midoriya backs off of him, bracing himself on his palms to look Shinsou up and down.

“Shinsou-kun…” Midoriya’s pupils are blown, his lips parted. “You’re beautiful.”

The thought yanks him right out of the fantasy. His hand stills and he snorts out a self-deprecating laugh. Beautiful. Right. Like hell that would be his reaction. Like hell anyone would want anything like that with him in the first place. Much less Midoriya Izuku, a boy born perfect, right into the destiny that Shinsou wanted for himself.

But his cock is drumming an insistent pulse into his palm, and he’s a goddamn idiot but he's an idiot that wants to let the train of thought continue. Midoriya Izuku could call him beautiful. Why not? It’s called a fantasy for a reason. It’s not hurting anyone, and it’s not like it has to last any longer than it takes for him to get done and get to sleep.

“Beautiful,” Midoriya insists, because he can probably read Shinsou’s doubt like a book, obvious and unconcealable to someone who knows what to look for. And Midoriya would know, of course, he’d somehow understand what it’s like to be perpetually misjudged. He sighs and dig his heels into the mattress, seeking leverage. A hand would cup his face, gentle guidance into a position that allows his cheeks to be peppered with kisses. Their noses would brush, his jaw would be nipped. Now, it would be slow. Sweet. It would be about Midoriya wanting him.

Midoriya’s hands rove at their own pace, a steady exploration that leaves him shuddering because he’s so exposed. The little hums of approval light his heart on fire - Shinsou would never expect them, but Midoriya would voice them all the same. He slinks down his body, nosing the faint suggestion of abdominal muscles Shinsou has across his stomach, barely defined at all and downright embarrassing next to Midoriya’s hero’s body. Midoriya would kiss the weak swells anyway, eyelashes fluttering against Shinsou’s stomach, savoring his lackluster muscles with gentle caresses, as if they’re something to be treasured. He would trace the gentle ridges and Shinsou would feel ashamed that he had nothing more to show for himself, that he had the gall to think he could be a hero when he couldn’t even clamber to the starting line.

“Don’t,” Midoriya suddenly commands in his mind. “Don’t say stuff like that about yourself, you’re already…” He trails off, letting the words fade into Shinsou’s skin. A brush of lips against his stomach tickles the thin line of hair beneath his belly button. Midoriya follows it, guiding him lower and lower as he nuzzles with trance-like relish. The blush of his cheeks is almost disguised behind shadows cast by curly hair, but the flushing pink is undeniable when he peeks up at Shinsou, watching him through his lashes with his huge green eyes, and whispers “Can I…?”

“You don’t have to do anything like that,” Shinsou would try, words mumbled mostly into the palm of his hand, because Midoriya should under no circumstance be doing this for him. He tries to draw his knees up to shield Midoriya from being subjected to this, but Midoriya pushes his legs apart instead.

“I want to.” Midoriya would have the courage to look him in the eye, show his sincerity in the gaze Shinsou would be too nervous to initiate himself. The impulse to glance away would rise in him, just like it always does whenever he doesn’t have the protection of a prearrange quip. He wouldn’t, though, because there’s something about Midoriya that fascinates, hypnotizes him into allowing himself to consider things he had dismissed as impossible before. “I want to,” he repeats, and opens up his mouth.

Shinsou takes his hand off his dick to lick his palm to get it wet, get it as close to the real thing as he can. He’s not worrying about the plausibility anymore. He’s just thinking about Midoriya.

And Midoriya, his eyes are wide and curious and open, his tongue is ambitious but tentative with inexperience. The flat of his tongue presses over the head and his whole mouth follows, engulfing him in wet, unfathomable heat. His eyes flick up to Shinsou’s face, looking for a sign of reaction, and Shinsou doesn’t even know how he could possibly respond. But he would want to touch Midoriya too, at least, so in his mind, he strokes his fingers down the side of his faces, dips into the hollows created by his suckling cheeks.

The train of thought is potent and if he just wanted to finish things, it would be enough. But something about it feels half-done. If this were really happening, if Midoriya were really here instead of Shinsou being alone with his thoughts, he would want him to get something out of it too.

“Hitoshi…?” There’s a question in Midoriya’s voice as Shinsou rises to his knees. His hands supply gentle pressure on Midoriya’s broad chest, a suggestion to lay back, to let Shinsou do- He isn’t sure, not even in his own fantasy, but he knows he wants Midoriya down on his back, wants his own cock brushing against Midoriya’s stomach while he bides his time. Midoriya stares up at him in a daze, half-resisting Shinsou’s encouragement that he lay back, his eyelids drooping to half-lidded as he slides his hands up Shinsou’s thighs, steadying him as he climbs to perch above his hips.

His unoccupied hand strays low, from where it’s balled in his sheets to the juncture at his hip. He by-passes his cock to the skin beneath it, rubbing his perineum in shallow little circles, willing himself to relax in spite of the conflagration in his chest. He’s about to try something he’s only done once or twice out of curiosity more than out of want, but right now, he kind of fucking needs it.

He can image how it would feel, the hot brand of Midoriya’s cock catching against his ass as he clamors above him. All it would take is canting his hips, just a small change in angle to make this into something completely new. Midoriya would dig his fingers into the give of Shinsou’s thighs, and Shinsou would watch the hesitation and the eagerness playing out across his face.

“Do you want this?” he’d tease, like he isn’t terrified of asking, like he isn’t hungry and desperate. Midoriya would indulge him with a stuttering roll of his hips. More contact and a quiet moan in response. He can imagine feeling the option to seize him, the tempting whisper of Midoriya’s mind offering itself up easily with that one hitched sound. He wouldn’t take it, though. More than Midoriya’s body, he wants permission to want him, wants Midoriya’s eyes to be dark and glassy and fixed on him only because out of desire, connection, a tension built by roaming touches, bitten-off gasps, a tongue against his neck.

He’s losing the clarity of the image, feeling it dissolve into incoherent sensation. It’s not quite what he wanted - imagining himself that cocky and easy-going about it. Even for fantasy, it doesn’t feel real enough.

“Stop,” Midoriya orders, and immediately flusters. “No, I mean-! I, I want to do this! It’s not that! Just- Not like this, exactly? Could you- Um...”

He guides Shinsou off of him, maneuvers him onto his knees. Shinsou waits with quivering anticipation until an open palm between his shoulder-blades presses him forward, pushing him down onto his forearm with his ass still in the air.

“There, that’s more...” Midoriya swallows the rest of his words, and Shinsou presses his face into his forearm to keep himself from curling up and making a hiding-place of his own limbs. The hand on his back glides over the knobs of his spine, following the ladder of bones down and leaving a sensitive trail of shivers behind. When it reaches the point of juncture, Midoriya hesitates, just for a moment. Shinsou can barely hear his partner’s shuddering breathing over the pounding of his own heart.

“You're amazing…” he murmurs, as Shinsou feels both hands cup over the swell of his ass. He raises his head to arch an eyebrow at him. He knows well enough to wait for the punchline before letting his heart do flips.

“You are. I really mean that. It’s not something I would lie about, I think that you're… Just...” It seems he only has his touch to communicate it, words failing him completely. The way he kneads his hands against his body could almost pass as confident if he hadn’t just seen the nervous flare of Midoriya’s blush. He feels his most private areas being exposed to his partner’s eyes. The pressure of his stare is practically physical, and Shinsou has to fist the sheets to keep himself from flinching away from it.

“Wow…” Midoriya breathes, sincere awe in his voice. “Can I… Is it alright if I touch you here?” The pad of his thumb brushes over the tight ring of muscles. Shinsou whimpers into his pillow in lieu of answer.

In his bed, Shinsou draws his knees up, one hand still on his cock and the other still stroking below it, working up courage. He takes a deep breath before letting himself touch, hesitating at the tight entrance. It’s a territory uncharted, and the first time he’d tried this, it had ended in a startling shock of pain from going too far and too fast. Now, though, now he’s spurred on by something more than bored curiosity, his mind alight with furtive needs, and he lets the tip of his middle finger prod in.

There’s an ache to it, an unfamiliar pressure that’s still on the right side of pain, the kind that can be craved. It’s bizarrely tempting. Midoriya would do it just like this - hurting and giving in equal measure, exactly what he needs - the pleasure to make it good, and the pain to make it worth it. His - Midroiya’s fingers press and seek, crooking inside of him, pushing towards his core.

It’s a slow process, tentative and careful, but it edges something desperate and hot into his stomach. “Hitoshi…” Midoriya pants into his ear. His chest is hot and solid against Shinsou’s back, one hand a reassuring foundation on his hip and the other working him open with tentative care. It’s the polar opposite of what they did to each other at the Sports Festival. “Your quirk is incredible. You could be such a fantastic hero with a quirk like that. You just need a chance, Hitoshi. I can see that. You could make everyone see that.” He nudges in another quarter inch and arches his back, sensation is shuddering through him. There are no spare brain-cells to waste on scolding himself for being so indulgent.

The branding heat of Midoriya’s cock brushes against him and the fingers withdraw, leaving him empty and wanting. He wants it, fuck, he wants it so bad, but for once, he isn’t the one exerting control. It’s not his will trumping another to keep in some scared attempt to protect himself. It’s not him pulling the strings. He’s the one being made a puppet, made to curl and writhe under this feeling. He doesn’t have to force anything, doesn’t have to pretend that he’s unaffected. The unguarded honesty of his responses are in Midoriya’s hands now.

“Your body-” Midoriya starts, “It can do amazing things. You can do amazing things.” He reaches between them, and Shinsou rises to his full height on his arms to watch Midoriya take himself in hand. The plump head presses to the puckering skin centimeters above his entrance. The first push doesn’t take - Instead it delivers a tempting pressure, a promise of what’s next before sliding up the cleft and prodding against the small of his back. Midoriya hums at the mistake and Shinsou groans and collapses, falling back onto his arms and trying to keep himself from shaking apart. “You’re so strong, Hitoshi,” Midoriya promises him, and rides out a few slow thrusts.

He might be bigger than Midoriya but Shinsou feels overwhelmed by him, sensations overloaded by the surrounding heat of his embrace, by the wet nudge of his cock. “You’re strong,” he reiterates, pausing to reposition. A dire thought of ‘This is it,’ goes through Shinsou’s head, and his cock twitches with the very desperation that’s kept him on the edge this long.

The second try is wholly different. He finds himself flipped onto his back with fluid ease, natural strength directing him to where he needs to be. Midoriya is right there between his thighs, guiding one leg up to hook over his broad shoulder. Midoriya’s brow knits and his grip on Shinsou’s quivering hips tightens. His touch turns into something claiming and steadfast, and something swells to wholeness when Midoriya finally, finally slips inside.

Midoriya gives him time to adjust, nestling into him as Shinsou scrambles at his shoulders for purchase. His eyes slip shut as Midoriya shifts inside of him. The pressure and the delicious pain white out his other senses, staticing into smothering pleasure that he can lose himself in. Maybe he doesn’t even need heroics, maybe he doesn’t have to care if he can just feel this, just get this close to somebody who can do what he cannot.

“Hitoshi,” Midoriya commands, and Shinsou looks at him and gasps and grips his wrist to have something to ground himself on. Midoriya frames his face with both hands, the weight of his body pressing him into the mattress. It’s the closest they’ve ever come to one another, Midoriya inside of him and above him and everywhere, all that Shinsou sees and feels. He meets green eyes and holds his breath, trying to preserve this moment, trying not to come.

“You’re meant to be a hero, Shinsou Hitoshi. You have to become one.” Midoriya rolls his hips forward, nudging against something so good inside of him, something deeply right. No well-trained doubts manifest to snap at his partner’s declaration, no black twisting in his guts boil up to spoil it. It’s just trust, just a quiet of a truth avoided for years and years and years. Midoriya draws out to the hilt, stopping short of severing the connect between them. “You have to. You can’t give up, okay?” His lips seal over Shinsou’s in a kiss that seeks his soul, and slams back in.

It’s a matter of a few thrusts then, a few more twists of his wrist with Midoriya fucking into him before all of the want in him blows apart at last, cresting into blinding, static white. Midoriya strokes him through it, milking him gently, and all Shinsou can do is mewl and writhe. It shudders through him in waves that crash over him again and again, and even with the stars exploding behind his eyes, he can still see the sincere and enduring warmth of Midoriya’s smile.

He comes back to himself panting and sheened with sweat, chest heaving. A chest, he realizes, that’s splattered with his own come. Right, he’d gotten tissues to prevent that earlier. Whoops.

He snorts, laughing at himself in the silence of his own bedroom. He feels predictably exhausted and surprisingly good. That persistent little voice of his tries to chime in to bring his attention to something about him being pathetic, but it’s all too absurd - he doesn’t have the will to feel stupid while endorphins are still singing in his veins, while Midoriya’s face is still clear and real inside his head.

“Meant to be a hero, huh…” he mumbles to himself, halfheartedly cleaning himself up while he’s still awake. It’s so cheesy, even he knows that, but stretching out beneath his sheets in the languid afterglow, he’s in an agreeable mood. Maybe Midoriya was right. Maybe he is meant to be a hero.

All that stuff he just dreamed up, all that had to come from somewhere. It’s not like he believed he was some kind of capable Adonis, not really. But, after that fight, before Midoriya had fallen for his baiting declaration, he had been looking at him like he believed it, like he had total confidence that it was something Shinsou could actually do. He had his back to Midoriya then, but they’ll meet again, he’s sure of it, and when they do, Shinsou is going to look him in the face. See eye-to-eye with him, even if all he can manage to accomplish is to meet his eyes and look away. Midoriya sees something inside of him that he doesn’t see himself, and he wants to believe in that, in Midoriya, in everything he’s said aloud and in Shinsou’s own head. He rolls onto his stomach and lets his thoughts trickle out. Enough of the doubt, the unvoiced questions. Instead, he lets his mind swirl with notions of his heroic self, becoming as he exists in the eyes of his Midoriya, as his own slip shut.

Nobody can stop him from dreaming, after all.