To: Yaoyorozu Momo, Iida Tenya, Uraraka Ochako, Kaminari Denki, Aizawa Shouta
CC: Midoriya Izuku
From: Todoroki Shouto
Date: October 17
I would like to apologize for being so difficult to contact in the past two weeks. I’ve been having some personal issues and family drama recently, and in spite of my best efforts, it has been negatively affecting other aspects of my life.
Normally I wouldn’t be open about this sort of thing, but I have committed myself to all of you in some way, and you deserve an explanation, and I hope to rely on your discretion. I’ve been in conflict with my father recently, and it’s severe enough that I’m no longer welcome to return home. Unfortunately, many of my belongings are still there, including my laptop and the hard drive containing most of my current work. Iida, Yaoyorozu, and Kaminari, I’ve been working to salvage my share of the work for our class; if it becomes clear that I can’t, I’ll make sure out professor knows to grade me separately, so that this doesn’t reflect on you. Uraraka—since my availability may be spotty while I get this sorted out, I can put you in contact with some of my acquaintances at the campus academic resource center.
Aizawa-sensei, I managed to salvage the notes I took. I’ll send you those in a separate e-mail.
Thank you all for your patience,
Izuku had barely finished reading the last line when his phone went off. Startling in his seat, he knocked his knee against the leg of his desk and fumbled it out of his pocket with shaking hands. He nearly dropped it twice before he managed to answer the call.
For a moment there was no answer, besides a rush of air that he recognized as Shouto’s quiet sigh.
“Can… we talk? Sometime today? It doesn’t have to be now.”
Izuku let himself slide down in his chair, limp and boneless and caught between relief and worry. It had been two weeks since he’d had so much as a text from Shouto, and the sound of his voice was a balm to Izuku’s soul, but Shouto sounded so tired. “It can be now,” he answered, sitting up again. “Are you free? We can meet up.”
“Don’t you have class soon?”
“Ishiyama-sensei records his lectures, I’ll just listen to the podcast.” Izuku has halfway out of his chair. “Can we get coffee? Or tea. The usual place—I can be there in ten.”
“Actually…” Was Shouto really that hoarse, or was the connection spotty? “If it’s not an imposition—I could just. Come to you. Are you in your apartment right now?”
Izuku sat up straight, heart stuttering in his chest. “Yes. Yes, of course it’s—come on over.”
“Thanks. I’ll be right there.”
“Shouto,” Izuku said, before the other could hang up.
Izuku didn’t realize his bottom lip was caught between his teeth until he had to release it to speak again. “I love you.”
The silence was longer this time. Then—
“I love you too. I-I’ll be right there.”
The call ended, and Izuku practically flew to the kitchen to get a pot of tea ready.
Shouto’s hair hung over his eyes, hiding them from view. He sat alongside Izuku on the battered secondhand couch, one hand wrapped around his cup of tea. Izuku rested his own hand over the other, stroking gently with his thumb.
“So, you—I assume you saw the e-mail.” Shouto paused, clearing his throat quietly. “I should’ve called sooner. I’m sorry.”
“It… sounds like you’ve had a lot going on,” Izuku answered. “You’ve been fighting with your dad again?”
Shouto’s hand shifted, lacing their fingers together. “Yeah.” He sipped his tea, then slowly lowered the cup back to the coffee table.
“Shouto.” Izuku moved closer, reached over, and brushed Shouto’s bangs out of his face. “Talk to me? What happened?”
“I just…” Shouto ground his teeth. He spoke as if every word hurt to say. “It was two weeks ago, and… and I shouldn’t have disappeared like that, I’m sorry, I just—my head wasn’t a pleasant place to be, and I didn’t… want to subject you to that.”
“Hey. I’ll be okay.” Izuku squeezed his hand. “I always am.”
“It got… really bad.” Shouto’s throat bobbed. “I felt like I needed to be alone for a while, to get my head together and try to fix this.” He paused, mouth twisting. “It’s official, though. He pretty much kicked me out—disowned me. Though… he didn’t say that outright.”
The breath left Izuku in a rush. “Oh, Shouto.”
“I don’t care,” Shouto said flatly. “I-I mean… I wouldn’t care. But I left some of my things at his place. Important things. And I’ve tried to talk him around, but…” He let out a sharp, angry sigh. “He’s cut me off completely. He won’t let me near it unless I change my major.”
Izuku bristled, though he fought to keep from letting it show. “Is he serious?”
A bitter smile quirked at the corner of Shouto’s mouth. “I guess he’s still dead set on me being a surgeon.”
“Still?” Izuku shook his head, disgusted.
“It’s not going to work,” Shouto said with a shrug. “It’s… it’s just…” His cheekbones shifted as he gritted his teeth again. “It’s going to be harder now.”
“What do you mean?”
“You saw the e-mail, didn’t you?” Shouto let go of the tea cup to press his palm against his eyes. “He has my laptop and hard drive. And it’s my own damn fault for hurrying out the way I did, but—all of my school work was on that, and most of the work I’ve done for my honors thesis. I’m lucky I keep my work with Aizawa-sensei on a different drive, or I’d be screwed there, too.” His shoulders slumped. “At this rate I’ll have to retake some classes, so it’s going to take even longer to finish, which means it’ll cost more, and even if I wanted to take his damn money, he’d never—”
Izuku shifted closer on the couch and wrapped him in a hug.
“It’s my own fault,” Shouto said softly. “If I’d just slowed down and used my brain for two seconds—instead of storming out like a self-righteous idiot—”
“I don’t think you should blame anybody except the asshole who’s holding all your stuff for ransom,” Izuku told him.
Shouto went quiet for a few seconds. “I’m still a self-righteous idiot,” he said at last.
“Well, you’re my self-righteous idiot.”
There was no reply, at least not with words. Shouto turned, pressed his face against Izuku’s shoulder, and let out another sigh, breath ghosting over his neck. Izuku pressed him close and combed his fingers through Shouto’s hair.
“Was there anything else important?” he asked cautiously. “That he took from you?”
“Well… most of it can be replaced,” Shouto answered. “Like my clothes. And… if I could just get my hard drive back, I could get a new laptop, or just use the computers on campus. But then there’s notebooks, accolades, books—and some presents, from my mom and my sister. My sister made a scarf for me, did you know that? She learned to knit and she made me a scarf. Anyway, most of it’s in my room. And… remember when we did that summer abroad in America? Blew all our money on souvenirs? He’s got all that, too.”
Shouto sighed, as Izuku began to rub calming circles on his back. “It’s stupid to get upset about all that, I just… it’s mine.”
“I know.” Izuku buried his face in Shouto’s hair. “Want me to kick his ass for you? Martial arts club is doing an exhibition in a month or so, and I can always use the practice.”
He was rewarded with a quiet spurt of laughter from Shouto. “He was a competitive boxer, you egg.”
“Yeah, years ago, and it’s not like he actually won anything.”
“Be that as it may.” He could hear the smile in Shouto’s voice. “He’s a big, mean old bastard, and his temper hasn’t aged well. I love you, but he can probably take you.”
“Well, if you insist.” Izuku pulled back, just far enough that he could see Shouto’s face again. Up close, he could see the dark circles beneath his eyes, visible even on the scarred side of his face. Izuku took all of it in, one piece at a time.
Shouto stared back, eyelids heavy and tired. “What’re you looking at?”
“Just… you.” In spite of himself, Izuku felt the corners of his mouth creep upward into a smile. “I missed seeing your face, this past couple of weeks.”
Shouto lowered his eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s all right.” Izuku leaned forward and kissed him softly. “It’s always all right, Shouto.”
Shouto sighed again, and some of the tension seemed to leave him. His eyes were on Izuku’s, shining in a way that made Izuku’s heart do that funny little floppy thing in his chest. They had been dating too long for either of them to need to be bashful, and yet…
“Are you… sure you don’t have to go to class?” Shouto asked.
Izuku drank in the brightness of his eyes, the warmth of closeness, and the whisper of Shouto’s breath against his skin. Instead of answering, he pushed their tea cups closer to the center of the coffee table, and climbed into Shouto’s lap.
Something would have to be done about this, of course. But for now, with Shouto sliding his hands beneath Izuku’s shirt and pressing kisses down the side of his neck, Izuku could set those thoughts aside for later.
To: Yaoyorozu Momo, Iida Tenya, Uraraka Ochako, Kaminari Denki, Aizawa Shouta
From: Midoriya Izuku
Date: October 17
Subject: I have some concerns
So I only know a couple of you, but I figured I might as well contact all of you concerning that e-mail we all just received from Shouto. I don’t know how much the rest of you know about the whole situation, but none of it sits right with me, and if I don’t do something about it, it’ll bother me.
Anyway, I have some ideas, none of which I would be able to pull off myself, so I was wondering if any of you were interested in helping me remedy this situation? I know all our schedules probably differ, but I bet we could work something out.
Of the five who joined him in the cafe the following day, Izuku was already familiar with Uraraka and Iida.
He’d met Uraraka at orientation his freshman year, and the two of them had clicked as instant best friends, in spite of the fact that their majors (journalism and civil engineering, respectively) had basically nothing to do with each other. They still found common ground; they’d discovered the university’s martial arts club together, and a mutual love of platonic late-night Netflix binges.
Iida was another friendly face; he and Izuku had shared the same communications class one semester, and Iida had let Izuku drag him to a club meeting, and promptly surprised him by flipping him over his shoulder and onto the mat. Not bad for a pre-law student; apparently he and his older brother used to do competitions.
The other three, however, were relatively unfamiliar to him. Izuku was a little confused as to how Shouto knew Kaminari Denki—he seemed perfectly nice, but he was majoring in fashion design, and didn’t seem like the type to travel in the same circles as him. Yaoyorozu Momo made a little more sense, at least personality-wise, though she was in chemical engineering, not psychology.
(She had a strong handshake. “You’re Midoriya? It’s nice to finally meet you. Todoroki talks about you a lot—we’re, uh, jogging buddies.” Her shirt was just short enough that Izuku could see her abs.)
Aizawa Shouta, at least, was someone he knew by reputation. Izuku had never taken a psych class in his life, but he was familiar with his boyfriend’s favorite professor.
(Hadn’t Shouto said something about Aizawa being ex-military? Ah, well, not important.)
The six of them sat at the same table and seemed to size each other up as they exchanged glances—some politely curious, some awkward, some grim.
“So… perhaps we should go around and explain how we all know Todoroki,” Iida suggested. “Midoriya? You called us here, would you like to start?”
“Oh, well, I’m his boyfriend,” Izuku said, a little sheepishly. “I hadn’t heard from him in a couple weeks before he sent out that e-mail, but he told me a little more about his situation, and… I decided I couldn’t leave it alone.”
“Yeah, something seems pretty… icky about this whole thing,” Uraraka agreed, nodding. “And Todoroki’s been tutoring me all semester—he’s the main reason I’m passing my chemistry class. So I figure I owe him a favor.”
“Yaoyorozu, Kaminari, and I share a class with him,” Iida said. “We’ve been doing a group project together.”
“Todoroki’s basically been spearheading most of it,” Kaminari added. “This project’s worth thirty-five percent of our grade. So we want to help him, but it’s also practical ‘cause, y’know, we kinda need what’s on that laptop if we want to pass this class.”
“Besides which, he’s a good friend of mine,” Yaoyorozu said. “We’ve known each other since high school, and… well, suffice it to say, this isn’t the first time he’s had problems with his father.”
There was a pause, and Aizawa blinked suddenly, as if he’d woken out of a doze. “He took my upper-division Child Psychology course when he was a freshman. Aced it. Kept showing up in my classes ever since. I’ve been helping him out with his honors thesis, he’s been helping me out with my doctoral thesis.” He paused, and his hooded eyes flickered to each of them in turn. “I hope you realize that if you’re planning on engaging in unlawful or unsafe behavior, I am obligated to stop you.”
“We would never!” Iida spluttered. “All we wish to do is help a friend out of a miserable situation. We certainly don’t need to break the law to do so. Right, Midoriya?”
But Izuku was only half listening. He was contemplating his own hands, callused and strong considering all the grip-strengthening he did whenever they were free. He was considering Iida—big, broad, and muscular. Hulking, even. And Uraraka, a powerhouse in her own right; Izuku had certainly sparred with her enough to know that.
He considered Yaoyorozu’s strong handshake and toned musculature, and the way she had paused before calling herself Shouto’s “jogging buddy.” Kaminari was a bit more of a wild card, but he had a sharp look about him. He may as well have had “troublemaker” tattooed across his forehead. They could work with that.
And as for Aizawa…
There was something about him. Something that Izuku couldn’t quite name, but God if it wasn’t reassuring and unsettling at the same time.
“There’s not much of a plan involved,” he admitted. “It’s just… Shouto’s dad has shut him out and won’t let him have his stuff back, so I figured we might have a better chance. There being… you know… more of us.”
“Wait,” Kaminari broke in. “You want to intimidate this guy into giving Todoroki his stuff back?” A slow smile spread across his face.
“Not intimidate,” Izuku answered. “Just… convince. Through superior numbers.”
“Seems a little audacious,” Yaoyorozu said thoughtfully. “But it could work. The six of us presenting a united front could convince him.”
“Just as long as we aren’t… I don’t know, threatening him,” Iida said. “As much as he might deserve it, I’m not sure Todoroki would be happy if we all got into trouble on his account.”
“Threatening?” Izuku echoed, widening his eyes for good measure. “Who’s threatening anyone? If six people show up on his doorstep asking to collect a mutual friend’s belongings, and he takes a simple request like that as a threat, then it’s hardly our fault he misinterpreted us.”
The table fell into a thoughtful silence after that. Izuku watched their faces, gauging their reactions. Uraraka looked eager, Iida looked pensive. Yaoyorozu had a determined glint in her eye, and Kaminari was smiling like a cat with a canary.
As for Aizawa…
“I have a car,” he said. “But you’re all pitching in for gas.”
“So how’re we going to play this?” Kaminari asked, peering out at the house before them with his hands splayed against the window.
“Don’t smudge the glass,” Aizawa said flatly from behind the wheel.
“We may as well give him a chance at civility first,” Iida suggested. “Perhaps if one of us explains the situation, he can be reasoned with.”
“That… doesn’t sound right,” Izuku said.
“That begs the question, though,” Yaoyorozu said. “Which of us would approach him first?”
“I vote Deku,” Uraraka piped up.
Izuku almost pulled a muscle in his neck turning to stare at her. “W-what? Why me?”
“This was sort of your idea,” she answered.
“No—no, my idea was all of us going up together,” he reminded her.
“I think we can all agree that you’re undeniably adorable,” Kaminari pointed out. “Think Todoroki’s dad is weak to puppy eyes?”
Izuku’s palm made a faint smacking noise against his forehead. “Wouldn’t it make more sense for you or Iida or Yaoyorozu to go? At least you have a really practical reason for needing this.”
“Oh, for the love of—” Yaoyorozu muttered, and opened her door. “I’ll go. I’ve met him before, and Todoroki always said I was one of the few friends he actually approved of. Maybe I can make him budge.”
“Godspeed, Yao-momo,” Kaminari whispered, only for her to snag a handful of his jacket on her way out.
“You’re backing me up,” she said.
The four of them watched as Yaoyorozu and Kaminari made their way down the sidewalk and climbed up the steps to the house. They had a decent view of the front door, so they could see perfectly well when the door opened, and Todoroki Enji stood in view for all of two seconds before yelling something and slamming the door in Yaoyorozu and Kaminari’s faces.
“Welp,” Uraraka said softly. “Guess he’s picked the hard way. Deku, Iida, let’s go. Grab the boxes.” She was dressed today in the tank top and athletic pants she usually wore for training. It was a good choice of outfit, because it showed off the hardened muscles in her arms. As they hurried up the sidewalk to the house, Izuku saw Yaoyorozu shed her jacket and grinned. Uraraka wasn’t the only one dressed for the occasion.
They knocked again, and the door opened forcefully to reveal Todoroki Enji scowling down at them. And then he blinked, as if re-counting them.
“Hello,” Izuku said in a voice that dripped honey. “It’s our understanding that Shouto left some of his things here when he moved out, so we were hoping to pick them up for him. We’ll be in and out, don’t worry.”
Enji’s eyes narrowed scornfully. “I already told Shouto how he can earn his—” His voice trailed off, and there was a soft clatter behind them.
Izuku looked over his shoulder to find that, rather than walking up the steps like the rest of them, Aizawa had decided to climb up the banister and perch there like a dead-eyed gargoyle.
“Your son is one of my students,” he said, without a drop of inflection in his voice. “One of my best, in fact. He’ll be earning a psych degree a semester earlier than normal. With honors, no less. You must be so proud.”
Turning back, Izuku saw Enji’s face go red with anger.
“Unfortunately, it slipped his mind that he left his hard drive here,” Aizawa went on coolly. “A hard drive that contains, among other things, research and data necessary for my doctoral thesis. So you can understand why I’d like to return that to him.” His eyes glinted. For a split second Izuku could imagine them glowing red. “And why I would be very upset if I found that it had been tampered with in any way.”
At the door, Todoroki Enji shook with rage. He was a big man, and it was easy to remember what Shouto said about the boxing. But there was a difference between a professional boxer, and a retiree who set aside his sport in favor of med school and had since let fat grow on his muscles.
He was outnumbered, and they all looked pissed.
Izuku actually heard the doorknob creak in Enji’s grip before he yanked the door open and stepped aside, seething. “Fine,” he snapped. “Take what you’re looking for and get out.”
Izuku was hard-pressed not to grin as he handed cardboard boxes to Iida and Kaminari, and walked inside.
“Thank you very much,” Iida said politely, if a little stiffly. Enji ignored him.
Leading the charge, Izuku wondered if it was a bit suspicious that he made a beeline for Shouto’s room, since as far as Enji knew, this was the first time he’d ever set foot in this place. Not that it mattered—if all went well today, then he would never be back anyway.
Iida followed in his wake, and it was only then that Izuku realized that none of the others had come into the hall with them. He paused. “Where’d everybody go?”
“It might be best if we split up to look,” Iida replied. “You never know if something has been moved or spread out. But we may as well focus on his bedroom.” He dropped the volume of his voice. “You seem to know your way around.”
“Yeah, well… Enji’s a busy man,” Izuku muttered back. “Sometimes Shouto would have me over while he was at a medical conference or something. Here we go.” He pushed the right door open and led the way inside.
Shouto’s room was much the same as he remembered it from the last time he was here. The futon was folded up and put away, but the room still looked cluttered, which matched with what Shouto had said about his hasty departure. With a light sigh, Izuku placed his box on the floor and set about gathering his boyfriend’s belongings.
“Do we know exactly what we’re looking for here?” Iida asked.
“Besides his laptop and hard drive, he mentioned presents from his mother and sister, including a scarf,” Izuku replied. “And then… oh, here we go.” A drawer in Shouto’s desk revealed notebooks and folders that, upon investigation, proved to contain old letters, certificates, and other congratulatory documents. Dates ranged from just last semester, all the way back to middle school. With a small smile, Izuku gathered up the contents of the drawer and carried them over to his box. “Plus some souvenirs from our summer abroad in America, if you can find those. He said his clothes were replaceable, but… honestly, grab whatever fits.”
They searched that room for another ten minutes. They had two empty boxes each, and with their presence so clearly unwelcome, both of them worked quickly. Not bothering with neatness, they filled all four boxes with anything that looked important or sentimental.
“Ah!” Iida gave a cry. “I’ve found his laptop. And this looks like his hard drive, as well.”
Izuku looked over. Sure enough, Iida was placing Shouto’s familiar computer in one of the boxes, along with…
“That’s not his hard drive,” Izuku said, heart sinking.
“It isn’t?” Iida looked dismayed. “Are you sure?”
“Well, it might be his—an old one, I mean. But that’s not the one he’s currently using.” Frustrated, he glanced around, but there was no other device in sight. Shouto’s belongings were fairly sparse as it was, and this room didn’t seem to be yielding anything. “I’ll go look around for it. Keep looking in here, okay?”
“Got it. Good luck, Midoriya.”
Izuku wandered back out into the hall and tiptoed cautiously back to the main living area. The scene he came upon was a strange one.
Uraraka and Yaoyorozu were searching the living room, if you could call it “searching.” It was more like they were rearranging the furniture on the pretense of checking behind couches or under armchairs. Todoroki Enji looked fit to be tied. Aizawa stood a few feet behind him, not saying anything or touching him or even moving closer. He simply stood there, and wherever Enji went, Aizawa followed him like an ominous shadow. As Izuku wandered into view, Enji scowled at him and opened his mouth to speak.
In full view of him, Uraraka picked up the lamp table.
It was not a small piece of furniture. It was high enough to reach her waist and had drawers on it, presumably full drawers. Uraraka lifted it up as if gravity no longer applied to it. The lamp barely wobbled on its surface as she hefted it to shoulder level, checked beneath it, and set it down again. As if to emphasize the point, Yaoyorozu managed to drag the living room sofa two feet from the wall with minimal visible effort.
Enji’s mouth closed. Behind him, Aizawa was smirking.
After a minute or so of poking around, Izuku found his way into Enji’s office room. This time, heedless of the girls or of Aizawa’s presence, Shouto’s father pursued him.
“What do you think you’re doing in there?” he demanded.
Izuku poked his head in and glanced around. “Just checking for… oh! There it is!” Sitting on Enji’s desk, on top of a pile of papers, was the missing hard drive. Darting in, Izuku grabbed it and left the room.
“That’s mine—” Enji snapped, making a grab for it. Izuku darted out of the way and fixed him with a cold stare.
“No it isn’t,” he said. “This belongs to Shouto.”
“Like hell it—” Behind him, Aizawa stepped closer, and Enji darted a glare over his shoulder at him before rounding on Izuku again. “How could you possibly know that?”
“I recognize it,” Izuku answered. “And I should, considering I bought it for him.”
Enji’s eyes burned with rage. Izuku walked past him and didn’t look back.
The sound of rustling brought him into the kitchen, where he stopped in his tracks and stared. “Kaminari?”
“Heya,” Kaminari greeted him through a half-chewed mouthful.
“Kaminari, where the hell did you get that sandwich?”
Kaminari shrugged. “Made it. Looked like you guys had everything under control, so.” He popped the last bite into his mouth. “Mm. I missed lunch today.” He glanced over Izuku’s shoulder, as if checking to see if Enji was coming. “How long we got left?”
“A little bit, why?” Izuku replied.
And there it was—a little spark of trouble in Kaminari’s eyes. “I have an idea. And it’ll be faster if there’s two of us.”
Izuku squinted at him. “What kind of idea?”
“The kind that ruins the asshole’s day. Probably a bunch of his days.”
Izuku’s face lit up with a smile. “I’m listening.”
In the end, they were in and out in less than twenty minutes, everyone carrying cardboard boxes—Uraraka made a point of hefing one on each shoulder. Shouto’s father said nothing as they left, only slamming the door and locking it behind them. Together they marched their way back to Aizawa’s car like conquering heroes, and in a matter of minutes, they were loaded up and on the road again.
hey shouto where are you right now.
At my apartment.
can you come outside? we need a little help with all this.
By the time Shouto came down to the parking lot, the six of them were standing outside the car, waiting for him. Catching sight of them, he slowed to a halt and blinked, confusion clouding his face.
“You—” Slowly, he walked the rest of the way until he reached them. “I didn’t realize all of you knew each other.”
“Oh, we didn’t!” Uraraka said cheerily. “Except me, Iida, and Deku.”
“And us, of course,” Yaoyorozu added.
Aizawa gave him a slow blink. “This is what happens when you don’t blind-copy your e-mails, Todoroki.”
Shouto stared at him owlishly. “Um.”
“So anyway!” Izuku piped up. “We, ah, went to see your dad. Somehow nobody punched him.”
“You—what?” Shouto’s voice cracked. “When? What did you say to him?”
“We just left him, actually,” Iida replied, adjusting his glasses. “And we merely informed him that—”
“Nothing!” Kaminari broke in, puffing his chest out a little. “We’re not messenger boys—we’re delivery boys. And girls.”
Aizawa’s trunk was open, so Izuku lifted out one of the boxes and held it up, teeth bared in a grin. “We, uh. Got your stuff back?”
Shouto stared back at him, speechless, as Uraraka gave him a hearty slap on the back. “Well c’mon, then! Let’s get all this into your apartment!”
It only took one trip to get the boxes from Aizawa’s car to Shouto’s living room floor, even with the latter wandering in a speechless daze the whole time. When it was all settled, Izuku opened up the first box.
“Well, first things first,” he said. “Here’s your laptop and hard drive.”
“Don’t worry, we checked them already,” Iida said with a smile. “He didn’t pull any mischief by wiping them. We’re not sure if everything is still on them, only you’ll be able to know for sure, but we believe your files are untouched.”
“Th-thanks.” Shouto ducked his head. “I’m sorry for nearly losing them. With all of you relying on me—”
“It’s not your fault, dude,” Kaminari interrupted. “Seriously. This is a shitty thing to happen to anybody.”
“Oh! And Iida found that stuff you got in America!” Izuku shoved another box toward him. “And a bunch of your clothes. And… well, we basically tried to take everything in your room that wasn’t nailed down or furniture. Couldn’t get everything, but…”
“N-no, you…” Shouto was sifting through the contents, moving as if he was still in a fog. “You got everything important. Oh, this…” He lifted out a small snow globe, then put it back quickly.
“Oh, I recognize that,” Yaoyorozu said. “Didn’t your mom get you that?”
“Y-yeah, after she got out of the hospital.” With shaking hands, Shouto put it back. By now, all but two of the boxes were open, and he went through each one to give them a quick once-over. “I-I think… yeah, you got everything. This is all my—all the important things, anyway.” He went to open the other two, and the dazed expression on his face turned to one of bewilderment. “Um. What’s all of this?”
Kaminari cackled. “That’s what me and Midoriya worked on together,” he said, grinning with pure glee.
“Is this where you two vanished off to?” Iida asked, frowning down at the contents of the box. “What—what exactly were you two doing?”
Grinning smugly, Izuku gave the box a light kick. “Taking the batteries out of all his remote controls, the laces out of all his shoes, and every spare pen we could find.”
“Unscrewed every lightbulb we thought we could get away with, too,” Kaminari said. “I had to piggyback on Midoriya to get the one in his master closet, but he was a good sport about it. Oh, and we took all of your dad’s dress socks—that was Midoriya’s idea, not mine.”
“Much like the rest of this entire venture,” Yaoyorozu added. “He was the one who e-mailed the rest of us.”
By now, Shouto was gaping openly at Izuku, who could only sputter and blush and try to change the subject. “Well, we took all the dress socks we could find, anyway.” He smirked. “I’m pretty sure we got all the toilet paper, though. Including the rolls already installed.” He picked up a roll and held it up. “You guys wanna divvy this up? It’s been a while since I could afford two-ply.”
Uraraka burst out laughing, over-balanced, and ended up curled up on the floor, howling.
“W-well, I suppose a little harmless mischief was called for,” Iida admitted, clearly trying not to join her.
Aizawa stared at them. Mostly at Kaminari. “We were in there for eighteen minutes,” he said flatly, as Uraraka’s shrieks of laughter wound down to breathless wheezing. “You were hiding in the kitchen for ten of those minutes.”
“Hey, sue me, alright?” Kaminari rolled his eyes. “I was hungry, and there was leftover salmon salad in the fridge. Which was delicious, by the way.”
Yaoyorozu shook her head, and patted Uraraka’s back as she sat back up, red-faced from laughing. “That still doesn’t account for how you managed to fill these in eight minutes.”
“I am a professional,” Kaminari said primly.
Izuku shrugged. “Don’t look at me, I was running on spite at that point.”
A soft, strangled noise turned their attention back to Shouto. If Izuku didn’t know better, he would have said that it sounded like a choked-off laugh. Shouto was kneeling over the box, one hand pressed to his mouth, and before anyone else could speak, he was already in tears.
“S-sorry.” Shouto ducked his head, pressing the back of his hand to his eyes in a vain attempt to stem them. “Sorry, I just—give me a second, I’m—” His breath hitched, and he sniffled a little. “Damn it. I-I didn’t—you didn’t have to go to this trouble just to—”
“Of course we did!” Kaminari said with mock horror. “Thirty-five percent of our grade, Todoroki!” At Shouto’s choked laugh, he grinned. “Besides, we got your back, man.”
Izuku took hold of his boyfriend’s elbow and gently drew him into a hug. For a moment Shouto clung to him, burying his face in the side of Izuku’s neck while Izuku ruffled his hair fondly. “You told me not to try to kick his ass,” he said. “So, I settled for the next best thing.”
“We totally could’ve taken him,” Kaminari muttered.
“Thank you.” Shouto’s voice was muffled against Izuku’s now damp shoulder. “Thank you, all of you—”
Uraraka joined the hug, dragging Iida along with her. Kaminari was quick to jump in after them, and a chuckling Yaoyorozu joined the chaotic embrace with Shouto at the center.
That left Aizawa standing off to the side, a little awkwardly, but nonetheless looking vaguely pleased.
“So,” he said. “Anybody else up for ramen?”
“You,” Shouto murmured against Izuku’s jaw, “are unbelievable.”
Izuku’s breath hitched in his lungs as he slipped his hands beneath Shouto’s shirt and ran his fingertips up his boyfriend’s back. “I know. And I love you too.” A kiss cut him off, and he went limp and boneless between Shouto and the couch cushions beneath him. When Shouto came up for air again, Izuku freed one of his hands to caress the side of his face. “Question—is this a bad time to ask you to move in with me?” When Shouto blinked down at him, Izuku smiled. “Since you might need to be a little more money-conscious.”
Soft laughter escaped Shouto in a huff of breath.
“What’s so funny?”
“You.” The whisper ghosted against Izuku’s face. “It’s almost as if you never learned—” Shouto kissed him again. “—to mind your own business.” Another kiss, this time to the corner of his jaw.
“Mind my own business, huh?” Izuku grinned. “Sounds boring.”
Shouto laughed again. “Don’t ever change.”
“Wasn’t planning on it,” Izuku whispered, his lips brushing the shell of Shouto’s ear. “You’re stuck with me.”
“I think I can live with that.”