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While You Were Sleeping

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PART I. IN WHICH MIDORIYA IZUKU GETS INTO TROUBLE  

Deku? Todoroki’s fiancé? Impossible.” Never in Midoriya Izuku’s life did he imagine that he would dread hearing those very words – from Bakugou Katsuki of all people.

Then again, he never imagined that he would hear them while pretending to be asleep on the couch in the UA ‘Wonder Class’ 3-A safehouse, while his supposed ‘fiancé' Todoroki Shouto lay unconscious in the hospital.

Izuku panicked internally, never mind that in other circumstances, his inner hero fanboy would give an arm and a leg to be where he was right now.

This was not supposed to happen.

 


 

It had started off simply enough – when he rescued Todoroki Shouto from the train tracks two nights ago.

That would have been a straightforward and uncomplicated event, save for a few key facts:

  1. Midoriya Izuku was quirkless.
  2. Todoroki Shouto was number 5 Pro Hero “Shouto” – so enigmatically popular that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t aware of his refusal to use the other half of his quirk for some mysterious reason.

It was the work of a few seconds. Izuku had been staring at a letter in his hand when he brushed shoulders with the famous hero, recognizing him later as he walked towards the opposite platform, a little past midnight.

When he turned to speak to the man, he was flung towards the tracks by what looked like a massive tennis racket – a swipe from a drunk commuter with little control over a gigantification quirk.

It was one of those moments where Izuku didn’t even pause to think – he ran towards the scene and jumped onto the tracks, even as the drunk offender fled.

“Shouto-kun. Are you okay?”

It was surprisingly a lot worse than expected, maybe because it was an accident versus an attack that the man could defend himself from – Shouto had a nasty-looking bruise on his head, and he stared at Izuku before his eyes rolled back and he was out cold. When Izuku saw the lights from an incoming train from the distance, he knew there was no use thinking about their monumental bad luck.

How he managed to heave all 70kg of Ice-and-Fire Hero onto the platform as well as himself before the train slowed to a stop, he could hardly recall, but there was never a moment’s doubt that he wouldn’t leave Shouto on the tracks.

“Are you insane? Did you really jump in to rescue that guy?” someone had yelled.

 


 

The thing was, that wasn’t even the first time he had heard that question, and he had come to accept this about himself: Midoriya Izuku was insane.

He was not meant to be a Hero.

He had always been ambitious in that dream as a child, and had kept that fierce enthusiasm even when it became clear that he had no right to do so. When it emerged that he didn’t have a quirk, he had approached his devastation with fervid hope – or misplaced denial, as his cadre of childhood bullies taunted.

It had taken words from his actual idol All Might to bring him back to Earth.

‘I don’t think you can become a hero without a quirk,’ straightforward, jaded honesty from the greatest hero himself; ‘If you want to help people there are other ways to do it.’

In a way, he did take All Might’s words to heart – he had chosen a ‘realistic’ and ‘attainable’ path instead. He had given up on getting into the UA Academy Hero Course, settling for the General Studies course in Ketsubutsu Academy High School instead. Instead of becoming a Hero, he had settled on helping behind the scenes by become an analyst for the Public Security Intelligence Agency.

For some reason however, it seemed like he never could really stray from the path he was told to leave.

He ended up being the sole quirkless Ketsubutsu student chosen for a special program spearheaded by UA focusing on promising individuals with passive or non-active quirks. Some of his strongest friendships were with people from UA, like former General Studies alum Shinso Hitoshi, Support Course prodigy Hatsume Mei and underground hero Eraserhead.

Most tellingly, his notable Hero-fanboyism had translated into a specialization in Quirk Intelligence, and his services were so sought after, that he was mandated only on the most high-priority assignments supporting the country’s top heroes. Heroes like Todoroki Shouto, who were meant to do the actual rescuing.

He wondered what his idol would think of him now, as he lay on the train platform, heaving in shock next to the unconscious Number 5 Pro Hero, who he had just jumped in front of a train for.

He didn’t even think when it happened – his legs had started moving on their own.

It must be that troublesome hint of stubbornness in him – that persistent need to pursue what he always dreamed of despite all reason.

“Yes,” he belatedly agreed with his interlocutor, dazed. “I am insane.”

 


 

But also, it was Todoroki Shouto.

It wasn’t just anyone. Izuku knew him. Sort of.

Setting aside his known hero fanaticism, Izuku was indeed the most sought-after Intelligence Officer in the agency and worked only with the country’s top heroes.

He had also been Shouto’s Handler for their latest mission.

They had never met face to face before, but for three weeks straight before that night, Izuku had been Shouto’s guide and support in an especially sensitive operation investigating an underground syndicate that brokered illegal Quirk Marriages. Through their direct two-way communication line, they pretty much had a constant access to each other throughout the mission.

Izuku never had any shortage of knowledge about heroes in general, and he knew that Shouto was known for being aloof and detached. During their mission however, Izuku discovered that Shouto was also more than insightful in his observations, endearingly awkward in his interactions, and a bit prideful of his own weaknesses. Despite all that (or perhaps because of it), it was refreshing to work with him – he was surprisingly easy to talk to, and he always listened back.

Something about that particular mission struck a deep chord within them both, and it wasn’t long before its disturbing emphasis on Quirk selection had Izuku sharing his own experiences about not having a quirk.

“I suppose that means I’d have no value when it comes to these horrible quirk matches.”

Shouto had gone deathly quiet at that comment, until he slowly and haltingly opened up about his family’s own harrowing experience with quirk marriages. There weren’t enough words for Izuku to share his grief, “Shouto-kun.”

“I don’t know why I tell you these things,” Shouto had confided, hesitating. “It’s this mission.”

“Hm, maybe because I’m nothing but the invisible voice in your ear.” Izuku had joked back, trying to lighten the mood, “You can pretend I don’t really exist.”

“No. You have a tendency to ramble, you’re pushy, and you can’t mind your own business.” That was just the way Shouto was – expressing his thoughts directly without artifice or preamble. “But you have never let me down, and I’m glad to know that you’re there, somewhere other than my ear, existing.”

Izuku started at that, for once at loss for words. But Shouto continued. “Promise me one thing.”

“W-what’s that?”

“Don’t listen to what they said about you being quirkless. You’re more than that.” There was only a hint of a pause in his voice. “If there’s anything that this mission has taught me, I’d rather choose a quirkless person like you than be forced by my Father into marrying someone for nothing more than their quirk.”

That mission had ended a week later, and they hadn’t had the opportunity for a face-to-face debrief, but Izuku knew that it had left Shouto shaken. It wasn’t a hard leap to make, that a man who had severely repressed half of his quirk would be left unmoored after a mission that hit too close to home.

Which was why Izuku thought it was more than a bit lucky that he ended up bumping into the man in person by accident that night – why he had made the first step towards making himself known.

You’re worth so much more than you realize too, he wanted to say.

Because that was the other reason why Izuku, and therefore this whole situation, was ridiculous:

  1. Midoriya Izuku was quirkless
  2. Todoroki Shouto was number 5 Pro Hero “Shouto”
  3. Midoriya Izuku was also more than halfway in love with Todoroki Shouto

Of course, that was before a gigantified tennis racket and a train turned it all to shit.

 

Shouto

(Art credit to Jellynely)

 


 

His friend, of course, found it amusing.

“You have an uncanny gift for getting into the strangest situations. Are you sure that’s not your hidden quirk? What are you doing in a hospital anyway?”

Izuku gave an indignant huff and took a moment to glare at his phone screen – Underground Hero Shinso Hitoshi’s picture smirked back at him. “You got all that just because I texted that I’d be late tonight?”

His neighbor and Intelligence Agency colleague snorted, “There’s always something more to the story when you say that ‘something came up’ – and I wanted dinner.”

“For the last time, Shinso-kun, I am not your personal chef!” Izuku dodged some nurses as he tried to keep track of Shouto. “We may live in the same building, but it doesn’t mean that your kitchen miraculously no longer exists. Also, it doesn’t mean that you get to stalk me when food doesn’t magically appear on your doorstep—wait a second, did you use privileged access from work to find out what I’m doing?"

“Fine, you may get takeout on your way back,” Shinso drawled back. “You’re better off not knowing how I found you. What are you doing in the hospital, anyway?”

Izuku took a deep breath and lowered his voice. “It’s Shouto-kun.”

There was a cut-off laugh on the line. “Wait – Shouto-kun? Endeavor’s kid Todoroki Shouto?”

“Yes, he was accidentally hit on the head, and I saved him from being run over on the train tracks, and now they won’t let me see him, because I’m not family, when we all know he has crap relatives, or at least one big crap relative—”

“Wait, hang on, this needs to be explained again – slowly and carefully. I need to make sure I can tell Hatsume in full detail later. Todoroki fell onto the tracks, and you saved him?”

Izuku frowned. “Yes.”

“This is your Todoroki? Pro Hero Shouto? My UA school mate? The one you’ve mooned over so much that it’s practically a conflict of interest?”

Izuku blushed. “Well—”

“Number 5 hero Todoroki? In-denial Ice Prince, Todoroki? ‘I’d rather marry you than any of the quirky wunderkind my dad presents to me’ Todoroki?”

“YES! Yes to all of that, yes, thanks Shinso-kun. Where are you going with this?” Izuku snapped back despite himself, bowing hysterically when people stared.

Shinso’s voice was surprisingly quiet, “And they wouldn’t even let you know how he’s doing?”

Izuku deflated. “They said family only, and really,” he gulped, “I am nothing to Shouto. I don’t even know what I’m doing here.”

“You are nothing except his work-husband, shrink, head cheerleader, and now rescuer, apparently. I’m looking through the live police records now. You’ve chosen a great way to introduce yourself in person.” Hitoshi’s wry voice returned. “You do know that this is insane, right?”

Izuku gave a small huff. “Well, we did speak each day and night for the past few weeks…”

There was a dramatic commiserating sigh on the other line, “You even got him to use the fire side of his half-and-half quirk…”

Over the coming days, he would try to recall this part of the story as best he could—would try to wonder if he could have done things differently. At the time however, Izuku could only force out a watery smile as he tried to make light of the situation,

“I even got him to choose to marry me.”

A nurse froze behind him as he said those words, just as he covered his eyes with his palm.

“I am sorry to hear that, kid.” Shinso replied, and Izuku could only nod. It felt a lot more devastating than it had any right to be. “Do you want me to call for a car to pick you up? I can even call for food.”

Shinso was volunteering to move his default can’t-be-bothered ass to help. Izuku didn’t sound that bad, did he? He swallowed past the lump in his throat and did not wipe the tears that were definitely not crowding his eyes.

He was interrupted by a gentle hand on his shoulder.

The nurse was looking at him with bright, feverish eyes.

“If you want to see Todoroki-san, I can help.”

 


 

Todoroki Shouto had always been distinctly beautiful despite the scar on his face, but it was still jarring to see him pale, unconscious with that swelling bruise on his forehead, a ventilation mask and probably a feeding tube.

That he had completed a month-long mission relatively unscathed but was then downed by a simple accident didn’t bear thinking.  Izuku made for his bedside quickly and turned back to the nurse.

“Will he be okay?”

Before she could respond, the door opened to admit a flock of distraught Pro Heroes.

Izuku had to take a step back – there was the commanding creation hero Creati, the upright turbo hero Re-Ingenium, the gravity hero Uravity with her bright eyes, the colorful Ridley hero Pinky and sturdy hero Red Riot, and all of them were talking at the same time.

Oh Todoroki-san—”

“He doesn’t look too good. The others are on their way…”

“We need to understand the prognosis for Todoroki-kun before jumping to conclusions…”

Between his worry for Shouto and his bewilderment at the situation, there was a small detached voice within him that wondered if he should be internally screaming and rolling on the floor to see so many famous idol heroes all in the same room… and if he should be getting their autographs.

The head doctor emerged from the UA wonder-class huddle and addressed the Creati, “Yaoyorozu-san, as you can see, the patient had suffered from blunt trauma to the right side of his head, and further trauma here at the frontal lobe, leading to supratentorial coma…”

Coma.

Shouto was in a coma – the doctors had stabilized him, but they had to watch for signs of improvement towards waking. Izuku wasn’t alone in his horror at those words, but inexplicable guilt also dogged him – had he moved sooner, or perhaps if he had actually spoken to Shouto instead of waiting to gather his nerves—

“I am here! I came as soon as I heard!”

The door opened again to let in a policeman and no less than the Symbol of Peace himself, and from where he was standing, Izuku let out a little squeak of shock and distress. “All Might?”

It was clearly the wrong thing to do, as the he had now been noticed and now held everyone’s attention in the room. Sweat broke behind his neck and he suddenly found himself lifting his hands defensively. He could practically hear them thinking:

Who the hell is this [weirdo / nerd / stalker / insert standard worst first impression here] stranger and what is he doing here?

One of the junior doctors recognized him, “You! I recognize you from earlier, and you’re not meant to be here. Only family or named emergency contacts like Yaoyorozu-san are allowed—”

Something within Izuku still made him wince at those words – he could see All Might’s eyes narrowing, in all likelihood trying to place where they’d first met.

Exit now, dammit.

You don’t belong here, and not just metaphorically.

“Of course, he belongs here,” the nurse’s clear voice rang out as she faced the junior doctor disapprovingly.

“He’s the patient’s fiancé.”

Izuku choked on his own thoughts. What?

“What?”

Fiance moment

(Art credit to Jellynely)

 


 

“What?” someone repeated.

Yes! What, what, what!

The shrillness and disbelieving laughs amongst the voices in the room were no match for the pterodactyl screech in Izuku’s head – and part of him wondered absently if he was under the influence of some quirk or had walked into another dimension.

“I—I’m sorry but what? I’m—”

However, his stuttering went unheard, as the policeman who had come in with earlier weighed in this time:

“This is Midoriya Izuku. This is the man who rescued your patient today.”

Izuku let out a gust of air – that—that at least was true.

“Tsukauchi—” All Might began. Oh, so some of the people here knew the Detective Inspector at least.

“I can confirm that this man jumped in the tracks himself and lifted Todoroki Shouto out just as a train was about to come into the platform.”

There was a sudden silence at the simple absoluteness of his statement.

The detective turned to him, seemingly unbothered by the impact of his words, “Midoriya-kun, I’m sorry to have to take your time again. We’ve spoken to the witnesses and covered the CCTV footage of the accident, but we wanted to confirm a few statements just in case. I can wait for you outside and we can speak once you’re done visiting your,” he paused as he took out a notepad, “fiancé.”

Izuku’s eyes darted between him and the shocked peanut gallery of heroes and medical professionals, and he tried again.

“Detective, I—”

That’s when the blasted door opened again – dammit, don’t those doors have bloody locks—and in came Shouto’s father, flame hero Endeavor.

“What is the meaning of all this?”

 


 

However unprepared Izuku felt (and whatever circle of hell this chaos had descended into), something in him rose to attention the moment Endeavor started bandying the words, “medical decisions” and taking his son into his “personally-chosen private facility” despite Creati’s protests because he was “weak enough to get himself hurt in a senseless accident”.

Given what Shouto had told Izuku about Endeavor and what he was capable of as far as his son’s wellbeing was concerned, would Izuku be able to bear it if the man walked away with his son’s unconscious form?

“Absolutely not!”

For once, Izuku did not cower when all eyes turned his way – and he especially did not shirk back when Endeavor turned his steely glare at him.

“You are not leaving with Shouto-kun.”

For some reason, he was able to ignore Endeavor’s sneer of disdain at his impudence – and Izuku was for once grateful for his unique ability to summon his sponge-like memory under the least appropriate of circumstances.

“Shouto made it clear many times that he did not trust you and would no longer put himself in your care. There was a reason he filed for emancipation early as a minor; he even went as far as to ensure that his emergency contact and key decision maker was his best friend Yaoyorozu Momo—” Here he looked at Creati, who’s eyes widened at his words. “He knew you’d even try to control his sister to get to him, no wonder they had not seen each other for years. And we’ve not even gotten to the part where he tried to file a restraining order two years ago—”

“Enough.” Endeavor all but snarled at him. Izuku could see his fingers twitching in anger but felt strangely unafraid. “Who are you to say these things? You have no right—”

“I am Midoriya Izuku, and no, I am not anybody special. I am as quirkless as they come, and I don’t have any wealth or power to my name. I know I’m not a Hero like your son and I have no right to be here, but I also know that Shouto is one of the best people I know, and that means that he also deserves to be rescued and kept safe, even if it means keeping him away from you.”

Creati’s gaze snapped to his; All Might started. Somewhere at the back of his mind, where his nervousness and hysteria still temporarily hid, he could imagine Shinso doing a slow clap at his burst of bravado.

For a moment, Endeavor was stunned into gawking, but he only ended it with a disbelieving laugh. “It figures that my son would associate with filth like you to get back at me. This rebellious phase of his has gone on long enough and I am putting an end to it. I am his father and none of you have the authority—"

“Well,” someone—Izuku risked a glance and saw that it was Red Riot, who was looking at his nails—spoke with deliberate casualness that meant it was anything but casual. “We kind of do.”

Endeavor whirled towards them, but this time, Creati stood firm with him. “With all due respect, sir, I am Todoroki-kun’s chosen decision maker by lasting power of attorney,” and she turned to give Izuku a meaningful look. “And more than that, Midoriya-san here is his fiancé.”

Izuku jumped. What—this again?

But Ingenium also stood with Creati. “His fiancé,” he repeated, “who also saved him earlier today.”

And Endeavor actually roared at hearing that. “That is a lie! I refuse to accept this.”

But for some reason, those last words were what it took to galvanize the various occupants of the room to stand against Endeavor. The medical staff held firm behind Creati, and even All Might was able to lend his support, as strong a figure as ever as he stood next to her and Ingenium.

“I believe their decision counts for more than yours at this point; and young Shouto is not going anywhere with you.”

Tsukauchi looked towards the man, “Endeavor, I suggest you think very carefully about what you would do next, in front of these witnesses, servicemen and professionals.”

That night, Izuku learned that what a restraining order couldn’t do, a group of Pro Heroes including the Symbol of Peace, a deceptively friendly detective inspector, a passionate nurse, the very real authority of a Power of Attorney, and the not-real authority of a mistaken fiancé could:

They managed to keep Endeavor away from Todoroki Shouto.

 


 

Izuku was not proud of how he later scrambled to corner the nurse into telling him why in the world she said that Izuku was Todoroki Shouto’s fiancé.

“Why would you say that?”

He was shocked to see that the nurse looked just as confused as he did. “On the phone, earlier. You said that you rescued him, and he was going to marry you.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. No. Nooooo.

“But… it’s not true! And t-that was a private conversation! Really, I was mostly talking to myself. I mean, I did rescue him, and I really wanted to make sure he was okay,” The more he spoke, the deeper he realized the hole he was digging for himself, “but I am not engaged to him. At all.”

The nurse stared at him dubiously.

“Well, the next time you talk to yourself, maybe tell yourself that you’re single, in any conversation.”

Izuku gawked, dumbfounded.

 


 

“…And that was what happened, and I hope you would forgive me. And by the way, they invited me to Uraraka-san’s birthday at the 3-A safe house. Apparently, your classmates pooled in together to buy a house that any one of you can stay at if you need to? If I hadn’t told you yet, it bears repeating – you and your UA classmates are epic. I mean, what are you even!”

Izuku lifted his head from Shouto’s bedside.

“And I’m so sorry again, Shouto-kun, for some reason, people seem to think I’m your fiancé. The hospital has even given your belongings to me instead for safekeeping! I never meant to get you caught up in something so stupid. It’s all just a big, crazy misunderstanding.”

He didn’t know what he was doing, confessing to the unconscious hero. But in the absence of someone to speak to who could 1) make sense of the past 24 hours 2) wasn’t a 3-A Pro Hero who would find Izuku insane once he tried to explain himself 3) wasn’t Shinso Hitoshi at his cutting, sarcastic best – he found that it was probably best to talk to the person who he owed the truth to most.

His “fiancé”.

He’d been in that room with Japan’s best Pro Heroes and a lie-detecting Detector when that wild misconception happened, and Izuku was frankly shocked he hadn’t been arrested yet. It just didn’t make sense.

Izuku sighed, “And I know that this makes me sound like a ridiculous stalker who sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. Before I knew it, I was jumping in after you; before I knew it, I was telling your own father to lay off.” He shook his head. “I suppose I didn’t even think, each time.”

He put his head in his hands, “And I swear – all I wanted was to make sure you were okay. Even at the train station, before all of this happened —I just wanted to talk to you. I knew you weren’t okay. Maybe if I had gotten to you sooner, or if I hadn’t hesitated…” he shook his head.

“And I know that we’ve spoken before. And I know you wonder too. About whether or not people actually see you, or if they just see you for the quirk you have – or don’t have. And the truth is, at that moment, I wanted to—talk to you, for real. To see you properly, for the first time, and maybe, to get you to see me too.”

He turned to Shouto again. “I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I also feel invisible sometimes, like I am not quite where I want to be, but I am not sure I deserve to ask for more.” He rubbed at the stinging in his eyes.

“You do, though – you deserve more.”

He let out a deep breath.

“And you have such wonderful friends, Shouto-kun. You’ll never be alone with them. I mean, I’ve only just met them, and they made me feel so welcome – for once, it wasn’t that I didn’t belong. Do you know how amazing that is? You should hold onto them. I mean, they held me in the tightest, most ridiculous group-hug after Endeavor left earlier, and even I didn’t want to let go.”

Izuku huffed out a small laugh; Shouto, of course, remained sadly silent.

“And I know this is ridiculous, me talking to you this way in the middle of the night. I’m not sure that you can even hear me, but I wanted to let you know, anyway: You deserve the best. You’re not alone. It was great to be your fiancé, even if it’s just for one insane night.”

He moved to squeeze Shouto’s limp hand reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I know what I have to do now. I’ll fix this and tell your friends the truth as soon as I get the chance tomorrow.

“So I suppose, this is goodbye.”

He exhaled and made to let go, but he stayed where he was.

Perhaps he could spend a few more moments with Shouto – never mind that he wouldn’t be able to tell. He closed his eyes.

“You’ll still always have me, if you ever need me.”

 


 

Behind him, he didn’t see Yaoyorozu Momo and All Might as they stood silently in the doorway.

 


 

What do I do now? What—what should I say?

Izuku stared at the driveway before him; one turn and he’d be coming onto the 3-A safe house. It was, to his bewilderment, found in one of the more exclusive areas in Musutafu, with detached brick homes and wide driveways.

He wondered how many other powerful heroes resided nearby, and if they would all chase him with pitchforks once the night was through.

Well, he thought to himself, he only had to go through with this party tonight and tell them the truth.

He turned the corner and was surprised to find Creati waiting in the cold in the driveway. She straightened as soon as she saw him. Just the person he wanted to talk to.

You can do this.

“Midoriya-san,” Creati greeted him. There was an unexpected look of relief on her face, “I’m so glad to see you here. I wasn’t sure you would come.”

“Oh.” Izuku struggled to form a reply as he put a hand to the back of his head. He offered her the flowers and bottle of wine he was holding onto. “Really, I should be thanking you for inviting me at all. In fact, I was hoping to get the chance to talk to you about—"

But Creati interrupted him by offering her hand, “Of course you’re welcome. I know we didn’t get the chance to properly introduce ourselves earlier. I am Yaoyorozu Momo.”

Izuku slowly lifted a hand to shake hers. “It’s such a pleasure to meet you, Yaoyorozu-san.” I know who you are, and I am such a big fan. Please don’t kill me when you find out the truth. He braced himself. “There’s something I really wanted to tell you.”

Buy Yaoyorozu seemed to ignore what he just said. “I never really got to thank you for what you did earlier for Todoroki-san.”

Izuku blinked, somewhat thrown by the fact that Shouto-kun’s self-entrusted emergency contact still referred to him with such formality. “Uh—did you mean with Endeavor? Y-you don’t need to thank me for that. I’m just glad Sh—Todoroki-san has you to make sure the worst didn’t happen with his father. You wouldn’t have let Endeavor leave that hospital with his son.”

Yaoyorozu gave him a measuring look. “No, I don’t think you understand. Despite everything that Todoroki-san had done to be free of his father, Endeavor is powerful and well-respected enough in the public eye that none of those measures might have worked. I would have tried my very best, and I was glad All Might was there too. But if you—” she paused to speak slowly.

“—If you hadn’t come in as his fiancé and fought so hard on our behalf, we wouldn’t have had a case against Endeavor. If you’re not here now, we wouldn’t have that stronger legal ground as his next-of-kin, and Todoroki-san wouldn’t be free of his father. Do you understand how important that is?”

Her eyes bore so intently into his as she spoke, and Izuku swallowed. “Yaoyorozu-san. I… it’s just that, there’s so much you don’t really know yet…”

To his shock, Yaoyorozu shook her head vehemently, “I know. And honestly, we don’t know much about you and Todoroki-san – he’d been so hard to reach, over the past few months. I know that we’ve only just met you, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more over time. But please…”

And here, she suddenly put her hands on his shoulder, pulling him closer. He was staggered to hear the plea in her voice as she whispered.

“Please, Midoriya-san, remain his fiancé – just for a bit longer.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. She knows the truth? And on fast on the heels of that, Of course she’s found you out, she was the smartest one from their year. And finally, he got to her actual words.

“What are you…? But the truth…”

Yaoyorozu nodded as she held on. “Please… I don’t know you, but I know that you care for Todoroki-san. If you want to help me keep him safe until he wakes up, then please don’t say whatever it is you wanted to tell me. Nobody else has to know.

“Please, stay his for now.”

 


 

Izuku felt all breath abandon him at Yaoyorozu’s words. Is she saying what I think she is—

Before he could respond however, the doors to the house burst open and out came Uravity with Pinky behind her. Her cheeks were rosier than usual when she whooped at the sight of them.

“Midoriya-kun! You came! And you brought more wine!” Her vibrant smile was infectious. “I knew there was a reason we liked you!”

Pinky winked at them as she helped Yaoyorozu with the wine. “Glad to know that Todoroki-kun chose well! I hope you can handle your drink better than he does!”

There was a booming laugh behind them as All Might emerged to herd them in, “I am glad you are here, Midoriya shounen.” He winked at Yaoyorozu as Izuku quickly regressed from blushing wildly at the girl’s comments to stuttering and freezing in confused adoration at the sight of his idol.

“Come in, come in!”

And so passed what was increasingly becoming the second strangest night in his entire life.

Owing to the suddenness of the events from the past 24 hours, he met the same people from the hospital in the house, which was both a relief (fewer people to have to lie to) and a disappointment (apparently, he had just missed Taping Hero Cellophane and Rainy Season Hero Froppy!). There were others that might still drop by as soon as they got out from work.

It was hard to fathom that he was there among alumni from the infamous 3-A UA class to begin with, much less All Might himself, who conveniently had a property nearby.

What was unexpected was how surprisingly easy it was to talk to Shouto’s friends, as well as to answer what ought to be difficult questions about their relationship.

“So, Todoroki-kun never introduced you to us.” Pinky, Ashido Mina nudged as she offered him a drink.

“It was all quite sudden for me as well. We were introduced for the first time three months ago at work, and I only really started getting to know him a little more than a month ago.”

“And now you’re engaged?” Ingenium, Tenya Iida exclaimed, “That’s uncommonly fast for Todoroki-kun.”

Izuku took a larger-than-usual sip from his drink. “I, uh, really didn’t expect it either.”

“That must be why Todoroki-san also kept the engagement secret.” Yaoyorozu mused out loud with a cough from across the room. “Because he has such a high profile, and he didn’t want you to be overwhelmed.”

Izuku blinked at her, “Yes—um, that. We are, uh,” he desperately tried to come up with something helpful. “We are very private people. It’s best for us that way.”

The funny thing was that most of his answers weren’t lies to begin with.

“Tell us more!” Red Riot, Kirishima Eijirou egged on further, “We haven’t really been in touch with him recently. What was it about our Half-and-Half guy that attracted you?”

“Was it the hair? People have been going crazy about that since high school!” Uravity, Uraraka Ochako giggled.

“Ah.” Unfortunately, he’d already inflicted this conversation on his long-suffering neighbor before. “It was how—helplessly awkward he was. I thought it was…” cute, irresistible, wildly endearing, and Shinso had called him a raving idiot for it.

“Seriously? That’s adorable!” Ashido squealed. “He’s a bit hit or miss, that one. It’s cute sometimes.”

“Right?” Right? He internally squealed, probably a few metaphorical decibels higher, glad to have someone to talk to about this. “Like how he wanted a pet—”

“But he thinks animals are scared of him.”

“Exactly, which was ridiculous, I told him to just get a cat. And then there was this one time when I told him I’d just nearly broken my hand doing katas, and he mentioned that he had another friend who had his arm injured while working with him—”

“That was me!” Iida realized with wide eyes.

Izuku nodded enthusiastically, “That was you? Then you know that he was genuinely worried that he was a curse on hands everywhere, that he was this—

“Hand Crusher,” they both whispered conspiratorially, making the room break into peals of laughter.

It was just as surprising for him to realize that he knew quite a lot about Shouto-kun based on his long conversations with him during their mission. It was also quite unexpected, how his classmates seemed to treat Izuku’s relatively fewer interactions with him with more weight than theirs… as if he’s meager time with Shouto was important enough to validate their own experiences with him.

Of course, he thought, as he met Yaoyorozu’s inscrutable gaze across the room, these are the sort of a things a fiancé should know.

“You’re absolutely right, dude.” Kirishima wiped tears from his eyes. “It’s hilarious how uncool he is,”

“I made that joke once,” Izuku said softly, “he thought it was a bad pun. He,” he laughed to himself, “he stopped responding to me for an entire hour.”

“I’m sure he overcomes those slights quickly enough!” Iida put in a token effort to make their erstwhile classmate less uncool.

“Ah, not always.” Izuku found himself exhaling, guiltily remembering Shouto’s face when he extinguished his fire side—after using it for the first time in decades. “He doesn’t like it when I question him during missions, when I try to get him to see things differently. He thinks I’m too pushy.”

This time, it was All Might who coughed to interrupt, “I’m sure we meant to ask this earlier, Midoriya shounen, but would you mind telling us what it is that you do exactly?”

Eep. The strange irony and sense of being caught out rose within him, considering what All Might already might know of him. He hoped he didn’t disappoint.

“I’m an Intelligence Officer for the Public Security Intelligence Agency. I specialize in Quirk Analysis.”

Is that realistic enough for someone quirkless like me?

Uraraka’s eyes grew wide, “The Intelligence Agency? Some of our UA ex-schoolmates regularly coordinate with your office.”

Iida cleared his throat, “Do you know Hatsume—”

“Mei?” Izuku couldn’t help but smile proudly. “Yes, she consults with me on gear upgrades sometimes, and she’s a good friend.” He flushed a bit, “In fact, we worked on some improvements to your belt, Uraraka-san. I hope it’s been working better for you.”

“That was you? The Agent Deku that Hatsume-kun had been working with?” She gasped, “It’s helped so much with keeping my balance in the air!”

Izuku couldn’t help himself. “I’m so glad! I actually suggested it for stabilizing low postures as well. I know you specialize in rescue missions, but I’m sure you’ve also seen the offensive potential of your quirk. If you are able to touch enough objects on the ground, no matter how low, your options improve significantly. If you ever need to fight, no one will know what hit them—”

He only realized that he was halfway through another mumble-storm when the room grew silent around him. Izuku paused and had horrible flashbacks from his middle school years.

“Not! That I would presume to know your quirk better than you! I just love studying them as part of my job. Um! Please excuse my rude behavior, I wasn’t thinking!” He turned to bow deeply.

“Are you kidding me?” Uraraka all but yelled when she found her voice again, “That was amazing. You should tell me more. Now I want to experiment with my hero costume and other options I can do with my quirk!”

Izuku started; he was still unused to being praised instead of reviled for his hero analysis. People were normally so suspicious and wary of him as a result. The fact that he was quirkless also never helped—

 “Do me next!” Kirishima jumped before him. “My quirk’s not really all that flashy—"

“Not true! It’s definitely a quirk suited for hero-ing!” Izuku argued back on instinct, “And your Unbreakable form! What—”

“Hang on, let the ladies go first, Manly Man!” Ashido interrupted as she climbed in before Kirishima. “Please do me first!”

Izuku couldn’t help but choke back tears at their innocent comments. His UA idols were actually interested in indulging his ideas. Who were this people, and why were they so different from the rest?

This, this is good.

All of this, he reminded himself, was for the sake of keeping Shouto-kun safe for as long as possible.

Almost too good to be true. Frightening.

“H-Hai!”

 


 

“I can’t thank you enough for this, Midoriya-san.” Yaoyorozu told him with a low voice as she handed him pillows and a blanket for the couch. “It can’t have been easy, doing all of that with everyone else tonight. I’m glad you’re staying over.”

Izuku shook his head, “I’m more worried about what happens when Shouto wakes up. Setting everyone else aside, this can’t be fair for him either.”

Yaoyorozu paused and gave an inscrutable look in the distance, “We can worry about that when it happens.” But Izuku could tell that she was thinking about it. “In the meanwhile, I’ll be here to help and make sure you can pull this off and keep him safe in the meanwhile. We’ll try to keep his condition away from the media as well, which can help protect your identity.” She gave him a wan smile, “It won’t always be comfortable, but I’ll try to make it as easy for you as I can.”

She opened her palm to him, revealing an understated but obviously expensive silver band, a tasteful snowflake-shaped set of diamonds nestled into the metal.

“You’ve had this ring, but kept it private all this time, because you were trying to keep things quiet.”

Izuku couldn’t find it in him to answer. Could only stare at the ring as it glinted in the darkness. Yaoyorozu gave him a soft look.

“Midoriya Izuku, would you do me the honor of pretending to marry my friend Todoroki Shouto?” She raised her brow as she lifted the ring to his finger.

Izuku finally exhaled and gave her a watery smile, “I think it’s better if you call me ‘Izuku’ going forward. It’s only polite, if we’re going to be conspirators and all.”

She flashed him a beautiful smile of relief.

“Then you better call me Momo.”

 


 

Of course, whatever bravado he had summoned the night before out of some sense of poetic justice went flying out of the window as soon as he heard a heartstoppingly familiar voice at the doorway in the early hours of dawn.

“Just completed a hell of a mission. Sorry I missed your birthday, Round Cheeks.”

Izuku froze as he lay on the couch.

“Don’t be ridiculous. Better safe at 5 am than never.” He heard Uraraka respond. “Welcome back, Bakugou.”

Shit, shit, shit. Katsuki Bakugou.

How could he have forgotten – it was class 3-A after all.

“How’s Todoroki doing?”

How could it have slipped his mind that Shouto could be friends with his childhood idol and tormentor?

“He’s stable, and we were able to keep Endeavor away, thanks to All Might, Momo, and his fiancé.”

Of course, Shouto would know the other best-known Pro Hero from their UA class. The problematic one that Izuku had spent years keeping away from.

“What the fuck – did you just say Todoroki had a fiancé?”

“Shush, stop being so loud – he’s agreed to stay the night and he’s in the living room right now. You really should meet Midoriya-kun! He’s great, we all like him.”

He felt eyes burning into his back as the heroes looked in at him from the doorway.

Please let him not make the connection. Please make him forget that I was anything other than a pebble in his shoe.

“Midoriya? – as in Midoriya Izuku? Deku? Todoroki’s fiancé? Impossible.”

This was not supposed to happen.

 “Yes! How did you know?” Despite Uraraka’s delighted tone, Izuku didn’t need to turn around to feel the incredulous narrowing of Bakugou’s red eyes.

Dammit. They had been so close to getting away with it.

“Bullshit.”

 


 

As much as he would love to have more of the Good Days, Bakugou Katsuki was painfully aware of that Bad Days and Strange Days were just as likely.

His hadn’t been promising from the very start. Coming back from a very difficult extraction mission to hear that his classmate and rival Todoroki had met an accident and was in a coma was Bad enough. He had rushed back to the 3-A house to ensure so that he could show his support as soon as possible.

Learning about the involvement of a Miraculous Fiancé that had somehow been hidden by said Ice Cold Hero under their noses this whole time had taken the day into Strange.

Hearing about who Half-and-Half’s alleged fiancé was led to a day that defied categorization. There was just no way to accept this without seeing it for himself.

Armed with coffee that could wake the dead, he sat on his perch on the stairs and watched the figure silently making his way to the door. He glanced at his watch – 6am – and drawled,

“Good morning.”

Todoroki’s fiancé jumped with a small squeak and whirled to turn to him.

When thought finally came back to him, all Katsuki could think about was that he was glad he was sitting down, and that his coffee mug was now half empty.

Midoriya Izuku. He had heard the name and had thought he knew what to expect. Setting aside the personal issues that still needed unpacking from his younger years, he had more than enough memories to associate with the kid from his past. It was unlikely he would ever forget.

But the man before him was far from the boy in his mind.

This was a grown man, tall and solid, as if his body had finally caught up and filled out in the best way possible to apologize for its previous failings. The trousers didn’t need to stretch much to show toned, muscular limbs; the red plaid button up shirt had its sleeves rolled up across well-built forearms; and above that was a face framed in close-cut dark green curls, a smattering of freckles underneath still impossibly large green eyes.

The eyes at least, Katsuki couldn’t help thinking with relief, were still the same.

“…Ah, you scared me.” Those eyes blinked at him as a blush spread underneath the freckles. “Good morning—” after a pause, “Kacchan.”

Kacchan. Dammit, this was Deku.

He hadn’t actually expected a fucking blast from the past, this early in the morning.

“Well this is a surprise,” he was amazed at how he managed to force the words out. “I don’t remember IcyHot mentioning you before, Deku.”

Maybe it was the mention of the name that snapped time into place for them.

Deku suddenly straightened. If he had looked caught out at Katsuki’s words, it disappeared too quickly as his eyes narrowed and he lifted a shoulder in a shrug.

“That’s probably because he didn’t.”

Katsuki saw the silver glint of a ring on his finger as he placed a hand behind his head and offered a seemingly cheerful smile.

“Don’t worry; he didn’t mention you to me either.”

Katsuki’s mouth dropped, and he raised a brow.

This one has teeth.

For some reason, he felt like baring his own fangs in response.

Before he could reply however, the phone in the other man’s hand came to life, and the bold look on his face gave way to panic. “Car.” He blinked and motioned outside. “I have to go. I am really late, and I’ll just…er, go.” Another pause. “It was, uh, something, to see you again, Kacchan.”

Katsuki stood up as he moved towards the doorway. “Deku.”

The damn nerd all but whirled on his feet as he turned back and started muttering, “Okay, look, I know that this is—"

“I heard that you jumped in front of a train to save IcyHot,” Katsuki interrupted him. “I’m sure my idiot classmates have said it already, but thank you.”

“Oh.” The unexpected acknowledgement, more than anything, seemed to disarm the man. He gave him a wary look as he shrugged his peacoat onto his wide shoulders. “Then… you’re welcome.”

He escaped through the door, only to ruin the effect by peeking back in, as if he had just recalled himself. “Bye.”

Katsuki walked towards the window, brows furrowing incredulously when he saw the nerd mumble rapidly to his phone and jump into what was obviously an expensive executive car.

He belatedly realized that he did not know what the Deku was doing now, and where the car was taking him, and how the hell he got caught up with Todoroki in the first place.

“Damn.” What the hell just happened?

 


 

The annoying thing was that that was just the beginning.

Running on even less sleep, he stared at Todoroki’s prone form and kept trying to twig onto his unease by asking his friends.

“Don’t you think there’s something really suspicious about Half-and-Half’s ‘engagement’?”

“Yeah, how did he manage to find such an amazing guy when we weren’t looking? What the hell, Todoroki?” Kirishima asked the unconscious man as he bit onto his sandwich.

Katsuki sighed. “Listen, I’ve known that guy since we were kids, and—

“Whoa, you knew Midoriya?” Ashido sounded excited, “What was he like, growing up?”

“He’s—” Katsuki paused. He took a deep breath. “We were kids back then, and things were different. All I know is that it’s damn strange, how he suddenly showed up as Todoroki’s fiancé.”

“It’s not ideal, but it figures that it would take an accident for such a big thing to come out.” Iida weighed in over his cup of coffee.

Uraraka gave a small laugh. “And what a ‘thing’! I don’t know what I expected—or even if I should have expected at all! I guess it makes sense that Todoroki-kun would go for a super smart looker with nerves of steel, but Izuku-kun is also…"

“—So adorable? He looks so cute when he starts mumbling and gets all shy. And didn’t you also see that perfect butt when he was bending down to—"

“Then why the hell did he sneak off this morning?” Katsuki interrupted testily, putting a hand on Ashido’s face to stop that train of thought. “Why is he not here with us in the hospital, right now?”

“The guy has a job, dude – he’s coming by later. Did you know that he works for the Intelligence Agency? That’s how he and Todoroki met. How manly is that?”

It was Yaoyorozu who put an end to any further debate as she raised a hand, “We all know that Todoroki-san hasn’t been as… connected—since he moved out months ago, especially with this latest mission. Whatever his thoughts were, this must have been quite a large decision for him, and it seems to have happened quite quickly too. I wouldn’t be surprised that he kept these things to himself.” She looked away as if it pained her.

“Shouldn’t we just be happy that our friend chose well?”

 


 

The truth was Todoroki had been more distant than usual over the past few months, so none of them really knew.

Katsuki had always had a complicated relationship with his strongest rival. Having Todoroki to compete against made him push to improve himself in ways he couldn’t have ever fathomed. Years of frustration with the somber posterchild of quirk superiority eventually gave way to a unique sense of camaraderie, as their common passion for their goal started uniting them more. Katsuki had pushed him as much as he grew with him. Whatever their history was, they knew that they had earned each other’s respect and could rely on each other without fail.

They might have not been friends in the traditional sense of the word, but he thought that Todoroki at least trusted him.

When Todoroki moved to his own place, he had given a copy of his keys to Yaoyorozu and Katsuki only. While he tended to go off on his own, he always came back when he was needed, or when he was ready. The last few months of silence had more than just his closest friends worrying, however. Whatever his recent mission was, it was difficult when he simply stopped reaching out to them.

The day Katsuki found out about the accident was the first time Todoroki had actually reached out to him in months.

Do you think it’s not too late for me to learn to use my Fire?

It had been a shock. Katsuki knew what it must have taken for Todoroki to ask about using the other half of his quirk, long repressed for intensely personal reasons.

But the timestamp had been from the morning before. Underneath, there were several missed calls and panicked messages from their other friends.

Todoroki had been in an accident. In a coma, then, later, stable. They will visit again, and he’s free to join as soon as he could. 

Later still, Todoroki’s been engaged this whole time; Todoroki had a fiancé.

Which was even harder on Katsuki, as he thought he knew him better. At least to know what it was that had him reconsidering his quirk... and considering marriage of all things.

He then knew, somehow, that he had to do better; to make more of an effort with the people around him going forward, so that none of them would be so caught off guard when a shock like this happened.

But Deku – Deku was even harder to understand. Having his name come up in the middle of it all was beyond comprehension.

There was a lot of complicated history for Katsuki, as far as Deku was concerned. He was far from the only person Katsuki had picked on, growing up. As a child, he had a god complex, impatient ambition, an explosive temper and a crippling inability to tolerate weakness – in himself and others; and his road to growth had been littered with many mistakes. He had treated many people as extras not worth his time, or obstacles to prove his superiority. Age, experience and the presence of the not-so-shitty people from UA had humbled him to the point of self-awareness.

With Deku however, his experience was infinitely more difficult and just as hard to explain.

(I knocked him down)

(He just kept coming back)

(As if he was looking down on me)

(Making me fear that I was never good enough)

Before meeting All Might, Todoroki, and the numerous heroes that were leagues better than Katsuki, he had feared that quirkless loser first and foremost; the one who kept looking back at him, even as tears tumbled from his eyes, who wouldn’t back down even as his body trembled in fear.

And instead of looking in, Katsuki had instead focused on crushing him as best he could.

It was one of those important regrets that he had never let himself forget, now that years have passed and he's earned a better sense of self; unfinished business that he knew had to fix. Some of the things he had said and done were too difficult to even contemplate – even forgive, which he could freely admit in his darkest moments.

However, with everything else speeding on in his life at the moment, he figured he would somehow get to it when he’d figured his shit out, or when the ‘right’ moment came.

Apparently, that moment’s just come and smacked him in the ass.

The quirkless kid had come back all grown up, no longer teary-eyed and far from the damaged mess Katsuki had feared he could have pushed him into becoming.

And in a mere handful of weeks, the man had somehow done enough to turn Todoroki’s head far enough to want to marry him.

(Was it those wide eyes and that stretchy smile, that transformed into narrowed glints and a saucy smirk in mere seconds? Or those idiotic freckles that went everywhere – the cheeks, his nose and even those damn exposed forearms?)

Fuck, he hadn’t just grown up. Apparently, he also threw himself on train tracks to save emotionally-repressed Pro Heroes and ran his mouth against powerful assholes like Endeavor.

The annoying thing was that it wasn’t just Todoroki: his closest friends were just as delighted by Deku. As if Todoroki – and consequently all of them – were lucky that the man had said yes. As if he was the best Todoroki could have ever chosen – this quirkless nerd.

Deku was his problem. How had he gone from being Katsuki’s psychological fuck up to fix, to their friends’ most exciting discovery? To Todoroki’s future husband?

That this had all been hiding under his nose and that he had just somehow not seen it was too improbable to be true. It just didn’t make sense. 

There was something more to this – he just knew it. If only to understand for Todoroki’s sake, at least.

That’s why he had to know more.

Starting with Deku, Midoriya Izuku.