Tenya scrubbed his hand down his face, removing his glasses and throwing them onto his desk. He hated to admit this, but Tenya was tired. Even, he gasped internally, fucking tired. This was ridiculous. There was no reason for him to be this tired. Yes, they were under a lot of pressure now as third year hero students, but he was class president. There was no excuse for him to be lazing about like this, completely ignoring his duties.
Tenya looked down at his cramping, still injured hand and succeeded in completely stopping his train of thought where it was going. He’s learned a lot since his fight with the Hero Killer, but he knew he still wasn’t worthy of being a hero. Tenya pushed his chair back from his desk and began to pace his room, shoving his hair up onto his forehead and rubbing blunt nails over the softness of his undercut.
He knew that he was better than he was in the past, he even let Bakugou get away with sneaking into Kirishima’s room to sleep every night despite everyone knowing that that was breaking like 3939 different rules for the dorms and UA in general and even one could guess that it had moral implications as well but Bakugou and Kirishima were accomplished heroes and – Tenya cut this train of thought off. It did him no good to worry about his fellow students or where they were sleeping or who they were sleeping with.
Tenya sat down on his bed with a thump, deciding to give himself a break just this once. Maybe he could relax. He’d learned how to give everyone else breaks and a little bit of wiggle room, why can’t he do that for himself? Yeah, Tenya laid back on his head, lightly tossing his phone above his head, he deserved this. Tenya closed his eyes, letting the rhythmic motion of his tossing lull him into a state of serenity. Until. The phone hit him in the face.
Tenya sighed, opening his eyes, even relaxing he couldn’t do. He couldn’t be a good hero, be a good student, be a good friend, be a good goddamn fucking phone tosser. Tenya ignored the voice in the back of his head that sounded suspiciously like his best friend enthusiastically reminding him he was already all of these things. Once one negative thought wormed its way into his head, he was gone. Fuck. Tenya shook his head to try and rid himself of these thoughts before throwing the door to his balcony open and stepping out into the brisk fall air.
The moon twinkled in the sky, only thing visible over the light pollution of UA. It mocked him. Look at me, it said, full and unbothered, compared to you, broken and flawed. Tenya decided fuck the moon. He really was thinking the word fuck a lot tonight, Bakugou’s bad influence that had already trickled throughout the class but Tenya thought he’d remained unaffected by the vulgarity. Obviously not.
The balcony railing was cool against his forehead as he leaned against it, breathing in an out in exercises he’d learned from Tensei after the Hosu incident. The hero killer had taken a lot from both of them, but they were closer now than ever before. Tenya let out a wry chuckle, at least they had that. Midoriya’s optimism must be catching. Tenya lifted his eyes towards the sky and the bitter moon one last time before turning to go back to his room until he was stopped in his tracks by a smell. A weird smell.
Tenya breathed deeply, both to get a better sense of what the smell was and to calm himself because he would be lying if he didn’t know what the smell was. Which fucking idiot in their class was smoking weed at midnight on their balcony. Tenya knew everyone thought that he was a goody two shoes. And he was, don’t get him wrong. Rules were there for a reason, and recreational drugs weren’t good for a hero’s body no matter their legality. But more than he valued rules, he valued Tensei. So when Tensei got a medical card to help with his recovery and offered some to Tenya, he knew he wasn’t gonna say no.
It’s not like Tenya didn’t know Tensei smoked before this, he was always a smart kid and it wasn’t hard to figure out when Mic-sensei and Aizawa-sensei came over their house when they were teenagers, awkwardly cradling a backpack and leaving eyes red and breathless with laughter. For the sake of their professional relationship, they all pretended that none of this ever happened of course. But apparently Tensei had decided that his third year at UA was the perfect time to include Tenya in this tradition, and just like Tenya would fight and die for Tensei, he’d do this for him too.
And then it became a thing they did together. Tensei justified it to him, buying edibles for them instead of smoking, saying it wasn’t bad for them like this, and after a quick Google search Tenya had decided to trust him and the three “Legalize It” websites he’d visited. Tenya had never been this reckless before, but with Tensei it felt okay. So Tenya let himself relax for once. Let himself close his eyes and enjoy a blissfully blank mind, let himself eat a full meal without anxiety causing nausea to crawl up his esophagus.
Tenya opened his eyes and was brought back to where he was, and why he was smelling weed. Sure, whatever he did at their house was fine, but here? On campus? That person was stupid! And unappreciative of the position they were in since they were obviously willing to risk it all just to get high. And doing it on a balcony? They were practically begging to get caught. Tenya looked up and around to the balconies surrounding him, trying to catch sight of smoke. He almost gave up, finding nothing but crystal-clear air until he leaned out almost too far over the edge to try and see Bakugou’s balcony even though he would’ve bet his entire hero career that it wasn’t Bakugou.
There! His mind indicated for him, seeing a thin wisp of smoke float above the railing of the balcony before dispersing into the air. Tenya consulted his mental map of the dorms; fifth floor…to the left of his room…oh. Oh. It was Sero’s room. That was. Hm. That was something.
Tenya never put any thought into emotions outside of those that were functional to him as a student and hero hopeful. Sure, he’d watched with a detached sense of happiness and jealousy when seemingly everyone else had gotten together in 1-a, even Kaminari managed to date Shinsou once he transferred in. Tenya shuddered when he thought of how his eyes were opened to that particular relationship. But he’d never been jealous because of feelings for anyone in particular. That would be ridiculous. But sometimes, late at night in his bed, or randomly in class when he hears Sero laugh, he thinks about it. Yeah, if he had to choose someone to feel that way about. It would be Sero.
The once-shorter-now-taller boy had always been something of an enigma to Tenya. Sure, he’d been the same kind of easy-going kind-hearted person that Kirishima was, the prankster and class clown that Kaminari was, the dedicated hero student that everyone else was, but there was more to him. Sero seemed like the surface of a smooth lake. All the class antics, the hero training, the villain attacks were nothing more than a rock being skipped across his surface. Sure, light ripples maybe, but nothing seemed to cause that many waves. Tenya envied that. Maybe that was why he was so fascinated by him. Tenya resolutely ignored the fact that he also thought that the wide smile and long black hair were pretty hot. That was irrelevant. It was just a passing fascination, an interest, nothing more.
Even though, now, Tenya realized he might have found the answer to his questions about why Sero was so serene. The motherfucker was high all the time. Tenya found himself frustrated by the fact that he could have thought that it was just a natural part of Sero’s personality, a natural extension of his grounding and secure quirk to have such a stable personality. It was just weed. Well, Tenya, thought a little bitterly, that was about to come to an end. For tonight at least.
Tenya rolled his eyes as he shoved his feet in his slippers and walked towards the stairs. He didn’t know why he felt so betrayed by this. Because he was already stressed? Because he thought Sero was just like that, that it wasn’t an artificial part of his personality? Because he wished he was smoking too? Tenya grit his teeth and used his quirk to propel himself up the stairs. Fuck tonight, honestly, he should have just continued doing his homework.
When he reached the top of the stairs he paused, giving himself a moment to smooth his hair over and compose himself. Sure, he may be overwhelmed with irrational emotions right now, but that was no reason for him to act irrationally. That was no way for a class president to behave. After taking a second to right himself, Tenya walked briskly down the hallway towards Sero’s room. Nothing like putting on his class president hat to make him feel more put together, even if it was a façade.
Tenya took a moment to breathe deeply before he conducts an authoritative but quiet knock on Sero’s door, letting a look of disappointment and disapproval fall over his features. It wasn’t hard, it was what his face usually looked like. There was some rustling from inside the room, and footsteps towards the door. At least Sero wasn’t going to ignore him, Tenya really didn’t want to have to break down the door or go get Aizawa-sensei or something else in character but ultimately exhausting. Sometimes, being Iida Tenya was an exercise in exhaustion.
Sero opened the door, crooked smile on his face and Tenya felt himself blush a little to himself. Ridiculous! Get yourself together, Tenya.
“Hey, man” Sero was a picture of casual indifference, leaning up against the door, a woven hoodie and sweats on and Tenya thought he was probably really good at giving hugs. Tenya needed to start going to bed earlier if this is where his mind went at midnight.
“Sero” Tenya began, moving his arms up and down as he could feel himself getting worked up, “An issue has been brought to my attention and as such it was my obligation to come –“
“You know you’re gonna wake everyone else up, dude,” Sero said with an easy smile as he cut Tenya off. The audacity. Tenya opened his mouth to respond before Sero continued.
“I know what you’re here to yell about, at least come in my room to do it so you don’t bring the entire floor into it.”
Tenya paused, considering. Sero did have a point. For a stoner. Tenya finally sighed in resignation, rolling his eyes before stepping forward as Sero stepped back to accommodate him. Tenya always liked Sero’s room, remembering it too vividly for a room he only viewed in passing, excepting the few times he came to help Sero study when Sero sought him out, desperate and the closest to causing waves on the lake of his mind that Tenya had ever seen him.
Tonight, though, Tenya couldn’t take anything in because all he could smell was weed. Sero hadn’t even bothered to close the balcony door and Tenya could see a bong sitting next to a cocoon of blankets. He’s pretty sure it was still fucking lit.
Once the door clicked shut behind him, Tenya turned on Sero.
“What do you think you’re doing, Sero?” Tenya gestured angrily with his hands.
“This is the best hero school in the country and you have the audacity to disrespect yourself, your peers, your teachers with illegal recreational drugs! And for what? This blatantly disregard for school rules can’t be-“
Tenya was interrupted again, except this time it wasn’t Sero saying anything, it was by a soft chuckle coming from Sero’s lightly parted lips. Tenya wasn’t looking at them. Now was not the time. Plus the laughter just upset him even more.
“It is my obligation as class president to inform you of the consequences of your actions as well as instruct you on why this is harmful to your future as a hero. This is unbecoming of a hero of your status and puts everyone in the dorm at risk of harm or worse, expulsion.”
Sero’s laughter had only grown louder, causing Tenya to walk closer to him in an attempt to get his point across without yelling and waking up everyone in the dorm around them. It was only when Sero pitched forward with laughter, resting his forehead on Tenya’s shoulder with both hands clutched around his waist that Tenya realized how close they actually were. Oh no.
“First of all, dude” Sero was still laughing, still leaning on Tenya’s shoulder, “Aizawa knows that I smoke. I have a medical card and I’m allowed to do it in the dorms.”
Tenya’s eyes widened. He knew that Aizawa was a bit lax as far as a hero professor came but he always trusted him to do his job and this allowance was a shock to him.
“Second of all, no one in the dorm cares. Also medical marijuana’s been legal for like awhile, dude, I figured someone as uptight as you would at least know what the rules were. There was a whole court case allowing for students in dorms to have it with a card and everything.”
Sero had finally lifted his head from Tenya’s shoulder and was instead leaning back against the door, ghost of a smile still resting on his lips. Tenya resisted the urge to smile back and cursed whoever had the audacity to ever call Sero plain. Like this, illuminated by the soft light of the moon and a candle on Sero’s desk, he was anything but plain. Tenya backed up.
Sero looked at him, expression unreadable before walking out to the balcony to grab the bong. When he turned to walk back into the door he had a smirk on his face.
“You should try it, dude.”
Tenya went through a million emotions in that moment, the five stages of grief, and a complete mental breakdown in that moment before he took in Sero’s expression. Sero had a half smile on his face but there was hope in his eyes. He was expecting him to turn him down, bluster something out and make Sero laugh which would make Tenya laugh, and then they would part, kind of sort of friends but nothing more. Tenya knew the role he should play. But he also saw the hope there. Sero wanted him to say yes. So, they could what? Hang out? Tenya wasn’t used to people wanting that outside of the self-proclaimed ‘dekusquad’. Sure, everyone in the class got along, but the group he would consider close friends, close enough to hang out with was relatively small. This was new, and Tenya could feel a rush below his skin.
If you asked him later, he would say he just wanted to see Sero’s expression when he said yes. But in that moment, Tenya just wanted. Nothing in particular, or maybe everything. He just wanted.
If Sero had a different quirk his jaw could have hit the ground. As it was he dropped the bong, Tenya activating his quirk to grab it just as Sero’s tape shot out and caught it before it hit the ground. The near collision had put them close, close enough to touch, and Sero was staring at Tenya like he’d never seen him before. A beat passed.
“If you’re not serious about making offers to people you shouldn’t make them” Tenya started, launching into a lecture to stem the bile of rejection rising in his throat as Sero continued to not say anything. This was comfortable, Sero could laugh and they could forget about it. Stupid, stupid to think someone outside of his friends would want to hang out with him. Stupid, to think that anyone would want to do drugs with him. That was a thing you only did with fun people. Tenya wasn’t a fun person.
This time Sero said nothing though, but he cut Tenya off none the less. A smile broke across his face, wider than anything Tenya had ever seen. Plain? Sure, if you thought the sun was plain.
“I just didn’t expect it bro! But now that you said yes you can’t back out!”
Sero walked back towards the balcony, sitting down inside the blanket cocoon before widening it out, making room for Tenya. Tenya could feel his heart beat in his toes.
“Come on! Do you know what to do?”
Tenya had followed mutely, the reality of what was happening finally catching up with him. He was about to do this. He was about to smoke. Weed. Which may or may not be illegal. With someone who wasn’t Tensei. On a school night. At UA. It’s like three years of teenage rebellion caught up to him and put him in a chokehold, waiting for this one moment. Oh and earlier, when he’d said he’d ignored his feelings for Sero? Yeah, apparently those had joined in and were choking him out too. Great.
“I…” Tenya didn’t usually hesitate, but he either had to risk looking uneducated in front of Sero or admit that he’d done this before. In the end, his pride won out. Stupid pride.
Sero gaped again, before smiling.
“No shit! I knew I liked you for a reason, dude!” Sero laughed before his brain caught up with what he said. “Like a friend! You’re a cool friend!”
Tenya was too busy reeling at everything that he didn’t even register what was happening. Sero shoved the bong at him, placing the lighter in his hand. Tenya closed his eyes to take the hit, fingers expertly maneuvering the lighter. If his eyes had been opened he would have seen Sero staring at him with awe, but instead he was in his own world, only brought out of it when the smoke caused him to start coughing.
Sero laughed, handing him a water bottle from aside their cocoon.
“Yeah, this stuff is kind of harsh. Sorry!”
Tenya smiled, gulping down water as Sero took his own hit.
“I should have prepared my throat better for this! I knew it had been awhile since I smoke since me and Tensei usually indulge in edible varieties, but I was being thoughtless.”
Tenya didn’t realize that he’d maybe said too much until Sero started laughing again, easily letting the smoke out of his throat.
“That’s awesome! I didn’t know Tensei did that! I knew he was an awesome hero for a reason!”
Tenya took a moment to panic, that Sero would run and tell the press, that he’d ruined his reputation as a future hero and class president forever, that this was a huge mistake and ultimately uncouth for a member of the Iida family, before Sero rested his hand lightly on Tenya’s knee.
“I bet it,” Sero paused, considering, “Helps him. After everything that happened.”
Tenya blinked. Obviously, everyone knew about Tensei and at this point they all knew about the hero killer incident as well, Midoriya couldn’t keep a secret to save his life. But he hadn’t talked about it with most of the class, it was still a point of soreness, no matter how hard he tried to see heroic and hopeful when he talked about it.
“Yeah. It does.”
Tenya took the bong again, letting the smoke fill his lungs again. He didn’t want to think about Tensei and the guilt that always burned low in his gut right now. This time when the cough came he was ready for it, embraced the feeling of raw smoke on his throat and the following sip of cool water. Tenya searched around as he drank for something to change the subject, eyes finally falling on Sero himself.
“It’s a logical conclusion that you engage in a soothing supplement,” Tenya begins, gesturing at Sero. “You’re always so calm and serene, I should have been able to deduce that it was because of extra help.”
Sero looked puzzled before laughing again. Damn he laughed a lot. Tenya didn’t mind.
“Nah, I just got the prescription this year,” Sero looked down at his hands, fingers fiddling with the wheel on the lighter. “For my anxiety. The other meds were just making it harder on me, this doesn’t have any side effects. Of course, tonight I’m doing more than I normally would.”
Tenya had been absentmindedly tapping his fingers on his legs, looking to the sky as Sero talked before he stilled them. He hadn’t known that. The serene lake of Sero’s personality had been hiding something else.
“I’m sorry, Sero! I shouldn’t have spoken so presumptuously. I didn’t mean to insult you!”
“You didn’t insult me, Iida!” Sero laughed, again. Maddeningly. Maybe Tenya was starting to feel it.
“It’s nice that you think I’m calm usually. I try very…very hard to keep it all below the surface. No point in dragging it out where everyone can see, right?”
Sero’s smile was lopsided, and Tenya was so caught up staring at the corner of his lip that the moment passed, and there was nothing he could say anymore, just pretend like he’d meant to never respond and let the question float rhetorically into the air. Sero seemed to accept that, letting the lighter fall into his lap before picking it up again. He seemed to be thinking about something, and for once Tenya felt no need to interject.
“There might be a way for us to do this that’s easier on your throat?” Sero said, though his inflection tilted it up at the end, turning it into a question. Or request? Tenya didn’t know.
“That sounds like it would be optimal! I trust your judgement, Sero, and superior expertise on this subject!
Sero laughed for the millionth time tonight, but this one was sheepish, accompanied buy a hand scratching the back of his neck.
“It’s called shotgunning. Have you done it before?”
Tenya blinked. No, of course not the only person he ever engaged in this activity with was his brother, but yes, he knew what it was. That was. Hm. Well. He couldn’t back out now. That wouldn’t be very heroic now would it?
“No! But I’m aware of the basic logistical and conceptual requirements of the action!” Tenya was going to approach this with the same level of determination and enthusiasm as he did everything else. So what if he was about to touch lips with Sero? He was no coward.
Sero smiled softly at this, but he looked like he was feeling more than just confidence in a good idea. Excitement and worry warred on his face, but Tenya knew better than to bring it up. After being friends with Todoroki and Midoriya for too long, he learned how much better it was to keep his impressions of their expressions to himself.
“Okay! Cool cool cool cool” Sero repeated as he lit the bong, pausing before inhaling deeply.
Tenya watched him then, really watched him, and took in the moonlight lines of Sero’s face, the way his eyelashes fluttered closed and fanned across his cheeks. Passing interest his ass. Tenya was fucked. But, Tenya considered, maybe tonight he could let himself be lost in these fruitless emotions before returning his focus tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow he would be back on track.
Sero had finished inhaling and was leaning closer towards Tenya, lightly placing his palm on Tenya’s neck and tilting his head. They were really going to do this. Tenya’s thoughts Respirobursted through his mind. And then Sero’s lips touched his and his mouth parted, and everything stalled.
Sero exhaled lightly against Tenya’s lips as Tenya inhaled, the part of his brain that was still online reminding him to inhale, that they were doing this for a reason. Sero had been right, no cough this time, but all Tenya could focus on was the feel of Sero’s hand on his neck, lips against Tenya’s own. Tenya opened his eyes, when had he closed those?
Sero was still there. So close, hand still lightly warming Tenya’s neck. Tenya didn’t know what Sero’s expression meant, but he also couldn’t even begin to fathom what expression was on his own face. If Tenya had thought he was unmoored before, he was completely loose now, floating and dispersing in the air like the smoke around them. Tenya breathed in sharply, before giving in to his instinct and against his better judgement to glance down at Sero’s mouth. Maybe he didn’t say it. Maybe they could both ignore this.
Except, when Tenya looked up at Sero’s eyes, he saw. He definitely saw. His eyes were the size of saucers, dilated from more than just the smoke. Tenya started to back up, maybe Sero would be nice enough not to mention it. Of course, if he made him uncomfortable he should apologize. Of course, Tenya berated himself, he had to apologize to Sero for making him uncomfortable.
Tenya had lost count of how many times he’d been interrupted by Sero that night, but he didn’t mind.
Sero had followed him as he’d leaned back, grip moving from his neck to his hair, and before Tenya could register the different sensations Sero’s lips were on his. A real kiss now, not the brush of lips as Sero exhaled into his mouth. Tenya gasped.
Sero took Tenya’s parted lips as an invitation, leaning in impossibly closer, especially when Tenya’s back hit the wall behind them. Tenya kissed him back, just as hungry, heart stalling and restarting like the engines in his legs were malfunctioning. Tenya’s hands came up to grip Sero’s hips and Sero read the silent movement as an indicator, moving to crawl into Tenya’s lap and deepening the kiss.
This is what Tenya had been missing, when everyone else was going on dates and confessing to crushes and he was tidying a classroom or reading an extra book. This is what he’d been searching for, all those times he smoked with Tensei, trying to quiet his mind. And here it was, blissfully quiet as Sero’s hands pulled on his hair. That was enlightening.
They finally pulled away from each other, panting lightly. And Sero closed his eyes, a long blink, before opening them again.
“I knew there was a reason I liked you, Tenya.”
Tenya smiled, and pulled Sero into another kiss, bong knocked over and slowly leaking bong water onto Bakugou’s balcony below them.