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Diatomic Elements

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“Oh, shit.

 

“Deku-kun!”

 

“I’m sorry!” Izuku yelped, his hands clutching the quiz so tightly that it began to actually rip. Quickly, he readjusted his hold before sputtering, “I-I just can’t believe I got such a bad grade on this. Oh my god - dad’s going to kill me.”

 

“Your dad loves you to bits,” Ochako scolded gently, and she not so subtly began to swipe for his paper. “Now show me your score, it can’t be that - oh my god, Toshinori-san is going to kill you.”

 

Izuku slumped into his seat, defeated, and let his quiz be fully seen with its gloriously large, fat, and red number of thirty-four on the top, even covering up his name. He watched, dismayed, as Ochako began going over the things he completely and utterly messed up on.

 

“Geeze, Deku-kun,” Ochako said in an exasperated tone. “This is easy stuff! Nomenclature, lewis dot, electron configuration…”

 

“Last year was hell,” Izuku mumbled half-heartedly, scratching at a stain on the table, one that indicated someone had broken the rules and secretly smuggled in what seemed to be pasta into the no-food zone of the library. “Remember? That biochem unit made me cry so hard that I threw up.”

 

I cried so hard I threw up,” Ochako agreed. “But Deku-kun, that was organic chemistry. Nobody likes it, even Tenya-kun admitted he flunked that one quiz over enzymes. This year is so much more fun, don’t you think?”

 

“No, it isn’t,” he pouted, and rumpled up the quiz before shoving it back into his bag so no one could see the shame of its score. “I don’t get it! What does the P mean? Why do I have to use arrows? What are those little dots there for? It doesn’t make sense, because I studied so hard and I watched like five hours of tutorials in total - they said that the valence electrons were what we had to use in order to draw the lewis dot and represent the bonds? But then it said that the valence electrons were the number of that element’s group, so why doesn’t oxygen have sixteen valence electrons, it doesn’t make sense - “

 

“Deku-kun, you’re rambling.”

 

“Sorry, Ochako-chan,” Izuku blushed, embarrassed at being caught during his uncontrollable habit of running his mouth. “I just don’t get this stuff, it doesn’t click with me. Can’t you tutor me, oh amazing one?”

 

Ochako laughed, gentle and genuinely full of mirth. “I’m sorry, Deku-kun. But you know I’m too busy after school! Maybe you can ask someone else in our class. A smart one? I hear Yaoyorozu-chan has that study session on Sunday!”

 

“Yeah, but I don’t want to bother her,” Izuku sighed. “She already has four people poking her for her genius chemistry skills. I’d rather it be a one on one session, anyway.”

 

“Tenya-kun?”

 

“He’s not taking chem, remember?”

 

“Oh, right. He’s really determined to avoid it, huh? Last year gave him a good dose of trauma.” Ochako giggled, causing him to laugh as well. She tapped her chin thoughtfully and said, “hm… well, you know, you can always ask Todoroki-kun!”

 

Izuku froze.

 

There was no way he was mistaking that smug tone of hers. He shot her a glare, and her smile only widened. “No.”

 

“Why not!” Ochako grinned, giving him jazz hands. “He’s the top in our class aside from Bakugou-kun, and we know what’ll happen if we ask him to tutor you instead.”

 

“Yeah,” Izuku said, already feeling the phantom punch in the arm he’d get if he even tried to approach his childhood friend. Everyone knew that the only person Kacchan tutored was Kirishima. “But Ochako-chan, I can’t ask T… Todoroki-kun!”

 

He whispered the last part urgently, as if he were trying to tell her some world-stopping secret.

 

To be honest, to him, it certainly felt like some world-shattering, earth-destroying secret. Just the name of Todoroki was enough to make Izuku jump in alarm and then go at least ten different shades of red, each one darker than the last.

 

Why?

 

Because Todoroki Shouto was in Izuku’s sixth period chemistry class, had the brains of a god, and the looks of one to boot. It was kind of embarrassing for Izuku to act like such a braindead zombie around him, but to be fair, at least half the school was infatuated with Todoroki’s mysterious and cold aura, so. You know. Whatever. Totally fine of Izuku to be so nervous around him, and get his palms all sweaty, and maybe kind of want to kiss him all over his scar, right? Right.

 

(Oh my god.)

 

“He’s too pretty,” Izuku moaned in despair, pressing his cheek against the cool wooden surface of the table. “And I can’t be in too close proximity of him for more than a minute, I’ll definitely embarrass myself.”

 

Ochako snickered, not even bothering to cover up her amusement. He had a horrible best friend. “Oh, I know. Remember last year in bio?”

 

Ochako-chan!

 

Yes, he remembered (to his absolute horror). Back in grade nine, he and Todoroki had somehow been in the same science class as well, and that had been Izuku’s first experience in being so close to what he was fairly sure was an angel. But to make matters worse was that Aizawa-sensei had put them at the same table. They didn’t sit next to each other, for Iida and Mina had sat between them, but still.

 

Then came The Incident. Izuku still remembered vividly. It was their macromolecules lab, and everyone had to work with their table to complete it and get a decent grade. To Izuku’s horror, his hand had shook so much when Todoroki asked for a tube of something (he couldn’t remember exactly, it was a dark brown liquid of some sort), that he had actually tripped over his own feet and splashed the substance all over Todoroki’s arm.

 

After apologizing vigorously and then spending the rest of the class hiding his tears  (he was always a crybaby) while Todoroki had to deal with a permanent stain on his shirt, Izuku vowed to never speak to Todoroki again after such a, simply put, disastrous first meeting.

 

“He hates me,” Izuku sulked.

 

Ochako rolled her eyes at his dramatics and gently shoved his shoulder. “He doesn’t hate you, oh my god.”

 

“Yes, he totally does! I ruined his shirt! I kept ignoring him after that because I was so embarrassed - I definitely put him off,” Izuku moaned. “Release me from this mortal husk. I’m cringing so hard that I’m surprised I haven’t flat-lined.”

 

“But Deku-kun, didn’t you say you wanted to be a paramedic?” Ochako said. “Then you need to do good in chemistry to do that!”

 

Izuku stared at her. “Chemistry doesn’t necess - “

 

“Yes it does!” Ochako interrupted, now fully invested into her speech. “Listen to your master, young Midoriya.”

 

Izuku squinted at her. “You’re younger than me - “

 

“Silence!” Ochako cried out. She even shoved a hand in front of his face, and his shoulders slumped in defeat. Her grin widened. “C’mon, Deku-kun. It couldn’t hurt to ask. He’s gotten only hundreds in class so far, plus he already helped Kaminari-kun and he got a ninety-four this quiz! That’s, what, sixty points higher than your grade?”

 

Izuku glared at her, and she smiled sheepishly. “Hehe, woops. Sorry. But either way, doesn’t that prove how good of a teacher Todoroki-kun is? Plus -

 

Ochako leaned in close, eyes sparkling and hair almost looking like it was defying gravity in her excitement, vaguely reminding Izuku of a Studio Ghibli character. “This is your opportunity to turn yourself around in his eyes. I know last year was, um, not a good year for you - “

 

Izuku made a sound resembling that of a dying whale.

 

“But you can totally change his opinion of you!” Ochako sputtered quickly. “If you impress him with your learning skills, maybe he’ll forget all that stuff you did and find you as a smarter and not-so-clumsy person. And you’ll get to spend time with him.”

 

Izuku flushed.

 

Ochako winked, like she knew exactly what he was thinking. “Your grades will improve, you’ll redeem yourself in Todoroki-kun’s eyes, and you get to get closer to the person you’ve been pining over for a good year and a half now. What do you say?”

 

Izuku gulped. Those all sounded really, really appealing to him in all honesty. (Especially the part about spending time with his kind-of-but-actually-really-embarrassingly-strong crush.)

 

(Haha.)

 

(He’s pathetic.)

 

(Oh boy.)

 

But instead of verbally giving in and letting Ochako win, he instead makes direct eye contact with her, and without an ounce of regret, slowly opens his mouth to let his tongue stick out and run over her palm.

 

Her resulting shriek of “DEKU-KUN!” gets them kicked out of the library for good.

 

XxXxXxXxXxX

 

Izuku wasn’t staring.

 

He wasn’t.

 

He… He was… observing! Casually, and not at all like he was daydreaming about running his hands through the carefully combed red-and-white locks, or taking a pale hand into his scarred one, or looking into amazing heterochromatin eyes -

 

Oh, fiddlesticks. Yeah. He was totally staring at Todoroki.

 

But whatever! It was totally normal, right? After all, today was the day Izuku was going to ask Todoroki about the whole tutoring thing, and understandably he was nervous - Izuku was very intimate with bad luck and embarrassment, but last year was a whole lot more than Izuku would like to experience any time soon. (Plus, Todoroki was just… very, very pretty. Izuku thought his ears were cute, okay?)

 

Oh my god. Ochako was right. He was totally and utterly - what was the word - smitten. Izuku has had a fair amount of crushes before, because being pan meant his puddle became an ocean, but holy mother of god, Todoroki just did something to him. He couldn’t really pinpoint the reason why Izuku liked him so much - maybe it was his gentle kindness, like the time he lended Izuku a green mechanical pencil when he forgot his at home. (Speaking of, Izuku had totally forgotten to give that pencil back and it still rests in his pouch, heavy with his guilt.)

 

Or maybe it was his mind. Todoroki was smart, that was for sure. He was the number one student in their class, right above Kacchan, and though Izuku didn’t share any other classes with him, he was sure Todoroki was a genius in the rest of them as well. That intelligence of his appealed to Izuku greatly.

 

Or maybe it was just the fact that he was Todoroki. Kind and gentle but quiet. Izuku would like to see what it looked like when he smiled. He bet it was absolutely amazing.

 

“... our next quiz is two weeks from now,” Aizawa said in his usual deadpan voice. He waved lazily at the board behind him to show the date he had just mentioned. “A bunch of you failed the last one, so shape up or you’ll get expelled.”

 

Izuku felt a nervous sweat break out. He was never sure if the science teacher actually meant his threats - after all, last year in biology, he had made the exact same quip but never really actually did the deed. Although, judging by how Aizawa’s eyes lingered on him for half a second, maybe he would. Oh god.

 

Izuku really needed Todoroki to tutor him, didn’t he? Damn. He was hoping he could make some half-assed excuse to not ask him, but the fear of Aizawa’s wrath was enough to make him shakily pack his things as the bell rang and not dart out of the classroom like he usually did.

 

The problem was that Izuku sat in the middle, and Todoroki sat right at the front of the room. While this did give Izuku the most amazing view of the back of his head (okay, so maybe his failing grade in chemistry wasn’t due to just because of Izuku’s inability to understand the content), it also meant Izuku had to awkwardly walk past two rows of tables and approach the boy he had been admiring for so long now.

 

“U-Um, Todoroki-kun?”

 

“Yes?” He immediately replied, and Izuku almost abandoned the whole plan when Todoroki straightened himself to stare directly at his face. His eyes were different colors, just like his hair, an example of what he recalled was known as total heterochromia, or something of that sort. The right side of his soft yet angular face had his silver iris and his white hair, while his left side held his blazing blue eye and bright red locks. He was almost split down the middle, completely symmetrical, if not for the fact for the burn around his left eye.

 

No one ever talked about the scar. (Izuku wished he could press soft kisses against it.)

 

“You, I know you must be very busy,” Izuku sputtered, realizing that he hadn’t spoken in at least a minute. He scuffed the floor with his red sneaker, and said, “and I’m so sorry to bother you like this, b-but, I would really appreciate your help if you could please tutor me, Todoroki-kun!”

 

There was silence, then a quiet shuffling before Todoroki cleared his throat and said in his (very smooth and amazingly low) voice, “I thought you were good in science.”

 

Izuku went red in embarrassment, still refusing to meet the other boy’s eyes as he stuttered, “n-not really. I-I’m really bad at all this chemistry stuff, and I know that you’re the top in our class, so I was hoping you could help me - only if you have the time, of course! I know you must be very busy, after all you’re in all honors classes and have an exceptional GPA, I admire that about you, n-not that I admire admire you, oh my god Izuku stop talking - “

 

“Midoriya.”

 

Izuku stiffened, his face now what he believed was permanently red, and his eyes refusing to meet Todoroki’s own gaze. God, he thought to himself, he was so stupid. Here he was, embarrassing himself to hell in front of his crush, and he really hoped the earth would swallow him up because he’d like to die right now please.

 

“Sorry,” Izuku whispered. “I ramble a lot.”

 

“It’s okay.” Todoroki said, just as quietly. There was another shuffling noise, and Izuku gathered enough bravery to look up just in time to see Todoroki swinging his bag over his shoulder with grace. “If you want me to tutor you, then I’ll see if I have time this week. Here.”

 

Izuku startled as a phone was placed into his hands, and he almost dropped it when he realized that it was open to a new contacts page.

 

Todoroki pointed at it and said, “give me your number. I’ll text you whenever I have a free spot in my schedule.”

 

Izuku tried not to show how shaky his hands were as he clumsily typed in his number, and before he could stop himself, he wrote Midoriya Izuku :) instead of just putting in his name alone like a normal person. Just as he was about to backspace and get rid of the stupid smile, Todoroki was already taking his phone back and a stunned Izuku was holding nothing but air.

 

“I’ll see you later, Midoriya,” Todoroki said, and Izuku looked up slowly to see the smallest of smiles on the taller boy’s face as he observed the newly made contact in his phone.

 

Izuku squeaked something that half-resembled a goodbye, and Todoroki left, the door closing quietly behind him.

 

“If you’re done with your little flirt fest, I’d like to go back to grading papers,” Aizawa suddenly grunted. Izuku nearly screamed - he had completely forgotten that the teacher was still there. Face blazing red, he apologized furiously before practically sprinting out of the room.

 

As he was power-walking to his next class (p.e, probably the only class he really enjoyed), he pulled out his phone and began to text Ochako and Tenya.

 

Small Might: red alert red alert

 

Small Might: this is not a drill. i repeat, this is not a drill

 

Ocha-cha-chako: who do i need to kill

 

Small Might: OCHAKO-CHAN NO

 

Ten Out of Ten: Izuku, should I gather my weapons

 

Ocha-cha-chako: tenya-kun you edgelord calm down, what weapons do you even have

 

Ten Out of Ten: THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE IS A FORMIDABLE WEAPON, OCHAKO.

 

Small Might: oh my god both of you please(ΩДΩ)

 

Small Might: i asked todoroki-kun to tutor me and i embarrassed myself so bad and i want to die because oh my god he’s so pretty isn’t he pretty

 

Ten Out of Ten: Yes, Todoroki-kun is fairly attractive. I apologize for not being able to tutor you, Izuku! But last year was too much, and in all honesty, I would not mind if I never have to work with molecules again.

 

Ocha-cha-chako: tenya-kun you cute baby don’t apologize, last year made me want to jump out a window

 

Ocha-cha-chako: and also deku-kun did he say yes????

 

Small Might: ugh…….. yes ╥﹏╥

 

Small Might: i’m definitely going to embarrass myself again, omg

 

Small Might: he gave me his number

 

Small Might: OMG WHAT IF HE TEXTS ME WHAT DO I SAY ALSKMLKAJ

 

Ten Out of Ten: Shall we go visit the Place for ice cream after school, Izuku?

 

Ocha-cha-chako: OMG DEKU-KUN THAT’S AWESOME and yeah that sounds great tenya-kun, the perfect cure to deku-kun’s Gay Crisis

 

Small Might: asdlaskjfj i love you both ༼☯﹏☯༽

 

Small Might: i’ll see you both later then

 

By the time Izuku slipped into the boys’ locker room and began to peel off his shirt, he felt much better, cheered up considerably and not (too) embarrassed from his encounter with Todoroki. That was, until his phone chimed once more to let him know that he got a new text.

 

(xxx)-xxx-xxxx: Midoriya, it’s Todoroki. I checked my schedule and I have some time to tutor you this Friday after school. Where would you like to meet up?

 

Holy crap. Holy crap. Someone call an ambulance, because good lord, Izuku’s crush was texting him and oh my god what does he say he wasn’t prepared for this.

 

Fingers trembling, Izuku first saved the number in his contacts, unable to stop himself as he self-indulged himself with the name. Then with shaky fingers and his shirt half-off to show everyone how far his blush went, he typed.

 

Midoriya: hello, todoroki-kun! friday sounds perfect. um how about the library beside the park?

 

Todoroki <3: Okay. We can meet there after school.

 

Midoriya: uh, yes, you already said that??? (ー∀ー;)

 

Todoroki <3: Oh. Yes.

 

Todoroki <3: What’s that thing you put at the end?

 

Izuku had to slap a hand over his mouth to prevent his laugh from spilling out. Oh my god. Who knew Todoroki was so… awkward? And apparently didn’t know what emoticons were? It was almost too much for Izuku’s poor gay heart, he was positive he was going to explode if Todoroki didn’t stop being so cute.

 

Midoriya: they’re called emoticons (ノ≧ڡ≦)

 

Todoroki <3: Oh.

 

Todoroki <3: y(^ー^)y

 

Todoroki <3: Did I do it right?

 

Izuku had to take a moment and breathe, lest he collapsed from sheer adoration.

 

Holy fudge. There was absolutely no way it was legal for someone to be this cute. Oh my god.

 

Midoriya: yeah! (σ≧∀≦)σ

 

Izuku waited eagerly for Todoroki’s reply, seeing the typing… sign, only to scream when there was a loud, “MIDORIYA! EXTRA TEN LAPS FOR BEING LATE… AGAIN!

 

Izuku groaned weakly at his coach’s harsh bark, and he reluctantly put down his phone in his locker and pulled on his gym shirt before rushing out.

 

The fierce pounding of his heart, though, had nothing to do with those extra ten laps.





Chapter Text

 

Izuku dug into his mint chocolate chip ice cream with more vigour than usual, his tongue tingling with the amazing taste and he even hummed several times in his pleasure. It was obvious to both Ochako and Tenya that he was in a good mood as he took another heaping spoonful of his dessert.

 

“So, I’m guessing something good happened,” Ochako teased gently as she took a smaller bite of her own strawberry ice cream.

 

“Yes, it is fairly obvious that your mood has drastically improved since this morning, Izuku,” Tenya said in a firm tone. His own ice cream, which had been vanilla, was already finished and the cup had been thrown away. He leaned forward slightly across the table and said, “please tell us what’s lifted your spirits so much. I have to admit I’m very curious.”

 

“Yeah, Deku-kun,” Ochako beamed. “You always spill about everything at the Place!”

 

Izuku gulped down treat, the sweet chill running a shiver down his spine as he smiled sheepishly at them. To be fair though, they were right. The Place - as stupidly named as it was - was their little corner of the world. It was a tiny little shop at the corner of the street, half-hidden from view by a Verizon store, and made the best desserts in the world. It’d been an accident discovering the Place, but Izuku loved it with all his heart, and the delicious ice cream always made him talk about his day, no matter what.

 

So he cleared his throat lightly, licked his spoon to stall for a little more time, before saying, “he, um… he texted me!

 

“Show me!” Ochako demanded, her hands making grabby gestures at Izuku’s phone which laid innocently on the table beside his bowl. He pouted and grabbed it, shaking his head while his face turned red.

 

“No! You’re just going to do something to embarrass me, right when I think I finally managed to get past that awful rambling thing I did this morning right in front of his face.” Izuku hesitated. “Do I really babble like that all the time? It seems like I do it more than usual lately.”

 

“Don’t worry, it’s adorable,” Tenya said off-handedly. His tone of voice didn’t change, but his words were softer than usual. “What did he say?”

 

“He’s amazing,” Izuku whispered, and he clutched his phone tightly while stars glimmered in his eyes. His face went pink as he opened his messenger app and excitedly showed the two across from him what had happened between him and Todoroki.

 

“Oh my god,” Ochako cooed. “He’s so cute! Really awkward, isn’t he? Although I guess that comes with having not many friends.”

 

“It’s true,” Tenya grunted as he eyed the messages with a curious look. “Todoroki-kun is a studious but not entirely social student.”

 

“W-Well,” Izuku stammered. “I’ll be his first friend, then.”

 

“Wow,” Ochako sighed. She finished off the last of her pink ice cream, and after she was done, she said, “I wish I could be as bold as you, Deku-kun. God, you sappy baby! Your crush on Todoroki-kun is a lot more strong than I thought.”

 

“Ugh,” Izuku whimpered in embarrassment. He ran a hand down his face, and he didn’t even try to fight her beyond that. He moaned. “You’re right. Oh my god, you’re right. I just like him so much, it’s not even funny. Holy crap, I have to spend time alone with him on Friday. That’s tomorrow. I’m going to die.

 

“Yeah, probably.”

 

“Ochako!”

 

“Ochako-chan!”

 

“I’m kidding!” Ochako sputtered, her shoulders shaking with laughter. She reached over and rubbed Izuku’s shoulder soothingly, a smile still pulling at her lips as she said, “you’ll be fine, Deku-kun.”

 

“Ugh…”

 

“I’m serious! Tenya-kun, back me up here.”

 

Tenya cleared his throat, surprised at being suddenly thrown under the bus. He shot Ochako a little glare before chiming in. “I believe Ochako is right, Izuku-kun. Todoroki-kun is a calm and rational person, I’m sure he can see past your… eccentrics.”

 

“You mean how I can somehow manage to embarrass myself every two seconds whenever I’m within a ten foot radius of him?” Izuku grumbled.

 

“Um, yes.”

 

“I can’t help it!” Izuku wailed dramatically, his face red as he shoveled more ice cream into his mouth. He winced at the brain freeze he got, and rubbed his temples before muttering, “maybe I should cancel. I mean, a failing grade in chemistry’s not too bad, right?”

 

He laughed nervously at the unimpressed looks he got from them both.

 

“Okay, maybe not,” Izuku conceded. He stood up and swept both his and Ochako’s empty cups of ice cream into the trash can near the door.

 

“That was fun! Gay crisis aside,” Ochako said beamingly as she hooked her arms into Izuku’s and Tenya’s. The trio walked leisurely down the sidewalk, the slowly setting sun bathing them in rays of orange and pink. They stopped at the end of the block, right where they knew they’d be splitting up.

 

“Are you going to go visit your mother, Izuku-kun?” Tenya asked as they started to break away from each other.

 

“Yeah,” Izuku nodded, starting to wave bye. “I want to help her out in the shop for a little bit before I go home.”

 

“Tell her I said hi, Deku-kun! I’ll see you both tomorrow!” Ochako said, gesturing goodbye with a wide smile on her face while starting to jog in the direction of her house. “I love you two!”

 

“Honestly,” Tenya shook his head while going in the opposite direction. His tone was fond as he said, “it’s a wonder she hasn’t been scolded for yelling so loudly in the middle of the street. Tell your mother hello from me as well, Izuku-kun. I’ll be sure to see you tomorrow.”

 

“Bye!” Izuku waved furiously, a grin threatening to split his face in two as he watched his two best friends make their way home. For a moment he stood there, doing nothing but basking in the warmth in his chest, before realizing that the sun was almost completely set and he would hate to worry his mom by staying out too late.

 

He jogged lightly down the opposite street, quickly making his way past several shops and services until he stopped in front of a very familiar sign.

 

Welcome to Midoriya-Yagi Gardens!

 

“Mom?” Izuku called as he opened the door and listened to the bell attached to it jingle sweetly. He breathed in the air deeply, relaxing as he took in the scent of fresh fauna and flora that had been a source of comfort back when he had been more troubled. The whole shop was covered in plants from floor to ceiling. He yelled once more when there was no response. “Dad?”

 

There wasn’t a response once more. Izuku merely walked to the counter and behind it, pulling on a yellow apron that said Kiss the Florist on it. It’d been a gag gift from his father back when he and Izuku’s mother had first started dating and had spent their first Christmas together. Izuku’s father kept insisting on getting him an actual apron but Izuku refused, loving the joke and its tacky color of buttercup yellow.

 

“Izuku?”

 

The boy perked up when he heard his name being called, and a smile pulled onto his lips as he saw a tall and almost gauntly looking blond man poke his head out from the back. A smudge of dirt was on his cheek, and Izuku had to stifle a laugh as he replied, “yeah?”

 

“My young boy, what are you doing here?” Toshinori said as he came fully out of the room with a large flowerpot in his hand, the pot growing several young daisies in it. His apron was a bright blue that read It’s a Budding Romance. “Your mother and I worry about overworking yourself. We’re almost done, there was no need to come - you should have gone home and waited for us there.”

 

“Can’t help it if I want to help out the best parents in the world,” Izuku said honestly. He beamed as he saw Toshinori sigh but give in, his bright blue eyes soft as he walked over and ruffled Izuku’s hair fondly.

 

“Still the sweetest son as always,” Toshinori sighed. Izuku beamed. “Well, come, then, young Izuku. Help your old man arrange these bouquets.”

 

“You’re not old,” Izuku gasped, genuinely shocked as he eagerly began setting up the ribbons and shears for his father and then pulling up the order forms. “You’re not even fifty!”

 

“Well, he certainly complains like a grandpa,” came a new voice.

 

“Mom!”

 

“Inko!”

 

The two voices were a mix of excitement and embarrassment. Midoriya-Yagi Inko laughed as she came into view, her own pink apron that had I Be-Leaf In You stitched to the chest area in white thread. She approached her husband, and giggled softly when he had to bend down greatly in order to stoop to her short height and give her a sweet kiss on the lips. “Hello to you too, dear. And my lovely boy, Izuku! Why’d you come here? Your dad and I are almost finished.”

 

Izuku, who had been looking at them unabashedly with shiny eyes, merely grinned. “I wanted to help! I don’t like it when you overwork yourselves.”

 

“Oh, but your hands, dear,” Inko sighed, her eyes soft as she took in the many scars on Izuku’s said hands due to the boy’s over-eagerness when it came to roses or the shears. His recent addition was from only a few days ago on his thumb, a white bandage still wrapped around it.

 

He waved off her concerns and began to arrange a small bouquet of calla lilies and daffodils. “I’m fine, I’m fine. It doesn’t hurt that much - high pain tolerance, remember?”

 

“Hmm,” Inko said playfully. She leaned over and tweaked his nose gently, something she always used to do to tease him. “I don’t know! I don’t want my sweet little Izuku to get hurt just for an old woman like me.”

 

“Mom, you’re not old!”

 

“Inko, my dear, you’re far from old!”

 

Inko burst out laughing at the genuine protests. “Oh, my lovely boys. What would I do without you?”

 

Toshinori huffed playfully, and he wrapped his bigger hand around hers. He winked at Izuku before looking back to his wife with adoring eyes. “Come, my dear. We should leave young Izuku to take care of these orders - let’s check on the gardenias in the back, I forgot to do inventory for them.”

 

“What! Toshinori, you irresponsible man - “

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I promise to do it next time - “

 

Izuku watched them go with fond eyes, sighing in satisfaction as he saw them leave. Their playful arguing slowly faded into nothing, but he didn’t mind. Just seeing his mom so happy was enough - they’ve only been married for three years, but Izuku was overjoyed to see that the love hadn’t at all faded.

 

Now in an even better mood than before, Izuku began humming as he started to finish the small amount of orders that laid before him, snipping with practiced ease and tying the finished product with the ribbon he felt best complimented the colors. Just as he was about to finish the last one, the door opened, letting in a rush of almost-warm autumn air and getting the chimes to jingle cheerfully.

 

“Welcome to Midoriya-Yagi Gardens! How can I - urk!

 

“Oh. Hello, Midoriya.”

 

Izuku choked on his own words as he looked up from the bunches of carnations in his hands to see Todoroki of all people standing there, the other boy’s gaze looking everywhere as his shoulders bunched up slightly in tension. He looked so awkward in the midst of all the plants and flowers, and honestly, so did Izuku. Why was Todoroki here? Oh my god, more specifically, why was Todoroki here when Izuku was wearing the most embarrassing apron in the world? (Okay, yeah, he loves it, but maybe not when in front of his crush. Oh god.)

 

“I didn’t know you worked here,” Todoroki finally said, the silence between them seemingly too overwhelming for him.

 

“I-It… It has Midoriya in the shop’s name,” Izuku managed to squeak.

 

Todoroki’s eyes looked up to see the blackboard and the pink chalk that had the shop’s name written on it. His shoulders bunched up even more, and from where Izuku was standing, he could see his hand tighten on the strap of his bag. Todoroki nodded jerkily. “Right. It seems so.”

 

“Um,” Izuku coughed out, trying not to die as he begged whatever god there was to not let Todoroki notice his incredibly warm face. “S-So, what can I, um, help you with?”

 

This seemed to snap Todoroki’s attention back to him, because he blinked twice (oh my god, that was so freaking adorable what the heck - ) before nodding and approaching closer to the desk. Oh lord. Izuku wiped his sweaty palm on the apron, hoping the other boy didn’t notice.

 

Todoroki motioned to the area around them, and said, “you have a lot of flowers.”

 

Izuku stared. “Um. Yes.”

 

Todoroki bit his lip, and no Izuku was definitely not blushing at that, and further said, “I mean. I would like some flowers. For my mother.” He paused. “Please.”

 

Izuku couldn’t help but beam at that, and he nodded. “For your mother? That’s so sweet! You know we have a lot of good options here, like gardenias which mean joy, or maybe some red carnations? We got them this morning, and they’re really pretty, they mean love - or actually, how about some pink ones? They represent the love of a mother, so maybe - “

 

“Midoriya, you’re rambling.”

 

Izuku flushed, and he fidgeted with a ribbon. “S-Sorry. I, um. Do that a lot. W-Which you already know. From, uh, this m-morning.”

 

Todoroki then smiled. Well, it wasn’t a full smile, not even half of one - but the corner of his lips jerked up, like he had to physically hold himself back from chuckling, and his voice was significantly less rigid as he said softly, “I know. And for the flowers, do you have anything that means forgiveness? And strength.” He looked off to the side, and his face was gentle as he spoke with a softness that took Izuku’s breath away. “She’s the strongest person I know.”

 

“Of course,” Izuku breathed. His hands shook with his absolute awe over this amazing boy while he raced around the shop to gather the flowers he had requested. He ran back to the desk, lightly panting but grinning broadly as he presented the blooms to Todoroki. “Gladiolus for strength of character, and purple hyacinth for please forgive me.”

 

He bit his lips gently, and said shyly, “are these okay? Unless you want something else, which I totally get, I can maybe add something else or switch them if you want - “

 

“They’re,” Todoroki interrupted. He approached even closer, and he reached out a hand to brush a finger against the soft petal of a hyacinth. His smile lifted even further. “They’re perfect.”

 

“Okay,” Izuku squeaked.

 

The extra cuts he got from the scissors were totally worth it as he presented Todoroki an absolutely beautiful bouquet. In all honesty, he probably overdid it a bit, because he used a lot of blooms in it, and he even stuck in white and gold rods with little gems on them to embellish it slightly. He tied it all carefully together with a white ribbon and passed it over to Todoroki, who looked a little stunned at the lavish bouquet. “Here you go!”

 

“Thank you,” Todoroki said slowly. He blinked, taking in the sweet smells of the flowers in his face before hesitantly turning to Izuku and asking, “how much?”

 

Izuku smiled. “Just twenty.”

 

“What?” Todoroki said. “That’s too little.”

 

“No,” Izuku shook his head. His heart was tingling and his stomach was in butterflies as he looked at the quiet yet incredibly sweet boy who was getting flowers for his mother. “It’s okay.”

 

“Midoriya, please - "

 

“I’ll make it fifteen!” Izuku threatened.

 

Todoroki was still reluctant as he placed the money on the counter and slid it over to Izuku, who happily inserted the money into the cashier. “I still think it’s too little for something like this.”

 

“Consider your mother’s smile as payment,” Izuku grinned, losing himself a little in the humid air of the shop and the sweet, perfume-y smells of the flowers. “I hope she likes it, Todoroki-kun.”

 

Todoroki smiled slightly at that, and he clutched the bouquet carefully to his chest as he started to back away to the door. “I hope she does, too.” He paused, his hand on the door handle, and he gave one more almost-smile to Izuku. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Midoriya.”

 

Izuku felt like his heart had stopped.

 

“Bye,” Izuku whispered, face flaming red, but it was lost to the jingle of the wind chimes as Todoroki left.

 

“Ohhh my god,” Izuku moaned softly in agony as he practically melted into a puddle of goo once he was sure the other boy was gone. He ran both hands through his hair, not caring about the fact that leaves were definitely going to get tangled in the curls of green. “That was so embarrassing! Let me jump out a window, off a cliff, oh my god I have to see him tomorrow again my gay heart can’t take this -

 

“Ooh, who was that, Izuku?” Inko giggled mischievously as she poked her head out of the back room and winked teasingly at her son. “He was so handsome, too! Do I have to prepare for a boyfriend for you to bring home and meet us, dear?”

 

Mom!” Izuku screeched, face definitely the color of a tomato. “What, were you standing there and listening the whole time?

 

“Well, a mother wants to know all about her son!” Inko pouted. “And that boyfriend of yours is so sweet, bringing his own mother flowers!”

 

“He’s a fine young man, Izuku,” Toshinori was the next to say, his own head hovering over his wife’s. He sent a thumbs up to a screeching Izuku. “I approve.”

 

He’s not my boyfriend!

Chapter Text

Izuku was in his room and crocheting a new scarf for his mother when he got the notification that someone had texted him. He blinked in surprise as he checked the cute whale shaped clock that sat on his bedside drawer. It was late - 2:34 in the morning, actually. Who on earth could be messaging him at this practically ungodly time?

 

He set down the needle and blue yarn to pick up his phone. And then promptly almost dropped it on the floor.

 

Shakily, he unlocked his screen and pulled up his messenger app to see the new text that had come through.

 

Todoroki <3: She liked the flowers.

 

Izuku had to take in a breath to calm himself. Right! Don’t freak out. Somehow, he had managed to avoid embarrassing himself when it came to them texting, so he hoped that he could uphold that record. (And oh my god, his crush was texting him at two in the morning. This is amazing slash was going to give him an aneurysm.)

 

Shakily, he began to text back.

 

Midoriya: that’s good!

 

Todoroki <3: ´・ᴗ・`

 

Todoroki <3: I’m starting to like these emoticons.

 

Holy crap. That was the cutest thing in the world, holy crap.

 

Midoriya: haha me too! 〔´∇`〕

 

Midoriya: was it a special occasion?

 

Todoroki <3: I’m sorry?

 

Midoriya: for your mother! i thought it was really sweet that you were giving her flowers, but i couldn’t remember if it was a special day or not, so maybe you guys had an occasion?

 

The typing… bubble stopped. Then started. Then stopped again. Izuku bit his lip and worried it as a good five minutes ticked by, with Todoroki constantly stopping and restarting whatever he was texting. Izuku knew for a fact that he had hit a sensitive topic, and he inwardly berated himself. Todoroki was obviously awkward and not very socially adept when it came to other people, and no one in school knew that much about him - it was very very possible that Izuku had just did something incredibly insensitive and offended this amazingly kind boy.

 

So he began to type furiously.

 

Midoriya: oh my god i’m so sorry todoorki-kun i think i said something wrong and i really didn’t mean to i’m soo so so sorry oh my god i totally get it ifg you dot’n want to tutro me tomrrroww

 

Todoroki <3: It’s okay.

 

Todoroki <3: You were right, it was a special occasion.

 

Todoroki <3: It was the first day I visited her in ten years.

 

Todoroki <3: She’s in the hospital.

 

Izuku inhaled sharply.

 

This was definitely a sensitive topic. Izuku typed carefully.

 

Midoriya: well, i hope she smiled when she saw those flowers. i’m sure she’s absolutely lovely, todoroki-kun

 

Midoriya: let’s go to the shop tomorrow after the study session! we can get her even more flowers, okay?

 

Todoroki <3: Thank you.

 

Todoroki <3: I don’t like talking about my family much.

 

Midoriya: then why did you talk to me about them?

 

Todoroki <3: I don’t know.

 

Todoroki <3: I feel like you’re a trustworthy person.

 

Izuku collapsed on his bed, curling up into a ball and pulling the covers up and over his head. He felt like his heart was going to pound out of his chest, and he felt warmth creep up to his ears as he clutched his phone tightly to his chest. His stomach was filled with butterflies that kept fluttering with each second, and in the safety of his blanket with only his phone as a light, he whispered, “I like you, Todoroki-kun. I really, really like you.”

 

He wished he had the courage to tell that to Todoroki’s face. But these texts were far more than he thought he would ever get - and they were also far more than enough.

 

Midoriya: my lips are sealed

 

Midoriya: and todoroki-kun why are you up so late!!! it’s almost three in the morning now

 

Todoroki <3: I could say the same for you.

 

Midoriya: haha (^▽^;) i guess i am a bit of a hypocrite

 

Midoriya: but i’m crocheting right now! i want to make a new scarf for my mom since her last one is fraying

 

Todoroki <3: Crocheting?

 

Midoriya: yeah, it’s kind of like knitting but i think crocheting is easier

 

Todoroki <3: I see. It seems interesting.

 

Todoroki <3: Can you show me?

 

Izuku had to hold back a squeal. He was just so cute!

 

Midoriya: really?

 

Todoroki <3: Yes. It seems relaxing.

 

Todoroki <3: And I would also like to make my mother something.

 

Todoroki <3: I… admire you for doing something so affectionate for your mother. And staying up so late for it, no less. I want to have a bond like that with my own mother someday.

 

Todoroki <3: I think the flowers were the first step. Maybe this crocheting can be the second.

 

Izuku had to take a moment and set his phone down. He locked it, turned it over onto his bed, and he lied on his back as he pushed back the covers and stared up at his ceiling. Small stars glowed gently in the darkness of his room - they were from Toshinori, right after he and Izuku’s mother got married.

 

Izuku had begged for him to do something to his room.

 

Toshinori and his mother had thought that he simply wanted a little more decoration in his room, but in reality, he had wanted Toshinori to make a permanent mark in his life. The stars were proof that Toshinori was his father - maybe not by blood, but Izuku looked up to him with stars in his eyes and loved him the way he never loved his birth father. The galaxy now permanently on his ceiling was Toshinori's impression on Izuku’s life.

 

Izuku liked to think that each little star was someone important in his life. The two twin sparkles at the middle of his room were his mother and father. Over there was Ochako. Tenya wasn’t too far away from her. Kacchan sat somewhere farther away, but still as  important as the rest of them.

 

Izuku felt like crying as he replayed the conversation he just had with Todoroki in his head. How could one boy be so precious? There was obvious history between Todoroki and his family, but he was willing to take the steps and mend the burned bridge between him and his mother because he still loved her after all these years. He was willing to bring her flowers that had genuine meanings behind them, and he was willing to make her something with his own hands to further prove his love.

 

There was a star right in the middle of Izuku’s ceiling. It was bright and silver and looking a little crooked. It was Todoroki.

 

(Izuku was only a highschool student but he was sure that Todoroki was someone special.)

 

(Todoroki for sure didn’t like Izuku back, but that was fine. All he cared about was the star on his ceiling and the phone that carried their messages.)

 

(He just wanted to stay by Todoroki’s side.)

 

(He wished Todoroki would let him.)

 

So he rolled over to his side, picked up his phone, and opened his messaging app once more.

 

Midoriya: i think that’s a wonderful idea. do you want me to bring yarn and needles tomorrow? maybe we can do a half-and-half tutoring session!

 

Todoroki <3: If it’s not too much trouble.

 

Midoriya: no no i promise! it’ll be really fun and relaxing like you said

 

Midoriya: also todoroki-kun you never answered my question, why are you up so late?

 

Todoroki <3: Oh.

 

Todoroki <3: I can’t sleep. Some nights I can but others I usually don’t.

 

Todoroki <3: So I’m doing the chemistry homework right now.

 

Midoriya: .. we had chemistry homework?

 

Todoroki <3:

 

Todoroki <3: Would you like me to go over it with you?

 

Midoriya: oh my god yes please ╥﹏╥

 

Izuku’s hands fumbled as the sudden blare of his ringtone yelled throughout the room.

 

I know what I have to do now…

 

“Ack!” Izuku flailed as he read the Todoroki <3 is calling… screen of his phone.

 

It’s my life, one and only!

 

Izuku swiped for accept call, and he shakily pressed his phone up to his ear. When there was no sound, he whispered, “T… Todoroki-kun?”

 

There was a shuffling noise, and finally, the other boy muttered, “good morning, Midoriya.” His voice was close to the microphone, the low almost-tiredness of his tone sending chills down Izuku’s spine.

 

“G-Good morning!” Izuku sputtered. He raced for his desk and began to frantically pull out his chemistry folder as well as a pencil from his backpack. Izuku set his phone down on the surface of the wooden desk and put Todoroki on speaker, sitting down and pulling out the sheet he vaguely remembered Aizawa handing out that day at school. “Um, is it the naming covalent and ionic bonds sheet?”

 

“Mm,” came Todoroki’s noise of affirmation. “I’ve finished most of it, so we can go over it one at a time if you’d like.”

 

“Yes, please,” Izuku whispered in vague horror as he stared wide-eyed at the sheet in front of him. He already felt dizzy from the vast amount of numbers and letters he could see - it just didn’t make sense to him! Usually he was so good at this kind of stuff, but admittedly he’d been more than distracted in class.

 

“Let’s start with AgNO3,” Todoroki muttered soothingly, like he knew the state of panic Izuku was driving himself into. “Can you tell me what the first element is?”

 

Izuku blinked back tears of despair before quickly swiping up the periodic chart they had received at the beginning of the year. “I-It’s, um, Ag is silver, right?”

 

“Yes,” Todoroki said. “Is silver a metal, metalloid, or nonmetal?”

 

“U-Uh,” Izuku said, dazed as he frantically searched the key of the chart. “Metal?”

 

“Good. So that means if this is a metal, what kind of bond is this formula?”

 

“I-I don’t know,” Izuku gulped.

 

“A covalent bond is a sharing of valence electrons between two nonmetals,” Todoroki said gently. His voice soothed Izuku greatly, his tense shoulders relaxing from his frustration of not knowing the answer. “And an ionic bond is the giving or taking of valence electrons between one metal and a nonmetal. If silver is a metal, which bond should it be?”

 

“Ionic,” Izuku mumbled half-hesitantly.

 

Todoroki hummed yes. “So that means if the bond is ionic, we don’t use prefixes to name it. We only use the prefixes of mono, di, tri, tetra, and so on when the bond is covalent.”

 

“W-Wait, um, let me write this down,” Izuku stuttered, his hand flying everywhere as he snatched up his chemistry notebook and began to furiously write down everything Todoroki had just said.

 

“It surprised me when you asked for me to tutor you,” Todoroki said quietly as Izuku kept writing. “I thought you were quite good at this stuff.”

 

“Ah,” Izuku said nervously, face pink as he thought about the many class periods when he would just stare wistfully at the back of Todoroki’s head instead of paying any attention to whatever Aizawa was saying. “Well, I mean I guess you’re right, but lately I haven’t been able to pay attention in class.”

 

“Why?”

 

Izuku’s face went an even darker shade of pink. “No reason. Um, I’m done writing now, we can keep going.”

 

“Okay,” Todoroki said. “Can you tell me what NO3 is?”

 

“It’s a polyatomic ion,” Izuku immediately said. He chewed his lip as he confessed, “I only know because I saw it on the polyatomic chart, though.”

 

“Hm,” Todoroki hummed. “That’s fine. What’s it called?”

 

“Nitrate.”

 

“What’s its charge?”

 

“Uh… I think negative one?”

 

“Yes. What’s the charge for silver?”

 

“Positive one.”

 

“So that’s plus one minus one. What does that equal?”

 

“Zero?”

 

“So that means this bond is real.” Todoroki said, his voice almost satisfied as Izuku slowly took in the information. “In order to be a stable compound, the charges of the different elements or polyatomic ions have to equal zero. Because zero is - “

 

“The charge of a noble gas,” Izuku breathed. “And all elements want to become a noble gas and be stable!”

 

“Yes,” Todoroki said, and even though they were just calling, Izuku could imagine his almost-half smile on his lips as he said this. “And since numbers typically don’t matter in ionic compounds, what would you name this formula?”

 

“Silver nitrate,” Izuku said. “Oh my god, is it silver nitrate?”

 

Todoroki gave a breathless sort of laugh, like a chuckle but quieter. It made Izuku’s heart flutter. “It is.”

 

Izuku was ready to punch the wall in his excitement. This was amazing. Not only were he and Todoroki apparently now calling each other at three in the morning (bless), but Izuku understood. Maybe not all of it (he still didn’t get what the roman numerals and all that were for), but he was making his way slowly but surely.

 

“Thank you so much, Todoroki-kun,” Izuku breathed into his phone’s microphone, his smile so wide it pulled almost painfully at his cheeks. “I’m so grateful! I feel like I know just a little bit more now.”

 

“That’s good,” Todoroki said quietly. There was a pause, then a ruffling noise, like he was shifting wherever he was sitting. “Your flower shop.”

 

“Um, yes?” Izuku said, startled at the sudden change of topic but happy to go along with is as he began to pack away his papers and pencils. (He’ll do them tomorrow. Maybe. He still didn’t get most of it, so - )

 

“It says Midoriya-Yagi Gardens,” Todoroki said. “Is Midoriya-Yagi your full family name?”

 

“Oh!” Izuku exclaimed, climbing into his bed and curling up while staring at his ceiling once more. “No, actually. My name is Midoriya, but when my mom got married she hyphenated her name and opened that shop with my dad!”

 

“... Your birth father?”

 

“No,” Izuku giggled lightly. He slipped his eyes closed, relaxing as he listened to Todoroki’s quiet breathing from the other side of the line. “He’s my stepdad, but I love him a lot. He’s my dad, even though we’re not biologically related.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“He and mom used to dance around each other for so long,” Izuku blabbed as he felt sleepiness finally start to creep at the edges of his vision. He tried to blink the grogginess away. “Before I got too fed up and set them up on a date at this restaurant they both really like. They later told me they weren’t sure whether or not to be together because they were afraid I wouldn’t like the changes it would bring.”

 

“And did you?”

 

“No,” Izuku whispered. His fingers started to become slack as he felt himself slowly start to drift off into sleep. “I never regretted it.”

 

Todoroki let out a breath, and when he spoke, his voice was almost clogged with an emotion Izuku couldn’t quite name in his half-asleep state. “I think that was very brave.”

 

“Thank you,” Izuku said, his voice sounding farther and farther away as he slipped further into sleep. “I think you were brave, too. Seeing your mother like that… It’s only something heroes would do.”

 

There was silence. Then a quiet laugh, the sound of disbelief and maybe even a little awe. “I’m just a coward.” Todoroki paused, and he said quietly, “I think you’re the hero here.”

 

The only answer he received was the soft sound of Izuku’s snore.

 

Todoroki huffed in amusement, then said, “good night, Midoriya.” And even more gently, he murmured, “sweet dreams.”

 

The call ended with a soft click.

 

XxXxXxXxXxX

 

Izuku’s day passed by slowly in his sleep-deprived mind. He couldn’t pay attention at all in class, earning him more than a few smacks on the head from some paper or the occasional glare from the more strict teachers. But despite the bags under his eyes and also Ochako’s scolding for staying up so late, he still perked up once he approached the science hallway and to his classroom.

 

He smiled at Aizawa, who nodded to him in greeting as Izuku made his way past the first few tables and scooted to the seat by the window in the middle left row. He began to unpack his things, face lightly warm as he remembered the night before and the utter magic he was convinced he had felt. It was embarrassing as hell for him that morning when he woke up and realized he had fallen asleep in the middle of his call with Todoroki, but still.

 

The fact that Todoroki had called him and opened up to him in the first place was enough to blow that embarrassment right out of the water. It was hard to believe that the quiet and stoic boy had been so willing to share details about his private life to Izuku, but he had told them anyway, and Izuku was treasuring those little tidbits of information like pieces of gold and jewelry.

 

As he was fishing out his pencil pouch, he didn’t expect for the stool beside him to be pulled out quietly before someone sat down. He blinked at the neatly cleaned shoes that were right in front of him - usually Ochako sat next to him, but she wasn’t here today, due to a little stomach bug she apparently caught the night before. So who was - ?

 

Izuku looked up and let out a small squeak as he realized that Todoroki, calm and collected, was now taking out a black mechanical pencil that he twirled in his fingers while his mismatching eyes looked over the notes he apparently took during yesterday’s lesson.

 

He must have felt Izuku’s stare, because he turned to look at him. For a moment they looked at each other, Izuku in shock and Todoroki in faint amusement, before the taller boy said quietly, “hello, Midoriya.”

 

“H… Hello,” Izuku managed to spit out. He slowly straightened his spine and sat up straight, his pencil pouch clutched tightly in his hands as he said, “w-why are you sitting here? This isn’t your usual seat…”

 

Todoroki shrugged, and his expression was shy as well as a little embarrassed as he muttered, “I wanted to sit beside you. Is that okay?” He glanced to the side and frowned lightly when he saw Jirou’s raised eyebrows and Kirishima's confused expression. “Unless you and your tablemates would prefer for me not to - “

 

“No!”

 

Izuku’s face went red as Todoroki blinked at him in shock at the rather loud shout. The taller boy’s own face went a slight pink. Izuku cleared his throat, and after a moment of struggling, said more quietly, “you can stay. Please.” He paused. “I-I would like it if you did.”

 

Todoroki looked to the side, and Izuku almost melted when he saw his own cheeks go a light, rosy pink. He nodded wordlessly.

 

Lord. Someone save Izuku, this was almost too much for him.

 

“You’ll be completing the worksheet I assigned last night,” Aizawa grunted in a tired tone from his desk, not even bothering to stand up to address his students. “Since I’m sure a lot of you didn’t bother even trying to solve it.”

 

Kirishima laughed sheepishly along with an unashamed Kaminari.

 

“If you need help, then come see me, but other than that, get on with it.” Aizawa grumbled, and without another word, he proceeded to collapse onto the floor and pull a yellow sleeping bag around himself to curl into a ball. The students, far too used to him by this point, immediately began to move and sit by their friends while chattering about the worksheet or the school’s latest drama.

 

“S-So, um, I remember what we went over last night,” Izuku started to say shyly as he pulled out the worksheet and a pencil. “But I-I’m still having trouble doing some stuff.”

 

Todoroki merely smiled at him, his eyes soft and his voice even more so as he said, “we can go over it later.” He picked at something Izuku couldn’t see on the table, and murmured, “I’d rather talk about something else.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku flustered. He glanced around the room - it seemed like no one else wanted to do the worksheet either, all of the other students having gathered in groups by this point and disregarding the classwork altogether. He smiled at Todoroki, cheeks warm. “Okay! What did you want to - “

 

“Your father,” Todoroki interrupted. He flushed lightly, but from what, Izuku couldn’t really tell. He was glaring at the top of the table, pencil clutched tightly in his hand from an emotion that Izuku couldn’t name. “You… Last night, you spoke so fondly of him.”

 

“Toshinori?” Izuku blinked. “Yes. He’s - I love him.”

 

“You called him your real father.”

 

“Y-Yes?”

 

“But what about your birth father?”

 

Izuku bit his lip gently, and he said softly, “what about him?”

 

“Do you hate him?”

 

Izuku stared.

 

“Do you hate him?” Todoroki repeated, pressing more this time. His eyes were wide, almost pleading, as he stared at Izuku like he was searching for an answer on his face.

 

“No,” Izuku immediately shook his head. “No. He wasn’t a good father, or even a good husband, but he loved me and my mom. Just… he didn’t love us enough to stay. But I can’t blame him - he wanted to see the world, and he couldn’t do that when he had us to return to. So he cut all ties and left a long time ago.”

 

“My father,” Todoroki said. He swallowed, and Izuku leaned in close, eyes wide and earnest. Todoroki sighed quietly, and he smiled almost genuinely. “Is a bastard.”

 

“‘Your left side is unsightly,’ my mother said as she poured boiling water down my face,” Todoroki said, pressing the tips of his fingers to the scar around his eye. Izuku gasped lightly, and he almost raised his own hand to touch it - he only barely managed to hold himself back. “My father drove her to the edge and broke her. I will never forgive him for doing that to her. I know she didn’t mean to - she loved me. Loves me.”

 

“You asked for flowers that meant forgiveness,” Izuku murmured.

 

“I wanted to show her I was sorry,” Todoroki said. “For being a coward and not seeing her for long because of my own shame. And to let her know that I forgave her a long time ago.”

 

There was silence between them for a moment, the only noise being the almost muffled chatter of their fellow students, all of them not paying attention to the two. Izuku breathed in, taking in the air between them - it was almost charged with emotions, and his heart was pounding as he said, “you said I was brave last night. But I’m not. I think you’re the bravest - a hero, you know.”

 

Todoroki huffed a laugh, but it wasn’t one of mirth. Instead, it was bitter and short, and his voice was tight as he said, “I don’t think I can be a hero when my father is an absolute villain.”

 

“Todoroki-kun!”

 

Todoroki blinked at the forceful hiss of his name.

 

“Don’t say something like that,” Izuku said. “You aren’t your father. It’s your future, isn’t it?”

 

Todoroki stared at him, his eyes wide and his mouth even agape a little. He suddenly smiled. A real smile. The corners of his lips pulled up, causing the edges of his eyes to crinkle lightly, and his eyes had stars in them. Izuku felt like his stomach had exploded into millions of butterflies that fluttered excitedly inside of him - his heart was beating furiously, too abnormally and too quickly to be normal, and he just wanted to capture that smile and make sure it never went away. How could someone be so beautiful and think that they were ugly?

 

“Thank you, Midoriya,” Todoroki said, his smile lovely and his voice soft with emotion.

 

“No problem,” Izuku whispered. He felt like someone was pressing against his windpipe, and he couldn’t breathe, much less speak properly.

 

He clutched at his leg tightly, his palms sweaty and his pulse racing.

 

In Kacchan’s words, fuck.

 

He observed as Todoroki, now significantly more relaxed and pliant, smiled softly at him before gesturing to their worksheet and pointing at the next problem to begin and try and explain to him. His eyes, though different colors, were glinting beautifully with his relief and other emotions as he spoke of covalent and valence electrons.

 

He was breathtaking.

 

Izuku… was in a lot of trouble.

 

Chapter Text

The rest of the school day passed by like a blur for Izuku. His mind kept hyper-focusing on chemistry and the lightning that crackled through his veins whenever he thought about the softness of Todoroki’s beautiful face, his warm, cinnamon scent, and the flecks of what he was sure was gold through his mismatched eyes.

 

When the final bell of eighth period rang, Izuku let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. He was practically vibrating from both his excitement and anticipation as he hurriedly stuffed his math things in his backpack, swung the red bag over his shoulders impatiently, and began to race to the door.

 

Just as he walk past it, his phone vibrated, indicating a new message. He fumbled for it and swiped open his lock screen, a smile pulling at his lips as well as a blush as he realized who it was from.

 

Todoroki <3: Where’s your last class?

 

Todoroki <3: We can go to the library together. I brought my bike today.

 

Todoroki <3: Unless you would rather go separately.

 

Izuku was a little embarrassed when several students looked at him weirdly as he squeaked while his face went a furious shade of red. (Who knew Todoroki was so romantic? Okay, not really romantic, because he was just being nice and offering a ride to their study session, but whatever! Izuku was in too deep and he was clutching onto each moment with a vice grip.)

 

Midoriya: omg todoroki-kun that’s so nice of you! of course we can go together

 

Midoriya: i just finished math in room 1801, should i wait outside the school for you?

 

Todoroki <3: No. I’m heading towards you right now.

 

Todoroki <3: Wait outside in the hallway.

 

Midoriya: okay! d(・∀・○)

 

Todoroki <3: d(-_☆)

 

Izuku leaned outside of the classroom like he was told, and admittedly he looked absolutely ridiculous as he clutched his phone to his chest while staring at his red sneakers and feeling his face go an even darker shade of scarlet than them.

 

He couldn’t believe this was all happening. Just a little twenty-four hours ago, he had believed that Todoroki was this untouchable, god-like person who was too perfect for Izuku to even approach. But in reality, the boy was awkward, thoughtful, and entirely human. It was amazing, like Izuku was slowly gathering the small puzzles to make up the wonderful picture that was Todoroki Shouto.

 

(Secretly, Izuku thought that all the imperfections only made Todoroki that much more perfect.)

 

(And even more secretly, Izuku thought that Todoroki was lonely.)

 

(Todoroki was sad.)

 

(Izuku wanted him to smile again.)

 

“Midoriya?”

 

“Todoroki-kun!” Izuku breathed, smiling as he caught sight of the quiet boy approaching him.

 

The taller boy nodded, and this time, his near-smile was bigger than the times before. “It’s good to see you again.”

 

Izuku couldn’t help but giggle as he fell step in step beside Todoroki as they began to slowly move their way through the sea of students also trying to go home. They were a mere inch apart, shoulders brushing every few seconds, and Izuku’s breath hitched whenever they did. “We saw each other only a few hours ago, though.”

 

“Yes,” Todoroki cleared his throat. His cheeks were faintly pink as he led them outside to the school courtyard and past the other chattering students who were meeting up with friends and catching up with each other’s day. “I, um. Knew that.”

 

“You’re not that good with people, are you, Todoroki-kun?”

 

They both froze at that, Todoroki’s hand just barely brushing the handle of a silver bike.

 

Izuku slapped his hands to his mouth in horror.

 

When he unclasped them, he began to let out a tsunami of words. “Oh my god! Oh my god, Todoroki-kun, I’m so sorry, I really didn’t mean to say that, that was so rude of me! I’m really really sorry, and besides it’s not like I can say anything, after all I’m really bad with people, like how I’m rambling right now, I should really stop talking - “

 

“Breathe, Midoriya,” Todoroki finally said, and to Izuku’s relief, he didn’t seem offended. Instead, he seemed amused, and maybe even a little thoughtful. He turned to his bike, swinging his leg over the middle bar and grasping the handles as he looked up at the sky. “You’re right, of course. I’m not the best with… people in general. You could say I’m more awkward than our peers.”

 

He turned and smiled slightly at Izuku. “You’re my first friend, you know.”

 

Izuku swallowed. “Am I a good friend?”

 

Todoroki paused, and after a minute, he placed his bag into the basket at the front of the handles and motioned for Izuku to get on. “I don’t have any other friends to compare you to.” His smile widened a small amount, and Izuku nearly tripped over his sneakers as he carefully climbed onto the seat of the bike. “But I think you are.”

 

Todoroki pushed up the kickstand, and he glanced over his shoulder to Izuku, who was sitting sideways on the seat. Izuku hoped the other boy wouldn’t notice his red cheeks. Todoroki let out a small huff of laughter before saying, “you’ll have to hold onto me. You’ll fall off, otherwise.”

 

“O-Okay,” Izuku wheezed, and shakily, he laid one hand gently onto Todoroki’s right hip. Izuku swallowed when he felt the shift of Todoroki’s trousers under his skin as the boy began to slowly pedal down the street, moving past other students who brought their own bikes.

 

“Wah!” Izuku stuttered as Todoroki rode over several small rocks in the road. Instinctively, Izuku clutched for Todoroki, wrapping his arms around his waist and pressing his face against his back. He inhaled, almost melting at the warm cinnamon scent that came from the crisp white of Todoroki’s shirt.

 

It was only after a moment that he realized what he was doing, and with a face he was sure resembled an over-embarrassed tomato, he said, “T-Todoroki-kun, am I making you uncomfortable?”

 

“No,” came Todoroki’s immediate reply. His hair fluttered in the wind, and when he looked over his shoulder at Izuku, a smile was pulling at his lips, even bigger than the one from before, and Izuku’s heart stuttered when he could see the faintest impression of a dimple on Todoroki’s left cheek. “Don’t let go, okay?”

 

Izuku’s hands gripped the boy’s shirt even tighter, and his eyes were wide as he said in a breathless tone, “okay.”

 

Todoroki was pedaling at a leisurely pace, but Izuku found that it was perfect. The wind wasn’t exactly chilly, but it wasn’t warm either, the trees they were passing under filled with red and golden leaves. The air smelled like autumn, and when Izuku hesitantly buried his face in Todoroki’s back once more, he could smell the slow burn of cinnamon and something that was entirely Todoroki. Izuku’s stomach was overflowing with butterflies, and this time, he grinned widely into Todoroki’s shirt.

 

“I like you,” Izuku mouthed silently into the white fabric. (He wished he could say it out loud.)

 

Slowly, Todoroki came to an eventual stop, and Izuku was disappointed as he let go of the other boy’s waist and looked around them. They had stopped just in front of the library, and Izuku hopped off the bike, smiling as Todoroki pushed down the kickstand and swung his bag over his shoulder.

 

“Did you like the ride?” Todoroki asked as he pulled open the door to the building and let Izuku pass first.

 

“I did,” Izuku said honestly. (He liked it a little too much, actually.) “We should do it again sometime! Except I’d like to pedal, I feel bad for making you do all the work.”

 

Todoroki let out a small noise of laughter and led them both to a secluded area of the library, hidden behind bookshelves and the only source of light being a tiny lamp on a table with four chairs around it. Todoroki observed the area for a moment and deemed it suitable, and gestured for Izuku to sit. “It was fine, Midoriya.” He paused and rubbed at his wrist, and he spoke in a soft voice as he said, “I liked riding with you.”

 

Izuku nearly tripped on his way to a seat, and when he sat down, he was sure that even in the dim lighting Todoroki could see his fiery cheeks. He felt so red that Izuku was surprised his face didn’t melt off yet. He fidgeted with his fingers, not minding the fact that he was picking at his bandages, and nodded so hard he probably looked like a bobble-head. “I liked it, too! A lot. W-We should definitely do it again. Today. Um, when we visit the flower shop.”

 

Todoroki smiled gently at him, and Izuku was about to keel over and die. That bastard. Was it even legal to be that beautiful? “That sounds nice.”

 

He sat at the chair to Izuku’s right, and without saying anything, he scooted even closer until their elbows were brushing and Izuku could smell that warm cinnamon smell once more. (Holy crap. He was going to die.)

 

“Let me see your quiz,” Todoroki said, already shuffling through his bag and taking out several pieces of paper along with his periodic chart and a pencil.

 

“Y-Yes,” Izuku sputtered, and with far less grace than Todoroki, he managed to somehow pull out his quiz and its pitiful grade.

 

To Izuku’s relief, the other boy didn’t even blink at the score on top, only going over the questions Izuku missed and making low noises at the bottom of his throat. “You seem to know some things - your grasp on the lewis dot structure is shaky, but you look like you know what it needs. But you’re not getting the number of bonds right.”

 

“No,” Izuku shook his head, teeth chewing on his bottom lip as he tapped his pencil on the table’s surface in thought. “I know that it needs the valence electrons, but… but that’s about it.”

 

“Hm,” Todoroki hummed, and without another word, he grabbed a piece of paper and presented it to Izuku. “Okay, then. Let’s look at this compound, phosphorus tricholride, or PCl3. I’m going to show you how to find the correct number of bonds in the lewis structure.”

 

“Okay,” Izuku said, eyes almost glaring in his concentration as he stared pointedly at Todoroki’s pencil.

 

The taller boy stared at him for a second before huffing in laughter. He began to write. “How many valence electrons in total does phosphorus need in order to have a full valence shell and be a noble gas?”

 

“Full valence shell?” Izuku frowned. He tapped his foot, and then finally said, “isn’t that eight? Except for helium, because helium only has two valence electrons.”

 

“Right,” Todoroki nodded. “So in total, phosphorus would need eight valence electrons. How many phosphorus’ are in the formula?”

 

“O… One.”

 

“Yes. So that’s eight times one.” Todoroki wrote 8(1) on the paper. “How many valence electrons in total would chlorine need to have a full valence shell?”

 

“Is it eight, again?”

 

“Mm. The only exception would be hydrogen since it wants to become helium, and helium only has - “

 

“Two valence shells! Right, okay.”

 

“How many chlorines are there in the  compound?”

 

“Three.”

 

“You’re right,” Todoroki said, and on the sheet of paper, he wrote down something else so the whole thing read as 8(1) + 8(3) = ? “What’s the answer to these numbers?”

 

“Thirty-two?”

 

“Exactly. So in total, you need thirty-two valence electrons.”

 

Izuku’s brows furrowed in concentration, and he bit his lip. “Wait, what does this have to do with anything?”

 

Todoroki merely smiled, his eyes glinting in amusement over Izuku’s confusion, and wow, wasn’t that like seriously one of the best things ever? “We’re getting there. How many valence electrons does phosphorus actually have?”

 

“U-Um…” Izuku’s eyes strayed to the periodic table, and his eyes darted to P and the group it was in. Group 15. He remembered, now, vaguely of what Aizawa had told them - if the group number was a double digit, then the number in the ones place was equal to the amount of valence electrons. So… “Five?”

 

Todoroki wrote 5(1).

 

“And how many valence electrons does chlorine actually have?”

 

“Seven. And there are three chlorines.”

 

5(1) + 7(3) = ?

 

“You’re doing well,” Todoroki praised quietly, and Izuku flushed at the compliment. He gripped his leg tightly, now determined more than ever to get the answer right. Todoroki continued to say, “what’s the answer?”

 

“Twenty-six,” Izuku murmured.

 

“Yes. Now, you take the number of needed and subtract from it the number you have. So it’ll become this.” Todoroki carefully wrote down the next equation, which became 32 - 26 = ?

 

“It’s six, right?”

 

“Yes. So you take six and divide it by two, which becomes…”

 

“Three.”

 

Todoroki smiled, the hint of a dimple showing once more on his cheek as he nodded and tapped the tip of pencil at the number three. He circled it and said, “that’s your answer. You need three bonds in total for the lewis dot structure.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku blinked, and suddenly, he was in utter awe as he stared at the numbers that were so easy once he knew the process. Was that really all there was to it? “T… That’s it?”

 

“That’s it,” Todoroki said.

 

“T-Then!” Izuku said, his eyes wide and his face set with determination as he said, “can we do nomenclature again? Please?”

 

The other boy nodded. “Alright.”

 

They spent the next hour or two like that, slowly but surely going over Izuku’s quiz and breaking down what he did wrong and how to fix them. Izuku’s brain was absolutely muddled from different elements and polyatomic ions by the end of it, but he got it. Maybe not absolutely (he had fumbled with ionic compounds), but he had a much better grasp on it than before.

 

“I owe you so much, Todoroki-kun,” Izuku moaned in relief as he gaze at his now (painstakingly) completed worksheet. The margins of the paper was filled with his crammed chicken-scratch as he tried to write down word for word whatever the other boy had said. “I didn’t think I’d ever get this stuff.”

 

“No,” Todoroki shook his head. “It was all you, Midoriya. I told you - you’re smart, you just didn’t know the procedures.” He glanced at his phone, and blinked at the time that shined dimly in his face.

 

“Oh. It’s getting late.”

 

“Is it?” Izuku said, and after fishing out his own phone, he gaped at the numbers 6:56. “Oh my god, we have to hurry if we want to make it to the shop in time for your mother’s flowers!”

 

He glanced guiltily at his red backpack, which slumped innocently against the legs of his chair. He could remember that morning when he had excitedly stuffed in several balls of yarn along with different crocheting needles. “I’m really sorry, Todoroki-kun, I know you wanted to crochet today, but I don’t know if we have time…”

 

“It’s okay,” Todoroki said quietly, already packing up his own papers and pencils. “We can always do it next time.”

 

There was a next time?

 

“Let’s go,” Todoroki said, a small smile on his face and successfully turning Izuku’s knees to jello once more.

 

“R-Right,” Izuku said in a weak voice, standing up quickly and wobbling dangerously.

 

The night was considerably more cool than when they had left school - the sun had already set by this point, the sky now an inky indigo with swirls of stars and the moon hanging in the night. The air smelled crisp and clean, and Izuku couldn’t help but take in a breath as he and Todoroki approached the bike once more.

 

“Todoroki-kun, I wanted to pedal this time, I can’t make you do all the work!” Izuku protested, flustered as Todoroki merely swung his leg over the bike and grabbed the handles. The taller boy gestured for Izuku to sit, and after a moment of reluctance, he did so, pouting slightly.

 

“Next time,” Todoroki assured.

 

So there was a next time. Izuku tried hard not to think about it too much. (Except he was. Oh my god - Todoroki wanted to spend more time with him, could Izuku’s life get any better?)

 

“Hold on,” Todoroki said over his shoulder, his eyes shining in the light of the moon. Izuku was convinced that the stars that glimmered gently in the sky were reflecting in those blue and silver eyes of his - the snow white of Todoroki’s hair shimmered just like the moon, and the fiery red of his left was just like the slowly turning leaves of the trees above them.

 

Izuku swallowed the lump in his throat, and with his emotions thrumming loudly in his veins, he grabbed onto Todoroki once more, hands going around his waist and gently grasping onto his shirt.

 

The ride to the flower shop was somehow even better than the one to the library. Whenever Izuku closed his eyes, he could concentrate his other senses - the crinkling of the red and golden leaves from the soft autumn breeze, Todoroki’s steady breathing as he pedaled to an even rhythm, and the thrum of Izuku’s own fast-paced heart. Izuku was positive that magic was filling the air - it was the only way to describe the tingling in his fingers, the warmth of Todoroki’s back, and the scent of fresh autumn.

 

Izuku was so happy.

 

The curly-haired boy opened his eyes just in time to catch sight of a leaf fluttering down from a tree they were just passing, and in a moment of impulse, his bandaged and scarred hand shot out to grab it. It was certainly pretty, only the edges of it turning a gold color while the rest of it was still bright scarlet. He twirled it in his hand, deciding whether or not to keep it, only to have his thoughts interrupted by Todoroki’s soft voice. “Your hands. Are they okay?”

 

Izuku clutched the leaf tighter, and came to the conclusion that Todoroki must have seen him grab it out of the corner of his eye, and in return saw the scars littering his skin. Izuku giggled. “Yes, don’t worry. I just get too excited when I work with the flowers, so I always end up cutting myself accidentally.” He flexed his fingers, eyes almost fond as he eyed the white bandage around his thumb. “I’ve gotten so used to it that I sometimes don’t even notice when I hurt myself again, so Mom usually has to point it out for me.”

 

For a moment, there was nothing but the sound of their breathing and the soft crunching of leaves they rode over before Todoroki spoke once more. “You should be more careful.”

 

Izuku felt his cheeks heat up at the statement, and he had to resist the urge to bury his nose into Todoroki’s back. “I-I will.” Suddenly struck with an idea, Izuku wrapped his hand holding the leaf back around the other boy’s waist, and he carefully held it, making sure it wouldn’t get blown away by the breeze. “Here, Todoroki-kun!”

 

A hand bigger than his own and far more warm gently grasped it, the edges of their fingers brushing against each other for a brief second before both Todoroki’s hand and the leaf were gone. Izuku’s blush worsened, and he had to hold back a squeak.

 

“What’s this for?” Todoroki asked, voice tinted with his mirth as he lifted the leaf high enough for Izuku to see it over his shoulder.

 

“For you,” Izuku said in an honest voice. “Um, autumn’s my favorite season, and it really reminds me of you!”

 

Todoroki laughed.

 

It was a full-blown laugh, one that had his shoulders shaking and head bent as he chortled in amusement, the sound echoing through the empty street and filling Izuku’s head with cotton. Todoroki was still grinning as he looked at Izuku over his shoulder, and oh my god, Izuku thought, he did have a dimple, right there on his cheek. Todoroki’s eyes were positively sparkling as he managed to say through his laughter, “thank you, Midoriya.” He let out a breath, shoulders finally relaxing and laughter pausing. “It seems like I’ve been saying that a lot lately.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku said. It was the only thing he could say.

 

“I always mean it,” Todoroki said. “You… you make me very grateful, Midoriya.”

 

Izuku swallowed the lump in his throat, and his hands tightened on Todoroki’s shirt, because Izuku liked him so much that his heart was threatening to jump out of his throat and spill all of his feelings right then and there. It took much of his effort, but he managed to push back those words and instead said in a thick voice, “for what?”

 

Todoroki pedaled for a few seconds, seemingly thinking about Izuku’s question, and finally, he said, “for a lot of things.”

 

“Me too.”

 

Todoroki tipped his head in question.

 

“Me too,” Izuku whispered, and this time, he had no problems burying his face into Todoroki’s back to hide the raw emotions that he was sure could be seen on his face. His breath stuttered as he took in Todoroki’s cinnamon scent, his heart a battering ram against his ribcage, and his throat clogged with his absolute awe and the fierce sense of protectiveness he held for this boy, who wanted to get flowers for his mother, learn to crochet for her, and teach Izuku all about polyatomic ions. “I’m grateful, too.”

 

“About?”

 

Izuku didn’t answer, but into the safety of Todoroki’s shirt, he silently mouthed, “you.”

 

The ride was spent in silence after that.

Chapter Text

Ocha-cha-chako: deku-kun!!! how was your date with todoroki-kun?

 

Small Might: IT WASN’T A DATE

 

Small Might: i couldn’t breathe properly for half the time

 

Small Might: he’s just so precious omg, i have to protect him

 

Small Might: he’s been through so much ochako-chan :( i nearly cried

 

Ocha-cha-chako: deku-kun :((

 

Small Might: and i know before i thought he was perfect but he isn’t which is so much better like did you know he’s allergic to aloe because i didn’t and when he was at the shop with me today i tried giving him a pot since you know aloes are cool and he sneezed so cutely i nearly had a heart attack and oh my god i like him so much i feel like if he asked me to to to eat soap i’d do it right away

 

Small Might: you know he has the most amazing laugh???? his eyes crinkle at the edges and oh my god ochako-chan he has dimples how can i survive, and he does this little snorting thing that makes me want to weep from the cuteness

 

Small Might: he’s just so amazing. like is it legal for one person to be so loveable?

 

Small Might: .. oh.

 

Small Might: … ochako-chan

 

Small Might: i think i might be a tiny bit in love with him

 

Ocha-cha-chako: i know

 

“Crap,” Izuku breathed, arm thrown over his eyes as his other hand limply held his phone, his dark room lit softly by its still-on screen and the milky glow of the stars on his ceiling. He squeezed his eyes shut, face flushed and heart pounding as he thought about, well, everything.

 

He thought about Todoroki’s awkward use of emoticons, his formal and clipped way of texting that was really just his lack of social experience, the soft, warm gaze of his eyes as he talked about his mother, and the laughter that made him curl up slightly as he snorted and giggled. Izuku thought about his scar, a permanent reminder of his father’s iron fist, about his glimmering eyes as he said thank you to Izuku, and the electricity between them whenever they accidentally touched.

 

Izuku clutched at his shirt over his chest, and he could suddenly hear his own ragged breathing and the wild thumping of his heart. So it was true, then. Izuku, who had been tentatively testing the waters of the lapping shore, was wading in so much farther, and with only one more step, he would be drowning in the scent of softly burnt cinnamon and gentle smiles.

 

He was so close to being in love with Todoroki that it wasn’t even funny. In fact, it terrified him.

 

It wasn’t hard to see why and how - there was something absolutely magical about Todoroki. And Izuku, like a moth to a flame, was helplessly drawn in and without even a single protest let himself be dragged into the sad and almost cold life of Todoroki. But why Izuku? Why did Izuku have to try and fall in love with him? How could he, with his scarred and ugly hands, warm up the iciness of Todoroki’s dreams?

 

Izuku clenched his hands at the thought.

 

“I like Todoroki-kun,” Izuku said out loud. His face flushed even hotter.

 

“I like T-Todoroki,” Izuku murmured, feeling almost dirty for dropping the honorific.

 

And finally, he bit his lip, before shakily saying, “I like S… Shouto.”

 

“I’m a bad person!” Izuku moaned as he turned to his side and buried his burning face into the coolness of his pillow, chest twisting a little with his guilt of saying Todoroki’s given name without permission. Then again, if Todoroki called him Izuku… Shudders ran down his spine just by thinking about his name falling smoothly from Todoroki’s lips.

 

(He was scared, because he was fifteen and had never been in love before.)

 

(What if this all ended badly?)

 

(Oh, god.)

 

Bzzt.

 

His phone, which had been tossed aside in his frantic guilt, vibrated for a few seconds against his lower back where it slid down. He blindly grabbed for it, managing to somehow  grip it with his hand and pulling it to his face once more. He squeaked when he realized that the object of his affections was the one who had texted him.

 

Todoroki <3: Midoriya, are you still awake?

 

Todoroki <3: I’m sorry to bother you if you’re sleeping. But I wanted to thank you for the flowers again.

 

Todoroki <3: My mother enjoys receiving them.

 

Todoroki <3: Since we couldn’t do the crocheting today, if you have the time, can we do it over the weekend?

 

Todoroki <3: Together.

 

Todoroki <3: If you want.

 

Todoroki <3: You don’t have to.

 

Midoriya: !!!

 

Midoriya: i’m happy your mom liked the flowers, todoroki-kun!

 

Midoriya: and yeah, that sounds really fun (^▽^)

 

Midoriya: where do you want to meet up?

 

Todoroki <3: I’m not sure.

 

Todoroki <3: Where would you like to go?

 

Midoriya: asdisoajfosji todoroki-kun whyyy

 

Midoriya: i’m not good at deciding things ╥﹏╥

 

Todoroki <3: Oh.

 

Todoroki <3: I apologize.

 

Todoroki <3: Then how about your flower shop? I know you work there a lot.

 

Todoroki <3: Maybe you can do your floristry while teaching me to crochet on the side.

 

Todoroki <3: Is that okay?

 

Midoriya: haha floristry (≧y≦*)

 

Midoriya: todoroki-kun you say the cutest things sometimes

 

Time froze.

 

Izuku was sure that someone was screaming.

 

Oh.

 

It was him.

 

“Oh no!” He wailed loudly as he clutched at his phone, face red and heart pounding in alarm. Why, why, why did he have to say that? He had let the moment get the best of him, and in his panic to delete the words, he had sent them instead, and oh my god he’s typing what do I do?

 

He began to type instead, hoping to get his apology across before Todoroki rejects him or makes fun of him or even worse, leave behind their friendship completely just because of Izuku’s little crush! (Little. Lot. Big. Like, really big.) (Fuck.)

 

Midoriya: TODOROKI-KUN I DIDN’T MEAN TO SEND THAT PLEASE IGNORE ME I’M SO SORRY IF I MADE YOU UNCOFMORTABLE I DIDN’T MEAN TO I’M SO SO SORRY

 

Todoroki <3: Oh. You didn’t mean it?

 

Todoroki <3: I was going to say that I thought you say cute things, too…

 

What?

 

Midoriya: what?

 

Todoroki <3: I thought it was obvious.

 

Todoroki <3: About what I think of you.

 

Midoriya: think of me?

 

Todoroki <3: I think you’re amazing.

 

Izuku’s breath was harsh and fast as he held his phone so tightly that his knuckles turned white. His eyes were incredibly wide, lips forming a perfect ‘o’ shape and his face redder than the leaves on the trees outside. Todoroki said he was amazing. Todoroki thought that Izuku was amazing. Izuku was going to explode.

 

Todoroki <3: I’m sorry if I said too much.

 

Todoroki <3: I don’t know how to express myself correctly.

 

Todoroki <3: But you are special, Midoriya.

 

Midoriya: IZUKU

 

Todoroki <3: ?

 

Midoriya: ah… you got me so flustered now…

 

Midoriya: i um

 

Midoriya: i really think you say the cutest thing! and i know you called me amazing but in my opinion i think you’re a thousand times more amazing than i am

 

Midoriya: please call me izuku

 

Midoriya: i um just really like us and our friendship and i would like us to get closer!

 

Todoroki <3: Okay. Izuku.

 

Todoroki <3: Please call me Shouto.

 

Holy fuck.

 

Midoriya: ahhhh

 

Midoriya: okay shouto-kun! (●´艸`)ヾ

 

Before Todo - Shouto - could send another text, Izuku hurriedly changed the other boy’s contact name to something that fit even better.

 

His hands shook the whole time he was typing.

 

Shouto <3: I, um.

 

Shouto <3: Would like it if you gave me a nickname.

 

Shouto <3: Only if you want.

 

Shouto <3: I don’t have any other friends so I’m not sure what to do.

 

Shouto <3: But I’ve heard you call Bakugou ‘Kacchan’ several times.

 

Shouto <3: Am I… doing this right?

 

It was official.

 

Izuku had definitely died and gone to his own personal heaven, because there was no way this was real right now. They were on first name basis. No, nickname basis. Todoroki Shouto, the boy of Izuku’s dreams and now quite possibly the boy he was also in love with, was asking him for an endearing, cute-sy nickname simply because he wanted one and felt close enough to Izuku to ask in the first place.

 

Face glowing red and almost split in two by his wide grin, Izuku hurriedly changed Shouto’s contact info and his own name in the chat once more before going back and typing his reply.

 

Izuku: oh my gosh shoucchan you’re one of the most amazing friends i have

 

Izuku: i think you’re doing perfect

 

Shoucchan <333: Shoucchan?

 

Izuku: is, um

 

Izuku: is that okay? or would you like something else??

 

Shoucchan <333: No.

 

Shoucchan <333: It’s perfect.

 

Shoucchan <333: I… really want to see you right now.

 

Izuku’s whole body was shaking as he had to take a moment and cover his face with his hands, certain that if he tried to stand up he would absolutely fall over due to his jelly-like knees. His face felt too hot underneath his hands, and tears pricked at the edges of his eyes as he sniffled happily. This was happening. It was real.

 

He couldn’t believe it, but it was definitely real.

 

(Izuku really liked Todoroki before.)

 

(But now, he was half in love with Shoucchan.)

 

(He wanted to hold him and kiss his scar and tell him that he’s amazing, because he is and Izuku would try his damn best to bring him warmth to overshadow the chill of a cold father and an absent mother.)

 

Izuku: me too

 

Shoucchan <333: Can we meet tomorrow?

 

Izuku: when?

 

Shoucchan <333: In the morning. If you can.

 

Izuku: okay! i open the shop at eight. is that okay?

 

Shoucchan <333: Yes.

 

Shoucchan <333: I’ll see you tomorrow, Izuku.

 

Izuku: see you tomorrow!

 

Izuku collapsed onto his bed, face absolutely glowing with both his blush and beaming smile. The stars on his ceiling twinkled back, like they were just as happy as him. Which was impossible, since Izuku was quite sure he had never been this breathless with happiness in his life, except for maybe when his mom and dad finally got married.

 

He kicked his feet up, his joy too much to contain in his body, and he shouted with laughter.

 

He felt like he could conquer the world.

 

Quickly, before he could lose his nerve, he pulled up another chat with someone he hadn’t talked to in a while. But he was sure that they’d appreciate hearing from him. (Maybe.)

 

Deku: why did you and kirishima-kun start dating?

 

Kacchan: What kind of fucking question is that shitty Deku

 

Kacchan: I’m dating him cause he has a fucking cute ass face alright

 

Kacchan: And when he makes me choke on his dick I cry cause it feels too good

 

Deku: KACCHAN

 

Kacchan: Fucking hell, shut up it was a joke. And why’re you asking me such a stupid question at almost midnight

 

Kacchan: Is it cause of fucking half-n-half

 

Kacchan: I was getting sick of you sending each other goo goo eyes during class

 

Deku: you think he likes me?

 

Kacchan: Holy shit Deku what the fuck is wrong with you

 

Kacchan: Of fucking course he likes you, you with your fucking freckles and shit. Stop saying something so stupid

 

Deku: ahhhhhhh omg really???

 

Kacchan: Shut up. I’m never wrong, got it?

 

Kacchan: And fucking hang out with me and Ei or whatever on Sunday. Bastard keeps whining about us not “spending time" together

 

Kacchan: You’re fucking stealing my boyfriend

 

Deku: ooo!! i’d love to, we should go to the movies

 

Kacchan: Fine

 

Kacchan: And tell that icy bastard if he hurts you I’ll rip his fucking lungs out

 

Deku: ahhhhh kacchan!!!!! that’s so sweet

 

Kacchan: SHUT THE HELL UP AND GO TO SLEEP

 

Deku: okay!! <3 see you later kacchan

 

Kacchan: Fucking nerd

 

Kacchan: <3

 

XxXxXxXxXxX

 

Izuku wasn’t even grumpy like usual when his alarm blared right in his ear, screaming for him to wake up. Instead, he woke up abruptly, slammed the alarm off, and practically sprinted to the bathroom in his haste to start getting ready.

 

“Izuku?”

 

“Hm?” Izuku gargled around a mouthful of frothy toothpaste as he stuck his head out of the door to see his dad starting to make his way towards him.

 

Toshinori huffed fondly at the sight of his son with his bangs tied messily back and the innocently confused look on his face. “Son, it’s barely seven in the morning. I’ve never seen you this happy to wake up so early on the weekend.”

 

Izuku beamed around his toothbrush and spat out the froth into the sink. “I’m just excited!”

 

“For the shop?”

 

“Um,” Izuku paused, face red as he temporarily stopped in the middle of rinsing his mouth. “Yes?”

 

“Does it have anything to do with that handsome young man from the other day - “

 

Okay Dad gotta get ready to open shop bye!” Izuku sputtered, shutting the door right in Toshinori's face and slumping against the wood in relief. Even through the door, he could hear the quiet laughter of Toshinori's amusement before finally the blond moved on, probably to cuddle with Inko before she fully woke up.

 

After a moment of clearing his head (and past his embarrassment), Izuku finished cleaning up by patting his face dry and then observing his reflection. He frowned at his chubby cheeks and the freckles that littered them, and he pulled at a messy green curl, his hair looking like a tangled bush as always.

 

How could Shouto ever possibly like him when he had such a permanent baby face and the wildest hair on earth?

 

Izuku forced himself to move past those thoughts and untied his bangs once more, the curls falling right above his eyes as he tried and failed to at least somewhat tame his hair. He gave up after a few minutes of wrestling with it, and instead rushed to his room to pick out an appropriate outfit to wear. The other times he and Shouto met were usually after school, which meant they only ever saw each other in the school uniform.

 

Izuku bet Shouto would look good in anything.

 

Flushing at the thought, Izuku hastily put on his chosen white t-shirt then a hoodie on top, and he hobbled into a pair of jeans while trying to simultaneously reach for his phone that laid on his dresser.

 

After stuffing his phone into his pocket, he carefully walked to his parents’ room and stuck his head in. He giggled when he saw Toshinori and Inko in the middle of bed, the both of them sleeping in the slowly creeping sunlight through the window, the only indication of Toshinori having already woken up before being his slippers beside the bed that laid crookedly on the floor.

 

“Bye,” Izuku said quietly, grin only widening when their response was to just shuffle in the bed sheets before stilling once more.

 

He hummed softly in the stillness of the soft morning light now filtering through the windows of the kitchen as he took an apple and took a bite of it, the crunch of sweetness of it only adding to his good mood. He grabbed the keys to the shop, the metal jingling cheerfully, and Izuku only barely remembered to tug on a white beanie to protect his ears from the morning chill as well as his backpack which contained his yarn and crochet hooks.

 

The walk to the store was always as it has been except different at the same time. The smell of new autumn, crisp and cold in the early hours of the day, made his nose tingle and his fingertips slowly grow numb. The familiar steps were the same as always, his walk along the pavement one that he had gone along for years by that point. He passed the same shops - a bakery Izuku knew Satou’s family owned, a music store that belonged to Jirou’s parents, and others that just like him were just about to start opening up.

 

He waved as he passed by the book store he knew Yaoyorozu liked to frequently visit, and sure enough, the pretty girl was there as always, curled up against the window with a smile on her face and an open book in her lap as she waved back at him.

 

The town was small, and in return the community was small, so the streets were always filled with his classmates. Some he was close to and some he wasn’t, but he waved to them all anyway, beaming only brighter when they greeted him back with a gesture of their own or another smile.

 

Izuku approached the flower shop, its pale green sign of Welcome to Midoriya-Yagi Gardens! spreading a warm feeling throughout his chest as he tucked in the key and unlocked the door with a firm twist. The wind chimes let out a cheerful jingle as he swung the door open and propped it like that, a door stopper shaped like a cactus on the bottom to keep it from closing again.

 

The warmth and humidity of the room temporarily flushed out, chased by the cold of the morning autumn chill, before slowly the air became warmer once more.

 

Izuku checked his phone, whining quietly at the time. 7:48. Still a little while until Shouto would get here.

 

(He flushed once he realized how needy he was being.)

 

(God, they weren’t even dating!)

 

(Not that he’d mind if they were.)

 

(Like. At all.)

 

(Oh, lord.)

 

Izuku sighed, face softening as he thought about their conversation the night before, and after a moment of basking in the feeling of his affections, he pulled on the hideously beautiful buttercup yellow apron once more and began to do what he usually did.

 

He began to check inventory for everything, even going all the way back to the not-so-secret tiny little garden he knew Toshinori had made for his mother’s pleasure. He was pleased that the daisies, his mother’s favorite, were growing well.

 

Izuku began to hum once more as he puttered quietly around the shop, checking on each plant and watering them adjustably.

 

“Hello?”

 

Izuku jumped at the call, having been so invested in the succulents that he didn’t realize someone had entered. He brushed his hands (which were adorned with new pricks and pins from the plants that had thorns or other sharp obstructions) on the front of his apron, and he straightened up from his crouch to see familiar mismatched eyes peering at him from the entrance of the shop.

 

“Shouto,” Izuku breathed. (Oh, wow. Saying his name… it was amazing.)

 

“Good morning, Izuku,” Shouto smiled. Actually, this was even better. Hearing his own name falling so smoothly from Shouto’s lips were enough to make Izuku want to sprout wings and fly.

 

It was then that Izuku realized what Shouto was wearing. He looked absolutely - well - what was the word? Heartstopping in his turtleneck sweater that was the color of a warm gray, his hair slightly mussed from the breeze, his jeans form-fitting and his red converse absolutely fitting him. Izuku had never seen Shouto in casual wear before, but he was thanking every god out there for letting him see something so heavenly.

 

“I-I didn’t realize the time,” Izuku said, his cheeks warm as his eyes darted to the clock on the counter, the hands of it pointing at 8:14.

 

“I’m sorry that I’m late,” Shouto said, waving off his apology. “I was, er… getting you something.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Bakugou,” Shouto said, his face slightly pink as he handed to Izuku a gently steaming cup of some sort of drink. When Izuku took a careful sip, he nearly melted at the rich chocolatey flavor that flooded his taste buds.

 

“Kacchan?” Izuku repeated, taking another sip and sighing as it warmed his whole body.

 

“He works at the cafe beside that bookstore,” Shouto murmured, his face shy as he tucked a red strand of hair behind his ear and nearly giving Izuku an actual heart attack. “I, um. I texted him last night, and he said you liked hot chocolate in the mornings, so he suggested - demanded - that I go and get you some.”

 

Izuku flushed, and it had nothing to do with the drink that he held close to his chest. Shouto did all that? For him? God, could this boy be anymore admirable? “Kacchan does make the best hot chocolate.” He hid slightly under his bangs, peeking up at the taller boy with red cheeks as he squeaked, “thank you, S… Shoucchan.”

 

There was silence between them as Izuku screamed internally at his own boldness while Shouto stared at him with wide eyes and pink cheeks of what Izuku presumed to be embarrassment or the result of the cold outside.

 

“Crocheting!” Izuku yelped as he finally realized that they both hadn’t said anything in a while. He fumbled for the counter, swiping up his red bag and helplessly taking another sip of the delicious hot cocoa (seriously, Kacchan was the best at this kind of stuff) before he rolled out several balls of yarn along with hooks. “What color do you want to use, S-Shoucchan?” Izuku couldn’t help but flush at the nickname once more. It was such a cute deprivation of Shouto’s actual name, and it was so intimate, too.

 

The fact that Shouto had asked for a nickname was even more intimate.

 

Shouto still looked a little dazed at the name himself as he took a few moments to blink in confusion before realizing what they were doing. He approached the counter, and his hand reached for the white colored yarn, his fingers brushing against Izuku’s when he grabbed it.

 

Izuku screamed. Internally. (Holy shit.)

 

“This one,” Shouto said. His smile was hesitant but genuine as he looked at Izuku. “Can you show me how?”

 

“O-Oh!” Izuku stuttered, having been too caught up in the look of how when the sunlight reflected softly off of Shouto’s right hair, the white of it looked just like freshly fallen snow. He swallowed and nodded enthusiastically as he handed Shouto a golden hook while he grabbed a blue one for himself.

 

“So you start by looping the string, like this…”

 

Izuku thought the concentrated look on Shouto’s face was adorable. He was focused entirely on Izuku’s hands, watching his fingers several times before attempting to repeat the motions with his own hands.

 

This continued until slowly, Shouto was starting to make his own scarf, the first few inches already done by them together and falling softly onto Shouto’s lap.

 

Izuku observed him with adoring eyes, and he knew that he wore his heart on his sleeve so there was a very high chance that Shouto would catch him and realize just how amazing Izuku thought of him, but he couldn’t stop himself.

 

In the smell of the fauna and the gentle sunlight of the rising sun as he crocheted with a soft, content smile on his face, Shouto looked like home.

 

(Izuku was definitely half in love.)

 

(... Shit.)

 

Chapter Text

Izuku was practically vibrating in his excitement as he got ready for school. Not because of school in particular - even if he really enjoyed p.e and healthcare - but because his once least favorite class was now the highlight of his day. He hummed a nonsensical tune as he packed his backpack, flushing lightly at the leftover yarn and hooks from Saturday as well as the faint floral smell from the said yarn.

 

“You seem excited for school today, sweetheart,” Inko said in an amused voice as he sat down at the table and dug into his rice and miso with vigor.

 

“I just feel like today’s going to be a good day,” Izuku grinned. “Is Dad already at the shop?”

 

“That father of yours overworks himself,” Inko sighs fondly. She reached over and ran a gentle hand through his curls before smoothing her thumb over his cheek and removing a grain of rice that had stuck to his skin. “I’ve never seen you this happy, Izuku.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku flushed. He poked at his rice for a second before saying, “I am really happy, Mom.”

 

“I know,” Inko cooed, her eyes positively shining. “Now, hurry and finish up, dear. You don’t want to be late.”

 

“Right!”

 

As Izuku finished up his breakfast (miso always was one of his favorites), he grabbed for his phone in his pocket, which buzzed to let him know that someone had texted him.

 

He pulled it out and opened his messaging app to see who messaged him.

 

Kirishima: Midoriya!!! Yesterday was really fun <3

 

Kirishima: That movie really was good, its characters were so manly

 

Kirishima: Also Katsuki told me about you and Todoroki

 

Kirishima: Good luck!

 

Midoriya: apsjdajfslajf

 

Midoriya: kacchan ugh,,,,, he tells you everything TwT

 

Midoriya: and thank you!!! i’m still shy around him but maybe one day???

 

Midoriya: haha i can only dream though

 

Midoriya: see you in class later!

 

Midoriya: <3

 

Just as Izuku was about to put the dishes away and give them a quick rinse, he got another text, only this one made him jump and go a bright pink.

 

Shoucchan <333: Izuku.

 

Shoucchan <333: Do you want to… um.

 

Shoucchan <333: I would like it if we could walk to school together.

 

Shoucchan <333: But I would understand if you didn’t want to.

 

“Izuku?”

 

Inko went unintentionally ignored as Izuku grasped his phone tightly and had to fight the urge to sob. This boy was so sweet - he was offering to walk with Izuku to school! His heart was a mess as he began to type his reply.

 

Izuku: shoucchaaaan why wouldn’t i want to go don’t say something like that???

 

Izuku: that’s so sweet! i’d love to walk with you

 

Izuku: my address is here

 

Shoucchan <333: Okay. I’ll be there in five.

 

Shoucchan <333: I’ll see you soon.

 

Izuku: okay!!!!

 

“Oh my,” Inko gasped in delight. Izuku jumped as he realized that she had somehow snuck over to him while he was texting Shouto and was reading everything over his shoulder. “Is that the cute boy from the shop a while ago? Oh, my little Izuku has a boyfriend!”

 

Wait!” Izuku yelped, face now flaming red as he nearly dropped his phone entirely when his arms flailed in panic. “Wait, Mom, we’re not dating!”

 

“Are you sure, dear?” Inko said in a knowing voice.

 

Yes,” Izuku said, and he hesitated before mumbling with red cheeks, “no matter how much I want us to.”

 

Izuku - !” Inko gasped, eyes wide and her face beaming.

 

“But w-we’re not!” Izuku sputtered.

 

“Oh, you and your father both, dear,” Inko sighed fondly. She rubbed her thumb over his freckled cheek lovingly, humming when he pouted but didn’t bother to try and pull away from her touch. “He’s been influencing you a lot. He’s such a brave man, but even he tries to run away from his feelings from time to time. I suppose that’s why it took us so long to get married.”

 

“You were afraid I would see you differently,” Izuku interrupted. “And Dad’s really cool! I think he’s the best dad in the world. I was already calling him Dad before you guys even started dating, anyway.”

 

“Don’t you think you’re doing the same thing, Izuku?” Inko chided gently. “You’re right, of course. Your father’s the best dad in the world - but like you said, he was afraid you would see him differently if he and I started a relationship. Are you sure you’re not doing that with this Shoucchan of yours?”

 

“Mom,” Izuku hissed, face flushed as he realized she had caught him with the intimate nickname. He cleared his throat and shrugged. “I-I mean. It’s not like we’ll ever get together. I’m so plain-looking and Shoucchan’s, um… I think he’s perfect.”

 

“No one’s perfect, dear,” Inko cooed in comfort. “And don’t call yourself plain, Izuku! You’re smart and so cute, any man would be lucky to have you.”

 

Izuku was silent, ears burning as he scrubbed almost furiously at his bowl while he tried to digest his mother’s words. She observed him calmly, her eyes soft with understanding as well as patience. He didn’t talk until the front door was knocked on gently, to which he responded with a hurried kiss on Inko’s cheek, and even quicker goodbye, and his haste nearly making him trip over his own feet as he fumbled for the door and swung it open to grin widely at Shouto, who was blinking cutely at his sudden appearance.

 

“Good morning, Shoucchan!” Izuku said happily.

 

Shouto smiled, his eyes crinkling softly at the edges and that dimple faintly showing once more as he nodded and replied, “good morning, Izuku.”

 

The shorter boy closed the door quietly behind him and was practically skipping in his excitement as Shouto began leading him down the familiar path to the school building, the space between them lessening with each step. Izuku felt his heart jolt whenever the back of their hands brushed against each other, and he wished he had the courage to curl his hand around Shouto’s.

 

Just as he was thinking this, a sudden warmth engulfed his fingers, making him jump in surprise and go entirely red once he realized that Shouto’s hand, bigger and far warmer than his, had abruptly grabbed his right hand in the middle of their silent but comfortable walk.

 

“Shoucchan?” Izuku squeaked.

 

Shouto refused to meet his eyes, staring straight ahead, but Izuku could tell that his cheeks were a bright pink as he murmured, “is this okay?”

 

“Y-Yes!” Izuku yelped, and the smile he got in response was more than enough to make up for the embarrassment of being so loud. Izuku shyly intertwined their fingers together properly, interlocking them and resting his bandaged thumb below Shouto’s. Shouto slowly ran his own thumb over over it, the touch soft and gentle and too sweet for Izuku to handle.

 

(They were holding hands.)

 

(Holy fucking shit ass fuck.) (Sorry, Mom.)

 

(What did this mean?)

 

(His hand was warm.)

 

(There was no way Shouto could like him back so this had to be a friend thing, right? Right. After all Shouto was still behind on social clues so maybe he didn’t realize how intimate they were being.)

 

(Izuku was about to keel over and die but he would die a happy man indeed.)

 

“I’m sorry for asking to see you again so soon,” Shouto said, breaking Izuku’s racing thoughts. His eyes were no longer looking at the sidewalk ahead of them but the sky, the grey of large and puffy clouds filled with water slowly rolling over them. He let out a breath, releasing steam due to the coldness of the air and making him almost look like a dragon. “If it ever bothers you, please tell me.”

 

“No,” Izuku immediately said. His face was red as he squeezed Shouto’s hand, but his voice was firm and his eyes staring straight at the taller boy as he said, “I like spending time with you, Shoucchan. Don’t say things like that. And…”

 

Izuku fidgeted shyly, embarrassed but also so in practically love by this point with this boy that he couldn’t possibly hold himself back while he blurted, “I missed you.”

 

“Oh,” Shouto said. His eyes were wide as he stared directly at Izuku’s face, face rosy pink and Izuku wanted nothing more than to get up on the tips of his toes and kiss the other boy’s soft, glowing cheeks. His eyes softened with an emotion Izuku couldn’t quite name, and an almost blinding grin pulled at his lips, fully developing a dimple in his cheek and making Izuku’s heart flutter like crazy when he said in the most gentle voice possible, “me too.”

 

“Really?” Izuku breathed.

 

“Yes,” Shouto said. He hesitated for a brief moment before he softly squeezed Izuku’s hand, the touch making butterflies explode in his stomach. “I… I haven’t really felt like this for anyone before. I’m not sure what to make of it, but you make me feel happy.” He paused for a moment.

 

Shouto cleared his throat quietly, and he said, “is that okay?”

 

“Shoucchan,” Izuku whispered, and maybe it was the way Shouto’s long eyelashes brushed against his soft cheeks everytime he blinked, or the earnest and unguarded tone of his voice, or the warmth of his fingers against Izuku’s - but oh my god, Izuku thought. I love you. The words were a massive clump in his throat, and he had to struggle for a moment and swallow them down. Maybe one day Izuku could say it to him directly, but for now, he could only say in a throaty voice, clogged with his emotions, “of course it’s alright. Whatever makes you happy, I’ll make sure you get it, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Shouto responded. After a brief pause, he said, “then please stay by my side.”

 

“I will,” Izuku repeated, voice even softer.

 

They spent the rest of the walk in silence, content with the warmth and magic of the bubble they had somehow created around them. When the school building slowly came into view, Izuku was only a little embarrassed to admit that he was disappointed. He held Shouto’s hand tighter, not wanting to let go.

 

“I have to go to math,” Shouto admitted as they stared at the entrance of the school, still holding hands and their fingers interlocked.

 

“I have healthcare,” Izuku also said. He softly bit his lip, and he said, “I’ll see you in chem?”

 

“Yes,” Shouto nodded. He gave Izuku’s one last squeeze. “I’ll see you then.”

 

When he finally let go, Izuku’s hand stayed in place for a moment, the warmth of Shouto’s skin disappearing too rapidly to his liking in the chill of the autumn morning. Shouto stared at his own fingers, like he was trying to memorize the feeling of Izuku’s hand in his, and after a moment of both of them almost at a loss from the lack of each other, Izuku finally stuttered, “b-bye, Shoucchan.”

 

“Bye, Izuku,” Shouto frowned, like the words were foul in his mouth. He hesitated before giving a small wave and a tiny smile and then turned on his heel to walk to the other entrance of the building that led to a further part of the school.

 

Izuku lingered, watching him slowly fade from view, before he took a breath and went inside the building himself.

 

The warmth of the school's heaters was nothing compared to the tingling sensation of Shouto’s hand around his.

 

XxXxXxXxXxX

 

“Deku-kun,” Ochako hissed as she power-walked over to him at their usual seat during lunch. She sat down hastily and immediately whispered in an urgent voice, “I thought you said you and Todoroki-kun weren’t dating!

 

“What!” Izuku yelped, dropping his chopsticks when his hands fumbled. He grabbed them before managing to say, “but we aren’t!”

 

“Really?” Ochako blinked, like she was genuinely surprised by his refusal. She hesitated and said, “but people saw you and Todoroki-kun holding hands while coming to school?”

 

“O-Okay, um,” Izuku flushed, heart fluttering as he thought of that morning. He cleared his throat, and he nervously tapped the side of his bento box before admitting, “w-we did. Hold hands. I mean.”

 

Deku-kun!” Ochako squealed, her expression absolutely delighted as she pressed closer to Izuku’s side while her hair did that lifting thing it usually did whenever she got highly emotional (seriously, was she a Ghibli character?). Her eyes were positively sparkling as she said, “what happened? Tell me everything.

 

“I-I can’t!” Izuku squeaked. He took a breath and managed to steel himself enough to say, “s-some stuff is private, but oh my god Ochako-chan I nearly died. We were walking to school together - he’s so sweet, he offered to go with me - and then he grabbed my hand and I almost said I love you - “

 

“Whoa,” Ochako breathed, interrupting his spew of words. “Wait. Deku-kun… Are you really in love with Todoroki-kun?”

 

“What?” Izuku yelped. “I-I mean, maybe? Yes? I don’t know. Um, it doesn’t really matter though, right? He probably doesn’t like me that way, he’s only being so affectionate because I’m his first friend and maybe he doesn’t really know all the platonic rules that well - “

 

Ochako gave a heaving sigh at her best friend, and she rolled her eyes greatly in response. She stole a piece of ham from his bento, swallowed, and said, “Deku-kun, you idiot.

 

“Huh?”

 

“Do you really think Todoroki-kun would do all that and not mean he’s desperately in love with you?” Ochako pressed. She huffed at his lost expression and flicked his nose gently, making him glare and stick his tongue out at her. “You said it yourself, Deku-kun. Todoroki-kun’s a smart guy - maybe not the most social, but he’s not a hermit living in the basement, either. Don’t you think he might like you? A little? Lot? A lot a lot a lot?

 

“Ochako-chan,” Izuku moaned in despair. “Stop giving me false hope!”

 

“Oh my god, Deku-kun, you’re so oblivious it makes me want to cry…”

 

“Izuku.”

 

Both students jumped greatly, as they had been so wrapped up in their hushed (and dramatic) conversation over Shouto that both had failed to realize that the object of their argument had somehow sneaked up on them.

 

Izuku beamed, shooting a warning look at a smug Ochako before saying, “Shoucchan! What, um, what are you doing here?”

 

There was a tiny gasp as Ochako clasped her hands under her chin and whispered with stars in her eyes, “you call him Shoucchan, oh my god that is so cute - “

 

You usually don’t come to lunch, right?” Izuku yelped, hoping to whatever deity was listening that Shouto hadn’t heard his friend’s awed whispering. He glared fiercely at Ochako, who merely made a puppy dog face.

 

“I usually don’t,” Shouto agreed, and his posture was a little awkward as well as hunched as his eyes darted around the lunchroom. It was only then that Izuku realized how many eyes were observing them, which made sense considering Shouto was one of the most popular boys in school, but it was then that Izuku also realized that half those eyes observing them were on himself.

 

Izuku felt himself flushing at the attention, and hurriedly he said, “why don’t you sit down, Shoucchan?”

 

“Okay,” Shouto nodded, and without any warning, he proceeded to reach over and grab Izulu’s hand from his lap before settling down calmly beside Izuku’s right, his fingers carefully tangling themselves with Izuku’s and once again running his thumb gently over the many scars that littered Izuku’s skin.

 

Izuku went a bright red, and he was screaming internally as Ochako ginned almost madly at him. Izuku coughed, but he tightened his hand on Shouto’s hand anyway, relieved to feel the warmth smoothness of Shouto’s skin against him once more.

 

“Am I making you uncomfortable?” Shouto asked as he laid their clasped hands on top of the table, the tight holding of their fingers undeniable for everyone around them. His thumb ran gently over Izuku’s multiple scars, and the look in his eyes were equally soft along with the pink glow of his cheeks. “I, um. Missed you, again.”

 

“N-No,” Izuku stuttered, and though his face was a flaming red, his words were genuine as he smiled shyly at Shouto. “I-I missed you too.”

 

Shouto nodded, smile playing at his lips.

 

Snap!

 

“Ochako-chan!” Izuku cried out in mortification as he broke out of his adoring gaze at the boy beside him to see Ochako grinning like the devil himself as she unashamedly took a photo of them on Snapchat.

 

“Just a little sugar for my story!” Ochako trilled happily as she easily evaded Izuku’s swipe for her phone. She rapidly typed something, and Izuku only caught a glimpse of his and Shouto’s hands before the picture was gone and posted onto her story with a simple swipe.

 

“You suck,” Izuku pouted, not noticing when Shouto picked up his chopsticks and poked a little at the half-eaten rice in his bento. “And where’s Tenya-kun?”

 

“Helping out at the debate club,” Ochako waved him off. “You know him, he likes waving his arms around and proving that he’s right.”

 

“He’s an admirable teammate,” Shouto suddenly muttered as he helped himself to little mouthfuls of Izuku’s rice. After a moment, he suddenly raised a little helping of rice to Izuku’s lips, who had no choice but to turn permanently red, smile helplessly, and accept the offer. Shouto smiled, seemingly pleased by this, and continued. “His arguments are very convincing and logical.”

 

“Todoroki-kun, you’re in the debate club?” Ochako said, her eyes gleaming as she leaned in even closer to the taller boy.

 

Shouto blinked at her sudden interest, and he looked at Izuku with uncertainty. Izuku could only squeeze his hand and say, “she won’t stop, I’m sorry in advance.”

 

“Oh,” Shouto blinked. Then he said, “I’m in several clubs. They all make me dead inside.”

 

Izuku sputtered at the unexpected joke, and he nearly choked on his rice before laughing at Shouto’s deadpan voice as well as his serious eyes. He subconsciously leaned into Shouto’s shoulder and said, “Shoucchan, w-what on earth - “

 

“Oh my god, Todoroki-kun,” Ochako giggled. “I didn’t know you had such a funny sense of humor!”

 

Shouto merely shrugged, but the small smile on his face betrayed how pleased he was.

 

“Well, you two lovebirds have fun,” Ochako sighed, getting up and ignoring Izuku’s sputters of denial. “I have to go talk to Tsuyu-chan about our project in engineering.”

 

“Tsuyu-chan,” Izuku mocked teasingly. He stuck her tongue out at her pink cheeks and said, “you’ve been talking to her a lot lately, huh?”

 

Bye, Todoroki-kun," Ochako hissed, ignoring Izuku and spinning on her heel to march out of the busy lunchroom.

 

“Was she okay?” Shouto said as he watched Ochako leave with a curious look in his eyes. “She seemed flustered.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku giggled as he slid over his bento to Shouto and tapped it to indicate for him to eat more. “She’s had this crush on Tsuyu-san for a while now - she’s only recently gotten closer to her, though. It’s nice to poke at her because of how much she teases me about you so much.”

 

Pause.

 

For a moment, Izuku didn’t realize what was wrong - he just continued to play with Shouto’s fingers, finding the slender shape of them fascinating, until suddenly his last words hit him in the back of his head and he gasped loudly as he dropped Shouto’s hand and whipped his head to see the other boy staring at him with wide eyes, a slightly gaping mouth, and an entirely pink face.

 

“W-Wait!” Izuku sputtered, his arms flailing wildly as he tried to rectify the situation. “I-I didn’t mean that, I mean yes I did, Ochako-chan teases me so much, but, but, n-n-not because I like you, well I do like you, but not because, of, um - “

 

“Izuku,” Shouto finally said, and his voice was hushed as he interjected. “You’re rambling.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Izuku said weakly. He slumped in his seat, fear and despair swirling within him. He had definitely just ruined their relationship with those few words - he honestly hadn’t meant to say them, but they had slipped out at the last moment, as he had been too caught up in his amusement to realize what he was exactly saying right to Shouto’s face.

 

“So you don’t like me?” Shouto asked in a soft voice.

 

“No!” Izuku immediately protested. He straightened in his seat and played with his hands nervously, his eyes cast down onto them, his voice low and almost shaky as he said, “I’m just embarrassed that I-I said that so suddenly, I guess. You’re one of my best friends, Shoucchan, of course I like you.”

 

“Oh.”

 

The disappointment in Shouto’s voice made Izuku finally find the courage to look up, and he was startled to see the other boy’s face so close to his, hovering a mere inch or so away. The blue and grey of his eyes were calculating, almost searching as he observed Izuku’s slowly reddening face, before he seemingly came to a satisfying conclusion before leaning back slightly.

 

Shouto reached over and gently grabbed Izuku’s right hand, instantly soothing the shakiness of them and tracing his scars with his finger. “I like you too, Izuku.” He smiled at him, the gently slope of his lips matching almost too perfectly with the softness of his voice. “You’re my first friend. My best friend, I could even say.”

 

“R-Right,” Izuku said in a faint voice, and it was a little awful of him, but he wished that he had had the courage to confess the actual meaning of his ‘like’. But Izuku was a coward (and afraid - Shouto would definitely reject him, wouldn’t he?) and gave in to his doubts too quickly, so instead he only moved past his hurt, smiled, and nodded.

 

(He’s so smitten.)

 

(And pathetic.)

 

(God, help him.)

 

Chapter Text

Izuku was trying to stop himself from smiling with every step as he approached sixth period - chemistry was still a pain in the butt (how was he supposed to balance this compound, again?), but the idea of seeing Shouto again was enough to make him actually look forward to the dreaded class.

 

Just as he was about to take a right, a hand shot out and grabbed his wrist, making him yelp in surprise. Instead of releasing him, the hand only squeezed him tighter, and he nervously turned his head to see two girls and a boy standing right outside of an empty classroom, their expressions twisted with a grimace.

 

“U-Um - “ Izuku started, only to be cut off as the boy who had grabbed him released him with a huff.

 

“Are you dating him?”

 

“Huh?”

 

Todoroki,” the boy stretched out, voice impatient as he tapped his arm with fingers, an expression of mild annoyance on his face.

 

What?” Izuku practically screeched, and he stumbled back, face red and mortified. He swallowed heavily, unbelievably nervous, and he said, “I-I have to g-g-get to class, I’m going to b-be late - “

 

“So you aren’t,” the boy said, his face relaxing and even offering a small smile to Izuku. The boy turned to the two girls beside him and said in a gentle voice, “see? There was no need to worry. He’s still up for grabs.”

 

“Excuse me?” Izuku said.

 

“Look, I’ll give it to your straight,” the boy answered, his attention turning back to Izuku. “I’m not. Straight, that is. And you, me, these two alligators and this whole school can agree that Todoroki is probably the only boy who’s worth dating in this dump.”

 

“Hiro, you’re scaring the poor boy,” one of the girls hissed, slapping the boy on his arm and making him growl in response. “And watch who you call an alligator, you pig!”

 

“He’s right though,” the other girl said, flicking something off of her shoulder and then eyeing Izuku with piercing blue eyes. “You know that, right? Todoroki-san is something else. He’s cute and he’s really kind - plus, I’m not sure his father would approve of you. No offense, it’s just that I think Todoroki-san should be with someone more high-class. He’s the son of a famous attorney, he can’t settle for something less.”

 

“W… What?” Izuku said in a weak voice just as the final bell rang. Fuck. Now he was definitely late, and to be honest, getting more and more irritated with this group of whoever the heck they were. His hands tightened on the straps of his backpack, and his voice hardened as he said, “I don’t know any of you, and frankly, it’s none of your business if Shoucchan and I are dating. If you want to go out with him, then ask him yourself.”

 

Izuku felt himself get even more annoyed at the idea of the latter happening, even if he had no right to. He had no claim on Shouto, but these people had not only made Izuku late to class, but they were also arrogant enough to believe that they could dictate who Shouto could date. Like hell. “Excuse me.”

 

And with that, Izuku walked quickly away, biting his lip in irritation and fighting the urge to stick his tongue out at them - he only barely managed to stop himself, and he took a deep breath before finally getting to Aizawa’s room and slowly opening the door, cringing when the hinges squeaked as he slid into the classroom.

 

“Midoriya,” Aizawa grunted from his desk, his bloodshot eyes unimpressed as he observed a pink-faced Izuku bow at him sheepishly. “Do you have a pass? Explain to me why you’re late. Now.”

 

“I-I was, um,” Izuku said, properly flustered as he realized that everyone’s eyes were on him by this point. “I-I-I - “

 

“You were being an idiot and forgot that we have a new lesson today about balancing equations,” Aizawa said, interrupting his stutters. He waved off Izuku’s continuous babbles and said, “go sit down. I won’t mark you tardy since this is your first time being late, but if it happens again, you’re going to get detention.”

 

“Thank you,” Izuku could only say, eyes to the floor and ears burning as he power-walked down the aisle and into the middle table, sliding onto his stool and refusing to look up from his embarrassment as he dug out his notebook and pencil pouch.

 

“Izuku,” a voice breathed close to his ear.

 

Izuku froze, only just managing to move his eyes to see Shouto sitting on the stool beside him, his expression one of worry. “Are you okay? Did something happen on your way here?”

 

“S… Shoucchan,” Izuku said. “Why?...”

 

His stare strayed to the front of the room, nd Izuku nearly gawked when he saw Ochako in Shouto’s usual seat instead. As if sensing his gaze, she turned around, gave an obnoxious wink, two thumbs up, and a grin before turning back around and furiously taking notes. Izuku didn’t fail to notice that she was sitting unusually close to the stool beside her, which surprise surprise, had Tsuyu sitting there.

 

That little…

 

“Are you okay?” Shouto repeated, his frown deepening, and Izuku sputtered once he realized that he had spent close to a minute just glaring at Ochako.

 

Izuku nodded and smiled, concluding that telling Shouto about what had happened wasn’t necessary. Shouto didn’t need to know about those idiots, and he also didn’t need to know that people that he and Izuku were dating. Which they weren’t. Because Izuku was a coward. (Goddammit.)

 

“Uraraka offered to switch seats,” Shouto said, relaxing at Izuku’s confirmation that he was okay and automatically reaching out to grasp Izuku’s hand, carefully tangling their fingers together. Shouto rested their clasped hands onto his thigh, making Izuku scooch closer to make sure he wouldn’t be accidentally pulled his way. His thumb ran over Izuku’s scar like always, and from behind Shouto’s back, Izuku went red when he saw Kirishima give two big thumbs up and even one from an amused looking Jirou.

 

“O-Oh,” Izuku said. He squeezed Shouto’s hand, who smiled and squeezed back, his soft cheeks a soft pink color and wow he was really pretty. (Like seriously, it had to be illegal to be this beautiful, right? There was no way it was allowed.)

 

“I remember you saying that she and Asui - um, Tsuyu, are infatuated with each other, so I agreed,” Shouto continued to say. After a moment of hesitation, the pink on his face went darker as he quietly admitted, “I also would like to sit beside you from now on. Is that okay?”

 

“Of course it is,” Izuku immediately said. He smiled at him, his own face flushed, and he said quietly, “I like being with you, Shoucchan. Don’t doubt yourself, okay?”

 

“Alright, be quiet, you brats,” Aizawa suddenly said, interrupting the rising chatter of the classroom as he yawned almost too widely while he began to write on the board in a new marker, the ink shiny and bold as he wrote AgNO3 + NaCl ->. The teacher then turned to his class, and in a bored tone, said, “we talked about balancing compounds last time. For now, I want you to do like you usually would. There are two compounds here - are they balanced or not?”

 

Hands immediately shot up, only making Izuku fall deeper into his panic. Okay, breathe. Aizawa said compounds - Izuku could (probably) do compounds. He squinted at the board - the first one was silver nitrate, he remembered from his small study session with Shouto. It was already balanced because their oxidation numbers together equalled zero, right?

 

“Yaoyorozu.”

 

“Sensei, the two compounds are balanced because silver has a charge of positive one and nitrate has a charge of negative one, which cancel each other out and make zero, the primary target of all the elements.”

 

“Mm. And the second compound?”

 

This time, even Izuku’s hand thrust up into the air, his face set in determination and his hand squeezing Shouto’s for luck. The other boy merely smiled at him and rested his chin on the palm of his empty hand, his thumb gently running over Izuku’s knuckles.

 

Aizawa’s eyes rested on Izuku, and after a moment, he said, “Midoriya.”

 

“T-The, um,” Izuku stuttered, clearing his throat to dispel his nerves and relaxing when Shouto tapped his thumb against his in support. “The second compound is also balanced, because the charge of sodium is positive one, and the charge of chlorine is negative one. They both add up to a charge of zero, which means they’re now a noble gas.”

 

Aizawa seemed faintly impressed as he nodded, uttering a simple, “good,” before turning back to the board.

 

Izuku beamed and he grinned at Shouto, who nodded in approval and smiled in response. (God, he was seriously too pretty, someone help Izuku’s poor heart.)

 

“Like Yaoyorozu and Midoriya said,” Aizawa continued, taking out another new marker, this time a vibrant green. He circled the 3 of NO3 and said, “these two compounds are balanced. So we don’t need to go through the trouble of figuring out the charges and doing all that mess. Now look at this three - it’s on the bottom right of oxygen. This is called the subscript, and after balancing out the compound, this cannot be changed when we start balancing the equation. The subscript tells you the number of atoms. So in this case, there are three oxygen atoms. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes, Aizawa-sensei,” the whole class chorused.

 

Aizawa nodded. “To begin balancing this equation, we have to identify what kind of reaction this is. Last week, I gave you a sheet because I know some of you wanted an early start. The sheet showed you all the different types of reactions - what is this an example of?”

 

“I know this one!” Kirishima called loudly, his grin proud and unwavering as he practically threw his hand in the air. “Katsuki and I studied all night on Saturday!”

 

“Shut up,” Kacchan muttered, but his voice had no real venom as he not so subtly threw his arm around Kirishima’s waist.

 

“Fine,” Aizawa said. “Kirishima.”

 

“That’s when two compounds are reacting together, or you can also write it like AC + BD,” Kirishima said proudly. “When that happens, the products become AD + BC because the second elements switch - it’s called double displacement!”

 

“Look at my boy, studying his ass off!” Kaminari said teasingly, slapping Kirishima’s shoulder and only stopping when Aizawa glared in his direction.


The teacher sighed before nodding. “Kirishima is right. This is called double displacement - this happens when two compounds are reacting together, and as such, the second element of the compounds switch. But why does it become AD and not AB?”

 

“Sir!” Ashido said, her own frantic hand-waving causing several people to laugh and making Aizawa roll his eyes in badly-disguised fondness. When he nodded in her direction, she grinned and said, “I actually studied this time! This is because the first element of the compound is always positively charged - you can’t have two positively charged elements in formula, it isn’t balanced that way.”

 

“Yes,” Aizawa grunted. “That’s right. So let’s apply all of that to this equation. You switch the two second elements of the compounds, so the products would become this.”

 

On the board, the equation came to read as AgNO3 + NaCl -> AgCl + NaNO3.

 

“Is that balanced?” Izuku asked in a hushed voice to Shouto. “It is, right? Silver chloride is already balanced, and so is sodium nitrate. I think. Maybe?”

 

“It is,” Shouto muttered back. “And the amount of each atom on each side is equal to each other - this equation is complete.”

 

“This is now finished,” Aizawa said, setting his marker down and showing the class the problem. “Do you remember how to change the numbers if the amount of atoms on each side don’t match? You don’t change the subscript, but you change the - “

 

“Coefficient!” Ochako suddenly blurted, the back of her neck a bright pink.

 

Izuku stared in surprise as she said this - since when did she like chemistry, or at least like it enough to know more than other students? He squinted and let out a small snort when he realized that under the table, he could see Ochako and Tsuyu’s pinkies linked together, which definitely explained the rising blush that was now creeping up to her ears and also her sudden knowledge - Tsuyu was well-versed in chemistry.

 

“I think they’re dating now,” Izuku said in a hushed voice to Shouto.

 

“Dating?” Shouto whispered back.

 

“Yeah,” Izuku beamed. “Tsuyu-san and Ochako-chan, I mean. See? They’re holding hands.”

 

A strange expression passed over Shouto’s face - he frowned, staring intensely at Tsuyu and Ochako’s joined contact, his lips twitching like he wanted to say something. Finally, he slowly said in a low and almost upset tone, “so holding hands. Does that indicate that people are in a relationship?”

 

“U-Um,” Izuku squeaked, realizing how bad he just messed up. He glanced down at their tightly clasped hands and his blush only worsened. He coughed weakly and said, “n-not exactly? I mean, they’re only dating if both agree to it and have mutual f-feelings. Some friends are just, um, touchy, sometimes.”

 

“Hm,” Shouto said, his frown deepening. The air was charged with their tenseness as well as something akin to electricity, and for a moment, a deep strike of fear hit Izuku - was Shouto realizing what Izuku really thought of him? Was he figuring out that they were only friends, and their close contact would come to a stop? But to Izuku’s immense relief, the other boy didn’t suddenly let go of his hand. Instead, he tightened his fingers, his other hand coming and wrapping around Izuku’s.

 

“I see,” Shouto muttered. “I thought…”

 

“You thought?” Izuku gently pressed.

 

“Nothing,” Shouto eventually said. He seemed lost in thought, staring blankly at his sheet and his thumbs absentmindedly rubbing at Izuku’s skin.

 

“Shoucchan?”

 

Izuku only got a distracted hum in response.

 

He sighed in fond exasperation, and instead of pushing for more, he simply began working on his sheet, his handwriting thankfully just as sloppy and the same as always. Being ambidextrous had its perks, he supposed.

 

Just as he was finishing up the fourth equation - wow, he was really getting the hang of it, now - Shouto suddenly looked up at him, and with determination in his eyes, he said, “let’s go somewhere.”

 

“Huh?” Izuku startled, dropping his pencil. “T… today?”

 

Shouto nodded. “We can go after school. I brought my bike again. Is there somewhere you have to be?”

 

“U-Um,” Izuku stuttered. “Well I want to get to the shop by six, but you can just come with me if you want? And we can go somewhere before to hang out!”

 

(He just hopes he can survive spending more time with Shouto.)

 

(Together.)

 

(Alone.)

 

( Lord. )

 

“Is there any place you have in mind?”

 

“Well,” Izuku said shyly. “Maybe we can go get ice cream? I can take you to my favorite place!”

 

“Ice cream?” Shouto blinked.

 

“D-Do you not like ice cream? We can totally do something else - “

 

“No, it’s okay,” Shouto smiled, pulling one hand away and resting his chin on his palm, his expression gentle as he said, “that sounds nice.”

 

“Okay,” Izuku wheezed.

 

(Holy shit.)

 

(They were going on a date.)

 

(Except not really.)

 

(Ugh.)

 

(He wished.)

 

XxXxXxXxXxX

 

“Hey, half n’ half!”

 

The sudden shout made both Izuku and Shouto freeze in their slow walk to the front of the school where Shouto’s bike was, and Izuku flushed as he realized that Kacchan’s aggressive calling had made almost everyone’s eyes turn to them.

 

Kacchan approached them with a sheepish Kirishima at his side, the latter mouhing a sorry to Izuku who only smiled weakly back.

 

“What is it, Bakugou?” Shouto finally said as Kacchan stopped only a few feet in front of them. Shouto stood almost protectively in front of Izuku, his hand tightening around Izuku’s own hand. Izuku gripped, and inwardly, he wondered what on earth Kacchan was trying to do - hopefully nothing aggressive, though it might be too late for that.

 

“Deku’s a fucking crybaby,” Kacchan sneered, shooting Izuku a glare - the shorter boy merely smiled shakily and waved from behind Shouto.

 

Shouto visibly bristled at the insult, his brows furrowing and his mouth opening to retaliate, only to be cut off as Kacchan said, “but he could kick your fucking ass if you fuck up. So fucking be good to him or whatever, otherwise I’m going to dig your fucking grave, got it?

 

Without even waiting for a proper response, the explosive teen then turned around and stalked off without another word, shouting along the way, “what the hell are all you motherfuckers lookin’ at? Keep your fat noses out of shit that isn’t any of your damn business!”

 

Kirishima merely sighed as he approached the two boys, a grin on his face as well as an apologetic expression. “Sorry about Katsuki, man. I hope he didn’t bother you - he’s protective over Midoriya, so he’s being all bite-y since he knows you two are da - “

 

“Yes!” Izuku yelped, cutting the other boy off and shooting Kirishima a pleading look. The redhead blinked but nodded minisculely anyway, and Izuku turned to Shouto with his own sheepish face. “Kacchan can be, um, too forward sometimes. Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine,” Shouto blinked, and he turned his head to look at the fading figure of Katsuki, who only barely stopped at the school gate and shouted for Kirishima to hurry up. “He’s… kind, in his own way, I suppose. Even if he does have a very rude way of showing it.”

 

Kirishima barked out a laugh, and he slapped Shouto’s shoulder in good nature, the boy not even flinching at the sudden hit. “That’s so manly of you to accept Katsuki like that! Good luck, Todoroki. Midoriya’s a special snowflake, you know.”

 

Kirishima-kun,” Izuku hissed in embarrassment, face red as he clutched nervously at Shouto’s hand.

 

“Okay,” Shouto merely said, and suddenly, he smiled - not a full one like Izuku had been seeing more lately, but it was still genuine as he nodded to the tiny silhouette of Katsuki, who was still shouting at Kirishima to get on with it. “He’s waiting for you.”

 

“See you, dudes,” Kirishima said, and he subtly gave Izuku a thumbs up before racing away, embracing Katsuki when he finally caught up to him.

 

“They’re a strange couple,” Shouto said out loud as he led Izuku to his bike.

 

“Their dynamic’s always been strange,” Izuku agreed. “But Kacchan really loves Kirishima-kun, he’d do anything for him.”

 

“Hmm,” Shouto hummed. “I suppose I know what that feels like.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Nothing,” Shouto waved off. He swung his leg over the bar of the bike and motioned behind him, smiling at Izuku and making his heart race. “Make sure to hold tight.”

 

“Y-You said I could pedal this time,” Izuku said in a weak voice as he climbed on anyway, his shaky hands clutching tightly at Shouto’s shirt as his face went a bright red when he saw several students looking curiously their way, some even taking pictures. He gulped and yelped as Shouto started to move his legs, the bike rolling effortlessly over the gravel ground and to the Place.

 

“I don’t remember saying that,” Shouto said, the lilt of his voice indicating that he was teasing.

 

Shoucchan,” Izuku whined.

 

Shouto suddenly laughed, a short chuckle of mirth before he looked over his shoulder to see Izuku, his eyes sparkling with the sunlight and also emotions that Izuku couldn’t begin to name. “Next time, Izuku.”

 

God, Izuku thought in his fuzzy and cotton-stuffed mind. How could one boy just take his breath away so easily? He knew that Shouto had a hard time believing he was anything but ugly, something that confused Izuku to no end. He was absolutely beautiful, and when Izuku buried his nose shyly into the back of Shouto’s shirt, he almost melted at the warm cinnamon scent that embraced him.

 

This time, instead of silently mouthing it, he whispered, “I like you,” into the softness of Shouto’s shirt. But it was lost to the sound of the bike tires running over the gravel, the chilly breeze of the afternoon, and to Shouto’s soft, even breathing as he pedaled smoothly.

 

Next time, Izuku thought to himself, repeating the other boy.

 

Next time.

 

(Maybe.)


Chapter Text

“Do you like it?” Izuku asked in an almost hushed voice as he watched Shouto carefully spoon some green tea ice cream into his mouth, his expression thoughtful as he swallowed. Izuku completely disregarded the half-completed chemistry worksheets left on the table - they could wait (or burn in hell, either was fine).

 

“Yes,” Shouto finally said. He smiled at Izuku, face softening as he asked, “what about you?”

 

“O-Oh!” Izuku fumbled, having been too caught up in staring at Shouto’s dimple and also trying to stop himself from going to cardiac arrest. He cleared his throat awkwardly and grinned crookedly at his friend, and said, “um, mint chocolate chip’s my favorite, actually! I love coming here, the Place is my number one place for desserts.”

 

“Hmm,” Shouto said, his eyes fixated on Izuku’s own bowl, in which the ice cream was already semi-soft because Izuku had been so distracted with watching Shouto (which in hindsight, was probably creepy, but god he was too pretty to not stare at). “Can I try some?”

 

“Huh?”

 

Shouto merely smiled, like he was already used to Izuku being absolutely braindead around him. “Your ice cream.”

 

“S… Sure!” Izuku squeaked, and his face was red as he shakily scooped some onto his spoon, and without warning, Shouto leaned forward and swallowed.

 

Izuku froze, eyes wide and mouth gaping slightly as Shouto moved back to his original spot, his face thoughtful and definitely unaware of the fact that Izuku was quite possibly dying. Izuku had just spoonfed Shouto - and from his own spoon, nonetheless! Oh my god. Oh my god. They were acting like, like - like they were a couple! And did they just share an indirect kiss? Was Izuku having a heart attack? It certainly felt like it, because his heart was pumping so fast that he was surprised it hadn’t jumped straight out of his chest by this point.

 

“This is nice.”

 

Izuku broke out of his tiny (huge) spiral of panic and his own lovesickness to blink as Shouto smiled almost shyly at him. “W-What do you mean?”

 

Shouto shrugged, and he swirled his spoon in his ice cream a little before saying, “I haven’t had ice cream in a long time. The last time I tasted it was when my mother was still with me.”

 

“Shoucchan - “

 

“One day I’m going to bring you to her,” Shouto interrupted, and when he leaned forward, there were literal stars glittering beautifully in his blue and grey eyes, and oh, Izuku thought, oh, he was so, so pretty. He could scarcely breathe as Shouto said in a hushed voice, as if telling a secret the rest of the world couldn’t hear, “so she can see how amazing you are in person.”

 

“R… Really?” Izuku said, his voice thick with his emotions.

 

Shouto’s slender and pale hand reached out, and it folded itself on top of Izuku’s. Shouto’s fingers traced the scars the littered his skin, gently dragging his fingertips against the shape of them, like he was trying to map them out. Finally, he grasped Izuku completely, tangling their fingers so perfectly and gently that Izuku felt like he was about to melt. Shouto smiled at him, not too large or big but so bright and wonderful that Izuku needed an AED so he could jumpstart his heart in case he actually went into a stroke.

 

“You make me feel many things, Izuku,” Shouto murmured almost too gently, because if his eyes went any softer or his expression any more lovely, Izuku was sure someone would have to dial for an ambulance. “I’m sorry I can’t… express them correctly. I don’t want to frustrate you.”

 

“It’s okay,” Izuku immediately whispered, and he could feel his eyes water dangerously as he wrapped Shouto’s hand with both of his, staring at their tangled fingers with his face burning dangerously as he said, “I-I’m not so good with f-feelings either. I… I, um. You never frustrate me, Shoucchan.”

 

And then, even more quietly, Izuku says, “I won’t leave you, Shoucchan. You don’t have to keep apologizing - I like you because you’re you.”

 

Shouto’s hand tensed under his, and his left one lifted to almost subconsciously brush against the scar around his eye. His lips were pursed as he muttered, “this mark is hideous, though.”

 

“And I think it’s beautiful,” Izuku interjected, his voice firm as he reached out and brushed his thumb against the scarred skin, swiping just underneath Shouto’s wide blue eye. Izuku felt his face go even redder, the heat crawling up to his ears and down to his neck, but he never broke eye contact and said, “I-I think you’re beautiful, S-Shoucchan. Please don’t say something like that again, okay?”

 

“Oh,” Shouto simply said.

 

“Oh,” Izuku squeaked. He snatched back his touch as if burned, and instead he cupped Shouto’s hand, body burning to the point he was convinced he was about to melt into a puddle. He stared almost fiercely at his slowly melting ice cream, his emotions rolling through him like a tidal wave and crashing into him over and over again, with Shouto there and causing the very earthquakes that made the tsunamis come to life in the first place.

 

It just astonished Izuku. Shouto was so… beautiful, angelic, breathtaking, but he doesn’t know it. How can he not realize how affected Izuku is just by looking at him?

 

“I don’t know if that’s true,” Shouto mumbled, and to Izuku’s absolute awe and delight, his face  was glowing a most soft pink, and at just the right moment, the setting sun’s light filtered through the Place’s large windows, and god. Izuku could barely hold himself back from reaching over and pressing kisses to his soft cheeks and his scar.  

 

Christ.

 

He needs to calm down.

 

Like.

 

Right now.

 

In case he does anything stupid, like actually kiss Shouto which wouldn’t only embarrass him to the point he was sure he would never leave his room, but also because Shouto would probably report him for sexual harassment. God.

 

“S-So, um!” Izuku sputtered, trying to move past the heavy atmosphere and the crackle of lightning through the air. He glanced at the chemistry worksheets lying innocently beside their bowls, the papers having a few drops of green ice cream before he stared intensely at their joined hands, and in a shy voice, said, “I-I, er, was late to class today because some students wanted to talk to me.”

 

“What did they say?”

 

“Um,” Izuku went red. “T-They thought that we were dating, b-b-but of course I told them that we weren’t, because, you know, w-we’re not dating, n-not that I don’t want to date you, I-I MEAN I DON’T WANT TO DATE YOU - WAIT, I MEAN - “

 

“Izuku,” Shouto interrupted gently, his cheeks a soft red as he smiled almost shyly at the blubbering boy. “You’re rambling.”

 

“R… Right,” Izuku stammered, and he sighed deeply before grinning shakily at Shouto. “I, well, anyway, I-I told them to leave me alone, because, you know, it’s not really any of their business. But, um, they said something that made me - Shoucchan, would…”

 

“Would?” Shouto pressed, his hand moving to hold both of Izuku’s.

 

“Would your dad really not approve of me if we dated?” Izuku whispered in a near inaudible voice.

 

At this, Shouto’s face hardened, and his eyes were significantly less soft as he glared at his half empty bowl of melting ice cream. He huffed out an angry sigh, but his hold wasn’t any less gently as he soothed a thumb over Izuku’s knuckles before he said, “my father has certain standards for me. That includes having a wife that will uphold my family name.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku whispered.

 

“But that doesn’t mean I will listen to him,” Shouto immediately interjected before Izuku could say anything else. His eyes were blazing with a fire Izuku had never seen before, the flames entangled with determination, courage, and something he couldn’t really name. “His opinion, his presence - they mean nothing to me now.”

 

“I don’t understand how hard it is for you to see,” Shouto murmured, lifting Izuku’s hands and pressing the gentlest of kisses onto his scars, the trace of his warm lips so soft that Izuku could barely feel them. Holy fucking shit ass dicks. “But you are far more important to me than his narrowed set of mind. I don’t care if he wouldn’t approve, he can, as Bakugou would say, shove it up his ass.”

 

Izuku let out an unexpected bark of laughter, the noise wobbly and so rattled with his absolute love for this kind and gentle boy that he was dangerously close to tears. His heart swelled with emotions, butterflies fluttering excitedly in his stomach as he tightly grasped Shouto’s hands. “You’re important to me, too.”

 

He leaned forward and pressed their foreheads together, and he wasn’t even ashamed of the tears rolling down his cheeks. “So, so important.” He swallowed, and oh my god, he thought. He was going to do this. He was going to do this. He had to, especially when the moment was so perfect, their hands clasped tightly and the air smelling of cinnamon and magic. “I really, really, like you, Shoucchan.”

 

Shouto laughed. He laughed - a slip of joy escaping his lips, and fuck, that was so fucking adorable that Izuku couldn’t even. “I like you too, Izuku. You’re my best friend.”

 

“N-No, I mean,” Izuku said, and he pulled back slightly, staring intensely at their half-finished worksheets of chemistry. He glanced over their work of balancing and naming equations, and he suddenly realized what he felt like. Izuku needed Shouto like polyatomic ions needed oxygen.

 

God.

 

He loved him.

 

He loved him.

 

So he decided - he was going to do it, right now, and try not to die.


"If, um," Izuku stuttered, his face burning red and unable to look fully into Shouto's eyes as he traced the pencil marks on his paper, smudging the graphite lightly. "If oxygen is a diatomic element, then that means it needs at least two, right? It can't be alone."

 

He gulped, and whispered shakily, "I'm an oxygen atom. I need one more." He took in a shuddering breath, gathered his courage, and blurted, "can you be my other oxygen?"

 

Fuck.

 

He actually did it. He had, figuratively, thrown himself off the cliff without the knowledge of whether or not he had on a parachute. He’d also done it in the most dumbest way possible, but judging by Shouto’s wide eyes and slightly gaping mouth, he still got the message across.

 

“Did you, um,” Shouto finally said, clearing his throat after a long moment of both of them staring at each other and going steadily more red as time passed. Shouto looked off to the side, his voice mumbled and his cheeks pink as he hesitantly said, “did you…”

 

He glanced back at Izuku once more. “Did you just ask me out using a diatomic?”

 

“W-We have some strong chemistry between us, huh?” Izuku stuttered, and his voice grew more strained as he resisted the urge to hit head against the wall and end his suffering. But to his absolute horror, words kept spilling out of his mouth. “Y-Y-You really balance me out! You and I s-should have a synthesis reaction a-a-and be together! You and m-me equals… us?”

 

After a moment of more shocked silence, Izuku slumped onto the table, holding his head in his arms while saying, “I’m sorry, please kill me right now, I need to be banished to the edge of the universe and slowly be consumed by a black hole - “

 

“Izuku,” came Shouto’s voice. A warm hand pressed against Izuku’s shoulder. “Izuku… look up.”

 

He shook his head no, refusing to even think about it. His cheeks were absolutely on fire, and judging by how hot his ears were feeling, his blush had definitely spread to probably all the tips of his fingers and toes. God. Izuku’s chance at wooing (wooing? Like they were in the damn Victorian Era or something) Shouto had been thrown out the window. No, more like batted ferociously out of the window, hit by Izuku’s bat of stupidity, into the sky and never to be seen again, and Izuku was going to die of shame and honestly that was fine by him by this point.

 

There was a sigh, a rustle of clothes, and suddenly, lips pressed to the outer shell of Izuku’s ear, the lips gentle and cool against his heated skin before they murmured, “you and me equals us. I’ll be your other oxygen. We can be synthesis together.”

 

“S-S-Shoucchan!” Izuku yelped, his face somehow going even redder as he looked up to see Shouto smiling hesitantly at him. His own cheeks were a blazing scarlet, but his eyes were bright and clear and fantastic as he brushed a green curl behind Izuku’s pink ear.

 

“I’ve always thought of if I could someday touch you in this way,” Shouto murmured. His hands were shaky almost to a miniscule point, but this close, Izuku could see the way they trembled as they traced his freckles on his cheeks. “And to finally do it is… surreal. Even more surreal than you confessing to me with chemistry puns.”

 

“I-I just!” Izuku stuttered. “I just… wanted to say something in a way that maybe both of us understand.”

 

Shouto smiled. “Chemistry?”

 

“Chemistry,” Izuku squeaked. Shyly, he took Shouto’s hands in his once more, and he said, “s-so… does that mean you like me too?”

 

Shouto blinked, looking almost confused as he said, “I’ve liked you since grade nine.”

 

A pause.

 

Huh?

 

“Since the beginning of biology last year,” Shouto continued to say, like he didn’t just shatter Izuku’s entire world with such a simple statement. “When you spilled that Lugol’s iodine on my sleeve. You kept apologizing, and I…”

 

He looked slightly embarrassed as he finished with, “I thought it was. Er. Adorable.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku said in a faint voice.

 

“I always thought you knew,” Shouto muttered. “And that was the reason why you kept avoiding me. Because you felt uncomfortable due to my… feelings for you.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku repeated.

 

“I, um,” Shouto continued to say, like he didn’t hear Izuku’s idiotic declarations of himself being the biggest moron on earth. “I didn’t fall in love with you until you said I wasn’t my father, however.”

 

Oh,” Izuku squeaked.

 

“Was that too soon?” Shouto asked, his face frowning with worry as he stared at a speechless Izuku. “I’m aware that couples don’t usually speak of love until much farther into the relationship - “

 

“I love you too!” Izuku yelped, definitely too loudly for the tiny little shop they were in. Thankfully the counter manager wasn’t there, but still, shit. Shouto looked at him, eyes wide and face red, though Izuku was confident he was far more flushed. “I… I love you too. A-And I’ve liked you since last year! The beginning of biology, when I spilled that stuff on you. I-I was so embarrassed that I kept avoiding you, and I-I also got really flustered when you were near me, so… so I could never really talk to you. I’m sorry.”

 

“I see,” Shouto finally said, and his voice was a little dazed. “I… we’ve been…”

 

“Wasting a lot of time,” Izuku finished sheepishly. He tangled their fingers together carefully, and smiled widely at Shouto, his cheeks red but his heart only thumping in anticipation as he said, “s-so we’re… dating now?”

 

“Yes,” Shouto immediately said, and he seemed a little embarrassed with his enthusiasm as he sat further back and nodded calmly. “Yes. Of course. I love you, Izuku.”

 

“O-Oh,” Izuku said, and he almost melted when Shouto pressed more tender kisses to his knuckles. “I love you too, Shoucchan.”

 

Shouto smiled at him, eyes crinkling lightly at the edges and his dimply fully showing as he said, “synthesis?”

 

“Synthesis,” Izuku laughed.

 

They slowly packed up their things, in no hurry as they kept glancing at each other with flushed cheeks and endearing eyes. When they left, it was with their hands firmly grasped between them, and when they climbed onto the bike once more, this time, Izuku didn’t at all bother with holding himself back as he buried his face into the back of Shouto’s back and inhaled the warm, cinnamon scent.

 

And this time, he didn’t silence his voice as he said into the warm white cloth, “I like you,” before he pressed a gentle kiss into it, hoping that the touch could be felt through the shirt.

 

Shouto laughed breathlessly, but by the glimmer in his eyes as he looked over his shoulder at Izuku, it had nothing to do with the pedaling. “I like you too.”

 

Izuku could only grin, feeling helpless against the warmth of the other boy’s eyes and voice, his stomach fluttering.

 

Eventually, they came upon the familiar shape and pastel color of the flower shop, its ever present Welcome to Midoriya-Yagi Gardens! hanging on the door.

 

“Mom? Dad?” Izuku called, his grin goofy as he pulled Shouto in with a gentle tug on his hand. Silence greeted them, but Izuku didn’t bother searching for his parents, knowing that they probably went out on a date and left the shop to him. He turned to Shouto with a smile and said, “do you want to help?”

 

Shouto tipped his head in a yes, though his own smile was wide and caused his dimple to deepen.

 

Izuku led his boyfriend - oh my god they were boyfriends, holy shit - to behind the counter, and with a few giggles, pulled a striped apron over Shouto’s neck and around his waist. It fit him almost too perfectly, and Izuku had to resist the urge to kiss him as the other boy looked down at his new cloth in wonder.

 

Wait.

 

Izuku didn’t really have to hold back now, did he?

 

He tipped up onto the toes of his red sneakers, and he pressed a soft, chaste kiss onto Shouto’s right cheek. For a few seconds he stood like that, his hand on his shoulder and savoring the warmth shared between them before slowly pulling back. Shouto stared at him with wide eyes and a flushed face, and Izuku wasn’t any better, though he was grinning as he asked shyly, “w-was that okay?”

 

Shouto nodded and said in an awed voice, “do it again.”

 

“Okay,” Izuku whispered.

 

But this time, when Izuku bent up to his toes once more, he wound his arms gently around Shouto’s neck and tilted his neck to press their lips together, and wow, Izuku thought dreamily as Shouto’s own hands wrapped around his hips. Movies and books always depicted first kisses as something explosive or firework-like, but it wasn’t. It was more like the taste of cinnamon, love, and home. The smell of flora surrounded them, the air warm and tingles running down Izuku’s spine and to all of his nerves as they kissed for what seemed like forever.

 

As far as first kisses went, Izuku was sure that he could die right there and not have any regrets.

 

Reluctantly, he had to pull back because oxygen was a thing, but he was utterly delighted to see that Shouto looked just as, or maybe more, dazed as him, his breath slightly heavy and his eyes unfocused.

 

“You’re so cute,” Izuku whispered, fingers twirling the little curls of red and white hair at the base of Shouto’s neck.

 

“You’re going to kill me,” Shouto stuttered. “Do you know what you do to me?”

 

“Yeah,” Izuku muttered softly as he reached up to pull him into another mind-blowing kiss. “Us both.”

 

It was magic and autumn and the feeling of Shouto’s hair underneath his fingers as they pressed gently together once more, wrapped up in each other’s warmth and affection and the feeling of their lips pressed together.

 

It was perfect.