Tenya fretted, watching the clock tick down. He washed the dishes thoroughly, double and triple sure that they were clean, his hands growing pruney. It was an hour after sunrise and he doubted he could keep his schedule now.
Hitoshi was still asleep after a long week of work. He finally had the day off and Tenya had wanted to make the most of it.
He had planned to take Hitoshi up to the ledge where they had concluded their first team up. They had spent the night chasing down a villain through the woods, climbing higher and higher up the trail, until together they caught him. It was all over when the villain was unconscious and wrapped in Hitoshi’s binding cloth. As the night crawled to an end and the sun rose over the horizon, Hitoshi had collapsed on the ground, Tenya at his side.
Hitoshi had rapped his knuckles against Tenya’s arm and had said ‘good job.’ At the time, Tenya felt pride and admiration for his temporary partner. He had informed Hitoshi that he had also done a good job as well and that was the first time he had ever seen Hitoshi smile.
Tenya had packed two backpacks for them and had planned to take Hitoshi back to that place, hiking the trail properly this time. They would have to start at dawn, instead of ending it as the sun rose. And when they reached the top, Tenya would get down on one knee, and propose to the love of his life.
But the sun was already climbing high in the sky and Hitoshi was still asleep.
Tenya scrubbed the plate a little harder and it squeaked under his vigorous motions. It was already clean, but he had to make sure. He needed something to do. Conceding to the inevitable, he placed the plate back on the drying rack for the third time that morning and once again looked up at the clock. It had only been a minute.
The box in his pocket weighed heavy and he was out of dishes.
The sounds of cars driving past could be heard just underneath their window. A bicycle bell chimed. Tenya stared at the softly gold glow from outside and decided to check on Hitoshi.
He was laying in their bed, curled up on Tenya’s side, laying on his pillow, holding it between his hands. The sound of the white noise machine provided a static that helped Hitoshi sleep. He stirred when Tenya opened the door, letting some of the light and noise from the outside world spill into the dark room. He glared in Tenya’s direction, but flopped back down when the door closed again.
“Are you doing alright?” Tenya asked, his voice soft.
“Yeah. . .” Hitoshi muttered.
Tenya went to the side of the bed and crouched down. He pet away some of the hair that had flopped across Hitoshi’s face. His brow smoothed out and his mouth went slack again as he began to slip away into sleep.
“‘m sorry,” he muttered, his eyes closed and his breathing heavy. “Know you wanted t’hike today. . .”
“Its alright Hitoshi,” Tenya said, meaning it. “Your rest is important.”
“Mmm,” Hitoshi hummed, reaching up to softly link his fingers with Tenya’s. “Thanks.”
Tenya smiled and any worry he had about that morning drifted away. He rose to his feet, Hitoshi still holding tight to his hand, his arm limp as it travelled up with Tenya.
“Five more minutes,” Hitoshi grumbled.
“Take as long as you need,” Tenya said.
Hitoshi’s hand dropped to the bed and he fell back into sleep, only groaning when Tenya stepped out again.
Tenya slipped his hand into his pocket and rotated the little box. He went to their shared desk and took his phone off the charger. He read the final text from the conversation from the night before.
Uraraka: Good luck!!!
Uraraka had been a big help throughout the whole planning process. He asked her for information on what ring to choose and she had urged him to pick on his own. He needed a well laid out plan on how to propose and she had helped him go with something more sentimental over the grandiose.
Iida: We didn't end up hiking. Hitoshi slept in.
Uraraka: That's okay, right? Just go with the back up plan.
Uraraka: You got this Iida!!
Uraraka: Let me know what he says.
Tenya sighed. He’d have to fall back on his redundancies.
He had planned to take Hitoshi on a full tour of their past relationship together, stopping at all the important places where critical events took place. After the hike, Tenya was going to take him to the river where the summer festival took place.
Their friendship had grown exponentially in the year after that first team up. Tenya had found himself working well with Hitoshi, seeking out his partnership more and more. At the time, he hadn’t recognized the signs, how he was drawn to Hitoshi, how closely he'd listen to what he had to say, how he wanted to see him smile again. It wasn’t until they agreed to meet up outside of work that Tenya realized his feelings. He hadn’t wanted to ruin anything, to disrupt the delicate nature of their friendship, but instead it was Hitoshi’s bravery that took them to the next level.
They had spent the summer festival with a group of friends, walking through the stands together, laughter and music filled the air. Hitoshi had asked Tenya to walk with him and they stepped out onto a path by the river, away from the lights of the festival. Hitoshi had been dressed in a deep blue yukata, near black, fireflies darting over the water.
He had looked Tenya in the eye and told him everything he had been feeling, echoes of Tenya's emotions for him. In the dim light of the evening, Hitoshi was on the defensive, so very serious in his confession, but Tenya could see the hitch in his shoulders, his fingers twitching as he fought curling them into fists, as he waited on Tenya’s answer. He had been lost for words at the time and instead had opted to simply kiss Hitoshi.
In retrospect, Tenya thought that might be a better spot to propose.
But it hadn’t been only five more minutes of sleep. Hitoshi didn’t emerge from their bed room for another two hours.
Hitoshi shuffled into the light of day, eyes still closed, still looking more asleep than awake. He sneered, his head moving as if he were surveying the apartment and not the back of his eyelids.
“Hitoshi!” Tenya called, a little too loud, but he couldn't help it. Nerves and excitement had all but replaced his every fiber. “You're awake!”
Hitoshi's sneer softened and he managed to blink open his eyes in time to see Tenya bum rush him. He tackled Hitoshi in a large bear hug and a laugh was squeezed out of Hitoshi.
“You're awfully cuddly,” Hitoshi said. “How long was I out for?”
“It's just about time for lunch,” Tenya said, far too excited.
“Ah,” Hitoshi said like a swear, his brows furrowing. “I was out for a while there, huh?”
“Yes, but now you're awake!”
Hitoshi snorted and smiled, his eyes sliding closed again. He was still groggy, still waking up, but he could do that as he got ready.
“I was thinking we could go out for lunch,” Tenya offered.
It was an obvious next stop, near the river where Hitoshi had confessed and his old apartment, but now on the other side of town. It would be a long walk and they would reach the little cafe by early afternoon, a drastically improper and late hour to be eating lunch for sure. But as they passed other options to eat in favor for that one, Hitoshi might guess that there was an ulterior motive.
It was where they had their first date. Hitoshi had been late. The first half was awkward and silent. Gone was the easy conversation and the smiles that Tenya clung to, in favor for silent chewing.
Tenya had been worried, scared that their budding relationship had been a flawed idea, dead at conception. The chemistry that had been so apparent before was all but absent.
Then Hitoshi broke it. He had laughed. It was the first time Tenya had ever heard him laugh that hard. Deep and full of nerves.
“I'm sorry,” he had said. “But why are you wearing a suit?”
“It's an important occasion,” Tenya had explained.
That only make Hitoshi laugh more. The more Tenya explained his motivations, the deeper into hysterics Hitoshi fell.
When Hitoshi put his hand over Tenya's, their first date finally felt right. The meal ended and Tenya didn't want to stop. They walked and talked and Tenya couldn't end it. Until Tenya sweat in his suit, until the sun went down, until they realized that it was far too late for the date to really have been continuing, but neither of them wanted to part.
Tenya had known, even then, he wanted this to last forever.
His clever, observant, always thinking Hitoshi might be able to figure out what was going on if he took him to the spot of their first date, long before Tenya got on one knee and presented his ring. Maybe it would be okay to change into a suit if he didn't need to sneak the proposal.
“I'm not really hungry,” Hitoshi said through a yawn.
Tenya's heart dropped and his face fell. Hitoshi missed it, his eyes closing again.
“Y-you should still eat, Hitoshi,” he said, trying to muster up the gumption to swing his hand. “You missed breakfast. And dinner the night before.”
“Mmm,” Hitoshi grumbled. “I'll just make something light then.”
Tenya sighed, defeated.
“I'll make it for you,” he said.
“You don't have to,” Hitoshi said.
“Your eyes are closed. You may burn or cut yourself.”
Hitoshi cocked his head, as if realizing that fact. He cracked one open and peered at Tenya.
“So they are,” he said with a laugh. He leaned forward and nuzzled Tenya's shoulder affectionately. “Thanks.”
The disappointment dissipated. He hugged Hitoshi, squeezing once before he let go. He made Hitoshi a cup of coffee and Hitoshi accepted it with a sleepy smile and a quiet thank you. Hitoshi sat slumped at the table, staring out at the gorgeous day that he was missing, and didn't seem to be missing it at all.
As Tenya worked in the kitchen, another text came in.
Iida: I have not had an opportunity to ask yet. Hitoshi just got up.
Uraraka: Geez, really? Well don't give up! You can do it Iida!
She was right. He could do this. Feeling reinvigorated, he joined Hitoshi at their table. Tenya sat with him and they ate lunch in a comfortable silence where Tenya was simply happy to bask in Hitoshi's company.
After lunch, Hitoshi took a shower and Tenya had more dishes he could wash.
He had intended to meander as they had on their first date until they reached a small bench in top of a hill. It was secluded, far from the path, and view was a disappointing patch or yellowing trees. It was a quiet undesirable spot that no one would willingly seek out. It was where they had their first fight.
They had only been dating for 7 months and the quirks Tenya had once found fascinating about Hitoshi had begun to irritate him. Things like how he didn't take care of himself, how he seemed so indifferent about everything, his self depreciation. Tenya had mentally drafted a list of grievances he had wanted to talk about, suggestions on how Hitoshi could better himself. Correcting those wrongs would be better for him. But the conversation had quickly lost track.
Hitoshi had immediately taken offense to any suggestion, arguing with Tenya about each point, and Tenya in turn became flustered. What had seemed initially sensible became petty and offensive. Tenya found himself attacking Hitoshi's habits to coil in on himself and rub the back of his neck and Hitoshi had the gall to call the way Tenya talked with his hands annoying and excessive.
It turned into a shouting match. Tenya became less and less aware of their very public surroundings.
The longer it went on the more obtuse and vague the accusations became. Tenya yelled how he felt Hitoshi didn't care for him, how there was this lack of reciprocation in effort. Hitoshi began to list all the ways he had changed himself, had adjusted his very being to better suit Tenya and how he felt it just wasn't enough, that it would never be enough. Things Tenya had apparently missed, but he was unwilling to admit it at the time. It was stupid, but he didn't want to lose the fight. It was stupid and he had been so sure they would be over.
Tenya shouted, frustrated tears stinging his eyes, that he couldn't see those things when they were so far away, when Hitoshi didn't have concrete evidence of it. Hitoshi had dug his hands in his hair and yelled that he couldn't show him when they were apart all the time.
“Then we should move in together!” Tenya yelled.
“FINE!” Hitoshi yelled back.
The argument ended there, with them breathing heavily on the hilltop, staring each other down in an awkward silence. The real root of the argument had revealed itself.
The next day they had a more mature conversation, filled with awkward apologies. The next week they went apartment hunting. And by the end of the month they were moved in.
Once they lived together, woke up together, brushed their teeth, made meals, spent every morning and evening together, Tenya could see it all. He could see Hitoshi's subtle shifts in his behavior, without giving up the man Tenya had initially fallen in love with. How he made sure to eat, took steps to sleep better. How he watched what he said, taking every deprecating remark and spinning it to neutral. How he wasn't as closed off as Tenya thought and Tenya learned to read his emotions.
Tenya could see he was subconsciously doing the same for Hitoshi.
Those quirks he found irritating were once again endearing, elements that made up Hitoshi, something he got to see every day. In a moment of frustration, Hitoshi had sneered and rubbed at the back of his neck. He caught himself and apologized to Tenya. Tenya only kissed the spot and assured him he didn't mind anymore. That he never really had in the first place.
Tenya had intended to walk Hitoshi past that miserable spot and remind him of their stupid fight. He had gone back and forth between doing so, the memory painful and embarrassing, but it had been such a significant turning point to their relationship. He was sure Hitoshi could laugh at it, would pull Tenya close as they walked by, the ring on his finger.
But it wasn't the best place for Tenya to propose.
Tenya stood at the sink, his hands once again covered in suds, but he held no vigor for scrubbing this time.
He was running out of options.
Hitoshi left the shower clean and dressed in a fresh set of sweats, still toweling off his hair and looking significantly more awake.
“You are not dressed for the day,” Tenya observed.
Hitoshi looked down at his outfit then back to Tenya.
“I was just gonna do some chores around the house,” he said. “Why? Do we have somewhere to be?”
The box in Tenya's pocket felt all too heavy.
“No,” he said.
Hitoshi took him at face value. He puttered around the house, doing the chores he took responsibility for that had fallen by the wayside in the last week. In retrospect, Tenya should have done those, freed up Hitoshi's time. Then Tenya would have been able to bring him to another significant location, to somewhere else he could propose. But without proper planning, he did not know where.
Tenya went to the corner store to pick up supplies. The fresh air cleared the swirling apprehension in his mind. He wasn't one to walk with his hands in his pockets, but he had to hold on to the little jewelry box, had to know it was still there.
His phone vibrated again.
Uraraka: Iida! I'm freaking out! Did he say yes!?
Tenya couldn't respond. He had nothing to respond with.
Back home, Hitoshi still found little things to do here and there. Emails to answer, books to rearrange, he even dusted. He worked at a leisurely pace, as if he had all the time in the world. When he would pass Tenya, he would touch him on the back of his hand, plant a soft kiss on his cheek, rest his face against Tenya's shoulder. Quiet gestures of affection that warmed Tenya's heart, reminded him why he bought that ring in the first place.
He had one last option. At the end of the day, he had intended to take Hitoshi to a very nice restaurant. They had always intended to go, but it seemed too nice for just a night out and they had found themselves busy during their birthdays. If Hitoshi said yes, Tenya had thought it would be nice to make another memory in that place, another significant turn in their relationship. Maybe a tradition to observe from year to year. He had to reserve a table, ensuring that there would be a spot waiting for them. He had done so because the restaurant was simply that nice, not because he was sure of Hitoshi's answer. He wasn't sure of his answer.
Instead of celebratory, it would be a very handsome and traditional locale to propose. Not what he planned, but maybe it would be better. It was very public, but Tenya thought he could tone down his proposal so as to not overwhelm Hitoshi. He'd try at least.
He stared at his still boyfriend, sprawled out on the couch in his sweats, reading a book with the news playing on the TV. Tenya's challenge would be to convince him to change into something appropriate and get him to the fancy setting without hesitation on a seemingly normal day. He inhaled deep and took the challenge, stepping into their living room with steeled resolve.
“Hey are you hungry?” Hitoshi asked without looking up from his book. He turned a page. “I know we had a late lunch, but I'm feeling kind of human again and I could eat.”
“Yes!” Tenya said with excitement. “We could-”
“I was thinking- oh.”
They looked to each other, both silent, waiting for the other to speak.
“You first,” Tenya said.
“I'm in the mood for some comfort food,” Hitoshi said. “I was thinking of picking up some take away?”
Tenya managed to maintain his smile, but it was weak. The stiff hand he had raised in excitement slowly drooped to his side.
“That would be nice,” he said.
Hitoshi's brow furrowed.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
Iida nodded in defeat and plopped down next to Hitoshi on the couch. Hitoshi eyed him with suspicion, recognizing he was holding back important information. Tenya only took his hand and pat the back of it. He kissed Hitoshi on the cheek. Hitoshi raised an eyebrow, still unconvinced, but he rose to his feet anyways. He put his wallet and keys into the pockets of his sweats and toed on his shoes.
“You're going out like that?” Tenya asked.
“It's just around the corner, Tenya,” Hitoshi said. He smiled and it reminded Tenya of that first one.
Even with the TV on, the apartment was quiet when Tenya was alone. He pulled the small box out of his pocket and turned it around in his hands, inspecting it.
He had one last option. Uraraka and a group of their friends were going to meet up in a bar down the street. They were waiting, to congratulate the couple in their engagement or to commiserate with Tenya if Hitoshi said no. Tenya pondered the idea that he could simply propose on the sidewalk on the way there. He immediately rejected it. It was too rushed, too public. It wasn't right at all.
He would have to give up for the day.
There would be other days, other opportunities. Hitoshi loved him and he loved Hitoshi. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with him. He had the rest of his life to propose.
Tenya slid the box back into his pocket with a frustrated huff.
Hitoshi returned with the least nutritious food possible and, despite Tenya's protests, they ate on the couch. Tenya cleaned up and stored away leftovers before returning to Hitoshi's side. Almost immediately, Hitoshi listed against him, settling in until comfortable. Tenya accommodated him until they were both laid out and cuddled on the couch, Hitoshi's back against his chest. The evening programming played on the TV, going mostly unnoticed. With the pressure off his shoulders, it was easy for Tenya to set aside the strife and disappointment of the day. To be simply content.
“Sorry about that,” Hitoshi muttered.
“It seemed like you had this whole day planned,” Hitoshi said. “And I ruined your plans. So sorry about that.”
Hitoshi did have a bad habit of doing that, ruining Tenya's carefully laid out plans and expectations. He hadn't taken that particular element into account. Next time, he would be more prepared.
“But I needed this.” Hitoshi stretched out his legs and slumped against Tenya. “The past couple of weeks just kicked my ass, especially that last one. So yeah I'm sorry, but also thank you. Thanks for today.”
Tenya smiled and held Hitoshi close.
“Everything is just perfect right now,” Hitoshi mumbled.
He was right.
That moment, comfortable and relaxed on their couch, in the life they built for themselves, was perfect.
And for the first time all day, Tenya didn't feel nervous.
“Hitoshi,” he said.
“Hm?” Hitoshi sounded like he was falling asleep.
“There is something I'd like to say.”
Tenya paused, going over the jumble of words he had planned, all the thoughts and feelings he had planned to say. But Tenya had no plan.
“Tenya?” Hitoshi asked.
He had nothing but to simply ask.
“Hitoshi,” Tenya said. “You are the most wonderful, frustrating, exhilarating person I have ever met. Ever since we met and built a friendship then a relationship, I have been nothing but fulfilled. Every day has been perfect and I am lucky to have you in my life as I do.”
“Yeah. Me too,” Hitoshi said, but it sounded like a question. He sat still against Tenya's chest, his head cocking slightly, trying to understand what Tenya was getting at.
“I'm so happy we're together. I'm happy for the experiences and memories we've made and shared. I'm happy for the life we've made. I want a million more perfect days with you.”
Hitoshi held on to Tenya's hand, his breathing oddly steady. Tenya shifted and struggled, but he managed to get the little box out of his pocket. He kept his arms wrapped around Hitoshi and held the little box before him, opening it up to reveal the ring inside. It was a black tungsten band, a minute diamond imbedded in the center. It was subtle and discreet, like his Hitoshi.
“Would you please do me the honor of marrying me?” he asked. His voice sounded a little too loud, precise and clipped, but he asked. The question was asked. “Would you be my husband and allow me to be yours?”
Hitoshi was perfectly still. His breathing was perfectly even. He held on to Tenya, no tighter, no looser. He was frozen still. For a moment, Tenya was sure Hitoshi might not have heard him. He opened his mouth to ask again.
Tenya's jaw clicked shut. It had been so quiet, Tenya was sure he imagined it.
“Yes?” he asked for clarification.
Hitoshi said nothing more on the matter. Another long minute passed and all Tenya could hear was his heart pounding in his ears. Adrenaline pumped through his veins. Hitoshi let go of Tenya's hand and held up his own.
“Put the ring on my finger, Tenya,” he said, still too quiet.
“Oh! Yes! Right.”
Tenya removed the ring from the box and in his haste, he let the box fall to the ground with a soft clatter, instantly forgotten. He held Hitoshi's hand delicately, steady in his own shaking ones, and slipped the band down his finger.
Hitoshi held his hand up, bringing the ring into the light. He slowly spread his fingers, turning his hand to inspect the ring from different angles. It fit perfectly. It looked like it belonged there.
Hitoshi shifted, propping himself on his elbows and turning in Tenya's lap to face him. He didn't look at Tenya, not at first, his eyes scanning and struggling to look up. When he finally managed it, he looked at Tenya with that flat impassive expression he wore like armor, but Tenya knew him. He could see the exhaustion and vulnerability and the soft smoothed over edges. He saw the overwhelming amount of love Hitoshi held for Tenya and it made Tenya's breath catch in his throat.
Hitoshi reached out and held Tenya's face. Hitoshi leaned in slow to press his lips against Tenya's, gentle and soft and the kiss lasted for an eternity. The ring was warm from having spent all day in Tenya's pocket. They parted and Hitoshi gave him one last lingering look before he settled against Tenya's chest wordlessly. Tenya wasn't sure if he fell asleep or was simply lying there with his eyes closed.
It was some time into the night when another buzz came from his phone. Hitoshi didn't move as Tenya pulled it out, compromising and not letting go of Hitoshi.
Uraraka: We're all waiting!
He had completely forgotten about their friends. He quickly typed out a response so he could free up his hand for more important matters.
Iida: I'm afraid we won't be able to make it.
Iida: He said yes.
The phone began to buzz back at him, but he shut it down and disregarded it. He settled into the couch, holding his fiance tight, and began the next chapter of their lives.