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Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Izuku hadn’t been expecting Todoroki to show up today, hadn’t been expecting his friend to stalk through the door as curfew approached with murder in his eyes and a thunderstorm written across his posture, heavy black clouds gathering in the way his shoulders held square to the world.

He looked tired, as had become standard. The hours of school had been weighing on him, pouring responsibility and stress onto his frame. Winter was coming to UA, and the heroes with fiery Quirks had been layering on jackets to keep their abilities from stagnating. Despite Todoroki’s icy half, his left side still meant that cold weather and dreary skies resulted in misery for several months. It was simply too hard for him to regulate all the time, and Izuku knew this all too well. He grinned nonetheless at his gloomy expression.

“Hey, Shouto, how’re you doing?”

His upbeat words and bright grin, beaming the full force of his concentrated sunny disposition into Todoroki’s face, were nevertheless insufficient to bring a tiny smile to the boy’s cheeks. Izuku wilted, setting aside his homework to face the much more pressing issue.

“Cold. Would it be alright if I borrowed your sweatshirt?” Todoroki blurted out, standard composure shattering into shards as he tugged his three layers of clothing tighter around his body, pulling the black-and-white flannel on top closed all the way. “It’s getting cold and I know you have an extra one,” he continued, but Izuku was already standing and making his way to the closet.

He started to dig through the disorganized clothes, pushing aside old prototypes of his hero costume and identical copies of his school uniform as he searched.

“Didn’t expect you here for a few more weeks, Shouto,” he said, head half-buried between t-shirts and a row of sweatpants, “usually you go to Iida first when it gets chilly.”

Izuku failed to mention his glee that Todoroki was coming to him, wanted his clothes to keep comfortable rather than Iida’s, that customarily fit better. It sent a possessive spark through him, one that he quickly quashed. They were friends, that’s all, and Iida was probably busy, or had turned him down this winter. The boy had caught his eye immediately, the way a diamond in the rough does, the same brutal flash of light and intense competence obvious in his reputation. Todoroki was off-limits at UA, that much was clear from the first day’s exam. Once their friendship began to grow, daffodils of trust forcing through the snowmelt still laying heavy between them, Izuku’s insignificant feelings had grown and grown until he caught himself staring, reaching out to him for help.

“Stole one of your jackets last cold snap, and you didn’t notice. I figured it’s better to ask.” Todoroki settled himself onto Izuku’s bed, pulling the covers off the edge and around his shoulders.

Oh. That was far from what Izuku had expected, but it was better than nothing. “Hey, it’s gonna be really cold tonight, are you okay for that?” The sun was already slipping behind the trees outside, and Izuku, who left the windows in his dorm open to study, felt the air drop another degree as the sky inched closer to twilight. “You can steal a few of my sweatshirts, if you need, I’ve got a ton,” he added, as he triumphantly pulled a stack of them from a box in the back.

He brought them over to the bed, where Todoroki had cocooned himself in every single one of Izuku’s many blankets in a matter of seconds. It was almost pitiful, red-and-white hair disheveled from tucking the blankets around his ears, and he looked dolefully up at Izuku.

“Can I stay here for a bit instead?” he asked, the beginnings of a smile creeping onto his lips. “Your blankets are really warm and it smells nice in here.”

To Izuku, his dorm room smelled the same it always had, a combination of sleep-warmed blankets and his mother’s cinnamon cookies, familiar but not noteworthy.

“It smells like you,” Todoroki added, rosebud blush crawling up his cheeks from his neck. He curled the blanket around his shoulders even more tightly and looked as if he’d rather be somewhere very, very different, miles away from the boy before him. Then Izuku grinned and hurled himself onto the bed beside him, reaching for the extra blanket under the bed.

“If you need to be warm, then maybe we should, um,” he began, but faltered as horror crept onto Todoroki’s face. His eyes blew wide, and Izuku redirected. “Never mind, would you like some tea? Coffee? Hot coco—”

“I’d love to cuddle with you, if you don’t mind too terribly. It really is quite chilly in here.” He raised one arm, blankets draping off of it, and nodded. “Come on over.”

The two boys squashed together, all pointy elbows and wrong angles at first as Todoroki’s cold hands sought out Izuku’s warmth. They wrapped blankets around themselves, feet hanging off the edge still but the heat from their pressed-together shoulders more than sufficing. Even the rapidly cooling air wafting through the window, bringing the aroma from the jasmine outside, wasn’t enough to make them separate. Izuku rested his chin on Todoroki’s shoulder, breathing in the boy’s scent.

He smelled like peppermint, Izuku thought, but rounded out with something else. It wasn’t the cold, harsh bite of peppermint like the winter storms that tossed icy sleet against the windows and howled mournful notes around the corners of the buildings. Peppermint like sharing gum during class, peppermint like a candycane, peppermint like a seasonal mocha. Warm, safe, constant peppermint.

He was also shivering still, gently trembling but trembling nonetheless. Izuku snuck his hand out from where it had been pressed against his side and reached for Todoroki’s hand. He jolted away when their fingers brushed, inhaling sharply and smacking his shoulder into Izuku’s jawbone.

“Sorry, Shouto, but you’re still freezing. Let me help,” he said as he grabbed his hand and started to run soft fingers over his wrist. His skin was chilly to the touch, and was entirely limp as Izuku rubbed warm hands over his.

“Can we just…” Todoroki started.

“Just what?”

“Just this,” he said, and wrapped one arm around Izuku’s shoulders as he closed long, graceful fingers over the smaller boy’s hand.

Sitting together in the half-light as the world outside tucked itself in for the night was peaceful. The winter was coming, faster than either of them could possibly imagine, but cold hands turned warmer and the sun slipped under the horizon.

They stayed, just like that, breathing each other in, until Todoroki broke the silence.

“Can I take one of these to class instead of a jacket?” he asked, holding up a handful of blanket.

Izuku considered for a moment. “Aizawa probably wouldn’t mind much, I mean,” he said, and a glimmer of mischief crept into his eyes, “he wears a blanket to class almost every day.”

The two boys broke apart, laughing wildly.

The clock turned to 9:30, just before curfew, and Todoroki gathered up an armful of cinnamon-warmth blankets. “Thank you, Izuku,” he said, lifting up the blankets, “for this, and for everything else.”

Izuku blinked, startled. “Of-of course! Anytime! And,” he added, “if you ever need anyone to warm you up again, you know where to come.”

He slid off the bed and met Todoroki in one last hug. “See you tomorrow, Shouto. Stay warm.”