“And this is really happening?” Izuku whispers, leaning to the side so Ochaco can hear him. “Like, I’m not seeing things?”
“No,” she whispers back, a grin wide on her face even as she attempts to bite it back. “You distract Todoroki, I’ll take pictures.”
“I can hear you,” Todoroki says from across the common room, face turned towards them so the right side of his face is fully visible. His gaze darts to meet some point in his eyeline, but his hand still-
Ochaco slaps Izuku’s arm and he flicks his eyes to meet hers. “Gimme your phone.”
“You have a phone.”
“Yours has a better camera.”
“Are you telling me you don’t want the best possible eternal image of Bakugo Katsuki acting like a teddy bear?”
Izuku looks back across the room, pulling his bottom lip between his teeth. Kacchan would kill him for it. He would hunt him, and find him, and pull out his entrails and hang him with them.
He digs his hand into his pocket and hands Ochaco his phone.
“Okay!” she says, slightly louder as she rushes forwards to the other side of the room and crouches down until Izuku can no longer see her past Todoroki’s head. “Just look natural.”
“This is ridiculous,” Todoroki says, turning to watch her. She snaps a photo, and the sound of a shutter closing rings out.
“Oops,” she mumbles, lowering the phone and flicking her thumb across the screen. “Can’t have him waking up.”
“He won’t, he never does when I do this.”
Ochaco whines, and Izuku can almost hear the pout on her face. “That’s so freaking adorable.” Then she lifts the phone up again and taps the screen silently a few times. “Okay, keep doing it.”
“So, uh, Todoroki,” Izuku says, slowly stepping forward until he can see over the edge of the couch. “This is a common thing?”
“Almost every night,” Todoroki says, looking down. Ochaco makes another noise like he’s a baby animal and keeps tapping the screen. “He can’t sleep unless I don’t.”
This time Izuku gasps, but not because of the words. It’s because from here he can see the way Kacchan is clinging to him, fingers clutching at his shirt as he buries his face in his chest.
He’s known Kacchan a long time, but he’s never seen anything like it.
Todoroki’s fingers – sure in their movements, like they’ve done it a million times, and they probably have – are moving slowly through his hair. The journey starts at his hairline, and then pulls back. It reveals his forehead, the smoothness of his brow, and continues on. Todoroki’s wrist turns so he can continue round the back of his head and curl around his ear.
It’s soft. It’s sweet. And it’s something Izuku never would’ve expected from either of them.
“Deku, can you get out of the way?” Ochaco says, peeking out from behind All Might’s plastic hair to raise an eyebrow at him. “The tears are very in character, but you’re ruining the picture.”
He blinks and a tear falls. He laughs. “Sorry! I didn’t even realise.”
“I know,” she mumbles, waiting for him to move around and walk towards her before taking another picture.
From this side, Izuku can see the smile splitting Todoroki’s face, and he can’t see Kacchan’s but he knows it’s there. His cheek is pushed out by the pressure he’s creating as he clutches on in his sleep, and the roundness reminds him of what Kacchan is: innocent, just like the rest of them.
No matter how he may act, with all his threats of violence, he’s innocent. And Todoroki lets him feel that.
He whines, shaking his fist mid-air. “You’re both so cute!” he whispers, lifting a hand and wiping his quickly-falling tears away.
“Shut up, Deku, Todoroki is smiling!” Ochaco hisses, pinching her fingers on the screen to zoom in with the skill of someone who’s done it a thousand times. She has – it might as well be her own phone. “I need to document this.”
Kacchan mumbles something into Todoroki’s shirt, shoulder blades shifting under his own as his muscles tense. “Are you awake this time?” Todoroki asks quietly, hand freezing.
“No,” Kacchan slurs. He shifts again, pressing his face further into Todoroki and sliding one hand around until he’s curled it up around his back.
“This is amazing,” Ochaco mumbles, dropping onto her knees and shuffling closer. “Anything else to say, Bakugo?”
Kacchan stays quiet this time and Todoroki slips one of his hands down to his back to pull him closer.
Watching them makes something in Izuku’s chest feel warm. He’s known them both for either a lifetime in Kacchan’s case or, for Todoroki, long enough to consider him one of his closest friends. He knows their fears, and their strengths, the things they like and things they don’t want to admit they hate.
He’s seen Kacchan grow from a toddler too scared to sleep without a night light to someone brave enough to take on the country’s strongest villains.
He’s seen Todoroki turn from a boy concerned with his father’s image of him to someone strong enough to face a serial killer and win.
Izuku has seen them both turn from two people rejecting every touch to holding each other as they sleep, protecting each other, saving each other when they’re too terrified to save themselves.
And here they are, allowing that all to exist for everyone to see.
“You two are so cute,” he whispers, hiding his face in his hands in a desperate – and failing – attempt to hide his overwhelmed tears. “I love you both so much!”
“Thank you, Midoriya,” Todoroki says, and when Izuku looks through the cracks in his fingers he sees him smile.
“Fucking incredible,” Ochaco whispers, shuffling even closer. “Can I video you?”
“Stop filling up my phone, I need that space!” Izuku whines, dropping his arms and bending down to look at the screen. She’s applied a filter to soften the light, and even he can admit that Kacchan looks beautiful like that.
“Need it for what?” she grumbles, flicking to the ‘video’ option. “More creepy stalking?”
“It’s not stalking, it’s research!”
Todoroki hisses, flinching and snapping his head down. His shirt has darkened under Kacchan’s clenching fists, and smoke is rising in thin wisps.
Ochaco lowers the phone, glancing up at Izuku. “Should we-”
“No,” Kacchan mumbles, turning his head and tensing visibly. “No, please.”
“Hey,” Todoroki whispers, his hand moving from his hair to his face and cupping his cheek. Kacchan’s face is twisted in pain, teeth on show and eyebrow furrowing. He whimpers quietly, and Ochaco rocks back on her heels. “Hey, Katsuki.”
A sizzling noise can be heard and Izuku flicks his eyes up to see a grimace twisting Todoroki’s jaw. “Todoroki-”
“It’s okay,” he interrupts, shifting and holding Kacchan tighter. “Katsuki, I’m here.”
“Shouto,” he whispers, hands smoking as they scrabble for purchase in the fabric they’re burning. “Shouto, no.”
“Should we get Aizawa?” Izuku asks, stepping forward and frowning. “Can we-”
Todoroki hisses again when one of Kacchan’s hands pop and he lets his ice spread from his fingertips to the cheek beneath them.
Kacchan jumps, eyes snapping open and lips parting around a gasp as he yanks himself up. His head whips to the side. He sees Todoroki.
“Shouto,” he whispers, reaching up and linking one arm around his neck. “Shit, did I-”
“Wait,” he murmurs, pulling back and skimming a hand over the damaged material of Todoroki’s shirt and what has to be a nasty burn underneath. “Fuck. I’m so sorry.”
“It was a nightmare, you’re okay,” Todoroki whispers, holding onto him. “I’ve had worse.”
“Katsuki,” he snaps, fingers ghosting his jaw.
The moment is far too intimate for Izuku to be observing, and he can see Ochaco glancing to the door in search of their exit, but any movement would just alert Kacchan to the fact he’s not alone.
He wants to help, to reach out and offer his support, but he knows that Todoroki has to have done this before. There’s surety in his actions, in the way he pulls him in and holds the back of his neck tenderly, in the way he presses a gentle kiss to that cheek he’d frosted. His eyes are closed, and his fingers have returned to their task of smoothing through Kacchan’s hair.
Kacchan – someone Izuku has always known to reject comfort with the fear of appearing weak – only clings tighter, straddling Todoroki’s lap and dipping his head over his shoulder.
“I hurt you,” he whispers, too loud in the quiet of the room. “I hurt you.”
“It’s okay,” Todoroki says back, opening his eyes and glancing at Izuku. “I’m okay.”
“I got you fucking killed, it’s not okay!” Kacchan cries out, shoulders slumping as his voice cracks.
“I’m fine. You’ve got me.”
A moment passes, and Izuku notes Ochaco shoving his phone back in his pocket amidst the quiet.
He needs to say something.
“Um,” he starts, wincing at the volume. Kacchan tenses, and he bites his lip at the sight of it. “D-do you want me to-”
“Deku,” Kacchan hisses, loosening his grip around Todoroki’s neck and sitting upright.
“You’ve got five fucking seconds to get out before I rip your spine out through your mouth.”
“Okay! Yeah, sure thing,” he rambles, reaching blindly for Ochaco and pulling her up. “Um, I hope you’re okay!”
He races from the room, only briefly glancing at the shaken glare Kacchan throws him over Todoroki’s shoulder.
Pausing by the staircase, he stares at Ochaco. She’s watching him nervously. He bites his lip. “Um, I think we should-”
“Not say anything?”
“To anyone,” he agrees. He pauses, thinking of the phone in his pocket. Then he watches the smirk spread across her face. “But the photos-”
Ochaco grins back at him, and he can distantly hear the sound of Todoroki’s voice quietly reassuring Kacchan, followed by an aborted laugh. He smiles softly, bobbing his head.
The moment stretches out and he finds himself watching her shoulders rise as she breathes. He bites his lip, reaching into his pocket for his phone. “Um, so which ones are best?”
She snorts, stepping closer and reaching up to curl her fingers around his wrist and pull his hand close enough for her to see the screen. His heart almost stops as he stares down at the point of contact, but she seems focused on his phone.
“Look, this one was right before he moved and you can see a bit of his face?”
“Yeah,” he says, and she grins up at him, eyes squinting with the strength of it.
Her grip tightens around his wrist, softened pads on her fingertips brushing against the rough surface of his skin. She takes the phone from him to type a message into the class group chat, and he watches.
He might not be touch starved in the way Todoroki and Kacchan are, but he still wants what they have.
Ochaco makes a noise. “Kirishima says they’re excessively gay for a public space.”
“Hagakure and Ojiro aren’t much better,” Izuku replies, and she nods wisely, tapping away.
Maybe one day.