Uraraka Ochako is a genius and Shouto owes her his life.
Shouto, Iida, Uraraka, Tsuyu, and Midoriya are all hanging out in Uraraka’s room, as they usually do on nights where none of them are out on internship work. They started as study sessions but quickly devolved into just laying around and talking about nothing once it became apparent that Iida and Midoriya were the only ones who actually wanted to study. Shouto really enjoys these nights with his friends. They make him feel like a normal teenager.
“Have you guys heard of love languages?” Uraraka asks out of nowhere.
“Love languages?” Tsuyu echoes, tilting her head curiously.
“Yeah! It’s from this book about how to be a better spouse or whatever, but I’m seeing people taking the quiz all over twitter,” Uraraka explains. “Apparently there are 5 different ways people express their love.”
“What like… not just saying it?” Midoriya asks.
“That’s one of them, actually!” Uraraka pulls up some kind of diagram with 5 columns on her phone and begins explaining. “Some people show their affection by giving their partners gifts, some people prefer verbal affirmations, it’s all different! And apparently knowing what your spouse’s love language is can help you be a better partner to them, because you’ll understand how best to show them how you feel!”
Iida, who was still valiantly trying to study for their calculus quiz, finally puts down his notebook. “Why are you bringing this up, Uraraka-kun? None of us are married.”
“Well, love can apply to friendships, too,” Midoriya reasons. “Like I love you guys a lot!”
Everyone in the room melts. Midoriya is just too adorable.
“Exactly! We should all take the quiz!” Uraraka declares. “We can use the results to be better friends to each other!”
Shouto, who is always looking for ways to be a better friend and repay the infinite kindness that Midoriya and the other’s have shown him, perks up.
“I think that is an excellent idea,” Iida says. “Communication and accommodating each others’ needs are very important in any relationship.”
“Plus, if we’re closer friends, we’ll be even better teammates!” Midoriya adds on, and he’s so cute and earnest that Shouto’s heart physically aches. “Remember last week when Todoroki-kun and I pulled off that combo move without speaking? It could be like that all the time!”
Shouto smiles faintly. “It worked out because I trust you.”
Midoriya sends him a dazzling smile. Shouto resists the urge to burst into flames.
“Where do we take this quiz, Ochako?” Tsuyu asks, leaning over her girlfriend’s shoulder to look at her phone. “Is it online?”
“Yup! Here, I’ll send the link in the groupchat and we can all take it on our phones.”
Shouto’s phone pings as the ‘all might memes for heroic teens’ groupchat lights up with Uraraka’s message. Shouto taps the link, only startling slightly when Midoriya settles right up against his side.
Don’t freak out! Shouto thinks to himself, definitely freaking out. It’s just because you’re warm.
Midoriya, probably feeling Shouto tensing up, pulls back slightly. Shouto tamps down a disappointed whine.
“Sorry, is this okay? I’m tired and you’re really warm.”
Shouto manages a tiny smile, one of the ones he reserves just for Midoirya. “It’s fine. Maybe one day you’ll stop using me as a human space heater.”
“Todoroki-kun, you know it’s more than that,” Midoriya says, bumping their shoulders lightly.
Shouto is about to say something back when he catches Uraraka looking at them. She gives him a knowing smirk. Shouto blinks slowly, begging her to drop it. Thankfully, she takes the hint and doesn’t tease them like she normally would.
“Okay!” Uraraka claps her hands together. “First question!”
Shouto looks down at his phone. The website gives him two statements and asks him to pick which one fits him better.
I like it when my friends and family hug me.
Hm, no, not particularly. Although, Midoriya gives nice hugs. Warm, solid. He could probably snap Shouto in half with his arms–– but that’s not the point.
I like it when people listen to me and show genuine interest in what I’m saying.
Shouto taps on that option. He will always be grateful that Midoriya listened as he spilled his entire life story during their first year sports festival, and then broke all the bones in his hand trying to show Shouto he has autonomy over his own quirk. And since then Midoriya has always listened attentively to Shouto’s problems, no matter how trivial.
“I think I’m realizing that I enjoy touch more than I thought I did,” Iida says from his place at Uraraka’s desk.
“Makes sense, considering how fast you fall asleep when we’re all cuddled up during movie night,” Midoriya teases. Iida doesn’t bother denying it.
The rest of the quiz passes like that, the five of them occasionally reading questions out loud and sharing answers and lightly teasing each other. Just dumb high schoolers taking a personality test. Shouto feels very soft and warm.
“Done!” Uraraka announces. “I got gifts as my love language!”
Midoriya snorts. “Of course you did. I got words of affirmation.”
“Ah, yes, your praise kink,” Iida says with a straight face.
“I don’t have a–– Guys, stop! Iida, stop repeating things Uraraka says, it’s not what you think it means!”
They all laugh at Midoriya’s sputtering, teasing him mercilessly.
“My love language is quality time,” Tsuyu says, finally taking the attention off Midoriya. “I think that fits. I make time for my siblings to show them I still think about them.”
“What’s yours, Todoroki-kun?” Midoriya asks, blinking his pretty green eyes up at Shouto. He’s warm and solid at Shouto’s side.
Shouto squints at his screen. “Acts of service.”
He reads through the little blurb at the bottom of the results page and finds himself agreeing with a lot of it. It makes him feel good when Fuyumi makes him a snack, or when Natsuo comes home from university to help do chores around the house. The website says that your love language is usually related to something you lacked while growing up. That… makes sense, but Shouto would rather not think about it.
“Hey, do you guys know what your Myers-Briggs personality type is?”
They pass the rest of the evening taking personality tests, which then leads to looking up their astrological birth charts, which then just leads to taking buzzfeed quizzes like ‘Which of These Pre-Quirk Fictional Pro Heroes is Secretly Your Soulmate?’ It’s juvenile, uncomplicated fun. Shouto’s soulmate is apparently Green Lantern.
They call it a night soon after, all standing and stretching like cats. Uraraka stops him before he leaves her room.
“Todoroki, could I talk to you for a second?”
Shouto pauses in the doorway. Midoriya moves to wait for him, but Shouto waves him on. He has an idea on what Uraraka wants to talk about. As soon as the others are gone, she pounces.
“As co-presidents of the Deku Appreciation Club––”
Shouto frowns. “I thought we agreed I was the president.”
“I promoted myself because it’s been weeks and you still haven’t confessed.”
“Ah, right.” Shouto winces.
He thinks back on his and Uraraka’s heart-to-heart a couple weeks ago that ended in spilt hot chocolate and both of them swearing to each other that they’d confess to their crushes before the month was through. Obviously, Uraraka followed through and her and Tsuyu have been happily dating for the past two weeks. Shouto, on the other hand, loses all higher brain function anytime Midoriya gives him his full attention. Yesterday, Midoriya helped Shouto clean the kitchen and all Shouto could think about was how he’d do a million chores if it meant he got to listen to Midoriya talk all day.
“I’m… working on it,” Shouto says.
“Are you?” Uraraka asks, crossing her arms. “Because it seems to me that you are not working on it and are instead just panicking anytime Deku-kun looks your way.”
“I can be panicking and working on it,” Shouto defends.
“Come on, Todoroki, you know he likes you, too!”
“I suspect he may be fond of me, to a certain extent,” Shouto allows. He worries his lip with his teeth. “He blushed when I complimented his battle strategy the other day.”
Uraraka groans. “He likes you! And you like him! All you need to do is confess and put us all out of our misery.”
“Believe me, I’m trying,” Shouto says, “I just don’t know how. Talking to him is always so easy but anytime I even start to think about my feelings I choke up.”
“Well, now you do know how!”
Uraraka gives him a pitying look, like she does when she thinks Shouto is being especially dense. “Did you really think I made us all take that love languages test to strengthen our friendship?”
“Yes,” Shouto says. “The only one more enthusiastic about friendship than you is Midoriya. Of course you would–– oh.”
“See, now you know exactly how to make Deku-kun feel loved!” Uraraka smiles at him like she’s a genius which, to be fair, she is.
“Oh, but–– oh no. I wasn’t paying attention to Midoriya’s results.” Shouto looks at Uraraka for help.
“Are you serious? You’ve been crushing on him since our first year and you weren’t paying attention to his love language results? Todoroki, I set it all up for you so perfectly!”
“I was too busy worrying about the psychological implications of my own results,” Shouto confesses, “and how my childhood trauma affects my ability to process affection.”
Uraraka gives him a flat look. “Okay, we are having another hot cocoa session to unpack that later. For now, you’re in luck. I wrote down everyone’s results because I’m a good friend and also I wasn’t lying about wanting to become closer.”
“Ah, I knew it.”
“Shut up, I know you’re soft for all of us too, you giant marshmallow. Anyway, Deku-kun’s love language is words of affirmation.”
“Words of affirmation?” Shouto thinks. “Like… good job?”
“Okay, you can do better than that. I know you’re not as emotionally constipated as everyone thinks you are.”
“The problem is if I try to compliment him genuinely I’ll end up proposing,” Shouto says, looking at Uraraka pleadingly. “Uraraka, I can’t propose before I’ve even confessed.”
“You don’t need to, like, shower him in compliments. Knowing Deku-kun, he’ll just get flustered and deny it all anyway. Here, I’ll send you the website page for it and you can read over it and decide what to do.” Uraraka gives Shouto a kind smile and a pat on the shoulder.
Shouto groans, hiding his face in his hands.
“This is so hard. How did you confess to Tsuyu?”
Uraraka smiles bashfully. “I just asked her if she wanted to get dinner after our internship one day. She knows how careful I am with money so when I offered to pay, like a date, she saw through me immediately.”
“It’s not fair, your girlfriend is easily the most emotionally intelligent out of all of us,” Shouto complains. “Meanwhile, Midoriya still doesn’t know that I always pick him for partner projects because I like him and not just because he’s smart.”
“Deku-kun is really oblivious, so good luck!” Uraraka says cheerfully. Shouto takes this as his cue to leave and shuffles towards the door.
“I’m cheering you on!” she says finally, waving Shouto off as he leaves.
Shouto stays up well into the night reading the website Uraraka sent him. It makes him flush with embarrassment, to be tackling his feelings with the same research strategies he uses to write essays, but he does it anyway. Midoriya put up with plenty of Shouto’s emotionally stunted bullshit in their first year, the least Shouto can do is learn how to properly express his affections in a way that Midoriya will best understand.
According to the website, people with words of affirmation as a love language most appreciate compliments, encouragement, and for their partner to listen to them. This is good–– great even. Shouto already spends most of his time listening to Midoriya. One of his favorite things to do is hang out in Midoriya’s room and listen to him ramble on about his newest interest, usually hero related. It soothes Shouto’s soul like drinking hot tea on a cold day, makes him feel all syrupy sweet and slow, softened just by being in close proximity to Midoriya.
By the time Shouto goes to bed he has a few ideas. He just needs to implement them.
Shouto thinks he might struggle a bit with this. It’s his natural instinct to express his feelings for his friends through small gestures or actions, like removing Iida’s glasses when he falls asleep on the common room couch, or doing Uraraka’s dishes for her when she’s tired. While he’s not as stoic as most people believe him to be, he also isn’t the best with words.
(At least he won’t have trouble coming up with nice things to say to Midoriya. His head is constantly full of cliche, romance movie line worthy thoughts about him.)
Shouto tries out his new strategy the very next day.
“Midoriya,” Shouto calls softly, catching Midoriya just as he’s about to leave the common room, “you are a very good influence on the people around you.”
“I––” Midoriya flushes gorgeously, freckled cheeks tinged pink. “T-Thank you, Todoroki-kun. Why…?”
“I appreciate your presence in my life,” Shouto says, way more aggressively than he intended. Across the common room, Tokoyami looks up from his book.
“I… appreciate you, too.”
“I am incredibly proud of you.”
Midoriya clearly starts to take it as a challenge.
“I’m proud of you too!”
(“Oh my god, is he confessing?” Hagakure asks Tokoyami, looking up from her own homework at the scene before them.
“I’m not sure, but it’s certainly loud,” Tokoyami grumbles.)
“I can’t imagine my life without you,” Shouto says emphatically. Midoriya nods aggressively.
“Me, too! And, I think you’re the bravest person I know!”
“Y-You are valid!” Shouto, who was not expecting to be complimented back, ends up speaking louder than he intended.
“So are you!” Midoriya responds, matching his volume. “You’re the best friend I could have asked for!”
Shouto was not expecting Midoriya to out-compliment him. He feels flustered under all his attention. Like a pen left in the sun leaking ink everywhere, Shouto can feel his emotions (and, consequently, his quirk) spilling out of him. He’s reached his limit for publicly displayed emotions for the day, so he just ends up giving Midoriya an awkward little nod before quickly absconding to his room.
He will need to rethink his strategy.
“I can’t do this,” Shouto complains to Uraraka. “It's literally impossible to be more encouraging than Midoriya. He is the embodiment of bettering the people around you.”
“Godspeed,” Uraraka says, patting Shouto’s shoulder sympathetically.
Shouto comes downstairs one day to find Midoriya already awake and in the kitchen.
He pauses for a second in the doorway. Midoriya is sleep soft and golden in the morning light, cuddled up in an oversized All Might hoodie. He’s standing at the counter with his back to Shouto, hands busy with some mugs in front of him. Shouto falls in love with the gentle slope of his shoulders, the backlit forest green curls of his hair, the shape of him silhouetted against the sunbeams spilling in through the windows.
Shouto must make some kind of helpless, besotted noise because Midoriya turns towards him, greeting him with a smile that outshines the morning sun.
“Good morning,” he greets softly.
“Morning,” Shouto mumbles. He shuffles further into the kitchen, closer to the sweet creature in front of him.
“I made you tea, Todoroki-kun,” Midoriya says, pressing a warm mug into Shouto’s hands. It’s even his favorite mug, the one with the little calico cats on it that Fuyumi got him for his birthday this year.
“Oh,” Shouto blinks down at the steaming mug, inhaling the calming scent of jasmine green tea. “Thank you.”
Midoriya beams at him. “No problem!”
Shouto settles into a seat at the table and Midoirya sits down across from him, nursing his own cup. From the smell of it, it’s probably Midoirya’s usual ungodly mix of coffee, cocoa powder, and ginger. It’s got a worrying amount of caffeine in it, but Midoriya usually burns through the energy on his morning runs. The rest of his attitude is just natural enthusiasm.
They make idle chit-chat, discussing the upcoming week. Midoriya is in the middle of telling Shouto about an Edgeshot documentary when Shouto notices that he’s not gesticulating with his hands as much as usual.
Silently and without giving himself time to think about it, he reaches across the table and takes Midoirya’s hands in his. Midoriya falls silent as Shouto gathers both of Midoriya’s hands in his left, gently warming them.
“I almost forgot,” Shouto murmurs. “Your hands get all stiff in the mornings during winter, right? Because of the cold?”
“You remember that?”
Shouto knows he’s looking at him but he can’t bring himself to meet Midoriya’s eyes. Instead he focuses on heating his hands enough to warm Midoriya’s without also setting them both and the entire kitchen on fire.
“Of course,” Shouto answers, finally looking up. “You could barely write last winter because your joints kept locking up. Didn’t Iida start keeping hand warmers in his bags for you?”
Midoriya nods. Shouto begins gently massaging his hands, trying to work sensation back into them. He’s blushing furiously, but he presses on. What’s a little embarrassment if it means Midoriya won’t be in pain for the rest of the day? Shouto hates seeing him try to hide his shaky hands and opting to not eat because he can’t hold his chopsticks.
“I could get used to this,” Midoriya murmurs softly.
“I’d do it for you every morning, if you’d let me,” Shouto replies.
His heart is beating so loudly he’s almost sure Midoriya can hear it. The look on Midoriya’s face is so bubblegum soft, so openly, gently happy. It makes Shouto feel warm down to his bones. He wants to see that expression every morning for the rest of their lives.
Shouto tamps down his stupid, lovesick daydreams and looks back at Midoriya’s hands.
“I like your nailpolish,” Shouto says. He runs the pad of his thumb over one of Midoriya’s nails, admiring the way it shines pastel pink in the morning light.
“Thanks. I know my hands are kind of awful to look at, but Mina thought the color would look good on me.”
Shouto frowns. “Your hands aren’t awful to look at.”
“I mean––” Midoriya flexes his hands in Shouto’s grip “–– thank you for trying to be nice, Todoroki-kun, but look at them.”
Shouto looks at them. The only thing he can think to say is that Midoriya’s hands look nice in his own. He absolutely cannot say that to Midoriya’s face without spontaneously combusting and leaving this plane of existence, so instead he repeats himself.
“They aren’t awful to look at. I actually think they’re very… pretty.”
Midoriya blinks. “Pretty?”
Shouto nods. “You have nice hands.”
“B-But the scars….”
Shouto squeezes Midoriya’s hands tighter. “Your scars are why I think your hands are nice. They’re reminders that you survived. Besides, you got some of them teaching me a lesson.”
“Yeah,” Midoriya grins at him, looking lighter than he did a minute ago, “I still think it’s kind of crazy they didn’t stop the fight sooner. We almost killed each other.”
“Absolutely bonkers,” Shouto deadpans. Midoriya giggles.
They sit their holding hands until the rest of the class eventually trickles in for breakfast. Midoriya doesn’t let go, so neither does Shouto.
“Dude, Midoriya is kind of scary,” Kirishima says with awe, watching the mock battle in front of them.
“He's slightly unhinged,” Shouto admits, “but I like that about him.”
Midoriya flips over Bakugou, cackling evilly as he snags one of the grenades off his belt and flings it at an approaching Iida. Then Midoriya picks Bakugou up and lets out a feral scream as he throws him at Jirou. Aizawa sighs heavily but doesn’t stop the training exercise.
Shouto cups his hands over his mouth and shouts, “You’re doing amazing, Midoriya!”
Shouto decides to up his game.
The love languages website also encouraged using little notes or unexpected texts to show affection. Shouto is proud to say that he’s come a long way since his first year, and is now able to text like a normal teenager and not an aggressively casual 80-year-old with a tendency to leave people on read.
(They are still working on getting Iida to drop the proper grammar and text casually, but Shouto thinks this may be a lost cause. At least Iida used a meme last week. Progress.)
Shouto spends an embarrassing amount of time drafting the perfect “unexpected encouraging text” message, as per the website’s suggestion. He gets weirdly nervous about it, in the way he usually isn’t when speaking to Midoriya. For some reason, having his feelings written out on the screen in front of him makes him feel vulnerable.
Incredible. He feels perfectly comfortable yelling his feelings at Midoriya at a nationally televised sports festival death match, but he blushes sending a single text.
The way you took down Shiozaki today was very impressive
Good job !
Okay. He did it.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Shouto meant what he said. Midoriya was unstoppable during today’s capture the flag exercise. While Shouto was incharge of defending their own flag, Midoriya was sent alone into 3B’s territory to distract and engage as many of them as he could. Their class ended up losing the match, but watching Midoriya in a five-on-one fight was just incredible. He’s absolutely mesmerizing in the middle of battle, all crackling green energy and wide, sharp eyes. Shouto doesn’t know how everyone doesn’t immediately fall in love with him.
His phone buzzes.
!!!! thank you !!!!!!
ur so sweet todoroki kun :D ❤️
Shouto flings his phone away and buries his face in his hands. This is it. This is how he dies. Death by heart emoji, what a way to go.
“Hey, Todoroki-kun,” Midoriya says, popping his head into Shouto’s room. “I’m about to head down to the laundry room, wanna come?”
“Yeah,” Midoriya says, smiling as he steps fully into Shouto’s room. He has a laundry basket propped on his hip, and Shouto can see at least five different All Might hoodies. “I know how much you hate doing laundry, so I thought we could do it together! Then it’ll be more fun, like just hanging out you know?”
Shouto nearly swoons. Domestic chores together. One of his favorite fantasies comes to life.
“Thank you for thinking of me. You’re very considerate, Midoriya.”
Shouto grabs his laundry and they make their way to the laundry room, playfully bumping hips and nudging shoulders the whole way. Shouto borrows detergent from Midoriya. Their laundry gets mixed up. Shouto watches their clothes tumble in the machine, swirling reds and blues and the occasional pink.
He thinks he wouldn’t hate doing laundry so much if he got to do it with Midoriya.
What time will you be back from your internship
hmm maybe 8 ? gang orca just brought in a whole
bunch of villains and i’m stuck on paperwork duty :(
wait ! did we have plans?? did i forget again im so
sorry todoroki-kun i promise i’ll make it up to you !!!!!
No, we didn’t have plans.
I was just going to ask if you wanted to spar,
but you’ll probably be tired later
wait no it’s all good i can spar !! we haven’t been
able to train just the two of us for a while
Shouto bites his lip, resisting the urge to roll around on his bed giddily. Midoriya notices when they don’t hang out as often. Midoriya maybe misses Shouto’s company as much as Shouto misses his.
We probably shouldn’t
Hold on. Why are you on paperwork duty
Midoriya, did you get hurt again?
aaaa you using proper punctuation is scary D:
it’s just a few cracked ribs!! nbd i promise !!
A few cracked ribs.
No big deal.
it’s all healed up and everything i swear. gang orca
just wants to be extra careful because recovery girl
threatened him last time i got hurt :(
Shouto sighs heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose. This boy is going to kill him one day.
I think your work ethic is very admirable. You’re easily the hardest worker
I know and I think that you’re going to be the best hero out of all of us
It makes me sad that you don’t take care of yourself
i’m working on it i promise
it’s just… hard sometimes
Me (unsent draft)
I wish you knew how precious you are to me.
I know. Please try to be careful
We can spar some other time
i’ll be careful !! super extra mega careful !! won’t
even get a paper cut, i promise !!
if you promise to be extremely very turbo careful too :D
plus ultra careful !!!
Plus ultra careful
Me (unsent draft)
Shouto’s next attempt comes in the form of a neatly handwritten note tucked into Midoriya’s locker.
He thought he’d leave it in there and Midoriya would find it the next time they had to do training in their hero costumes. He hoped it would put a smile on Midoriya’s face.
He did not, however, account for the note falling out of Midoriya’s locker and catching the attention of the other 3A boys. Midoriya quickly picks it up, flushing as he reads it.
“Ooh, a love note? Looks like Midoriya has a secret admirer!” Kaminari coos, peering over Midoriya’s shoulder to get a look at the note.
“Another one? Damn, Midobro!”
Midoriya looks off into the distance, probably reliving his trauma from the Great Valentine’s Day Disaster. He made an offhand pun about being bisexual while beating the shit out of Bakugou during their second sports festival and the following Valentine’s Day he received so many confessions and chocolates that Aizawa-sensei literally assigned him and his locker a body guard.
Shouto thought it was very funny, until he realized that all those confessors were potential love rivals.
“What does it say?” Kaminari prods, whining when Midoriya clutches the note to his chest, hiding it from view.
“Doesn’t sound like nothing, dude,” Kirishima chimes in. “Your face is so red!”
It’s true. Midoriya’s face is almost the same color as Kirishima’s hair now, his freckles lost in a rosy glow. He’s so frustratingly cute, so disarmingly adorable. Shouto resists the urge to just lay face down on the floor. Shouto loves the contrast between his round, cute face and the strong, scarred muscles of his body. Midoriya is a study in contradictions that Shouto wants to spend the rest of his life figuring out.
“I-It’s just a nice note!” Midoriya defends. “Really thoughtful!”
They make eye contact. Shouto drops one of his metal first aid cylinders on his foot.
“Ouch!” Shouto hisses, hopping on one foot. His eyes water.
“Are you okay?” Shoji asks him quietly.
Shouto nods, pressing his lips together. Great. First, he accidentally makes a public spectacle over what the website said was supposed to be a ‘genuine, personal note of encouragement.’ Then, he makes a fool out of himself in front of half their class and Midoriya.
Thankfully for Shouto’s pride, no one is paying attention to him. They’re all, minus Bakugou, crowding around Midoriya to try to get a look at the note.
“It’s not a big deal!” Midoriya insists, dodging Aoyama’s swipes. “It’s just a nice note!”
“Yeah, from a mysterious admirer,” Kaminari says.
“Well, if we think about this logically––”
“Ha! You? Logical? Fuckin’ hilarious joke, tape face.”
“Logically,” Sero starts again, glaring at Bakugou, “it has to be from someone here or in 3B. We’re the only ones with access to the locker rooms.”
Shouto prays for the floor to swallow him up.
It’s at this point that Shinsou reaches over and–– using his frankly disgusting and unfair amount of height over Midoriya–– cleanly plucks the note from his grasp. Midoriya squawks and tries to climb Shinsou like a tree, reaching for the note.
Shinsou’s eyes quickly scan the note, catching on the bottom where Shouto knows he signed his name. Shinsou’s gaze flicks up to Shouto, but he thankfully doesn’t say anything. He just quietly hands the note back to Midoriya, giving his curls a teasing ruffle, and calmly exits the locker room.
“Wait, what did it say?” Kaminari calls after him. “Shinsou!”
“It really is just a sweet note from a friend,” Midoriya says, and Shouto lets out a quiet “oof” at the word friend.
Ojiro raises an eyebrow at him, but says nothing.
“Is it from Monoma?” Kirishima asks. “Tetsutetsu and I have a theory that he has a crush on someone in 3A and that’s why he’s so mean all the time.”
“Dude, that actually makes so much sense.”
“Or he’s just an asshole.”
“Takes one to know one, huh Blasty?”
“The fuck did you just say, Pikachu?!”
“It’s not from Monoma,” Midoriya says quietly. He quickly stashes the note back in his locker and closes it, tugging on his gloves. “Come on, guys. If we’re late Aizawa-sensei will kill us.”
The other guys tease Midoriya mercilessly for the rest of the day, but it’s nothing compared to when the girls catch wind of what happened. As soon as Kaminari mentions the “love note” Midoriya received, all six girls turn in unison to look at Shouto. It’s not even the least bit subtle, they all just look at him with amused expressions. Shouto blushes and resolutely refuses to make eye contact with any of them, opting instead to pretend to be very focused on tying the laces of his laceless boots.
Uraraka makes sense. Shouto frequently confides in her. Tsuyu is also a given, nothing goes on in their friend group without Tsuyu figuring it out. Yaoyorozu is a surprise, considering Shouto thought he’d been pretty subtle when coming to her for dating advice, and if Yaoyorozu knows then so does Jirou. Shouto has absolutely no idea how Hagakure and Mina know. He hasn’t had a conversation with Hagakure for at least a couple weeks.
Is he that obvious?
That’s probably a stupid question.
Shouto rises from fiddling with his boot zipper to discover the rest of the class has moved closer to the center of the practice field and are now splitting up into sparring partners. Midoriya hung back to wait for him.
“Partners?” he asks, as if Shouto doesn’t regularly attach himself to Midoriya’s side and glare at anyone who approaches when they do exercises like this.
Shouto nods and immediately drops into a fighting stance.
Something electric flares to life in Shouto’s chest everytime he gets the privilege of fighting Midoriya. No one else matches him blow for blow like him, no one else exerts so much brain power finding new strategies to keep Shouto on his toes. There’s something exhilarating about having all of Midoriya’s attention focused on him. Shouto’s addicted to it.
Midoriya opens by darting in close and dropping low to try to sweep Shouto’s feet out from under him. Shouto freezes the floor so Midoriya slips, overshooting him by a meter.
“What happened to getting better grips on your boots?” Shouto taunts. He dodges a kick to the head.
“No time,” Midoriya says. He executes some kind of complicated midair acrobatic flip by flicking his fingers. The sheer pressure of it ripples the air around them.
“That’s a new move.”
“Only the best for you, Todoroki-kun!”
Shouto grins a little ferally and lets loose his own special move: a jet of fire from his left to propel him forward as he hardens an ice spear around his right arm, which he stabs deep into the ground. He slingshots around his icy anchorpoint, building up centrifugal force and then letting go to launch himself at Midoriya feet first.
Midoriya, who expects Shouto to be a fairly stationary fighter, fully takes the hit to the chest. They go down hard, Shouto pinning Midoriya securely beneath him until he goes limp. He made the mistake of declaring victory too early once and got a face full of green electricity for his foolishness. This time he grips Midoriya’s wrists in his hands, smirking down at him as he tries to get his breath back.
“Sorry,” Shouto says smugly. Midoriya always brings out Shouto’s playful side.
“Ugh.” Midoriya squints up at Shouto, pouting in the most enchanting way. “How long have you been working on that one?”
“A while,” Shouto answers. “I was jealous that you get to bounce around the battlefield all the time.”
“Aw, did you base that move off one of mine?” Midoriya playfully pushes his wrists up against Shouto’s hands. Shouto slams them back onto the ground, keeping him pinned.
“You are my biggest inspiration when it comes to fighting,” Shouto says sincerely, “and… life in general, too.”
Midoriya’s face, already pink from exertion, flushes even darker. He’s so pretty, green curls splayed out in a halo around him, almost blending into the grass. He’s looking up at Shouto with his wide, expressive eyes, freckles sprinkled like constellations on his cheeks. Some of Shouto’s ice must have shattered in his face because he has little drops of water caught on his eyelashes and hair, sparkling like diamonds under the sun. Shouto likes him so much he aches.
“Um, are you two okay over there?”
Shouto looks away from Midoriya to see Shinsou peering around some half-destroyed ice. He quickly gets off of Midoriya, offering his hand to help him up. Midoriya’s hand lingers in his for a second and Shouto struggles to keep a straight face when addressing Shinsou.
“I think Todoroki-kun knocked my lungs out of my chest, but we’re all good!” Midoriya smiles at Shinsou sunnily, giving him a thumbs up. “Did you want to spar, too?”
“No, I’ll leave you two alone,” Shinsou says, firing a smirk at Shouto. “Aizawa-sensei just sent me over to make sure Todoroki didn’t kill you. You two were down for a while.”
Midoriya waves away Shinsou’s concern. “Don’t worry! You’d have to drop a building on me to keep me down!”
“Don’t manifest that,” Shinsou begs. “Don’t put that energy out into the universe. You have the worst luck, Green Bean.”
Shouto seconds that. “Didn’t we talk about being careful, Midoriya?”
“I am! Plus ultra careful!” Midoriya pumps his fist in the air.
“Plus ultra careful,” Shouto echoes, giving a half-hearted echo of the gesture.
Shinsou shakes his head and walks away. As soon as he’s out of earshot, Shouto turns back to Midoriya.
“Um,” he says eloquently, “I, uh, wanted to apologize for earlier.”
“Don’t be sorry, that was a really cool move!” Midoriya reassures him. “I bet you could get a lot of speed with it if you used it with the ice skating thing you do, too! Come on, I’ll help you practice.”
“No, not for that.” Shouto shifts awkwardly. “It’s about the note.”
“Oh.” Midoriya looks away shyly. “That–– you don’t have to apologize for that either.”
“You looked really uncomfortable earlier,” Shouto says. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it would cause such a… spectacle.”
“Ah, yeah the attention was a little awkward, but it’s okay! Really!”
“It was supposed to cheer you up,” Shouto mutters, frowning at the ground.
“It did! Forget about everyone else.”
Midoriya takes Shouto’s hands. They’re warm from recently using his quirk. Shouto wonders how he can go from using unfathomable amounts of force to being so excruciatingly gentle in only minutes.
“It was really thoughtful of you to leave me a note like that,” Midoriya says.
Shouto swallows thickly. This is it, this is his moment. He opens his mouth to say that he––
“Quit staring into eachothers eyes and fight me, assholes!”
“Bakubro, don’t interrupt!”
Shouto sighs, withdrawing his hands from Midoriya’s. Bakugou and Kirishima are marching towards them, obviously intent on sparring.
“Ah, looks like Kacchan and Kirishima want to duo fight.” Midoriya shoots him a smile. “Partners, right?”
“Always,” Shouto answers.
Well, the cat is out of the bag. If pretty much their entire class (and, likely, most of 3B) knows about Shouto’s crush, he might as well use them for ideas. After his internship one day Shouto texts Yaoyorozu asking her to ask Jirou to meet him in his dorm room.
(It’s a well known fact that if you want to get Jirou to do something, you should just ask Yaoyorozu. She’s incredibly whipped for her girlfriend. This is coming from Shouto, who literally faced off against a serial killer just because Midoriya texted him.)
“Is there something you needed, loverboy?” Jirou asks loudly, entering Shouto’s room with Yaoyorozu trailing behind her. Yaoyorozu, at least, gives Shouto a polite nod before she starts to tease him.
“This is about Midoriya, is it not? It’s been a while since you’ve come to me for advice, I thought you’d sorted things out with your, what did you call him? Your unnamed friend who has a crush on your other, also unnamed, friend?”
“Yaoyorozu, please,” Shouto whines.
The girls giggle at his expense, making themselves at home on his bed. Shouto settles heavily into his desk chair.
He gets right to the issue. “Midoriya likes words of affirmation. I want to make him a playlist full of encouraging songs, but the only music I listen to is whatever K-pop group Fuyumi’s into at the moment. Please help.”
Jirou blinks at him. Then she bursts into laughter.
“You want me to make a tender gay playlist so you can confess to Midoriya? Oblivious, awkward, still-doesn’t-know-he’s-cute Midoriya?”
“I just need you to introduce me to some songs,” Shouto begs. Then, he goes right for Jirou’s weakness. “What songs remind you of Yaoyorozu?”
Yaoyorozu squeaks. Jirou shuts up, blushing bright red.
“My playlist for Momo is full of King Princess and Hayley Kiyoko, it won’t apply to you,”Jirou says quickly.
“I have no idea who either of those people are.”
“Kyoka, let’s just help him out,” Yaoyorozu says kindly, because she is easily the best person at this school. “He’s struggling.”
“Fine.” Jirou gestures towards a piece of paper and a pen on Shouto’s desk. Shouto gets the hint and hands them over.
“Okay,” she says, clicking the pen, “how do you feel about Midoriya?”
Many things. Shouto has many complicated, layered feelings about Midoriya. He thinks Midoriya is the sun in human form, almost too bright to look at and warm enough to thaw Shouto’s frozen heart. Midoriya oozes charisma in his own awkward, fumbling, genuine way. He’s sweet and thoughtful and will quite literally bend over backwards to help people, even people who may not deserve his kindness. Shouto thinks he’s spectacular. He thinks Midoriya is going to change the world one day.
“Um,” is what Shouto says instead of all that, “he’s… green.”
“He’s green.” Jirou repeats flatly.
“Green is… nice. Pretty.”
“Is that all? Pretty? You’re not giving me a lot to work with here.”
“He’s… I….” Shouto flounders. “He’s the best thing to ever happen to me. I want to marry him one day.”
Yaoyorozu and Jirou blink at him, stunned. Shouto makes a high pitched noise but doesn’t take the words back.
“Are you okay, dude?”
“I’m fine,” Shouto says, his soul leaving his body as he speaks. “Let’s continue.”
“You’re literally steaming,” Jirou points out. “Like a fresh meat bun. Or a… lobster? What are things that steam?”
“A hot cup of tea,” Yaoyorozu supplies.
“That’s a great metaphor, thanks babe.”
Shouto covers his face with his hands, groaning.
“Okay, okay, here.” Jirou scribbles down an impressively long list of songs and artists on the paper. She hands it to Shouto. “Try listening to these. My advice is to pick just a few songs that you think he’d really connect with, quality over quantity you know? And pick songs you actually like, not just ones that have cute sounding titles. It’s best to be genuine.”
Shouto nods in thanks. They leave soon after, but not before teasing Shouto a little more.
Shouto makes his way down the list over the next few days. He adds all the songs to his phone and listens in between classes, while working on homework, on his morning jog–– pretty much every spare moment he has. He finds a couple songs that he likes and adds them onto a playlist, debating what to name it for a long time. He finally just settles on a simple ‘songs for you’ and forwards the link to Midoriya.
Five minutes later Midoriya is tackling him in the common room, gushing about how no ones ever made him a playlist before and how it was the nicest thing that has ever happened to him and how Shouto is the best, best, best, best person in the universe.
Jirou and Yaoyorozu watch them from the kitchen. Jirou gives Shouto a wink and mouths “you’re welcome.”
Shouto smiles over Midoriya’s shoulder.
“Can I crash your hiding spot?”
Shouto takes his gaze off the stars softly twinkling above him. Midoriya is standing at the door to the rooftop. He’s smiling hesitantly, wrapped up in a blue sweater that Shouto is pretty sure is his; it probably got mixed into Midoriya’s clothes last time they did laundry together. Shouto pats the space next to him and Midoriya trots over, settling himself onto the cool concrete.
“Is the party over?”
“No,” Midoriya snorts, “they’re just getting started. Aoyama busted out the karaoke machine and Kaminari snuck alcohol in.”
“Sounds… loud.” Shouto grimaces.
“Is that why you came up here?”
“Mm, partially,” Midoriya says. He bumps their shoulders together lightly. “Mostly I just missed you.”
Shouto smiles, pleased. He bumps his shoulder back against Midoriya’s and then just doesn’t pull back, leaning against him.
“It’s a beautiful night,” he says absently. Midoriya hums in agreement.
The stars are out in full tonight, the familiar constellations sparkling out into infinity above them. The moon illuminates the city below them, gleaming off windows and catching on rooftops. Shouto likes nights like this. He feels celestial, surrounded by starlight and perched at the top of the world. It makes him feel safe, in the way he only really ever feels when he’s alone up here. Or when he’s with Midoriya.
Over the past few weeks, Shouto’s gotten really good at voicing his feelings, so he doesn’t hesitate to say this outloud.
“I feel really safe with you,” he says, turning his head so they’re looking at each other.
Midoriya gives him a surprised, stunned smile. “That’s… Todoroki-kun, that’s the best compliment you could’ve given me.”
“Ah, good,” Shouto says, “I’ve been trying so hard.”
“You have, haven’t you?”
Shouto’s pulse jumps. “You noticed?”
“Have you been trying to tell me something, Todoroki-kun?” Midoriya says with a teasing smile. Like he knows already. Like he’s known for a while and has just been waiting for Shouto to catch up. Shouto feels hope bloom in his chest, warm and bright like a sunrise.
“I… have been trying to confess for a while now,” Shouto says finally. “I had a strategy.”
“A strategy?” Midoriya sounds amused. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s Midoriya–– who is the sweetest, gentlest person he knows–– Shouto would think he was being made fun of.
“I, um–– I based it on the love languages thing that Uraraka made us do a while back,” Shouto admits.
“You know?” Shouto looks at him, surprised.
“Todoroki-kun, this whole time I’ve been trying to do little things for you because that was your love language,” Midoriya says.
“But… your behavior didn’t change much,” Shouto says, confused. “You’ve always done nice, thoughtful things like that.”
Midoriya gives Shouto a patient smile. “Exactly.”
Oh. Perhaps Shouto was the oblivious one.
“I… I like you so much,” Shouto says finally, because he wants to stop dancing around it. Because he needs to say it and he needs Midoriya to hear it. Because it’s so easy, being with Midoriya. It’s like breathing, like skating on smooth, clean ice. Everything in Shouto’s life is an uphill battle, a struggle against himself or his father or any of the million villains trying to kill him. But when he’s with Midoriya, it’s like the ground levels out and Shouto can just exist without constantly fighting for it.
“Can I tell you a secret?” Midoriya asks playfully, eyes crinkling at the corners. He’s so close Shouto can count each individual freckle on his cheeks.
“A secret?” Shouto echoes, breathless.
“Yes, a secret.”.
“I can keep a secret, for you.”
“You’re the only person I can be myself around.”
Shouto blinks, surprised. He wasn’t expecting that.
“I like that you don’t care what agency I’m signing to next year,” Midoriya says, watching Shouto. “You never make me feel pressured to accept my highest ranking offer. You supported me when I chose Gang Orca for my internship and you never make me feel like I’m making stupid decisions. There’s so much pressure sometimes from–– you know, with All Might it’s unintentional, but still–– everyone but you. And you let me talk about dumb stuff for hours without making me feel like a nerd or a burden. I just––
“I really like you, too, Todoroki-kun,” Midoriya finishes, looking Shouto in the eye. “I like you so, so, so much.”
Shouto’s heart starts, stutters, and falls right out of his chest and into Midoriya’s lap.
“Can I kiss you?” Shouto asks, borderline desperately. “Can I–– is it okay?”
Shouto’s gaze flickers down to Midoriya’s lips and then back up to his eyes. The rooftop is quiet save for the sound of Shouto’s heart thundering in his chest and the faint music coming from below. Shouto thinks distantly that this is what all those songs were about. This–– the heart-stopping moment before a first kiss, the stars bathing them in their celestial glow, the hitch in Midoriya’s beath as Shouto cups his face and brushes his thumb softly against his lower lip.
Kissing Midoriya feels like coming home. It starts with a soft brush of their lips, barely any pressure. Then Midoriya presses in closer, sliding his slightly parted mouth over Shouto’s, tongue flickering out to lick at the seam of his lips. Shouto savors the surprised gasp Midoriya makes when Shouto opens his mouth and licks into his.
He tastes like birthday cake, from the party still raging on downstairs, and like Shouto’s favorite brand of black tea. Shouto inhales deeply and shifts closer, brings his hand up to cradle the back of Midoriya’s head and tangles his fingers in the curls there. They’re just as soft as he imagined. Midoriya breaks away to pepper light kisses along Shouto’s jaw and down his neck.
“Wait,” Shouto says, pulling away, “you’re wrong though?”
Midoriya makes a curious noise, blinking up at Shouto.
“I do care what agency you sign to,” Shouto says as sternly as he can.
Midoriya frowns. “You… do?”
Shouto nods, keeping a straight face. “I need to know the travel time between our agencies. I don’t know if I can handle public transportation for more than 3 hours, even if it is to go see my boyfriend.”
Midoriya’s face breaks into a grin. “That was mean! I thought you were serious for a second there, Todoroki-kun.”
“Shouto,” Shouto corrects. “Please.”
“Only if you call me Izuku,” Midoriya–– Izuku counters with.
“Izuku,” Shouto repeats, taking in the way Midoriya’s eyelashes flutter when he says his given name. He leans in for another kiss, but Midoriya dodges him.
“Don’t think I didn’t notice you calling me your boyfriend before you even asked, Shouto.”
Shouto gives Izuku one of his rare full grins. “I’ll ask soon. Let’s wait a week.”
“A week? Why?”
Shouto hums, leaning in to peck Izuku’s cheek. “I want Kaminari to lose the class betting pool on when we’ll get together.”
“There’s a––?” Izuku laughs. “Of course there is. You’re evil, Shouto. Everyone thinks you’re so cool and aloof. Little do they know, you’re secretly messing with everyone all the time.”
“You see right through me,” Shouto says. Then he leans in for another kiss.
(They end up waiting two weeks to announce their new relationship status, just so Uraraka can collect the entire money pool. They have her to thank, afterall.)