Midoriya Izuku woke up on the commons room couch, with black and yellow eyes bearing into him barely an inch away, and Ashido Minas body entirely too close to him this early in the morning. (At least, he had just woken up, so he thought it was morning. Looking out the windows however, it was already dark outside. So maybe he just needed to have a one on one chat with his sleep schedule again.)
Upon this realization, he promptly shoved his arms forward. Engaged with the socially appropriate amount of limb flailing, and pushed himself into the other end of the couch. His breathing was quick and his eyes were panicked. It took him a few seconds to even his breathing out and calm down, and once he did, his eyes met Ashido's own. Black and yellow peeking out over the edge of the couch from her new found position on the floor. He couldn’t see it fully, but he saw the corners of an upticked sheepish smile being sent his way.
After a month of living in the dorms, it had been quickly discovered that Midoriya, Yaoyorozu, and Hitoshi were not used to any form of affectionate touch. And it wasn’t a choice made by them like it was for Katsuki. The rest of Class 2-A deemed this unacceptable. And over the past five months, they have been leading a charge to change that. The Dekusquad, along with Ashido and Hagakure were spearheading this movement in terms of Izuku. By now it was something he was both used to and readily craved, though unlike the aforementioned Yaoyorozu and Hitoshi, surprising him with it yet still resulted in a short shot of panic getting sent right in his bloodstream, instead of the wild embarrassment of Yaoyorozu, or the brief seconds of locking up from Hitoshi.
One time, Tenya hugged him from behind without proper warning, causing Izuku to swing back and around punching straight forward. The bruising on Tenyas ribs lasted a week and was terrible to look at.
One time, Tsu hugged him from behind without proper warning, causing Izuku to swing back and around punching straight forward. The bloody nose was worse.
By now the class was used to it, they knew not to sneak up on him. This didn’t seem to hinder Ashido in the slightest however, and by this point it had happened so many times that she cant even bother to act indigent about getting thrown off the couch and onto her ass. Even more astonishingly, Izuku can’t even muster up the quick anxious apologies hes known for at what he had just done. When they all had first moved into the dorms, hurting Ashido like that would have sent him into tears and a week long apology fit. (ask him how he knows for certain.) Now though, the atmosphere was serene, once his breathing had calmed down at least, and he was free to take in the room at his own pace. Ashido waiting for him to say the first words as her own silent apology.
It was clearly almost time for curfew, somewhere close to eleven. It was dark outside, and the only light inside came from a dim lantern Yaoyorozu must have created that sitting on the table in the middle of the square of couches the group was currently sharing. The light was barely reaching past the table to their faces. If Izuku really wanted to, he could push himself into the couch and darkness would obscure him. The only people still downstairs were a groggy Izuku, a sheepish Ashido, as well as Yaoyorozu and Jirou.
Jirou was barely keeping awake, dozing off in Yaoyorozu’s lap as her hair was slowly being stroked by the girl. Her efforts to not drift off were as noble as they were futile, but she seemed to have recently perked up. Presumably sensing the aura of impending chaos exuding off of Ashido, and wanting to stay up to see what ensued. Yaoyorozu was contently reading a biology book Izuku had recommended to her during their latest quirk pow wow. She was focused on reading and had a comfortable smile on her face, yet he could tell she was paying enough to the two of them that whatever was about to happen would soon capture her full attention. His fate was sealed. He might be able to get away from Ashido, he could definitely get away from Jirou, but he could never get away from Yaoyorozu if she wanted something. He would rather break Tsu’s nose again than disappoint the girl. Tsu would break HIS nose if he chose her nose over Yaoyorozu, and right now she wanted whatever chaos Ashido was promising. With a tired sigh, he began to get this over with.
He leveled his tired eyes to Ashidos scheming ones, her sheepish face perked up instantly, and before he could blink she was in his space once again now with a cheshire grin. (Though this time she left some space at least)
“Why did you wake me up early.”
Her smile turned more genuine and affectionate than Mina usually lets slip through, he was used to the girl's affectionate nature by now, everyone in the class was. But every now and then, she offered up small smiles that felt so much more genuine, full of something he couldn’t name. She only offered them to a chosen few, and he was somehow lucky enough to be one of them. Having that smile pointed at him in this close of a proximity sent a tint of red all over his face, Illuminating his freckles like the constellations others saw them as. He could hear Yaoyorozu give off a dry chuckle from a few feet away, Jirou was making that woman entirely too devious for someone that could get away with so much.
“Zu, it's ten fourty five.” Her eyes drooped with worry, “and you need your sleep”
He had learned how to deal with his embarrassment from trial by fire during his time with class 2-A , but his stutter was going to be something that stayed with him a lifetime he imagined, especially if that life kept Minas secretive smiles in them.
“S-sorry, Mina. Th-though, wh-why didn’t you le-let me sleep thro-through to moring, if th-that was the ca-case?”
Her smile left as quick as it came. Her face hardened like steel, yet a sparkling mirth remained in her eyes. She was Mina once more, and he was now nervous for entirely different reasons. Her voice came out as serious as her face. He could count how many times she got like this on one hand, and it was never during hero work.
“Because Izuku, I have realized we have an issue. A REALLY big issue. An issue that threatens the sanctity and structural integrity of this very class!”
He knew from experience that she had either forgotten Kayama-sensie's paper due tomorrow, or she had broken something she wasn’t supposed to have in the first place. Yet he couldn't help but be swept away in her conviction, he could feel his hands begin to shake. He was at least fifty percent sure it wasn’t from the chronic pain.
“W-what is it Mina”
Her hands clasped his shoulders like iron and she pressed their foreheads together. Her eyes where piercing, he would look away if he was currently capable of looking anywhere that didn't highlight just how close their faces where. A weirdly aggressive eskimo kiss was so close to happening it might as well be happening.
“You, Izuku Midoriya, do not have a nickname.”
Jirou was fully awake now. Her laughter was loud and boisterous, full of snorts and wheezes that would be caught dead fitting into the dry chuckles she let out during the day. She got up from her position in Yaoyorozu’s lap, his embarrassment somehow more compelling than her girlfriend's hand running through her hair. She didn't get far though. Yaoyorozu, the traitor that she is, had fully abandoned pretending to be more focused on her book than the unfolding dramatics of Mina, having put it down in order to use her now free left arm to keep Jirou pressed into her side.
This was not a laughing matter however. Izuku tried to keep his voice full of indignation, though it mostly held all the embarrassment and nerves he couldn’t keep out.
“W-what do you mean?”
“I have given every single person in our little family a nickname you see, yet you have somehow manged to escaped my grasps. No more! That ends tonight! Mark my words, this is the last time the name ‘Midoriya Izuku’ will escape my lips!”
She gives her speech with a fist pumped to the sky, shouting her proclamation loud enough that if Katsuki hadn’t forced U.A to double, than triple sound proof every single room, the second floor at the very least would have woken up. When she is done shouting to the heavens, she limblessly falls backwards onto Izuku in a fit of giggles. Legs and arms going every which way until the two of them are a pretzel of a human. She attempts to rest her head into the crook of his neck, but given their height difference she mainly just ends up mushing her cheeks and his jaw together.
“M-Mina, everyone does not have a nickname, I’m su-“
Before he could finish that sentence, Yaoyorozu piped up with a soft teasing smile, like she had solved a puzzle he had just gotten the first piece of,and she was patiently waiting for him to catch up. A smile he had never seen on her face before Jirou had started dating her last month. He was indescribably happy for them, really, he was. He was also just full of fear at the concept of a confident Yaoyorozu.
“She actually has Izuku.” Yaoyorozu softly says in a voice far to smug for this situation. No one besides him and Jirou knows what smug Yaoyorozu sounds like, but he knows. And he isn’t quite sure WHY she’s sounding so smug. It scares him.
“I have a list written down if you would like me to bring it to you for tomorrow’s class? Knowing the different ways our classmates address each other could be vital in times of necessary communication.”
She still sounds smug saying that. Why does she sound smug giving Yaoyorozu patented good advice and help. She shouldn’t sound smug, thats not apart of the patent, yet she does. He glances over to Jirou for help. All he finds is her trademark sharp smirk. The last time she let it out was when he clocked Katsuki in the jaw during heroics. The time before that it was when Yaoyorozu had quietly snarked at Hagakure during girls night, (He had started getting invited to those three months back, and he was to excited at the concept of being invited to something to question why) and no one had noticed. Yaoyorozu could get away with a lot of snark these days with no one noticing, they had been beginning to find out.
This was all besides the point. Something was happening. Though he wasn’t sure what was happening outside of trademark Mina chaos, so he decided to stop trying to find out and do the only sensible thing. Defuse and walk away. Get back to his room as quick as possible. If your not sure what Mina is about to do, you should probably not be in the proximity of Mina about to do a thing. Everyone in class had learned that the hard way. Dadzawa had learned that the hard way. (Huh maybe Mina really HAD given everyone a nickname.) Hopefully he could retain his state of grogginess until then and get back to sleep until time for morning.
Besides, apart of him really does not want a nickname. Those had never been good in the past. The inherent part of him that was still waiting for Aizawa and Tenya to pull him to the side and say "haha! just kidding! Did you really think we could care about someone like you? pack your bags and get out, you've never had potential to begin with." screamed so much louder than his heart that skipped a beat at the idea of Ashido naming him. At getting to experience what a nickname he could find nothing but affection in felt like. Like others had gotten to since a young age.
Uraraka’s dekus’ filled him with nothing but determination, still though the scarred over sting never quite went away like he had hoped for. All Mights "My Boy"s filled him with the same love his mother filled him with, the same rage he has had bottled up since he was four and feels as intensely as the first spider lily every time someone even uttered the word useless around him, and a third indescribable feeling he had tried to name a few times and never could, it wasn't a good one though. It made his stomach feel like it was full of water and overflowing into his heart and lungs drowning him.
So yeah, he had a complicated history with nicknames. He didn't want to chance that complexity ruining... ruining what? He's not quite sure, still not properly awake. His brain will figure out what exactly it is later, he just knows right now in the moment the idea of Ashido naming something filled him with fear and building dread. Fearful not for him but, for something else. Something he has, or something he experiences? The fear was so much more powerful than his hope, and there wasn't something to put on a martyr so he could fight through it.
“Mina, I-I don’t need a ni-nickname.”
Jirou didn’t miss a beat.
“What about Mop Top?”
Mina stuck her hands into his curls, shutting off Izuku’s ability to protest, or really even process what was happening. It was a popular form of showing him physical affection in the Dekusquad, as well as between the girls during girl’s nights, but for some reason Minas hands made it impossible to pay attention instead of the usual mere “Very hard to pay attention.” He wasn’t quite sure why this was, but he had shared a theory with Yaoyorozu one night on the matter. He proposed that Mina might subconsciously be coating her entire body with an incredibly thin layer of acid in order to slowly build up her resistance. The layer would as such provide a layer of texture that differentiated the feeling of Minas hands compared to everyone else's. Yaoyorozu said she had noticed no such feeling whenever Mina shared affection with her, but it was a compelling enough argument that she would considered it a possibility. She also had found the theory humorous for some reason, which made Izuku think it was a bust and she was just humoring him, though he could never tell what she would and wouldn’t find funny. She had an odd sense of humor like that. So he kept it down as a possibility.
Either way, he was now very distracted by the hand running through his hair. Yaoyorozu seemed distracted by her now very awake girlfriend’s smile. So it was up to Mina and Jirou to guide this burning ship of a conversation, and they seemed delighted at the prospect.
“Jirou! No! He needs a nice nickname! He deserves it more than anyone!”
“Please, have you seen his face after Dadzawa calls him ‘Problem Child.’”
“Still! He needs at least one nice one. What about… Green! No.. no.. it needs more… oomph!”
“What about Curls?”
Mina's hand grips his hair just a little bit tighter, he thinks he lets out a sound at that but he still isn't what experts would call 'present,' so hes not quite sure. The conversation goes on.
“What's with you and hair based nicknames!”
Jirous smirk shifts from devious to out right devastating. If Izuku had enough working marbles rattling around his head he might compare the predatory look to something Toga might give. All of a sudden, Yaoyorozu, who had been content to stare at Jirou through the conversation, was now desperately looking at anything that wasn't Jirous face. Her blushing habit was just as bad as Izuku's and it was currently working in overdrive. After a quick cough she decided to chime in.
“If he likes problem child as much as Jirou says and I suspect, what if we model it after Shinso's nickname for Todoroki? ‘Hand Crusher’ seems to be an effective term of endearment, so what if we went with something alone the lines of ‘bone breaker?’”
Mina puffed up in an exaggerated pout and let out a frustrated cry. Untangling her hand from his hair and her limbs from his limbs, she got off of him and flipped completely around in a 180. Her feet where now next to his ears, and her head was hanging upside down off the couch next to his feet. All her blood was zooming to her brain in a mad attempt to make it work better. It was 10:55 so if this nickname was to be found tonight before curfew it had to be fast.
“No! No, no, no. You two aren’t getting this” She did not see the smirk the two girls shared at that. “This has to be good. Perfect! Even… kind most of all…” She went uncharacteristically quiet and started to let off a low ponderous humming sound. If Yaoyorozu didn’t know better, she was beginning to pick up Izuku’s mumbling habit. However, she did now better. Gaining courage to look at Kyouka once more, she turned to her to share a devastating grin of her own. It was Kyoukas turn to look anywhere that wasn't Momo, this only made her grin grow wider. Luck alone kept this action away from Minas prying gossiping eyes, well luck and Izuku deciding it was time to rejoin the land of the living.
“Umm… Mina? You okay down there? Can you get up please, its almost curfew.”
“Ummm, yes. That’s me.”
“Mina, what are you doing?”
“Shhh, sh, sh, sh. The masters at work here. Give me a minute”
Silence reigned between the three of them, all content to watch Mina do whatever it was she was doing with a tilt to their heads.
“Izzzzzuku… Izuuuuuu. Miiiiido.. Mi, Mi, Mi, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
Her face began to scrunch up. It was the same face she had given him and Yaoyorozu when they had tried to explain Calculus to her.
“Izu….Izuuuu. Zuzu????? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
The scream startled the three of them, though they should really be used to it by now. She began to flail around desperately trying to find purchase. Izukus jaw got kicked and his shins got elbowed in the process, but eventually Mina was back up onto the couch and off of him. She was sitting on her legs and leaning close to him, excited like she had just won everything and more. Her eyes shimmered and shiend with something, and right then and there, he decided that even though this wasn’t like those soft smiles he had learned to treasure, this was just as genuine. Just as precious.
Jirou interrupted from behind them, “What’s it?”
“THAT’S IT, THAT’S IT, THAT’S IT!”
At this point she was leaning so far off her legs and into his space he thought she was going to fall on him again. Yaoyorozu’s next question was full of motherly warmth and hidden childish excitement.
“What is ‘it’, Ashido?”
At the sound of her name, she shot up and off the couch like a combination of a startled cat and a rocket. The fact she landed safely on her feet was due to a combination of her skills and miracle work, though often times they tended to be one and the same. Now on her, feet she turned from Izuku on her heels back around to face Yaoyorozu, grasping her hands and bringing them up high together.
She said it with the excited reverence of a child that had just discovered the name of their new favorite sweet.
Silence hit the group once more, but it was different from before. Content and warm. Izuku’s brain was doing… something, trying to keep up with what was happening. He had a nickname now apparently. It sent butterflies through his stomach and didn't carry a long scared over sting like Deku did. He could feel a dopey smile get put on his face, and it didn’t come with a clenching in his stomach like Problem Child carried.
Jirou walked up to him and grasped his shoulder comfortably in her hand. Her voice had some snark in it, but it was the same voice she used around Yaoyorozu when she came to pick her up from his room after they stayed up to late talking about quirks.
Yaoyorozu was right behind her, she paused to ruffle her hand in his hair as her voice dripped with safety and care.
Last came Mina. After the shock of it all wore off, he got up to head to the stairs with her. The local lesbians had inadvertently claimed dibs on the elevator, and the rest of the class had learned to give them as much privacy as possible. The brief walk held a comfortable silence, and instead of continuing her journey to the fourth floor, she got off at the second with him to walk him to his door. Once there, they paused to look at each other. Izuku’s grogginess was long gone, it was providing no more buffer for his anxiety, and after the mentally draining night/morning he just had, he had no idea what to say. After a few seconds, Mina closed the gap and the silence with a hug. It was quick and tight and felt like it lasted a week, it felt tighter than any hug he had gotten before. Her head was pressed into his neck and after a second of recalibration, he softly brought his arms up to her back to return the hug. Her voice traveled quietly to his ear. All this time he has known her, the quietest she had ever gotten was a stage whisper. Yet this was something only he would ever be able to hear. Jirou could be right next to them and it would still be private he thought.
“Goodnight Midoriya Izuku, get some sleep, Kay?”
And then she was gone, and he was left standing outside his door like an idiot.
He wasn’t going to be sleeping tonight was he.
He woke up late next morning, not having fallen asleep until four. Usually at that point he would have stayed up the night working, yet for whatever reason all he could muster himself to do last night was stay in bed staring up at the ceiling. He had opened the door to his patio to listen to the night air drifting in, his only distraction from the dark.
It was to late for his normal morning routine with Tenya and Ochako exercising, so instead he made his way down to the common’s kitchen at 6:45. Everyone was already eating breakfast, and as he made the rounds around the table, gathering a plate and taking it to his seat between Hitoshi and Ochako, nineteen of the twenty of class 1-A greeted him with last nights nickname. The U.A rumor mill worked fast, god worked faster, and Mina worked fastest of them all.
Every person at that table greeted him with Izuzu. Most where teasing and full of affection, a few where mocking, and a few where so earnest teasing didn’t feel like the right way to describe it. Not once though did it hurt, even Katsuki's degrading tone couldn’t ruin the name like it would have in the past. Their history mostly buried and his newer slightly less terrible demeanor unable to damage it in the same way he had damaged Deku before it.
He sat down next to Ochako, and for the first time since the first day of school she called him something other than Deku. Izuzu rolled of her lips shaped in a knowing smirk. What she knew he did not know, and the soft teasing elbow she sent to his sides did nothing to enlighten him. Before he could ask though, the last member of class yet to greet him that morning came all the way from the other end of the table to greet him. It was unusual, but not uncharacteristic. Mina stood in front of him, arms out wide signaling she wanted a hug. He gave her a quick nod of ascent and a blinding smile. All at once she came crashing into him. Tightening him in a hug and plopping her face right into his hair like she tended to do, she whispered into him like she had the night before, to quite for Ochako or Hitoshi to hear even though they where right next to them.
And just as quick as she came she was off again.
Oh…. He had just solved Yaoyorozu's puzzle.
For the next year and a half of his time at U.A, Much like Yaomomo, Izuzu became his name in all but paper. At some point, the nickname drifted into the vocabulary of the non-Dadzawa teachers, as well as class 2-B.
Not once does Mina call him anything other than Izuku.