Actions

Work Header

A Hypothesis for Falling in Love

Work Text:

Izuku was a noticer.

He couldn’t help it. The quiet observer role had always enamored him, and his ability to focus in on a concept or idea that intrigued him was rivaled only by Hatsume in its intensity.

He liked to think his engrained hyper-vigilance resulted from a decade old hobby of quirk analysis, and not the constant barrage of attempts on his and his friend’s lives and the unrelenting stress of the future, but who was to say, really.

Recently, he had been even more tuned in to his surroundings. The changes in his classmates as they nurtured their quirks and grew stronger, the micro expressions of strangers who could possibly be Toga Himiko in disguise, All Might’s steadily diminishing health.

The point of all that was to say: Izuku was noticing, he was paying attention.

And Izuku had noticed that Kacchan was acting weird.

Not in his normal brash rudeness that people mistook for aggression but was really uncompromising passion. No, this was something else. Subtle anomalies of behavior that weren’t enough to accuse Kacchan of being Toga, but enough to continue to keep his attention as thoughts and theories began to slowly snowball into a cohesive and directed interest in his odd behavior.

Today was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back:

They were in quirk training, practicing in one-on-one matches. Kacchan was performing well — since getting his provisional license he’d been grinding even harder — control and precision were his focus and-

“Oi, Shitty Nerd, stop fucking muttering and get your head in the game. I’m not gonna beat your ass ’til you’re giving one-hundred!”

A firecracker of an explosion went off adjacent to his ear, bringing Izuku back to the battle. Then another, and another. It caused Izuku to have to dance around the ring without a second to pause and reorient himself.

“Sorry Kacchan!” He said, channeling OFA through his legs and sending himself up and around to the other side of the ring and behind Kacchan.

“Don’t apologize, just fight me!”

Kacchan spun to face him, using explosive bursts to propel himself forward at a speed the average person would never be able to track, a palm extended to detonate an explosion in Izuku’s chest.

That was when it happened.

Kacchan had him in a corner. The final explosion would have been the end of the match, but at the last second he changed course. Using a minor explosion to alter his direction, he was sailing overhead Izuku in a flexible and dexterous arching backflip. He ended perched on the boxing ring-like corner post, graceful and poised, blasting Izuku in the back.

“My win, loser.” He said with the suave confidence of an action hero one-liner.

The smirk he wore was more cool-confident than feral exhilaration. He was even posing himself in a way that looked good, the tilt of his head showing off the clean cut of his jaw and the spider-man crouch putting on display the well-toned swell of his thigh muscles.

Kacchan was an attractive person, objectively speaking, not that Izuku would ever say that to him. What little self-preservation instinct he possessed stopped him from commenting on Kacchan’s looks at all costs. Attractive, but it wasn’t something he ever cared about. Though being subjected to modeling at his parents’ behest also meant Kacchan knew how to carry himself, which further appeared to conclude that all this was out-of-characterly intentional.

The move was unnecessary and full of openings. If it hadn’t been so out of left field, Izuku would have been able to catch him midair and shift the momentum of the battle. It could have cost Kacchan the match. He could have lost.

It was very unlike Kacchan to show off like that. He had a flashy quirk and he wasn’t afraid to use it, sure, but he was dead set on being the ‘Number 1 Hero.’ Ineffective moves that looked nice weren’t really in his repertoire, neither was the concern of making himself look aesthetically pleasing.

“Midoriya, are you okay? You’ve been laying on the ground for quite a while.” Todoroki was just outside the ring, looking in with an expression that gave away very little, but Izuku knew him well enough to see the genuine concern.

It shed a new light of understanding on the whole situation that had just occurred.

This wasn’t the first instance of Kacchan acting off, and more specifically this wasn’t Kacchan’s first instance of acting strange while Todoroki was around. All the peculiar incidents seemed to have an uncanny correlation to Todoroki.

Kacchan was always a loud guy, and never one to shy away from saying exactly what he felt, but something about Todoroki was making him act different. He’d get a little louder, his actions would become a little bigger, like he was trying to announce the words ‘Pay Attention to Me’ in a way he’d never cared about before.

It was almost as if he was… peacocking. Showing off like the birds of paradise in the nature documentaries they were watching in science class.

Izuku had told himself that it couldn’t be right. Kacchan was the most goal oriented individual he knew. He’d declared time and time again he wasn’t interested in any distractions from his mission to become the number one hero. Which meant whatever Kacchan had got going on was a big deal for him if Izuku was picking up on it.

It was far-fetched to Izuku, at least at first, but he was never one to balk in the face of a challenge. He had a question — Why was Kacchan acting so unlike himself around Todoroki? — and he knew from science class there was a process for answering questions:

The Scientific Method.

He’d already gone through the first steps:

Step 1: Observation.

He’d monitored the situation, other instances of odd Kacchan behavior that could tie directly to Todoroki.

A week ago, Todoroki had been fighting with an old mechanical pencil on its last leg. Rhythmically clicking at a squeaky mechanism, trying to get the last bit of lead out before a test was about to begin.

‘Ah. Bakugou, lend me a pen. I see you have your pencil case out,’ Todoroki said, and Izuku watched as Kacchan tensed at being addressed — commanded even — to give Todoroki a writing utensil.

Izuku expected an explosion.

Instead, Kacchan had lobbed his entire pencil case at Todoroki’s head. ‘If you don’t stop fucking clicking that shit I’m blowing up the pencil, then I’m blasting that stupid look off your stupid face!’

Thank you for letting me borrow a writing utensil.’

‘Die.’

Izuku had subtly watched after the test was over, in the hallway, as Todoroki returned the case and pen he’d borrowed. Kacchan had scowled at him, snagging the case but brushing off the hand with the pen.

‘Keep the pen.’

‘That’s very considerate of you.’

‘Hah?! The whole class will be better off not having to listen to your dumb ass trying to coax lead out of a dead pencil again.’

Then a pause.

‘But don’t fucking throw it away if it runs out of ink. Give it fucking back and I’ll replace it.’

‘I will treasure it deeply Bakugou, thank you.’

Kacchan, red in the face, had yelled expletives at Todoroki’s back, and when his friend stopped in front of him in his hand was Kacchan’s favorite limited addition All Might pen.


The second instance of notable behavior was a few days ago. Izuku was in the common room, sitting nervously next to Uraraka as she discussed with him some techniques she’d been picking up in her private lessons with Gunhead.

Todoroki was sitting at a table across the room in Izuku’s line of sight, staring intently at his phone and then at a piece of paper in his hands. He seemed to be trying to puzzle something out, and Izuku wanted to ask him if he needed help, but didn’t want to come off as an overbearing friend. If Todoroki needed his help, he would ask him.

Kacchan and Kirishima were just coming in from their usual Tuesday afternoon workout, Kirishima chatting animatedly about something while Kacchan glared at anyone unlucky enough to make eye contact with him.

Pretty typical behavior — until he spotted Todoroki.

Izuku was peering over at Todoroki with a renewed interest as he watched the events unfold, distracted enough for Uraraka to stop talking and mirror his position.

Kacchan peeled away from Kirishima without a word, stomping his way over to the table Todoroki was sitting at. He kicked a chair to get Todoroki’s attention and the other boy didn’t so much as flinch at his arrival, turning his head with a slowness that bordered on lethargic.

‘Bakugou.’

‘The fuck’s got you thinking so hard you’ve got smoke coming outta your ears?’

Todoroki reached up to check his left side and seemed puzzled when there weren’t errant flames running through his hair.

‘It’s a figure of speech, moron. What’s wrong?”

Todoroki turned the paper to Kacchan and Izuku watched with rapt attention as he squinted at it.

‘The fuck is this, hieroglyphs?’

‘My brother’s handwriting. It’s a list of ingredients my sister needs for dinner tonight, but neither of them are picking up the phone.’

‘Mapo Tofu.’ Kacchan said, balling the paper up in his hands and tossing it at a nearby trash bin. ‘Give me five minutes to change and then we’ll head out.’

‘What?’

‘I know your sister’s recipe. We can go together to get ingredients.’

‘You could just text them to me. I can go myself. I know this is usually the time you start getting ready for dinner.’

Kacchan scoffed at him. ‘Please, going by yourself, you’ll probably get the wrong brands and moldy vegetables. Your sister deserves better.’

‘Oh. Thanks Bakugou.’

Kacchan was already stomping off towards the stairs.

‘Learn to be a better brother, fuckhead… And invite me over for dinner the next time she’s making mapo tofu, I’ll pay for the ingredients.’

Izuku almost didn’t believe his eyes. Kacchan helping others was not unheard of, but this was unprecedented. To not only go out of his way to check on Todoroki without any prompting, but to then willingly offer to help him even after Todoroki gave him an out from the assistance?

He asked Uraraka what she thought, but she just shrugged noncommittally, attempting to steer their conversation back to hero training, but Izuku couldn’t refocus.


Factor in the strange conclusion to their battle today, that seemed linked to Todoroki’s appearance, and it was clear. Once was an accident; twice: a coincidence, but three times was a pattern.

That led Izuku to step two: research.

It was kind of a breeze to go through this part. He had notebooks filled with analysis on Kacchan, Bakugou Katsuki if he was going to be formal.

And Bakugou Katsuki came with three immutable truths:

1. He didn’t let people tell him what to do. (Unless it was Todoroki. Then he listened without hesitation and gave up important belongings without a second thought.)

2. He stuck to a schedule and did not divert from it. (Unless Todoroki needed help deciphering a grocery list. Then he’d go out of his way to not only help identify the ingredients, but go to the store to make sure the correct items were bought, foregoing any semblance of his usual strictly followed routine.)

3. He did not care how the world perceived him. (Unless he was in a training match, then he acted like, dare Izuku say, he wanted to look hot. He wanted to be noticed — at least if it was Todoroki doing the noticing.)

So here they were now. Izuku was still on the ground, watching as Todoroki sized Kacchan up, then yanked at a dangling strap on his costume that had come loose, sending Kacchan off balance.

Izuku couldn’t hear what they were saying, but when Kacchan turned to snap at him — as Todoroki looked at him seemingly surprised by the result of his own actions — his scowl was betrayed by the way he couldn’t keep the corner of his lips down.

There was something there. Something felt so strongly Kacchan was incapable of hiding it.

That made it important.

It led Izuku to step three, and by All Might did he have one bombshell of a hypothesis, because Kacchan was not someone who did anything by halves. Be it his training, his hobbies, his education, or his feelings.

Step Three: The Hypothesis.

Bakugou Katsuki is in love with Todoroki Shouto.’

It was time to get to work.

~

EXPERIMENT 1:

Izuku was aware that there were certain ethical restrictions involved with human experimentation, but he was also aware he wasn’t a major pharmaceutical lab testing unregulated drugs on the poor and downtrodden, so he assumed such ethical red tape could be waved in this case.

Pushing along certain situations between two of his friends, or at least one friend and one estranged childhood relationship, hopefully didn’t break any ethical principles.

Today resulted from laying such ground work. Izuku had been planning an outing to an amusement park with the help of Uraraka and Ashido. Anyone was welcome to come. Since Ashido was helping out, the whole Bakusquad was already on board — sans Kacchan, who insisted such an activity would be a waste of time after arriving downstairs a few minutes ago — and Kaminari was currently trying to cajole Kacchan into going out with everyone.

The attempts had done little to persuade him, and Izuku could see Kacchan losing his patience faster with each bargain and barter offered by Kaminari. Then Ashido joined in, lightheartedly ribbing him as the ‘Class-A Old Man’ and Kacchan really got irritated.

For a moment Izuku thought he was watching his experiment fall apart, but then Todoroki finally walked in as if on cue. Izuku had texted him ten minutes ago, asking to speak to him about the trip.

“Ah! Todoroki, you’re still good to go to the amusement park this weekend, right?” He said, and hoped his voice didn’t sound too loud, and too frantic, and too forced.

The volume got everyone else’s attention, though if anyone noticed anything off they didn’t seem to react, least of all Todoroki. He was looking at Midoriya with a steady expression, his eyes doing a sweep to assess who else was in the common room, though it looked like he may have just woken up from a nap the way his t-shirt rumpled and his split colored hair overlapped hap hazardously as opposed to his usual neat appearance and-

“Yes, I don’t plan on missing it. This will be my first time visiting an amusement park.”

-maybe his experiment wasn’t the only reason Izuku had planned this specific trip. If he could also make it a wonderful experience for Todoroki along the way of proving or disproving his hypothesis, then Izuku considered that a win too.

His eyes shot over to Kacchan, who Izuku forgot he was supposed to watching for a reaction, but he was already leaving. His back was to Izuku, so he couldn’t see Kacchan’s face as he stormed up the stairs of the dorm.

If his ears looked a little pink from a flush, Izuku would have to concede that the evidence was inconclusive being unable to observe it directly.


As luck would have it, that weekend Kacchan did show up. He was dressed in well fitted olive green jeans, a dark tank top, and a fully unbuttoned bright orange button down with subtle summery decals all over it. It looked like custom fitted clothing likely made by his father, and it definitely made him look good.

He was scowling, looking out over the crowd of classmates as Kirishima talked to him.

Todoroki was standing next to Izuku, staring up at the looming brightly colored sign of the park.

“So,” Izuku said, steering them toward Kacchan’s group. “What rides are you most looking forward to?”

“The rollercoasters,” Todoroki said, and Izuku got the timing perfectly so that Kacchan definitely heard it.

“Wow, IcyHot. You actually had the least shitty answer to that question. I wanna hit all the ‘coasters in the park today, stick with me and you’ll get to ride all day long.”

“You’re a riding expert, Bakugou?” Todoroki asked.

It came off so innocently and unexpectedly Izuku could barely choke back his laugh on a poorly concealed cough.

“If you’re gonna fucking make fun of me, forget I asked, asshole!” Kacchan was flushed as his friends laughed and rallied around him at the unintentional taunt.

“No, sorry, I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to come back here. I’d like to ride all the rollercoasters today, with you.” Todoroki said earnestly, and in a very un-Kacchan fashion, he accepted the reply with minimal protest.

Izuku spent most of the day riding rollercoasters with Todoroki and Kacchan, though by the fourth one he was opting to sit out instead of subjecting himself to more whiplash inducing torture. At least Uraraka met up with them at one point, though she seemed less interested in riding the rollercoasters and more content keeping Izuku company while he waited for his friends.

They were traveling the next distance between rides. Kacchan eagerly dragged Todoroki towards the next line of what looked like a wooden deathtrap, and Izuku meandered his way towards the exit to wait for them with Uraraka. It gave him time to analyze the current results of his experiment. He’d brought a notebook with him, one he’d been using to record all his Kacchan-in-Love findings, and he began writing his observations.

The experiment seemed a resounding success. Besides the fact the initial goal was to see if Kacchan would go on a class trip after he found out Todoroki was going, things seemed to lean even more conclusively towards the idea that he was in love.

It was evident in the patience he afforded Todoroki that not even Kirishima had. The willingness to forgive slights. A softening of the jagged edges of his demeanor whenever Todoroki was around. The ability to compromise without complaint, like when Todoroki refused to run from coaster to coaster to improve their efficiency. It was uncanny, but the question remained if that was love or not.

“What are you writing, Deku?” Uraraka asked, pulling Izuku from his internal rambling.

“O-oh, nothing!” Izuku said, snapping the notebook closed. Actually, maybe she could provide him with an outside perspective on the matter. “Have you ever been in love with someone?”

“L-love?!” she said, and immediately went bright red, hands coming up to cradle her cheeks, refusing to make eye contact with him. “I don’t know about love, but I’ve had feelings for people before… still have feelings for someone…”

“O-oh great!” Izuku said, ignoring a pang in his tightening chest at her admission. “How do you know that you’re in love with someone? Is it wanting the person you like to pay attention to you?”

Uraraka’s blush didn’t fade, but she seemed to contemplate the question seriously. “Well, I think that when you love someone it’s different for everyone, and certainly some people show their interest through showing off and trying to be noticed, though I think that’s something little kids are more prone to doing, but… Love is showing you care, right?”

Her expression went from an unsure fluster to determined as she finally looked Izuku back in the eyes.

“Sometimes being in love is just being there for someone you care about. Letting them know they can lean on you, going out of your way to do something for the sole reason that it will make the person you love happy. Love is… Love is being scared, but facing that fear because the person you care about is on the other side of it.”

Interesting.

Izuku opened his notebook and began jotting down things down, while he could never imagine Kacchan being too scared to face anything Uraraka’s other point struck a chord with him. Love was showing someone that they were cared for, huh? He thought back to Kacchan’s behavior around Todoroki. In many of his actions, there was an extremely understated Kacchan-flavored brand of care.

The lending of his favorite pen, helping Todoroki with the grocery shopping, even the way he compromised his precision schedule for rollercoaster riding to let Todoroki take in his first amusement park experience.

It was tooth-achingly sweet.

Izuku was actually… really happy for Kacchan. Having feelings for someone could be good for him. Todoroki was completely unfazed by Kacchan’s gruff exterior. He met it with a levelheaded coolness that didn’t feed into any of Kacchan’s defensiveness and insecurity the way Izuku’s entire existence seemed too.

“D-Deku, actually, I-”

“Oh right, thank you for your insight, Uraraka! This is really helpful towards my project!” He said, looking up from his notebook.

“Project?” She asked, confusion clear. He hadn’t told anyone, but Uraraka was trustworthy. She wouldn’t tell anyone else if he asked her not too.

“Don’t tell anyone, but,” he leaned in conspiratorially. “I think Kacchan is in love with Todoroki.”

“Oh,” she said, a sudden weighty defeat crumpling her posture. “You were asking because of Bakugou…”

“Are you okay? I’m sorry I cut you off earlier. What were you saying?” Izuku asked, concerned about her sudden change in demeanor.

“Ah, no, it’s nothing. Not important,” she said, rubbing the back of her head nervously. “Actually, I need to go. I promised Tsuyu I’d meet up with her at the water park, ok bye!”

She left so quickly that Izuku didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.

He didn’t dwell on it, his attention already diverting back to the experiment, and the changes he was discovering in Kacchan’s behavior at the idea that he was in love with Todoroki.

He found himself tearing up at the idea of Kacchan opening up to someone while he waited, watching the photo screen of the coaster riders cycle through as he looked for his friends. It took about thirty minutes, but eventually he spotted it.

Kacchan had both fists up, like he was in the middle of punching the air. His eyes were squeezed shut and his cheeks were flushed with his mouth wide open in a vicious and exhilarated shout.

Todoroki was far more subdued beside him. His hands were up more like he was trying to placate a wild animal than ride a rollercoaster, but as Izuku looked at the screen, he couldn’t help but feel his heart swell a bit.

Todoroki was smiling. It was small, hard to see on the pixilated screen of the exit booth, but it was genuine and happy.

When it came time to leave, Izuku asked Todoroki if he had a good day today at the amusement park. Todoroki looked and gave him the same very small smile, barely a turn of his lips, that radiated a content and satisfied happiness Izuku was getting to see from him more and more often these days.

“Yes, very good.”

Beside them, Izuku caught Kacchan straighten up a little. Subtly — or to be perfectly frank, not subtly at all — appearing to preen at his words. Izuku watched him until Kacchan caught his eye, knowing he had an eyebrow raised in question. Kacchan immediately scowled at him, but didn’t shout anything that would bring attention to their exchange.

Izuku doubted there would ever be a day Kacchan would willingly confide in him about his feelings, but at least he could know Izuku had an open door if he ever needed to.

He looked back to Todoroki, who was studying a colorful park map with interest, completely unaware of what was happening beside him.

“I’d like to come back again, and maybe try even more things.”

Regardless of the experiment, the day had been worth it.

~

EXPERIMENT 2:

Honestly, Izuku thought one experiment had been enough. It was clear to him that Kacchan held Todoroki is a drastically higher regard than the rest of the world. But in science class earlier that day he was told good research was replicable. If published research couldn’t be repeated by other parties, then it was widely disregarded by the greater scientific community.

Now, obviously, he wasn’t about to include other people in the research he’d been conducting. Entrusting Uraraka was one thing, but telling anyone else felt like an odd breach of trust to Kacchan. No one else knew about his feelings, and if Izuku were to tell more people that’d feel more like gossip than research, but class had him second guessing his conclusions.

What if it was just a coincidence? What if Kacchan had just been in a great mood and actually just wanted to ride the rollercoasters?

If he could conduct another experiment and achieve similar results that pointed to his hypothesis, then he’d be able to conclude confidently that Kacchan had feelings for Todoroki.

And then… maybe he could help him? He wasn’t exactly sure how, but he wanted to do something for his childhood friend. Izuku was confident Todoroki was the first person Kacchan had ever shown any interest in romantically.

So he was trying to figure out a second experiment, one completely unrelated to rollercoasters and trips that would be an independent case from his first study.

The opportunity came a few days later, unplanned, as he muttered to himself in the boy’s changing room. It was pool day so everyone was changing into swim attire, and he was so lost in his own head he didn’t notice he’d been left behind until Iida’s voice shocked him out of deliberation.

“Midoriya, you’ll be left behind if you don’t hurry!”

“Ah! Coming!” He said back, quickly shucking his shirt and nearly missing his locker in his hurry to catch up with his classmates.

That would have been bad, the floor was soaked from Class B coming in from the pool last period. If he’d dropped it, his only shirt would have been soaked, and he’d have nothing to wear back to the dorms.

Oh. An idea.

Albeit probably a terrible idea, but he looked around the dressing room, and he was definitely alone. Todoroki’s locker was next to his, and looked like it hadn’t been closed properly, so he could tap it open and see his clothing sitting innocently inside.

Just drop the shirt on the floor, he told himself, could have been an unfortunate accident, wasn’t the end of the world. If Kacchan didn’t do anything about it, Izuku could always lend him something to wear too. No harm, no foul. He tried to convince himself as he stared into his friend’s locker.

As he reached in, hand hovering over the innocent shirt, he stopped himself. This was mean, too intrusive for his experiments, he concluded in his head. The guilt at even having the idea in the first place was enough to tell him not to do it.

“Midoriya!” Iida’s voice boomed, causing him to jerk back, the shirt catching on his fingers and falling onto the wet floor below. “You’ll get a marked as tardy if you don’t hurry!”

Whelp. He stared down at the clothing as it soaked in over-chlorinated water in horror. He guessed the universe made that decision for him. He couldn’t put it back now, so he resigned himself to seeing the experiment through to the end.

He rushed out to meet Iida and the rest of the class and tried to his best not to look like he committed a crime, though he wasn’t sure how well he did judging by the amount of times his classmates asked if he was feeling ok.

He could tell his demeanor was off enough that Todoroki even asked him, twice, if everything was ok. He’d suffered through two nonsensical and disjointed explanations that seemed to only leave his friend more concerned than when he first asked.

The relaxing pool day was everything but. Though his anxiety seemed to peak when the whistle was finally blown for them to head inside and get changed, Uraraka nervously asked if he wanted her to escort him to Recovery Girl.

Izuku mumbled even more nonsense before just giving up completely and walking away with a stuttered apology.

In the locker room, he hung back from the rest of the group, trying to sike himself up. He was being a scientistic, this was his experiment, he could be an objective third party and shelf his guilty conscious for the sake of answers.

Renewed confidence, he turned the corner of lockers to see Todoroki just standing in front of his wet clothing. Perfectly blank face, yet the curve of his posture telegraphed defeat.

This was a horrible idea. Why did he do this?

Izuku was about to speak up, prostrate himself to Todoroki, and beg forgiveness when the depressing scene was interrupted.

“Todoroki, my dude, what happened?” Kaminari asked, leaning in with a towel on his head as he scrubbed at his wet hair.

“My clothing fell out of my locker,” he said.

Todoroki always had very little inflection in his voice, but his monotone sounded crushed.

“Aw man, bro. Maybe you could, like, dry them off with your quirk?” He suggested, and Todoroki looked up at him with an expression Izuku couldn’t see, but had Kaminari turning red.

“Whoa, you’re way too pretty. Makes a dude’s heart skip a beat,” he said, covering his heart with one hand and fanning himself with the other.

“Oh, my apologies,” Todoroki said back, though already going through the process of holding his shirt out to dry with his fiery quirk. Kaminari was reaching out to help him and Izuku chalked this attempt up to a failed experiment with (thankfully) no major repercussions.

“What in the hell are you idiots doing?”

Kacchan materialized beside Kaminari, startling him into dropping the shirt with a yelp. Todoroki seemed to be similarly caught off guard, his quirk flaring up in a surprising loss of control and subsequently incinerating the clothing that had rapidly been drying.

“Oh. My shirt.”

“Gah, Bakubro, you ruined Todoroki’s clothes!” Kaminari said, shit-eating grin already on his face as he pinned the accident on Kacchan.

Hah?! I didn’t do fuck all! You two were the ones fucking around with fire.” He said back, defensive.

“I don’t have any other shirts…”

“Oh, I think I have a gym shirt or two you could use,” Kaminari said helpfully.

“Absolutely not. When’s the last time you washed any of your gym clothes, Dunce Face?”

“Wash?”

Kacchan gagged.

“IcyHot don’t move. I’ve got extra stuff you can borrow. It’ll fit fine.”

“Uh,” Todoroki said, looking at Kacchan in surprise.

“Don’t say anything — you either Sparky, or I’ll blow your fucking face off,” Kacchan said as he stormed off to retrieve his clothes.

Kaminari took advantage of the moment, raising his hands and waving a goodbye at Todoroki before slipping away to escape the ire of Kacchan. When Kacchan came back, most everyone had already vacated the locker room. It was only Todoroki, Kacchan, and Izuku.

Kacchan roughly shoved the uniform shirt into Todoroki’s arms, not looking him in the eyes as Todoroki slipped the shirt on.

It didn’t quite fit. Todoroki was taller and their builds were similar enough that even though Kacchan was broad, the button up was tight.

“Do I look good?” Todoroki asked. The shirt strained against his back and Izuku could see Kacchan’s flush from his neck to his forehead.

“Fuck no — ugh, lanky bastard.” Then Kacchan was ripping off the shirt he was wearing, one of his casual skull t-shirts that was already too big on him, throwing it in Todoroki’s face. “Wear that.”

“This isn’t our tracksuit or uniform,” Todoroki said, as he shrugged the dress shirt off.

“Obviously, Halfy. I always carry extra sets of clothes in case something like this happens to my stuff.”

“Ah, that makes sense. Your quirk is powerful and seems to be prone to ruining clothing.” Todoroki said, his monotone somehow even drier as he pulled Kacchan’s other shirt on over his head.

“Shut up. You’re one to fucking talk after you just incinerated your own shirt.”

“I was complimenting your resourcefulness,” Todoroki said, sounding to Izuku utterly sincere.

“The fuck kind of backhanded compliment was that?”

“The kind you like,” Todoroki said with no hesitation.

It caught Kacchan off guard as he stuttered on a choked sound.

“Can you stop being insufferable for five seconds?”

“I’m not sure. Are you capable of talking with an inside voice for over five seconds?”

“Oh, you got jokes now, IcyHot?”

Izuku felt his breath catch in his throat. Kacchan was smiling. Not a sneer, not a snarl. A small, coy, disarmingly fond expression worn while he pulled on the button up.

Izuku was positive he’d never seen that look on Kacchan’s face before.

He backed away from the scene quietly. The experiment somehow ended up being a resounding success, and Kacchan didn’t deserve any more prying into a private moment. If anything, this experiment proved that the results he’d gotten were replicable, and that smile was the strongest evidence yet.

Kacchan was in love with Todoroki.

Which was great, but now that he’d figured it out, what did he do with the information?

Izuku knew Kacchan definitely wouldn’t want him to meddle, but he also really wanted him to help him out, and Kacchan would never directly accept help from Izuku.

He had a lot to think about.

~

“Todoroki, what are you doing in the kitchen?” Izuku was just coming back from a run the weekend after the last experiment. He’d gone on a shorter than usual jog for a weekend. His mind too preoccupied with the matter of Kacchan’s feelings, and an eagerness to plot out a plan noir-detective style, had him cutting back early.

Todoroki was notoriously not an early riser, and he looked just as surprised to see him there as Izuku set his water bottle down on the counter.

“Oh. I had trouble sleeping last night, so I was making tea,” he said, though there was no water boiling, no cups out, no tea in sight.

“Um-”

“But then I realized I was out of tea, so I’ve been trying to figure out what else I need to get when I go grocery shopping.”

Odd. If Izuku didn’t know any better he’d almost say Todoroki was rambling. He squinted his eyes at his friend and Todoroki stared back at him, expression flat and completely unperturbed by the scrutiny. Izuku dismissed his suspicions as overthinking, his head already shifting back into analysis mode for the Kacchan situation.

“Well, when you go to the store let me know. I need to pick some things up too!” Izuku said, fingers drumming a sharp staccato against the countertop before heading to the stairs as he diverted more attention to his plotting.

He was almost to his room when he stopped, feet gluing to the floor so suddenly his momentum nearly toppled him over, and he let out a squawk.

He’d left his water bottle downstairs. His favorite limited edition All Might water bottle.

Izuku spun on his heels and raced back down the stairs of the dormitory, nearly throwing himself into the common room in his haste. At the same time, Kacchan burst into the dorms through the front door.

He dug his heels in, veering directions sharply to dive behind a couch before Kacchan or Todoroki could notice him. It would not be Izuku’s intervention to ruin a chance for Kacchan to have a moment with Todoroki alone.

Kacchan stomped into the kitchen, clearly just returning from a run with the way his shirt clung to his skin and his hair was matted down.

“The fuck? You’re up early, IcyHot,” he said, voice easy to hear even from Izuku’s spot on the floor.

“I’m making tea,” Todoroki said, and Izuku felt his expression scrunch up. Todoroki was out of tea. He’d just told Izuku that. Was he lying to Izuku or lying to Kacchan? And why?

“Just tea? What about breakfast?”

“I figured I’d have whatever you’re having.”

Izuku could hear Kacchan choke on a breath in disbelief.

“You’re an audacious fucking asshole. I don’t know how any of these extras think you’re some clueless golden boy.”

“Is that a no for breakfast?” Todoroki asked, and Izuku could actually hear the despondence in his tone.

Kacchan started slamming some cabinets with more force than necessary.

“Did I fucking say no? Don’t put words in my mouth bastard, it’s disrespectful.”

“That means so much coming from you.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Kacchan said, and Izuku didn’t need to see him to hear the smile in his voice. “If you’re gonna bum breakfast off me, you’re gonna have to work for it.”

What… was happening?

They moved further into the kitchen so Izuku couldn’t hear what they were saying anymore, but he also wasn’t sure he wanted to.

Izuku couldn’t recall many instances of Todoroki being so blatantly snarky to someone. They were good friends, and Izuku knew Todoroki wasn’t afraid to push someone’s buttons, but this was completely different from any other interactions they’d had. There was a sort of, to quote Kacchan, ‘audacity’ to how he was speaking.

Izuku peaked his head up from his cover of the couch just as Todoroki was coming back into view where the cutaway was to look in the kitchen from the rest of the common room.

Kacchan chucked a pepper at his head.

“Chop that,” he ordered, loud enough that it was easily heard even from wherever Kacchan was deeper in the kitchen.

Izuku watched Todoroki examine the pepper. There was laser-focused intensity in his narrowed eyes as he rolled the vegetable over in his hand. Izuku watched in horror as Todoroki dropped the pepper on the cutting board, bringing the knife down with no regard for proper kitchen safety protocols or procedures.

He had to cover his mouth to keep from gasping in shock as the knife sliced through the middle of the pepper. Harmless yet violent. He felt like he needed to step in as Todoroki went for a second cut — he wasn’t even holding the pepper — and aimlessly made another random cut, but thankfully, Kacchan beat him to it.

“Stop. Stop it. I forgot you’re fucking useless,” he said, coming into view of the cutaway. “But I’m not doing it all for you. Watch.

Kacchan took the knife, and one half of the pepper, then began carving out the flesh from the core.

“Now you,” he said, offering the knife back to Todoroki. Izuku watched with bated breath as he examined the pepper remains and held the knife in a clumsy fist.

He turned the tip of the knife on the pepper. Holding it in his hand like he was about to mug it, and Kacchan interjected once again before Todoroki could hurt himself or the pepper.

“Absolutely fucking not,” he said, snagging Todoroki by the wrist before moving his grip so that his hand overlaid Todoroki’s. “Hold it like this.”

Izuku watched slack jawed as Kacchan began guiding Todoroki’s knife hand like he thought he was the star of a classic romantic movie. His cheeks were as red as the pepper, and he was staring daggers at the cutting board, not looking beside him.

“Are you watching me?”

“I’m watching you,” Todoroki said, but Izuku could see the disconnect clearly.

Todoroki was watching, just not the knife demonstration.

From their position Kacchan was slightly behind him, chest likely pressed to Todoroki’s back as his right arm reached around to guide Todoroki’s hand through the cutting motions. Kacchan’s left cheek was flush against his shoulder, and Izuku watched as Todoroki paid no mind to the vegetable being cut before him.

His focus was entirely on Kacchan’s face. A soft, warm smile adorned his expression as he observed the boy through half-lidded eyes. Izuku couldn’t recall ever seeing Todoroki be that emotive.

He looked at Kacchan like the disgruntled expression that wrinkled his brow and turned the corners of his lips down into a scowl was fine art, like an old master craftsman had forged Kacchan’s glower into something to be venerated.

Izuku had never seen anyone in his entire life look at another person the way Todoroki was looking at Kacchan. An enraptured bewitchment so all-encompassing, so tangible, Izuku felt like he was drowning in it from all the way across the room.

There was a tight feeling in his chest, an overwhelming intrusiveness that said this wasn’t his moment to be a part of, and he ducked back behind the couch.

He realized abruptly there was a new hypothesis brewing that needed his attention:

‘Todoroki Shouto is in love with Bakugou Katsuki.’

Decidedly, more data was required.

~

EXPERIMENT 3:

Izuku was stumped on ideas for an experiment. He knew Todoroki pretty well, but he didn’t have the decade and a half of insight that Izuku had over Kacchan. It didn’t help that the event he witnessed over the weekend was akin to the smoking gun of proving his hypothesis.

But science did not accept metaphors as hard evidence, his hypothesis’ credibility demanded data. He needed to pull similar results in another experiment. Replicate and prove the hypothesis again, and then… well if his hypothesis was correct, then he’d truly begin meddling.

Thankfully, experiment inspiration came to him because of careful observation and a hyper fixation on his friends’ love lives that didn’t allow him to rest until a conclusion was reached. After realizing there was a second hypothesis, Izuku began going over all this other observations and notes only to discover another pattern of anomalous behavior:

Todoroki asking to borrow a pencil from Bakugou even though Yaoyorozu had extras out on her desk because she was always prepared. Never picking up his phone to call his siblings in a common room as he lamented over an indecipherable grocery list. Hanging around Izuku and Kacchan’s sparring match instead of practicing with his own partner. Waiting until they were right in front of Kacchan to say he wanted to ride rollercoasters, something Kacchan loved. Incinerating his clothing… seemed to be a genuine accident, but getting startled enough by someone to lose control of his quirk, strange.

Then the really out of character event: Hanging out in the kitchen; lying about being in the kitchen; being up early to be in the kitchen seemingly waiting for Kacchan to get back from his morning run, because Kacchan had a schedule that he kept to and he’d definitely be there in the morning; looking at another person with so much adoration, it still made Izuku blush days later.

Kacchan’s strange behavior centered entirely around his loudness and being noticed. Todoroki’s seemed to be about… just being there? A right place, right time scenario. Inserting himself into situations where Kacchan had to, or could, pay attention to him.

Plus, one of Uraraka’s notes on love was about simply being there for the person that you loved.

It was sort of sweet, a schoolyard crush that maybe Todoroki himself wasn’t aware of, and that Izuku desperately wanted to help him out with.

But first he needed to confirm his hypothesis with the experiment he was about to conduct, inspired by Todoroki’s strange behavior in their hand-to-hand combat training class currently occurring.

Todoroki was restless, kind of shuffling around people as if standing still for longer than thirty seconds was an unconquerable task. He was between Tokoyami and Yaoyorozu, sort of fidgeting between them, almost in a figure-eight, but far more sporadic.

Yaoyorozu looked anxious at his pacing, though Tokoyami seemed completely unbothered by him. Izuku approached without hesitation and Todoroki barely acknowledged him.

“Hello, Todoroki!” He said, and Todoroki gave him the barest hint of recognition, a head nod in his direction.

He was whispering under his breath. It sounded like numbers as he stepped around Izuku and placed himself back on the left side of Yaoyorozu.

“It’s no use trying to talk to him. He’s been consumed by the darkness,” Tokoyami said. He hadn’t moved at all, arms crossed over his chest, head bowed and eyes closed.

“Uh-”

“Tokoyami don’t say things like that! I’m sure Todoroki is just… studying?” Yaoyorozu said as Todoroki shifted positions again, this time squeezing between Izuku and Tokoyami, and Izuku could hear him this time.

“Six… Eight…”

Tokoyami leaned back so he could meet Izuku’s eyes with a serious look.

“I think he is subconsciously channeling a numbers station. We should write this down. It could be an important coded message he’s receiving.”

“I don’t think that’s even possible,” Yaoyorozu said, her voice wavering with a distress that belied she thought this topic was incredibly strange, and she didn’t know if they were walking the line of making fun of Todoroki.

“It is if they installed a chip in his head.”

“Do I even want to know who ‘they’ are?”

“Nine.”

Todoroki moved to the right of Tokoyami, completely ignoring their conversation.

“The government, obviously.”

“I don’t think the government, or anyone else, put something in Todoroki’s head…”

“Ok, maybe not a chip. What if he’s an android?”

“Six.”

Todoroki moved, bypassing Izuku entirely and planting himself to the left of Yaoyorozu once again.

Izuku tuned out the chatter around him and focused on Todoroki. When he’d approached, Todoroki had barely glanced at him, his focus solidly to the left. Following his gaze, it was hard to exactly pinpoint what he was looking at, but Izuku would bet his signed NightEye poster that he was looking at Kacchan.

The supposed person of interest was being flanked by his friends. They were bouncing around him in their usual orbit, excitedly chatting while Kacchan pretended to be annoyed. Or at least more annoyed than he actually was.

If Izuku’s hypothesis was correct, then the odd behavior from Todoroki had a high chance of being Kacchan related. So he glanced at Todoroki and heard the quietly spoken — “Seven” — as he moved himself between Yaoyorozu and Izuku once again.

There didn’t seem to be any difference with Kacchan. Kirishima had moved around him to poke at Sero for something he’d said. After chiding him, Kirishima turned back and planted himself in his original spot-

“Six,” Todoroki was back to the left of Yaoyorozu, and everything was becoming clear.

Aizawa had lined them up to count off pairs. It was a fairly standard procedure. Aizawa counted out through ten, and then counted to ten again, assigning each classmate a number and whoever shared a number were partners for the day. Iida was talking to their teacher, delaying the process a little.

Kacchan was currently number six of the first count.

It was incredibly endearing, Todoroki wanting to be partnered with Kacchan and putting in the effort. Izuku stepped back and skirted to the left side of him, just to test it.

“Todoroki, are you trying to be-” he started, but Todoroki didn’t let him finish as he sidestepped and put himself back in the sixteenth position. Now between Uraraka and Izuku. He was so focused on Kacchan, with no effort to hide it, that Izuku almost felt embarrassed by how blatant he was being.

“Hey,” he said, bumping his fist against Todoroki’s shoulder. “Do you want to be partners with someone specific?”

Todoroki didn’t even look at him, and Izuku crinkled his nose.

“Soba is a bad dish.”

No response.

“Endeavor is a wonderful hero.”

Silence.

“Kacchan is a lucky guy,” he said, under his breath on an exasperated sigh.

“Hmm?”

“Oh, now you’re listening to me?”

“I’ve been listening,” Todoroki said, though it was hardly convincing.

“Name one thing I’ve said in the last minute.”

“… Hey?”

That one was on him. He set the bar too low.

Before Izuku could say anything else, Aizawa was gathering back the class’s attention.

Their teacher was starting the count, locking Kacchan in to the number six. As Aizawa came to them, droning out a ‘five’ to Uraraka, a ‘six’ to Todoroki, and a ‘seven’ to Izuku, his friend was nearly jumping for joy in a very Todoroki fashion.

His palms were rubbing against the outside of his thighs, eyebrows slightly raised, a closed-mouth smile he had to look for to spot. Todoroki was inordinately pleased with himself.

Izuku couldn’t find it in himself to be mad at being ignored. The results seemed to be a resounding success in favor of his hypothesis.

~

Izuku was feeling a bit like his meddling was starting to go too far. But if people didn’t want him meddling in their business, they shouldn’t make it so obvious, and so distressing, that they clearly belonged together and should have been dating.

Which was where the distressing part came in, because for some reason these two people, so obviously head over heels for each other, were not dating.

Todoroki, Izuku could reason, may have made sense. He loved his friend, but Todoroki’s childhood had not afforded him a super high social intelligence. That wasn’t a knock at Todoroki at all, but Izuku thought it was possible that either:

A. Todoroki knew he had feelings for Kacchan and had no idea what to do with them.

B. Todoroki didn’t even realize he had feelings yet.

Two very plausible possibilities that Izuku could work with and around.

The Kacchan angle was far more confusing. Izuku knew he wasn’t shy, he didn’t wait, he paid attention. The fact that Kacchan hadn’t made a move yet was completely out of character.

The only thing Izuku had reluctantly considered was maybe it was as simple as an old cliche: ‘Love is blind.’

Maybe Kacchan was just in too deep and that was messing with all the constants of his behavior Izuku was so familiar with. A bias drastically skewing his normal baselines. But could love really make someone that dense?

“Oh, Deku, I was looking for you.”

Izuku startled as Uraraka approached him. “U-Uraraka, what’s up? Were you looking for me? Ha — Obviously, you just said that. What’s up? I hope you’re doing good. What’s up, aha, I said that already. What’s up?”

To her credit Uraraka beamed at him despite his embarrassing slew of word vomit.

“Actually, I was hoping if you had some time on Friday we could go see that new hero documentary together? It’s airing in the theater near here.”

Oh? He mentioned that documentary a week or two ago, but hadn’t found the time to go see it yet. Uraraka was so nice. Man, he liked her a lot. But-

“Sorry, I’m busy Friday, ” orchestrating a plan to get two his closest friends together because they were in love. Unless… “Actually, maybe I can. And we could invite Kacchan and Todoroki too!”

“O-oh. Yeah, sure, if that’s what you want… Did Kacchan ask you for help or something?”

“Well…”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” She asked hesitantly. “Kacchan doesn’t really like people prying into his business. Just the two of us could go, you know.”

“Trust me, I think they need a little push. Thanks Uraraka!” He said, turning back to the notebook page he’d been scribbling on. There were so many arrows, boxes, underlines, and highlights from his stream of consciousness plotting that it was likely indiscernible to anyone but himself.

“Ok, well, good luck!” Uraraka said, before getting pulled away by one of their classmates.

What had he been doing again? Ah yes — could love really make Kacchan so blind to such an obvious situation?

He didn’t have enough data to reach a meaningful conclusion, but that was ok because he was changing tactics. Science had proven itself extremely effective in satisfying his curiosity, but he needed something a little more involved.

Izuku had the starting threads of a plan to hopefully give his friends a push in the right direction. And if the science was sound, which he was confident it was, everything would work out perfectly.

~

Friday came quickly, and so far everything was going smoothly.

He’d gotten Kacchan to agree with the allure of new All Might themed merchandise. The documentary was highlighting All Might’s effect on the new generation of heroes. That meant special prints featuring All Might as part of the movie promo.

Todoroki was just happy to join his friend to see a movie.

Uraraka was already waiting in the common room when he came down. She looked great, a pretty dress, heels, it looked like she did her hair.

“Wow, you look great!” Izuku said, glancing around the common room for the two people of interest.

“T-thank you!” She said, her cheeks heating into a tomato red blush.

“So have you seen Kacchan and Todoroki?”

It was like saying their names summoned them into existence. Kacchan stepped into the room first, hands shoved into the pockets of a well-worn jean jacket and a skull print beanie hiding his untamable hair. Todoroki was about five paces behind him in a bright red button down and cropped black pants.

“Over here!” He said, waving his hand at the two. They both turned and began walking towards him, and then Kacchan stopped.

“Wait a fucking second, is the Half ’n’ Half bastard coming too?” Kacchan asked, cheeks dusted pink, a thumb jerking in Todoroki’s direction.

“Yeah, I invited you both! I didn’t think you’d mind?”

“Sorry if my presence is an inconvenience for you,” Todoroki said, pushing aside Kacchan’s hand so it was out of his face.

“You’re whole life is a fucking inconvenience to me!” Kacchan said back with a snap of his teeth.

“Oh.”

Argh — No, shut the fuck up! I didn’t mean-“

This was going great. He gave a reassuring thumb up to Uraraka, who didn’t look as confident as he felt.

The theater was only two train stops over from the UA dorms, and it was fairly uneventful. Kacchan glowered the entire time, staring daggers at any evening commuters that got a little too close to him and Todoroki. The latter didn’t seem aware of this, going as far to mention it was a lot roomier on the train than normal. Uraraka and himself were left to fend for themselves against the tide of packed people.

So they dealt with it and made it to the theater with minimal issue. Izuku helped Uraraka as she stumbled slightly when some unobservant adult bumped her and Kacchan bared his teeth at the guy for it, yelling at the man to ‘Get his head out of his ass and pay attention!’

“Ow…” she said, rubbing her arm.

“You ok?” Izuku asked as she pulled her hand away to reveal a bit of blood.

“Yeah, I think I scraped my arm against something when that guy bumped me,” she said.

“Oh, do you need to stop of get something for it?” He asked, but she waved him off.

“It’s barely a scratch. I’m fine,” she said, showing her arm as proof. The bleeding had already stopped and Izuku nodded. He had a plan to set in motion anyway, and they raced to catch up with their dense friends.

The tickets were bought ahead of time, so they skipped that line only to get the privilege of waiting in the even longer concessions line together. Uraraka excused herself to go to the bathroom, leaving the three of them alone.

“Todoroki, I really like your outfit today. You look good!”

“Thank you. Bakugou picked it out,” Todoroki said, straightening his already near immaculate posture.

“Kacchan dressed you or helped you buy it?”

“Yes,” well that cleared that up.

“So you and Kacchan spend a lot of time together, huh?”

“Can you two morons stop having the most pointless conversation I’ve ever heard?”

“Well, what do you think? Doesn’t Todoroki look good?”

Kacchan scoffed, looking away from them so Izuku couldn’t see his face.

“Of course he does,” he said, arms coming up to cross over his chest.

“Oh? You say that like it’s a given.”

“Hah!? I mean, of course he does because I’m the one that picked out what he’s wearing, Nerd!” He turned to jab his finger into Izuku’s chest. His eyes squinted with a calculating assessment that said he was puzzling something together. “Why’re you acting like a freak tonight?”

Oh no, was he being too obvious?

Izuku took a step back out of Kacchan’s space, his eyes darting around, looking for an out. Uraraka was just leaving the bathroom, dusting her hands and scanning the busy room for them.

“Oh! Uraraka’s out of the bathroom. I’m gonna go… over there,” he said, ducking under the attempted grab by Kacchan. He probably would have chased Izuku, but Todoroki saved him, snagging Kacchan at the elbow and effectively stopping him in his tracks.

He said something unheard, but Kacchan immediately turned to him, vehemently gesturing about whatever thing Todoroki said that was more deserving of his attention than Izuku.

He asked Uraraka if she wanted anything to eat, but she just gave him a big smile and shook her head, moving to lace their arms together.

This was going great.

Things continued to go great as Izuku ensured that Kacchan and Todoroki sat next to each other in the theater. It required Izuku yanking Todoroki in front of him and pushing him forward into the row of seats, but they were seated: Kacchan, Todoroki, himself and Uraraka, exactly as planned. The only thing not going so great was the scrutinizing glares Kacchan was now directing at him.

But that was a worry for later. The documentary was just as good as he was hoping it would be. It was interesting to see the effects of All Might’s tenure as Number One, though a lot of the conclusions he’d already thought about back in middle school, and his new insight into All Might’s power definitely negated some theories in the movie, but it was enjoyable.

During the movie Uraraka even intertwined their hands, leaning to rest her head on his shoulder as she traced along the scars and veins of his right arm with her other hand.

He’d had such a good time, Izuku realized he’d forgotten about his meddling plans almost entirely until he was yanked to the side by a familiarly gruff grip.

“Alright Deku, spill,” Kacchan said. His hand wrapped around Izuku’s forearm to hold him in place. Todoroki was beside him, face impassive. “What do you know?”

Izuku stiffened, eyes darting to Todoroki nervously. He knew these two were in love with each other, but he didn’t think either of them would appreciate Izuku being the one to make those confessions. Todoroki only cocked his head slightly, like he was urging Izuku to just tell Kacchan what he wanted to know so they could get on with their lives.

“Know about what, Kacchan?” Izuku asked, throwing the question back. Maybe by some miracle this was completely unrelated to Izuku’s meddling in his friends’ love lives.

“Don’t act like a dumbass, Deku. How long have you known?”

“Known what?”

Deflect, deflect, deflect.

“That Halfy and I are dating!”

What.

What.

“What?”

“Don’t get mad at Midoriya. He probably found out because of my rampant flirting,” Todoroki said over Izuku’s stunned question.

“Literally no person on this entire fucking planet could decipher that shit you do is ‘flirting.’” Kacchan said, turning his scowl on Todoroki.

“You seemed to decipher it fine.”

Kacchan smiled, and it looked like it was supposed to be a condescending smirk, but it was so infatuated Izuku couldn’t keep his mouth from falling open in shock.

“Yeah, well, I’m not just any person you lucky bastard.”

Todoroki was smiling now too, small and understated, so completely besotted Izuku wouldn’t be surprised if he’d forgotten Izuku and Uraraka were standing there.

Wow, Izuku was so happy for them. They were so in love with each other. This was an excellent outcome. Apparently no meddling needed but-

“You two are dating?”

Kacchan twitched, the soft expression gone as he turned an irritated scowl back on Izuku.

“You didn’t fucking know!?”

“No!”

“Then why have you been acting so weird?”

“All I knew was that you two were clearly so in love-”

“Sorry to cut this extremely interesting conversation short, but all this talk about dating is making me thirsty.” Uraraka said, though it was definitely not Uraraka’s voice that said it.

Before anyone could react, Izuku felt a searing pain in his neck as Uraraka — no, definitely Toga Himiko — sunk her teeth into the junction where his neck met his shoulder.

It lasted only a second, as she had to rip herself away to avoid the ice and explosion that was directed at her, but she was giggling manically. She was still wearing Uraraka’s face, but the quirk was melting off of her, globs of the putty like material that still resembled his friend splatting to the ground in a sickening rhythm.

“I was supposed to wait for the others, but Izuku, being so close to you for so long, I just couldn’t help myself.” She said, bouncing around with ease as she cradled her cheeks in her hands to smother a blush.

“And your friends in love,” she said, giddy with enamored excitement as she appeared next to Todoroki and tried stabbing him with a syringe. She was knocked off course by a well-aimed explosion. “It’s just so cute, almost as cute as Ochako. It made me ravenous.”

The mention of Uraraka jolted Izuku out of his shocked stupor, a protective anger surging in him. “Where’s Uraraka?!”

Toga ducked under an explosion as Kacchan closed in on her, and she attempted to jab a syringe into his side, though she was foiled by a force of ice. The villain squealed in frustration.

“Don’t worry, I’d never do anything to hurt my precious Ochako. She’s taking a nap in the bathroom.”

Toga giggled again, making an odd flourish with her hands, and in the most unpleasant version of a flash mob Izuku had ever seen, several villains revealed themselves from the crowd. He silently thanked a greater power above they all had their provisional licenses already.

Toga was a formidable opponent on her own, and having to keep an awareness on her position while also dealing with the villains, and keeping the civilians safe, was a challenge.

He was thankful for the supernatural ability Kacchan and Todoroki seemed to have for working together. They were flawlessly attuned to each other’s fighting styles and positions without exuding any extra effort.

When Izuku spotted a villain about to sneak up on Todoroki, Kacchan was already there, sending a nasty-looking explosion directly into the guy’s chest. It flung him into the wall and effectively knocked him out.

Similarly, they were using combos Izuku had never seen them practice before. Todoroki threw up what appeared to be an excessive show of his ice quirk, only to have Kacchan rocketing down it after a villain with a quirk that allowed for some sort of flight swept him up. As he slid down, Kacchan was directed right into the path of a burly looking woman with a projectile quirk that had been giving them all trouble and limiting their mobility.

Kacchan knocked the woman out with his momentum alone by crashing into her feet first with how quickly he’d surfed down the ice ramp. He seemed to revel in it, and Izuku heard him shout something about beating Todoroki in villain take downs.

The gloating was cut short as Todoroki iced the room. Subduing the flyer and some sort of enhancement quirk user in one go. Izuku zoomed past them and caught on the wind: “Looks like I’m winning now.”

The additional villains didn’t last long, they didn’t seem to be trained in any ways, and Toga seemed to notice the tides changing on the battle. None of them had been able to land a hit on her, but she perched atop one of the ice pillars Todoroki had left behind.

“Well, I’m a girl who knows how to cut my losses,” she said, her voice sing-songy despite the situation, like she didn’t particularly care about the outcome. “I’m satisfied to have been able to go on a date with my beloved Izuku.”

D-date!?

“Of course, Izuku! Why do you think our lovely Ochako asked you out to a movie on a Friday?” She squealed, dodging out of the way of Kacchan’s attack without looking at him. Locking eyes with Izuku as her giddy grin stretched predatory.

“See you next time, Izuku.”

Then she was gone, her misdirection abilities hiding her presence and allowing a seamless escape. It left them to clean up the rest of the villain attack.

The police showed up moments after Toga’s disappearance, and Uraraka was fine, thankfully, though she was swept away by the paramedics before he could talk to her properly. (And maybe find out if she had intended this to be a date for them.)

He was just finishing up giving a report to an officer when Kacchan charged him.

In love!? Who said anything about ‘in love?’ We’ve only been dating for a few weeks.” He said, covered in bandages with Todoroki trailing closely behind him looking similarly rumpled.

Kacchan seemed to be picking up right where they left off before Toga attacked.

Izuku blinked, taking in this new information and fitting it in with everything else he’d researched. A few weeks meant they probably had started dating when Izuku began noticing the changes in Kacchan’s behavior.

“The science doesn’t lie, Kacchan. I’ve done the work and my conclusion is that it’s love.”

Kacchan was looking at him with open-mouthed disbelief, his expression twitching like he couldn’t decide between incredulity or rage. It made Izuku kind of want to cower.

“Well, if the science says so, it must be true,” Todoroki said with sagely acceptance.

“I’m surrounded by fucking morons.”

Izuku thought they were getting off topic, and Kacchan had a very limited threshold of patience before he started blowing up the things that annoyed him. Plus, they were kind of glossing over a huge revelation.

“How come you haven’t told anyone you’re dating?” Izuku asked. “This is amazing!”

“Because it’s no one’s fucking business. The damn extras would be annoying about it if they found out,” Kacchan said without missing a beat, arms folding over his now singed jean jacket.

“I think everyone would just be happy for you, Kacchan.”

“Yeah right. You only thought we should date, and you immediately started meddling via some sort of insane, creepy-ass love science.”

“It’s not ‘love science,’ I was just using the scientific method to prove that you were in love with Todoroki. It was actually very effective for observing situations and comparing them to certain excepted results and known behavioral patterns you exhibit. If you’re interested, I recorded all my findings-”

“Shut up, oh my god fucking shut up.”

Izuku shut up.

“I’m interested in your creepy love science, Midoriya.” Todoroki said, and Kacchan groaned, slamming the side of his fist against the concrete wall they were next to.

Izuku turned to Todoroki, purposely ignoring the derogatory adjective as he slung his backpack off his shoulder. It was a little bloody, but no worse off after the fight, and he pulled out the notebook he’d been keeping all his field notes and findings in.

It held everything about his Kacchan hypothesis, his original research question, all his notes about the anomalous behavior around Todoroki: the special attention he gave him, the significance of Kacchan potentially being interested in someone, and the experiments with their results.

Kacchan looked seconds away from blowing up all his research, so Izuku quickly pulled out his other notebook, tossing it at Kacchan who easily snagged it out of the air.

“That one is the science-tested proof Todoroki is in love with you.”

His eye twitched, but the notebook wasn’t immediately combusted and he turned his eyes down to look at the contents. Izuku felt himself breath out in relief, his gaze returning to where Todoroki was looking through his analysis.

Todoroki was skimming over the pages, though Izuku saw him stop a few pages in, where he’d written the three core traits of Kacchan and how Todoroki seemed to be the exception to it all. The page where he also wrote his first hypothesis. His fingers traced over the words, then his eyes went up to look at Kacchan.

He had that gaze again, the one he’d worn when Kacchan failed to teach him proper knife etiquette. But it was even more open this time. A complex softness and care crinkled his eyes and flushed his cheeks in a way that was very unlike Todoroki, but very like someone completely and utterly in love with another person.

Kacchan was still scowling at the notebook with Izuku’s findings for his second hypothesis, cheeks tinged pink as he roughly flipped the pages.

“Hey, Bakugou Katsuki,” Todoroki said, grabbing Kacchan’s attention immediately. “I think you’re in love with me.”

“Don’t put words in my fucking mouth, Halfy.”

“I don’t think you mind it that much. Besides, it’s not me, the science is saying it.”

“Yeah, well, apparently the science says you’re in love with me, too.”

They stared at each other for a moment, and it was clear the rest of the world didn’t exist outside the two of them. Izuku felt more like a voyeur now than he had during any of the experiments.

“Then who are we to refute the science?” Todoroki asked, taking a step closer to Kacchan.

“Damned if I know,” he said. That action hero cadence Izuku heard from him during that training match was back. Kacchan’s head cocked to the side with a confident smirk as Todoroki got in his space.

And then — Oh, okay. They were kissing. Oh my, they were really going at it.

Izuku cleared his throat when Todoroki’s hand found its way into Kacchan’s hair and he moaned. In public. Among the flashing emergency lights and chatter of TV broadcasters and a crowd of onlookers, Kacchan only flipped him off without breaking the kiss.

Izuku turned around to give them some privacy.

He didn’t think it was too much of a stretch to consider his hypothesis successfully proven.