“I can’t believe it just upped and tried to attack you like that! I mean, thank god the cage was still locked but still!” Izuku’s eyes are the size of saucers, surprise and confusion rendering them even bigger than usual. “What a mean little thing. Cats are usually cooler than that,” he says apologetically.
Hitoshi hums nonchalantly. “Cats usually don’t like me. I think I’ve told you that before,” he responds while leaning back into the couch cushions. They’re back in their apartment now, after a full-day of visiting different animal shelters throughout the city, and all Hitoshi wants to do now is become one with the couch and find another sitcom to binge watch before Izuku makes them repeat the same routine for the third time this week.
Izuku had suggested, about two weeks ago, that they take advantage of their off-campus housing and adopt a pet. Hitoshi was actually excited about the idea for a while, loving the idea of finally having a pet, specifically a cat (god , cats were so cool), of his own. His mother had severe allergies so he was never able to have one of his own growing up. After a couple of days though, he became aware of a huge problem that he had forgotten about.
Animals hated him. He had never found the reason for it. They were just repelled by him for some reason. It wasn’t a big thing now, as a third year college student, but as a child it really messed with him. Especially since he had even very few human friends. People didn’t like him. Animals didn’t like him. Aliens probably wouldn’t like him either. It had taken him majority of his life, college, to find people who didn’t just simply tolerate his presence. He somehow had even gotten himself a boyfriend. And, still, even after three years of this new life, it was all very new to him, still very surreal. So he guesses that’s why he momentarily forgot how insufferable he was to the general population, animals included.
Still, Izuku was excited about the idea and could not be discouraged even with Hitoshi’s confession. So Hitoshi decided to be a team player and go through with the plan. This was the third day in a row they had come home empty-handed though. It was almost completely hopeless.
Scratch that. Definitely hopeless.
“When you said that I thought you meant maybe that you’ve had a few bad experiences,” Izuku begins, sitting next to Hitoshi on the couch. “I didn’t think that you actually meant cats don’t like you.” His pretty features are scrunched into a look of bewilderment. “Though, for the record, they don’t just dislike you. They hate you. I’ve never seen anything like it... And I’ve volunteered at rescue centers with Kacchan.” Izuku shudders and whispers the last sentence as if it were a repressed memory remembered much too soon. Hitoshi laughs and leans towards Izuku, lying his head on his shoulder.
Izuku nods. “Cats and Kacchans don’t mix,” he says and Hitoshi spares another laugh. “But at least he got along with the dogs... But you know,” the boy continues, eyes rolled towards the ceiling in thought, “dogs don’t particularly like you either. Or squirrels. Rabbits. And remember that one time we went to the zoo and that parrot wanted to have a go at you?”
Hitoshi nods with a grimace. The thing would not stop squawking. Birds are the worst. And you know what? So are cats. And dogs. Rabbits, too. And squirrels? All of those little demons are on his shit-list. Assholes.
“I wonder what the problem is,” Izuku drones on, completely oblivious to his boyfriend’s traumatic flashback, “I’ve read studies where some animals just don’t respond well to certain people but it’s almost always linked to a dormant illness that the person soon discovers that they have. There was another case, I saw it in a documentary, though, where a woman was attacked by birds all the time but it turned out that her favorite perfume was chocked full of pigeon female pheromones for some odd reason so the birds weren’t actually attacking her they were trying to mate . Weird. Come to think of it, there are plenty of possible reasons wh—“
“It doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t care,” Hitoshi lies. “I do care about you not being able to adopt anything though. It must be tiring having to adjust your life constantly to appease my... eccentricities,” he ends lamely.
“What? No!” The other boy jumps up suddenly, effectively knocking Shinsou’s head off of his shoulder. “I don’t mind any of it! This is your home too and I...” Izuku lets the sentence hang in the air for awhile, cheeks red and eyes wild. “An-and I— I—I don’t think, uh, that, um, adjusting to your weird sleeping schedule and keeping everything super neat and stuff is a big deal. And the pet thing is okay too.”
“I have a solution! And a surprise!” Izuku doesn’t wait for a reply before running into their shared bedroom. “I thought that this might happen,” he yells from inside the bedroom, “so I got this little guy!” Hitoshi listens to the sound of the closet door squeaking open and Izuku’s huffs of exertion. He almost asks if he needs help but the other boy calls out again. “Do you wanna guess what he is?”
Hitoshi contemplates just walking into the room and peeking inside so that he doesn’t have to go through the trouble, but he decides against it. He’s trying to learn how to play along with harmless little activities like this. Strengthen his social skills and yada yada... Or whatever it was that Ochako told him that one time. “Well, he can’t be that big if you hid him in the closet.”
“Is he a rodent?” Hitoshi tries to keep the disgust out of his voice but he obviously fails because Izuku starts giggling wildly.
“I wouldn’t do that to you. We both have to love him,” Izuku replies through more giggles.
“Good. Insect? Arachnid?”
“It’s a pet, not a pest.”
“Yes!” Izuku shouts. “You’re good at this!”
Hitoshi doesn’t think that being ‘good’ at guessing games is a thing if it takes a person four guesses to only kind of solve the mystery but then again he’s not really an expert on these things so he doesn’t say anything. “Lizard? Frog? Turtle?”
Immediately, Izuku pokes his head around the doorframe of the bedroom, he’s smiling wide and goofily. Hitoshi swears that he’s beaming so hard that his freckles are sparkling. “You’re really good! Do you wanna meet him now?”
Looking at the freckle-faced boy across from him makes it hard to continue his indifference. His green-eyed boyfriend’s excitement is so strong, tangible almost, that it’s scarily contagious and he soon finds himself grinning ear-to-ear as well. “Of course,” he answers and Izuku bounces out of the room with a medium-sized tank in his hands.
“He was the cutest little guy in the shop,” Izuku says. Hitoshi finally identifies the animal in the tank when Izuku returns to his previous spot on the couch.
“He is very cute. I can see the resemblance,” Hitoshi jokes as he closely examines the baby turtle in his boyfriend’s lap. “Although, I bet that your choice had nothing to do with our new friend’s speckled shell and pleasantly familiar color palette,” he continues while lightly running his fingers over the freckles on Izuku’s face. He stops when he notices the pink of Izuku’s cheeks and tilts his chin upwards, slowly, so that their eyes meet. “Mm?”
Izuku’s eyes are the same vibrant green as the grassy university quad, they shimmer when the sunlight hits them and the hazel flecks hidden in seas of green reveal themselves and shine like gold. Hitoshi wonders if, maybe, Izuku has traces of something supernatural running through his bloodline. Or maybe he’s just that beautiful. It’s possible. But he’s never known anyone with eyes that ethereal so having fairy-blood isn’t out of the question quite yet.
Izuku’s soft laugh pulls him out of his thoughts. “Yup, I fell in love with his winning personality,” he replies. He breaks eye contact to release the turtle from the tank. “I was thinking that our pet search might end like this and I didn’t want you to feel bad about it.” The turtle is smaller than the palm of Izuku’s hand but faster than Hitoshi would’ve thought of the animal, he watches Izuku continue to layer his hands over one another to continue to give the turtle a surface to crawl on. “Turtles are good starter pets too! They all have very unique personalities and long lives! He’ll definitely end up outliving both of us if he stays in good health!”
Hitoshi hums. Being outlived by a pet somehow seems slightly saddening. But he supposes that all parents pray that their children outlive them. Children and pets are kinda the same, right? He wants to ask Izuku if the comparison is appropriate but something in the back of his mind tells him that he already knows the answer.
“But they grow pretty fast. Pretty soon he’ll need a bigger tank, I’m told.”
“What’s his name?” Hitoshi layers one of his hands over Izuku’s and waits for the turtle to climb up his fingers and into his palm. He waits for the tiny animal to bite him or start acting wildly but it doesn’t. It continues to climb onto his forearm and tries to continue further up his arm. He’s mesmerized, completely dumbfounded, by the fact that the small thing is acting so favorably towards him. An unfamiliar feeling swirls in the depths of his belly and warms him from the inside out. He’s feeling so much, too much, too fast that he’s only distantly aware of a dramatic camera sound in his ear.
“This is perfect,” Izuku whispers in awe. “I’m requiring you to make this your new Facebook picture. You two look like best friends already!” He flips his phone screen to show Hitoshi what he’s just captured.
In the picture, Hitoshi gazes at the turtle, completely mystified. His eyes are blown wide and they look a bit glassy too.
“You photograph so well, babe. When people take off-guards of me, I look terrible. I think it’s mostly because of bad angles but I’m almost sure that I’ve taken some pictures of you at some really unflattering angles but you still look really good? It’s a little unsettling. I used to think that Ochako and Kacchan were immune to bad pictures too but I actually have a couple of bad ones of both of them. Not a whole lot because they’re both stupidly pretty but enough so that I know that they’re actually human. You, on the other hand? No such thing,” Izuku trails off. He continues droning and taps at his phone for a while before setting it down again and smiling at the boy next to him. “I sent it to the group chat! Hope you don’t mind,” he finishes, but Hitoshi knows that he knows that he doesn’t mind one way or the other.
“It’s fine,” Hitoshi answers a bit dazedly. “What is his name?” He asks, again, while continuing to be entranced by the small creature continuing up his arm. He wonders how Izuku does things like this. How he finds a way around— no, how he works with all of his flaws and quirks and problems. He hadn’t thought that there was a single creature on the face of the planet that could tolerate his presence, yet here he is with one of said creatures sharing space with him of its own volition. If he didn’t know any better he would’ve thought that this creature actually liked him. He starts to feel a rush of emotion again and is glad when Izuku answers him, the reminder of his presence grounds him again and prevents him from truly examining this feeling of warmth coursing through his body, his blood.
“Mm, well, he doesn’t have one yet. I wanted you to name him!” Izuku gives him a megawatt smile and Shinsou’s heart thumps in his chest. “Since you’ve never had a pet, everything about this is a first for you! And I was thinking, if you guys got along really well — and you are, just look at you two!— that you should have the honor especially.” Izuku bounces excitedly on the couch waiting for Hitoshi to formally announce the name of their new pet. Hitoshi tilts his head quizzically.
“I can... Name him anything?” Hitoshi asks, an errant thought suddenly taking root in his mind and refusing to budge.
“Anything,” Izuku confirms, as giddy as a child in a candy store. Hitoshi smiles. He’s so eager to see him experience newer and better things, to help him get beyond his own self-administered restraints. He is so good, Hitoshi realizes for the nth time since meeting the boy. There is a lump forming in his throat, the result of overwhelming contentment and another warm rush of emotion.
“All Might, Jr.” He responds matter-of-factly, watching Izuku nearly bounce over the moon in excitement.
His laughter is loud, louder than Hitoshi has ever heard it. “Where’d that come from? Not that I’m complaining!”
“It’s from that list that you read to Ochako. That ‘Embarrassing But Very Cool ’ list of pet names. I heard you in the shower. You’re very loud when you’re excited.”
“Really?” Izuku laughs, cheeks dusted a flattering shade of pink. His freckles look even prettier standing out against such a vibrant pink. “I should’ve known! At first, though, I thought I had been rubbing off on you a little too much,” he scoops All Might Jr from Hitoshi’s arm gently and places him back inside his tank. “Are you sure though? You don’t have to do that.”
“I know. I want to. It’s a good name.” He smirks at the boy beside him before continuing. “The coolness definitely doesn’t cancel out how embarrassing it is but if I ever choose to tell anyone that I named him they’ll automatically think you begged me to say that and the embarrassment for you doubles. It’s a win-win. For me, anyway.” Hitoshi swallows a laugh as Izuku places the turtle tank on the coffee table in front of them with a faux look of hurt on his face.
“Wow. And here I was thinking that you were being a sweetheart,” the green-eyed boy responds with mock melancholy. Hitoshi raises his eyebrows as he watches the other boy seemingly relax his upper body while he readies his lower half into a springing stance. He wills himself to resist giving his knowledge away. He subtly prepares himself for retaliation.
“But that’s good,” Izuku continues. “Now I won’t have to feel bad for doing this,” he yells and springs towards Hitoshi with his palms spread wide open. Hitoshi laughs and hops off the couch and out of the way and Izuku lands awkwardly on the other side of the couch in surprise. “What,” he yells again. “How do you always know?”
Hitoshi’s still laughing but now he’s looming over Izuku and blocking his most immediate route of escape with his body. “You’re too easy to read,” Hitoshi answers and wraps his arms around Izuku. He reaches under his shirt and splays his hands across his stomach. “I’ll let you go if you let me drag you to my Intense Bicycling class next Tuesday,” he offers compromisingly.
Izuku’s nose wrinkles almost immediately with distaste. “I’d rather die. Since that’s what I’d be doing if I went anyway,” he says while squirming, trying to escape Shinsou’s grip to no avail.
“Okay,” Hitoshi laughs. “Remember that you chose this.” He immediately starts tickling Izuku’s abdomen and the boy beneath him begins giggling uncontrollably while swatting his hands and continuing his attempts to squirm away.
“N-no fa— HAHA— fair! Th-this was my attack plan!” Izuku stammers through giggles.
“You didn’t execute it correctly so I took it for myself,” Hitoshi responds while inching one of his hands up Izuku’s shirt, towards his neck. “I’m going to give you one more time to agree to my terms before I really start torturing you.”
“Do-don’t go for the ne-neck! Pl-please!”
“Agree to the terms.”
“Al-All Mi-ight says to nev-never negotiate with terrorists!” Izuku stammers in as much of a heroic voice he can manage while giggling like a toddler.
“Have it your way, hero,” Hitoshi replies before tickling under Izuku’s chin.
Izuku’s body violently shakes with laughter and Hitoshi is thrown so off guard that he loosens his grip on the other boy. Sensing his only opportunity, Izuku rolls out of Hitoshi’s grasp and onto the floor. His face is flushed with exertion and his already impossibly messy hair looks like a tornado hit it, making it an entirely new and never-before-seen level of dishevelment. Before Hitoshi can make a teasing comment, however, Izuku launches back up and lands on Hitoshi’s lap, effectively trapping him.
Izuku reaches behind the other boy’s ears and wiggles his fingers, prompting Hitoshi to wriggle with laughter. With the tables now turned, Izuku laughs boisterously, still a bit out of breath from his own assault. He smacks Hitoshi’s hands away from him each time he attempts to retaliate with an impish smirk.
Izuku stops after a few minutes of relentless tickling. Hitoshi sighs dramatically, breathing hard and trying to catch his breath. He’s almost positive he’s even more flushed than Izuku was by the way his lungs are screaming at him to gulp down as much oxygen as he possibly can. Izuku silently sits on his lap, watching him with the widest grin on his face.
“I definitely won by the way,” he says impishly, green eyes glittering with mischief.
“You fought dirty,” Hitoshi pants out.
“Because I said so.”
Izuku laughs again and Hitoshi swears for the thousandth time that day that he’ll never get tired of the sound. “Yeah, yeah. You’re lucky I love you or I’d give you another beating right now.”
Hitoshi feels his cheeks heat up so intensely that he can feel the burn reach the tips of his ears. An all-encompassing warmth that originates in the depths of his belly and spreads throughout the rest of his body. He’s suddenly hyper-conscious of his every movement, even involuntary ones. He feels each strong beat of own heart and he can hear the blood pumping through his body, rushing his cheeks and ears. He blinks up at Izuku through naturally-slack eyelids, suddenly having the urge to count each and every freckle on his face. And the ones on his neck, the couple that decorate his chest and stomach, the clusters that litter his thighs and legs. He bets he could find new ones too if he took his time. The thought fills him with pleasure and surges through his entire being.
He doesn’t find the time to bask in the feeling, however, because Izuku starts hyperventilating, panicking, on his lap.
“I— I didn’t mean to make it weird! I know that we’ve only been dating for a while and that makes what I said pretty weird, I don’t even know what happened, I usually can catch myself before I can actually say it... Shi— Fu— Damn. That makes it even weirder. Because it implies that I’ve been wanting to say that for while, which I have, but I know that you can’t just throw that type of thing at people especially if it’s only been a couple of months and— I don’t know, I’m really sorry, oh my god. Do you need space? Do you want to move? I know that I just made things super weird and now I seem like that weird guy that’s never had any type of relationship before that rushes into everything and come to think of it, are you okay with all of this? The moving in together thing? I know we both agreed to it but you’re always so accommodating and going with what I suggest and, not to suggest that you don’t have any agency or anything, but you never really give any feedback one way or the other, it’s just like you’re okay with anything I say and I don’t want to push you into any and everything I want! I was actually telling Kacchan the other day that I—“
“Need to let you form your own thoughts without throwing suggestions out all the time. Like I came up with the apartment idea, the let’s-take-our-core-classes-together-this-semester idea, the pet idea, the group karaoke idea! I mean, do you even want to do any of that? I’m sorry, I really can’t just throw these things at people, I never thought that it bothered you, though? Maybe I—“
The boy flinches violently, as if he was being struck. His eyes are glassy and tears threaten to fall from his long lower lashes, they wobble violently reflecting the fluorescent lights above them. “Ye-yes?”
“I love you too. A lot. I have for a while,” Hitoshi pauses for a second. “And I like the group karaoke idea. And the core classes idea. And the apartment idea and the pet idea. All of them. You’re not rushing or forcing anything. I’d let you know if I didn’t like something. Promise.”
Izuku looks unconvinced, green eyes dull with doubt and insecurity. “Okay.”
“Don’t brush me off, Midoriya. I’m serious,” Hitoshi responds, a little harshly, while using the knuckle of his index finger to catch the tears sitting on Izuku’s eyelashes. The other boy sniffles pathetically in silence. “I watched ‘The Making of All-Might 2: The Hero in You’ with you about a hundred thousand times when you got the flu during Hell week last semester. That should be enough undeniable proof. It’s a horrible documentary. You should be ashamed but I know you’re not and never will be.”
Izuku chuckles wetly. “It’s not that bad. You just don’t like amateur productions, you snobby film major.”
“You love this snobby film major,” Hitoshi rebuts. He leans over, into Izuku’s space, and kisses the bridge of his nose, exactly where his favorite of Izuku’s freckles lies. “And I love you too.”
Izuku blushes again and this time he turns a deep scarlet. He scoots forward and buries his head in Hitoshi’s chest. “You can’t justsay that.” Hitoshi resists the urge to laugh as he realizes that Izuku’s ears are just as red as his face.
“No, I might die. My heart is racing.”
“I make your heart race? God, I might have to rename myself ‘Casanova,’” Hitoshi replies playfully and he laughs when Izuku swats at his chest.
“You’re the worst,” he mumbles into his chest, ears still flushed.
“Mhm. But you lo—“ Izuku suddenly reaches for the spot behind his ears again and he ducks his head just in time. “There you go fighting dirty again,” Hitoshi says while covering his ears with his hands.
“You’re fighting dirty,” Izuku responds.
“I’m simply stating facts, my love.” Hitoshi wraps his arms around the other boy and squeezes. “But I suppose I should stop teasing. I’m hungry now anyway. You want to do take-out tonight and go for groceries tomorrow?”
Izuku nuzzles Hitoshi’s neck before responding. “Mm. Yeah, why not? I’m actually kinda tired so that works.”
“Okay. The usual?” Hitoshi reaches for Izuku’s phone on the coffee table. “I’m using your phone to order, cool? Mine is on the charger.”
“Okay. Check the group chat and see if anything’s happening before you do.”
Hitoshi unlocks the phone and it opens to the group chat immediately.
Deku: [img attached]
Deku: theyre bonding ovr their mutual cuteness
Deku: lie and say this isnt cute Kacchan
Deku: lie and have the group chat gods smite you wear you text
UraChako: so cute tho!
UraChako: u better make that his FB pic!!!!!
Iida: This is quite the adorable picture!
Kacchan: shut the hell up
Kacchan: its a ***OK*** pic
Kacchan: punk ass nerd
Kacchan: n turtles suck
Kacchan: wht do the lil shits evn eat?
Kacchan: nobdy knws! cuz they suck!
UraChako: what is wrong w u?
Kacchan: shut up woman
Hitoshi laughs before turning to Izuku. “What do turtles eat?”
“Bakugou. He asked what turtles eat and I don’t know either.”
Izuku sits up now, eyes rolled to the ceiling in contemplation. “I’m not sure, actually. You don’t know?”
“No? Why don’t you know? You bought the turtle.”
“I did,” Izuku pouts. “Actually, we might have to go grocery shopping. Because, now that I think of it, I don’t think All Might Jr has eaten since I got him this morning.”
“Oh my god,” Hitoshi whispers in mock horror. “You’re trying to kill our son already.”
“ What ?”
“Don’t worry, A.M.J,” Hitoshi says, head turned to the turtle tank while gently pushing Izuku out of his lap and starting to stand. “Your favorite dad is coming to the rescue.”
“You’re not his favorite,” Izuku responds, genuinely frazzled. “Turtles don’t have favorites.”
“Oh, really? Is that what he told you?”
Izuku rolls his eyes. “Turtles don’t speak either.”
“Not when they’re hungry,” Hitoshi snickers
“Stop ! I would’ve remembered eventually!” Izuku whines.
“Sure, sure, sure. Come on. Get the car keys, my son is dying over there.”
Izuku pouts on the couch with his arms crossed over his chest. “You’re making me feel like a horrible owner.”
“I’m sorry, love,” Hitoshi responds while unplugging his phone from the charger and beginning to google ‘what turtles eat? ’ “We can’t all be turtle-whisperers.”
“I can’t believe I’m in love with a bully,” Izuku remarks woefully, probably more to himself than to Hitoshi.
“I can’t believe it either.” Hitoshi smiles. He walks over to Izuku and kisses him quick on the lips. “Come on, the pet store closes pretty soon.”