When he was diagnosed as being quirkless, Midoriya Izuku didn’t let it get him down for long.
Sure, it hurt that he could never be a Pro Hero like All Might, but he could still be a hero in other ways. So, Izuku dried his tears and moved forward on the path of a new dream: he was going to be a police officer.
He dedicated his childhood towards it. He begged his mother to let him go to karate and self-defence lessons, he studied, and he helped anyone who needed it.
Things changed when he met Yagi Toshinori.
When Izuku was ten years old, the frail, gaunt man moved into their neighbourhood. Izuku met him when the man was walking home from the grocery store and stopped to cough up blood. Worried, Izuku asked if he needed an ambulance called, but the newcomer just waved away his concern, stating he was fine.
Not willing to let the matter drop, Izuku insisted he carry the man’s groceries home, and after a few moments of hesitation, Yagi accepted. And like that, an unlikely friendship was born.
Yagi didn’t think Izuku’s dream of being a hero—a normal, non-pro hero—was a bad idea. Nor did he laugh or judge Izuku for being quirkless. He got strangely uncomfortable when Izuku started gushing about All Might, but Izuku put that down to not everyone being as enthusiastic about Heroes as he was.
He wouldn’t tell Izuku what his quirk was, but that was common; not everyone liked to blurt out their abilities. He did, however, say that he was a personal trainer—of sorts—and that he could teach Izuku how to train, eat properly, and study to become a police officer.
So, Izuku would help whenever he could, fixing things around his house, cleaning, cooking; whatever he could, and Yagi trained him. He called it his “American Dream Plan”; the perfect way for Izuku to get in shape, and learn even more ways to defend himself or take down an opponent.
“You’re smart, my boy,” Yagi said. “Observant, analytical; use that when you fight.”
He’d also introduced Izuku to Aizawa Shouta, a perpetually tired, bloodshot-eyed man, who was an expert in hand to hand combat. He was a harsh teacher, but between him, Yagi-san, and Izuku’s karate sensei, he soon learnt how to defend himself.
However, for all that Izuku was excelling physically, he still remained a social outcast. People looked down on him for being quirkless, Kacchan called him names—he was branded ‘Deku’ for life—and even his teachers didn’t like him.
This continued all through middle school and high school. Kacchan went off to UA, being proud that he was the only one from their middle school to do so, and Izuku went to a normal school. But Izuku didn’t mind; he was going to be a hero, a police officer. He didn’t need to go to UA for that.
It was hard, being an outcast and devoid of friends his own age, but he got through it. He just kept chasing that dream. He was going into law enforcement; he was going to be a hero, quirk or not.
When he graduated high school, his mother, Yagi, and Aizawa were there to cheer him on. His mother was crying freely, and his two teachers looked proud; Izuku couldn’t keep the smile from his face.
It was later, after all their celebrations had ended, that Yagi told Izuku something he’d never forget.
“Midoriya, my boy, you’ve known me as Yagi Toshinori since you were ten years old, but you knew me as someone else before that.”
Aizawa huffed. “You’re being dramatic. Just tell him.”
Izuku looked at them in confusion. “I don’t get it. What do you mean?”
Steam started rising from Yagi’s body, and within moments, there stood his favourite Hero.
“You know me as All Might,” Yagi said, a little unnecessarily, because there was no way Izuku wouldn’t recognise him.
“And I’m Eraser Head,” Aizawa added in a monotone. “Just for the record.”
Izuku did what any loving hero fan would do in that situation.
It took a while for the two heroes to rouse him, but when they did, they explained the situation. That All Might was injured, and could only sustain his hero form for so long. It was time for the Symbol of Peace to retire, lest he do any more permanent damage to his body.
However, All Might still wanted to help people. So, he was going to establish to Department of Hero Affairs; a government agency dedicated to the monitor and assistance of heroes, and civilians with any Hero-related incidents.
“So, Midoriya, my boy,” Yagi said. “Do you want to join me in the Department?”
He heard the real question: Do you want to be a hero?
Izuku didn’t even hesitate with his answer.
Time passed, and at twenty-four years old, Izuku was the youngest Deputy-Director in the Japanese government. He had risen through the ranks, proved himself (despite All Might having a clear soft spot for him), and was now second in command of the Department of Hero Affairs, second to only Toshinori himself.
He walked briskly through the pristine halls of the agency’s main headquarters. He nodded and smiled briefly as he passed Uraraka, his best friend, and their part-time agent, part-time Pro Hero Uravity. However, he didn’t have time to stop and chat; All Might had called him into his office, and he needed to get there quickly.
He reached the office and knocked on the door.
“Yes?” his mentor called.
Izuku poked his head through the door. “You wanted to see me, sir?”
“Ah, Special Agent Deku, come in,” All Might waved at him to come and take a seat.
Izuku fully entered the room, and shut the door behind him. He sat down, knowing that whatever the retired hero was going to say was important. The use of his cover name and not his given one told him that. It was clear that he wasn’t summoned to All Might’s office for a friendly catch up.
All Might was in his usual Toshinori form, and would only change into his Hero one when the occasion called for it. Part of Izuku wondered if the change was his quirk. Over the years, All Might had never explained what his quirk was, but Izuku figured that he’d find out when the time was right.
However, whatever musings he had over his favourite Hero’s superpower was stopped by the grave look on Toshinori’s face.
“What is it?” Izuku asked.
“Everything we’re about to speak of is highly classified.”
No, this definitely wasn’t going to be a friendly chat.
He nodded. “Understood.”
A few more moments passed before his boss eventually spoke. “You know that Endeavour has had quite a few complaints raised against him.”
It wasn’t a question, but Izuku replied regardless. “Yes, numerous people have complained that he is rude and condescending, but we can’t just arrest people for having a bad behaviour.”
“It’s not his attitude that concerns me; Endeavour has always been churlish.” Toshinori’s frown deepened. “It’s how he uses his quirk that worries me.”
Izuku froze. “You mean—?”
All Might nodded. “Yes, another complaint has been submitted about Endeavour’s misuse of a quirk.”
“But that makes five! Sir, we can’t keep turning a blind eye to him. That many separate complaints warrants an investigation.”
“I agree, but we need to be careful with this. Endeavour is the Number One Hero, so we can’t be seen investigating him for malpractice; it will cause panic, and villains could use it to spread chaos. We will need to be discreet, and I’ll need my best agent on it.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“We’ll send an agent undercover. They can have a house near the Todoroki’s home and observe them; see if there’s any evidence of malpractice or misuse of a quirk.”
“Infiltrate the household?”
Izuku’s expression was resolute. “I’ll do it,” he volunteered immediately.
Toshinori smiled, his eyes shining with pride. “I thought you might say that.” He handed Izuku an assignment folder. “I said I needed my best person on this. It was yours before you even volunteered.”
Izuku stood up, flushing at the praise. “I’ll get on it right away.”
All Might nodded. “Good luck, my boy.”
Izuku turned and was halfway to the door when the hero’s voice stopped him. “Oh, and Deku?”
“Try to keep the broken bones at a minimum.”
Izuku cringed sheepishly. “Understood, sir.”
Todoroki Shouto did not like his home life.
His Father was, well, his Father; cruel, domineering, and the absolute authority in the Todoroki household. He had only gotten worse once All Might had retired. He had raised Shouto to succeed the former Number One Hero; how was he supposed to do that if said Hero had retired?
Of course, one could never point out that the whole ‘raise his son to succeed and get revenge on All Might’ plan was now moot, seeing as though Endeavour was now Number One. Not unless they wanted the Flame Hero to fly off into a rage.
At twenty-four years of age, Shouto really wished he could move out of his childhood home, but that was impossible. His Father was still paying out his Mother’s hospital bills, and moving out meant potentially losing that support; Shouto couldn’t risk that.
So, he stayed home, worked as much as he could in order to raise that money himself, and tried to stay out of his Father’s way as much as possible. He wasn’t always successful, and his Father would often drag him in for another ‘training’ session, but Shouto was just glad that he took the brunt of his Father’s anger, and not his siblings.
He longed for his old UA days, where he lived in dorms with his friends. Not living at home, and staying outside for as long as possible, to save himself from dealing with his shitty old man.
It was on one such occasion that he saw his new next-door neighbour. Shouto had been reading in the shade of a tree in their yard, when the sound of removalists finally drew his attention away from his book.
He looked up to see a group of people carrying boxes and furniture into the house next to his. Shouto mentally shrugged and went back to his book. So, he was getting a new neighbour. That didn’t warrant abandoning his novel, just as it was getting good.
“Where did you want this, Midoriya-san?!” a voice called out.
“Just put it in the kitchen with the others, please!” another replied.
Shouto felt a wave of irritation go through him—these loud people were getting in the way of a good novel—and looked up again, ready to glare in the direction of the newcomers. Instead, he choked on his breath, and the book went falling from his hands.
The most attractive man he’d ever seen was moving in next door to him.
Shouto had always preferred men over women, but no one had ever grabbed his attention quite like this. The man had green hair, and was wearing a wide smile as he talked to one of the removalists. He wore a sleeveless All Might shirt—an All Might fan, that made Shouto like him all the more—which drew attention to his especially toned arms. He must have been strong, because he was holding two heavy-looking boxes, and didn’t seem fazed at all.
Oh no, the man was far too good-looking. What in the world was Shouto supposed to do?
As if sensing his gaze, the man turned and spotted Shouto. To make matters worse, he smiled even more, put the boxes down, and jogged over to the fence that divided their properties.
“Hello, there!” the man called out.
Shouto stood up and approached the fence, hoping he didn’t seem too attracted to his new neighbour.
“Hello,” he said.
“I’m Midoriya Izuku,” the man introduced himself. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Todoroki Shouto. The pleasure is mine, Midoriya-san.”
Midoriya smiled. “I know who you are. Thank you for all your hard work, Hero Shouto.”
Shouto had often wondered if it was smart to use his own name as his Hero name, but he couldn’t deny the fact that he liked being recognised by his new neighbour.
The green haired man shuffled awkwardly. “To be honest, if I wasn’t in the middle of moving, I’d ask for an autograph.”
Shouto hoped he wasn’t blushing. “Oh, you’re a fan?”
Midoriya nodded eagerly. “Yeah! I love all sorts of heroes. All Might is my favourite.” He froze. “Uh, not that I don’t like you or Endeavour! It’s just that I’ve loved All Might since I was little! I mean, I used to play that clip of him rescuing people over and over, and my room was covered in All Might merchandise. Well, it still is—” He cut himself off, covering his mouth with his hands. “Sorry,” he said, sheepishly moving his hands away. “I have a tendency to ramble.”
That was the most adorable thing Shouto had ever seen.
“Don’t be sorry,” he said, a rare smile pulling at his lips. “That was interesting. You’re interesting.”
His new neighbour flushed. “Oh—uh—thank you.”
Shouto drew breath to speak, to draw out their conversation in any possible way, when a removalist called for Midoriya.
“Sorry, Todoroki-san, I have to go,” Midoriya apologised. “It was nice to meet you! I’ll talk to you soon!”
Shouto watched as Midoriya ran off, grabbed the boxes he was previously holding, and went over to the guy who called for him.
“I look forward to it,” he murmured.
No, Todoroki Shouto did not like his home life.
But he really, really liked his new next-door neighbour.
Izuku was on an assignment. He was Special Agent Deku, second in command of the Department of Hero Affairs. He was a professional. He would not, under any circumstances, fall immediately and irrevocably for Todoroki Shouto.
Izuku was sitting at a desk in his newly-unpacked home, attempting to go over his case files. However, all his brain wanted to focus on was how beautiful Todoroki looked that afternoon, or how nice his smile was when he said that Izuku’s rambling was interesting, and not strange.
No! No! He was on assignment! He absolutely wouldn’t fall for Todoroki Shouto.
...Except he sort of did.
Could you blame him, though?
He had always admired Todoroki. Izuku had kept an eye out for Kacchan’s UA class whenever they would appear in the news, and Todoroki had caught his attention immediately. Dedicated, and the wielder of a powerful quirk—not to mention beautiful—how could Izuku not admire him?
Izuku shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. He shouldn’t be thinking like Midoriya Izuku, who had been crushing on Todoroki Shouto from afar since high school. He needed to think like Special Agent Deku.
So, Todoroki Shouto. What did he know about Todoroki Shouto?
Todoroki was one of the most active Pro Heroes Izuku had even seen. He was always on patrol, battling villains, or staging incredible rescues. In fact, seeing him sitting and reading a book, was the most Izuku had ever encountered of Todoroki taking a break.
He wondered why he worked so hard. What did Todoroki have to prove?
However, there was something to be said about how he refused to use the fire side of his quirk. How could he be a Hero when he was only using half of his potential? How had Todoroki graduated UA without his teachers calling him out on it? Or had they said something and Todoroki ignored it? If so, why?
As someone who was quirkless, Izuku had a lot of thoughts on someone who was a hero and only used half their quirk; not a lot of those thoughts were positive. Regardless, there had to be some reason behind Todoroki only using ice, but what could it be?
Unable to think of an answer, Izuku moved on. He needed to find a way to get close to Endeavour. His son seemed approachable—and Izuku’s heart definitely wasn’t pounding about that—so perhaps he could befriend the younger Todoroki? Or maybe one of his siblings?
Befriend. Nothing more.
But first: observation. He needed as much information on the Todoroki’s as he could get, before approaching them to get to Endeavour; he couldn’t go into this blind.
Izuku sighed, feeling drained. The move to his temporary new home had worn him out more than he realised. He stood up and made his way to the bedroom, resolving to get as much sleep as possible.
He’d start tailing the Todoroki’s the next day. That was when his assignment would really start.
Now that he’d seen Midoriya Izuku once, Shouto kept noticing him wherever he went.
At the supermarket, the bookstore and even Shouto’s favourite coffee shop; his neighbour seemed to be everywhere. He might have even seen him on patrol at one point, but Shouto wasn’t entirely sure about that one.
Gorgeous or not, was the man following him? If so, why? Was he part of the paparazzi? A scout from another rival hero agency? The police? Or was he just a very good-looking neighbour, who happened to be in all the same places he was?
Shouto considered asking his family members if they noticed anything, but he quickly dismissed that thought. It would just worry his siblings, and presumably enrage his Father; it wasn’t worth the hassle.
He’d keep an eye out on Midoriya, but he wouldn’t raise the issue to anyone else. And if staying quiet meant that his Father wouldn’t chase their nice, attractive new neighbour away, well that was just a bonus.
Izuku might have underestimated Todoroki Shouto.
Despite his history of being a stellar agent and following his targets without detection, Todoroki seemed to notice him wherever he went. Normally this wasn’t an issue. Izuku was plain-looking and easily forgettable, so why did Todoroki keep catching his eye in crowds?
Izuku didn’t have this problem with any one members of the Todoroki family, it was just Shouto. The fire and ice wielder was making Izuku’s job far harder than it had to be, with his being observant and noticing him all the time.
(It also didn’t help that Izuku felt flustered everytime Todoroki looked at him, but he wasn’t going down that that line of thought. Not today, no thank you.)
Izuku fought the urge to sigh. He’d gone as far as he could following Todoroki Shouto. Nothing that he did showed Izuku anything to do with Endeavour and the claims of malpractice. Besides, he’d noticed Izuku too many times. To run into him any further would just be suspicious.
He’d have to go down a different avenue of investigation. It was time for him to focus on the other Todoroki’s.
After seeing his new neighbour in so many different places over the last few days, it almost seemed strange for Shouto to catch a glimpse of him at home. One of the windows in his house gave him a direct view into the lounge room of Midoriya’s place, and Shouto could see his neighbour muttering to himself as he went over paperwork.
Midoriya talked to himself. That was utterly adorable and endearing.
Shouto felt a pang of sympathy for him, though. As a Pro Hero, he had to do his own fair share of paperwork; it wasn’t enjoyable in the slightest.
Realising that he was blatantly spying on his neighbour, Shouto hurriedly turned away and hoped that Midoriya hadn't noticed him.
What was wrong with him? He was staring at people through windows like a creep. Not to mention all the times that Midoriya had turned up in his thoughts, regardless if Shouto had seen him or not.
A blush burnt his cheeks. He needed to talk to someone about this, because he was not emotionally equipped to deal with a crush by himself. If he was left to his own devices, Shouto would just keep staring at the object of his affections through windows and have no idea where to go from there. Maybe he should ask Yaoyorozu? She and Jirou were together, after all. She must have known what she was doing to make that happen. Nodding to himself, he took out his phone and sent a message.
Shouto: I think I have feelings for someone. Help.
Yaoyorozu: You whatufnf hdhsgajfnc
He blinked at his phone.
Shouto: Sorry, what?
Yaoyorozu: Hey this is Jirou i stole Momo’s phone. Way to go Todoroki! Get some kwu29ovbwndywj
Yaoyorozu: This is Yaoyorozu; I've taken my phone back. Congratulations, Todoroki! We can help you with your feelings. Who is
Shouto suddenly regretted asking his friend for help. He put his phone down and didn't reply to the onslaught of messages he received. Instead, he wandered out of the room with the view of his cute neighbour and tried to ignore all thoughts of Midoriya Izuku.
He wasn't successful.
Izuku really didn’t like what he was seeing of Todoroki Enji.
From all the tailing he had done of the man in the past few weeks, Izuku didn’t think highly of the Number One Hero. He was rude, arrogant, and had an appalling opinion of those who were quirkless. His only redeeming feature was that he was dedicated to saving those in need.
Still, so far Izuku hadn’t found anything to prove that Endeavour was misusing his quirk. Being surly and an all-around jerk? Yeah, sure. Evidence of malpractice? Nothing, nada, zip.
The people he’d asked about Endeavour seemed too scared of the hero to risk badmouthing him in any way. That in itself was so fundamentally wrong, it did nothing but sour Izuku’s opinion of Endeavour further.
He had gone as far as he could with merely observing his target and questioning those that knew him. It was time for Izuku to approach the Todoroki’s directly; maybe that would improve his steadily-declining opinion of the Flame Hero.
While his crush-addled heart wanted him to focus on Endeavour’s stoic youngest son, his instincts told him of another Todoroki who would prove important to the case.
He would focus on Todoroki Shouto later. Maybe ask him on a date, take him out for dinner—
Izuku pulled himself up short when he realised where that train of thought was going. After the assignment, he told himself. He’d—maybe—pluck up the courage to ask Todoroki on a date after the assignment.
Of course, that was if Todoroki would even consider going out with someone who had put his Father in prison. Because if Izuku’s gut was telling him anything, it was that Endeavour wasn’t going to be coming out innocent at the end of this investigation.
Despite his insistence that he wouldn’t follow, ask out, or approach Todoroki Shouto, Izuku ran into him completely by coincidence at a café in their neighbourhood.
“Todoroki-san, it’s nice to see you,” Izuku greeted, hoping he sounded casual while his brain was screeching at him to ignore how his heart fluttered.
“It’s nice to see you as well,” Todoroki returned as they waited in line to order. “Although, we seem to keep running into each other.”
Well, shit. Todoroki really was too observant.
Izuku didn’t even need to force a smile, the other man’s presence automatically drew out of him. “Weird, huh? But I’m never going to pass up an opportunity to befriend my new neighbour. Would you like to join me for tea?”
Todoroki blinked at him. “You want to be friends?” he asked at length.
“Of course! Don’t you?”
“Yes,” Todoroki replied so quickly, it brought a warm feeling to Izuku’s chest. “I’m just not used to someone asking to be friends so bluntly.”
“I’m about as straightforward as they come,” he said, mentally cringing when he knew that he was anything but. “So, tea?”
Todoroki nodded. “I would like that.”
They ordered their drinks and sat down at a table. It was silent for a moment before Izuku asked, “So, what’s it like being a Hero?”
Assignment or not, he was sitting with the Pro Hero Shouto, and Izuku’s Hero fan side could never be silenced.
If Todoroki was surprised at the question, he didn’t show it. “Difficult, but rewarding. It can be elating and heartbreaking all at once, but it has given me friends and bonds that I had once thought were out of my reach.”
Izuku cocked his head curiously. “What do you mean?”
“Friendships do not come easily to me,” Todoroki replied. “The ones I do have were so insistent in including me at UA, until I had no choice but to acknowledge them as friends.”
“They sound like great people, Todoroki-kun.”
Todoroki didn’t react any more to the change in honorific than a slight widening of his eyes. “They are, and I’m sure you are too, Midoriya.”
Izuku drew a sharp breath and his heart raced because Todoroki had just said that and referred to him without honorifics. But he acted calm and grinned, pleased to see a small smile pulling at the corner of Todoroki’s mouth. “So, what about you? Tell me about yourself, Todoroki-kun.”
“Well, I’m a Pro Hero,” he said after a moment.
“Oh! That reminds me!” Izuku exclaimed and began rummaging through this bag, not noticing how he’d startled Todoroki with his outburst. He pulled out a battered notebook and pen and pushed them across the table. “Can you sign this? I’d really like your autograph.”
Shouto blinked down at the page the notebook was open to. It was filled with a sketch of his Hero costume and notes on his quirk. “Is this you quirk?” he asked at length, reaching for the pen. “Analysis?”
Izuku blushed as Todoroki signed the page. “Uh, no. I’m actually quirkless.”
Todoroki looked up in surprise. “Really?”
“Yeah, but thank you. It’s nice to hear that my analysis is so good, you could think it’s from a quirk.”
Todoroki focused back on the notebook. “It’s very detailed.”
Izuku awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. “Thanks, but—uh—I had a question about your quirk?”
“Mmm?” Todoroki hummed, continuing to read Izuku’s analysis.
“Why don’t you use your fire?”
Shouto’s head snapped up so fast, he was surprised he didn’t break his neck. “Excuse me?”
Midoriya’s cheeks were pink. “It’s just—no one ever sees your fire. I have heaps of notes on your ice, but nothing on your fire side. I know you have it, because you used it for a small moment in one of your Sports Festivals fights in your first year. But since then, you never use it. I was just wondering why?”
“That’s a bit of a personal question, Midoriya,” Shouto said. “But no, I don’t use my fire, and have good reason not to.”
Midoriya’s expression fell flat. “Hmm.”
Shouto was struck with the notion that he’d somehow made a huge mistake.
“What is it?” he asked.
A frown marred Midoriya’s features. “It’s just...when I was younger, all I wanted to be was a Pro Hero. I wanted to be like All Might and save people with a smile. But then I was diagnosed as quirkless, and that dream couldn’t happen. Now, you just sit there, a Pro Hero, and you’ve achieved my dream by just using half your strength. Regardless of your reasons, that—that hurts, and it’s almost insulting. Not to mention, it’s a waste of your potential.”
His neighbour stood up. “I’m sorry, I need to leave. See you around, Todoroki-kun.”
Midoriya fled the café; his tea was left steaming and untouched. Shouto couldn’t help but watch his back as he left, unable to say anything to stop him.
Yes, Shouto was sure he’d just made a huge mistake.
Okay, so the whole impromptu plan to get more information out of Todoroki at the café didn’t really turn out the way Izuku wanted it to. Running away with his feelings hurt was not how that was supposed to go.
He needed to calm down. He was Special Agent Deku; he couldn’t go running off crying whenever the assignment made him feel bad. That said, he’d run back to his house and was valiantly fighting off tears.
It stung that Todoroki had the life Izuku wanted, but only part of his full strength to get it. Here Izuku was, having trained since he was a child to get on a level playing field with those who had quirks, and Todoroki does it by refusing part of his power?!
No matter how nice or good looking Izuku found him, that was just wrong.
Still, there was something to be said about why Todoroki refused to use his fire. But no, I don’t use my fire and have good reason not to, Todoroki had said. What could be the reason?
Izuku sighed. Maybe the next person he interviewed would have the answer.
The day after the Café Incident—as Shouto had begun calling it in his head—he invited Yaoyorozu and Jirou out to lunch, to help him with the Midoriya situation. They sat in a cosy booth of a restaurant that was near Yaoyorozu and Jirou’s office and had menus laid out before them, but none of them had really given them a glance. Instead, his two friends had immediately demanded details as to why and how Shouto had scared off his cute neighbour.
“Let me get this straight,” Yaoyorozu said once Shouto had explained. “You had the guy you liked on a coffee date—”
“Well, he was drinking tea—”
“And you somehow upset him so much, he ran out of the café?”
“Todoroki, you useless homosexual,” Jirou spoke up. “What’d you do that for?”
“It wasn’t on purpose,” Shouto defended himself.
“Well, what happened?” Yaoyorozu wanted to know.
“He—he said he had always wanted to be a Hero, and then got upset because I’m one but only use half of my power,” he said.
Yaoyorozu and Jirou shared a look.
“What?” he asked.
“Well,” Yaoyorozu said. “He’s not entirely wrong.”
“We all busted our asses in UA to be heroes, and you did it with half your quirk, regardless of what we or the teachers said,” Jirou added.
Shouto looked down, feeling shamefaced but refusing to budge on his vow to never use fire. “You don’t understand.”
“No, we don’t,” Yaoyorozu agreed, “and you’ve never let us understand. You haven’t told us why you won’t use it.” She shared another concerned glance with Jirou. “We—we all have ideas about why you won’t, but you’ve never told us outright and we won’t push you.”
“But we’re worried about you, Todoroki,” Jirou said. “Quirks are physical abilities, and there’s only so much ice your body can take; one day, you’re going to get hurt.”
Shouto stayed stubbornly silent.
“Just think about it?” Yaoyorozu entreated. “And try to make it up with Midoriya.”
“Just be honest with him,” Jirou answered. “And try not to antagonise him the next time you see him.”
Okay, that sounded simple enough. Shouto could do that.
It was one thing for Shouto to see Midoriya at the grocery store, or the café, or wandering around their neighbourhood. It was another thing entirely to see him walking out of his Mother’s hospital room.
“Thank you for your time, Todoroki-san,” Midoriya bowed in the doorway to someone Shouto couldn’t see, but had to be his Mother.
All thoughts about what he was going to say to his Mother when seeing her for the first time in years, and all conflicted thoughts about his quirk disappeared. Struck by a wave of anger, he moved without thinking and quickly slammed Midoriya against the hospital wall. His hands were fisted in Midoriya’s shirt, and they shook as he held him there.
“What. Are. You. Doing. Here?” he demanded, his face inches from Midoriya’s.
“T-Todoroki-kun,” his captive stuttered, wide-eyed. “I just—”
“You are everywhere I go,” Shouto cut him off. “The supermarket, the bookstore, the café, and now you’re in my Mother’s hospital room?! I don’t even come here, and you’re here.” His grip tightened on the shirt. “I only came because you made me think about—just—what are you doing here?! Who are you? What do you want, Midoriya?!”
This probably wasn’t what Jirou meant when she said not to antagonise him.
“Shouto,” a soft voice called out from behind him; a voice he hadn’t in years.
It was almost as if she had used her quirk on him—he froze that quickly. He went still and turned to face her, but didn’t let go of Midoriya’s shirt.
“Midoriya-kun volunteers at the hospital,” his Mother explained.
“But he—he’s everywhere,” Shouto said. “If he’s working for Father—”
“He’s got nothing to do with your Father; he was just keeping me company.”
“But—” he protested.
“Let him go, Shouto,” his Mother said, “and come and tell me how you’ve been.”
He shot a wary look at Midoriya before he let go of his shirt. His neighbour scrambled to gain his footing.
“Sorry,” Shouto muttered.
“It’s—uh—fine. I—um—have to go,” Midoriya bowed at the pair of them and then quickly fled.
“Such a nice boy,” his Mother said, watching him go. She turned her attention back to her son and gave him a smile. “I’ve missed you, Shouto.”
Despite the circumstances, he smiled back. “I’ve missed you, too.”
Okay, so Murphy’s Law was a bitch.
Of course—of course!—the one time he chose to go and interview Todoroki-san at the hospital, her son would turn up. Despite the fact that the hospital records indicated that he’d never visited her, Shouto decided to pop in right as Izuku was leaving.
He nearly blew his cover!
Todoroki was clearly too observant for Izuku’s own good. The pro hero noticed him wherever he went, even when Izuku wasn’t trying to follow Todoroki-kun, and wanted to stay away from those perceptive, heterochromatic eyes.
Things had been going well, before his neighbour’s arrival. He had introduced himself to Todoroki-san as Midoriya Izuku, a hospital volunteer. She took to him immediately, and was happy to sit and talk with him. When he eventually turned the conversation to her family, she readily spoke about her children and told him how much she missed them, but tensed when he mentioned her husband.
She hid her discomfort well, and Izuku wouldn’t have seen it if he wasn’t looking for it. There was a haunted look to her eyes, one she couldn’t quite cover up, and Izuku was willing to bet that Endeavour was the cause.
However, the most telling thing that came out of that hospital visit was from Todoroki Shouto himself.
If he’s working for Father, Todoroki had said. As if working for Endeavour was a negative thing; as if anyone with ties to the Flame Hero was a threat.
He’s got nothing to do with your Father, the elder Todoroki had replied.
Both of them mentioned Endeavour, and neither of them made it sound like a good thing. It did nothing but wave red flags in Izuku’s mind, and add to his overly poor opinion of the Hero he was sent to investigate.
Izuku sighed as he hurried away from the hospital and headed off in the direction of the Department of Hero Affairs Headquarters. He needed to report this to All Might.
After years of thinking about it, Shouto was finally talking to his Mother. He was finally seeing her, could hold her, and hear her voice. He should have visited her years ago, and he regretted not doing it sooner.
She asked him about everything and anything. How were his siblings? How was Hero work? How did he know that cute boy, Midoriya Izuku?
Shouto had blushed at the question. “M-Mother—he’s just my neighbour—”
“But you like him?”
She smiled and Shouto was glad to see it on her face, even if the topic embarrassed him. “What do you like about him?”
“I—” the question gave him pause.
What did he like about Midoriya? Sure, he was good looking, but there had to be more to it than that. What drew Shouto to him?
“He’s warm,” Shouto eventually replied.
For someone who grew up in the house of the Flame Hero, Shouto didn’t really experience warmth that often. But then then Midoriya turned up with bright eyes and wide smiles, that made Shouto’s chest ache.
He was warmth and Shouto was ice. Opposites attract, right?
“He’s…” Shouto didn’t know how to explain his feelings, but his Mother waited patiently for him to find the words. “He’s blunt and stubborn, but I think I hurt him.”
“You did shove him rather hard, dear. Don’t forget to apologise to him.”
Shouto shook his head. “No, I told him I don’t use my fire and it hurt him. He always wanted to be a Hero, and I managed it with half my strength.” He thought back to what Midoriya said at the café. “Mother, do you think I’m wasting my potential?”
She smiled kindly at him, reaching out to cup his cheek and he leant into her touch. “Oh, Shouto, don’t you remember what I told you when you were little?”
He frowned, and what about to ask what she meant when his Pro Hero phone went off, alerting him of a situation that needed him. “I’m sorry, I—”
“Go,” she said, “go be the Hero I know you are.”
He wrapped her up in his arms. “I’ll come visit you again soon,” he promised, reluctantly pulling away and heading out the door.
The public needed Hero Shouto.
Izuku’s thoughts were racing as he headed back home.
All Might seemed to share his misgivings about Endeavour, but when Izuku requested he reveal himself to Todoroki-kun, he’d been denied.
“Leave it for a while longer,” his mentor had said. “But if you eventually believe there’s no other way for the investigation to go forward than to tell Todoroki-shounen the truth, you may do so.”
Izuku really did believe that Todoroki would have to learn the truth. He’d caught on to Izuku following him, he was suspicious of him, he thought he was working for his Father, he—
…was standing at Izuku’s front door.
Todoroki didn’t hear Izuku arrive, so the Special Agent was rewarded with the sight of Pro Hero Shouto nervously going to knock on his door, only to second guess himself and lower his hand. A beat later, Todoroki raised his fist, only to put it down once more.
It was cute and endearing, if a little confusing after their last encounter together.
“Todoroki-kun?” Izuku spoke up.
His neighbour startled and whirled around. “Midoriya?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to surprise you,” he said as he walked to his front door. He looked at a bruised and battered Todoroki, who was still wearing his Hero costume. “Is there something wrong?” He tensed, wondering if there a villain running around nearby.
Todoroki shook his head. “No, nothing’s wrong. I just wanted to see you.”
Izuku relaxed and tilted his head in contemplation. “I didn’t think you’d want to—see me, that is.”
“I wanted to apologise,” Todoroki said, looking shamefaced. “I shouldn’t have done that to you. I overreacted. I’m not usually like that, I swear—it’s just, my Mother—and I also didn’t mean to insult you with my quirk—my Father, he—”
A wave of affection washed over Izuku. Todoroki, for all his cool composure and innate battle sense, clearly struggled with social interactions. But here he was, trying to make amends for the hurt he’d caused him, and babbling in a way that reminded Izuku of himself, instead of his usually stoic neighbour.
Izuku walked up to him and put a comforting hand on his left shoulder. “Todoroki-kun, it’s fine, really. It’s—” he pulled his hand back when it felt it touch something wet. He blinked down at the red that was now dripping from his fingers. “Is this blood?!”
“Todoroki-kun, you’re injured! This isn’t nothing!” he hurriedly grabbed his keys from in his pocket and unlocked his door. “Come in. I can treat that for you.”
“Really, Midoriya, I’m fine.”
Izuku grabbed his wrist and dragged him inside. “You’re not fine, you’re an idiot. Who goes to visit someone when they’re injured and bleeding?”
“Someone who wants to apologise.”
Despite his worry, a stubborn smile fought its way into his face. “Thank you, Todoroki-kun, but I’d rather you take care of yourself instead of dying of blood loss at my door.”
“I’m not going to die of blood loss,” Todoroki protested, as Izuku led him into the kitchen and sat him down at the table.
“Stay there,” Izuku said, going to fetch his first aid kit. It took a few minutes to find it in a box he hadn’t unpacked yet, but he soon padded back into the kitchen with it in his hands. “Right, shirt off.”
Todoroki just looked at him. “Excuse me?”
Izuku felt a blush burning his cheeks. He could have worded that better, but he might as well keep going now that he’d said it. “Shirt off, Todoroki-kun,” he repeated. “I need to look at your shoulder.”
“If you say ‘I’m fine’ once again, I’ll punch you.”
“And it’ll hurt, I promise.”
Todoroki eyed the muscles on Izuku’s arms, as if he was considering if protesting any further was worth it. “Do you normally punch all of your problems?” he asked.
“Yes, and it’s surprisingly effective.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Todoroki said and took off his shirt.
Izuku tried to keep in his awed gasp at seeing Todoroki’s toned body, but he wasn’t quite successful. He let out a choked groan, and tried to cover it up by clearing his throat and saying, “You should have told me you were hurt sooner.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
“Tell that to your bleeding shoulder.”
“I just wanted to see you.”
Izuku blushed and wondered how Todoroki could say something like that so easily. He stood by his shoulder, started tending to the wound, and replied, “It couldn’t have waited until you got treated? I’m not Recovery Girl, I can’t heal this with a kiss.”
He froze. Scratch that, how could he say something like that?! Izuku shouldn’t be mentioning kissing when Todoroki was shirtless and bleeding in his kitchen, no matter how much he’d actually like to do it.
Think of your assignment, he told himself. Think of your assignment, think of your assign—
“You could try,” Todoroki said.
Izuku could tell the moment his neighbour realised what he’d said, because Todoroki went still under his hands and his left side suddenly felt a lot warmer than the other. “I—uh—”
His breath lodged in his throat. Izuku felt like screaming, or laughing, or curling up in a little ball, because he was awkward and woefully inexperienced with relationships and flirting and did Todoroki really want him to kiss him?!
“C-can we just forget I said that?” Todoroki asked.
His words drew Izuku out of his internal panic, and he looked down at the man he was tending to. Todoroki’s cheeks were red and he was resolutely staring at the floor.
No, Izuku didn’t want to forget that. He didn’t ever want to forget that maybe his feelings weren’t as unrequited as he thought.
Izuku took a deep breath and then leant down to press a gentle kiss to the top of his head. “Feel better, Todoroki-kun,” he said as he pulled away.
The Pro Hero let out a small gasp. “Thank you,” he replied, his voice slightly more strained than it usually was.
Izuku sent him a small smile and went back to tending to his shoulder.
“You seem experienced at this,” Todoroki said after a while, his voice returned to normal.
“I got into a lot of accidents when I was little; a lot of fights.”
Midoriya was quiet for a while before replying. “I had a friend who didn’t like me standing up to him, even though I was quirkless. He had a powerful quirk and I had nothing.”
“Did he hurt you?” Todoroki asked softly.
“Not always. He called me names, blew me up a few times—”
“Blew you up?”
“But he was so cool,” admiration was clear in Izuku’s voice, “and he made me realise that if I wanted to stand on equal ground with those who had quirks, I’d have to find some way to close the gap. So, I begged my Mum to let my go to self-defence classes, and have been training ever since.”
“That’s really commendable, Midoriya.”
Izuku shrugged. “It doesn’t close the gap by much, but if a villain corners me in any alley, I won’t go down without a fight.” He finished tending to Todoroki’s shoulder and stepped away from him. “There, all done.”
Todoroki looked down at his neatly stitched shoulder. “Thank you,” he said.
“It’s no problem, you can come to me anytime. Unless you’re really injured! Then you should go to a hospital or Recovery Girl! But—but if it’s anything small, then I can help. I have a first aid certificate and everything.” He paused and really looked at the Hero in front of him. “But are you okay, Todoroki-kun? You look really tired. Are you sure you’re fine? You’re not hurt anywhere else?”
“I’m fine, Midoriya, I promise. It’s just been a long day, that’s all.”
Izuku relaxed. “Well, if you’re sure.”
“I’m sure,” his neighbour looked like he wanted to say more, but he shut his mouth and stayed silent.
“What is it?” Izuku asked.
“Would...you like to go to lunch with me tomorrow?”
It seemed like Todoroki had a talent for rendering Izuku speechless. “I—of course,” he said when he found his voice.
A smile tugged at the corner of Todoroki’s mouth. “Good. I’ll pick you up at one?”
Todoroki seemed as nervous and unsure about this as he did, but he was smiling and Izuku thought it was beautiful.
“I look forward to it.”
Izuku walked him to the door, his heart hammering in chest and feeling seconds away from a freak out. “See you tomorrow, Todoroki-kun,” he said, as his neighbour left. “Get some rest.”
“I will,” Todoroki promised. “Thank you, Midoriya. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With that, he turned and made his way next door. Izuku watched him go, before shutting and locking his front door. He turned around and slid down it, landing on the ground in a puddle of flustered undercover agent.
Todoroki had asked him out and there was a chance he liked him back. He’d kissed Todoroki on the head!
Izuku was so fucked.
Shouto wasn’t exactly sure how he’d managed to ask Midoriya out. Maybe his inhibitions were lowered by all the blood loss? Yeah, that sounded right. He wouldn’t have been able to do it if he was feeling a hundred percent.
Still, he had a lunch date, so—
He paused. A date. He’d asked Midoriya out, so was this a date? Did Midoriya think it was a date? Should he have made a reservation somewhere? Was what he was wearing appropriate? Maybe he should put on something different.
“Shouto?” Fuyumi stood at the door, watching in confusion as he tore apart his wardrobe. “What are you doing?”
“I—” he cleared his throat. “Nothing.”
She entered his room, nervously shutting the door behind her. “Are you going out? Have you told Father?”
“Yes and no, I’m not going to.”
“Is it okay for you not to tell him?”
“It is. I’m going out for lunch and there’s nothing he can do about it.”
She gave him a small, albeit anxious smile. “Be careful, Shouto.” She fixed his collar. “You look fine, you know?”
“Really. Have fun, little brother.”
Izuku could handle a date. He could so handle a date.
This was a date, right?
Guilt ate him alive. He was leading Todoroki on under false pretences. No matter how dubious his relationship with Endeavour seemed, Izuku was still getting to know him while investigating his Father.
Maybe—maybe he could explain it all after his assignment?
Izuku internally sighed. He was getting awfully sick of those words: after his assignment.
“Midoriya?” Todoroki’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts.
Izuku startled and belatedly realised that both Todoroki and the waiter were waiting for him to give his lunch order. “Oh, sorry. I’ll have the katsudon, please.”
“Are you okay?” Todoroki asked, once the waiter had written down their orders and left.
“Yeah, just got lost in my thoughts for a while.”
“Does that happen often?”
Izuku laughed. “You’d be surprised. Although, you’re lucky I was just lost in my head. I have a habit of talking to myself. I mutter a lot and it can get annoying.”
“That doesn’t sound annoying.”
“Just wait until you hear it.”
“I look forward to it,” Todoroki said, echoing Izuku’s words from the night before.
Todoroki’s quirk couldn’t have been half-cold, half-hot, it had to be his ability to turn Izuku into a mess with a few simple words and a small smile. That smile should be illegal. Izuku worked in law enforcement, he could totally arrest him for that.
God, he wanted to kiss him.
“Well, you’ve been warned,” he grinned, trying to act like he hadn’t been sent internally swooning.
The conversation was paused when the waiter returned with drinks. When they were alone once more, Todoroki asked, “So what do you do? Where do you work?”
“I work for law enforcement, but I’m more of a glorified secretary than anything else.” Lies with a sprinkle of truth in them were always easier to tell. “There’s a lot of paperwork.”
Todoroki’s face scrunched up in disdain. “Urgh, paperwork.”
Izuku hummed in agreement. “I always wanted to be a Hero, but when I was diagnosed as quirkless, I decided to be a hero in other ways and join the police force. Now I save people by doing their paperwork for them.”
Todoroki let out a huff of laughter. “I’m sure they’re grateful. Paperwork can be a nightmare.”
“I’m on holidays from work at the moment, though,” Izuku went on. “They gave me time off to help with moving and getting used to my new place.”
Lies. Lies. Everything was lies. All he wanted to do was tell the truth—and kiss him, like, a lot—but he couldn’t.
Their meals came and they ate while they spoke. They talked about anything and everything, but Izuku noticed that Todoroki never once mentioned his Father. Still, he felt he got to know his neighbour a little better. He knew his favourite food was cold soba, or that if you told a joke, the side of his mouth would quirk up before he smiled and laughed. Izuku knew that Todoroki adored his Mother and siblings, his favourite Hero was All Might, and that his favourite teacher at UA was Eraser Head.
Izuku wanted to drown in the personal information Todoroki was giving him. Growing up, he had always kept an eye on Kacchan’s class and had admired Todoroki from afar. As a member of the Department of Hero Affairs, he had admired Pro Hero Shouto for the work that he did. But here? Here he was learning about Todoroki Shouto, the person, and Izuku loved every minute of it.
He told as much about himself as he could without blowing his cover: he was an only child, he didn’t know his Father, and that he thought All Might was the best Hero ever. Izuku wanted to tell him more, tell him everything, but the words were stuck in the back of his throat.
What would Todoroki think when he learnt that Izuku had been lying to him the whole time? What would he say when he learnt that he had been ordered to approach him?
He really was in trouble, though. He liked Todoroki far more than he should. Oh, who was he kidding? He’d fallen for him.
It was hard keeping a straight face during lunch with those thoughts running through his head, but then Todoroki would make a wry comment and Izuku would laugh, and those thoughts would be pushed from his mind.
They had finished eating and were still talking when Todoroki’s phone went off.
“Sorry,” he said when he checked it and typed out a reply. “My friends from UA want to catch up. I told them I’m busy.”
As much as Izuku didn’t want his time with Todoroki to end, he replied, “It’s okay, you can—”
“Thank you, Midoriya, but I am happy here with you.”
Jeez, Todoroki could just say things like that without Izuku dying inside.
The phone buzzed again and Todoroki frowned down at it. “They want me to bring you with me.” He looked back up at Izuku. “Would you like to come?”
A chance to spend more time with Todoroki and meet other Pro Heroes? Izuku didn’t even need to think about it.
When Shouto thought of a date with Midoriya, the rest of his class from UA didn’t really factor into it, but somehow that was what ended up happening.
He and Midoriya walked to the park where Yaoyorozu said they were meeting up. Shouto didn’t say much on the way over there, but Midoriya filled the silence, excitedly chattering away about Hero facts and trivia. Meanwhile, Shouto was just hoping that his old classmates wouldn’t tease him for bringing along someone he clearly liked, even if Yaoyorozu and Jirou had told him to do it.
“Over here, Todoroki!” Kirishima’s cheerful voice caught his attention.
He looked in the direction it came from, and sure enough, there were all his old classmates; even Mineta managed to get invited. As he approached them, he noticed that Midoriya stiffened beside him.
“What the fucking fuck are you doing here, shitty Deku?” Bakugou stood there, his eyes glaring at Izuku and his hands clenched at his sides. It oddly reminded Shouto of their first year at UA, where Bakugou acted like he hated everyone, and had the biggest chip on his shoulder that Shouto had ever seen.
Izuku winced. “H-hi, Kacchan. Long time no see.”
Shouto’s mouth didn’t open in surprise, but it was a close thing. Bakugou was staring at Midoriya like he was dirt, and Midoriya had just called one of the most volatile people Shouto had ever met an adorable nickname.
And why in the world had Bakugou called him Deku?
Kaminari, in either an attempt to be friendly or a complete failure to read the mood, piped up with, “Oh, do you two know each other?!”
“We knew each other as children,” Midoriya explained, “but then Kacchan went to UA and we haven’t seen each other since then.”
“He calls you Kacchan?” Kirishima looked delighted. “That’s so cute!”
“Shut the fuck up, Shitty Hair! Don’t listen to what fucking Deku has to say!”
The rest of the class, far used to Bakugou tirades, simply ignored him. That said, it had been a while since they’d seen him quite this worked up.
“It’s nice to meet you, Deku-kun, was it?” Uraraka said. “I’m Uraraka Ochako.”
“He’s Midoriya Izuku,” Shouto introduced him. “He’s my new neighbour. I don’t know where the ‘Deku’ comes from.”
“Kacchan used to call me that when we were little and the name kind of stuck,” Izuku told them. “But it’s nice to meet you all! I’m a big fan!”
Everyone chimed in with greetings, and then Iida frowned at Bakugou. “Deku seems like a very derogatory nickname for your friend, Bakugou-kun.”
“That damned nerd is not my friend! He’s just a shitty, useless Deku!”
The conversation he had with Midoriya the night before came up in his mind, and everything started to make a frightening amount of sense.
He called me names, blew me up a few times—
He blew him up.
Bakugou bullied Midoriya.
Shouto drew in a harsh breath, ready to criticise Bakugou, defend Midoriya or say something, when a soft hand on his wrist stopped him. He looked down at Midoriya’s hand; it was a silent request for him to say nothing. I’ve got this, the gesture implied, and Shouto reluctantly swallowed the angry words that were at the back of his throat.
“I’m not your useless, quirkless Deku anymore, Kacchan,” Midoriya said, his voice firm, despite how skittish he looked when they first arrived. “I still quite like the name, though. A friend of mine said it gave her a ‘never give up’ vibe, so now I’m the Deku that always does his best.”
The group all began talking at once. Some voiced how awful it was that Bakgou gave someone a hard time for being quirkless, while others praised Midoriya’s determined attitude. While Shouto thought that his neighbour was indeed very admirable, his eyes were locked onto Bakugou, wondering how his old classmate would react.
“Deku,” the self-appointed Lord of Explosions snarled, stalking forward with his fist raised.
Things happened very quickly after that.
The hand that was around Shouto’s wrist disappeared, and instead grabbed Bakugou’s approaching arm. Within moments, Bakugo was flipped through the air and landed heavily on his back, with Midoriya standing over him.
“After all these years, you still open with the same right hook, Kacchan,” Midoriya observed.
Everyone just stared at them in shock. He’d just sent Bakugo flying; that wasn’t something that happened very often. Shouto found it way more attractive than he should have
“Holy shit!” Ashido cried, breaking the silence.
“Deku!!” Bakugou was on his feet, but his former classmates were on him in seconds, pulling him away and shouting at him to calm down. Uraraka even went so far as to activate her quirk and make him float, so he couldn’t go rushing at his childhood friend, and Shouto had stepped protectively in front of Midoriya.
“Round Face!” Bakugou roared. “Put me down!”
“Not until you leave Deku-kun alone!” she replied.
“Uraraka-san, it’s fine, really!” Midoriya said and stepped out from behind Shouto. “You can put him down. He won’t hurt me.”
Shouto stared at Bakugou’s murderous expression. Are you sure about that? he wanted to say, but he kept his mouth shut.
“If you say so,” she said, sounding unsure and releasing her quirk.
“Shut the fuck up, Deku!” Bakugou shouted the moment his feet were back on the ground. “You think you’re better than me?! You’re nothing—”
“Of course I don’t think I’m better than you, Kacchan!” Midoriya sounded exasperated. “You’ve got a quirk and you’re a Pro Hero, you’re clearly better than me! You’ve always been better than me. Why do you think I tried so hard to catch up?!”
Shouto thought back to what Midoriya said the night before: he made me realise that if I wanted to stand on equal ground with those who had quirks, I’d have to find some way to close the gap.
Did Midoriya train so hard to catch up to Bakugou?
Midoriya might admire Bakugou, and Shouto might have a soft spot for him since that time he told Endeavour to fuck off, but Shouto was now facing someone who had a history with Midoriya. Their relationship might be strained, but Bakugou knew Midoriya far better than Shouto did. Had experiences and a past that Shouto couldn’t match up to, and that put an uneasy feeling in his stomach.
He didn’t know what the feeling was, or what it meant, but it felt like his quirk was taking over his body; freezing his heart and sucking out the warmth that Midoriya had brought into his life. Part of him felt like freezing Bakugou for making him feel that way, but then he’d get an explosion to the face and he really wasn’t prepared to deal with that.
“I’m sorry,” Midoriya said, pulling Shouto out of his thoughts. “It was a bad idea for me to come here. I’ll just leave, but it was nice meeting you all.”
Midoriya bowed at them and ran off, despite their protests. Shouto took one moment to shoot a glare in Bakugou direction, and then took off after him. He caught up to Midoriya some way aways, sitting glumly on a park bench.
“Are you okay?” Shouto asked as he sat down beside him.
“Todoroki-kun,” Midoriya said, as if surprised he was there, “you followed me.”
“Of course I did. I wouldn’t leave you alone after that. But are you okay, Midoriya?”
He nodded. “Yes, I just didn’t expect to see Kacchan there, that’s all. I probably should have, seeing as though you were classmates.”
“He was the one that bullied you when you were younger, wasn’t he? The one that hurt you?”
Midoriya nodded again. “Yeah, but he was so cool, and all I ever wanted to do was catch up to him. To catch up and pass him, beat him—just once—to say that I could.”
“I think you just did, Midoriya,” Shouto tried to cheer him up. “Not many people can flip Bakugou like that. He’s very hard to beat. He beat me in—”
“Your first-year sports festival. I know, I watched it.” At Shouto’s surprised expression, he went on. “I always kept an eye on Kacchan’s UA class, and that included you. I’ve known who you were since we were fifteen years old, Todoroki-kun.”
“Oh,” was his dumb reply.
Midoriya’s eyes were serious, thoughtful, and Todoroki felt like he was drowning in them. The world around them had ceased to exist, and all that mattered were them and their conversation.
“You could have won that fight if you’d used your fire, but you never do,” Midoriya said, reaching out to cup Todoroki’s face. “You could have beat Kacchan.”
Shouto stiffened at the feel of a gentle thumb brushing against his scar. No one had touched him so gently in years, and they’d definitely never touched his scar. He could feel his cheeks burning, but he couldn’t move. Midoriya had him mesmerised.
“There has to be some reason why you won’t use it,” Midoriya continued, clearly thinking aloud. “Something or someone made you never want to use it.” His thumb brushed over the scar again. “I can think of one but it’s so awful, I don’t want it to be true.”
He was getting dangerously close to the truth. Shouto reached up to cover his neighbour’s hand with his own and gently pull it from his face. “My Old Man’s power—”
“It’s your power, isn’t it? You burn so brightly, Todoroki-kun, but you only use half your strength. Why be a campfire, when you could be an inferno?”
Shouto gasped as his words hit home and he stared down at his left hand, struck with the unusual desire to use his quirk. But he grimaced and buried the notion away; he’d never use his fire.
“My left side is unsightly,” he said instead.
“Your left side is beautiful,” Midoriya countered. “Everything about you is beautiful, and I’ll happily keep telling you that until you believe me.”
The green haired man had once again rendered Shouto speechless. His heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest. Midoriya was calling him beautiful and comparing him to fire, but that wasn’t right. Midoriya was the warm, beautiful one, and Shouto was ice, desperate for warmth’s embrace, even if he risked melting.
He wanted to kiss him, he wanted to kiss him so badly it hurt; to kiss him long and slow and taste Midoriya on his lips, to bury his hands in his hair and see if it felt as soft as it looked. He wanted to treasure Midoriya, make him smile, and keep doing it for as long as he was able.
“Todoroki-kun,” Midoriya murmured, reaching out to cup his cheeks like Shouto was something precious.
“Shouto,” the correction was out of his mouth before he could stop himself, but he couldn’t deny that he’d like Midoriya to call him by his given name. “You seem to see me as more than a Hero and my Father’s son—you see me—so call me Shouto.”
Midoriya beamed at him, bright and pure and breathtaking. “Shouto-kun, please call me Izuku.”
Shouto wasn’t even on a first name basis with his old classmates, but he replied, “Okay, Izuku.”
Midoriya—Izuku—was still holding his face, and started to pull him closer. “You have compromised me, Shouto-kun,” he whispered.
Shouto didn’t have time to wonder what that meant, because Izuku’s lips were inches from his own, his heart was hammering in his chest and—
“Todoroki-kun! Deku-kun!” Uraraka’s bright voice called out across the park.
They jumped apart instantly, and tried to look casual as Uraraka ran up to them.
“There you are!” she said. “I wanted to check up on both of you and see if you were alright.”
Uraraka had good intentions, but awful timing.
She looked at Izuku in concern. “Are you okay, Deku-kun? Is—is it okay if I call you Deku-kun? I like that ‘never give up’ vibe you mentioned.”
Izuku smiled. “Yeah, that’s fine. It’ll be nice to hear it as a friendly nickname.”
She grinned and held out her hand. “Great! Then give me your phone, Deku-kun, so I can give you my number. Any friend of Todoroki-kun’s is a friend of mine.”
Shouto expected Izuku to look flustered, but he simply handed over his phone without protest. Within moments, Uraraka had programmed her number into it and handed it back.
“There!” she said brightly. “All done! But are you guys coming back? Bakugou-kun calmed down and we’re going to go get ice cream.”
Shouto looked to man next to him. “Izuku?”
His neighbour shook his head. “No, Shouto and I are just going to go home.”
She raised her eyebrows at them referring to each other so familiarly, but she didn’t comment on it. “Well then, have a nice time,” she said instead. “Sorry about everything that happened.”
“It’s Kacchan,” Izuku shrugged, and that seemed to explain everything.
Uraraka bid them farewell, heading back off to where their friends were, and Shouto was left alone with his pounding heart and the man he’d just almost kissed.
Izuku held his hand out to him. “Come with me, Shouto-kun. There’s something I need to tell you.”
The sun started to set as they made their way home. Izuku as anxious as they walked along in silence, but his nerves went through the roof when he saw that Endeavour was waiting for them outside the Todoroki household.
Endeavour stalked towards them and he noticed Shouto stiffen beside him. Izuku swallowed his nerves. He needed to be calm when finally facing the man he’d been sent to investigate; he needed to be Special Agent Deku.
“Shouto,” the Number One Hero growled, as they stopped right outside Izuku’s house. “Why was I told that you and your friends were making a scene at the park today? Furthermore, why wasn’t informed that you were going out?”
Izuku raised his eyebrows. The scene at the park wasn’t that long ago and Endeavour already knew about it? Also, Shouto had to tell him every time he went out? How controlling could one man be?
He stepped forward, despite the warning look that Shouto sent him. “It’s my fault, sir,” he said with a bow. “One of Todoroki-kun’s friends is an old classmate of mine, and he wasn’t happy to see me.”
Endeavour gave him a once-over. “And you are?”
“Midoriya Izuku, sir. I recently moved in next door.”
“And you quirk?” he asked, as if that proved the value of a person.
“I don’t have one. I’m quirkless.”
Izuku could tell the moment that Endeavour dismissed him as nothing. The Hero barely hid the sneer on his face and turned to his son. “Come, Shouto. You need another training session.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Shouto clench his fist and Izuku knew that he absolutely couldn’t let Shouto go with his Father.
“Sir,” he piped up, holding an arm out to stop Shouto, who had started walking forward. “Todoroki-kun is injured. He’s in no position to train.”
“Midoriya,” Shouto hissed at him.
“And you are no position to tell me what I can do with my son,” Endeavour glared.
“Forgive me, but I am. I’m a nurse, sir, and Todoroki-kun is my patient,” Izuku blatantly lied. “I stitched him up last night and I need to check his shoulder. He’ll tear the stitches if he trains and I’ll need to do them again. If you have any doubts about my qualifications, I’m sure Shuzenji-san will vouch for me.”
Endeavour looked taken aback by his mention of Recovery Girl and Izuku took it as his moment to get out of there. “I’ll take him for treatment now,” he said, putting his hand on the small of Shouto’s back and pushing him towards his house. “It was an honour meeting you, Endeavour, sir. Have a good evening!”
Before the Hero could protest, Izuku had unlocked his front door, herded Shouto inside and locked it behind them. He let out a sigh of relief and turned to face the person he’d all but manhandled into his house.
Shouto looked at him in undisguised shock. “You just lied to my Father,” he said. “Stared him right in the face and bluffed.”
“It worked, didn’t it?”
“It wasn’t a complete lie. Given the circumstances, Shuzenji-san would vouch for me.”
Shouto frowned in confusion. “What?”
Izuku didn’t reply and instead guided him into his living room and sat him on the lounge. “Would you like some tea?” he asked, trying to ignore the pounding of his heart. He was going to have to tell him the truth now, and that was frightening.
Shouto shook his head. “I’d like some answers. Izuku, what was that? You just bluffed out my Father and apparently Recovery Girl can vouch for you? No one can just pull one over on my Father like that, nor can they say that they know one of the greatest medics in the country.”
Izuku sat down next to him. “Well—”
“And don’t forget about how you were everywhere I was these past few weeks. I like you, Izuku, but with that and this, you can't deny that it looks suspicious.”
He sighed heavily. “I don’t want you to hate me,” he said in a small voice.
“Just tell me the truth! Are you really a police officer? Or was that a lie? Are you a reporter? A scout from a rival hero agency? Who?”
Izuku’s hands were shaking, and their moment in the park that afternoon felt like a lifetime away. He’d nearly kissed Shouto then, and now he doubted that he’d ever get the chance to do so again. Still, he couldn’t let his feelings get in the way. He had an investigation to finish.
He steeled himself and asked, “Shouto-kun, why won’t you use your fire?”
Shouto frowned at the unexpected change in topic. “What? Izuku, just tell me—”
“Answer the question, Shouto-kun.”
“Someone made you think that you shouldn’t use it. Who was it and why?”
“What has that got to do with anything?”
“My name is Midoriya Izuku, that was never a lie,” he said, reaching into his pocket to pull out his ID and show it to Shouto. “But I’m also Special Agent Deku, Deputy-Director of the Department of Hero Affairs.”
Dead silence reigned in his lounge room. Izuku watched with bated breath as Shouto’s eyes flicked from him, to his ID, and back.
“Have I done something wrong?” Shouto asked at length, his voice tightly controlled. “Am I being investigated?”
“No,” he said, putting his ID away.
“Then why are you here? Why insert yourself into my life? Why make me feel—”
“I’ve been sent here to investigate your father for malpractice.”
That silenced whatever Shouto had been about to say next. The Hero simply looked at him. “W-what?”
“Too many complaints had been lodged against Endeavour,” Izuku explained. “We needed to see if he was misusing his quirk.”
“So you used me to get close to him?” Betrayal was written all over Shouto’s face.
It pained Izuku to see that expression on him. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “Just then was the first time I’d met him face to face, but I didn’t need you to get close to him. I trailed him for days and he never noticed. You were the one that kept figuring out I was there.”
“Was anything you said to me true?” Shouto’s voice sounded small, broken.
“Most of it,” he said, desperate for Shouto to believe him. “My name is Midoriya Izuku, I’m quirkless, I’m a single child, I don’t know my Father, I love Heroes and All Might, Kacchan is a childhood friend, and I do work in law enforcement. I’m just a little higher up the chain of command than I led you to believe.”
“You called yourself a glorified secretary.”
Izuku winced. “Yes, that was a lie.”
“Yes—oh, and I know Uraraka-san. She works for us.”
Shouto blinked. “Then what was all that with her introducing herself and swapping phone numbers?”
“That was her building a cover for why we’re so friendly with each other—she’s actually the one who said Deku could mean ‘do your best.’ It’s how I chose my codename—not that she knew I was going to be there today.”
“What do you mean?”
“This whole investigation is classified.”
“And yet you’re telling me?”
“I was given permission to brief you, in the event that concealing the truth hindered the operation. I was going to hold off on it, but this afternoon changed my mind.”
This afternoon—when Izuku had given into temptation and they’d nearly kissed.
“What did you mean?” Shouto asked. “When you said I compromised you?”
“I did the one thing an undercover agent is never supposed to do: I fell for someone while on assignment,” he admitted, his cheeks flaming. “You did that to me, Shouto-kun. You compromised me.”
Shouto’s mouth dropped open in surprise and he went red.
“It’s dangerous to develop feelings for someone when you’re on a case,” he went on. “You start to put the needs of the one you care about above the investigation, and you can’t be impartial.”
“O-oh,” Shouto choked out.
Izuku felt embarrassed, but he didn’t let himself dwell on it. “But regardless of how I feel, I need to finish this case. I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to be a hero and help people. This is how I can help them, and save them with a smile, just like All Might.” He reached out to give the other man’s hand a comforting squeeze. “Shouto-kun, let me save you.”
Shouto gasped, staring down at their joined hands. He looked overwhelmed, but Izuku had to make him understand that he was there to help.
“You look sad,” he said, when Shouto didn’t speak. “You hide it well, but I can see it. I don’t want you to hurt anymore, Shouto-kun. Please, just let me help you.”
Shouto took a deep breath. “What do you want to know? I’ll help you, but—but you have to make sure that my siblings and Mother are safe.”
“Okay, well, my Father is a bastard.”
“Yes, I’d figured that much out.” He lifted his hand cup Shouto’s face, once again gently brushing his thumb along his scar. “Did he do this to you?”
Shouto closed his eyes and shook his head. “No. ‘Your left side is unsightly,’ is what my Mother said, before she poured boiling water on me.”
Izuku went still, before pulling away from him in shock. “Shouto—”
He opened his eyes once more, and Izuku felt like crying when he saw how much pain was in them. “Father drove her to it. Do you know what quirk marriages are?”
Izuku gave a horrified gasp, instantly guessing where the conversation was going.
“He forced my Mother to marry him so he could have her quirk. He was the Number Two Hero for so long, and he was obsessed with the idea of having a child that would surpass All Might. So, when I inherited both of my parent’s quirks, he fashioned me into a tool of revenge.”
“No, Shouto-kun,” Izuku said, looking aghast. “That’s awful.”
“I wasn’t allowed to play with my siblings, and I started training from a young age,” he continued. “Sometimes he’d train me so hard, I’d puke. Mother would try and protect me, but he’d just hit her. It took its toll on her, and she eventually snapped. I don’t blame her for it. It was all his fault, so now I don’t use my shitty Old Man’s quirk.”
“Why don’t you move away from him? Get out of there?”
“He pays for Mother’s hospital bills. I’ve been working to try and cover the expenses, but I can’t leave until I have enough.”
“We’ll take care of it,” Izuku said. “The Department will pay them.”
“You can't promise me that.”
“I can and I will.”
Shouto looked overwhelmed and moved to stand up. “I need to get out of here. I need to go home and—and process things. I need to check on my siblings.”
Izuku stopped him. “Wait, you can’t! It’s too dangerous. He’s too dangerous.”
Shouto glared at him and Izuku’s breath caught in his throat. “You don’t need to tell me that, I know what he’s like. But my siblings are over there and you just made him angry.”
Izuku opened his mouth to protest, apologise, say something—anything—but Shouto didn’t let him speak.
“You defied him and took me away from him. He is going to be angry, and I’m not there to take the brunt of it for my siblings. Fuyumi can’t protect our brothers on her own, so I need to be there.”
“This was too much, too quickly,” he said, standing up. “I don’t tell people these things and—and you lied and I just need time to think.”
Izuku stood as well, desperate for him to stay. “At least let me check your shoulder—”
“It’s fine,” Shouto moved out of Izuku’s reach. “If you really want to help me, Midoriya, then let me go. I just need to be away from you right now.”
Izuku recoiled as if struck; the use of his surname instead of his given name made it feel all the worse. Shouto took his distraction as his chance to leave and moments later, Izuku heard his front door slamming. He was alone, and probably just ruined his chances of a happy future with the man who had just left.
The part of him that was Midoriya Izuku wanted to cry. He wanted to curl up in a little ball and watch old All Might videos until he felt better. However, the part of him that was Special Agent Deku knew that now wasn’t the time to break down into hysterics. If he wanted to help Shouto, he needed a plan.
He picked up his phone and dialled a number.
“Midoriya-shounen?” Yagi-san answered after a few rings.
“All Might,” he greeted, using the codename to show he meant Department-related business. “I need your help.”
As Shouto expected, Endeavour gave him the training session from hell when he got home. He tore the stitches in his arm and was pushed so hard that he puked up his lunch, but his siblings weren’t hurt and that was all that mattered.
Fuyumi patched him up and then Shouto collapsed in bed, regardless of how early it was. He couldn’t sleep, though. Instead, he stared at the ceiling and his conversation with Izuku kept replaying in his mind.
Izuku was an undercover agent, sent to investigate his Father. He had lied and it hurt, but—
I fell for someone while on assignment, he had said. You did that to me, Shouto-kun. You compromised me.
Shouto couldn’t get the words out of his head.
He wanted to believe them. He wanted to believe that Izuku returned his affections, but how could he do that when their relationship had been built on a lie?
Shouto-kun, let me save you.
“Shut up,” he muttered, closing his eyes and resting his forearm over them in an attempt to block out the world.
Why be a campfire, when you could be an inferno?
Your left side is beautiful.
He clamped a hand over his mouth, lest he make too much noise and anger his Father even more. Thinking about Midoriya was dangerous—he needed to stop.
Everything about you is beautiful, and I’ll happily keep telling you that until you believe me.
Shouto wanted to believe him. He did.
But he couldn’t.
Shouto was sore everywhere when he woke up the next morning, which wasn’t surprising considering the beating he’d taken the night before. However, all thoughts of his aching body disappeared when he heard his Father angrily stomping around the house.
He rushed out of bed, only to stop when his Father roared, “I’ll be back!” and he heard their front door slam.
“What happened?” Shouto asked, padding into the kitchen where his siblings were sitting tensely around the table.
“Father got called into The Department of Hero Affairs for questioning,” Fuyumi told him. “I don’t know what about, though.”
Shouto froze. Izuku. This had Izuku written all over it. Why else would his Father be summoned to the Department the morning after Shouto found out who his neighbour really was? But what did Izuku plan to do? What was he being questioned about? Was Izuku confronting him over what Shouto had told him?
Before he could figure out an answer to all those questions, there was a knock at the door.
“I’ll get it,” he said, walking to the door. He opened it to find an old classmate—of all people—waiting there. He blinked at her in surprise. “Uraraka?”
She was dressed in her hero costume and smiled brightly at him. “Good morning, Todoroki-kun! May I come in?”
In a daze, Shouto stepped aside and let her into the house. He led her into the kitchen, where his siblings were still sitting around the table.
“Uravity!” they cried and went to get to their feet.
She waved them down. “Sit, please. You don’t need to stand,” she bowed at them, reached into a pocket and pulled out an ID that looked a lot like the one Izuku showed him the night before. “It’s a pleasure to meet you all. I’m here as Special Agent Gravitation, representing the Department of Hero Affairs.”
“The pleasure is ours,” Fuyumi said. “But why are you here? If you’re here for our Father, I’ve afraid he’s already left for your office.”
“I’m not here for your Father, I’m here for all of you,” she told them, putting the ID away. “As of now, you are officially under witness protection with the Department of Hero Affairs. I have been sent to relocate you. If you would please get ready and pack a bag with essentials and a change of clothes, I will take you to a safe house.”
She said it so calmly, like she wasn’t giving them the surprise of their lives.
“What?” Shouto looked bewildered, while his siblings started loudly protesting.
“But we can’t leave,” Fuyumi said anxiously. “Father would be furious.”
“He is exactly the reason you need to leave,” Uraraka wouldn’t budge on the matter. “It is not safe for you here.”
“Please go and get your things.” When none of the Todoroki children moved, she sighed and continued. “The Department is seeking to protect you, but you need to cooperate with us. Please, go and get ready. Only pack essentials, as you won’t be leaving forever. You’ll be coming back here, I promise.”
“What about Father?” Fuyumi asked.
“Endeavour’s situation is classified,” Uraraka said, looking regretful that she couldn’t tell them more. “But rest assured, he won’t be able to hurt you for coming with me. Think of it this way: I am acting with the authority of the Japanese government and you are doing as you’re told. He can’t fault you for that.”
Shouto’s siblings looked at him nervously, clearly wondering what to do.
“Go and pack,” he told them. “She’s here to help us.”
His siblings nodded nervously and trooped out of the kitchen. Once they were out of earshot, Shouto turned to his friend. “What is going on?”
“We’re getting you out of here, Todoroki-kun.”
“Is being held up at the Department while we move you to a safe house. They’ll stall him for time, say there was a problem with the paperwork. Bureaucracy, you know? Then, once he’s reached the end of his patience, he’ll be taken in for questioning.”
“People tend to let things slip when they’re frustrated.”
That made a strange amount of sense. Still, no one had ever been able to pin anything on his Father before, and Shouto doubted they’d be able to now.
“My Father has power and influence, he can find us—”
“No one has ever been able to find this safe house, I promise.” Uraraka reached out to put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry you’ve had to bear this burden for so long, Todoroki-kun. I wish you’d told me—our class—this earlier. We all had theories about why you wouldn’t use your fire, but we didn’t want to push you. We all hoped it wasn’t true. But we’re friends, right, Todoroki-kun? You trust me, don’t you?”
Shouto nodded immediately. “Of course.”
“Then believe me when I say that the Department is doing all they can to help you.”
“Don’t know what is going on. This is all classified. I just mentioned them so you know you’re not fighting alone. You’ve never been alone, Todoroki-kun.”
He gave her a weak smile. “Thank you, Uraraka.”
She pulled him into a hug. Shouto stiffened in her embrace for a moment, before he slowly, if a bit awkwardly, hugged her back.
He pulled away from her. “Izuku did this, didn’t he?”
She pouted. “You know, for years I’ve been trying to get the pair of you to call me by my first name, and you never do. You two meet, and it’s ‘Izuku and Shouto’ within weeks.”
Her playful expression disappeared. “Yes, this was his idea. I’m here on his orders, but I would have been here in a heartbeat years ago if I knew what was going on.”
“I’m not good at asking for help, but thank you.”
She nodded towards to door. “Go and pack your things, Todoroki-kun. We’re getting you out of this hellhole.”
With a small smile creeping onto his face, he nodded and went to do as he was told.
Shouto rushed to get changed, hurriedly putting on a black turtleneck and jeans and shoving his pyjamas in a bag. His mind went on autopilot as he got the rest of his things together, and he could hear the tell-tale sounds of his siblings running around doing the same.
When they finally were ready, Uraraka had a seven-seater van waiting out the front for them.
“Hop in,” she said, climbing into the driver's seat.
Shouto took the front passenger seat, while his siblings took the three seats in the middle of the van, and put their bags at their feet. The last two remaining seats were left empty, but Uraraka told them that they wouldn’t be for long.
“Who else are we picking up?” Shouto asked curiously, watching his siblings perk up in interest in the rear-view mirror.
“It’s a surprise.”
Shouto frowned at her and his brothers protested loudly in the back seat, but Uraraka wouldn’t say a word. She remained tight-lipped as they drove, but the route they were taking soon answered Shouto’s question.
“No,” Fuyumi said, as a familiar hospital came into view. “No, we can’t be. Father would be furious.”
“At this point, it doesn’t matter what your Father thinks,” Uraraka replied. “He can’t touch you anymore.”
A life without Endeavour’s toxic influence? Sounds fake, but okay.
Whatever protest he was about to say died on his lips as Uraraka pulled up outside the hospital. Instead, he and his siblings rushed out of the van to embrace their Mother, who was waiting out the front with a suitcase. She was no longer in her hospital scrubs, but plain clothes and a happy smile as her children barrelled into her.
“Hello, darlings,” she smiled. “It’s good to see you.”
They babbled at her, clinging to her and each other in a group of sobbing, laughing, relieved Todoroki’s.
Shouto stepped away and turned to the person who was waiting patiently beside his Mother, watching them with a small smile. “You did this, didn’t you?” he asked.
Izuku looked more like a government official than Shouto had ever seen him. Dressed in a black suit and tie with a white shirt, he looked like an agent straight out of a movie. However, Shouto was amused to see that he still wore his standard red shoes.
“I did. I told you I’d help you, Todoroki-kun.” Izuku said, before focusing on Shouto’s former classmate. “Thank you for bringing them, Special Agent Gravitation.”
Shouto was a myriad of emotions as Uraraka reported to her superior. Happy, because his Mother was right there, and they were taking her away from that place. Wary, because he didn’t want to get his hopes up, only to have them come crashing down again. And hurt, because Izuku had just called him Todoroki, like he’d never been given the right to call him Shouto in the first place.
Was this how Izuku felt when Shouto had called him Midoriya the night before, wielding the name like a weapon and using it to put distance between them? Shouto had only brought this pain upon himself; he was the one who did it first. Still, he couldn’t deny that it stung to hear Izuku address him so formally, and then turn his attention elsewhere.
It shouldn’t have hurt so much, but it did.
Izuku greeted his siblings and showed them his ID. “I’m Special Agent Deku, Deputy-Director of the Department of Hero Affairs.”
“D-Deputy-Director?” Fuyumi stuttered. “But you’re so young.”
“I’m young, yes, but by no means incapable,” Izuku said, giving them a confident smile. “I’ve been training with the Director from a young age and rose to my rank through years of hard work, I assure you. The plan to relocate you was mine, and I suggest that we move on with the next stage of it.” He gestured to the van. “Please, get in.”
Shouto ended up in the back of the van with his Mother, his siblings in the middle, and Uraraka and Izuku in the front. Uraraka was once again in the driver’s side, but she didn’t move to start the car. Instead, she turned expectantly to her boss.
“All teams: check in,” Izuku commanded.
It was then that Shouto realised that Izuku must be wearing an earpiece, and then there were more agents involved in this than he originally assumed. He couldn’t hear what they said back to their Deputy-Director, of course, but there didn’t seem to be any problems.
“Agent Gravitation, you’re good to go. All teams, move out,” he said.
“Yes, sir!” Uraraka chirped, and started the van.
“There are numerous agents following us,” Izuku explained as they drove away. “For your protection, of course. We’re moving you to a safehouse, and you’ll be able to stay there until the investigation is complete and we are certain that Endeavour no longer poses a threat to your well-being.” His eyes met Shouto’s in the revision mirror. “However, Todoroki-kun, once your Mother and siblings are safely relocated, I will need you accompany me to the Department Headquarters.”
“Are you taking me to my Father?”
Izuku’s features twisted into a frown. “Of course not. If I had my way, you’d never see that man again. No, the Director would like to speak to you.”
Shouto heard himself grunt in reply, but his thoughts were far away. He should be more concerned about how the Director of the Department of Hero Affairs felt the need to talk to him, but he was more caught up in how different Izuku seemed than in the past. There was no nervous stuttering, no endearing muttering, and no beaming grins that made Shouto’s heart ache.
Instead, there was a calm professionalism. A commanding presence, coupled with a comforting smile that put you at ease. A leader you instinctively trusted and were happy to follow. The Hero shirts were gone and replaced with a suit. It was like Midoriya Izuku disappeared and someone else took his place.
Shouto was struck by the thought that he was really meeting Special Agent Deku for the first time.
Did that mean that his man he fell for didn’t exist in the first place? Was everything a lie?
You have compromised me, Shouto-kun.
It couldn’t have been a lie if he said that, right?
But what if it was?
“Shouto,” his Mother’s soft voice drew his attention.
He turned to her, and for a moment he almost couldn’t believe she was there. Consumed by his thoughts as he was, he had yet to process the fact that she was in the car with them. His Mother was there and they were all getting away from the terror that was his Father.
“This is too happy a time for such heavy thoughts,” she said.
“I can read it on your face. Whatever pain you’re feeling, I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.”
He stared at her in surprise. “What do you—”
“He’s such a nice boy,” she said, turning to look at Izuku in the front seat; her voice was soft and wouldn’t be heard over the chatter of Uraraka, Izuku and his siblings. “Such a surprise to meet him again under such different circumstances. He explained the situation, who he really was and what he planned to do.” His Mother shook her head in wonder. “All that power and influence in his hands, an investigation to lead, and what did he do? He got down on his hands and knees and apologised for hurting my son.”
Shouto’s breath caught in his throat. “Mother—”
“I don’t know what happened between the pair of you, but he was doing his job and he was doing it to help us.”
Shouto flushed and looked down. “But he lied—I don’t—I can’t—”
She reached out to take his hand and give it a comforting squeeze. “Just think about it, won’t you? I want to see you happy.”
He gave a non-committal hum and she let it go. Shouto took that as his escape from the conversation and turned to look out the window. Cars and buildings passed them, but he didn’t pay them any mind. His thoughts were caught up in Izuku. Was he really sorry for hurting him? Did he feel the same as Shouto did? Did this tension between them hurt Izuku as much as it hurt him? Even if it hurt, did he wanted to kiss Shouto as much as Shouto wanted to kiss him?
They drove for a while before arriving at a nondescript house in a suburb that Shouto didn’t even know the name of. The agents helped his family get settled inside, and it was far too soon before Izuku was asking Shouto to follow him back out to the van so they could leave for the Department.
“But…” Shouto protested, looking at his family who were safe, happy and whole. What if something happened to them when he left?
“My agents will protect them,” Izuku said, as if reading his thoughts. “I promise. But right now, you need to come with me, Todoroki-kun.”
That was another reason for his reluctance: it meant he’d have to be alone with Izuku. Still, he couldn’t deny meeting the Direction of the Department of Hero Affairs, so Shouto swallowed his misgivings, said goodbye to his family, and trailed Izuku out to the car.
He climbed into the passenger seat, and Izuku took the driver’s spot. The only words that were uttered in the car were, “Escort team: move out,” from Izuku.
It seemed more agents were following them to the Department. But if people were following them, who was going to look after his family?
“Uraraka and the other agents will look after them,” Izuku said, clearly seeing something in his expression. “They’ll be safe.”
Shouto gave a non-committal hum and didn’t say anything more. He should say something. He should. But what? ‘Hey, I really like you, but our relationship is based on a lie and I have trust issues. That said, I really, really want to kiss you?’ Yeah, that’d go down well.
“Shouto-kun,” Izuku began, and Shouto noticed the clear difference between being called his first name and Todoroki. “There are things we need to talk about, but it can wait until we’re alone.”
He raised an eyebrow. “We are alone? There’s no one else in the car.”
Izuku shook his head and gestured to his ear piece. “No, we’re not.” A beat passed. “Shut up, Hatsume-san, I’m not running away from my feelings.”
Shouto frowned in confusion. “What?”
Izuku went red. “One of my agents is talking to me—oh my god, yes, Mei, I’ll bring him to meet your babies.”
Um, what? Why was Shouto going to meet children?
“Okay, okay, yes, fine,” Izuku sighed at the person on the other end of line. “Just—go back to your work, please.”
Izuku slumped at little in his seat and let out another sigh. When he didn’t say anything else for a while, Shouto figured that it was safe to speak.
“Are—are they gone?” he asked.
“Hatsume? Oh yeah, she’s gone.”
“And why am I going to meet her babies?”
Izuku laughed. “That’s not—they’re not—you know what? It’ll be easier just to show you.”
“...That doesn’t answer my question.”
Izuku smiled and it hurt that he looked so beautiful. “No,” he agreed, but made no move to clarify it. “No, it doesn’t.”
Despite the talk of meeting Hatsume, the first thing Izuku did upon arriving at the Department of Hero Affairs headquarters was take him to see the Director.
Shouto didn’t know who he was going to meet. The Department wasn’t something he knew a lot about, besides the fact that it had only been established in recent years. As far as Shouto was concerned, it was a body of people that regulated the rules and laws of Hero work, and it didn’t matter who sat at the top of it.
That was until he came face to face with All Might.
Shouto may or may not have stumbled in surprise when he saw his favourite Hero sitting there at the Director’s desk. A plaque on the desk read ‘All Might,’ as if no one would recognise the huge form of the former Symbol of Peace.
Or was it current Symbol of Peace? No one had taken the title after All Might’s retirement, after all. Ah well, that was something to consider when he wasn’t making himself look like an idiot in front of freaking All Might.
“Todoroki-shounen!” the Hero greeted jovially. “It's nice to meet you.”
Shouto managed to pull himself together, the social decorum that had been drilled into him since birth not letting him down. “The pleasure is mine. It's an honour.”
“I apologise if Agent Deku’s investigation has been difficult for you,” All Might said, and Izuku tensed at Shouto’s side. “He wanted to bring you into the fold earlier, but I advised him to wait.”
Why? The question burned in Shouto’s chest, but he didn't say it. Why? What was the point of letting Shouto blindly fall for Izuku, just to find out that he was there on orders?
“Agent Deku,” All Might’s voice pulled him out of his thoughts. “Thank you for bringing Todoroki-shounen to me. Please report to the Technology Division. We’ll meet you there shortly.”
Izuku glanced at Shouto, clearly not wanting to leave him alone. “Yes, sir,” he reluctantly said at length. He bowed, and with one final look at Shouto, left the room.
Shouto tried not to let his nervousness show. For what reason did All Might have for talking to him alone?
A silence stretched out between them as All Might regarded him for a long moment. Finally, the retired Hero spoke up, “Before anything else, I need to say that anything said in this room is classified. Do you understand?”
Shouto nodded. “Yes, sir.”
With that out of the way, All Might let out a weary sigh. “Agent Deku reported that your Father used you as a tool of revenge against me.” He looked a mixture of sad and angered. “I am very sorry that you were put in that position because of me.”
“It’s not your fault,” he protested. “It was my Father—”
“Yes, but I have a degree of responsibility.” Guilt marred his features. “And even so, despite the fact I have no right to ask anything of you, we need your help.”
“What is it?” he asked, because there was no way he was going to refuse All Might, and the Hero’s guilt was misplaced. His Father was to blame, not him.
“I know this investigation has inconvenienced you, but I must ask…can you help us finish it, Todoroki-shounen?”
“Of course,” he replied immediately. He’d do anything to get away from his Father.
“Agent Deku advised against asking you,” All Might went on. “He believes that you have been troubled enough with all of this. However, I want this investigation dealt with quickly, and time is of the essence.” He sighed. “I do not normally disregard the recommendations of my Deputy-Director so easily, and am sorry for putting such pressure on you, but I do believe that you can give us the push we need to close this case.”
“I’m happy to help. What do you need me to do?”
All Might drew breath to reply, but whatever he was about to say was cut off by a wracking cough. The former Hero covered his mouth and Shouto looked at him in concern. Was—was that blood?
“Are you alright?” he asked.
“Shit,” All Might muttered, surreptitiously wiping the blood from his mouth and hand on a tissue. “Sorry, I’m fine. I’m just a little unwell at the moment.”
Coughing up blood was a little unwell? All Might’s public reason for retiring was due to an injury he received during Hero work, and everyone accepted it easily. Villains tried to take advantage of his retirement, of course, but they were quickly dealt with by active Heroes and members of the newly-established Department of Hero Affairs. But looking at the former Symbol of Peace, Shouto had to wonder if the injury was worse than the Hero let on.
That meant there was someone out there that could seriously injure All Might.
“Do not worry, Todoroki-shounen. Let’s focus on one villain at a time, shall we?”
Shouto blinked. “Villain?”
All Might looked grave. “Well, you don’t think your Father deserves the title of Hero, do you?”
His mouth dropped open. He’d never thought of it that way before. “I—well, no.”
“Well then, let’s work on taking that title away from him.”
It was clear that the topic of All Might’s health was closed, and Shouto went back to his original question. “What do you need me to do?”
“We have our best interrogator talking to your Father right now. Agent Mind Blank will get the truth from him. However, we want more evidence of what he’s like behind closed doors. If you are willing, I’d like to attach a camera to you and see how your Father acts around you at home.”
“I thought my family and I wouldn’t have to go back to our Father?”
All Might looked remorseful, guilty for putting Shouto in such a position. “Yes, this is where my plan and Agent Deku’s differ.”
“What did Izuku want to do?”
“He wanted you as far away from Endeavour as possible. He was going to attach the camera to himself and go undercover to approach your Father at home.”
Shouto shook his head. “That won’t work. Father doesn’t like Izuku, but he’d be on his guard around him.”
“Yes, that’s what I thought, too. That’s why I asked for your help.”
“I’ll do it,” Shouto said, determined. “I’ll do whatever it takes to put him away, and—and I don’t want Izuku hurt.”
All Might smiled. “He said much the same about you.”
That gave Shouto pause. “He did?”
All Might’s expression was knowing. “I met Midoriya-shounen when he was a child, and I’ve watched him grow up. Mentored him, trained him; he is like a son to me. He always tried to help and save people, regardless of not having a quirk. He’s always honest and wears his heart on his sleeve. He lies when the occasion calls for it, but he has never done so to me. He told me how he felt about you, Todoroki-shounen, and let me tell you something: that wasn’t on my orders.”
Shouto couldn’t breathe. Was his face on fire? Because it felt really, really warm. Was he really talking about his relationship with Izuku with All Might? Was this actually a conversation that was happening?
“He fell for you all on his own,” All Might continued. “That wasn’t part of the mission. He rang me last night and reported himself as emotionally compromised; he couldn’t be as impartial as an undercover agent needed to be. Whatever your misgivings about his affections for you, Todoroki-shounen, please put them aside. Your initial relationship may have been based on a lie, but there is nothing dishonest about how he feels about you.”
Izuku felt the same way he did? It was—it was real?
“You do him a disservice, thinking his emotions were a ruse,” All Might frowned at him, and god, if that wasn’t the more terrifying thing he’d ever seen. This was someone who could smash Shouto into a pulp, retired or not, and Shouto had hurt the one he regarded as a son.
“I didn’t mean to hurt him,” he said, looking down. “It’s just—I’m not used to good things staying around, and it’s always best to expect the worst...So, it was hard to trust that what Izuku said was genuine.”
All Might sighed, the frown disappearing from his features. “Endeavour does you a disservice, raising you this way,” he said, making Shouto look back up. “You should be commended, my boy, for growing up so fine, despite his influence.”
Shouto swallowed back the lump in his throat. “Thank you.”
“However, back to the case. Compromised or not, Agent Deku had a plan to finish the assignment, and it was out of my respect for him and his abilities, that I didn’t pull him from the investigation. I may have changed the plan slightly to include you, but this is his operation.”
Of course Izuku had a plan to help him, regardless of how he had pushed him away. Shouto might have been the one that had the title of Pro Hero, but Izuku was a hero in his own right.
“That said, an operation can only work if there is cohesion between team members. Agent Deku is willing to put aside his feelings for you in order to ensure you and your family’s safety, but what about you? Are you happy to work with him? Will you set aside your feelings?”
Shouto felt overwhelmed. He felt so many things at once: appreciation for All Might, for apologising for his rough childhood that he had no part in, and clearing up any doubts he had about Izuku. Relief that his feelings weren’t unrequited and part of a ruse. Worry, because All Might had definitely coughed up blood just then, even if he glossed over it. Hope, because it seemed that his Father was finally going to see the consequences of his actions, and love.
He felt an awe-inspiring amount of love.
Love. The was the feeling that had taken root in his chest and encompassed all the other emotions he was feeling. Love for Izuku, who had seen past the barriers Shouto put up around himself and found the person underneath; who still wanted to help him, even after Shouto had pushed him away.
“I don’t want to set aside my feelings,” he eventually replied. “I want to hold onto them and keep them close, because he feels the same way I do.”
All Might’s smile was blinding. “Well said, Todoroki-shounen! I know you two will be able to work well together. Now, let’s get this operation on the road, hmm?”
Without another word, All Might stood up from his desk and made his way to the door. Shouto followed him a moment later, after pausing to figure out what other emotion was making him feel so bright and carefree.
Ah, that was it.
Happy. He was happy.
They found Izuku in the Technological Division, just as he’d been ordered. However, before he could even greet him, Shouto had to quickly dodge a flying gauntlet that shot at his face as soon as he walked through the door.
All Might didn’t even bat an eyelid at it as they walked in, apparently used to such things occurring. As the former Number One, that probably didn’t even faze him in the slightest. Meanwhile, Izuku and a pink haired woman were staring at where the gauntlet had fallen, analysing it.
“That was slower than normal,” Izuku observed, scribbling down notes in a workbook.
“It didn’t explode either,” the woman replied with a sigh. Within moments, her disappointed expression changed and she regarded Shouto with an eager—almost manic—smile. “Hello, I’m Hastume Mei! Did you like my baby?!”
Taken aback, Shouto blinked at her, before slowly turning to regard the projectile that tried to attack his face. That was her baby?
“It’s very nice,” he eventually replied. “But you’ll understand if I’m happy it didn’t explode on me. One scar is enough, thank you.”
There was a silence as Hatsume and All Might just stared at him, and Shouto had to wonder if poor jokes about grievous facial injuries were a good idea. But before it could get awkward or uncomfortable, Izuku burst into giggles.
“Oh my god, Shouto-kun,” he laughed. “You can’t just say—your scar—oh my god.”
Shouto was vaguely aware of All Might and Hatsume trading glances, but his eyes were trained on Izuku; on the adorable way his eyes were shining in mirth, and the beautiful, blinding smile that were on his face. Unable to quell the happy, bubbling feeling in his chest, Shouto started laughing along with him. Their eyes met across the room, and Izuku’s grin turned soft, fond, and something the felt suspiciously like hope surged up inside him. Maybe—maybe they’d be okay when all this was over.
Maybe they could be together.
When the laughter died down, Mei spoke up, unable to stay silent for too long. “But you liked the gauntlet, right?! Would you like to see my other babies? I designed them all myself. If you’re interested, I can give you a deal: two for the price of one!”
Was she...trying to sell him things?
“I—uh—don’t need any new support items right now, thank you.”
“Well, I’ll show you them anyway, just in case you change your mind!”
She rushed at him, latching onto Shouto’s arm and all but manhandled him around her workshop. A good half hour passed, filled with nothing but gadgets and technical jargon that Shouto didn’t understand. He kept sending Izuku and All Might desperate, pleading looks for them to save him, but they just watched on, amused, as Hatsume jabbered away. In the end, he agreed to buy a new utility belt from her, just so she’d stop talking.
She was talented—there was no doubt about that—but wow, that was a lot of information at once.
“And now!” she said, waving them all over to a workbench. “The baby you’ve been waiting for!” she gestured down to the nearly empty table; all that was on it was a black dot. “Ta-da!”
Shouto blinked at it. “I don’t see anything? Is it the spot?”
She beamed. “Exactly!”
Izuku lit up in comprehension. “Oh, you finished it!”
“Well done, Young Hatsume!”
Shouto felt woefully out of the loop. At his clear confused expression, Hatsume explained, “I’ve been working on a small camera that’s barely noticeable to the naked eye.” She pulled grabbed a magnifying glass and held it over the table, showing a small, black and round camera. “It records and it’s got a live feed. We put this on you—it blends in nice with that black turtleneck you’ve got on—and Endeavour won’t notice a thing. We’ll also give you other cameras to hide around the house.”
Izuku tensed, looking at his boss. “I still don’t like this plan, sir.”
“It’s okay,” Shouto said before All Might could reply. “I’m happy to do it.”
“Really, Izuku, it’s fine. I want to help.”
Izuku looked he wanted to say more, but he swallowed his protests and nodded. “Fine,” he said reluctantly, “but I’m going with you. We can search your house for evidence together, and then I’ll leave before your Father gets back.” He turned to All Might. “Is that okay, sir?”
The Director nodded. “Yes, Agent Deku. You have my permission.”
Izuku nodded, looking resolute, and then turned to face him once more. “Come on, Shouto-kun. Let’s close this case.”
The drive back to Shouto’s home was a quiet one. It was just him and Izuku in the car, and the latter didn’t even have his earpiece in. The plan was that he’d rendezvous with his agents later, when Endeavour returned and they’d stakeout the Todoroki household.
Izuku was back in plain clothes: a simple grey shirt and black over-shirt, with jeans that did such good things to Izuku’s body, Shouto’s mouth went dry.
Izuku really had no business looking so attractive.
He kept his mouth firmly shut, for fear of voicing how good looking the other man was. Or blurting out something just as mortifying like, I’m glad my shitty Old Man got investigated, because it means I got to meet you.
Yeah, Shouto was definitely keeping his mouth shut.
Still, even as they drove into a situation that could very easily go wrong, Shouto was happy because Izuku was at his side. Together, they’d make sure his Father wouldn’t hurt anyone else.
But how to prompt Endeavour into a rage and get him to lose control of his quirk?
Admittedly, angering his Father wasn’t hard. Or he can just goad him into dragging Shouto in for another ‘training’ session; those were always pretty brutal. But for the kind of evidence they needed, the kind Endeavour couldn’t talk his way out of, Shouto needed to make him furious.
A plan formed in Shouto’s brain. It wasn’t a particularly well-thought-out plan, but he couldn’t deny its appeal.
He snuck a glance at Izuku, who was busy focusing on the road, and his resolve strengthened.
Yeah, he’d go with that.
The Todoroki house was just as extravagant on the inside as Izuku expected it to be, but he couldn’t stop his awe-filled sigh as he took the place in.
Shouto was unmoved by the beauty of his home and said, “Let’s go set up the cameras.”
They moved through the house, hiding cameras in rooms that Shouto said his Father used frequently. He made a point to put one in the training room, stating that Endeavour used his quirk there more than any other room in the house.
When they were done, Shouto led him down a hall. “My Father’s office is this way. If there’s any evidence of misconduct, it’d be in there.” He paused. “Wait, do you need a warrant for this?”
Izuku pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. “Got it,” he said, and quickly put it away again.
Shouto nodded and kept walking. “Good.”
Endeavour’s office looked just as huge and ostentatious at the rest of the house, and Izuku inwardly sighed at how much they were going to have to search through.
“I’ll take the left, you take the right?” he offered.
Shouto nodded once more and they got to work. It took them a fair while to find anything remotely incriminating, but Izuku eventually found a bunch of documents hidden away. They showed how Endeavour had paid off civilians to keep them silent about how he’d either hurt them or their property with his flames.
“This is good,” said Izuku, staring wide-eyed at the pages. “We can use this.”
“I’m sure it’s just the tip of all the awful things my Father has done,” Shouto replied, looking around at the office. “I’m sure there’s more in here we haven’t found yet.”
“Mmm,” Izuku hummed in agreement, just as his phone went off with a notification. He frowned as he checked the message. “Your Father’s been released by the Department. He’ll be here soon; I need to leave.”
Izuku went to hurry out of the room, intent on making his way to the front door. But before he could even make it out to the hallway, Shouto’s footsteps sounded behind him and he caught Izuku’s wrist, making him stop.
“Wait,” he said. “I have an idea, but I need you to stay here for it.”
Izuku turned back around to face him. “What is it?”
Shouto let go of his wrist. “I need to make my Father angry, and I need your help to do it.”
“Of course,” Izuku agreed, imaging them smashing up the house, or something equally as destructive and enraging. “What are we doing? Do you want to start now?”
“No!” Shouto’s reply was immediate and surprisingly loud, causing Izuku to jump. He must have realised that, because he blushed as he went on. “No, we don’t have to do it yet. We can just keep looking for evidence while he’s on his way here, and then do it when he gets home.”
Oh, so then they’ll be caught in the act. That was smart.
“Good plan, Shouto-kun. I’ll just update my team on what we’re doing,” he said, grabbing his phone and tapping out a message. Within moments, he received confirmation from his subordinates. “Alright, let’s get back to finding evidence.”
They went back to the office and kept looking for anything that proved Endeavour had used his power illegally. However, Shouto must have been nervous about his plan, because his eyes kept flicking from Izuku, to the door, and then back to what he was doing.
“Are you okay?” Izuku asked.
Shouto startled. “Yes,” he cleared his throat. “I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? You don’t have to do this, you know. We’ve put cameras around your house, you don’t need to do anymore.”
There was the sound of a car pulling up outside and they both turned towards the door, knowing what it meant.
“He’s here,” Shouto said, grabbing Izuku’s hand and pulling him out of the room.
“W-wait, the evidence!” Izuku tried to pull back and grab the documents they’d collected. “We need that!”
Shouto just kept pulling him along. “It’s okay, I’ll give it to you later. Just come with me.”
They walked down the hall and paused by the front door. Once they stopped, Izuku asked, “Okay, what’s the plan?”
Shouto turned to face him, his expression unreadable.
Izuku frowned. “Shouto-kun?”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “But I need to make him mad at me.”
“What are you talking about?”
Shouto stepped closer to him. “This is my plan. I need to make him furious, and this will do it.”
“What are you—?”
He stepped even closer and gently tilted his chin up. Izuku’s breath caught at the action, heat flushing in his cheeks.
Shouto’s thumb gently trailed across his lip, his eyes half lidded. “You’re so beautiful.”
“Just go with it.”
Shouto kissed him. A soft press of the lips that sent Izuku rigid, but Shouto wasn’t deterred. He kissed harder, more insistently, pushing him until they stumbled back into the wall. Somewhere between Shouto’s third kiss and his back hitting the wall, Izuku’s brain rebooted and he kissed him back eagerly.
He knew what Shouto was doing. Endeavour catching them in such a position would surely send the Flame Hero into a rage, but that had nothing to do with the desperate way Izuku was pulling Shouto closer, and opening his mouth to deepen the kiss. This was him giving into the feelings that had been steadily building in his chest for weeks.
He felt breathless, drunk on kisses. Shouto’s lips were soft, warm, and wet and Izuku couldn’t get enough of them. He wanted to have his investigation out of the way and be able to kiss Shouto this way forever.
“Shouto,” he sighed into his mouth.
He could feel Shouto smile as the other man moved to press kisses to his neck. Izuku gave a choked noise of encouragement, tilting his head back to give him better access. Shouto left a trail of open-mouthed kisses on his neck, making his way up to whisper in Izuku’s ear.
“Keep an eye on the live feed.”
That brought Izuku out of his daze. He blinked, coming back to reality, but Shouto didn’t give him the chance. He wrapped his arms around him and brought him in for another heated kiss. Izuku moaned and fisted his hands in Shouto’s shirt, just as Endeavour walked through the front door.
“SHOUTO!” The Flame Hero roared. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
Shouto pulled away from him with a wet sound, wiping at saliva that was on his lip. “I think it’s pretty obvious, Father. I’m kissing my boyfriend.”
“Your what?!” Endeavour looked livid.
Shouto wrapped an arm around Izuku’s waist. “My boyfriend.”
Izuku took the story in his stride. Okay, they were boyfriends. He’d like to keep that title once the assignment was over. “H-Hello again, sir,” he said, waving at the furious Hero and playing the role of their meek next-door neighbour.
“You,” Todoroki Enji snarled. “Shouto is no boyfriend of yours. Get. Out.”
Izuku shared a brief glance with Shouto, who gave him a small nod.
“NOW!” Endeavour shouted.
“Y-yes, sir!” he said, bowing at the Hero. “Sorry, sir. G-goodbye!” He passed Endeavour, gave one last encouraging look to his pseudo-boyfriend, and darted out the door.
“YOU DISGRACE!” he heard Endeavour yell behind him. “HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELF MY SON AND ACT LIKE THIS?!”
He ran straight from the house to a nondescript van that was park at the side of the road. He knocked on the door twice and within moments, his agents were pulling him inside. It was a cramped and dark surveillance van, filled with screens and monitoring equipment. Feeds from the cameras they’d placed around the house and on Shouto’s shirt were playing across them, and Endeavour’s furious voice was yelling insults from the speakers.
“Uraraka?” he said, once he saw who exactly helped him in. “I thought you were protecting the Todoroki’s?”
“All Might told me what was going on,” she replied, looking uncharacteristically grim. “And if you think I wasn’t going to help bring down the guy who made Todoroki-kun’s life hell, you’ve got another thing coming.” She gestured to the other person in the van with them. “Shinsou-kun picked me up from the safehouse, and we volunteered to be your Alpha Team.”
Shinsou Hitoshi looked as tired as ever, but his expression was determined. “Todoroki is a friend of mine from school too, and I just interrogated his Old Man for two hours. The man is awful. He deserves to be taken down, and I’m gonna be a part of it.”
“How did you get here before he did?”
Shinsou shrugged. “They stalled him with more paperwork before releasing him, so I could pick up Uraraka and get here first. We weren’t going to miss this.” He handed Izuku an earpiece. “Also, that was some kiss. You sure you’re okay to do this, Deku? No one will blame you if you want to step aside; you’re too close to this.”
You’re emotionally compromised, is what he didn’t say, but worry shone clear in Shinsou’s tired eyes.
Izuku should have cared that all his agents would have seen his intense make out session with Shouto, due to the cameras they’d placed around the house. He should have stepped down from the mission, that was protocol when you become too emotionally invested. But he didn’t, he wouldn’t.
Instead, he took a deep breath and said, “Thank you, I appreciate the thought, but I’m fine—I’m finishing this.” He put the piece in his ear and opened the feed to the other teams. “This is Agent Deku, with Team Alpha,” he said. “All teams: check in.”
“Team Beta, standing by.”
“Team Charlie, standing by.”
“Team Delta, standing by.”
Izuku nodded, pleased with their quick response. “Operation Ember is go. All teams: monitor the live feeds. Don’t move until my order.”
The teams all confirmed they understood their orders, and then he, Uraraka and Shinsou sat down to watch the screens, waiting to see what Endeavour would do.
Everything was going just as Shouto had planned.
As expected, Endeavour had lost his mind at seeing him in such a position with Izuku. He spewed a bunch of homophobic nonsense, before dragging Shouto in for his most gruelling training session yet.
“You dare kiss him in my house?!” His Father demanded, sending a wave of fire at him.
Shouto hastily blocked it with a column of ice. “Yes, and I’d do it again.”
“Use your fire!”
“Stop seeing that boy!”
Endeavour got past his guard and delivered a hit to his stomach. Shouto hit the ground, retching as his last meal came back up.
His Father towered over him. “It’s bad enough that you won’t lay with a woman, but now you throw yourself at the quirkless nobody?! Have I taught you nothing?!”
Shouto shakily rose to his feet, wiping his mouth with a clenched fist. “He’s not a nobody, and I love him!”
If possible, Endeavour looked even angrier. The flames around him leapt higher, reacting to his fury, and he stalked menacingly forward.
“Love makes you weak,” he glowered. “It seems I have to re-educate you.”
Then all Shouto knew was fire, heat and pain.
He’s not a nobody, and I love him!
Izuku stared open-mouthed at the screen, Shouto’s declaration ringing in his ears. Silent and shaking, he stood up and rushed out of the van, ignoring the cries of Uraraka and Shinsou to stop.
Shouto loved him.
His heart beat painfully in his chest. They loved each other. Shouto felt the same as he did, but this wasn’t how he wanted to find that out; not how he wanted to figure his own feelings out, either. Watching the one you live fight for their life was not the way to realise that the intense like you felt for them wasn’t like at all—it was love.
They loved each other, and Shouto was in danger.
“All teams: move in,” he said through the earpiece and he burst into the house. He followed the sounds of fighting and rushed into the training room, to see half of it on fire. Endeavour was standing over his son, while Shouto was struggling to remain upright on his hands and knees; he looked bruised, battered and burnt. Without thinking, Izuku ran and delivered a solid punch to Enji’s face, sending him stumbling.
“Todoroki Enji, code name Endeavour,” he said, standing protectively in front of Shouto. “I am Special Agent Deku with the Department of Hero Affairs, and I am arresting you for malpractice and the grievous misuse of a quirk.”
The surprised expression on Endeavour’s face quickly gave way to understanding, followed by anger. “You little sneak. You get close to us, trick my disappointment of a son into falling for you, and now dare to arrest me?!”
“I didn’t trick your son into anything,” Izuku glared at him. “What we feel for each other is genuine, and I love him, too. Now, are you going to come quietly, or are you going to make this difficult?”
“Izuku,” he heard Shouto’s shocked gasp behind him.
The sound of running approaching footsteps turned Endeavour’s attention to the door. “You sent for reinforcements? No matter.” He raised a hand and sent a wave of fire at it. A wall of flames consumed the door, blocking off the only exit and not letting his back up in.
“Someone get a fire extinguisher!”
“Does anyone have a water quirk?!”
He agents clamoured on the other side of the fire, but Izuku didn’t focus on them—they could sort out the fire on their own—Todoroki was the one he needed to pay attention to.
“Stand down, Endeavour,” he said.
“Stand down to some quirkless weakling? I don’t think so.”
“I’ve been training with All Might and Eraser Head since I was ten years old,” Izuku grinned savagely. “I think you’ll find me far from weak.”
Endeavour snarled and then the pair rushed at each other, fists raised.
Shouto hurt everywhere, but that was nothing on the panic he felt at seeing Izuku going head to head with his Father.
Izuku was analytical, you could see it in the way he fought. His years of Hero analysis helping him anticipate Endeavour attacks and get a few hits in. However, with Endeavour’s flames blazing, it was hard for him to get close enough to deal significant damage.
With a shaking hand, Shouto sent a wave of ice across the floor at his Father, encasing his leg and giving Izuku a chance to land a hard punch to Endeavour’s stomach.
His Father gave a grunt of irritation and melted the ice instantly. In retaliation, he sent a torrent of fire in Shouto’s direction. “You think you can stop me with just your ice, impertinent child?!”
“Leave him alone!” Izuku cried, running in to distract Endeavour away from him.
His Father and Izuku engaged in another round of kicks, parries, punches and dodges. It was clear that Izuku was well trained, but Endeavour was wearing him down with experience and sheer firepower.
Shouto looked down at his left hand. He swore he would never use it, but…
He looked back up as Izuku delivered a solid hit to his Father’s kidney, only to get a flame-covered foot to his stomach and go crashing into the wall. Izuku let out a cry of pain, and Shouto knew he had to do something—anything—to protect him.
Izuku may have been hurt, but he was on his feet in moments, reaching into his jeans and pulling something out of his pocket.
“Gadgets won’t help you now, b—!”
Endeavour’s insult turned into a strangled cry as a bunch of familiar-looking cloths looped around him and pinned his arms to his sides.
“You seem to forget,” Izuku said, holding onto the other end of the material. “All Might wasn’t the only one to teach me—I studied under Eraser Head.”
Shouto could remember Aizawa-sensei describing that cloth during his UA days. Made of carbon fibre, woven together with metal wire made from a special alloy, they were especially hard to get out of.
Izuku had trained with them?
Wait, no. He was supposed to be helping him, not staring at Izuku in poorly disguised awe because holy shit, he’d just restrained his Father.
Endeavour struggled against them, his expression scornful. “You think these can hold me?” Fire burned along the material, bright, scorching and blue.
Shouto stared at them in alarm. Blue flames. His Father only used them on the most difficult of adversaries. He felt a strange sense of pride that Izuku had forced his Father into such a position, but that was overtaken by panic as he watched Izuku yelp and drop the cloths to escape the fire.
Endeavour escaped from his restrains and Shouto could see the frustration on Izuku’s face; the determination and concentration as he tried to figure out a way to defeat his opponent. For all his tactics and strength, it was clear he was struggling against the flames.
Shouto cringed. Flames.
He looked back down at his hand. He needed to help Izuku. He had to put aside his misgivings and help him. Unbidden, a memory came into his mind: Izuku with an earnest expression and a question that Shouto couldn’t seem to forget.
Why be a campfire, when you could be an inferno?
He thought of visiting his Mother in hospital.
Oh, Shouto, don’t you remember what I told you when you were little?
When he was little? What did she say when he was little?
But you want to do a Hero, don’t you? It’s okay for you to be one. As long as you have a future you feel strongly about.
If he felt strongly about anything, it was about his future with Izuku.
“This is the best All Might’s protégé has to offer?” Endeavour sneered and grabbed Izuku by the neck, slamming him against the wall. “How disappointing. The pair of you—such disappointments.”
What had his Mother said when he was younger? It had something to do with All Might?
Shouto shakily stood to his feet, his heart pounding. His Father didn’t even notice him, too focused on taunting Izuku.
“You really thought you could beat me? You, a quirkless nobody, and my son who refuses to use my power?”
Children inherit quirks from their parents, All Might’s voice echoed in his ears.
“It’s not your power,” Izuku gritted out, glaring at his Father and trying to pry his hand away from his neck.
But the really important thing isn’t that connection, but recognising your own flesh and blood—recognising yourself.
You don’t have to be a prisoner of your own blood. He finally recalled his Mother’s words from so long ago. It’s okay for you to become who you want to be.
He remembered, and he burned.
So, Operation Ember really wasn’t going to plan.
Endeavour had him pinned to the wall, and the only reason that Izuku’s neck wasn’t burnt to a crisp was because Endeavour was more intent on insulting him than burning him alive.
Or not, because he raised his free hand, letting flames dance upon his palm. “Perhaps I should give you a matching scar with your beloved Shouto?”
This was going to hurt.
Izuku struggled vainly against Endeavour’s iron grip, watching horrified as the fire edged closer to his face. But even as he prepared himself for a world of pain, he wasn’t about to let the Flame Hero get the final word in.
“I’ll wear the scar like a badge of pride,” he growled, defiant.
Endeavour didn’t reply, happy to let his quirk talk for him. Izuku watched the flame get closer and closer, his breath hitched in his throat. Was he about to lose this fight? Was he about to fail at saving Shouto?
God, this was going to hurt.
A torrent of flames appeared out of nowhere and struck Endeavour. The Hero let out a cry of alarm and let go of Izuku, who instantly went stumbling away from him and fell to the ground. But Endeavour didn’t even try to catch him again, nor did Izuku spare him a glance. They were too caught up in where exactly the fire had come from.
Shouto was standing, his left arm held out and blazing. Flames covered the left side of his body, bright and breathtaking. His expression was determined, his eyes glaring at his Father.
There he was at last: Shouto the inferno. Izuku couldn’t help but smile. It was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
“Leave Izuku alone,” Shouto said, moving to stand protectively in front of Izuku and his tone leaving no room for argument.
Endeavour growled in anger. “You refuse my power for years, but use it to save your precious little boyfriend?!”
Fire and ice raced across the room, sending Endeavour on the defensive. Shouto, it seemed, didn’t feel the need for talking. Instead, he charged at his Father, and the two Todoroki’s engaged in an all-out, quirk-fuelled brawl.
There was no finesse to the way they were fighting. No tactics, no thought; the two of them were driven by emotions more than anything else. Punches, kicks, body slams, ice walls, flame-covered fists, they threw everything they had at each other.
Izuku knew he had to do something. Shouto had already taken significant damage, and wouldn’t be able to keep his Father at bay for long. If he wanted this done quickly, he was going to have to fight dirty.
If you want to take someone down fast, go for the throat, the groin, the kidney, and the back of the calf, Izuku recalled lessons from Aizawa.
Endeavour had his back to him so he didn’t notice Izuku standing and getting ready to attack, but Shouto did. Their eyes met across the room and Izuku gestured to himself and then at Endeavour’s legs. Then he pointed to Shouto and Endeavour’s head. The message was clear: I’ll go low, you go high.
Shouto nodded minutely, and together they rushed their opponent. Izuku got there first and spun out with a kick, taking Endeavour’s legs out from under him. As he fell, Shouto followed up with a quick jab to his throat, resulting in a satisfying, choked, wheezing sound.
Endeavour fell to his knees and Shouto encased him up to his head in ice. It began melting immediately, but Shouto just kept adding more and ice around his Father. It looked like it was going to turn into a match of endurance. Who was going to outlast the other, Endeavour’s flame, or Shouto’s ice?
But before that question could be answered, there was the blessed sound of a fire extinguisher going off and Izuku’s agents swarmed into the room, Uraraka in the lead. Endeavour struggled for a moment longer, before deciding that he was too outnumbered and gave up fighting altogether.
“Endeavour,” Izuku said, as his agents rushed around the room putting out fires. “You are under arrest.”
The words felt sweet to say.
He let Uraraka deal with Endeavour and read him his rights. Instead, he turned to Shouto, who was swaying where he stood. He was bruised, battled and burnt, but Izuku was beyond relieved that he was alive.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
“I’m fine—” Shouto began to say, but his legs gave out from underneath him and he began to fall. Izuku caught him, and Shouto buried his face in his shoulder. “Izuku?”
With that, he promptly passed out in Izuku’s arms.
“Call an ambulance!” he cried at one of his agents, and they rushed to do as ordered.
He’d just finished his assignment, there was no way he was losing Shouto now.
Izuku was treated for minor bruising and burns at the hospital, which—considering their opponent—was getting off lightly. Shouto was worse, but nothing was life-threatening, and all he needed was a bit of rest.
Content in the knowledge at Shouto was going to be fine, Izuku sat by his bedside and happily waited for him to wake up. He worked on the report he’d have to give All Might while he sat there, but that didn’t take him long and he was left to think over what had happened over the last few days.
“We did it, Shouto,” he said. “Endeavour’s in custody and your family is safe. We did it.”
His mind replayed what Shouto had said to his Father: He’s not a nobody, and I love him!
“I love you, too,” he went on. “I saw you say it on the video, but I didn’t get to say it back to you—not properly, at least—I didn’t actually say it to you. So, I love you.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” The reply startled him, sending him scrambling to see Shouto awake and smiling at him softly.
“S-Shouto! Are you okay? How do you feel? Do you need anything?”
“I’m fine,” he said. “I’m just happy you’re here.”
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
“I’m sorry I pushed you away, I’m sorry I hurt you.”
Izuku reached out to give his hand a comforting squeeze. “It’s okay; we hurt each other. I lied to you, and I’m sorry.”
“Part of me wondered if you returned my feelings, or if it was part of the assignment—”
“No! No, I love you! That was never fake!”
“I know, I spoke to All Might about it.”
Izuku went red. “A-All Might?!”
Shouto grinned and Izuku would have swooned at the sight if he wasn’t so mortified at the idea of Shouto and All Might talking about their relationship.
“He was very adamant that making me fall for you wasn’t on his orders.”
Izuku put his head in his hands. “Oh my god.”
“That was pretty much my reaction at the conversation. He went a bit ‘Protective Father’ at one point.”
“Oh my god, stop.”
Shouto laughed and Izuku felt him gently pry his hands away from his face. “Don’t hide, let me see you.”
Izuku pulled his hands back, shaking his head. “No, nope, hiding sounds good.”
“Izuku, please.” Shouto’s voice was soft and pleading.
There was no way he could deny him anything if Shouto asked like that. He peeked out from behind his fingers and slowly lowered his hands. “Mmm?”
Shouto’s smile was soft. “I’m glad you were put on this assignment, because I got to meet you.”
Izuku’s blushed returned, full-force. In what world did Shouto live in that he could say that so easily?
“You made my mission difficult,” he said, after composing himself for a moment. “I wasn’t supposed to fall for you.”
Shouto’s smiled increased. “Sorry.”
He laughed, beaming at him. “You’re not sorry at all.”
Shouto shook his head. “No, I’m really not.”
Izuku leant in to kiss him, and could feel Shouto’s smile against his lips. It was soft and sweet; the beginning of a beautiful future ahead of them.
“Go back to sleep,” Izuku said. “I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Shouto laid back down on the bed. “Promise?”
Izuku gently put a hand through his multi-coloured hair and Shouto closed his eyes at the touch. “I promise.”
That was how All Might found them sometime later, Shouto fast asleep and Izuku waiting contentedly for him to wake.
Toshinori pulled a chair up and sat down beside him. “How is he?”
“He’s fine, he just needs to rest.” Izuku beamed, practically exuding relief and happiness. “He was awake earlier, you missed it. We—we talked about how we felt.”
All Might smiled. “I take it from your expression that it went well?”
Izuku blushed, but he looked pleased. “Well. Really well. We love each other.”
“Congratulations, my boy,” All Might said, before looking at his protégé in concern. “But how are you? I know you took some hard hits with Endeavour.”
“I’m a bit sore, but it’s nothing. I have the report for that, by the way—”
“It can wait, don’t worry. But are you sure you’re alright?”
Izuku nodded. “I’m fine. I’m—well, everything is a bit overwhelming and it’ll take a bit of getting used to, but I’m happy. I’m really happy.” He looked down at Shouto and began running a hand through his hair once more. “I know we need to talk about it more, but we love each other and my assignment is over, so we can be together. I know there’s always going to be another assignment, and Shouto’s always going to be in danger because he’s a Hero, but I’m happy. Our future might be dangerous, but there’s no one I’d rather face it with than Shouto.”
“I’m happy for you,” All Might smiled. “The two of you make a good couple.”
“Thank you,” Izuku replied, before the joy in his expression was replaced with hesitation.
“What is it?” Toshinori asked.
“I just—I just wish I was stronger.” He looked down at Shouto. “I wish I could be stronger so I could protect everyone. So I could protect people like Shouto, who are suffering in silence.” He turned back to All Might. “I wish I could be like you and save people with a smile.”
“I think you did that,” his mentor said, nodding at Shouto. “Did you not save Todoroki-shounen?”
“I know, but there was a moment where Endeavour had me pinned. He was about to burn me and I thought I was going to lose. It was scary and I was powerless against it. I don’t want anyone else to feel that way.”
All Might stared at him for a while, before he broke out in a smile. “You’re still healing from your last assignment and you’re already looking to go save more people. You are a wonder, my boy.”
Izuku gave him a self-deprecating smile. “I just wish I could do more.”
All Might studied him, his expression turning serious. “Yes, you could,” he said at length. “You could be so much more, and I think you’re ready to be. Aizawa and I have trained you enough, you should be able to handle it now; your body won’t break. I’m very proud of you, my boy. I couldn’t have chosen a better successor.”
Izuku looked at him in confusion. “What are you talking about?”
“Midoriya-shounen, it’s time I told you about One For All…”