To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. And to be late is to definitely not be Iida Tenya.
And so, Izuku thinks while walking up and down the sidewalk for thirty minutes straight, maybe he is the one who misremembered the plan for today. He pulls his phone out from his pocket, scrolls to the top of his ‘favorites’ list, and presses the call button.
The phone rings twice before it picks up. On the other end, there is only a muffled noise that sounds like someone heaving into a toilet. “Uh, Iida? Hello?”
“If you are calling to reinforce Uraraka’s ludicrous idea of going on an entirely Vitamin D-based diet, I am going to inform you that the fastest way to overcome the common cold is to eat a carefully balanced diet paired with adequate amounts of sleep and, of course, room temperature water.” He ends his warning with a sneeze.
“You’re sick?” Izuku asks, half-worried, half-nervous.
“Yes. It would seem that my immune system has fallen prey to a particularly tough strand of summer flu,” Iida even sniffs with authority. “I apologize for my absence but I’m sure that you and Urarak—”
“You’re not coming?!” Izuku interrupts in distress. This isn’t good. He is not prepared to be out alone with a girl. And not just a girl, a girl he likes . He won’t be able to do this.
“I think I have already established that I am in no position t—”
“You ? Iida, I am in no position to do this! I can’t go on a date! I’m not ready for this!”
The line goes so silent that Izuku thinks that Iida has disconnected. Just as he is about to check the line, Iida speaks.
“I don’t believe that the situation is as inconvenient as you’re making it out to be.”
Izuku sighs resignedly. “It is, Iida. It really is. And it’s two in the afternoon now. Why didn’t you call me earlier? We could’ve cancelled the whole thing!”
Iida blows his nose before answering Izuku’s question. “I called Uraraka at approximately ten in the morning to tell her that I would not be accompanying you two,” Iida relays in a stuffy voice.
“I’m not Ochako,” Izuku sighs in exasperation.
“Yes, I know, Midoriya. Before I ended the call I told her that I would be calling you right after to which she vehemently opposed. She told me to ‘rest up’ and that she would deliver the information herself to allow me to recuperate.”
Izuku is just about to whine again when Iida continues. “I’m sure that it was an innocent mistake. Or maybe you missed the call. You’re not the easiest person to reach, you know.”
Izuku can feel his eyes rolling before he can consciously react. “This is not my fault.”
“Of course, it is not. Nobody is at fault here. There is no problem on the surface level.” He coughs violently. “The only problem is that you’re searching for one. I am sure Uraraka would love nothing more than to share her day with you. And you, obviously, would as well.”
“Well, yes... It’s just that I don’t think Ochako and I have ever done an us thing. Like, you know how we have us things?”
“Interpersonal activities that strengthen the bond of friendship? Yes. That’s why you should take advantage of this predicament. This will be just another outing to strengthen your friendship and respect for each other.”
Izuku closes his eyes and inhales. He was being a bit dramatic about all this. It was just another outing to strengthen their friendship and respect. He could do this. He slowly exhales and opens his eyes. He could do this. If he could ace Aizawa’s most brutal pop quizzes and take down villains, he could definitely do this .
“Yeah! Thanks for talking me down, Iida. I know I can get … Uh …”
“Over-excited? High-strung? Overstrung? Worked up? In a sta—”
“I get it, Iida.”
Iida lets out a laugh quickly clipped by dry coughing. “Just wanted to— HAAAACK! — Just wanted to provide you with an appropriate wordbank.”
Izuku lets out a sound that is half-laughter and half-exasperation. “Thanks. I’ll let you go now; you sound like you should rest.”
“Of course. Always so thoughtful, Midoriya. But remember that I’m only a phone-call away if you two need anything.”
“Got it. Feel better!”
Izuku pockets his phone before walking back towards the park bench. He has too much nervous energy to sit down again, so he elects to do step-ups while waiting for Ochako. He calms as he falls into a steady rhythm; as his heart rate increases, his anxiety decreases. He has only been at it for a short while before he hears a voice.
When he turns around and sees who called to him, his heart rate skyrockets as if he had just been running a marathon.
Uraraka Ochako is beautiful. Even when sweaty, bloodied, and bruised, she is the textbook definition of ‘lovely.’ He knows that she is beautiful, she always has been. But on this day, if Ochako was beautiful before, then she is divine right now. She is everything good and bright and radiant in the world wrapped up in a sunny package. Her hair is down, but painstakingly curled, each beautifully brown coil perfectly styled. Her dress is bubblegum pink, its scoop neckline flirty yet polite. He is quite literally stunned into silence until Ochako breaks through his daze with an airy laugh.
“Do you ever stop training or what?”
“I—uh. Uh—um. I’m sorry?”
She raises an eyebrow teasingly at the flustered boy and playfully sighs. “You’re doing training warm-ups,” she gestures to his figure frozen in a half-completed step-up. “We’re having a fun day out, All Might Jr! Today is all play and no work . Yes?”
Izuku nods dumbly, still without his full composure. “U-uh, ye-yeah, sure. Sorry. I just needed something to do. How, uh, how are you?”
Ochako beams at him and Izuku’s knees turn to jelly. He adjusts his posture, rooting both of his feet firmly on the sidewalk so that he doesn’t accidentally tip over.
“I love roller-skating and I love when it’s just us so I’m excited!”
Izuku flushes a violent red, his overheated face clashing with the bold green of his curls. Ochako just said that she loves hanging out with him. To be more accurate, she said she loves when just the two of them are together. Just them. A duo. A pair. She loves that. Him and her. Her and him. Maybe she even loves hi—well, okay. This is exactly what Iida told him not to do. He told him not to overthink every single word, sentence, and action. He specifically told him to take it easy. Taking it easy does not mean misconstruing a simple sentence into a full-blown confession. There was no underlying meaning. No hidden messages. She was definitely, certainly, clearly not flir—
“But,” Ochako begins playfully, cutting through Izuku’s mutterings, “I am a bit disappointed.” She pouts over-dramatically and even though Izuku knows she’s exaggerating her dismay for humorous effect, he senses some level of seriousness. “You didn’t say anything about how I look yet. It took awhile to put together, too. You must not like it.” The last sentence is delivered a bit flat, a sampling of distraught desires.
“Oh. OH! No! That’s not it!” Izuku exclaims in a rush. “You look great! Stunning! I love it! Well—um, I mean that in the least creepiest way possible. Because I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Because that’s partly why I didn’t say anything initially. I think you always look beautiful but I don’t always tell you because it’d be weird to just randomly walk up to girls and tell them what you think of their bodies, well, their face, which is an extension of the body but, anyway, it’s just a bit rude and unnecessary. But I think you’re very pretty! Today and everyday and I’ve said that I mean that in the least creepiest way possible but I’m not sure if I’m really getting across how much I want to emphasi—”
Ochako’s laughter is so bright and excited and loud that it echoes around them. “That’s not creepy, Izuku,” she says airily, cheeks dusted pinker than usual as she giggles in bliss. “I guess I didn’t even have to go all out for you, then. Since I’m ‘always beautiful,’ right?”
Izuku is going to combust. He is going to die right here on this very street. Uraraka Ochako? Going “all out” for him ? Midoriya Izuku? That’s what she just said, yeah? It is. She definitely said that. She definitely dressed up specifically for him. As if … As if this were a …
Ochako taps him on the nose with the palm of her hand. “Hellooooo. Did you hear me? Let’s get going, I’ve been waiting for this all day!” Her eyes are bright with excitement and Izuku’s heart does a backflip.
Okay. So maybe he won’t die right now . But after this da—. This outing between friends —definitely not the other thing—he is going to go home and properly lay himself to rest.
“I haven’t been roller-skating since … well … I don’t really know when exactly,” Izuku admits sheepishly as people skate around them with absolute confidence. All he can think about is the possibility that he won’t be able to quite get it and Ochako will spend the entire day wondering why she even wanted to go skating with a clumsy, unbalanced loser.
“You’ll be fine,” Ochako replies. Izuku is surprised at how much excitement can be contained in such a small body. If she vibrates any faster with all her excitement, she might just phase through the floor, Izuku muses. “You get nervous about the littlest things like roller-skating, but you’ll charge at a villain without any second thoughts!”
“Well, it’s a bit different,” Izuku weakly defends, “but, yeah, I know.”
She gives him an understanding smile. “It’s complicated.”
“Yeah,” Izuku smiles back, “but you’re right. It can’t be that hard to get the hang of again. Maybe it’s like biking.”
“Once you learn how to bike, you never really forget. Maybe it’s like that?”
“Oh, really?” Ochako tightens the roller skate shoelaces and turns back to Izuku. “Maybe. Maybe not. I wouldn’t know. My parents and I used to go roller-skating all the time. They’re too busy with work to go a lot anymore but I still skate pretty often by myself. I’m basically a pro!”
Izuku laughs. “‘Professional Roller Skating Pro-Hero Uravity!’ It’s a bit of a mouthful but it’s doable.”
Ochako rolls her eyes playfully. “I just meant that even if you have a hard time at first, I’ll help you out. I won’t let you fall on your face … even though that would be funny.” She giggles and Izuku laughs along with her.
“Plus Ultra!” Ochako echoes as she leaps up from the bench with Izuku in tow. She immediately hops from the carpeted sitting area to the wooden rink, landing gracefully and skating in a small circle for good measure. Izuku claps politely and in turn, Ochako bows dramatically, the two of them goofy with laughter.
“Your turn!” Ochako says.
Izuku takes his time carefully transitioning between the safety of the carpeted floor and the wooden rink. He skates along the railing of the rink and Ochako follows beside him. “Okay. This isn’t bad,” he says while keeping his eyes on his feet and his right hand on the railing.
She chuckles sweetly. “Okay, but you’ve got to let go of the rail to see if you really have it down. And you can’t keep looking at your feet like that, you’ll run into somebody.”
Izuku nods, eyes still on his feet and hand still on the rail. “Okay. Give me a second.”
Taking his time, he adjusts his balance and lifts his eyes from the ground. Fighting the urge to continue clamping down on the railing, he pushes off of it and propels himself closer to Ochako. Left foot skates, now right foot skates. Left foot, right foot. He’s not skating perfectly yet, but he’s got the gist of it!
“That is actually pretty easy! So I guess it is kinda like biking, huh?” Coming full circle, he notices Ochako’s smile faltering. He frowns in response. “You okay? What’s wrong?”
“You look upset. Are you okay? You’re not coming down with something too, are you?”
Her eyes widen. “No! I’m fine! That’s not … I’m fine.”
“Well, do you think you can tell me the actual reason? Can I help?”
Ochako’s cheeks flush. Izuku waits for her to say that she’s just been made aware that it’s that time of the month or that she’s suddenly hungry or that she actually just realized that she didn’t really want to spend her whole day with him.
Ochako twirls the hem of her dress between her fingers as she finally opens her mouth. “I just … I just assumed that when you said you hadn’t been skating in a while that you wouldn’t relearn everything that fast.” Her face is angled towards the floor but Izuku can see that her cheeks are darkening with color. Before he can say anything, she starts again. “I’m just being … I’m glad you figured it out, but I thought I would get to hold your hand around the rink at least a few times.”
Izuku trips over his words before his brain fully processes her last sentence. He is a mess of unfinished words and half-thoughts, speaking a unique language that he can barely understand himself. Ochako is still twirling her dress in her hand, but her eyes are now on Izuku. She smiles a bit ruefully and Izuku immediately knows she has misunderstood his current malfunction.
“Yeah. It’s ridiculous.”
Izuku struggles to get his words out, pleasure and embarrassment making it hard to get a grasp of the Japanese language. “N-no! Tha—I me-mean,” he sighs. He takes a deep breath and starts over again. “I d-don’t think that’s ridiculous. I—I, um … I-if you really wa-wanted to, you still can? I … I would prefer it actually. I’m not perfect at it; it’s a lot of conscious effort.”
Ochako lightens up a bit, but she still looks skeptical. “Really?”
“Yeah, but I’d still prefer holding your hand even if I was really good at it.” Ochako’s eyes widen again and Izuku blushes in embarrassment.
“Same! So you wanna go now?” Ochako is all rosy cheeks and big smiles again, every trace of discomfort and self-consciousness completely gone. She looks at him expectantly for a few seconds before Izuku realizes that she’s waiting for him to freely offer his hand.
He sticks his hand out hesitantly, afraid of the entire situation being some long, drawn out joke. Ochako is beaming though, glowing with such happiness that Izuku feels disgusting for doubting her. The pink in her cheeks deepens as she grabs his hand, careful to keep her pinky from joining the tangle of their fingers, a countermeasure against the activation of her quirk.
Her grip is deliberate and gentle, the pad of her thumb tracing the scars on Izuku’s hand. It’s not quite a foreign feeling. He’s held hands with his mom, with toddlers when he’s been on patrol and has to walk them across the street, and even with Katsuki when they were just children, but something about this is new. Not foreign, just new. He expected his first time holding hands with a girl, a cute girl at that, to be a grand affair: a flurry of emotions, sparks, and maybe a roaring cheer from nosy but encouraging onlookers!
But there is none of that. There is only fingers and palms and warmth and a pleasant feeling that originates from his very core. It’s kind of like the feeling he gets coming home on the weekends to freshly prepared katsudon.
“Let’s do this!” Ochako bursts as she yanks Izuku forward, the sudden jerk throwing him off-balance for a second.
They weave in between other single skaters and couples while bouncy pop music blasts overhead. Ochako effortlessly syncs her body to move with the bass of the music, her pink dress twirling and chasing after her as she makes last minute twists and turns. Izuku grins at the sight as he relishes the feeling of her palm in his and tries to keep up. She is absolutely beautiful every other day but right now she is ethereal .
Their palms are still glued together, but she holds no reservations when it comes to executing moves that make Izuku’s head spin every time he tries to replicate them. He enjoys every minute of it though. Everyone else is roller skating, achieving the barest of minimums, but Ochako is gliding . She is in her element and it shows: the exertion of energy colors her cheeks, adding a pretty sheen to her skin, while her hair is blown every which way by the speed and direction of her moments. The curls in her hair lose more volume after every move, but Izuku thinks she looks better like this: exhilarated, unkempt, and absolutely, totally free.
They continue like that for awhile, Ochako floating and twirling and twisting and curling up and down the rink with Izuku blissfully along for the ride and wearing the dumbest, most lovestruck look on his face. He struggles to keep up, but the burn in his chest is worth being able to see Ochako in this new light.
After a poppy power ballad finishes playing, there is a lull in the music rotation and the rink no longer echoes with powerful bass, but instead, is replaced with the chatter and laughter of everyone inside. With no music to guide her, Ochako finally slows down and Izuku slows with her, their clammy palms still pressed together in a way that makes him smile so hard his cheeks hurt.
“What are you thinking about?” Ochako asks, a bit out of breath but otherwise still cheery in tone. She swings their palms gently as they continue to relaxedly skate around the rink.
Izuku tries to temper his smile, but he can’t because that would mean actually having to maintain a small sense of cool about him. “Me? Nothing. Why?”
Ochako laughs and bumps him against the shoulder. “Midoriya Izuku? Thinking about nothing? absolutely nothing? Impossible! That’s all you do.”
Izuku wrinkles his nose in defiance. “I don’t think all the time.” He pauses for a bit to rethink what he has just said and decides to clarify. “Wait, I didn’t mean that I don’t thi —”
Ochako cuts him off with a teasing laugh and another bump of her shoulder, but this time she lingers within his personal space for a bit longer. “Nope! You’re right! You don’t think all the time, which is why you’re always in trouble. It actually makes sense now,” she says, winking at Izuku who rolls his eyes good-naturedly. “Seriously, though,” she continues, “you looked like someone just told you that they were gifting you one of those limited edition All-Might figurines you were crying over the other day.”
“Okay, for the last time, I was not cryi —”
“Of course you weren’t! It was just a figure of speech!” Ochako’s eyes widen dramatically, brown doe eyes trying, but failing, to present a look of innocence.
Izuku fully turns his head to squint at her. She was being funny, wasn’t she? Ochako’s mask of faux-sincerity cracks under Izuku’s examination as she giggles uncontrollably, causing her to wobble on her skates.
She was definitely being funny.
“W-well, i-if you really wanted to know,” he continues, squeezing Ochako’s hand to get her attention. “I was just thinking ... um. You know, uh ... um ...” Izuku can feel his face reddening as he tries to verbalize the feelings he had earlier. “I— I— I was thinking ab-about how ... nice you looked. Not that you don’t look nice now , you do ! I-I was talking about when you were skating before. You looked nice. Not nice ... but ... I-I don’t really know. But you looked ... amazing. Really beautiful.”
Izuku nervously sways on his skates, causing him to coast in a dramatic zig-zag. He is skating with so much nervous force that Ochako is no longer independently skating; she lets Izuku guide her movements, lazily skating in the same awkward pattern as he.
There is a silence between the two for a few moments as Izuku’s nerves overwhelm him. He has said too much. He has definitely said too much. Ochako was not flirting with him . She never has and she never will! All she has done today is be an amazing friend and what does Izuku do to repay her?! Purposely misinterpret her friendly gestures and make creepy advances towards her!
The pressure of Ochako’s hand squeezing his own is what brings him back to Earth. He turns to her, still nervously swaying. Her face is colored the darkest shade of pink he’s ever seen it, almost red, and she is smiling with what looks like immense pleasure.
“You look amazing too,” she says softly, so softly that Izuku almost doesn’t hear her. His knee jerk reaction is to refute her statement, and he almost does, but she squeezes his hand tightly, again, before he can open his mouth. “You do. Always.” And she is so sincere in this moment that Izuku has no choice but to believe her and his heart flutters intensely.
She is not flirting , she is not flirting , she is not flirting .
“Want me to prove it?”
Izuku blinks. “Prove what?”
Ochako giggles and pulls her phone out of her dress pocket. “Isn’t it obvious? Let’s take a selfie!” They almost completely come to a halt as Ochako navigates to her Snapchat app. “Flower crown or no?”
Izuku thinks for a bit before shaking his head. “No filter. The ones today aren’t good. And we always use the flower crown one.”
Ochako nods with a curiously impish look on her face. “We do. But it’s the cutest.”
“Hm. Well, actually, I think the filter for All-Might’s birthday was the best. It was pretty cu—,” he cuts himself off as Ochako starts to giggle. “You set me up.”
“It’s not hard,” she smiles as she waves her phone. “You ready?”
Izuku nods and scoots closer to Ochako so that he fits in the camera frame. He looks into the camera a bit unsettled. Pictures, selfies especially, are a hassle, if not an outright problem. Is he smiling? Will he look better if he pouts? He sighs as he cycles through all the possible poses he could strike in his head.
Fortunately, he doesn’t have to think about it for too long because Ochako completely takes him by surprise. One second, she is watching him through her front camera with a funny expression on her face and the next second she has traded Izuku’s hand for his bicep, holding it so that the tips of her pink nails are visible. She pulls him down so that his head is level with hers and she stretches her other arm out, phone positioned to snap a nicely-angled selfie.
“Say cheese!” She leans into him closely, so close that Izuku can smell her strawberry-scented shampoo.
She kisses his cheek and Izuku’s entire brain shuts down.
Her phone camera clicks obnoxiously. Without missing a beat, as if she didn’t just break Izuku’s brain, as if she didn’t just kiss him , she inspects the picture with a pleased sound emitting from her mouth.
“This is a really good picture! We look amazing! Like it? Can I post?” She angles the phone’s screen towards Izuku so he can view the picture, but his brain is still in the process of resetting.
“I—I, I, um. Post it. I—I have to um—Is there a bathroom in here? Like a restroom? A toi—”
“Yes! It’s back towards where we got our skates. So I can post?”
“I—Well—Uh. Restroom break. Five minutes. I’ll be back.”
Ochako eyes him worriedly. “Are you okay? If you have to go so badly that you can’t speak, you should run. Why’d you hold it for this long?” Before Izuku can stutter out another half answer, she continues. “Just go! I’ll wait for you by the benches, I have to think up a good caption anyway.” She winks at him. “With great pictures come great caption-ilities.” She keeps a straight face for about three seconds and then bursts into laughter. “That was bad .”
Izuku blinks dumbly. It’s hard for him to process bad jokes when his brain is only halfway done rebooting itself. “Is that … I don’t think that’s the quote?”
Ochako’s laughter slowly dies out as Izuku regards her with a completely blank face. They stare at each other for a while until Ochako breaks the silence between them.
“That’s the poi—Okay. Nevermind. Go to the bathroom, Izuku.”
He’s not overthinking it, is he? It was just on the cheek but it was something ! Him? Midoriya Izuku? Taking pretty girls out and holding hands and getting kissed ?
It was unthinkable. Unbelievable. So unbelievable that he can’t be overthinking this. He is thinking just the proper amount!
Izuku seats himself on the sink of the tiny single-stall bathroom and takes his phone out of his pocket. He needs a second opinion on this entire situation. Scrolling through his contacts for the third time, Izuku pours over the possibilities of who to ask for guidance. Todoroki? He’s objectively adept in analyzing data and correctly processing what it means but ... he’s a bit oblivious. Tsuyu? She’s close to Ochako and would be able to tell if she was being coy or not, but she’s not the most reliable when it comes to texting back and even if she does, her loyalty is with Ochako and he wouldn’t be surprised if their conversation today was later revealed in a late night sleepover ... no thanks. Izuku squints defiantly at his remaining options.
If he’s being honest with himself, he still has more than half the class to pick from: Kaminari, Ashido, Hagakure, Ojiro, Kirishima ... But he finds issues with contacting each one of them. He sighs before pausing to text the person that he knew he was going to reach out to the entire time.
Midoriya: TENYA LISTEN TO ME
Iida: Unless you are sending auditory messages I cannot *hear* anything.
Iida: I am “listening.”
Midoriya: she KISSED me HELD MY HAND and PUT IT ON HER STORY
Midoriya: none of this is hypothetical tenya i am telling you that this is REAL
Midoriya: shes “F”ing w me!
Iida: There is no need to be vulgar, Midoriya.
Midoriya: SHES FLIRTING W ME
Iida: Well, she is neither “F”ing with you OR F-ing with you.
Iida: It is all in your head, Midoriya.
Iida: You are letting your crush taint Uraraka’s friendly affection towards you.
Iida: I am positive she did not kiss you on the mouth. Therefore, cheek kisses are still within the realm of platonic affection.
Iida: Hand-holding, especially at a skating or ice rink, is customary. It is apart of the experience, one might say.
Iida: And it is not out of the ordinary for Ochako to document outings on her public Snapchat story.
Iida: Have I helped you put things in better perspective?
Midoriya slides further back onto the sink and lets the back of his head touch the greasy mirror. Those were all very good points and they all made a lot of sense, but Tenya wasn’t there . All of those things: the comment about the dress, the hand-holding, the kiss, the picture; they were deliberate and purposeful in the way that platonic teasing was not. And sure, it’s easy to disregard these things from the outside looking in, but Izuku was there and he felt something.
He sighs as he closes the message thread and immediately cycles through his other apps: Hagakure and Yuuga are vlogging together on YouTube, he giggles as he sees Katsuki’s Instagram page being hacked by Kaminari and Sero, and he cringes when he notices his Twitter feed being dominated by Tokoyami’s cryptic poetry. They should have never given the kid 280 characters.
He closes out of Twitter (but not before reading a disturbing yet incredibly poetic description of an apple) and lazily opens Snapchat. The first story that pops up is Ochako’s, naturally. The story preview looks promising, a tiny thumbnail of the picture they had just taken only minutes ago. Before he thought it was only a nice picture, but after looking at it again, it is one of the best pictures he has ever taken of himself. His eyes are bright and hold the expression of someone pleasantly shocked; his freckles, which he usually thinks make him look dull and plain, are a lovely brown against his tanned skin and add a healthy look to his countenance. He smiles even harder when his eyes lay on Ochako.
She looks absolutely gorgeous.
He finally presses her story and it expands to display a larger version of the picture, allowing him to finally read the caption that she chose.
“me and the #1 hero (in my ❤️) @allmightjr”
Izuku’s heart races.
Before he can fully process the caption he starts receiving snaps: Yaoyorozu, Kaminari, Hagakure, Satou, Shouji ... and more are pouring in.
Momo [10 secs ago]: [Sent you @UraUraBaby’s Snap] You two look splendid! Have fun!
Denki [20 secs ago]: [Sent you @UraUraBaby’s Snap] YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH MIDORIYAAAAAA!!!!!!! MY BOIIII
Tooru [2 mins ago]: [Sent you @UraUraBaby’s Snap] im dyin of feels!!!!!!!!!!! u’re killing me!!! cuties!! so glad this finally happened!!!!!!!
Izuku blushes furiously as he reads each message, finding it harder to interpret the picture’s caption as anything other than deliberately romantic after opening each one. If he’s misinterpreting her gestures of ‘ just friendship,’ then everyone is and apparently Ochako is completely missing the mark! But then again ... He’s not a heartthrob or anything. He’s not Katsuki or Ojiro or Yuuga. He’s just ... Izuku . And Izuku isn’t the type of guy to have girls dressing up prettily for him, or the type of guy that has girls asking to hold his hand, and he’s definitely not the type to have girls kiss him.
So ... If he’s being honest with himself, he has to be interpreting this incorrectly. Today has been the complete antithesis to his entire life . For some reason, his brain is completely muddling everything that’s happened today. It’s ridiculous, it’s scary, it’s torturous .
Today has operated outside of the laws of the real world. He’s on a date of sorts, he’s not boring or annoying anyone, he’s actually been sorta funny if the amount of laughter from Ochako is any real indication. Nothing embarrassing or even slightly unpleasant has occurred. He’s ... he’s getting the girl , people are cheering for him, there’s nothing that can stop him. In this new universe he’s even photogenic !
And that’s why.
Today will end, tomorrow will come, and everything will be as it was. He’ll be the same dork he was the day before yesterday, he’ll go back to being plain, annoying, and boring. Ochako will go back to being unbelievably cute and just friendly towards him, the people who are cheering him on today will completely forget who and what they were rooting for, the sun will set. Everything will be as it always was and what it will always be.
A sharp pang attacks Izuku’s chest and he can feel a knot building in his throat. He’s overthinking it. He’s overthinking it. He’s overthinking it.
He chants this over and over while continuing to receive a slew of snap messages. Each one reaffirming what his gut has been telling him all day.
Is he overthinking it? Is he overthinking it?
The Class B kids are chiming in now. Even Monoma’s message is a confirmation, even if it is a bit snide.
Maybe ... Maybe ...
He sits on the sink and continues to filter through messages until he receives one that completely throws him into a flurry of confusion. He double-, triple-, quadruple-checks the name before he opens the message.
Kacchan [45 secs ago]: [Sent you @UraUraBaby’s Snap] can u damn nerds hav ur luv affair sumwhere else
And that is when he knows .
Izuku closes out of the app and returns to Iida’s message thread.
Midoriya: its not in my head tenya
Iida: Midoriya. Just enjoy your outing.
Iida: Do not engage with these delusions of yours.
Iida: And, again...
Iida: I cannot hear you.
Izuku’s sigh is so loud he is sure that anyone within thirty feet of the bathroom would’ve heard him. No amount of convincing will persuade Iida at this point. He drops his head against the mirror again and resigns to just do what Tenya has suggested.
His phone vibrates in his hand he looks down to view the message.
Uraraka: u ok?
Uraraka: u didnt eat nything BAD did u?
Uraraka: do u need laxatives?
Midoriya: MY STOMACH IS FINE
Midoriya: MY MOM CALLED
Uraraka: sure ;)
Midoriya: IM COMING NOW
Izuku jets out of the bathroom, embarrassment and slight irritation propelling him faster than usual. Iida is ridiculously stubborn. Nothing could move him. Probably not even a written confession and three eye witnesses.
When he gets back to the skating area he looks around for Ochako, not immediately seeing her in the crowd. He soon spots her sitting at a bench by herself looking at something on her phone. He wonders what would happen if he just asked for a real answer. A direct question for a direct answer. What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the worst she could say?
Almost immediately, dramatic but horrifying scenarios unleash themselves on Izuku’s mind. She could laugh him out of the rink, out of the hero course, out of U.A., out of Japan. She could get offended and be upset with him. She could resent the fact that he even thought for a second that she would ever be interested in a whiny, crybaby dork like him. Each scenario gets less and less realistic and with each scenario, Ochako acts less and less like the actual Ochako. But it doesn’t really matter because each and every scenario effectively snuffs out more and more of his resolve and confidence until he doesn’t even want to think about even alluding to how she feels about him.
He sighs and begins to walk over to Ochako. She lifts her head once he’s two-thirds of the way there and waves at him excitedly. “Did you like the caption? Kaminari said it was great ! And, you know, he’s the king of captions. Him and Mina. King and queen of photo captions.”
Izuku smiles weakly, trying to put up a front. “I liked it a lot. Really.”
Ochako smiles back, albeit a bit worriedly. “You okay, though? I was just kidding about the bathroom stuff, but you look … bummed out. Something wrong? Did your mom tell you something bad?”
Izuku shakes his head. “I’m good. I just … wish I knew things.”
Izuku looks at her intently, emerald eyes saying what he couldn’t just yet. “Like skate tricks,” he lies. “You know any?”
He thinks that he must have subconsciously fixed whatever tipped her off to his actual feelings the first time, or maybe her excitement has shielded him from anymore of her questions because she eagerly claps her hands together and puts her phone back in her dress pocket, her previous suspicions momentarily forgotten.
“Of course I do . Let’s get back out there! I have so many! Which one do you want to learn first?”
“The coolest one,” Izuku responds, brightening a little under Ochako’s contagious enthusiasm.
“Your wish, my command!” She bounces up from the bench and hops over towards the rink again, hardly waiting for Izuku to follow. Her pink dress bounces with her, flowing around her tanned legs and emphasizing the springiness of her movements. Izuku smiles. He’s okay with this too. He nods to himself while following her into the rink.
He’s okay with this too.
“Walk me home,” Ochako says after they’ve tired themselves out from two more hours of skating. It’s less of a question than a demand.
“I was planning on it,” Izuku responds with a smile. It would be a bit out of his way to drop her off, but she wasn’t that far from the rink and wouldn’t it bet it a bit unseemly to leave a young lady on her own after a da—a friendly outing?
The sun is still out when they walk outside, but it has cooled down somewhat, the heat no longer oppressive, but instead a welcome safeguard against the aggressive breeze. They stroll along the sidewalk at leisure, the physical toll of all the excitement and the skating now catching up to them. They walk side-by-side as they travel in the direction of Ochako’s apartment complex in comfortable silence. After a while, Ochako closes the tiny space between them, her arm now ceaselessly in contact with Izuku’s. He blushes furiously at the sudden contact, his mind still swimming from the uncertainty of the day’s events, and spares a sneaky glance at the girl beside him.
He continues to walk alongside her, cheeks on fire, arm oversensitized, and mind racing to decode today’s events. He almost ignores everything Iida has advised him to do. He almost opens his mouth to ask. He almost cracks.
“It’s really too bad about Iida though,” Izuku begins, partly to fill the silence and partly to quiet his own mind. “I’ve never heard of a summer flu before.”
Ochako laughs. “I said the same thing and then I got lectured on the importance of having knowledge about ‘lesser known bacterial viruses.’” She mimics Iida’s authoritative tone, deepening her voice and sticking her pointer finger in the air. This time when she laughs, Izuku laughs along with her. “He was really worked up about me not knowing that was a real thing. I mean, I’ve heard of people catching the common cold in the early parts of spring but a summer flu ? Nope. Never heard of it!”
Izuku shakes his head with a grin. “Yeah, you should’ve known better than to tell him that.” She shrugs, smiling as he continues. “Hopefully he gets over it soon. Then, we can go to the rink again; I was really looking forward to fooling around with his quirk,” he pauses and turns to Ochako with a dramatic flair. “Picture it.”
Izuku laughs at the thought of Tenya roller-skating around the rink with his quirk propelling him. He’s got pretty amazing balance, but he isn’t too sure that he could get out of a situation like that unscathed. And that’s not even to mention the would-be state of the rink itself. The three of them in a skate rink with no supervision or fear of consequences? One could only imagine how ridiculous the whole ordeal would be. It remains to be seen though.
“That would be something,” he says with mirth almost overpowering his voice. “Next time we’ll know for sure.” Ochako nods with a funny smile on her face. Izuku thinks that she looks maybe a little dismayed, but he chalks that conclusion up to his imagination, like many other things today.
There is a lull in the conversation as they continue to walk. It’s another comfortable silence, in Izuku’s mind, but every other minute or so Ochako looks towards him like she is about to say something else. Izuku can see her second-guess herself over and over again with his peripheral vision but he doesn’t confront her about it, letting her figure out whatever she was thinking on her own terms.
“You know what, though?” Her voice is small, soft, the way it was when she complimented him earlier. His breath hitches.
“I’m glad I had you all to myself though. I usually don’t ... so ... it was pretty fun.” When Izuku turns to look at her fully, he notices that her cheeks are burning a brighter pink than they usually do.
“I-I, uh, I— W-well, I—” He scratches at his neck, where he can feel his blush start to spread, the heat making him uncomfortable and anxious. He’s stuttering at light speed now, unfiltered half-thoughts and mangled words spilling out of him uncontrollably. He’s getting hotter by the second, burning up from the inside-out, and Ochako is just silently watch him malfunction with those wide brown eyes.
How is he supposed to respond to that? He’s not sure that he can . Not without stuttering for another three-thousand years or self-combusting into a million embarrassing, geeky pieces! She’s glad that she had him all to herself. Can that statement be explained non-romantically? I mean it could , but who would say that instead of just saying ‘I like hanging out with you’ or ‘today was fun!’ Ochako isn’t the type of girl to throw words around with no purpose, with no regards to meaning. She’s a smart girl, intelligent, deliberate . So how could he interpret her statement, her actions — all of them —as anything other than flirtatious? He doesn’t understand how Iida could continue to ignore all the signs! He wishes he could pull out his phone and call him right now, have Ochako retell what has just happ—
Iida. Calls. Relayed messages.
Izuku stops. He stops stuttering, stops thinking, stops walking.
“Ochako,” he calls simply. She has stopped walking too, a small question appearing in the raise of her eyebrows. They still stand close, but they are facing each other now, crowded under a cherry blossom tree, the shade from its branches providing refuge from the sun.
“Yes?” There is a nervous lilt to her voice, almost imperceptible, but Izuku catches it. Just barely.
“I called Iida before I met up with you today,” he continues.
“Oh? What’d you talk about?” Her voice is small, tone measured. She’s guarded for some reason Izuku observes. He tries not to get his hopes up but his stomach stirs with butterflies.
“Nothing much. He’s pretty sick so he didn’t say a lot.” Izuku thinks he watches Ochako’s slip into a relieved look but when he blinks, she’s smiling.
“Well, that’s no surprise, Deku! Duh!” Her voice is contagiously cheery again and Izuku hates that he’s about to play his trump card.
“Yeah, no surprise.” There is a particularly strong breeze and the petals of cherry blossoms rain down on them. A few get caught in Ochako’s hair, loose strands of hair now decorated with pink petals. They match the pastel pink of her wrinkled dress. She is truly a vision to behold and Izuku’s chest thumps violently in his chest. The moment of truth is near.
“What is a surprise, though,” he says slowly, watching Ochako’s eyes widen and eyebrows raise with inquisitive anticipation, “is that he told me you were supposed to relay the message that he wasn’t coming today.”
Her face is completely blank. Izuku’s heart speeds and his stomach starts to stir. She’s hiding something. It could be that something. He hopes that it is that something. The something he would never imagine happening in this lifetime.
Izuku waits a moment for her to say something, anything before he asks. They’re gazing at each other in silence, emerald eyes searching hazel ones, while cars zoom past on the street.
“He says you probably just forgot.” Another breeze shakes the branches again and more petals find refuge in Ochako’s hair. “Did you?”
Ochako opens her mouth, then immediately closes it. Her eyes dart away from Izuku’s face for the first time, choosing instead to follow the falling petals of the tree. They continue to stand in silence for several long moments while petals fall all around them. Ochako finally meets his eyes again.
Her eyes burn bright with renewed determination and she looks nervous, more nervous than Izuku has ever seen her before. Her cheeks are coloring a dark pink, so dark pink that they’re almost red. She’s laughs lightly, a sound of nervousness.
“I didn’t forget.”
Izuku’s stomach is in triple- and quadruple-knots. He hates that he’s psyching himself up for something that he knows won’t happen and yet … his heart flutters with the tiniest bit of hope. Herevels in the fact that there is a chance, even though it is incredibly , impossibly small, that he might have been reading the signs right all day. A chance is chance. No matter how small.
He doesn’t trust his mouth to work correctly so he doesn’t say anything else. He just looks at her for her answer.
She takes a deep breath and exhales it after a few seconds. “I didn’t forget to call,” she repeats. She looks resolved: her eyes are resolute and her chin is tilted up in a show of confidence. “I was thinking that if it was just you and me, I’d finally have the nerve to confess. Since we wouldn’t be around other people. Other people we know ,” she clarifies.
Izuku remembers a thing his mother had told him several years ago. They were both sitting at the dinner table after just finishing one of his mother’s favorite rom-coms. He didn’t trust random movies but he did trust his mother. So he asked her what it felt like to be confessed to by someone you like, or even love. He remembers her thinking very quietly and very intently about the answer she wanted to give. After a while, she looked at him with one of the sweetest smiles she has ever given him.
“I can’t speak for everyone,” she started, “but for me, there isn’t a rush, or a big to-do, or anything like that. It’s calming. It’s one of the greatest reliefs you’ll ever feel.”
One of the greatest reliefs.
The knots, the fear, and the erratic heartbeats ceased to exist. He felt a giant weight being released from his shoulders, the tension and pressure that he had been carrying all day finally undoing themselves. A great relief. The perfect description.
Although, he’s glad that the one thing he hasn’t been relieved of is his excitement. Butterflies swarm his stomach as he looks at Ochako, cherry blossom petals still nestled beautifully in her hair, haloing her pretty face. “So … The hand-holding, the,” he stumbles over the next word, “fli- flirtatious comments, the picture caption … the kiss ? That wasn’t just me … overthinking everything?”
Ochako raises her eyebrows in almost exaggerated disbelief. After a few moments, she laughs and shakes her head. “And here I was thinking, ‘ wow , Izuku is totally oblivious to anything not related to All Might!’ But it just turns out you picked up on everything loud and clear. I thought that you definitely would have confronted me after the selfie but I guess you really had to go.”
Izuku sighs exasperatedly. “I wasn’t constipated, Ochako.”
“I’m not judging,” she replies, laughing louder than before. Some of the petals in her hair come loose from the shaking of her joy. The sight immediately makes him forget his annoyance. “But I do have a question.”
“Hm?” He wants to comb his fingers through her hair and catch all the petals. He thinks that he’s able to do that now, if dating comes after confessions. He’s not sure. He doesn’t have any real-world experience in things like this, but that seems like a logical step. And he’s pretty sure if that’s the case, then boyfriends can definitely do things like run fingers through their girlfriend’s hair and gently touch her face and lean in real close and indulge in the smell of her strawberry-scented shampoo and then—
“If I had kissed you, like really kissed you,” her voice is light and teasing, “would you have gotten the hint or would you have written that off too?” She laughs, voice swelling with amusement and Izuku chuckles faintly. She’s never going to let him live this down, is she?
“Not funny, Ochako,” he says, but they’re both smiling like she’s told the funniest joke in the world. He reaches out towards her slowly, giving her a chance to avoid his advance if she wants, but she doesn’t move, and he gently moves to cup her cheek. He holds it there, without moving for a few moments, relishing in the simple fact that he’s not at all dreaming. He raises his other hand to cup Ochako’s other cheek and only now does he notice that she’s blushing uncontrollably. She’s pink all over. From the petals in her hair to the shoes on her feet. She’s pink and precious and pretty and his . Butterflies threaten to inhabit his stomach forever and his heart flutters ceaselessly.
Softly, so softly that Izuku doesn’t as much hear her words as he does read them from her lips, Ochako says: “Can I kiss you? Really kiss you?”
She leans in closer in response, hitting Izuku with the scent of her shampoo. Izuku laughs softly when she stands on her toes, a valiant but useless attempt to reach his lips. He smiles softly and angles her face upward with his hands. When he begins to lean down towards her, her eyes begin to slit close, her beautiful face almost angelic with such an expression, and Izuku thinks, amusedly, that the rom-coms at least got something right. As he nearly closes in completely, Izuku thinks that he could drown in the scent of strawberries forever and never get si—Sick. Sick .
Izuku immediately pulls away from the kiss, emerald eyes burning with a different kind of intensity. “Ochako.”
The brunette opens her eyes dazedly, a hint of confusion showing on her face. “Mm?”
“Do you mind if I take a quick second?”
“Um,” Ochako completely stirs from bliss, taking a long moment to inspect Izuku carefully. “Uh, sure. You okay?”
Izuku doesn’t answer and instead retracts his hands from Ochako’s face to retrieve his phone from his pocket and type a quick message.
Midoriya: IT WAS A DATE