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Nowhere I'd Rather Be

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It’s 3 a.m. on the coldest sunday of the year and Izuku is too excited to feel tired.  It’s release day of the newest All Might figure--one that highlights his heroic legacy and the real retired hero, with both of his images standing proudly back to back--and he made sure he woke up early enough to buy one.

Even two years after his retirement, All Might is as popular as ever and the lines that wrap around the storefront prove it.

It’s freezing and dark and Izuku is sore from the rigorous training that U.A. third years go through, but he still excitedly shifts from one foot to the other.  There’s nowhere he’d rather be.

“It’s cold as fuck out here,” Katsuki gripes beside him, burrowing his nose deeper into the collar of his thick, thermal lined jacket.

“It will get better once the sun rises,” Izuku insists with a wide smile.  The cold air bites at his cheeks, but he’s too excited to care. “Would you like to borrow my scarf?”

Katsuki snorts into his jacket.  Izuku can hear the smirk in his voice even with the bottom half of his face smothered in his coat.  “I don’t need your stupid scarf, nerd. Besides, you’re probably colder than me and you’re too crazy about All Might to notice it yet.”

As Kacchan takes a step closer, their arms brush together.  Katsuki’s body radiates heat and only in the presence of his rival’s warmth does Izuku realize how cold he actually is.

“You know, I'm surprised you offered to come with me, Kacchan.  When I first mentioned it, you complained about it for days.”

Katsuki rolls his eyes.  “I think it’s stupid that you’re standing in line freezing your ass off when you could ask All Might himself and probably get a prototype free.”

“I couldn’t take advantage of All Might like that!”

“Deku, you’re obviously his favorite.  He’d give you anything you ever wanted.”

“Kacchan, that’s not true!”  Izuku exclaims, blushing furiously as the sleepy figures in line around them turn to glare at him for the noise.  “He’d probably give anything to anyone who asked, that’s just how he is,” he whispers at a more appropriate volume for the crack of dawn.

“You would know,” Katsuki grunts, but doesn’t deny it.

Izuku tries to massage the aches out of his hands as he thinks.  One of the worst effects of how badly he shattered his hands his first year at U.A. is just how much they ache in cold weather.  He’s fine in the cold, except for his hands.

“He’d definitely give you a prototype if you asked, Kacchan.”

Katsuki snorts again.  “Yeah, for looking after your danger-prone ass when he can’t.  I thought I was gonna be your rival, not your babysitter.”

“The only reason why you’re there to babysit me is because you jump into danger just as quickly as I do,” Izuku complains as he shoots him a playful glare.

“Well, it’s what heroes do, isn’t it?”  

Izuku’s heart pounds when he looks up to see a wide grin on Kacchan’s face.

Katsuki has always been awe-inspiring.  But the steadily maturing Kacchan that Izuku is proud to call his friend and rival-- the young man who knows that heroes win and save, who has realized that it’s possible to win by saving-- is absolutely blinding and breathtaking to Izuku.

“Give me your hand, loser.”

“Huh?”  Izuku has to blink a few times before he notices Katsuki’s glaring down at where he’s massaging his own hands.

“You’re fucking up your hands by letting them get so cold.”

“Oh, it’s okay.  I have gloves, so I'm fine.”  Izuku holds up his hands to show off his vibrant red gloves--a gift from his mother specifically made to match his trademark shoes.

Katsuki rolls his eyes and grabs his right hand, tugging it down to rest between their sides.  The heat of Katsuki’s palm is surprisingly warm and soothing through the fabric of his glove.

“We haven’t held hands since we were three,” Izuku murmurs in disbelief.  He lightly squeezes Katsuki’s palm in his grip, just to be sure the contact is real.

“I’m not holding your hand moron, I’m just making sure my rival has usable fingers for our next spar.  I only wanna fight you at your best.” Kacchan gives him the slightest squeeze back though, which makes Izuku’s breath stutter in his lungs.

It also doesn’t escape Izuku’s notice that Katsuki is studiously avoiding his gaze by glaring at the back of the head in front of them.  The cold has tinted his ears a surprisingly bright pink.

“Thanks, Kacchan.”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t mention it.”

They’re tired and cold as they continue to wait in line, but there’s nowhere Izuku would rather be.


“Look at the details, Kacchan!  Isn’t it cool?! They really captured his likeness!!”  Izuku is holding the boxed figure up in the weak morning light, trying to get a close look through the plastic.

Katsuki leaves his own figure in his plastic bag, instead leaning closer to peek at Izuku’s over his shoulder.  “Retired All Might looks just like him,” he admits.

“I know right?!  And the way they did the back to back pose with his hero persona is so cool!!”  Izuku rambles further in his excitement, paying more attention to the box in his hands than the sidewalk in front of him.

It’s only the sudden backwards tug at his collar that keeps him from wandering into traffic.

“See, babysitter,” Katsuki grunts.

“Sorry Kacchan!”  Izuku doesn’t sound especially sorry, but he at least puts the figure away in his backpack to prevent further trouble.

Now fully aware of their surroundings, Izuku is sad to notice that they’re almost back to U.A.  Spending time together has been fun and he’s not sure he wants it to end yet.

Izuku laces his fingers together, frowning at how cold they feel.  He misses the hours waiting in line when Katsuki kept his hand warm.  “I guess with our errand finished, we should head back to the dorms, huh?”

Katsuki glares down at him, shoving his hands harshly into his pockets.  “We’re getting coffee.”

“Huh?”

“I’m gonna buy you a cup of coffee before you freeze to death and we’re gonna drink them together before we go back.”

“Oh, Kacchan, you don’t have to pay!”

Katsuki reclaims his hand and leads the way down the street, farther from U.A.  “I’m paying.”

Izuku happily follows his lead.

Even more surprising than the coffee is that the minute their drinks are ready, Katsuki grabs his hand again to lead him back out into the winter air.

Izuku wants to ask questions, especially since Katsuki has been complaining about the cold all morning, but the blonde walks with a steady sense of purpose.  He has some sort of plan and Izuku’s not going to complain, especially with the comfortable way their hands are linked together.

The goal is apparently a frosty park bench overlooking a small, iced-over pond.  The cold seems to have scared everyone else off, so it’s serene and picturesque.

“I’m surprised you didn’t want to drink inside.”

Katsuki sits on one side of the bench and pats the seat beside him.  “Figured you’d like the view more.”

Izuku sits down only to jump back up as the chill of the bench freezes him through his clothes.

“Kacchan, it’s too cold to sit!!”

Katsuki only raises his arm to the backrest of the bench.  “Try now.”

Izuku timidly sits again, instantly tugged close to Katsuki’s side.  Now his whole body is wrapped in Katsuki’s warmth, surprisingly safe and comforting.

“Better?”

Izuku’s blushing too hard for even his face to be cold.  “Yeah.”

They quietly sip their coffee, enjoying the tranquility around them.

The comfortable silence is only broken when a frigid snowflake lands on the tip of Izuku’s nose.

“There it is,” Katsuki remarks as more snowflakes continue to fall.

“It’s snowing!”  It’s cold where more delicate snowflakes land on his skin, but Izuku is too excited to care.  He’s always loved the magic of snowfall.

Besides, the chill doesn’t last long, not surrounded by Katsuki’s intense body heat.

“It’s been in the forecast all week, but I figured with your one-track mind you’d forget.”

“It’s beautiful, Kacchan!”  Izuku watches the snow filter through the tree branches before flitting to the surface of the icy pond.

“Yeah.”

As Izuku turns to smile, he is surprised to see Kacchan looking at him instead of the picturesque scene around them.

“Has it been a good morning?”  Katsuki’s voice is surprisingly soft when he asks the question, as gentle as the fall of the flakes around them.

“Yeah, I’ve had a lot of fun, Kacchan.”  Izuku beams and Katsuki gives him a proud grin in return.

“Then it was a date.”

“What?!”  Izuku sputters, all the heat in his body racing to color his cheeks.

“Today was a date.”

“You can’t just spring this on someone!”  Izuku’s face feels way too hot, his brain overheating as he tries to wrap his mind around the idea of Katsuki taking him on a date.  “Wait, are you saying that if I didn’t have fun, then it wouldn’t have been?”

“You know I don’t half ass things nerd.  If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right.  If you don’t enjoy it, then it doesn’t count.”

“You've… put a lot of thought into this, haven’t you?”

Katsuki laughs, raising a hand to ruffle his own hair.  “I watched way too many shitty romance movies with Shitty Hair and Pikachu to come up with stupid date ideas.”

“Ideas?  Plural?”

“I’m gonna woo the fuck outta you, nerd.  I’m gonna take you to the best places your little nerdy heart would ever want to go.  I’ll give you the total Jane Austen treatment, whatever you want.”

Izuku feels tears prickle at his eyes and Katsuki hisses under his breath, raising the hand that’s not wrapped around Izuku’s shoulders to brush the tears away.  “Are you trying to freeze your face?”

“You… like me, Kacchan?”

“Would I do all this if I didn’t?  I watched that whole shitty Pride and Prejudice miniseries for you.”

Izuku giggles through his tears.  “I haven’t even seen that. I’ve heard it’s good.”

“You’d like it.  Lizzy doesn’t take any shit.  She reminds me of you.”

More tears run down Izuku’s cheeks.  As fast as they fall, Katsuki’s fingers just as quickly brush them away.

“You know Kacchan, you don’t need to win me over.  You’ve been steadily doing that for a while now.”

“Well, winning is what I do.”  Katsuki grins down at him.  It’s a wide smile, one that’s clearly pleased.  “Though I definitely think you won me over first.  I thought your smile gave me heartburn for months.”

Izuku chuckles, the tears finally slowing.  Katsuki’s hand finds his where they sit in his lap, entwining their fingers together.

“Kacchan, you know… there’s one way to make this date perfect.”

As they lean in for their first kiss, Izuku is happy to discover that Katsuki’s lips are just as warm and comforting as the rest of him.