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scars and martyrs

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“Late night,” Shouto notes when Izuku comes in through the door.

“Had a few complications,” Izuku shrugs, “But we’re fine now.”

“No injuries?”

“No serious ones.”

Shouto frowns and holds out a hand, gesturing for Midoriya to move closer to him. There’s a jagged cut sewn up just beneath Izuku’s collarbone. “No serious ones, hm?”

Izuku reddens, “Just that one. It’s not a big deal. Didn’t need any more than five stitches.”

“Right,” Shouto scowls, “You always say it’s no big deal.”

“They always heal.”

Shouto takes Izuku’s hand and traces his thumb over the scars there, still leftover from when they were in high school. “There seem to be a lot of reminders left on you of past injuries.”

“I’m careful,” Izuku whispers. He leans in close to press his forehead against Shouto’s, “I know you’re concerned but I’m alright, really. Don’t worry about it.”

“How am I supposed to not worry when you seem to be getting into a big villain fight every other week?”

“You do, too. Trust me.”

“You got stitches. Again.”

“And they’ll heal, as usual.”

“There shouldn’t be a ‘usual’ for you getting stitches.”

“Well, the hero job is dangerous and—“

“And it’s most dangerous for the number one.”

Izuku’s expression softens and he leans forward to kiss Shouto’s forehead, “I’m sorry for worrying you. Did you stay up for me?”

“Wasn’t tired.”

“Still aren’t? Or were you just being stubborn?”

“Wasn’t,” Shouto maintains stubbornly, “In fact, I could stay up another two hours.”

“Doing what?”

“Anything.”

Izuku laughs and swings his legs over the back of the couch, flopping forward onto the cushions. He swings to the side and lays down so that his head is resting on Shouto’s lap, “Movie night? Or I could read you to sleep.”

“Movie night sounds good,” Shouto tweaks Izuku’s nose, “Especially since you’re supposed to be asleep?”

Izuku hums innocently, “Is that so?”

“Indeed it is.”

“Well, if you admit you’re tired—“

“I could sleep if you’re tired.”

“Well, I suppose we’ll enjoy a good movie together.”

“So stubborn.”

“No more than you are.”

Shouto laughs, soft and light, “Have any preferences?”

“Something that’s not too riveting.”

“Riveting. Big word for someone who’s barely staying awake.”

“Are you talking about yourself?”

“How about the Aristocats?”

“Sounds good.”

They settle in to the hum and noise of the movie. Izuku leans against Shouto and rests his head on Shouto’s shoulder. Shouto traces Izuku’s scars and sighs.

“Alright,” Izuku shifts, “Get out your grievances. We need communication.”

“I don’t like seeing your scars,” Shouto mumbles, “Every time I see them, it’s a sign of times you got injured. It’s a reminder that you can get hurt easily. But when you see them—it’s like a sign that you survived and can survive again. So you take more stupid risks because you think it’s okay.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re always sorry. And then you take the next dumb risk because you’ve always got to be a martyr. And when I talk to you about it you say it’s just part of the job. But it’s not.”

“I need to guarantee civilian safety.”

“And I want you to think about your safety at least a little. Just—just a bit. I don’t even need you to prioritize yourself. Just try to minimize risk while helping others.”

“Shouto—“

“Please?”

“Okay.”

Shouto buries his nose in Izuku’s hair and sighs, “Okay. I’m not saying you can never get hurt. I’m just saying—try not to. Think about it.”

“My priority is saving people.”

“I know that’s your priority. But sometimes I think that’s all you can think about. Saving others and you just—forget about yourself. Act like you aren’t important.”

Izuku is silent.

“Even if not for any other reason, try to stay safe for me?”

“Okay,” Izuku mumbles. He moves back and kisses Todoroki’s cheek, “I’m sorry. Really, this time.”

“Alright,” Todoroki exhales, “Movie?”

“Movie.”

(Two weeks later, Izuku dodges a punch and retreats back instead of recklessly throwing himself into another attack.

And it’s not perfect, but it’s progress.)