Okay – eight, nine – what was the carousel number again? Crap – thirteen, okay, okay.
Izuku tries to give off the confidence of someone who knows where the hell they’re going.
It’s not his fault – he hasn’t been to this airport in a while, and they definitely remodeled the C gates, and Izuku checks his text from Ochaco to confirm once more that yes, they are still meeting at carousel thirteen.
Izuku takes in a deep breath and adjusts the bag on his shoulder as he fights through the crowd. He can do this.
His mind has already run through a hundred-million different situations – and Izuku has decided at best, his friends will be happy to see him, and at worst they’ll have forgotten his name and moved on.
Ochaco said they – well, Ochaco has a habit of sugarcoating things for him anyways – and she really doesn’t need to, Izuku won’t be mad, four years is a really long time –
Izuku nearly jumps out his skin at the distant shout of his name. He only has a moment to recover before knuckles are digging into the top of his head.
“Deku!” Katsuki shouts, really giving him a noogie for the ages. “What the fuck – not even a fuckin’ postcard. What the hell is this?” Katuski slaps his chest with the back of his hand, and Izuku giggles an oof sound – “Who let you get gains?”
“Sorry Kacchan,” Izuku laughs. “Forgot to ask your permission first.”
Katuski snarls a laugh and digs his knuckles harder into Izuku’s head, and Izuku feels downright giddy as he tries to half-heartedly bat him off. The familiarity of it already feels like home.
“Midoriya!” Katsuki is torn off by Kirishima, and Izuku gapes at how broad he’s gotten. He’s squeezed tight in a hug, and Izuku flails to hug him back. “We missed you! Oh my god you look so different!”
“S-So do you!”
Kirishima’s hair is much longer. His shoulders are wide, but Katuski has definitely put on more muscle. Mask or not, it’s obvious that they’re heroes.
“Fuckin’ look at this,” Katsuki squeezes the muscle in Izuku’s shoulder. “I’m absolutely livid.”
“Babe, he puts our gains to shame.”
“Best friend coming through, out of my way!” Ochaco pushes, and Izuku’s heart soars as Ochaco wraps him up in a hug. “You made it!”
“I did! Wow-“ Izuku laughs. “I – thanks for coming to see me! I missed you guys like crazy.”
They’re all a little older, a little different. Less babyfat and more muscle – Izuku didn’t expect them to stay the same, but it’s still a surprise.
“The others wanted to come too,” Tsuyu croaks. “But most couldn’t get off duty.”
“O-oh!” Izuku stutters, flattered. “That’s alright! It’s great to see you, Tsuyu. I like the hair.”
Tsuyu makes a low ribbit sound, and lets Ochaco take her hand.
“Guess who else is here,” Ochaco grins, and Izuku’s heart nearly falls out of his ass because he knows what that look means.
He can do this. He can do this. He can absolutely do this. Four years – Izuku is over it, totally and completely –
Shouto steps aside, offering a short wave and a close-lipped smile, but the look in his eyes is ecstatic, glittery blue and grey – and Izuku’s soul leaves his body at a hundred miles an hour.
Oh my fucking god.
You might as well play ‘if you like pina colatas’ and run in slow motion on the beach, because Shouto is walking towards him, and Izuku has left this planetary solar system.
Shouto is taller, stronger, lean and built with muscle that wasn’t there before. Izuku didn’t think it was possible for his face to grow even prettier, but of course Shouto has found a way to beat the odds. He’s chiseled, pale, and the most gorgeous human being Izuku has ever seen in his life, again.
Air sucking straight out of his lungs, Izuku thinks with a dull sense of humor:
Oh I am so not over it.
“Welcome back, Izuku,” Shouto says, and holy shit his voice. Was it always that deep?
“Y-your hair!” Izuku stutters. “It’s longer!”
“Oh,” Shouto feels along his neck. “I guess so. You cut yours.”
Shouto’s bangs are long enough to pull back in a little bun, and Izuku thinks he might actually pass out.
“Is this all you brought?” Kirishima holds up his bag from the carousel.
“O-Oh! Yeah, thanks.”
“Where are you headed after this?”
“My moms place. I didn’t have much luck apartment hunting overseas.”
“Nah,” Katuski says, taking Izuku’s bag out of Kirishima’s hand and slinging it over his shoulder. “We’re taking you out first. Four years for a fuckin’ charity project? You’ve lost your goddamn mind.”
“It wasn’t just a charity project,” Izuku laughs.
“Tell us more about it at the bar,” Ochaco says. “You’re starting to attract attention already.”
Izuku whips his head up, and he notices onlookers taking videos on their phones. He offers an embarrassed smile and a wave, and lets Kirishima urge him along with a hand at his back.
“We can all totally fit in my van. C’mon, I’ve got so much to tell you!”
Izuku turns back, and notices Shouto walking a pace behind him. Shouto gives him a half smile, and Izuku whips back around, embarrassed.
They pile into Kirishima’s van – It’s not a mom car! – Dude it’s totally a mom car – and Izuku feels lightheaded with all the excitement. Shouto slides in next to him, and everything about this feels so normal, as if Izuku never left, and it makes his eyes sting a little.
Izuku tries not to look at Shouto too much. He’s so pretty it hurts, like it actually hurts. Like staring straight at the sun. All the repressed (and repressed, and repressed) old feelings come bubbling up like Mentos in cherry soda.
But fingers graze his elbow, and Izuku manages to look at him without squinting.
“How was the flight?” Shouto asks gently.
“Um,” Izuku clears his throat. “Long. My English has gotten way better, but American airports are still confusing as hell.”
Katuski turns around from the front seat.
“Developed a little mouth on ya back there, did you nerd? I bet he replaced us within the first day, fucker makes friends with the garbage man.”
Ochaco gasps jokingly, “How could you!”
Izuku laughs, “No! Not at all. I mean, I made some friends, but they were mostly acquaintances.” His garbage man’s name was also Paul and he had a very nice family, shut up.
“I know,” Tsuyu says from the way back. “You only facetimed Ochaco every day.”
Shouto looks back, and over. “You did?”
Izuku feels his stomach flop with guilt. He kind of – well. He and Shouto used to text on the regular, but the last couple months have been so crazy, he kinda sorta kept ‘forgetting’ to text Shouto back. A dick move, Izuku knows.
When he was asked to help out on a villain case in America, Izuku knew it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. It sounded like they really needed him – and Izuku had already established himself as Number One by his twenty-second birthday, so when he got the call, he went.
It’s really the whole truth. But it was more than an opportunity; it was a chance to change. To learn new languages, to help new people.
A chance to finally throw away the torch he’d been carrying for six years.
Izuku looks at Shouto out of the corner of his eye – and Shouto is staring right at him, dressed expensive, bangs pulled back and eyes open and understanding and sad, like he really did miss Izuku.
Ten years now. Izuku is pathetic.
“You ghosted him?” Kirishima laughs. “Cold as iceee.”
“I’m sorry!” Izuku laughs, patting Shouto’s arm. “Stuff got so busy, I kept forgetting to text you back. You can dethrone me as Best Friend.”
“Nah,” Shouto says, relaxing back in his seat – and Izuku realizes that he was pulling his leg. “I assumed you were busy. But it’s difficult to receive American news here – we would only hear word when it made international television.”
“Yeah!” Ochaco says, reaching over the headrest to pat his shoulder. “You’re going to have soo many people up your butt. You might as well call your publicist now, ‘cause everyone is going to ask where the Number One has been.”
The car starts to slow as Kirishima pulls into a bar parking lot, but Katsuki is still turned around completely – without a seatbelt, mind you.
“You know you’re a fuckin’ asshole, right,” Katsuki snaps. “Maintaining Number One without even being here.”
Izuku grins, “Hey, it’s hard to get Japanese news overseas too, but I still followed the rankings. You and Shouto switched spots what, fifteen times?”
“Eighteen,” Shouto corrects, and Katsuki turns back around and fumes.
“Just you wait, half-n-half bastard, I’m taking my rank back on the next call out.”
“Sure,” Shouto says coolly.
“I’m coming for your job, bitch,” Katuski points at Izuku. He then promptly kicks open the car door as Kirishima puts it in park.
“You can try!” Izuku pipes happily, and there’s laughter as Katsuki slams the door shut.
“Ah,” Kirishima smiles. “It’s good to have you back, Midoriya.”
It makes him emotional to be surrounded by friends again. They crowd in on one of the circle booths and order a round of drinks, and it feels like home.
Izuku isn’t surprised when Kirishima wraps an arm around Katsuki’s waist and hauls him close. They’re cute together, and it’s nice to see that their relationship has lasted this long. Tsuyu and Ochaco are a new thing, but Izuku is happy that they’ve finally quit dancing around each other.
Shouto must want him dead, because he slides in next to Izuku and looks at him as if he’s the only person in the bar. His cologne smells sooo freaking good its seriously unfair.
“So, I was told you worked to bring down an underground drug-trade. Is that true?”
Izuku rubs his nose, and feels cornered under Shouto’s gaze.
“I mean, sort of. It wasn’t just any drug – they were extremely dangerous quirk enhancers. The villains over there were like nothing I’d ever seen.”
“Dude, I bet you got some sick scars,” Kirishima says.
“Oh – well,” Izuku looks once around the bar, and subtly pulls up the side of his shirt. “I thought this one was kind of ironic.”
“Woah!” Kirishima slams his hand on the table, and Katsuki leans up and over the drinks to get a better look.
“What the fuck?”
Shouto makes a choked noise next to him, and Izuku quickly yanks down his shirt with a flush.
“Wait wait wait,” Ochaco lifts his shirt back up again, “What the hell? You didn’t tell me about this.”
“I didn’t? Oops.”
“That’s the same spot as All Might,” Tsuyu croaks.
“Yeah,” Izuku laughs nervously. “But without the organ damage. It’s all superficial.”
“You’re very lucky,” Shouto says, and the concern in his voice is like honey.
“Wanna’ see something nasty?” Katsuki rolls up his own sleeve and shows off a scar running down the line of his bicep all the way to his wrist. “Panther claws. Furry fuckers will get you.”
“Woah, that’s rough Kacchan.”
Tsuyu and Ochaco show off matching scars on their shoulders, and Kirishima rattles off his own list of battle victories.
“Todoroki got roughed up a bit last week, didn’t ya’?” Kirishima takes a shot and wipes the back of his mouth. “Had us all worried to hell and back.”
Izuku feels his stomach drop.
“What?! You did?”
Shouto shrugs, “Broke my back. It was fine, there was a medic with a healing quirk on scene.”
“Oh my goodness,” Izuku covers his mouth. “I’m glad you’re okay, Jesus. I feel so out of the loop.”
“That’s what we’re here for!” Kirishima grins.
“Hey dickheads,” Katsuki points to the T.V. across the bar. “Look who’s already made channel six.”
Izuku looks up, and blinks when he sees himself. It’s a video filmed in portrait mode – Katsuki rubbing his knuckles into Izuku’s hair and Kirishima giving him a big hug in the airport.
“Oh,” Izuki blinks.
“Our Number One is back,” Shouto says, gently patting his knee in a way that lights up Izuku’s entire spine. “The whole country is going to be talking about you.”
Izuku sinks a little, face going red. “Ah, I see.” If Shouto touches him again, Izuku might just combust on the spot. It’s a hard reminder that they used to be like this – touching always, leaning into each other, sharing secrets.
“So what’s your plan? You never opened an agency.”
“And I don’t really plan on it either,” Izuku rubs the back of his neck. “I just want to get back to work as fast as possible. I might have to ask around and see if any agencies have available hero registries. I need to get back on the roster so I can receive calls again.”
“You don’t want your own agency?”
“I mean – maybe one day. But right now I don’t even have an apartment.”
“Aren’t you supposed to hire people for that kind of shit?”
“Join mine,” Shouto says quickly. The table goes silent.
“What?” Izuku tips his head.
“My agency,” Shouto clarifies.
Izuku blinks twice, and then nearly knocks over his drink.
“Wait – you opened it already?!”
“Oh yeah,” Katsuki sets his head in his hand. “That shit was hilarious. First halfie kicks his pops off the top ten, then he says fuck you twice and buys his own goddamn building.”
“It wasn’t…really like that…” Shouto rubs the back of his head.
“It was totally like that,” Ochaco laughs.
Izuku giggles, and fwaps his hand against Shouto’s side. “That’s incredible! Seriously! I would love to join your agency, if you’d let me.”
“Of course,” Shouto nods seriously.
“That guys been a powerhouse,” Kirishima jabs his thumb in Shouto’s direction. “Our graduating class is giving us a run of our money, I’ll tell ya.” Katsuki grunts in a reluctant agreement.
“They’re all in the top fifteen,” Tsuyu explains. “You know, give or take.”
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Izuku says. He thanks the waitress when she refills his beer, and Izuku takes another drink before continuing, “The states had good work, but I’m excited to be back in Japan again. Seriously guys, I’m really glad you came to see me.”
A short pause as they look at each other.
“Whatever,” Katsuki snaps.
“Well duh! It hasn’t been the same without you.”
“We missed you,” Shouto says, way too earnestly.
“Iida wanted to be here so bad,” Ochaco explains. “But he’s working on a serial killer case that’s been taking up all his time.”
“Wow. I’ll definitely stop by his office to say hi.”
“His agency isn’t far from mine,” Shouto says, leaning over to speak above the noise of the bar. “We work together frequently.”
Shouto’s breath is cool against his neck, and Izuku nearly shivers. How? How can someone be so sexy?
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Izuku was supposed to move on, get over it – screw around, get his heart broken, break bones in return and move on!
Shouto still looks at him like he’s the world. Still treats him like he never left. Is still so beautiful and kind and generous. The thought of joining Shouto’s agency gives him butterflies, and he’s twenty-six years old for Christ’s sake.
Izuku thinks he recovers fairly human-like, bringing his glass to his lips and nodding.
“I-I see! Good, that’s. Good.”
“God you haven’t fuckin’ changed,” Katsuki rolls his eyes. “Still awkward as all shit.”
“It’s a part of my branding,” Izuku jokes, getting a laugh out of the table. Shouto’s low chuckle is way, way, way too much for his brain to handle, so Izuku clears his throat and excuses himself to the bathroom. “I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t fall in.”
Izuku laughs, feeling like he’s back in high school again. The relief of knowing that his friends still care about him is heavy, in a sense. He’s tired from the flight and eager to see his mom again – but he feels like he could spend an eternity here.
Izuku manages to find the restroom. And as soon as he’s out of earshot, Shouto slams his forehead into his hands.
Everyone bursts out laughing –
“Kill me,” Shouto muffles into his arms. “How did he get more attractive? It should be illegal for someone to be so cute and so hot at the same time.”
“Did you see his abs?!” Kirishima slaps his hand against the table, trembling the drinks. “Sweet mother Theresa, babe I love you half to death but by god I would tap that so hard.”
“You’re disgusting,” Katuski deadpans. Kirishima wraps an arm around his shoulders in return.
“Come on. You’re tellin’ me if that ass came up to you and whined Kacchan~ you wouldn’t fuck him six ways to Sunday?”
Katsuki grunts and crosses his arms, which is a very reluctant yes. Ochaco is choking she’s laughing so hard. Tsuyu covers her mouth with her hand.
Shouto looks up through his arms and glares, “Don’t you even think about it.”
“Oh come on, you’ve had dibs since high school,” Kirishima huffs. “It’s so not fair. The undercut, guys.”
Shouto rubs his eyes, “The shirt.” He then glares at Ochaco, “You knew he was hot and didn’t tell us.”
Ochaco smiles, “Aww, me? ‘Zuku has always been attractive, silly. I didn’t think it was news.”
“Icyhot, you better snatch him up or this bitch in heat is gonna’ steal him from you,” Katsuki elbows his boyfriend. Kirishima purrs for show, and Shouto growls in response. He likes Kirishima, he really does, but Shouto has surprisingly few hang-ups about killing him.
“Kirishima, or the rest of Japan,” Tsuyu adds. She turns her phone around and shows off her twitter feed. “It’s all over my timeline.”
Ochaco wipes her tears and giggles, “Goodness me. I was worried his fans would’ve dispersed by now.”
“Dear god,” Shouto prays, hands under his chin. “Please give me strength.”
“To tap that ass,” Kirishima continues.
“And to not let Shouto make a fool out of himself, Amen,” Ochaco finishes.
“Idiot incoming,” Katuski grunts.
There’s a commotion as Izuku approaches the table.
“You guys are laughing,” Izuku smiles, sliding back into the booth. “What’d I miss?”
“The twitter thirst is real,” Tsuyu says, showing him the tweets as well. Izuku blushes pink, and slips all the way down in his seat.
“O-oh, I uh…”
Izuku has never been good at handling the attention. His publicist tells him to smile and wave – and that part Izuku has down the hatch – it’s the fans that make him flush, because that used to be him. It’s hard to believe that people can think of him so highly, Number One title and all.
Shouto pulls his drink away from the edge of the table to prevent an accident, and the notion makes Izuku’s heart hurt.
“Don’t let them tease you, Izuku.”
Dammit, Shouto should not be allowed to say his name like that.
“Mags are gonna’ be all over you like white on rice dude,” Kirishima says. “It’s gonna be Todoroki two-point-o.”
Shouto rubs at his face tiredly, and Izuku looks up at him, curious.
“Nothing,” Shouto says. “Want to go up to the bar? I’ll buy you another drink.”
“Oh – are you sure?”
“Absolutely. You deserve something better than beer.”
“Oi!” Katsuki snaps.
“Okay,” Izuku grins, heart loud in his ears. He slides off the booth, and Shouto follows after him, and he’s not quite sure why everyone starts laughing, but the sound of it makes Izuku smile anyways, even if it might be at his expense.
It’s nice to be back in familiar streets again. Not that Izuku was good at speaking in any language, but at least he’s more comfortable ordering food and calling the cable company.
Mom’s happy to see him again. Izuku feels a bit like a bum, sitting around the house waiting for his Japanese hero license to renew, so he tries to help his mom how he can.
“Sit down!” Mom calls. “You spent four years working without a break – for the love of god, relax baby.”
Izuku tries, but it’s not really in his bones. When his mom goes out for groceries, Izuku digs out his old weights from under his childhood bed and folds laundry with his free hand, his phone propped up against the basket.
He can tell that Ochaco is in her office – and she probably was doing paperwork, but Izuku stopped feeling bad about interrupting her about a year and a half ago.
“I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“Uhh, the big deal??? Is that you withheld important information from me,” Izuku huffs. “You know how I was trying to uh – hello, get over this thing with Shouto? Yeah, it would’ve been nice for you to tell me he got a thousand million times hotter.”
Ochaco rolls her eyes.
“I’m a lesbian. How was I supposed to know?”
“Oh don’t give me that, you have eyes.”
“Ugh, seriously, Izuku? If your feelings lasted that long, what made you think they wouldn’t make another four years?”
“I dunno…” Izuku folds up one of the pillowcases and sticks in in the basket. “I was hoping I wasn’t that pathetic. God Ochaco, I missed him so fucking much. You know what he texted me the other day?”
“That he had Friday off and he wanted to help me look for an apartment. Like Jesus! He’s already hooking me up with his agency, could he be any nicer?”
“You act like this is a problem.”
“It is!” Izuku cries. “I literally did not respond to him for six months, and he moves on like it didn’t even bother him. Shouto was so happy to see me I thought I was gonna’ cry in the airport. I forgot his eyes could sparkle like that, Ochaco I’m dying. All he wants is a friend and I’m taking advantage of his nice-ness.”
“Alright. I know you hate listening to me—”
“Now that’s not true--”
“But you need to really, really, really, really listen to me.”
“Really, really. It’s a fresh start, you guys haven’t hung out in years. Just tell him how you feel.”
“That’s the problem!” Izuku shouts, pressing his face into an armful of sheets. “I was over him!”
Ochaco goes quiet on the line. Izuku sighs, and slowly pulls the sheets away from his face.
“I…I moved on. Or – I thought I did. I dated people, I fell in love, I fell out of love. I had a different life – and then I saw him in that airport and it was like it all just punched me in the face. Like I didn’t even leave, Ochaco.”
“What’s so wrong about liking Shouto?”
“Nothing, I – I just want to stop obsessing over something that’ll never happen and –“ Ochaco makes a sound and Izuku barks, “I’m serious! I really fuckin’ missed him, and I really want a chance to have back what we had. I want to be friends. I think if I just – if I hang out with him a bit, the initial shock of his hot-ness will go away.”
Ochaco groans through the screen and rubs at her temples.
“You give me high blood pressure. Seriously babe, you’re an adult. Your friendship lasted a four-year break, I think if you just tell him how you feel, it’ll last through that too.”
“We’re going to be friends if it kills me,” Izuku says, and he can see Ochaco dully hit her forehead against her desk through the screen.
Izuku takes a sip from his straw, and then mentally slaps himself for it.
Stop – it’s super weird to drink all your coffee before you’ve even gotten a chance to give away the other one; then you’re just giving someone coffee instead of having coffee together and okay, seriously dude? This needs to stop. Izuku does not care if Shouto thinks he’s a weirdo and fuck what does it matter Shouto knows he’s a weirdo anyways – Izuku takes another sip and then mentally kicks himself again.
Oh my god stop!
He spins on his heel and jerks up his head.
“Hey Shouto!” Nice recovery, very normal and socially acceptable. “Wow! You look great!” Shit, too much, pull it back –
“Thank you,” Shouto doesn’t quite smile, but his eyes do. “So do you.” He’s in those stylish, expensive jeans that you see on magazines sometimes, as well as a turtleneck and a peacoat. Shouto’s hair is in a little bun and Izuku could just! Fucking! Die!
“Here, this is for you,” Izuku hands him the coffee. “It’s still mocha with extra half n’ half, right?”
“Yes,” Shouto does smile this time. “Thank you. Bakugou overheard my coffee order a couple months ago and never let me hear the end of it.”
“You should be proud that you made it that long!” Izuku laughs, falling in step with him as they begin to walk. Damn, Izuku thought he hit a growth spurt, but Shouto has no business walking around with such long legs. Izuku clears his throat, “So, um. It was way nice of you to help me on your day off.”
“Not a problem,” Shouto answers. He pulls off the straw wrapper with his teeth and sticks it in his drink, and Izuku thinks ugh that mouth—no! Down boy! – Shouto takes a sip and glances down at him, continuing, “I wanted to spend time with you anyways.”
“Ah, well I - ” Izuku laughs nervously, “- thank you! I’ve missed hanging out with you. I um, did a bit more research while I’ve been home and I couldn’t find a lot of apartments in the city but I did see some okay-ish complexes outside of –“
“No,” Shouto interrupts, “I’ve already scheduled several apartment tours for today. There’s plenty of available housing towards the suburbs, but you want to be in an accessible district to take hero calls. It’s no good if you’re too far out of town.”
“Ah,” Izuku blinks. “But I didn’t see anything available online.”
Shouto looks to him and raises an eyebrow, “You didn’t try calling. You’d be surprised what rank will get you around here.”
“Wh-what?” Izuku presses his drink to his face to cool it down. “That’s – that’s not right. I don’t want to use Number One as an excuse to – to get a nice apartment. Some of the wait lists are years long.”
Shouto stops at a red light, and Izuku pauses alongside him. Shouto sips his coffee and answers smoothly,
“Then that just shows how much more deserving you are.”
Amid his mental screaming, Izuku manages to look around at the direction they’re headed.
“Hey,” Izuku huffs. “This is the expensive side of town. You’re not showing me a bunch of lush condos are you?”
Shouto scoffs at him, “Will you just trust me?”
The snap in Shouto’s tone startles Izuku into a laugh. Shouto’s mask slips back on, and Izuku laughs more.
Not many know that Shouto is delightfully feisty. All the kids in school favored his cool personality, but Izuku always liked when they’d hide out in his room and play streetfighter, ‘cause Shouto would get more fired-up about jump-cancels then he did about Katsuki screaming in his face during training.
“Okay, okay,” Izuku beams. “I trust you.”
“Sorry,” Shouto mumbles. “It was hard not having you around. I guess I’m just excited to see you more.”
One hit K.O, shot through the heart, another one bites the dust. It takes all of Izuku’s brain-power not to trip, bite the asphalt and scream.
That black, tar-ish feeling sludges back into his chest again – guilt pulling at his heart because, really. Shouto didn’t deserve to have Izuku shut off all contact just because he can’t get over a stupid crush. They’re best friends.
“I’m here now,” Izuku smiles. Shouto blinks down at him with an unreadable expression, and Izuku turns his gaze back to the sidewalk. “You should take me by your agency today. I’ve been dying to see what it looks like. You’re a big-wig now, aren’t you!”
“Not…really. But we can stop by. My assistant would be happy to get your paperwork done with.”
Izuku elbows him with a smile, “Does this mean you’re my boss now?”
Shouto’s face shrivels up sour.
“Of course not. You’re an independent contractor under a hero firm – if anything, between rank and experience, you would be – “
“I’m kidding!” Izuku laughs. “I’m totally kidding. I’m going to owe you like a million coffees after all this.”
Shouto’s face softens, and he tugs on Izuku’s sleeve before he can continue down the street.
“This is the first one.”
Izuku looks up at the tower and gapes.
“This?! Are you serious?”
“I think you’ll like it,” Shouto says. “The view is pretty.”
Truth be told, Shouto is a lot better at this than Izuku is.
He asks the important questions; like washer-dryer amenities, pest control, trash day and quiet hours. Izuku is busy running his hand along the walls, peeking over the balconies and calling Shouto look! I can see Present Mic’s radio tower from here!
Oh, yeah, and the apartments are cool too. They’re all a bit more high-end than what Izuku would’ve picked for himself, but Shouto keeps insisting that he needs a grown up apartment – something less reminiscent of the rat-infested complex he rented in America.
“It was totally fine,” Izuku waves, as they step out of the lobby. “If you bang the ceilings they’ll go away.”
Shouto’s face scrunches up, and Izuku tries really hard not to laugh.
“You can’t possibly think that was okay.”
“You just grew up with money,” Izuku pats his elbow.
“Hm,” Shouto frowns. He then points, “The agency is three blocks that way. Do you want to call a cab?”
“I can walk!”
It’s the afternoon now, but the walking is good for his legs, seeing as Izuku hasn’t been able to hit a gym the last couple weeks.
“I liked this one a lot, you’re pretty good at this,” Izuku tells. He then looks back up at Shouto, “Wait, only three blocks? That’s convenient.”
“A coincidence,” Shouto replies. “Are you going to need new furniture?”
“Nah. I still have all the stuff I packed up from my old apartment before I left. I’ve been paying for a storage unit for the last couple years so, I might as well use it.”
“If you do go shopping, don’t take Momo with you. She’ll make you spend an arm and a leg.”
“Haha! You sound like you talk from experience.”
“I said I needed help finding one couch,” Shouto sighs. “I came home with a new apartment, is what I did.”
Izuku clutches his stomach as he laughs. He sways a little, almost stepping off the curb and into a vendor cart.
“I love Yaoyorozu. The power to create anything in the world, and she still—” Izuku freezes right in his tracks. He whips his head back over, and takes a step back. “What the hell is that?”
Shouto cringes, “Oh Christ.”
“Can I see this?” Izuku points quickly, and the vendor nods, bored. Izuku picks up one of the magazines and gapes. “Oh my god Shouto!”
There, right on the cover of GQ, is Shouto in a designer suit.
His posture is seductive and handsome, fingers adjusting an expensive watch on his wrist. Shouto’s expression isn’t different from any other - but the lighting, the clothes, even the way his hair is styled – he looks like a model. Like, a model model. Like, the kind of model Tyra Banks has wet dreams about.
“Is this what Kirishima was talking about?!” Izuku gasps.
Shouto looks genuinely embarrassed. He covers half his face with one hand and sighs, “They wouldn’t leave me alone. My manager keeps making me do it.”
“You mean there’s more?!”
“N- no –“
“Hello, sir? How much?”
“Don’t buy it,” Shouto whines, but it’s too damn late, Izuku is buying every copy and stapling it to all the walls of his new apartment, whichever that may be. Hello sexy wallpaper.
“This is amazing,” Izuku beams, flipping through the pages and reading. “101 on the Number Two hero, Todoroki Shouto. Fashion, sports cars, and crime busting, Todoroki is officially heartthrob of the yea–“
“That’s enough,” Shouto snatches it out of his hand, but Izuku grabs it back.
“I never even thought about how much merch has come out since I’ve been gone — I need to do some serious amazon shopping when I get home. You know I wore out my old HotCold shirt until you could hardly read it anymore, and people in America still kept asking me where I got it.” Izuku laughs, “Kept having to tell them that it was a first edition we screen printed at my moms house.”
Izuku is irrationally excited to hunt down all his friends’ merchandise. He just can’t help it, it’s imbedded in his blood. It takes Izuku a moment to realize that Shouto is staring down at him. Izuku feels his face crawl with heat, but Shouto says softly,
“I still have yours, too.”
Izuku flushes, “You do?!”
“Among other things,” Shouto smirks. “Your merchandizing team has been working hard since you left.”
Izuku sighs, clutching the magazine to his chest as they continue towards the agency.
“I know, they emailed me like crazy. I had to approve Deku boxers last week.”
Shouto laughs – like an actual, hearty laugh – and Izuku feels so light he could just jump up and float. Their fingers brush for a second, and Izuku is yanked back down to earth by the chain around his heart.
“If you’re excited about that magazine, just wait until you see the photoshoot Bakugou did for Vogue.”
“Holy shit what?!”
“So,” Shouto says, cheek pressed against the bar, fingers loosely grasping at his glass. “I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m flying myself into the sun. I bought a spaceship and I’m leaving tomorrow, goodbye.”
“Date went well?” Momo smiles.
Shouto mumbles, “Wasn’t a date…”
“It couldn’t have gone that bad.”
“He bought my magazine, Momo.”
Katsuki leans back on the stool and cackles, and Shouto considers freezing his beer over.
“I mean, you did look hot,” Kirishima shrugs. “Maybe he’s into you.”
“You’re a sneaky fuckin’ bastard, you know that right?” Katsuki points. “Deku sent me pictures of the apartment he ‘chose’. Does asshat know your place is only ten minutes down the block?”
Shouto smirks into his arm, and drags his fingers idly down his shot glass.
“Men are so emotionally constipated,” Momo sighs, kicking back a shot.
“I want him to crack my spine in half like a glowstick,” Shouto says.
“Have you ever tried look-alike porn?” Kirishima offers. “Not that I would know, but there’s like fifty different Deku pornos out there.”
Shouto sighs, “It’s not the same.”
“Ya’ll are disgusting,” Katsuki sneers.
“I need to kiss his freckles or I’ll die.”