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what do you think of me? (do you think of me?)

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There’s a rolled-up futon in the corner of Hanta’s bedroom.


It just sits there, tucked between the wall and a bookshelf, quiet, hidden. A loose thread in a carefully woven shawl. Izuku doesn’t know how it got there, how he found it or bought it. He doesn’t know how Hanta dragged it through the common room without any raised eyebrows. He doesn’t know why it’s there, even though Hanta’s got a perfectly good bed.


But it has been there every night since Izuku started tiptoeing into Hanta’s room every night, afraid to impose on him, but more afraid to go anywhere else. Since Izuku grew tired of night after night of laying under open stars that do not stare back, his body – and at the same time not his body – paralyzed pre-mortem, the endless balloon of thoughts inflating until it feels like Izuku’s eyes are going to pop out of his head. Since the days of silence beside Izuku being filled with Hanta’s voice and presence until they fell asleep in the same bed, the silent futon forgotten, warmed him in a nicer way. And especially since the days that stretch into weeks of inabilities to speak to anyone or walk anywhere without looking over his shoulder, sensing unavoidable attack, or feeling the press of predatory stares and thoughts that were not actually his.


On those days where Izuku cannot bear the radio static buzzing around in his head any longer, he presses both hands to the grainy wood of Hanta’s dorm room and falls into it to find that both the futon and Hanta are waiting for him. Izuku wonders if Hanta has some secondary quirk to predict when he’s coming, if he sets up the futon and sits up waiting even if Izuku never comes in.


But they never talk about it. Izuku never asks, and Hanta never explains. They understand mutually that when Izuku comes in, he gets to either sleep in the bed or on the futon. End of story.


Izuku never asks. He just lets the silence sink into his bones – the warm, peaceful, comfortable kind of silence between friends (and possibly more) – and counts the timing of Hanta’s breaths, watches the taller boy’s chest rise and fall. He says nothing, except for the way he echoes the position Hanta’s sleeping in, like the hand cupped to Hanta’s chest is interlaced with his own.


This is the most comfortable bed Izuku will ever sleep in.

Izuku can’t call himself tactile, at least, not in the traditional sense.


Harsh, rough hands knock him around carelessly; he’s a pinball trapped in the machine. To this day, his ears still ring from the intensity of explosions too close for comfort. Sneers, glowing red eyes, linger on his skin, ready to pick his every flaw and failure apart.


Izuku takes what he can. He takes these injuries and picks and chooses pieces of each, whittles them away so they don’t hurt so much. So they feel almost affectionate. Beggars can’t be choosers.


Hanta sees how Izuku flinches before leaning in to touch him.


They start off small. Brushes of the hands and arm, legs nudging each other, touches small enough that Izuku can learn how to accept them without flinching. And gentle. Always so incredibly gentle.


Hanta weaves his fingers through Izuku’s soft curls like gusts of wind. He looks at him with expressions so soft and consoling it warms Izuku to the core. Izuku doesn’t deserve such tender kindness, but he craves it. It’s a drink of fresh water for a man walking through the desert.


Izuku isn’t tactile. He keeps his hands to his sides. He’s perfectly fine without touch. And yet his heart stutters every time their hands brush. His moat walls give in to crashing waves, the guardsmen around his heart are defeated within seconds, and his head spins with the vicious sweetness he cannot name. It almost hurt more than bruises and broken bones.


Hanta isn’t particularly tactile either. His words are sharper than his touch. Every once in a while he’ll nudge or high five someone, but not much beyond that unless he really trusts someone.


Izuku knows this firsthand, or at least has the evidence to back this claim up. So far, only he knows the weight of Hanta’s head leaning on his shoulder and the brush of his hair against his cheek, the softer, darker fabric of his skin. Only he finds larger hands on his own and fingers running along his shoulders and through his hair, tugging gently at the edges of his shirt. He feels those loving hands resting at the base of his spine, arms wrapped securely around him promising to never let go. Warm breath with traces of brigadeiro linger against the soft curves of his neck


Izuku wants to ask.


Is this intentional? Does Hanta do this with anyone else? Does Hanta let Katsuki lean against his bed and leave a thousand words unspoken while massaging his scalp with nimble fingers? Does Shouto know how Hanta’s slightly nasally (but still quite charming) voice feels against his back, as Hanta holds him close and talks about his day? Is Izuku a one and only in this?


“Why do you do this?” Izuku would say while the two of them are watching a movie, not really seeing it, with Hanta laying across his lap.


“‘Cus it makes you happy,” Hanta would reply, or Izuku hopes he would reply.


But instead of asking, Izuku just dreams of keeping Hanta close to his heart, closer than All Might, even; telling him things he doesn’t even think he can tell himself yet.

The words eat away at his confidence like caustic acid. Questions and statements burn deep inside his lungs, sing through his flesh, seep into his nerves, and tumble out of his mouth. He rambles on and on and on, without pause to think or breathe, hoping that will chase away the words he really wants to say to Hanta, the words he’s wanted to say for so long.
“There’s no way the theory that Hawks and Tokoyami are related is true. Yeah, they both have bird related Quirks, but, like, they’re different ages for one. And how does a wing Quirk lead to a whole shadow-y bird form living in your body? I mean, it’s possible, but…”
Izuku trails off. Hanta’s casual movements, secretly methodical in their rhythms, stop too.


“Shut up, Deku!”


Rough, callous, hot hands grab Izuku and shove him down. They yank at his hair and slap his face, explode on his back-


“But…?” Hanta prompts him, nodding encouragingly. Is he listening out of interest or the goodness of his heart?


He’s staring at Izuku. Izuku looks away; his face burns. “…Y-you haven’t said anything – which is fine, that’s fine, I’m just wondering why you haven’t told me to shut up or that my ideas are stupid-”


“Midoriya-kun, they’re not stupid at all! I like your ideas. You’re a smart guy, y’know?” Hanta says this so quickly Izuku flinches.
Liar. He’s lying to you. “…Don’t you get tired of listening me talk about nothing?” Izuku tugs at his sleeves, wanting to sink into nothingness and pretend this never happened.


The bed creaks under them. The mattress dips. Hanta gently cups Izuku’s face in his hands and turns it so they’re facing each other. Oh god, they’re so close. “No, I’d never get tired of listenin’ to ya, Zu. I like your voice too. It’s…it’s nice.”


Izuku’s heart jackhammers against his ribs. All he can see is the love of his life: the little moles at the base of his neck, his piano teeth, his lovely dark skin, his warm, earnest eyes, the angles of his chin – everything. “…you really think so?” he whispers, too afraid to speak any louder. For if he did, he’d shatter into a million pieces.


Hanta chuckles, sending a giant burst of endorphins bursting through Izuku. “‘N’ I like you, so I don’t think so. I know so.”
Izuku doesn’t say anything. He just leans in and presses I like you too against Hanta’s lips. The softness of them with the slightest traces of brigadeiro is the sweetest thing he’s ever tasted.