To be perfectly honest, Todoroki didn’t much care for the rose-print sweater his sister gave him. It was fashionable, and comfortable enough, but it wasn’t really his style. Then again, Todoroki didn’t care about fashion in the first place. If it fit and was clean, he was content. But Midoriya seemed to like it, so he slipped it on anyway.
He seemed to be doing a lot to make Midoriya happy lately. And Todoroki wasn’t sure he wanted to analyze that too deeply.
It’s just that Midoriya’s smile puts even Aoyama’s Quirk to shame. He has this sense of gentleness to him, as if brushing against him would cause him to jostle and break, even if he’s one of the strongest people Todoroki knows. He’s able to draw the line between necessary force and excessive violence with such ease. He’s smart, he’s kind, he’s terrifying, he’s powerful, he’s beautiful-
Todoroki shakes his head, loosening the images of Midoriya choking his thoughts. They were just going to study. Maybe watch old All Might videos on YouTube when they’re done. Nothing more, nothing less. The same thing they do every Saturday that Midoriya stays on campus. Those days are becoming increasingly common, with both schoolwork and hero training piling up, and sometimes Todoroki wonders if they really have time for this. But again, it makes Midoriya happy. And Todoroki enjoys it too, so what’s the harm? They’re still students, after all. They should be able to enjoy themselves.
And with that concept firmly planted in his mind, Todoroki knocks on Midoriya’s door. The usual “it’s open!” echoes and he enters. “Todoroki-kun! You came!”
“You always sound surprised, like we haven’t been doing this since first year,” Todoroki replies, dropping his bag on the floor. “Oh, you redecorated some.”
“I did, yeah… I, um, well, I have new goals and new people I want to protect…” Midoriya explains quietly, laughing softly.
“Hasn’t changed your love for All Might, though,” Todoroki muses, looking at the posters and pictures of him posing with his protege. Midoriya laughs again and, God, if there was ever a sound he wanted to turn into a ringtone. Then actually leave his phone on speaker just to hear it.
“What was it that you wanted to study? I still have to finish that paper on the earliest Quirks in recorded history…”
Todoroki blinked, mismatched eyes narrowing in confusion. “That paper isn’t due for another three weeks.”
Midoriya paused, shut his textbook, and frowned at Todoroki. “Is that your way of saying you haven’t even started it?”
“God, if you two are gonna be gay, shut the damn door, would ya?” Bakugo yelled as he walked past. Both boys turned to look at the other, who was trudging down the hall towards Kirishima’s room. Once he was out of earshot, Midoriya sniggered.
“What’s so funny?”
Midoriya sighed, clutching his stomach. “It’s just- nothing. It’s nothing. Listen, why don’t we work on the assignment for Aizawa-san’s class?” He seemed oddly urgent, almost demanding that they focus on their work rather than Bakugo’s comment. Granted, Bakugo half-insulting them wasn’t anything new, but Midoriya…
Midoriya didn’t usually seem to
Todoroki nodded, pulling his laptop from his bag. “Sure. That works for me.” He made a mental note to process why Midoriya was blushing so much later, when he could admire how the red horribly clashed with his hair, or how it made him seem to glow in the late afternoon sun drifting in through the shades.
. . .
And as fate would have it, they end up abandoning their homework and watching All Might videos on YouTube. At least Midoriya is. Todoroki busies himself by looking at the new decor. There’s more pictures of Midoriya himself, posing with the rest of the class. Or images that suggest he’s behind the camera, capturing his friends in a moment of laughter or antics. It’s… endearing, if somewhat embarrassing.
Maybe in a different life, Todoroki wouldn’t be so caught off guard by seeing pictures of himself actually smiling, but. At least he has these. Times he smiled, sincerely, for his friends. For Midoriya. Mostly Midoriya.
He keeps scanning the walls, exhaling amusedly at the pictures of Midoriya’s mother. It reminds him he should probably check in with his own mother sometime soon. Above them, pinned to the tackboard, are the strips from when he and Midoriya tried one of those mall photo booths. Todoroki had insisted Midoriya take both strips, which just lead to them doing a second round so each would have two. He remembers the way Midoriya jittered against him, nervous as a junebug. Todoroki tried to calm him down, but maybe his Quirk had activated and he burned the other boy from how he jumped away. It stung, at the time. He’s over it now.
Over Midoriya’s desk hangs a whiteboard labeled
It must be a to-do list of some kind, considering what’s written on it.
“...confess what?” he wondered aloud.
Midoriya yelped, knocking his phone off the bed and directly onto Todoroki’s head. “Ah, sorry, Todoroki-kun, I didn’t mean- what were you saying?”
“Your to-do list… it says you need to ‘confess’ something to me.” He pointed over at the whiteboard. Looking back at Midoriya, Todoroki saw him pale to the same shade, freckles popping out even more than usual. “Are you OK?”
“I-I forgot I… wrote that…” Midoriya said in a quiet voice, eyes watering. He shut his computer, slowly, and looked at Todoroki. “I… I don’t suppose this is something I could just ask you to forget about, is it?”
Todoroki shrugged. “I mean, you could. But I’m going to be curious for the rest of my life.” Usually that sort of sarcasm would make Midoriya laugh, but not this time. All it summons is a shuddering breath. “But seriously, if it’s a problem, you don’t have to tell me.”
Midoriya slid off the bed, plopping on the floor across from Todoroki. “You… really don’t understand what that means, do you?” It’s spoken with breathless wonder, less anger and more just curious hope. It’s a beautiful sound, perhaps simply because it means there’s still some
left in Midoriya. It doesn’t keep Todoroki from gulping as he shakes his head. “You… oh, Todoroki-kun…”
“What are you trying to confess, Midoriya? Is something wrong?”
He shook his head, adjusting himself so he sits cross-legged. Todoroki mirrored the position. With the window behind him, Midoriya looked even more ethereal than usual. The soft orange glow of the setting sun danced around his hair like a halo, and it was almost too brilliant to look at. Orange and green shouldn’t work together as they do, but it’s Midoriya. He’s the definition of “things that shouldn’t work, working.”
This close, Todoroki could also admire his freckles more. Once, as a young child, he saw an artist painting in the park. The scene was of a night sky, and Todoroki remembered his fascination with how the painter created the stars: by dipping her brush in white paint, then running her thumb across the bristles. The movement flicked the paint onto the canvas, seemingly willy-nilly, but with a deliberate pattern behind them. Midoriya’s freckles seem to have the same effect: like an artist (or God?) splayed ink on his cheeks and nose with random precision. Maybe they were stars. Maybe Midoriya really was some cosmic force too powerful for Todoroki to understand.
Then there was a hand on his wrist and Todoroki focused again.
Midoriya grabbed his other wrist as well. Todoroki tried to regulate his heartbeat and body temperature, but it only made Midoriya smile sadly. “Ah… Todoroki-kun. You- I want you to know, first of all, that what I’m going to tell you isn’t going to change anything between us if you don’t want it to. I-I don’t want you to feel like I’m pressuring you in any way. There are just some secrets even I can’t hide forever,” he said quickly. It was cryptic in a way Midoriya usually wasn’t. If Todoroki wasn’t already concerned, he’d be terrified now.
“Midoriya, whatever it is, I can help-”
The other boy shook his head. “Maybe it would help if I… I showed you.” His grip on Todoroki’s wrists tightened, and slowly, painfully slowly, he pulled Todoroki towards him. He was also leaning in closer, and it was only when their faces were a few inches apart that Todoroki’s brain caught up. His lips parted, his eyes widened, and suddenly everything made sense.
So that’s what it’s been this whole time.
There was no explosion or rainbow or anything of the sort when they kissed. Midoriya didn’t glow green, and nothing was set on fire or coated in ice. But it didn’t stop Todoroki’s heart from becoming a jackhammer in his chest. It was a simple, quiet thing, like the gears of a lock sliding into place. Barely moving, barely breathing, as if the moment would shatter and be nothing more than a dream.
Midoriya pulled away first. It was all for the best, really, Todoroki was fairly certain he couldn’t form words. He was left too breathless by the boy in front of him. “I’m in love with you, Todoroki-kun. Confess meant- I wanted to tell you how I felt,” Midoriya explained, face red as Todoroki’s hair. “A-and again, I want to reiterate that you don’t have to return these feelings! If you don’t feel the same, that’s absolutely fine! Whatever happens, you’re still my best-”
Todoroki normally didn’t like cutting Midoriya off. His rambling was endearing, to say the least. But this time, he found he didn’t mind saying “Izuku.”
Saying it felt so
His lips were always meant to make the shapes necessary to say Midoriya’s given name. The reaction was glorious too, as shock, embarrassment, and finally realization danced across Izuku’s face. “Todo-”
“It’s Shouto,” he insisted, shifting his left hand so he could hold Izuku’s. “You’ve… you can call me that. If you want. And all the stuff you said about this ‘ruining our friendship’ or whatever… it’s not.” He swallowed. “Not if I want it too.”
It was quiet, and then- “Shouto…”
Oh, it always was love. It was just hard to hear it over the thunder in our veins- in our hearts.