“I like you too, Todoroki-kun.” Midoriya smiled at him, bright and beautiful.
Not like that, Shouto had to remind himself. He tried to smile back, swallowing the words that were on the tip of his tongue. Not like that.
But… this was good. This was enough.
“Should we get some ice cream on the way back?” Midoriya asked. “There’s this new place Uraraka-san mentioned a few days ago and I’ve been wanting to try it since.”
“Sounds good,” Shouto agreed.
Before he knew what was happening, before the thought even registered in his brain, Midoriya was taking his hand, locking their fingers together, scars against scars, and pulling him towards the door. Like a lunatic, Shouto followed without conscious effort, one foot after the other. He kept looking down at their hands, knowing that Midoriya’s fingers would retreat soon, but he couldn’t help wanting to burn the sight into his retinas.
It didn’t happen. Their hands remained locked as they walked: when they left the school grounds, when they stepped on a bus, when they left it. When they got their ice cream and even later, when they finished it off and continued to just walk around like two normal boys would after school.
Midoriya noticed him looking. Of course he did.
“S-sorry!” Midoriya flushed, letting go of Shouto’s hand as if it burned. Even if it was his left side, which made it physically impossible. “Was– Was that too soon? I should’ve asked, I’m so sorry for assuming!”
Shouto simply looked at him, more confused than before. “Asked what?”
“To, um, to h-hold your hand?”
Midoriya’s blush darkened. He couldn’t look Shouto in the eye anymore, but all Shouto could do was stare at his face: pink and freckled and shining with sweat from the summer heat.
“You want to hold my hand,” Shouto said, more than asked, and watched how Midoriya fidgeted in place, wrangling his scarred hands nervously. “Are you too hot? Is it the cooling thing again? I’ve told Yaoyorozu to stop spreading these rumours–”
“No, no, that’s not it!” Midoriya quickly denied. “I just… when you confessed before, I thought that it could… be nice?” He chanced a glance at Shouto. “It’s alright if you don’t want to, we can take it slow!”
“I confessed?” Shouto asked, dumbfounded.
He did. He did, but–
“I mean, before? In the classroom?” Midoriya looked just as confused for a moment. And then his face turned white. “Oh my god, please tell me I did not just assume you liked me like that and made a fool of myself.”
“Like what?” Shouto repeated after Midoriya like a broken record, but he just couldn’t find his own words at this point.
Not like that, his mind whispered once more, insidious, nasty.
“Like, um, like?” Even Midoriya’s ears were red now and he refused to look anywhere but his shoes. “As in, I want to go on a date with you and hold your hand while we’re getting ice cream after school?”
“Oh,” Shouto said very intelligently.
Midoriya shifted in obvious unease. “I’m gonna… um, go? For now? Yes. Bye!”
He turned on his heel and before Shouto could as much as think through the words that had left Midoriya’s mouth just seconds ago, Midoriya was already bolting down the street.
Shouto stood there, staring after him with wide eyes. It took him a good minute or two, but then he flushed, as deep a red as Midoriya’s own face had been. He hid it in his hands, fairly sure that his fire side was steaming lightly, but it didn’t matter to him in the least. What mattered was Midoriya: his hand, his smile, his blush and the hesitant words that confessed the feelings that were more than returned.
And now Shouto knew he had to fix this silly idea he unwittingly allowed Midoriya to believe in, because there was no way he wouldn’t want to date him. No way. He’d waited for far too long, thinking it was hopeless, but… no longer.
Shouto breathed out an excited puff of icy steam and then turned to chase after Midoriya.
Exactly like that.