"Here nerd, take him," Kacchan shoves Shouto-kun out the door with barely any greeting and absolutely no warning.
Into Izuku’s waiting arms (since he dropped the packages he was holding in order to catch him). "Ready to go, Shouto-kun?"
"I'm ready. Katsuki needs to be alone with his ego now," Shouto-kun states blankly.
“Oh…were you two arguing?” Izuku asks. “Anything I can help with?”
He’s fairly confident now in his skills as a mediator. Not like, in general. Just, with these two specifically.
He knows the theory of them well enough. He'sdefinitelyhad the practice.
“Please. You’ll just take his side,” Kacchan rolls his eyes and then picks up one of the dropped packages. “The hell is this?”
“Samples of your wedding invitations, I think?” Izuku explains. “I passed by the mail room on my way up here and I saw your names on them so I thought I’d bring up all of them to save you the trip.”
“That was very considerate of you,” Shouto-kun nods his thanks at the same time Kacchan says (not without an underlying tone of approval, maybe), “Nosy little creep.”
Ah yeah...just like old times.
So little has actually changed in their dynamic as a group of three.
Since Kacchan and Shouto-kun were friends, then dating, and now engaged, a lot has stayed constant.
He was somewhat anxious, at the beginning, that their being together would make them distant from him. That he'd feel like an isolated third wheel. No longer important. No longer needed.
But it’s actually been the opposite the opposite? He sees both of them more now that they’re together. Even more now that he’s involved on two different sides of this wedding.
They need him. He needs them. Something's working.
“Okay, I’ll see you later,” Shouto-kun turns to Kacchan again, and they kiss.
It's so sweet? Soft looking.
Izuku maybe shouldn’t be watching like this, but he has it on a DNA-level to be curious about people, especially his friends. The way their quirks work. How they kiss.
This is something both Shouto-kun and Kacchan fully accept about him. He looks away after a second, but he figures if they minded him there at all they really wouldn't have done it.
And oh, maybe this is how they resolve their arguments when Izuku’s not around to help? Because he doesn’t seem very upset any more. Kacchan usually has a lot of tension lines in his brow when he’s mid-argument, and Shouto-kun carries tension in his face too and it’s just…gone?
Still, this is probably going on a little too, yeah this is maybe a bit…they should really get going.
“Ahem,” Izuku does his best attempt at clearing his throat.
Also...maybe he said that whole ‘nothing in the dynamic has changed’ thing too soon. Yeah, not a lot has changed, at least from Izuku’s perspective. That's pretty much true. Except for maybe two things:
One, they seem a lot happier. Two, they’re really soft with each other when they do these things.
The touches linger, and sometimes they both ignore just about anything else in the world to look at each other like this.
Sort of the opposite of the rougher things Kacchan says in words, for example: “Yeah, yeah. Alright, I’ll see you losers tomorrow.”
“Use the time to write your vows,” Shouto-kun recommends as Izuku begins dragging him away by the shirt sleeve. “I finished mine last week.”
They both ignore any assertions coming from the doorway that Kacchan’s vows will be leagues better, or how he bets his left nut Shouto-kun has actually written nothing.
“I’ve told him to stop gambling with his testicles,” Shouto-kun remarks as they near the elevator. “He doesn’t listen to me.”
“Here?” Shouto-kun asks as they near the entrance to the club. “This doesn’t seem like your scene.”
“Don’t worry! It’s not like…an adult club or anything!” Izuku assures. “Kaminari-kun had some…ideas. But I didn’t think you would, well…and Kacchan…”
“He is very possessive over me,” Shouto accepts, and he even seems pleased by the idea.
Izuku suppresses the urge to document this (mentally). As he’s manually forced himself to blank out the inferences and assumptions he can make about their sex life. For everyone’s good, really.
The reflex however, can’t be fixed. The image of Kacchan at three years old comes to mind, not letting Izuku play with his All Might figure, even though they each had one and they were the same. He’s never liked sharing.
“Heyo, you made it!” Kaminari-kun emerges from the entrance and throws his arms around them both. “I love you guys.”
Yup. It’s not up for debate.
He’s definitely drunk already.
One-For-All makes it pretty difficult for Izuku to stay drunk. It’s found a way to process toxins through his body at faster than normal speeds, which is super interesting, and cool, and great. But he’ll have to make his best attempt tonight if he’s going to be in the right mood for this.
At least...he thinks so?
That’s the one thing he read online about enjoying bachelor parties to their fullest extent. He's not sure why. But this is his first ever bachelor party, and he needs to be in a good mood to motivate Shouto-kun's mood. Since that's the ultimate priority.
That, and having all the right people there. Concerning that, even if Izuku says so himself, he pretty much nailed it? He thought long and hard about everyone Shouto would love to see. And the proof is in the way Shouto looks.
“I love you too?” Shouto-kun pats Kaminari-kun on the back, then looks around. “Sero’s here too. And Shinsou, and…”
His eyes are shining. This is exactly what Izuku wanted. So many friends. All the friends. For Shouto-kun. This is his duty as a best friend.
“Yeah man, we’re all here for you,” Kirishima-kun comes out of the woodwork, and since he seems a little pink in the face and tipsy too, Izuku extricates himself from the hug, digs out a flask of vodka from his pocket and downs quite a bit of it in one go.
Shouto-kun looks at him, wide-eyed, but Izuku just hands it to him, while still choking from the bitter taste, and even worse aftertaste. “Here, it’s-it’s good.”
Goodness is relative. He spies red leather seats backed around solid wooden tables. All facing inwards towards a central stage.
Which means there is going to be a show, even though Izuku’s pretty sure he said something about making it to Shouto-kun’s tastes. It better be.
That was his responsibility. Make sure the criteria was totally clear, list out everyone who should be invited, and bring Shouto. Kaminari-kun insisted on doing the rest himself, and Izuku could admit, he really didn’t know how to party.
He and Kacchan actually never did. They used to go to each other’s birthday parties as really little kids. But Izuku really wasn’t invited to things in middle school, and in high school the parties they had with class A were all organized on school property, under Aizawa sensei’s watchful eye.
That was probably a good thing.
This group is actually a superset of class A. It’s also basically the same group that went on a bachelor hike with Kacchan last weekend (minus Shouto-kun). Since Kacchan nipped things in the bud and planned his own bachelor party, which Izuku had warned he might do from the very beginning.
He did wear the ‘Husband-to-be’ sash for a whole five seconds before ripping it up, so that was something. Then at the top of the mountain while some were retching and still heaving from his unrelenting pace, he’d had a moment with Izuku too.
(“This whole thing is stupid, I haven’t been a bachelor or whatever-the-fuck for years now. Marrying the idiot isn’t giving anything up.”
“That's-that’s really great, actually?” Izuku had been catching his breath too. "Amazing."
Not activating One-For-All on the way up—on pain of death—was really doing a number on him. But he’d make it. He had to.
“Of course it is,” Kacchan had looked off to the side and smiled. “He’s so fucking cute sometimes I wanna strangle him.”
“I-I love that for you?”
“Shut up,” Kacchan got out his own water bottle and handed it to him. “Drink. You cry so much you’ll dehydrate your eyes if you sweat too much too.”
“Oh, oh my god thank you.”)
A new and cherished Kacchan core memory.
“Okay, so since we have this rare chance when Bakugou isn’t here…you’ve gotta answer our questions,” Ashido-kun takes her sip of a drink, a loud-looking orange cocktail with a black straw in it.
That was another detail Izuku had taken care of. Kacchan and Shouto-kun themed drinks. Orange and mint flavored cocktail for Kacchan. Strawberry and vanilla for Shouto-kun, with an accompanying pink-and-blue umbrella thrown in it.
“He doesn’t really have to?” Izuku looks cautiously at Shouto-kun, who’s currently taking polite sips of his own signature drink. “I mean, it’s up to you.”
“I guess it depends on the question. I don’t mind talking about things I like the most. Or the things that sometimes get on my nerves. He’s both, really. I don’t think we’d annoy each other so much if we didn’t care, so maybe that’s part of love. I’m not sure, since he’s my first," Shouto-kun flushes a bright, peach-pink color that makes him look like he's sort of glowing, or maybe that's the lighting. "And... also the last, now that I think about it.”
“Some people have all the luck,” Shinsou-kun sighs.
He looks kinda good in this color-changing light. With his purple hair all sexily pushed back.
Having two Kacchan drinks in a row without break might have made Izuku a little bold. If he wasn’t responsible for Shouto-kun’s good time, then maybe…
“You have to wait, patience in the pursuit of love is super manly,” Kirishima-kun pats him on the back.
“It is,” Shouto-kun confirms. “I waited a long time for Katsuki to admit we were friends, then even longer for this.”
“It was getting exhausting to watch him during band practice,” Jirou-kun notes. “He improvises more when he’s frustrated and pining. Jumping all over my music direction because I could confess to someone while he couldn’t.”
“He should have just listened to me,” Ochako-kun shrugs. “I told him everyone already knew he liked Shouto anyway.”
“So might as well…” Kirishima-kun finishes her thought.
“He wouldn’t tell us when we went hiking with him, and it was also difficult to talk and climb at the pace he made us go…so, I guess that means if anyone’s going to tell us about the proposal it has to be you,” Ashido-kun concludes.
It’s a flawed logical leap. But Izuku’s curious too.
He was involved in the planning stages, whether he liked it or not. Being accosted after patrols by Kacchan asking him in hush-hush tones, what exactly he thought ‘the halfie would find romantic.’ His advice had been of the ‘just be yourself, that’s what’s going to be the most effective’ kind, and maybe that’s why Kacchan glared at him in silence through the rest of their food break.
“I think some details of it should stay secret. But he asked me at the grocery store in front of our apartment. Right across the street.”
“He asked you at Ito Yokado?!” Izuku can hardly believe it.
He’s never going to be able to shop there again without thinking of his best friends. Their love, and how very, very single he currently is.
“In the fruit section,” Shouto clarifies.
“Oh my god.”
“Bakugou really proposed in the gayest place he could think of.”
Shinsou shrugs, and with all this talk of fruit Izuku entertains a short fantasy of feeding him chocolate-covered strawberries (shirts optional?). “He does like to be the best at everything. What did you expect?”
Jirou-kun nods. “Actually, I can totally see him asking when shopping for ingredients. We used to go together sometimes at U.A. I think it makes him happy.”
“His parents used to take us, and we used to sit in the cart,” Izuku remembers out-loud. “Mitsuki-san always picked out the best fruit.”
“Little did she know,” Kaminari-kun shakes his head. “Her son was the biggest fruit of them all.”
“Can you tell us anything else?” Ashido-kun asks, lightly banging her fist on the table.
“I said yes before we reached the self-checkout register, but Katsuki’s still annoyed that I had to process the question for fifteen steps.”
Izuku sympathizes. “He’s going to hold that against you forever, probably.”
“I can’t wait. You know, with him, the make-up after the arguments is amazing.”
The taste of the Kacchan drink and the Shouto-kun drink are kind of blending together in Izuku’s mind. He actually tried both of them in a mix as the conversation slowed down, in an attempt to distract himself from staring at Shinsou-kun’s lips.
Then Shouto-kun taps him. “Can we go out for a minute? The lights are blending together, and the floor is spinning.”
Izuku thought this might happen at some point. It took longer than he thought though. About three hours and thirty minutes.
“Yeah, sure,” he takes Shouto-kun by the shirt sleeve again, and takes him towards the exit.
It’s pretty dark in the alleyway. Other than the lights from the club (theirs for the evening). Shouto-kun looks pretty sleepy. Maybe once they get back, Izuku should tell everyone it’s time to go home. They’ve done what they set out to do. It was good, they did good. For Shouto-kun’s last ‘single’ day.
Not technically of course, since the wedding isn’t for another week, but in the spirit of the thing. They did okay.
“Any better?” Izuku asks.
“Yes,” Shouto-kun says. “Except…”
“I have some lingering doubts.”
“What?” Izuku asks, taken aback.
Lingering doubts? About Kacchan? About the wedding? About love? And oh…no. He said all of that out loud.
“I don’t have those doubts about him,” Shouto-kun explains. “It’s about me. I don’t know if I could make a good husband. He loves me so much, so maybe he’s willing to overlook that, but maybe I shouldn’t be.”
The feral part of Izuku’s brain that activates when his friends think badly of themselves immediately goes from 0-100. The part that’s inevitably been influenced by a lifetime with Kacchan goes: no, fuck no. Whatever’s left starts calculating what would be a helpful thing to say.
“I…why do you have doubts about you? You’re amazing. You’re so caring, and kind.”
“I don’t know how far back I’d have to go in my family tree to find a successful marriage,” Shouto-kun leans back against the concrete wall. “I don’t want to hold him back, permanently.”
“So you’re going to leave him? That’s-I-” Izuku starts to panic.
He can’t even imagine what that would do to Kacchan. He can’t. It would ruin him.
“No,” Shouto-kun clarifies. “I would never do that. I don’t want to do that. And I made a promise. I would never go back on that. It’s just something I wonder about sometimes.”
Oh. Good. Well, no. Not good. Still bad. But—
“You can’t be that hard on yourself. You’re not anyone in your family, and the ways that they’ve screwed up have nothing to do with you. I’ve never seen Kacchan this happy in my whole life, and I’ve basically known him for all the important parts of his, so you gotta trust me on that. And do you think he would ever be with someone if he thought it would hold him back?”
Izuku doesn’t know exactly where he’s going with this train of thought, but by god, he’s going somewhere. “He’s always been about getting ahead, and he picked you because he thinks about you when he climbs mountains. In the literal way, because he told me that last weekend, and also in the other sense. I can tell,” Izuku takes a deep breath, before he starts again.
“And another thing, you can’t just think you wouldn’t make a good husband. You two have acted kind of married since we were in high school. That’s why nothing ever changed for me when you actually got together, because it was so much like it was before. Except you sneak off and kiss a lot more, and you think I can’t tell when you’re doing it, but I can. But that’s not the point right now!” Izuku sighs, he shouldn’t be getting this worked up, but he can’t help it.
These aren’t just his friends. This is his family. And the best thing for them is to be family to each other. Married. Together. Forever.
“I-” Izuku stammers. “I don’t know the first thing about being someone’s husband, so. Maybe I’m not the best person to ask. But I think it’s about protecting each other and just being around when things are bad. My mom never had a husband, but I think that’s what she would have wanted. She thinks what you and Kacchan have is good. So you can trust her, if you want? If you can’t trust me on that.”
“Of course I trust you, of course we trust you,” Shouto-kun says. “I’m sorry for making you think I possibly wouldn't. When you're the person I trust the most, after him.”
“I will always protect him, and I’ll always be around when things are bad.”
Of course. That was never in any doubt. “He knows that. He knows, or…he wouldn’t have asked.”
“I think you’re right. I’m not giving him enough credit for his choice.”
“Exactly. It’s not about being perfect, I think. It’s about choosing someone and having them choose you back.”
Izuku won’t admit it, but that’s actually a quote from the one romantic comedy All Might starred in during his golden age. It was produced in the United States, and he played a lovestruck journalist who was secretly a superhero.
They saw it once together and agreed it was gross. Maybe, like Izuku, Kacchan watched it again as an adult.
It’s not a bad line to be able to have in your pocket like that.
“I’m glad I chose you as my friend, I’m glad he did too.”
Right. Yeah, there it is. Izuku’s gonna cry. Or he would, actually, if he didn’t feel something coming up the wrong way. Shouto’s look of shock and concern. And then-
Oh no. Fuck. He’s throwing up in the middle of the street.
“Why does he look green?” Izuku hears Kacchan’s voice in the distance.
He’s lying down on a familiar couch. At his feet is a familiar cat sitting at his feet. Oh, he’s home. Kacchan and Shouto-kun’s home. That’s a relief.
“He always looks green,” Shouto-kun replies. “That’s his thing.”
“His face, dumbfuck. What happened?”
“He drank too much, then threw up. Then he passed out. I managed to revive him, but I let him sleep in the cab until we got here. Then brought him home so we could take care of him.”
“Oh. You did the right thing then, stupid nerd’s always been a danger to himself. Don’t know why I thought a bachelor party would be any different. He needs to hydrate.”
“It’s okay Kacchan,” Izuku sits up, starting to feel very guilty now about having ended the party early. “I’m fine. Shouto-kun can go back and join everyone.”
Apparently hydrating isn’t really a choice. Kacchan brings the glass right up to his face, from his position standing behind the couch. “Drink.”
That does feel better.
“You don’t have to feel bad, either,” Kacchan explains as he unfolds a blanket. “Halfie told me he had a great time.”
“I did,” Shouto-kun sits down at his other side, and feels his forehead. “You’re not warm, so just sick.”
“Who died and made you a doctor?” Kacchan rolls his eyes, then does the exact same thing. “Yeah you’re fine. Symptoms of incurable stupid.”
“Okay,” Izuku thinks that sounds fine.
It doesn’t even seem like a painful diagnosis. He’s gotten loads of those before. He settles under the blanket that’s offered and feels especially blessed when Shouto-kun lays a hand on it and warms it up.
“That’s so good,” Izuku sighs.
So good. So warm.
“Yeah? I get that every night,” Kacchan says, taking a seat on the other couch across from them.
“More if you’re lucky,” Shouto-kun says quietly.
This is something Izuku used to have when he slept over at Kacchan’s house once or twice. Mitsuki-san and Masaru-san talking in hushed voices when they were supposed to be asleep. It’s not that Shouto-kun and Kacchan are like his parents, that would be kinda weird. It’s just…it feels like even though the two of them are together, the three of them still make sense as some sort of family.
Maybe even more so now, because they’re together. Because they’re going to get married.
“Kacchan,” Izuku mumbles.
“Yeah? Shou, get a bag or something if he’s gonna upchuck again I just mopped the place…”
“Kacchan, you have to tell him that he’ll make a good husband…”
“Did he hit his head or something, too?” Kacchan asks.
“No,” Shouto-kun says and he doesn’t sound mad, which is good, since Izuku thinks he just accidentally spilled a secret. “I was having some doubts over whether I would make you a good husband, and I told them to him. I think he’s sort of out of it now, so he repeated it.”
Izuku may be picturing dancing elephants in pink tutus in one corner of his brain. But he is not out of it. Not…really…
“You doubt that? You...really?"
He sounds so soft when he's talking to Shouto. Almost hard to believe if Izuku hadn't heard it before.
"You're too good for me, if anything. I mean, come on."
“Listen, I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t think you were right for me, first of all, you absolute dumbfuck. And second of—should we talk about this in front of him?”
“I would be willing to bet that he won’t remember.”
Not true. Izuku would...remember...something...
Their voices are even more hushed than they were a second ago. It’s a nice dream though. If it’s a dream at all. A cool hand is patting his head and it’s very soothing. Better. Much better now.
“Fine. Second of all, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about choosing someone, and them choosing you.”
All Might said that! Izuku thinks weakly. All Might…
“I choose you, goddamn Icyhot bastard. Always and every time."
“Like a pokemon.”
“Don’t bring those little fucks into this. You know what I meant.”
“I know. I choose you too.”
“Good. And...I expected you to have some doubts, ya know. There's always going to be that. For a new thing. So that’s fine. We’ll have this life to figure that shit out, as long as you don’t half-ass and quit on me.”
“Never. No matter what happens...I know we can figure things out. We’re...sticky like that.”
“That's right. Regular fuckin’ glue sticks.”
“Hey asshole, I made you shoyu ramen,” Kacchan nudges him awake.
He’s not even sure how he got here. “Why am I at your place?”
“I dunno, I thought your quirk was supposed to stop you from fucking up like this. But you really outfucked it, huh?” Kacchan brings the bowl over and sets it on a small wooden folding table.
“Not katsudon?” is unfortunately Izuku’s first reaction.
In his defense, he just woke up.
“This ain't a restaurant!”
“No soba either,” Shouto points out.
Izuku has to turn around to see him, sitting there on the barstool by the kitchen counter. He has his own bowl.
“Icyhot told me you were ogling Purple Hair. What’s that about?” Kacchan demands.
Izuku has his first piping hot spoonful, and it warms him from the inside out. Kacchan’s cooking is so good, it’s always been amazing, they’re so lucky, it’s so—
“Hey. You eat my food then you answer my questions.”
“He’s cute, I think he’s cute. So what? He doesn’t think I’m cute.”
Kacchan snorts. Using the energies of the universe, even without looking, Izuku can tell Shouto-kun is rolling his eyes.
“He was looking at your butt when you got up to dance. He was very concerned about you when I had to take you home. I think for that though, everyone was,” Shouto says.
Oh no. Izuku sighs. He’s never going to live this down.
“You’ve done dumber shit,” Kacchan dismisses. “So has strawberry shortcake over there. Doesn't matter, right? I still want him.”
“And for that, I am so grateful,” Shouto-kun remarks dryly.
“He was looking at my butt??” Izuku exclaims. “Wait when did I dance?”
“There was a moment.”
“You might be okay together,” Kacchan shrugs.
“We want you to be happy,” Shouto-kun translates.
Even though really, he didn’t need to.
“I think…maybe, after the wedding? I know it’s not like…my wedding. But it’s a big moment in all of our lives and I don’t want to get things all mixed up and weird.”
“It’s your wedding too,” Shouto-kun offers.
“No the fuck it isn’t,” Kacchan snaps. “How?”
Really speaking, Izuku wonders that too.
“Weddings aren’t just for the people getting married, they’re for friends and loved ones.”
Oh. That’s really nice actually, he should say—
“That’s it. I’m banning you from the greeting card section.”
—Maybe he’ll just focus on his own bowl for now. Let them sort it out.
“That’s alright. Maybe if I’m not passing time there, you’ll tell me sweet things again in the fruit aisle.”
“That was a one time deal. No exceptions,” Kacchan says.
“The vegetable aisle?” Shouto-kun asks.
“You're wearing my ring but don’t think I won’t kill you.”
This is Izuku’s image of a real romantic love.
“Put that in your vows, it adds authenticity.”
“Fuck you. Maybe I already did.”
He wouldn’t change it.