Izuku flopped back on the floor of his dorm with a quiet thud, staring at the ceiling while Shoto cleaned up his various study supplies from the last two hours of work.

"As much as I love hero studies," Izuku said with a loud sigh, stretching his arms over his head. "I could really deal with less essay writing."

"You have an entire notebook full of notes about heroes," Shoto commented before zipping his bag up and shoving it underneath Izuku's desk.

"Yeah, but it's different when it's assigned."

Shoto stood up slowly, his arms stretched behind his back with his fingers interlocked with one another. His shoulders popped loudly with the movement, as did his neck upon rolling it. He blinked a few times, looking down at his friend sprawled over the floor before offering his hand.

Izuku took it, hauling himself to his feet with a quiet grunt. A few seconds later he flopped onto his bed with his knees bent, curled in a ball and making room for Shoto to sit.

"We should get something to eat," Shoto commented, sitting down at the foot of the bed and leaning back against the wall.

"I think Sato made cookies."

"I was talking dinner, but that does sound appealing."

Izuku hauled himself to his feet and out of his room, holding the door open for Shoto. He smiled softly as Shoto passed, both of their eyes heavy from the strain of staring at something for such a long time and hands still aching from the amount of writing. He watched the way he swayed slightly with each step, confident and casual in each of his moves. He watched the way his hair swung and the way his calves flexed with every step.

Izuku could feel his heart beat with each of Shoto's strides, pulsing in his ears and his face getting incrementally warmer with each passing second.

He raised a hand to the back of his neck and dug his nails into his own skin, grounding himself back to the world he was to live in. He could not let himself get carried away with any of the thoughts which plagued him on a nightly basis. Hero studies came first, romance was not a priority.

By the time he got his blood pressure under control they were in the kitchen. Shoto pulled the top off of the container which held fresh cookies and pulled out a plate and two glasses. He worked quietly over the soft lull of conversation from the living area and the forever present noise of coffee being made.

"Izuku," Shoto said, turning around with the milk glasses in hand. "Do you mind grabbing the plate?"

Izuku nodded, quickly grabbing it and turning back to Shoto – who was already making his way back toward Izuku's dorm room.

Once more his thoughts trailed away from the immediate scene in front of him to what he could wish he could do. He wished he could communicate the many thoughts and feelings which tinted every waking moment of his life with a soft shade of pink, which made his heart pulse rapidly whenever Shoto talked to him, which made his chest flutter with unspoken confessions. He wished more than anything, almost more than being a hero, that he could communicate his emotions with his friend.

Izuku sighed to himself, looking at the cookies with a forlorn smile. He was head over heels and he knew it, but he also knew he would never be capable of informing the muse of his mind.

Izuku opened the door to his dorm room, holding it open so Shoto could place the glasses down on his desk. He put the plate down next to them, returning his hand to the grasp of his other hand as they writhed together, as he tried to return from his own personal dreamland.

"Sato um, makes really good cookies," Izuku said, taking one from the plate and grabbing a glass. Shoto nodded, sitting in the chair by his desk as Izuku found place on his bed once more. He crossed his legs and took a small bite of the cookie. Truth be told, he wasn't hungry. His stomach was in knots just by being around him.

"Are you alright?" he asked, mismatched eyes watching him with a vague look of concern, his head tilted and eyebrows scrunching faintly.

Izuku jolted at the question, his back straightening as he attempted to stammer out a response. His fingers slipped as he waved his hands, the milk spilling over his pants and the bed below him. He cussed to himself as he picked the glass up, putting it on the floor and shooting to his feet.

Shoto mirrored the jump, his own glass having never been picked up. "Where do you keep your towels?" he asked, already looking around the dorm room for something to be used to clean up.

"It's in my bathroom drawer," Izuku said, taking his damp shirt off and using it to pat dry his comfortable jeans. Shoto darted to the connected bathroom, opening the drawer next to the sink and ruffling through it, grabbing a wash cloth that seemed large enough for the spill at hand.

Shoto tossed the towel to Izuku, who didn't catch it quite in time. It smacked him in the neck and he grabbed it from being draped over his shoulder. He started rubbing down his blanket, hoping fruitlessly to dry it off enough to not have to wash it.

With a defeated sigh a few seconds later, he stripped his comforter off his bed and threw it into the dirty clothes hamper by the door to the bathroom. He dropped his shirt and towel in there as well. He smiled awkwardly at Shoto, rubbing his scarred arm before looking away.

"Sorry about that," he commented, walking toward his dresser and beginning to search through it for another shirt and some sweatpants. He switched drawers and picked up a pair of dorky boxers, curling them in a ball and hiding them underneath his pants. He could hear a small laugh be smothered underneath Shoto's human decency.

"Dropping milk on yourself didn't answer if you were alright," he said. Izuku laughed in an attempt to dodge the question and slipped into the bathroom.

"Take a quick shower," Shoto said as the door closed. Izuku could hear the squeak of his bed under the dip of weight that must have been his friend.

"Alright!" he called back. His thoughts swirled wildly, and he could feel a hole in his chest open, conflicted emotions stampeding through his every square inch of his body. He registered just how much of a failure he was, dropping an entire glass of milk on him. He felt the pressure behind his eyes well up and he pressed his fists against them. He refused to cry with

He dropped his pants and boxers and suddenly felt so very bare as he kicked them against the door and turned the hot water on. His arm hit the drawer he kept towels in and he nudged in shut without thinking about it. He stared forward at the shower as steam began to rise, fogging the mirror, the air, but failing to fog his mind.

He vaguely registered that he was naked ten feet away from his friend and the man he was crushing on so heavily. He exhaled and dug his nails into his already wounded thighs, allowing the pain to ground himself and ruin the train of thought he was on. Endorphins flooded his body as blood welled up.

Izuku ignored it and stepped into the shower. His mind clicked into an autopilot as he cleaned himself, taking a moment to even wash his hair with the dollar store shampoo he kept for his ridiculously curly hair.

Two minutes later he was out of the shower and much to his pleasure his leg had stopped bleeding. He opened the drawer to the towels and grabbed one, out falling a sharp, tinted metal of a razor blade he kept – just in case.

He froze at the noise and the sight of it, his heart rocketing into his ears. He shakily picked it up and looked at it, turning it around in the soft bathroom light. It glinted as if it was teasing him, taunting him. He felt his eyes well up and his thigh throb in reaction to the sight.

He grit his teeth and turned it in his hand, the entire world slowing down as he took a moment to contemplate what options were before him.

In his hand he held a weapon which gave him immediate endorphins, all he would have to do would be to add another scar to the already plentiful amount which littered his upper thighs. They were mottled, ugly, symbolizing the worst Izuku had to offer. They were carved in chunks and fueled by a need to feel better by any means. They were the worst part of his body, but the feeling they gave when in the moment was like nothing he could ever recreate without the glint.

At this moment the world around him faded away and his mind began to arouse. He was helpless, after all, caught in the thralls of the glint and the intrusive thoughts. He felt hopeless, he knew he was hopeless. Nothing he could do would ever make a difference and he was a failure to ever single person around him. He was worthless in every form and was built of lies and facade.

He felt the towel fall to the ground before he intentionally registered dropping it. He bent to his knees and sat on his ankles, his eyes falling upon the mottled scarring of his thighs and the glint of the blade. His hand moved toward his left calf, under his hip, and pressed in. He felt the sting as his flesh dipped beneath the pressure, slowly he dragged it as the red line trailed behind.

Izuku exhaled heavily, his shaking breath filling the bathroom with a deafening echo. He watched mesmerized as his blood welled up in small pools before trailing down his thigh, into the crook between his calf and it. His hand was steadier on the second wound, and it was deeper. The blood pooled quickly and trailed down his leg. He watched the light dance against it for a moment before he looked up, at the door and the faint movement of shadows at the bottom of it. He bit his cheek and stood up, grabbing a bit of toilet paper and wiping up the blood. He put it in the toilet and grabbed another wad, dampening it, and washing his leg once more. He was thankful to see the blood clotting before his very eyes, the pools no longer growing as large. He wrapped the third one around his thigh and put on his boxer briefs, which held the paper in position.

Izuku rushed drying off his hair, fearing he had been in there too long. He threw on a shirt carefully, his hurt leg bent awkwardly in an attempt to keep it in place. He reviled in the calm it had brought him, the peacefulness of the endorphins that flooded his body in response the pain. No longer he would panic at every little action Shoto did, not for a while.

Izuku opened the door, ignoring the way his leg ached at the movement. He acknowledged silently to himself that this was unhealthy, that this was wrong, that he could not keep going like this because eventually it would no longer work.

"Sorry about that," Izuku said quietly, sitting on the foot of the bed next to Shoto.

"That took you a while," he commented while putting his phone down.

"Yeah sorry um, it's a pain to dry my hair?" he ended it with his voice upturned and he internally flinched at it, knowing how false it sounded.

Shoto looked at him with eyes that seemed to know all. They looked sad. He couldn't imagine why they realistically would be. Shoto would have had no idea what he did in the bathroom, he shouldn't have any idea.

"Are you going to talk to me or would you rather me drop it?" he asked.

"About what?" Izuku answered too quickly.

"About the fact you're not yourself today."

"I'm just tired," Izuku replied shakily, a small forced smile making its way onto his mouth.

"I've seen you tired, this is not it," Shoto said, sitting up and getting closer to the shorter boy. His eyes flickered over his face, trailing down his body as if he was searching for something. Izuku could feel his heart jump into his throat at the action.

"It's nothing really," Izuku stuttered out, "don't worry yourself okay?"

"You're hiding something. I won't make you tell me if you don't want me to, but I will be here for you. I expect you to tell me when you're ready."

"It's stupid," Izuku said, his voice caught in his throat. He felt a sob work its way up involuntarily and the pressure behind his eyes become too much. He felt the tears well against his will and he rapidly tried to blink them away.

"It can't be that stupid if it's making you cry."

"I just, I can't tell you, not right now."

Shoto nodded at the statement, his eyes leaving Izuku's shaking frame and settling on the wall in front of him. He raised his arm slowly, his hand resting on his friend's back and rubbing him. He did not ask him to speak.

"I don't know what is hurting you, but I hope you feel better soon and can talk to me when you're ready. Do you know when you'll be ready to talk?"

Izuku shook his head wildly, leaning into Shoto's every touch. He relished the contact, the feeling of warm hands on the outside of his shirt as they worked comfort into his aching body and soul.

"Do you want to talk about it tonight?"

Izuku nodded slowly, biting his tongue and refusing to speak.

"Just not right this moment?"

Izuku nodded again, hiding his face into Shoto's shoulder with a quiet sob. He wrapped his arms around his friend tightly, balling his shirt up in his fists in a despite, silent plea for him to stay. Shoto obliged and hugged him back, continuing to rub his back with his warm hand. He breathed deeply, his chest trembling with every movement, forcing himself to calm down and allowed himself to revile in the scent of his muse. He let Shoto calm him.

A few minutes later he finally tore himself away, his head dizzy from tears and the feeling of nothing but Shoto having bombarded his senses.

"Are you ready to talk now?"

Izuku nodded slowly, drawing his knees to his chest as he looked at my hands. "What do you um, what do you know?" he asked quietly. His voice was hoarse.

"Just that you are not yourself, and that several others and I are concerned."

"I um. There is two things, and I don't know where to start. I also don't know if I can tell you them, because both are things that are very likely to um, chase you away. And I care about you deeply, so I really do not want to lose you."

"Izuku stop," he said sternly, eying him with a look of conflicting feelings. "You are the person I consider my best friend. I trust you with my life. I want you to trust me."

Izuku nodded slowly, turning his head away from Shoto and closing his eyes. He rested his chin on his knees as he breathed. He still felt the weight of his friend at his side, the warmth that remained on his back even after the hand had left.

"I am not as happy as I act," he started to say slowly. "I'm still scared, you know. I'm scared to wake up and find this is all a dream. I don't want to find out that I've actually been quirkless this entire time, that this entire experience had not existed. I don't want to go back to how things were, where I was looked down on and seen as less than human."

Izuku glanced briefly over at Shoto, watching as he nodded at the statement. He silently motioned for him to continue talking, not having anything of his own to add.

"I used to be quirkless, and that made things difficult. I got harassed and bullied a lot, even by um, Katsuki. But he's at least getting better. He still scares me, you know? I still have nightmares and stuff. Sometimes I can't stand fire or explosions or loud noises because of what he has done to me. And I feel stupid because of that, it's childish I mean."

"It's not childish," Shoto cut him off. "It's a sign of PTSD and self-preservation. Also, if he does so much as lay a single finger on you," he trailed off, realizing that threatening Katsuki was not the best action at this point. He bit his lip and looked away. "Never mind, please continue."

"R-right, um," Izuku stuttered, tearing his eyes away. "Sometimes my emotions get out of hand and stuff, and then I do stupid things, really stupid things that harm me and others. I shouldn't, and I know, I shouldn't harm myself."

Izuku's words started spilling out rapidly, his voice breaking and sobs forming in his trembling chest. "Sometimes I just don't know what to do, and I hurt myself. And I hate that it's sometimes the only way I can feel better because it forces endorphins and I know it's stupid and dangerous and makes me a foolish person by cutting my stupid fucking thighs and I shouldn't and it's just, I don't know what to do sometimes and things become too much. Everything becomes too much."

He gasped for breath for a moment, sobs making his next sentence inaudible. He sniffed and pressed a fist into his eye, rubbing it and the tears that had been slowly spilled down his cheeks as he bared his soul to the man beside him. He didn't dare look at him right now, he didn't want to see his shocked face.

"I just feel like such a failure, and I don't know how to deal with it, I don't know how to feel better."

"Izuku repeat that previous sentence," Shoto said sternly, his voice wavoring ever so slightly in concern.

"I don't know how to deal with it?"

"You, you said you hurt yourself, that you cut your legs. Are you harming yourself by self mutlilation?"

Izuku sobbed loudly at the sentence, his hand shooting to cover his mouth as he turned away. His chest heaved for breath.

"I-I am so sorry for telling you, I know it's stupid and I'm a failure."

"Stop talking," Shoto said, gently laying his warm hand on his back and rubbing it again. "You engage in self-harming behaviors and you're telling me, which means you want me to help and trust me to help. And I'm not leaving you for that. I just, didn't expect it. I'm sorry."

"No!" Izuku snapped, turning around to face Shoto with eyes full of tears and tracks staining his face. "It's not your fault, don't apologize! You didn't cause me to hurt myself, you're a good person, you're the light of my life. You're my friend and you've done nothing but help me, you make me want to get better! I need to get better," he muttered the last of that, trailing off and looking away. "I need to get better for you. I love you and"

Izuku's cheeks were tinted pink and he wiped his face, blinking rapidly again in an attempt to chase the tears away. He looked up at Shoto, his eyes wide and mouth agape. He watched as his eyes flickered over him, over his arms and his legs, over his clothes before settling back on his face.

"Okay," Shoto said with a nod, pulling away slowly, his hand falling off Izuku's back. Much to his surprise a whine left Izuku's throat.

"Do you need a hug?"

Izuku nodded and rubbed his neck, exhaling heavily. He felt his bed dip under him as Shoto laid down, his arms wide open and an uncomfortable smile on his face. Izuku hesitated at the concept, Shoto laying down and offering to hug him. The level of vulnerability he displayed was surprising.

"It's okay, you can hug me. I understand you like physical affection and if you would like to cuddle that as well is fine."

Izuku slowly tucked his head in the crook of Shoto's shoulder and wrapped his arm over him, lazily staring at his chest as it rise and fell evenly.

"I haven't been very honest with you either, Izuku," he said quietly, his hand shifting to play with Izuku's hair. He felt so heavy right now, so tired from crying but his chest felt so light. He no longer felt alone in his struggles. He hummed weakly.

"I have PTSD, I understand. The fear, the wanting to cause harm to yourself and to others, except I've over trained. I know what it is like to feel like you do, and I could not leave you right now if I wanted to. You are my best friend, and I don't plan to go anywhere. I care about you."

Izuku nodded, pressing his head into Shoto's chest and wrapping his arms around him tightly. He didn't want to let go. He felt that if he let go Shoto would leave.

"We'll get you help in the morning, okay? I won't let you be alone tonight. I'll stay here, I don't want you to hurt yourself."

Izuku opened his mouth to speak but closed it, simply nodding and enjoying the warmth of Shoto's body. His smell was calming, and the feeling of nails massaging the back of his head would have made him purr. He felt the calm wash over his body with waves of exhaustion.

"I don't know what else to tell you, are you feeling better?"

Izuku nodded once more, yawning. He had cried himself out. Now he felt comfortable, warm, and safe. He remained tucked under the protecting arm of Shoto and with the knowledge that he was no longer alone, that he understood, that he was going to be getting help and would be okay.

"Are you going to go to sleep right there?"

Izuku nodded and snuggled his face closer, his eyes feeling like weights as he felt the world begin to fade away, his every nerve focusing on the comfort and safety being in Shoto's arms brought.

Izuku felt oddly rested upon waking up. No alarm had woken him, the light from behind his curtains having done the job. He slowly sat up, only to find there was an arm resting on his side. He jerked his head and saw Shoto, his eyes closed and breath moving in even, slow rises and falls.

That was short lived, his movement woke him. His eyes opened and blinked a few times, as if clearing the fog from his dreams and slowly registered on the face in front of him. For a split second he too seemed startled, having been sleeping in Izuku's bed with him, but then it was replaced with a calm look of remembrance.

"Good morning are you doing alright?" Izuku asked, tilting his head with a small smile.

"I'm going, how about you?" Shoto asked back with his own small smile. Izuku sat up properly and stretched his arms over his head.

"Better, um. Thank you for letting me talk last night. And for offering to help me get help today."

"Thank you for sleeping in my arms," Shoto replied with a quiet smile and quip to his voice. Izuku immediately flushed at the statement.

"You're comfortable," Izuku said, burying his face in his hands.

"You kept away my nightmares. I'll have to sleep in here more often."

Izuku's ears were bright red at that statement.

"You mentioned last night you loved me," Shoto said, looking at Izuku with eyes as sharp as ever. "Is it romantic, what you feel, homosexual in nature?"

Izuku cried out in surprise at that question, his hands against his chest in a guarded manner as he stared at Shoto. His eyes were wide, and he forgot how to breath. He felt his cheeks retain blood and he tried to stutter out a response.

"I um, I. I don't remember saying anything like that. I um."

Izuku took a deep breath and looked at the ground, his arms falling to his lap and his eyes closing slowly. His heart swirled as he opened his mouth, his heart pulsing in his neck as he felt his will to deny everything fall away.

"Yeah, it's gay in nature. I'm gay for you."

"What do you mean," Shoto asked, his voice having a certain lilt to it that Izuku couldn't place.

"I mean, I want to be in a relationship with you. I want to be your boyfriend. I want to cuddle you a lot and kiss you, and sometimes I want to hold your hand. I think you're cute, and I think you are so strong and powerful. You're amazing, and you're going to be a better hero than anyone else I know. You have soft hands and you care so much, and you understand me. You deal with me and I just love everything about you, I stay awake at night thinking about you and wishing everything were different, better. I wish sometimes that I was a woman, just so I could have been with you."

"If you were a woman I would not want to date you," Shoto said, putting a hand on Izuku's back and his chin on his shoulder.

"O-Oh, I mean, sorry. I didn't mean to assume you'd like me if I was a woman."

"No, Izuku, I'm gay," he stated. "I thought you knew this already, hell I thought everyone knew."

You could hear the smile in his voice. He leaned his head against Izuku's and wrapped his arm around him, hugging him. His body was warm, burning warm. It almost hurt to touch but Izuku withstood it in order to be close to him, the warmth he loved.

"I love you," Izuku said slowly, as if it was a question. His eyes flicking back to Shoto. "Are you disgusted with me?"

"What? No!" Shoto said quickly, hugging him. The warmth of one half was quickly offset by the presence of the other, cooler side.

"God know, you're dense. I wouldn't have spent the night here if I didn't love you, I wouldn't have cuddled if I didn't. I wouldn't have trusted you with telling you I have PTSD if I didn't love you. Holy hell, Izuku, you have no idea how long I've been sitting here in this dorm wishing I could tell you."

"You're rambling!" Izuku said with a smile, hugging him back as the realization dawned upon him. "You're rambling about how much you love me!"

"No shit I'm rambling, Izuku, look at you. What's not to love? For better or for worse I want to be your lover."

"Is, are you asking me to?"

"Yes, I'm asking you to be my boyfriend."

With an excited squeal and a powerful hug, landing them on top of one another in his bed in an almost compromising manner, Izuku screamed his agreement.

They clung to each other, their arms and legs wrapped in a pile of affection as they tried to get as close to one another as they could. They ignored the negatives around them, the entirety of what had been going on, the inevitable conversations about recovery plans they would need to have, and instead they stayed wrapped in each other's arms.

They walked into Aizawa's office hand in hand, Shoto with his brave face on and Izuku a few steps behind him, half cowering. The excitement of the morning had faded as Shoto continued on with his promise to get Izuku the help he needed. The uncertainty of the situation made his head spin with unanswered questions.

"Good afternoon, Todoroki," Aizawa said from behind his desk, setting down a pencil as he looked at the boys walking into his office.

"You too, Izuku."

"Hey," he croaked out quietly, squeezing Shoto's hand in a desperate attempt to ground himself.

"Did you boys need something?" he asked, glancing back to Izuku's cowering form, his eyes sharper in concern. "Is something wrong?"

"Izuku needs to talk to you, I've come along as emotional support," Shoto said confidently, squeezing his hand back and gently pulling. The smaller boy stepped out from behind him, eyes downcast as he opened his mouth to speak. He closed it and sat down in the chair opposite from Aizawa. He exhaled heavily.

"I need to talk to you about my mental state," he said slowly, rubbing the back of his neck. His heart thumped against his ribcage. He was almost certain everyone else could hear it. "And about some things relating to it, which I need help with."

Aizawa nodded slowly, glancing at Shoto before turning his eyes back to Izuku. "Alright, I'm listening."

Izuku took a deep breath before continuing. "I am depressed and keep having nightmares and anxiety attacks. I feel like a failure a lot, and like I can not do good enough no matter what. I'm constantly scared that all the good I have done will have been a dream, and that I will wake up and I won't be here, in UA."

"Would you rather talk to a therapist than me? I can arrange that if you would like," Aizawa said. His voice was calm and level. Izuku looked up at him, at the look of quiet concern on his eyes made his heart ache.

"No. I'd like to talk to you right now, if that is okay."

"I'm here."

Izuku rubbed his leg nervously, the gauze he placed over his wounds from last night fresh in his mind. "I have a problem with harming myself, cutting, I am not suicidal. I just sometimes use it to force endorphins to feel better when I'm not okay."

Aizawa nodded in response to this, picking up a pen and writing down a note on a little notepad next to him. Izuku could read it: set up weekly meetings with Midoriya.

"I um, trust you. I trust you the most out of the teachers, I can't talk to All Might because if I do, I'll feel like I failed him. You know he seems himself in me and I don't want him to see me weak. And I know you'll tell me when I'm being stupid and irrational and will help me the best you can none the less because you do care about me."

"Thank you for informing me," Aizawa said, his voice quieter than he's accustomed to. "I'll set up weekly meetings between us, and we can talk about what you need to. If you want Shoto to come with you for support I can allow that too."

"Thank you," Izuku said quickly, his voice releasing as he sobbed quietly. Shoto put a hand on his shoulder and he took a deep breath.

"I am making a support system for myself, so I can get better. Thank you for being a part of it. Both you and Shoto."

"Of course. I'd rather you come to me with your problems and let you help me than be alone with them and let them overwhelm you."

Shoto leaned down and kissing Izuku's cheek, reminding him that he was there. That his boyfriend was there, that he was going to be okay. He flushed bright red. Aizawa smiled softly.

"I see myself in you too, Midoriya. For different reasons than All Might."

Izuku looked up confused only to see him smiling faintly at Shoto, his eyes crinkled at the side as he seemed to be lost in his own thoughts briefly.

"Are you? Oh, I mean. Cool!" Izuku said, smiling.

"Don't tell anyone," Aizawa said quickly, turning back to Izuku with the smile remaining.

"Of course, Aizawa!"

"If you're done talking for now, I'll see you next Friday at four in the afternoon."

"That sounds great! Thank you!"

Izuku flopped onto his bed with a smile, his eyes on his boyfriend as he took off his coat and hung it on the back of the chair. He felt better now, warmer. He felt supported and safe in the arms of his lover and with the support of his teacher. He knew, now, that everything would inevitably work out for the better – he just had to stay around and help it happen.