It’s maybe seven o’clock when Shouto wakes. He doesn’t bother to check, instead snuggling further around Izuku, who lays with his limbs tangled in Shouto’s under the sheets. Every night so far has bred a morning such as this – clinging to each other, like the other is their lifeline. And, at this point, Shouto doesn’t think it’s that far off to suggest that’s what Izuku is to him. A lifeline.
After all, Izuku has saved him from peril too many times to count, and Shouto has done the same for Izuku. Their agency so far is just the two of them and two work study students from U.A., and the brunt force of many of the emergency calls falls on Izuku and Shouto’s shoulders. It is no matter, though; they always escape, sometimes needing stitches or a warm bath to loosen stiff muscles, but they make it nonetheless. And they collapse together on the doorstep of their shared apartment. Shouto is just shy of twenty, and he’s happier than he’s ever been, even if he’s working twice as hard as he would have at his father’s agency.
Snow comes down heavy outside. The wind whistles out there, loud even through the small windows of their bedroom, and with every gust the snow tilts on its side. Shouto watches it, fingers tangling in Izuku’s hair as they usually do when he wakes first. Izuku’s gravity-defiant hair has always been a mystery to him, and now it’s a mystery he gets to piece together in the early hours of every morning, smile lazy and sleepy on his lips. The kind of genuine smile that Shouto swears only Izuku has seen.
Izuku doesn’t wake for another forty minutes at least, though Shouto isn’t counting the moments, merely letting them melt together. It’s their first Christmas together, and he would rather not tarnish the memory with dense counts of time to weigh his memory down. So, forty minutes, perhaps. Or perhaps thirty or ten or two. Either way, he gets to watch those bleary green eyes blink awake as sunlight lightens the room, though not much – the storm still rages outside, the clouds still blotting out most of the sun.
The smile on Izuku’s face is enough to account for every moment spent waiting for him to wake, anyway.
“Merry Christmas,” Shouto whispers, and he leans in, presses a gentle kiss to Izuku’s lips. And Izuku wrinkles his nose into a pout, as he always does when Shouto kisses him before he has a chance to brush his teeth in the morning. As if that will make him love Izuku any less. He’s certain his morning breath is just as bad, but every time they play-argue over it Izuku doesn’t seem to think so.
“Merry Christmas,” Izuku repeats back when his face softens again from the pout. He cuddles closer, further into Shouto’s arms, and they hold each other, listen to the wind whistle by outside.
It’s perhaps nine in the morning when they retire from the bedroom for the morning. The apartment isn’t terribly warm – Izuku likes the temperature to be cold when he sleeps – and so Izuku drags the comforter from the bed all the way to the living area, flops himself on the floor beside the tree. Shouto opts for a throw blanket draped over the sofa, seats himself next to Izuku, and they bump shoulders. There are too many gifts under the tree for the two of them. Ochaco and Tenya and Katsuki and Eijirou will all be coming over later to celebrate, but for now it’s just Shouto and Izuku, Shouto and Izuku enjoying their first Christmas living together.
As such, and being young and dumb with the excessive funds that come from being top-ten heroes in their early twenties, the apartment is wholly decorated. There are bundles of mistletoe draping from the ceiling; a wreath in the dining space, and another on the inside of the door into the apartment; garland over the middle of the dining table like a table runner; miscellaneous decorations and throw pillows and trinkets scattered about. Shouto let Izuku do the decorating, and he’s glad he did, because he’d have likely gotten the tree and a few ornaments and called it good.
“Do you want a coffee, babe?” Izuku asks, presses a kiss to Shouto’s cheek as he rises to his feet. The comforter drags along the ground as he pads toward the kitchen.
“Hot cocoa?” Shouto bargains, and Izuku huffs a laugh, shakes his head.
“I’ll never understand how you can start your day off with something so sweet.” But still, Izuku puts a pot on the stove to heat some milk and chocolate while he starts the coffee pot.
“You put like, four tablespoons of creamer in your coffee,” Shouto replies, stands as well and makes his own way to the kitchen. “I see no difference.”
“The difference is I can pretend coffee is better for me,” Izuku says, and he leans across the island counter to press a kiss to Shouto’s lips. Morning breath be damned. “When are Ochaco and them coming over later, again?”
“Two,” Shouto says. “I think. I’m not sure, Katsuki wouldn’t stop yelling on the phone.”
Izuku rolls his eyes, turns his back on Shouto to monitor the milk and chocolate on the stove. He stirs it slow. “He’s probably just mad he drew my name.”
“I don’t think he understood the ‘secret’ part of secret Santas,” Shouto says. He wraps around the lip of the island to hold Izuku from behind, chin settling on his shoulder.
Izuku hums and melts into the embrace, the way Shouto holds him like he’s not the most fragile thing in the world but the softest, maybe; he’s a stuffed animal. And Shouto presses a few delicate kisses to Izuku’s neck with just the turn of his head, and Izuku makes a soft noise that Shouto can’t dwell on for too long otherwise they’ll disappear back into the bedroom and need to restart their Christmas festivities an hour or two from now.
They settle back at the tree shortly after, Shouto with his hot cocoa and Izuku his coffee. Shouto turned on the television on the way by, and now it plays some holiday music station or another as they look at the presents under the tree. They chose to wrap their presents to each other in a different wrapping paper – green and red and white polka dots – so it would be easy to discern from the other packages. “I think you should open the first one,” Izuku hums, sets aside his mug so he can grab a present he’d wrapped. Even if Izuku has him beat in hero rankings, Shouto certainly has him beat in present-wrapping skills.
“Why me?” Shouto scoffs, sets his own mug aside to reach for one of the presents he’d purchased for Izuku. “You’re number five.”
“And you’re number six,” Izuku huffs. “Why does that matter? I just want you to open the first present.”
“But I woke up first, so I should get to choose.”
“Nope! You woke up first, you open the first gift.”
“But you made me hot cocoa—”
“Shouto, if you don’t open this present I will walk out of this apartment.”
“You won’t,” Shouto says, though Izuku quirks his brow in a way that suggests Shouto try it. Shouto doesn’t; he takes the small box from Izuku’s hands and opens it slowly.
It’s a photograph. A decently small one – the size perfect for his desk at work – and in it stands himself, and Izuku, with Katsuki and Eijirou on either side of them. It’s a photo from the last hero ranking, the one where the four of them broke the top ten. They all wear suits, aside from Eijirou, who wears a fancy button-up and suspenders. And Shouto can’t help his smile, though he’s not even smiling in the photo – in fact, it looks like the photo was taken before any of them were paying attention. “It’s great,” Shouto whispers, and Izuku makes a noise halfway between a gasp and a giggle.
“I really liked that one,” Izuku admits, sheepish. “And I thought, well, if you decide to put it up around the house I want to like how it looks. But it’s the perfect size for your desk at work!”
Shouto huffs. “You know me so well.”
He passes the box in his hands to Izuku. It’s a puzzle, two thousand pieces to occupy his smartass boyfriend’s incredible mind. The photo is of All Might back in his early days, back in his American costume. It had been so hard to find, and seriously, Shouto would have paid any price to get it. But he was lucky, and he found it from someone decluttering their attic who just wanted the thing gone. And Shouto knows he’s doing something right by the way Izuku’s eyes blow wide, excited, happy. The same way they did when he and Izuku visited the All Might museum in America at the end of their third year.
The gift exchange is much more personal than it has any right to be. Izuku and Shouto already knew each other well before moving in together, but now it’s as though they have memorized and adopted every piece of each other. Izuku can finally tie his own ties; Shouto finds himself whistling all of Izuku’s favorite songs. They have reached a level of sameness that might once have scared Shouto, but now he relishes it, knowing that there is at least one person on this planet who will understand anything and everything he goes through in his life from here forward.
Shouto gets Izuku a novelty tie, split down the middle – half red, half white. Izuku gets Shouto the most gaudy DEKU hoodie Shouto has ever seen, and that’s including the one he’d seen in a storefront window that was just Izuku’s abs superimposed on a hooded sweatshirt. Shouto gets Izuku a new cell phone – Izuku has been carrying around the same brick since high school – and Izuku gets Shouto a tablet to play his games on.
And then they’re reaching the end of their own pile of gifts, a significant amount of wrapping paper strewn around their living area. They truly are like children on Christmas, whipping the paper around and tossing boxes out of the way while they open their presents. But there’s two more – in equally small boxes – and they’re buried, like they’ve been put out of sight. Leave it to Izuku to choose the same hiding spot as Shouto for a secret gift.
“Can we—can we open this last one together?” Izuku asks, hesitant, as though Shouto will say no.
“Of course,” he says, passes Izuku his own small box while he opens his own.
And it’s a ring box that he opens, and for a moment he just waits – waits to see if Izuku will get up and lower himself to one knee. It’s not that Shouto is planning on doing such, but the anticipation is still there of Izuku opening the box. He’s still watching Shouto though, the wrapping still firmly intact on his own box. “I thought you said same time,” Shouto says to excuse his hesitance in opening the ring box.
“Right,” Izuku says, tone hushed, as he rips the wrapping off his own box. And they scoot closer, together, to open their ring boxes.
Shouto blinks. It isn’t the engagement ring he was expecting. No, it’s a green emerald thing, with a simple silver band. And honestly, he should have known. He should have known just with how alike he and Izuku are that they’d do something like this. He huffs a laugh, and Izuku does the same as he peeks inside his own box – an identical ring, but with a ruby planted in its center.
“I think we should—”
“Yes,” Shouto breathes. It’s not the proposal he was expecting. It’s enough; it’s more than enough. They’ve never done anything over the top. Getting together had been a matter of kissing to try it and never stopping, tacking on hand-holding and sex and sleeping in the same bed. They aren’t the type to make a big deal of anything. Perhaps this should have been a bigger deal, but it isn’t; all that is is the arms that wind around Shouto’s neck, Izuku pinning him to the carpet in the living room and kissing him through a smile he can’t shake. And Shouto smiles too, until they’re just smushing smiles together, like if they smile hard enough and kiss each other hard enough they’ll finally become one person.
And just like that, they’re engaged. Shouto takes Izuku’s hand and slides the ring onto his ring finger, and Izuku reciprocates the gesture.
It’s laughable, really, that they are so similar to propose in the same way, to get the same ring. And when they tell Katsuki and Eijirou and Ochaco and Tenya later that evening, the group honestly thinks Shouto and Izuku planned it so their engagement rings would match. No matter how many times they insist, their denials fall on deaf ears.
It’s simple. It’s warm, it’s domestic, it’s home, it’s everything Izuku represents in his life. The little moments, the lazy mornings, the conversations over hot cocoa and coffee. The thing Shouto loves most of it is that it could have been any day. But they’d chosen a day special to them – the first Christmas in this cramped, tiny, fifth-floor apartment – to promise their lives to each other, and while many enjoy the hugeness of celebrating an engagement, Shouto finds he enjoys its slotting into their everyday lives much more.