I'll Be Waiting
"I'll be waiting for you."
If there was one thing that Ochako admired Izuku Midoriya for, it would be his selflessness. The way that he put everyone else before himself, even if it meant that he himself could get hurt, was inspiring. Even when his Quirk hurt himself more than it hurt others, if there was someone in need, he ran headlong into the fight.
If there was one thing that Ochako admired Izuku Midoriya for, it would be his motivation. When he set his mind to something, he wasn't going to back down, no matter what. Be it a fight versus a villain or his schoolwork, he did the best he possibly could, no matter the circumstance.
If there was one thing that Ochako admired Izuku Midoriya for, it would be how much he cared for others. It was obvious, just by being near him, how much he cared for his friends. Even when it was someone like Bakugo, someone who hadn't seen them as on equal footing for the longest time, Izuku put in his best effort towards showing that person how much they meant to him.
There were a lot of things that Ochako admired about Izuku Midoriya. So many things that made her value him more than most people in her life. She could try to list all the reasons, but she knew that even she'd miss something. To Ochako, Izuku Midoriya was precious, a friend she wished she'd never lose.
Even the strongest people had days where they felt down, days that they let their problems get to them. Even Izuku had days where he wasn't up to the weather, and Ochako could tell. On those days, Izuku spaced out in class, and he didn't have as much enthusiasm. When he talked to his friends, he was lacking energy, and made silly mistakes in class exercises.
On those days, Ochako wanted nothing more than to help him feel better. She wanted to bring his spirits up and then he'd be back to his normal, happy self. On days like those, Ochako wanted to tell him all the reasons why she admired him. She wanted to tell him how much he mattered to everyone, how much he mattered to her. Maybe then he'd get a bit happier and his day would be back to normal.
But she just couldn't tell him.
Eventually, Class 1-A became Class 2-A, then Class 3-A. A lot happened throughout the years at Yuuei, some memories happy, some sad. Shinsou Hitoshi joined the class following a seat becoming vacant, and Izuku made friends with him almost immediately. Ochako couldn't help but smile when Izuku assimilated him straight into the 'Dekusquad' as many people called it.
That was another thing that Ochako admired about Izuku Midoriya. He was quick to make friends, even when those people insisted that they 'weren't there to make friends'. He'd befriended Todoroki Shouto, he'd assimilated Shinsou Hitoshi, and he'd made Bakugo...less hostile. It was all probably due to how friendly he was towards everyone around him.
Ochako worried sometimes that he was stretching himself too thin. If he tried to be best friends with everyone around him, eventually he'd have too much to keep up with, leading to him getting overwhelmed.
Yet, when Ochako saw how much Izuku smiled when he was around his friends, she knew everything was going to be okay.
Everyone graduated and went their separate ways after graduation. The entire class split up across the entire country, all landing sidekick jobs with different agencies. Izuku got to stay in Musutafu, as he got a job with one of the top ranked heroes in the area.
Ochako loathed the idea of being anywhere that Izuku wasn't, so she stuck with him.
Hero work was tough, and Ochako worried for Izuku sometimes. He didn't come out of every fight uninjured, but he came out on top every time. He fought with a big smile on his face, giving hope to all those that he was saving. Every time Ochako saw that smile, her heart fluttered.
Ochako could tell that Izuku loved his job, even if it got to him sometimes. She could tell it hurt him every time he couldn't save everyone, and he lost sleep over those he couldn't get to in time.
Still, he kept on fighting with a smile on his face.
That was another thing Ochako admired about Izuku Midoriya: his heroism was unmatched. He continued to fight, saving everyone he could with a smile on his face. Even when he was hurting, he continued to smile, because he knew that it was what the people needed. He saved his crying for when he was alone, for when other people couldn't see his weakness.
Ochako wished that she could be the same.
The hero Deku rose through the hero rankings quickly. Soon, he had his own agency, sidekicks of his own. He started to get fan mail and his own merchandise. Kids around Japan were starting to idolize Deku, just like Izuku had idolized All Might.
Izuku opened every single piece of fan mail that he received, and he saved it all. Even when the fan mail was coming in faster than he could get through it, he still spent hours at a time reading letter after letter.
The smile on his face when he read each letter was evidence enough for why he did it. Izuku was genuinely happy to see that he inspired others, and he teared up when he read thank-you notes from those he'd saved.
Izuku was happy when he was reading fan mail, and if he was happy, Ochako was happy.
Valentine's Day rolled around. "The day of love" as it was called around the world, was a time of happiness for many. People spent quality time with their loved ones, and many people found the person they'd spend the rest of their lives with.
Ochako had long since accepted her feelings. She knew that she loved Izuku Midoriya for all the same reasons that she admired him. She wanted to be by his side, to celebrate with him when he was happy, and to pick him up when he was sad. She wanted to be able to spend nights in his arms, and wake up together.
She wanted to be by his side, because when she was with him, she felt stronger, like she could do anything.
Around the world, there was a tradition to give candies to the person you loved on Valentine's Day. In Japan, it was chocolates, while in America it varied from assorted chocolates to chalky, sweet candy hearts that tasted like garbage.
On Valentine's Day each year, Izuku got more candy than he could possibly eat from all of his fans. Pounds upon pounds of sweets arrived in his mailbox, all gifts of appreciation from people that he'd saved.
For some reason, though, unlike all of the other fan mail he got, Izuku didn't seem happy to get the chocolates. Most of the time, he just put it into storage somewhere, or he gave it to his friends or coworkers. He did anything but eat it. He even looked sad when he looked at the chocolates.
Ochako wanted nothing more than to get Izuku something for Valentine's Day, something to show him how much she appreciated all he'd done for not only her, but people all around Japan. It didn't matter what it was, as long as she could get her point across.
They could be love chocolates, they could be the chalky, garbage hearts from America. To her, it didn't matter what they were, as long as she could give them to Izuku and show him just how much she loved him.
But it was impossible. She couldn't give him candies, no matter how hard she tried. Year after year, her heart sank when she saw how down he felt on Valentine's Day, and she hated that she couldn't give him something to help him feel better.
It was impossible for a dead person to give someone chocolates, after all.
It had happened during the end of their first year at Yuuei. The League of Villains had attacked again, and Ochako had been caught in the crossfire. They'd tried to save her, but she'd been found just a little too late.
The spot that Shinsou had filled had been hers. The spot left vacant in the 'Dekusquad' that Shinsou had filled had been her.
Ochako wanted nothing more than to tell Izuku how much he meant to her. She wanted nothing more than to give him chocolate hearts on Valentine's Day. She wanted nothing more than to tell him that she loved him.
But it would all have to wait. Izuku had a life to live, and, as much as Ochako wanted to tell him all those things, seeing him live the life he wanted to live was more important. So as long as he was happy, she was happy.
She hoped that she wasn't the reason that he felt down on every Valentine's Day. She hoped that she wasn't the reason that he cried some nights. And if she was, she'd just have to apologize when she got the chance.
She could wait; she'd have to. She'd waited for years already; what's a few more?
As she watched Izuku go to bed after yet another Valentine's Day, Ochako let herself smile a little.
"I'll be waiting for you."
Written for the IzuOcha Discord February writing competition