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obstacles

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Shoto is rather glad to be paired with Midoriya for today’s rigorous training exercise. There aren’t many people in the class he’s on incredibly friendly terms with- though he’s getting better every day- and those he feels comfortable working one on one with make for a rather short list. Midoriya is one of those three- the other two being Iida and Yaoyorozu- so he considers himself fortunate.

Today, they’re going to be exploring a maze; while this might sound simple to most, even before the actual challenge is explained, Shoto knows that it’ll likely be much more complicated than that. And, true to his expectations, they soon learn that they will enter the maze in pairs and have to overcome several obstacles along the way, and meet checkpoints where they will have to “rescue” dummies. Needless to say, a rather typical class, in some ways.

There have been several mazes set up so that everyone can go at once, because this exercise is supposed to take all afternoon, if not longer. Shoto and Midoriya go to the entrance of their maze, and that is when he first feels a twinge in his lower abdomen, and when he realizes that, today of all days, he forgot to visit the bathroom after lunch.

It’s rare that he forgets something like that, but, from time to time, it isn’t urgent and it slips his mind. Though that was the case today, he finds himself growing nervous now, because, even if it isn’t urgent right now , he’s going to be stuck in this maze for quite some time. Shoto is afraid that it might get to a point where it’s hard to focus, or where his performance starts to slip.

But it’s too late to say something about it now, and even if it weren’t, he wouldn’t want to delay Midoriya getting started just so that he could run to the bathroom. He takes a deep, steadying breath, mentally telling himself that he’s going to be just fine, that he can do this. Heroes don’t have time for breaks when things get intense, and he knows that. Harsher lessons from his childhood come to mind, but he tries to push them aside.

There’s no use thinking of that now, or any other time.

“Alright, I think between the two of us, we can clear this pretty easily,” says Midoriya, as they start off. “I’m expecting some typical obstacles, but even the weirder things they throw at us to catch us off guard shouldn’t be too much trouble!”

He’s right, of course, and they work their way through several obstacles and to a couple of the checkpoints without much difficulty. At first, Shoto can ignore the pressure in his bladder, but, as it grows to a dull throb, it becomes harder to ignore. Hiding his discomfort grows difficult, but he doesn’t want Midoriya to catch on, because he’s not sure if he has any way to explain himself other than telling the truth.

“Do you think we’re getting close?” asks Midoriya, after quite some time.

“I hope so,” he replies, without really realizing that he’s saying it. Immediately, he regrets it.

“That’s not like you,” his friend says, a look of concern crossing his face. “I mean, you just sound kind of off. Is something bothering you?”

“Not at all,” he says quickly. “It’s just been a long day. I’m not trying to rush this, or anything.”

Though Midoriya doesn’t necessarily look convinced, Shoto is at least fortunate enough that he nods and agrees that they should keep going. Each step he takes is vaguely torturous, as his swollen bladder continues to protest for relief. It’s been such a long time since he’s been this desperate, and he knows that losing control isn’t an option, but the more time passes, the more he isn’t sure that he’s going to make it at all. He can’t do anything so obvious as grab himself or stop to cross his legs, no matter how much easier that might make this for him.

His breathing is no longer steady, and he is barely able to do anything without his hands shaking, and he is very lucky that Midoriya has mostly taken the lead now, and is doing just fine without much help from him. He tries not to think about how his grade might be affected by his minimal participation. His problem grows and grows until he is at a point where he can’t take it anymore, and despite wanting to keep going, wanting to pretend that there’s nothing wrong with him, he finds that he can’t move any further, and he comes to a stop.

At first, Midoriya doesn’t notice, and continues moving, and Shoto wishes that he could disappear, that he wouldn’t be there anymore when Midoriya finally turned around to ask him what’s up. But he doesn’t disappear, and when Midoriya does turn around, he seems him nearly doubled over, a hand between his legs and tears welling up in his eyes, such a pathetic sight that he’s sure the other boy must doubt for a moment that it’s really him.

“T...Todoroki?”

“Keep going,” he says, his voice coming out raspy. “Just...just keep going, don’t…”

“Are you okay?” Midoriya asks, as if it isn’t obvious that he isn’t , as if it isn’t obvious exactly what’s going on. “Can I…”

“Please!” he nearly begs, because, more than anything, he doesn’t want anyone to see him, doesn’t want...doesn’t...want…

But it’s too late, and before Midoriya can look away, before either of them can say anything else, Shoto loses what little control he has, and he can feel relief creeping in, mixing with humiliation, almost as quickly as he can feel the crotch of his costume growing wet. He drops his hand reflexively, to avoid it getting much wetter, and stares down in shame, watching the dark patch spread out and down his leg, until finally, a puddle begins to form at his feet, and then his vision grows so blurry that he can’t see that clearly anymore.

“Just...keep going,” he repeats, trying not to let any tears fall. He can’t believe...he can’t believe that he really allowed it to get this far, that he was this stupid , this useless, that...that...he squeezes his eyes shut, and a few tears escape down his cheeks, and he tries hard, as hard as he can, to silence a familiar voice, familiar memories, of similar mistakes in his childhood. Not right now, he doesn’t want to remember that, but it’s hard not to, when he knows that he’s still just as-

“Todoroki!” Midoriya’s voice cuts through his thoughts so sharply that he’s pulled out of his memories, and he looks up at the other boy. Rather than continuing, he steps closer, a concerned look in his eyes. “Are you alright?”

“Clearly not,” Shoto replies with a bitter laugh.

“I mean...I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that’s what was...and you were pushing yourself so hard...well, hey!” He tries to give a bright smile. “You don’t need to worry about it, alright?”

“Why shouldn’t I worry about? There’s no excuse for... that .”

“But it’s not like we had any chance to take a break! We’ve been doing this for a while, and if it were real, we definitely wouldn’t. I’m sure even pros…” He makes a vague gesture, blushing, as if not sure how to phrase it.

Shaking his head, he replies, “I’m not so sure about that. It’s something I should have been able to avoid, and I’ll have to work harder in the future, if I…” He sighs; despite everything, Midoriya’s attempts to calm him down and cheer him up are working, at last a little bit.

He surprises Shoto by reaching a hand out and saying, “Come on, let’s at least get through the rest of this together! Maybe we can figure out a way to cover it up before we ever get out. I mean, water obstacles are so typical, so the fact that we haven’t had one yet almost definitely means that we will, which would make that really easy. Only the teachers and me will know, and you know I’ll never say anything, alright?”

Shoto, not sure what else to do, accepts the hand offered to him, and follows along. It isn’t long before they have to drop hands and get more serious, but the small act of comfort goes a very long way. And, as Midoriya predicted, they do happen upon a water obstacle and they both happen to fall in together, and Midoriya even pretends to struggle for a moment, before laughing, and Shoto cracks a smile, nearly laughing with him.

Chapter Text

Alternatively, there is a possibility that Shoto could be a lot less lucky with her partnership for a class exercise. That is to say, there is another possible story, of a day where the class is sent to an outdoor area to do a training exercise in pairs, and, when they are paired up, Shoto can only feel disdain upon seeing that he’s been paired up with Bakugo.

While other classmates seem to be paired up without issue, he’s unfortunate enough to be paired with someone that makes it very clear that he doesn’t like him, and, even though things aren’t as bad as they once were, Bakugo is still a very difficult person to work with. While it’s true that Shoto is rather distant from most of his classmates, he still thinks most of them would be preferable to the short-tempered, competitive boy.

But work is work, and he has no choice, so he decides to make the best of it. In the back of his mind, he’s hoping that this doesn’t take too long, because he’d like to get back to the school building. He’s trying to keep his nerves from showing on his face, but he’s made a bit of a mistake.

It’s the later half of the day, and he hasn’t thought enough about it to worry before, but now he’s realizing that the last time he visited the bathroom was before school, and that fact is finally making itself known to him. At this point, it’s only a minor discomfort, but he knows from past experience that it could get worse rather quickly, and he hopes that that’s not the case today.

All he can do now is focus on the tasks at hand, not wanting to let on to anyone, least of all his partner, that anything is amiss. At the very least, Bakugo seems distracted enough by his own annoyance, snapping, “I don’t know why the hell it’s always gotta be you.”

He refrains from commenting on the fact that they aren’t really forced together that much, and instead just says, “Just try to stay focused.” He knows that that will only set off Bakugo’s temper more, but he at least gets some amusement in the way the other boy splutters in anger as the two set off to start.

Today is one of their more basic exercises, mobility in outdoor areas, and Shoto isn’t even sure why they have to work in pairs for something like this. It’s stealth and rescue, involving mild combat with training dummies, but they’re meant to do as much as they can in a set amount of time, while not being told how long that set amount of time is. At any point, they could be called back, so it’s meant to add a sense of urgency.

Shoto grimaces as he thinks about how he doesn’t really need any help feeling urgent right now. He even goes so far as to follow Bakugo’s lead for the time being, rather than challenging the other boy, like he normally would. It’s better to not add any more complications, he thinks, already allowing himself to worry about this more than he thinks the situation calls for yet.

However, it isn’t long before the situation worsens enough that it does warrant more worry. While he follows behind Bakugo, letting his classmate handle the brunt of the fighting, giving assistance only when necessary, he can feel the pressure steadily growing, until it becomes more than just a minor discomfort. He’s been in a few situations where classes seemed to drag out forever, but he never got so bad that he wondered if he was going to make it. The thought never entered his mind.

Now, not knowing how much time he has to wait, he starts to think it might be a possibility. He wishes that he could have known he would be doing such a long exercise with no breaks, and he almost wishes that they weren’t doing this in pairs. Of course, he pushes the idea out of his head almost immediately, but they are outside for this…

But, no, even if he were alone, that would just be pathetic. How is he supposed to become a great hero if he’s stuck doing something as pathetic as that? He nearly pauses as he thinks that, but then assures himself that it’s his own desires talking there, that it has nothing to do with anything else. There’s no use thinking about that on top of everything else, and he knows that.

“Are you seriously just leaving everything to me?” Bakugo snaps, as if unaware that he’s taken charge of his own accord. “Seriously, Half and Half, what the hell’s wrong with you?”

“There isn’t anything wrong with me,” he replies. “Shouldn’t you stay focused?” He tries to play it cool, but he can’t keep the strain out of his voice as he struggles.

“Speak for yourself, damn it! Don’t think I haven’t noticed how weird you’re acting. If you fuck this up for both of us, I’ll make sure you pay for it!”

“I figured you think we were doing just fine, as long as you handled everything.”

“See?” Bakugo squints, stepping closer, and Shoto actually feels a little intimidated under his gaze, though he attributes that to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to stand still right now. He squeezes his thighs together as the other boy goes onto say, “You’re never like this, and it’s pissing me off!”

“We aren’t going to solve anything standing around arguing,” is all he says, not sure how to defend himself. He doesn’t want Bakugo to figure out the reason for his behavior and taunt him for his weakness, but the longer he stares, the harder it is for Shoto to remain still, to keep his feelings from his face.

Finally, Bakugo sneers and says, “Whatever. I don’t really care what it is, just don’t let it get in the way anymore.” And he trudges on and Shoto follows, but it’s far too late now for him to act like nothing’s wrong. He can’t put up an act to deter the other boy and convince him it was all in his head, because things are so bad now that he can barely keep his own head straight.

Shoto is nearly trembling as he follows along, completely useless, and every now and then, Bakugo will look back over his shoulder and make a face, but he won’t say anything. It’s becoming so obvious now that it’s possible he already knows, but if he did, wouldn’t he have said something about that , at least?

His head is swimming, and he aches so much, each and every step leaves him afraid he’s going to lose control, but he just keeps moving forward, unsure of what else to do. He has no idea if he can make it, seeing as he has no idea how much time he has left, and, though the last thing he wants is for anyone, least of all Bakugo, to see him in such a pathetic state, it hurts so much now that even relief in that manner seems preferable to holding on anymore.

I can’t , he thinks, I can’t because that would be...I would be…

He can’t because he can’t , but he doesn’t have much of a choice anymore. His ability to hold out is fading so quickly, each step...he’s not going to make it now, he knows he isn’t, but he’s trying, he’s still trying , even as he starts to leak, he keeps trying, but he can’t stop it now, and each leak is followed by another, until there’s a sizable stain on his pants.

Already, he can’t cover it up; already, it’s too late, and he doesn’t realize he’s near tears until he chokes a bit, and that sound is enough to tip off Bakugo, who turns around in time to see the rest of the disaster. He turns around just in time to see the moment that Shoto gives in to the relief, not even able to panicked in regards to being watched, simply looking off to the side with a sigh as he soaks himself.

The only reason he doesn’t cry is because he doesn’t let himself. He knows damn well he looks weak enough already, and so he at least manages to hold the tears back, to hold back the flood of emotions he’s always trying to keep at bay. Even once it’s over, while his bladder is still cramping, though empty, he still keeps his eyes trained somewhere to the side, not saying a word.

It’s Bakugo who breaks the silence, muttering, “You didn’t have to let it get that bad, we are outside, for fuck’s sake.”

“So you…?”

“It was pretty obvious after a while. I kinda just expected you to wave me off and duck behind a tree before you’d actually piss yourself, but whatever.” There’s something off about is tone, and Shoto realizes that Bakugo must feel nearly as awkward as he does. But what’s more off is that he hasn’t taken the opportunity to gloat or mock him yet, something that he surely would have done before, something that Shoto was expecting him to do now.

“Well, I…” He can’t really think of what to say now; it pretty much goes without saying that, at the end of it all, he couldn’t bring himself to do something like that, even though he knew he was cutting it close. Maybe he should have just swallowed his pride then , all things considered, but what’s done is done.

Bakugo tsk s, before saying, “Whatever, it’s your life, I guess? Your own damn fault, so deal with it however you want, but let’s get back to it, alright? I’m not letting you slow me down over this .”

It’s not as if the other boy tried to comfort him or anything, but he also didn’t do anything to make the situation worse, and coming from him, that is something like kindness. Certainly nothing for Shoto to take to heart, but he feels strange nonetheless as he continues to follow behind Bakugo, and tries to be more involved in the exercise, and even rather enjoys the bickering that ensues whenever they go for the same objective.

Of course, walking around in wet clothes is uncomfortable and still humiliating as all hell, but Bakugo is quick to inform him that figuring out how to deal with that is his own problem.