There is a time when all is right with the world. Spring is in full bloom; students are starting school for the year; animals are waking up from their winter’s nap. For some, it’s a time of new beginnings: new year, new hope, new future. For others, they seem to be stuck in the same, endless loop. Enji Todoroki is in that loop.
Spring wouldn’t be so bad for Enji if he could figure out his next step in life. For now, he is stuck working as a cashier at a local grocery store. So day in and day out, he stands there--scanning items, making small talk, trying to be friendly to everyone. He wants to be a pro hero one day, but being only sixteen years old, he has a while before that can happen.
Enji has a favorite hero. Her name is Nana Shimura. She’s so strong and brave, Enji wishes to be just like her one day. Nana seems to win every time by using brute strength alone. He wonders if he can do that when he becomes a hero. He has heard about her successor, a guy named Toshinori Yagi, or as his hero alias, All Might. Maybe All Might can teach Enji a few things when Enji becomes a pro.
The day comes when Enji has to choose a hero name. “Make it worthy. It’ll stick, possibly forever," says his homeroom teacher at U.A. Everyone in the class seems to come up with their names easily. Enji had a name picked out when he was younger, but he doubts it’s worth using as a name. Momentarily putting doubts aside, he writes out “Endeavor” on his whiteboard. His teacher instantly approves of his name.
Enji spends a few more years in high school and decides upon graduating that he’ll become a pro hero. Starting his own agency seems like a far stretch. He’s content just working alongside someone else until he gets more experience. That experience comes quickly though because soon he’s a full-fledged pro hero with his own agency.
He’s out patrolling one day when he finds a young woman that catches his attention. He manages to impress her with his status and accomplishments and asks her on a date one day. They meet for coffee on one of Enji’s days off. The woman brings a friend with her, just in case. It is on this day that Enji finds out the woman’s name: Rei. Rei has an ice quirk, though not very powerful. She’s kind of sheepish about it. They spend several minutes talking and getting to know each other. Rei enjoys Enji’s company and finds him to be a modest young man.
The two meet a few more times and talk more until they introduce each other to their parents. Rei’s parents take some warming up to, but they come around and accept Enji. They just want what’s best for their daughter. They like that Enji already has a stable job and a savings account that isn’t laughable. Enji’s parents are impressed that he found a girl while he was so young. His parents love Rei’s personality and her quirk and think she’ll go nicely with Enji.
Enji proposes to Rei a year later with a flower she said she loved when they first met. He of course has a ring to go with it, but she loves how he remembers her favorite flower. They get married the following spring in a garden with a few close family and friends. They honeymoon in the United States and go to New York for four days.
The two talk about having children and wait until both are comfortable with the idea. Their plan takes a few years to pursue, but they are fine. They figure waiting is better to do than be too early. Their marriage produces four beautiful children: Touya, Fuyumi, Natsuo, and Shoto.
Touya grows up to look exactly like Enji, fire quirk and all. Once as a toddler, Touya nearly burned Rei on accident.
Fuyumi is cute. She grows up very girly with princesses, bows, and dresses. When she is in preschool, Rei and Enji are called into the teacher’s classroom.
“Fuyumi has done nothing wrong, I hope,” Enji begins their meeting.
The teacher shakes her head. “Oh no, not at all. She’s one of my best students, in fact. I called you here because I see Fuyumi squinting a lot. I think maybe she needs glasses.”
Fuyumi is sitting at a table behind them playing with some dolls she had brought from home.
Rei called her over. “Fuyumi, come here sweetie.”
“Do you mind if I test this for myself?” Enji asked politely.
The teacher waved him over to the chalkboard where she had flashcards with numbers on them in big, bold print.
“Can you look at daddy?” Rei points Fuyumi toward Enji. “What number is that?”
Fuyumi squints at him for a long moment before she says, “Four, I think.”
Enji flips to a new number. “What is this one, sweetheart.”
She squints even more. “Seven?”
It was apparent then that Fuyumi needs glasses. “Thank you for your time,” Rei tells the teacher. “We will get this taken care of right away.”
“I wish her the best!” Her teacher calls as they are leaving.
Fuyumi loves her new glasses. “I can see my whole kingdom now!” She exclaims excitedly.
“You know, all the best princesses wear glasses.” Rei tells her.
Fuyumi gasps. “Really? I wanna be one of the bestest princesses in the world!”
Rei also shows Fuyumi how to use her ice quirk to make pretty things. So far Fuyumi can only freeze sitting water. She’ll get there.
Natsuo is the wild child always keeping everyone on their toes. No one is ever sure what Natsuo will do next. One minute he’s running in the backyard, the next he may nearly drown himself by tripping and falling into the pond. One day he and Touya are playing outside when Natsuo’s ice quirk gets out of hand.
Suddenly, Touya is screaming. “MOM!”
Rei rushes out to see a crying Touya trapped by ice. “What happened?”
Natsuo is quick to get to her. “Touya and I were playing and my quirk got out of hand and I accidentally froze him.” He explains sheepishly.
She turns to Touya. “Hey, honey, it’s okay," She says in a soft voice. "It was an accident; your brother would never intentionally hurt you.”
Touya continues crying. He is freezing.
“Can you use your quirk to get out?”
He is so distraught he can’t even think straight, let alone concentrate enough to use his quirk. Touya shakes his head while another tear rolls down his cheek.
Rei turns to Natsuo. “Go get your father for me.”
Natsuo runs back into the house. “Dad! Mom wants you!”
Enji comes out of the living room to see what happened. Fuyumi is with him and also comes out.
He looks at Natsuo. “How did this happen?” Enji turns back to the crying Touya.
“He and I were playing and I accidentally froze him. I don’t have good control over my quirk.”
Enji pinches the bridge of his nose. “Fuyumi, go start a bath for your brother. Natsuo, go stand on the porch. You should keep away from Touya for the moment. I need to thaw out your brother.”
The kids go to where they were assigned to go while Enji starts working on melting the ice. Rei stays with Touya to comfort him and reassure him everything is okay. The ice melting takes a few short minutes before Enji picks up Touya and walks him over to the bathroom. It is only after the bath and a change into warm clothes that Touya finally stops crying.
Shoto is the quiet one. He never cries much as a baby, especially not at night. He always sleeps like a rock and no one is able to wake him. When he finds out he has both quirks, his parents are proud of him and happy for what he may become, but Shoto is embarrassed. He doesn’t like having two quirks, especially not his fire quirk. He’s afraid he may burn someone.
All is well in the Todoroki family. The kids are growing up to be well-behaved. Enji and Rei still love each other just as they did all those years ago. The kids are tutored and nannied just like the other kids their age.
But one thing is different about them. Not anything bad, but definitely something that sets them apart from other kids.
And that is where this story begins.
Enji begins all of them on quirk training when they are five. He starts with Touya since he’s the oldest.
“I want you to shoot your fire at me as strongly as you can.”
Touya looks scared. “Won’t I hurt you?”
“I am immune to fire. Believe me, you won’t hurt me, I promise.”
Touya shoots a small fire at his dad. The fire just barely covers his arm and goes about two feet away.
“That was a good try. If you can, try to concentrate on aiming it so it hits your target, which, right now, is me.”
Touya tries again, shooting farther, but still missing Enji.
“Try shooting with both arms put together.”
He tries a third time, now with both arms together, and shoots twice as far as his first attempt. He nearly hits Enji.
Enji is so proud of him. “You did it! Now, I want you to try again, and see if maybe you can shoot it even farther.” He backs up a little to test Touya.
Touya puts all his concentration into this one shot. Once again, it hits just short of Enji.
Enji walks over and pats Touya on the shoulder. “Nice work, kiddo. You shot it really far! I’m going to put a dummy up for you outside, and I want you to practice everyday shooting it from certain distances. Try with one arm first, then the other, and then both. Keep working at it and I think you’ll get a good handle on your quirk.” Enji ruffles Touya’s hair. “You’re doing great.”
Touya smiles at the compliment. “Thanks, Dad.”
He keeps working every day on his quirk. He starts his routine by stretching out his arms and shoulders. Then, as a warm-up, Touya will try controlling his fire by lighting a candle. Touya then starts his practice of shooting fire out of his arms to hit the dummy in the backyard. Enji comes by occasionally to fix Touya’s form and stance.
“You’re doing well ; keep going. I want you to push yourself to your limits. Take a break when you feel like you need it,” Enji tells him often.
A few short years later, it’s Fuyumi’s turn for quirk training. Rei teaches her the basics of freezing things.
“I want you to go wash your hands, but don’t dry them. Leave them wet.” Rei says, and so,Fuyumi comes back with dripping hands. “Hold out your hands for me. Try freezing that water. Imagine the frost and ice as it laces around your fingers.”
Fuyumi puts all of her focus into her power. “Imagine the frost,” she repeats. Suddenly, her fingers crust over with a light layer of frost. “Momma look, I did it!”
Rei smiles. “You sure did, sweetie! Now, dip your hands in this bowl of water and see if you can freeze that.” She hands Fuyumi a small bowl of water.
Fuyumi places her hand in the bowl. She focuses on freezing it, but only the top of the water frosts over. “I don’t think I did it this time. It’s not working.”
“That’s okay! Your quirk is not all that strong yet, but I believe in you. You can do it, I know you can.” She hears the front door open and close. “I think your father just got home. Why don’t you go get your hands wet again and show him what you did today?”
Fuyumi races into the living room where her dad is waiting for her. “Daddy, look! I can freeze water!” She holds out her hands and shows that the water on them is slowly hardening into frost. She clenches her hands together and they make a crunching sound.
Enji is amazed at her newfound skill. “That’s great, sweetheart!” He takes her tiny hands in his and marvels at how she was able to make little flakes of frost on her skin. “You’re one step closer to being an amazing hero!”
She puts her crunchy hands in the air. “Hero!” she cheers. The ice on her hands i starts to melt. “I’m gonna go dry this off. Mom said not to get any water on the floor.”
She keeps working on her quirk every day until it is strong enough to completely freeze all the water in the bowl.
Natsuo’s quirk comes a little easier. When trying to freeze the water on his wet hands, Natsuo’s entire hand becomes a block of ice.
“Aww, no fair!” Fuyumi gapes. “It took me months to be able to do that!” She has just come inside from working on her quirk. Her exercise for today was creating ice without water at her disposal. She has figured out that she can frost things over easily, but icing things over takes more power and concentration.
Natsuo shrugs. “Maybe I have a stronger quirk?”
“It has to do with how pure of white your hair is.” Rei says from the couch in the living room. “The more white, the stronger. I have a brother that has a weaker ice quirk similar to Fuyumi’s all because his hair is mixed with brown from our mother’s side. She was born quirkless.”
“So because I have bits of red in my hair, my quirk will always be weaker than Natsuo’s?”
“Possibly. It doesn’t mean you need to work twice as hard as he does to get the same level of quirk he has. Focus on your own quirk and don’t worry about your brother’s.”
“What about your quirk training?” Natsuo asks.
“I’m able to make it look like the dew froze over last night. That’s about it.” Fuyumi replies. She sees Shoto in a playpen in the corner. “Why can’t I have it easier like him? He’s probably going to have both quirks.”
“Shoto’s quirk won’t be easy. It’ll be a huge effort on my and your father’s parts. We don’t even know if he has both quirks, anyway.”
“He has both.” Natsuo says affirmatively.
“How are you so sure?” Fuyumi asks.
“He once sneezed and part of his hair caught on fire, and he used to turn his hand into an ice cube and suck on it.”
“How’d you find this out?”
“Babysitting. I don’t know where you were but there was one day Dad was at work and Mom was outside tending to her garden. Touya left me and Shoto watching cartoons in the living room while he went and practiced.”
“Why am I just now hearing of this? I put Touya in charge,” Rei says.
Natsuo hums and shrugs. “It happened a while ago.”
By the time Natsuo was training his quirk, Touya was getting started on physical fitness. Every morning, Touya and his father would go jogging around the neighborhood before Touya or the other kids had to start their academic lessons for the day.
A few short years later, it is Shoto’s turn to learn quirk training. Just as Rei suspected, it takes both her and her husband to train Shoto.
They start with simple exercises such as lighting a candle and freezing water. There are some days where Shoto tries using both quirks at once, but it takes too much concentration.
“Alright Shoto, show Daddy what you’ve learned,” says Rei one night after training Shoto for a month.
Shoto smiles and gets excited. “Daddy look!” Shoto turns on his ice quirk at the same time as his fire and holds his hands in equilibrium. He manages to hold it for a few seconds. Upon turning off both quirks, Shoto slumps his shoulders and yawns.
“I think someone used up all of their energy.” Enji says jokingly.
Fuyumi pops in the room in activewear and her iPod hooked up with headphones. “Hey, Mom, I’m going for a run.”
“Did you finish your homework?” asks Rei.
“Did you do those sit-ups and pushups today?” Enji asks.
“I did twenty sit-ups and fifteen pushups like you asked.”
“Is your brother available? I want him to go with you.”
Fuyumi shrugs. “Touya! Mom wants you!” she calls down the hall.
A moment later Touya comes padding over, rubbing his eyes as if he just woke up.
“You okay? What have you been doing?” Rei asks.
“I’ve been studying to get into U.A. Academy. Their entrance exam is only six months away.”
“What made you decide you want to go there?”
“It’s where Dad went, isn’t it? I figure if he went there and turned out great, maybe I can, too.”
Enji has a huge smile plastered on his face. “That’s my boy. But anyway, can you go for a run with your sister? I don’t want her going off alone since it’s getting dark.”
Touya rubs the back of his neck. “Yeah, sure, give me a sec.”
As soon as they step outside, Touya starts. “If you ever want to receive a physical fitness award, you have to be able to run a mile in less than eight minutes. You think you can do that?”
“You’re supposed to run with me.”
“Correction: I am going to race you. I can run a mile in under ten, I can’t get it down under that yet. You and I are going to run around this block one time. If you lag behind me, that’s your own fault. Try to keep up.” He starts jumping in place and stretching to get his blood flowing. “You ready? Go.”
And off they go.
Fuyumi manages to hold her own against her older brother. For the majority of the time, she keeps up with him with no problem. It is right towards the end when they reach their house that Fuyumi starts slowing down.
“Oh, don’t start slowing now. You’ll never catch me.”
They reach the house and slow down to a walking pace. They take a moment to walk around the sidewalk, stretch, and cool down from their run.
Touya checks his watch. “Nine fifty-three.” He raises his hand up. “Good job.”
She gives him the high five.
The Todorokis fall into a circadian rhythm of homeschooling in the morning, quirk training in the afternoon, exercise in the evening, and spending family time together at night until everyone goes to bed and Enji goes to work. They are normal, in a sense, and Enji is happy with the family he and Rei have created.
I apologize that this chapter moved a little slow. A lot happened while writing this chapter and it was hard to keep any pacing.
Excitement fills the house when Touya comes inside one day, announcing he has been accepted into U.A. Academy’s Hero Course.
“This is great, Touya! Now you can become a hero just like your father,” Rei says, bringing him in for a hug.
“Nice job, I guess,” says Fuyumi.
“Big brother’s gonna be a superhero!” Shoto exclaims excitedly upon hearing the news.
“So what now?” asks Natsuo. “Like I don’t know anything about U.A. besides that Dad went there, but isn’t it some like, rich kid private school?”
“It is, and it’s really hard to get into,” Touya replies. “The letter says I need to go in to see Financial Administration about tuition and fees. It says I need to bring a parent.”
“When do you go in?” asks Rei.
“Uh, it says any time before the first of April. I have to call and schedule an appointment.”
“I’ll have your dad call when he wakes up. I’m sure the office will be open that late.”
“The letter says to call before seven at night.”
Enji is able to call right as he wakes up and schedules an appointment for a week later.
When Enji and Touya get to U.A., after a ten-minute train ride into the city, they are greeted by a short, mouse-like creature. “Hello, future student! Welcome to U.A. Academy. You must be Touya Todoroki, one of our students who entered based on a recommendation. It’s good to meet you. My name is Principal Nezu.”
“Nezu? You’re still here?” Enji says incredulously. “I thought you retired.”
“Enji Todoroki, or the Flame Hero, Endeavor. You’ve created quite a name for yourself, haven’t you?”
“Please, sir, call me Enji.”
“It’s a pleasure to see you again, boy. The outside cold is no place to talk. Why don’t I show you around the campus and then we can meet with our Financial Admin?”
Enji smiles and gets really happy.
Touya notices and rolls his eyes. “Remember, Dad, you’re a father first and a former student second.”
“I know, but this is exciting for me, too. I get to see what has changed in the last twenty years.”
Principal Nezu shows them every part of the school. First, they go to the shoe lockers and replace the shoes they were wearing with complimentary slippers given by the school. From there, they proceed down the hallway to the elevator, where they ride up one floor to the First Year hallway.
“This is for our First Year’s,” says Nezu, taking the lead out of the elevator. “Classes are held on the left side of the hallway. Classes are not being held at the moment, so I can show you a classroom.”
He walks to the nearest classroom and opens the door. “Class sizes range from sixteen to twenty. We start every morning at eight twenty-five with homeroom. Classes are fifty minutes long with ten minute breaks in-between. Your school day will release at ten after four.”
“This doesn’t seem important.” Enji says.”
“It is to Touya.” Nezu replies. “Further down the hall, we have our Development Studio. This is for the Support class students to design and create new inventions and new support equipment for our uprising heroes.”
“I remember this room. I got my first-year costume made fireproof here,” Enji reminisces.
“Oh my god, this is just going to be you reminiscing all day, isn’t it?” Touya says, annoyed.
“Calm down, Touya. They haven’t changed much since I came.”
Nezu continues. “We have more classrooms upstairs and a break room for our students. If released from class early, students are allowed to commune in the Third Year hallway, where we have soda machines and snacks, as well as a few tables.”
“Okay, now that is definitely new. What made you guys add that in?”
“We noticed a drop in productivity when we decided to start school at eight twenty-five instead of nine. Students were not able to eat breakfast in the shorter amount of time that they had. We incorporated a snack area so students can come here after a class and eat something to hold them over until lunch. Students suggested we either make lunch earlier than twelve thirty or give them a break in the morning. A short break is a lot easier to fit in the schedule than rearranging lunch. Continuing on.”
Nezu leads them out of campus to a building with the Greek letter gamma on it. “This is Gym Gamma. You will be conducting a lot of training here. This is most often where our students create what they call ‘special attacks’.”
“Dad, is that what your fire arrows are?” Touya asks Enji.
Enji nods. “But they take a lot of concentration to make. I can’t just show it off on a whim.”
“I hope I get my own special attack one day.”
“You created that technique right here in this gym, didn’t you, Enji?” asks Nezu.
“Yes sir, I did, under the instruction of Mr. Lang.”
“Ah, yes, Mr. Lang. He retired many years ago. He’s spending the rest of his days in a retirement home in the countryside of Kyushu. He has family residing down there.”
“I’m glad he’s doing well.”
“As well as he can be for an eighty-year-old man.”
One final stop is U.A. Alliance, the dormitories set up just off-campus.
“Why are there dorms?” Enji asks.
“To keep the students more engaged in their studies and their work as future heroes. We believe keeping them around fellow classmates and teachers will help them stay focused on each task at hand and not get distracted by things happening at home. Tell me, Touya. Do you have younger siblings at home?”
“Yes, sir,” Touya replies. “I have a sister and two brothers.”
“Are they distracting and annoying?”
Touya looks at his dad, nervous about giving his truthful answer.
“You can be honest,” Enji tells him. “I was the second oldest of five. I know your struggle.”
“Then yes, they are very annoying. Especially my sister, Fuyumi, who thinks she knows everything and she’s only twelve.”
“That is the exact reason we keep you students here on-campus at U.A. Furthermore, we believe it is safer here than perhaps at the student’s home. If a villain attacks our students while here on campus, it’s easier for a group of pro heroes to take care of it than perhaps one hero or even the police. In your situation, I’m not saying you can’t protect your family, but I am saying that not everyone is the child of the number two hero.”
“Will I be allowed to go back home?” Touya asks.
“Of course. Your home is only a short train ride away. Or your family could come visit you and take a tour of our school. Your sister could come visit you, if she desired.”
Touya sneers at that suggestion.
“Once students are settled into the dorms, though, we do ask that you keep any family or outside friends out of your room, for the sake of privacy. We used to not have that rule until some students’ close friends not from U.A were seen being immature with our students’ belongings and it caused the student to fail an important exam near the end of the year.”
“Can my siblings come in the dorms at all?” Touya asks.
“They may commune in the lounge or the small dining area, but you have to stay with them at all times.”
Touya sighs. “Great.”
“How long have these dorms been in place?” Enji speaks up.
“About ten years. Any other questions?”
Neither Todoroki has another question.
Their last stop for the morning is back inside the main building and to the financial office. Nezu knocks and opens the door. “This is our Financial Administrator, Miss Fodori. Miss Fodori, this is Enji Todoroki and his son, Touya.”
Miss Fodori looks up as Nezu steps back out of the room. “Endeavor? Your son is coming to school here?”
“Well please, have a seat. My name is Oni Fodori, I’m the Financial Administrator here at U.A. So to start off this meeting, I will tell you our tuition costs, our financial options, and any scholarships your son may qualify for.”
“So our tuition currently is one million yen per year. If you need to, we can grant your son scholarships to get the price down. Touya qualifies for four hundred thousand yen of scholarships. What are finances looking like for you?”
“Currently I am stable enough to be able to afford the full tuition. However, when supporting a family of five on top of paying a million yen a year for my son to go to school, it becomes a lot to handle, even for someone like me.”
“Wow, Dad, I didn’t know you ever struggled financially,” Touya says from his chair on the side.
“I’m still human, Touya. I don’t have this endless amount of money.”
Touya shrugs. “ C’est la vie , I guess.”
A range of emotions flash across Enji’s face at Touya’s response in a matter of seconds, all from denial to acceptance. He blinks. “Anyway, let’s try the scholarships. Where does that put us?”
Miss Fodori types away at her computer. “That puts your bill at six hundred thousand yen per year. That includes books, fees, uniforms, and a pair of indoor shoes.”
“How much is the actual tuition?” Touya asks.
“Tuition in and of itself is eight hundred thousand yen. Our scholarships are put on the tuition itself. You qualify for half of your tuition being paid for by scholarships alone, plus the two hundred thousand as extra fees and uniforms and such. So, as I said, your final total would be six hundred thousand yen.”
“I’ll do that then. Will he ever lose the scholarships?” asks Enji.
“Our scholarship students have to stay in the top three of their class if they want to keep their scholarships. If by midterms they have failed to keep up, they will have to retake their midterms and try to score better. If even after that second chance they still fail, they lose their scholarships,” Miss Fodori explains. She turns to Touya, who is slumping in his chair on the side of her desk. “So Touya, you have to stay on top of it at all times. I expect nothing less from a Todoroki.”
“Well jeez, okay. I’ll do my best.”
“Any other questions?” Miss Fodori asks.
“Touya, do you have any?”
“Yeah, actually. When do classes start, and when do I move into the dorms?”
“Anxious, are we?” she teases. “You move into the dorms March twenty-ninth and classes start April first.”
Enji stands up to leave. “Thank you for your time, Miss Fodori. We look forward to working with you.”
She bows in reverence. “Any time, Mr. Todoroki. I’m happy I could help.”
The Todoroki boys step into the hall, where they are greeted once more by Principal Nezu.
“I hope you enjoyed your tour of our school and meeting some of our staff. We look forward to your son being part of U.A.”
“Thank you, sir.” Touya bows respectfully. “I’ll be back in March.”
“Have a nice day!” Nezu says as they walk out of the school.
Touya and Rei are frantically running around the house, trying to find and put together everything Touya needs to leave for school in a few hours. Today is his last day at home before he moves into U.A. Academy.
“You got your shoes? Your clothes for the semester? Your books?” Rei asks, in a tizzy.
“Yes, Mom. Can you chill? You’re making me anxious,” Touya says.
Rei straightens out her skirt. “Of course, dear. I apologize.”
“My shoes are in my duffel, my clothes are already in the van, and my books don’t come in ‘til Monday.”
“Are you sure?”
Rei reaches into her pocket. “Here, I want you to have this.”
“You got me a phone? Why?”
“So your dad and I can call you and check up on you. There are time restrictions on it until you can prove you’re responsible with it.”
“What are the restrictions?”
“Your phone will block you from texting and calling after ten at night and unblock at four the next afternoon. On weekends, it’ll open up at seven and close at midnight. If your grades ever suffer, we will address the situation and get you tutoring, but we will also restrict your phone even more.”
“You won’t have to worry about me being on my phone much. I have to keep a four point zero GPA or else I lose scholarships.”
“You better keep your grades up. I want to believe I can trust you.”
“I will,” Touya sighs.
“Alright, go put the rest of your stuff in the van. We leave in an hour. Natsuo, help your brother.”
“What? Why?” Natsuo asks.
“Because I said so.”
“Great reasoning, Mom. You should be a lawyer.”
Rei gives him an icy glare.
Natsuo's eyes widen in fear. “Okay, okay, I’m going,” he says as he picks a bag off the floor.
The other three kids pile into the SUV with Rei while Enji and Touya take the van with all of Touya’s bags and boxes.
“You ready for this?” Enji asks when they get on the highway.
Touya silently nods his head. “You make it sound like I’m leaving forever.”
“I just want to make sure you’re prepared for the next step in life, that’s all.”
Touya whines. “Dad it’s just high school. Nothing’s going to happen to me.”
“A lot could happen to you. You could get a girlfriend, you could discover you hate fried chicken, you could get a job during this time, you could learn to cook. The possibilities are endless.”
“What does fried chicken have to do with high school?”
“I knew a girl in high school that concluded while in high school that she didn’t like hamburgers. The same could happen to you.”
Touya sighs and looks out the windshield at the blue Mitsubishi in front of them. “I’m just excited to be able to spend the next three years with people my age. Fuyumi and Natsuo are cool and all, but I always felt like a big brother to them and not like a friend.”
“You may not feel that way the older you get. There will come a point where you see them more as your best friends than you will a sister or brother. There is also a chance that you’ll find someone at school you become best friends with.”
“I hope that’s the case. I want a break from only talking to family.”
“You love us and you know it.”
They arrive at the school and pull up to U.A. Alliance, the dormitory associated with U.A. Academy.
Natsuo is the first out of the vehicle and takes a look at the dorm building, slightly unimpressed. “This is where you go to school?”
Touya stands beside him and taps him on the shoulder. “Natsuo,” he points at the twenty-story building across the street, “ that is where I go to school.”
Natsuo hums. “Impressive.”
“So where’s your dorm?” Fuyumi asks.
Touya reaches back into the van and pulls out a booklet. “This booklet has everyone’s dorm numbers in it. Mine is A-113.”
“That’s what, bottom floor?” Enji asks, getting a box out of the back.
“Yeah,” Touya says slowly, “I think so.”
Turns out, A-113 is one floor up and the first door on the left. The room has its own air conditioning, closet, sliding glass door, and terrace. The bathroom is across the hall halfway down.
“This room is huge!” says Shoto, eyes getting big.
“Are you sure Dad can afford this?” asks Fuyumi.
“Your brother’s dorm is already paid for. Also, after today, we won’t be allowed to visit his room,” notes Enji, setting his box down.
“Yeah, so enjoy it while you can,” says Touya.
They finish up clearing out the van and getting Touya’s things into the dorm room.
“Do you need any help setting up or anything?” asks Rei.
“Mom, I think I got it. This is my time for freedom now, anyway.”
“Don’t be so ready to get rid of us. We’re only a few minutes away.”
Touya sighs. “I know. I’ll be sure to call you when I finish my room.”
“You better.” Rei pulls him into a hug. “I’ll miss you.”
“I know you will, Mom. I’ll miss you, too.”
He hugs all of his family members one-by-one until he gets to Shoto.
“Big brother’s leaving?” Shoto says, nearly on the brink of tears. “But I don’t want him to go!”
Touya squats down to meet him at eye level. “I’ll be back soon, kiddo. Don’t worry.”
Shoto wraps his arms around his neck and Touya can feel a tear soak through his shirt. “Please don’t go,” he whispers.
Touya hugs him tight and then holds him at arm’s length and says, “But I have to. You want me to be a big, great hero like Daddy, right?”
Shoto wipes a tear and nods.
“I need to go to this school, so I can be a great hero, just like Daddy. You’ll see me in the top hero spots one day.”
Shoto holds out his pinky. “Promise?”
Touya smiles and loops his pinky with Shoto’s tiny one. “I promise.”
He stands up tall. “Please don’t see this as a goodbye. See it as ‘until later.’ I’ll be back, I promise.”
The Todoroki family says their goodbyes to Touya and go back downstairs. Touya quietly follows them out and watches them leave.
He knows he’s making the right decision being at U.A. He has a good feeling about it.
He just hopes his feeling isn’t wrong.