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Gentle Hands

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Midoriya sat with his legs crossed as he leaned over his homework. The muscles in his neck ached from the numerous hours cranned looking at the pile of splayed papers on his desk. Training had been unreasonably difficult teamed up with Kacchan and Tokoyami today. The exercise itself wasn’t too difficult, the objective being a complexe version of capture the flag, but Midoriya spent most of his usual planning time arguing with Kacchan whether they should focus their time getting the flag or putting the other team members in jail. Tokoyami wasn’t much help in the argument despite being a powerful hero in training, his people skills weren’t adapt enough to break up a fight between him and his very, very aggressive rival. Todoroki was also clueless when it came to people skills, much like Tokoyami, but while Tokoyami was just very reserved, Todoroki, he believed, was actually pretty clueless when it came to interacting with people. Midoriya smiled when he thought about Todoroki’s cluelessness when it came to being social. He would often come to Midoriya with questions that the average person wouldn’t ask, like why Kaminari would randomly spout Vine references or how the excessive amount of emojis Ashido used on the group chat worked. Most of the time though, Todoroki would just watch with confusion written all over his face and Midoriya would explain it anyway. 

He looked down at his paper reading a paragraph about some civil war before realizing that he already read it. Midoriya silently cursed himself. He was getting distracted by Todoroki, lately, more than normal. Normally, Todoroki would be on his mind along with his other friends, but recently, his mind found ways to drift to the half- hot half-cold hero in training. Midoriya was always observing and thinking. His mind was constantly crammed with thoughts and ideas, whether it was analyzing heros and his own progress or observing his friends. Most of the time, he couldn’t get his brain to stop thinking and it was very exhausting when he was trying to do his History homework. 

Midoriya had a reputation of analyzing and taking expert notes but he didn’t think anyone realized how much he analyzes everything . Yes, he obviously analyzed heros and his studies but he analyzed people as well. His whole childhood was watching and observing and noticing. Before U.A, Midoriya thought that he was pretty socially awkward but it turns out that he was really good at reading social situations, he just never had any friends or people talking to him to test it out. Like Todoroki for example, was very awkward in social situations and some could brush it aside by calling him serious or mysterious, but really Midoriya knew that Todoroki didn’t have very many friends growing up. (How could he with Endeavor as his father?) But… neither did Midoriya. He spent a lot of his childhood wondering what he did wrong to deserve being ignored, bullied, rejected by everyone. So he tried to fix it by watching and observing the way people interacted and noticing every social situation. Maybe that was why it was so easy for him to make friends now. He had spent fifteen years of his life waiting and watching other people communicate; it was easy for him to jump in on it when people actually started noticing him. 

After a he forced himself to read the rest of the paper, Midoriya pushed his rolly chair backwards and stood. A few joints popped and cracked as he let his head roll from side to side. Mulling over the idea of getting a snack, he made his way down to the main floor with the kitchen and living area. Multiple of his classmates bumbled around even though it was relatively late which was reasonable since it was Saturday night. Midoriya vaguely remembers his classmates mentioning the upcoming weekend. With all the information swirling around in his head he can get pretty scatterbrained. 

“It is 9:30 my fellow classmates!” Iida shouted in the common room, “I suggest you all prepare for your nightly schedule and get some rest!”  

Jirou and Ashido groaned loudly while Kaminari booed. Midoriya chuckled lightly at Iida’s enthusiasm and mother-hen nature. Honestly, Midoriya appreciated it. At first, moving in the dorms made him miss his Mom a lot. It was just the little things that he missed from his mom, like the little check ups she would give him when he was doing homework or the nightly dinner meals they would have and sit down together and talk. Iida helped ease the little ache that he felt when he missed his Mom’s pestering. 

Ashido whined, “Oh come on, Iida! We wanna watch a movie!!” 

“I don’t see the harm in it, Iida,” Yaoyorozu started to make her way to the couch. 

Suddenly Midoriya felt a gust of air and saw a blurry image of red hair zip past him. 

“Movie night!” Kirishima whooped and leapt over the side of the couch and landed ungracefully jostling the entire couch. He toppled into the side of Kacchan and Midoriya heard multiple explosions pop from his hands. He winced and felt relief at the fact that his friend had a hardening quirk so he didn’t have to feel the full extent of Kacchans blows. 

“Kirishima, I do not-” Iida tried.

Kaminari crouched in front of the DVD player, “What movie we watched tonight? Mission Impossible 3?” 

“Not again. It's literally so boring,” Jirou groaned.

Kaminari squawked in indignation, “Boring!”

“Yeah! They have like seven and it’s all the same thing! He goes on a mission he saves the world, he meets a new chick, and then it all repeats,” She drawled.

Midoriya grinned into his cup as they continued to bicker back and forth and made his way over to the couch. Gently, because of his throbbing head, he slid down onto the floor and pressed his back against the sofa where Yaoyorozu sat above him next to Jirou. 

Midoriya lifted his head, “What about we watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?”

Everyone paused momentarily to consider it before he hear them murmur in agreement. Kaminari grumbled and Bakugou muttered something about ‘Stupid Deku being a people pleaser’ that he choose to ignore. About 15 minutes into the movie, Midoriya swiveled his head around to count all of his classmates and found that Todoroki was nowhere to be seen. Usually with all the ruckus, Todoroki would make his way into the kitchen or common room, not really engaging but hovering from afar. 

Gently, Midoriya tapped Yaoyorozu’s leg and lifted his head to talk to her.

“Do you know where Todoroki is?” He whispered.

“Oh, he’s at the hospital with his mother probably. He visits her every other Saturday.” She replied with a smile. 

“He…? Oh. Thanks,” Midoriya turned back to the movie but didn’t waste any effort on trying to concentrate on the movie again. 

He couldn’t believe that he didn’t know that. Todoroki was visiting his mother? Ever since the Sports Festival when Todoroki told his tragic backstory of his mother pouring boiling water on his face, he figured that their relationship was something damaged or severed. Midoriya was happy for Todoroki, but he wished he knew earlier. What kind of friend was he that he didn’t even know that Todoroki’s mother was in the hospital in the first place?

Now that Yaoyorozu mentioned it, Deku couldn’t stop his train of thought from spiralling into questions and theories. Why was his mother in the hospital? How long had Todoroki been visiting her? Did he start visiting her after he yelled at him at the Sports festival? No, that's giving himself too much credit. All he did at the Sports Festival was yell some condescending things to get him riled up. But if that helped Todoroki in some way he was glad. The half and half hero always looked so alone and sad in the beginning of the school year. Midoriya was glad that he had somewhat helped the boy grow softer and more comfortable and maybe even a little bit happier. 

It was the beginning of their second year now and Todoroki and him had only grown closer. After the Stain attack, Todoroki had even called him a friend and rushed to his aid. Midoriya felt a soft fluttering in his stomach when he thought about it. In the multiple events that had overwhelmed Midoriya last year, Todoroki and him could rely on each other. He was even a regular member at their lunch table that was originally just Uraraka, Iida and himself. And he would walk with him between classes. Although he never talked much, Midoriya realized that Todoroki was an excellent listener. Most people drown out his constant muttering or remind me to stop. Todoroki never complained and offered his input when Deku asked. While he wasn’t super friendly or happy like his other friends were, Midoriya liked the friendship he had with Todoroki. The curious side of him wanted to deepen their friendship. He already knew more than anyone about Todorokis past but Midoriya wanted to get to know his personality more. To know if what made him laugh and things that he enjoyed to do. His favorite color or if he prefers winter or spring. Things that he knew about most of his closest friends.

“Deku, your mumbling again,” Uraraka laughed softly as she leaned close to his ear.

“O-oh! Sorry!” He yelped loudly and in response he heard multiple ‘SHHH’s and whispered, “s-sorry.”

He felt a blush crawl up his face in embarrassment as he clamped his mouth closed and turned to the TV. After a few minutes, a shiver crawled up his spine and Midoriya wished he had a blanket. Though, if Todoroki was sitting next to him, he probably wouldn’t even need a blanket. Just standing near Todorkis left side made him feel warm. Maybe if he was here, Todoroki would even wrap an arm around him if he asked. Immediately, he felt his face heat up again at the thought of cuddling with the boy. He didn’t even need a blanket with anymore. 

 


 

Midoriya didn’t see Todoroki until next afternoon. Hours after his morning jog and after almost everyone was out of the dorms, he heard the quiet shuffling of feet in the kitchen. Deku’s hands momentarily froze in the middle of making himself a sandwich when Todoroki padded into the kitchen. Todoroki froze too.

“Good morning, Todoroki!” Deku noticed the bags under his eyes and the glazed look of just waking up, “Or afternoon, I should say, because it’s pretty late. Its lunch time actually, I’m making myself a sandwich, do you want one?”

He blinked a few times as if he was trying to process what Deku said, “No thank you, Midoriya. I was just going to make myself some coffee”

“Oh alright!” Midoriya kept the easy smile on his face as he turned back to his sandwich. 

The silence stretched between them as Midoriya tried to think of what to say. The silence wasn’t awkward per say, but it wasn’t comfortable. Midoriya was still burning with questions about his mom but he kept his filter in check before he spoke.

“So when did you get back last night?” 

In his peripheral vision he say Todoroki stifen at the question. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say.

He cleared his throat, “2, I would say.”

“Oh wow. So that's why you slept in so late. Did Sensei get mad at you for being so late? Cuz curfew is 12?” 

Taking a sip of tea before replying he said, “I… didn’t use the door.”

He didn’t elaborate so Deku didn’t push, but oh, how he wanted to. Todoroki already looked uncomfortable so instead of asking the burning questions on the tip of his tongue, Deku launched into a hero analysis he saw on the news. The sight of his friend visibly relaxing was worth not knowing. 

Talking in between taking bites of his sandwich, he chattered away with him. Without stopping the flow of words from his mouth, he made his way over to where Todoroki was standing to get a cup. 

“But Mount Lady had the upper hand in the fight, obviously- can I get a cup?” Midoriya stood in front of where Todoroki was blocking the cupboard which held the cups.

Todoroki blinked again, processing the sudden shift of conversation, “Oh. Yes.”

Before Midoriya could, he reached up to the cupboard to grab a cup for him. 

“Oh you don't hav-” Midoriya was cut off by a quiet hiss of pain from Todoroki. 

He watched him flinch and bring his hand holding the cup reflexively towards his chest. After a second, his face cleared from the scrunched up expression of pain and his eyes flashed with something that resembled fear.

“Todoroki?” His voice squeaked, “Are you ok?”

His face smoothed over into neutral and he slowly let go of his cradled arm, “ Yes. Yes. Sorry, I…”

Cup forgotten, Deku reached for his right arm, “Are you hurt?”

As soon as his fingers made contact Todoroki jerked away from his touch. 

“I’m fine, Midoriya. Excuse me,” Before Midoriya could stop him, he briskly pushed himself off the counter and exited the kitchen, leaving Midoriya with even more questions.  

 


 

 

He didn’t see his injured friend until Monday in class. Midoriya tried to talk to him before class started but Uraraka had pulled him into a argument she was having with Bakugou.

“I’m pretty sure that I’m a faster runner than you are, Bakugou.” 

“Shut it, round face!” 

Deku silently groaned, Uraraka loved to pick fights with Kacchan for some bizarre reason. 

“Since you refused to race me then it's obvious that your afraid of losing!” Uraraka continued, “Therefore, I’m the faster one.”

Bakugou growled, “There's no way in hell that your faster than me! I don’t wanna waste my time beating a useless wannabe like you in a stupid race!” 

She grinned, “Just admit it Bakugou! I’m a faster runner than you. Even Deku agrees! Right Deku?” 

Both of his unreasonably competitive classmates swiveled their heads to look at Midoriya. He gulped. 

“Ahhh,” Uraraka smiled almost threateningly and Bakugou glared daggers at him, “y-yeah! Uraraka is really fast!” 

Bakugou exploded after that as Uraraka shouted her triumph. Deku winced and turned back towards Todoroki who offered him a small pitying smile. Midoriya almost stared too long at the way his lips turned up before Aizawa droned at them to all get in their seats. 

Class dragged on as he jotted down notes half-heartedly. From years of taking notes and watching heroes battle simultaneously allowed him to write neatly and efficiently without even glancing down at what he was writing. Soon, however, the monotone voice of his teacher made his head drop and he shifted to doodling on his paper instead. His hand slowly shaped the face of his classmates and Midoriya spent a longer time than he should have sketching the small smile on his drawing of Todoroki. Drawing people was always apart of his hero analysis so he wouldn’t say that he was unable to draw people or that he even was that bad at it. 

When the bell rang, Midoriya finished up that last of his drawing before placing his pencil in his bag. 

“What's that?” Uraraka chirped.

Midoriya jumped so violently that he almost toppled out of his seat, “Uraraka! Ah! It’s nothing really!” 

He quickly covered the drawings with his hand, embarrassed.

“Aww, don’t be like that Deku! I love your drawings!” 

Iida joined in, “Yes. I also enjoy seeing your art. You are very talented, Midoriya!” 

Deku felt a blush rise on his cheeks at the sudden attention. It was nice that his friends were complimenting him, but he wasn’t used to people actually liking his doodles. In middle school people made fun of his drawings calling them useless and dumb. The only person who ever enjoyed them was his mother. How sad was that?

While he was left stuttering, Uraraka yanked the book out from under his hand and looked over the drawings. Deku yelped in alarm and watched helplessly as his friends oohed and ahhed over his embarrassing drawings. 

“Oh, is that one me? It's so good!” She giggled.

Iida exclaimed, “This drawing of Todoroki is also very nice Midoriya! You captured his rare smile perfectly.” 

He visibly flinched at the exclamation and buried his face in his hands. At the mention of his name, Todoroki made his way up to where the crowd that was gathering and Deku was groaning into his hands.

Curiously, Todoroki leaned over Uraraka shoulder, “Is...Is that me?” 

“Yeah! Deku is really talented right?” 

He peeked through his hands and caught Todorokis eye, “Yes, he is.” 

If he wasn’t already blushing, he was a full on tomato at this point. The look that Todoroki gave him was almost soft and endearing and it might have made Midoriya’s heart stutter in its place. He heard Uraraka flip a page of his notebook and that made him spring into action. Midoriya leapt from his seat and scrambled to snatched the notebook from her. 

“Okaaaay! That's enough invading my privacy, Uraraka!” He grumbled and stuffed the notebook in his backpack.

She huffed but let it be as they all made their way towards the door. He and Todoroki made eye contact and his face unwillingly turned red again. He willed his facial expression to relax but his cheeks felt pinched into a fake smile. That was probably the worst thing ever. 

Todoroki lifted his lips in a small smile again and Deku almost did a double take. Two smiles for Todoroki in one day?? What did he do to deserve this?

“You’re drawings are really good,” Todoroki said softly as they walked to their next class. 

“Oh, um, thanks. You're weren’t supposed to see that though. It’s really embarrassing and weird and I’m sorry if you’re like creeped out or anything! It’s been a bad habit of mine to draw people who are interesting. I mean! You’re not interesting! I mean you are interesting but I didn’t mean for it to sound like that!” His blabbering dissolved into nervous forced laughter and if the ceiling decided to give out and crush him, he really wouldn’t mind. 

Todorki’s lips twitched again, “It’s fine, I don’t mind. I was surprised that's all. No one has ever drawn me before. It’s interesting to see how you interpret my appearance in your drawing style. Although, I’m sure I don’t smile that way.” 

Midoriya inwardly cheered and almost forgot to respond as he heard his friend speak. Most days he only got a few words out of him but today it seemed like Todoroki was in a talkative mood and Midoriya loved it when Todoroki spoke. 

“Smile like what way?” Was all he could muster.

“Like,” Todoroki eyes shifted away and he almost looked flustered, “Like its some amazing thing that I smiled. Like it's important enough to be drawn in your notebook.” 

He furrowed his eyebrows at his friends response, “But… it is.”

Todoroki’s eyes shifted back to his and he looked at him wearily as if he wasn’t sure if he was mocking him or not.

Midoriya didn't know what he was thinking when he blurted, “Well you don’t always smile, but when you do…it really is amazing, Todoroki.” 

“Oh,” Todoroki said and Deku internally screamed.

He was so stupid. What friend says something as cheesy as that?! He jerked his head to look away from Todoroki and mentally kicked himself for being so transparent. 

He felt a slight chill on his left side as reached his classroom, “WellokbyeTodoroki!”

Chapter Text

Todoroki's head pounded unbearably loud. It was almost as if someone took a hammer and decided to bang it against his skull. The Chemistry homework was not really helping his headache either and the constant ruckus downstairs made him want to march down there and demand some peace and quiet. He let the stomping around and yelling go on for a few more minutes before he gave up. Feeling about this close to icing a particular someone who didn’t know how to be quiet, Todoroki briskly walked out of his room and downstairs where the noise was coming room. He stopped in front of Kirishima's room where the door was left slightly ajar. Hesitantly, he peeked his head in the door and all of the angry comments he was going to say died in his throat. In Kirishima’s room, Bakugou stood stomping around like an angry caged animal while Midoriya sat on his bed massaging his red-haired friend. Ashido, Kaminari and Jirou also were lounging around chatting loudly. 

“Oh! Hey, Todoroki!” Midoriya looked up from Kirishima's shoulders he was massaging. 

“Todoroki, hey!” 

“Hey dude!”

It took him a moment to actually say something, “...I was just wondering what all the noise was about.” 

Midoriya looked concerned, “Oh, were you trying to study? We could be quieter, I’m sor-”

“Its cuz Bakugou is all jealous that Deku is literally the best masager ever,” Kaminari cut in.

Midoriya's face turned bright red as Jirou corrected, “It’s actually called a Masseuse, idiot.” 

“Yeah! Midoriya is really good at massaging people! You should come try Todoroki!” Ashido exclaimed, “Kirishima’s turn is over anyway!’

Kirishima groaned in protest but slid away from Midoriya’s hands and he chuckled awkwardly.

“Um.” Todoroki had no clue what to do but Midoriya smiled brightly and gestured for him to sit. So he swiftly walked over to the bed and sat in front of the green curly haired boy. He instantly stiftened at the touch of Midoriya’s warm hands on his shoulders but when Midoriya dug his thumbs into his sore muscles, he melted. Todoroki had to bite back a groan as Midoriya soothed his aching back. No one had ever done something like this for him before. Not even his mother or Fuyumi. Todoroki was used to getting tension in his shoulders and back from the stiff poster his father had drilled into him and from the ache of constantly training and fighting. After only a few minutes he felt his eyes droop at the sensation. 

He heard Jirou drawl, “Oh wow. He’s practically puddy in your hands, Midoriya.” 

Kaminari snickered and he felt Midoriya’s hands suddenly grip his shoulders with more force. 

Ashido teased him, “Doesn’t that feel nice, Todoroki? I told you he gave the best massages!” 

Todoroki only hummed in agreement and that earned him a few more chuckles although he didn’t really know what was so funny. Midoriya was amazing at whatever he was doing because he felt the tension slowly melt away from his neck and shoulders. He tried not to think too hard about the fact that he was letting someone touch him like this, Midoriya, no less. No one had really touched him for this long with such…. tenderness. His hands were firm and strong against the knots in his back but also gentle. Midoriya tapped his fingers against Todoroki’s shoulders like he was playing a piano and Todoroki felt his stomach flip. 

“Alright my turn!” Kaminari shouted, but Todoroki didn’t open his eyes until Midoriya's hands stopped. 

He turned, “Thank you, Midoriya.” 

His friends face was dusted pink as he smiled, “No problem! I always get a kink in my neck so I know it helps to have someone massage it out for you.” 

Bakugou had stopped stomping around and now was sitting next to Kirishima on the floor, he noticed. 

When the angry boy noticed him looking he snapped, “What you looking at Half n’ Half?” 

Todoroki didn’t have to energy to glare back, “I’ll just be going then.” 

“Aww, but you just here!” Ashido was polite enough to act sad. 

His headache was gone but the sensation of standing up too fast gave him head rush. If he didn’t get to his room, he might pass out then and there.  

Kirishima probably saw how tired he was and said, “Alright man! Go get some rest, we’ll be quieter this time!”  

“Goodnight!” Midoriya smiled behind Kaminari.

Todoroki nodded and lifted a hand as he left the room. It was a miracle that he actually made it up to his room before he collapsed in his bed with the memory of Midoriya’s strong hands on his shoulders. 

 


 

 

 

The week ended and another one went by uneventfully. Midoriya was happy, he could say, a little bored and a little tired, but his friends made up for it. It was another Saturday night and Midoriya found himself criss-crossed-applesauce on the couch, doodling in the margins of his homework. A few people bustled around him, but didn’t bother him as the clock ticked by. Iida sat next to him suddenly and peered over his shoulder. Immediately, Midoriya covered his drawings defensively. 

“You’re drawings are very good, Midoriya! But I apologise if I made you feel uncomfortable before and invaded your privacy! If you do not wish to share your art with me I understand!” Iida respectively looked forward, purposely not looking at his doodles.

“It’s not- it’s not that,” He relaxed slightly, “It’s just that… I don’t mind sharing my art with you guys but I want to be the one who picks what I show you…. And I don’t know, I just, I guess that people always kinda made fun of my drawings so I never…”   

Iida looked positively aghast, “People have disrespected your art? Well, that is just illogical and rude! You’re drawings are very good and I doubt they could draw as well you do!” 

“Thanks Iida,” Midoriya chuckled, “Actually, there is a drawing I could show you, if you want.” 

“Yes! I would appreciate that very much!” 

Deku couldn’t kept the nervous smile off his face as he shifted through his papers until he found the one he was looking for. It was a goofy doodle of Uraraka and Iida laughing and clowning around that he sketched in History class. He handed the messy doodle to Iida, his heart beating unreasonably in his heart. Iida took it and carefully analyzed it in a manner that he would only expect from him. 

“This is very heartwarming Midoriya!” Iida announced, “Your drawing ability captured the moment perfectly!” 

Deku grinned brightly at the announcement. He was still embarrassed at the idea of showing off his art to someone else, but it was different than the invasive feeling he felt when they had previously looked at his drawings. They chatted for a while before Iida announced the he was going to bed. 

“You should go to sleep as well Midoriya!” Iida stood, “You wake up very early to run don’t you?” 

He scratched the back of his neck, “Uh, yeah I do. I was just going to wait for Todoroki to get back.”

Iida frowned, “If he doesn’t get back soon, he miss curfew.” 

 “Yeah, he was gone this late a Saturday’s back, and I just want to make sure he’s ok,” Midoriya murmed. 

He thought back to the way Todoroki couldn’t lift his arms in the kitchen and had cried out in pain when he tried. The green haired boy remembered Todoroki's sudden fearful look in his eyes. A look that he hated to see on Todoroki. His friend was one of the strongest person he knew, just saying 'fear' and 'Todoroki' in a sentence doesn't make sense to him. Maybe he was prying but he had to know what was making Todoroki hurt so he could stop it. Midoriya worried it had something to do with his mother. Yaoroyzou told him that was visiting his mother in the hospital, but if that was the case then why was he coming back with injuries? The training they did that week was nothing too painful and if Todoroki did get hurt, Recovery Girl would have definitely healed him. 

“I see,” Iida said, “Well don’t stay up too late. Goodnight.” 

“Goodnight,” Midoriya called half heartedly over his shoulder and looked back down at his paper. 

All of his homework was finished, except for a project that he could procrastinate on and do later. He continued to doodle some more. After sketching almost all of his friends faces on the back of the paper, he felt his hand cramping up. He flexed his fingers in some exercises the doctor showed him to help ease the cramps in his right, scarred hand. Drawing really wasn’t very good for his already damaged hand but he couldn’t break the habit. Not like he was trying to hard to break it anyway. Sighing, Midoriya glanced at the clock and saw that it was already 12. After mulling over what he should do, Deku switched on the Tv and muted the noise so he wouldn’t wake up any of his classmates. The news flipped on, reporting some villain activity and praising the heros that saved the area. He watched with mild interest because he had already written information about the hero on the news. Anything interesting he mentally stored in his brain in write down later when his head didn’t throb so much. 

When his eyes were starting to droop and the remote fell slack in his hand, he heard the door creak open. Midoriya sat up straight and waited for his friend to come through the door. When he did, Deku’s heart sank to his toes. Todoroki looked absolutely exhausted. His skin looked pale and sweaty, his eyes had circles underneath them. He staggered forwards and slowly shut the door. 

“Todoroki?” He hesitant called out. 

He froze, “Midoriya. What are you doing up so late?”

“I could ask you the same thing?” He hesitantly tested.

There was no response but suddenly his friend swayed on his feet and Midoriya jumped to action. Before Todoroki could fall, he steadied him in his arms and lead him to the couch.

“Todoroki are you ok?” Midoriya’s voice rose in pitch, “What happened? Are you hurt?” 

He gritted his teeth and screwed his eyes shut as Deku slowly pushed him down onto the sofa, “I’m fine.” 

“Are you sure-”

“I’m-” Todoroki was cut of from the loud cough that racked his body.

He lifted his arm up to cover his mouth and Midoriya watched as his loose long sleeve slid down his forearm. He couldn’t stop the gasp that escaped his mouth as he saw purple bruises litter Todorokis forearm. It looked as if someone repeatedly beat him in one area and he was trying to block the attacker.

“Did you run in with a villian? Did someone attack you? Did-” It clicked suddenly, “Oh.”

Todoroki looked down and breathed heavily.

Deku took a deep breath and asked quietly, “Did... Endeavor do this to you?” 

His friend flinched but didn’t open his eyes or look up. Midoriya clenched his fists and stared at the wall in front of him. Todorokis father had done this to him. Endeavor, the Number One Hero was the one responsible for littering his sons body in purple and blue bruise. He was the reason Todoroki stumbled in the dorms at 2 in the morning almost passing out.

“I don’t understand,” Midoriya gritted out, “I thought you were visiting your mother?”  

This got a reaction out of Todoroki and his eyes popped open, “I…”

Midoriya waited as he swallowed a few times. He watched his friend carefully, unsure what he was going to do. What happened next was something that Deku would never ever expect. 

Todoroki opened his mouth and instead of speaking he let out a strangled sob. 

Midoriya’s eyes widened as he watched the tears pool in Todoroki heterochromia eyes. No, no, no, no, no. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Todoroki wasn’t supposed to cry! Midoriya had seen multiple emotions from Todoroki. He had seen him angry, confused, desperate, determined, even happy. But he had never ever seen him this sad. 

Midoriya shook himself out of his shock and pulled Todoroki close to his chest. He watched Todoroki’s trembling lip as he tried not to cry and lost the battle. As soon as he pulled him into a hug, the sobs got worse. They weren’t loud like Midoriya's. They strangled and muffled, as if he had forgotten what it's like to cry. His shoulders shook with the effort to control the sobs but small whimpers of sadness would escape his lips. It sounded as if all the pain that Todoroki hid was spilling out of him like a broken dam. He knew that Todoroki was sad. That was the reason that Midoriya strived to befriend him in the first place, but he never heard him cry before

He brought his scarred hand up to stroke his half-red half-white hair in soothing motions. 

For some reason, Midoriya started murmuring soft reasurances, “You’re ok, Todoroki, it’s alright. I got you, its ok.” 

Slowly, the sobs stopped but he could still feel the flow of tears on his All Might T-shirt. He didn’t stop stroking his hair until the boy peeled himself away from Midoriya and rubbed at his puffy eyes. The sight tore him in two.

“...Sorry,” He whispered.

“For what?” 

Todoroki glanced at him, “For ruining your shirt.”

Midoriya's eyebrows creased in worry, “I can always wash it. I don’t mind.”

They were both silent and Midoriya watched as Todorokis face started to pull itself back into its emotionless state. His eyes swimming with raw emotions were the only give away that he was still hurting.

“Want to tell me what that was all about?” His voice was gentle.

After breathing deeply a few times he answered, “I visit my mother every other Saturday at the hospital. After what you told me at the Sports Festival and after I talked to Yaoryzou about it, I decided that I should visit my mother again. She was placed in the hospital after the… incident and I hadn’t seen her since.”

“That's good,” Midoriya whispered hesitantly.

Todoroki screwed his eyes shut again, “It was. Until my old man found out I was visiting her. He wont let me see her anymore.” 

Deku gasped softly as he continued, “Instead he wants me to train with him on the days that I would have visited my mother.” 

“Todoroki…”

He shook his head, “It’s fine, Midoriya. I don’t need your pity. What happened happened, and now I have to pay the price for it.”

“Pity?” Todoroki looked up to meet his eyes. 

“I don’t pity you, Todoroki. I don’t look down on you or see you differently.” 

He protested, “I just sobbed like child in your arms. How can you not see me differently?”

“Do you know how many times I cry like a baby, Todoroki?” He locked onto his heterochromic eyes, “Do you see me differently?” 

Midoriya sure hoped he didn’t or his point wasn’t going to work and that would be very embarrassing. 

“No,” Todoroki whispered.

Midoriya breathed, “Then I don’t see you differently. And I don’t pity you. I care about you and hate to see you sad”

He looked down, “I apologize. I should- I should get to bed. Don’t worry about me, Midoriya, I’ll be fine in the morning.” 

Todoroki tried to stand, “No wait! It’s ok to be sad. I'm not- I'm not telling you you shouldn't be sad or anything! I just want you to know I care about you and  want to help. " 

Midoriya stood as pushed his stubborn friend back down on the couch, gently. He either didn’t have enough energy to fight him or he believed him. Either way he stayed put and Midoriya counted it as a blessing. 

“Maybe we should go to Recovery Girl-” Midoriya started.

Todoroki’s eyes flashed with panic, “No. No, I have a first aid kit in my room. It’s fine.” 

He felt his eyes widen, “Where is it? I can get it for you?” 

“Its…” Todoroki heisitated, “It’s in the bathroom underneath the sink.”

Midoriya nodded and quickly called One for All and shot up the stairs to Todoroki’s dorm room. At his door, he slowly pushed it open and stepped inside. He had never been in Todoroki’s room without the other boy there with him. He somehow felt as if he was invading his privacy, but he shook the thoughts away and focused on finding the first aid kit. Just as his friend said, a clear container held multiple first aid equipment. His scared hands sifted through the items before they paused over the tube clearly labeled 'Burn cream'. He briefly wondered if that was needed more to heal his own quirk’s affects or Endeavors. In the end, Midoriya grabbed the entire container and rushed back to the couch. For some reason, he felt himself sigh in relief when Todoroki was still there, as if he thought he was going to run away somewhere. 

Todoroki’s eyes were closed as he leaned against the couch. His body was stiff with pain but heavy with exhaustion. Midoriya slowly made his way over to sit next to him. With the jostle from sitting down, Todoroki’s eyes popped open and he sat up. His body swayed for a moment and Midoriya gentle placed both of his hands on both sides of Todoroki’s arms to steady him. 

His friend glanced down at Midoriya’s touch and he seemed to be contemplating telling Midoriya to let go, but he decided against it and looked at the first aid kit instead.

“I can handle it from here, Midoriya,” Todoroki tried, “You can go to bed now.”

The curly haired boy furrowed his eyebrows, “No way. I’m helping you.”

Todoroki opened his mouth to argue again but he didn’t say anything as Midoriya looked at him with determined eyes. There was no way he was going to bed when one of his best friends was injured and exhausted. Seeing that there was no way to convince the stubborn boy to let him handle it, Todoroki sighed and pulled up the long sleeve off his forearm. Midoriya watched as bruises littered Todoroki’s arms in red splotches and the blood underneath the skin was raised in a purple red color. A partiular bruise on his arm resembled the shape of a fist. His teeth clenched as he thought about how much force the number two hero would have to put into his punch to break the skin and make it bleed. 

“Do you have enough energy to use your ice quirk, Todoroki? Or should I get an ice pack?” 

Todoroki blinked slowly as if the question was something out of context before he realized Midoriya was trying to treat his wound, “I can use my quirk.” 

As the ice frosted over his forearms Midoriya scanned his friend, “Where are your other injuries? Any burns?” 

Looking anywhere but his eyes Todoroki took a minute to respond, “My abdomen is burned.”

“Take your shirt off then.” 

Todoroki’s eyes widened at his demanding tone and if the circumstance had been different Midoriya would have definitely been embarrassed but his thoughts were more concerned on Todoroki’s health. That didn’t, however, stop his heart from beating erratically when he watched Todoroki take his shirt off and expose his defined abs. Grunting from the pain, his friend struggled with taking off the shirt with his injuries but Midoriya didn’t offer any help. He knew Todoroki wanted to keep some of his pride. Glancing away quickly from his bare chest, Midoriya busied his hands with opening the tube of burn cream.  

He smeared some of the cool liquid on his fingers as Todoroki weakly protested, “I can do it...” 

“Your hands are injured, Todoroki. It would be better if I did it,” Indeed Todoroki’s hands were bloody, probably from striking endeavor. But with the way Midoriya’s hands were shaking, though, maybe he wasn't the best person for the the job either. 

His hands lightly smeared the clear cream onto the inflamed skin and Todoroki gasped softly. The noise made Midoriya’s body and mind skit to an abrupt stop and his fingers stilled.

“S’ cold,” Todoroki mumbled and Midoriya could breathe again. 

He continued to rub the spot gently and apply cream when he muttered to himself, “Don’t you have a temperature regulating quirk?”

Todoroki’s muscles moved as he inhaled sharply and he tried very hard not to notice, “Not when its a surprise like that. Obviously, I can’t keep myself from being affected by cold and hot things but I can regulate my own body temperature.” 

He gestured to his burned stomach and Midoriya felt excitement from learning another thing about his amazingly strong friend(he would have to write that down in his notes later).

“So… if you tried to hold a hot tray of like cookies or something, it would still burn you, like the rest of us?” 

A cold gust of wind blew the top of Midoriya’s curls as Todoroki sighed, “No, I don’t think I’d be burned. I think the temperature has to be pretty extreme to affect me. I have a higher tolerance of extreme temperatures than most people.”

Midoriya thought about how hot Endeavor must have been to burn Todoroki like this and felt angry words sit at the tip of his tongue, instead he smiled and said, “So this cream must have been extremely cold to affect you, huh?” 

A surprised soft chuckle shook Todoroki and his muscles flexed with the movement. Midoriya silently cheered at the laughter. He would do anything to help Todoroki from thinking about what that twisted man had done to him. 

“It must have been,” Todoroki murmed, his voice deep with tiredness. 

The low rumble of his voice and chuckle spiked his already erratic heartbeat and Midoriya silently cursed Endeavor. His fingers finished smearing the last of the cream on his wound and he pulled away. He scanned his best friends injures looking for any other things he might of missed. Midoriya quickly grabbed the healers wrap and slowly wrapped it around his abdomen. He finished and let the helpless feeling wash over him. Was this all he could do? Todoroki had been beaten by his father and all he could do was wrap up his wounds and silently pray that Endeavor stopped. It wasn’t enough. It was enough for Todoroki. He deserved so much more than this.  

Midoriya lifted his eyes to Todoroki, “Is there…? Oh...”

Todoroki was fast asleep. His head lolled to the side, and his hair drifting down to cover his eyes. 

“Todoroki?” Midoriya whispered softly but there was no response. 

Glancing around him quickly, he weighed his options. He definitely could not leave his sleeping friend down here to but it was going to be difficult to carry him to his room without hurting his injuries. And there was always the possibility that his friend would wake up when he was in the middle of carrying him to bed and that was just awkward . Also, the first aid box needed to be returned to Todorki’s room, but if he returned the box to the bathroom after carrying Todoroki to his bed there was a chance that he could wake up Todoroki upon entering his room again. 

So Midoriya decided to carry the first aid container up to Todoroki’s room first, hoping that his friend would be awake by the time he came back downstairs. Unfortunately, Todoroki was still passed out peacefully on the couch, exhaustion wearing him like a blanket. Holding his breath, Midoriya carefully scooped Todoroki up in his arms, bridal style. The summer and the half of his second year had given Midoriya somewhat of a growth spurt. He was still short, but his muscle mass grew considerably since he had been working on gaining more of One for All. With the shift of movement Todoroki’s head fell softly into his shoulder and Midoriya was sure he might combust on the spot. He looked down at the sleeping Todoroki in his arms and allowed himself a moment to admire the boy with his unreasonably soft hair framing his face and his dark lashes that brushing his cheeks. Todoroki weighed close to nothing and seemed to fit perfectly in his arms. Warmth swelled in his chest as he gently placed Todoroki in his bed and a soft sigh escaped his lips in a warm puff on Midoriya’s face. He leaned down and pulled the covers up around Todoroki and wished for a moment that he could climb into the bed and snuggle right next to him. Shaking his head slightly, Midoriya spared the sleeping boy one last look of worry and warmth before he headed out of the room and closed the door behind him. 


Chapter Text

The sky was a muted gray color as the clouds covered the sky in a thick blanket. The sun barely shone through the thick clouds and there was a heavy moisture to the atmosphere as if it were about to rain. Shouto didn’t mind the depressing weather; there wasn’t much that could bring down his mood. The train he rode was crowded with the Saturday afternoon crowd of people as they rushed around the city. Shouto didn’t even mind the crowd like he usually did. Mass amounts of people usually gave him an unpleasant churning feeling in his stomach. Today however, Todoroki was in good spirits. 

He was seeing his mother this week and the usual unpleasant feeling in his stomach was replaced with excitement. In his hands, he held the small book that he bought for his mother. It was a classic, he was told, a historical fiction that was centered around the time period before quirks were even a thing. The cover was simple and warm looking and Todoroki had, for some reason, plucked it off the shelf when he saw it. Some small voice in his mind told him that his mother would appreciate something like this and that was all Todoroki really wanted to do. He wanted his mom to be happy. Seeing him, his mother said, was enough to make her happy, but Shouto wanted to do more. He would give his mother the whole world if he could. She deserved that much.

 It had been a year and a few months since he first visited his mom. At first, the interactions with his mom were awkward and left him with nervous butterflies in his stomach. Even after sixteen years, Todoroki still wanted to do everything he could to please her. Every week he wondered if he’d somehow screw it all up like he normally did. He wondered when seeing his face would become too much for his mother and when she would snap again. How long would she keep him around before his scar was too much to look at? But as the weeks progressed his nervousness eventually faded when he saw that his mother really didn’t want him to leave. She enjoyed their visits and Shouto grew to genuinely love them and love his mother just like he had before, and even more. 

At his stop, Shouto forced himself to walk normally into the hospital building and not rush in like he wanted to. In the elevator he anxiously ran his thumb over his index finger and flipped the pages of the book in his hands. Would she like it? Would she read it? Worse case scenario she would thank him for it and silently put it on the shelf and never read it. Which was fine, of course, Shouto would never force his mother to do anything she didn’t want to do, but it would be nice if she read it and maybe even enjoyed it. He wasted no time rushing to the room where his mother stayed but what he saw stopped him in his tracks. 

Endeavor stood, flames blazing, in front of the door as if he were guarding it. Shouto’s face immediately darkened and he instinctively hid the book behind his back. 

“What are you doing here?” Shouto’s voice was frigid. 

Endeavors scowl remained stagnant, but Shouto saw the slight twice in his eyebrow, “I could ask you the same thing, Shouto.”

He clenched his teeth so hard he could hear his jaw creaking in protest, “I’m visiting my mother.”  

That was enough to snap Endeavor out of his relatively calm facade, “So this is what you’ve been wasting your time on? This despicable women? Was the boiling pot of water not enough to keep you away?” 

Shouto flinched and resisted the urge to cover his scar with his hands, “It’s not her fault.” 

Endeavor sneered, “Not her fault? Did the boiling pot jump out of her hands then?”

“It’s not her fault,” Shouto repeated but his voice shook, “It’s yours.” 

“MY fault?” His eyes flashed dangerously and Shouto tried to push away the heavy fear that seemed to attach itself to his bones, “You’ve been spending too much time with her. It’s a waste of time. She’s influencing you.”

Shouto felt his anger and fear spike, “She’s not-!”

“You shouldn’t have came here, Shouto. I’ve see what she’s doing to you. She making you soft and slack off in your performance. Her and that green haired All-Might wannabe. I forbid you from seeing her.”

No, no, no, no, no .

“You what?” Shouto fought very hard not to light the book in his hand on fire. 

Endeavor demanded firmly, “You will not be taking these little visits to see your mother in the hospital anymore. I will not allow it.”

Shouto fought down the tears that rose to his eyes and hissed, “You can’t do that.” 

 His voice wasn’t yelling but it was loud enough to make him flinch, “I pay for this women’s hospital bills, Shouto. How easy do you think it would be for me to cut all ties with her?”

The blood drained from his face and Endeavor continued, “You will come home instead of visiting this … waste of time. You will train with me so I can fix whatever ideas she’s been putting in your head.”

Panic choked Shouto’s throat. He couldn’t do this. He couldn’t breathe. Just when he thought he had gotten away from his father’s training. Just when he thought he could actually be happy. Of course he would come around and ruin it all. Of course. Shouto should have known. He should have known. 

“You can’t-you won’t have time. You’re the Number One hero, you don’t have time to train me every other week,” Shouto tried to appear logical, his father listened logic and reason.

“I’ll make time,” Endeavor said with iron in his voice, “Come, Shouto. You have no business here any longer.” 

Shouto’s eyes darted to the door of his mother’s room. He couldn’t just leave. He had to give her the book. He had to tell her what was going on. Some desperate part of him hoped that maybe his mother could save him but he squashed down the thought. His mother had tried to save him before, but no one stood a chance against the Number One Hero. 

“Shouto.” Endeavors threat was clear in his voice.

His heart tore in two as he forced his gaze away from the room and obeyed his father like an obedient dog. Anger boiled in the pit of his stomach at the way that Endeavor treated him like some trained war pet. Silently, he dropped his head and slipped the book into his bag, hoping Endeavor wouldn’t notice. Dread seeped through his skin as he climbed into his father’s car and he stared at the slowly receding hospital building. He watched it until it faded from his view and then glared down at his hands. Shouto wasn’t stupid. He knew they were going to train and he knew that it was going to hurt. For a moment, he wondered if he could jump out of the car and run away from this whole mess. It would certainly hurt a lot less than being beaten by Endeavor. But the thought of his mother, homeless, moneyless, alone, gave him the silent courage he needed. Fuyumi and Natsou were still in college and didn’t have enough money to support his mother, although they obviously wanted to help. A few weeks back they all visited his mom in the hospital and Shouto has to say it was one of the best days of his life. It had been stressful and nerve racking, but as soon as Shouto came home it felt like his heart might burst. Todoroki Shouto had never felt peace before, but in that moment he was happier than he’d ever been. Listening to Natsou tell jokes and stories from college as Fuyumi and his mother laughed and told small jokes of their own had been a little piece of home he didn’t know he needed until it had clicked into place. 

He hunched his back as the realization came rushing back. That would never happen again. His old man was never allowing Shouto to see his mother again. Some spark of defiance whispered that he could still try to see her, but Shouto knew it wasn’t likely. Endeavor probably alerted the nurses about his new arrangement and installed cameras into her hospital room. The house where he grew up (Shouto refused to call it home) stared at him loomingly as the car pulled up to the curb. Without a word, Endeavor and him slipped out of the car and into the house. Shouto forced on a neutral expression onto his face and willed the beating of his heart to slow down. 

It wasn’t as if he hadn’t fought his father before. He had done this for ten years. This was nothing knew, he told himself. He hadn’t trained with Endeavor in at least a few months, but it had been years since he fought his father when he was angry. His father was always bitter and angry but it had been awhile since the fury had been directed towards him. Shouto lied low and tried to make himself as small a possible in the past few months. He bit his tongue when his father said things to egg him on and he forced himself to remain courteous when all he wanted to do was spit in his face. Of course, the dorms helped him stay away from his father’s wrath. It was almost as if U.A was a protective bubble for him. Sometimes he would forget the life he used to lead, the life he still does lead now. He would almost forget the feeling of paralyzing fear he felt when he stared down his father. Almost. Almost. But the ignorance had been a fleeting bliss. A fleeting bliss of having friends and people who saw him as equals. He had more friends than he had ever imagined he could have. Midoriya, Yaoyorozu, Iida, Kirishima, and basically his entire class, he considered friends. They were kind to him and they even protected him. Endeavor would burst a vein if he voiced that sentiment, but Todoroki didn’t really care if he thought he was weak. He knew he wasn’t weak for having his friends support him and having his back. He stepped through the doors of the training room and he felt the protective bubble of safety and happiness pop.

 


 

 

Todoroki lied awake as he relived the memory. He ran through the events of last week trying to find something he could have done to prevent this. If only he took longer walking to his mother’s hospital room. Endeavor wasn’t a patient man, he would have left. If only he had been more careful. How had he found out? It made no sense. Todoroki was sure he was being careful. He battled with himself as the sun slowly rose and filtered light into his room. His room. Huh. He doesn’t remember getting to his room. In fact he doesn’t really remember last night at all …… Midoriya. 

“Shit,” Todoroki cursed under his breath as he sat up. 

He ran his hands through his hands stiffly and he felt embarrassment color his cheeks. Shouto had sobbed all over Midoriya’s shirt and then his friend had patched him up and after that… his mind goes blank. His face burned even more when he realized that he must have fallen asleep and Midoriya must have carried him to his room. How embarrassing . And to make matters even worse, Midoriya knew what was going on now. Some part of him was relieved since he knew he couldn’t hide it for long and Midoriya definitely would have pestered him. His friend was a very observant person. The first time Endeavor trained him Midoriya noticed immediately when they were in the kitchen, and he deliberately stayed awake to wait for Todoroki. Shouto silently cursed his observant friend and rolled his shoulders. It was around 6 in the morning and exhaustion hung on him heavily. He really should sleep but his mind was awake and buzzing and there was no chance he was getting any sleep now. He briefly wondered if he should go downstairs. But the thought of seeing anyone, especially Midoriya , rooted him to place. Gingerly, Shouto inspected his wounds and noticed that Midoriya wrapped his arms and abdomen dutifully well. He let a smile tug at his lips as he saw Midoriya’s stubborn frown as he patched him up in his mind's eye. 

His fingers gently brushed the swelling skin around his scarred eye. It throbbed painfully, but his whole body throbbed anyway. What he was really worried about was his appearance. Arm and abdominal bruises and burns could be covered up, but a black eye was more difficult. 

Maybe this will teach to to stay away from that cursed women!” Endeavors furious voice echoed in his ears as he relived the moment before the man landed the hit right on his left eye, last night . He tilted his head down to cover the side of his bruised, swollen, scared, puckered, rough, ugly skin on the left side of his face. A wave of self loathing covered Shouto and he tried to make himself even smaller. How many people will look at his left side in horror now? His scar already dragged their attention to him, now the purple and swollen skin made his hideous scar stand out even more. Of course, Shouto knew that what his father intended to do but it didn’t stop him from thinking his father was an idiot. If he wanted to keep his precious reputation, then he should at least try to cover up what was happening at home. There were smart people in his school, not as smart as Midoriya, but close. And some people cared about him enough to try and find out. The thought brought Shouto both hope and anxiety. His friends might ask what happened and what was he supposed to say now? “ Uhh I tripped and fell on my bike? I ran into a pole?” Stupid. He couldn’t make excuses like that. It would only make them more suspicious and the last thing he wanted was for them to find out ( Please find out. Please see through the facade I’m hiding. Please save me from him.) This whole situation was stupid. Tears pricked at his eyes and Todoroki hastily scrubbed at his face. Here he thought he was done crying, but apparently not. 

Sighing he stood up and ignored the stabbing pain ...well everywhere. Taking a shower sounded divine but he didn’t have the time nor the energy to rewrap his oozing wounds. Shouto swallowed anxiously at the thought of walking out of his room like this. His hair was greasy and sweaty, his body stunk and was aching and oozing in blistering places, and not to mention the black eye that so conveniently was swelling around his left eye. Of course, Shouto pushed away the anxiety and self loathing he felt and splashed some water on his face before heading down to the kitchen. 

 

 





 

Bakugou walked into class just a few minutes before everyone else usually did. Of course four eyes and Deku were always early, but Bakugou wasn’t about to let those losers beat him to class. He knew he got the most sleep out of anyone (shut up he needs his beauty sleep!) and so waking up early and getting to class first wasn’t that difficult. And besides, the look on that nerds face when Katsuki beat him to class first was absolutely priceless. The class president felt like it was his duty or whatever to be the first one there and it annoyed Bakugou so he decided to interfere. Or maybe he just liked messing with Iida. Honestly the guy was annoying and easy to pester, but he was a good hero Bakugou guessed. It wasn’t like he completely sucked. 

He stopped dead in his tracks to see Half n’ Half of all people sitting in the class first. Bakugou glared daggers at him, “Oi! Half n’ Half! What are you doing?” 

Todoroki turned as if he was surprised and flinched, flinched , (who is he, Deku? geez) but when he turned Bakugou couldn’t help but do a double take. His whole left side was bruised and swollen around the red scar already on his skin, his eyes had deep circles, and his face was unnaturally pale and the guy was already pretty pale. Frankly, the dude looked like shit and he had seen him beat up. Before they got their provisional licenses the two of them had looked pretty rough but now that it was over he wasn’t expecting him to look like that .

“Sitting down?” Halfie drones in his usual monotone voice, but Bakugou’s not an idiot. 

Even though he could care less, he could read people alright, and he knew that Todoroki was pretty anxious. With a bruise like that on his face it was easy to see why, so Bakugou didn’t waste any time beating around the bush. 

“Who socked you in the face?” It was harsh maybe, but he didn’t think it was that harsh to make Todoroki violently flinch like that. 

His scowl deepened as Halfie froze and chewed the inside of his cheek as if he was figuring out what to say. 

“It’s not a hard question, idiot. Who gave you that bruise? We haven’t trained that hard recently in class.” Bakugou toned down his aggressiveness only because the idiot answered slower when Bakugou snapped at him. It’s like he’s talking to an injured animal or something. 

“...I fell,” He winced after he said it as if he knew how lame that sounded. 

Katsuki was about done with this bullshit, “You fell. What the hell? You didn’t fall! You don’t get a bruise like that from tripping over your own feet dumbass!” 

The idiot sighed and sagged his shoulders and Bakugou didn’t like that. He didn’t care about him or anything, but his classmate wasn’t supposed to look this defeated. Todoroki was always strong, Bakugou wasn’t dumb enough to pretend the double quirk dude wasn’t strong and a capable hero. Todoroki didn’t get hit like that unless it was a villain or one of his classmates. And he didn’t sag his shoulders like that when Bakugou pestered him. So what the hell was wrong with him?

“Just ... leave it, Bakugou.” 

What? He grit his teeth, “Was a villain or something, idiot? You think you’re so modest for not telling me, huh? I don’t care if you fought a villain or whatever just tell me where you got the bruise, dimwit.” 

Todoroki’s eyes flashed but it wasn’t the normal flash of annoyance he usually gave Bakugou, it was anger.

“Why do you care?” His voice was ice, “It wasn’t a villain, ok? Now leave me alone.” 

If that was his best effort in getting rid of him, then he was sorely mistaken because the exchange only made him angerier. 

“I don’t care, you half and half bastard!” Bakugou hissed through his clenched teeth, “Just tell me what happened! Did you fight Deku or something?” 

Those two had been rumored to spar together and so it made sense, but Bakugou had a hard time believing that Deku would hit Todoroki like this. Maybe he could do it but he wouldn’t willingly hurt him. Deku was too busy making goo goo eyes at him to hurt him. 

“Kacchan?” Deku decided to walk in that exact moment.

“Shut up, Deku!” He glared and tried to turn back to Todoroki to continue his interrogation. 

Deku walked in with his stupid face all concerned and crap as if he was scared for Todoroki. Like the half and half bastard couldn’t protect himself on his own. He didn’t like it. The whole situation went downhill when Iida walked in followed by Round face. 

“Tch,” He muttered and stantered back to his seat. Todoroki wouldn’t say a peep with all these people here. Whatever. He didn’t care that much anyway. Half n’ Half didn’t have to tell him anything. 

The rest of the class filtered in, and apparently he wasn’t the only one to notice Todoroki’s face. 

“Whoa, dude! What happened to your face!” Kaminari exclaimed and Todoroki visible strunk in his seat. 

Ashido joined in, oblivious, “Wow! Did you fight someone Todoroki? That looks like it hurts!”

Stupid idiots. Didn’t they know that they couldn’t just ask him that with all these people here? Half n’ half was annoyingly reserved and obviously didn’t like crowds. It didn’t take a genius to realize that the hero in training was socially awkward and hated crowds. Asking him anything out and the open like this wouldn’t work. At least he had some common sense to ask him when there was no one else around. 

“Yes! Todoroki! Where did you get that injury? Do you need to see Recovery Girl?” Iida joined in.

Todoroki fidgeted with his hands before answering, “I tripped on accident and fell on the side of the table. It’s no big deal.” 

“That must have been a pretty hard fall,” Sero looked doubvious.

“Yeah, are you sure you’re ok, dude?” Kirishima asked.

Not him too! He mistakenly thought Hair for Brains might actually have some common sense for once. Kirishima glanced over at him and Bakugou glared once they made eye contact, hoping to convey his angry disappointment. Shitty hair must have gotten his silent message because he jerked his gaze back to Todoroki and started talking.

“Oh wait, guys! Did I tell you that there’s a rumor going around that um- they're going to remake the Mission Impossible movies but edit it with quirks?”

Seriously? Bakugou glared again but Kirishima kept talking.

Kaminari practically jumped the guy, “What really? No way!” 

Jirou could be heard groaning in the back of the room. 

“Shut up,” Ashido said suspicious, “You’re messing with us. Where did you find these rumors?”

“The internet!” Kirishima plastered on a fake smile.

Todoroki sighed in relief and sunk back down into his chair. Ok, what the hell was going on? Bakugou looked at Deku and saw him glancing nervously at Halfie. The Nerd anxiously tapped his pencil on his desk and glanced at Todoroki a few times, trying to get his attention subtly. It wasn’t so subtle. Bakugou squinted at Deku. What was his deal? Maybe the nerd knew something about what had happened or even gave him the bruise in the first place. 

“Hey. Nerd-” Katsuki started but Aizawa interrupted the chatting class. 

Tch. Guess he’ll have to interrogate those idiots later.

Chapter Text

Todoroki’s head pounded. His whole body ached in fact, and the burns on his stomach felt like they were creating an oven inside his shirt. He felt the sweat trickle down his neck and tried to cool his body off with his quirk. The day had gone by painfully slow and all Shouto wanted to do was lie in his room and never come out. That would be so nice. He just wanted to sleep, alone, forever. The thought of being undisturbed by the loud voices of his peers and just resting, sounded divine. 

A few more people had asked him what happened to his face, but miraculously Kirishima had come to his rescue every time and distracted his classmates with random spouts of information. He would have to thank him later. The class was currently walking in some direction; Aizawa never told them where they were going, he just told them to follow and they did. His teacher opened the large doors of a training room and Todoroki inwardly groaned. 

“You’re going to be sparing. Pick a mat and go with the partner I’ve assigned you.” Aizawa tiredly listed off the pairs before slumping over in his large yellow sleeping bag. 

Shouto eyed the sleeping man with envy and shuffled over to a mat, Kirishima following close behind him. He was lucky at least, to be partners with Kirishima. The hardening boy had grown closer to Todoroki ever since they rescued Bakugou. Some way or another Todoroki found himself hanging out with Kirishima a lot more often. With a sigh, Todoroki forced himself into a defensive position when all he wanted to do was stop. Just push through. Just like you do with Endeavors training. He just had to get through sparing. It was just another training exercise, but easier. He could do this. He could do this. 

Kirishima hesitated in his fighting position, “Uh, you sure you wanna fight, man? I’m sure Aizawa would be cool if you just sit this one out.” 

With a tight shake of his head Shouto responded, “No, I’m fine, Kirishima.” 

His whole body ached all over and his head felt like a cement block attached to his neck, actually. A slight shiver ran up his spine even though he felt like his body was on fire. Was his quirk malfunctioning? He glanced down at his left side to make sure flames weren’t bursting from his hands. His legs felt shaky but he pushed all of the pain down and stubbornly rushed Kirishima. He knew his friend wouldn’t make the first move anyway. Surprise flicked onto Kirishima’s face before he dodged the blow. Kirishima dodged every one of Todoroki’s half hearted attempts to land a hit. His movements were slow and his motivation was at it’s bare minimum. Kirishima dodged his left fist and Todoroki saw the opening. With a quick motion of his foot he swept the other boy off of his feet and onto the ground. Todoroki stepped back respectively and waited for Kirishima to get back up. Something his father never gave him the luxury of. It wasn’t long before the spunky red haired hero popped back up with a grin. 

“Guess you showed me, huh?” Kirishima said, “I mean, I know you are good at fighting and stuff, but, honestly dude, you just look exhausted. You know what you’re doing when you fight, and obviously you were in a fight recently so it’s fine if we don’t go all out you know?”   

Shouto shook his head and scrambled for something to say, “It’s not fair to you. You need to keep training. It’s not just about me.”

“Dude-” 

“Todoroki. Kirishima. Less talking more training,” Aizawa said still in his sleeping bag. 

Kirishima looked over at him, concern etched onto his face and Todoroki felt his frustration spike. He could do this. He wasn’t weak. He could do this. Who was he kidding? He was weak. He couldn’t even defeat his father after training with him for entire life. He always needed help. He was so useless. Just a burden to his friends. He was a burden to Midoriya, who hadn’t stopped sending him concerned glances since this morning. He was a burden to Kirishima, making him hold back on his training. He even was a burden to Fuyumi, his sister. Todoroki knew she didn’t deserve the burden of caring for him when his mother was gone. She didn’t deserve the pain and the responsibility that Shouto placed on her. 

He pushed down the voice in his head and focused on breathing. In and out. In and out. Todoroki’s eyes zeroed in on Kirishima and he pushed through the pain as he dove for his friend again. They brawled back and forth, Kirishima hesitating and softening his blows every time they made contact with his skin. Shouto’s irritation only increased and he tried to push down the anxiety that he felt every time Kirishima hesitated. Shouto wasn’t fragile. He wasn’t. He couldn’t be as fragile as Kirishima seemed to think he was. The fight escalated and he felt his body protest with every hit. Though he didn’t relent continued to throw punches and kicks, the red haired boy still faltered. And for some reason his concern only made him angerier. Why wouldn’t everyone just leave it be? Why wouldn’t they just stop talking? Stop staring. Stop acting concerned. Stop worrying. Stop prying. He knew they didn’t really care. How could they? If they really cared they would help him. And Shouto meant actually help him. No more pitying glances and concerned words. Shouto wanted them to take him away and never let him near Endeavor. He wanted his mother safe. He wanted to feel safe.

Kirishima delivered a punch to his abdomen and his raw burn screamed in pain. Shouto staggered and felt himself fall as he clutched his stomach. It hurt so bad . Blood seeped through the wrappings and Shouto prayed they wouldn’t leak through his clothes.

“Oh man, I’m sorry!” Kirishima held his hand out to Shouto.

“You’re weak Shouto.” Endeavors voice boomed through his mind and he squeezed his eyes shut. He wasn’t. He wasn’t. Endeavor was wrong and he wasn’t weak. If he were weak then he wouldn't be in this class and he wouldn’t have-

“I bet you’re hurt there. I shouldn't have hit you so hard,” Kirishima said and in that moment all he saw was red, “Here, let me help you u-”

“Leave me alone.” His voice wasn’t ice. It wasn’t the cold exterior he perfected. It was fire and rage and pain. 

His friend flinched and retracted his hand. Everything was silent and Shouto realized that the entire class had heard his outburst. Shame burned the back of his neck and Shouto stood stiffly. He wanted to take it back but his mind was crammed with the dull ache of pain and panic. The blood was sleeping through the wraps and it would only be a matter of seconds before it stained his clothes. His friends would notice and he’d be screwed. What lie could cover up the burns and wounds bleeding from blunt trauma? 

“Is there a problem?” Aizawa approached their mat and shot a look to the rest of the class who hurriedly started sparing again. 

“No,” Shout answered immediately. Kirishima shuffled his feet. 

His teacher shifted his eyes between for a few seconds before turning around and dismissing everyone since the bell was about to ring. The half-cold half-hot wielder let out a sigh in relief. He would make it. All he had to do was head to the bathroom and quickly rewrap the bleeding with the gauze he had stashed away in his bag. However, Aizawa had different plans and stopped Shouto with a light hand to his shoulder when the bell sounded. 

“Midoriya. Todoroki. You stay here.” 

The green haired boy visibly tensed and walked over to them looking like a deer caught in the headlights. 

“Y-Yes, Aizawa-Sensei?” Shouto felt as nervous as Midoriya sounded. 

“Did you two spar outside of class?” He bluntly asked and Shouto stiftened. 

The lie that he had fed to all of his other classmates was on the tip of his tongue when Midoriya blurted, “Yes! Um- yes we did and I accidentally ...got carried away. I feel really bad about it! It won’t happen again!” 

Midoriya was lying for him. He was taking the blame for the actions that the Number One Hero dealt. His friend was defending him and making himself look bad in the process. Shouto’s heart deflated and swelled at the same time. He instantly regretted his earlier thoughts about his friends not caring. The sad fact was that Todoroki knew that he couldn’t blame anyone for the situation he was in. It wasn’t their fault for not seeing the real reason for the pain he was in, and after all, he was an expert in burying his emotions, thanks to Endeavor. And he knew Midoriya was under a lot of pressure. Instantly, guilt pooled in his stomach as he thought about the stress he had given Midoriya and the way he snapped at Kirishima. He was a burden to his best friends. 

Aizawa turned his dry eyes to him, “Is that true?” 

Sweat dripped from Todoroki’s face as he lied, “Yes. It was an accident. I already for- It’s ok.” 

‘I already forgave him’ as if Midoriya had anything he needed to be forgiven of. His teacher looked at them both one more time before sighing deeply. 

“Midoriya, I already told you to be more careful not to hurt yourself , do I really need to tell you to be careful not to hurt your classmates?”

Midoriya flinched and Shouto spoke before his friend could, “Aizawa-Sensei, it was my fault. I wasn’t paying attention when I should have and I didn’t have time to block the punch. It wasn’t his fault, I should have been paying more attention.”

Aizawa sighed deeply, “Be more careful next time or I’m going to have to ask you to stop these training sessions, alright?” 

They both nodded and were so close to freedom when he said, “Also Midoriya, take Torokoki to Recovery Girl and explain to her why he is injured.”

“It’s nothing,” Shouto murmured quietly but Midoriya nodded, looking slightly relieved.

They walked in silence down the hall and Shouto counted three doors they passed until Midoriya spoke.

“Todoroki….” 

A deep sigh was his only respond. 

“Have you- um- Have you thought about actually...” His friend tried.

Shouto interrupted him dodging the upcoming question, “You didn’t have to lie for me back there, Midoriya.”

Though, deep down, Shouto was terribly grateful. His friend was going to keep his secret. He knew how much it pained Midoriya to keep this to himself. Midoriya hated seeing anyone in pain; some part of him was always trying to help people and Todoroki knew that Midoriya cared for him. The thought seemed outrageous and just wishful thinking last year when he had become friends with Midoriya, but it was the second semester of their second year and Todoroki had come a long way with his friend. It was clear that they were friends and maybe, maybe even best friends. Shouto hated burdening him like this but a large part of him was grateful that he knew. 

“I know how much it means to you to keep it a secret,” Midoriya said, his large green eyes sad, “Even if I don’t understand why... I’ll keep it a secret for you.” 

“Promise?” Todoroki felt extremely childish as soon as he said the words but he didn’t relent as he turned to look Midoriya in the eyes, seriously.

His friend took a deep breath and stared at him back, “Promise.” 

Todoroki released a breath he didn’t know he was holding. Thank goodness. He didn’t know what he would do if Midoriya told the others. So many bad things could happen. It had only been a year and a half since the Symbol of Peace had fallen and his father had taken on the role as the Number One Hero. Criminal activity was still high and the world needed Endeavor. The world needed Endeavor to stay more than Todoroki needed him to leave . So he would sit and he would wait until he could escape on his own. He would wait until he was eighteen and a Pro Hero and he would take his mother and sister and brother far away from him and keep them safe. He would endure the punches and the burns and the relentless training until he vomited. He would wait. For them. 

Recovery Girl gave Midoriya hard glare when they retold the story- Shouto butting in to explain that it was in no way Midoriya’s fault- and made Shouto lie down on the bed. Panic pulsed through his veins and he felt his breath stagger when Recovery girl asked him to lift his shirt. She could probably tell he was hiding an injury and she was healer so he tried to keep the surprise off of his face. 

“Hmmm,” She murmured and inspected his injuries, “Those are some pretty nasty burns, Todoroki.” 

There was an unsaid question waiting to be answered and an expectant gaze. It would be so easy to tell her. So easy just to say “My father gave these burns to me in training. And the bruises and the black eye. And the countless other bruises and scars on my body.” But he remembered his promise and his mother, dependent of Endeavor, despite their wishes, and lied again.

“I overused my quirk.” The lie was feeble. There was so much room for dissecting and figuring out that the numbers just don’t add up. But Recovery Girl just looked at him dead in the eyes and then healed him.  

 



It was wednesday and Todoroki was pretty sure that this week was the slowest week he ever lived. The days dragged on and on and it was almost as if the hours in the day had decided to double. Now Shouto would say that he was a pretty patient guy but one thing that he did not have was a long attention span. It took him twenty minutes tops to become bored with something or for him to get distracted. Mostly he was distracted by the thought of sleeping or food. So here he was, napping on the living room couch. Supposedly, he needed to be doing homework but the dorm living room was so cozy, the perfect temperature, and the couch was way to soft so Shouto kind of just sunk into the couch cushions and fell asleep. He was drifting in and out of consciousness, listening to the bustle of movement from his classmates around him while he shooed away the anxious I should be doing something thoughts. A wave of warmth coated his chest when he thought about the fact that he could just rest, out in the open, undisturbed. He was allowed to rest, whenever he wanted. There was no fear that Endeavor would round the corner and yell at him to get up. No, he was in his bubble. The U.A bubble of protection. His home. 

Eventually, his peace was disturbed by a rustle on the couch.

“Hey Todoroki!” Midoriya exclaimed and his voice hurriedly dropped to a surprised whisper, “Oh… He’s sleeping.” 

Todoroki’s head jerked up from the noise but when Midoriya didn’t say anything else he slowly allowed himself to slide down onto the couch into a new position. He rested his cheek against the cushion and shifted his body horizontally to get more comfortable. Assuming that Midoriya had left, he almost jumped out of his skin when he felt light fingers tentatively brush through his hair. 

At Todoroki’s flinch Midoriya hesitated, “C-can I? Is this ok?” 

Shouto thought about that. Was this ok? It might give him a heart attack but sure, yeah, fine, it was ok. He hummed in affirmation and tried to breathe slowly again as he waited for his hand to continue. 

Midoriya brushed the top of his head lightly, stroking it like you would a cat. Shouto’s headache seemed to poof into thin air as Midoriya continued to pet him. It was strange having someone touch him like this. His mother did, briefly. Patting his head lightly or brushing it out of his face but it was never like this. And it never felt this nice. Feeling bolder, Midoriya combed his fingers through his locks and played with the strands of his hair. An amused smile twitched at his lips as Midoriya separated his white hair from his red hair, straight down the middle and mused it all up and started again. It felt as if Midoriya was plucking all of the negative thoughts and feelings he had right out of his head just with his touch. His gentle but strong hands continued to stroke his hair and Shouto leaned into his hand slightly. Emotion unnecessarily welled up in his chest at how gentle Midoriya was being with him. Like he was something fascinating and something to cherish. Like he was somehow important and worth his time. It felt so nice. With his hands still in his hair, Shouto drifted to sleep feeling safe.

 

 


 

 

It was loud. So loud that it shook the whole house. It rattled and trembled from the loud vibrations that echoed from outside his room. Shouto clutched his pillow tightly as a wave of fear tumbled over him with the next boom. His form trembled as he tried to push down the fear and chase after his blissful sleepy state of mind. The efforts were in vain as another violent boom popped in his ears. 

Endeavor was angry again. He was mad and yelling at something in the middle of the night. Shouto braced himself for inevitable anticipation of his door to swing open and his father to storm in. But he never came. The hopeful relief dissolved when he realized that he was yelling at someone else besides him. Irrationally his brain screamed mother! but he knew it was Fuyumi, Natsuo, or maybe even Toya that Endeavor was yelling at. That made matters even worse and Todoroki shot up, stumbling out of his sheets. He had to get out there. He had to stop his father before he could hurt them the way he hurt Shouto. He had to be the one to take the blame and the punishment. He promised himself that his siblings would never have to endure the extent of the pain that Endeavor inflicted onto him. He once saw Endeavor slap Fuyumi and vowed to never let his father lay another hand on her. Not if he could help it. 

He burst out of his room, breathing labored and limbs shaking. The dark hallway and elevator at the end of the hall made him stop in his tracks. This...this wasn’t his house. These were the dorms. He was at school and no where near Endeavor. Shouto glanced at his dark room and swallowed thickly, trying to steady his breathing. Most of the time, he liked his room and the way it looked but in that moment all he could think was how similar it looked to his room back at his house. Thunder bombed and a flash of lightning lit up the window in his room. Every muscle in his body tensed and he willed himself not to flinch. Endeavor wasn’t here, his siblings were safe, his mother was safe, and he was safe. But no matter how hard he tried to rationalize his fears they came crawling back with the cool air conditioning in the hall. 

With a shiver and shaky hands, Shouto quickly marched into the room only to grab and small book lying underneath his matress. Gripping the book with a fierce intensity he sped out of his room and down the hall. The elevator lights made Todoroki blink from the brightness and he backed up to the far corner of the elevator, leaning his back against the cool metal. His hands were still shaking as they held the thin black cover book. A white rose painted the front cover underneath the title Beastly. It was a cheesy romance novel; the Beauty and the Beast tale with a modern take; and it was not a genre Todoroki normally read. But he knew it was his favorite book anyway. It was the oldest book he owned, the pages thinning from age and highlighted words where he marked them littering the pages. He had it since he was seven but he never actually read it until his first year at U.A. Before he read it, Shouto had kept it locked away in one of his bedroom cabinets to hide it from Endeavor and would only pull it out to brush his fingers against the soft material of the pages and clutch it close to his chest.   

It belonged to his mother.

Before she left, his mother would be reading it almost every time he saw her in her room. She had a room separate from Endeavor’s and it was one of Shouto’s most favorite places in the world as a boy. Everytime he had a nightmare or the thunderstorm sounded just a bit too much like his angry father, he would run to her room and she would greet him with open arms, never upset. Shouto could remember the book sitting on her nightstand or resting in her hands always. After she left, Shouto grabbed the book out of her room before Endeavor could see it and hid it away. He didn’t pull it out of the bottom of his drawer often, but when he did it always gave him some comfort. It was his mother’s favorite book and that in itself was enough to give Shouto a feeling sense of calmness. But he never read it. Skimmed it’s pages maybe, read the back description, but never fully opening it. Some part of his mind rationalized that if he opened the book, his mother would escape from the pages he read. There would be nothing left of his mother when he read it. After the book was over and done, it would be like losing her all over again. That thought was enough to keep his temptation at bay. It wasn’t until he actually visited his mother, in high school, that he was able to finally read the book. It was cheesy, it was a romantic and girly, but it was perfect. The main character was an awful, rich, snotty boy who Shouto disliked immediately. He couldn’t see why his mother even liked the book in the first place until he got the part where the main character changed. After his curse, after he met the main love interest, he changed for her. His past character of anger and selfishness changed to being to soft and considerate of others. Shouto knew that his mother thought of Endeavor when she read it. Holding on the hope that maybe, just maybe, his father would change like the boy, Adrian, in the book. Maybe his cruel abusive father would see his mother’s kindness and start to look past his ego and start to be kind. It didn’t take Shouto long to absolutely fall in love with the book. Irrationally thinking, along with his mother, that maybe his father could change. Maybe not completely, but maybe get better, less angry.  

“What's that, mom?” Shouto’s small hand pointed to the book resting face down on her bed.

“Hm?” She traced the cover with her delicate fingertips, “Oh. It’s a book, silly.”

Shouto giggled and snuggled closer to his mother, “Is it your favorite book?” 

His mother looked at him and smiled one of her rare smiles, “Yes, it is my favorite book.” 

“What’s it about? Can I read it?”

Her chilled finger gently pushed his nose, “It’s a grown up book, Shouto. It has boring, girl things in it like kissing!” 

“Ew!” They both giggled until his mother brought a hand to her lips and pulled Shouto to her chest tightly. 

The laughter stopped as they held their breaths. Creaking floor boards and a small light outside the hall made Shouto’s small frame shake and his mother pull him closer. After what seemed like hours he felt her finally relax against him.

“Maybe when you’re older, you’d like to read it?” She whispered and Shouto liked it when they whispered. It felt like they were in their own little world.

He nodded vigorously and stage whispered, “Yeah! I wanna read it!” 

“Are you sure? It is kind of a girly book,” His mothers eyes twinkled.

“Yes! I want to read it! It's your favorite!” 

His mother laughed softly and gently shushed him but the little boy kept talking.

“I have a favorite show and you still watch it with me even though its a boy’s show!” 

She smiled again and pet his hair softly, “Of course, silly me.”

Shouto agreed, “Silly mom!”

The elevators small ding suddenly brought Shouto back to the present. With the book still firmly grasped in his hands, he walked out into the living room and turned on a lamp or two. Out of the closet he pulled out one of the fluffiest blankets he could find before collapsing into the couch. He silently cursed his still shaking hands as he situated himself. The storm raged on outside the window and Shouto flipped the book open to his favorite page. The entire section was highlighted and marked from both Shouto and his mother. He ran his shaky fingertips against the tiny letters and started to read. 

Bit by bit, the world slowly faded away as he flicked through the pages. The storm boomed and flashed but Shouto muted it to background noise as he focused on the story unfolding before him. He knew it almost word for word, having read it almost sixteen times, but the same phrases and light banter still made him smile to himself. Shouto could almost feel his mother's hands on his back and her laughter right alongside him as he read. Maybe one day he would tell her that he really did read her favorite book, and he really did love it. But he feared that she might want it back, so he held onto the book and hide it in his drawers still. The only difference was that he read it now.

“Todoroki?” A voice called out at the same time lightning crackled outside. 

Jerked from the safe world inside his book Shouto flinched, “Midoriya.”

Embarrassment flushed his cheeks at his surprise and he quickly hid the book in the folds of the fluffy blanket. He didn’t really need a blanket but it helped hide his book and blankets had a way of making him feel safe. Now though, he realized how ridiculous he looked bundled up in blankets, reading a love story, huddled on the side of the couch furthest from the window. 

“Hey,” His green eyes flashed with concern and Todoroki shrank into the blankets even more.

Todoroki cleared his throat as Midoriya settled into the couch, “What are you doing up?”

He tilted his head to the side and his green curls shifted with him, “Um. I couldn’t really sleep with the storm. It’s so loud. And I'm not really scared  per say but I can’t really go back to sleep when I get woken up so I was just going to come down here and make myself some tea or something. Do you want some Todoroki-kun?” 

Shouto anxiously ran his fingers along the spine of the book at Midoriya’s declaration of not being scared while Shouto was sitting here cowering in the corner

“No thank you, Midoriya,” He didn’t know why he added, “Not tea.”

His friends' eyes widened and he frantically waved his hands, “Oh! No! I’m so sorry Todoroki! I wasn’t- I wasn’t thinking and I didn’t realize that it would make you uncomfortable! I just- oh god that was so inconsiderate of me I’m so sorry-”

“It’s fine, Midoriya,” Todoroki looked down at his book, “I don’t mind if you have tea. I just don’t prefer it. Or the sound.”

“O-oh. Um, well I don’t have to make it if you don’t want me too. I can just make something else like a ... a sandwich! I’ll go make myself a sandwich, yeah, I’m going to go do that now.” He backed up and turned jerkily towards the kitchen.

Not to say that he didn’t like Midoriya’s company, he did , a little too much even, but all he wanted to do was read his book. He had already read it multiple times and knew what was going to happen next, but he just got to a good part. 

“What are you reading?” His friend snuck up behind him. 

Shouto rapidly shoved the book into his blanket again and felt his face burning, “Nothing,” He said maybe a little too hastily. 

Midoriya’s green eyes widened, “Oh! Um I didn’t realize you - um,- it was… was that a romance novel?”

Well. There was no point in trying to hide it now. 

Face burning, he fought to bring his temperature down with his right side, “....Yes. It is.” 

“Oh! That's ok! I mean there’s nothing to be ashamed about, romance novels are really great! I haven't read very many but its not a bad thing! To read them that is! My mom reads them all the time and I read some of her favorites so- um- its not,- you don’t have to be worried I’ll judge you or anything! I was just surprised that's all!” Midoriya’s face was gradually turning pink as well but Shouto felt a little better knowing that his friend wasn’t going to make fun of him.

“You’re mother reads them as well?” Shouto breathed a little easier, “My mother does.This… this is her book actually.”

Midoriya perked up, “Really?”

“Yes. It was her favorite.” 

“Did… Do you miss her?” Midoriya dared say, “Is that why you’re reading it?” 

His tratorious lips betrayed him, “No. Ah... no. I used to read this when I missed her. I don’t miss her anymore. She’s…” 

Midoriya waited as he found the right words and he settled on just starting from the beginning, “When she left, she left this book behind. I would…. read it when I missed her or wondered why she left. But now I know and I don’t need to miss her anymore because even if he won't let me see her anymore I know he can’t severe our connection again. I won’t let him take her away from me again.”

His friend inhaled sharply and reached out to touch Shouto’s shoulder. Surprised at the contact,  he startled and looked at him. Midoriya’s green eyes were welling with emotion and Todoroki instantly felt bad for making his friend sad.

“You’ll see her again, Todoroki-kun. I’ll make sure of it.” 

He inhaled sharply, “I.. yes. I will.” 

He looked down again and brushed the creased cover of the book with the pad of his thumb. Midoriya was still staring at him, expectantly almost. His fingers flipped open to the page he closed just as a loud clap of thunder shook the house. Unwilling, he felt himself jerk and flinch at the sudden noise. Shouto’s breath caught in his throat and his heart beat thumped against his chest painfully. Endeavor isn’t here. You’re safe. You’re safe. Stop acting so afraid of a stupid storm. 

“Todoroki?” Midoriya’s soft voice questioned. 

“It’s nothing. It’s nothing to worry about Midoriya,” He swallowed, “I just… It’s the thunder. Thunder sounds like him.” 

Understanding flickered through his eyes and his expression shifted. Shouto couldn’t met his concerned eyes, begging him to talk to him, to let him help, to let him in. Shouto couldn’t let him do any of that. He may know more than anyone else did, but he still didn’t want him to know the all of the details. All of the trauma he wished he didn’t have to deal with. 

“Thunder is scary,” He whispered and Shouto felt like he was four years old again sitting on his mother’s bed, “Thunder sounds like Kacchan when he’s mad too.” 

He didn’t elaborate, but Shouto understood. There was obviously a large amount of tension between the two upcoming heroes. Hidden well enough, like Shouto’s own trauma, that it could be written off as a bad relationship and left at that. He had a feeling that Midoriya’s story with Kacchan was a little like his own. 

Instead of addressing the obvious problems they admitted Shouto whispered, “Do you want to know what it’s about?”

For a moment Midoriya seemed confused at the sudden conversation shift but then he looked down to the book in Shouto’s hands and understanding clicked onto his face.

“Sure.”

Shouto licked his dry lips and started to speak, “It’s a cheesy romance novel about Beauty and the Beast. “ 

“What? Really?” Midoriya guffed, surprised. 

Shouto nodded solemnly, “It is. It’s told from the Beast’s point of view and set in a modern time- though before quirks- and its about how he changes.”

He was silent for a moment before speaking, “He’s selfish and egocentric. Thinking that he’s above everyone else before he’s cursed. The main character goes out of his way to bully people.”

Midoriya flinched at that as Shouto continued, “But as the story progresses, you see it’s because of the life he’s been given. He’s rich news anchor father neglects him and his mother left him. He’s only left with money and a father that tells him he’s above everyone else because he’s rich and good looking. He just believed it. Until he lost his good looks and all of his friends and everyone who told him they cared about him.”

“Oh...wow.” 

“He treats everyone awfully. Blaming his maid and the witch for what happened to him. But slowly he becomes more tolerable, still egocentric, but tolerable. He even hires a tutor and befriends him...But the real change is when he meets Lindy, the girl he wants to break the curse with.” 

“Lindy?” Midoriya blurted, “In the movie it’s Bell.”

Shouto frowned, “That's ridiculous. Why…? A bell?” 

Midoriya shrugged and he continued, “Well, anyway, she’s not what he’s expecting. She angry and frustrated. Smart. He starts to look on her perspective and starts to fall in love. Someone who couldn’t genuinely love anything learns to love her. Someone egocentric and terrible changes.” 

After he finished Midoriya was silent. He felt sort of embarrassed for speaking so much. He normally doesn’t speak often at all. Sadly, there was no way to explain a book with few words and show him how significant the book actually was. Shouto fiddled with the binding of the book and let his cheeks flush in embarrassment. It was one thing to read a romantic book and another to explain it emotionally to your friend.

“I think…”Midoriya started, “I think I know why you like this book.”

He doesn’t elaborate, just smiled softly, warmly and it melted Shouto as he looked up at him. His lips stretched into a smile that’s not blinding or bright but still so warm and kind; he wondered how his friend can be so kind and gentle. 

Shouto goes back to his reading and Midorya munches on his sandwich, content. They stay like that. Silent, content, close. Close enough that Shouto can hear his breathing slow over the thunder and rain of the storm. 

“Midoriya?” He prods his friends sleeping side and the boy blinks slowly from his short lived nap.

“We should sleep.”

“Yeah…” He mumbles still drowsy but they both hesitate. 

Shouto glances to the hall leading to the elevator and hesitates once more, long enough for Midoriya to notice.

“You don’t…. You don’t want to go to your room do you?” His voice was raspy and soft with sleep as he asked.

Shouto shook his head and answered truthfully, “Looks too much like my...house.” 

Midoriya’s eyes were suddenly much more open and he fiddled with his hands anxiously before stuttering, “Ah- ah.. d-do you want to m-maybe stay in my room?”

His eyes widened at the suggestion and Midoriya continued to babble in embarrassment.

“I m-mean, I don’t -uh, I don’t have an extra bed or anything and my bed is kind of small. It’s just- you looked like you didn’t want to be alone and you said your room reminds you of your house and my room doesn’t look anything like your house, obviously. But, um, if you want we could just stay down here in the living room.I can s-stay with you if you’d like or not! Or not- you just seemed like you didn’t want to be alone but if you do I totally understand and I can just leave-” 

He interrupted him with a soft voice, “...Ok.”

Midoriya turned to gap at him, “Ok?”

“Yes. We’re..friends right? You were just being nice with your offer. I don’t want to go to my room and you don’t want to be alone so it makes sense,” Shouto reasoned. 

“Uhm, I-” Midoriya looked away, embarrassed, “I didn’t say I… didn’t want to be alone.” 

“It was implied,” He responded simply and his friends cheeks warmed. 

They started towards the elevator and Shouto watched with mild interest as Midoriya fiddled with the end of his shirt. His eyes were starting to blur with sleepiness and he ignored Midoriya’s anxious glances as they continued towards his room. The elevator ride was silent. Whether it was because they were awkward or just tired, Shouto wasn’t sure, but he was glad for the quiet. It felt almost other-worldly as they walked down the empty hall towards his room. Strangely enough his throat felt clogged and his pulse was beating loudly in his ears as he entered Midoriya’s room.

“W-well here we are!” Midoriya kicked some of his stray clothes under the bed hastily, “Um- ah…”

“Yes?” Shouto prompted, blinking slowly.

“W-which side do you sleep on?” He finally blurted out.

Todoroki shrugged, “It doesn’t matter to me.”

For a minute the two boys stared at each other in silence, unsure what to do next. 

“...But mostly I sleep on the side closest to the edge, to answer your question,” He finally muttered. 

“Oh, ok! Um I’ll just….” Midoriya trailed off as he climbed onto the bed and scooted as far as he could towards the wall.

If he wasn’t so tired he might have smiled at how embarrassed Midoriya was acting. His All-Might pajamas almost matched the All-Might themed covers and bed sheets. Thankfully, the bed sheets and covers didn’t have All-Mights face on them and were decorated in his signature colors and patterns from his hero suit. Shouto slowly crawled onto the bed, heavy with sleep, and it dipped from his weight. His breath caught at the creaking before he continued to shuffle into the covers. He lifted the blankets up to his chin and laid his head down on the soft pillow Midoriya handed him. The other boy was still sitting up and Todoroki could feel how tense he was. 

“Breath, Midoriya,” He whispered and closed his heavy eyes. 

He hummed in approval when his released breath tickled his hair and brushed against his skin. The sheets rustled as he maneuvered in them to get comfortable and he waited as Midoriya adjusted them. Slowly he could hear his breath even out and almost smiled when the rustling stopped and Midoriya huffed. 

“Goodnight, Todoroki,” Midoriya whispered as Shouto’s consciousness was slipping away.

“Mmm,” He tried to respond but he was already asleep. If he were awake he would have seen Midoriya’s soft smile and bright cheeks in the dark and he would have felt his featherlight kiss on his forehead. 

   

  

 

Chapter Text

Midoriya felt warmth. Which was strange considering his room was very cold in general. Usually he woke up wrapped in his cocoon of blankets, his shirt twisted and his feet chilly because one of his socks fell off in the middle of the night. This time, warmth seemed to spread across his body, the only thing that was remotely chilly was the right side of his face that wasn’t pressed up against the bed and was exposed outside of the covers. The pillow that he was holding was warm almost too warm, like sitting in front of a campfire. The kind of heat that warmed up his insides but melted the skin off his face. He detached his sticky cheek from the pillow and kicked out a foot to cool himself down. The pillow below him shifted and Izuku squinted down at it incredulously. But it wasn’t a pillow. Shouto laid on his back, his head facing Midoriya and his body covered by blankets until it was stopped by Midoriya's head which was resting on his chest.

Heat flared up on Izuku’s cheeks and he would have started muttering profusely if he wasn’t so worried about Todoroki waking up. He had Todoroki Shouto in his bed-in his bed-  and he had used him as a pillow- as a  pillow. Oh god, did he know? Did he know Izuku had curled up on him in the middle of the night and used him as a headrest? Did he know he was so freakishly adorable in the morning? His hair was sticking up in places and Midoriya felt his fingers twitch with the need to jot down that Todoroki’s seemingly perfect hair did look just as good messed up. His whole face was relaxed, every tense muscle calm. Midoriya had seen Todoroki asleep before. He had seen him sleeping multiple times in fact. Todoroki was always tired. Sometimes he would fall asleep in the middle of class or at lunch and no matter where he was. The most bizzare thing to Izuku was that Todoroki could sleep almost anywhere at anytime. Bored? Nap time. For Izuku he had to constantly be doing things. And sleep? What’s that? He had such a hard time falling asleep and staying that way. The only time he actually fell asleep without scrolling on his phone or tossing and turning was last night. With Shouto. 

Izuku could practically feel the heat radiating off his cheeks. The whole room felt abnormally hot and Todoroki was an actual living furnace. In his cold room it felt nice but at the moment Izuku felt the need to scramble out of the covers and run into a cool shower. He didn’t. Instead he slowly scooted as far away from Todoroki he could, until his back was against the wall. All he had to do was pretend that ... whatever just happened never happened and pretend he woke up on his side of the bed. His alarm had yet to ring and he knew sleep wasn’t going to come back to him any time soon. Instead, he flipped over and peeked his eyes over the covers of his blanket, sneaking a look at Todoroki. 

His mouth was slightly open and- oh my god was he drooling?? Izuku stifled laughter behind his hand and let the smile crinkle up to his eyes. Was this ok? The were just friends having a sleepover right? Even though technically sleepovers weren’t aloud and Iida made sure that everyone knew that nobody else was aloud to be in your dorm after lights out. Breaking the rules every once and awhile was ok, he guessed. He had done it more than once for sure. Aziawa had labeled him ‘the problem child’ and yeah, ok, that was fair- but he really didn’t go looking for trouble! It was like trouble looked for him! 

“I don’t know why im surprised,” Todoroki said with his eyes still closed.

Midoriya jumped, “W-what?”

“You mutter   first thing in the morning. It’s like what? 6 in the morning?” Todoroki said with no bite, only matter-of-factly.

Embarrassment once again flooded his cheeks, “O-oh. Sorry, Todoroki-kun! I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“S’ fine,” He slurred and rolled over, eyes locking onto the book on his nightstand. Beastly, it read. Oh right. That happened last night. Well, then it was ok right? He was just helping a friend in need. It wasn’t like he was taking advantage of his friends or anything. 

“You didn’t have to stop,” Todoroki said into his pillow his cheeks a light shade of pink, “I don’t mind. I had to wake up anyway.”

Midoriya fought to keep his dopey smile off his face and bit his lip instead, “Oh, then that’s good.”

They laid in awkward silence and Izuku placed his hands on his cheeks to cool them off. Todoroki shuffled on the bed and rolled over to face Midoriya, his eyes half-lidded and sleepy. He looked...content. As if he didn’t want to leave. The thought filled his chest with happiness and he let himself smile.

“Did you sleep g-good?” He finally stuttered out. 

Todoroki hummed in response and nuzzled his face into the pillow with a sigh. The whole movement was just so soft Izuku wanted to curl up and die it was so cute. He was again struck with the realization that he looked like sleepy cat. 

“That’s good! I ah- I haven’t had a sleepover in a long time. I think I was…. 6? Last time I had a sleepover. Yeah 6 probably or maybe five. That’s when Kacchan got his quirk and after that we didn’t really hang out anymore…” He trailed off with a chuckle that wasn’t exactly happy.  

Todoroki broke the sad train of thought with his deep voice, “I haven’t had a sleepover before. Unless you count my siblings.” 

“Really? Never?” Izuku said.

His voice was deep and course from sleep, “I don’t really see what’s the big deal about it though. You just share a bed with your friend and sleep.” 

Izuku said, “But it’s more that that, usually! Usually you play games and you stay up like talking and watching movies and eating snacks. We um- we didn’t do any of that because it was so late.”

“Oh,” He said simply and Izuku noticed his eyes were open wider and more awake, “When my siblings and I shared a bed, we always told stories. It was fun.” 

Midoriya nodded and tucked the cute information in the back of his head. Todoroki likes books and stories

“So, um- how many siblings do you have? I noticed you’ve mentioned Fuyumi,” Izuku asked, excited to learn more information about his friend. 

Todoroki shifted his eyes to the side, “Four. Touya is the oldest. Then Fuyumi and Natsou.”

“So you’re the youngest then?” 

“Yes,” Todorki looked uncomfortable.

Izuku grasped for something to say that wouldn’t give Todoroki the feeling of being interrogated, “Ah...what’s Fuyumi like?” 

Todoroki’s stiff shoulders relaxed and he met Midoriya’s eyes, “She’s a good sister. Fuyumi took care of me mostly when Mom was gone. She was always nice to me but- I wasn’t always so nice to her. Her optimism annoyed me sometimes and she tries to be kind to everyone. Even my old man. She thinks it can get better and we can all become closer. It’s a nice thought but I… don’t think it will happen. Natsou and I despise him too much.”

“She...likes Endeavor?” 

“No, I think she just tries to see the good in everyone. Even when I was a complete ass to her she still was nice to me. I think she just wants to have a happy family,” Todoroki said.

“Oh,” Midoriya said, “She sounds nice.”

“She is,” Todoroki added, “and very responsible.”

He smiled and Izuku wanted to take a picture. His eyes were soft and contemplative and his smile was just barely there, fond. 

“You don’t have any siblings.” It sounded like a statement rather than a question.

Izuku chuckled, “Ah- nope! Just me. I think I was a handful enough for my mom. Just been me and my mom.”

He saw a question brewing in his grey and blue eyes and Izuku answered it before he could ask, “No dad. Left for America for work. Mom divorced him when I was seven and I haven’t really seen him since. It’s alright though. I can’t really remember him very much, he was always gone. And besides I have my mom so I never really needed him anyway!”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Midoriya.” His eyes flickered over to Todoroki and he was surprised to see them full of remorse and understanding. 

His intense gaze left Izuku stumbling, “W-well it’s ok! Really! I’m happy with it just being Mom and I. We’re- we’re going to lunch later today.”

“Later today…?” Todoroki echoed.

“Yeah, today is Saturday.”

His eyes widened in surprise before falling back down to neutral, “Right.”

Understanding dawned on him when he realized Todoroki had to visit his house today and train with Endeavor. His friend sat up suddenly and stretched his arms over his head, making a small noise in the back of his throat that sounded like a cat. 

“I’m going to head to my room. Thank you for inviting me to your room, Midoriya.” He bowed his head and stood up. 

Izuku said, “N-no problem. Uh- be safe, Todoroki-kun!”

His smile was more of a grimace but he nodded towards Izuku and closed the door quietly. Izuku tried to stifle the disappointment and dread pooling in his chest.  

      


 

 

The weekend was here and Izuku wasn’t as happy as he normally would have been. Normally weekends were always a great thing. Even before U.A when weekends meant hanging out with his friends and catching up with his studies and training, weekends were always a breath of fresh air. When he was still in middle school weekends were a break from the constant torment from his peers and Bakugou. He could come home to his safe room and the safe kitchen where his Mom was. He could even go out and track down villain attacks to watch the Pro-heroes fight them and take notes, despite his mom’s wishes. They had an argument about it before, and in the end Izuku won as long as he stayed far away from the villains and in a crowd of people. Sometimes, she even came along, when she wasn’t busy with work. Mom was pretty much always busy with work but she somehow managed to clear up her time slot so she could be there when Izuku came home and eat dinner with him.

Ever since their dad left Mom was forced to pay for everything and get a job. She successfully was employed with two jobs. She worked in a restaurant and cooked and then she worked as a laundry attendant. Every day she worked so hard and came home with bags around her eyes and unhappiness in her heart. The only time she smiled was when Izuku cracked some jokes to get her laughing. He bought a joke book and everything. Jokelopedia Vol. 2 sat proudly on his desk amidst the many hero magazines and books. Anything to make his mom happy again. Eventually the heartache faded and they were able to get enough income for her to only need to work one job. But Izuku clearly remembered that four year gap when he couldn’t have any All-Might figurines or action figures because they couldn’t afford it. He remembered on his tenth birthday Mom bought him an All-Might action figure with a proud smile on her face. Izuku still had the crappy figurine on his nightstand. 

His Mom was probably his best friend, all things considered. Of course, Uraraka and Iida were his best friends too but his Mom got first place. She knew him better than anyone and was there for him even when his only friend bullied him. Of course she had flaws, everyone did, but the only one that truly made Izuku upset was her lack of hope. It couldn’t be helped, he guessed. Her own hope for her future had been taken away for her, it was easy for her to assume some higher being came to take away Izuku’s hopeful future as well. But when she saw he was serious about becoming a hero and when he proved to her that it was going to happen, she had been his biggest supporter. Even though he hated her pitying looks and tears of lost hope, he loved her cheerful smile and unwavering support for him.

Izuku was even having lunch with her at the moment, trying to get her to laugh over some corny joke he recited.

“What do you call a group of unorganized cats?” Cats had been on his mind lately. Did he want one? Maybe, maybe not.

“Oh!” Mom tsaid, “I think I know this one! Don’t tell me- Don’t tell me- A cat… A meowing- oh! I don’t know! What is it?” 

He paused for dramatic effect, “A cat-astrophe!” 

Inko Midoriya giggled into her hand and tried to stop the snort that bubbled out. Izuku loved it when she snorted. That meant he actually said something funny, even though he knew the joke was pretty lame, he managed to get his Mom to laugh so really- how dumb was it? He’d have to stash that one away for later and reuse it sometime. Maybe he could get Todoroki to laugh to it. Unlikely though, considering that he would probably have to explain the joke before Todoroki understood it. 

As her stifled giggles faded away she asked, “Is… something wrong Izuku? You seem a little quiet today.”

“Hmm?” Izuku looked up from the lunch menu at the cafe they were sitting at, “Oh- yeah, everythings fine.”

She leveled him with that I-know-somethings-up Mom look but let it go. Izuku pressed his lips. Lying to his mom was never easy but it was something he did more often that he wanted to admit. Most things he lied about were eventually uncovered of course, it was inevitable considering who his mom was, but he didn’t like to say anything until the worst moment. He was stubborn like that. Inko Midoriya had a way of sticking her nose in things that seemed unseen by most. She didn’t do much but she knew about it and she tried to help to the best of her ability. When Izuku was being bullied, he tried so hard to hide it from her. It worked for awhile but eventually he had to tell her the truth. Coming home with two eyes black and blue and a split lip couldn’t really be covered up for the fifth time. Mom did what she could. She contacted the school board. She reported it. She emailed, called, even showed up in person. They only listened to her a little bit. The cornering in the hallway and beating stopped. Most kids sort of laid off. Kacchan didn’t. His friends didn’t. And Mom didn’t know who was pushing him down the stairs and sticking death notes on his locker. Izuku never told her it was Kacchan, though there was a reason she never invited him over anymore. (Call it Motherly Instinct). 

The lie, or not-really-saying-anything about Todoroki’s home situation was something that he almost didn’t want to be kept secret. He wanted  to tell people about it. Only adults and people who could actually do something about it though. Izuku wanted to tell Aziawa, or All-Might, or Mom so bad. But Todoroki told him not to and he couldn’t risk breaking his trust. He made him pinky promise for goodness sake. What if he shut himself out and kept it all to himself if he told Aziawa? What if he never spoke to him again and just suffered alone while Aziawa and All-might figured out how to deal with it? And there was a big possibility that Todoroki could get more hurt if he told them. Izuku could see All-Might barging up to Endeavor and giving him a piece of his mind. He could see Aziwa confronting Endeavor too and that would be so terrible. The Number One hero could decide to take it out on Todoroki as a punishment. 

Of course Izuku wasn’t going to give up on helping his friend because of fear. Fear had never stopped him from helping others and it wasn’t going to stop him now. He just had to be smart about this. If he could somehow figure a way to convince Todoroki to tell Aizawa about it, on his own free will. Or some way to expose Endeavor for what he has done ...then nobody had to get hurt. And Todoroki could finally be free from his monster-of-a-dad.

“....Izuku!” Mom called, probably more than once. 

He jerked in his seat and met his mothers worried eyes. 

“Ah! Uhm… sorry Mom,” He replied sheepishly, “Just… caught up in my thoughts.”

She smiled softly, “I could tell. You want to talk about what's on your mind?”

... Could he? Mom wouldn’t jump to conclusions. Mom couldn’t even do anything really. 

“Uh… m-maybe another time? I don’t- it’s not really my story to tell.”

Mom looked contemplative for a moment before she said, “Is it like you thing?”

“My thing?”

She nodded, “Your thing you didn’t want to tell me about until it got very bad? The thing that you thought would be best to keep a secret?”

That translated to Is it serious? Is it harmful? He didn’t know how she did it. It was like she could read the unease on his face and tell whether he was stressing about an upcoming test or how he could help his hurting friends. 

“...Yes…” He said.

Mom nodded again and sipped on her straw, “It’s that...bad? For your friend? Something just as bad as your thing?”

“Worse,” Izuku murmured before he could stop himself, “He has it worse than my thing.” 

Her lips thinned, like she knew the answer to the question but was hoping for another one. 

“And you were thinking about how you could help, Todoroki?” 

Izuku nodded before sitting up straight, “Wait! I didn’t tell you his name.”

Inko hit her smile behind her drink, “Just a lucky guess then.” 

“S-sorry, Mom, I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about this with anyone else...It’s really...big and I- uh- I don’t want to break his trust yet and I’m trying to find a way where no one gets hurt-” She flinched at the word, “-but I haven’t found it yet.”

“It’s alright dear. How about you tell me about Todoroki instead? How he has been at school?” She masked her disappointment with false cheer.

Izuku complied to the conversation change easily, “Well, uh he’s still as awkward as ever. You remember how awkward and quiet he was when everyone came over? Yeah, well he’s like that all the time. Todoroki hardly speaks, but when he does it’s super super funny or important. He has this sarcastic sense of humor- he says the weirdest things at random times but you can’t help but laugh. I think he’s made the entire class fall over with laughter by saying some off-hand comment that he didn’t even mean to say.”

His mom laughed even though she couldn’t truly see how funny it was. She seemed happy enough to listen to Izuku chatter about him.

“He seems like a funny boy.”

Izuku chuckled, “He is- only he doesn’t know it. Sometimes Todoroki comes to me later and asks me what was so funny or why the class was all laughing. He’s so clueless. Like- Mina always calls him a ‘pretty boy’ and he always looks confused by it. Like he can’t tell if she was joking or not. I think he actually doesn’t know how attractive he is.”

Inkos eyes were crinkled, “Oh? And is he? Attractive, I mean?”

“Well, obviously,” Izuku rolled his eyes, “He’s practically perfect. I swear, Mom, he has the sharpest jawline and perfect hair. I mean the hair's of course different, split down the middle but its so pretty anyway. Like who can pull off half and half hair?? Sometimes I just want to ask him to sit there and let me draw him, it’s so infuriating.”

Her laughter pulled him out of his rant and he immediately blushed. The laughter died down and she looked down at her lunch plate seriously. 

“Izuku…” She asks hesitantly, “Are you… Do you like him?”

He went still. All function in his brain went out the window and he sat there, completely stiff as his Mom rambled in panic.

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to assume things! You just got all blushy when you talked about him I wasn’t sure- Oh Izuku! I hope I haven’t offended you. I didn’t even know if you like guys that way- Ah that's so inconsiderate of me-”

“...Maybe,” He finally croaked out.

“What?”

Izuku coughed, “I...might have a tiny crush on him.”

“Oh Izuku!” She cried, excitedly and he watched in horror as happy tears welled up in her eyes.

“Mom! It’s not like! Argh! I don’t even know if I really like him! Maybe he’s just a friend? Maybe I just really like him as a friend and I… I don’t know! Do I even like guys? Is that weird? Do I- Am I-”

“Oh no, Izuku! It’s fine, dear. It’s ok to like boys in the same way you like girls. Lots of people do. In fact I knew lots people who identified as ‘bisexual’- they are all very lovely people! It sounds pretty confusing, I bet. But if you don’t like him, that's fine. And if you do- well that's just as fine as well.”

Izuku let out a shaky breath, “Well- well it’s different. Girls - uh- girls make me feel all jittery and stuff and I get butterflies in my stomach but um guys- guys make me feel normal, but there’s something more I think. Like- um- I’m comfortable but also have butterflies or maybe I’m just nauseous because people are actually being nice to me? I mean I thought I liked Uraraka but now… I don’t think I do. I’m excited to see her and she’s pretty but...She doesn’t make my heart beat so fast. Like really fast it’s weird, when I talk to Todoroki, I’m not nervous but also my heart beats and get all embarrassed and- I’m- I’m going to stop talking now.” 

Inko chuckled at his stream of words and patted her cheeks, “My! I think I’m getting second-hand embarrassment from you, Izuku!”

He grumbled his cheeks practically on fire, “Whatever.”

She laughed even harder.

“You’ll figure it out, love,” She said, fondly, “But if you ever need help you know I won’t hesitate to tell you all of my sage-worthy advice.” 

“What advice?” Izuku said dryly and Mom ignored him.

She said, offhandedly, “I’m sure All-Might might have some advice as well. I heard he was quite the player in his day.”

“Ughhh please don’t tell All-Might about this.” 

She giggled, unable to stop even as she handed the waiter the check.

 

  

Chapter Text

The subway train swayed with motion but Shouto stayed rooted to his seat. The fluorescent lights glared into his eyes and flickered with every shuttering movement. It was two in the morning and the subway was bare. One man sat on the far right corner of the train with earbuds while Fuyumi and he sat on the left. His right eye was swollen shut but his left eye refused to close. Shouto tried to rest his eye and felt it swarm with tears as it burned. Behind his eyelids he could see the bright white glow of the lights and flicked his eyes open again, blinking away tears. He swallowed and blood trickled down his throat tasting of iron. Endeavor had hit his face pretty hard so he must have bitten his tongue in the process. The train shuddered again and Shouto felt his brain rattle in his skull. The pulsing throb in his head spread down his neck and to his shaking arms.


His abdomen hurt but there weren’t any blistering burns this time. Of course, his skin was red and raised because of the close proximity to Endeavor's eternal flame. Mostly, he had gained bruises from the training and maybe a few cuts from where Endeavors boots had dug through the skin on his stomach. Shouto’s eye throbbed and he placed his right hand over his face to soothe his bruise with ice. He swallowed thickly and tried to shift into a more comfortable position.
His whole body was tense and stiff, his limbs were shaking, and his ice was spreading throughout his body in a panic. He had fought in worse battles, experienced worse pain, worse fear, so why was he trembling with fatigue and biting his lip to stop himself from crying? It was normal for him to start panicking a few hours after the actual training. While he fought Endeavor he had no time to tremble in fear and cry. He had learned that Endeavor didn’t stop for anything and Shouto had no time to prepare before Endeavor charged him. Later, he could cry and tremble. Shouto wished he never cried in the first place but somehow he always found himself soaking his pillow in tears the night after. It used to be better. When training was every day, Shouto only cried when the pain became unbearable. Maybe coming to U.A had made him soft. Shouto scoffed at the irony.


“Shouto?” Fuyumi said and he didn’t look up, “Do you need anything?”


Shouto needed a lot of things but he supposed they were more on the ‘want’ list. He could live without a passive father, a stable mother, a returned brother, a full night's sleep. The list could go on and on but Shouto exhausted himself with thinking.


Shouto murmured, “No, Neesan. I’m fine.”


He was. He would be. As soon as he went home, to his real home. Once he was safe in his bubble, with his book, and with Midoriya. Shouto wondered if Midoriya would be up this time and be waiting for him. Two weeks ago he had stayed up with Shouto and helped dress his wounds and he had even carried him to bed. He was torn between wanting Midoriya to be there when he walked through the door and hoping Midoriya was sleeping, unconcerned. Fuyumi placed a delicate hand on top of his and Shouto glanced up. Her eyes were filled with tears and Shouto wanted to duck his head in shame. Fuyumi's grey eyes swam with sorrow and her eyebrows creased with worry. He hated making his sister worry. She had already done so much for him and here she was on this train helping him when she could be sleeping. Every time she was home while they trained she helped him patch himself up and always treated him with caution. When he laid on the training mat, unable to move, she was always the one to get him back up and into his bed. Shouto’s head thunked on the back of the seat. Why was he such a burden to people?


She whispered, “Oh, Shouto.”


Her voice cracked with those simple words and he fought to keep his face neutral. If he cried too who would comfort Fuyumi? Silently, her tears streamed and Shouto hated to think that she cried like Mother. She always cried with her sobs muffled and her delicate features shaking with the effort to hold back the noise.


“It’s fine. There was nothing you could do,” Shouto tried to reassure her without breaking his cold front.


They weren’t always close but after they had visited their Mom, Shouto was trying to make an effort to get to know her more. As kids they were friends and Shouto would always go running to her and Touya when things went wrong. Fuyumi was good at comforting him with her tight hugs and Touya with his jokes. Their friendship didn’t last long after Mom left and Touya ran away. The only time he saw Fuymui or Natsou was during dinner when Endeavor forced them to sit down to a silent meal that would sometimes end up with Shouto in the training room and Natsuo out the door. They tried to keep Shouto company. When Endeavor wasn’t home Fuyumi would ask about school and Natsou would tease him, but it was very limited. Shouto couldn’t see why they made such an effort to talk to him when he wouldn’t talk back. They weren’t kids anymore and he couldn’t see why Fuyumi wanted to pretend they could go back to being carefree children. Shouto didn’t need anybody.

But after he joined U.A, and he actually started making real friends, he thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if Fuyumi and Natsou and he were all friends again.


Fuyumi said, her eyes downcast, “It’s my fault. It’s my fault he’s mad. I- He asked me where I went that day and I told him I was visiting Mom. I should have said something else. I could have lied. I just thought that maybe I could convince him that seeing her was a good thing! I thought- I’m sorry, Shouto.”


Shouto looked up with his eyebrows furrowed, “You… told him I visited Mom?”


Her face was filled with horror and she waved her hands in front of her. Shouto squinted at her with his one open eye.


“No!” She said, “I only told him I visited mom but he figured it out. I thought it would be fine for me, but I had no idea he’d take it out on you. Shouto, I’m so sorry.”


He shook his head, “You didn’t know. It’s fine. I don’t blame you, Fuyumi.”


He didn’t blame her for anything really. Shouto was just glad that she wasn’t hurt because of it. It’s better with him taking the blame.


She gripped the handle of the seat and blinked away tears, “But I did know. I should have known that he would have taken it out on you. He always does. I just thought that maybe it was getting better.”


Shouto shrugged, “It was. But he found a new reason to train me again. He would have found out anyway.”


Fuyumi brought a shaking hand up to her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut. With his own trembling arm, he brought up his hand and placed it on her shoulder. Shouto would have hugged her if his stomach was screaming at him. Fuyumi always loved hugs and holding hands with her siblings when they were younger. She once got upset when Touya told her that he didn’t want to hold hands with her anymore. Instead, Shouto offered his own hand and learned that Fuyumi felt more loved with physical touch. Shouto didn’t know if he enjoyed physical touch personally, he hadn’t had very much of it, but it was worth it to make Fuyumi happier.
With her free hand, she patted his hand back and tried to cover her sniffles. Her white and red-streaked hair fell in front of her face and hide her from Shouto’s view.


“What the...?” Shouto whispered, “Where did you go?”


Her head shifted as she looked at him, “What?”


Completely deadpanned he said, “I can’t see you. Where did you go? Do you have some hidden disappearing quirk you didn’t tell me about?”


Fuyumi huffed and tucked her hair behind her ear, leveling him with a tear-filled scoff, “Shouto.”


“No, seriously,” He refused to make eye contact, “You just left suddenly? I can hear you perfectly but it’s like you just disappeared into thin air. It’s not nice to disappear when I’m having a conversation with you, Neesan.”


She rolled her glossy eyes but her lips pulled into a smile, “I swear you act just like the six-year-olds I teach.”


“I’m at least a seven-year-old. Give me that much,” He said, seriously.


Fuyumi sniffed, “Six and a half, maybe. On a good day.”

Shouto said, “Then does that make you fourteen?”


“What?...” She wrinkled her eyebrows in confusion, “Oh! Shouto you math dork! And no, I’m still twenty-three in this scenario.”


“If I’m six and we’re eight years apart that automatically makes you fourteen in this scenario. This is why you don’t teach math, Fuyumi.”


She said, “I do teach math!”


Shouto leaned back and let the eye not swollen slip shut. It burned again and tears unwillingly slipped down his cheek. Shouto tried to pretend that they were only watering from the pain. He kept up the banter even though his brain was starting to stall and his tears started to fall.


“To six-year-olds,” He hummed and if she noticed his tears she didn’t comment on it, “Can six-year-olds even subtract yet?”


“Yes!” Then, after a moment, “...They’re getting there.”


Shouto’s lips twitched but the almost-grin slipped off his face easily after Fuyumi didn’t say anything.

 

 


 

 


“....Again?” Iida frowned at him, “Midoriya! You cannot stay up late waiting for Todoroki. If he continues to return past curfew I will have to report this to Aziawa!”


Midoriya cringed and shuffled his hands over his notebook. He had been sitting here for a while. After his training with his internship, he had plopped down on the couch, exhausted and sweaty. Izuku hadn’t even bothered changing out of his hero suit so he settled for slipping his green suit off his shoulders and was only dressed in his black tank top and his hero suit pooling at his waist.


“Please don’t, Iida. It’s not his fault. His family keeps him home later.” Midoriya sighed, rolled his head back on the couch and closed his eyes.


Iida chopped the air, “Then I must have a word with his parents!”


“No!” Midoriya sat up, “Ah! No, Iida. I’ll make sure to tell Todoroki-kin, alright? It won’t happen again.”


Iida frowned at him, doubtful. Izuku plastered on a bright smile and tried to put on his most innocent face.


Iida sighed and crossed his large arms, “It is very considerate of you to help Todoroki, but if it is causing you to lose sleep, I don’t know if I can condone this type of behavior.”


He nodded and tugged on a small curl around his ear, anxiously, “Alright. Thanks, Iida. Goodnight.”


Iida protested, “I’m not done-”


Izuku cut him off with a withering look and a pout. He loved his friend but really, if he thought Izuku was leaving this spot then he was dead wrong. Iida frowned at his expression and folded his arms. The two stubborn boys stared each other down.


“If you think that look is going to change my mind then you are wrong, Midoriya. I believe Uraraka calls it your ‘puppy dog eyes’ and I think we’re all immune to it by now.”


He scowled and flopped onto the couch, dramatically draping an arm over his eyes, “I’m not moving, Iida!”


Iida stated, “You need to go to bed.”


Izuku moved his arm and stared at the ceiling. In only a few hours Todoroki would be here, probably battered and bruised. He was most likely fighting Endeavor right now and soon he would walk through the door, exhausted and shaken. Izuku had seen Todoroki hurt and bruised before, that wasn’t the problem. Their class had endured loads of attacks and fights that were meant for Pro-heroes, but this was different. It was different knowing that Todoroki was getting hurt when he didn’t have to be. He was fighting a foe that shouldn’t fight him in the first place. With every bruise Midoriya knew that the Number One Hero had dealt it and the thought churned his stomach like one of those taffy stretchers, pulling and stretching his stomach into loops over and over again.


“Iida,” Izuku said, “I’m really not going to bed until Todoroki comes back. I’m going to sit on the couch and do my homework until he comes back and if you make me go to my room I will still just stay awake doing my homework and waiting until he comes back anyway. Just… let it be, please.”


He watched his friends face twist and struggle to accept the fact that Izuku was defying the laws of curfew. Of course, Iida meant well, but so did Midoriya and he couldn’t have anyone else know about Todoroki’s secret. It was his own to tell and Midoirya made a promise. A promise that he wished he didn’t have to make, but a promise, and he planned to keep it. If he was going to tell anyone, it would be an adult and with Todoroki’s permission.


Iida said, “I can stay in your place.”


Midoriya shook his head and smiled lightly, “Trust me, Iida. I can take care of myself. I’ll go to bed at a reasonable time, you don’t have to worry.”


“Todoroki can take care of himself as well,” Iida pointed out.


He turned away and bit his lip. Could he? Todoroki was one of the strongest people he knew but even the strongest people needed support sometimes. Midoriya tried to imagine himself agreeing with Iida, going back up to his room and falling asleep. He imagined Todoroki walking through the door, alone and staggering. His eyes would flicker to the couch, almost expectant and then fade to their normal neutral look. Disappointed.


Izuku shook his head, mind made up, “Trust me, Iida. Just go to bed, you have a schedule, don’t you?”


He protested, “Yes, but-”


“Iida.”


His friend clamped his mouth shut at Midoriya’s firm voice and sighed. He knew Iida could tell something was off. He could tell Midoriya wasn’t just waiting for Todoroki in just a friendly concern. Something was wrong and if Midoriya wasn’t more careful he would end up spilling Todoroki’s darkest secret that he had entrusted to him. He avoided eye contact with Iida and fiddled with the sleeves of his hero suit.


“Midoriya....” Iida started.


He closed his eyes with a sigh and pursed his lips, “What, Iida?”


“If there is more to the situation…” He trailed off and started again, “If Todoroki is hurt...you would tell me, yes?”


Izuku inhaled sharply as his body froze. His neck tensed and he kept his head facing forward. He said it as if he trusted Midoriya to tell him if one of his classmates was hurt. As if it were the best solution to the problem. Maybe it was, but Todoroki wasn’t here and he couldn’t make the decision for him. Izuku wanted to help Todoroki the best way that he could but would telling Iida really benefit him? He couldn’t tell the whole class and if he told Iida, it would be almost expected to tell the rest of the class. What could the class do to help? Izuku chewed inside his lip. That begged the question what could he do to help? Was he even helping at all? Was sitting here and helping him up to his room really enough? What gave him the right to know and decide who should know? With that in mind, Midoriya clamped down on his tongue and took a deep breathe and lied.


“Of course, Iida. It’s nothing serious, I just like making sure he gets back alright. His family is kinda tense so I like to be here for him when he comes back so we can talk.” Half-breed lies woven into some of the truth.


He couldn’t tell Iida. Not now. There was no telling whether it would help or make things worse. Todoroki had made a calculated risk telling Midoriya already and he didn’t want to break his trust with Todoroki. It was his only chance at truly helping him. If he broke his trust now, Todoroki might resent him and retreat into his shell even more. It was too risky. Iida leveled him with one more stare and Izku met his eyes this time. His blue eyes bore into his as he weighed his options and determined if Izuku was telling the truth or not. Izuku didn't know if he saw that he was lying in his eyes but Iida must have seen something there because he said quietly, “Goodnight, Midoriya,” and continued to his dorm.


Izuku called back his own farewell and slowly turned back to the TV. It was turned off and his helpless-looking reflection stared back with clenched fists. He should feel relieved but all he felt a stone sinking into his stomach and weighing him down. It was good that he was keeping this a secret. It was a good thing. He had to preserve his trust. Maybe he could persuade Todoroki to talk to someone about it. He had been thinking about all day. After his lunch, with his mom, he had been making a plan. There was no way he could keep doing nothing while his friend was hurting. He had to stop it. Before Midoriya had assumed the hard training was something that was over, the abuse was something of the past. Todoroki had told him his back story and Izuku had assumed it really was his back story. Seeing it full force in front of his eyes made Izuku wilt in shame. Maybe he could have told someone before this all started. He could have prevented it somehow. If he had said something before the fall of All-Might it wouldn’t have been so difficult to take Todoroki away from his damaged home.


Though Todoroki hadn’t said anything about his reasoning, Izuku was starting to think Todoroki worried about Endeavor’s placement. He was the Number One hero, after all. Endeavor was no pillar of light but he was powerful and he stagnant. He was a constant in the public's eyes. And powerful he was. Endeavor may be a douchebag but he was smart and he had allies. Maybe Todoroki feared he accusation wouldn’t be enough to make the public do anything about it. He had friends in high places and they could control what the public hears. It was basically Todoroki’s word against everyone who saw Endeavor in a good light. It was Todoroki against the world.


His breath left his lungs at the thought and Izuku curled into his knees. How lonely must Todoroki have felt? How terrifying would the thought be for him to stand up to the world and bear his scars and bruises? And to think he was trying to burden himself with this all on his own. Tears welled up in Midoriya’s eyes and he blinked them back. His chest clenched painfully and he glanced at the door. He wondered what injuries he would have this time.

He turned back to his homework after the door didn’t answer his unspoken questions. While he was waiting he might as well finish his homework, instead of spiral into panic and worry for his friend. Around an hour after Iida left him alone, Izuku trekked up to Todoroki’s room and padded inside. His traditional room was bare and dark but it held a sort of calming aura to it. Just like last time, Izuku pulled out a drawer in his nightstand and picked up the clear container of first aid. He set it on the couch next to him and eyed it warily.


Izuku finished his homework around one and had started writing in his notebook. He rapidly sketched out possible plans for helping Todoroki. He didn’t want anyone, or even Todoroki, reading it so he wrote it in code instead. He usually wrote all his notes about All-Might and his own quirk in code. It was a nifty trick he picked up when he was in middle school because he was bored and thought it would be the coolest thing to write in his notebooks coded. He could be like those people in those cool mystery shows Mom sometimes watched. It was a big disappointment when Mom stopped watching the criminal mystery shows because they were too intense.

Witness?
Mom. Siblings= Natsou, Fuyumi and Toya(?) Were they abused as well? Can they testify?
-Visit hospital possibly. Speak with the mother. Difficult, Todoroki’s not allowed to visit and I’m probably not allowed to either without him there.
-Drop hints to Aizawa. Easy, Aizawa is very perceptive.
-Convince Todoroki to talk to Aizawa. Difficult, Todoroki is stubborn.
-Note- Must keep it on the down-low to avoid stressing him out.
-Prevent him from going home? Possibility: Convince Aziawa to assign a weekend trip or project over the weekend. Difficult, Todoroki might be trained on another day to make up for it.
-Provide Evidence? Todoroki’s wounds. Might be healed by the time I figure out what to do. Might be healed before him agreeing to show evidence. Pictures? With consent.
...Videos? How would I get footage from inside their house? Last resort, trying to stop Todoroki from returning to his house again.

The door creaked open and immediately Izuku slammed his notebook shut. He whipped his head up to see Todoroki shuffle through the door. He was limping with his face downcast and his arms hanging loosely from his slouched shoulders. Todoroki glanced up at him and Midoriya gasped. His right eye was swollen shut, the skin pink and raised. The rest of his body appeared to be unscathed but Izuku knew better.


“Todoroki!” He jumped up from the couch.


He gripped his arm gently and lead him to the couch, even though Shouto could stand and walk on his own. That was a relief, at least.


“Midoriya,” He said, almost sounding happy to see him.


Izuku glanced at his face once they were seated and placed his hands on his shoulders. Todoroki’s normally cold and guarded face was honest and more open than he’d ever seen it before. His eyes were reflective and the normal scowl on his face was dropped. He almost looked peaceful, not happy or expressive, but relaxed.


“You’re ok,” Midoriya meant to ask it as a question but it came out as a statement.


The eye that wasn’t swollen shut blinked and his eyebrows creased. He relaxed into the couch and slowly nodded, “I’m ok. Now.”


He flinched slightly as he adjusted into the couch and Midoriya jerked.


“Injuries!” He said suddenly, “Where are your injuries?”


He flipped over to the plastic container holding the first aid and opened the lid with a pop. Todoroki watched with an amused eye and brought his hand up to rest on Midoriya’s frantic hand.


“I’m good. Fuyumi patched me up. The last time she didn’t know so she couldn’t help. I’m alright now,” He said, his voice barely above a whisper.


“Fuyumi?” Izuku echoed and looked down at the container, frowning.


Todoroki must have caught his expression, “What? You wanted to patch me up instead, little nurse?”

 

Midoriya jerked his head up, “W-what? No- I- little?”


Todoroki huffed in amusement and a smile twitched at his lips. Midoriya caught the movement with his eyes and frowned, “You’re teasing me.”


He shrugged with his eyes closed but his twitching lips finally spread into a real smile. It wasn’t broad or even noticeable but Izuku melted at the sight. He didn’t know what he did but if he could get Midoriya to smile like that all the time, he would do anything.


Something popped into his head and he licked his lips, “Hey Todoroki?”


“Hmm?”


“What happens to vampires who get stuck in the cold?”


Todoroki’s eyebrows furrowed and he cracked open his eye to stare at him incredulously. Midoriya held his breath and hoped he didn’t just do the weirdest thing in the universe. His mom thought they were funny so maybe Todoroki would? Seeing that Midoriya was serious, Todoroki’s eyes shifted away as he thought about the answer. After Midoriya almost couldn’t breathe with how long he was holding his breath Todoroki puffed out his cheeks and blew a raspberry into the air, lifting his hands in an ‘I don’t know’ gesture’.


“They get frostbite!” Midoriya blurted.


Todoroki’s lips quivered for a half-second before he covered his mouth with his hand, letting out a small chuckle. Midoriya grinned broadly as Todoroki’s laughter grew less breathy and heartier. Instead of the pity chuckle, Midoriya was expecting, Todoroki’s laughter just grew. He hiccuped into his hand trying to stop the chuckles from coming out of his mouth. Midoriya laughed too, delighted at his reaction. Maybe it was because they were both exhausted and slightly delirious but their laughter kept growing and soon tears sprung to Izuku’s eyes.


“Ow, ow, ow, ow,” Todoroki’s laughter turned into a wheeze.


Midoirya bit his lip to stop the laughter and look up in question. His friend held his stomach protectively as his laughter died down and Midoriya’s cut off suddenly.


“Are you injured there?” He asked his eyes darting down to his stomach and back up to his face.


“Just bruises. A few cuts.”Todoroki answered, “Just bruises everywhere and a few mild burns, not enough to bleed. My face got the worst of it.”


Midoriya looked up at him with wide eyes as Todoroki continued, “We only fought for a little bit since he knocked me out with this blow. Kicked me a few times after. I probably could have had it worse.”


Midoriya half-whispered, half-shrieked, “Todoroki, do you have a concussion?”


He squinted as if he was trying to determine that for himself, “It’s a little blurry. I feel fine. Maybe a little knocked around but I’ve had worse.”


“Of course you have,” Izuku growled under his breath.


His friend asked, “What was that?”


Izuku glared at the plastic container still in his lap. The common room was dimly lit with just the kitchen and the TV light casting shadows onto their faces. He sunk his teeth down onto his bottom lip and finally asked the question he had been dying to know.


“Why?”


Todoroki paused, “Why what?”


“Why don’t you want anyone to know? Why don’t you tell anyone?”


Todoroki stared at him, blinking twice before he glanced away, “The world needs him.”


Izuku expected a lot of answers, even a lot of stupid answers for Todoroki but this was outrageous. Heat boiled in his gut and Izuku snapped his head around to stare at Todoroki.

“What?” Izuku seethed, “That doesn’t give him the right to hurt you, Todoroki!”


He flinched and closed his eyes, “It doesn't. But I can’t do anything about it because the world needs him.”


“What? That doesn’t-”


Todoroki cut him off, “Just… listen.”


Midoriya clamped his mouth shut at the request and stared at Todoroki with wide eyes.


“He’s the Number One Hero,” Todoroki said, simply, “All-Might isn’t anymore. People need someone to look up to. Someone who can protect them and Endeavor can. If I told someone, if I told them what he did, everything would change. The press, the media would be after my whole family. It would take me being beaten within an inch of my life to convince them it was really happening.”


Izuku shook his head, “No, people- people don’t even like Endeavor! He’s- He’s not All-Might!”


Todoroki nodded, “No, he’s not. But he’s the best hero right now. The best one to protect them and they will fight to keep him there. His people, agents, they will get the people on their side, even if I tried to tell the world what happened. And if it really worked, so many people would lose hope. So many people would feel unprotected. Even the Number Two hero can’t amount to Endeavor's strength and skill. Just think about how defenseless everyone would be without him. They’ve already lost All-Might, they can’t bear to lose Endeavor too. It’s too risky.”


“What if- what if- they didn’t put him in jail they just kept it a secret? What if they just brought you to a safe place?” Midoriya grasped at straws.


Todoroki hesitated, “He… I wish. I want that but he would fight it. He would try to keep custody over me. I’m- I’m his greatest creation, Midoriya. He won’t let me slip away. I know some of his agents, they would try to make it public and make U.A look bad. If anyone found out my old man would turn to the public first and make sure they controlled what rumors got out. Trust me, Midroya. I’ve.. thought about this a lot. The only way for me to get out is to just wait until I’m a pro.”


He shook his head, “There has to be another way.”


Todoroki snapped, losing his patience, “There isn’t. And if there was, I wouldn’t risk it. The world needs Endeavor to stay.”


Midoriya stared at him, his eyes pooling with tears as Todoroki whispered, “More than I need him to leave.”


“...T-Todoroki,” He sniffled and tried to stop his tears from flowing by wiping his palms under them.


His friend softened, “It’s alright, Midoriya. It’s safer for everyone this way. Including my mum.”


“But w-what about you? It’s not safer for you. Your safety is important, too.” Todoroki awkwardly reached out and patted his shoulder as Midoriya tried to get his crying under control.


This couldn’t be the only way. No, Midoriya was going to find a way to save his friend sooner than that. He wasn’t going to let Todoroki get hurt anymore. His tears dried as his resolve hardened and he squeezed his eyes shut.


“I’ll protect you, Todoroki, I promise.”


His friend looked at his with unbelieving, pitying eyes. As if he didn’t believe him but was thankful for the offer.


He almost didn’t catch his whisper, “They’ve all said that before.”



 

Chapter Text

Momo shifted in her covers, trying to get comfortable. She had been awake hours ago, her mental alarm clock went off at 6, but she didn’t have the heart to roll out of bed yet. The sun was shifting through the blinds making little light patterns as the lint and dust floated in the air. Her eyes were clear and open but she was drowsy, still in the stage of just-returning-to-the-world. Normally, the sight of dust would have made her fidgety and slightly grossed out, but she couldn’t help but think it looked pretty. Besides, she could dust and clean her dorm room later. 

Her mind slowly hummed back to life and she mentally listed the things she had to do today. Each task she thought of dropped a pin of dread into her mind as it stirred awake. There was so much to do. She had so much homework and studying she had to complete, and on top of her studies, she had to go to the peer tutoring group she created. Silently, she cursed her inability to say ‘no’ to her begging classmates. It was absolutely terrible when Kaminari or Mina gave her their pleading puppy-dog eyes and begged Momo to tutor them. She really couldn’t say no to that. She wasn’t heartless. Kaminari and Momo were her friends and anyone else who joined the group was as well. It was nice to spend time with the class and feel close enough to express their vulnerabilities in academics, Momo thought. The only downside was the mounds of responsibility that came with organizing the group. It was times like these that Momo was thankful she was vice class president. Iida was practically running around like a chicken with its head cut off with all of the responsibility he had to do.  

After stubbornly squeezing her eyes shut and shuffling under the covers she gave up. Momo had attempted to stay in until at least nine since she had fallen asleep past her normal schedule. But once she was up, she was up and she had to be doing something productive. Lazing around was only acceptable when she was hanging out with her friends. Before U.A, she didn’t have friends, or group study session, or movie nights, or hangouts. Momo didn’t even give her middle-school classmates the time of day, outside school, she needed to be doing her lessons and training for U.A. High School was different. Momo found that she actually cared deeply about the people around her. They weren’t just her classmates, they were her friends. A concept that Momo had never had before. 

She pulled her hair into a ponytail and shuffled out of her sleep clothes. In middle school she was friendly. There was no reason to be rude to people in her opinion, but now her friends were more than just people that she talked to in class. They were like a mini family and if Momo wanted all of her mini family to graduate with her, she would have to get ready for the day and the group session. 

Unplugging her phone from her nightstand, she peered down at it curiously. Normally she didn’t get any notifications this early. It was Todoroki-chan.

From Todoroki 

are you awake? 

Momo frowned and typed back a reply. The text was sent at six in the morning. She hoped Todoroki didn’t think she was ignoring him.

To Todoroki

I am now! Do you need anything?

The reply was almost immediate and Momo felt guilt crawling up her stomach. 

From Todoroki

yes. can I stop by your room? 

She sighed and typed out a quick response telling him that was fine. Todoroki was always vague in his responses. If she wanted an answer out of him it was usually one-worded. Once she asked him if he liked anyone and he simply answered with ‘Yes. I like most people in our class.” He was one of the most oblivious people she had ever met but she loved that doof anyway. They had known each other for a while, ever since they were kids and their parents would bring them to their fancy hero dinner parties. Todoroki was a good friend as a small child. Momo has memories of them playing behind the curtains while their parents ate dinner and chatted about hero politics. It wasn’t until later, when they were seven or eight, that Todoroki seemed to ignore her existence altogether. But that was all in the past now. Privately, after their first year final exam, Todoroki apologized and Momo didn’t have a hard time forgiving him. Although Momo suspects it wasn’t his intention, Momo took that as her cue to become great friends with Todoroki despite his half-hearted protests. She dragged him to sleepovers and invited him to group study get-togethers even though he glowered at her in mock rage. Maybe he was actually angry, but Momo wasn’t intimidated by him anymore. Todoroki was a huge softy in reality. 

A quiet knock on her door startled her from her thoughts and she walked over to the door. When she opened it Todoroki stood, shifting his feet and staring at the floor with such an intensity Momo was tempted to look down to see what he was looking at. His dual-colored hair shielded his eyes and Momo bent down to try and catch his attention.

“Todoroki?” She asked, trying to peer at his covered face.

His right hand came up to his face as if he were brushing away his hair, but his hand didn’t move after the motion and his fingers stilled on his forehead. 

He murmured, “Can I come in?”

Momo startled and stepped away from the door allowing him to walk through. He kept his head down and continued to walk until he was a few feet from the wall, his back still turned to her. She noticed his slow movement as if he were moving his body like an aged old man, or- a wounded one.

Her voice wavered, unsure, “Todoroki?”

Momo took a few hesitant steps forward and watched with growing concern as Todoroki’s back heaved with heavy breaths. Her hand hovered over his shoulder and she gently placed it there to get his attention. 

He flinched at the contact, something that Momo had expected but never did enjoy seeing, and Momo made a small sound of inquiry. She waited until his breaths calmed and until he slowly turned around. Todoroki was taller than her normally, but now he was slouched and his shoulders dropped made him appear even smaller. Something was definitely wrong.

Slowly, his head lifted and his eyes darted to meet Momo’s only for a second before they drifted to the side. Todoroki’s eyes were dark and cloudy and his expression was neutral and blank. It was his default expression, but something about his face seemed pinched and tensed.

Momo’s eyes darted to the raised red skin that was turned purple surrounding his left eye. His grey eye was squinted and almost swollen shut from the bruise. She resisted the itch to rush forward and inspect his injury; instead, she created gauze and medical tape with her quirk without a request. 

She kept her voice level and controlled, “What happened?”

Momo moved forward and glanced up from her task to look at him. Todoroki’s eyes were cast downwards and he remained silent. Still. Normally when he got into trouble Todoroki would shrug and try to appear nonchalant while silently laughing on the inside. Momo didn’t know what to do with this sight of him: shoulders slouched, head down, hiding from her gaze.

Momo repeated, “What happened?”

Todoroki opened his mouth to speak, but the unsaid words hovered in the air for a second before he closed his lips. Momo waited while his eyes flickered from one spot on the floor to another. He was thinking. 

“I…” Todoroki began, closed his mouth and started again, “Can you… make me some-”

He halted and squeezed his eyes shut, a small blush crawling upon his cheeks. Momo creased her eyebrows.

“Make you what?”

Todoroki took at breathe and blurted the words, “Can you make me some makeup? With your quirk. To cover my bruise.”

Her eyebrows rose to the ceiling. Oh. Momo looked down at her flowy shirt and started to form the makeup palette in her mind before she started to make it with her quick. She glanced up at Todoroki to note of his skin shade and then looked back down again. It seemed like Todoroki wasn’t going to tell her what was wrong. It was something bad, Momo didn’t know what, but it was bad enough to make Todoroki lose all of his confidence over a simple question. He looked so vulnerable standing in her room waiting for her to create the makeup. 

“Done!” She held the make-up container in her hands and presented it to Todoroki. 

His pinched face cracked into something softer for a moment as he took the small object in his hands before his face fell again. Momo ushered him over to her desk before he could spiral into his thoughts. Whatever he was thinking, it was negative and Momo was determined to get to the bottom of it. 

Todoroki plopped down into the seat with a question written on his face, “I can do it. Your makeup.”

Relief flooded through his face and Momo suddenly got very excited. She grabbed a face wipe from her desk and handed it to Todoroki. 

“This will be fun!” She gestured for Todoroki to start cleaning his face, “I’ve done Mina’s and Jirou’s makeup before but I don’t think I’ve ever down makeup for a boy. I wonder if it’s any different? You seem to have very smooth skin, so at least that will be easy. You’re lucky you don’t get very many zits. They’re so irritating to cover up.”

Todoroki looked up from his seat, “You… wear makeup?”

Momo leveled him with a flat look, “Yes. I wear makeup.”

“Oh,” He set the wipe down, “I didn’t notice.”

He looked relieved at the new information instead of bothered and Momo figured that he probably didn’t mean that as an insult. It was probably a compliment all things considered. She created a few more things with her quick, including concealer brushes and an extra colored concealer to help cover up the bruise.

Momo opened the lid and smeared it onto her finger, “I read that colored concealer helps cover the bruise better, so we’ll just do more layers. Can I touch your face?” 

Todoroki eyed the green-tinted concealer with uncertainty but allowed Momo to start patting it on his bruise. He flinched at the contact and Momo hesitated before continuing. Todoroki didn’t like sudden touches, she found. If she would tap him on the shoulder to get his attention he would usually jerk away before realizing who it was. Perhaps he always assumed that whoever suddenly touched him was a villain or an enemy. The mindset was strange but Todoroki grew up in Enji’s household and he was known for always being on-guard. His flames never ceased, after all. She worked in silence and Todoroki closed his eyes to avoid awkward eye-contact. She was burning with questions but she feared that one wrong word would make Todoroki retreat back into his shell and clam up. He didn’t like to be rushed into things and she knew it took him a while to mull it over before he made up his mind about something. She just had to be patient.

As she applied the second layer of concealer, the skin tone one, Todoroki spoke up, “Do you remember… when we had to go to those parties our parents threw as kids?”

Momo glanced up from the bruise as she responded, “Yes. I do.” 

“We were around age… seven or six I think and I… I had many bruises on my arms. One almost looked like a handprint.”

Her hands stilled.

Todoroki continued, eyes cast to the side, “You asked me if I was ok. Do you remember? And I… I yelled at you and told you- I think I told you to never talk to me again.” 

Moisture gathered in her eyes at the memory and she blinked them away quickly. There had to be a point of bringing up the cruel memory. It was the last time Todoroki talked to her as a kid and she always wondered what she did wrong to lose her best friend.

“What I should have said…” His voice hitched and Momo kept her eyes trained on Todoroki, “What I should have done was tell you the truth.” 

Todorki didn’t say anything after that and they were met with a minute of silence. Momo held her breath and waited for Todoroki to speak. But he didn’t. Instead, he shifted his eyes again and tried to cover his red nose and glossy eyes with his hand. 

“What is the truth, Todoroki?” Momo whispered.

He took a deep breath and said in a voice a void from emotion, “The truth is. The truth is that-”

His adam-apple bobbed and he started again, “The truth is my old man did that. And- it looked like a handprint because... it was one.”

Momo inhaled sharply, trying to muffle her gasp. Tears welled up in her eyes and her hands shook as she let them hang down at her sides. For a minute neither one of them breathed and Todoroki held his breath in anticipation while Momo processed his words. 

She had suspected. She had always wondered but actually hearing him say it, having him confirm it made her blood run cold. Enji Todoroki was never seen in a bright light, in her eyes, he was always taking Todoroki away while they were playing and saying mean things to him as a kid. Todoroki had confided in her once, before the scar, that he hated his dad. “I hate was he does to Mum.” He had whispered angrily and clenched his little fist around the All-Might toy they were playing with. At the time Momo didn’t understand. She didn’t have any idea what he could have meant by that, so she just said she was sorry for his Mum and they kept playing their game. If only she remembered that sooner. If only she connected the dots sooner. It was right in front of her face; she’d probably seen more evidence than anyone. His mother in the hospital, his sister always the only one home, his bruises, his hate for his fire-side. It was all there. If only she entertained the idea longer instead of brushing it off. A tear slipped down her cheek and she rushed forward to wrap Todoroki in a hug. Todoroki stiffened at the contact but Momo didn’t let go. She gripped the back of his shirt and tried to convey how sorry she was about ignoring the signs and letting him suffer alone. Slowly, he returned the hug with limp arms and patted her shoulder awkwardly. Momo let her few stray tears fall while Todoroki couldn’t see her face. She continued to hold on, unwilling to let go of her friend for a few more seconds and finally, Todoroki returned the hug fully. His arms hugged her back firmly and she heard a small sniffle behind her.

She pulled away and stared him in the eye. This time Todoroki didn’t shy away from the eye-contact.

“Did he do this bruise too?” Momo asked, her voice thick from the tears and runny nose.

Slowly, Todoroki nodded and Momo’s lips thinned. She looked down at the concealer and continued. Enji hit him. The thought of the Number One Hero striking his son in the face made her grip the concealer so hard it trembled in her hands. She released a puff of air and forced down her boiling anger. Todoroki didn’t need her to be angry right now. Right now, she needed to do his makeup so he wouldn’t have to explain it to anybody else. She could tell that the confession had taken a lot out of him because Todoroki was now slumped in the chair exhaustion evident in his tired eyes and droopy expression. Relieved but exhausted. 

“Does anybody else know?” She tried to make her voice light but it hung with worry instead.

Todoroki grimaced, “No… not an adult. If that’s what you're asking. I’m not… I’m not going to tell anybody else. Only you and Midoriya know.”

“Oh, Midoriya,” Momo tried to stifle her disappointment about his decision to keep it a secret and focused on the positive, “Is that why you two suddenly got close?” 

Todoroki tensed, “What do you mean?”

She smiled lightly, trying to break the ice, “Oh, like you don't know how lovey-dovey you both have been around each other!” 

A look of pure confusion crossed Todoroki’s face and he repeated, “Lovey...dovey.” 

Momo sighed. Of course, he would be obvious, “Is that why you two have been more friendly lately?” She phrased it differently, even though she said ‘friendly’ with the same emphasis as ‘lovey-dovey’ but Todoroki didn’t catch that.

“I guess,” Todoroki said evenly, “He knew before then. It’s just… been getting worse and he’s been...helping me. That’s all.”

Her mind flashed back to when she heard the rumor that Midoriya had given him the bruise last week. Momo had been shocked and slightly angry but Iida already reprimanded him so she felt that it wasn’t necessary. She was sure he didn’t mean it. It clicked that Midoriya was probably covering for him. Mixed feelings of gratitude and anger resurfaced. She wasn’t sure whether to be angry at him for not telling or relieved that he hadn’t told.  

His voice betrayed his words and he glanced to the side, his cheeks tinted slightly pink. Momo made a noise of disagreement but didn’t call him out on it. If he wanted to be oblivious then that was fine. She had already pried enough out of him. The comment about ‘it getting worse’ prickled at her skin though and she felt questions pop up in her mind but refrained from asking them. Later. Later she could talk to him. Maybe when he got a full night of sleep. Patience is a virtue, right? 

“Alright!” Momo snapped the concealer shut with a click, “It's all finished.”

Todoroki stood and walked over to a small mirror that was hanging on her wall. Momo waited behind him, anxiously excited for his reaction for some reason. When he saw his reflection his eyes widened and he touched his slightly puffy skin. Momo couldn’t bring down the swelling but at least it wasn’t red and purple. Although his right eye was closed slightly nothing looked too amiss thanks to the makeup. His lips twitched but he didn’t smile. Momo imagined smiling sort of hurt with a black eye. 

“Thank you, Yaoyorozu,” He paused, the relieved expression leaving his face and fading to neutral, “Can I come by tomorrow?” 

Momo smiled, “Of course! Maybe you can try eye makeup next time.”

Todoroki looked skeptical but not opposed as he turned to the door, “Get some sleep, Todoroki! It’s on Sunday.”

He nodded at Momo’s suggestion that was really more of a command and spoke, “Yaoyorozu...I’d like to keep my...relationship with my father a secret.”

“O-of course,” She said, “I won’t tell anyone, Todoroki.”

He nodded and closed with a soft click behind him. Her bed poofed out from underneath her as she sat down heavily and sunk into the covers. Momo pulled out her phone.

To Midoriya

Hey, we need to talk.

 

Chapter Text

His bare feet padded down the wooden hallway and he headed towards the kitchen. It was around noon, four hours after he had taken Yaoyorozu's advice and collapsed into his futon, careful not to ruin his makeup. He headed down to the common room to test out if the makeup could hide his bruise well enough. Shouto was met with a catacomb of voices that blended together in a loud frenzy of white static, too loud and too quick to be able to make out the chatter. Bakuogou’s and Iida’s voices echoed through the kitchen and made Shouto wince from the grating sound of their yelling. He rounded the corner and stepped into the crowded kitchen. Uraraka stirred a bowl full of a brown mushy substance furiously facing an equally competitive Bakugou. Iida shouted at them and the ingredients went flying while Midoriya tried to hide his grin and stifle his laughter. Shouto’s gaze lingered on Midoriya’s eyes filled with mirth before he glanced at Kirishima cheering Bakugou on in the corner. His mouth was open in a wide, sharp grin and he shouted mock cheers at Bakugou as he and Uraraka supposedly fought. What they were fighting about, Todoroki had no idea. 

 

Feeling eyes on him, Kirishima glanced up towards the doorway and locked eyes with Shouto. Instantly, Shouto felt dread flush from his head to his toes. For the last week, Todoroki had been avoiding Kirishima. The last encounter he had with him was when he yelled at him to ‘leave him alone’ and that was nearly two weeks ago. His face heated from embarrassment and shame from the mortifying outburst. Kirishima had obviously obliged and had been avoiding Todoroki just as much as he had been avoiding him. There wasn’t a set reason why he had been avoiding him. Simply that Shouto didn’t want to acknowledge what had happened just yet. 

 

Instead of looking down and turning away like he wanted to, he said, “Kirishima, can I talk to you?”

 

The whole room halted and Todoroki startled when he remembered that there were other people in the room. Kirishima’s grin fell into a grimace as everyone stared in awkward silence. Todoroki had just interrupted them and though he had not spoken very loudly his voice carried the weight of importance. 

 

“Uh, sure,” Kirishima awkwardly made his way across the kitchen towards Todoroki. He explicitly didn’t make eye contact with anyone, especially Bakugou and Midoriya. Bakugou didn’t say anything and let Kirishima walk past him only eyeing him with a doubtful expression. He could feel Midoriya's eyes burn into his back and resisted the urge to look at him. Shouto pushed off of the door seal and started walking as Kirishima followed him. He chewed on his cheek as he walked, contemplating what he would say. His footsteps stopped outside and he forced his hands to lay relaxed against his sides. 

 

Kirishima was looking down, a stony expression on his face, “You wanted to talk?”

 

Todoroki’s mouth twitched uneasily, “Yes, I did. I-”

 

Kirishima looked up and his face softened from surprise when he saw how nervous Shouto looked, “Bro?” 

 

“Yes. I wanted to apologize,” He forced himself to keep eye contact and watched as Kirishima’s face morphed into confusion. 

 

He furrowed his eyebrows, “What? I was gonna apologize.” 

 

“Why would you do that? I was the one who yelled at you,” Todoroki said.

 

Kirishima fiddled with his hands and gave him a nervous grin, “Uhhh, I thought I probably offended you or pushed you too far or something. Maybe, I like, hit one of your wounds or ah- I was kinda being annoying so I understand why you avoided me. I must be a pretty annoying friend, huh?”

 

“Kirishima.”

 

His friend glanced up and his eyes were dull and almost submissive as if he already labeled himself as unworthy of being Todoroki’s friend. His insides twisted with the guilt of making his friend feel this way. 

 

“Don’t be stupid,” He blurted and then winced at his excellent word choice, “No. I still want to be your friend. You are a very good friend. I…”

 

Shouto shifted his hands into his pockets and tried to bury the feeling rising in his chest. He should explain his outburst, shouldn’t he? Kirishima would understand, he wouldn’t judge. His friend hardly judged anyone, not even Bakugou. He had always been kind to Shouto and treated him like an equal. He deserved to know the truth, didn’t he? 

 

Deserve. 

 

Did he deserve to know? Did Yaoyorozu? Did Midoriya? Maybe nobody did. Nobody deserved the burden that he placed on their shoulders. Nobody deserved the panic that he gave Midoriya. Nobody deserved the hurt and pain that he gave to Yaoyorozu. They knew and now it hung over their heads like a knife attached to a thread. For Todoroki, it had never been a burden; it had never been so heavy to carry. Touya’s absence was just something they never talked about- they never thought about. Mom leaving was something unspoken, unthought of, unacknowledged. Endeavors training was just another thing they never mentioned, something he never showed the school nurses. It wasn’t a secret. It couldn’t be a secret if it held no weight. It was simply something that didn’t matter in Todoroki’s mind. If he let the issue matter to him it would manifest under his skin and bubble out of his mouth as he had with Midoriya at the Sports Festival. The whole world would know and everything he had worked so hard to protect and keep locked away would be for nothing. Midoriya knew. Yaoyorozu knew. That was two people too many and Shouto couldn’t afford to let anyone else find out. He couldn’t let his big mouth blurt out the contents of his backstory again.  

 

“I was not myself. I apologize. Anything I said to you wasn’t true. I didn’t mean it.” 

 

A sad, knowing look flashed through Kirishima’s red eyes and Todoroki panicked. Did he know? Did Shouto accidentally say his thoughts out loud? A drop of sweat dripped down the left side of his neck as his fire quirk acted up. 

 

“Anything you said... So when you said “I’m fine” back then... Did you mean that?” Kirishima asked, “Or was that a lie?” 

 

Shouto’s mouth went dry and he swallowed audibly. His courage failed him and he broke eye contact, staring down at a pebble on the ground. Not today, he couldn’t confess again today. His mind already throbbed from the heavyweight and his black eye tingled underneath the makeup. 

 

I don’t have to tell him anything. There is nothing to tell. I’m fine. Every hero gets black eyes. Every hero gets hurt. I’m fine. I’m fine. 

 

“No, It wasn’t a lie,” Todoroki tried to change the subject, “I meant that part. What I was referring to was that I was wrong when I told you to leave me alone. I… didn’t mean it and I apologize.”

 

Kirishima hesitated, “...Alright. It’s alright. I’m not mad at you. I was just surprised and confused. You- I thought- it seemed like you were happy, you know? Before you were all smiley with Midoriya and we hung out all the time but... you just looked miserable, man. I was just worried about you and when you pushed me away, I got even more worried. What happened?” 

 

His teeth clenched together and he fought down the stinging of tears in his eyes. What happened? Nothing new of course. Fuyumi kneeling down beside him on the floor tending to his wounds as she sobbed was nothing new. Mother pushing herself in front of Shouto, blocking him from the fiery hands of his father was not a new memory. Endeavors glowing fire illuminating his face as he scowled at Shouto, his expression of disappointment would never change- nothing new. 

 

He voiced his bitter thoughts, “Nothing new. I’m fine, Kirishima.” 

 

“Todoroki-” Kirishima started. 

 

“Please,” Shouto’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Please, just leave it. It’s not important. Just…”

 

“Just what?”

 

“I’d like to know…” Todoroki made his voice a void of emotion, “I'd like to know if we still friends.”

 

Kirishima had called them friends before, so it was safe to assume the red-haired boy thought of him positively. Why, Shouto didn’t know, but whatever he had done right to be apart of Kirishima’s friendship, he sincerely hoped he hadn’t lost it. 

 

Kirishima brightened and leaned forward to clasp his shoulder, “Yeah, man! Of course, we’re friends. Apologizing first is like super manly. I should have approached you first so good thing you did.”

 

Todoroki didn’t grin but his face softened from relief. Kirishima obviously had let it slide, for which he was grateful. He couldn’t take it if he had another person worrying about him when they shouldn’t be. Midoriya’s nagging and concern were already too much for him to handle, with both Yaoyorozu and Midoriya’s mother hen tendencies, it was going to be a nightmare. 

 

“Let's go see who made the better cookies in the kitchen, yeah? Don't tell Uraraka but I personally think Bakugou is the better cook. He makes things spicy.”

 

Todoroki let himself be strolled inside, trying to keep up with Kirishima’s running thoughts, “Spicy… cookies.”

 

“Yeah!” Kirishima said, “I don’t know how he does it, but they still taste good! Trust me, I’ve had some of his spicy banana bread.” 

 

“‘Banana bread’. Huh. Never had it,” Todoroki said, pronouncing ‘banana’ with a little bit of difficulty. 

 

Kirishima laughed at his attempt to copy the English, “Yeah, it’s an American recipe. It’s really good though! I should have him make you some.”

 

Todoroki hummed, “Oh, he would never make me something, willing. You’d have to bribe him to do anything remotely nice for me.” 

 

His gaze slid over to Kirishima and Kirishima leveled him with a flat look, “I have a feeling that the same thing goes for you. You guys have a weird relationship.” 

 

Todoroki nodded, “You could say that.”

 

Kirishima rolled his eyes, “You always egg him on and make him act stupid. I only let you get away with it because it’s a little bit funny.”

 

His lips twitched, “It is funny.”

 

“Of course it is.” Kirishima sighed as they stepped into the kitchen. The bickering from earlier hadn't stopped and Uraraka still glared mockingly at Bakugou. Midoriya brightened when they walked back inside, his eyes asking an unspoken question. 

 

“Todoroki-Kun!” Midoriya exclaimed as they walked in, his smile tight. 

 

Shouto raised a hand in greeting, “Hello, Midoriya, everyone.” 

 

His three other classmates greeted him but Uraraka and Bakugou didn’t pay him much mind and went back to glaring at each other. Iida gave him and Kirishima a curious look but didn't pry, much to Shouto's relief. 

 

Kirishima grinned broadly, “So! Are the cookies done?” 

 

Bakugou snarled where he was standing in front of the oven, “Does it look like they’re fucking done, Hair for Brains?” 

 

“Just a few more minutes and then we’ll see who has made the greatest cookies in the history of the world!” Urarakas eyes gleamed and she placed her hands on her hips.

 

“Technically speaking- ” Iida started only to be cut off by Bakugou. 

 

Bakugou cut in, “We won’t need to see! I already know my cookies are gonna be better than your piles of dogshit.”

 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you poisoned yours, Bakugou,” Todoroki hummed. 

 

Midoriya hid his chuckle behind his hand and Uraraka beamed. 

 

“Yes!” She exclaimed, “That’s what I’m saying! There’s like a seventy-five percent chance that Bakugou is just trying to kill us with his cookies. I hereby declare that if we all die from food poisoning, my cookies shall be the winner by default.” 

 

Todoroki nodded his head solemnly, “Agreed.” 

 

“WHAT?!” 

 

Iida raised his hands, “Bakugou is our classmate and a hero in training. He would never-“

 

“Fuck you! My cookies are amazing! It’s not my fucking fault if you cry babies can’t handle my food.” 

 

Iida sighed from being interrupted and Kirishima placed a hand on Bakugou’s shoulder. 

 

“Bro, are you saying that you did poison our food? And it’s our fault for not being able to handle it?” Kirishima raised an eyebrow but his lips were twitching from amusement. Shouto didn’t know how Kirishima thought Bakugou was remotely funny but he guessed it was amusing to watch him get riled up over nothing. There was a reason he liked pushing his buttons.  

 

“Maybe! What if I did, huh? You all still have to try it!” 

 

Midoriya tried to stifle his laughter, “I’ll pass.” 

 

“What you laughing at you stupid nerd?! Of course, you’ll try my fucking cookies! The vote will be all screwed up!” Bakugou practically seethed at the almost silent chuckles Midoriya was making. 

 

More laughter bubbled out of Midoriya as he hid behind Iida’s large form. Iida crossed his arms and frowned.

 

“The phrase “stupid nerd” is an oxymoron and actually makes no sense, Bakugou-” Iida tried once again to correct Bakugou.

 

He lunged for Midoriya and he yelped and dodged him, scrambling around the kitchen. Although it was all in good fun, Todoroki didn’t like the flash of panic that went through Midoriya's eyes even if it was just for a moment. Iida and Kirishima tried to grab Bakugou and stop him from actually attacking Midoriya but the blond pom-pom was quick and practically feral. Midoriya evaded a swipe from Bakugou’s blasting hands and darted to the other side of the kitchen towards Todoroki. 

 

“No quirks in the kitchen!!” Iida shouted his voice rising in panic. 

 

Midoriya skidded behind Todoroki and he instinctively put one hand on Midoriya's arm.  

 

“Move, Short-cake!” Bakugou barreled towards them and Todoroki stood his ground. 

 

Bakugou tried to jump over Todoroki but he froze his foot to the ground before he could leap. Bakugou’s face twisted in rage when he saw Todoroki use his quirk on him. It was practically a declaration of war. Shouto glanced down at his ice inching up Bakugou's leg and he couldn’t find it in him to actually regret it. Explosions ruffled Todoroki's hair and he counteracted by sending out flames of his own.

 

“G-guys! Don’t you think this is going a little overboard!” Midoriya stuttered behind him. 

 

“Stop being so protective of your little boyfriend! I’m not gonna hurt him!” He said as he continued to snarl and spark his hands, “Deku can fucking take it!”

 

Shouto glowered at him, “I know full well Midorya can hold his own. That doesn’t mean he should be attacked by you in any given moment.” 

 

“So what? I’m actually doing the fucker a favor! He should be ready to fight villains at all times!” Bakugou retorted but no he longer looked like he was going to pounce and had resulted in glaring at Shouto and threateningly sparking his palms. 

 

Todoroki bristled and felt his fire flowing brighter from his anger. Bakugou’s words sounded too much like his own fathers at that moment. Shouto once as a younger child had begged his father to explain why he put him through this torment every waking moment. Endeavor’s excuse was that he needed to be ready to fight any villain at any time. He was never going to be safe as a hero, so he would have to learn from an early age what it felt like to never feel safe. Shouto couldn’t help but compare his father to a villain after that. Bakugou wasn’t a villain but sometimes his feral attitude made Todoroki’s anger spike. 

 

“Back off.” Shouto gritted out and his eyes flickered over to Kirishima who was restraining Bakugou. 

 

His red eyes were wide and his thin eyebrows pulled into a crease. He seemed to be analyzing him and Shouto tried not to squirm under the intense gaze. Iida and Uraraka were also staring at him in shock, baffled at Shouto’s sudden interference. 

 

“Todoroki….” Midoriya's small voice broke him out of his anger and he placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. 

 

He looked down and focused on trying to reign in the flames that danced on his arm. Shouto met Midoriya's eyes and something akin to gratitude flashed through them. Todoroki grunted and relaxed his tense position as Midoriya lifted his mouth in a gentle smile. 

 

“We were all messing around. B-but thank you for standing up for me,” Midoriya said reassuringly then whispered, “I’m sorry for scaring you.” 

 

Todoroki fought to keep his breathing even and his panic at bay. He didn’t know why he jumped in front of Midoriya even though he knew that he could hold his own against Bakugou. He knew that. He knew that. Bakugou and he wrestled all the time, so often that Midoriya probably enjoyed fighting with him. But something, fear maybe, caused him to try and stop Bakugou even laying a hand on Midoriya. It could be the sound of his yelps that sounded so similar to his when he was younger. Or possibly the way his eyes that flashed in panic just how Fuyumi’s gentle grey eyes looked when Shouto walked into the training room with Endeavor. He didn’t know what the catalyst was but something about Bakugou reminded him of Endeavor if for but a moment. If his mother had taught him anything it was that no one should actively seek out to harm people just for the sake of hurting them. 

 

“Not your fault,” Todoroki gritted out and dropped his arms to his sides. 

 

His blue sweater was charred and streams of smoke danced from his singed shirt. Everyone watched the exchange with curious eyes, the gears in their head visibly turning. Midoriya noticed their questioning gazes and dropped his head guilty. Once again Shouto was reminded of the burden he gave Midoriya and his sudden urge to always compare his own trauma with everything around him. He hated it. Todoroki just wanted it to go back to when he wasn’t paranoid, looked at, or paid attention to, then he wouldn’t have to think about this so goddamn much. Ever since Endeavor had started training him regularly again he felt himself fall back into the pattern of thinking he had before. He was so focused on not screwing up, on pleasing his father, despite his hate for him, the desire to please, to make him proud was always there, and he hated it. Shouto hated how vulnerable the training made him feel, how weak. His thoughts that had almost been positive for once were now a swirling dark cloud of fog again. Everything he had worked so hard to get out of was back and it was back full force. Now he knew what it was like to live blissfully unaware of his father’s presence and Todoroki felt himself crashing down to reality. Lying was no longer easy when he had Midoriya telling him that he didn’t need to lie. Hiding his trauma was no longer easy when he had people telling him he didn’t have to endure it. Doors had been shut on his face too many times and when there was a door open just a crack he couldn’t help but want to slam it closed too. It was too good to be true. Too easy. Everything he had, every freedom he had gained, had come at a cost. An eye for an eye. Even to get a phone he had to prove to Endeavor that he deserved it. It had cost him a few burns and a fractured wrist but at least he could text his classmates freely. The sudden notion that people cared about him and wanted to just fix his problems for him made his gut twist with unease. Possibly from pride but also from the uncomfortable feeling of being a burden. If he was self-sufficient then he wouldn’t need to ask for help or be a burden to anyone. He didn’t want to be Midoriya's burden and he never wanted to be the cause of his frown. Now he couldn’t help but think that he was the reason for both his frown and the sour atmosphere in the kitchen. 

 

Uraraka opened her mouth but whatever she was going to say was interrupted by the smoke alarm screeching. Everyone jumped at the noise and Shouto winced. He had forgotten what the sound of those annoying machines sounded like since his father had gotten rid of them. 

 

“You-“ Bakugou glared at him.

 

“Todoroki,” A deep drawl sounded from the door, “Bakugou.” 

 

The six students turned to see Aizawa standing in the doorway, his red eyes glowing. The beeping smoke alarm made his ears ring. 

 

“Do I need to remind you what happens when you fight on school grounds with your quirks?” He asked with no fluctuation in his voice. 

 

Todoroki looked down and shook his head. Bakugou looked down as well but growled lowly instead. They both had respect for their teacher, in fact, Todoroki liked him more than he has ever liked any adult, but neither boys felt like answering the rhetorical question.

 

Iida butted in, “Aizawa-sensei! I tried to stop them but-”

 

“It’s fine, Iida. I know how troublesome these two can be.” He sighed and rubbed his tired eyes.  

 

Aizawa looked at the stubborn children, “Bakugou. How many times have I told you not to harass Midoriya?” 

 

The blonde boy growled and muttered something inaudible.

 

“What was that?” 

 

“I said a lot, old man!” 

 

“More than necessary, yes. And Todoroki,” He turned to the boy, “Even if you were defending Midoriya, next time don’t set off the fire alarm.” 

 

He walked over to the machine making the constant beeping that he flinched at with every piercing screech and pressed one of the buttons. 

 

“I’ll be seeing you two in detention after school on Monday.” Aizawa shuffled out of the room in his yellow sleeping bag. It could have been worse. 

 

A moment of silence passed until the oven chirped happily, startling them. 

 

“Haha!” Uraraka shouted in delight, “Now it’s time for the taste testing!” 

 

“May I suggest that we wait a few minutes before they cool off!” Iida chopped the air as Uraraka opened the hot oven. 

 

“I can just cool them off with my quirk,” Todoroki murmured and Midoriya's eyes sparkled.

 

An invisible cloud of hot steam puffed into her face as she peered at the cookies. 

 

“Phew!” Uraraka pulled on the oven mitts and reached inside. 

 

Midoriya blurted, “Wait!”

 

Everyone turned to him, “I-I um, I just was, well, I was wondering if Todoroki could do it?” 

 

Kirishima repeated slowly, “You want... Todoroki to take out the cookies… instead.” 

 

Todoroki frowned in confusion as Midoriya spluttered, “N-n-no! I um, remember when I asked you if you could hold a hot pan of cookies, Todoroki?” 

 

He lifted his eyes in recognition and said softly, “Ah. You wish for me to take out the cookies and see if they will burn me?” 

 

Midoriya scratched the back of his head, “It sounds really bad when you say it like that! It’s fine if you don’t want to! Or if you think you’ll get burned! You just sounded pretty confident when you said you didn’t think it would affect you-“

 

“It’s fine, Midoriya,” Todoroki said and moved towards the oven, “I’m used to withstanding high temperatures.” 

 

If he were closer to Midoriya he would have heard him whisper, “Like the burn cream?” 

 

Uraraka moved out of the way with a shrug of her shoulders and Todoroki reached into the hot furnace. The heat radiated off the metal turning the silver a glowing red and making the cookies puff up. He hesitated for a moment, the burning reminding him of his father unwillingly before he grasped one of the metal sheets with his left hand. The metal sheet tingled in his hands and he felt the warmth in his skin but it didn’t tear through his flesh like his father’s flames. He set it down quickly, not liking the feeling of another’s heat warming his skin. His own flames he had grown to like; it was hard not to love the feeling of his flames bursting out of him, giving him an adrenaline rush and burst of freedom. Of course, he enjoyed using his ice more, but his flames now held different importance to him. Once he had learned not to associate his flames with his father and see that they were apart of him, it was easy to enjoy the familiar feeling of calling his flames to his fingertips. 

 

Midoriya rushed forwards and reached out to grab Todoroki’s hand. He lifted his steaming hand away from his grabbing reach and Midoriya grinned sheepishly at his own eagerness. 

 

“Did it hurt? Did it leave a mark? What did it feel like? Does heat from another source feel different from your own flames? And by 'feel different' I mean does your quicks fire affect you the same way normal flames do? ” Midoriya's green eyes sparkled and he uncapped a pen he held and started jotting down notes on his hand. 

 

Todoroki relaxed his still throbbing hand, now that Mirodya was not in danger of burning himself, and glanced at it. His skin was glowing red and steaming but there was no burn. 

 

“It tingles. Throbs a little bit but no mark. Once I cool off there will be no redness.” A layer of thin ice spread up his fingers and instantly melted, dripping to the floor, “And yes. Other fires and ice feel different from my own. I… I can’t really describe how but it’s different.” 

 

“Wha! That’s so cool Todoroki! How much heat can you withstand?” Uraraka asked casually and Midorya brightened at the question, chewing on the end of his pen. 

 

Kirishima added, “Yeah! That was like 176 degrees, so what’s your max?” 

 

Todoroki shifted away from the cookies and muttered, “Probably around 260 degrees is about how much heat I can endure before passing out.” 

 

Midoriya's awe-filled eyes suddenly darkened and his grin dropped from his face. Bakugou raised his eyebrows but didn’t give Todoroki the satisfaction of seeing him impressed. Kirishima gaped and whispered a small, “dude” that Todoroki wasn’t sure if he was impressed or horrified. His friends paused before Iida spoke up, a voice much quieter than his normal shouts. 

 

“Todoroki…” Iida started, “Do you mind me asking how to came to know of your maximum? I am under the impression that before U.A, you did not use your fireside, if fact you resented it, yes?  So that leaves you discovering this your time at U.A or as a younger child. But I doubt I've seen you pass out form exertion from your fire side.” 

 

The whole kitchen stilled and Todoroki sucked in a desperate breath and held it. Midoriya’s panicked eyes landed on him but Todoroki didn’t glance up from the spot on the floor. 

 

Iida, for all his obliviousness, wasn’t dumb. It made sense that he would be questioning the piece of information but it still made Todorki’s breath catch from how closely related it was to his abuse. There was no possible way Iida would know Endeavor hit his wife and his children, no one could predict that. Iida was just concerned for him, that’s all. He had no idea that the answer to the question was that his father had given him his max of heat resistance and bloody bruises and burns along with it. He didn’t know that Todoroki had never used his fire to that extent. How could he? Todoroki kept everything sealed tight for the longest time. He felt no need to tell anyone the details of his life, he felt no need for justice, only safety, and escape and anger. But somehow Midoriya cracked his walls just by his presence and opened up a dam in him. Now he couldn’t help but want to tell people what he was going through. Why? Shouto never felt the urge before but suddenly it was everywhere. Every time he spoke he felt as if he were sharing little pieces of information that he swore he would never say out loud. What was wrong with him? His big mouth had once again spilled information that nobody needed to know and now he was here, trapped in a corner. Maybe, he thought, he would be better if he didn’t speak at all. 

 

“It was during U.A. During the summer camp when we were training. I knew that if I pushed myself any further that I would pass out,” It was a lie. He has been exhausted, sure. But nothing nearly as painful as the excruciating white-hot pain he felt as his father’s flames licked up his body or the boiling water splashed onto his face. Nothing had been more painful than the heat of others inflicted on him. 

 

Iida’s deep blue eyes pinned Todoroki in an intense stare. Shouto clenched his fists at his sides, his whole arm shaking as he stared Iida down. He schooled his face into a neutral appearance and relaxed all of his taut facial expressions. He couldn’t show weakness. If he backed down Iida would know for sure that something was up. 

 

Iida's glasses reflected as he glanced down, “Ah, of course!” 

 

Shouto bowed his head and tension in the room was thick once again because of him. Because of his stupid mouth and his problems, his friends couldn’t enjoy a simple moment in the kitchen making cookies. 

 

“Sorry…” Todoroki murmured and dug his fingernails into the palm of his hand.

 

Midoriya piped up, “There’s nothing to apologize for, Todoroki-Kun! Let’s go eat some cookies, yeah?”

 

Uraraka clapped her hands together, “Yes! Ok! Let’s see if my chocolate chip cookies are truly as delicious as they smell!” 

 

“As fucking if,” Bakugou retorted as Midoriya and Kirishima practically drooled over the heavenly smell in the kitchen. Shouto felt his insides twist with a spark of the excitement of getting free food. Maybe today wasn’t so awful after all.  

 

Bakugou shoved a cookie at Midoriya and the poor thing crumbled in his hands. Weakly, Midoriya thanked him as he continued to dump the baked treats into each of their hands. He pushed the cookie to Kirishima rather nicely, for Bakugou. They all tentatively took a bite, Shouto weary of the spice that was approaching. Kirishima was the only one who looked excited about it. 

 

He bit into the cookie, chewing slowly and hummed when the flavors don't clash. The cookie melted onto his tongue and he chewed the rest of the outer edges that were slightly crispy. Discreetly, he grabbed another one from off of the pan and placed the full thing into his mouth.  Shouto grabbed a glass of water to rinse his mouth from Bakugou’s cookie and tried Uraraka’s next. Her cookie was pleasant to taste and had a sweet flavor that followed the expectations of chocolate chip cookies perfectly. He tried another bite to let the sweet chocolate taste cancel out the aftertaste of spice. 

 

Bakugou grunted to call everyone’s attention, “So?” 

 

“Yeah! Whaddya think? Who’s is better?” She flashed a knowing smirk at Bakugou. 

 

Midoriya grimaced and glanced down at his cookie, “There's still the aftertaste of Bakugou’s spice in Uraraka’s cookie.” 

 

“Here,” Todoroki handed him his glass of water and Midoriya cheeks flushed at the action. 

 

He eyed the glass once before taking a tentative sip and then fell silent. Bakugou trapped his foot impatiently. 

 

“Well?” 

 

Iida spoke up, “Personally, I enjoy Uraraka’s cookies better! They are very sweet and fluffy!” 

 

“Figures Four eyes has a sweet tooth,” Bakugou grumbled and glared at the cookie in his hand like he was accusing it. 

 

Uraraka shouted in glee and pumped her fists, “What about you Deku?” 

 

He was currently gulping down the glass of water Todoroki gave him and dropped the glass from his lips to breath out, “I liked Uraraka’s. Bakugou’s was too spicy,” before continuing to gulp down the water.

 

“Fucking Deku.“ Bakugou growled but his shoulders slouched.

 

Kirishima grinned and tried to pat Bakugous back reassuringly but the blond just shrugged off the hand on his shoulder and scowled. 

 

“Hey man, I like your cookies! The spice and the chocolate mixed so well! What did you put in it to make it spicy?” 

 

Bakugou mumbled something unintelligible and shoved his hands into his pockets. Shouto knew Kirisima was telling the truth and wasn’t trying to just make him feel better. Kirishima loved Bakugou's cooking but he could tell Bakugou didn’t believe him. It wasn't hard to tell that Bakugou hated losing and this small cookie competition got under his skin despite it being such a small feat. Shouto didn’t pity him but he did want to tell the truth so he piped up. 

 

“I liked Bakugou's cookies.” He shrugged and grabbed another from the pan. Was that three cookies or four? How many could he get away with stealing before they told him to stop? 

 

Uraraka shook her head and smiled, “Dang! I thought I’d have a winning streak! Now we’re tied!” 

 

Midoriya looked at Todoroki curiously, “Oh, I didn’t think you liked spicy stuff very much Todoroki-Kun.” 

 

Bakugou smirked and Todoroki glared at him, “It's alright. The flavor is interesting and blended well. It’s savory and spicy. I also like the texture.” 

 

He wiped his face from cookie crumbs and Midoriya chuckled at him for some reason. Bakugou was glaring at Deku, not getting any closer to him probably because of Todoroki was still standing in front of him, threateningly. 

 

“You should have picked my cookie, nerd!” Bakugou shoved a cookie in his mouth, “I’m not tying with Round face over here.” 

 

Todoroki shrugged, “I guess you’ll have to shove it then.” 

 

“Broooo,” Kirishima patted Bakugou on the shoulder, “That’s so unmanly to be a sore loser.” 

 

Sparks popped from Bakugous and he smashed his palm into Kirishima’s face, “I’m not a loser, Shitty hair!” 

 

Midoriya watched in horrified concern as Kirishima continued to laugh at Bakugou full-on tackling him in his rage. Todoroki shook his head in disbelief. He had no idea how Kirishima handled the prickly porcupine. 

 

“We have to ask everybody else what they think!” Uraraka exclaimed with vigor.

 

They all skipped out of the kitchen but Todoroki lagged behind and snagged three more cookies from each pan. Midoriya might have seen him given that his eyes crinkled in a small amused smile when Shouto caught up with them, but he chose not to comment on it.

 

Midoriya fiddled with his mangled hands that were littered with thin white scars and shifted from side to side. 

 

“Hey, Todoroki?”

 

He turned, “Hm?”

 

“Ah, I was just wondering- well, you remember when you told me about your book? The one with the beauty and the beast?” Midoriya asked, rocking back and forth on his feet. 

 

Todoroki nodded, “Yes, Beastly.”

 

“Well, um,” His hand flew all over the place as he spoke, “You mentioned that you had never seen the original movie so I just thought that maybe it’d be cool if we watched it?”

 

Todoroki frowned, “I’ve already watched it. It’s terrible.”

 

“O-oh, but I thought he said you didn’t know who Bell was?” Midoriya looked crestfallen.

 

He tilted his head in confusion, “I don’t. The movie is about Lindy but that’s about the only thing they got right.”

 

“Huh?” Midoriya said, eloquently.

 

“The Beastly movie. I watched it shortly after I read the book but they got it all wrong. They even changed his name to Hunter. His name is Adrian, and he’s a beast, not some emo bald man,” Todoroki growled.

 

Midoriya’s lips wobbled as if he were trying to hold back a laugh, “Oh, that’s- that's really weird but this is the original. It’s not based on your book. It’s like the folklore behind it.” 

 

Todoroki raised his eyebrows, “Oh. That’s fine then. Where?” 

 

“Really?” Midoriya beamed and Todorki blinked a few times from the sudden change, “We could watch it in my room? But we might be there for a while because there are two Disney versions. One is animated and a classic so we have to watch it, but the other one is live-action- equally as good- but if you don’t want to stay for a long time then we could just watch it another time-”

 

“That sounds great, Midoriya,” He bit his lip and added, “We can watch both. Tonight?” 

 

Midoriya’s smiled turned shy and he rubbed the back of his neck, “S-sure! I’ll see you later after dinner then?”

 

Todoroki nodded with a small smile and waved when Midoriya said goodbye and rushed off, mumbling something about meeting up with All-Might. His face heated up slightly as he thought about how considerate Midoriya was. Just the fact that he had thought about him and wanted to spend time with him made his stomach twist almost uncomfortably. Hmm. He must be hungry. He wondered to the kitchen trying to push down his excitement for tonight. Shouto wasn’t sure whether he was more excited about spending time with his friend or watching the movie that his favorite book was based on. Either way, his bowl of cereal did nothing to ease the fluttering in his stomach. 

 

Chapter Text

Izuku brushed a lock of his wild hair behind his ear as the wind tousled it. The clouds covered the sky in a muted grey blanket, blocking the sun from peeking out. He shivered and brought his knees closer to his chest where he sat on a bench. The normally pleasant weather had dropped down to colder temperatures from what must be a coming storm. While nobody was outside on the normally active field around the dorm building Izuku sat on a lone bench staring at the dark clouds gathering. His teeth clattered and he looked up at the sky, gauging how long it would take until the downpour.

It was the rainy season so it made sense that there would be frequent storms but it was difficult to shake off the strange fear that rattled his bones and made him shiver violently. Why did storms always bring a sense of impending doom? He was perfectly safe, and the odds of the mild rainstorm being dangerous and actually harmful were very slim. The wind whipping and howling somehow always made people on edge even if they were inside a perfectly safe place. Izuku remembered Todoroki’s shrunken form as he sat on the couch furthest from the window, huddled in a cocoon of blankets even though Izuku was pretty sure he didn’t even need blankets. He had looked so vulnerable that night of the storm. Every time thunder clapped his friend would flinch and then scowl at himself as if he hated his own fear. It puzzled him at first, why Todoroki, who seemed so strong and brave, would be afraid of things like thunder and lightning. But Izuku had been steadily learning that his friend wasn’t as perfect and untouchable as Izuku first saw him. Todoroki was human in ways Izuku never expected. He laughed at bad jokes, he loved his mother, he read romantic novels, and he was afraid of his dad. Putting up a hard, cold front, prevented everyone from seeing his weakness and his trauma but also kept people from seeing his positive attributes Izuku was beginning to love. 

It was so terrible, really, that Izuku only got to see those parts of him because of the shit his father put him through. Izuku wanted to get to know Todoroki without the heavy secret of his abuse hanging in between them. Izuku had to keep his mouth shut and his worry firmly in place, for Todoroki’s sake. He saw the regretful look in Todoroki’s heterochromatic eyes when Izuku told him how worried about him he was. Todoroki didn’t want to be a burden. Without a doubt, Izuku knew Todoroki was down-playing his pain and hiding information from him. His fingernails dug into his palm and tears unwilling sprung to his eyes when he thought about how Todoroki practically begged Izuku not to tell anyone. How could he not? How could he stand by and watch his friend get hurt? How could he do nothing? But Izuku promised and the risk of losing Todoroki’s friendship made him hesitate. Izuku had a track record of leaping before looking and dealing with the consequences. Most of the time, it worked out in his favor but this was different. It was best to not leap this time. While Todoroki needed to be away from his father as soon as possible, he had to be smart about this. His situation was complicated and not something he could just stick his nose in casually. Right now Izuku was in limbo and trying desperately to get out of this stagnant position. No solution seemed to be the best option and Izuku was fighting it alone. Todoroki was stubborn and claimed to be content with waiting it out, something Izuku would never stand by, and it was tearing both Todoroki and Izuku apart. Obviously, Todoroki’s plan was being compromised the more Endeavor harmed him. Every time he came back from training Izuku watched the rest of his friend’s week plummet. His grades, his mental health, his physical training in class. The blank and dull look in Todoroki’s eyes when he first walked into the kitchen today made Izuku want to punch Endeavor into the next realm. He hated the way his shoulders slouched from fatigue and exhaustion and his bruising was barely visible underneath the cover of makeup Izuku had yet to figure out. In short, Endeavors ‘training’ was practically killing him, and Izuku was reaching the end of his rope. He didn’t know how much longer he could stand to watch Todoroki cover up his abuse with small lies and subtle subject changes. Izuku wasn’t sure how much longer  he  could be the one making up those lies before the truth bubbled out. It was time for him to do something, but what? 

Izuku knew he should plan something or add to his notebook or map out a solution but at that moment all he could do was cry. Gripping claws tightened around his chest and squeezed the air out of his lungs. Izuku bit down on his lip to stop the cry from sounding, enough to make his lip bleed. He knew he shouldn’t be crying; he wasn’t the one in pain, he wasn’t the one being abused. Izuku was supposed to be strong for his friend. How could he be strong for him in this state? With his body shaking with the effort of controlling his sobs and his eyes screwed painfully shut as hot tears leaked from them. The frustration of being helpless, of watching his friend refuse help and get beaten over and over again. It all came spilling out of him in a choked sob.  

 

“Midoriya?” 

 

He jumped from the sudden voice and hurriedly wiped his tears away to see Yaoroyorzu standing beside the bench. Her expression softened when she saw Izuku’s state and he stubbornly avoided eye-contact from embarrassment. Yaoyorozu texted him this morning and he had agreed to meet with her outside later in the day. She just happened to pick the worst moment to show up.

 

“H-hey, Yaoyorozu,” He let out a shaky breath, “What’s up?”

 

She hesitated and looked like she was about to ask Izuku what was wrong before she changed her mind and sat down wordlessly. His tears still trickled out of his eyes and Izuku bit his lip to stop it from trembling. He could feel Yaoryorozu’s eyes on him as he turned his head away. 

 

“What did you want to talk about?” Izuku’s voice didn’t shake as he composed himself but he did sniffle a few times. He wasn’t done crying, wasn’t even close to done with feeling helpless and frustrated, but he composed himself for the sake of conversation. Usually, crying helped him release his emotions and after he would begin to make a plan of action, but he would just have to settle with bottling up his emotions for now. What was new, right?

 

“I…” She started but then glanced down at her hands. Izuku turned to look at her and saw her conflicted expression, “Todoroki, he said that you also… know.” 

 

His heart thumped in his chest and he’s fist clenched by his sides in alarm. Izuku stiffened at the question and tried reading her face to understand the context. 

 

“Know what?” He said, guarded. 

 

Her eyes flickered up to his and she set her lips, “He said that no one else knows except me and you. He made me promise not to tell anyone else.”

 

Izuku took a shuddering breath in relief. So Todoroki had told someone else. He relaxed against the back of the seat bench and ran a hand through his curls. 

 

“Yeah, he told me not to tell anyone else,” He glanced at her disappointed expression, “When did he tell you?” 

 

She looked down and her ponytail swung in front of her face and hid her teary eyes from him, “This morning. I- I didn’t figure it out until today. I should have known but I just- I assumed it was over. I assumed it wasn't this bad-” 

 

Her voice cracked and she held her face in her hands. Izuku’s guarded expression dropped as he reached out and patted her shoulder. His own tears still stung his eyes and other people crying made him want to cry even more but he forced down the lump in his throat for her sake. Yaoyorozu was just as torn about it as Izuku was. In a way it helped, knowing that someone understood how terrible it felt to hold the guilt of being unable to help their friend. She knew how he felt and now Todoroki wouldn’t be as alone this. Izuku wouldn’t be alone in this. 

 

“I thought it was over too. He told me during the sports festival, his back story. He told me vaguely, that his father thought of him as an object, a tool to surpass All-Might. H-he never mentioned that he- I just thought it was in the past. I actually figured it out when he came home late one night, a few weeks back. He was all bruised and burned and that's when I put it together. So- so I don’t blame you for not figuring it out earlier. It took me seeing him hurt to put it together,” Izuku said.

 

Yaoryorozu looked up and nodded. They sat in silence for a moment before she spoke up. 

 

“We have to do something,” She said. 

 

Izuku looked over to her and blinked in surprise. Sometimes he forgot how brave and kind Yaoyorozu really was. When Kacchan got kidnapped she was prepared to help them get Bakugou back even if it meant going against authority. He shouldn't have been surprised that Yaoyorozu wouldn’t stand back and let Todorki get hurt. 

 

“Yeah, we do,” He chewed on his lip, “I just- I don’t know how. He made me promise not to tell anyone so I thought maybe I’d try to convince him to tell someone on his own, but you know how stubborn he is.” 

 

Yaoyorozu nodded, “That might work. But that might take too long. We need to do something as quickly as possible.”

 

“The sooner he’s away from Endeavor the better,” Izuku agreed and glared at the ground.

 

Yaoyorozu continued, “Ok, so what do we know? How can we work around this without breaking his trust?”

 

Izuku nodded, pleased that Yaoyorozu valued Todoroki’s trust as much as he did. He tightened his grip on his pencil and pulled out his notes from earlier that he took regarding Todoroki’s situation. Yaoyorozu looked with interest as he flipped to the right page and pointed, “This is what I’ve got so far.” 

 

Witness? 

  • Mom. Siblings= Natsou, Fuyumi and Toya(?) Were they abused as well? Can they testify? 

Solutions?

  • Visit the hospital possibly. Speak with the mother. Difficult, Todoroki’s not allowed to visit and I’m probably not allowed to either without him there. 
  • Drop hints to Aizawa. Easy, Aizawa is very perceptive. 
  • Convince Todoroki to talk to Aizawa. Difficult, Todoroki is stubborn. Note- Must keep it on the down-low to avoid stressing him out. 
  • Prevent him from going home? Possibility: Convince Aziawa to assign a weekend trip or project over the weekend. Difficult, Todoroki might be trained on another day to make up for it. 
  • Provide Evidence? Todoroki’s wounds. Might be healed by the time I figure out what to do. Might be healed before him agreeing to show evidence. Pictures? With consent.
  • Videos? How would I get footage from inside their house? Last resort, trying to stop Todoroki from returning to his house again

 

She read through it quickly, “His siblings? I know Fuyumi. She’s still there isn’t she?” 

 

He nodded, “Yeah, he talks about Fuyumi the most. I think she helped him clean his wounds last time.”

 

“We need to talk to her,” Yaoyorozu stated and Izuku looked up with his eyebrows raised in confusion.

 

“We do?”

 

She said, “Yes. We can obtain more information from her and see the situation clearer. We need to see if she was abused as well, right?”

 

Izuku eyes brightened and he tapped his finger against his mouth, “Right. I didn’t think about that. I think Todoroki has mentioned protecting her and his mother but I’m not sure what that means exactly or if she endured abuse as well. I think so. Why else would he be protective of her? But I think he and his mother had it the worst. If we can talk to her then we can actually see the full picture and start doing something. The only problem is that we have no way of contacting her, right?” 

 

“Oh,” Yaoyorozu looked down, “Right. And we can’t just ask Aziawa for her number form the school records, that would arise too much suspicion and I doubt he will give it to us.”

 

“Yeah,” Izuku pulled on his lip thoughtfully.

 

Todoroki wouldn’t give him the number either, he would know Izuku was onto something. The only way would be to sneak around him and Aziaiwa to contact his sister. The only problem was that he didn’t know when he would get an opportunity to use Todoroki’s phone.

 

“I got it!” He gasped, “Tonight I’m hanging out with Todoroki and I can try to use his phone. I’ll figure something out and memorize her contact. I don’t exactly feel comfortable snooping around on his phone but I really don’t think he would give me her number.” 

 

“No, he wouldn’t let you do that. You’d have to do it secretly. Ok, that works. You try to find her contact tonight and get back to me?” Yaoyorozu said.

 

Izuku nodded, already feeling a thousand times better than he was before. Now someone knew and they could help him figure out this whole mess. A weight on his chest was lifted and he took a deep breath now that he was able to breathe functionally. 

 

“Wait, you and Todoroki are hanging out tonight?” Yaoyorozu suddenly grinned and Izuku felt himself blush, “What are you guys doing?”

 

“W-well!” He stammered, “We’re just watching a movie…”

 

She gasped and Izuku swore her eyes started sparkling, “A movie! Midoriya! That sounds like a date.”

 

“What?!” He squeaked, his face crimson red, “N-no you’ve got the wrong idea! We’re just friends! H-he said he hadn’t ever watched Beauty and the Beast so I thought it’d be fun if we could watch it! You’ve got it all wrong! I’m n-not- not-”

 

She giggled and placed a hand on his shoulder, “I’m just teasing Midoriya.”

 

He groaned and bent over to place his head on his lap from his embarrassment.  

 

“But you know with how red you’re blushing it  looks  like you two are going on a date,” She commented as an afterthought.

 

He groaned into his lap and the sound was muffled, “We’re not. I promise. We’re just friends. Besides, Todoroki doesn’t need that right now.” 

 

Her grin faded, “Why not?”

 

Izuku shrugged, “He’s going through a lot of stuff right now. The last thing he needs is my messy feelings.” 

 

Yaoyorozu frowned, “But... you’re helping him Midoriya. Just by being around him. He loves spending time with you. How would dating make it worse?”

 

“He doesn’t like me like that Yaoyorozu,” His blushing went down a little bit with the serious thought, “ Being friends with him is different. I think I’d overwhelm him if I told him how I feel.” 

 

“So you do?” She asked, “Have feelings for him, I mean?” 

 

Izuku bit his lip, “I care a lot about him but it’s just a silly crush. It will go away and we can go back to being just really good friends.”

 

“What if that's not what he wants?” She pursed her lips.

 

“It is,” Izuku sighed and sat up, “I know he doesn’t feel like this for me ok? I can just tell. But it’s fine. It really is, I just like spending time around him.”

 

“And you think he’s pretty.”

 

“And I think he’s pretty,” He muttered in agreement, his face flushing again as he looked down bitterly.

 

Yaoyorozu giggled at his disgruntled face and patted his mess of curls, “Don’t give up yet. I’m sure you won’t be stuck in the friend zone forever. Todoroki is just… really dense sometimes.”

 

Izuku scoffed but let her keep patting his head sympathetically. He didn’t need to be focusing on his pesky feelings while he had a job to do. Yaoyorozu and he had to save Todoroki and he didn’t have any time to bemoan about the unrequited crush. It was silly how easily it got him riled up against him. Crushes were fickle things for Midoriya. He wasn’t sure whether he deeply cared about the person or if he wanted it to be more than friends. With Uraraka, his first real crush, he had thought he liked her and wanted to date her but the feelings sort of came and went. He still thought she was absolutely pretty and some of the things she said to him still flustered him sometimes but he didn’t want to hold her hand anymore or kiss her when she laughed. Izuku had a few more small crushes after that, a little crush on Iida, or Shinsou or even Su, but in the end, he sort of just shrugged it off and realized he didn’t actually want to date them. He would rather laugh and talk with them and there was nothing really pulling him to be in their space or touch them. Izuku just had to realize that all of his friends were unbelievably attractive and that they were all just really friendly. But he didn’t want to date them and he didn’t want to date Todoroki. Ok- maybe he did- but the feeling would pass, it always did. Maybe for a few months, he won’t be able to talk to Todoroki like a normal human being and blush every time he smiles but then it would all go back to normal! Yeah. Just friends. 

 

As if Yaoyorozu could hear his thoughts, she nudged him on the shoulder and leveled him with a glare.  

 

“It’s fine if you don’t have strong feelings for him, Midoriya,” He opened his mouth to object but Yaoyorozu cut him off with a lift of her hand and continued, “Just don’t chase away your feelings for him, ok? I’ve been in that boat before and it’s not enjoyable, trust me. Just… let it develop if it’s going to develop or let it be if it doesn’t. You enjoy being around Todoroki and he enjoys being around you. No pressure.” 

 

He blew out a breath, “Yeah. No pressure,” Izuku laughed nervously and stood up from the bench, “I should probably go set up or something. I think I’m going to pop popcorn or maybe I’ll let him do? Ah! I wonder if he can control his fire enough to make good popcorn? Like without burning any of the kernels. Probably, since he can heat up his coffee in the morning with just his hand. He probably wouldn’t want to heat up the popcorn, would he? I should-”

 

“No, he probably wouldn’t mind, Midoriya,” She smiled at him, amused and Izuku ducked his head in embarrassment again. 

 

They both waved as Izuku headed towards the dorm room and Yaoyorozu stayed on the bench. He took a shaky breath and shook free his tense arms. That… wasn’t that bad actually. Well, the part where he burst into tears and confessed his crush was a bit embarrassing but now he didn’t really feel the need to sob into his pillow. The gravity of the situation still sat heavily on his shoulders but it wasn’t solely on him anymore. If Todoroki confided in Yaoyorozu then maybe Izuku could figure out a way to help him confide in one of the teachers too. He had to.

 

 


 

 

Izuku turned over a pencil in his hands, flipping it over his knuckles and then back over again. He had figured out how to do the simple trick in elementary school and the small habit had persisted throughout the years. Apparently twirling his pencil around his fingers wasn’t as noisy and bothersome as tapping his pencil against his desk. The kids in his class and Bakugou didn’t yell at him for flipping his pencil. Stopping the movement he pressed the tip of the eraser against his mouth. Izuku stared down at his homework but the words blurred under his eyes. Supposedly, he should be doing his English homework from Present Mic but really he was planning the multiple scenarios where everything could go wrong. Although Todoroki could be here any minute, Izuku convinced himself that just staring at the door with anticipation wasn’t going to help his nerves (and it was kind of creepy) so he should try to work on some homework instead. 

 

He had just managed to answer a few questions about the English passage he was reading when a soft knock sounded on the door. Izuku jolted at the sound and scrambled out of his rolly chair. Barely managing to stop himself from running into the wall he held himself up on the edges of the door frame and heaved in a deep breath. 

 

The door swung open, “Todoroki! Hi!”

 

Todoroki stood in the doorway, looking slightly lost with his hand still raised to the door as if he were about to knock again. He lowered his fist and brought it back down to his sides stiffly. Izuku scanned him quickly, eyes catching on the baggy sweatshirt he was wearing that hung low enough that Izuku could see the exposed skin of his shoulder and neck. His hands twitched and Izuku wasn’t sure whether he wanted to reposition the sweatshirt to cover his shoulder or see if the skin there felt as soft as it looked. He tore his eyes away from his shoulder and forced on a painfully bright smile even though his brain could only scream on loop  soft soft soft soft soft. 

 

“Come in!” He ushered in Todoroki who looked like he wasn’t going to move without Midoriya’s assistance, “You don’t need to look so soft-  lost! You don’t need to look so lost!” Dammit, Izuku.

 

Todoroki's face flushed slightly from Izuku’s embarrassing comment but he didn’t respond. Izuku figured he was either too embarrassed to answer or he didn’t know what to say to the almost-compliment-but not. His friend sat on the bed and glanced down at the popcorn bag sitting on his bed. He lifted the bag in the air and inclined his head to the side in an unspoken question. Strands of white and red hair fell into his face when he turned his head to the side and Izuku was sure that if he wasn’t going to die from the embarrassment he might die from how cute Todoroki was.

 

Izuku wanted to reach out and brush his hair away from his face but he brought his hands up to his mouth instead and coughed, “Um- I was wondering if you could pop it?” Really, Izuku should probably sit on his hands at this point just to make sure he didn't accidentally reach out and pet his hair or grab his hand or pull him into a hug. What was with him today? 

 

“Ah,” Todoroki’s face lit up in understanding before falling back to neutral, but his eyebrows lifted slightly, “So you only invite me to hang out to be your personal microwave?”

 

Izuku laughed at Todoroki’s teasing tone and shook his head. Most people wouldn’t be able to pick up on the slight shift in tone but Izuku could tell. This was Todoroki’s teasing voice. His grin broadened at the thought and another set of laughter bubbled out, “You caught me. Does this mean you’ll pop it?”

 

Todoroki’s lips turned up slightly and he glanced down at the bag, “What is this? Kettle corn?” 

 

Izuku nodded and watched as Todoroki’s face turned sour. He laughed again at Todoroki’s expression and asked, “What? You don’t like kettle corn?”

 

“Taste funny.” He narrowed his eyebrows at it accusingly.

 

Izuku protested, “No it doesn't! I like kettle corn.”

 

 “I won't pop kettle corn,” He announced and set the bag down.

 

Izuku tried not to laugh at Todoroki’s serious expression, “But we need the popcorn to watch a movie. It won’t be the same if we have no popcorn.”   

 

He narrowed his eyes at the bag for a few moments making Izuku squirm with anticipation. 

 

Then he huffed out “Menace,” and picked up the bag.

 

Izuku cheered and tried to stop his thumping heart. Really, it was getting annoying how hard it was to breathe around his friend. He was almost convinced that it was anxiety but the pink hue to his cheeks and toothy smile said otherwise. With one hand he snatched up his notebook and with the other, he took out the pen that was stashed in his mess of hair. 

 

“Don’t burn it.” He ordered as he scrawled out a new note on Todoroki’s page. Todoroki scoffed but looked down in concentration. The way his eyes narrowed when he was concentrating on something was almost comical. Izuku bit his lip and forced himself to focus on the bag of popcorn and his notes. 

 

Todoroki's hand glowed underneath the bag and small pops sounded from the kernels. His brow twitched as the popping became more frequent and aggressive and Izuku backed up slightly. 

 

“Uhh...” Izuku started and cut himself off with a yelp as the bag burst with a loud pop and the kernels sprayed from the bag. 

 

He ducked instinctively and a small noise that could only be described as a strange multi-syllable garble of unintelligible words left his mouth. Izuku looked up from where he was covering his face and a few popcorn kernels trickled off his head. Todoroki sat almost stunned with the empty popcorn bag in his hand and blinked twice. 

 

The looks of pure befuddlement made Izuku double over with laughter. 

 

“I thought,” He looked down at the bag, “I had it.” 

 

Izuku cackled some more and clutched his notebook to his chest. He couldn’t help it. Todoroki just took so sure of himself and then so confused when the popcorn bag exploded. He picked up a small popcorn piece and plopped it in his mouth. 

 

“Hey, it’s not that bad.” Izuku munched, “It’s not that burnt.” 

 

Todoroki sighed quietly in defeat and went to pick up the splayed kernels, “But it’s kettle corn. That makes it even worse.”

 

“Hey, don’t insult the kettle corn,” Izuku said picked up the popcorn and tossed it into the bag. His floor was clean. Ish, "This stuff is pure gold."  

 

“Alright!” Izuku announced and pulled his laptop into his lap, “It took me a little bit to find it because Disney literally hordes its movies and charges outrageous prices for them so! I found it on an illegal website that plays it for free and has subtitles and didn’t give my laptop a virus.” 

 

“Wow,” He said, monotoned.

 

Izuku grinned, “I know, I know. A feat in itself.” 

 

Todoroki hummed in response and scooted back to the end of the bed, resting his back against the wall. Izuku tried to shove down the flustered butterflies in his stomach and sat next to him. He placed the laptop on a pillow that sat on top of their legs. 

 

“Ok!” He pressed play and glanced over at Todoroki, “Um, it’s a cartoon though. It’s for kids but it’s really good for a kid movie and it brings back my childhood memories, hahaha.” 

 

Izuku laughed nervously and tried not to be too nostalgic as the movie started up its normal cheery toon. Their shoulders were pressed together and he wondered if Todoroki minded the close contact. He had noticed that his friend wasn’t a very touchy person and practically avoided it. Every time Kaminari or Mina went to go give Todoroki a hug he would always stiffen up and look miserable until he waited for the contact to go away. But… Izuku had touched him before. He had even played with his hair while he slept. It was really nice but he didn’t want to assume anything and make his friend uncomfortable. Izuku lifted his eyes to meet Todoroki's blue and grey ones in an unspoken question of  is this alright?  Todoroki’s thin lips twitched into a small smile and Izuku took that as an ok. He relaxed slightly against the wall but his nerves still hummed with the touch. It was strange, being aware of every point of contact. Izuku didn’t have very much experience with positive physical touch in his life but his friends and Mom gave him hugs and tapped his shoulders more often than not. Izuku wondered if Todoroki’s mom gave him hugs. 

Not anymore.  The bitter thought crossed his mind and Izuku scowled. He wanted to jump up to hug Todoroki when he heard that he had been visiting the hospital and regaining him and his mother's relationship. His smiles had become more frequent and he looked at ease, happy. Izuku thought it probably had to do with his mom. Of course, the visits had been replaced with the worst possible scenario and now Todoroki looked close to breaking down at any given moment. The more shelter and relief Izuku could give him, the better. That was the main reason that he had suggested the movie idea. The thought of Todoroki finding even the tiniest amount of enjoyment in watching the movie with him made Izuku push past his embarrassed feelings and ask him. Even though he did need to find Fuyumi’s contact and maybe he just wanted to spend time with his crush, the main goal was to let Todoroki relax. His classmates had really been stressing him out but Izuku hoped he could feel comfortable around him. 

 

The movie started up and the familiar opening scene of the Beast’s curse and Belle’s opening number rang through the speakers of Izuku's laptop. He hummed along silently and kept stealing glances towards Todoroki as the movie progressed. His face remained emotionless throughout the whole thing but he could tell he was paying attention by the way his eyes lit up when the movie referenced something he recognized from his favorite book. 

 

When the scene of Belle and the Beast in the garden during the winter rolled around Izuku couldn’t hold it in any longer. Even though his voice was horribly off-key he couldn’t help but sing along. 

 

“There’s something sweet!” Todoroki's eyes darted to Izuku in surprise, “and almost kind. But he was mean and he was cruel and unrefined! But now he’s dear and so unsure. I wonder why I didn’t see it there before?” 

 

Todoroki gave an amused half-smile as Izuku sang along to the rest of the song of his childhood. He smiled at the irony of the lyrics and how they actually sort of related to how he saw Todoroki. His classmate had put up a cold and cruel front but really, he was more selfless and awkward. He glanced over in surprise when he heard Todoroki chuckle softly when Belle threw a snowball at the Beast. Izuku grin broadened and he did his best to hide his smile behind the pillow currently squished into his face. This was a good idea. 

 

The movie closed and Izuku looked over to Todoroki when it was finished, an expectant smile on his face. 

 

“I liked it,” Todoroki said. 

 

Izuku asked, “Oh good! What part was your favorite?” 

 

He glanced to the side, “I liked the library part. When he showed her the library.”

 

“Oh yeah, that part is great. I think that's when Belle actually starts to fall in love with the Beast,” Izuku already started pulling up the next movie.

 

“When he started being kind,” Todoroki agreed. 

 

Izuku clicked on the other tab that held the live-action version of Beauty and Beast. It was only 8 and Izuku had finished most of his homework. He assumed Todoroki did as well so he figured it was alright to play another movie. Izuku did mention it earlier so unless Todoroki had opposition to it, he figured it would be fine to watch it. 

 

“I have to go to the bathroom,” Todoroki said and shuffled to get out of the covers.

 

“Oh I can-” He started but Todoroki cut him off.

 

“You can stay here. Pull up the movie. I’ll be quick.” And then he left the room. 

 

Izuku looked down where Todoroki once sat and wondered if he’d come back, “Ah...”

 

He pulled the covers back that they had used so it would be easier for Todoroki to transition back in. As he pulled the blanket back he noticed Todoroki’s phone sitting on the bed. His heart stopped. This was his chance. Picking up the phone with shaking hands he glanced back at the door to make sure it was closed. He said a silent prayer and then swiped up to see if the phone had a passcode. It unlocked without a passcode and Izuku made a metal note to tell his friend to put on a passcode. Izuku let out a shaky breath and searched for his contacts. Snatching his pen from his hair he scribbled down the number of Fuyumi’s found contact. His heart pounded against his ribs and the blood whooshed to his ears as if he were staring down a villain. He capped the lid as he heard the doorknob rattle. Panicked he switched the apps over to the camera and took a picture of himself to make it look like he was just messing around. With a wobbling smile, he took a picture of himself and tossed the phone back onto the bed. Todoroki noticed. 

 

“What are you doing?” He asked and Izuku couldn’t tell if he was annoyed or curious. 

 

“Nothing!” He squeaked and his face turned red like a rising thermometer. 

 

Todoroki opened his mouth to ask a follow-up question but Izuku blurted out, “Let's! Watch the movie! It’s really great. Really great. The actors are phenomenal and it’s way more...Frenchy? Like the talking objects look more. French. Yes. And the music too. It’s more historically accurate. I think.” 

 

“Oh.” Todoroki looked like he was unsure whether to laugh at Izuku flustered state or question him further. Fortunately, he decided to leave it be and saved Izuku from trying to explain why on earth he thought it was a good idea to take a picture of himself on Todoroki’s phone. Uraraka did it to Izuku’s phone all the time. Whenever she got her greedy hands on his smartphone she would take as many weird selfies as she could and sometimes just take a burst of photos capturing nothing. Just to annoy him. But it was nice, he guessed, to have pictures of his best friend. Whenever he looked through his photos it made him smile when he saw a picture of Uraraka making a cringy face. Of course, Izuku had to do it back so they basically started a war of who could fill up the others photos of themselves more. Uraraka had a head start so she was winning. She tried to get Iida to join the funny competition but he was pretty bad at the game, and mostly he just forgot. Maybe Uraraka was to blame for his panicked idea to take a cringy selfie. He forced himself not to think about all of the different reactions Todoroki could have to the picture and focused on the movie. 

 

This time he hummed along but he was too tired to move his lips and sing. After the adrenaline and embarrassment wore off he felt himself drifting closer to sleep. His room was dark and pleasantly warm from Todoroki’s warm heat radiating from his left side. Normally his room was frigid but with Todoroki it was warm. His other side of cold drifted over to Izuku space and balanced out the heat in the room. He wondered and blinked his eyes slowly. He wondered if Todoroki’s temperature was balanced like this when he was content and peaceful. Izuku hoped so. 

 

He felt himself sinking further into Todoroki’s space until he was practically cuddling his left side. If he were more awake he would definitely have been more embarrassed but the Beast was singing Evermore and his bed was warm and soft so he let his eyes rest for just a second. Just for a second. 

 

Chapter Text

Shouto shifted on his pillow and brought it closer to his face, wrapping his arms around it tighter. A soft light glowed behind his shut eyelids while his mind still stayed in the foggy state of sleep. Despite his throbbing aches and wounds, he was comfortable for once. His pillow was soft but also firm and solid. Which didn’t quite make sense in Shoutos’ half-awake mind since he remembered his pillow being thin and light? His legs were wrapped up and twisted in the blanket, also odd, seeing that Shouto didn’t really move when he slept straight on his back. The whole situation was somehow off but it was comfortable, peaceful even. Shouto nuzzled his face into the pillow more and heard a small grunt. In response, his eyes fluttered open and he blinked a few times before shifting his head upwards towards the sound. A freckled neck and a green puff of curls met his gaze and his eyes widened. Shouto blinked a few more times to get the fuzziness out of his eyes and adjusted to his surroundings. His pillow, as it turns out, was really Midoriya’s chest. Midoirya’s chest that he had his arms wrapped around, clinging to him as if his life depended on it. His legs were crisscrossed over his and one of Midoriya's heavy arms was thrown over his shoulders, pulling him even closer. Shouto’s baggy sweatshirt stretched and twisted while he moved in the middle of the night and was pulled down off his shoulder. Midoriya's hand just happened to be placed there, brushing against his bare skin. His fingertips rested gently and touched Shouto’s shoulder but the sensation burned. He didn’t dare move. He didn’t want to move.

The thought was strange and foreign so he tucked it away and focused on Midoriya's turned head. He was sleeping on his back but his face was angled to be just barely visible to Shouto’s view. He could see the slope of his nose and how long his thick eyelashes were from this close. Never before had he been this close to someone, touching so many points of contact. It was strange. Shouto found himself hyper-focusing on Midoriya’s long eyelashes that brushed his freckled cheeks. Were eyelashes supposed to be that long?

As he tilted his head something wet dampened his cheek and he cringed. Shouto was prone to drooling in his sleep and the fact that he had not only fallen asleep on his friend but also drooled on his shirt made his ears glow from embarrassment. With his right side, he tried to regulate the rush of heat that flooded into his face and ears in vain. The sudden temperature drop must have been surprising because Midoriya stirred and his breathing stuttered. Feigning sleep, Shouto hurriedly looked down and snapped his eyes shut.

Midoriya's breath caught and his whole body tensed up in less than a second. Already Shouto missed feeling the even breathing and steady heartbeat on his cheek. Intending to move, Midoriya started shifting to get out of Shouto’s grip. Before he could; however, Shouto tightened his arms around Midoriya's chest.

“Todoroki?”

Shouto grunted, “No.” What he was objecting to was unclear but Shouto couldn’t think of anything else to accurately describe what he wanted.

“Ah…” Midoriya sounded unsure but Shouto really didn’t want to move. He wanted to go back to when he was unaware and sleeping, content with cuddling Midoriya. Fuyumi would never leave him alone if she knew he was cuddling a person. Let alone sleeping in his best friend's arms, his best friend buff arms. He had read and watched Rom-Coms with Fuyumi about cuddling but the prospect never appealed to him. Seeing the characters happy in someone's arms was a nice sentiment but Shouto never really considered that he would have that experience. But Midoriya seemed like he was unsure and uncomfortable seeing how he was struggling to breathe properly. Maybe it wasn’t a friend thing?

After mentally battling with himself he finally released his hold on Midoriya and rolled away slightly. He heard his friend loud exhale and decided he didn’t want to look up and buried his face in the pillow.

“S-sorry! I didn’t mean to fall asleep during the movie! I was going to wake you up but then you looked so tired and I-” He bought the covers up to his face and hid his blushing cheeks behind them.

Shouto shrugged, “I fell asleep first. It’s fine.”

Midoriya opened his mouth to apologize again but paused when Shouto shut his eyes. They stung from the cool air and he burrowed in the covers some more.

Shifting slightly, Midoriya turned to the window and whispered, “It’s still dark. What time is it?” He shifted again and answered himself, “Almost five.”

“You run with All-Might don’t you?” Shouto mumbled, face still smushed into the pillow.

Every morning when Shouto stumbled down for breakfast still in his pajamas he would find Midoriya in his workout clothes, cheeks flushed and sweating slightly. For some reason the image always made Shouto’s stomach twist uncomfortably so he ignored Midoriya until after he showered. The same image popped into his head and Shouto wanted to bang his head against the bed. What was with him today?

“Yeah, at 5 I wake up. I’ve got some time,” He sighed and plopped back down into his bed.

Midoriya's bed was different than Shouto’s. While he had flat, silky covers to allow his temperature to fluctuate easier, Midoriya had heavy, fluffy covers that trapped all of the heat inside while the air bit at his nose. And all his blushing really didn’t help the warmth. Still, Shouto was comfortable and the Midoriya’s bed was softer than his in every way. The mattress was so soft he practically melted into it. He had never really slept anywhere except his own bed. When he was younger he used to sneak into his mother's bedroom and climb up onto her bed. She never was upset when he would wake her up with silent sniffles and whimpers. It was almost if she never slept because Shouto could remember her eyes already open and soft when she lifted him to her side. Her cold slender fingers would brush his bangs back and she would kiss his forehead. They never spoke but sometimes she would whisper ‘Shouto’ into his hair like he was the most precious thing in the world.

“Todoroki?” Midoriya asked, his voice quiet.

He looked up in question and meet Midoriya's bright green eyes. Shouto wondered how his eyes were so intense this early in the morning.

“Are you ok?” Midoriya whispered, “You just looked really sad.”

“I’m-” His voice broke and his eyes stung, “I’m fine.”

Midoriya didn’t say anything, just stared with his neon eyes, looking and looking and looking. Shouto sighed and hated how depressed it sounded. He shouldn’t be sad. He shouldn’t be sad.

“I just…” He found himself saying anyway, “I miss my mom.”

It had been three weeks since he stopped visiting her. Three weeks ago Endeavor replaced his mother with the one thing he hated more than anything: training. His weekly visits with her had opened up a road that he thought he would never walk again. His mother, who he previously thought hated him and was revolted by the sight of him apologized and actively worked to make up for it. Something no one had ever done for him before. For ten years Shouto wouldn’t think to turn to his mother. She was the only person who he truly loved and she had turned her back on him and left him to the wolves. And for those terrible years, he spent his time battling his abandonment and anger and letting his own self-hatred and sadness choke him. Meeting with her in the hospital for the first time didn’t change everything but it was the start of something. Eventually, he opened up and trusted her again. His visits became more like visits instead of mandatory meetings. While it was his own choice stand in front of her hospital door, those first few weeks were more terrifying than staring down a villain. And then… that door didn’t seem so frightening anymore. Sitting on the side of her bed and letting her take his hands in hers was normal, comforting even. While it wasn’t the same as it had been when he was a blissful child, it was almost better. His mother loved him again and he could see her every week, learning new things about her he didn’t know before.

“You… you still can’t see her?”

He said, “He forbade it or whatever. He said he wouldn’t pay for her hospital charges if I came back.”

Midoriya shot up, “He what? He said that?”

Shouto turned his head, avoiding eye contact, “Not explicitly. He just implied that he controlled her payments. Implied that he has the power to take them away. I know my father, Midoriya, he wouldn’t hesitate to cut off all ties with her or move her to a different hospital where I can’t find her. It took Natsou years to find the hospital she was located in. He had to sneak into his office and look at the mail bills to find it.”

A small growl sounded from Midoriya’s throat and Shouto’s eyes flickered up to his narrowed expression. Anger was an expression that Shouto had yet to get used to seeing on Midoriya’s face. His normally upturned lips were pulled thin and tight and his wide eyes narrowed. Shouto harbored his own anger against his father, a constant loathing that boiled under his skin and burned like Endeavors flames. Seeing Midoriya’s anger was different. It was justifying in a way but it also made him slightly nauseous.

“I just- training is fine. I can deal with training. My whole life I’ve dealt with my father's anger but-” He fought off the tears leaping to his eyes. He was angry, dammit, “Don’t take away my mom again.”

The covers around them crinkled as Midoriya shifted closer until they were face to face. Shouto risked a glance at him and saw Midoriya’s furrowed eyebrows and silent determination. He wasn’t going to cry, he wasn’t, but he really wanted to. Why did Midoriya always bring this side out of him? Crying wasn’t a normal occurrence for Shouto. He allowed himself to cry when barely the weight of a pin could knock him off his feet when he was at his worst. In his house, crying wasn’t allowed. Once, once he broke down crying in front of his father during training. He learned very quickly that crying wasn’t an option around him, crying was a weakness and weaknesses were not tolerated. So when Shouto did cry, once every millennium, it was quiet, it was brief and definitely wasn’t often. Nearly crying almost every week was unheard of and emotionally exhausting. And one recurring factor was that Midoriya was present when he started crying. He hoped he wouldn't make a habit out of it.

Contrary to his stiff posture and angry scowl Midoriya whispered gently, “And you can’t... you can’t contact her in any way? She doesn’t have a phone?”

Shouto cleared his throat and pushed down the lump in his throat, “No. No, she doesn’t own a phone. She only has the hospital room number. I think I have it somewhere.”

“Hey!” Midoriya said, “That’s good, right? You can call her. It’s not the same thing of course but- but it’s something.”

Shouto nodded his head in agreement.

“I think it would be really good to talk to your mom. She’s probably worried about you,” His eyes darted up to Shouto’s, “I-I mean, not that I have any right to-to say anything or tell you what to do.”

He said, “I’ll...think about it.”

His smile was tight and sad but it still brought Shouto comfort anyway.

 

 


 

 

 

“Morning, my boy!” All-Might’s voice boomed in the empty park, “How’d you sleep?”

“Good morning!” Midoriya grinned and fought off his blush, “Good. I slept really good.”

All-Might grinned but his smile was not as bright as his signature inspirational smile. Izuku preferred it that way, actually. The more time he spent with All-Might the more he could see his true personality versus his hero persona. Of course, he was still the flamboyant, kind-hearted hero he always admired but there was more. Toshinori was truly more serious and more kind-hearted than he ever could have imagined. His smiles weren’t always big and wide but they always were just as bright. He was able to see All-Might when he felt comfortable enough to be Toshinori in front of him.

Those were the only words they exchanged before they began stretching and jogging. Izuku couldn’t recall when their morning run first started but he knew that he rarely missed a day. Even when he came home exhausted after his internship and school training he would still wake up at the crack of dawn to run with All-Might. Sometimes they mutually took off days when the attacks from Shigaraki and the League of Villains became too much to handle or when Izuku visited the hospital. Recovery Girl would kill him first.

As much as he would have liked staying in bed with Todoroki- with Todoroki jgjgkfkkdjfjfjdkdkl- he wouldn’t trade his morning runs for the world. Even though they didn’t speak as their feet pounded on the pavement, the time spent was what mattered. The sun was barely coming up, giving Izuku more light to glance around at the trees and path as they ran. Clouds hung in the air almost blocking the sun from casting it’s light and the atmosphere hung heavy with on-coming rain. Maybe it would rain while they were running. The thought didn’t bug him since he enjoyed the rain and didn’t mind getting wet, he just hoped it didn’t thunder.

“Oh!” Toshinori startled when a drop landed on his nose and Midoirya laughed at his expression.

Izuku glanced up at the sky and panted, “I hope it doesn’t rain too heavily.”

When they came around to their cooling lap All-Might slowed to a walk, panting. Izuku was breathing heavily too but he always felt a little bit guilty when Toshinori was winded from the fast pace Izuku sometimes subconsciously set. He couldn’t help it really. The faster he ran the more all of his jumbled thoughts spread neatly across his mind and dissolved like butter on warm toast. There were no constant streams of mutters or rattling ideas tripping over themselves to get out of his head. It was clear and his problems left him for a little while.

“How are you, my boy?” Toshinori asked when he caught his breath, “Tell me how your weekend was?”

Creeping thoughts snuck back into his mind once the run was over and the exercise was not keeping the noise at bay. He cringed when Todoroki’s exhausted face popped into his head along with the other millions of concerned notions.

“Ah,” He grasped for a complete thought that didn’t give away his obvious concern for his friend, “W-well we made cookies.”

“Cookies,” All-Might smiled, “I think I heard something like that from Aizawa. Todoroki and Bakugou fought, yes?”

Izuku scratched his head, “I wouldn’t say they fought. They just stared each other down and set off the smoke alarm. Todoroki- he was defending me. It was just a joke but Bakugou chased me around and Todoroki got upset.”

Toshinori's eyes were sad, “Interesting. Does young Todoroki know of your past?”

“N-no. No, he doesn’t. I don’t know why he stood up for me like that. Normally people just hold Bakugou back but he stood in front of me and stared him down.” Partially a lie. Midoriya could put two and two together and see that Todoroki didn’t like bullies or aggressive people. It pulled at his heartstrings a little to think that Todoroki would put himself between Midoriya and a bully. He sure wished that he and Todoroki met as kids.

“Really?” He hummed and glanced over at Midoriya, “Todoroki does seem a little tenser lately. Is he doing alright?”

Izuku swallowed the stone in his throat, “Y-yeah he’s fine. He’s doing great.”

Toshinori was silent for a moment before he placed a firm hand on his shoulder. His hand was so large it covered up his entire shoulder.

“It’s not my place to pry young man,” He said, “But you can tell me if something is amiss. If Todoroki is, in fact, not ok and you’re not ok then that's just fine as well.”

His eyes watered and he bit his lip. Before he could think the words were out of his mouth, “I’m not fine, really and neither is Todoroki but- I’m just a little sad for him right now, that's all.”

Hundreds of emotions boiled down to two sentences that barely covered what he was feeling at all. He panicked for a moment, wondering if he said too much, but then again, he did say that he should drop subtle hints to his teachers. Most of what he said was true, just barely. He told the basic minimum and skimmed over all of the facts All-Might needed to know to do anything. But maybe this would make him more aware of what was happening. Izuku knew that Toshinori couldn’t stop himself from trying to help people, just like him, and the simple response was probably going to eat at him for days. Maybe that was what needed to happen anyway.

“What-“ He began but Izuku shook his head. Toshinori stopped and rephrased his words, “Ahem. I’m sorry to hear that, dear boy.”

He shrugged and bent over to do his stretches. By the time they were finished Toshinori had sent thirteen not-so-subtle glances in his direction. Izuku ignored them and stretched his arms over his head in a final pose and pulled on a bright, extraordinary fake smile.

“I’ll see you in class, All-Might!” He waved and jogged slightly through the sprinkles of rain. The air hung heavy with rain and allowed a few large drops to land on his hairline. The water seeped into his hair and dripped down his face but he hardly noticed it from his sweat.

He pushed open the door to the kitchen and quickly downed a glass of water. Uraraka and Iida greeted him, Uraraka already ready for the day and Iida still in his work out clothes. He ran as well in the morning and sometimes he and All-Might passed him. Their easy smiles and genuine happiness to see him immediately put him at ease.

“Hey guys,” He sighed in relief and pulled out a banana from the fridge. Sometimes Kirishima made a morning protein shake to share but he didn’t look like he was up so Izuku snacked on the fruit.

They both chirped their greetings and Uraraka launched into a rant about the number of inappropriate comments Mount Lady was receiving on the internet. Mostly she was upset with how Mount Lady didn’t seem to mind.

“That is how some heroes build up their reputation,” Izuku commented around his banana, “It's not the best way to gain popularity but that’s how Midnight became so popular. Not saying that all females have to use that route- definitely not- but it is a strategy.”

Uraraka exclaimed, “Exactly! Why does she have to use that to become popular? Why can’t she just use her strength! She’s so strong but all the media captures are how big her butt is.”

Izuku opened his mouth to add on to her comment when Todoroki shuffled into the kitchen and the words dissolved on his throat.

Instead of responding he chirped, “Morning, Todoroki!” and cringed at his eager tone.

When Izuku left that morning on his run he offered to let Todoroki stay and sleep in, but he wasn’t sure whether he actually stayed. Seeing how he was still in his loose sweatshirt and sweatpants he probably came from Izuk’s room. The thought made him blow up in red but he pushed his nervousness to appear semi-normal.
Todoroki met his eyes and looked away just as quickly. The tips of his ears were red and Izuku stared at them. He could blush? Well, his ears could, but how? His body temperature was obviously higher and lower than normal. Was one side of his face more likely to blush more? How come his colder side didn’t prevent him from blushing on that side of his face?

“Good morning, Midoriya,” He said and turned towards the cupboard.

Uraraka and Iida greeted him as well but turned back to their rant quickly. Thankfully Iida started commenting with Uraraka since Izuku could hardly focus on what they were saying. He gulped down another glass of water and then headed back up to his room to grab a change of clothes.

When he got to his room the covers were rumpled and thrown aside. Typical Todoroki. Izuku’s lips tugged up in a smile as he huffed and went to make his bed.




 

 

The class was boring, as per usual. Aside from the aches and bruises along his abdomen and arms, he felt fine. He wished that his uniform wasn’t short-sleeved though, it made it sort of difficult to hide the burn scars. Nothing was new aside from the red skin patches clustered on his forearms. Of course, Bakugou- whom he had actively been avoiding- cornered him after class and demanded to know why he was hurt. Shouto didn’t know why it was a big deal to him. When they were getting their licenses Shouto and he came back bruised all the time and Bakugou could care less if Shouto’s arm was broken or he lost an eye.

“Just tell me where you got the damn bruises.” Bakugou stared him down at his desk and Shouto resisting rolling his eyes.

“None of your business.”

“Look-” Bakugou started.

Todoroki interrupted “At what? Your ego?

His response was almost immediate, “No, your dick you dipshit, god-fucking- did your brains fall out when you got beat up?”

He drawled, “No, but I’m losing brain cells with every word you say.”

“Just tell me who fucking beat you up Icy-hot!” Bakugou’s lip curled, “You’ve been acting fucking weird and getting bruises and shit so it needs to stop.”

Shouto turned away, “You’re delusional. I’m fine.”

Why was is any of his business? Why did he care? Why did any of them care?

“You-” He marched forwards but stopped when Kirishima called his name behind him.

“Baku-bro! Let's head out to lunch! They have tofu today!” He called out from the other side of the room, Midoriya was standing next to him, his eyes flickering with worry. Kirishima's eyes were closed and his smile was overly bright and fake. Todoroki felt like he was being dunked in cold water.

“C’mon man! The line will be too long!” Kirishima called and Bakugou tsked.

Millions of eyes slide over to watch Shouto and he felt their stares as he tried to control his rapid heartbeat. Everyone was suspicious and everyone was starting to notice things. Even though arguing with Bakugou was normal, even Iida stopped to watch the conversation. Eyes, so many eyes trained on him, scrutinizing him. Too many people were starting to give him double glances. Noticing the bags under his eyes and the limp in his step. Even All-Might pulled him aside earlier and asked if he was alright. He was fine! He had slept better than he had in months and the training was hardly as bad as it was last time. He even had Momo to help him cover up his black eye again. His poker face must have a time limit if everyone was seeing through it. Maybe he was losing his touch.

“You’re a shitty liar,” Bakugou sneered and his insides twisted. Bakugou’s words always cut like knives.

Iida and Midoriya were waiting for him by the door but they didn’t ask him any questions as he expected. They just glanced at him with a knowing look and that was honestly worse. They met up with Uraraka and Tsuyu who thankfully brought the subject into a debate that he wasn’t really listening to. Even then Uraraka and Tsuyu sent him subtle glances as if they were trying to decide whether or not to ask if he was alright. Iida’s stares were filled with more suspicion, his dark blue eyes flickering over to him as if he were trying to solve a puzzle. It made Shouto squirm in his seat.

Midoriya was the only one with enough courage and stupidity to voice the question “Are you ok, Todoroki?”

Shouto nodded wordlessly and ate his cold soba. Cold soba was good. Cold soba was reliable. Cold soba didn’t ask difficult questions.

“Todoroki?” Iida started and Todoroki dreaded the question.

“Yes?” Why did he even try?

“If you don’t mind me asking, are you alright? You appear to be distressed.” Iida adjusted his glasses.

Todoroki declared, “Not distressed. I’m fine. Been fine. Thanks for asking.”

“Todoroki, If you are experiencing difficulties you know you can turn to us.” Iida said gently but it just spiked Shoutos irritation even more, “We’re your friends-”

“Actually, I have to go to the restroom.” A terrible excuse, really, but Shouto was running out of options and patience.

Midoriya spoke up, “Todoroki- wait-”

He stood up and picked up his tray, wordlessly. Iida and Midoriya stood up as well while Uraraka and Tsuyu sat stunned and wide-eyed.

“Don’t follow me.” He gritted his teeth and turned the other direction. Midoriya's weak protests could be heard from the table but Shouto tuned them out. Blood whooshed through his ears and his fist clenched by his sides. The tray that he threw onto the counter was slightly misshapen and melted from his left hand.

The bathroom door swung open and hit the wall with enough force to create a dent. Thankfully no one was inside so Shouto allowed himself to slump against the sink. He sucked in gulps of air and tried to control his shaking form. Every word out of Iida’s mouth made him want to throw up, in fact, bile was rising up his throat the more he thought about it. Was he really so transparent? What happened to his cold, untouchable demeanor? He was too soft. His friends and the safety of U.A had made him soft. Endeavor's words rang in his ears and when Shouto looked up and he could see his father’s disappointed scowl in his reflection.

His hands twitched to scratch at the scar on his skin, a permanent reminder of who he belonged to, who he looked like, who he would become. Endeavors copy, Endeavors creation, Endeavors son.

Shouto’s breathing was short and clipped as he crouched down and held his head in his hands. Iida and Midoriya just wanted to help- he knew that- but the very notion sent him spiraling again. There was no possible way for him to help. Midoiriya, Iida, Momo, Bakugou. No one could help him. No matter how much he needed the help-

Shouto shook his head and gripped his hair between his fingers. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic.

No, he didn’t need help- he didn’t need help, he was fine. His friends couldn’t save from his father. There were no shining heroes that would come and sweep him out of dangers way and to safety. He had learned very quickly as a kid that heroes were not like All-Might, or even like Midoriya. Those heroes were rare, one in a million. Heroes like that hardly existed. Most heroes were like his father: selfish, crude, aggressive, prideful. Only satisfying their own desires to push them up the scale of popularity and power. His father was the Number One hero, what the world saw as the most ideal hero. How could he expect to be rescued from the best hero in the world? There was no escaping from that. Midoriya foolishly believed that he could save him, that he could save everyone, but he was no match for Endeavor. As much as he hated the old bastard, there was a reason he ended up on the floor every training session.

The bell rang and Shouto flinched violently where he was slumped against the side of a stall. Reality kicked in and he realized he couldn’t just stay in the bathroom forever and wallow in self-pity. He had snapped at his friends and stormed away like a small child. He couldn’t even be nice to his friends or hide his frustration from them. Shouto wouldn’t be surprised if they were done with all of his shit and decided he was too much to handle. Poor Midoriya was stuck with Shouto clinging to him and giving him his burdens. He saw the way Midoriya looked at him, the way his smile would fade when his worry appeared. Shouto didn’t want to be the cause of that but first, he had to get off this filthy floor.

He took a deep shuddering breath and wiped away the stray tears that had fallen. Destroying all evidence of his breakdown, Shouto splashed his face with water and wiped gently under his eyes to avoid splotches. Tentative footsteps clicked on the bathroom tiles and Shouto turned slowly as if he weren’t a fraying rope.

“Midoriya.”

“Todoroki. Hi.” He looked at him like he wanted to ask if he was alright again but thought better of it.

Shouto turned back to the paper towels and dried his hands. His neutral face, his monotone voice, his steady gaze. The perfect mask that Shouto could use to hide everything. So why was Midoriya still looking at him like he was a distraught mess?

“You.. left pretty quickly back there,” Midoriyia pointed out, “I just wanted to check up on you.”

Shouto sighed, “I’m-”

“I know.” Midoriya quickly cut him off, “I know you're fine. You’ve made that clear.”

Shouto blinked.

“And obviously you look fine.” Midoriya gestured to him and chuckled sarcastically, “But I’m pretty sure that splashing water on your face doesn’t actually take away the redness or make the puffiness go down. Just a tip from someone who cries all the time.”

He tried desperately not to flinch, “I wasn’t crying.”

Lie, lie, lie. All he did was lie. It was as if he couldn’t spit out the truth. It boiled in the back of his throat and tied knots in his tongue.

Midoriya countered, “Right, and I’m All-Might.”

“Might as well be,” Shouto retorted and stepped out of the bathroom.

Midoriya smiled slightly and Shouto forgot how much he missed his true smile. What he would give to make Midoriya smile his brightest cheek-squishing smile, but this small lifting of lips was all he could cause.

“You’re still on that? It’s been a year.” He shook his head and his curls bounced.

Shouto corrected, “A year and a half.”

“You’re not really helping your case,” A bigger smile.

He shrugged, “That just means I’ve had more time to collect evidence.”

“Collect evidence?” Midoriya’s eyes brightened slightly at the banter, “What am I? Your science experiment?”

Shouto hummed, “Maybe. So far my theory has proved to be correct. You are All-Might’s illegitimate child.”

Midoriya looked at him, “First of all: that's not how it works. The scientific method is a whole process- we learned about this, Todoroki. You have to create a hypothesis and then test it with independent and dependent variables. Then you have to make some results and then you have to do it all over again. Multiple times.”

“Who says I haven’t done that already? Multiple times. Hm?” Shouto said.

“Pfft-” Midoriya chuckled and Shouto smiled slightly at his grin and laughter.

This was going to be so much harder than he thought.

 

 


 

 


Shouto nearly fell asleep at his desk during the lecture from boredom but something else was keeping him up. Aizawa was slumped in the corner as usual but his eyes weren’t closed. They were staring at Shouto. Throughout the entire class, his teacher would send small glances over his way and then they would flicker back closed. A shiver crawled up his spine and he tried to fight the grimace from settling on his face.

Sure enough, as soon as the last bell rang Aizawa was already standing and calling out their homework for the day.

“Todoroki.”

Here we go.

“I need to talk to you.”

Shouto nodded and stood, shouldering his bag.

Aizawa stared down at him, face neutral as always and said, “Go ahead Midoriya.”

Behind him, Midoriya startled at the door. He had been waiting for him and Shouto tried to control himself and not send his friend and pleading look. Midoriya couldn’t always cover him. He dragged his eyes away from his worrying friend and to Aizawa’s red-rimmed eyes.

“I don’t want to have this conversation so let’s just get to the point,” He rubbed a hand over his tired face and Shouto swallowed, “You’ve been coming in past curfew for the past few weeks.”

Shouto glued his eyes to the floor. Sheer panic clawed and him and he counted the seconds until Aziawa would let him go.

He sighed, “Do you have a reason you’re late consistently?”

He still didn’t make eye contact and lied, “My family has meetings. Sometimes they go later than normal.”

“I see,” Aizawa said, “And they can’t schedule it earlier?”

Shouto thought about telling his father that he needed to adjust the schedule of their training. He imagined his glowing eyes trained on him and his sneer set into his face. Even if he did tell Endeavor he probably wouldn’t listen to him anyway. Anything Shouto said was considered childish and nonsensical to Endeavor.

“No. My father has a busy schedule,” Shouto said.

“You’re a hardworking student, Todoroki, but this kind of behavior will not be accepted at U.A. It’s considered trespassing on the school grounds if you are not in your dorm by 12. If it happens again I will have no choice but to expel you.”

The whole room temperature dropped. Shouto sucked in a breath and held it as the room gradually got colder. He didn’t look at Aizawa and kept his head down as he stared at his shoes.

Should would be expelled. One more late occurrence and U.A would kick him out for good. The words seemed to echo in his head and Shouto clenched his fist. His whole world was crashing down on top of him and he could do nothing about it. The only home he really had wasn’t as safe as he thought, wasn’t as consistent. If he messed up again the school and all of his friends would say goodbye. Oh, how his father would be furious. He could imagine it now. The brutal punishment for being kicked out of the most prestigious school in the world The harsh comments that would never cease as Endeavor brought it up repetitively. Would he put him in another school? The second best probably, but the amount of pain Shouto would suffer if he did would be intolerable.

He was a trapped mouse in a corner surrounded by wolves. Nothing he could say to Endeavor would change anything- his father would find a way to blame him. He couldn’t tell Aizawa. Everything was at stake and he couldn’t do anything about it.

“Unless that’s not the reason you’re really staying past curfew. Is there another reason besides the family meetings?”

Shouto was breathing heavily. When did he start breathing again? The ground spun underneath his feet but he stood as stiff as a board. His mind screamed at him, two sides battling with one another. One begging him to tell Aziawa the truth and save him from ever seeing Endeavor again. The other screamed at him to stay silent; it was safer, it was less risky. No one but him got hurt if he stayed silent. No one had to know.

In the end, the voice that won was the one that sealed his lips and made him shake his head.

Aizawa sighed again, “That’s what I thought you’d say. Talk to your father about rescheduling the meetings- or better yet, don’t go.”

Aizawa walked out of the classroom and left Todoroki standing, still in shock. Only when he had turned down the hall did Shouto let himself laugh. Small giggles burst from his lips even though Shouto felt like bursting into tears. His breathy chuckles turned louder and he scrubbed at his watering eyes.

“Don’t go,” Shouto quoted and laughed, “As if I have a choice.”

His laughter turned into sniffles and Shouto scrubbed furiously at his eyes trying to stop the strange emotional outburst. His tears froze on one cheek and evaporated on another, his whole body shaking from laughter and terror.

How could this happen? How could he let this happen? Shouto had been so careful. So careful. He knew how to hide and block the world from seeing his trauma. Even from his own sister, he was able to hide his pain and tears. Never had he cried in front of her- not once. And once was the only time he let Endeavor see his tears. Midoriya, stupid, kind, Midoriya saw his tears and even held him when he cried. Irrationally he wanted Midoriya to be here, he wanted him to walk back through the door and hold Shouto in his warm hugs again. But another part of him, the stronger part, forced him to take a steadying breath and wipe away the tears. His emotions were bubbling, brewing in the surface like a warm kettle but he capped them. He put the lid on his emotions and stormed out of the room.

His classmates were all chatting and interacting in the common room so Shouto kept his head down as he hurried by. One or two people called his name but he didn’t stop, his mind was so frazzled he couldn’t even tell who called his name if he tried. The fifth floor. All he had to do was make it to the fifth floor and to his room.

Slamming the door behind him he sunk to the floor and pulled out his phone. Before he knew what he was doing Shouto’s shaking fingers had pulled up the hospital emergency number and dialed it.

“Hello?”

He gasped, “Hello. My mom- she’s in the hospital- can I please talk to her?”

“I’m not sure, sir-“

Shouto choked, “Please. Please let me talk to her. Her name is Rei Todoroki her room number is 360. Please.”

The nurse sighed, “Alright. But not for long, young man.”

The line dialed while he waited and his labored breathing was the only noise in his room. Muffled chatter sound from downstairs and Shouto wanted to plug his ears from the noise.

“Hello?” His mother’s voice sounded quiet and concerned.”

“Mom!” Shouto gripped the phone so hard his knuckles turned white.

She was here. Endeavor hadn’t moved her. She really was here. Just hearing her voice was enough to send Shouto bursting into tears. Even though it had only been three weeks, Shouto felt fear claw at his heart and irrationally whisper in his ear that his mother was never going to return. Endeavor was never going to let him see her and he would lose her all over again.

His mom asked, “Shouto? Shouto what’s wrong?”

“I-I-I,” Shouto tried to spit it out but the words wouldn’t come out fast enough, “I don’t know. I’m sorry- I’m sorry. I just- I didn’t- I don’t-“

“Shouto.” She said and her voice wavered slightly from worry, “Shouto I need you to breathe with me ok? You’re having a panic attack, sweetheart.”

“No, no, no, no,” He whispered and curled into a ball.

Nausea twisted in his stomach and the small bites of cold soba rose up in his throat. His hand trembled as he held the phone to his ear and listened to his mother breathe properly. He didn’t copy her but listening to the soft whooshes of breath through the crackling speaker helped in some way. Shouto didn’t know how much time passed with his Mom simply just breathing and reminding Shouto that she was alive. He was alive. He was breathing. He could breathe.

His head stopped spinning but the knot in his stomach fixed him to stay in his same spot. Although breathing was hard and he sucked in desperate breaths, he could speak now.

Her breathing paused as she spoke, “Better? Or do you want me to keep breathing?”

His voice felt raw, “Better.”

“Ok,” She whispered, “I’m going to ask you some questions, love. Just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, ok?”

Shouto nodded and then realized she couldn’t see him, “Ok.”

“Alright,” She paused, “Are you in danger right now?”

“No.”

“Are you hurt?”

Shouto paused, “No.”

“Is it school?”

“Yes.”

“Ok, did one of your friends say something?”

“Yes.”

“So they said something that caused you to panic?”

“Yes.”

“Was it about… your quirk?”

“No.”

“Endeavor?”

“Y-Yes.”

She inhaled, “Do… they know?”

“Midoriya,” Shouto choked out, “Midoriya and Momo know but nobody else. But everybody's watching me and they’re noticing things and asking things and I don’t know what to do-“

“It’s ok, it’s ok.” She reassured, “So you’re worried that your friends are figuring out… what’s happening…”

“Yes. And Aizawa-Sensei.” Shouto sniffled, “H-he said that if I miss curfew again then he will suspend me. I can’t do that Mom. I can’t leave here. I-“

He choked and traitorous tears streamed down his cheeks, “I miss you. I miss you so much and I can’t visit you because of him. And I’ll get expelled because of him. I hate him.”

His mom sniffled quietly on the other side of the speaker and the sound made Shouto cry harder.

“My sweet, sweet boy,” She whispered, “No one should have to go through what you do.”

He cried and his sobs weren’t silent like they should be.

Mom said, louder, “Shouto, I can’t let him ruin your life. There has to be something to prevent this.”

Shouto sobbed, “There’s not- “

“Yes, sweetheart. There is.” Mom said gently but firmly, “There’s always a way to save someone. I was alone throughout my worst, but I was saved. Even if I hated these hospital walls for years, they always brought me more comfort than the walls of my own home. The nurses, you and Natsou and Fuyumi- you saved me. My life has never been better with you in it, sweetheart. But I’ve already been saved, now it’s your turn.”

His tears were hot and steaming and he would give anything to be able to hug his mom right now. Each of her words cracked at his heart even more and chipped away at the resolve to stay silent.

“You can save yourself Shouto. And I know for a fact that you won’t be alone in doing so,” She said.

Shouto’s voice cracked, “What about you?”

She huffed a bittersweet laugh, “Don’t worry about me and Fuyumi, Shouto. We’ll find a way. You’ve faced the worst for too long now.”

“I don’t- I’m not sure-“ Shouto clenched his teeth.

She reassured, “It’s alright. I know how hard it can be to hear this. You need time. I understand. Just think about it, ok?”

Shouto took a shaky breath, “Ok. Ok, I will.”

“Ok.” She whispered, “I love you, Shouto.”

His voice wavered, “I-I love you too, Mom.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Uh.. guys?” Sero asked and frowned at the doorway where Todoroki took off. 

His face was red and blotchy and his shoulders were slumped as if we were trying to make himself as small as possible. Really, Sero could only see his scowl since his face was covered by his half-and-half hair, but even then he could tell that something was off. Midoriya had called his name and Todoroki didn’t even look up, which, by the way, was extremely unheard of; Todoroki really like Midoriya. The two of them fit together in a strangely odd pairing and Sero always caught Todoroki staring at Midoriya with a look on his face that could only be described as smitten. 

The majority of the class in the common room turned to him as he asked, “What's up with Todoroki?”

Most of the class had been in the common room when Todoroki stormed by. In vain, Bakugou had been trying to drill mathematical equations into Kaminari and Kirishima's brain, loud enough to give everyone a headache. It was around dinner time, and Sato was cooking today so most students who wanted to be fed quality food wandered into the common room, letting the sweet aroma of his cooking twist their stomachs from hunger. On the Tv, a documentary played and Tyusu sat with her wide eyes trained on some aquatic wildlife show. Normally, Todoroki would watch documentaries with her so Tsuyu had called out his name to ask if he wanted to join. When he ignored both Midoriya and Tsuyu it left them sitting stunned and confused. 

“Perhaps he didn’t hear us, kero, ” Tsuyu wondered out loud, sounding crestfallen. 

Uraraka bit her lip and wrung her hands together where she stood behind the couch. Next to her Midoriya had gone quiet and his cheerful eyes were somber and dim, but Sero didn’t blame him- he did just get obviously ignored.

“I don’t know...He seemed upset at lunch today,” Uraraka offered tentatively, “I don’t think he’s feeling the best.”

Iida shifted his glasses up his nose and said in a surprisingly soft tone, “I believe Todoroki is being very stubborn in asking for help in his difficulties. I asked him if he was alright and he dismissed the comment. I don’t want to impose but…”

He fell silent and seemed to be contemplating something. His dark blue eyes flashed with a rare display of sadness and vulnerability, “If Todoroki is hurting and I do nothing to help him... How can I call myself his friend?” 

The class fell silent and Midoriya visibly flinched. Iida and Midoriya shared a glance and Sero watched curiously as some unspoken message was conveyed between them. Everyone seemed to be contemplating something, putting puzzle pieces together, finding loopholes. -Or they were just sitting in confused silence and glancing around the room like Kaminari was. Sero was a close second- he had no clue what was going on.

Hagakure piped up, “C’mon guys! It’s Todoroki! He’s just being his grumpy self and probably having a bad week.”

“More like a bad month,” Bakugou muttered under his breath next to Sero. He raised his eyebrows at Bakugou and glanced over to where Midoriya was sitting, fiddling with his hands. Something was up with the enthusiastic green-haired hero and call it a hunch, but he was pretty sure he knew more about Todoroki’s foul mood then he was letting on.

Iida caught on too and started, “Midoriya, if you have an idea-”

Before he could finish Kirishima butted in, “Hey, Todoroki's probably going through some stuff right now, but do you guys really think it’s the best thing to butt our heads in his shit? I mean, he looked pretty upset coming through here, I think he just wants to be left alone right now.” 

Uraraka said, “Yeah, he didn’t seem too happy when Iida confronted him about it. Maybe we should just let him be for a little bit.”

“Right,” Kirishima nodded, “The best thing we can do for him now is to support him. If he wants to talk about he will come to us. Man doesn’t want to be hounded about what’s bothering him, so let’s just be like extra nice. Extra manly to him.”

Iida frowned but nodded responsibly. Now that Sero thought about it, it made sense. Iida obviously cared about Todoroki as well and had grown closer to him and Midoriya. When all those Nomu and Stain attacked during their internships rumor got around that Iida, Midoriya, and Todoroki were all injured and apart of the attack somehow. Since then they had been a close trio and honestly, it was the first time Sero saw Todoroki interacting with anyone other than Momo and Midoriya. Iida probably had good intentions to help out Todoroki but pushed him a little too much. Iida had been known for being overbearing. 

Midoriya piped up, “Y-yeah. I think that’s the best thing for him right now.”

His voice was small and his shoulders were hunched but Sero could see that determined glint in his eyes from a mile away. He didn’t fully understand Midoriya and what went on inside his wacky brain and Sero didn't want to know. But Midoriya probably was going to do more than ‘just be there for him’ if the look in his eye was anything to go by. It worried Sero a bit if he was being honest. Midoriya's drive was a force that could move mountains. 

Sato walked into the common room holding a bowl of steaming soup. He and Kaminari’s mouth immediately started drooling from the smell. Everyone turned to look at him with gleaming eyes. 

“Well it’s my day to cook and if Todoroki isn't feeling well, then he probably won’t come down for dinner.” He shrugged as he held up the bowl, “Maybe someone could give him some?”

Iida and Midoriya both offered at the same time, “I can do it!” 

While Kirishima and Uraraka both raised their hands to reach for the bowl Iida and Midoriya glanced at each other but didn’t retract their statement. The four seemed to have a stare-off, their determined gazed creating tension thick enough that Sero could feel himself sweating from the pressure. Uraraka looked about ready to tackle anyone who opposed her and Deku’s eyes flashed dangerously- his quirk nearly crackling to life. Iida crossed his ginormous arms in an intimidating pose and Kirishima frowned, the tips of his sharp teeth poking out of his lips. Shifting his gaze between the four of them Sato scratched the back of his head with his free hand, “Uhhh.”

Sero piped up just in case there might be a full-blown war on who would bring Todoroki soup, “I can take it up to him. His dorm is right next to mine and I was planning on going up there anyway to study.”

Kaminari looked at him and squawked, “Study for what?!” 

Sero shrugged (he wasn’t going to study) and took the lukewarm bowl from Sato who handed him the soup without a word. Midoriya practically deflated and Iida cleared his throat.

“The logical choice,” Iida confirmed a bit dejected and Uraraka huffed. Sero felt a little bit bad for his overeager friends but didn’t have time to dwell on it as he quickly walked away. 

He sort of regretted asking the question in the first place. Originally he had just asked out of curiosity and concern but he didn’t really think that his classmates would have a debate about Todoroki's well-being. Everyone had noticed Todoroki had been a little more… edgy than normal but actually confronting the problems was another thing. Sero assumed that he was possibly stressed or upset about something but addressing it in the common room made him think back to every encounter he had had with Todoroki recently. Didn’t Kirishima say something about Todoroki avoiding him? Bakugou has also yelled at Todoroki during lunch too. Huh. Maybe he should pay more attention to his classmate. Todoroki always seemed to be able to hold his own. Looking at him with pity or sympathy didn’t seem right in his mind. The image of Todorokis ice coming at him in a full-blown avalanche was enough to make him shiver. Todoroki was strong. It was foreign to think of him as anything else. 

The elevator chirped his arrival on the fifth floor and Sero stepped out towards his room. The bowl was warm in his hands and he held a single spoon in his other hand. Todoroki's door didn’t have any decorations, simply his name printed in neat handwriting. Sero lifted his hand and hesitated before he knocked softly. 

Silence.

Sero inhaled nervously and moved his face closer to the door. 

“Hey, man, it’s Sero,“ He started, “You don’t have to come out or anything if you don’t want to. I have some soup for you though. Sato made it for ya cause he figured you wouldn’t come down-“

There was a quiet sniffle behind the door and Sero's heart dropped. When Todoroki opened the door Sero eyes darted to his tear-stained cheeks and bloodshot eyes. His whole body held exhaustion but he squared his shoulders and looked Sero in the eye. Todoroki's face was carefully neutral and his eyes seemed to challenge Sero to say something. 

Yup, Todoroki was still scary even when he looked like he just had a mental breakdown.

Sero smiled widely and squinted his eyes to avoid eye contact with him. He held out the bowl of soup and Todoroki stared down at it neutrally- as per usual. 

“Sato made this for you,” Sero said, “Since we thought you’d probably skip dinner. Unless you are coming down-“ 

Something shifted on Todoroki's carefully blank face and Sero blinked and missed it.

“Thank you,” He muttered and took the bowl from his hands. 

This was how it always was with Todoroki and him. His face and persona built up like a ten-foot wall of strength. Everything about Todoroki was a display of power, even the way he carried himself was confident and uncaring. Of course, Sero wasn’t blind and he saw the cluelessness and funny remarks Todoroki said. He knew Todoroki must have more emotions than what he had seen but he had never imagined seeing heartbreak on Todoroki's face. His eyes dropped in dejection and it looked as if his whole world had turned upside down. It made Sero’s stomach twist with unease. On one hand, he never wanted to see Todoroki this sad, ever, because he liked to think they were friends and he cared about him. On another hand, it was almost comforting to see that Todoroki could be this sad, that he was truly more human than anyone saw. Objectively Sero knew Todoroki had more emotions than the neutral blankness he displayed but it was different seeing it in person. 

The silence stretched between them for a few seconds until Todoroki's blank face broke and he sighed. 

“Are you going to ask me ‘if I’m alright’ or not?” 

Sero's grin slipped and he shrugged, “Probably not, it’s not my place to pry, anyway. It doesn't seem like you need to be asked that right now.”

Todorokis eyes were shiny and Sero prayed to god that Todoroki wouldn’t start crying. He had no clue how to comfort a Todoroki- that was Midoriya's job. Fuck, he should have let Midoriya bring the soup up. 

Somehow he needed to bring the mood up so he blurted, “Hey if you want, I’m playing some video games later tonight and you can come. We don’t need to talk or anything but the offer is open if you just wanna chill.”

Todoroki looked at him as if he just sprouted two heads, “Why?” 

Sero balked, “Uhhhh,” Why what? 

“I don’t think you’d want to hang out with me right now. I not…” He elaborated.

Oh, “Well the offer is still open, man. I know what it’s like to get lost in your head sometimes so the company might be nice,” He offered.

The stuff posture in Todoroki’s shoulders slumped in one motion and crumpled in on himself. The stiff intimidation he was pulling off at the begging of the conversation was deflating like sad balloon and leaving him looking empty and vulnerable. 

He murmured, “Thank you for the offer.”

Sero didn’t really expect him to come back out after he gently closed the door behind hum but he hoped that Todoroki knew that when he offered, he meant it. 

 

 

 


 


Overall, Fuyumi Todoroki wouldn’t call herself a naturally calm person. She liked to worry over things that were out of her control- or rather she couldn’t help it. She liked organizing things neatly and orderly so really it was a wonder that Fuyumi was teaching elementary kids with her perfectionist streak. But could you blame her? Everything she had ever done had to be perfect and efficient. The meals she cooked, the dishes she cleaned, the words she spoke (or lack of). If she was perfect and she was silent then she went unnoticed- unpunished. Teaching was different. There was chaos all around her, noise- so much noise, but it was loud in a way that was different than she heard at home. Her house was either silent or angry and when the yelling or whoosh of flames started it still made her tremble. Children were loud but their voices were high pitched and excited; they loved to fill the silence with their chatter and their wonder. How could Fuyumi not love that chaos? 

Fuyumi doubted she would have children of her own but she did love children. And she loved teaching them. It always surprised her how eager her students were to learn- how the world fascinated them. The only child she had interacted with briefly was when Shouto was a toddler and she was a young girl. Touya was her best friend, Natsuo was her annoying brother, but Shouto was her baby brother. When he was allowed to play with her, he was the sweetest boy on the planet and Fuyumi far preferred to play her games with him. Natsuo was loud and he argued with everything she said. Touya was training more often and much more angry lately, but Shouto had big eyes and smiled when they played in the grass outside. Mom would watch them as she danced around in the grass and Shouto trailed after her just as excited about the game they were playing.

“Look, look Shouto!” Fuyumi had exclaimed, “It’s a ladybug!” 

She held the small red bug on her finger and showed it to Shouto. He glared at the little bug in confusion and his eyes went slightly crossed as she held it in front of his nose. She gently placed it on his own finger and giggled at his wondrous look on his face.

“Ladybug,” Shouto said quietly and smiled at the small bug on his finger. 

Fuyumi can’t remember him ever letting go of the ladybug, giggling when it crawled over his finger and cupping it in his hands as if it were precious. 

Shouto was always a gentle spirit but as he grew older she watched as he buried his gentleness and vulnerability under layers of ice, too thick for their father to melt and pick apart. Their father hardened and bruised Shouto’s round, soft face while Fuyumi watched it happen. Fuyumi didn’t know what to do besides be there for Shouto before he went to training and patch him up afterward. 

Shouto didn’t speak about what happened and neither did Fuyumi. It was the unspoken law in their home. Natsuo spoke out to his teachers sometimes but they looked him up and down and found him with no bruises and no evidence to back it up. He even went to the police and they showed up at their door. Fuyumi could remember it clearly. 

They pounded on their huge door and Fuyumi opened it to find two officers staring back at her, an anxious look on their face. For a second Fuyumi hoped desperately that they had found Touya but when they asked for her father her heart dropped. Natsuo, still in high school and Shouto, in middle school, trailed behind their fathers imposing figure curious and apprehensive. As they spoke to their father about the abuse claims Fuyumi silently cheered for her brother's bravery to do what she couldn’t. But it was in vain, there was no proof and the police officers didn’t look hard enough to see Shouto’s limp and flash of fear in his eyes. They didn’t see the scorch marks in the training door and walls that had body-sized dents in them. Endeavor told them they had no evidence or proof to accuse him of such things and the police officers stuttered their way through an apology and made their way back to their car. It was just their luck that they had sent the two worst officers on the planet. 

That was the first time she watched Natsou get hit and Shouto nearly set himself on fire from his anger. 

“Hey,” Shouto had growled and Natsou fought back tears from the sting of the slap. That was the thing with being slapped, Fuyumi had learned, no matter what, they always made you cry, “I think you mistook him for the wrong son.” 

Endeavor kept his fury filled eyes trained on Natsou, “I told you to keep quiet and stay out of my business. But you couldn’t even do that, could you? You’ve never been able to do anything right. It seems you still need to be taught that lesson.” 

Natsuo gritted his teeth, “A lesson? What lesson? If anything you deserve to be taught a lesson. You deserve to be put in jail-“ 

The punch knocked the wind out of Natsou and Fuyumi flinched as if she felt it. His white head of hair was bend covering his face as he fought to breathe again. Fuyumi silently begged Natsou and Shouto to stop talking. Talking didn’t help, it only made Endeavor angrier and when he was angry he lashed out. 

“I will not have my children, especially a quirkless disappointment like you- speaking to me this way. You are privileged to be in this house and you will show me respect for what I have done for you.” Father rose himself taller and his flames increased, making the whole room heat up. He grabbed the collar of Natsou’s shirt and turned his head to force him to look at him as if he were scolding a dog. Natsuo avoided eye contact, his brow sweating from Endeavors heat, “Next time you-“

“It was my fault,” Shouto interrupted, his voice devoid of emotion but Fuyumi saw the fear flicker in his eyes, “I asked Natsou to do it.” 

Natsuo's eyes darted over to him and he shouted, “Shouto-!” 

Fuyumi turned to her baby brother, “No, Shouto-“

“QUIET.” His voice roared and everyone clamped their mouth down and visibly shrank, even Shouto who was used to their father's powerful voice, “I will not hear your pitiful attempts to defend each other. This will not happen again. You stay quiet and you stay out of this. Do you understand?” 

The threat was unspoken but clear, there would be punishments if they did this again. If Natsuo told, if Fuyumi spoke, if Shouto stood up for them again. But maybe she was the only one who was truly afraid of her father because Shouto and Natsou continued to do those things while Fuyumi stayed silent. 

It wasn’t always that way. Sometimes Fuyumi spoke to her father, more recently she had decided she needed to speak more, but how could you break a habit you were drilled to believe half your life? At the sports festival, she watched Shouto’s walls crumble and his flames come back to life. His resolve and ingrained habit had melted away with four simple words. He even smiled, something Fuyumi hadn't seen in years, and she wished she could have been there to jump up and hug him. It was then she realized that if that boy with messy green hair and a loud voice could help Shouto then she could too even with her quiet voice. So she tried to help in the best way she knew how. Helping her family. Fuyumi tried to bond the family back together, she tried organizing dinners, talking to Shouto, talking to her father for the first time in years. And for the first time, he actually responded back and she was making steady progress, trying to plant a little seed of an idea that a happy family is possible. It was working for a while. She grew more confident, Endeavor grew less violent and unpredictable, and Shouto was happier. He would come back to their house and sometimes watch dramas with her until their father got home. And one day he even asked her if he could visit mom. And oh- how things got so much better from there. They even organized a meeting with mom all together and Fuyumi didn't know if she ever stopped laughing and smiling during. She was happy, Shouto was happy. They were all growing closer and her father was calming down. 

And then it all went to shit. Fuyumi messed up. When her father asked her where she was that day she thought she could respond honestly without any consequences, but she was wrong. She had gotten comfortable. She let her guard down around the biggest threat in the room. Telling her father that she had been visiting mom was the worst possible thing she could have done and Shouto, once again, paid the price for it. This time, however, she was going to make it better. Fuyumi was going to open her mouth and she was going to put a stop to this. The only problem was, she had no idea how. Natsuo was her only support and he too had run out of ideas and motivation to throw their father under the bus. Shouto didn’t want help, refused to speak out, and Fuyumi felt as if she were completely and utterly alone. 

Of course, she had always been used to that loneliness, the problem was that her isolation left her with no one to turn to for help. So when Midoriya texted her and asked if she could meet with him to talk about Shouto, Fuyumi felt one single hand being reached out to her. Of course, she agreed and that was how she wound up in a small cafe sitting across Shouto’s most trusted friends. 

Midoriya anxiously fiddled with his hands and Momo stirred her water cup with unease. Fuyumi was no better, finding anywhere to look at besides their faces, hoping they would start the conversation. 

Finally, Fuyumi couldn’t take it anymore, sitting in silence and getting lost in her own head, so she spoke up first, “You wanted to speak about Shouto, yes?” 

They both glanced up and Momo responded, “Yes, thank you for agreeing to meet with us. Normally we wouldn’t go behind Todorokis back to speak to you but...we both know of Todorokis…situation and we were hoping you could fill us in.” 

“Todoroki doesn’t really- well, he just gives us the basics but we need more information if we are going to do something about it,” Midoriya added.

Fuyumi startled, “Do something about it?” 

“Well- well, yes. Todoroki made us both promise not to tell anyone but since you already know we figured we could talk to you.” 

Fuyumi looked down her anxiety crawling through her stomach and up her throat, “But why me? I can’t do anything, I have no idea how to do anything to help him.” 

The fact that these two kids looked at her as if she were the last piece of the puzzle they needed to solve made her insides twist. They had so much faith in her it made her shrink with shame. She wanted to help- she did, but she had no idea where to start. 

Momo's response was sharp and barley controlled anger, “What do you mean you can’t do anything for him? You’re an adult and his sister. You know. You have firsthand evidence.”

Midoriya waved his hands at her, “Momo, wait-“

Momo continued her thin fingers tightening around her glass, “Why didn’t- why don't you tell someone? Why don't you do anything?” 

“I don’t think that’s-“ Midoriya anxiously tried to damage control but Fuyumi cut him off. 

“You’re right,” Fuyumi whispered and looked up. Midoriya stopped and Momo's face narrowed in confusion. 

Fuyumi wrung her hands together and took a deep breath, “I know I should have done something. I know should have told someone. I'm sure if I tired harder... if I were braver or smarter... But.... nobody ever told me that I could. Nobody ever told me I could speak out. Nobody told me how to take care of my two younger brothers all my myself. Nobody told me that there was a universe where my family could be happy, where Shouto could be happy. I could have done something. I should have. I’ve never done enough for Shouto and I should have said something, I know that. But I don’t know how to do any of those things.” 

They both fell silent and the cafe chattered around them sounded far away and distant in her ears. Fuyumi felt hollow and drained; she had never told anyone that before and she didn’t know whether to shrink in shame from her selfishness or be proud of herself for saying her true feelings. 

“Todoroki...” Midoriya asked tentatively, “did… did your father abuse you too?” 

Fuyumi flinched and gripped her hands together. How could he be so blunt? 

“It’s alright if you don’t answer, we’re just trying to see the situation clearer,” Midoriya added. 

She took a deep shuddering breath and tried to blink away the tears, “No. Not as bad.”

The words tasted bittersweet in her mouth. Fuyumi had never said it out loud and even admitting it filled her with dread but also relief. She glanced up and their faces were open and understanding. Mom's face had lost all its rage and Midoriya's eyebrows tightened in empathy. Suddenly Fuyumi was struck with the fact that these were children; children that Shouto trusted and who cared about him enough to ask his sister whether or not she had been abused as well. Children who cared about his well being and were willing to do whatever it took to help him. 

The words tumbled out of her mouth, “Not nearly as bad as Shouto. Only a few times. Only when- only w-when I spoke up.” 

She could remember the first time it happened. Defending Touya. Begging their father not to make him train again because he could barely walk. Her best friend would stumble into their room and hold his bleeding bruises, all Fuyumi got was a slap across the face and a threat to stay back.

"Training," He had said, "Is not for  you." And he made it sound as if Fuyumi had already failed at some unknown test and this was her punishment. 

Touya never cried, so Fuyumi did for him. From a very young age, Fuyumi learned how to patch up burns and treat them. She learned that no matter how hard she tried to quell her tears when she was slapped those few times, it was impossible. Fuyumi wondered if it was impossible for Touya too. For Touya, everything seemed possible. He could do anything and Fuyumi was always left trying to catch up. Something Touya couldn’t do, however, and something she excelled at, was make flower crowns. There was a maid; Izanami who taught her everything, especially how to make those delicate flower crowns. She was their mother's best friend and often Fuyumi would see Izanami teaching Mom how to cook and clean efficiently so Endeavor wouldn’t get upset. He had been disappointed to find out that Mother came from a wealthy household where she never participated in cooking and household chores. Endeavor hated Izanami but she was necessary. Fuyumi learned most things from her and so did her mother. Izanami was there cleaning Touya’s wounds while Mom would stroke his hair and whisper her kind words to him. She was like a second mother to her and the main reason Mom was able to function. 

Izanami had a round face and curls that framed her face in dark locks. She was either smiling humming to herself whenever she worked. She was a burst of bright sunshine in their frigid home and she thawed Moms icing heart. Fuyumi remembered it clearly: her mother packing up their things and speaking in hushed whispers with Izanami. They were going to run away and Izanami was going to quit and help Mom find a job. She remembered holding Shouto’s small hand in hers as he wiped his sleepy eyes and asked where they were going. Fuyumi had no idea but Touya looked relieved and Natsou could barely contain his excitement. Fuyumi had heard them speaking in the laundry room and she knew. She knew how close they were to freedom. More than anything she wanted to leave this house with her family but fate wouldn’t have it that way. Endeavor stopped them, fury written on his face, twisted in a way that Fuyumi had never seen before. Chaos ensued afterward, so much that Fuyumi can barely remember what happened. There were fire and ice everywhere; her mother trying to block Endeavors fire with her own but her power was not as strong as his. Crying and yelling rang in her ears and Izanami tried to call the police. Fuyumi remembers seeing him smack it out of her hands and the phone's glass shattering to pieces. But all Fuyumi really focused on was her mother. Mom was getting hurt and Shouto was sobbing loudly as he watched. Fuyumi ran forward and grabbed her father’s legs before she could think about the consequences.

“Please, dad! Don’t hurt Mom!” Fuyumi cried and clutched his pants with her tiny fists. 

He smacked her aside as if she were a rag doll and her head smashed against the wall. When she woke up Mom was nowhere to be found and every single one of her siblings had bruises and burns. Fuyumi’s head throbbed like it never had before and she had never cried harder then she did that night. 

And then Izanami was gone and she never came back- fired probably, blackmailed out of existence. In her place a zombie of her mother. Bruises and burns welling her eyes shut and shaking hands searching them for wounds. Mom barely functioned after that, her spirit broken. Every day she would call Grandma, beg her to take her back, and then- she was gone and Shouto’s gentle spirit was broken too. Fuyumi tried to stand up for Shouto a few times, but she was silenced by a slap or threat every time. She guessed, that her spirit probably broke after that too. It only took her a few times to learn the lesson. If she spoke up, if she defended her brothers or mother then the result would only be pain and bruises and burns. Maybe if she were brave like Natsou or strong like Shouto or even smart like Touya, things would be different. But Fuyumi was weak and she had lost her voice and given it to the fear that swelled inside her chest

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to speak to you that way. I’m just so worried about him.” Momo spoke up, her eyes down cast and ashamed, “Todoroki has done so much for me. He has helped me, he believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself. I-I have to do something to help him. I couldn’t live with myself if I keep letting him get hurt.” 

Fuyumi glanced up with tears glistening in her eyes that matched Momo's own welling eyes. Midoriya sniffed quietly and swallowed a lump in his throat.

His voice wobbled, “I know you feel like you have no one to turn to for help but- Shouto has so many people who care for him and they all want to help. We want to help. And we can help you too.” 

The sweet child, she no longer needed help for herself; Fuyumi was happy on her own. It was Shouto she was worried about. Fuyumi smiled with what little energy she had and asked, “How?” 

“We have an idea.” Momo spoke up again, “Since Endeavor has such a big reputation we figured the only way people would listen to us if we gave them evidence.”

“Momo created a small recording device with her quirk and we thought you could place it in your home.” Midoriya finished.

Fuyumi furrowed her brow, “I-“

Midoriya said, “I know it sounds horrible but it’s the only option we can come up with. Todoroki- he’s shutting down. He won’t even look at me anymore. Every time I try to get him to tell someone he refuses and he refuses to even get help from Recovery Girl. I just- I just- I’m running out of ideas and Shouto keeps getting more hurt. He can’t keep doing this until he graduates as he has planned. It’s ruining him and he doesn’t see it but everyone else does. I don’t want to break his trust but I have to tell someone. Someone has to help him.” 

His face was turning red from physically holding back tears and finally they spill over and he let out a quiet sob, “It hurts to see him in this much pain and knowing that someone is doing it and I-I-I could stop it.” 

Fuyumi lifted a hand to her mouth and fought back her own sob. 

Midoriya snapped his head up and gasped, “I’m- I'm sorry! I didn’t mean to make you cry-“

“No, no I’m happy,” Fuyumi saw Momo and Midoriya look at her like she was insane, “I just- I’m so happy Shouto has friends like you two. He’s so happy with you and I’ll- I’ll do anything I can to see him happy again.” 

Momo whispered, “So you’ll take it?”

She glanced down at the small device in Momo’s outstretched hands. Fuyumi thought back to all of the good memories she had with Shouto, the ones that are more recent if anything. The fact that he was making an effort to bond with her now, still made her willing to do anything to preserve their relationship. All Fuyumi wanted was a happy family, but maybe she didn’t need one with her father in it. 

Fuyumi wiped away her tears in the back of her palm and held out her hand, “I’ll do it.” 

 

 


 


Thursday was probably the worst day of his life. 

No, Shouto reasoned with himself, You’ve definitely had way worse days. 

Ok, agreeably he had much worse days than this but really it was a typical, horrible day- but worse

He woke up drenched in sweat and yet somehow completely covered in ice. Shouto’s eyes we’re frozen shut and he had to pick off icicles from his eyelashes. The nightmare was still fresh in his mind, fire, it was always fire, but this time he watched helplessly as it devoured his classmates. He hung helplessly in his father's grip, his hair being pulled from his skull as his father forced him to watch the death and decay. And the smell, it was almost close to the real thing. Shouto had screamed himself awake and frozen his entire bed in the process. If his embarrassment, shame, terror, anger, fear and all of the above hadn’t been enough to deal with already, Sero burst through the door in his boxers and with his tape flying. 

“What happened?!” Sero delieriously shouted and aimed his elbows at Shouto’s form. 

Shouto squinted from the light of the hallway and held up a hand. 

“Nothing!” He growled back, “Get out!” 

His voice wasn’t scary enough though, any real heat and fire and was reduced to wobbly fear and distress. 

Sero blinked and seemed to register what was happening, “Oh, wait, dude-“

“I said get out!” Shouto yelled and held his pillow protectively to his chest. His heart jammed in his throat and tears pricked at his still half-glued shut eyes. 

Sero dropped his elbows and seemed to realize there was a time and place to comfort a friend in need and this was not the time. It was time for him to run before Shouto chucked his pillow at him or froze his toes off. 

“Sorry, sorry, I’ll, uh, clean up the tape-“ Sero's voice raised an octave.

“Just get out.” Shouto hated how his voice cracked in defeat.

Sero did leave, looking extremely guilty and uncomfortable. Shouto brushed off his own guilty feeling and focused on himself and his situation for a moment. He stumbled off the crackling bed still frozen with ice and shook off the icicles. It was around 4 in the morning and Shouto, to be blunt, wanted to die as he slowly melted the ice off of his bed. When he was finally done, he only had about twenty minutes before his alarm went off and figured it wasn’t worth it to stumble back into his still slightly damp covers. 

He headed down to the showers only for the faucet to have a pressure problem and insist on screeching at him consistently. Shouto growled at the forming headache and shook his hair with a towel, too exhausted to use any more of his fire this early in the morning. He inspected himself in the mirror and turned to see the bruises on his back. They were healing fairly well and the blisters had scabbed over and no longer needed gauze. Of course, it was just his luck that Midoriya walked into the shower room just as he was done inspecting his wounds. 

His freckled face was flushed red and sweaty- probably from his morning run- and his eyes darted to the bruises on Shouto’s back. Shouto turned away from him before Midoriya could utter a word and pulled on his shirt. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Midoriya swallow uncomfortably and make his way to the showers. Shouto turned and grabbed his bag before heading out of the room. 

Just as he was about to open the door Midoriya called out, “H-hey, Todoroki.” 

Shouto paused in the doorway, his second nature telling him to turn around and greet Midoriya back. His logic rooted him in place and held his tongue. Two sides of him fought, one to leave and one to stay. In the end, he continued on without glancing backward or saying a response. He tried to stifle the unease crawling up his throat and the feeling of two eyes on his back.

Avoiding his problems wasn’t going to get him anywhere he knew, but if he could put off talking to Midoriya for a few more days it would give him time to think. 

The day only got progressively worse with Sero sending him cautious and apologetic looks across the room and Midoriya and him treating each other like the Black Plague. His heart ached in his chest, tired and hurt but he gently encased it with another layer of ice so the throbbing didn’t hurt so much. 

Lunch was torture, Iida asking him questions and trying to pry information out of him. Shouto answered one-word answers and only felt a little guilty when Iida glared at his food in frustration. 

Midoriya drawled, picking at his food, “Don’t bother, Iida. Shouto isn’t talking to anyone. He’s decided to take out his anger on all of us.” 

The words were sharp and Shouto snapped his head up from where he was staring at this cold soba. Midoriya's eyes were cold and challenging when he locked eyes with him and the words on Shouto’s tongue dissolved. 

It wasn’t true. He wasn’t angry at any of them, not really. He had a good reason for ignoring them. -Or maybe it wasn’t so good but Shouto chalked it all up to being overwhelmed. His mind was crowded and spinning, emotionally draining him from any conversation. Shouto didn’t have the energy to explain to Midoriya what was going on, or the patience to answer Iida’s questions or the willpower to assure Sero. After his talk with his Mom, his mind was reeling. It was shocking- to say the least- to hear the person who told him to cry quietly and stay silent for his own safety was now telling him he had to tell someone to be safe again. Everyone he loved had told him to spit it out, to tell someone, to plead for help. But Shouto couldn’t. The words were on the tip of his tongue, ready to spill out of his mouth and into the cafeteria where they sat. Midoriya looked at him expectantly as if he were waiting for Shouto to correct him. Shouto wanted to scream. But he was too tired. 

His brain hurt, his heart hurt, his back hurt, but his thoughts still raced a mile per minute. Should he tell his teachers? Should he tell Aizawa? The thought didn’t seem so outer-worldly anymore but it still absolutely terrified him. It was such a terrifying thought that Shouto wanted to shove it into the back of his mind and lock it in a box. Every time he went to open the idea he felt bombarded on all sides. He needed some time to collect his thoughts. But everyone here wanted him to jump on board with every big change coming his way. First his fire and then this. How was he supposed to pack away years of trauma, years of telling himself to deal with it, stay quiet, wait it out, and then just jump at the opportunity to be saved? It was like waving bait in front of his face, a trap that he knew most certainly would not end well.

In the time where we was ignoring his friends and thinking, he had constructively organized his thoughts together in a list. Shout thought about writing it down because it had taken him so long to decipher the actual reasons why his brain screamed at him and immediately panicked when Midoriya or anyone else wanted him to testify about his abuse. In the end, he simply reflected over the points, repeating them and going over them like a mantra in his head, reminding him of what was at stake.   

  1. The press.

Shouto knew for a fact that the press would crawl over his family like leeches and suck the information out of them. His very real and personal trauma would be broadcasted across the world as a scandal, a piece of drama, the latest scope to the newscast. Shouto would display his most vulnerable parts of himself, his most shameful parts and weakness and let the world eat his story up with some sprinkles and a cherry on top.

  1. All-Might and heroes.

Ever since All-Might's retirement crime rates had skyrocketed. At their internships, Shouto and his peers were constantly fighting crime and villainy. His father barely had enough time to schedule their training every other week (Shouto was grateful for that). Hearing that the number one powerhouse of fighting villainy was an abuser and committed the act of illegal quirk marriage would encourage villains if anything If the League of villain's inspiration hadn’t been enough, this surely would be.

  1. His mother.

Above all his Mothers safety was the most important thing to Shouto. He doubted that Endeavor would hurt her again, but he had power and money to make her life miserable. The threat of cutting off funds to her medical bills and hospitality hung over Shouto like a loose noose around his neck. There was no telling if Endeavor would actually let Mom spiral into mountains of debt and not be able to afford the medicine and treatment she needed to recover, but it was a threat enough to make Shouto clamp his mouth shut and promise to never open it again. Shouto was almost positive that if he didn’t take away her funding then he would definitely move her to a different hospital location- one that would take Shouto years to find. Playing it safe meant that at least he could still talk to his Mom and maybe he could squeeze in secret appointments. 

  1. His father's wrath.

It was cowardly, he knew. But Shouto was still afraid of the bastard. He hated how weak Endeavor made him feel when he pressed the bottom of his boot down into Shoto’s back and told him to get back up again. The anger he directed to his old man wasn’t one hundred percent anger, but fear. How could he not be afraid of the man who had taken away everything he has ever loved and threatened to do the same thing now? Endeavor had practically ordered their family to keep quiet about Shotuo’s abuse and a clear threat wasn’t needed. All of his siblings have had their fair share of his wrath directed towards them. Shouto just had the most experience with it. With that in mind, you would think Shouto would be able to handle his father's intimidation without quaking in fear, but he still cursed his shaking legs every time they trained. Knowing how much something is going to hurt doesn’t stop his fear from telling him in excruciating detail how terrified he is of that pain.   

All of the reasons why he shouldn’t tell anyone are larger than the selfish list he holds to his heart and sometimes whispers to himself at night. These things should be enough to keep the temptation at bay but sometimes, somethings he just can’t help but think about a universe where these four things aren't a threat to him. His mom's advice over the phone didn’t help the quiet voice snuff out if anything it only made it grow in volume.

  1. I would be safe.

It whispers and it sounds strangely like his Mom and feels like her cool hands clasping his. The safety that he felt in Midoriya’s room, watching movies on his laptop and waking up with someone there. The feeling of Momo stroking his cheeks with a soft brush as she covered his bruised eye in makeup for the past week. The solid hand patting his back that Shouto gets from Iida when he is encouraging him on something. Loud movie nights with his class that they all never end up staying awake for the whole thing. Fuyumi's dramas that Shouto watches with her and actually enjoys. The training room at U.A has no scorch marks on the walls (maybe a little bit from Bakugou) and ensures success instead of overexertion. I feel safe here. The voice is quiet but it still makes Shoutos head ring and his heart ache. If only he could stay here forever, or at least be away from there forever. Maybe then he would tell Aizawa. Maybe then it wouldn’t be such a big deal. 

Shouto doesn’t want to stay silent about all of this. If there weren’t so many threats, Shouto wouldn’t hesitate to call out his old man for the bastard he is. But the threats keep him silent and they keep him waiting. Until he turns eighteen. Just until he becomes an adult and then he can have this forever, but in his own apartment and his own agency of choice.

So Midoriya could try to egg him on and make him respond through anger but it wouldn’t work. Midoriya may be stubborn but Shouto had held his own for more years than he could count. Shouto wasn’t angry like Midoriya said he was. He was tired and he had given up. So he bowed his head and ate his food in silence. The rest of the lunch was eaten in silence and Shouto tried to convince himself that it wasn’t his fault, but his self-advocate had never been a very good lawyer. 

They all walked together but Shouto let himself lag behind. Midoriya, stupid, stubborn Midoriya, stopped and waited for him and walked with Shouto the rest of the way back. Shouto made the mistake of glancing up to him only to see his challenging green eyes staring back at him. He glared at him and glanced down. Midoriya was good at this game, whatever he was playing at, but it wasn’t a game for Shouto. It didn’t matter what side of the game he was playing for, he was going to lose anyway. He hated this helpless feeling. It was pathetic but Shouto didn’t know what else to do. This way, no one got hurt except himself, and he could live with that. He could take the blame and the hits. Shouto was practically born to roll with the punches. 

“Wherever you are,” Midoriya said without looking at him, “inside your head right now, just know that I won’t be gone when you come back. I’ll always be here for you, Todoroki. Even if you don’t want my help.” 

Shouto’s neck prickled and he willed himself not to look up at Midoriya. Desperately he wanted to believe it but the more logical part of him knew that people could only be pushed so far before they left you.

Midoriya, at least, deserved an answer so he whispered back, “I… need some time. To think. I just need some time.”

The answer he gave seemed to satisfy Midoirya because he nodded and stepped in front of Shouto to make his way through the door.  

They walked into the classroom and Shouto felt the large shadow of his father towering behind him, a flaming arm raised about to strike him down. Shouto turned and the large statue of the towering man almost seemed to double in height. From the corner of his eye, he could see the red eternal flame and the hardest scowl. How his father got here, he didn’t know but he didn’t have time to think before a hand clamped down on his shoulder. And Shouto was spiraling into panic and jerking away before he had time to process anything.

His father shouldn't be here. He shouldn't be here. Why is he here? Why is he here?

 His father started to yell- his loud voice thunderous and powerful and ice shot out of his arm towards his hellish figure. Shouto instinctively ducked and tensed to brace himself for the hit that was bound to come. He always attacks first. Shout knew for a fact that he would never land the first hit, especially not on a surprise attack like this. He makes the first punch, then you dodge but you’re never fast enough so you have to brace yourself- brace yourself! 

But the hit never came and Shouto froze with his eyes squeezed shut and waiting. When the silence stretched on, Shouto dared a glance up. His father's angry image towering over him blinked away and Shouto watched as All-Might's eyes widened before him. 

All-Might's eyes were blown wide and he said quieter, “I did not mean to startle you, young man. Are you alright?” 

His teacher took several steps back and lowered his hand that seemed to be hovering in the air where his shoulder used to be. Shouto turned and saw the entire class staring at him with shocked expressions. Their wide eyes bored into his and he desperately willed himself to stop shaking. He locked eyes with Midoriya and Shouto was scared because they all saw and what if they start questioning

“I-I,” Shouto swallowed his stutter and exhaled, “I’m fine. Sorry.” 

All-Might didn’t seem to mind his lightly frosted arm and Shouto was glad he didn’t ask for him to melt it. He shuffled to his desk in the back of the room, deliberately ignoring any looks his classmates give him, whether it be from confusion or sympathy or worry. The rest of the class period he put his head in his arms and tried to pry the image of his father's wrath out of his mind and All-Mights shocked and sad expression replaced it. It was almost worse.

His phone buzzed lightly in his pocket and Shouto tentatively pulled it out to read the notification. 

 

Burning  Trash

Shouto. I have work next Saturday so training will be rescheduled for this Friday. Come after school.

Read 12:36

 

Burning Trash

Shouto.

Read 1:24

 

Burning Trash

Shouto answer me.

Read 1:35

 

Shouto did not answer but he wanted to tell his old man to fuck off and leave him alone. In reality, Shouto knew he would go on Friday anyway, but it did nothing to calm his erratic heartbeat and the oncoming panic attack. Friday was tomorrow. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Izuku sat with crossed legs and his notebook resting on his thighs. He frantically scribbled notes down with his left hand as the news rattled off the latest attack. The League of Villains was no doubt the source behind the blue flames that burned down one of Endeavor's Hero Departments. Next to him, Todoroki cringed where he sat on the couch. Izuku paused in his writing to glance up at Todoroki’s tense expression. His lips were pulled tight in a grimace and Izuku wanted to peer inside his head to see what he was thinking. Usually, he was pretty good at reading Todoroki but recently he was a ticking time bomb, ready to explode in an emotional outburst if anyone said the wrong thing. It made Izuku uneasy to see his friend so overwhelmed and stressed. He was walking on eggshells, hoping that whatever he said to him didn’t accidentally trigger anxiety. 

 

When Endeavor showed up on the screen, his red flames burning brighter and angrier, Todoroki’s eyes flashed and he clenched his fists. Izuku’s eyes flickered between his friend and the screen, debating whether he should comfort Todoroki or let him figure out whatever had been conflicting him the past two days. Whatever Todoroki had been ‘thinking’ about had his mouth clamped down and his voice silent. Midoriya had a pretty good idea that it had something to do with Endeavor, that much was obvious. What sparked the sudden emotional outburst- Izuku had no idea. Aizawa must have said something and Izuku would like to think he trusted his teacher to say the right thing, but his homeroom teacher might have unknowingly pushed Todoroki over the edge. He was dying to know what he had said but the stormy look in Todoroki’s eyes kept him from saying anything. He didn’t know how to express his concern without making Todoroki feel like a burden. Pretending not to care wasn’t an option because Izuku did care- he cared very much about Todoroki and all of his friend’s well being. So much so that it made him physically distressed to see his friends hurting. Izuku had an insane amount of empathy and it was probably not the best trait to have considering his career. After talking to Fuyumi he was relieved that she was willing and determined to help him, but coming back to see Todoroki distraught and avoiding him had shaken his confidence. How was he supposed to talk to Todoroki if he wouldn’t even look at him? There was no way to help if Todoroki wanted nothing to do with him. 

 

Friday was better. Todoroki still wasn’t speaking but he was almost hovering around Izuku. Sometimes he would look at Izuku like he had something to say but every time they made eye contact Todoroki would glance away and clench his teeth. Any progress they had on being able to talk to each other was slowly regressing and Izuku- to be honest- was panicked. 

 

He almost chuckled out loud at the thought- when was he not panicking?? Anxiety wrapped around his throat and his hands like vines and made his fragile hands shake with small tremors. The notes he took were left handed and sloppy because the tremors in his right were too jittery to write legibly.   The camera on-screen zoomed in on Endeavors scowl as he spoke gruffly to the camera. Anything he said fell to deaf ears because Izuku was too focused on Todoroki standing up and abruptly leaving the couch. Izuku watched him head outside before he scrambled to change the station and run after him. Was it the best idea to follow his emotionally constipated and currently unstable friend? Probably not, but what else was Izuku going to do? Not follow him? 

 

“Todoroki!” Izuku called out and followed his friend where he turned a corner towards the backside of the building. 

 

Todoroki’s shadowed figure sped up and his hand tightened on his bag he was carrying. Izuku let his power crackle through him and he raced to catch up with Todoroki. If anything Izuku knew he was faster and easily caught up with his brisk pace. He darted in front of him and Todoroki glared at Izuku. 

 

“Why are you following me, Midoriya?” Todoroki sighed and ran a hand down his face. He didn’t bolt so Izuku took that as a good sign.

 

Izuku countered, “Why aren’t you talking to me?”

 

His grey and blue eyes flickered up to meet his and they burned with intensity, “I don’t need to talk to you. I don’t need to tell you anything.”

 

Izuku flinched and narrowed his eyes at his friend. Truthfully, yes, Todoroki didn’t need to tell Izuku anything but he had thought that they had a connection of some sort. Izuku had thought that Todoroki trusted him enough to tell him what was going on. Through some of his hard times, Izuku thought he had made it clear that he would be there for his friend when he needed him. Was it so strange that Izuku was worried, after everything they’ve been through together? Todoroki held his gaze only for a moment before he broke eye contact and his eyes flickered the ground almost guiltily. 

 

Before Izuku could speak up Todoroki remediated, “You shouldn’t concern yourself with that. You shouldn’t care.” 

 

“But I do.” The response was immediate. Of course he cared. 

 

Todoroki growled, his ice climbing up his neck, “Stop then. Stop caring about me. You only get more hurt.”

 

Izuku almost sighed in frustration. They had this conversation before. How many more times did he have to say it? Although, he shouldn’t be surprised; he knew that Todoroki pushed people away. Whether it was from pride or selflessness, Izuku wasn’t sure. He could be hiding his pain as to not inconvenience people or to salvage his pride and reputation. Maybe it was both. 

 

He folded his arms over his chest to appear angry but his words were too soft to be filled with hate, “I can’t be responsible for your pain.”

 

“Responsible? Todoroki, you're not-” Izuku sputtered.

 

“Yes, I am! You’re worried about me,” Todoroki argued, “You think I don’t notice your pitying looks? You think I don’t notice how you don’t smile around me anymore? I can’t be the reason you lose your smile.” 

 

His voice broke at the end and Izuku’s anger spiked. Of course, Todoroki would jump to conclusions and blame himself first. Even though Izuku’s lack of happiness had nothing to do with Todoroki's presence he couldn’t say he was surprised Todoroki's first response was to blame himself. Stupid. 

 

Izuku snapped, “Stop that! You’re not- no! I’m not unhappy around you Todoroki. I’m unhappy about what's happening to you, but it’s not your fault. You're- you’re my friend Todoroki. Yes, I’m worried about you but that's not causing me pain. It kills me that I can’t help you but that’s not- that's not your responsibility. I just want to help. I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to see you in pain and I only want you to be happy.”

 

Todoroki glared at the ground and Izuku took another step closer until he could see the ridges of Todoroki’s scar, “Don’t push me away. Losing you would cause me more pain.”

 

Izuku blushed at his own words but he didn’t falter or regret them. Todoroki needed to know that he was valued. Yes, worrying about his safety had caused Izuku immense anxiety but that anxiety and hurt would increase ten-fold if Todoroki started avoiding him. He’d worry even more! It made Izuku boil with rage at the thought that Todoroki blamed himself for Izuku’s sadness and not the source of it. Todoroki didn’t look at him in the eyes but he nodded once, either too stunned or too tired to argue. Maybe he figured that nothing would change Izuku’s mind- definitely not with the no-nonsense tone he used. 

 

Izuku bit his lip and said, “Let’s just go back inside, ok?”

 

Abruptly, Todoroki backed up and shook his head, “Todoroki? What is it?”

 

“I can’t go back inside. I have to leave,” His voice was monotonous but Izuku could hear the slight tremor. 

 

Izuku felt like he was being dunked in ice water. He sucked in a breath and looked up to Todoroki’s face in alarm, “No, but I thought-”

 

“He rescheduled.” Todoroki shrugged and tried to appear nonchalant, “He has a meeting next Saturday to investigate the fires. Apparently, they are calling in a specialist to help the investigation and they are going to be here next Saturday. This Friday is the only day the agency gave him off.”

 

“Don’t go,” Izuku blurted and Todoroki’s eyes darted over to his, “You don’t have to go. You shouldn’t. Iida- he knows you’re going past curfew and he probably would tell Aziawa and-”

 

“He knows,” Todoroki said.

 

“H-huh?” 

 

He sighed, “Aizawa knows I’m sneaking in past curfew. He told me that if I did it again I risk suspension.”

 

Izuku balked, “He said that?”

 

Todoroki nodded and Izuku face gradually flushed from his anger, “He told you. That he would suspend you. For staying past curfew. Even though he clearly   knows something is-”

 

Todoroki flinched as Izuku groaned into his hands, “Why would he do that? Is that why you were so upset the other day?”

 

“...Part of the reason, yes,” Todoroki admitted and looked uncomfortable watching Izuku struggle to control his anger. 

 

Todoroki spoke, “Do you… think he would actually suspend me if I went?”

 

Izuku retorted, “Not if you told the truth, no.”

 

Guilt made him cringe when Todoroki flinched and furrowed his eyebrows, “I can’t do that. I told you why I can’t do that.”

 

“I’m sorry- I just-” Izuku made frustrated noises into his hands again.

 

 “I know I should…” Izuku’s head snapped up and looked at Todoroki with wide eyes as he spoke, “But there are too many cons. The only person that would benefit from me telling someone is... me.”

 

Izuku could nearly cry in frustration, “Yes! And you’re important! You deserve to be safe, Todoroki. You have to tell someone. You have to tell Aizawa. He can do something. You don’t even have to say anything, I can say it for you, I-”

 

“No!” Todoroki yelled, his voice bouncing off the walls, “Don’t you understand? I can’t risk her safety. If I told Aziawa it would ruin Endeavor’s reputation. He would never forgive me. And I wouldn’t care about that if he didn’t have anything to threaten me with, but he does. I don’t have enough money to pay for my mom and Fuyumi and I are trying but it’s not enough.”

 

Izuku swallowed and took a step back, “Other people can help you pay.”

 

He shook his head and Izuku felt his determination flop at Todoroki’s stubborn expression, “I can’t ask that of anyone.”

 

He stared at him and Izuku willed Todoroki to understand. Some people could help, they wanted to help. Why couldn’t he see that? Why couldn’t he see the support around him? Todoroki had spent so much time alone, so many years of telling himself that he never needed friends or help that when he actually needed help he pushed them away. It made Izuku want to scream in frustration because he understood. He knew what it felt like to be alone and needing help- only to have no one offer it. That was why he had to help. That was why he had to let Todoroki know that he could be saved because Izuku had been. All-Might had saved him. And Todoroki deserved to be saved too. 

 

Izuku reached forwards and gently grasped Todoroki’s wrist. His bright eyes flickered down to Izuku’s fingers and back up to his face. Even though he knew Todoroki didn’t like to be touched, he couldn’t bring himself to pull away. If he let go then Todoroki would leave.

 

“Stay,” Izuku didn’t care if he sounded pathetic, “Stay here. Where you’re safe.”

 

I can protect you here , Izuku thought. 

 

Todoroki’s face crumpled and he looked torn, “I can’t.”

 

Izuku leaned forward and placed his forehead on Todroki’s chest. It wasn’t quite a hug but it felt more charged than any contact Izuku had ever had with Todoroki. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to ignore the buzzing he felt at every point of contact. Izuku was aware of how close they were standing, how they were touching and how risky it was for him to initiate it. But he didn’t let go of his wrist and he didn’t move. Todoroki’s breath stuttered and he wasn’t sure if he was trying to hold back tears or not. Tentatively, Todoroki placed a hand on Izuku’s head and his cool fingers chilled his hair. They stood silently for a moment and Izuku wished that they could stay like this forever. Then Todoroki wouldn’t have to go to the one place Izuku never wanted him to set foot in again.

 

“Midoriya,” Todoroki murmured and slowly pushed him away.

 

Izuku was tempted to hold tighter and refuse but when he looked up Todoroki’s eyes were sad and dejected. He released his wrist and Todoroki took a large step backward as if to validate his discomfort. His fingers rubbed the spot where Izuku had gently grabbed his wrist. The close contact must have made him uncomfortable, Izuku realized, and tried not to be hurt but the stinging in his eyes said otherwise. They had hugged before and, dare he say,  cuddled but that was subconsciously while they were asleep. Now with clear heads and eyes Todoroki was aware and uncomfortable with the contact. Taking a shaking breath Todoroki straightened the straps on his bag and turned around, heading towards U.A’s gates. Izuku watched him go.  

 

Izuku dropped his hovering hands and let them hang by his side. Even if Izuku dragged Todoroki back and locked him in his room, Todoroki would still find a way to go back. Not that he wanted to- Izuku knew Todoroki hated his old man, but his love for his mom and his fear was stronger. Was it courageous or cowardly to listen to his father and face him down? Izuku didn’t think he could answer the question because he didn’t know what he would do in his position. He thought about it for a minute, what it would be like to have is own mother abused so badly she had to be placed in a hospital. What it would be like to feel unsafe even in his own home. For his mom, he would be willing to endure anything and the notion that Todoroki would as well both sparked both admiration and fear. Endeavor would hurt Todoroki, there was no doubt, but how far would he go? Izuku thought about how Todoroki stumbled through the door, the heartbroken expression on his face and the exhausted slope of his shoulders. It wasn’t uncommon to see his friends bruises and battered but they always came back from a fight normally exhausted, but relieved. Izuku had seen what Todoroki looked like after he returned from a hero fight. Exhausted yes, but proud of the help he was able to give. This was different. Everything about Todoroki screamed broken and hurt when he came back from Endeavors training. Todoroki claimed he was used to it, but Izuku doubted the notion ever made the pain of the situation go away. 

 

He shuffled his feet forward and forced himself to walk back towards the building when all he wanted to do was chase after Todoroki. After trying so hard to convince him to stay, even begging him, Izuku felt drained. His cup had been emptied to the very last drop. He gave and he gave and he gave but it just wasn’t enough. He had given up the last drop of his water and it still hadn’t been enough to help Todoroki.

Rapid footsteps clicked on the pavement and Izuku snapped his eyes towards the source. Two bright flashes of red sparked in his peripheral vision and Izuku barely had a second to power up One for All before someone was charging at him. 

 

“DEKU!!” Two hands shot out and grasped his shoulders. A high-pitched scream tore from his throat involuntarily and he swung his leg up to smack whatever attacked him, though he had a pretty good idea who it was. His knee hit them with a solid thwack and they grunted at the force behind the kick.

 

When he glanced up, he saw a head full of spikey blond hair and an angry scowl, “Deku! What the fuck!”

 

Izuku squealed and backpedaled five feet, “What the fuck me ?? What the fuck you !! Why did you attack me like that?”

 

Kacchan leaped forward and Izuku tried to stop himself from yelling. His sparking palms pushed on Izuku’s shoulders again and he pushed him flat on the ground. With his feet, Izuku kicked Bakugou off of him and sent him flying over his head. Of course, Kacchan landed on his feet and Izuku only had a few seconds before he was back at him again.

 

“Why are we fighting??” Izuku yelled in between blocking the punches being thrown his way.

 

Kacchan snarled, “You’re late to training! I’m here to drag your sorry ass back to the training room so I can kick your ass again!”

 

“You could have just asked!” Izuku grunted and swiped a leg under Bakugou’s feet.

 

Kacchan kept ranting as if he hadn’t heard him, “But no! You had to be kissing up to your emo boyfriend instead of focusing on your hero's work! You’re never gonna surpass me if you keep this up!” 

 

“Kissing??” Izuku stumbled and Kacchan nicked his jaw, “Boyfriend??”



He swung another punch, no longer using his quirk thankfully, and retorted, “Icy-Hot, you dumb bastard! You think I’m blind?”



Izuku struggled through his stuttering and blocking punches and kicks, “T-that’s not- d-definitely not boyfriends, Kacchan!” 

 

Kacchan took a few steps back and scoffed, “Right, he told you his whole life story because you’re friends .” 



The fighting stopped and Izuku dropped his fists in shock, “Y-you know about that? How? Were you- were you there ? Were you listening to us?”

 

“You two were my next competitors! You went off to go make a plan to beat me, for all I knew! How was I supposed to know Half-n-Half was gonna spill his whole sob-story?” Bakugou retorted but his eyes were downcast and narrowed. Guilty. 

 

“So you knew this whole time, and you didn’t say anything?” Izuku clenched his teeth.

 

It made so much sense. Bakugou had heard their conversation. There Todoroki had also asked about his relation to Allmight. “Are you All-Might's secret lovechild or something?” Todoroki had asked, much to Izuku’s surprise, before he had retold his tragic past. Which Izuku had stupidly assumed was no longer going on after the sports festival. Todoroki had never specifically mentioned abuse, only retelling his mother’s trauma and the way Todoroki had been labeled his father's property and creation to defeat All-Might. What that meant- Todoroki had left out but Izuku should have assumed it entailed abuse. It was easy to forgot about Todoroki's traumatic childhood when he was laughing and smiling with his classmates daily. It was easy to ignore when he wasn't staring at Todoroki's cold, blank face.  

 

Bakugou's eyes flashed, “I tried! Icy-hot didn’t answer the fucking question. God-fuck I didn’t think it was still going on. I didn’t care about his sob story, I just wanted to win. But now he’s being all angsty and shit. Acting like someone killed his dog or something. And you’ve been weird as fuck too. Somethings going on and I want answers.” 

 

He bristled and met his eyes, “That’s not for me to tell. Sorry.”

 

“Bullshit,” Bakugou stalked forward and grabbed his collar, “You can’t lie to me and you know it. You’ve never been able to keep a secret.”

 

Images of sparks dancing off his palms, waiting to strike, flashed through his mind. And Izuku was fourteen years old again, sitting on the dirty school tile with a bloody nose. It was a curse that Kacchan could read him like nobody else. His bully knew his weakness inside and out and wouldn’t hesitate to drag them out and dangle them in front of his nose. His burned and soggy notebook could testify to that. 

 

Izuku shoved Bakugou backward, “Shut up, Kacchan. I’m not going to training so just leave me alone!” 

 

Normally Izuku would avoid fighting back with Kaccahn but today the memories were too close to the front of his mind and the smell of smoke made his eyes water. When Izuku had moments like this he would save it for his room where he could cry without judgment. Tonight he just felt angry. 

 

“Tell me what’s going on. Why you acting like somebody fucking died?” 

 

Izuku threw his hands up, “Why do you care? Why is it so important for you to know?”

 

Kacchan snarled and shoved his hands in his pockets as he glared at the ground. His shoulders were hunched and he ground his teeth together. Something was bothering him and it was deeper than just curiosity. Todoroki and Bakugou had retaken their license exam together and Todoroki claimed they were friends multiple times. They had an odd relationship where Kacchan either acted civil towards Todoroki, almost friendly- for Bakugou- and then there were other times where he and Todoroki had a stare off in the kitchen and almost set off the fire alarm. To say the least, their relationship confused Izuku, but if this conversation was any indication he might say that Kacchan was even concerned for Todoroki. Maybe Todoroki wasn’t out of his mind when he insisted that they were friends. 

 

“It’s not important! I just wanna know why the Half-n-Half bastard is slacking off! If he keeps letting himself get hurt like that, he's gonna fall behind,” Bakugou tch-ed and turned his head, “And he’s not that slick about hiding the bruises. Everyone knows he still has a bruise under his makeup. It’s the wrong color for his skin.”  

 

Izuku blanched, “H-hey-”

 

Bakugou kept talking, “And I know you didn’t give him the bruise. You’re too soft to hurt a hair on his pretty head.”

 

“I didn’t hurt him,” Izuku admitted and felt a small weight lifted from his chest at the small truth.

 

“I know that, idiot. Then who did, hah? I know he told you!” Kacchan hissed. 

 

Izuku tried, “I can’t-”

 

“Yes, you can! If you can blabber All-Mights biggest secret you can tell me who keeps hurting Todoroki,” Bakugou’s words felt like bullets ripping his skin open, “Was it his old man or not?”

 

Izuku’s eyes flickered up but he didn’t bother confirming or denying it. Kacchan knew already. The promise he made to Todoroki hadn’t technically been broken but Izuku was pretty sure Todoroki would classify this as a betrayal if he found out. 

 

Bakugou stared at his green eyes for a minute before he muttered, “Fuck. I didn’t think- fuck . His old man really…? The number two hero- That jackass.”

 

Izuku felt a flash of anger and spit venom out of his mouth, “You’re one to talk.”

 

Kaccahn flinched and Izuku wanted to replay the look of guilt on his face to prove it was real. Izuku regretted the words as soon as he said them but he had to know- He had to know why he thought they way Endeavor treated Todoroki was any different from the way Bakugou treated him. It wasn’t to the same degree, of course, but Izuku could still feel the sting on his shoulder where Kacchan's sparks burned through his middle school uniform. He still had the burn scar. 

 

“Hey.” His voice was iron, “I know I did some messed up shit but I didn’t- I-”

 

His words were choked and cut off and Izuku’s anger melted away. This was the first time Kacchan had ever admitted to his face that what he did to Izuku was wrong- even if indirectly. For so long Izuku convinced himself that Kaccahn didn’t even know what he did to Izuku was wrong. If he knew then why did he keep treating him this way? But gradually Bakugou was starting to treat Izuku like an actual human being and a real rival. Gradually Izuku was less scared of Bakugou and might even say he enjoyed their banter and sparing. Hope was a cruel thing and Izuku always wanted Bakugou to apologize. To hear that he even knew that what he did to Izuku was wrong sparked that cruel hope in his chest. It was no apology speech but it was more than Kaccahn had ever given him. Seeing Kacchan almost distraught trying to find some validation for what he did and not finding any, almost made Izuku want to reassure him. But he didn’t. 

 

Instead, he cut him off before he got too wound up trying to defend himself that he got lost in his own head, “What are you going to do about it?”

 

“What?” Kacchan's red eyes flickered up.

 

“Now you know. What are you going to do about it?” Izuku clarified and felt his limbs sink lower from exhaustion.

 

Kacchan said, “More than whine and beg for him ‘not to go’ that's for sure. Is that seriously your best plan?”

 

Izuku glanced to the side, embarrassed Kaccahn had seen him hugging Todoroki. When Izuku didn’t show up to practice he must have gone hunting for Deku and found him talking with Todoroki. Kacchan had apparently been eavesdropping on their conversation and Izuku was starting to see an unfortunate pattern. 

 

“N-No, Momo and I have a plan. She made a recording device and Todoroki's sister is going to put it in the training room.” 

 

Kaccahn’s eyes widened slightly, “You’re going to get a recording of Todoroki getting the shit beat outta him? Why the fuck-“

 

“I know!” Izuku racked his hands through his hair, “I know it sounds terrible! There’s no other way to prove it. Endeavor has too many supporters and if we had that evidence we could prove it. We are only planning on showing Aizawa-sensei and he can decide what to do with it from there. Todoroki refuses to tell anyone- if he did we wouldn’t have to go this far but it just keeps getting worse.” 

 

“Of course you’d come up with something as terrible as that,” Kacchan said, “At least you have a plan, even if it’s a fucking terrible one.” 

 

Izuku threw up his hands, “Then what do you suggest?” 

 

“Give me a minute, stupid Deku! I just found out about all this while you’ve had a whole month to come up with whatever.” 

 

Izuku rubbed his sore jaw and brushed himself off. Normally Kacchan and he train on Friday evening so he shouldn’t be surprised he tracked down Izuku. Slacking off wasn’t an option for him and normally Izuku wouldn’t even consider skipping training even if he was bone tired. Today, however, his brain had been scattered and there had been a sense of impending doom hanging over him. There was no way he’d muster up the energy to train with Bakugou now and be able to wait for Todoroki when he came back. With that thought in mind, Izuku started heading towards the dorms, Kacchan tch-ing at him but following as well. 

 

“Why’s the fucker so stupid? He needs to man up and tell someone.” 

 

Izuku shrugged his shoulders uselessly, “He’s determined to wait it out until graduation. He needs enough money to take care of his mom too.” 

 

Bakugou asked, “Tch. Blackmail?” 

 

“Blackmail.” Izuku agreed. 

 

His head felt heavy on his shoulders and all he wanted to do was collapse in his bed. Instead, he trudged up to his room to grab his homework and then headed back down to the couch. All the while Bakugou followed him looking more and more irritated by the second. Izuku settled down on the couch, closed his eyes, and heaved a big sigh. 

 

Bakugou crossed his arms and stood in front of Izuku's slumped form, “So that’s it? We’re just gonna wait for him to come back?”

 

“What else can I do?” Izuku asked forlornly. 

 

Kacchan grumbled next to him and sat down because he didn’t have an answer either.




 



The house was completely silent as Shouto stood in front of his father. His flames made sweat trickle down his forehead even from standing a few feet away from him. Shouto placed his bag next to the door and tried to ignore the feeling of Endeavor's intense eyes on his back. 

 

Neither of them made a sound and Shouto was tempted to roll his eyes. This was the worst part. Waiting for his father to decide when he wanted to force him into the training room made his heart jackrabbit against his ribs and the dread pile with each passing second. Back when Shouto lived in his house training was simple. Any time Endeavor was home and not preoccupied with hero work he would call Shouto to the training room and they would spar until Shouto would inevitably disappoint him. Sometimes training would be easy like practicing his form and keeping up his physique with running or exercise. Other times when Shouto- or anyone really- had done something to upset him, they would spar. Depending on how well Shouto performed during training would determine how frequent and how extreme they would train. If Shouto fought worse-than-normal the next training season would most likely drag on for a few days and the difficulty level would increase. If Shouto did well Endeavor would hold off sparing for a little while.

This new arrangement was almost the worst. Every other week they would spar and Endeavor held the mindset that a week was plenty enough time to recover. Technically speaking, it should be, considering that Shouto had endured much worse and sparred off of little to no energy. But after taking a break from his father's intense training it was harder to fall back into his automatic schedule. Everyone in his class giving him a pitying, concerned glances made it worse as well. They hadn’t noticed before why did they notice now? It made no sense that it was almost a bigger deal now that training was a regular occurrence again. 

 

In middle school, during Shouto’s “rebellious stage” Endeavor had trained him to the point of extreme overexertion. Shouto had the bad habit of talking back to Endeavor's comments and they were not well received. He could remember being filled with so much rage and hate for Endeavor that he almost looked forward to this sparring lessons so he could take out his anger on the source of it. But Shouto was tired and he had let go of his hatred when he met with his mother. He had better things to do than waste a second of his time on the man who made his life miserable. The anger was still there, no matter how hard he tried to stifle it. He still could hear his father's voice when he was pushing himself in his school training. It boiled underneath his skin and drove him to be better, stronger, tougher. No matter how far away he pushed it the anger and trauma were just under another layer of paint on the walls of his mind. 

 

Endeavor stood taller and opened his mouth to speak. Shouto braced himself for the dreaded words and carefully masked his face. Just at the moment, the doorknob jostled and the door creaked open.

 

“Hello!” Fuyumi called and breathed in relief when she saw them both standing, “Oh perfect! I brought take-out dinner because I assumed you both haven’t eaten yet. Have you? I was thinking we could all have a small family dinner.” 

 

Endeavor grunted, “No, I haven’t eaten dinner yet. What is it?” 

 

He glared down at the bag of take out, judging the cheap paper bag. Fuyumi rattled off a restaurant name but Shouto was too shocked to catch it. How did she know he was training tonight? Fuyumi tried to come back whenever Shouto returned so she could to patch up his wounds and safely return him to U.A as if she were escorting one of her small students who needed help. Even if Shouto grouched about her babying him he couldn’t help but sigh in relief at the sight of her. It didn’t make sense that she could have known that training was rescheduled but the fact that she was hear lifted a small burden off his shoulders. 

 

She ushered them to the extravagant table and pulled out dishes and plates to place the take-out on. After opening multiple cupboards and rustling around in the kitchen for a few  long minutes she came back with a bright smile on her face. Endeavor sat at the head while Shouto took his designated seat on the side, furthest from Endeavor. Fuyumi sat next to him and started rattling off questions to ask Shouto. He answered them politely but couldn’t muster a genuine answer. The twisting in his stomach prevented him from enjoying the noodles on his plate but he did take tentative bites. Fuyumi switched speaking to Endeavor and him and frequently fired questions back and forth between them. Shouto wasn't sure he’s ever heard her talk this much. When Shouto drained his water anxiously she immediately shot up and offered to fill it back up for him. Refilling his cup took longer than necessary and Shouto realized with a startle that Fuyumi was stalling for him. Dragging out the painfully slow process before he was inevitable pulled to the training room. It was a nice sentiment that Fuyumi believed she could waste time and get Shouto out of training but he knew that he would not leave until he had more  bruises and aches than when he came. A painfully slow hour passed by before Fuyumi ran out of questions and things to say about her entertaining students. 

 

“Shouto, we should start training. I’m curious to see if you incorporated any of the techniques I suggested into your training at U.A.” Endeavor spoke up and Shouto nearly froze his entire cup of water. 

 

Fuyumi said, “I-It’s getting kind of late, don’t you think? Shouto has to get back before curfew.” 

 

“He’s done it before and it hasn’t been a problem. If his teachers have an issue with it they can take it up with me.” Endeavor answered and stood from the table. 

 

“Come, Shouto,” He said and Shouto felt as if he were tugging at a leash attached to his neck, “We wouldn’t want to be late, as your sister suggested.” 

 

Shouto swallowed and pushed down his angry comments. Slowly, he stood and pushed his chair back with his legs. Fuyumi's arm shot out and gripped Shouto’s hand.

 

“I don’t think this is necessary.” Her voice was quiet but it didn’t waver, “Shouto is a strong participant in his class. He doesn’t need extra training.” 

 

Endeavor's eyes flashed, “I think I’ll be the judge of that, seeing that I am his father.” 

 

Fuyumi, much to Shouto’s surprise, spoke up again, “If you saw how well Shouto is doing at school you would see that he doesn’t need to do this. Shouto is strong.”

 

If Shouto wasn’t so terrified for his sisters' sake he would be flattered by the compliment.

 

“Nee-san,“ Shouto hissed.

 

“Shouto is nowhere near where he needs to be,” Endeavors voice was sharp and piercing and Shouto tried his very hardest not to flinch, “Once he proves to me that he is a capable hero then training will not be necessary. Until then, I will perfect Shouto’s fire until it is even greater than his ice.” 

 

Over the past year, Shouto had been working on improving his fire consistently. Once he realized how much he had been lacking in his fire quirk it felt as if he were chasing after the rest of his classmates to catch up. He had practiced ten years perfecting his ice and his fire was pathetic next to the sheer precision of his ice side. His father wasn’t wrong but his words filled him with dread. 

 

Fuyumi’s words died down to a whisper, “You can’t keep treating him like this. He doesn’t deserve it.” 

 

Shouto’s eyes darted to her in fear and Endeavor rose to his full height, “It's fine. Fuyumi-san, it’s fine. I need to grow stronger.”

 

It was the quiet truth that Shouto never wanted to say out loud. He was weak. The fire that he wielded was nowhere near the precision and accuracy it needed to be at. Despite how much he had grown over the past two years it simply wasn’t enough. Shouto has been training with his father for ten years and he still couldn’t land a scratch on him. It was pathetic. And some prideful part of him wanted to prove that he could beat his father. He wanted to prove that U.A had made him grow stronger, that he was a stronger and better hero than his father. How could he prove himself if he cowered behind U.A’s gleaming gates and Midoriya's protective hand? 

 

Terrified? Of course, he was. Every time he closed his eyes in this damned house he saw his father looming form and his mother’s panic-stricken eyes. But his pride wouldn’t allow him to back down or tremble as he pushed his chair back under the table. 

 

Shouto turned to his father and said, “Let’s go.”

 

The words tasted stale in his mouth and it was the last thing he wanted but Fuyumi was getting dangerously close to seriously angering his father. Endeavor looked like he wanted to say more but glanced at Shouto and turned towards the training room. As Shouto started to follow Fuyumi’s hand snatched his. 

 

“Please, don’t go in there. You don’t have to protect me,” She said.

 

What was with everyone begging him? It wasn’t like he wanted this. It was necessary. For his improvement and because of his father's will. Even if he despised everything Endeavor wanted, there was no getting around this. He was trapped in every corner and backing out now wasn’t an option. He might as well see the opportunity where he could.

 

“It will be ok,” Shouto tried to reassure and tug his hand away. 

 

Fuyumi shook her head, “No, no. I’ve never done enough for you Shouto. Let me do this for you. Let me get you out of this.” 

 

Shouto smiled lightly at her and gently peeled back her fingers that were turning white from pressure, “You’ve done more than anyone, Nee-san.” 

 

It was true. While most of his siblings had left- everyone had left- Fuyumi stayed. She came back and regularly checked up on him and Shouto would say that they even hung out together. She was here now and that spoke volumes more than anything else anyone has done for him. Tears gathered in Fuyumi’s eyes and Shouto turned away before she started crying. He was never any good at comforting people anyway. 

 

The door slid open and Shouto hesitated at the door frame. This place, clean and polished as if Endeavor hadn’t burned its walls and broken the floorboards. In his nightmares, it always started in this room. The traditional Japanese style walls and smooth caramel brown floorboards would stain with blood and the fiery emblems of his father's wrath. Since it was redone there were no scorch marks or splinters to indicate that it was anything different than a room. But it was. It was hell. 

 

“Shouto,” Endeavor said and his voice alone was enough to make Shouto step inside. He hated it, he hated it, he hated it. 

 

They stood in front of each other for a moment and Shouto readied his stance. He never attacked Endeavor first, not after the first time he had done that and almost broke his arm. No, it was smarter to let Endeavor strike first, then at least his attacks were predictable. Shouto waited but the attack did not come. 

 

I don’t want to do this. 

 

Instead of attacking, Endeavor said, “Do you agree with what your sister said? Do you believe you’re strong enough that these training sessions are no longer needed, Shouto?” 

 

The question was a double-sided sword and Shouto knew anything he said would be wrong. Lying was always an option. Saying what his father wanted to hear. The only problem was that Shouto had a bad habit of 'talking back'. 

 

“I don’t think I deserve this,” He echoed Fuyumi’s words, truthfully and regretted the words immediately.  

 

To be beaten without mercy. Pounded to the ground surrounded in sweltering flames that burned his skin with new scars. Nausea that he felt every time someone mentioned Endeavor's name and the pathetic fear that came with it. Did he deserve this? Did his mother? 

 

Endeavor bared his teeth, “Deserve what? To be trained exclusively by me? You ungrateful child. Do you know how many beg at my feet asking to be in your position?” 

 

Shouto gritted out, “To be in my position? To get hit every time I open my mouth? To be trained until I can’t breathe? Is that fucking privilege?” 

 

His words were out before he could think about the consequences of them. It was always this, Shouto would speak before he thought and regret what his foul words brought him. 

 

Endeavors flames rose and licked up the ceiling, “I’m teaching you how to be a hero. The best hero. If you don’t train with me you’ll never surpass All-Might's ability. You’ll never become the greatest hero.” 

 

Shouto’s own flames boiled just beneath his skin, “News flash- I don’t want to beat All-Might or become a hero like you. I’m going to become the best hero so I can protect them from people like you!” 

 

Endeavor stomped forward and a pillar of fire shot towards Shouto’s head. He dodged it in a tuck and roll and pointed his own aggressive fire and ice in his direction. Flames licked up his arms and burned his long-sleeved shirt into curling fabric. His ice built up in his lungs, curling tendrils of ice, before they shot out of his hands in controlled, precise attacks. Fear had never made him freeze in place like it made others freeze. His fear shot out of his feet and palms in aggressive bursts of ice. Even though he used his fire as well, his ice was his forte and the best way to defend himself. As much as Shouto tried to convince himself that they were sparring he knew- he knew he was the mouse being chased by cat. More than he was trying to improve his fighting ability, he was first and foremost trying to defend himself. 

 

“Protect them? You can’t even protect yourself against me using half of my power. You’re a pathetic excuse for a hero. With a drive like that, you’ll never surpass even the weakest links in your class,” Endeavor scowled when Shouto shot small precise daggers of ice in his direction. 

 

Shouto face twisted in anger. He hated how his words held some truth in the fact that Shouto couldn’t protect himself from Endeavor. How could he be a hero when he was this pathetic? 

 

The ice melted easily against Endeavor's endless fire and Shouto said, “These “training” sessions don’t help! I’ve learned more from U.A and All-Might than I have ever learned from you!” 

 

The distance between them was closed and Shouto once again wished the training room was bigger. Keep him at a distance, keep him at a distance! His mind screamed but it was already too late. His father's fist connected with Shouto’s raised forearms and his bones rattled from the contact. 

 

He bellowed, “Everything I have done has been for you! I train you to be the best. No one can properly teach you to surpass All-Might or any of the heroes,” His punches were swift and relentless as Shouto struggled to block each hit, “They're filling your head with these false notions of protection and it’s making you weak. If you let them see how soft you are they’ll take advantage of you.” 

 

Fire tore at Shouto’s clothes and his skin boiled from the intense heat. Shouto didn’t cry out when he took a hit to his stomach and his face. The force sent him to his back and Shouto struggled to fight back nausea and get back on his feet. The unsatisfying noodles he ate wretched their way back up his throat and Shouto keeled over. His whole face stung but Endeavor didn’t spare him a second before he kicked his cowering form over. 

 

Shouto swallowed his bile and scrambled to his feet, shooting a billow of fire his way. 

 

“Get up!” His father demanded when he easily knocked Shouto down again. 

 

Shouto gritted his teeth and blocked the fist that carved its path towards his face. His whole body tensed as he grabbed Endeavors fist with two hands and futilely tried to prevent him from striking his face. Shout ground his teeth into his jaw in vain effort and the fire that curled around his father fists were hot enough to leaving screaming red rashes on his arms.  

 

I don’t want to do this. 

 

A wordless yell escaped his lips as he molded both his ice and fire into a spiraling pillar toward his father to push him back. Sweat beaded on his face as he focused all of his attention on spinning his fire and ice into one spiral. He had been perfecting this move for weeks in class with All might and Midoriya. It was Midoriya who tentatively suggested that he tried to simultaneously wield his power into one. Shouto had already been trying to do that but with the help of All-might and Midoriya's tips, he was finally doing it. For a split second, Shouto allowed himself to be proud when the fire and ice molded together in perfect unison and Endeavor's eyes widened in surprise. Shouto’s legs shook from the effort but he still stood as Endeavor dismissed his new move in one large explosion of fire. His entire body ached and the bile churned his stomach. Not a even a second passed before Shouto was forced into action again and they both launch toward each other, Shouto’s movements much slower and heavy. He hasn’t even laid a scratch on his father, yet. 

 

Endeavor easily snatched Shouto’s wrist and held back his other arm with his undeniable strength. A scream pierced the small room and Shouto didn’t realize it was him until he felt fire burn through Endeavor's hand onto his wrist. Endeavor lifted Shouto in the air by his arm and Shouto fought back the involuntary tears that sprung into his eyes. Ice shoot from his legs as he tried to kick his way free. No matter how tired he was- Shouto wasn’t going down without giving his all. 

 

“Is this what U.A has been teaching you? Is this your strength, Shouto?” Endeavor sneered, “Pathetic.”

 

At that very second, Shouto mustered enough energy and a shard of ice shoot towards Endeavor's face and sliced open his cheek. A stream of blood stained the crystal blue ice shard and Shouto bit back a whimper as Endeavors flames burned hotter into his skin. His face twisted into a scowl and he threw Shouto as if he were a rag doll. Shouto rolled on the ground but managed to heave himself up onto his hands and knees. 

 

I don’t want to do this anymore. 

 

Before he could fully stand a boot pressed down onto his back and Shouto’s trembling arms crumbled from the weight. He should be able to beat him. He should be able to stand up. But his face was pressed into the wood and the grooves of Endeavors boot dug into his back. It was humiliating as his father bent down closer to shout in his ear.

 

“Get up, Shouto!” 

 

He tried. He tried with all his strength to push the heavy foot off of him and stand back up. His dignity might be salvaged if he ended this fight standing. 

 

Endeavor threatened, “Get up! Any villain would have killed you by now at this rate.” 

 

Shouto’s laugh sounded more like a deranged wheeze, “And are you the villain in this scenario?” 

 

He risked glancing up and Endeavors gleaming blue eyes send fear straight down his spine. The boot on his back pressed down further and for a moment Shouto wondered if his father might actually kill him. 

 

Flames flickered and burned into his back and Shouto cried out, “Stop!” 

 

He tried to use his ice to push him off the ground but it melted in his hands just as quick. Sweat pools down his body and Shouto felt like he was being boiled alive. Panic clouded his vision and black spots dot the edges. He gasped as the air was slowly squeezed out of his lungs and his limbs were rapidly losing energy. 

 

“I don’t want to do this anymore!” 

 

Shouto’s screamed and he can hardly hear his voice over the pounding in his ears. The world was blurry and black dots danced in his vision. Endeavor's voice retorted something but he couldn’t understand it if he tried. He kept trying to get up but nothing in his body was responding, not even his lungs are breathing as they should. Finally, the pressure on his back released him and Shouto sucked in a gasping breath. He rolled over trying to get as much air in his squeezed lungs as he can but nausea in his stomach had other plans. He nearly choked on his own throw up before he turned over and retched out his food. His ears rang and Shouto struggled to breathe through his stinging nose. Everything hurt

 

“Why?” Shouto thought he was asking but he couldn’t tell if it was just a memory or his own words. Either way, his father didn’t respond, “Why do you hate me, father?” 

 

The only response he heard was the sound of footsteps leaving and the sliding door clicking shut behind him. 





 



“He won’t be here for a while,” Izuku responded when Kacchan complained for the billionth time about Todoroki’s absence. It was nearly ten, almost curfew, and Todoroki didn’t come back until a few hours later. Izuku didn’t know whether it was a blessing or a curse that Todoroki came back so late. The fact that his training was dragged out into the late hours of the night made Izuku fidget with anxiety but at least his classmates prying eyes weren’t there to see Todoroki injured and vulnerable. Kacchan wanted to wait with Izuku for Todoroki as well but he didn’t know how he felt about Kacchan seeing Todoroki like that. Every time he came back from training the light in his mismatched eyes would fade and dim and exhaustion made him look small and vulnerable. Todoroki would never cry in front of Kaccahn but Izuku wanted him to be able to if he needed to cry. Izuku was no stranger to crying when times called for it and he was pretty sure being beaten up by your dad warranted a crying session. Kacchan being there when Izuku inevitable sobbed his eyes out for his friends was not really on his bucket list. There was no way for Kacchan to know this of course, but it didn’t stop Izukui’s irritation from spiking at every bitter remark. 

 

They had been sitting here for a few hours, Izuku mindlessly filling out his homework and Kacchan glaring holes into his own textbook. Usually, Kacchan wasn’t a big whiner- that was Kaminari’s job- but Izuku didn’t blame him for being agitated. Izuku was pretty anxious (still is) when he first found out Todoroki was being hurt. It made his skin crawl to think he was getting hurt right now while Izuku sat back and waited. He had half a mind to march up to his father and kick him in the face and he was pretty sure Kacchan would second that idea. The anger that made One for All crackle dangerously across his skin was not new but Izuku especially hated Endeavor tonight. Something was going to happen and it was going to be bad. Izuku could just feel it. 

 

He guessed that his friends could also feel the tense atmosphere radiating from Izuku and Kacchan and that's why they were anxiously hovering around the couch, drifting in and out of the room, and casting them suspicious glances. Since it was only ten, most of his friends were hanging around the kitchen and common room, avoiding going back to their rooms to study or sleep. A soft pillow on his head sounded divine right now but Izuku’s mind was far too restless to get any sleep. Kirishima had wandered down into the common room and stared at the close proximity he and Bakugou were sharing. They weren’t really that close- about a few feet away from each other but still- it almost looked like they had purposely sat next to each other. Which they had. Izuku could see why it seemed bizarre but he didn’t have the energy to explain or make an excuse so he just shook his head when Kirihsimas mouth parted to ask a question. Kirishima nodded and continued to chat with Kaminari and Shonsou who were debating on whether cats really did have nine lives. Shinsou sounded convinced that his cat was going to live forever and had escaped death multiple times while Kirishima seemed a little skeptical and off-handedly mentioned that he saw a cat get run over- much to Kaminari and Shinsou’s horror. If Izuku wasn’t so tired he might have gasped and laughed along with them. 

 

Momo padded through the common room a little later and immediately zeroed in on him and Bakugou. She subtly made her way over and Bakugou and she seemed to have a silent conversation with their eyes. It would almost be creepy if Izuku wasn’t so relieved he didn’t have to explain anything. Wordlessly she sat down next to Izuku and pulled out her own homework. Todoroki-protection-squad 101 all mindlessly stared at their homework when they really were too worried about their friend to get any real work done. Izuku sat in a pool of his own anxiety and tried to push away the tendrils of dark liquid with distractions and silent affirmations. He will be ok. He will be ok. He will be ok. It worked until the contrasting thoughts contradicted his affirmations and the slime wrapped around his throat. He couldn’t breathe. The classmates around him buzzed with their chatter and noises but it all sounded far away, muffled like the static on a television channel. Nobody else bothered them but Izuku could see their shifting eyes sliding over to his downcast head. The unspoken question they didn’t say out loud burned holes into his head. 

 

To Izuku’s dread, Iida cleared his throat behind the couch and Izuku dragged his eyes up to meet his friend's concerned gaze. He resisted chewing his nails. 

 

“Midoriya! Are you waiting for Todoroki’s arrival again?” There was a disapproving note in his tone but Izuku just nodded.

 

“Course’ Four eyes would be all bitchy about curfew. Figures,” Kacchan scoffed.

 

Momo and Iida frowned and Izuku was almost tempted to laugh, which was strange considering that Bakugou’s comments annoyed and frustrated him most of the time. 

 

Momo- bless her soul- spoke up, “We are. He’s visiting his mom.”

 

Izuku stiffened and Iida raised his eyebrows in surprise, “Really? I’m sure visiting hours are closed by now. Also, didn’t you say, Midoriya, that he had a family meeting?”

 

“No!”

 

“He does!”

 

Izuku and Momo blurted at the same time. They stared at each other bug-eyed until Izuku tentatively tried to recover.

 

“Todoroki visited his mom earlier. N-now he has a family meeting. Those go a little later, you know how family is.” Izuku’s strained smile probably looked devastatingly fake and Kacchan next to him cringed at the whole exchange.

 

“Amateur,” Kacchan muttered low enough that Iida couldn’t hear him, “I swear, you’ve never lied in your life-”  

 

Momo overlapped his low muttering, “Yes! Todoroki informed me that his meeting might go a little later than usual. Will you tell Aizawa-Sensei for him, Iida?” 

 

He looked hesitant and looked away from Momo and Izuku’s pleading puppy dog eyes. It was truly a bizarre bonding moment between them, Izuku had to say when they managed to convince Iida to buzz off with their puppy-dog stares alone. Before he left, his dark blue eyes flickered to the door as a knock pounded against it. 

 

Everyone turned to look at the door, hesitant and alert. No one ever knocked because it was always unlocked. Izuku stood slowly and made careful footsteps towards the door. He turned the knob slowly and his eyes nearly fell out of his head in surprise.

 

“Fuyumi??” Izuku gaped but his shock was quickly replaced when his eyes fell on Todoroki’s slumped form next to her. 

 

She stumbled inside, half dragging Todoroki with her. His head hung low and he looked as if he were barely able to hold himself up. Izuku frantically checked him for wounds and held a shaking hand to his mouth when he saw the sweltering burn on his wrist. The skin of the burn was red and raised, blistering so badly Izuku could see blood seeping through. And it was shaped like a hand-print. 

 

Fuyumi’s eyes were frantic, “Help me get him to the nurse.”

 

Momo was beside him in an instant, “We need to get him to recovery girl.”

 

Around him, his classmate's voices simultaneously erupted in concern.

 

“Is Todoroki ok?”

 

“He’s bleeding!”

 

“A villain fight? Holy shit!”

 

“That fucking bastard,” Kacchan hissed, his eyes wide as he eyed the clusters of bruises and blisters on Todoroki’s arms and exposed chest. 

 

His shirt was gone but it looked like Fuyumi had draped a jacket over his shoulders. From what Izuku could see, more injuries scattered across his back and his chest were bruising and ugly yellow color.

 

Fuyumi said, "I tried to treat some of his wounds b-but there were too many. I-I-I didn't know what to do. It's never been this bad before-"

 

"It's alright we will get him to Recovery Girl," Momo reassured. 

 

His injured friend groaned and Izuku immediately snapped his attention towards him. 

 

“Todoroki?” Izuku’s hands hovered uselessly, “Todoroki can you understand me?”

 

For a second their eyes met but Todoroki’s normally sharp and beautifully clear eyes were clouded and half-lidded. He wobbled where he stood and Fuyumi struggled to keep him upright. Instantly, Izuku wrapped an arm around his shoulder to keep him from falling over but nearly died in panic when Todoroki hissed sharply from pain and jerked away from his grip.

 

“Todoroki? Where does it hurt?” Izuku’s eyes were wild in searching for unseen injuries.

 

His friend's laugh was breathy and pained and nothing like the wonderful laugh he heard from a few weeks ago, “Everywhere.”

 

His lips barely formed the word and even saying it seemed to drain him from energy. Todoroki slumped forward, his eyes slipping shut and Izuku carefully scrambled to catch him.  Panic was no longer at bay and all of his tired thoughts were immediately erased with screaming anxiety. But first and foremost, before all of his panic and shock, Izuku was a hero and heroes don’t freeze in these kinds of situations. Todoroki needed medical attention now. 

 

“Iida! Take Fuyumi to Aizawa-Sensei. I’m going to take Todoroki to Recovery Girl.” 

 

Izuku didn't waste a second before scooping Todoroki into his arms and carefully shifting him close to his chest. His breathing was ragged and he hacked coughs into Izuku’s shirt. His white t-shirt was now stained red from blood. Izuku’s face paled and he clutched his friend closer. Where Todoroki’s cold cheek met Izuku’s shirt, frost climbed from his face to his chest and turned his lips blue. His other arm burned and practically glowed under Izuku’s touch. He bit back the pain of holding a burning and freezing person and raced out the door towards Recovery Girl's office, leaving behind his shocked and concerned classmates. 

 

Recovery girl almost tutted when she saw Izuku but her face turned to stone when she saw Todoroki’s limp form. 

 

“What happened?” She asked.

 

Izuku said, “I-I-I um- H-he-”

 

“Never mind,” She ushered him towards a cot, “Set him down so I can heal him.”

 

A smacking kiss and long pause later Izuku sat on a chair and relentlessly bounced his leg up and down. His wounds were easily healed but the blistering handprint was still visible. Recovery girl noticed him staring and the red patch of skin and frowned.

 

“I’m afraid it will probably scar,” Recovery Girl said and tentatively wrapped his forearm in gauze. Her scolding but affectionate tone was replaced with coldness, “Aside from that, he had a fractured rib, multiple bruises and burns, and severe quirk exhaustion. And a partially large bruise on his back- right where his rib was fractured.”

 

Izuku asked in a hushed whisper, “What do you think…?”

 

“A boot probably. Gauging by the size of the bruise, he was probably stepped on or kicked by someone very large,” She said and Izuku stopped bouncing his leg.

 

She continued with her voice impassive and emotionless, “Do I need to ask who did this to him?” 

 

Izuku felt hollow, “No.”

 

The only sound between them was the air conditioning and Izuku could feel the wind whipping through his hollow form and chilling him from the inside out, like the wind searching every crevice in an abandoned cave. Recovery Girl pursed her lips and her emotionless, professional facade broke. Waves of empathy and sorrow rolled off of her and onto Izuku. He felt he might choke when she sighed heavily into her small hand and wiped a rolling tear away from her cheek. Izuku furiously blinked back the stinging in his own eyes and sniffed. He tore his eyes away from her focused on Todoroki’s limp form. Shadows hung under his eyes and his whole body seemed to sink into the cot. Even in sleep, he looked so sad. It ripped Izuku’s heart.

 

How terrible was it this time that Todoroki was not only exhausted to the point of unconsciousness but he also looked as if his heart had been ripped out? Izuku’s anger burned but it wasn’t hot anger like Endeavor's or even cold like Todoroki’s. It was wet. While Todoroki’s anger was a cold frigid wall, Izukus was a mountain of waves. Spilling waterfalls and rushing currents rolled down his cheeks and he hated. What did Endeavor say? What did he do that caused Todoroki to be this hurt? Something happened this time, something that broke inside Todoroki and Izuku wanted to make Endeavor pay for damage he did. 

 

“He will be alright, child,” Recovery Girl said and mistook his anger for sadness.

 

Izuku nodded fervently and his lip wobbled. He will be, Izuku thought, He will be because I will protect him. No empty promises now, Izuku swore to himself that no matter how strong Todoroki was and no matter how stubborn, he would protect him. He would be safe. Todoroki deserved that much from him at least. This would be the last time that Endeavor ever laid a hand on Todoroki and Izuku would drag that man to the police himself if it came down to it. It would be the last time Endeavor ever hurt Todoroki again. 

 

And it was.