He blinks in surprise, hand still poised to knock even though he’s already been answered.
Shouto lowers his hand. His voice is weak and raspy when he speaks. “Is Izuku home?”
Mrs. Midoriya’s expression changes from confusion to surprise. “Well, no. He left to train with All Might about an hour ago. He didn’t tell you?”
Shouto sighs, closing his eyes in frustration at his own stupidity. Of course he did, but Shouto had been so distracted he’d forgotten. “No he-he did, I just- I forgot.”
He opens his eyes to see her looking back at him, worry carved into her features. It’s then that Shouto remembers the bruise that has surely begun to form over his right eye, mirroring the scare on his left.
“I- Do you want to come in, sweetie?” Izuku’s mother asks, worry from her face seeping into her voice.
Shouto gives her a smile. He tries to make it seem real, but it pulls at his bruised skin and feels stiff over his weary bones. “No, that’s alright. I just wanted to talk to Izuku about something for school, but I’ll just text him later. Thank you.”
He can tell she doesn’t believe him.
Shouto turns to leave, a pit opening in his stomach. If he was thinking clearly, he wouldn’t have come in the first place, and now that he is, he knows there’s no where else to go but home.
She stops him.
“Sweetheart, please come in. I can’t just let you walk away looking like that. Please.”
He turns back to look at her, finding her with one foot out the door and her hand halfway to grabbing him.
Todoroki puts the smile back on, and it feels like it’s peeling. His eye throbs. “That’s okay, Mrs. Midoriya, but I should be getting home anyway.”
Maybe it’s the way his smile feels like paper or maybe it’s the fact that the word home comes out of his mouth like it’s twisted it’s way out of his throat and left his tongue dry, but something makes her expression change.
It’s dark, but not angry. Almost like she’s resigned herself to some horrible truth. She walks completely out of the door frame and over to Shouto. He wants to tell his body to move away, but he can’t bring himself to and just allows himself to be guided into the Midoriya household.
“Nonsense, I won’t keep you for long.”
She closes the door behind them and sits him on the couch.
“Just sit here a minute, okay? I’m gonna get the first aid kid. Do you want something to drink? I made some tea.” She asks, pausing in the doorway on her way to the kitchen.
Shouto thinks of a screeching tea kettle.
“No, that’s- that’s okay. Thank you.”
She nods and continues into the kitchen.
In the silence that follows her exit, Shouto begins to feel the full extent of his condition. His throat aches and his arms burn.
Shouto creates some ice and uses it to soothe the injuries to his limbs and tries to swallow to relieve the dryness in his throat. He coughs, quiet at first but soon becoming harsh and loud. His hands jump to his neck, desperate to alleviate the pain but only managing to bother the fingerprint bruises pressed into his skin.
Mrs. Midoriya comes rushing back in, first aid kit in one hand and glass of water in the other. She sets everything down on the coffee table and hurries to sit beside him, rubbing circles on his back to calm his lungs’ frantic search for air.
His coughing fit finally stops, and she shoves the water into his hands. Even though he hadn’t asked for the drink, the glass feels cool against the heat of his palms.
Shouto sips the drink hesitantly, not wanting to send himself into another fit, and after a few swallows his throat is a little less sore. When he sets the glass back down on the table, Mrs. Midoriya gets to work.
She gently takes his arms, one at a time, and rubs some kind of fire salve into the skin, then wraps them quickly and moves her attention to his throat. She lifts his chin, finger barely touching, and observes the bruises that have formed there. Her face is quiet and sad, and the hand that is not at his chin moves as if to touch the injury in horrified shock.
She lets go, moving to the kitchen again and coming back a moment later with ice. She places it over his eye and guides his hand to hold it.
“Can you tell me what happened?” She almost whispers, the kind of ugly worry in her voice that reminds him how not normal this is.
Shouto feels exposed. He looks away from her face and doesn’t know what to say.
Parts of the truth are bad, but the whole truth is terrifying. He’s purposefully vague.
“My father… was unhappy with some of my actions and felt I was too weak. He wanted to help make me… stronger.”
The horror on her face spikes and then is quickly replaced by something like anger and then… determination?
Shouto blinks, and in that moment he is struck by how much she looks like Izuku.
She moves forward and coaxes his hand away from the ice, placing the pack on the table and examining his eye. Satisfied, she meets his gaze, carefully taking his hands in hers.
“Sweetheart, I know you must be really scared right now, and I wish you didn’t have to deal with any of this, but I want to help you, and for that to happen I need you to be completely honest with me.” She takes a deep breath, as though preparing herself and him. “Can you tell me what happened?”
Something lodges itself in his chest and refuses to budge even for his words. They come out wobbly and quiet, and he can’t hold her gaze. “You can’t stop it. You- No one can touch him.”
She cranes her neck, forces him to look at her. Her face softens but her voice refuses to. “Watch me.”
The something in his chest breaks.
She pulls him into her arms and he cries. He knows nothing about being held but she knows enough about holding to keep him put together.
“It’s okay, baby. I know.” She shushes him, rubs his back, and it reminds Shouto so much of his mother it hurts. He cries harder, and her voice shakes when she says, “You gotta let me help, okay? I need to know what’s going on.”
She pulls away once his crying has mostly tapered off, and she wipes his face with her hands, careful of his bruise.
She waits patiently for him to speak, and even though Shouto’s never met an adult that’s ever been okay with the kinds of things he feels, isn’t even sure adults like that exist, he tells her.
He tells her about his childhood, how his father was always obsessed with creating the perfect child, someone who could surpass even the number one hero himself. He tells her where his mother went and how he got his scar. He tells her how violence is not out-of-the-ordinary for his father to employ in the name of making him stronger. But, most importantly, he tells her why this time was different.
He tells her about boys, how they’re soft and wonderful and something he could never let his father know about. Except that didn’t stop him from finding out, and Shouto was so, so careful, but it didn’t matter.
His father was mad before, had always been a generally angry person, but this wasn’t just anger, this was hate. He’d never tried to hurt Shouto before. Sure, he’d worked him to the bone and left him sick and tired from training, but he’d also put his mother in a hospital for hurting his “creation”. This was so different from what he was used to, and it scared him.
The punch in the face came with no warning. He was just coming home from visiting his mother, and that was the first thing to greet him. It was followed by yelling and shouting, and when denying didn’t work, Shouto confirmed his father’s suspicions and let him know that he couldn’t change who Shouto was.
He tried to use his quirk to keep him away, but he was no pro and he certainly wasn’t a match for the number two hero. Ice can never withstand flames, and you can’t fight fire with fire.
His father grabbed him and suddenly he couldn’t breathe, thought maybe he might actually die there, but he produced enough ice between them to push the man away, and suddenly he was running wherever his legs would take him. Turns out, he knew the path to Izuku by heart.
Mrs. Midoriya sits and listens the whole time he speaks, hands clenching tighter in her lap the further he gets in his story.
When he’s done and it’s obvious there’s no more he has to say, she nods. She opens her mouth to speak but is interrupted by the opening of the front door.
“Hey, mom! I’m b-“ Izuku stops halfway through the door and is stuck looking between the two of them.
He’s sweaty and clearly exhausted, and Shouto can’t help but smile at him, despite everything. “Hey, Izuku.”
His back and forth stops, and his eyes stay on Shouto. “Oh my god, Shouto, what’s wrong with your voice? And is that a black eye?” And suddenly, he’s back in motion.
Izuku rushes over and his mother gets up to make room for him beside the other boy. He takes the seat immediately.
“Are you okay? What happened? Were you training too hard? Are those bruises on your neck? What are these bandages for? Oh my god. How long have you been here? Are you okay?” Izuku spouts in the span of five seconds. Shouto chuckles, a little broken and definitely hoarse, but full of a happy sort of relief.
“Shouto?” Mrs. Midoriya asks. He turns at the sound of his name and so does Izuku. “I’m gonna makes some calls, okay?”
He nods, and she moves back to the kitchen.
Izuku is much calmer now, more serious. “What happened?”
Shouto shrugs, but it’s lopsided and stiff and he can’t make his face and voice portray the same nonchalance as the motion. “My dad found out that I’m gay, you know how it is.”
The other boy looks furious.
“I’ll kill that bastard. I swear I’ll kill him. If he so much as touches you ever again, I will kill him,” Izuku seethes.
Shouto’s face softens, and he holds Izuku’s face in his hands. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?”
Izuku turns red and smiles the most lovesick smile Shouto’s ever seen. He places his hands over Shouto’s and sighs. “You can’t go back there, Sho, please. You just can’t.”
Shouto grabs Izuku’s hands and moves closer to him, sitting cross legged on the couch so there joined hands can rest in their laps.
“I know,” he says. “I… I told your mom, and I don’t know how but… I think she’ll be able to help me.”
“Of course she will. That’s my mom for you.” Izuku chuckles, and it makes Shouto smile.
“Does she... know about us?” Todoroki asks. He asked Izuku to keep it a secret, but his boyfriend has been known to spill his thoughts out loud without realizing.
“Well, I came out when I was like thirteen, and I’ve never really told her that we’re dating, but I think she kind of figured it out.”
From the kitchen they hear an exclamation of, “Of course I figured it out! I’m your mother, I’m not blind.”
The boys laugh, and the idea of someone knowing this secret doesn’t scare Shouto so much anymore.
Mrs. Midoriya walks back out of the kitchen.
“Okay, I’m gonna be starting dinner soon. Izuku, go shower and get changed. Shouto, I hope you like chicken.”
Izuku shouts a confirmation and darts down the hall to the bathroom, and Shouto nods. His heart feels light.
Maybe home really is the only place he could have gone, and maybe it’s right where he is.