Todoroki’s face is expressionless. Two years ago, this wouldn’t have been worrying to Izuku in the slightest—after all, when they’d first met, Todoroki hardly spared a word, let alone a look, to anyone in the class.
But so much has changed since then, and Todoroki is no longer a hurting boy hiding behind an icy, straight-faced mask. He smiles and he frowns; he yells and he chuckles; and, though it’s definitely more rare, he laughs all guttural and happy until he can’t laugh anymore.
Izuku thinks about Todoroki’s laughing face, his eyes scrunched up and hand covering his mouth, and is hit with a pang of something too sharp to bear in his chest. Right now, Todoroki’s face is concerningly blank, and despite what looks like a deep gash on his shoulder, his stance does not change.
Amidst the battleground, other classmates and heroes are engaged in combat with villains, and no one has the chance to spare attention elsewhere. As half of the class had been going on a tour of Uwabami’s hero agency, a power outage struck and screaming could be heard from down the street. Quick to action, students and pro heroes alike ran down to meet the commotion.
The situation is bordering on chaos, and it’s definitely not a planned attack by the League. Civilians have been evacuated and from a quick glance, Izuku can see that the heroes have the upper hand.
But Todoroki stands still at the edge of this chaos, eyes unfocused, as blood seeps into his uniform and tints it purple. Izuku is the first to notice him.
It’s not another moment before he’s using One for All to launch himself towards Todoroki, a multitude of possibilities running through his head. Was he hit by a Stain-like quirk that paralyzed him? Or was he made immobile by other means? He looks to be awake, but is he really conscious? Is this really even Todoroki?
The answer to these questions becomes more complicated as, just when Izuku’s feet touch the ground in front of Todoroki, Todoroki’s eyes lock onto Izuku—ice cold and full of a determination that does not spout from inside Todoroki himself—and a wall of ice sends Izuku flailing.
He regains his balance as soon as he lands, mind running a thousand miles per minute. Was that an attack, or an effort to keep Izuku away? Is Todoroki being controlled?
Izuku scans the battlefield for any idle-looking villains but concludes that they must be hiding, if Todoroki is being controlled. He launches himself into the air, high enough to see over Todoroki’s wall of ice, and… Todoroki stands as still as he had a moment prior on the other side. His ice hasn’t reached any of the other heroes’ fights, and as Todoroki’s ice and fire are a regular feature of any battle he’s in, anyone who’s noticed the ice remains unphased.
Cautiously, Izuku moves across the ice barrier and starts towards Todoroki again. He seems unaware of Izuku’s presence, staring blankly ahead of himself.
“Todoroki?” Izuku calls, and at such, Todoroki’s gaze whips over to him and his fire is fast to follow, shooting across the ground and licking at Izuku’s feet as he leaps into the air to dodge the attack. The air sizzles, and just as Izuku hits the ground, Todoroki sends another spiral of flames in his direction, though his own feet stay planted. Not keen on getting burnt, Izuku dodges again and attempts to get his thoughts in order as he lands far from Todoroki.
As soon as Izuku is outside of Todoroki’s range, Todoroki’s gaze averts to looking straight ahead once again, mindless.
A villain’s quirk has been used on him, and that much Izuku is sure of. Past that, he can’t be certain. Is he attacking indiscriminately, or was he given targets? Is he aware of his actions, or unconscious on his feet? Is there a way to break through?
Before he has any more time to think, Todoroki takes a staggering step forward. He moves as if he’s carrying several ton weights on his body instead of his hero uniform, and as if his body is new and far too heavy for him. His hands clench into tight fists at his side.
Even at this slow pace, it won’t be very long before someone else is within Todoroki’s range and viable for attack. Izuku has to stop him before he takes another hero by surprise or seriously injures himself.
No longer in Todoroki’s range of sight, Izuku inhales deeply before he readies himself to launch at Todoroki another time. Based on the way that Todoroki hadn’t reacted until he saw or heard Izuku, Izuku is taking the chance that a sneak attack from behind will avoid an immediate attack.
And then he’s off, the wind sharp against his face as he flies through the air. He collides with Todoroki from behind, wrapping his arms around Todoroki’s torso as they tumble across the ground and away from the other heroes. The sudden impact doesn’t break the quirk’s influence on Todoroki, seeing as he wrestles Izuku even as they skid to a stop, dust flying up around them.
“Todoroki,” Izuku manages between gasps, grabbing Todoroki’s wrists in his hands and pushing them against the ground in an attempt to gain control. “Stop, Todoroki. It’s me.”
Todoroki kicks violently until Izuku loses his grip on one of his wrists, and with his free hand, he punches Izuku across the face.
This fighting style doesn’t resemble Todoroki’s in any way, as Todoroki would have made quick use of his quirk by now. Whoever or whatever has control of his body right now knew how to control long range attacks, but has turned to brute strength for short range.
Izuku spits blood to the side from a cut on the inside of his cheek before he attempts again to restrain Todoroki’s body, seizing the wrist that had punched him. Todoroki’s shoulder still bleeds and Izuku’s starting to worry about him losing too much blood.
“Todoroki,” Izuku repeats as Todoroki struggles against his grip, “Hey, it’s me. Midoriya. You don’t have to—”
For a moment, biting fear flashes across Todoroki’s face, breaking the expressionless facade. His jaw clenches and his struggling against Izuku’s hold ceases flightingly before the blank look returns, the fire put out behind Todoroki’s eyes. He must be conscious behind whatever is controlling his body, and it breaks Izuku’s heart.
As they start to wrestle again, Izuku realizes that Todoroki’s reaction time is slow and his acute movements are lacking. He takes big swings, moving violently and without strategy. This must be a drawback to the quirk controlling him, a lack of control over fine motor skills, and it is perhaps the reasoning Todoroki, who has incredibly strong long range attacks, was chosen as a target.
Just as Izuku has almost subdued Todoroki, whatever controls him seems to put in a last-ditch effort: Todoroki’s fire quirk erupts from his body, burning the sleeve off of Izuku’s uniform and searing the skin beneath before Izuku can jump away. He curses due to the pain, but grits his teeth and starts back towards Todoroki before another second passes.
Suddenly, there’s an explosive crashing sound from behind them, and Izuku’s head whips around to see a building collapse to the ground. Although distant, Izuku can see Bakugou emerge triumphantly from the rubble.
His attention is quickly pulled back to Todoroki, though, when he twitches fiercely and then falls limp in Izuku’s grasp, eyes closed and body completely still. Slowly, Izuku loosens his grip on Todoroki’s wrists, moving his hands instead to cradle Todoroki’s body. He removes a glove to feel Todoroki’s pulse, which thankfully still beats beneath his skin.
As Todoroki has seemingly fallen unconscious, Izuku wonders whether the loud sound was the catalyst for the quirk to withdraw, or if the person whose quirk it was happened to be inside the building as it went down.
Far off from the rest of the battle, Izuku struggles to get the attention of another hero, so he takes Todoroki into his arms as he stands, one arm hooked underneath his shoulders and the other beneath his knees. He grimaces at the friction against his burn, but he then leaps towards the fight, which to his surprise has, for the most part, subdued. The police have arrived and villains are being towed into the backs of their cars, while the press begins to swarm the victorious heroes. Bakugou’s explosion must have brought forth the victory.
Izuku feels massively out of place, and is unsure which way to turn. Todoroki needs medical attention for the gash on his shoulder, but Izuku’s uncertain if the quirk inflicted any further damage on him. The rescue station is flooded with civilians being treated, but Izuku is not keen to be caught up in the press with Todoroki’s unconscious body in his arms, so he heads towards the station anyway.
It’s all a rush as Todoroki is taken out of Izuku’s arms and placed onto a cot, under the medical care of the heroes busily working the station. They’re quick to start caring for Todoroki’s injury, so once Izuku gives a brief explanation of the situation they had been in and his burn is treated, he’s shooed out of the way.
Iida is the first to notice Izuku as he steps away from the rescue station, and though Iida had been cornered by a reporter, he bids them a hasty (and excessively polite) farewell. Thanks to his quirk, he’s in front of Izuku before hardly a moment passes.
“Midoriya! I’m glad you’re alright!” he exclaims as he skids to a stop, but he then sees Izuku’s somber expression and glances to Izuku’s injured arm before again meeting Izuku’s gaze. “Where’s Todoroki?”
Izuku’s chest feels tight. “He was injured,” he answers, swallowing thickly. “A pretty deep cut on his shoulder. I don’t know what he got it from.”
Worry flickers behind Iida’s eyes, but he wordlessly sets an assuring hand on Izuku’s shoulder. He’ll be okay, the gesture seems to say, he’s been through worse.
It’s not that he doesn’t tell Iida about the whole situation because he doesn’t trust him—that couldn’t be further from the truth. But he thinks back to Todoroki’s horrified expression morphing again into nothingness and his throat closes up. Tears come to his eyes and threaten to spill over.
He doesn’t say another word as Iida’s gesture evolves into a tight hug, he just relishes in the comfort of it and lets the tears fall.
Todoroki is transferred to the infirmary at U.A. when he doesn’t wake up by the time his cut has been treated.
Amidst the arrests after the battle, it was discovered that the villain that had affected Todoroki was the mastermind of the entire attack. With a quirk named Marionette, the villain was able to control others and use their quirks. She was incapacitated due to Bakugou’s explosion. During interrogation, the police were able to clear upwards of thirty of the people involved in the attack as being controlled by Marionette, but many are yet to face interrogation due to being unconscious.
Later that night, Iida sits beside Izuku in Todoroki’s infirmary room, his head nodding every so often due to lack of rest. However, Izuku’s nerves are still buzzing and he feels as though he’d be incapable of sleep.
Recovery Girl had assured them that Todoroki would be fine, that he just needed rest and would wake in the morning. In the off chance Todoroki wakes up during the night, though, Izuku doesn’t want him to wake up alone. Iida, despite not having the whole story, doesn’t prod Izuku for answers as to why he’s more shaken up by this than usual. He just sticks by Izuku’s side as long as he needs him.
But seeing as Iida is falling asleep in his chair, Izuku prods at him gently and murmurs, “Iida?”
Iida jolts awake at Izuku’s touch, and his gaze immediately flickers over to Todoroki’s sleeping form.
“It’s okay,” Izuku assures, “But you’re tired, and you should get to bed.” He pauses, before adding with a small grin, “A class rep always needs to be well rested.”
After pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, Iida replies, “Are you sure you’ll…” he trails off, but be okay? hangs unsaid in the air.
Izuku nods, “Thanks for staying with me,” he says, and then he lies, “I’ll probably turn in for bed if he doesn’t wake up soon, too.”
Iida’s gaze lingers on Todoroki, but then he muffles a yawn behind his hand. “He’ll be okay,” he says, and Izuku’s not sure whether it’s to Izuku or to himself. After he hauls himself out of his chair, he looks to Izuku and asks, “Will you let me know if he wakes up before the morning?”
After nodding again, Izuku wishes Iida a good rest and is then left alone with Todoroki. Physically, he’s in good shape, the wrap on his shoulder covering the cut that Recovery Girl deemed herself unneeded to heal. Izuku absently lifts a hand to touch the bandaging on his own face from where Todoroki’s fist broke skin.
Todoroki looks peaceful like this, his eyes softly closed and hair laying splayed on the pillow behind him. Izuku thinks back to all the times that they’ve both wound up in this infirmary or in a hospital, bandaging littering their sore bodies. At this point, it’s too many times to count. Sometimes, though, this almost feels like a respite. The worst of it is done, and now there is time to heal.
After letting out a long sigh, Izuku lets his head fall back and he stares at the ceiling. His eyes flutter shut, though sleep still feels unreachable. He’s not certain how much time has passed before quiet groan emits from Todoroki’s throat, but he immediately sits up in response.
Todoroki blinks a few times, bleary, before his eyes meet Izuku’s. Izuku lets out tension he wasn’t aware he was holding in his shoulders upon seeing Todoroki as himself, not as a puppet. Relief flows, palpable, through his veins.
“Midoriya…” Todoroki says, his voice raspy. Izuku lifts the water off of the table beside Todoroki’s cot and hands it to Todoroki, who accepts it gratefully. His gaze flickers to the bandaging on Izuku’s arm and face, and he purses his lips.
A few minutes pass quietly, Todoroki sitting up and drinking the water before lifting a hand to rub against his temple. Izuku, although overflowing with things that he wants to say, holds himself back, allowing Todoroki as much time as he needs to gather his thoughts.
Eventually, Todoroki speaks: “I don’t know whether to apologize or to thank you.”
Izuku thinks again to the fear that flashed across Todoroki’s face as he struggled beneath the surface of his own body, and he says, “You don’t have to do either.”
Todoroki sighs, “I figured you’d say that. But… still. I should have—I could see you, and I could see what I was doing to you, and…” He trails to nothing, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. “I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t…”
“Todoroki,” Izuku says, reaching a scarred hand out to press it against Todoroki’s forearm, “None of that was your fault.”
Although he seems to relax slightly at Izuku’s touch, Todoroki still looks troubled. “If I’d been stronger, I wouldn’t have—”
Izuku, knowing this path of thinking well, stops Todoroki by sliding his hand down Todoroki’s arm and slipping his fingers between the gaps in Todoroki’s own. He squeezes gently, and then he says, “It’s not your fault. I’m just glad I could help you before the situation got worse.”
“I’m sorry,” Todoroki says, his gaze settled on their intertwined hands. “Thank you.”
Instead of arguing, Izuku casts Todoroki a small smile and strokes his thumb back and forth across the skin on the back of Todoroki’s hand.
When Todoroki’s eyes lift from their hands to meet Izuku’s gaze, Todoroki bites at the inside of his cheek and then says, “I was so scared.”
Izuku knows, he knows how hard it is for Todoroki to admit fear. Years under Endeavor’s brutal training have taught him not to, and yet he expresses it here, now. Izuku resists the urge to hug him only because of his injured shoulder. Instead, Izuku says, “I’m so glad you’re safe.”
“I didn’t want to hurt you, Midoriya. I…” Todoroki stops, swallowing thickly before he repeats: “I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“I know,” Izuku soothes, “I know.”
They’re quiet again for a short while; Todoroki slouches, his hair covering his face as he sniffles every so often. Izuku just stays nearby, holding onto Todoroki’s hand.
After rubbing at his eyes with his opposite hand, Todoroki speaks without raising his head: “Midoriya,” he starts, his voice faltering, just slightly. “You know that I care for you, right?”
Izuku flushes slightly at these words, but replies, “Of course I do.”
“Do you trust me?”
Izuku does not pause, “With my life.”
Todoroki’s gaze snaps up to meet Izuku’s, his mouth slightly parted as he blinks at Izuku, digesting his words. Izuku holds his gaze, unrelenting.
“You’re…” Todoroki says, pausing as his tongue darts out and swipes across his lower lip. “Midoriya, you’re unbelievable. You’re amazing.”
Izuku chuckles softly, “Not as amazing as you.”
“No,” Todoroki denies immediately, “None of that. You’re amazing, okay? I mean that.” There’s an urgency in his voice that translates in the intensity behind his eyes. Izuku’s breath escapes from his chest as he holds their stare, all the air gone from the room.
“Thank you,” Izuku says, once he finds his voice.
Todoroki’s face softens, his mouth pulling into a small smile. The air is gone again, but in the best way, and Izuku can’t stop himself before he’s lifting their intertwined hands and pressing a long kiss to the back of Todoroki’s hand.
In the morning, Iida meets Izuku and Todoroki in the infirmary with muffins and orange juice for the three of them to share. And when Iida says something that makes Todoroki laugh, eyes crinkling as he hides his smile behind his hand, Izuku is more thankful than he can express.
The worst of it is done, he thinks. Now, there is time to heal.