Todoroki’s morning was awful so far. As usual, he didn’t let it affect him too much. He maintained a neutral expression throughout the day, behaving in class as he always did; mostly silent. He learned from a young age not to pay attention to the other kids; they had nothing important to offer the next number one hero. The son of the famed number two hero, Endeavor.
No one was able to get a word out of him except teachers. He treated them with respect, as they were authority figures. He ignored class clowns, attention seekers, and bullies and they ignored him, too afraid of his Quirk and his position to mess with him, or even dare utter a word to him. A few kind girls tried reaching out to him here and there, but quickly realized they were wasting their own time in trying to get through to him. Why waste a lifetime breaking through a boy’s cold exterior and being painfully burnt time and time again only to reach a fiery interior that would finish the job and finally burn what little remained?
Todoroki understood. He kept to himself, remained the top of every class. Never was second best, never was third. Even in P.E., he was the fastest, the strongest, always showing constant improvement in how he handled and used his Quirk. He wasn’t permitted to use it indoors unlike the other kids, due to safety concerns. That, and the school didn’t have much of a budget to fix buildings that were frozen over or burnt to a crisp.
Naturally, most of the powerful boy’s training was done at home. Under intense supervision from his only parent; Endeavor. He was constantly broken down only to build himself back up, returning stronger every day. Every time his father beat him down, he got back up again and showed him just how much he’d changed since the last beating. And the cycle repeated. Beating after beating. Change after change. Until Todoroki had finally reached his limit. He overworked himself, and found himself blacked out in a hospital bed during his last week of school.
The missing work would be a piece of cake to complete, and it wasn’t like he had any friends waiting around on him at school, anticipating his return, so Todoroki wasn't at all concerned about how the next week would pan out. Sure, everyone would notice he was gone, but few would care. Less competition. A smoother last week, a more fun celebration without his silent yet deafening presence lurking in the shadows, in the corner where he believed nobody would see him, yet his very existence was blinding to his peers.
It was there in that hospital bed that an angel appeared to him.
The familiar smell flooded his nostrils. It smelled like home. Like his mother. Like Fuyumi, like Natsuo. But most importantly, like Touya. Touya Todoroki. His older brother. He hadn’t seen him in...seven...eight years now?
Todoroki couldn’t think very clearly at the moment. The medicine made him feel drowsy and weakened, and hearing his father yell at the doctors and nurses who were only doing their jobs made his ears hurt.
Finally, the doctors and nurses had left him alone. His father had headed home, as well, for a good night’s rest before another day of saving lives and rescuing people, and trying to surpass All Might, as any sane person would do.
Todoroki stiffened as the scent grew stronger. Footsteps. A man with mismatched patchwork skin and piercing, icy blue eyes entered the room, shutting the doors behind him and drawing the curtains. His eyes were glued to the bruises littering Todoroki’s skin, particularly one on his cheek.
As this strangely familiar figure drew closer, Todoroki felt his heart rate pick up speed. He desperately tried to move, but his limbs had frozen still. He tried to activate his flames, but they weren’t working. The medication must’ve been the cause, it must be suppressing his strength so that he wouldn’t accidentally light himself on fire in the middle of the night. He’d been having some intense nightmares as a result of these new medications.
“Shouto.” A voice, clear as day, quiet as the aforementioned boy, rang out.
Todoroki let out a choked whimper as the man now stood at his bedside, gazing tenderly into his eyes and leaning down now to clutch either side of his face with his hands.
Affectionately holding the tired boy’s head in his hands, the patchwork man smiled softly. Not a villainous smirk, not a taunting grin, not an obligatory, polite raise of the corners of his mouth. A genuine smile. For him, and him only. The smile he'd missed so much, the smile he hadn't felt the joy of experiencing since he was a child.
“I’m here to save you. Listen carefully, Shou…” Touya leaned further down, still keeping his hands where they were, and whispered softly into his younger brother’s ear. He detailed all of his plans, why he’d disappeared, how sorry he was for leaving him for so long, how he’d found a group that was willing to help him exact his revenge against their abusive father.
For once, Todoroki was all ears. He listened intently, and when a Code Orange was announced over the loudspeaker, Touya - no, Dabi, as they’d discussed - let go of his brother’s face and pulled back, much to Todoroki’s dismay. He let out a pained whine but Touya just gave that soft smile again, with less sadness and more determination this time.
“That’s my cue, little brother. I’ll see you Wednesday, if all goes according to plan.” Dabi turned his back to the injured boy and Todoroki frowned, too lost in thought to realize his older brother was leaving until it was too late.
Dabi slipped back on his disguise, a tightly-fitting white lab coat and blue mask covering the patchwork parts of his face, and flew out the door, careful to quietly shut it behind him before racing out to the nearest exit. He'd cast his brother one last sidelong glance full of sympathy and just the tiniest hint of wistfulness before shutting the door and leaving Todoroki's field of vision.
Todoroki thought he heard screams and smelled the smoke from a fire but both the sounds and scent had disappeared as quickly as they’d come, and he was left wondering if he’d just hallucinated the past twenty minutes. He was numb, deaf, blind to the nurses and doctors shrouding him, crowding him, smothering him in attention and trying to figure out what had happened in the half hour they'd left him alone. Todoroki grinned a genuine grin for the first time in a while. Man, was he looking forward to Wednesday.
His first day at U.A. High had already arrived. So quickly Todoroki’s summer had passed. Naturally, he spent it training with Dabi and allowing both brothers to learn the ins and outs of each other’s Quirks, how well they worked together. Soon enough, he would be ready to meet the other members of the League. For now, he’d only caught subtle glimpses of them on the rare occasions they’d watched the training.
Todoroki distinctly remembered a tall, lanky man with messy light blue hair and the palest skin he’d ever laid his eyes upon. And hands. A lot of hands, one covering his face. Todoroki made eye contact with him just one time, and his blood-red eyes seemed to see right through his soul. Asked him the deeper question he’d been asking himself for a while: “What are you doing here, especially-”
“Out of my way, extra! Quit cramming up the hallway, you half n’ half loser!” a loud voice rang out behind him and Todoroki spun on his heel to face the owner.
A boy with spiky ash-blonde hair and crimson red eyes stared back at him.
“The hell you looking at? You deaf or something?!” the boy growled, fists clenched at his sides and teeth gritting together in unwarranted fury. “I’ll kick your ass, you-”
“Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” a voice joked behind him. This voice was a bit higher, more light-hearted and bouncy. Before Todoroki could turn his head to acknowledge the speaker, he’d come to stand beside him. Red hair styled in tall, distinctive spikes - reminding him of another pro-hero he’d seen before - and matching light ruby-red pupils, the boy radiated an entirely different aura than the blonde.
“What did you say?! I’ll kill you, Shitty Hair!” The blonde’s threat went ignored as the redhead turned his attention entirely to Todoroki.
“Hi, I’m Eijirou Kirishima. Nice to meet-” His jaw seemed to drop as he finally looked up at Todoroki. “You’re Endeavor’s son! Woah, man, that’s so awesome! I don’t know what I’d do if my dad was the number two hero!” Kirishima erupted with joy and excitement simply over Todoroki’s parentage. It didn’t make much sense to him, but he wasn’t going to say that aloud and look rude. If only Kirishima knew just how awful it was to be Endeavor’s son, regardless of how exciting and grandiose everyone made it out to be.
“Thank you. I suppose there’s no obligation for me to introduce myself, in that case. I do like your hair, it reminds me of-”
“Crimson Riot! I love him! He’s my favorite pro-hero, and-” Kirishima froze. “No offense to your dad, of course. I’ve just been a fan of Crimson Riot since I was little, and his personality and image really stuck with him. He’s left a massive impact on my life. I wouldn’t be the same man I am today if it weren’t for him.” He smiled wide, and Todoroki took note of how sharp his teeth were. Like a shark’s. It was kind of endearing, the way the redhead smiled so widely and genuinely. Todoroki still wasn’t used to seeing people do that.
The blonde had since stormed off, probably bored by the lack of attention. A boy with curly, unkempt green hair and freckles had taken his place.
Their eyes met for just a few seconds and Todoroki felt his heart twitch a little in his chest. He closely watched the freckled boy’s mannerisms; his nerves were evident in the way his fingers twitched and breath hitched, his emerald-green eyes alight with curiosity as they traveled around the long hallway before taking in the beautiful view of the campus displayed through tall, transparent glass windows that took up the entire wall. His soft-looking hair curled wildly at the ends, and suddenly Todoroki felt the undeniable urge to run his fingers through-
“Oh, h...hi, I didn’t see you there. I’m Izuku Midoriya and this is my first year here and-”
Before he could continue his anxious rambling, Kirishima cut him off, thanks to whatever god existed.
“We’re first years too! In the hero course. I’m Eijirou Kirishima! Feel free to just call me Kirishima, though!” The redhead gave Midoriya the same bright, toothy smile he’d given to Todoroki. "And this is Shouto Todoroki! Endeavor's son!"
Todoroki bit back the growl threatening to rise from his throat at the thought of being introduced as nothing more than a pro hero's son. As if that's all he was. The offspring of an abusive, dysfunctional-
"Hi, Todoroki," Izuku said, giving a nervous wave and a smile to match. Todoroki's eyes widened a bit but he quickly relaxed them and nodded wordlessly in reply, which seemed to catch Izuku a little off guard.
Midoriya seemed to relax a little as Kirishima repeated his introduction to him and asked him a few questions, which he seemed to grow more and more comfortable answering as the conversation progressed.
Todoroki blinked, unsure of what to do. He didn’t exactly have an interest in talking to either of them. But his mission was to infiltrate U.A. and obtain valuable information, and to do so he’d need not only the teachers’ trust, but also the trust of his classmates.
Opting to follow behind the fiery blonde that was the first person to talk to him here at U.A, Todoroki let his eyes scan the hallways before spotting him disappearing into the classroom, catching him right before he did.
“I believe we got off on the wrong foot. Shouto Todoroki, pleased to meet you.”
In response, the other sneered at him and shoved his hands in his pockets, strolling on past him and through the doorway to Class 1A.
Todoroki blinked a few more times in disbelief before just deciding to let it go with a shrug and a bite of his own tongue to stop from lashing out. He decided it would be best to rejoin Kirishima and Izuku.
Pausing and waiting for them to finish the subject they were on, Izuku’s eyes lifted up mid-sentence to meet his and he instantly lost his train of thought. Todoroki struggled to stifle a laugh, and instead blew out air through his nose with a reassuring smile. Kirishima chuckled a little, glancing between the two very intuitively. I don’t like the impression he’s getting, Todoroki thought to himself, smile contorting back to a more neutral expression, neither smiling nor frowning.
Izuku finally found the ground beneath his feet and took off again rambling. “Sorry about Kacchan. He doesn’t really like new people, well, people in general. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to talk bad about him, Kacchan is really amazing and strong and his Quirk-”
“Kacchan?” Kirishima and Todoroki both tilted their heads slightly at that.
Izuku flushed and waved his hands around. “That’s just a nickname I call him. I don’t think he’ll respond very kindly if either of you call him that, though, so please don’t-”
“But if it’s you calling him it, he’s alright with it?” Todoroki raised a brow.
“Just what are you in-insinuating?” Izuku stammered, face red as a tomato and sweat beads beginning to form on his brow.
“So, what’s Kacchan’s real name?” Kirishima cut in, putting air quotes around the nickname.
“Uh...Kat...I can’t pronounce it, I’m sorry. I’m sure you could ask him yourself, I think he’d really like you!” Izuku smiled encouragingly at the other and Todoroki felt that same odd, tingly feeling in his chest he tried to push down to no avail.
“Cat? Like...mrrow.” Kirishima made an exaggerated cat noise and Izuku burst into laughter, possibly one of the sweetest sounds Todoroki had ever heard, before the freckled boy quickly stopped himself, slapping a hand over his mouth.
“Don’t make fun of Kacchan! He won’t respond well to teasing of any kind. A-and I’ve already talked enough about him, he wouldn’t be too happy with me. He isn’t happy with me to begin with- I’ve said too much…” Izuku finished with a sigh and an exasperated expression, looking disappointed in himself. “I should apologize.”
Kirishima and Todoroki exchanged a glance. This boy really was a rollercoaster. A bubbly, curly-haired, freckled, smiley, laughy, nervous rollercoaster that made Todoroki’s insides fizz like baking soda.
“Hey! Looks like we joined the party a little late! I’m Denki Kaminari,” a blonde with small electricity-shaped black streaks in his hair approached them, sporting a wide, cheeky smile. A girl with horns, pink skin and a slightly darker pink mop of hair stood on his left and a lanky boy with black hair and strangely straight teeth stood to his right.
“Mina!” Kirishima raced to the pink girl’s side, engulfing the smaller girl in a hug. She wrapped her arms around him with matching enthusiasm, nearly toppling him over with her energy alone.
“Hey. Hanta Sero,” the boy with black hair introduced, flashing a smile. It was odd-looking to Todoroki but he tried not to stare too much. Izuku seemed to get a little flustered around so many people that already seemed to know each other so well, and Todoroki could sympathize with how he was feeling, but unlike Izuku, he kept his emotions hidden. Izuku’s feelings were written all across his face and his body language - he didn’t seem very good at controlling them.
Without thinking, Todoroki clasped Izuku’s hand in his and led him down the hall. The others stayed behind socializing and someone said something funny, resulting in the four busting down in laughing fits, the noise echoing down the otherwise quiet halls.
“Thanks… I wasn’t sure what to…” Izuku trailed off, eyes gazing up into the taller boy’s, specifically focusing on the left side of his face. He must’ve actually noticed the scar now that he was seeing it up close and wasn’t concentrated on his own thoughts and actions.
Annoyed by the other’s speechless gawking, Todoroki turned his back and headed into the class, releasing their clasped hands. Izuku was here now, he could make his own introductions without Todoroki holding his hand through every step.
Izuku desperately called out his name but he ignored it, continuing inside and freezing dead in his tracks when he saw a familiar face.
She sat in the seat beside his and the corners of her mouth curled into a wicked smile upon seeing him.
“Oh hey, Todoroki,” she said aloud, and heads practically spun towards them, interest piqued. Whispers were heard and eyes were glued to Todoroki as he sat at his desk, facing Toga.
She gave another devilish smile that others might find cute if they didn’t know the person underneath it. Todoroki did, and as a result, the smile made his guts churn and his stomach drop. He knew what this girl was capable of, though he’d heard only bits and pieces of the havoc she’d wreaked despite only recently being introduced to the League of Villains. She was almost as new as Todoroki, and Dabi had also been her rescue from an unhappy life, except she lived with him near their hideout.
Todoroki was a little jealous of that. He didn’t entirely know the dynamic of their relationship, but from what he saw, it was a typical older brother, younger sister type and he didn’t like having to share his brother with someone who wasn’t even blood-related.
“Hey, Shou.” She waved a hand in front of his face.
He snapped back to the present and forced a smile. “Sorry, got a little carried away.”
“No problem. I know I’m really cute. The hair’s a new look, huh? I like it in these pigtails and everyone else seems to, too!” The end of her sentence rose in a high-pitched squeak. She was really overplaying the innocent, cute schoolgirl act. “Who’s that cute boy who was calling after you? He got a girlfriend?” She twirled the end of one of her loose ashy blonde hairs and Todoroki felt a few tiny flames erupt from the left side of his face and body.
Surprise flashed in her yellow eyes for a split second before amusement replaced them. “Oh, don’t tell me you’re getting attached already. It’s much too early for that. Especially considering you’ll be betraying him sooner or later,” she mumbled in a voice only loud enough for him to hear.
Todoroki felt his blood boil but he forced an indifferent shrug and sat back in his chair. “No. I’m not attached to him. I know what the focus of our mission is. Do you?” he added in the last part, facing forwards in his seat and clearly ending the conversation.
Toga gave an exaggeratedly cutesy little “Hmph!” and stood to leave, skipping out and down the hall. Todoroki felt bile rising in his stomach, only a small part of his brain listening to the teacher - Mr. Aizawa’s - lecture. His body worked as if it were on autopilot - lost in his thoughts, he got up when everyone else rose from their desks and headed outdoors.