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//~~~~~~~~~Chapter 1~~~~~~~~~~~\\

If Todoroki had known what a hassle today would have been; he might have not stayed as long as he did in one place.

It started off as usual or at least as usual as can be given the apocalypse was now considered normal.

Todoroki had been bunking down in the AC vents of an old gas station in the middle of no where, between a bunch of giant red wood trees and a whole lot of dirt road. It had been a spot not fully picked clean so the teen gathered up what he could and made a small bed in the crawlspace of the metal AC unit above the old register. He managed to stay a whole three days in that air duct, surviving off the limited supplies he scavenged. It’s where he felt safe enough to shut his eyes for a limited amount of sleep. Not a full night but enough to replenish his energy.

Todoroki had just allowed himself to consider staying another night when it happened.

He was once again trying to pick the lock on the safe that was wedged under the already robbed cash register. Hoping beyond anything that something useful was hidden inside. Maybe a gun or some other weapon was promising enough to think about. When a scream reverberated in the distance and Todoroki shot to a standing position. He rushed to the old, dirty windows, cluttered with advertisement for cigarettes and energy drinks long since gone and looked around.

In the distance he saw a figure running towards the gas station at full speed. Though he couldn’t make out much he just knew it was a person and he tended to avoid them when he could manage it.

At least it wasn’t a hunter.

"Shit" He hissed under his breath and looks up at the vent where his stuff was hiding. Jumping up onto the counter, he grasps the edge of the metal slot and pulls himself up with such ease. Shutting the door behind his body he shuffled in the darker part of the vents and crawled over to a barred opening that looked down on the shop, casting shadows on his face.

Just a few seconds later the bell above the door gave a jingle, signaling the entrance of the person that made the sound.

Looking down through the vent door he watched as the figure stop by the register breathing heavily, meaning they must have been running for awhile. When the figure finally came into view he could only tell that it’s a female with raven black hair tied up in a spiky ponytail. She spun around twice as if looking for something before the sound of an engine roaring came through the walls of the establishment.

The girl whimpered as she dropped down into a crouch and scurried to the back of the store before settling behind an empty shelf in the back aisle. Todoroki’s just above her and has a perfect view of the crown of her head.

Seconds later the bell jingles and the girl covers her mouth to try and hide her heavy breathing that even Todoroki could hear.

“My oh my where has our little chick-a-dee gone?” A voice asks loudly and from his vantage point Todoroki see’s two men in dirty clothing standing side by side, blocking the door. One has a bat while the other is sporting a crowbar and a beer in hand. Both looked like they grew up in a pig pen with how dirty their bodies are.

The one with the bat motioned with the weapon for the other guy to go left while he goes right and they begin to circle the store.

“Come out come out.” The other sang as he giggled in excitement and effectively showing his missing teeth.

“We just wanna party sweetie.” Bat swinger hums, “Pretty thing like you shouldn’t be out here all by your lonesome.”

“Yeah, ain’t cha know how ta party ya little chinky?” The racial slur rolls off the tongue so easy is causes Todoroki to roll his eyes as the uneducated men’s speech.

Todoroki looks back down at the girl to see her shaking as she continues to hold both hands over her mouth. He can almost taste her fear in the back of his throat and it doesn’t sit well with him. None of this is his business. Once they all leave he’ll get his stuff and continue on his way. Just like he’s been doing all these months.

The one with the bat discovers her first as she lets out a scream and tries to dash the other way but the crowbar thug stops her. She slides back on her bottom, kicking her feet back in an attempt to get away but she’s blocked at both ends.

“Please no! I don’t have any food or- or anything!” She says in Japanese as she pushes her back to the slushy machine between the men on either side of her. Todoroki’s eyebrows rise at the familiar language. He hasn’t heard Japanese in months, so her native tongue came as a surprise to him as he leans closer.

“Now , now- come on missy. You speak English when you’re on our soil.”

“Aw come on Bart, we can teach her a few words.” The other snickers.

“Hm, now that’s a pretty good idea. How about we start with the basics?” ‘Bart’ as proclaimed by the crowbar holder points to the girl with his weapon, “Repeat after me, ‘fuck me’ you got that?”

She shook her head at the unfamiliar words, “Please, I’m just looking for my parents.”

“She’s not getting it Bart.”

“Guess we’ll have to show her.” Bart drops the bat and jerks forward, grabbing the girl by her arm and pulling her back to his chest, “I had the last find; your turn.”

The man set the crowbar on the empty shelf as he began to fiddle with his belt buckle, “Don’t mind if I do.”

Todoroki sneered in anger as he listened to the girl beg and plead for them to stop. Her language falling on deaf ears as her voice cracked with tears.

Normally Todoroki stayed out of other peoples business. He’s always been that way, even as a kid. Given it’s the apocalypse didn’t change much as he focused on himself and only himself. But he couldn’t just stand by and watch this.

He has a sister… or at least he had a sister.

Pulling back the vent door Todoroki drops down behind the man holding the woman. The other guy across from him stopped fiddling with his belt to look up and point at him, “Hey!”

It’s to late because Todoroki grabs Bart into a headlock, effectively making him drop the girl. Not focusing on her, Todoroki allows his training to take hold as he twists the neck to the side violently, causing a sickening crack to echo before the body goes rag doll limp.

“You son O’ a bitch!” The other guy reaches for his crowbar but doesn’t have time because Todoroki grabbed a knife from his belt and throws it across the space. It embedded itself dead center in the guys chest. He stumbled back while looking down at the knife with wide eyes before crumbling back onto the floor.

Silence overtakes the gas station and Todoroki walks over to the man he just stabbed and rips his hunting knife from the chest with a squelch of blood. He nudges the body with his boot and knows instantly it’s dead. Reaching down he stabs the body in the center of the skull before ripping out the knife and doing the same to the man who’s neck he just snapped.

He wipes the bloody knife on the shirt of the dead man before hearing a whimper and remembering the girl.

Looking up he see’s she’s scattered back onto the counter between the old ATM and the slushee machine. She’s hugging her knees to her chest and looking at Todoroki with the most shiny onyx eyes he’s ever seen in his life. Tears still fresh on her plump cheeks and gathering in the corners of her cat like eyes.

She’s beautiful

He clears his throat; not really having used his voice in a few months, “Are you alright?”

Her eyes widen as she pushed forward off the counter and stands several steps away from him, “You speak Japanese?”

Todoroki nods once and a giant smile pulls at her cheeks, flashing him a set of perfectly white teeth, “Oh thank heavens! I haven’t been able to talk to anyone for so long- I mean fluently. Not that there’s a ton of people to talk to but- oh my goodness thank you so much for saving me! Those guy’s have been chasing me all night! I thought I lost them through the tree’s but somehow they found me.” She glances behind her at the bodies, “Um- oh- are they- are they dead?” She whispers the last part as she hugs her fisted hands to her chest.

He nods again and she seems relieved but hesitant as she faces him again, “I was so scared of what they were going to do.”

As she looked behind her again at their bodies he got a good look at her and had an idea of what they wanted even if he hadn’t heard their plans. She’s very attractive, standing just a head shorter than him, with milky white skin and curves that he’s sure he’s only seen in the magazines his sister use to read. Sporting jean short shorts and a red tank top that has probably seen better days. Shaking his head quickly he turns away and makes his way to the front of the store. He can hear her brown hiking boots follow quickly.

“Were you squatting in the A/C vents?” She asks looking up at the open compartment he dropped through, “That’s so smart! I never would have thought of that. I’ve been mostly sleeping in abandoned cars. Not that I’ve been sleeping much, I’m just so- so lost”

Scoffing he shakes his head at the idea of staying somewhere so open and vulnerable but she continues in her rambling.

“Speaking of which I had to ditch the car I was using after those guys found me. All my stuff’s probably gone.” She sighs loudly, “Not that I had a lot just some clothes and stuff.”

He glances over his shoulder at her as he leans against the counter and she continues to talk, “Though I guess it wasn’t my car to begin with. Not that I condone stealing but I had to use something. Do you have a car? I didn’t see anything outside.”

“No” He simply says and she nods quickly.

“That’s fine! You’ve got a nice set up here. Do you live here?” She looks around the building, “It’s… cozy.” She forces out and if Todoroki wasn’t completely solemn he would have cracked a smile at her obvious lie but he didn’t.

“No”

“So just squatting, okay. Do you have a group you travel with?”

“No”

“Can you say anything else besides no?” She smiles up at him as she pulls her hands behind her back obviously trying to make a joke but he just blinks at her.

“Yes”

She deflates a bit but keeps her smile up, “I’m sorry, I must be talking your ear off. It’s just the whole Japanese thing. You have no idea how relieved I am to finally be able to talk to someone. It’s been so lonely these past few months.” Her eyes darken as if remembering something and he honestly didn’t care to find out. Everyone had a story now days, and he didn’t care about those either.

Todoroki grunts and turns away from her to stand on the counter. His hand fishes around in the vent to grab his bag as she prattles on while staring up at him.

“By the way, I’m Momo Yaoyorozu.”

He hums in acknowledgement, not really caring.

“This is the part where you introduce yourself.” Momo suggests as she leans forward to try and look at his face.

Once he had his backpack in hand he drags it out and slings it over his shoulder, “Todoroki”

“Is that a first name or-“ She leads off waiting for his response.

“Just Todoroki,” He jumps to the floor before her, “And I’ll be leaving. Feel free to have my hiding spot.”

Her eyes grow wide with fear as she rushed forward and blocks the door, “Wait, you’re leaving?”

“Yup, never stay in the same place for to long. It’s how you avoid trouble.” His eyes dart over to the pair of feet poking out from the back isle belonging to the two dead guys.

She brings her hands up to her stomach and twists the fabric of her shirt, “Where are you going?”

His eyebrow ticks in annoyance at her preventing him from leaving, “Out there obviously.”

“Duh- I mean where? As in what is your destination?” She tries to talk with her hands as if the Japanese they’re speaking isn’t communicating right.

Todoroki just blinks at her until she must have realized she won’t be getting an answer any time soon, “Well I’m trying to get to Alaska. More specifically Alaska Eielson Air Force Base.”

He looks to her like she’s crazy, “You know that’s thousands of miles from here right?”

Momo pouts, sticking out her lower lip in defiance at his words, “I know. But I’m obviously not from around here. I was using a map but I lost it.”

He looks to his right where a small metal rack has a cluster of messy maps hanging from it. Whoever raided this place didn’t see the value in a piece of paper so he plucks it from the top and holds it out to her.

“Here”

She looks down at it before accepting it and looking at the cover, “I don’t know a lot of English.”

“Than you should learn fast.”

He tries to step around her but she blocks him again and his eyes take on a dangerous glint at being stopped yet again. He didn’t do well with being trapped, and his hand tightened around the strap of his backpack.

“Can I come with you?”

“What?” He heard her just fine but the question itself is so absurd he just said it on reflex.

She blushes as she hugs the map to her chest, “Can I come with you? Just until I get my barring’s?”

“No”

“Please!” She pushed out and takes a step closer to him which causes him to instinctively take one back, “I promise I’m no trouble! I’ll be helpful! Just until I get myself together to head out on my own.”

“You don’t know me and I don’t know you.” He takes a step to the right and she follows quickly.

“Not true!” She holds up a hand, “You know I’m Momo, and I know you’re Todoroki-san.”

Hearing his name from someone else felt weird but not fully in a bad way.

“See? We’re good.”

His eyes narrow as he clicks his tongue to the roof of his mouth, “How can you trust me so easily?” He takes a step closer and Momo is the one to take a step to the side now but he follows.

“Um, well you saved me. Someone who saves another person can’t be all that bad.” She whispers the last part as her lower back hits the counter and Todoroki stops just inches from her. Looking down into her wide eyes staring up at him questioningly. Waiting for him to do something.

He takes in her face and notices minimal dirt on her figure, meaning she’s not been out in the wild for very long, “Well trust me when I say I’m not as honorable as I seem. You just caught me on a good day.”

She opens her mouth to speak but he quickly turns and makes a hasty exit. The bell jarring twice as she quickly follows and jogs to keep up with his long legs.

“Wait! T-Todoroki-san!” She seems nervous as if looking for something to say, “Please- just can’t we talk about this?”

“No”

Silence follows his words and part of him wonders if she took the hint but turning his head slightly he notices she’s following two steps behind with a determined look on her face.

Sighing angrily he stops and turns to face her, “Stop following me.”

“I’m not following you.” She lifts her chin defiantly.

Raising a brow at her he turns back to the dirt road and continues on. He knows she’s following from the slight sound of her heavy footsteps. After several minutes of this he feels his patience warring thin and spins around. She nearly bumps into him before scuttling two steps back.

“You’re following me!” He snaps.

Momo shakes her head and points to the map, “I just so happen to be heading this way.”

“North is that way.” He points to the right and she follows his finger before facing him.

“I know” Her voice betrays her answer, “I’m taking a different route.”

“Mhm” He crosses his arms over his chest, “And that route just so happens to be this way?” He points behind him.

Her head bobbled up and down causing her ponytail to jar with it and he faces forward.

“Jeez,” He whispers to himself before continuing on.

Given her lack of physical attributes he knows if he keeps going she’ll fall behind and eventually stop. Maybe she’ll tire out or get bored, but he knows she’ll leave and he’ll be back to being by himself.

So they walk, and they walk, and they walk some more. Several hours go by and she hasn’t spoken a word, but she’s kept pace well enough that he’s almost impressed. He glances back at her every now and then to check their distance and always finds her staring at the back of his head. When she catches his eye she tries to smile but he faces forward quick enough.

They walk until the sun starts its decent over the mountains and Todoroki knows its time to find a place to camp for the night. Someplace safe. A sign three miles back indicated a rest stop two more miles up ahead for truckers. It would have to do for the night.

When the stop appears up ahead he can hear the girl’s heavy breathing slowly become more prominent. If he wasn’t so tired himself he might go on for the night. But things happened in the dark; dangerous things came out and it didn’t do well to run in the dark with no place to go.

They stop outside the small building that houses a men and women’s restroom as well as several vending machines.

“Are we staying here tonight?” Momo asks for the first time since they left the gas station and he’s almost startled when she speaks as he glances at her.

“It’s where I’m staying.” He removes his knife from his belt and walks to the glass door that has a simple sign requesting you pull. Looking through to the small alcove that houses the vending machines it had the restroom doors opposite each other as well as a bench and a dead plant. He taps on the glass loud enough to hear.

They wait several seconds as Momo leans forward and whispers, “What are you doing?”

“Seeing if any hunters are in there.” He replies and when he looks at her he sees the color drain from her face as she swallows.

“The sick?” She asks shakily, almost in a same tone she used with those two perverts back at the station.

He nods before opening the door and listening to the hollow sounds of nothing. The cicadas outside are humming louder as the sun sets over the tree tops. Once the door shuts behind them it silences the bugs and leaves them in a void of sound.

Momo scuffles closer to Todoroki and he looks down at her before moving away and walking to the men’s bathroom. Like the other door he knocks gently and waits. Once again nothing responds as he pushes the swinging door open and takes in the dark room. A window lines the top of the cement room basking it in the orange light from the sun. It’s a simple three stall, two urinal room with a small line of sinks on the side. He squats down to see no feet in the stalls and stands up as he lets the door swing close. Todoroki repeats it with the woman’s to find a similar layout except it has five stalls.

Once satisfied that the place is cleared he walks back into the main room to find Momo eyeing the food longingly behind the barred vending machine. The glass had been smashed long ago but the food remained untouched behind the thick metal cage.

She places a hand to her stomach and sighs, “I’m hungry.”

He shakes his head at her and walks over to the main door, “Wait Todoroki-san aren’t we staying here?”

“Not enough exit options.” He says simply and lets her catch the door to follow him out.

He looks across the open land to see several parked cars in the lot and a semi-truck that sat in the middle of the road with its doors open. Most likely abandoned in a hasty exit. Perfect for what he had planned.

Walking over to it he strolls around the vehicle twice before taking a peek in the back. Just a whole lot of nothing.

Gripping the handle near the door he pulls himself up and steps on the drivers seat before moving his grasp to the roof and pulls his body up to the roof of the cab. Once up there it’s an easy climb to the top body of the truck where he has a large view of the layout of the rest stop and further beyond.

Perfect.

He drops down and slides his bag off his back with a thunk before he hears a grunt and looks down to see Momo trying to pull herself up onto the cab. Her arms shake as her leg kicks to find something to push off before dropping back to the ground below. She tries several more times before standing up and dusting her shorts off.

“A little help would be nice.” She puts her hands on her hips.

He cocks his head to the side, “You can’t always rely on others to help you in this world. If you want something you work for it.”

Momo pouts as she looks around and sees nothing before turning to him, “But it’s impossible to get up there.”

He holds his arms out for proof, “Obviously not.”

“Well for those of us that aren’t freaky ninjas” She cocks her head to the side, “Where did you learn those moves back there anyway?”

He knows she’s referring to the gas station and turns away as he digs through his bag, “No where.”

She crosses her arms under her ample chest, “I’ve never seen anyone move like that.”

He sighs loudly and looks down at her, “Must you talk so much?”

She seems proud of it and nods, “Yes, it’s how I plan on getting on your good side.”

“I have no good side”

“Now see, I don’t believe that.” Momo leans her back against the body of the truck and looks up at the orange sky, “My papa always said good people don’t have to say they’re good people, it just shows.”

He hums and pulls out an energy bar from his bag, “Did he?”

“Yup” She pops the P at the end and he can hear the smile in her tone, “He’s a firm believer in looking for the good in everyone”

“Where is he?” He finds himself asking before cursing his curiosity and knowing he doesn’t really care what her answer is going to be.

She doesn’t say anything and he wonders if she walked away to try and get that food from the vending machine. He peels the wrapper back and takes a bite of the stale granola.

“He’s in Alaska.” She whispers and he pauses his chewing as he looks to the edge of the truck and she continues, “With my Mama. Before everything happened my parents were business tycoons in Japan. We lived in Musitafu in a big house.” He can hear the happy tone in her voice as she thinks back to her home.

“My parents were in the states on a business trip when it all happened. I was at home alone watching it all on the news. At first they called and told me it was nothing but another media frenzy making everything worse than it was. My school cancelled all the classes and the president advised everyone to stay indoors.” Her voice grew faint and he wonders what Japan had been like when it started.

He’d been in the states well before the sickness broke out and only had limited contact with his sister before the lines went down.

“The caretakers my parents hired to watch over me when they’re gone stopped coming by to check on me. The lines were cut and last I heard my parents were in Alaska. Food became scares and I didn’t really know anyone to go to. Until one day a man came to the door- a military chief with like a billion medals on his jacket. He told me to pack a bag and come with him.”

Momo paused when a howl in the distance caught their attention. She whimpered and grabbed onto the handle of the truck to try and pull herself up again. Todoroki was already half way through his dinner when he saw the top of her head rise and fall. She jumped again and still couldn’t reach it.

Sighing angrily he threw the half eaten bar on his backpack and walked over to the edge to see her reaching up.

Without asking he reached down and gripped her wrist. With a powerful pull he lifts her body up to the cab where her foot caught the roof and pushed her up the rest of the way. She scrambled onto the top safely and looked up at him with a wide smile.

“Thank you Todoroki-san!”

“You would have drawn attention to me otherwise so don’t thank me.” He turns back to his bag and sits down to retrieve his food.

She takes a seat next to him; way to close since their shoulders touch. He scoots to the side to give them space and she looks around.

“Wow this is high up.”

“The better to see our surroundings and make a quick escape if needed be.”

She hums and nods, “So smart. You really know how to survive all this stuff.”

He shrugs before taking another bite and notices her eyes look to the food before facing forward. Todoroki grunts and digs in his bag before holding out a chocolate granola bar out to her in a silver package, “Here”

Her eyes grow wide and he’s sure that’s drool at the corner of her mouth as she holds her stomach, “No thank you.”

Confused he lowers it to his lap, “You sure?”

She nods quickly, “I told you I’m not a burden. You don’t need to take care of me.”

“And yet that’s all I’ve been doing today.” He turns back to his own food.

They sit in silence for awhile watching the sun set around them. The night is a lot cooler without the suns warmth and he watches from the corner of his eye as Momo curls her legs up and wraps her arms around them.

After another minute a growl breaks out and he turns to see a bright red faced Momo looking down at her stomach like it betrayed her. He picks up the bar again and sets it down between them.

“Take it or don’t but you’ll need your energy. I don’t like chocolate anyways.” He whispers the last part.

Seconds go by before he hears the wrapper crinkle and looks over to see her hugging it to her chest as tears come to her eyes. He leans away and openly gawks at her face, “Why are you crying?”

She wipes at the tears with the back of her hand as the other squeezes the wrapper, “Because I haven’t met anyone as nice as Todoroki since I got here. You’re so kind, thank you!”

He feels his stomach churn as his face heats up and he looks forward with a stubborn set to his jaw, “Just eat the damn food.”

She complies and eats slowly as her tears fall silently and she sniffles every now and then. Once it’s gone she crumples up the trash and sets it to the side.

“Are you tired Todoroki-san?”

“Not really. I slept pretty well back at the gas station.”

She nods and a yawn breaks through as she stretches her arms up and arches her back. Her chest spills forward and he looks in the opposite direction so as not to see it again because it caught his eye and he doesn’t want to be a creep.

Shuffling is heard and looking back he sees she’s laying next to him with her legs curled up to her waist. Her arms are make shift pillows as she closes her eyes.

“Don’t go anywhere Todoroki-san. Please?” She whispers and peeks an eye up at him.

He doesn’t answer because he has no intentions to promise her anything.

She seems to know she wasn’t going to get an answer and sighs as she closes her eyes, “I could use a friend right now.”

With that her breathing slows down as it turns into light snores. He watches her for a bit to make sure she’s really sleeping and wonders if he should just get up and leave. Of course he doesn’t like to travel in the dark but he could always take refuge in a tree up the road for the night or maybe try to see if one of those cars will work.

Though his eyes kept wandering down to her face that he can selfishly take in now that she’s not looking. Her lips parted as soft snores roll out evenly and her thick eyelashes rest on the apples of her cheeks. She’s really beautiful, and while he’s never actually dated anyone he knows an attractive face when he sees one. He’s not blind…

Thoughts run through his mind of different directions to leave in, but his body stays planted next to her sleeping form. And it stays there for the whole night, going between watching her and the moon above.

Yeah he knew he was screwed.

//~~~~~~~~~End Chapter 1~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~Chapter 2~~~~~~~~\\

Silence

Her dreams are filled with silence. Which is fine; she prefers the silence to the screaming. Her parents begging her to let them in and she can do nothing but listen.

Yeah, she prefers the silent dreams.

It's been that way since this all started, and she knows she’s one of the lucky ones, but honestly she doesn’t feel so lucky nowadays. In Japan she only saw a brief glimpse of the virus and its beginnings. But it wasn't until she touched down in the states that she knew true horror.

Snapping her eyes open Momo shot up to a sitting position, head darting around. The sun had barely risen over the trees, casting everything in a thin fog illuminated by the cherry pink sky. She's still on top of the truck but she's not finding what she needs.

"Todoroki" She whispers and snaps her neck from left to right, looking for his red and white hair. Her breathing ragged as she feels her heart squeeze at the idea of being alone again.

"Todoroki-san" She says but this time louder as she stands up.

Tears collect at the corner of her eyes while she squeezes her hands to her chest.

Did he leave in the dark of the night? He said he didn't want her tagging along and bothering him.

Taking shallow breaths she bit her bottom lip.

What is she going to do? She doesn't know any English and she has no idea where she's at. If she were even lucky enough to run into other non-sick people that weren't out to hurt her, she wouldn't understand them at all. How could she trust them? Make sure they’re not one of them?

Her head is pounding from lack of water and her stomach growls at not having eaten anything except the energy bar last night. She has nothing to call her own except the clothes on her back and the map folded in her back pocket. Everything else is in an old car probably a hundred miles away. How far had they walked yesterday? Where is she even at?

'Think Momo think!'

'You're alone again, and you can't rely on others to take care of you anymore.'

She drops to a squat and buries her hands into her hair as she tries to control her breathing.

Maybe if she leaves now she can catch up with Todoroki and-

No, he left because he doesn't want her tagging along like some lost puppy. She's a burden to him and if he believes her joining him would put him in danger than she doesn't want to follow through.

His small acts of kindness were more than enough to help her this far.

She thought of his dual colored eyes, which was the first thing she saw when he turned to look at her after killing those bad men that chased her. Turquoise blue and steel grey, haunting and deep as they blinked at her. She feels her cheeks warm as she remembered thinking how beautiful they were.

When he spoke to her with that deep, gravel like voice she doesn't ever remember being so happy in all her life to hear someone.

Momo bites the tip of her thumb as she recalls how he kept glancing back at her when they were walking to the rest stop. Like he was expecting her to disappear or drop dead any second.

He seems so... lonely.

Momo knows all about being lonely.

She shakes her head as she gently slaps her cheeks, "Come on Momo get it together"

Standing up she inhales deeply and looks out to the distance, "I can do this!"

"Do what?"

She falters as she spins around to see Todoroki walking up to the truck with his bag slung in front of him as he shoved something in it while closing it up.

"T-Todoroki-san! You're still here!" She rushes to the edge of the truck and smiles down at him.

His eyes squint up at her as he cocks his head, "Sadly. I would have liked to hit the road an hour ago"

Her heart stutters as she realizes he waited for her. She rushes to the edge of the truck head and crawls down on the head of the cab. Once her tip toes touch the roof she lets go and drops with a thud before going to the edge and feeling around for the seat of the stuck. It took her a few tires but once her boots hit the concrete she rushes over to Todoroki who's watching her pathetic display of climbing with that same neutral look.

She wants to hug him but holds back as she rocks on the back of her boot heels, "You stayed"

He scoffs and turns away, "You were tossing and turning all night. You would have fallen off if I left. I don't need a broken leg on my conscious."

Even though his words were harsh she saw through it and grinned like a Cheshire cat. He peeked back at her and took a step back, "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"No reason" She said in a sing song voice.

He gave her another weird look before pulling a pop tart out of his bag and handing it to her.

Momo could feel her eyes grow ten times their size at the simple sugary treat. She accepts it gratefully with a bow before peeling it back to dig into. Using one hand to cup under it to catch the crumbs. She didn't want to waste a single crumb of this meal.

Todoroki thankfully didn't watch her embarrassing eating habits, which she swears are ten times better than her scarfing down a pastry like it's a five course meal. Instead he pulled out a map and looked over it briefly before folding it and placing it in his back pocket.

Once the meal had been consumed she looked sadly to the empty wrapper before crumbling it up and setting it on the drivers seat of the truck. She glances over at him and makes her way to his side.

"So where are we?"

He looks at her like she has two heads, "Seriously? You don't know where you are?"

Blushing, Momo crosses her arms under her chest and lifts her chin at him, "I know I was in Mississippi last time I checked but I feel like I was running through the whole night yesterday. Hours even! So are we still there?"

Todoroki shakes his head at her, "We're near the border of Mississippi but formally you're in Arkansas."

"Arkansas" She tried the name out before nodding, "Alright"

Without saying anything further, her companion slung his backpack over his shoulder and began walking down the slanted path to the road they had previously been walking yesterday. She followed closely behind and didn't miss the way he glanced back at her in irritation.

After about an hour of walking she looks up at the sky and back to Todoroki's back, "Were you raised in the states Todoroki-san?"

He grunts and looks behind as if he forgot about her before facing forward, "No"

"I thought so. Your Japanese is so native. Where were you born?"

He doesn't answer and she figures he wouldn't but she was hoping they could maybe get to know each other. If she grew on him, maybe he'd let her stay with him.

"Hm, well no matter. I'm just glad Todoroki-san is here with me now" She praised him as she continues to look at his back.

He hums before speaking, "That makes one of us"

Pouting she wonders if she should stay quiet. But how else would she get to know Todoroki and convince him to come with her to Alaska?

They walk for a bit longer until Todoroki pauses at a giant metal sign on the side of the road. He looks over it before facing her.

"You're just staying with me until you get yourself together right?" He asks and she's surprised at how much he just spoke to her as she nods.

"Yes" Even though she knew it's a bold face lie. She's really hoping to convince him to join her on a long journey to find her parents. From the looks of his fighting skills and abilities to get food, she knows her rate of survival would be ten times better with him than along. She would give herself a week before succumbing to starvation or the sickness if she were alone. Momo had no survival skills what so ever! She's never even been camping! It was always luxury hotels and servants doing all the work for her.

Though if she can stay with him long enough, he'll stop seeing the skills she doesn't have and focus on what she can do for him! Who knows? Maybe they'll even become friends.

He points up at the sign, "Good. There's a town up ahead with a shopping center. If you follow this road five miles up you'll get what you need."

She looks at the sign with gibberish written on it and squints her eyes, "Um"

Todoroki turns around and begins to walk, "Good luck"

"Wait!" She shouts and rushes over to stand before him with her hands up. Once again blocking his exit, "Todoroki-san, you can't expect me to go alone!"

"Why not?" He questions with that same neutral face.

"Well um-" She looks behind her and forward, "What if I run into trouble before I get my stuff? Todoroki-san can watch my back."

He looks unamused as he glances back at the sign, "You seriously won't go alone?"

She shakes her head gently, "We could always keep walking until we find a different town" Momo smiles cheekily, "Might be awhile though"

Sighing loudly he turns towards the turn off, "Come on"

Momo bites back a squeal as she joins him, "Thank you Todoroki-san! You're so kind!"

He grunts as if unfamiliar with that word but she hums happily as they walk.

They get to the town soon enough and it's true to the signs words. Just a small turn off town for drivers that need to get things for a long drive.

It's a two lane road, one for each direction, and on either side are several small shops. At the end is a gas station where you can turn around and hit the highway when finished. Momo watches as Todoroki takes out his large hunting knife and looks around. Several cars are parked but the windows are
smashed out and doors hanging open.

It's the definition of a ghost town with trash blowing through the deserted streets.

Slowly they walk down the center of the road; both looking for any signs of danger. Momo looks to the signs above the small shops and squints as she tries to make out any of the words.

Her parents had her study French and German but they've yet to start her in English. It would have been a college course once she started university in 2 years. So everything just looks jumbled to her in a way she couldn't explain. Though from the displays in some of the windows she could take an educated guess at what they sold.

Todoroki turns right to a specific store that has a picture of a hunter on the dirty glass. She watches as he opens the door and taps the knife to the frame in a loud knock. They wait in silence and Momo even holds her breath so as not to disturb Todoroki from his consternation.

Soon enough he steps in to the shop that's only lit by the sun shining through the dirty glass. Momo follows and looks around over his shoulder. It looks like a hunting shop for seasoned travelers that either forgot something or looking to start their hobby as an outdoor adventurist. She covers her nose with the back of her hand as she catches a whiff of something foul in the air. Though she ignores whatever it is and stays close enough to reach out and grab the back of Todoroki’s shirt if needed.

It's raided like the other shops but there's still items left that must have been deemed unusable.

He motions for her to come around, "It's clear. Grab what you need"

Momo doesn't wait a second longer as she walks from around him and begins her shopping spree. She can't bite back the smile because this is something she's use to. Shopping. It's something she's been raised to do for every kind of occasion. All except the end of the world.

The shop stinks to high heaven but she just assumes it's from rotting food in the back.

Walking through the first isle she finds a row of backpacks; she spots a cute leather bag but frowns when her hand pauses next to it. It's not very big and doesn't look like it's sturdy enough to be used repeatedly in the outdoors. She sighs before moving her hand to an army green bag made of a thick burlap material that has clips and pockets all around it. Looking over she see's Todoroki watching her as he snaps his head in the other direction. She didn't want to seem childish so she takes the green
bag and begins her trek through the destroyed isles.

The floor is littered with trash and supplies just tossed down from someone in a hurry so she sifts through it all. Keeping her eyes peeled for something useful.

She finds a large metal flashlight and a pack of batteries that were kicked under the shelf. Along with a tarp still in the wrapping and some water proof bags to keep things dry. As she's shopping she notices Todoroki pick up a few things and tries to mirror what he grabs.

Fishing wire, rope, duck tape

Things she would have surly overlooked if she had been alone.

"Hey" He calls and she spins around to see him holding a buck knife he must have found. She looks at the black sheath and back up to him as if waiting for an explanation.

He holds it out to her, "Here"

She pauses as she takes the item and feels the weight pull her hand down a bit. It's heavier than it looks as she slides the weapon out and looks at the shiny metal. Her reflection is caught in the side as she quickly shoves it back in its sheath and holds it out to him.

"No thank you"

He looks confused before pushing her hand away, "You need a weapon"

"I don't use weapons" She insists.

"You mean you didn't use to. It's a different world now. You need something to keep you safe"

She looks at him and worried her bottom lip between her teeth before releasing it, "But-"

"Listen; take it or don't but no one else out there isn't going to think twice about cutting your throat to get what you have. It's best to have it rather than live in this naïve fantasy where you can save yourself with manners "

His eyes are intense as he offers her the knife once more and she accepts it before placing it in her bag reluctantly. Todoroki is already walking to the back of the shop as she follows slowly.

He's right. She is naïve.

She feels dejected and childish for trying to reject the knife. Maybe he's right about her following him around. If she stays he might get hurt. What if the guys that brought her here come for him as well?

Todoroki stops and she bumps into his back before looking up to apologize but she pauses when she spots how ridged he is. Looking around his body she gasps and covers her mouth.

On the floor in the back is an old man with a gunshot would to his head. He's laying flat on his back, sunken eyes looking up at them and mouth open in mid scream. Momo covers her mouth as bile rises up her throat. She turns away and clenches her eyes shut while trying to focus on not throwing up the only food she has in her stomach.

"I was wondering where the body was" Todoroki says and she turns around, making sure not to look at the body as he steps around it to the back counter where the register sits empty.

"You knew?" She asks shocked. How could he possibly know?

"You obviously haven't gotten use to the smell of the dead yet" He looks up at her as he crouches down and pops back up with a safe.

"Damn it, these things are impossible to open" He hits the code on the key pad and it beeps at him angrily for entering a wrong code.

Momo watches him struggle with the box as she walks around the side near the register where Todoroki stood. She spots a small tool kit and smiles as she grabs it and turns back to him. Looking for any distraction from the dead body behind the counter. This would be perfect.

"Let me see it" She holds her hand out and the survivalist gives her an 'are-you-kidding-me' look.

She shakes her hand with a matching look that told him to just hand it over. He sighs before spinning it around and sliding it to her with two fingers.

He steps back and crosses his arms as he watches her take out two small screw drivers and start to tinker with the lock.

“What do you think you're doing?" He asks.

"Shh" She doesn't look away as her brow furrows in concentration.

Rolling his eyes at her shushing him he doesn't even have a second to protest before a beeping sound pulls his attention back to her. His eyes widen as she open the top of the safe with a wide smile across her face. The apples of her rosy cheeks reflecting the happiness in her shining eyes.

He steps forward and takes the box as he turns it around to face him. The key panel was popped off and some wires stuck out with one being cut. He looks back up at her to see that same smile as she shrugs her shoulders.

"I'm good with machines"

"Obviously" He mutters and opens the lid the rest of the way. Momo leans forward on her tip toes to see him pull out a revolver and a fresh pack of shells. He seems pleased enough and she's happy to have helped him.

"I can be pretty useful" She inputs as he tucks the gun away in his belt.

He hums in acknowledgement as he steps from around the counter and lets his eyes roam over the place, "Finish up. And here's a bit of advice. Never stay in the same place for to long. Get what you need and get out just as fast"

She nods quickly and shoves the small pack of tools in a pouch as she grabs several other packs of different ones. Anything could come in handy if she thought hard enough.

She finds a small section for touristy clothes and grabs some shirts and a pair of pants. Next she picks up a camo jacket and folds it at the bottom of her pack since it's to warm during the day time to wear.

Lastly she snatches a red baseball cap and throws it in the bag before clipping it shut.

Todoroki is standing by the door waiting with both hands holding his backpack straps. She's about to head over before pausing and returning to the clothing rack.

"What are you doing?" He asks and she can hear the tick of annoyance in his tone.

"Just a sec!" She pulls down the large Arkansas flag that's pinned up above the display and rushes over to the dead body.

Gently as possible she spreads the flag over the old man, making sure to cover his head and chest. Once done she claps her hands together twice and mutters a prayer to his spirit. Once done she smiles down at his covered form and turns to see Todoroki looking at her with an unreadable look on his face.

"What?" She twists the hem of her tank top nervously.

He shakes his head, "Nothing"

Together they leave the shop and make their way over to the gas station. They manage to find some water bottles, some bags of chips and crackers which Momo is ecstatic for. She nearly drinks half her bottle when Todoroki reminds her to save some for later. She sheepishly agrees.

Momo finds a small travel shop next to the station and finds a corner section of books. She's lucky enough to find a Rosetta book that teaches the reader Japanese. She figures she can try and use it in reverse and use the Japanese words to translate the English ones. Upon leaving she grabs another detailed map and shoves it in a water proof bag at the bottom of her bag.

Together she and Todoroki walk to the center of the road and look around the other shops they neglected.

"Should we stay here for tonight” She asks her companion who looks up at the sun.

"Won't be dark for another five hours."

"But what if we don't find anything better?" She suggests and watches the gears turn in his head. Hoping beyond all out there that he wouldn’t notice how she said ‘we’.

"Fine. We'll stay here but tomorrow we part ways" He turns his back to her and makes his way back to the gas station.

She follows close behind as he leads them to the bathroom out back. It's small and smells like sewer but Todoroki deems it's perfect.

"Always stay in a place that has at least two exits besides the one you can in through" He motions up to the vent above her head and the window above the toilet. Both opposite of the bathroom door which is made of heavy metal with a lock on the inside.

Momo looks around the single toilet room and walks to the sink. She flips on the faucet and it drips for a second before a small stream of liquid comes out. Her eyes grow wide but Todoroki stops her.

"It's drainage water. Not good for drinking but you can wash your hands."

Momo nods at him as she cups her hands under it and sighs in relief at the cool feeling. She hasn't showered in so long she almost forgot how it felt to be clean. She splashes the water on her face and groans as it drips down her neck. Taking another handful she rubs this onto her skin and feels the dirt slide off. Rubbing her fingers down her neck to the top of her breasts.

A cough is heard as she looks over to Todoroki who's facing the opposite wall, "You planning on showering or something?"

"That's not a bad idea" She said in thought and watches as his head snaps around at her with red cheeks.

She giggles at the look and he quickly faces away. His scar doesn't deter away from the fact that he's handsome. She wonders if he got that scar before the world went to shit or after. But Momo tries not to look because it's rude to stare, especially at scars.

Momo pushes on the paper towel dispenser and wipes away the water on her face and neck. The towel comes back dirty and she winces at the fact that this was on her face. Maybe a bath wouldn't be so bad.

"I think I'm going to clean up a bit. Is that okay?" She asks.

Todoroki nods as he makes his way to the door. Momo freaks as she reaches out and grabs onto his sleeve. He turns and looks at her pleading eyes.

"Don't... um- promise me you wont go anywhere yet" She bites her lower lip.

His dual colored eyes look over her face before shrugging and looking forward, "I wont"

To prove his point he takes off his backpack and leaves it next to the sink she's at. Momo smiles up at him but he doesn't look because he's already gone.
Todoroki is so kind.

She turns to the grungy mirror and looks at her reflection. Wincing she covers her cheeks with her hands and tries not to think that this is what Todoroki sees when he looks at her.

Momo had always taken pride in her appearance. Her silky black hair would be brushed normally a hundred times a night and washes with expensive soaps from around the world. Never in her life had she ever seen her skin this shade of muddled brown. Dirt coating several layers that if she peeled back her bra strap she could see a different shade of skin.

Gagging she pulls her tank top over her head before sliding her small shorts off, leaving her in her blue bra and panties. She plops a wad of towels in the drain and fills the sink up for a quick bath. Cupping a handful she splashes the liquid across her neck and chest. Using some more wet paper towels she scrubs her arms and stomach.

All the while her eyes kept darting to Todoroki's bag. She wonders what could be inside. Just survival equipment? Maybe he carries something personal that could help her get to know him.

No! She won't go though his private property just to get to know him better. It's a breach of his personal life and she wouldn't do that to anyone. Especially Todoroki-san.

He's been so nice to her so far.

Her cheeks turn pink as she thinks of the way his eyes looked at her back at the shop. Holding the knife out to her with those deep eyes conveying to her the need for this item. Almost as if he were trying to protect her from what's beyond those walls.

"Todoroki-san" She whispers as the wet paper towel softly touches her arm and she sighs.

Suddenly the door is thrown open and she turns her head to see Todoroki standing there with wild eyes.

 

//~~~~~~~End Ch 2~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~Ch 3~~~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

The door to the bathroom shuts behind him and he briefly worries about leaving his bag with a stranger. But the thought leaves his mind fast enough as he pictured Momo's sweet smile staring up at him.

She's to innocent to steal someone's stuff.

He thinks back to her breaking open that safe and he briefly wonders how she learned to do that. On his travels he's run into several safes that he couldn't get into without a blow torch and a crowbar and she cracked it in seconds. Maybe she's not as innocent as she seems.

Shaking the thought from his head he looks around the area, taking in the silence around them. Cicadas humming in the trees behind the pull over town and the wind rustling trash from blown over cans.

He likes the silence; or he should say he's use to it. His dad hated noise in the house, so he grew up around the silence.

Silence makes it easier to hear something coming for you. Silence allows him time to think, to survive.

The perfect example came in the form of a loud radio blasting in the distance. Todoroki shot his head in the direction of the noise.

"Shit" He hissed and dove around the corner of the gas station just in time to see a large monster like truck pull into the small town.

Its wheels were almost larger than Todoroki's height and the body is crudely painted to look like a beast with sharp fangs and angry eyes. The music shuts off as soon as the truck pulls into the gas station and the vehicle kicks up dirt when it comes to a halt. He squints his eyes as the doors are thrown open and two middle age men jump out.

"Damn it Leroy! I told you we should have kept going." The one in the red trucker hat spits tobacco on the ground and sneer at the gas station, "Nuttin' here but the damn rats"

The other guy in a dirty flannel shirt looks around with a grimace, "Well, whoever killed Bart and Tim could have came in here." He snorts a wad a spit and wipes under his nose, "Besides… I need ta take a wicked piss"

"Fuck off Leroy!" The driver climbs back up into the truck and slams the door.

Todoroki flinches as Leroy turns towards the bathroom in a slow walk. The dual haired teen rushed back to the bathroom and threw the door open. He was lucky she didn't lock it or he'd be shit up the creek.

As the door flies open her eyes look to him wide and scared as he rushes in.

"Todo-" She tries to speak but he covers her mouth and shuts the door behind him; locking it with the dead bolt.

He holds a finger to his lips and she nods.

The door rattles as someone tries to open it. Momo gasps but the sound is contained behind Todoroki's hand as he pushes his back to the tiled wall and brings her back to his chest. His hand still secure over her mouth as his other hand pulls out the pistol from his waistband.

The door rattles some more as they hear a voice curse.

"God damn it!"

The American must have given the door a large kick because it jarred the dented metal so heavily he felt Momo press herself harder into his chest. Her hands coming up to hold the wrist that held her mouth firmly. He could feel her fingers dig into his flesh as her body shook.

"Fuck it" the voice says and silence follows meaning he must have left.

They stay frozen in place for several minutes just waiting, and Todoroki doesn't move until he feels Momo tap the back of his hand with her fingers. Slowly he drops his hand to her neck and she takes a shaky breath.

"Todoroki" She whispers so quietly, he hardly heard it to begin with. Though he does know he’s never heard his name sound so soft.

It isn't until then that he realizes how little clothing she's wearing from when he left her. She takes a step forward and looks over her shoulder at him. He gets an eye full of her round breasts pushed together in the baby blue bra and the cheeks of her bottom peeking out from her matching panties.

Quickly he looks up and presses his lips together in a firm line while standing as ridged as a soldier.

She crossed her arms over her chest and turns sideways as a blush covers her own cheeks. They stay like that for a few seconds before Todoroki clears his throat, "Sorry"

"It's alright" She turns her face away as a strand of hair falls out of her ponytail.

"You should- um- get dressed" He turns around to face the door.

"Yeah, of course"

He hears her rustling behind him as he tries to focus but his mind flashes back to her almost naked body. He'd honestly rather have staid out there to fight those guys full on than have this floating around his head. The last thing he needs are more distractions.

"Alright, I'm good" She said in a mouse like voice.

Hesitant to turn around, he just does it because they need to be fast. He's relieved to find her fully clothed in dark blue jeans and a cream colored top. Blowing out the breath he'd been holding he motions for her to come with him. She instantly obeys and comes to his side, though he feels weird to have her so close he can feel her warmth.

Carefully he unhooks the lock and opens the door ever so slowly. His gun is raised to chin height and it's the first to poke out of the bathroom. The view from what he can see is clear so he walks out first.

Momo stays in the safety of the door frame which he doesn't argue with as he creeps around the side.

Peeking around the corner he's relieved to see the truck gone with no signs of it nearby.

Turning back he looks to Momo and see's fear on her face, "Are they gone?"

"Yeah, they're gone. But they must have been friends with the two you had a run in with."

She gasps and brings a hand to her chin, "Are they looking for me?"

"They're looking for whatever killed their friends so I assume both of us" He shrugs as he puts the gun back in the waist of his pants, "Were there others?"

Momo shook her head so vigorously her ponytail bobbed back and forth, "No! It was just those two! They were alone so I assumed they didn't have a group. But I didn't stay to long to find out"

"Well, they do and who knows if there's more. We should stay low. Let them think whoever killed those guys is long gone." Todoroki says as he looks behind him to the slowly setting sun, "Sun's setting in the next few hours. We should get some sleep"

He enters the bathroom as she steps aside for him and he closes the door with the dead bolt securely in place. Once he turns back to face her he watches her sit down on the far wall next to his bag and her new bag. She leaves enough room for him to sit next to her as she stares up at him with those damn wide eyes.

Knowing what she expected, he takes the seat across from her against the other wall by the door. She pouts a bit at his rejection of her offer but it’s gone quick enough.

Todoroki uses his boot to drag the strap of his bag away from Momo and safely in his hands. Digging around inside he’s looking for his pen when she starts to talk again.

“Did you want to clean up?”

He looks at her through the fallen strands of hair before going back to work on finding his pen.

“Not to say you’re dirty or anything! Far be it from me to call anyone dirty. But- but um-“ She trails off at his lack of response.

Eventually he finds the pen and slips the map out from his pocket to look over where they should be. He marks with a small ‘X’ where they left the dead bodies, meaning to avoid that altogether. Across the map were hundreds of tiny ‘X’ marks as well as some circles. He had a system for everything and that included knowing which locations were safe and which should be avoided.

Shuffling is heard and he glances up to see Momo arching her chin up to try and get a glimpse of his map. He holds it closer to himself before going back to his studies.

“Wow, have you been to all those places?” She asks softly as an air of impressed tinges her tone.

“Most,” He answers before tapping the end of the pen to his chin in thought, “You always need to know where you can go in an emergency”

Momo hums in thought, “That’s so smart. Todoroki-san is teaching me so much”

He peeks up at her smile before looking away, “These are things you’ll need to know if you want to survive.”

“I want to survive” She insists, “My parents would be devastated if anything happened to me”

Todoroki wouldn’t know anything about that, given his dad was the biggest ass on the face of the planet.

“How do you even know they’re still alive?” His tone isn’t harsh but the reality is as he caps the pen and slides it back into the pouch with the map.

Momo shrugs as her smile never falters, “I just know. The last time I spoke to them they were on the air base I told you about”

“In Alaska” He says softly and her smile doubles as she nods.

“Yes, and they told me it’s safe, with guards and doctors, food, medicine” She counts off on her fingers, “They said we can stay there till this blows over.”

“Blows over?” Todoroki scoffs, “This isn’t a case of measles or dengue fever. The world ended a long time ago. We’re just trying to survive the final round”

Her smile slowly falls off her face as he continues, “You can’t go home. Japan is most likely burnt to the ground by now. 90% Of the Earths population died from that virus, 9% are those sick things out there looking to kill the remaining healthy 1% which is us.”

She remains silent and he leans his head back till he feel the cold tile of the bathroom wall stop him. He looks at the ceiling that’s chipping away from years of abuse.

“So your parents might be dead because everyone else is. Presidents, superstars, your neighbors, friends. Everyone is gone and if you want to survive… I mean truly survive this shit hole. You need to give up the last of your humanity and do what you need to do. Because you came late to the end of the world party. Everyone else around here; the remaining few wont think twice about cutting your throat in your sleep just to take what little you have.”

He finally looks at her and for a split second he feels guilty that he caused such a dejected look to fall across her face. That he’s the one that’s going to have to shatter her reality and paint her the gruesome picture that is this world. But as quickly as that feeling came it left, because doing this might save her life and if these harsh words do that than he did her a favor.

She stays quiet for awhile and Todoroki decides to get some sleep so he tilts his head back and closes his eyes.

“Maybe they are dead”

Her voice is shallow and when he cracks his eyes back open he see’s determination set on her face while she clenches her fists in her lap.

“Maybe they died right after my last call with them. Maybe they aren’t, and maybe they’re still waiting for me at that base.” She shakes her head softly, “These things I don’t know for sure. But what I do know… Is that they would be so disappointed in me if I just gave up because a handful of maybes stopped me. I know that one hundred percent. So I’m going to Alaska, and I’m going to find my parents. Dead or alive, I’ll go. And if I die along the way than at least I know they’ll be proud that I tried.”

Her words evoked a strange churning sensation in his stomach. Something he hasn’t felt in a long time.

Hope?

Clenching his own fists he thought of his mother, and how she would say the same thing if he just gave up like he instructed Momo to do. She would be so disappointed if he came all this way to just give up. His sister too. Fu would take him by his ear and scream it off till he went deaf.

“Todoroki-san?” Momo asks and he looks up to see her wide eyes.

“You’re smiling” She whispered.

She’s right. The corner of his mouth is turned up ever so slightly and he shrugs, “You just reminded me of someone”

“They must be pretty amazing to make Todoroki smile” She grins back at him and he watches a blush come to the bridge of her nose.

“Yeah” His smile drops quickly enough and is replaces with his neutral tone, “They were”

They don’t talk again as Todoroki closes his eyes and she allows him to fall asleep. He can’t remember the last time he had a real nights sleep, even before the end of the world came knocking at his door. It’s always just him allowing his body to succumb to exhaustion long enough to obtain energy before awaking. He didn’t dream anymore, or at least if he did he doesn’t remember them. His body is always on full alert so even the slightest sound had him awake which means he’s not fully entering a REM cycle in his slumber. In the middle of the night he woke up several times because Momo kept making small sounds that he would normally be on alert for. Her leg would kick against the tile, or she would mutter something in her sleep, small things like that. It was annoying to say the least, but he soon became familiar with her sounds and forced himself to relax.

When the sun rose over head he was already awake and standing over the sink. His reflection looks haunting so he always tries to avoid it. Especially with that scar staring back at him like a movie clip playing on repeat. He can still feel the hot water slap his skin and the smell of burning flesh. Hearing her voice scream at him, calling him a monster.

Looking away from his reflection he turns the water faucet on and proceeds to wash his face. The last wash he had been at that lake four weeks ago so he’s sure he’s overdue for a bath. Looking over at Momo she snorted in her sleep and curled up closer to her bag that she’s using as a pillow. She could sleep through anything, which really isn’t good in this type of world, but for now it’ll benefit him.

He takes off his jacket and hangs it on the hook behind the door. Next he peels off his shirt and folds it next to the sink. Looking down he realizes how much blood he has on it and briefly wonders what Momo thought when she first saw him like that.

Turning back he proceeds to clean himself up, taking paper towels and scrubbing his skin as clean as he could get it. The once white paper towel pulls always a muddy brown after a few swipes so he cleans as much as he can. Once he feels it’s as good as he’ll get he glances down at Momo and watches as her eyes close quickly and she screws up her face in an attempt to look like she’s still sleeping.

Scoffing he shaking his head and turns the water off, “I know you’re awake”

Slowly her eyes peek open and she lets a sheepish smile cross her blushing face, “Good Morning Todoroki-san”

He reaches for his bag and pulls out a clean-ish shirt as he tugs it on. Not at all missing the way her onyx eyes darted down to take in his muscular stomach. Maybe a more primal part of him is pleased she’s looking but he can’t really bring his current state of mind to care as he shoves the dirty clothes back in the bag and shrugs on his jacket.

Momo sits up and stretches her arms up, “Is there breakfast?”

He opens his bag and pulls out another pop tart, which she accepts with bow of her head. While she chows down he opens a bag of chips and snacks away slowly. Once finished they hydrate and collect their stuff. Todoroki watches her movement grow slower and slower as she finds any excuse to slow them down. It grew annoying as he finally gets them out into the morning sun and out of that horrible bathroom.

Momo looks around and her lips are pressed firmly together as she wait for him to say something.

“So?” She finally asks.

“So?” He parrots back with that annoying twitch to his brow.

Momo waits a few more seconds before sighing, “I guess this is where we part?”

Oh yeah

He forgot about that.

“Oh” He says and she fiddles with the straps of her bag.

“Yeah”

Part of him tries to find an excuse to keep her, maybe get more supplies or escort her to the next town, but his survivalist instincts are telling him to just leave her. It's that voice in his head that sounds suspiciously like his father, telling him to get as far as he can from this girl before she gets him killed. They both knew this wasn’t a permanent thing. He wasn’t going to take her to Alaska, and she wasn’t going to join him on his search for-

Never mind.

“Well, it was nice meeting you Yaoyorozu” He says as her eyes lift from the ground and a smile pulls across her face.

“You said my name” She giggles sadly, “I don’t think you’ve used it yet.”

He hasn’t, because using names means getting attached and he definitely isn’t getting attached to her.

“Well, you’ve said mine enough” He shrugs as he rubs the back of his neck.

“I have” Momo sighs with obvious dejection, “It was a pleasure meeting you as well Todoroki. And thank you again for saving me. I’ll always remember your kindness”

Her words were making him sad, and he doesn’t like that feeling. He hasn’t been sad in a long time, which means he needs to nip this in the bud and get out of here.

“Stay safe. Remember what I told you” He takes a step back as she stays put. The fact that she didn’t follow or attempt to stop him caused his stomach to churn.

She nods, “Always keep going, never linger to long. Look for exits, and keep a weapon on me at all times”

Her memory is good; which would help her in this world…. She’ll be fine on her own.

He takes another step back, widening the distance between them, “Alright”

“Alright” She repeats his word.

After taking two more steps he turns around and forces himself to walk. Put one foot in front of the other and keeps the momentum going. Just as he reaches past the first shop he hears feet pounding on the pavement.

“Todoroki-san!” She calls and he turns around just in time to catch her in his arms. Her hands wrap around his neck and she squeezes him tightly to herself in a hug.

He keeps his arms out as if unsure of what to do, but before he can do anything she’s pulling away and looking up at him with watery eyes.

“Always remember to keep that kindness and don’t focus to much on the maybes”

With that said she releases him and takes a few steps back as she holds a hand up, “Bye”

This time it’s her turn to turn around as she makes her way North while he was walking East. He watches her walk for awhile until his mind is telling him this is for the best and he goes back to his own path.

If anyone had asked Todoroki if he looked back, he would have said no. So it’s a good thing no one is around to ask because they would know he lied.

 

//~~~~~~~~~End Ch 3~~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~Ch 4~~~~~~~~~~~~\\

She cried… oh boy did she cry.

Momo waited till she was far enough away to break down. She held her head high as the tears left a trail for anyone to follow. Her heart hurt and it’s not because she lost someone who could speak this lands native tongue or protect her. She’s crying because she feels like she just lost the closest thing to a friend she’s ever had.

Back home in Japan she didn’t have anyone to give that title to. Everyone at the private school she attended just snubbed their noses up at her. Maybe it was because she’s always top of her class but she honestly worked hard for that spot. She’s never had someone do something nice for her that wasn’t paid by her parents to do so. Even the people that got her here were only doing so for personal gain.

Todoroki had no reason to save her, to feed her, and help her get back on her feet. He didn’t have to stay with her through the first night or come back for her when those guys came to the gas station yesterday. He did all that because he’s a good person and that’s something Momo always wanted in a friend.

But he’s gone and she’ll never see him again.

Looking up to the clear sky she lets the sun dry her wet cheeks as her hands play with the handle of the knife that she had hooked at her side. The clear blade twinkling in the sun, casting a reflection on her lower face.

Todoroki is so good at surviving. He would think she’s so stupid for not knowing how to use this knife properly. Is it just stabbing or slashing?

She swings it forward but pauses as a shiver runs up her spine. Never in her life has she held a weapon and doing so now just feels so-

Weird.

She walks for an hour before her stomach growls and she places a hand over it. Ever since she left Japan and touched down in this foreign land, shes been hungry. The thought of all the food she left back in her confined space just made her that much more hungry. But she would rather be hungry than go back to that hole.

There are several packs of food in her backpack that Todoroki gave her and two bottles of water. It wouldn’t be wise to touch any of it so soon after eating breakfast.

“But I’m so hungry” She said aloud to no one in particular as her stomach lets out another strong set of curses to be fed.

The road has many signs along its side and she stops as a few to try and make heads or tails of it. Pulling out her Rosetta book she flips to the tourist section and practices some words.

“C… Caaarrr” He sounds out the word next to a red vehicle and smiles, “Car”

Giggling she wishes Todoroki were here to hear her practice. He’s so good at English. She wonders how long he was in the states before it happened. There’s a lot of questions she had about Todoroki and she wishes she’d asked. Though to be honest he probably wouldn’t have answered her.

She hasn’t even been away from him a whole two hours and she wanted to turn around and go find him.

“Todoroki-san” She sighs sadly.

A car up ahead caught her attention and she cocks her head to the side.

"Car?" She sounds out again in English.

People? Other people!

A smile pulls at her mouth as she waves her hand but quickly freezes. Todoroki mentioned that people out here won’t be as nice as he was.

She slowly lowered her hand and clutches it to her chest as the car slows down and rolls up next to her. It’s a regular blue truck with rusty holes in the side metal. The windows are tinted so she can only see her reflection. Maybe she should run or get away from there. But before she could think the window rolls down and a new face smirks back at her.

“Hey sweetie, looking for a ride?”

Her stomach knots as she speaks back in Japanese, “I’m sorry I don’t speak English”

He cocks his head in wonder, “You one of them illegals?”

She shakes her head and takes a step back, “Sorry I don’t understand. I need to go” She points to the road where he came from.

The door opens and the man steps out, flicking a used cigarettes at her feet, “Now hold on there pretty missy. I’m sure we can come to an agreement”

Her eyes widen as she turns to run but he grabs at her wrist and jerks her back.

“I can trade you for a pretty penny” He looks her over like someone would a new car.

Momo remembered the knife at her side and tried reaching for it but the man saw it and shoves her forward. Falling onto the dirt path next to the road Momo scrambles to her side and shakily draws the hunting knife. She points it up at him as she remains on the ground. Her eyes wide and hands quivering at the thought of this man trying to hurt her and the possibility that she might have to hurt him.

"Aw come on now, you don't look like you got it in ya youngling" The man sneers down at the knife.

Momo feels tears at the corner of her eyes as she shakes her head, "Just let me go!"

"Now you know I ain't speaking that ching chong chinggy. But I know you'll understand this" He takes out a gun from his back and she gasps as he cocks it and aims the barrel right at her.

"Gun beats knife every time" He chuckles.

Slowly she lowers the knife as her throat burns to cry out for help but she knows it wont matter.

Todoroki is long gone, and there's no one around that can save her again.

A sudden screech sounds behind them and both Momo and her captor look down the road to see a stumbling body run towards them. Its voice hoarse and sounding almost inhuman as it projects another haunting screech. Momo's skin instantly turns ice cold as she quickly turns around and kicks back towards the man with a gun.

It's the sick. One of those things that was suspended between life and death somehow. The closer it got the more blood she could see coating its tattered clothes.

She's been lucky enough to avoid some for as long as she did, but it was only a matter of time before one came at her like that.

She drops the knife and covers her head with her hands, "Oh god!" She cries in fear as the thing runs closer.

A gun shot is fired off and she flinches at how close it was to her ear. Peeking her eyes open she sees the sickly being is on its back not moving. Looking over her shoulder the man smirks at his kill before looking down at her.

"More'll come from that sound. If you don't come with me, I can always leave you for them" He raises a brow, "You don't need to speak English to know that"

Momo intakes a shaky breath as she listens to his nonsense. If she stays here those things are bound to come in gaggles. She knows they're attracted to sound and movement, or at least that's what she gathered from limited personal experience. She has two options; stay and try her chances at outrunning those things, or she can go with this man and try to escape later.

Knowing the better option she stands up while glaring at him and nods once. His face seems amused at her anger as he picks up her dropped knife and motions her to the truck.

"Get in the back"

Momo climbs in the bed of the truck and watches as he pulls out some rope from the cab. He takes her backpack and tosses it in the passenger seat as he winds the rough rope around her wrists twice before knotting it behind her back.

He climbs back into the drivers seat and Momo looks out at the road just in time to see four sickly bodies hobble out from the trees all screaming. Some fast and some slow but her fear is short lives as the truck lurches to a start and they're driving away from the creatures. Her curiosity left her watching them till they were out of sight. The same question floating around her head since she first laid eyes on them a few days ago.

What happened to this world?

As they drive she tries to take a look at her surroundings though the signs are a lost cause since she can't read. So she tries to remember pictures and landmarks to find out where she is. They drive for what feels like an hour and Momo contemplates what to do.

She thought of jumping from the moving truck bed and making a run for it. Though they're going so fast, and she might break a bone, making it impossible for an escape should the man chase her. She tried pulling loose from the ropes and only managed to develop a burn around her wrist from the constant rubbing.

Wherever he's taking her she had to come up with a plan to get out fast. He took her knife and bag so she's limited to whatever she can get her hands on.

He turns off the road and onto a dirt path that leads into the woods. Something she's not okay with since she could hardly see between the trees. Anything could be lurking out there behind any tree or bush, waiting to grab at her.

The drive is short lived on the dirt path because they're pulling into a large open field that has a barn surrounded by corn and two giant silos next to it. She notices several horses, cows and goats all secured behind double fenced posts with barbwire and sharp steaks to stop anything from taking them. Where is he taking her?

Her captor pulls in next to a large monster truck and two mini vans. As soon as they come to a stop she grasps the side of the truck and jumps out, falling to her knees in the dust. She kicks up to run but hears a gun cock behind her, "Now come on, I thought we was past this."

She turns around slowly to see the driver smirking at her with that same gun, "Come on. We already late to the party"

Momo follows in the direction he motions to with the gun and walks purposely slow so as to take in her surroundings. The barn had a wooden painted sign on it that she can't make out but it has an arrow pointing towards the open barn door.

Once inside she see's five men all standing around something drinking beers and smoking.

"Sorry I was tardy to the party fellas! I just thought I'd bring us a little appetizer" The gun wielding man laughs and all eyes are suddenly on Momo. She's never felt so fitly in her life as they all size her up.

Cat calls and wolf whistles permeate the air as she's pushed further in the barn and the guys circle her. With her hands tied behind her back she can't cover herself from their eyes so she makes herself look around.

Assess the area, always find at least two exits.

She knows the barn door behind her is to obvious so she looks up and notices a barn hatch above them holding a loft of hay and another door in the back most likely for horses. If she can just get to one of those exits she can run like hell.

A hand slapped her bottom and she winces as she turns to glare at the man with grey hair smoking a half used cigarette. He adjusts his baseball cap and winks at her as she sneers.

"Don't touch me!" She snaps.

"Ohhh you got a foreigner, how exotic" One said.

"What a coincidence, we got one too" Some other guy said as he walks over to whatever they had been circled around earlier. Momo then notices a form sitting in a chair with a burlap bag over they're head, "We think he's the one that killed Bart and Tim. We were gonna interrogate him after we finish our business."

Wait... she knows that jacket.

The guy behind the captured figure rips the bag off his head and Momo gasps.

"Todoroki!"

He looks worse than the last time she saw him. A giant bruise on his left cheek as a single line of dried blood ran down the center of his face that came from his hairline.

"Todoroki-san!" She cries out again as she tries to go to his side but someone grabs her arm and keeps her in place.

"Ohhh you think they know each other?"

"Than why were they apart?"

She struggles at the arm holding her. Todoroki is obviously unconscious with his eyes shut and head slouched to the side. At least she hopes he's just unconscious and not dead.

Someone pulls out a chair and sits it across from her companion as she's forced into it. Her ropes are retied to the back of the wooden chair to keep her seated.

"Now I know we all want to have a good time, but I'm using my little Asian princess here for a trade" Her original captor smirks at the men as they huddle near the front of the barn, "Best offer gets to keep her."

"You always was a stickler for payment John" Someone says.

"I'll give ya three cases of beer"

"Pff fuck that, I'll give you a chicken John"

"Your chickens are rotten, I'll give you free milk for a month from my cows"

Momo didn't understand what they were saying but she wasn't going to stop to wonder as she struggled at the new knot all the while whispering for Todoroki.

"Wake up Todoroki, please" She pulls harder, wincing as she feels blood drip down her fingers.

She needs to save him; she needs to protect Todoroki and get them out of here. Looking around she notices several items she could use if she just got her hands on it. A crowbar by the post, a screw driver on a bale of hay, and a box of tools by the horse door.

Pulling harder at the bindings she finally feels her hand begin to slip out of the rope. The blood acting as a form of lubricant for her to slip past the rough material. Her heart is hammering in her chest, louder than ever before. Momo bites her lower lip to restrain any sound that might draw attention to her. Luck must have been on her side because she felt her hand slip free, causing the rope to slack and her other hand pull out as she brings the bloody appendage to her chest.

Surging forward she reaches Todoroki and begins to fiddle with his ropes behind his back, all the while whispering in his ear, "Todoroki, I'm here. Please wake up"

"Hey! What the fuck do you think you're doing!" A voice shouts and she quickly lunges for the screw driver next to her before standing up with it pointed in front of her.

Three guns are aimed at her and she swallows the lump in her throat, "Please, just let us go"

"John your girl here has got a temper, you know I like that" One of the gunman sneer, "Final offer; two chicken, a horse and a turn with her after I'm done"

"Deal" John laughs and lowers his gun, "She's all yours"

The other guys groan in annoyance as they grumble about the outcome of their bidding.

The man that won her walks closer as she shakes her head, "Do what you want with me but let Todoroki go!"

"Come on now, nice and easy"

Knowing she most likely wouldn't make it out of this alive she drops her attention back down to Todoroki's bindings and stabs at the rope; effectively ripping it and his hands go limp by his side.

Hands grab at her and jerk her body up along her captors as he holds a gun to her head. She can feel something hard press up against her lower back and her stomach lurches in fear and disgust.

"Todoroki!" She screams again.

"Yeah! Fight me! I like a challenge" The man growls in her ear as he swipes his tongue up the side of her face which she turns away from instantly, "I'd like a little privacy with my new girl fellas. Mind giving us the room"

More groaning is heard as the others depart from the barn, shutting the door behind them. She feels his hands slide down the front of her jeans and pops the button as she pushes away harder.

"Get away from me!"

He jerks her back hard before pushing her to bend over a tall roll of hay as he grabs onto the back of her pants. She's about to kick backwards when she looks up to the chair Todoroki had been in. The key word being HAD.

It's empty now.

Her eyes widen as the man behind her gives a tug at her pants again.

"Gave up already?" He asks with a chuckle as he sets the gun down by her feet, "Don't disappoint me now"

Momo looks over her shoulder in time to see a cold faced Todoroki wrap a hand around the mans mouth and with the other uses the screw driver Momo held earlier to stab it into the side of his neck. The man thrashed as blood squirts down onto Momo. She pushes sideways and falls on her bottom, her jeans half off her hips as she looks up at the carnage. Todoroki removes the weapon and stabs him again but this time in the side several times.

His thrashing slows down as his eyes roll to the back of his head. Seconds after his body stopped moving Todoroki drops him onto the bale of hay Momo had been bent over earlier. He's breathing heavy as Momo looks up at him with watery eyes.

"Todo-" She starts but he holds a hand up to his lips, silencing her. She obeys and presses her lips together while nodding.

She watches as he reaches down and takes the gun that had earlier been pressed to her head and checked the chamber before clicking it shut and holding the screw driver out to her. Shakily she accepts it and stands up; fastening her pants back around her waist as Todoroki walks quietly over to the door and listens.

He comes back to her with those same hard and calculating eyes, "You go up to the loft and hide."

She shakes her head, "I want to help Todoroki-san"

"You will by going" He motions with his head towards the ladder. She wants to argue more but from the look on his face she knows there's no time. She'll have to trust in Todoroki and know that he'll get them out of here. Giving a nod she proceeds to climb the ladder and crouch behind a pile of hay.

She can hear Todoroki pace around the barn as if looking for something before stopping and silence overtakes the barn again. Her breathing seems loud so she tries to slow it but it's hard when her lungs are burning for air.

The barn door cracks open, "You must be a lousy lay! Ya'll as quiet as church mice!"

More laughing is heard as whoever said that walks into the barn, "Hey where ya-"

Struggling is heard as is the sound of flesh being torn before a thud come next.

"Mitch? You alright?"

A gunshot goes off, followed by another and two more thumps of bodies dropping. Momo resists the urge to cover her hears in case Todoroki needs her.

She hears them talking in English and can't quite make out what's being said, but it’s down to Todoroki and the man that took her initially. They're shouting at each other and wishes beyond all things she could understand to know how to help Todoroki.

The next gunshot causes her to flinch and close her eyes because she doesn't know who was shot. The deafening silence is worse than a quiet home, or a muted world. It's the kind of silence that could mean her friend is dead now while she sat in hiding and did nothing. Momo can't suffer through that silence again... no.

"Yaoyorozu"

Her name has never sounded more beautiful as she crawls over the hay and looks down from the loft to see Todoroki looking up at her with that same neutral face. Though his eyes are softer once they catch sight of her, or she could just be seeing things.

She takes the ladder two steps before jumping half way down and into his arms that were raised in an attempt to help her down. She bumps her back to his strong chest and turns around to see she's so close to his face. Jumping back she feels those butterflies return as she smiles up at him.

"Todoroki-san! Are you alright?"

He doesn't answer her question and instead says, "We should get out of here"

"Of course!" Momo and Todoroki rush from the barn as they step over the dead bodies of the men that had taken them but stops at two of them and she watches as he takes keys from their pockets.

She follows his lead to the trucks and waits as he jumps into the mini van and takes his bag out. Together they go to the blue truck that took her here and both climb in to the main cab. Todoroki starts the truck and backs it out so quickly that it kicks up a cloud of dirt. Familiar screeches are heard as Momo looks to the tree line to see several sickly bodies stumble out. Some in a fast sprint while a couple hobble.

Todoroki doesn't seem disturbed as he floors the truck and they speed down the dirt path to the main road.

They sit in silence until the dark day is well behind them. Momo looks to the trees passing by before grabbing her backpack and setting it between her legs to go through. Looks like that man didn't have a chance to go through it which she's thankful for. She glances at Todoroki as he faces forward, the dried blood still on his face.

"Are you alright Todoroki?" She reaches out a hand and touches the tips of his hair.

He jerks his head away from her and she withdraws her hand quickly, almost as if burned by his reaction.

"Sorry" She whispers and faces forward, pushing her hands between her thighs to hold them still on the bumpy drive.

"No it's fine. I just don't like to be surprised." His voice almost sounds apologetic.

"I get it. But are you alright?"

Todoroki touches a hand to his head and she watches him check the wound on the crown to make sure it stopped bleeding, "Yeah I'm fine. They just got me when I wasn't looking. There might be more so we should get as far away as we can."

Momo nods to this, "You won't see me objecting"

After several more minutes of silence he grunts, "Are you ok?"

Momo thinks about it for a second before smiling at him, "I'm alright. You don't need to worry about me"

His eyes flicker down to her bloody wrists and he faces forward. That same concerned look crossing his face but it's gone just as fast, "You did good back there"

"Hm?" She cocks her head, "I didn't do anything"

"You got me loose enough to get out. You could have ran and saved yourself."

Momo pouts as she shakes her head but he's looking at the road so she vocalizes her actions, "I could never leave Todoroki-san in danger." She blushes as she faces down at her lap and squeezes her legs together, "Besides, you could have left me when I cut you loose but you didn't."

His fingers tap the top of the steering wheel before he sighs loudly, "I was awake you know, the whole time"

This surprises her as she turns to him again, "What?"

"I woke up when they brought me in but kept letting them think I was out cold. I wanted to assess my situation before acting. The rope was the only thing holding me back from getting out of there." He paused before glancing at her and back at the road, "Then they brought you in"

Momo felt her face burn in embarrassment as she remembers calling his name and begging him to wake up. How she whispered in his ear, taking liberties with him that she never would do to a man she barely knows.

"You told him to take you and leave me"

Momo nods, "Yeah"

"Why would you say that? You barely know me"

She didn't need to think about this answer as she spoke truthfully, "Because you're worth so much more than I am. I wouldn't last a week out there on my own but you-" She pauses and takes a deep breath, "You can survive all of this Todoroki. Whatever all this is you can survive it! You're smart and resourceful, strong, and confident. I'm not any one those things."

"Not true"

She snaps her head up and looks at him in shock, "Todoroki-san"

"You cracked open that safe back at the station like it wasn't anything. And you got out of those ropes before me. You also saved me... If that's not all those things you just said, than I don't know what is. You can definitely survive this world, I know you can."

His words burn within her chest as she holds her fist over her heart that's doubling in speed. They light a fire within her that builds as she thinks about what he just said.

Yeah she did crack that safe, and she did get out of those ropes.

Tears build up as she wipes them with the back of her hand.

"W-Why are you crying again?" Todoroki seems flustered as he looks between her and the road, "Are you sick? If so there's a pressure point behind-"

"No, I'm fine" She smiles through her tears as they continue to fall, "I'm fine now"

He seems reluctant to believe her words as she cries, but they're tears of joy. Because Todoroki believes she can survive in this world.

Todoroki believes in her!

For some reason this makes her cry and she just smiles through until her cheeks hurt.

//~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 4~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~Chapter 5~~~~~~~\\

He's conflicted

And if there's one thing Todoroki hates more than anything it's not knowing what to do.

Momo fell asleep shortly after her tears dried and now she's curled up in the passenger seat with her head resting against the window. Her adrenaline must have ran short after their daring escape from danger. Soft snores alerting him that she's still out of it, giving him time to think.

He's so pissed at himself for allowing his guard to drop so easily. Those two guys crept up on him while he was raiding another rest stop and clocked him over the head with a bat. He'd been thinking of Momo and what she said before they parted. When he woke up with that bag over his head he tried for several minutes to get those ropes off but they were tight. His fathers voice ringing in his head, calling him every form of idiot for allowing this to happen. To become distracted so easily…

It wasn't until he heard Momo's voice that dread pulled at his stomach and he forgot all about that condescending voice yelling at him to escape while he had the chance.

He narrows his eyes at the road ahead and tightens his grip on the wheel till his knuckles turned white.

Hearing her call out to him, worried about him when she's the one that was almost raped.

If it hadn't been for her fast acting in freeing him, she would have-

No, he wouldn't have allowed that.

The bridge of his nose turned pink as he remembered the feeling of her hot breath tickling his ear as she whispered for him to wake up. It almost startled him enough to open his eyes and give away his act.

Which brings him back to his current predicament.

Glancing over at her again he scoffs.

Should they part ways? It's obvious she can take care of herself in some aspects, but she still has a lot to learn. She did say she had been under someone else's care for most of the outbreak so it's not like she has his tenure in survival skills. How much does she even know about this world? Would it be wrong of him to just leave her as he did before?

Did he want to leave her again?

It's obvious he's distracted with her here, and he's still distracted with her gone. Though of the lesser two evils he assumes his mind isn't as absent with her around.
She could prove to be useful with her strange set of skills he hasn't quite inquired about yet. He could maybe even grow to trust her.

But trusting someone meant caring even a small amount. In this world the people you care about die, or you watch them suffer. If he allows her to get close and something happened to her, he'd never forgive himself. Todoroki already has enough guilt that keeps him awake at night. He doesn’t need to add condemning this poor girls life to that list.

No, he can't allow that.

Momo mutters something as she adjusts herself in the seat. His eyes rebound over to her more than he wants to admit. But the way the last bit of light from the sunset strikes her face just draws his eyes to it like a magnet. Inhaling deeply he blows a gust of air out and with it his decision of what to do.

...

The sun has now set, but Todoroki didn't feel safe stopping anywhere near this area. The more distance he put between them and those guys, the better. Who knows how many of them there could have been? But it's possible that was all that's left considering the small population each state has been rendered to. Still, he didn't want to take any chances and drove long into the night.

It isn't until midnight when his companion decides to wake up with a long yawn as she cracks her neck either way. She rubs the sleep from her eyes and smiles over at him in that innocent way he noticed she's become accustomed to giving him.

"What time is it?" She looks to the clock on the silenced radio and gently pats her cheeks to rouse herself awake, "Wow, it's so late. I can drive if you want Todoroki-san"

"It's fine, I can keep going" He watches the fog roll through the trees as they drive down the deserted road.

She hums as she reached down to her bag and takes out a box of crackers. As she opens it she offers him one which he accepts since it's about time for him to fill his energy again. Together they eat in silence until the box is half empty and she puts it away while offering him some of her water.

As he drinks, she looks ahead and slouches in her seat, "So where are we going?"

He caps the water and slips it in the cup holder before answering, "Anywhere"

"Does anywhere happen to be in the direction of Alaska" She asks hopefully.

Sighing loudly he glances at her, "We need to talk"

She inclines her head, letting him know she understands.

"It may have come to my attention that we could be of use to each other" He peeks over at her to see her nod for him to go on, "We each have a particular set of skills that will help us survive this world. So that being said, I feel we should travel together and learn from each other. I'll teach you how to defend yourself and you can teach me whatever you know. And once we feel that our companionship is no longer needed, we part ways. You going to Alaska, and me-- well" He trailed off not wanting to say what his intentions were for the end of the world.

"How does that sound?" He looks to her to see a thoughtful look on her face before facing forward.

"Hmmm having Todoroki-san teach me how to fight, like you?"

"Yes"

Her face breaks out into a grin, "Agreed, and I'd also like you to teach me English please. It'll benefit my survival greatly."

"Alright, I can do that"

"Perfect! And in exchange I'll teach Todoroki everything I know" She claps her hands together once, "We'll be an unstoppable team!"

"Then it's agreed. And while our partnership is in motion we can head towards Alaska, get you started."

She seems to love that answer because she gives him such a grateful smile; he can feel it even though he's not looking.

"So what can you teach me Yaoyorozu. How about that safe cracking?" He inclines his head towards her but kept driving modestly.

"I can teach you that, though it's really not that hard. You just have to know how things work" She looks out the window to the world, "Everything has something to make it run, so if you know how that’s done you can do pretty much anything"

She sounds so much older when she talks like this, though she can't be more than his age.

"How old are you?" He asks softly.

Momo puts a finger to her chin, "Seventeen as of last September, what about you?"

He winced because he should have known that anything he asked of her would be reversed back to him. Though he supposes it's only fair.

"Eighteen" He didn't bother to give the month and she must have noticed because she nods.

"I thought we would be close in age. Though you seem so much older when you get all serious which is mostly always" Momo giggles as if it were a private joke but he didn't take offence.

If they're asking questions he supposes he should know how much exposure she has to this world, "You never finished your story about how you got here."

This question seemed to somber her reaction as she nods once, "Of course. Last I told you I was being escorted by a military man right?"

She didn't wait for a response as she continued on, "His name was General Takow and he was sent by my parents to collect me. The infection has been going on for about a week at that point and I just staid home. Called my parents on a satellite phone he had on the drive. He took me to bunker on the outskirts of Musutafu and left me alone there with a ton of supplies. My parents told me that the virus was mutating well beyond what the media is saying. They said they loved me and will come to get me once they finish setting up the bunker in Alaska with the others." Her voice grew weak as she looks down to her lap, "I was down in that bunker for six months, at least from my counting and the clocks. The general locked me away with enough supplies that I calculated would last me thirty years."

Todoroki slowed the speed of the car so he could listen carefully to her story. He couldn't imagine being locked anywhere for that long without itching to run or go crazy.

"I tried to break out but the whole place was bomb proof. The general took his satellite phone so I had no one to talk to. I waited, and lucky for me there were books, lots and lots of books on everything" She gave a breathy laugh though it didn’t reach her eyes, "Bird habits, engineering, car mechanics, fiction, the whole lot. I think it kept me sane and helped pass the time."

"Six months in a bunker while the world went to shit?" He shakes his head, "I can't imagine what that had been like"

"Lonely mostly" She whispers, "I missed hearing other peoples voices."

"And you had no idea what was going on beyond those walls?" He asks softly, not wanting to jostle her.

Momo shakes her head softly, "Not at all. But I could imagine from what the news said before I was put down there. The sickness- the one they hadn't named yet was spreading across the globe. Last I heard only ten percent of the population had suffered. But when no one came to get me I was worried I was the only one left." Her eyes turned dark and he assumes she's reflecting on her time down there, "That everyone was dead and I was all alone, forever."

Inhaling she forces a smile, "But then one day the door opened and this guy told me to go with him. That my parents sent him to get me" She places a hand to her heart, "You can't understand how relieved I felt, I even thought he was a hallucination until I touched him. But he took me outside to this plane he had ready. We got on board and took off."

"A plane? Like a jet or-" He tries to ask and she nods quickly.

"No, more like a private charter plane, smaller than an commercial line but a bit bigger than a jet." She holds her hands out as if to explain size, "Anyways we got on board and we took off. He told me the world had pretty much ended but it doesn't matter because my parents and a small remaining populace of people have secured a station. They sent him to come get me. I was so excited to hear my parents were alive. It really gave me perspective in not assuming the worst."

So that's where her passion came from, for being optimistic about everything. It's starting to make sense.

"We flew for hours and I didn't know how far we got until the plane started to get low on fuel. He landed us in Mississippi and told me to wait on board." She pauses and he doesn't push her because she continues soon enough, "It was actually a trap. I overheard the pilot talking to some other guy on his radio. These men knew about me and my parents and were going to kidnap me for a ransom. But I got away before they could take me"

"How so?"

"I got into the crawl space of the plane and got out through the luggage compartment. Once my feet hit the ground I ran, and never looked back. Hot wired a car and drove until it ran out of gas. Then I found another car and I kept driving or running. I did that for about three days until those guys found me and you know the rest."

"Hm, so you're knowledge on what happened is scarce"

 

"You painted a graphic picture for me. I believe you said 90% of the population died, 9% turned into those things and we're the 1% left. Did I get that right?"

He feels the guilt come over him at revealing the decay of the world like that. But she needed to know.

"Yup"

"Well, I had an idea, but those things are questionable at most. What are they? I remember the news just saying they were victims of that virus that took longer to die. But from what I've seen they hunt us right?"

He nods, "Yes, everyone has names for them; Grunters, runners, gawkers, but I call them hunters."

"Cleaver" She smiles over at him and he tries not to feel that warm bubble in his chest expand ever so slightly.

"They're attracted to sound as I'm sure you've seen"

She squeezes her fists to her stomach, "I've only have a small run in with them, mostly from a distance. But I never stuck around to find out more."

"Good thinking"

"Are they dead?" She asks softly, "Are they conscious of what they're doing?"

"100% Dead but the virus in their blood reanimates the tissue and there's been a hundred theories on why and how. Terrorist attack, the second coming of several religions, a new strand of bird flu or swine flu, the list is endless but they are dead."

"Is it contagious?"

"At first yes, that was phase one; the spread which lasted a month. It killed off the majority of everyone. But a small selection of us were immune to the air born pathogen. Which began phase 2. Some of the dead started rising and infecting the immune by blood contamination. Even an immune person can get sick if they get bit or scratched. Any blood to blood contact with an infected can make them sick or kill them."

"Is that why those things are always chasing us? To get our blood?" She shivered visibly.

"It could be. Might be the virus's way of evolving and spreading. Looking for total control over any healthy humans. Animals don't seem to attract their attention, just healthy humans. Which brings on how to kill them"

"Kill them" She winces at the word, "If they're already un-dead, how do you kill that?"

"Like every zombie movie ever predicted. By destroying the brain. Do that and they're as dead as can be."

"I saw that guy back there do that when one of those- um hunters-" She tried the word out, "came at us. It was running really fast"

"Recently turned hunters can move as well as they did when they were alive. It's the ones that have been dead for a long time that move slow. It's because their bodies are decomposing at a slow rate. There's a theory some were saying that the more fresh blood a hunter ingests the longer its lifespan in the host. But it's a theory for a reason. No one's been able to test it."

"So everything is gone? The military? Government? Who's in charge?"

"Before the electricity went out it was granted martial law so really no one's in charge. Pretty sure if the president is alive he's in some bunker somewhere waiting it all out. Not the president president though; no he died after the first week and so did the vice right after. They got some secretary in charge before it went quiet."

Todoroki's pretty sure he's never spoken this much in his life so it felt weird to hold a conversation that went on as such. But it felt nice in a way. Before Momo came around he sometimes went weeks without talking so the use of his vocal chords were a nice stretch.

"Is there anyone trying to fix this?" She seems worried now. Good, she should be.

"Maybe" He shrugs while diverting the car around a broken down mini van. No need to stop in the night to search for gas. They still had a fair amount that would get them a bit longer, "The CDC has locations around the states but the few I've come across have been burnt to the ground."

"Who would do such a thing?" She gasps.

"People who wanted in most likely. It was kind of a frenzy when phase one ended and two was starting. Everyone wanted food, weapons, medicine, and there was only a limited amount. I got out of the city before it got to bad."

Momo put her hand to her cheek as she leans into it, "Those poor people. They must have been scared"

"I guess" He doesn't really know because he stayed away from most of the people even before the outbreak, "Which brings us to phase 3"

"What happened next?"

"Well, we're currently in phase three right now... The remaining populace is slowly being wiped out by famine, disease, war between the healthy remaining people. It's only a matter of time before it's all gone."

"Phase four" She whispers, "The world starts over on its own"

"Exactly" He nods to her, glad she's catching on, "It's up to the remaining few to see how long it all lasts."

She turns to him with that hopeful glint in her eyes, "But my parents are on a base with other people. They must be combating the end of the world with something. They have to have a plan"

Todoroki grunts but bites back the need to remind her that they could be dead. He doesn't want to start their new companionship out as he did before. So he sits in silence as she hopefully thinks of ways her parents could save the world.

They drive for two more hours before the truck signals that it's getting low on gas. It's a little after 3 and both riders look to it with trepidation.

"Should we stop?" She asks softly, worry fills her voice.

"We don't really have anywhere to stop that's safe. So we'll just go till it dies. If we don't find anything till then, we can go from there"

"You're really good at thinking on your toes" The worry slips from her face and is replaces with optimism.

"You'll pick it up soon enough" He says as they continue to drive into the night.

This is going to be a long road that he'll share with Momo Yaoyorozu. Possibly filled with danger and death around every corner. But maybe it wont all be dark. At least if she's always smiling like that he feels it won't be.

//~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 5~~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

/~~~~~~~~~Chapter 6~~~~~~~\\

 

It was a lot to take in...

While she was locked away in a bunker for six months the world apparently ended and the dead came back for dinner plans. That's one party she would be happy to not host.

But Todoroki explained it to her, and it all makes sense. When she got away from those guys at the plane she tried looking for old news papers but they were all in English so it was impossible. It's not like she could google what happened to the people?

She remembers running from that plane and bumping into a snarling woman covered in blood. At first Momo wanted to help her but when she tried to take a bite out of Momo’s arm, she bolted. She ran and ran until her longs burned and she tried to make sense of it all. Those people would most likely be chasing her so she knew she has to be smart. She avoided the main roads and stuck to the dirt paths whenever she could.

But her eventual hunger and basic human needs caused her to come out to a store to find anything. That's when she ran into those thugs that tried to take her. They weren't part of the team that kidnapped her, because those men wore tactical suits and had bigger guns. They looked legit. But she hasn't seen them since she ran so maybe she got far enough away for them to realize she's not worth the trouble.

She glanced at Todoroki and feels her stomach churn at the idea of these guys coming for her and finding him. While Todoroki is well trained, even he can't compete with these guys.

The sooner they gets to Alaska, the better.

The car gave a sputter and Momo knew from instinct what that meant. She could feel the speed reducing every so slowly until it came to a rolling stop on the right side of the road where Todoroki pulled it to stay out of the way from any ongoing vehicles which would be unlikely but still it's considerate.

He leans back in his seat, blowing out a long patch of air before turning to her, "We have two options"

She nods to let him know she's all ears, "We can find a tree to climb and stay there, or we can take our chances locked in the car till daylight.”

Putting a finger to her chin she thinks about it, "I say we do the car. It'll be easier to get out and run should we have to. A tree might limit our escape."

Todoroki nods once, "Agreed"

He turns off the lights of the truck, engulfing their surroundings in darkness. The hum of the engine dies and the sounds of nature encase them. Momo feels fear well up in her stomach at not being able to see beyond the hood of the truck. Hearing rustling she looks over to see Todoroki taking out the gun and his knife before placing it on the dashboard within arms reach.

Momo isn't tired so she just shifts to fully look at Todoroki while taking off her seat belt, "If you want to sleep I can stay watch"

He seems unsure about that and casts a look at their surroundings.

"I can do it. I'll wake you the second I notice anything" She smiles hopefully at him, hoping he trusts her enough to let her sit watch.

He seems to agree as he takes off his jacket and rolls it into a pillow.

"You can use me as a pillow if you like" She says before she realizes what it sounds like and her face turns bright red that it's nearly glowing in the darkness around them, "I mean- what I meant to say is- um AH- I'm more comfortable than the door frame. If you want"

He looks between her and the door as he shakes his head, "I'm fine"

She seems dejected at being turned down but smiles non-the-less, "Alright"

Todoroki makes himself comfortable as he crosses his arms over his chest and closes his dual colored eyes. She listens to his breathing for a bit before noticing it slowing down as the drag of his exhale becomes longer.

Once she's sure he's out she sits still just watching him unafraid of his knowing glances. She trails the profile of his face; that perfectly set nose, strong jaw, and his lips-
Facing forward she chides herself on noticing that part of him. She shouldn't be noticing anything like that at all.

Why is it now at the end of the world she finally finds a cute boy that's willing to talk to her?

She didn't really find any of the boys in her school as attractive enough to look at like she did Todoroki. It might just be that he seems so much more mature and cool compared to the others. But she also likes his kind nature towards her.

Blushing she bites her lower lip, deciding to take out her book to practice her English language. She hates reading in the dark but once she squints she's able to adjust and clearly see with enough time. Every so often looking up to check their surroundings, which thankfully stays peaceful enough. A wolf howled twice which caused her to scoot closer to Todoroki on the long bench but that's all that was heard.

The sun rose three hours later and with the break of dawn, Todoroki awoke with a start and looked around the cab of the truck. Once his tired eyes met Momo's surprised one's he relaxed.

"Good morning" Momo sets her book down and watches him crack his neck to release the tension. She wishes she would have insisted he use her as a pillow. It would have been so much more comfortable for him.

"Everything good?" He asks her as he opens the door of the truck and steps out.

Momo follows his lead and jumps out with her backpack while he takes his own from the truck bed.

"Mhm, not a peep last night" She feels the chill in the air as the fog rolls across the road. The sky is now a soft pink that allows them enough light to start the day.

"Good. We should get going." He starts walking and she rushes to keep up but soon falls in pace next to him easily enough with her own long legs.

They walk for awhile before Momo can hardly take the silence. She spent six months in it and part of her feels if she has to remain quiet for a moment longer she'll crack.

"So I've been dying to ask you something" She leans forward a bit to look at his face.

His neutral expression isn't anything new as he glances to her once before facing forward, "If you must"

"How did you come to the states? Your English is amazing which means you had to have been here awhile for it to get so good right?"

Todoroki's face screwed up in a grimace at the question and she thinks he won't answer.

"I came here a year before the infection hit. But I studied English as a second language in High School"

But his age contradicts that statement, "What about school?"

"I was home schooled for most of my life and graduated a year early."

Every time she learns something new about Todoroki-san she can't help but be impressed with his achievements. Not only is he strong but he excels in academics as well!

"So did you go to the states to attend college?"

His eyes twitch in annoyance and she seals her lips shut, wondering if she hit a sore spot.

"Not really"

He didn't elaborate more so she drops that subject by changing it completely.

"Well you were smart to study English. I took French and German. Though I planned on doing English once I got to college but as you can see that fell through hard." She laughs lightly.

Still no reply, she feels nervous that she's being a burden. Maybe if she found some common ground it would help.

"So where were you from in Japan?"

"Musutafu"

Momo's eyes lit up, "Just like me! Wow what a coincidence! If you hadn't been home schooled maybe we could have been classmates."

He hums in acknowledgement.

"Did you like to go out? I use to visit this book store on 82nd and 12th called the Thirsty Cat. It had a great selection on books, and a small tea shop in the back. Or maybe you were a foodie like me. There was this restaurant near my school like this Italian-"

"Must you talk so much?" He snaps and her mouth closes in a thin line.

"Sorry"

He must have felt guilty for saying that because he sighs loudly mixed with a groan before saying, "I like soba. Haven't had it in months but, I use to eat it for days at a time when I had my apartment"

"Soba?" Momo can imagine him sitting at a kotatsu on cold winter days eating hot soba. But she can also picture him sitting on a bench in a park chowing down on cold soba in the summer. The idea alone brings a smile to her face as she giggles to herself.

"What?" He asks, looking at her like she's holding a secret from him.

"Nothing" Momo waves him off quickly, "Soba is good. I personally like macaroons or peaches"

"You seem like you'd like that" He says in return and she wonders if he pictures the same thing with her like she did him.

It warms her stomach to imagine Todoroki thinking of her and what she would like.

She accepts the small conversation, letting them walk the rest of the way in silence. They eat the rest of their crackers from the box and Momo feels weird about just tossing the trash on the ground. She insists they wait for a trash can but Todoroki informs her that's pointless so she sadly watches him throw it to the ground shamelessly.

They walk until they stop in the center of the road that overlooks a small town in the distance. Momo looks from the town to Todoroki who's obviously calculating something in his vast mind.

"What should we do?" She questions after the silence stretches to long.

"Towns like this means a small populace, which means-"

"Hunters" Momo finishes and he nods.

"Yeah. I like to avoid them as much as possible but we need a ride." He takes out some binoculars from his bag, scanning the town from their vantage point, "I see a parking lot on the outskirts. Has some potentials." He hands her the device which Momo uses to peer through to see he's correct. But just as she focuses on a red jeep a figure stumbles by it and she gasps, lowering the binoculars.

"There's some hunters in the lot" She hands it back to him and he peeks through with a grunt.

"I can take out that small amount. But you mentioned you can hot-wire a car right?" He looks to her expectantly.

Feeling confidence bubble within she nods, "Yes, I'm great with machines! Always have been!"

"Perfect, we have a plan" He puts away the binoculars, "Now we just need you to practice first"

"Practice?" Momo parrots, looking at him like he misspoke, "What?"

Half an hour later Todoroki had managed to catch one of those infected people he liked to call hunters. It's a middle age man wearing scrubs that are stained with a rusty red liquid, which she suspects is blood. Momo pushes her back up against a tree as Todoroki ties the infected thing to an adjacent oak. The thing is pulling at the rope with arms outstretched trying to reach her but she's a safe distance from it. Todoroki takes a step away and crosses his arms as he looks to her.

"You ever seen one this close?" He asks.

Momo remembers the first infected woman but she hardly would call it a full inspection.

"No" She whispers and digs her nails into the bark of the tree.

"Well, take a good look. Get use to these things. They're pretty much around every corner, so you need to know what they look like" He takes out his hunting knife, walks closer to the man while motioning to the head, "The eyes are a dead giveaway. Always yellow around the whites and bloodshot, which was the first sign that someone was sick. Next blood-" The knife he's holding swats at the mans hands when they reached for him but he's inches out of reach, "Mostly covered in some form of blood be it their own or someone else's. The second symptom of the virus was bleeding from the mouth, nose or ears."

Now that he mentions it there is trails of dried blood around his ears but she just assumed the blood on his face came from some poor victim.

"The skin is sickly pale"

She squints and can even see the veins in the mans arms stick out like they're pumping blood double its speed.

"You got visualization down?" He asks and she nods quickly.

"Good, next you have mentality. These things are always looking for something to grab. Their strength is pretty common, no matter the age or gender. If you happen to get snagged by one of them they'll latch on like an octopus, teeth snapping and hands clawing. I suggest not wearing anything that'll snag on them. Keep your hair out of reach, and if it grabs your bag, just ditch it."

Momo felt like she should be taking notes but her eyes kept darting back to the sickly man that's growling and snapping his jaw in Todoroki's direction. Its eyes the sickly yellow and red he described with pupils dilating. No emotion whatsoever on his face except rage. Lips pulled back in a permanent snarl while its face pinched up as if Todoroki were its mortal enemy.

"I'm sure you know this already but they're attracted to sounds and movement. Even other hunters movements can cause them to form a herd. It can only start with one or two but given enough time it can double and triple by day. I've come across a heard by the hundreds. Trust me it's something you're going to want to avoid."

Momo finds her eyes drifting away from Todoroki to look at the undead creature.

She begins to wonder what his name was. Did he have a family? Was he married? Kids? Did he enjoy rainy days like Momo did? What were his hobbies before he died?

"Yaoyorozu"

She snaps from her lament and looks to Todoroki with wide eyes, "Yes?"

"Are you paying attention?" He narrows his eyes at her and Momo feels her stomach flip at that intense look.

"Yes" She forces a smile before looking back to the man- no the hunter.

He sighs loudly, crossing his arms, "Don't"

"What?"

"Don't sympathize with these things. They're not human anymore"

She looks down to her brown boots and kicks at a rock, "I know"

"Do you?"

His words draw her gaze back to him and she bites her lower lip, blinking nervously.

Todoroki growls as he steps away from the monster and advances on her almost like a predator to its prey, "When it comes down to it, it's either you or them. I thought you wanted to survive"

"I do" she insists and presses her back further into the tree as he stops inches from her and puts a hand on the bark of the tree next to her head. She tries to hold his gaze but it's so intense she feels her knees quiver.

"Than show me" He flips the knife so he's holding the blade while extending the hilt to her, "Show me that you want to live"

Looking down to the large buck knife she shakily takes it into her hand, gripping the hilt so hard the rough fabric tied around it digs into her flesh, leaving indents. Like her own knife she can see her reflection in it as she angles it towards her body. She hates the scared look staring back at her because it means Todoroki can see it. She doesn't want to be scared.

Closing her eyes she nods and feels him step away from her. When she looks back up she focuses on the hunter with set eyes.

"Aim for the head. Remember-"

"Kill the brain, and you kill them" She finishes, breathing out through her nose. Though it's a bad idea because when she inhales she can smell the rotting stench of flesh. Shaking her head she tried to get it out of her head. But it should help her distinguish this creature from a human being. That smell belongs to a corpse; not a living person.

Slowly taking her steps, she feels like she'll collapse with every one but she stands tall. Walking towards the beast that has its arms out for her throat. Stopping inches from those hands she raises the knife. She has it poised over her head as her onyx eyes look into those void ones. It’s looking right at her but his eyes seem to not recognize her in any way as anything but food.

"It's not a human" She whispers, "It's a hunter"

She repeats it in her head like a mantra that she's trying desperately to believe.

"It's not human!" She says firmly and starts to bring down the knife. Opening her eyes she wants to make sure it doesn't grab at her when her eyes freeze on something. Around the mans wrist; a small, white plastic bracelet.

A medical tag

The kind they give patients in the hospital.

She freezes but feels something grab her wrist. She panics and looks into those horror filled eyes as the hunter snags onto her and pulls her closer. Those teeth clacking while snarling at the prospect of snagging something.

Momo's about to let out a scream but the creatures body slumps sideways and she notices a different knife sticking in the side of its head next to the ear. Turning her head to the left she see's Todoroki standing there glaring at her.

She pulls her hand out of its limp grasp and looks at the flesh to make sure there are no scratches.

"Are you kidding me?" He snaps and she holds her uninjured wrist to her chest, taking a step back.

"I'm sorry" She whispers as tears collect in her eyes, "I-I tried but-"

"You were almost infected!" He walks over to the hunter, ripping the knife out of its head with a wet squelch.

He wipes the knife on the hunters clothing before shoving it back into his boot, returning his glare to her, "Why did you stop?"

"Because I saw his name!" She throws the knife down and crouches next to the hunters body. Momo gently touches the plastic tag, dragging it over so the black print faced them.

"Todd Harold"

Momo looks over her shoulder at her companion, "His name is Todd Harold. I just-" She takes a deep breath through her mouth this time, "I just didn't see him as a hunter."

She lowers her head into her knees, hiding her face from him. Tears slipping out and onto her thighs as she stays crouched on the ground.

It isn't until she feels him crouch next to her that she hears him speak, "I'm sorry"

Peeking up through her wet lashes she sees a guilty look on his face, "You're not like me. You weren't raised like I was so I can't expect you to turn off the humanity I never had."

Slowly she lifts her head, wiping her tears with the back of her hand.

"Todoroki-san"

He shakes his head, "But I need you to be strong Yaoyorozu. I need to teach you these things to help you get to Alaska alive."

"Back to my parents?" She asks in a small voice.

Something flashes across his eyes as he eventually nods but he's almost hesitant, "Yeah, back to your parents"

Her heart gives another strong beat while her stomach flops. A smile pulls at her lips and she's feeling better just by looking at him.

"You have humanity Todoroki-san."

His eyes widen at her words and she nods as she takes a swipe at her remaining tears, "You might have more humanity than anyone I know"

And something amazing happened. A blush pulls at the bridge of his nose as he holds up his arm to try and hide it but she saw it as plane as day. It caused a giggle to bubble up through her lips.

"Todoroki-san is so cute when he's embarrassed"

"I'm not embarrassed" He mutters, standing up as he turns his back to her, "Just- nothing"

She stands as well and hugs her hands to her chest, "It's alright, I won't tell anyone how flustered you got"

"Who would you tell anyways?" He faces her with the blush long gone while he scratches the back of his head.

"Aw then I guess it'll just be a secret between us for now" She leans forward, holding her hands now behind her back.

"You're impossible" He growls, turning back to the road, "Lets go get a car. We'll practice this later"

She's about to turn to leave but she glances back at Todd and smiles sadly.

Eventually she joined Todoroki by the road but not before finding a handful of small purple flowers and laying them in Todd's limp hands. She wishes they could bury him but this would have to do for now.

As she joins Todoroki he looks over Momo’s shoulder to the body and back at her. Something unreadable flashes across his face but once again it’s gone. She wishes she could get a closer look because when he looks at her like that she wants to believe it's something deeper.

But that's silly, because Todoroki-san is her friend, and why would she give up friendship to make things weird with feelings.

No they can just be friends, she's happy with that.

//~~~~~~~End Chapter 6~~~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~~Chapter 7~~~~~~~~~\\


He watched her put the purple flowers in the hunters hands.

She's soft, and that doesn't fit with this world.

Teaching her with force isn't going to work. To be honest Todoroki hates being hard on her like he did. It reminds him of the long nights at the dojo with his father screaming at him to do better- be better than anyone else.

When he watched her drop with her head in her knees he saw himself crying as a small boy. His father standing over him with a fist ready to beat the lesson into him.

He never wants to be his father. He made a promise the day he left Japan to leave that part of him behind forever and not look back.

Though he'd be lying if he didn't admit that what he taught him didn't come in handy.

As they walked down the hill to the small town he kept glancing at her. Her tears had long since dried up and her eyes set in determination to help. He can admire her willingness to keep going and not complain about anything.

She's already strong, though she just needs help seeing that.

They stop on the other side of some bushes across from the parking lot.

"You pick the car and I'll cover you. Just stay as quiet as possible" He says softly so as not to draw attention.

Momo already dug out the pack of tools and had the ones she needed bundled in her hand as she nods, "Alright"

Todoroki takes out his hunting knife and dashes out first, taking out the hunter that had its back to them.

Once it hits the ground Momo runs past him to the small red coop and pulls at the handle. The door opens without hesitation and she lays back on the driver seat to look at the wires under the dash.

An old hunter, most likely turned when the sickness first started heard the body of the first hunter drop and slowly shuffled around in her one slipper to look at him. Her mouth hanging open to scream. Though she didn't get a chance because he threw his knife and it lodged dead center between her eyes.

He crouched low and retrieved it as he stood near Momo.

"Damn" He hard her hiss and looks over to see her sliding out of it, "No gas"

"Move on" He motions to the mini van next to them. She repeats her actions and lets him know the same outcome. He drop kicked a hunter as Momo rushed by to get to another car, though her eyes went wide when she saw him grab another by its arm, flip it around to the ground and stab it in the head. He's not showing off, it's just how he likes to fight. It keeps his reflexes good and ready.

Damn it if they couldn't find a ride it'll be ten times harder to travel. Next she tries a blue Mazda and slid into the seat like the others.

Todoroki took down another hunter that heard the car door open.

A sudden alarm caused him to wince and he turns around with wide eyes to see Momo holding her hands up in shock.

"Shut it off!" He swipes his hand at her and she quickly rips a cord out causing the alarm to silence.

A symphony of groans and screeches are heard as Todoroki turns slowly to the road near the town that turns into the markets parking lot.


Several groups of hunters shuffled out towards the sound.

"Yaoyorozu get it going!" He shouts not caring because they knew they were here.

Momo jumps out of the car and runs across the lot to a red jeep. Why isn't she staying near him? He walks backwards as a running hunter sprints towards him. He takes it down easily enough but another one is jogging past to get to them. He throws his knife and it lands true in the center of its face.

His heart is pounding through his ears as the group gets closer to them. Gritting his teeth he knows he'll stand strong and keep them away from Yaoyorozu. He'll be the wall that keeps them back.

The sound of a horn honking draws his attention when the jeep pulls up next to him with a smiling Momo looking back at him, "Get in"

He doesn't need to be told twice as he opens the passenger door, hops in, slamming it behind him just as a hunter hits the glass and snarls at them.

"Floor it" He says she and does as told. The engine revving to life as she squeals out of the parking lot.

She's a good driver, drifting around the group of hunters and across the divider, running over a bunch of mini flowers in the process. Todoroki grabs onto the handle above his seat as his side presses into the door. She giggles loudly, looking in the review mirror at the hobbling hunters trying to chase them but falling out of sight.

"Wow! Is your heart pounding? Mines going crazy!" She says, reaching across for his hand, pushing it to her chest over her heart. It's so sudden but he does feel her heart beating twice its pace. Though it's right over her breast so he pulls his hand away quickly, turning his blushing face to the window.

"Yeah" He just says like a shy school boy.

She doesn't seem to understand his quiet nature all of a sudden because she's giggling and looking at the road, "I can't believe we just did that! You were amazing! You fight like those guys in the movies!"

He raises a brow as he looks to her profile. She must be on an adrenaline high because her eyes are wide, heart racing, and her leg that's not on the gas is bouncing on her toes, causing her breasts to bounce and he tries to keep his eyes on her face.

She glances at him, "Where did you learn to fight like that? I just thought you could throw knives but you have a whole other side to you Todoroki-san!"

"I learned from my father" He simply says; watching as her smile lowers a bit though it's still there as she faces forward.

"I see"

Is he so visibly fucked up that even an innocent girl such as Momo could see he has Daddy issues? She usually talked about anything, taking any reason to ask him questions about himself. But with this she stays quiet. Not that he's objecting to her silence; in fact he appreciates it.

Not wanting to risk her change of heart he switches the subject to something he’s been wondering since she brought it up, "Where did you learn to hot wire a car? I assume since you mentioned your parents own a business you'd have money to avoid learning that"

A proud smile forms across her face as she stares down the road like it's her destiny, "Well, I've always been interested in how things work. I use to take apart anything I could get my hands on as a kid. You name it; phones, computers, cars." She gets a mischievous look as if remembering something, "One time I took apart my dads old pocket watch and-" She giggles, "He was so cross with me but impressed I got all the gears out."

"Were you punished?" He asked as he keeps his eyes forward.

She hums a yes, "In a way. He took me to a watch smith and had the owner teach me how to put it back together. It was in no way punishment to me but some might find tedious and even boring. But, it was fun. All those gears being strategically places in a special order. So many different shapes and sizes that you wouldn’t think fit, but with the right knowledge and patience they just click together."


He looked to her, noticing how her eyes shone with un-shed tears as if recalling the day, "My dad told me he loves the watch even more once we finished. Because now it's made with love. He had it on him every day. Always in his right breast pocket. There's a picture of me in it. Changes it out every school year so he can show his business partners."

That was a nice story. Todoroki looks down to his backpack between his legs. He didn't have anything like that with his family. Especially not with his father. The day he left the old man told him to never return if he walked out that door. Todoroki didn't even look back. That was the last time he saw or spoke to his father.


Part of him wonders from time to time if the old man is still alive. While the odds are unlikely he knows he's to stubborn to die. In that way Todoroki knows they're similar but that's where the similarities stop.

"So yeah" She blushes at having drifted off in a silly story, facing him briefly, "I'm pretty good at knowing how things work."

"That'll come in handy"

It really will. Maybe she can even show Todoroki a thing or two when they have a moment.

They drive for a bit longer before Momo begins to squirm in her seat, and it's now become quite obvious as she leans forward, squinting at the passing signs.

"There a problem?" He asks finally and she chuckles nervously while fidgeting with her hands on the wheel.

"Now that you mention it yeah um-" She blushes, "I don't know where we're going."

He nods, "Well we're mainly heading north so-" Todoroki opens the glove box and finds exactly what most glove boxes should contain, a pen and paper. He doodles on it before showing it to her as she slows down to give him her attention. He drew a capitol N, "Any sign around here with this letter on it means you're going North which is where we want to go. If there's no North look for an W" Which he draws next, "We can always go West easily. But we want to avoid South or East since it's taking us away from our objective"


"Alaska" She says with excitement on her face which he nods at.

"Yes Alaska. Though you know it’s going to be a long trip." He takes out his map and looks at it, "If we can keep our luck up with cars we can most likely get there within a months time, maybe sooner."

"A month?" Momo gasps as she looks to him with wide eyes.

"We can't always be traveling. We'll have to stop to rest, scavenge for food, maybe even get diverted due to danger. But, yes a month if not longer.”

She's obviously disappointed but nods, "Alright, I understand. I'm just grateful Todoroki-san is joining me at all"

"Remember this is temporary. We have a deal" He puts the map away and crosses his arms, "Something in it for you and something in it for me"

"Yes, you'll show me how to protect myself and I'll show you everything I know on machines."

"Exactly. Once either of us feels our needs have been met we part ways for good."

Her face drops but she agrees. He's not sure why she's still sad about the prospect of them parting ways. He'll make sure she's capable of protecting herself. She won't need him once he's done with her.

Though the thought of being alone again sends his face into a frown that he doesn't think twice about.

They drive for two hours before the gas starts to get low and luckily a sign comes up for a rest stop two miles ahead.

Pulling over at the turn off so they're able to make a quick getaway, the duo hop out and stretch. Todoroki motions over to the parking lot nearby with more abandoned cars, "You ever scavenge for gas?"

She shakes her head, "I haven't done that before" But her eyes shine with the prospects of learning something new.

Together they go to the cars; Todoroki pulls out a long clear tube from his bag and digs around the bed of the truck. Luck is upon them because he instantly finds an empty red gas tank. He pops the gas top off the vehicle and slides the tube in gently, "You need to suck it out" He says and she makes a disgusted face which is cute but he refuses to smile, "I know, it's nasty but it's what we do for gas. Every drop helps"

He demonstrates first before retching back, spitting the gasoline on the floor as he shoves the tube into the red gas can. Liquid splashing around is heard while he wipes his mouth with the back of his jackets sleeve, "Don't swallow any or you'll most likely get poisoning or really sick."

The siphoning only lasted a few minutes before it dried out. Todoroki takes the tube and can to the next car as he holds it out to her, "You ready?"

She makes a face but accepts it. The cap is easy enough to pop as she slides the tube down in the tank. Taking several deep breaths she begins to suck from the tube and he watches the golden liquid slowly rise through the clear plastic. He could tap her on the back and warn her but she needs to learn. Once it reaches her mouth she jerks back and shoves the tube into the red can before leaning over to the side, throwing up. Todoroki takes a step back, averting his eyes to the bile hitting the ground. The crackers and water they ate earlier littering the asphalt in small chunks.

She dry heaves several times, coughing and gagging at the taste. Todoroki reaches back, takes his water bottle since hers is in the car and offers it to her. She accepts is, wiping at the side of her mouth with the back of her hand.

"Thanks" She whispers, sipping slowly before swishing it around and spitting, "That was disgusting"

"You'll get use to it soon enough. Tapping gas station tanks are easier but when it's right from the source it can be gross."


"You're not kidding" She listens to the liquid stop and deflates, "That's all we got?"

He picks it up while swishing it around, "A quarter of a tank. Good enough"

Going to the next car he looks over at her and watches as she sways a bit, touching her hand to her stomach, "You ok?"

She nods, "Just a little light headed from loosing my food."

"I'll take the rest if you want to go sit down." He takes off his backpack and hands it to her, "There's a chocolate bar in the first pouch if you want it."


Momo gives him that sweet smile he's slowly becoming accustomed to and accepts his bag before walking back to the jeep. He goes back to the tedious work of collecting gas all the while keeping an eye out for any hunters or unwanted guests in general. They’ve been lucky with the lack of hunters this area seems to have. Could be that everyone evacuated to the city for medical care, leaving the back roads deserted of life. Be that as it may he wasn’t going to let his guard down for a second and assume anything.

Once finished he heads back to the jeep to see Momo looking nervously over her shoulder.

"You okay?" He feels a sense of worry but convinces himself it's just for curiosity.

"I need to use the ladies room" She whispers as if it's a huge secret, her cheeks flaming up.

"Oh there's a tree over there" He motions with the gas can to the line of trees.

She blushes even harder, switching her weight from her left foot to the right, "I was hoping to use the restroom over there." Her finger points over to the rest stop bathroom on the hill.

"It's kind of secluded" He whispers, "I can clear it out for you"

"No! I can do it on my own" Momo holds up her knife, "I'm fine, besides what are the odds anything is
even in there?"

"Very large odds actually. Let me come" Todoroki puts the gas next to the tire and pulls out his own knife, "I'll wait outside once it's clear"


Her face didn't seem to cool down as her blush remains, "Fine"

Together the two walk up to the bathroom; Momo is the one to tap on the door this time. After not hearing anything she cracks the door open to see an empty bathroom. Smiling over her shoulder at him she slips through the crack of the door, "It's fine, I'll just be a moment"

Todoroki sighs loudly in annoyance at her insistence on doing everything alone, "Fine!" He holds his hands up and paces to the opposite wall where he leans back, looking around the perimeter.

The bathroom is just a small stone building with doors that are on the outside. It's a simple structure but at the same time very venerable to attacks. It's like he can hear his dads voice in his ear.

'Why are you slowing down for some girl? Standing out here like a fool. Vulnerable… Weak'

He grits his teeth, shaking the voice from his head, "Not weak" He whispers.

"What was that?"


Looking up he sees Momo exit the bathroom door as she rubs the dried soap from the dispenser on her hands.

"Nothing" He pushes off the wall he'd been leaning on and motions to the car, "Let's go"

"Looks like rain" Momo says as she follows him with her head upturned to the darkening sky.

Once the reached the car the sky opened in buckets and began to pour on them.

"Get in" He says, getting to work pouring the gas into the tank.

Momo looks over her shoulder and back to him as she shakes her head, "No that's not fair! I don't want to be in the car while you get soaked."

"Well now we're both soaked" He deadpanned as he holds the red container up in a tilt to get every bit of gas in the tank.

Momo looks up to the sky while the rain falls around them. He glances over and watches his companion extends her arms out, closing her eyes. His mouth drops open to say something but instead he just watches her bask in the cold rain. Her mouth curls up into a smile as if greeting an old friend.

"What are you doing?"

Momo opens her eyes gently, a few droplets caught on those long black lashes. Her face caught in between soft and serene, "I missed the rain. This is the first time I've seen it since I was put down in that bunker." She sighs loudly, holding her hands before her as if to catch the raindrops, "I use to love watching it outside my window at home."

He stays silent, letting her live in the moment.

"I didn't think I would get the chance to feel it again." She lets another giggle bubble up from her mouth as she closes her hands into fists and raises them over her head, "It feels good"

Her shirt is practically see through as it clings to her skin, providing an outline of her light blue bra.

Todoroki swallows, quickly looking away from her. She's having a beautiful moment and he's tainting it with his dirty observations.

Once the last of the gas in drained he throws the can into the trunk of the jeep and shouts over at her, "Lets go"

Momo follows with a forlorn smile at having to leave but she climbs into the passenger seat this time since Todoroki decided to take the drivers.

When the doors are shut they're engulfed in silence while the rain outside patters on the vehicle around them.

For some reason Todoroki can feel his heart beating a tad bit harder as he places a hand over it.


"You alright?" Momo asks softly, swiping her wet hair from her face.

Soon enough his heart goes back to normal and he nods, "Yeah, yeah I'm fine" He starts the car and turns the windshield wipers on.

The jeep pulls out from the rest stop at a regular pace since the roads are now wet and therefore much more hazardous to anything that might be on it.

"I'm cold" Momo shivers and he watches as she crosses her arms over her still wet chest.

"That's what happens when you stand in the rain."

"I'm going to change" She unbuckles her seat belt while tossing her backpack in the back seat.

"You're what?" He snaps as she pushes herself up and begins to crawl in the back. Her hand rests on his shoulder as she maneuvers herself between the seat opening. He even got a good look at her bottom before she made it to the back with a huff. Not that he was trying to look, but it was right next to him in his peripheral vision.

"Now don't peak" She teases and he glanced in the review mirror at her cheeky smile, "I'll know if you look Todoroki-san"

He scoffs, "I have no intentions of spying on you"

With that said he faces forward and begins to hear her rustling around. The sound of wet clothing peeling from skin set his temperature a little higher than he's use to. Her bag clips jingle as she rustles around inside of it for her dry clothes.


The sounds of the rain and her moving were slowly driving him insane and he had no reason why.

As much as he stated he had no intentions of looking, part of him wishes to glance up and catch her looking at him. Scoffing he growls to himself to calm those hormones down.

It only takes a second, but with a flash of lighting a hunter stumbles out from the trees and he jerks to the right narrowly missing those outstretched hands. A scream catches his attention and on instinct alone he looks up to the review mirror, "You alri-"

The words die on his tongue as his eyes grew wide, taking in the picture of Momo in just her bra. Her legs are curled up onto the seat hiding her lower half from view as her hands are on either side of her, holding the seat to steady herself.

As quickly as he looks he's already turning back to the road; the car swerves a bit.

"You looked!" Momo's voice cracks. He can hear the embarrassment in her tone.

"You screamed! I- I didn't mean to" He could feel heat licking up from his neck to his cheeks. It's painfully obvious he's blushing and his heart is racing as something stirs below the belt. He cursed his hormones for making an appearance. He did just fine without them for eighteen years, and they just now decide to play catch up on all the lustful thoughts he never had as a pre-pubescent teen.

He hears her rustling a lot louder and within a few minutes she crawls back into the front seat in her jean shorts that he met her in accompanied with a grey crop tank top that has a strap hanging down one shoulder. Once seated she looks at him with her cheeks puffed out and a pout.

"What? Can't we both agree it was an accident?" He mutters, trying to keep his eyes forward.

She huffs and crosses her arms.

"It's not like I've never seen you half naked. Remember in the bathroom?"


Momo squeaks and covers her blushing face with her hands. Todoroki feels a chuckle break through his normally neutral look before sealing his lips shut but there's an obvious curve at the corner of his mouth.

"Don't laugh" Momo snaps but he can hear the amusement in her own voice as a breathy giggle sounds from behind her hands that are covering her smile.

And it's on this day that together they shared their first laugh and Todoroki feels something other than
anger fill his chest.

Something much lighter.

//~~~~~~~~~~End Chapter 7~~~~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~Ch 8~~~~~~~~\\

“I’m thirsty” Momo whispers as she leans her face up against the glass of the car window.

“Well we’re all out of water” Todoroki says from the drivers seat, “We’ll hit the next town over and search for some”


Momo sighs, rubbing the side of her head to stall off the oncoming headache.

They’ve been on the road for three days now and just recently passed the Oklahoma boarder. Their time on the road is short lived due to stopping at every rest stop to gather gas. Todoroki insists they take the back roads to avoid any trouble. The past two nights they’ve crashed in the car while taking turns on guard.

Her stomach grumbles again causing her to pout, feeling annoyed at her body for being hungry already when she ate a perfectly whole pack of peanut butter crackers just two hours ago. They took inventory of their supplies and had enough food to last them another four days if they kept it sparse. Though Momo can feel stomach start to eat itself and it’s quite uncomfortable as she places a hand over it sadly.

She can’t remember ever feeling this hungry in her life. It may make her sound spoiled but Momo always had everything she needed, if not more while growing up. Three meals a day, plus study snacks prepared by personal chefs that studied in France. Just thinking of the food she would leave uneaten on her china plate was enough to make her mouth water.

“Want to practice some English?” His question comes as a saving grace and she nods with a soft smile, thankful for the distraction.

Taking out her book she flips through the pages, trying to sound out the word.

“My.. n-name is Momo” She looks to his nod of approval.

“Good, keep going” His praise causes her cheeks to flush and she smiles down at the foreign words.

“I want t-to iku to Alaska”

“No it’s ‘go’ not iku” Todoroki offers as he sounds the word out in English, “Go”

“Go” Momo repeats with a bob to her head in a show that she understands, “I want to GO to Alaska”

“You’re a fast learner” When that smirk is directed at her she fights back the squeal that wants to break through.

“Thanks! I was top student in all my classes. Vice president too” She says with pride. Though to be honest she only won Vice President because no one else ran against the other guy in her class. She didn’t even get a single vote but the faculty took pity and gave her the title.

Todoroki didn’t need to know that, so she kept quiet.

“You do know two other languages so a third shouldn’t be to hard for you”

She felt her stomach clench, trying to keep her cheeks from exploding, “Wow so many compliments from Todoroki-san today. What do I owe the pleasure?”

He hums followed by a slight lift of his left shoulder, “I just see you improving is all”

Biting her lower lip she goes back to her studies. Already forgetting her hunger and thirst; she looses herself in a language she’s still unsure of.

They drive for another two hours before Todoroki slows down the jeep and stops in the center of the road.

“Yaoyorozu can you hand me the map?” he asks and she quickly shuts her book to reach onto the dashboard for the folded paper wedged in the corner near the windshield.

Their fingers brush once he accepts it so she shoves her hands under her legs to stop the tingling sensation that was spreading down her skin.

Todoroki unfolded the map and let his eyes roll up the trail they’d been going for most of the day. He sighs and lowers the paper to look at her, “There’s a town up the way we can scavenge for supplies. It’s pretty out of the way so it’s densely populated, but still a risk.”

Momo’s stomach gave a loud growl for attention and she places a hand over it while a blush scratches across her cheeks, “Maybe we need to take a few risks. We are low on a few things”

His dual colored eyes regarded her before he began to fold the map with a loud sign of acceptance, “Can’t argue with that”

The former vice president faces forward , accepting the map from him to fold it back up. Though she noticed him leaning to the back seat and fishing around for his bag. She’s about to ask what he’s doing when he produced another pack of peanut butter crackers. Without saying a word he drops them into her lap before applying pressure on the gas to push them closer to their destination.

Momo picks up the package of salty goodness and smiles down at it before aiming her appreciation to the driver.

He must have felt her stare because all he gives Momo is a light grunt, which she giggles and opens the package.

After taking several bites of the much needed nourishment she offers the rest to Todoroki who shakes his head.

“You should eat. Your body’s not use to going this long without food. Could lead to you passing out. Can’t have that if we’re going to be out in the open soon.”

Though his intentions seem sound and strategic she also feels he did it because he was worried about her. But she can’t just come out and say it.

“Of course. You know best Todoroki-san” She pulls apart the crackers and licks at the peanut butter.

She feels his eyes glance over at her before facing forward. Momo feels self conscious as she gives another lick to the creamy goodness, “What?”

He breaks out through his nose loudly, “Why do you always eat them like that?”

Momo looks down to the two half’s of the peanut butter crackers, “It’s how I’ve always eaten them”

“But why?”

A cat like grin pulls at her lips and she turns to him, “Does it bother you Todoroki-san?”

Those dual colored eyes widen a fraction of a bit but he continued to face forward, “N-no why would it?”

“Because you’re watching me eat and taking note of how I do it” She lets her tongue peek out before taking another long lick of her cracker, “Some might say you’re kind of pervy”

“Pervy?” He shouts, looking over at her for a few seconds before facing back at the road, “I-“ He scoffs in mock laughter, “I could care less how you eat anything.”

The past three days have been quiet for Momo. Todoroki doesn’t like to talk much and it’s abundantly clear he doesn’t like it when she goes into one of her rambling fits. So in an attempt to appease both of them she’s limiting her talking to currently necessary. But this is the first time he’s asked her a question outside of survival or their deal. She can’t help but take advantage of it and tease him a little.

“Well, if you could care less how I eat why bring it up?” She smirks behind her cracker and licks it in an excruciating long swipe of her tongue.

“We can stop talking about this any time”

Momo faces forward, “Fine”

He scoffs, “Fine”

“Good” She lifts her chin in defiance.

“Alright” Todoroki seems determined to get the last word in, and for a man of utter silence it’s kind of weird but in a good way.

Silence falls across the cab of their vehicle and Momo fights the grin as she gives another long flick of her tongue against the peanut butter. It’s almost as if his annoyance were vocal because she could feel it radiating. Her laughter bubbled up past her lips and she feels her shoulder shake at trying to hold it back.

“What’s so funny now?” His voice is tight and she knows he’s not mad, just annoyed at having been caught in watching her eating habits.

“Nothing” Momo calms down before popping one of the crackers in her mouth.

The drive begins to near a lot of signs with pictures on them advertising shops and turn offs. Momo presses her hands and nose to the passenger window to try and get a glympse of the names.

“Ah they have a Wacdonalds!” Momo smiles and looks over her shoulder at Todoroki before facing back, “I use to go there all the time when I wanted to binge eat their fries”

“I can’t picture you and the word binge being in the same sentence.” His monotone voice holds no ill-will but she can sense the curiosity, sitting back up right in her seat.

“My parents hate fast food. But here’s a secret-“ She leans closer to him as if someone else were listening, “Whenever I had midterms or finals to study for I’d get super anxious and buy like three large fries to eat the day before my tests”

His eyes widen, “Three?”

A blush pulls at her cheeks, “I know it’s super bad but it always calmed me down and helped me sleep. Bad food is kind of my weakness. Cupcakes, macaroons, basically anything sweet or salty.”

If it weren’t for her constant dance lessons in etiquette and her spot on the softball club she might be weighed down by her love for bad food.

Looking at the driver she bites her lower lip, “Did you ever visit Wacdonalds?”’

Todoroki looked up in thought and shrugged, “My sister would bring it home rarely. But who hasn’t tried their food”

At the mention of his sister she tried to hold back her excitement, “What’s her name?”

Momo winced hat her eagerness; damn her mouth working without her planning it out!

Silence met her, and she lowered her head, “I’m sorry for asking”

The car turns off to the side of the road and Todoroki kills the engine before looking over at her, “Let’s go”

It’s obvious he wants to just ignore the slip up and move on, which she’s more than welcome to agree to. Together they grab their bags and unsheathe their knifes together. Momo looks down at her weapon and sighs. It’s not like she knew how to use it, and their constant work had yielded any lessons apart from the first one back at that town where they got the jeep.

Now that they’re out in the world Momo knew to keep quiet. It would only take a small sound to draw any hunters in their direction. Together the duo trekked up the road to the approaching town.

A groan sounds as two hunters shuffle across the sign that welcomes them; one dressed as a sheriff while the other is in a set of medical scrubs with pink birds on them.

Todoroki whistles loud enough to get their attention, which is easy enough given how quiet it is.

The cops a bit faster than the nurse, but Todoroki makes fast work with a toss of his knife. The nurse drops soon after; her brain making a squelching sound when Todoroki’s boot smashes it in. She can feel those crackers churn in her stomach, thought Momo inhales through her nose and out her mouth to try and calm down.

When would she get use to the sight of blood and brains splattered out for all to see? Todoroki doesn’t seemed phased in the slightest as he retrieves his knife while wiping it on the dead sheriffs shirt.

“Check them for anything useful” He says and takes a stance to watch her back while she works.

Nodding at her new job, Momo crouches next to the nurse first and proceeds to dig through her pockets.

She comes up with a set of keys and an ID card that had a smiling woman on the front. Momo couldn’t tell if it was the nurse because her face is caved into the concrete. Moving to the sheriff she pulls a revolver from the clip on his belt and holds it away from herself, “Todoroki”

Her partner comes to her aid and takes the weapon like it belonged to him. She watches as he turns it both ways to inspect before popping out the chamber and clicking it shut, “Three bullets, check him for keys too”

Patting her hands down his bloody pants she finds nothing but a dead walkie talkie and a police baton. Though her hands go for the back pocket she produced a leather waller and flips it open. Her stomach churns again as a picture of a happy family looks back at her in the laminated protector. Opening the tri-fold she finds a few bills and a metal key card. Slipping it out Momo pockets it before placing the open wallet in the dead officers hands with the picture facing up.

The town itself is all brick and mortar, as if built during simpler times. All the store fronts match the same pearly white paint jobs while oak trees line the sidewalk in their metal cages. Some trashcans are overturned and cars parked crookedly in the middle of the street with all the doors open. From a distance Momo can see a few hobbling bodies, but they don’t seem to be growing closer.

“Come on” Todoroki whispers and motions for her to hug the wall of a shop.

They slide around hunters, keeping low and out of sight; ducking when needed. They came to a mom and pop General store with the front door broken off. A sign out front proclaiming a sale of some kind from what she could make out from the pictures.

Once inside Momo watches Todoroki tap his knife to the shelf while she watches the door for any movement. Nothing pops up and she feels her heart double its pace. It’s like watching a scary movie in 3-D, knowing something’s going to pop up any second but you just don’t know when. Except this isn’t a movie; this is real life and something actually can pop up and it will try to grab at her. Her mouth is extremely dry; so much so that her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth. She can feel it peeling away as she tries to wet it with saliva but nothing produces. Maybe her body’s to focused on not dying to actually function properly.

A hand touches her shoulder and she nearly jumps out of her skin, turning to see Todoroki holding a hand over her mouth to silence any possible noise. Once it’s obvious she’ll remain silent he removes it, “Remember, be quick and only take what we need.”

Momo nods once and gets to work on scavenging what she can find.

The shop’s as small at the gas station they met in, with shoulder high shelf’s that are luckily still stocked with minimal items. This place didn’t seem to have been raided yet by any survivors which is their lucky day.

Taking off her backpack, Momo opens the flap and holds it before her like a sack. Stopping at some canned food she drops in peaches, green beans, and some mystery can that had the label peeled off. They didn’t have the luxury to be picky. Looking over she watches Todoroki step in the back, most likely to look for water.

The shop had a lot of random items, and she picks up a few packs to try and figure out what they say if there’s no picture. Giving up she moves to the second isle and finds a gold mine.

Candy

Her eyes widen at the prospect of sweets and reaches out, taking the display box of chocolate bars before dumping it into her bag. She did the same to another two boxes before looking ahead and noticing three water bottleson the floor.

Jack pot!

This place is perfect! Maybe she can convince Todoroki to let them come back with an empty bag and fill up some more.

Crouching to the floor she places the water bottles in her bag and wonders if there any any more under the shelves. Getting onto her knees she peeks under the shelf and see’s nothing except a pair of shoes standing there.

Todoroki must be finished in the back.

Standing back up Momo expects to find her companion, but instead is faces with a gruesome sight. It’s a hunter looking right back at her with bloodshot yellow eyes and jaw hanging from a few strands of steetched skin. It’s face litteres with pellet holes like a shot gun went off on it.

Her heart stops as the hunter and her stare at each other. She forgot how to breath as it’s hands sweep over the shelf and swipe at her. Momo stumbles back into the shelf behind her, clutching her bag to her chest.

“T-Todo- doroki” She whimpers while the hunter growls and thrashes to try and get over the shelf. It sends items scattering down onto the floor. With loud sounds happening more groaning is heard and she looks to her left to see three more hunters stumble through the open door frame. All eyes looking at her like she herself were for sale in the snack isle.

Momo snaps out of her stupor and makes a run for the back of the store where Todoroki went. One of the hunters is faster and she can hear him right behind her.

Just as she reaches the back door, Todoroki’s voice shouts at her, “Duck!”

Momo drops to her knees as a metal bat swings over her head and connects with the hunters face, sending him backwards onto the floor. She doesn’t have time to look before Todoroki is grabbing her hand and pulling her to the back while he shuts the door to the store front behind him.

The door slams behind them and she’s engulfed in darkness. Her hands reach out as if to find Todoroki, but she also might find another hunter.

“Todoroki” She whispers.

A flashlight turns on and she sighs in relief to see her savior standing next to her with the same metal bat.

“Thank heavens. Where were you?” She hisses and hears a body connect with the door blocking them from the front of the store.

“Checking out the back.” He points the flashlight to a few cases of water leaned against the side wall, “Owners might have kept the good stuff for themselves before the world went to shit.”

“Great we have water. But how do we get past them?” She jabs a thumb over her shoulder to the door that being slammed on by the bodies trying to get through.

He simply ponts his flashlight to a metal door on the far side, “That let’s out to an ally where the dumpster is. It’s clear but we don’t exactly want to walk out into the street now.”

“Is there another door for the neighboring shop?” Momo puts a finger to her chin in thought since she remembered the shops sharing ally’s when they walked by them.

“Yeah, but it’s locked”

Momo smirks, “Well, good thing I’m here to open it.”

“So we just store hop until we’re far enough to make a break for the car. It could work”

Momo notices the bat in his hand and motions with her chin to it, “Where’s you get that?”

He looks down at it and shrugs once, “Found it leaning against the wall. Could have been their means of security”

“May I?” Momo holds her hand out and Todoroki gifts it to her.

She feels the weight of the metal in her hand before nodding, “I use to play softball. Batter was my favorite position”

“Keep it” He walks to the case of begins to unload as much as possible in his bag, “If you’re comfortable holding it, maybe you’ll actually use it to protect yourself.”

She gives a slow test swing before nodding, “Alright”

Together they pack up the rest of the water and Momo offers to carry both their bags which he raises a brow at and she argues with, “You’re the muscle. These bags are heavy. I’ll stick to the back while you cover the front”

“That’s actually a good idea” He huffs before handing her his backpack. With some maneuvering she manages to shoulder two bags while clutching the bloody bat to her chest.

“Ready?” He motions to the door.

“As I’ll ever be”

With that said he throws open the metal door and takes the lead while Momo rushes to the next door and begins to make work on the lock. Todoroki stands nearby watching her back for any intruders that turn down the ally. Within seconds the door pops open and her muscle continues first with his flashlight ready.

The door closes behind them and with a shine of the light it’s revealed they’re in a salon. The glass windows out front provide enough light for them to skitter on to the back room. No hunters remain but Momo looks longingly to the shampoo chair and touches her dirty hair longingly.

“Come on” He motions to the next back door where they slide out and into a similar ally next to a dumpster.

Growling is heard and Todoroki grabs the back of her backpack, jerking her behind the overflowing trash receptacle. Looking up at him she watches him peek around the corner and she joins him, her eyes growing wide at the sight.

Two hunters are at the mouth of the ally, chowing down on what appears to be remains of a body. She scrunches up her nose as she takes in them clawing away at the meat, shoving whatever they could into their snarling mouths. Tendons ripping, blood squelching, and red covered everything. Closing her eyes she snaps around, pressing her back to the dumpster and facing the dead end of the ally behind them. Her heart is pounding in her ears and try as she might she can’t get the image out of her head. It didn’t help that she could still hear them growling, gobbling down the flesh of that poor human.

Something furry brushed against her leg and she looks down to see several large rats scurry from a rusted hole in the dumpster and over her boots.

The squeal broke through her lips but a large hand slaps over her mouth. Looking up her sight is met with an annoyed Todoroki glaring down at her. With a firm kick he knocks a rat that was chewing on her shoe lace and it scatters away squeaking loudly.

Her heartbeat is thudding inside her ears, and skin feel hyper aware of every touch. Clothes feel extra heavy, itchy even while the hand across her mouth is boiling hot. Fear coils in her stomach as she pictures those things finding them.

They could die.

They could be caught and ripped apart like that pile of meat up ahead. She didn’t want to die like that!

Tears pool up in her eyes and soon leak out and over the hand across her mouth as she hiccups. Todoroki’s hand pulls at her body till it’s firmly pressed up against his like back at the gas station restroom.

What’s wrong with her? Why is she acting like this? Why is she so scared all of a sudden?

“Yaoyorozu”

Her name whispered to her ear wakes her up from her anxiety attack as she tilts her chin up to see Todoroki looking at her still, “Yaoyorozu, I need you to calm down”

He needs her…

Todoroki needs her to calm down.

Closing her eyes she inhales through her nose and tries to calm herself down. She pictures her room, and her cozy bed, a cup of tea with lemon. It’s raining and she can picture herself curling up into the sheets that smell of lavender soap.

The weight of the bat in her hands pulls her back and she sighs heavily. With a nod Todoroki’s hand falls away from her mouth and she wipes away the remaining tears with the back of her hand.

“You good?” He asks softly.

Momo avoids eye contact and moves the bat to her left hand while the right digs for the tools she shoves into her back pocket. Not waiting to be coddled any more than she already is, Momo gives a stiff jerk to her head to signal she’s ready.

Todoroki regards her for a bit before stepping out from the dumpster and tapping his knife to the metal frame they hid behind.

While he takes out the two hunters Momo leans the bat against the door and begins to pick the lock. Setting her mind to focus on something other than her possible death at the hands of the monsters that destroyed this world.

With a click the door opens and as she peeks around the door it pushed against her, sending her onto her bottom. Above her is a bloody woman screeching loudly as it makes a dive for her. She covers her face but a gun shot goes off causing her to flinch. Peeking from behind her hands she watches at the woman falls backwards with a new hole through her right eye socket. Looking behind her, Momo watches Todoroki pull a knife from one of the hunters heads while shoving the gun he pulled into his holster.

He’s looking over his shoulder before facing her with wide eyes, “They’re coming! Go!”

Momo doesn’t need to be told twice as she jumps up, collecting the bat before feeling Todoroki pull her by her wrist into the new store. Screeching is heard as a large number of bodies begin to pool down the ally way. The metal door slams behind them engulfing them yet again in darkness.

“Todoroki” Momo whispers as thumping is heard from the door at their backs. Distant growling and screeching to try and get in. Todoroki’s hand is still around her wrist and he squeezes it in a way she hopes is reassuring.

A growl sounds echoes through the room and Momo feels her stomach fall into the tips of her toes. It’s a lot closer than the ones from outside.

A hunter is here in the dark with them.

//~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 8~~~~~~~~~\\

 

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~Ch 9~~~~~~\\

There’s nothing a caring mother wouldn’t do for their child.

At least that’s what Fu said when she attempted talking to him about what happened.

On multiple occasions she tried playing the role of therapist, care taker, and teacher to a growing Shouto. Though it all fell of deaf ears when his father would take him to train the next day.

“You have to understand Shouto, she did the best she could with us” Fu held an ice pack to a twelve year old Shouto’s blackening eye. Her glasses slid a fraction of a bit down her nose, “You have to know she went through the same thing you’re going through.”

“Yeah, well the difference between me and her, is that I can take a punch without taking it out on you” He snatches the ice pack from her hand before walking out of the kitchen.

His sister spoke to him any chance she got alone with him while growing up. Their father didn’t like it when the kids spoke about their mother, so much so that it was a punishable offence. Though it didn’t deter her lessons in a mothers love.

“Shouto she loves you so much.”

“She would do anything for you”

“Mom would reach out to you if she could”

These are the phrases that kept him up most nights on replay in his mind. If only he’d listened to Fu and saw past his fathers lies and manipulation.

There’s nothing a caring mother wouldn’t do for their child.

After the heavy door slammed behind them he could feel the presence of another body in the room even before it made a sound. He squeezed Momo’s wrist, making sure she was securely behind him.

When it finally made a sound, he could feel his companion freeze up as the realization finally struck her as well.

That voice clicking as if drowning on something. He held the knife close to his body, releasing Momo’s wrist in favor of grabbing the flashlight. The fact that they haven’t been pounced on yet means it’s limited to a single hunter and it’s probably as lost in the dark as they are.

Momo’s hand gripped the fabric on the back of his jacket. He could taste her fear in the air since he saved her from that hunter back at the shop.

Clicking on the flashlight the duo stumble back to the wall next to the door as a small figure runs towards them screaming.

He feels his body squish Momo’s to the brick wall while he holds his knife up ready to strike but pauses.

The hunter that lunged at them is jerked back by a chain around its neck. Tiny hands stretched out to them, clenching and un-clenching as if dying to grab at something.

It cries out for the food that’s just on the other side of the room. Those yellow and red eyes baring down onto them in anger.

Todoroki takes in the appearance of the hunter. Slowly, his shoulders lower and eyes soften.

It’s just a small child.

A little boy with brown hair, no taller than his waist; probably seven at the most when he died. Wearing a bloody NASA shirt, cargo shorts with missing shoes. His hands still clenching as he tried to run against the chain holding him back.

The gasp from behind means Momo saw it as well, her hand that had been clenching his jacket going limp.

“Todoroki” His name on her lips sounded as sad as he’s ever heard it and deep down he hates hearing it.

She shakily inhales, coming to stand next to him. Her bloody bat held limp in her right hand, “He’s just a boy”

The light from his device followed the chain up to a metal pole, most likely used for plumbing. It’s held together with a simple bike lock. He shines the light back at the kid and frowns, “The sickness didn’t discriminate when it took over. If it was breathing, it was viable to host the virus. I’ve seen it take infants even. Though from the looks of it, he was bitten” He motions with the flashlight to the kids left arm that had a deep bite mark in it.

She’s crying again; he doesn’t need to look to know because her tears are pitter patting on the floor and her breathing is short.

“Who would do this?” She whispers and he looks down to the hunter he shot through the eye.

It’s a young woman with short brown hair, wearing a bloodied sun dress, “Could be his mom tied him up.”

“Why would she do such a thing?”

“Maybe she knew what was happening. Knew what he’d become.” He moved the light to her face and noticed a bite mark on her neck, “He might have infected her shortly after turning. Her bite mark looks small.”

“She didn’t want him to wander away. Even after death she wanted him close by”

“A lot of people thought there would be a cure when this thing started. The news first suggested isolating your loved ones that were infected.” Todoroki tightens him hold on the knife, “She should have just killed him” Walking forward he quickly stabs the child through the head. His small body stops squirming; once he pulled the knife back it crumbled to the floor like his mother did earlier.

“How can you make that look so easy?” Her voice has a tint of fear in it and Todoroki wonders if it’s directed at him.

Turning to shine his light at her, she flinches away and shields her free hand over her eyes.

“If I stop to think of them as humans, I’ll end up just like him. It’s easy because I’m alright doing this as long as it means I live.”

“But what are you sacrificing?” She lowers her hand to glare at him and he turns the flashlight away to avoid looking at her for long.

“I already told you I don’t have humanity. It was your fault for thinking otherwise”

He drags the light across the room, taking in the boxes labeled by numbers and colors. It appears they’re in a storage room for the back of the shop. Given the empty hangers to the right under a table that held dozens of folded shirts he assumes it’s some boutique.

“Todoroki-san”

“Listen-“ He rounds about again, shining the light to her chest so as not to blind her again, “Judge me if you want but at least my way has results. If it weren’t for my way of doing things you’d be dead long ago.”

He shouldn’t get this defensive over what she thought of him. On that subject he couldn’t care less if she viewed him as a monster.

Her eyes turn sharp, in a way he hasn’t seen yet. With arms crossed, bat still held in her hand, mouth set in a frown, “You always want to think the worst of everyone, me included! I know this needs to be done. But you don’t have to be so emotionless when it calls for a little sympathy”

“A little sympathy?” He could feel annoyance tick at his left eye, “Like the way you lost it back there? Crying—frozen with fear? Is that how I should act?”

Her cheeks tint with pink in embarrassment, “I’m not as strong as you are when it comes to-“

“Just stop” He interrupts her. He knows he should shut up and just move on but god damn it he’s angry. It’s been awhile since he was this angry and letting it out seems to be the only course of action his mind has right now.

“You hesitate with everything! I’ve saved you more times than I should. If you can’t look out for yourself by now maybe I won’t keep popping in to rescue you. I’m sick and tired Yaoyorozu of you telling me how kind I am and how much humanity I have. You don’t know one thing about me.”

Her eyes are shiny, and she presses her lips together in a firm line to try and hide the quiver in her jaw. It’s painfully obvious she wants to cry and he hates that he’s the one to bring this look to her face. Why did he just blurt that out?

It’s just like the last time he saw his father when he unloaded seventeen years of anger and blame onto the man before leaving. Except Momo doesn’t deserve this misplaced anger. She’s been nothing but kind to him and even saved his ass when he was stupid enough to be taken hostage.

But, damn it he’s mad and she’s the closest thing to him to blame for this feeling.

“You’re right, I don’t know you.” She whispers, looking away to the other wall, “I thought I was staring to. But I guess I was wrong.”

Turning away from her, he got tired of looking at that kicked puppy dog expression she wore. The growling from outside still echoing through the metal and brick. It’s the only thing filling the awkward silence between them.

“We should stay put for a bit. The alleys are going to be swarming with hunters looking for whatever made that sound. They’ll clear out in a few hours as long as we’re quiet.”

She hums in acknowledgement and he sighs loudly before moving to the door to the right. Cracking it open reveals a neat little clothing boutique. Newspaper is taped over the glass, covering them from view but still allowing a bit of light to seep in and illuminate the store. He flicks off the flashlight before dumping it into his inside jacket pocket. To pass the time he did a quick sweep of the shop to find it clear of any hunters. A peek past the newspaper confirmed his theory that bodies swarmed the streets and alley ways. Pushing the tapped paper into place, he took a step back and glanced over his shoulder to see Momo hovering near the door to the storage room.

Maybe some time apart would be good for them right now. Todoroki went from being alone for six months to having her by his side twenty four- seven. It was bound to happen so it should blow over soon enough.

Taking his time he strolled around the room, looking for any other exits, hiding spots or equipment they could use. He came out with finding a ceiling door over the register, most likely an attic meant for storage that possibly led to the roof. In one of the drawers next to the register he found a framed picture of the woman and child from the other room. They’re standing before a birthday cake, faces smashes together in a huge smile, waiving at the camera. He places it face down, not wanting to see the faces of the family he just killed. Especially the big brown eyes of the little boy that in the picture had two missing front teeth.

While he did his sweep, he kept glancing over at Momo who had slowly taken to strolling the shop. Her hands grazing over the clothing, picking up hangers, holding them to her shoulders as if to imagine what the clothes would look like on her before placing it back.

She disappeared to the back while he pokes around register for anything useful. He’s about to go check on her when she emerges wearing black shorts, a grey crop top and a green jacket. Todoroki watches her go to a full length mirror, smoothing down the fabric, turning left and right as if this outfit were important some how.

This isn’t prom; it’s the apocalypse.

Her hands pull back to her hair and she re-ties it up into that spiky ponytail she’s been accustomed to wearing the past few days. While looking in the mirror she glances over the shoulder of her reflection and catches his stare.

Todoroki quickly turns away from the display of dress up and focuses on the task at hand. Looking for a way out when the coast is clear. This time purposely avoiding looking at her so it didn’t look like he was skulking.

Two hours later he’s satisfied with his findings. The door in the ceiling does indeed lead up to the roof. It’s where the shop owner was keeping her Christmas supplies and display items for seasonal use. Right above the first hatch was the door to the roof access. He climbed down from the dark attic, landing with a soft thud on the counter next to the register. His head sweeps left to right, looking for Momo.

When he didn’t catch any signs of her on the store floor he walked to the back and paused in the open door frame.

The child from earlier is laying next to the older woman, both had long coats draped across their faces. Their hands laying in each others from being placed as such. Momo knelt near by with her hands folded in a prayer.

After sweeping over the scene for several minutes he clears his throat, “You shouldn’t touch them”

She opens her eyes and looks at him over her folded hands before going back to her prayer, “They’re dead. Not like I can catch the virus. I’m immune to the air born just like you”

He scoffs at her attitude, looking over his shoulder before crossing his arms, “Still wouldn’t risk it.”

Silence once again filters between them. The growling from outside subsiding the last half hour ago. Meaning the hunters are spreading back out.

They would finally be able to leave soon and head back to the jeep.

A knot pulled at his stomach as a thought crossed his mind. Maybe Momo wouldn’t want to go back with him when they got out of here. He might have offended her enough that she’d rather take her chances on her own.

Not that he blames her. He wouldn’t want to be around himself either. Even his own mother didn’t want to be with him when he was a kid.

Todoroki is un-lovable…

Destined to be secluded forever in a world build specially for him to be alone in.

He reaches a hand up, touching the scar around his left eye. When he has thoughts like this, the scar tends to burn. He knows it’s only his subconscious, but it doesn’t ease the pain any less.

“Are you alright?”

He looks up to see her watching him, concern written across her features. Which is strange because didn’t they just fight and leave on angry terms? Shouldn’t she still be mad at him?

Lowering his hand, Todoroki looks away from her gaze, “I’m fine.”

“You don’t seem fine” She pushes off the floor, retrieving her bat from where it’s leaning against the wall.

He wants to snap at her again but presses his lips together to keep quiet. It’s none of her business anyways.

Her cat like eyes look his face over and he has the urge once again to touch his scar but he resists. He doesn’t want to draw any attention to it, even though he’s already caught her several times looking at it when she thinks he’s not paying attention. It’s not like he’s self-conscious about his looks; he could care less. But he feels like she can read behind his scar to what he’s thinking when she looks at him all intense like that.

Looking back to her he opens his mouth to say something when a loud alarm from outside goes off. Both their eyes widen as they go to the front of the store and peek past the news paper.

A car parked out in the middle of the road seems to have been jostled one to many times by the heavy crowd in the street. It’s siren similar to that of an ambulance, beeping and echoing through the streets.

The symphony of growls and screeches started up as the bodies began limping towards the vehicle.

“This is bad” Todoroki whispers, covering the newspaper back over the glass, “That’ll only draw more hunters to the town. It’ll pull them out of the forests and lead them right here. That alarm could go on for hours. We need to move.”

With that said he walks to the opening in the ceiling, “I’ll give you a boost”

He cups his hands together as he stands on the counter of the register, motioning with his chin for her to follow.

Momo grabs their bags while strapping her bat securely to the strap before climbing up, placing her boot into his hands. With a grunt he pushes her upwards till she grabs onto the lip of the opening and pulls herself up. Once she’s secured and away he gives a jump, catching the edge before pulling himself up in a similar fashion.

They sit among the boxes of old Christmas decorations while Momo eyes a scary looking plastic snowman. He stands up and unlatches the roof access door. With a grunt he pushes it open, bathing the two in sunlight.

Todoroki goes up first and looks around the empty roof before leaning down and offering his hand to Momo, “I got you”

The way her eyes look up at him he’s wondering what she’s thinking, but she grabs hold tightly so he doesn’t over think it. With a tug she’s up on the roof safely before he kicks the hatch shut.

“We’re not very high” Momo stretches her neck to make out the milling heads of the undead crowding the screeching car.

“High enough,” Todoroki looks at the next building as he tries to judge the length, “I think we can jump this.”

“What?” Momo’s eyes widen, “Jump it?”

“It’s no wider than a few feet”

“Can’t we just wait it out?” Momo points to the street, “The alarm will die and they’ll scatter again”

Todoroki shakes his head, “Or it’ll create a hurt of hunters and they’ll stay for a few days. We don’t exactly have enough supplies to stay on a roof.”

Momo walks carefully to the edge of the roof and glances down at the alley cluttered with hunters, “I don’t think I can make that”

“Of course you can” Todoroki crosses his arms, “It’s minimal at best”

With that said Todoroki takes his bag from her and chucks it across the gap to the other side where it lands with a thud on the pebbles. He backs up a few steps before running, giving a powerful jump on the edge, just landing a good foot over the other side safely.

Turning to her he actually smirks and holds his arms out, “See? It’s fine”

Pouting in that cute way she’s been doing when she doesn’t like something he says, she takes off her bag and gently tosses it to him. He catches it before dropping it next to his own bag while propping his boot on the ledge and holding his arms out, “Come on”

Momo bites her lip as she looks down again to the drop.

“Don’t look down” Todoroki says and she looked up at him, “Look at me”

Her cat like eyes shine again and he’s once again left wondering her thoughts as she nods, “I’ll look at you”

“Only me” He says softly.

She takes a few steps back, almost to where he started and gulps down several deep breaths.

“Come on Yaoyorozu”

Opening her onyx eyes she starts running. Todoroki suddenly feels his own heart start to race.

She’s going to do it!

With a powerful jump she lands on the ledge, his hands grasping her arms. Though the brick her boot landed on crumbled off the wall causing her to fall.

A scream slips past her lips but he’s faster than that because he’s already got her hands in his own. Her body is halfway in the alley and a hunter turns to look at her dangling legs like a snack. It makes a lunge for her but Momo gives a strong kick to its face, sending it backwards onto the floor.

“Todoroki!” Momo cries out.

“I got you!” With a strong pull she’s going up and over the ledge with him. They’re falling backwards with him landing on his back and her sprawled out on his chest.

The hard pebbles dig into his flesh as he grunts from the air being knocked out of him. Squinting up at Momo he takes note that she’s straddles his lower stomach. The sun is positioned behind her head, casting most of her face in a shadow. Though it produces a halo like air around her hair, almost like she’s glowing pure gold.

“Todoroki-san… you-” She’s breathing heavily, looking down at him. He can’t quite see her expression but from the way her ample chest is heaving he knows she’s in shock still, “You caught me”

“Course I did” He groans, noticing instantly his hands are resting now on her bare thighs that are squeezing his side. Quickly he holds his hands away and looks back up at her, “Um… do you mind?”

“Oh- OH yeah sorry!” She scrambles up and holds her own hand out to him, “Are you okay?”

He brushes her hand away, standing on his own while brushing the access pebbles from his clothing, “I’m fine.”

“Good”

Now that he’s looking at her head on he notices a pink tint to her cheeks as she avoids his stare, “You alright?”

“Yeah, that thing didn’t get close enough” She grabs their bags, “Let’s go”

Lucky for them the next few roofs are connected so it’s just a long stroll down the street to the outskirts of the city. From there they climb down and made a run for the jeep left behind.

They only encountered five hunters on the run, which Todoroki took out easily enough.

Once the jeep is spotted up ahead he can hear Momo let out a deep sigh. They climb in, tossing their bags to the back while Todoroki starts the engine. Looking over at his companion she watches her pet the dashboard gently.

“Home sweet home” She giggles softly and looks to him, “I mean, it’s not home, but it’s the closest we have right”

‘We’

She isn’t going to leave him.

From the look on his face she seems to understand and smiles in return, “I’m sorry we fought. I’m just not fully use to all this yet, I got emotional. Which I need to work on.”

“No”

She snaps her head up questioningly and he looks forward in the direction of the town. In the distance a hunter hobbles out of the trees and towards the town they just evacuated.

“While there is nothing we can do about what needs to be done. You shouldn’t loose all of yourself to this world.” He starts driving, going around the figure that just now took notice of them, “Keep some of it. It’s what makes you human after all.”

“Todoroki-san” He can hear the warmth in her voice as he resists the urge to look over at her.

“I want to get to know you better”

Her words come as a shock and he tenses up as she continues, “You were right back there. I don’t truly know you, but I’d like to change that. If you’ll allow me”

He says silent, not really knowing how to respond.

“It’s okay if you don’t answer now. We have time, in fact we have nothing but time.” She looks out the window at all the passing trees, “I can be patient”

Something deep inside of Todoroki cracks and he inhales softly, trying to squelch it back down.

Content? Is that the word for this feeling?

He doesn’t know but it can’t be helpful in this world. Better to just ignore it and move on.

She’ll be gone before he knows it. Either off to Alaska or she’ll die… No use getting attached to anyone.

//~~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 9~~~~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~Ch 10~~~~~\\

"Ouch!" Momo drops the rope, quickly turning her palm over to inspect the finger that sliced against the rough material.

"That really smarts." Momo pops her finger into her mouth before remembering how dirty it is and quickly removing it just as fast.

"Why are we making rope out of rope?" Momo sighs, looking to her companion who's weaving the unraveled material into a thick bundle.

"We're making a trap," He glances up at her before going back to his own work, "Unless you'd prefer not to have fresh meat anytime soon."

Her stomach lets out a loud growl and she pouts down at it like it betrayed her trust, "Alright, fair enough."

She picks up the coarse material and tries yet again to weave it in the way Todoroki showed her.

"So this means you're going hunting?" She peeks at his progress, noticing he's almost done with his trap.

"Yup, I noticed some wildlife tracks on the way here. Could be promising," Todoroki holds up his completed trap before placing it next to the other two he finished, "You done?"

Momo holds up her frayed mess with a frown, "I don't think this thing could trap a fly."

Todoroki actually huffs out in amusement and for some reason she feels better about her horrible excuse for a trap.

"You work on that. I'll be back soon" He moves to the opening the hatch of the tree stand.

It's been two days since their narrow escape from the town and the duo have been stopped on the roads several times due to road blockage. The recent one being today, setting them back by two hours.

On the drive around Todoroki spotted a tree stand in the distance and suggested they settle down for the reminder of the day. The hike through the dense woods had been scary in itself. Momo remembers looking around, expecting something to jump out from behind a bush or a tree and grab at them.

The tree stand is about the height of a second story with a thin ladder propped on the outside.

Todoroki explained tree stands are what hunters use when they need to camp out in a spot for days on end to find a kill. She was worried that the owners of the stand would come back and find them, but Todoroki assured her it's been abandoned due to the cob web around the hatch of the door.

The room’s so tiny that if Momo stretches her arms out she could touch both sides of the walls, with enough length for her to lay down. Hard wood floors feel gritty with dirt, and the windows are smudges with brown spots from past rain.

"Should I come with you?" Momo moves to stand but Todoroki shakes his head as he shoulders his bag.

"No, I'll take you back out to collect the traps later, but I'll be faster if I'm alone."

Biting down on her lower lip she thinks about that, "Alright, be safe"

He doesn't even spare her a second look before the door shuts behind him. She stands up and goes to the window to watch him go, disappearing through the trees. Even though he's out of sight she still waits and watches for a few minutes. Expecting him to call out to her or come back and ask her to join him.

Though after a solid ten minutes with nothing but silence she exhales loudly before sitting back down to resume her knot tying.

Basically, she was unraveling a thick rope and using the smaller pieces to weave a loop that Todoroki called a rabbit snare. He made it look so easy with the way his fingers nimbly loop and knot the edges as if he's been doing this his whole life.

Momo picks up her mess of a knot and pouts down at it.

She's excelled at a lot of things in her life, school, sports, dinner parties, just to name a few. But since she left that underground shelter she feels as though everything she's been faced with has stumped her. After an hour of fiddling with the rope she deems it a lost cause before tossing it to the corner and pulling out her English book. Hoping to take her mind off the silence that’s surrounding her once again.

The sun starts to set and Momo peeks up from her book to the open window where birds chirp and cicadas hiss.

Todoroki's been gone a little over two hours now and she's starting to get worried.

What if he ran into a herd of hunters? Or maybe he got hurt and needs help.

Placing her stuff to the side Momo stands up and looks out the window to the distance. The sky is now that lovely shade of burnt orange she always admired.

It's nice to know that some things don't change when you're on the other side of the world or in the middle of an apocalypse.

Looking from the sky to the horizon of trees that stretched on forever, Momo began to wonder if there were others out there like them? Clean of the virus and morally good. Just beyond this horizon. Which then got her thinking about how many people her parents had at the compound in Alaska.

With another sigh Momo takes her baseball bat and carefully makes her way down the ladder of the tree. She hasn't heard a hunter in hours since they made it to their hideout so she figures it's safe to stretch her legs.

Once safely on the grass she plops down and brings her knees up to her chest.

It's nice to sit and just stare at the sky. For the past week since she's been with Todoroki, they've always been moving. Looking over their shoulders and expecting an attack any second. So this moment of calm is nice. It’s not quiet at all. The wind rustles, birds call out to one another, tree’s brush against each others leafs.

Closing her eyes, Momo inhales the scent of wet moss, and fresh dirt. If she concentrates hard enough she can picture sitting in the garden behind her house, watching the gardener plant the new season flowers her mother ordered. He would smile, hand her a flower and tell her about it. He was always so nice to her; though the last she saw him, he was walking off her parents property, leaving the roses half planted and his tools spread around the disturbed soil.

Is he alive right now? How many of the people that worked in her home are still breathing?

The maids that changed the linens, the family chef, or perhaps their driver made it somewhere safe.

Guilt creeps its way up her spine as she recalls their families that they left her for. Perhaps she could have taken some of them in the shelter with her. There was a lot of space and food for just one person.

It's possible that while she was sitting safely, the maid that raised her was dying of the sickness. When Momo was eating three meals a day the gardener might have been starving. While reading the vast amount of books, people were dying by the millions.

Putting her head down into her knees, Momo hugs her legs to her chest, trying to block out the horrible images of familiar faces hobbling back to life, groaning for her flesh.
A hand grasps the back of her jacket, and Momo barely has time to scream before she's laying sprawled on her back, looking up at the upside-down face of Todoroki glaring at her.

She smiles up at him, "You're back."

"And you're dead."

"Eh?" Momo sits up, turning in the grass to face him, "What?"

"I've been standing here for five minutes and you had no idea. What if i'd been a hunter, or one of those guys that took you?" He motions around the clearing, "You'd be dead now."

Momo blushes as she thinks about it and realizes she hadn't been paying attention, "Oh."

"Get up there." He motions to the ladder while his other hand is holding a ball of fuzzy bodies.

“What’s that?” Momo walked by, craning her neck to get a look at his prize.

His annoyed filled eyes rolled at her before holding it up, “Got some squirrels in a tree hole.”

Momo’s face screwed up in disgust, “Squirrels?”

“They’re not so bad. Now go, unless you want to watch me skin them?”

“No thank you!” Momo holds her hands up as she retreats to the ladder.

“Don’t think I won’t eventually show you though,” He calls after her, “You’ll be doing this soon enough.”

Momo is still disgusted but she smiles at his strict tone. He’s not really mad at her.

Climbing back into their tree home she pushes the window down and looks over at where Todoroki spread the three dead animals out on a smooth rock nearby. She avoids watching him slice into the poor creatures and instead looks him over.

Momo has discovered a new hobby amidst the apocalypse. It’s pretty unconventional but she likes it.

Todoroki watching.

Any chance she gets to watch him she does, and she studies everything she can about him in hopes she’ll understand him better. For example yesterday she noticed he ties his boot laces in a strange knot. She pictures a young Todoroki sitting before his mom as she teaches him this foreign way of tying shoes.

Or when he speaks English, she pictures him learning just like she is but in a classroom, wearing a year 2 uniform like she use to see all the boys in. Even though he was home schooled she would love to see him in those uniforms.

Momo wants to know more about him, purely because she wants him to trust her. That’s it…

“If I had known you wanted to watch, I wouldn’t have sent you away.”

Freezing up she lowers so just her eyes are peeking over the windows edge. Todoroki looks up at her with that same smirk she rarely gets to see. It still causes her stomach to flutter as it’s aimed at her.

“Come on down.”

Momo blushes bright red and shakes her head quickly, “N-no thank you.”

He looks back to his work and doesn’t say anything else, which makes her assume he’s teasing her again. She steps away from the window and quickly picks up her forgotten trap that she gave up on. Her hands get to work, trying to salvage this mess, but she knows she just doesn’t want Todoroki to see her flustered face.

About an hour later she smells something and lifts her head up to see it’s nearly dark out. She had been focusing so intently on her trap that time just flew by yet again.

Standing up, Momo takes her way to the window and peeks down at her companion. He’s crouching next to a stone that has a metal pot on it, poking at the ground with a stick.

Climbing down the ladder Momo leaves her bat, and instead brings her horrible knot snared trap that she shoves in her coat pocket. Todoroki looks up at her the second her boots touch the ground.

“Was wondering if you could smell the smoke.” He says before turning back to his work.

“What’s this?” Momo crouches next to him and looks over the well built fire pit.

“It’s called a Dakota fire hole.” He motions to the two holes in different sections, “Two holes, one for air flow, and the other pushes the heat up to this hole where the food cooks. Also dissipates the smoke so no one can see it rising. It’s just the smell.”

“It’s so handy Todoroki-san. Where did you learn it?” She looks at him, the dull light of the flame dancing across his face from where it peeked out under the stone.

He glances up at her and back down at the fire, “Same answer as all the others… My father.”

She nods, already guessing it’s where he learned it. Normally she would drop it but maybe a small question wouldn’t hurt.

“Was he a survivalist or something?”

Todoroki huffs out a laugh but it doesn’t reach his eyes, “Yeah, something like that.”

Knowing that’s the best she’s going to get Momo turns her attention to the fire pit, “This the squirrel?”

He hums in acknowledgement, “Yup, and I used that un-labeled can you found. Want to take a guess at what was in it?”

Momo pinches up her face in thought as she inhales, “I hope carrots?”

Todoroki makes a sound of disapproval and lifts the cover on the pot, “Beans actually.”

Leaning forward, Momo spots black pods swimming around a dark liquid with chunks of brown things bobbing in it.

“Beans and squirrels,” She sits back on her bottom, crossing her legs, “Can’t say I’ve ever had that combo.”

“Would you prefer to live off that stash of sugar and empty carbs?”

Thinking about it Momo smiles up at him, “Yes.”

Todoroki lets out a chuckle and Momo’s whole body feels warmer as she unintentionally leans closer to him, “I’m kidding.”

“Obviously.” He calms down and returns his attention to the food.

“This will be my first cooked meal since I left the bunker.”

He looks over at her, but says nothing as Momo inhales the scent of cooked meat, “I’m excited to try it. Even though it IS squirrel”

“It’s protein,” He finally says, stirring the meal, “I can’t promise flavor, but I will promise it’ll put some meat on you that’ll stick. You won’t go hungry in an hour like with those pop tarts.”

Momo blushes at the mention of her main snack the past week, “Don’t knock the tarts.”

A small smile brushes over his face but he doesn’t offer a rebuttal. Instead she takes out the trap from her jacket pocket and tries to work on it by the light of the dim fire.

After a bit Todoroki looks over at her, “Still working on that trap?”

Momo is trying to undo a knot as she nods but keeps her head down, “You made it look so simple.”

A sudden clank is heard and Momo nearly jumps out of her skin as she drops her trap and looks over her shoulder.

A hunter stumbles over something and falls flat on it’s face, scrambling and groaning to get up.

“Stay put.” Todoroki stands up and removes his knife from his boot. Once close enough he stabs it through the head before it can fully get to its feet.

Once its dead Momo stands as well and trots over to look at the sound that the hunter made. Her cat like eyes squint in the dim darkness of the forest and spots a fishing wire hidden inches off the ground. She follows it, noticing it wrapped around a tree, and a bush and several smaller trees, around the perimeter of the camp, “What’s this?”

“A poor man’s security system,” Todoroki kicks at the can that has rocks in it, causing it to rattle loudly, “I have it around the area so if anything stumbles up on us we’ll hear it.”

“When did you do this?” Momo touches the cans gently.

“After I set up the fire hole and put the food on. It’s pretty simple to set up.”

“I never would have thought about that.”

Todoroki searches over the body of the decaying hunter before throwing it to the side, out of the camp’s view, “Well, now you know.”

They go back to the fire pit and Todoroki stirs the food again to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pot. Momo returns to her trap, and together they sit like that. At least until Todoroki couldn’t handle her fiddling any longer.

“You’re making a mess, give it here.” He holds his hand out.

With a sigh of defeat, Momo hands over her knot which he easily sets forth de-tangling. Once un-raveled he turns to her and she faces him as he slowly knots it.

“Over, under, around. Got it?” He shows her again, “Over, under around.”

Momo accepts the trap, knotting her brow as she imitates him, “Over… under… around.”

“You're making it to loose” He reaches forward, taking her fingers and pinching the material before pulling, “Like this, as tight as it’ll go”

Momo blushes bright red, watching his hands touch her fingers so assertively, “Y-yeah I got it”

He pulls his hands away and Momo continued to make the knot. All the while trying not to focus on how warm his hands had been on her cool skin. Or the way his callouses felt on her when pressing down.

“There you go, you got it.”

His words pull Momo from her thoughts as she looks down to see the trap looking a lot better from earlier. A smile pulls at her lips, “I’m doing it.”

“Yup.”

For the first time since she entered this new world, Momo felt she’s learned something useful that’ll help her get one step closer to Alaska. Looking up to Todoroki her eyes nearly sparkle with happiness, “Thank you Todoroki-san!”

“Don’t thank me, it’s part of the deal remember?”

She shakes her head, “I know, but- but thanks for not giving up on me.”

He doesn’t say anything so she continues, “You could have ditched me but instead you're being patient and kind. Talking me through these things, making sure I understand it fully. I just appreciate it.”

“Dinner’s ready.” His need to change the subject is only highlighted by the light tint of pink on his cheeks at her thanks. She just allows the change as he watches him open the lid while pulling out two metal cups from his bag.

Carefully he loads each mug with a full amount of mush before dumping a spoon in it. He hands her the first one which she accepts by the handle, hugging the warmth to her chest. It does get chilly out here at night.

Once Todoroki has his own meal situated they sit in silence and she picks up her spoon, hovering the meat to her lips. Taking a deep breath Momo opens her mouth, taking a bite of the warm food.

She expected it to be disgusting, maybe even vile. But her eyes slowly open as she chews and examines the flavors.

“So?” Todoroki asks around his own food. Eyes watching her carefully.

“It’s…” Momo takes another bite before covering her mouth with the cup so as not to show her food, “Chewy.”

“Squirrel meat is pretty high in fat.”

“I see,” Momo swallows and smiles down at it, “Could use some seasonings, but it's not horrible.”

“Really?” His voice sounds like he doesn’t believe her.

Giggling Momo scoops another spoon and lifts it up, “I’m not as picky as you think I am. I love trying new things. But when you said squirrel, my mind couldn’t stop picturing the cute fluffy tails.”

“I’m making a key chain out of those next.”

“Todoroki,” She pauses and looks at him with wide eyes. His serious face blinking back at her before she busts out laughing, “Did you just make a joke?”

A smile curls up but he covers it by taking a bite of his food.

Her laughter dies down and she continues to eat her own food, not wanting it to get cold.

Their meal doesn’t last long, but true to Todoroki’s words the food is very filling. There was even enough for seconds which she was hesitant to ask for but Todoroki assured her if they didn’t finish it, the meat would go bad. By the bottom of the pot, Momo felt full for the first time in days. She set her cup aside and pats her stomach gently.

“Wow, I’m so full.”

“Same,” He cracks his neck to the side loudly, “Time we get some sleep.”

Together they stood up, and Todoroki stomped out the fire while Momo set their used dishes under the tree to wash later. They climbed up to the tree stand and got comfortable on the floor.

“I can do first watch.” Momo says around an involuntary yawn.

“Forget about it. We’ll be fine if we both sleep tonight. I didn’t see any human tracks when I did a sweep of the area.” He takes off his jacket, rolling it into a pillow.

“Sounds like a plan.” Momo took off her own jacket and used it as a blanket while her bag props up like a pillow.

Momo and Todoroki lay at opposite ends of the floor, but Momo can see him so she’s fine with it. Her stomach is warm and full so it’s making her as tired as she’s ever been since entering this new world.

Yawning again Momo settles down and snuggles into her backpack, “Goodnight Todoroki-san”

He huffs, getting comfortable, “Night”

Smiling to herself she pulls her jacket up to her chin and lets her eyes drift closed as she’s lulled to sleep by the sounds of Todoroki’s breathing.

Her dreams are once again filled with silence, the ones where she’s back in that bunker unaware of what’s going on beyond the walls. No matter how much she tries to scream, there is only silence.

Momo sits upright, startled by a lightning crack in the distance. Her breathing is heavy as sweat dots her forehead.

“You alright?”

Looking across the dark room she spots Todoroki sitting up, staring at her. Another bolt of lightning strikes lighting up the room for a split second where she can see his eyebrows knitted together as his intense dual eyes drill holes into her. Rain in pounding on the windows and roof while the wind howls through the forest.

“I’m- I’m fine,” Momo touches her wet cheeks and realizes she’s crying so she quickly wipes them away, “Just a bad dream.”

Another howl is heard but this time it’s not the wind, and instead it’s the distinct sound of hunters. The tin cans rattle as they stumble over them. Momo’s eyes widen and she watches as Todoroki stands up to look out the window carefully.

“It’s just three wandering the camp. They don’t know we’re up here.” He says before sitting back down.

The news doesn’t calm her down as she covers her ears from the loud noise. It’s like something out of a horror movie, mixed with lightning and screeching. Momo can feel her body start to shake as she closes her eyes tightly and tries to ignore them.

“Yaoyorozu.” Todoroki says but she shakes her head.

“I’m fine,” It’s more of a mantra instead of an answer, “I’m fine.”

Thunder rumbles in the distance and the wind sways so hard the tree branches above them start to scratch against the roof. It’s almost as if they’re surrounded by hundreds of those monsters down there, clawing to try and get in. Growling, scratching, screaming, biting to try and reach their flesh.

Something warm drops down on her head and she peeks her eyes open to see Todoroki had taken his jacket and draped it over her head. It’s warmth engulfing her as he plops down next to her and puts a hand on the top of her head. His own personal body heat radiating off him like a heater, calming her cold, clammy skin. Todoroki leans close to her so their sides are flushed together. His knees drawn up like her own while his other arm rests across his knee, allowing him to prop his chin on it.

He says nothing, but he doesn’t need to.

When another bolt of lightning flashes she flinches into him, hugging the edges of his jacket around her like a security blanket.

The hand on her head is firm; it grounds her to the present. She focuses on it as she inhales deeply.

“Blow out the candles.” She whispers.

“Hm?” He looks to her and she realizes she said it out loud.

“Oh um…” Momo blushes, turning to face forward, “Nothing.”

“You don’t have to apologize for everything you know,” He says softly, “You can tell me things.”

She nods gently, “Well, when i was small, um my nanny back at home; whenever there was a thunderstorm I would get anxious. The loud, sudden sounds scared me. It’s pretty silly but-“ She inhales deeply, “She would always get me to calm down by telling me to blow out the candles.”

“Candles.” He recites and she buries her face into her knees.

“It’s dumb.”

“No, it’s not,” Looking up at him, his face is set as he looks down at her, “How many candles do you need to calm down?”

Thinking about it Momo gives a quiet answer, “Three.”

“Let’s blow them out then.” He faces forward and inhales.

Momo mimics him, inhaling deeply before blowing out quietly with him. After a few seconds they simultaneously inhale before repeating it. On the last inhale Momo glances up at Todoroki and watches him blow out the final breath. His face so serine and calm as if this didn’t bother him at all. Her cheeks grew pink at their close proximity.

He looks down at her and she notices their faces are now inches apart, “Better?”

She smiles up at him, “Yeah, a lot better.”

Todoroki faces forward, so Momo does the same and together they sit in silence, listening to the rain.

At some point it started to calm down outside since the rain went from loud smacks to gentle pattering on the glass. The wind died down and the hunters eventually scattered away from the camp, leaving them in the gentle embrace of the rain.

It lulled Momo to sleep, but not before she snuggled closer to Todoroki and rests her head on his shoulder.

“Todoroki-san?” She mutters through a sleep filled haze.

He hums, fully hearing her address him.

“I think we’re becoming friends,” She smiles at the word, “Is that okay?”

He doesn’t answer for awhile and she can hardly keep her eyes open much longer. She was just about to drift away when he heard him answer.

“I don’t know.”

With a final yawn, Momo fell asleep against Todoroki, feeling protected and warm.

//~~~~~~~~~End Ch 10~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~~Ch 11~~~~~~~~\\

"Fuck." Todoroki curses in English, staring out at the long clogged road filled with abandoned cars. It stretches as far as the horizon with barren farm lands on either side. The road has four lanes, both are clogged with cars going either way, some smashed into each other while a couple look to have tried to veer off to the side to wait it out. It was a huge mess that their current ride couldn’t get around.

He hears the door to the jeep open and glances to the side where Momo walks around the vehicle to join him.

Her face is just as concerned, "Another dead end?"

"Yeah, this makes all our possible routes blocked. We have two choices," He turns to her, unfolding the map in hand before spreading it on the hood of the warm jeep, "We could back track by three days and go this way-" He trails his finger up a route, knowing without looking that she's watching, "Or we ditch the jeep and go through. Hopefully at the end of the road there'll be another car we can use."

"How far does this road stretch?"

Todoroki folds the map back up, "Pretty long, though it just depends on how far this traffic goes."

Momo puts a finger to her chin in thought, "The logical thing to do is go through."

"It can't be helped. Grab your stuff." He walks to the back seat, grabbing his bag along with the empty gas can, "The jeep was getting low on gas anyways."

After collecting their stuff he walks over to the first car and climbs onto the back of it before walking up the windshield to the dented roof. He needs to get a good vantage point to spot any hunters.

Taking out the binoculars he does a sweep of the area while Momo stands by the car, holding her trusty metal bat.

"See anything?" She asks nervously.

He feels ditching the jeep might be good for her, considering she was getting to comfortable having four walls to protect them at all times. This'll help prepare her for any scenario they happen to come across.

"No, just a few crows." He lowers the binoculars and looks down at her, "I'll walk along the top; you look around for anything useful."

With that said, Todoroki walks down the front windshield and jumps easily to the trunk of the car in front of it, walking up the back window to the roof like the other. It’s an easy enough process given that the traffic is mostly bumper to bumper. Most likely this jam was from a nearby town looking to evacuate. From the bloody mess and bullets peppering some vehicles, it shows something went bad and everyone abandoned the area quickly. Meanwhile Momo peeks through the windows of the dirty cars, and checks door handles for easy access.

Most of the cars are unlocked since whenever they were deserted, the past owners didn't have time to think about securing their property. Some doors are even propped open along with trunks and a few hoods.

He watches Momo hover around a car that has several bodies slumped over in the back, "Ignore the ones with bodies. We don't want any unnecessary risks unless it's worth it."

His companion listens carefully and checks over the cars with a diligence he can only admire. She even checks the glove boxes without being told.

They do this for about half a mile up the road, only stopping to go through a promising car. Todoroki watched her face pale as she spotted a car seat in one of the cars with blood on it. She moves on quick enough, shaking off asking any questions about it.

Good, she learning to move along and not dwindle.

"Anything yet?" Momo looks up at Todoroki as she crouches before a suitcase she pulled from a back seat. It’s quite large with bright pink luggage tags on it.

"It's quiet up here." He looks from her to the stretch of road.

"It's the quiet I worry about." Momo replies before turning back to her task.

He watches her pull out a few tops and holds them to her chest as if curious about them. She places a few articles in her bag; he says nothing when he catches sight of undergarments. His face flushes and he faces back out to the road.

She closes the suitcase and pushes it under the car, "Todoroki-san?"

"Hm?" He hums.

"What did you want to be before the world ended?"

The question comes so far from left field that he has to re-think what she said, blinking down at her, "What?"

"You know," She moves to the next car, opens the back seat, and bends down to go through it, "Did you have a career in mind?"

"Why do you want to know?" He glances briefly to her round bottom staring him in the face and back out to the empty farm lands.

Standing up, Momo dusts off her shorts, "Just curious I guess."

"Does it even matter now?"

"Of course it does," Momo insists, "I was going to go to school and study Engineering. I may not get to do that now, but I can at least practice some of my passion in this new world."

Todoroki thinks about it before shrugging, "I never really thought about it." Mostly because for more than half his life he was always told what he was going to be. He never considered any other options.

That answer doesn't seem to be the one she was looking for because when he looks back at her he notices a pout.

His mind wonders to the other night when he comforted her during that storm. Don't ask him why he did it, because he doesn't even know himself. He just saw her scared and it triggered something inside him to comfort her. When he was a kid his mother would put a blanket over him and rest her hand on his head when his father was in a bad mood. He remembers hearing doors slam, picture frames shattering, and a deep voice shouting for his wife to come there now.

'Be brave Shouto, for me.'

She would say this before leaving him to face his father. When he was little he didn't understand. Why did he have to be brave when she was the one taking the punches? But now he understands. She was just as scared as he was.

Maybe in that moment he wanted to be brave for Momo.

Shaking his head he scoffs at the thought. It was a one off situation and he wouldn't be repeating it any time soon. She needs to toughen up if she wants to survive this world And she can't do that if he's coddling her from every lighting strike.

"Todoroki-san!"

Looking over he notices she's holding up a few shirts, wearing a big smile, "These look like your size."

He glances down at his filthy shirt and nods, "Alright."

She folds them up before shoving the clothes into her bag, "Maybe we can find a place to clean up later. I'm starting to feel like a clump of dirt."

Dirt doesn't bother him; in fact it suites him just fine. If he could, he would scrub more on; it covers smell and sight. He can easily blend in with his surroundings with a thick layer on his skin.

"Maybe" He looks out to the road, "We can't always be clean."

"Being clean can prevent sickness and honestly I always feel like a new woman after I shower." She sighs as if dreaming of a hot shower.

Todoroki looks up in thought as a flash of naked, wet skin comes to mind. Her standing under a river of hot water, soap suds covering her round mounds. Those cat like eyes glancing at him with that timid smile.

Shaking his head he feels his face heat up several shades of pink before facing the opposite direction.

What is wrong with him?

They walk a bit up the road, and Todoroki jumps into the bed of a truck. Looking around he finds nothing except a few rusted chains, dead leafs, and old tools.

"I'm not finding much." Momo says from the passenger seat of a mini van.

"It's possible most of these cars were already raided." He kicks aside a twig, "There's not a lot of humans left, but the ones that are will go through anything to get supplies."

"Ah!"

Todoroki turns on his heel fast and looks over the edge of the trunk to see Momo had fallen back on her bottom.

"What happened?"

She shakily points up and he follows the line of her finger to the window of a closed sedan.

"Something moved in the back seat!" Her voice is shaky.

Jumping down from the truck he comes up to the window of the car and gives it three taps. Instantly two grayish, decaying hands slap against the window. Momo jumps again, standing quickly, holding her bat up as if it would shield her.

The hunter in the car growls at them, though it's muffled by the glass. Its wide yellowish red eyes looking at Todoroki like he's dinner. The skin on the things face is so decomposed from the heat contained in the car that he can't tell if it was once a man or woman.

"Oh god," Momo groans in disgust, "It looks like it's melting."

"Could be." Todoroki watches it for awhile, "Let's keep going."

"We're just going to leave it here?" Momo asks skeptically.

"Take no unnecessary risks remember. There's nothing in there we need so why let that thing out?" He waives his hand over his shoulder, "It'll decompose in a few months and die off."

"I feel bad leaving it here."

It's good that she's starting to call them 'it' and distancing herself from them. Though it seems she's not distant enough.

"Don't," He says as if that will solve her dilemma, "It's contained and can't hurt anyone."

"What if I hadn't of seen it move? I could have opened the door and let it out." She reasons.

He growls in annoyance as she continues, "What if the next person isn't as lucky?"

"Fine!" He walks up to her and pulls the knife from her holster before holding it out to her, "You want it dead? You kill it."

She looks down at the knife and back up at him, "I-I um."

"No?" He points to the car, "You just want me to do it?"

Her onyx eyes turn to shock as her mouth falls open and close several times as if unsure what to say.

"I can't" She finally says and he shoves her knife back into its holster, jostling her a bit.

He turns away from her and throws open the door, watching the hunter stumble out onto its face. The stench that pours from the car is enough to bring tears to a person eyes, but he's smelt worse as he takes out his own knife. The hunter is trying to get up but the skin on its hands are so mushy that upon pushing them onto the cement of the road, it slides off, revealing bone and muscle.

Todoroki scoffs before standing over it, driving his knife into the skull of the hunter. When he pulls back a chunk of the scalp comes with it, making a sick squelching sound.

Looking up at Momo, she's covering her lower face with her hands. The stench getting to her as she turns around coughing.

Shucking the excess flesh off his knife he wipes the blade on the hunters shirt before climbing back up to the truck bed, "Consider that the last hunter I'll kill for you."

He continues on, hopping from the truck to a Mazda, taking another look around the area.

"Todoroki-san" Momo tries to talk but he ignores her, "Todoroki-san I'm sorry."

She follows him as he walks along the roofs of the cars.

A whirring sound catches his attention and he pauses, squinting his eyes as he looks left.

"Todoroki-san I-"

"Sh!" He holds up a hand.

"Real mature." Momo crosses her arms, "I'm trying to talk this out."

"No, I hear something."

Momo drops her crossed arms and listens carefully but after a few seconds shakes her head, "I don't hear anything."

"Because you keep talking," He snaps, glaring at her, "So, I repeat... Shh!"

She pouts but listens as he turns back to looking around the area. The humming and whirring sound distant, but he doesn't see anything.

It almost sounds familiar but he can't place the thought itself.

"Todoroki!" Momo gasps and he goes to snap at her when he notices she's pointing up.

He tilts his chin back and his eyes grow wide at the sight of a white and black drone hovering high above them.

"What the hell?" He whispers.

"It's a drone," Momo says blinking up at it, "I've seen a few before all of this."

"Yeah, same."

It has four rotters spinning, causing the humming sound, but what strikes him is the black lens dead center on the machine.

A camera.

Whoever's watching them must be interested because it flies a bit closer, focusing its attention on the two humans.

"Is it recording us?" Momo brings a fist to her chest and Todoroki understands her trepidation. Whoever's watching them now knows where they are, and could follow them with this technology.

Without answering her he takes his gun out from where it was tucked away and aims it up at the drone. His eyes glaring daggers at it with his mouth set into a grim frown.

Whoever’s watching must understand the silent threat because slowly the small white copter starts backing away.

"It's leaving." Momo says and together they watch it fly off, over the road to wherever it originally came from.

"It'll be back. We should go." Todoroki pushes his gun back into the waist band of his pants.

"Do you think it was the people that brought me here?" Momo asks in fear.

"It's possible. They sound like they have resources beyond what most would have right now. Still... We should go."

Todoroki takes out his binoculars and checks in the distance for the drone.

"Do you see it?"

"I don't know," He slowly pans the device up, checking the skies before moving them back to the road.

"Shit!" He lowers the device with wide eyes.

"What?" Momo comes to the side of the car, "What is it?"

"A herd," He looks back through the binoculars, "I big one too."

"A heard of hunters?" Her voice is caked in fear as he jumps down quickly.

"They're coming fast,"

"We should go to the forest." She motions to the side where the open farm lands rest and beyond that a cluster of trees.

"No, it's to far a run in the open. If even one see's us it could divert the whole herd our way. Making it impossible to out run them on foot."

"What do we do?"

The distant sounds of groaning and screeching comes and both teens seem rattles by it.

"Get under the car." He pushes her shoulders without hesitation; she crawls under the truck and Todoroki follows carefully. Their sides press together while Todoroki throws their bags out to the road, not wanting to block any exits they may needs to take.

Their hands press against the gravel of the road. Todoroki feels tiny rocks push against his skin, but he dares not move.

Heavy breathing is heard and he looks next to him to see Momo shaking like a leaf.

"Yaoyorozu, you need to calm down." He whispers.

"I can't. I'm so scared." She turns her head a bit.

He does the only thing he can think to do in that moment. He picks up his hand and rests it on her head. His forearm resting down the expansion of her back.

"How many candles do we need?"

She huffs out an amused laugh that he would even remember that.

"Too many." She presses into his side.

"How about four?" He can see feet shuffling in the distance. Knowing they only had a limited amount of time before she needs to calm down.

"A-alright."

Shakily she inhales and blows it out, rustling some pebbles from the harsh blow.

"Good, again." He encourages her.

Momo inhales so deeply he can feel the rise of her back before it slowly sunk as she expelled the same breath.

A clicking like gargle is heard and he can feel her wince, "Sh, focus. Two more."

Her next breath is smaller... quieter which is good.

On her last breath she finishes soft and nods, meaning she's ready.

He keeps his hand firmly on her head, but also keeping her close. They're sides are flushed together, he can feel the leather hilt of her knife digging into his side while her bare thigh presses against his leg.

A guttered groan followed by the sound of dragging feet fill the air. Within minutes several pairs of feet start to come into view.

The herd shuffles closer, yet all they can see now are the many pairs of legs walking on both sides of the cars. It's a sea of shoes, and bare feet passing them by. Some stumble, while others walk with limps. The stench from earlier comes back since the bodies all around them are nothing but decaying flesh cooking out in the sun for who knows how long.

Something bumps the car and Momo flinches against him but she holds tight. Proud of her for not making a sound, he trying to relay this through the hand still pressed to her raven black hair. Even though she commented earlier about feeling dirty, her hair feels so soft to the touch. Subconsciously he spreads his fingers and lets the strands caress his hand. She shivers against him and he briefly wonders if it's from the herd or his touch.

Swallowing the dry lump in his throat he faces forward and tries to see if he can spot a break in the legs. He didn't really look for to long to see how large the heard stretched. If it hadn't have been for that drone, they might not have caught it in time.

Had it been trying to warn them?

His eyes narrow, not wanting to believe it, but it could be a theory to explore later.

More bodies bump or scrape against the car, shaking it a bit, yet they hold still. Fearing one slip up would bring a swarm of hungry hunters down upon them. It would surely be the death of them if that happened.

Up ahead a hunter stumbles, falling one car ahead of them.

This time Todoroki flinches as its body is trampled on and those hungry eyes locate them. It lets out a gasping cry, though it's drowned out by the others. The hunter can't get up due to the others walking over it, pressing it down into the road.

Momo's hand slides across the asphalt and latches onto the fabric of his jacket. She see's the hunter as well and knows it's coming for them once it gets up.

It reaches its bloody hands out and drags itself forward. Inching closer to them with those wild eyes and snapping jaw.

Todoroki releases Momo's head and reaches between them, though it's difficult due to the underside of the car being inches from their backs.

He digs his hand between their pressed sides and takes out her knife, moving it carefully over them, resting it before them like a shield. While one hand holds the knife out the other goes back to pressing Momo's head down to cover her if things get ugly.

As the hunter draws closer Todoroki swallows, gritting his teeth. He's prepared to die, but he'll go out fighting no matter what.

//~~~~~~~~~End Ch 11~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~~~Ch 12~~~~~~~~~\\


This fear is crippling.

Momo's tired of feeling this, but she can't help it. The emotion washes over it, halting all brain function and body movement. All she can do is shiver and cry in the face of it all.

Not at all like Todoroki.

Watching him take the knife out, moving it before them shows he's not scared to fight. He's facing fear head on.

She wants to be brave. She wants to be brave for Todoroki!

She turns her head into his shoulder, not wanting to look at how close the hunter is getting.

What if it alerts the other hunters to their location. What if they're torn apart under this car till there's nothing left but a bloody stain similar to that of oil leaking from a car.
Biting her lower lip to stifle any sounds, she wonders if she's even breathing. Nothing seems to be working. She commands her eyes to open but they don't listen. She tries forcing her hand to Todoroki's knife at his side but it stays clenched around his jacket while the other is fisted next to her head. She now understands why a deer just stands there instead of jumping out of the way from an oncoming car.

When her body refuses to comply she feels a tear slip down her cheek and plop onto the ground.

She's so weak... She's going to die a weak victim of this horrible world. Not at all how she pictured ending up. And she was spouting off about how she’s going to try her best to make her parents proud. If they could see her now it would disappoint them at how she’s cowering, ready to be eaten without so much as trying to protect herself.

A snarl came and she bites down on the inside of her cheek so hard she can taste blood. Though the sound of metal shirking against flesh comes just as fast. After a few seconds of silence she cracks her eyes open and flinches into Todoroki's side.

The hunter is inches from them with hands right in front of Momo's face on the ground. A knife planted through its right eye. Mouth hanging open in a silent scream as its body goes limp against the knife.

Gently, Todoroki lowers the body to the ground by the hilt of the knife till it rests without a sound before pulling the knife back out.

She looks around to see the other hunters have not taken notice of their now dead member. She wants to heave a sigh of relief but her body still won't allow her to take charge. Momo can’t even feel her toes; just the heavy beating of her heart against her ribs. Part of her fears the hunters will hear if it beats any louder.

It feels like an eternity but slowly the herd starts to thin out. The back being the slower ones, probably turned first at the start of all this.

As the last hobbles by they wait even longer to make sure that the herd it out of sight. Momo's fine with waiting. As long as those monsters are gone she'll wait as long as they need.

Though the dead face of the hunter before them is hard to not stare at. The newly added hole through its eye gave Momo an idea of what it looks like inside the human eye socket. Which is something she could have gone her whole life not knowing.

It's other eye staring at her as if any second it would get up and lunge at her again.

Todoroki shuffles and it startles her as she grabs onto his jacket, afraid he would get pulled away.

He turns to her with those calm eyes she's come to know so well in such a short amount of time.

"I'm going to check it out. Stay here."

"No," She shakes her head; her voice so low she wonders if he can even hear her, "No we can wait a little longer."

His hand comes down from her head to rest on her own that's clutching at him, "I'll be fine."

Of course he'll be fine. He's Todoroki; he's so much stronger than her. She releases him, and he's sliding out from under the car every so slowly. The sound of his boots scraping against the hard surface is deafening after being quiet for so long. He peeks out first before sliding out fully, getting to his knees.

Momo notices her bat laying next to their bags and she slowly finds the nerve to scoot closer. Her skin dented from pebbles and rocks as she reaches the edge of the car. Still hidden and still scared, but she awaits with shallow breathing for Todoroki to get her.

'Consider that the last hunter I'll kill for you.'

His words ring in her head while she looks to the dead hunter laying under the car. He said that and still took out this hunter.

God how pathetic can she really be?

'You can definitely survive this world, I know you can.'

Todoroki was wrong when he said that. She's not strong at all. Just a little girl cowering behind another human being. Todoroki shouldn't have to be burdened with her.

'It's easy because I'm alright doing this as long as it means I live.'

Momo want's to live, but can she? Can she fight this fear and truly survive in this cruel world?

A cry of pain jolts her from her deep thoughts. That's not a hunter, it's Todoroki!

He's hurt.

Pressing her palms to the surface of the ground Momo slides from the car and looks up to see Todoroki leaning his back against a car; blood pouring down his arm in long streaks, staining his hands and jacket a deep read that’s already taking over half his side.

"Todoroki!" She calls out.

A screech sounds and Momo spots up ahead a hunter running towards Todoroki from between the line of cars. Her heart hammers in her chest as Todoroki stumbles, falling backwards, dropping her knife. He holds his arm that's gushing blood between his fingers.

Todoroki looks for the knife, not seeing that it had fallen under the nearby car.

The hunter screeches again, arms out stretched, drawing closer to her companion.

Momo didn't think. She didn't stop to contemplate fear; didn't give her body a chance to seize up. Momo snatches up her bat and charges forward.

This monster is not going to take Todoroki away from her. She won't allow him to die. Because when it all comes down to it, Todoroki deserves to live. He deserves to out live them all.

Her boots pound on the ground and everything feels like it's slowing down. Eyes locking on the hunters face, Todoroki's back is to her but he's leaning his blood covered hand back feeling for the missing knife. The hunters face only watching the fresh blood squirt onto the ground hungrily.

Just as she reaches him she felt her arm swing the bat forward with all her strength.

'You were right back there. I don't truly know you, but I'd like to change that. If you'll allow me.'

'Todoroki-san'

'Look at me'

'Only me'

'I'll look at you'

The bat connects with the hunters face, making a loud crack similar to that of a tree splitting. She's standing over Todoroki, watching with wild eyes as the hunter is thrown off its feet, sailing through the air. Blood spurting from its mouth and nose, catching the light of the sun.

It lands with a thud, but Momo doesn't give it time to recover before she's standing over it bringing the bat down again.

And again.

And again. Several times, each swing bringing a new sickening sound she wishes never to hear again. The more she hits at its face the softer the blows feel due to the lack of bone now.

"Yaoyorozu."

No one will separate her from Todoroki. Not when she has so much to learn still.

"Yaoyorozu!"

A hand grabs at her wrist just as she lifts the bat up to strike again and freezes. Looking over her shoulder she see's Todoroki's calm face.

"It's dead. You can stop."

She feels her body shake as she goes to look down but Todoroki's hold jerks her forward, pulling her face against his chest. She drops the bloody bat with a clang; clutching his equally bloody shirt.

A sob wracks her body and she presses her face harder into his chest. His uninjured hand resting across her shoulders, keeping her close while the other hangs at his side.
She can't help it. She just killed someone. Even if it was already long gone from the virus, she still put it down permanently. A person that use to breath, and talk. Turning her head to look Todoroki pulls her face back to his chest.

"Don't." His voice is firm but in pain, "Don't look."

How can he be so concerned about her right now? He's the one injured.

Todoroki is hurt.

Her eyes widen as she puts her hands to his chest and pushes away gently, "Your arm!"

Looking down to his left arm, the tan jacket is covered in a deep red, hardly leaving any idea to what the original color had been. On his upper arm past the ripped fabric is a deep gash. His flesh is slit apart, blood pooling around it, nearly covering it completely.

"What happened." She's touching around the wound gently.

"I saw the hunter and tried to duck down but got cut on something."

Momo looks behind them to where she watched him fall. The rusted car has a sharp piece of metal sticking out from the door as if peeled back from a past accident. It’s coated in a line of blood dripping off it.

"It's deep," She pulls his jacket down carefully. Once it's off she presses it to the wound, "Hold it tight, I'm going to get the first aid kit."

He nods and Momo rushes back to their bags still laying in the road.

While digging through she knows they can't stay out in the open like this. With him wounded and all; they needed to get someplace secluded. Taking out the binoculars she stands on the car and looks ahead where the horde had come from. In the distance she see's something and lowers the device with a nod.

Jumping down, Momo coops up their bags before returning to Todoroki.

"There's a place we can go. Come on." She leans closer but he shrugs her off, not needing the support. So instead she picks up her dropped bat.

They step over the body of the hunter she killed. Momo tries not to look but from her peripheral vision she can see a lot of blood and bone.

They walk for a bit; both vigilant on looking for any hidden hunters ready to spring out at them. But luckily they reached the destination without must hassle.

It's a large ‘Ship Right’ truck with a picture of smiling box on the side. They go to the back and throw open the double doors to see it's half empty. Crawling in, Todoroki manages to shut the door behind them, encasing the two in darkness.

"Here," Momo digs in her bag, coming out with a small battery powered lantern. Clicking it on, they can finally see their surroundings.

It's a standard delivery truck, with multiple boxes strapped to the side, long forgotten by a world mostly gone.

Setting the lantern before them, she goes back to pulling out the first aid kit from Todoroki's bag. There's not much but she manages to find what she's looking for.

"Take off your shirt," She says while twisting the cap off the alcohol.

Todoroki complies, hissing as he raises his arm to get the blood soaked clothing off. Momo helps him half way through; tossing it to the corner. Tipping the bottle she dumps it over his arm and he punches the metal floor with his other hand.

"Fuck!" He curses loudly.

"Sorry, I should have warned you." Momo pours a bit more and he groans while looking up at the roof of the truck.

"No, just go on." He says bravely.

Momo cleans off her hands with her water bottle before turning to inspect the wound again.

"You'll need stitches." She feels him flinch under her touch before leaning in to hide the fact.

"Figured I would." His voice is strained, like he's trying so hard to not sound in pain.

Momo takes out a needle and thread from the box, "I've never done this before."

"I have." He holds his hand out for the item, "I can do it if you can thread the needle for me."

Quickly threading it on the first try she hands the sharp hooked needle to him. He inhales deeply before piercing the flesh next to the wound. His leg jerks out and she jumps in shock at the sudden movement. Todoroki grits his teeth while hooking the next piece, pulling the thread through, "Can you hold the would together?"

"Sure" Momo scoots forward, gently touching the arm before pressing the sliced skin together.

He goes back to work piercing and pulling with concentration imprinted on his features.

It only takes five stiches which she's thankful for because he's done quickly enough, tying off the stich with a precision she's sure never seen before.

Once completed his arms slump down and he's breathing heavily, recovering from the pain. Momo looks in the box and comes out with some pills, "Will these help?" The English on the box is complicated but it has a picture of red spot on a human body with blue circles around it.

He gives a jerky nod before accepting three pills from her, swallowing them before she can offer him water.

Momo goes into her bag, taking out a small shirt she must have pilfered from the cars. She starts to rip it with much effort. Her hands are sore from clenching the bat so hard but she tries to not think about that. Once she has enough strips she begins to wrap his arm.

"We need to make sure you don't get an infection."

Todoroki huffs out a chuckle, "Pretty sure I'll live."

"Of course you are," Momo smiles while wrapping the fabric around the muscle, "Because I'll make sure of that."

The silence after her words makes them both think about the hunter she took out to save Todoroki. Momo doesn't even need to read his mind to know that's what he was thinking.

Once finished she sits back on her knees and examines the work. The wound stopped bleeding during the stiches but half his body is covered in sticky blood.

"I hope you got a tetanus shot before the end of the world." Momo tries to force the conversation away from what they were thinking.

Todoroki shrugs, touching his arm to look over the bandage, "I got all my shots before coming here."

"Good... good."

"You did good back there." His sudden words cause her to jump a bit. She knows what he's implying so she turns away in shame.

"No."

"Yaoyo-"

Turning to him her eyes burn with tears, "I killed someone Todoroki-san! I don't want praise for that."

Her shoulders shake as she tries to hold back her crying, but her eyes feel wet and it's only a matter of time.

"It wasn't a human. It was a hunter." He tries reasoning with her.

"I know," Momo wipes at her eyes, "I know, and I don't regret saving you at all. In fact I would do it again. But-"

He waits patiently for her, his eyes blinking wide at her confession.

"But I've never felt that type of... of rage before. I felt like a different person." Momo hugs herself, "I don't ever want to feel like that again."

"You will."

Looking up at her companion he faces her with determined eyes, "You'll have to kill another hunter, maybe even an actual human."

Momo shakes her head silently at that but stops when he continues.

"That rage doesn't need to be a bad thing." He seems hesitant to keep talking but he goes on after a beat of silence, "You can use it to protect yourself."

"I don't know." Momo adjusts from her knees to her bottom, pushing her back up to the wall of the truck, "I feel so conflicted right now."

"Think on it, but lets try and get some sleep." Todoroki makes sure the doors are shut tight as he turns off the lantern.

Momo can hear him shuffling around to get comfortable. She lays back on her backpack, using it as a pillow and stares up to the roof of the truck. After some time her eyes adjust to the darkness. Peaks of light come in through tiny cracks as the sun starts to set outside.

Every time she tries to close her eyes she can feel the heavy bat in her hands. Feel the crunch it makes on impact. She doesn't even know how many times she hit that thing before Todoroki stopped her.

After an hour of restless sleep, the light from outside turned dark since the sun had set. Silence is all around them, except for the light breathing of Todoroki on the other side of the truck.

Rolling to face his direction she tries to sort out her feelings and this rage.

On one hand the rage stopped her from being scared. She was able to protect Todoroki and get them away from the danger. On the other hand this same rage is something she fears, and it causes so much self hate.

Is it worth it? To give up her humanity to become this?

'You might have more humanity than anyone I know.'

Todoroki-san thinks she has humanity but does she really?

Can she keep her humanity and this anger?

What if she doesn't do this and it get's Todoroki killed?

"You're thinking very loudly over there."

Momo jumps and looks in the direction of the voice. Seconds later the lantern is clicks on low, illuminating them in a soft glow.

He's laying down with his head turned to look at her. His shirt is still off and she blushes as the dim light cast shadows across his still bloody skin.

"I can't sleep."

"Obviously," He turns to look up at the roof of the truck, "You're still thinking about earlier."

"Yeah."

Todoroki sighs loudly, "Want to talk about it?"

That's shocking coming from Todoroki. He never wants to talk about anything. If he can avoid a conversation, he's first in line for that. She touches her racing heart, shaking her head slowly, "Not really."

He expels a puff of air in amusement and they look at each other. His face has an almost playful smirk aimed at her, the shadow flickers across it from his movement. The red part of his hair sliding down over his scar, "That's amusing. You always want to talk."

Momo returns his smirk, turning her body to fully face him while her legs curl up over the other, "And you always want to avoid my talking."

Those dual eyes regard her in a way she's only ever seen once. They flicker over her face as if searching for something before looking back up, "Then I'll talk, and you listen. How about that?"

Guilt pierces her stomach, "You don't need to make me feel better Todoroki-san. I can sort through this on my own."

"I know." Is all he says and Momo feels her stomach flutter.

The silence lasts about a minute before he inhaled deeply and starts.

"My dad... was an ass hole."

Her eyes widen at the mention of his father, but she stays quiet. He looks to be in pain talking about it so she waits to see if he'll go on. Though she doesn’t want to push him to talk.

"He really pushed me growing up to be better than everyone else. And if I wasn't well-" He touched his stomach as if remembering a past pain.

"My family owned a dojo, and my father was the instructor. He enrolled me into every form of fighting you can imagine. I was best, even at a young age." He didn't seem proud, in fact he looked angry as his hand on his stomach turned to a fist.

"We had this initiation for all new students. They had to face me in a one on one match." Todoroki inhales softly, "I was always expected to not only win, but to beat them well past that."

Her eyes widen in shock and he continues but it's strained, "If I didn't, then I would get it just as bad later. So everyone I came across, I destroyed. Many didn't come back after that. And the ones that stayed hated me."

"Todoroki-san," She feels tears well up in her eyes again.

He turns to look back at her, "I felt what you're feeling. The beginnings of that rage and the suppression to not use it."

Todoroki sits up and Momo does the same, "But you have to use it Yaoyorozu. Control it and make it submit to you, not the other way around. You're strong."

"How?" She whispers softly, "How can I do that when I'm so conflicted? I'm scared."

"Fear can be good. It lets you know your limits."

"When I get scared, I freeze up. My body won't listen and I just don't know what to do." She wipes at her damp cheeks.

"We can work on that. But today, I want you to know how grateful I was to have you there."

Her head snaps to him, "Y-you were?"

Todoroki nods once, "If I had been alone, I'd have been dead for sure." He smiles at her softly, "This is the second time you've saved me."

"It's no comparison to how many times you've saved me." Momo scoots closer.

"How about, we don't keep track of how many times we save each other?" He cocks his head, and she can feel her heart swelling. He looks so much younger when he's like this. Hair falling across his face, casting it in a shadow, almost like something out of a dream. The blood on him not deterring her at all from his good looks. If anything it stirred something primal deep within her that she pushed away quickly, not wanting to dwell on it for to long.

She gives a nod, "Alright. I'd like that."

"Good. Think you can get some sleep now?"

Momo thinks about it for a second before nodding, "Yeah, so long as you do too."

With that said he turns off the light and they both lay back down. Neither noticing how much closer their bodies had scooted during the conversation. Leaving inches between their shoulders.

Momo smiles up at the roof of the truck as her hand goes back to her heart. It's still beating heavily, almost like she ran a mile. She got to learn something about Todoroki-san tonight. Something she would never have known if she hadn't done what she did.

Maybe she can balance her emotions. So long as it means Todoroki smiles at her again like that.

Her eyes drift closed as her breathing slows down. Within no time she's finally fallen into a peaceful sleep, lulled by Todoroki's breathing.

Little do either of the teens know that outside the delivery truck, a white drone hovers above, zooming its camera in on the closed door.

//~~~~~~~~~End Ch 12~~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~Ch 13~~~~~~~~~~~\\ 

"You need help?" Todoroki leans his good shoulder against an oak tree, crossing his arms and smirking down at Momo.

She's been examining the same set of tracks for ten minutes now and he’s getting the impression she might need assistance.

Her face snaps up to look at him with that adorable pout, "I can do it, thank you very much."

Did he just refer to her pout as adorable?

Shaking his head he pushes off the tree to walk behind her, looking down at the tracks he's already familiar with from a first glance.

"The longer you take the colder they get."

She ignores him as she points down at it, "It's a zig zag walker, and the hoofs are deep."

"Meaning?" He crouches next to her, still very aware of their surroundings.

"Meaning, it's a deer." She suggests.

"Good."

Her smile lights up at being right so he stands quickly to avoid staring to long, "It's going north so we should too."

They collect their things before trekking up north, following the tracks. Momo has her head down, looking intently for any new tracks that might cover the deer’s.


Been about a week since their run in with that horde. Things feel different between them since that talk they had in the back of a delivery truck. The air around him feels lighter, almost as if he doesn't have to try and keep her at an arms length. Which is weird because nothing changed; they just talked.

They mostly continued their journey on foot, sticking to the woods to avoid any drones that might be spying from above. Though nothing has been spotted since that one day, he plans on making sure they put as much distance between it and them as possible. Todoroki recently explained tracking to Momo since he promised he would teach her how to hunt. About a mile back he picked up the tracks of this deer and wanted to test if she would pick it up as well.

She's a fast learner. He admires that about her.

Not once did she complain about her English studies or stopping to rest when they walked for hours on end. She didn't ask for water or extra food, even though he could hear her stomach rumble at times.

They haven't had much run in's with hunters which is good. The horde must have picked clear the ones in the area they walked in. Momo hasn't killed one since, but that's alright. Now that she's killed one he feels he can rely on her to do it again if needed be.

Her bat is strapped to her backpack, newly cleaned off. She's instead holding her knife, which is good because it means she's getting use to relying on it.

The sun in high in the sky, beating down on them. He shades his eyes with his hands while looking up to see if he can tell the time. Mid-day given the position of the sun.

"Let's search for another two hours before setting up camp." He suggests and Momo hums in agreement but her mind is obviously focused on the tracks.

He smirks at her concentration, "You listening?"

"Mhm," She hums again.

"Alright, I see how it is." He holds up his hands in surrender, "I'll stay quiet."

"Hm?" She snaps her head up, "What?"

Shaking his head at her, he faces forward, fighting back a smirk, "Nothing, let's keep going."

"Right!"

A rustle in the bushes to the left stops the duo in their tracks. Both raise their knifes while Todoroki hovers his other hand over the gun at his side.

Something gives a loud squeal and Momo gasps as her smile returns, "A pig!"

From the bushes a brown boar waddles out with large white tusks.

"A bore." Todoroki corrects, "A large one."

The hog catches sight of them and makes a defensive snort backing away.

"Careful," Todoroki holds his arm up as if to shield Momo, "These things are very dangerous. They can bite your hand off, given the chance."

The creature doesn't wait to fight and instead turns tail, starting to run away.

"Ah, it's getting away!" Momo breaks out into a run.

"Yaoyorozu, wait!" Todoroki gives chase to her.

She's getting faster since their first run together. The muscles in her legs seem to be developing with all this walking.

"Yaoyorozu, stop!" He calls out to her again holding his hand out as if to catch her.

One second she's just a few feet in front of him, and the next she disappears. Todoroki stops and looks around, "Yaoyorozu!"

She screams and he instantly moves forward to see a steep drop into a mud pit. At the bottom Momo sit's chest deep in brown muck that's covering every inch of her body.

He carefully takes the slope, leaning into the earth to avoid falling like she did. Once at the bottom he watches her stand up and holds her arms out in disgust.

"Are you alright?" His heart is racing as he looks her over for any injuries. It's hard to see anything past all the mud caked across her body. The brown substance is dripping from her clothes, hair and arms.

"I think I'm fine." She flicks her hands to get the mud off, "I'm covered in this filth."

He sighs in relief as he holds his hand across the muddy pit, "Come on.”

She accepts his hand and with a firm pull, she's out of the pit, standing back on solid dirt. In the distance the hog squeals almost in victory at having evaded another hunter.

Todoroki wipes his muddy hands on his pants, not caring if they get dirty, "You sure you're alright?"


Momo turns around, twisting her head to get a look at how much of her is covered. Her lightly tanned skin from walking days in the sun is now brown with dirt clumps hanging off her clothes and hair.

"Nothing hurts, but I feel like a mud pie."

He huffs in amusement, "I tried to get you to slow down."

She notices his face before puffing her cheeks out like a puffer fish, "Do you think this is funny?"


Todoroki cocks his head to the side, looking her up and down once more, unaware that her face is turning a deep pink under the cool muck, "A little."

"Ugh!" She throws her hands up, "I need to clean this off."

"Not like we have a shower handy right now." He crosses his arms, looking around their surroundings as if a five star spa would appear before them fully operational in the middle of the apocalypse.

"Please Todoroki-san," He hears her words and turns to face her, flinching in surprise as she clasps her hands together and blinks her big onyx eyes up at him in a way she's never done before.

"W-What are you doing?" He takes a step back.

Momo leans forward, hands still held in a prayer, "I'm giving you my puppy dog look."

"Puppy dog?" He shakes his head, "What?"

She inches forward and smiles up at him stretching out her, "P~please?"

Turning his back to her he holds his hands up, "Nothing we can do about it. We should just keep going north."

Momo grabs the back of his jacket and he makes the mistake of looking back at her.

Big mistake...

The way she's learning forward he get's an indecent view of her breasts as her shirt sags low and her face is tilted in an innocent way with her mouth parted.

"I'm so dirty Todoroki-san." Her voice is hitched as if she were begging, "Please?"

His face turns bright red while his whole body suddenly feels like it’s on fire from the inside out; he turns away quickly, "Stop begging! Fine! I'll find a lake or something!"

She releases him and throws her hands up in rejoice, "YAY!"

They collect her fallen bag and knife on the hill that luckily didn't fall into the mud pit. Once all their stuff is together Todoroki pulls out his map and begins to track their position, using the sun and wind. After a few minutes he folds it up, "Map says there's a lake ten miles west. Let's go."

"Perfect!"

They continue on their way, with Momo grunting and moaning about the mud drying in places mud should not be. Todoroki tried not to think to much on what those places might be.

After about an hour of quietly walking through the woods, they come to a dirt road running diagonally to them. They take it until they stop at a large wooden sign hammered between two oak tree's.

Momo reads the sign out loud; sounding out the words, "Lake Tanaka Camp Grounds"

"I didn't see anything about a camp on the map," Todoroki squints suspiciously at the sign.

"Camps usually aren’t populated during national emergencies. I'm sure it's abandoned." Momo insists, though he knows she just wants to bathe really bad.

"I don't know. Maybe we can try another lake." He points to the South, "I saw another lake this way."

"Please Todoroki-san!" Momo does that thing again with her hands and face that make his stomach churn, "I'll do anything for a bath right now."

“Don’t say things like that,” Scoffing he takes out his gun, getting ready for anything, "Fine but at the first signs of trouble we bail. Got it?"

"Crystal clear Todoroki-san!"

They start to walk down the path and he glares sideways at her, "And stop doing that dog look."

Momo gasps in shock, "It is not a dog look! It's called puppy dog eyes."

"I have literally never heard of that." He deadpans at her which causes her to whine a bit.

"It's when you try to resemble a cute, tiny puppy that says 'pick me up and take me home,' and you'll do anything for it because it's so cute and innocent." She explains with a smile.

Todoroki rolls his eyes, "You looked more like a puffer fish."

Momo swats at his arm, "You take that back! I am adorable!"

"Does that look always work on people?"

"Eh, well-" Momo fidgets with her fingers, smashing the tips together, "My parents could never say no to it, same with my grandparents."

"But you never tried this so called look out on anyone that wasn't family?" He raises a brow.

"Just you, and so far I think it's a success." She gives him a thumbs up.

Todoroki blushes at having given in to her experimental look so easily, "Well, don't think it'll work again."

She gasps again loudly, "It really worked? Oh my goodness I just assumed you wanted a bath to and gave in." Her cheeks pinked and she gives a sly smile, "Todoroki-san was a slave to my puppy dog look. Wow, this is unexpected."

His frown deepens as he turns to her with a curt glare, "It didn't work! I gave in because if I hadn't you'd have complained the whole way! Damn!"

Momo giggles behind her hand and Todoroki can feel his face heat up the more she teases him.

"Let's just focus on this task."

"Yes, sir Todoroki sir" She salutes him.

Even though he's frowning, a part of him is warm from the playfulness she's been expressing with him. He's never done this with anyone before. Having someone to talk to and joke with. Not that he jokes or likes to talk, but knowing she's here for it is nice.

They stop at a large ranch style gate that's up to their chest, attached to a wide wooden fence that sat waist high. Todoroki flips the latch and the gate swing open with a creek from the rusted hinges.

He shuts it behind them and turns to him companion, "If something goes wrong we'll have to jump this. You think you can?"

Momo nods, "Of course. I was top of my class in track!"

The image of her in the traditional high school PE uniforms leaves him blinking at her, "I see."

Continuing on, it doesn't take long for them to reach a large overhead sign welcoming them to Lake Tanaka. It sways in the light breeze ominously.

Todoroki holds up his knife, leaving the gun at his side, "Keep an eye out for any movement."

Momo takes out her own knife, following closely behind as he takes the lead.

Up ahead in the distance, Todoroki can see a peek of the lake shimmering past the buildings. They enter the camp ground that's built in a circular fashion with several large buildings lining off a rounded path that went off towards the cabins. At least that's where a wooden sign with an arrow pointed.

They walk around and pause at the sound of distant groaning.

"Todoroki" Momo straightens up.

"I hear it" He looks over to the large building that has the words 'Mess Hall' carved over the double doors.

Something moves by the window and they both duck down.

"Hunters" She whispers holding her knife to her chest, "Should we leave?"

"Wait," He crouches up slowly, peeking through the murky window.

Inside is the standard cafeteria setting though it's the three hunters that catch his eye. They're walking in circles around the tables aimlessly. No telling how long they've been here, but he isn't ready to take on three by himself just yet.

"Let's move on." He nudges her shoulder with his own and they move to the next building.

The windows on this one are high up, meaning it's most likely the washroom of some kind. Todoroki climbs up on the AC unit next to a window and peeks in.
"Anything?" Momo asks as she stands guard, watching his back.

"Just empty showers." He jumps down and together they walk to the door, pushing it open.

Todoroki taps his knife to the linoleum wall and it echoes through the room. After a few seconds of nothing they walk in, letting the door shut behind them.

Momo makes a dash for the showers that line the far tile wall while lockers and benches litter the other side.

The showers have half walls to cover as much as possible with swinging bamboo doors. Momo reaches for a shower handle and twists it with excitement on her face. The shower head gurgles and sputters as two drops of water come out.

Her shoulders deflate, "Really?"

"Plumbing must have been shut off here to." He walks around, testing some other handles with the same response, "If this place is calm enough you can use the lake."

She nods sadly as they leave the locker room and make their way to the next building. It has 'Front Office' over the door and it's a simple one story log cabin. Looking through the windows Todoroki spots a body on the floor and says nothing as he suggests they move on.

The last large building in the circle is a wide one with 'Infirmary' over the door in red chipped paint.

"This might be promising." He says and Momo nods.

"We can get actual dressings for your wound."

Her concern for his cut has spanned out to every day since he got it. She's constantly checking it for infection or if he pulled a stitch. It's been awhile since he had someone worry over his well being.

The window is blocked by blinds and Todoroki gives a knock to the door.

Something instantly smacks against it and he listens.


"Sounds like just one." He takes a step back, "We can take them later."

"Should we go look at the cabins?" Momo points to the sign off to the side.

"We're not staying that long." Todoroki makes his way towards the lake, "Sun will start to set in two hours. Wash up and we'll camp out in the locker rooms tonight."

Momo rushes past him to the lake with glittering eyes at the prospect of finally being able to wash herself.

They reach the waters edge, he watches as Momo drops her bag before starting to take off her boots. Once barefoot she wiggles her toes in the wet sand happily.

"It's been forever since I've had my shoes off." She sighs.

"Well don't expect to have them off long. You're just going in to clean off."

"Yeah, yeah," Momo removes her jacket, dumping the messy fabric next to her bag, "I'll be as quick as possible."

"I'll be over here," Todoroki goes to walk but is stopped by her voice.

"Don't you want to bathe with me?"

His head snaps to look at her just as her eyes grow wide and she holds up her hands, "I mean! Not like as in you and I naked together! I mean ah-" Her face turns a lovely shade of pink as she tries to find her words, "What I meant to say is we can bathe together and watch each others backs."

He blinks at her, "So I'd watch you bathe and you'd watch me?" He raises a brow.

"No! Ugh I'm just going to go clean up. Do whatever you want but um- ugh don't look!"

"Nothing I haven't already seen." He turns his back to her but something thumps against his head and he turns to see she had thrown her balled up sock at him with a glare that didn't quite meet her eyes.

He went back to stare out across the camp, keeping an eye on the buildings that he's sure holds hunters in it.

A minute later he hears the water splash and glances over his shoulder just in time to see her head pop out of the rippling water she dove into. A sigh breaking through her lips as she runs her hands over her hair.

Turning back he lets his hand fiddle with the hilt of the knife, trying not to focus on the sounds of water shifting.

Something faint pierces the air and it takes him a second to realize what it is.

Momo is humming a tune he's not familiar with, but it's soft. Not loud enough to draw attention but soft enough to be heard at his position.

She's content right now, something that's completely strange, but it suits her to be happy. Her face looks like it was always meant to have a smile. Though there's not much to smile about now days, here she is humming.

His lip curves up as he remembers his mom use to hum when she did the dishes. Todoroki sitting at the table coloring, just listening to her move around. Part of him wonders if she did it on purpose to let him know things were alright, even at their darkest.

"Hey there!"

Someone calls out in English, causing both teens to turn out to the lake with shock written across their faces. Momo dunks into the water to his chin, covering her chest while Todoroki lifts his gun.

"Whoa, whoa easy! I'm no threat!" A man on a canoe drifts out from behind a cluster of tree's dipping into the lake that had been hiding him.

"Show me your hands!" Todoroki takes a step into the water, ready to fire if needed be.

The guy holds his hands up, holding a paddle in one hand and nothing in the other. He smiles at them, "Oh, wow you have no idea how long I've been alone guys!"

His canoe is drifting to land and Momo swims backwards with one hand as the water comes up to her shoulders now. It's obvious she wants out of the water but can't due to her nakedness.

"Keep your hands up!" Todoroki shouts as he shrugs out of his jacket and walks in the water. Momo came closer, turning her back to the man as Todoroki drapes his coat over her shoulders. The Japanese teen stands tall as the water comes to her waist and both hands cover her round breasts, though he keeps his eyes up at the intruder. She pulls the jacket closed and it comes just past her hips as he ushers her out of the water now that she's covered.

Once they're on the land Momo stands behind Todoroki and both of them look to the guy who's floated a lot closer now; hands still in the air, and still smiling.
"Permission to come on land?" He calls out.

"Denied." Todoroki looks to Momo and switches to Japanese, "Get our stuff, we're leaving."

Momo nods as she squats down and grabs their bags. Once it's obvious they were leaving the guy's smile falls, "No wait! Please! I mean no harm! I'm sorry for popping in like that!"

Momo looks up at Todoroki, "What's he saying?"

"Nothing, let's go."

He quickly paddles a bit, pushing the boat closer before holding his hands back up when Todoroki pulls the hammer back on the gun, "I said hands up."
The boat bumps into the sand and he stands up, taking a step out, "I have food! I'm not sick, I-I can help!"

"He looks sad" Momo says to Todoroki.

"He's trying to trick us." Todoroki has her back away with his other hand not holding the gun.

"Is that Korean you're speaking?" He asks, his smile coming back, "How interesting."

“It's Japanese, and we're out of here." Todoroki says in English, taking another step back.

"Please don't go sir." He gets down on his knees in the dirt, “You can search me all you need but... please don't go."

"Don't... go." Momo repeats slowly in English and the stranger nods, smiling at her.

"Yes please don't go."

"Can't we at least see what he needs before going?" Momo looks up at Todoroki and when he glances down at her he notices she's doing that face again. The one with her lower lip poking out and her eyes getting all shiny.

Glaring at her he feels his teeth grind together in annoyance, "Don't- we're not safe here anymore."

"Please Todoroki, just talk to him." She motions to the guy whose looking between them with curious eyes.

Looking to the man who smiles innocently up at them Todoroki sighs loudly, "Fine! YOU-" He motions to the American with brown hair, "Do you have any weapons on you?"

"I have a knife in my boot but that's it."

"Are you alone?"

"Yes sir, been alone since this all started."

"What do you want?" Todoroki narrows his eyes.

The guy sigh happily as he nods, "Just someone to talk to... Please."

After two minutes of analyzing him he lowers the gun, "Fine, lets talk."

//~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 13~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~Ch 14~~~~~~~~\\


Momo makes sure to stand behind Todoroki, holding his jacket closed around her wet, naked body.


It smells like campfire smoke and when she turns her head ever so slightly into the collar she can feel it wash over her better than any lake water ever could. But she's trying to focus on the conversation going on between the American and Todoroki.

It seems to be going back and forth for awhile before Todoroki turns to her and she lifts her head, excited to find out what's going on.

"He said his name is Ken; he use to be the cook for this camp."

Momo's eyes widen as her smile pulls, "A chef?"

"He came here when the city got evacuated and he's been living out in the camps cabins ever since."

Momo cocks her head in thought, "Why are there so many hunters trapped in the buildings?"

"He said the hunters that are inside are people he use to know. He can't bring himself to off them, plus he's scared to go alone against so many."

'Ken' the brunette American is about Todoroki's height, and he looks to be in his early thirties from the crows feet around his eyes. Though Momo also spots laugh lines around his mouth so in her gut he doesn't seem so bad.

"He wants us to stay?" Momo remembers him asking for them not to go.

Todoroki seems annoyed at that part as he switches his weight from his left foot to the right, "He's lonely, or at least that's what he's claiming. Looking for someone to talk to."

Her eyes fill with sadness as she looks to the American that's now sitting on his bottom with legs criss-crossed and smiling up at them. Looking between them like Momo had done, not understanding a word they're saying. They have that in common, not knowing what’s going on can be nerve wrecking, though he has a good poker face if it really is worrying him.

Facing Todoroki she nods, "Alright, let's talk to him."

"Are you insane? He could be a psychopath. No we're moving on."

"Come on Todoroki-san! He looks harmless." Momo motions to him and both teens look to him just as the cook lifts a hand in an innocent waive.

"Um- If I might jump in here-" Ken holds up a finger, to which both Momo and Todoroki raise a brow in his direction, though Momo’s looked a lot friendlier than Todoroki’s, "I have a lot of food, like tons of it."

"What did he say?"

Todoroki narrows his eyes, "He says he has food- a lot of it."

At the mention of real food Momo's stomach growls loudly and she touches it gently, "Well, maybe we can have a conversation over dinner?"

Her companion looks conflicted as always before scoffing, "Where is this food?" At least Momo assumes that’s what he said since she made out the word ‘food’.

Ken points to the Mess Hall that has hunters trapped inside, "My kitchen has tubs of non-perishable food locked up in a pantry. I've been living off the land but if you can help me get in there I'll make us a huge dinner, plus I'll give you whatever you can carry."

Todoroki relays the message to Momo who claps her hands excitedly, "It's a deal!"

"No! It's a pending deal," Todoroki says to her before facing Ken and saying in English, "We accept on the grounds that this is a temporary stop. We choose to leave whenever we want."

"Of course," Ken nods quickly, "I'm happy to oblige any guests wishes."

Todoroki and Ken walk to the mess hall while Momo changes into some clean-ish clothes from her bag. Once decent she slides Todoroki's jacket back on, not quite ready to give it back yet. Though he says nothing when she joins them.

Todoroki and Ken speak for a bit before her dual haired friend turns to her, "Ken and I are going to clear the mess hall. You stand out here and watch our backs."

Momo takes out her bat and nods, "I got your back."

He rolls his eyes at that before his eyes flickered down to his jacket and back up, but he still says nothing before turning back to Ken.

Momo blushes as she turns her face into the collar, inhaling the smoky scent again to calm her.

Ken and Todoroki converse for some time as the American gestures to the building, probably explaining what to expect. He makes a hand motions like splitting up and Todoroki shakes his head before pointing at the door. After a few more minutes they finally make their way to the double doors and Ken's the one to throw them open.

Momo takes a step back, holding her bat up ready for anything.

A bloody man comes running out first but Todoroki makes quick work of him with his knife while Ken takes out another guy in a scout uniform. Seconds later an older woman stumbles out groaning and searching for any food. She looks over at Momo and holds her arms out as she stumbles forward. A bone is sticking from her leg which slows her down to a snails pace. But Todoroki takes her out before she can reach the edge of the mess hall railing.

Silence fills the air as they wait for any other hunters to come out but it looks clear now.

Ken kneels down next to the hunter he just killed, looking full of regreat and sadness. His hand pats the back of the body as he mutters something she can’t quite hear or understand.

He must know all these poor souls.

Todoroki joins Momo and together they wait for Ken to compose himself.

He walks over to the duo while saying something, which Todoroki translates, "He said he use to work with these people."

Momo felt her heart ache for this man and his loss. He truly looks lonely the way his eyes seem void of any true joy. She knows what it's like being alone for so long.

Ken stands up, motioning to the next building, "Let's go."

 

By the time they finish the front buildings the sun is starting to set over the beautiful lake. They cleared out three more hunters and lined them up over by the lake where Ken promised to bury them later.

Currently the small group sat in the Mess Hall as Ken went through the inventory, touching everything with a huge smile. He mainly talks to Todoroki but sometimes he turns to her and tries to say something but she just smiles politely and shakes her head in apology. To which he replies with a laugh and waives his hand at her.

He starts up the gas stove and begins to mix together large boxes of things with water he has from a tank under the building.

Todoroki insists they don't leave him alone so Momo sits on the counter while Todoroki leans next to her with his arms crossed. His beautiful eyes never leaving Ken's working hands, as if waiting for him to reach for a weapon. There’s a block full of knifes and every time Ken walks by is she can see Todoroki’s hackles rise up, ready to jump at a seconds notice.

Momo smiles as she nudges his shoulder with her arm and he looks at her. Momo leans in and whispers softly, "You have that face on again."

"What face?"

"The same one you use to wear when we first met."

Todoroki scoffs and turns back to watch Ken, "What face is that?"

"The kind with zero trust."

"I don't trust him," Todoroki narrows his eyes as Ken finally picks up a knife and cuts an onion he pulled from a pickle jar, "He's to- accepting."

She feels that playful smile tug at her lips, "Soooo you only trust chatty teen girls with a need for strong men?"

His eyes flicker back up at her, "You calling me strong?"

A blush pulls at her face, "Of course. The strongest."

Todoroki looks back to Ken as a small smile tugs at the corner of his mouth. He must be pleased with her compliment.

Ken says something and Todoroki's face turns bright pink as he scoffs, quickly replying with something harsh causing Ken to laugh.

"What did he say?" Momo asks when Todoroki doesn't instantly relay his message like he’s done with everything else.

"He asked- if you were my girlfriend." He says tersely and a pinched look to his face.

Momo's cheeks bloom with red down the bridge of her nose, "Oh."

"Yeah."

"Well what did you say?"

His face snaps to her with wide eyes, "I said no!"

She giggles behind her hand, loving to mess with him even if it embarrasses her at times as well, "Alright, just checking you aren't flaunting me around."

"Who would I flaunt you around to?" Todoroki raises a brow as his face calms down to its neutral look, "In case you haven't noticed there’s not many people around."

"I know, but you know how some guys are. They like to assume things.” She waives her hand as if trying to pull a phrase out of thin air that would perfectly explain it to him.

He blinks up at her and she shakes her head, "Not getting it?”

"Nope."

"Well, I'm just saying some guys think they can say whatever they want about a girl and everyone assumes it's true."

"That happen to you?" He cocks his head and she tries not to internally swoon at how cute he looks when his hair falls before his eyes.

"It happens to a lot of women, but you seem to be the exception to it all. Protecting my honor at every turn." Momo swings her feet a bit, "It's nice."

"I'm not protecting your honor." He rolls his eyes.

"Oh yeah? You saved me from those guys at the gas station, and the men at the barn! Plus you just told another man I'm not your girlfriend when you totally could have gotten away with it. You, Todoroki-san are a good guy." She pokes his cheek and he shakes her off as he faces forward.

 

"Whatever."

Ken turns around with that same bright smile as he motions to the food, "Dinner's ready!"

Momo looks to Todoroki, "I don't need you to translate that. I'm starving." She jumps off the counter, taking the bowl Ken hands to her.

He serves up a big pot of potatoes and veggies with some brown sauce on top. She bows in thanks before waiting for Todoroki to take his own and the three sit at one of the large wooden tables in the empty mess hall.

Momo tries to eat slowly; just because it's the apocalypse doesn't mean she should forget her manners. But the food is warm and so filling. The last time she ate with an actual utensil was when Todoroki made that Squirrel stew. She closes her eyes several times to savor the food.

"May I ask your name?" Ken speaks up and Momo opens her eyes as she recognizes the word 'Name'.

"I told you she doesn't speak English." Todoroki says to the man but Ken shakes his head and tries again.

"Name?" He points to himself, "Ken Grover."

Momo swallows and nods, "Ken Grover."

Ken's smile lights up as he looks smugly to Todoroki, "She seems to understand just fine."

Todoroki glares at him but just takes another bite of his food.

Momo points to herself, "Momo Yaoyorozu."

"Wow, that's a mouth full," Ken says nervously, "Um again?"

Momo nods, "Momo."

"Okay, I can remember Momo. It's cute"

Todoroki coughs suddenly and Momo looks to him in confusion as she pats his back. Her companion says something to the cook who holds his hands up in defense, shaking his head.

Once Todoroki calms down Momo points to him and looks back at Ken, "Todoroki-san."

"To-do- um. I'm sorry I'm not very good at names." Ken scratches the back of his head.

Momo shakes her head to show it's alright as she sounds it out slowly, "To-do-ro-ki"

"Todo-roki?"

"Yes!" Momo points excitedly, "Todoroki!"

"Momo and Todoroki, alright I'm committing it to memory." He points to his head and Momo nods.

Ken goes on talking and Momo focuses on her food as Todoroki translates every now and then. She knows he hates talking this much but he's doing it for her. Which makes her that much for determined to learn this language so she doesn't have to burden him.

Ken seems very lonely, with sad eyes that light up whenever he looks at them. Sometimes he pauses between his speech and Momo wonders if it's because he's zoning out or because he doesn't believe they're real. Either way he's excited to have someone to talk to and Momo wishes she could talk right back.

Once they've had their second helping of food Momo offers to do the dishes but Ken tells Todoroki he'll do it later.

Todoroki looks to Momo, "We should get going."

Momo looks out the window and back to her companion, "But it's already dark! Wouldn't it make more sense to stay here?"

Todoroki looks at Ken who's trying to not look like he's eavesdropping but it's totally noticeable even if he can’t understand them. He looks back to Momo and shakes his head, "I don't think it's safe."

Momo looks around, "We can stay in the showers like we planned. But didn't you tell me Ken's been staying in the cabins?"

Ken butts in quick enough, "If you two are wondering where to sleep, I have a couple cabins you can use."

Todoroki says something to him and Ken's face drops like a bag of led. The American turns to Momo and shakes his head, "No, you stay."

She understands that and gives a sad smile as she looks to Todoroki, "Please Todoroki-san."

"Yaoyorozu, I-" He tries but Momo stands and gives him that puppy dog look.

"Todoroki-san please! I swear we'll leave first thing in the morning. I don't like to travel when it's dark."

His gaze flows down her features and Momo can feel her body heat up but she waits for his answer.

With an annoyed sigh he nods, "Fine."

"Yes!" Momo looks to Ken and gives a thumbs up which he pumps the air in victory.

Ken leads them from the mess hall and produces a flashlight from his many zipper pockets. It's a short walk but they finally come upon a dozen small cabins scattered around.

Ken walks them to the closest one and points to the one across from it.

Todoroki leans in to her and translates, "He says all of these are empty, except for his own right there. We can take any of these."

Momo puts a finger to her chin before settling on the closest one. Todoroki follows and Momo pauses as she looks over her shoulder.

"Um- don't you want your own cabin?"

Todoroki raises a brow, "I'm not letting you out of my sight."

A blush crosses her face as part of her feels relieved he wants to stay with her, "Alright Todoroki-san."

They enter the cabin to find it's a standard two bunk bed set up on either side. The only furniture is a large wooden dresser and night stand to divide the room.

Ken follows in and tries to give a tour but Todoroki ushers him out while Momo tries not to giggle at how grumpy her companion really is.

Once Ken is gone, she can physically see Todoroki's shoulders sag in relief.

Momo drops her bag near the bed, crossing her arms, "So he seems nice."

All she receives in response is a grunt and it just causes her smile to grow, "You don't think so?"

"He's desperate to have any company at all. Not what I'd call a redeeming quality."

Her eyes look down, "I know what he's going through. Kind of. I mean, I was locked up for half a year with no contact to the outside world. Being alone can kind of make you act strange and you're willing to believe any lie a stranger tells you like taking you to your parents."

"Yaoyorozu."

"No," Momo shakes her head, "He's just lonely. I don't see him having any ill will towards us."

"It's not always so black and white when you look at someone's situation." He says curtly, "Sometimes a bad person can have good intentions."

"Not everyone's a bad person Todoroki!" Momo feels guilt swell up in her heart as she looks over at him, "I wasn't a bad person and you still let me stay with you."

"That's different." Todoroki seems to be looking for his words, "You-"

"I what? I didn't look like I was a threat? Because I'm a woman? Because I was at the mercy of another human being, you thought I wouldn't hurt you?"

He stays quiet and Momo sighs loudly, "Let's just go to bed. Its been a long day."

She climbs up to the top bunk bed and curls up on the semi-soft mattress. It's been a long time since she's had an actual bed to lay in.

Todoroki went to the opposite bed, climbing to the top. Silence filled the room and Momo assumed he fell asleep.

"It was your eyes."

"What?" Momo sits up, looking across the dark room at her companion.

"Your eyes. I guess they told me you’re not a threat before anything else did."

She's not sure what to say to that so she just lays back down, "Oh."

"Yeah."

"Goodnight Todoroki-san." Momo whispers after a fill minute of silence.

"Goodnight Yaoyorozu."

Momo rests her head on the soft pillow and feels her eyelids droop as sleep comes for her slowly. Part of her knows Todoroki is still awake but she doesn't know what to do with that kind of information.

It feels weird to not have him close to her when they sleep. They're usually side by side, not even an arms length away, but now they have a whole cabin's floor between them.

"Todoroki-san?"

"Hm?" He hums softly.


"I remember your eyes being kind when I first saw you."

He hums again and she can hear the doubt in it, "And-"

"Yeah?" He asks again as if not knowing what to expect this time but preparing himself for anything.

"I think you're starting to warm up to us being friends."

Silence follows and all she can do is smile into the darkness because even though he didn't agree, he also didn't shoot her down with a 'no'. 

It's progress...

Rolling onto her stomach, Momo hugs her pillow and yawns before letting the sleep drift over her.

/~~~~~~~End Ch 14~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~Ch 15~~~~~~~~\\ 


He doesn't sleep at all.

Every time he tried to close his eyes, he pictured Ken coming into their cabin and taking Momo away. He would sit up and look over to her to make sure she's still there. At some points he contemplated pushing the dresser in front of the door but the sound alone would be to risky.

And every time he looks over at his companion he finds her snoring softly, curled up in the bed like a cat.

Sighing in relief he falls back onto his own bed and fidgets. It's too soft, too comfortable.

Halfway through the night he climbs down from the top and spreads the blanket on the floor. Plopping down here feels much better; familiar in some ways as he waits.

A yawn is heard above and he looks up to see Momo peek her head over the edge of the bed, looking down at him. It reminds him of his neighbors cat that would poke its small head over the window ledge when he walked to the dojo in the mornings. It's cute...

"Todoroki-san?" She asks mid stretch, "What are you doing down there?"

"I wasn't comfortable up there." He states, crossing his arms as he leans back against the night stand, "Go back to sleep."

She disappears back over the edge of the bed so he assumes she rolled over and fell asleep. But the creek of the bunk changes that thought as he watches her leg swing over the side and climb down.

"What are you doing?" He watches her with adjusted eyes that are quite use to the dark by now.

The moon outside gives enough light through the windows to shadow her movements. The floor gives a groan when her feet touch it. Momo pulls down her blanket and pillow before sitting down next to him.

"My turn to sit watch." She yawns again behind her hand. He looks at her from the corner of his eye and notices how her hair is sticking up all over the place. Her ponytail still half intact but slipping out. Todoroki watches her sleep clouded eyes turn to him and he faces forward with a blush stuck to the bridge of his nose for watching her.

"No, you sleep. I'll be fine."

"Todoroki, let me do this." She puts the pillow behind her back, spreading the blanket out to cover their legs as she sits atop the blanket he originally placed on the floor.

Todoroki feels her warmth under the blanket as his knee touches her thigh. Part of him wants to scoot away but he stays put, absorbing her warmth.

It doesn't take long before soft snoring is heard again and he looks over to see her head tilted back and eyes closed.

A smile pulls at his mouth as he shakes his head in amusement. Though a thump on his shoulder wipes that smile off and he finds her head resting comfortable on him.

"Um-" He looks around as if someone would help but they're completely alone. Todoroki pokes her leg and it slumps to the side as her whole body turns into him, curling up against his body. Her knees propped up onto his crossed legs, while her hands latching onto his shirt as her head nuzzles into the spot between his neck and shoulder.

His face glows bright red in the dark.

"Um, Yaoyorozu." He whispers poking her again, "You're kind of- um-"

"Todoroki," She whispers and he stiffens up as her breath puffs out against his skin.

This is too much for him, so he gives her a firm push till her head is leaning back against the night stand though her body is still curled up to his own.

Sighing in relief; though it's short lived when a plop is felt as her head rolls back onto his shoulder.

He huffs in annoyance but leaves it alone, facing the door to the cabin in silent protest. No use waking her up and getting her all flustered over something she has no control in.

So that's how they sat for the next four hours until the sun cracks over the tree top, casting orange rays through the dirty windows. He watches the light creep across the floorboard ever so slowly until it reaches Momo's face.

At first she scrunches her eyes together, wrinkling her nose up as she turns into his shoulder, moaning at being woken up. It's endearing to see her so resilient to the sun when she radiates pure light.

"Yaoyorozu, it's time to get up." He says softly though his throat is scratchy from not using it for so long. Momo gives a soft groan and nuzzles her nose deeper into his shoulder, so he pokes at her leg under their shared blanket, "Yaoyorozu."

She hums before sitting up, rubbing at her eyes with the back of her hand.

"Wha- what time is it?"

"Sun was up half an hour ago."

After cracking her neck to the side she thinks about where she's at and her eyes grow wide, "Oh my god, Todoroki, I'm so sorry- I fell asleep! I'm so so sorry!"

"It's alright. I couldn't sleep anyways." He assures her standing up, feeling his bones crack from being kept still for so long. He stretches his arms up and notices how Momo looks away to the blanket in her lap.

Momo stands as well, placing their blankets and pillow on the lower part of the bunk, "Still, I'm sorry and it won't happen again."

A knock comes to the door and Todoroki reaches for the knife at his side.

"Rise and shine you sleepy birds! Breakfast is ready!"

Momo's eyes light up, "It's Ken!"

Lowering the knife a bit he walks to the door in four long strides, cracking it open to see the cheery chef smiling up at him.

"Good morning Todoroki! Is Momo awake?" He tries to peer around Todoroki but the half and half haired teen stands in his way, blocking his view.

"We're up."

Ken takes a step back, "Alright, well breakfast is ready. Come on, before it gets cold."

Todoroki turns to Momo and cocks his head, "He said he has breakfast."

Momo's eyes light up, "Breakfast? Yes please!"

They leave the cabin and follow Ken back to the Mess Hall though Todoroki reminds Momo to grab her bag just in case. She snatches it up, making sure her bat is secured on the side. Once inside the hall they find a spread covering the top of the table they had dinner at last night. Momo's eyes sparkle as she rushes to the wooden top and looks  over the food.

"Pancakes! Are those pancakes?" She asks Todoroki who takes a seat next to her as Ken sits across from them.

"Dig in!"

The trio begin to load their plates up and Todoroki would be lying if he didn't say his stomach growled at the smell of actual food. Pancakes, cereal with powdered milk, and dried fruits. It was a spread unlike anything he's had since this whole sickness broke out.


As they ate, Ken tried showing Momo some English words.

"Fork." He holds it up.

"Fork." Momo imitates to which Ken praises her.

Todoroki just ate in silence watching this go on. As long as Momo is safe he's fine with them talking like this.

Once they finished breakfast Momo assists Ken in the kitchen, not taking no for an answer this time. Todoroki followed and watched the two pack things up in jars.

He showed them the cabinet where he stores most of his preserves.

Once done Todoroki stands tall and motions with his head to the door, "Well, we should be going."

Ken's eyes darted to the side before holding up a hand, "Wait um- can I ask a favor?"

Todoroki's eyes narrow in suspicion, "What?"

Ken motions to the front of the door, "Can you help me bury my friends out there? It's a lot of work for just myself."

Momo taps Todoroki's arm wondering what they're saying and he quickly translates. Her eyes widening as she tugs at the sleeve of his jacket, "We have to help him."

"Why?"

"Because it's the right thing to do. No one should be expected to bury their friends alone."

"In this world, being buried is a courtesy, not a requirement. He can do it himself."

Her cheeks puff out as her eyes sadden, "Todo-"

"Don't do the face. It's not going to work."

"I wasn't going to." She blushes, "But it would be nice to help him after he fed us so much food."

Looking between Momo and Ken he grunts, "Fine, where are your shovels?"

Ken walks him to the shack out behind the front office and pulls out three shovels.

"She's not digging." Todoroki hands him back the second shovel.

"O-oh right!" Ken nods and together they walk out to the bodies as Momo follows.

"What do I do?" Momo looks around.

Todoroki cups his eyes to block out the sun as he looks up and registers what time it is, "Just stand guard. Look out for any hunters."

She nods in determination, "I'll do it."

Ken and Todoroki get to work digging several graves on the side of the mess hall. Digging several feet to make sure no wildlife would dig them up.

It took a long time, hours even, to get half of it done. Todoroki took off his shirt and tossed it to the side once it was caked in so much sweat and dirt; that it became too itchy to bear on his skin.

He glanced up periodically at Momo and found her standing nearby glancing over at him. When their eyes would meet her face would grow pink as she looks away quickly.

It's cute in its own way.

Todoroki shakes the thought from his mind as he pushes the shovel into the dirt.

Momo must have gotten warm because for the first time since he gave it to her, she removes his jacket and tied it around her waist.

Once done with the holes, Todoroki and Ken moved the bodies into the holes and began to fill them back. At one point Todoroki felt something cool and plastic against his cheek and looked to his right to see Momo holding up her water bottle to his face. He looks from the offering to her and she just smiles sweetly.

"Drink up. You don't want to get dehydrated."

He accepts the bottle and their fingers brush as she pulls away and goes back to standing watch. Todoroki sips the water and looks over to see Ken wagging his brow at him suggestively.

"What?" Todoroki asks dead pan as he tilts the water back for another sip.

"Nothing, just I thought you said you two weren't dating." Ken says from behind a smile.

Todoroki feels his body warm up and looks away, "We're not. We're just-" He pauses, glancing over at Momo as she rocks on the balls of her feet while staring out across the camp grounds with that innocent smile still in place.

What are they? Acquaintances? Companions? Travel partners?

'I think you're starting to warm up to us being friends.'

Her words from last night ring in his head and he flinches.

Are they friends?

Realizing he's taking to long with an answer he scoffs, tossing his now closed water bottle to the side, "Let's get back to work."

Ken chuckles under his breath, "Sure thing. Whatever you say."

Whatever. He doesn't need to define his relationship with Momo to a stranger.

'So there is a relationship with Momo?' A part of his mind asked. Isn't she also a stranger? You barely just met her and had a few life saving moments. Does that qualify as  friendship?

He didn't know much about her. But he still knows more than he did about anyone else that wasn't family. He didn't have friends in Tokyo or America. Is this how friendships start?

Todoroki feels pissed off now that his mind wont shut off with all these questions and assumptions about Momo and friendship. She doesn’t know anything about him, and he plans to keep it like that.

He should keep her at an arms length. It's not like they plan on staying together for long. As soon as she's confident on her own she'll leave him and he'll walk away from her forever. They're just using each other for survival.

That's it.

It's near lunch time when they finally finish the graves. Todoroki pats down the dirt before pushing the shovel into the soil and letting it go while wiping the sweat from his brow.

"Alright. Done."

Looking over to Ken he watches him do the same to his own shovel and smile sadly down at the graves.

Momo comes over and touches Ken's shoulder. He looks up at her and nods in thanks for her sympathies.

A part of Todoroki's stomach churns in an unfamiliar way as Ken rests his hand on top of Momo's that's on his shoulder.

Soon enough Momo steps away and Ken sighs loudly as he turns to Todoroki, "Thank you so much for the help."

Todoroki cracks his knuckles, "Yeah, well we owed you that at least. We should go now."

Ken's eyes widen before he forces another giant smile, "Already? Don't you want to wash off that dirt? I can make us lunch. You must be hungry!"

That familiar desperation breaks though his tone and Todoroki narrows his eyes, "We really should go."

Momo taps Todoroki's arm and he turns to her confused face, "He want's us to stay for lunch and to wash off."

His companion nods, "It's a good idea. You could use a wash."

Todoroki raises a brow and she quickly shakes her head and holds her hands up, "Not to imply anything but you're covered in dirt Todoroki-san! Wouldn't a dip in the lake feel amazing?"

His mind flashes to Momo standing naked in that same lake. The feel of her skin under his hands as he slid his jacket onto her shoulders. His own face heats up, "Fine."

Momo turns to Ken and gives him a thumbs up which he claps to.

"I'll get started on lunch!"

Todoroki scoffs as he kicks off his boots and feels the freshly dug dirt under his feet. It feels weird to have his shoes off. They’re right next to the lake so he doesn’t have to go far. He grabs onto his belt and begins to undo the buckle but he pauses, glancing over at Momo as she stares down at his belt with innocent eyes and a smile. Hands behind her back as if waiting for a bus.

"Um-" He glances down to his belt and back to her, "Do you mind?"

"Hm?" Momo glances up; realization crosses her face as she scuttles back, turning cherry red, "Oh! Oh yes of course!"

It's amusing as his lip quirks up and he turns back to undoing his belt.

Just as he pops the button on his pants and slides the zipper down he hears a squeak and turns to see Momo face forward again and he shakes his head, "Aren't you the one who always says 'no peaking' hm?"

Momo shakes her hand back at him while staring away, "I wasn't peeking!"

Giving her direction a sly smile he slides his pants and boxers down, leaving him in his naked glory.

Walking backwards he feels the cold water lap at his ankles and turns to wade into it.

Once the water reaches his waist he turns around and is happy to find she's still facing forward. Turning back he takes a deep breath and dunks under the surface. The cold water surrounding him feels amazing.

The last time he bathed he didn't get to do this. Always on watch for danger or anything that might hinder his survival in any way. So submerging himself, giving a careless toss to the wind is nice. Knowing Momo is watching over him is like a security blanket.

When his lungs began to burn; his feet push off the muddy lake floor and he breaks through the surface. Running his hands over his hair to wipe the wet strands from his face he breaths deeply.

A gasp has him looking back to see Momo face forward again and that same amusement from earlier comes back.

He slashes water to propel himself back, deeper into the lake. His hands run over the muscles, scrubbing off the dirt. When the water washes away he can actually see his skin color and it's strange in a way to not be covered head to toe in dirt.

Not to worry though; because they'll be back on the road soon enough and he'll have his fill of dirty skin and clothes.

Once he feels clean enough he faces Momo and calls out to her, "Mind getting me my bag?"

Momo shuffles over to their bags they dissuaded to the side. He walks from the lake, not even worried about his decency. She holds the bag out but has her eyes squished closed like she's holding her breath or something.

Chuckling he accepts the bag and she spins around to show him her back. He digs around to retrieve a towel and some clothes. Drying off with the stiff, dirty towel is a chore but he manages to change into some jeans and a fresh t-shirt. Glancing up at the jacket wrapped around her waist. He could ask for it back, but honestly he didn't want to. Some primal part deep inside wants her to wear it.

So he ignores that internal conflict and pulls out a blue flannel over shirt. Once decent he changes his socks and puts his boots back on, "Alright, I'm decent."

Momo glances over her shoulder nervously, almost like she's scared he's lying. Once it's obvious he's dressed she sighs in relief and spins around with a smile, "Ready to eat?"

He laces his boots tightly, "Sure"

Together they grab their stuff and head to the mess hall. Inside the place is alive with delicious smells as the two take a seat at the table.

Soon enough the door opens and Ken walks out with a large bowl, "It's potatoes again, but I swear it'll settle any hunger." He sets it down on the table along with some canned veggies from the other night. Momo and Todoroki fill their plates and get to eating.

Ken sits across from them smiling, "You seem so intent on leaving. Got some place to be?"

Todoroki stiffens up and narrows his eyes at Ken, "Why?"

"No reason."

Momo leans into Todoroki, "What did he ask?"

"Where we're going-" He says to her, ready to tell her not to say anything but her eyes brighten as she whips her head to Ken.

"Alaska!"

Todoroki closes his eyes in a loud sigh at having her blurt that out.

Ken cocks his head, "Alaska? That's pretty far."

Todoroki shrugs and stabs at his veggies, "We have our reasons."

"Well it sounds dangerous to parade her around the country for a secret reason."

His grip on the fork tightens, "She can handle herself just fine."

Both men look to Momo who's humming as she chows down on the potatoes with a happy grin.

"Has she even killed one of those things?" Ken leans in to Todoroki, "She doesn't look like she can harm a fly."

"Yes," He bites back with a glare, "She has and don't think you know her."

Why is this pissing him off so much?

"You don't seem to be letting her do much." Ken picks at his food, "You don't let her help you clear those monsters, you don't let her handle a shovel." His eyes narrow, "What do you keep her around for then?"

A growl forms in his throat as he stands up, slamming his hands on the table, startling Momo, "You trying to say something?"

Ken shrugs and takes a bite of his food, "Nothing, just wondering why you two are so willing to leave. Does she even know that she can be safe here? That you two can be happy and fed?”

"Todoroki-san?" Momo asks and he looks down to see fear on her face. She has no idea why their voices are raised or what's gotten him so upset and it worries her. He sighs and sits down placing a hand on her arm.

"It's alright."

Ken leans in and smiles at Momo, "All good."

Momo looks between them nervously before picking up her forgotten fork.

Todoroki faces Ken again, "She's safe with me."

"Todoroki," Ken places his fork down and holds his hands out as if to convince him, "This place is a fortress. I have food and water that'll last us months, maybe a whole year if we space out meals. The fence around the camp keeps those monsters out. You guys have a roof- a bed" He's quick with his reasons, "Why give that up for a long road to a place that might not have what this place has? Is it family? Are you going for safety or what?"

"It's complicated, but we have our reasons for going. Maybe family, or maybe something else. Frankly Ken I don't know you well enough to say."

Ken sighs sadly, "What about what she wants? Can't you stop to think about her?"

"I am thinking about her." Todoroki leans into the table and looks to Momo and back to him. She's still watching them nervously, "She want's to go to Alaska. It's her idea. So we're going."


Ken leans back and looks down to his lap in sadness, "Alright. I understand."

Todoroki feels his shoulders sag in relief that the argument is over but perks up when Ken speaks again.

"At least stay for one more night."

"No-"

"One night!" Ken insists, "It's going to be dark in a few hours. Plus I need to load you guys up with supplies. Please Todoroki?"

Todoroki looks to Momo who's cocking her head, "Todoroki-san?"

"He wants us to stay one more night."

She looks to Ken and back, "I'm alright with it but it's up to you."

Her trust in him is always so weird. He's never had anyone treat him like this before. It's all so new still.

She was comfortable in that bed last night so many him giving her one last night of safety would be enough. The trip to Alaska is going to be long, so tonight they'll sleep.

Looking back to Ken he nods, "One last night, but after that we're gone."

Ken's smile falls as his eyes change but he agrees, "Alright."

The rest of their meal is filled with silence and Todoroki can tell Momo wants to ask but she's holding back.

Once finished Ken offers to let them have a run of the pantry and pack what they can. He and Momo go into the walk in room that houses cans, jars, and powered items.

He let's Momo know only take what they can carry and she give her agreement. So for the rest of the day they scavenge the camp site for any needs. They fill up on canned foods; Momo takes two new towels from the locker room. Todoroki goes through the nurses station, filling up on bandages and medicine.

Ken tries to speak to Momo several times but she just shakes her head sadly at not understanding. Todoroki stays close just to make sure Ken doesn't try anything.

When it starts to get dark they have the remaining bits of their lunch and head back to their temporary cabin.

Once the door shuts firmly behind them Todoroki moves to the dresser and starts to push it across the floor.

"What are you doing?" Momo asks from where she's sitting on the lower bunk.

"Ken's getting desperate. Just taking extra precaution." Todoroki grunts as he finishes pushing it in front of the door.

"What happened back there?" Momo cocks her head slightly.

Todoroki goes to the opposite bunk bed and sits down, splaying his legs out to relax, "He wants us to stay here permanently."

"But we have Alaska." Momo insists, "Did you tell him about my parents?"

"I didn't tell him anything. He doesn't need to know our reasons." Todoroki leans back onto the bed, letting his legs stay splayed open as he looks up to the bottom of the top bunk above him.

He can hear her stand up and walk closer, "Todoroki-san he seems nice."

"We talked about this. He's desperate. He just wants to not be alone."

He feels a dip in the bed and his eyes widen as Momo places a knee next to his hip and pushes both hands on either side of his head. She leans over his body, looking down at him with questioning eyes. Her hair falling over her shoulder and touching his chest. There's a few inches between them but he feel as if they're touching in a way.

His cheeks flush as he lays perfectly still, just staring up at her.

"Isn't that what we all want?" Her onyx eyes soften, "To not be alone?"

The air feels thicker as he blinks and tries to swallow but his throat is dry, "Um-"

She must realize his nervousness because she smiles down at him and leans in, "Todoroki-san, come on."

"Wha-?"

"You may play the big bad survivalist, but deep down you like having me around. Admit it."

He opens his mouth but nothing comes out. Why is she this close to him? Doesn't she know this is a weird position to put anyone in?

But why are his hands itching to reach up and grasp her hips. The thought of pulling her closer has his heart thudding like crazy in his chest.

Once she realizes she's not going to get anything out of him she sighs and slides out of the bunk, standing up right. He breaths a sigh of relief at having his space back.

"Maybe we can ask him to come with us."

Todoroki shoot up, "What? No!"

"Why not?" Momo strolls back to her bed and leans against it with her arms crossed, "He's nice."

"He's a stranger."

"That fed us, gave us shelter- he even taught me some English words." Momo smiles at the last part, looking over her shoulder at him, "He could be useful."

Todoroki squints up at her, "Why are you so willing to take a chance on him?"

She walks back to him, squatting down before him so their knees are touching and they’re almost eye to eye, "I took a chance on you, didn't I?"

He's not sure what to say to that and she realizes it so she smiles as if she caught him and he grunts.

"Let's sleep on it."

She agrees with a hum before taking down her blanket and pillow from where she left it that morning.

"What are you doing?" Todoroki watches her spread the blanket on the floor.

"Getting ready for bed." She says as if it were obvious.

"No, you sleep in the bed."

Momo looks up at him, shaking her head, "Nope, you're sleeping and I'm staying watch, remember?"

"Yaoyo-"

"Todoroki-san," She interrupts with a firm pout, "Let me do this."

After a short stare off he concedes and slides down to the floor with his pillow, "Fine."

He gets comfortable next to her as she sits with her legs crossed, "Todoroki-san?"

"Yeah?"

"Why don't you like the bed?"

He looks to the wall across from him as he thinks it over, "Because I slept on a tatami my whole life."

Her eyes light up and she claps her hands, "I've seen those! Oh so you lived very traditional. My parents had a modern European look for our home. But I slept on one when we stayed at a Japanese Inn in Kyoto!"

He smiles at the image of Momo in a yukata.

"Yeah, well it's why mattresses feel too soft for me. I need something firm."

"I understand. Don't worry." Momo's hand reaches out and she pats his arm, "I've got first watch. You sleep."

He feels his eyes grow heavy from the sound of her voice. Before he knows it he's out, drifting away to the sounds of her breathing.

It's nice...

Morning comes and at the sound of a distant bird chirping, Todoroki is sitting up wide eyed; hand reaching for his knife.

"Todoroki!" Momo jumps at his sudden movement and he looks around remembering where he is.

"Wha- what time-" He rubs his eyes quickly, "How long was I out?"

Momo's concern turns to a smile, "The whole night."

As if to prove her point he looks to the window where a crack of light peeks in. The sun is just now coming up, casting the sky in pink and oranges.

"All night?" He looks down to where he's been sleeping and back to Momo, "Did you sleep?"

Momo shakes her head gently, "No, I stayed watch."

"Oh..." Todoroki doesn't remember the last time he had a full nights sleep. Even before the apocalypse he had issues sleeping. This is different, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, you needed it.”

"Okay," With that he stands up and Momo follows stretching as she yawns loudly, "You alright?"

Momo cracks her neck to the side, "Yeah, all good."

Guilt eats at him for taking away her sleep. She was suppose to have a bed last night and yet she sat on the floor watching over him.

They collected their stuff and headed out of the cabin to Ken's. Momo knocks loudly greeting him through the door in Japanese, "Good Morning Ken!"

A few seconds go by and the silence is worrisome as they teens look to each other.

Momo knocks again, "Ken?"

Todoroki narrows his eyes as he places a hand on her shoulder, easing her behind him as he takes out his knife. Momo looks to him in surprise but he pushes on the door and it swing open.

The cabin itself is empty, though it looks very lived in with fishing polls against the wall, old magazine pages nailed to the wood, and clothes folded on the opposite bed.

"You two looking for me?"

Both teens jump and turn around, Todoroki throwing himself in front of Momo as they find Ken standing a few feet away with a wide smile.

"Ken!" Momo sighs happily.

"Sorry did I startle you?" He shrugs, "I was already up making breakfast."

"We just wanted to let you know we're leaving." Todoroki tightens his hold on the knife.

Kens eyes seem different; harder, like steel, "I understand. What about some breakfast for the road? I made pancakes. Special pancakes!" He says 'pancakes' while looking at Momo.

Momo's eyes widen as she claps and looks to Todoroki, "I understand pancakes!"

Todoroki nods to her, "Alright, one last meal. But then we're out of here."

"Understandable." Ken walks backwards till he turns around and they follow him to the mess hall for a final meal.

Just like yesterday the table is set, food at the ready. In Momo's seat is a pink flower which she picks up with a smile and places in her hair as she thanks Ken and he bashfully nods.

Todoroki sits down and looks down to the ‘special’ pancakes on a plate already for them.

"Chocolate chip for you and blueberry for her." Ken announces, "Made them specially for you since this is our last meal. I'll go get us some water."

Ken turns around and heads to the kitchen as Todoroki pokes his food with a fork. Momo takes a bite of her blueberries and moans, "So good."

Momo looks down to his food before her eyes widen and she picks up her plate before grabs onto his, switching them, "You don't like chocolate right?"

He leans back, surprised she remembered that he said that, "Not a fan but it's food."

"Do you like blueberries?"

"Yeah?" He raises a brow as he looks down to her blueberry pancakes that she put before him, "I do."

"You can have mine. I love chocolate." Momo begins to cut her new pancakes, "Win, win" She giggles behind her hand.

No one ever remembered his likes and dislikes with food. Maybe his sister Fu had an idea of what he liked to each but she never out right asked him. The fact that Momo listened to him when he made an off hand comment makes his stomach churn.

She's learning things about him and retaining them.

Turning back to his new plate he begins to eat, the sweetly sour taste of blueberries a refreshing treat.

Ken walks back and pauses as he looks down to their plates, "You switched?"

Todoroki glances up, "She likes chocolate."

He forces a smile but Todoroki can see something change across his face. But it's gone before he can study it as he hands the two some water.

Momo eats her pancakes and looks up to Ken, "Ken... you... come to- Alaska?"

Todoroki snaps his head to her but she's facing Ken who is smiling sadly now.

"My place is here. The world out there isn't safe." Ken says and Todoroki translates for Momo who pouts.

Ken reaches across the table and takes Momo's hand, "You stay here? Stay…"

Momo looks down at it before shaking her head, "I need Alaska."

Her English is stretched but she makes her point enough for Ken to release her hand and lean away with sadness written across his face.

They eat the remaining meal in mostly silence and Ken keeps looking at Momo as if he wants to say something but holds back.

Once the food is gone Todoroki stands up, "We have to leave now."

Ken looks once again to Momo before nodding, "Alright. You sure you don't want-"

"We're going, now." Todoroki says firmly before nudging Momo's arm, "Come on."

They're standing outside the mess hall and Momo gives Ken a big hug as she bids him farewell. Ken releases her and for a moment he looks panicked, like he didn't want to let her go.

Todoroki comes up next and holds his hand out, "Thank you for the food, and shelter Ken."

Ken looks down to it with wide, shaky eyes but he takes it and gives a pull, "Todoroki-"

"Her offer still stands," Todoroki insists, "You're welcome to come with us."

He sucks in a loud breath, pausing as his eyes dart to look at Todoroki's scar and his hand, "I'm fine here. I'm safe here."

Todoroki nods firmly, "Alright. I can respect that."

They release their hands and Todoroki motions Momo they're ready which she smiles at and waives to Ken, "Good bye Ken"

They face the dirt road they originally came in on and begin their journey again. Momo kept looking over her shoulder even when Ken was out of site. Todoroki glances at her.

“You alright?"

Momo shrugs though small beads of sweat are already dotting her face, "I just feel bad leaving him alone."

"We offered him to come. He just feels safe here. Some people can't handle it out there." They reach the gate and Todoroki opens it for her as she looks up at the wooden sign welcoming them to the camp, "Yaoyorozu, he isn't like us."

She walks past the gate, shrugging her bag up her shoulder, "What do you mean?"

"I mean-" He starts as he locks the gate behind him and follows her, taking out his knife, "He ran from the city when the sickness started. It scared him so he locked himself up in a fenced world. He wants to be around people but not at the cost of his safety."

Momo nods, wiping the sweat from her face and Todoroki pulls out his water bottle, handing it over to her, "Thirsty?"

Momo accepts it, taking a small sip, "I feel so tired."

"You did stay up all night." He takes the water back and she nods.

"Guess I'm just low on energy." She shrugs her bag on again, "This feels heavy."

"Here, let me carry it for a bit."

Todoroki reaches out and takes the bag from her back. She resists at first, insisting she can handle it but eventually relaxes her arm, allowing him to take it. Todoroki slips it on his other shoulder, looking her up and down.

She's walking slower than normal and her feet are dragging. He can hear her breathing heavily and worry spikes him, "Yaoyorozu?"

Her onyx eyes look up at him, "Hm?"

"Maybe you should sit down?"

"No," She waives him off, "I-I'm fine. My stomach hurts. I think I just ate to much.”

She flashes him a reassuring smile but something catches his eye and he stops causing her to do so as well, "Todoroki-san?"

"Your nose," He said and Momo gently reaches up, touching at the trail of blood dripping from her nose. Pulling the hand away she looks down at the red liquid but doesn't seem surprised. Her eyelids grow heavy as she sways.

“T-Todor-“ She moans, her body falling forward.

“Yaoyorozu!” Todoroki drops their bags and catches her, cradling her body to his chest.

He begins to feel her shake and panic strikes through him, “Yaoyorozu!”

Her beautiful onyx eyes roll to the back of her head as her mouth drops open, blood dripping down her lips to her chin in a steady stream. Todoroki can feel his heart hammer in his chest as he holds her close. Did she get infected some how?

“Momo!” He picks her up in his arms once her shaking subsides and turns back to the camp running with her limp figure clutched to his body.


//~~~~~~~~End Ch 15~~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~Ch 16~~~~~~~~\\

"Momo- Momo let us in! Honey please let us in!"

"Mom!" Momo claws at the smooth metal door, void of any handle what so ever, "Mom I'm- I'm trying!"

“Please Momo!” Momo’s father’s voice is desperate, pleading with her.

"Momo!" Her mothers voice is turning desperate, "Open the door! They're coming!"

"I can't! Mom-- Dad, I'm so sorry!" Momo bangs at the door harder until her knuckles are bloody and raw. Her parents screams are soon drowned out by the screeches and growling of hunters. The sounds of her mother and father being torn apart while Momo cries, banging on the door to open; fill the air, echoing around the isolating bunker.

"Mom! Dad, I'm sorry!"

"Mom... Dad?" Momo's eyes crack open, looking up into the concerned dual colored eyes of her companion, "T-Todoroki?"

"Yaoyorozu." He sighs in relief, "Good, you're awake."

Her stomach lurches as she turns to the side, leaning over the bed to the awaiting trashcan. Her breakfast and remaining dinner from the night before spew from her mouth into the plastic container. 

Todoroki sits back, rubbing at her arm as she heaves everything in her stomach up. This continues until she's dry heaving painfully on her side. When it finally subsides she rolls onto her back, looking up to Todoroki, who's wiping away the sweat on her forehead with a damp cloth now.

"Todoroki-san?" The word alone hurts her throat and her vision blurs casting him in doubles, "Wha- where?"

"We're in the nurses station at the camp." He leans in, "You fainted and you're running a high fever."

"Fever?" The word tastes foreign as her mind drifts and her eyes flutter from open to closed. Todoroki's words cutting off between each flutter.

"No Yao---Stay--You need--Awake"

But the darkness comes before her resolve to stay awake.

"Momo, honey!" Her mother calls to her.

Cracking her eyes open Momo quickly squints as the sun looks down on her though some palm tree shade as it sways in the sea breeze.

"Momo!"

Sitting up in her canvas beach chair, Momo looks over to see her mom and dad waving at her from the ocean. Their smiling faces a glow with happiness as her father splashes at her mother.

"Oh, don't splash me!" Abalee giggles, turning away from the playful attack, "Momo help me! Come help me!"

Momo laughs as she rises from her chair in her red bikini, pushing off the sand to run towards her parents. Though it felt as if she weren't going anywhere.

"Momo, help!" Her mother covers her front from the cold water splashing her.

"Mom, I'm coming!" Momo keeps running, but she's no closer than when she started.

Slowly the sky begins to darken and her mothers giggles turn to terror filled screams, "Momo! Momo help! Help!"

Her father turns into a hunter, wading in the waives towards her mother who's fighting to get away.

"Mom!" Momo feels tears prick at her eyes, "Mom no! Dad!"

Something grabs her wrist and she turns to see General Takow standing there with a blank face, "You need to come with me Mrs. Yaoyorozu."

"No! No help my parents!" Momo pulls at his grip but it's like iron.

"We have a safe place you can stay in."

She beats at the hand holding her, "No, I don't want to go! You can't make me go again!"

The general gives a powerful tug and Momo's suddenly falling down a long dark hall with no windows.  Her feet touch the ground and she's running again in place. The carpet under her feet feels rough and she hates how familiar it is.

"Mom! Dad!" Momo calls but she's going no where except down that long hall. Looking over her shoulder at that haunting metal door. It's shiny material glinting in the low light.

When she faces forward she trips, falling onto her hands and knees. Her body is shaking, sweat dripping down her neck and nose. Everything hurts to a point where she can hardly keep herself up. So she collapses forward and rolls onto her back, staring up at the energy saving bulbs humming down at her. She hates those bulbs and their horrible buzzing.

"I don't know what could have caused this."

Where is that voice coming from? It sounds familiar.

Looking to her right, instead of a wall she can see two blurred bodies standing to the side talking. They're talking in a weird language... English? Why aren't they speaking Japanese? They're in Japan.

"Maybe a mosquito bite or she caught a bug from being out there."

"She was perfectly healthy this morning! Why isn't she getting better?"

Todoroki-san?

That voice is Todoroki, "Todo-ro-ki" She sounds his name out like it's a hard task but saying it feels like the right thing to do. One of the blurs comes closer till a face breaks through the fog.

"Yaoyorozu, how are you feeling?"

"My head hurts," A soothing hand brushes the hair from her damp face.

"You need to drink some water." His voice is so soothing; concern dripping off every word.

She feels something press to her chin as his hand moves to the back of her head to help her drink. Momo opens her mouth and allows the water but upon swallowing she feels herself choking and coughs violently. The water is set aside as Todoroki uses his hands to grab the side of her face,  "Yaoyorozu!"

She can see blood dotting his face and realizes it must be from her coughing. Reaching her hand up; though it feels like a hundred pounds, she touches a dot of blood and wipes it from under his eye with her thumb, "You look so scared."


His dual colored eyes widen as his irises shake, "Yaoyorozu you need to stay awake."

"But I'm so tired." Her eyes flutter; fear gripping her stomach that if she closes her eyes she won't be able to open them.

"I know but-" Pain contorts his face as he leans down, "I need you to do this. I need you to listen to me."

Nodding her head is hard but it's easier than using her throat, "Alright." She can be strong for Todoroki-san.

Relief floods his face and he holds the water bottle up, "Think you can drink some more?"

Momo looks to it nervously but agrees and drinks some more slowly this time. She has a few sips, which is enough for Todoroki as he sets the water next to her bed. Looking around the room she remembers being in here briefly to get some meds before they left. She's laying in one of the three sick beds with the thin covers pulled up to her chest. Next to the bed is a basket with bloody tissues which they must have used to clean her up.

Wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand, Momo clears the last bit of blood and looks down to is, "What happened?"

Todoroki takes a seat next to her while Ken walks over to her other side and checks her fever with a thermometer gun.

"Fever is going down." Ken smiles down at her while Todoroki translates.

"You got sick." Todoroki looks like he wants to do something but he's holding himself back.

Looking to the window she see's how dark it is and tries to sit up, though Todoroki places a hand to her shoulder, "You need to rest."

"I need to use the ladies room." She said sternly, annoyed at how much her head is pounding.

He's hesitant but gives in soon enough as he helps her stand and go to the bathroom. She leaves him to have some privacy though she promises to keep the door unlocked. Once finished she walks out blushing but glad she didn't faint while using the toilet.

Todoroki helps her back to bed and she's able to sit up as he places the covers around her legs.

She coughs again and this time there's no blood which she's thankful for, "I'm sorry I caused you any trouble."

Todoroki seems confused as he shakes his head, "Don't worry about that.

"What do you think it was?" She shivers as a chill goes through her.

"We don't know. Could just be a bug?" Todoroki shrugs.

"I've never had a bug like that. And I'm vaccinated for travel." Momo looks down to her lap, "My parents and I use to travel all around for holiday."

His brow furrows, "We'll whatever it is it's leaving your system."

She nods and looks over to Ken who's been standing near the wall since he checked her fever. Momo smiles up at him, "Ken!"

His smile is so bitter she can almost taste it. He rushes forward, kneeling next to the bed, "Momo"

Todoroki looks between them with a furrows brow before Ken says something to him and Todoroki translates, "He says he's sorry you're not feeling well."

Momo looks to Ken and shrugs; it's not his fault she got sick.

Todoroki and Ken speak for a bit before he's up and leaving, "He's going to get you some food."

"Is it still today?" She rubs at her sleep riddled eyes.

For the first time since she woke up he smirks, "Today? No, it's tomorrow night."

"So today is tomorrow? Yikes!" Momo winces gently at the implications of how long she's been asleep hit her, "We've lost some travel time."

"It's fine. We'll be good to leave once you're ready." He assures her and Momo feels those butterflies start up as his kind eyes look down at her. Something stands out and she feels her lips turn up in a smile.

"Were you worried about me?"

His mouth drops open as if he weren't expecting that and he closes it before repeating the action while Momo feels a giggle bubble up but a cough covers it, "It's alright if you were."

He looks away, "You should lay down until he comes back with the food."

Momo complies and lays flat while Todoroki watches over her. As time goes by Momo feels her aches and pains simmer down while the pounding in her head is relived with more water. An hour later Ken walks in with a bowl of something that smells warm and wonderful.

Her eyes widen as he hands it over to her with worry filled eyes, "Careful- it's hot."

Momo holds it close to her as she inhales the scent of tomatoes, and herbs, "Thank you Ken."

The look on his face falls and he's quick to turn to Todoroki and says something. Todoroki nods and looks to Momo, "He says not to eat too fast. Maybe just half for now."

"What about the both of you? How are you feeling?" Momo picks up the spoon, taking a tentative sip of the warm liquid. The taste of tomato and basil dangle on her tongue, but so does something bitter; possibly another herb.

“We feel fine. It was just you effected by whatever you caught.”

Ken stands at the foot of her bed, watching her sip the soup gently, “Well, I’m starting to feel better. Want any soup?” Momo holds the bowl out to him and Ken holds up a hand, saying something loudly, startling Momo as she pulls the bowl back to herself, “What did he say?”

Todoroki raises a brow at Ken before facing Momo, “He says he can make me something else. Keep the soup for you. Which I agree; you should have it.” He shrugs.

Momo pouts but brings the spoon back to her mouth, taking slow sips. About halfway through she set the bowl down as her stomach lurches and she touches her cheek, “I should stop.”

His dual colored eyes widen as he reaches out, placing a hand on her forehead, “Your fever’s still there. I’ll go get you some more water.”

Momo nods as he turns around, says something to Ken before leaving the station. Ken swoops in seconds after the door closes behind Todoroki, kneeling down next to Momo, “I’m sorry.”

The word sounds familiar and she cocks her head to the side repeating it, “Sorry?”

“So sorry Momo.” His eyes beg for her forgiveness and she can’t figure out why as she reaches out, touching his arm.

“Ken?”

Her stomach lurches; Momo covers her mouth with one hand while the other waves for attention. Ken must understand because he grabs the plastic bin next to the bed and hands it to her just as she spews her food back out. Her vision blurs and she feels her body falling back as the convulsions start again. Ken just stands next to her bed looking down at her repeating the same word, ‘sorry’ over and over.

When her head hits the pillow her world goes dark.

No… She doesn’t want to go back to that place…

“Your parents want you to stay here till they can come and get you.” General Takow says as Momo looks around the spacious bunker. All the floors but the kitchen are covered in a maroon carpet. The walls circled up around her forming a large dome like feeling. Momo hugs her bag to her chest while her suitcase sits by her feet, “They insist it won’t be long.”

“This place is so… isolated.” Momo looks down the long tunnel like stretch of the bunker. They walked past a heavy metal door and a long hall, only to open up to a home like setting. They walked past a living room, to a kitchen, storage unit, library, and finally the bedroom. This place could easily fit a large family, given the three sets of bunk beds pushed up to the wall.

“It’s a panic shelter. It’s suppose to be isolated. Only a select couple of people know of its existence. So you’ll be safe here until retrieved.” The general assures her looking to his watch as if late for something, “I must go though, so feel free to have full roam of the place.”

“You’re leaving?” Momo quickly follows at his heel as he walks back down the long tunnel like home.

“Yes Mrs. Yaoyorozu, I’m in the military and right now we have a situation on our hands.” He looks over his shoulder at her like she’s a child he’s explaining something complicated too, “I was just instructed to bring you here; not baby sit you.”

“I don’t need a baby sitter,” Momo glares at his back but doesn’t want to be rude, “I just- how will I eat? Is there an air supply? A generator? Is there even a phone?”

The general pauses in his walk, causing Momo to almost bump into him but she scuttles back as he turns around, “The food in here is preserved, enough to last you decades if needed. Air supplies are filtered through an aquarium based system behind the walls and the energy is solar powered with hidden panels above. You will not need to contact anyone because you won’t be here that long.”

“How long are we thinking General? A day or two? A week? Maybe a month?”

“The Japanese government has more to worry about than your plans. So you can toss any dates with your boyfriend out the window.” He turns back, continuing on his way to the door.

Momo blushes, following again, “For your information sir, I don’t have a boyfriend. I was just asking because-“

The generals radio came to life as they reached the giant metal door. He listens to the code and curses, “I need to go. Stay put and try and be grateful. Some people would give anything to be in here.” He says before swinging the door shut in her face.

Momo winces at the sound of the loud lock clicking into place as she stands there.

That was the last human interaction she had for six long months…

The first few days were like being at home when her parents were on business trips. She brought her school backpack with her and focused on her studies, wanting to be ready for mid-terms when she got out of here and school was back in. Though by the end of the second week the worry began to set in.

By the end of the first month, panic ensued, followed by desperation and fear. No word from the outside on what’s going on out there. It’s obvious something’s wrong or else she would have been retrieved by now. Did the sickness get worse? What if they forgot about her?

She shook off that thought until the second month ended and depression set in. What if the world out there forgot about her and is just going on? Did something happen to her parents? Why hasn’t anyone checked on her? 

By the third month Momo had become very accustomed to panic attacks at the drop of a hat. Sometimes she couldn’t even bring herself to get out of bed, while other times she hyperventilated until she passed out. The walls seemed to shrink in on her with every day that passed by. The library seemed to be her only connection to the outside world. She would stack her daily reads by the large metal door and just pass the time not spent panicking, waiting for someone to come get her.

More than once she tried to figure out how the lock mechanism works, though without any tools she was left to wonder, and guess. This place is built to withstand a bomb and nuclear fall out, so getting out is nearly impossible.

The silence got to her the most. Momo tried talking aloud just to hear something besides the buzz of those lights. It got to a point where her own voice started to get on her nerves, but it’s all she has. Only in her sleep could she be somewhere else beyond these walls. 

After the fifth month she stopped counting the minutes, hours, and days. The clock on the wall mocks her like sand in the hour glass. Ticking away, same as yesterday and tomorrow… Nothing is changing.

Until it happened, the day the door opened.

Momo had been curled up against the metal door, reading her chemistry textbook for the twelfth time. A loud THUNK snapped her head up but before she could process; the metal door behind her swung out, dropping her onto the ground. She blinks as natural light floods the tunnel. 

Is she dreaming? Can this be real?

After blinking away the spots a hand comes into vision, holding out for her to take. Momo doesn’t care who it is- she takes it and the figure pulls her up.

“Are you Momo Yaoyorozu?” He asks and she contemplates the voice, something besides her own.

“W-what?”

“I said, are you Momo Yaoyorozu?”

“Yes.”

“I’m here to get you. Your parents sent me.”

Momo’s eyes snap open as she gasps for air. Todoroki is by her side leaning in to her, “Yaoyorozu!”

“Don’t let me go back.” She whispers as her body shakes in fear. 

Not quite hearing her Todoroki leans down, “What?”

Momo’s hand shoots out, wrapping around the sleeve of his shirt, jerking him closer, “Don’t let me go back there.” Tears pool over her eyes, “I don’t want to be alone again.”

 Realization fills his eyes, he must know she means the bunker. His hand sooths over her own, gently pulling the fabric from her hold but keeps holding her hand, “I won’t let you go back. You can stay… with me.”

She replays that over in her mind, “I-I can?”

Momo hiccups, closing her eyes as dollop size tears leak over her heated cheeks, “I can stay with T-Todoroki-san?”

“Yes,” His other hand wipes the sweat from her brow with the cloth, “You can stay.”

//~~~~~~~~End Ch 16~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

//~~~~~~Ch 17~~~~~~\\

After her crying fit, Momo struggled there in a pool of sweat before passing out again, much to his dismay. He wanted her to stay awake so he could know what to do. He's completely in the dark about how to handle this. Ken seems to take the brunt force of the sickness; saying he's dealt with sick campers for years now. Todoroki just hovered around the chef whenever he did something.

Taking her temperature, checking her eyes and ears. Just him picking her hand up to take her pulse had his eyes watching the man like a hawk. Something didn't feel right in his gut about Ken. The way he looks down at Momo with sad eyes, almost as if-

Shaking his head, Todoroki looks to Momo's sleeping body and fights back a yawn. It's been 3 days since she fell sick and he's starting to worry it's something worse than some bug.

"You should get some sleep." Looking over his shoulder he spots Ken walking in with a fresh bowl of water with a rag in it, "You've been awake ever since you brought her back. You must be exhausted."

"I'm fine." Todoroki says but his bloodshot eyes tell a different answer, "I've stayed awake longer than this."

"I can watch over her if you wanna catch a few winks." Ken sets the bowl next to Momo's bed and wrings out the rag as he moves to wipe away her sweat.

Todoroki's hand shoots out, grasping Ken's wrist, "I'm fine." He repeats with an edge to his tone.

Ken allows Todoroki to take the rag as he backs away, "Well, I'll um... make you some dinner." 

His eyes glance to Momo, "I'll make her something too- you know- in case she wakes up."

The dual colored teen doesn't answer as he turns to Momo and presses the cool cloth to the side of her face. Her breathing's been evening out, similar to when she woke up the first time. Hopefully whatever is in her system is fading away.

Ken is right about one thing; he hasn't slept since Momo fell ill. He can't bring himself to fall asleep with her shallow breathing and coughs pulling at his attention.

Part of him worries that if he falls asleep, she won't be here when he wakes up; in different ways.

How pathetic is he really?

'Boy, you're weak. Waiting by the side of a dying girl just so you won't be alone?' His father’s voice haunts his every moment awake. He's not afraid of being alone; in fact, he prefers to be alone. But-

Looking down at Momo, she whimpers in her sleep while nuzzling the side of her face into the cool cloth he's holding, seeking out its comfort. She probably got sick from something he had them do. Under-cooked meat, dirty water, eating mystery canned food. He's responsible for her when he agreed to let her travel with him.

Settling down next to her in the chair he's become accustomed to for the last 3 days; he sets the rag back in the bowl. Leaning forward, Todoroki rests his arms on the side of her bed and leans his chin down into his folded arms.

Momo's arms lay at her side, on top of the covers to keep from pulling them off her body. Her small hands are hidden by the long sleeve jacket that still rests on her body.

His jacket.

It has been staring up at him, like a beacon, drawing his attention and pulling at his thoughts.

His eyes start to feel heavy; blinking becoming drawn out while a yawn breaks though his resolve.

He's going to stay awake... he has to stay awake, for Yaoyorozu.

Though his body has other intentions, he can feel the sleep coming whether he likes it or not. In an act of defiance, he reaches a hand across the blanket until his fingers latch onto the sleeve of his jacket, holding it in a vice like grip. He wouldn't let go, no matter what.

His eyes finally droop close allowing sleep to overtake him. The familiar darkness of his subconscious greets him like an old friend. It’s the one thing he can count on always being the same.

The teen jolts awake, blinking his eyes down at Momo who's still asleep, though her body must have turned because she's facing him while her hand is holding onto his own. The one that should have been holding the jacket. He uses his other free hand to rub at the corner of his eye as he looks to the window to see the shadows cast by the sun haven’t moved much, meaning he couldn’t have been out very long. Cursing under his breath, he blinks the sleep out of his vision and goes to remove his hand from her grip when his movement must have jostled the sleeping girl.

"Sor-"

He looks to her face at the sound of her scratchy voice, "Yaoyorozu?"

"Sorry," She says again in English, turning her face into the pillow, "Sorry."

"Sorry?" He repeats aloud. When did she learn that word? She always tried out her English words with him to make sure she's saying it alright. She's never said 'sorry' at least not to him.

Which means someone must have said it to her.

Narrowing his eyes, he looks to the door where Ken left through earlier. It doesn’t make sense. He knows this, and yet he never has any proof that Ken’s the one causing this. But he knows something isn’t right. But he watches Ken when he’s around Momo and he doesn’t do anything that- 

It goes off in his mind like a lightning bolt to sand, leaving an imprint from the strike. He’s pissed that he didn’t see it sooner; didn’t see past Ken’s intentions when they’re right in front of him all along.

Standing up he pulls his hand away from Momo. She whimpers at the loss of whatever comfort she had and he almost sat back down but he has something to do. After making sure all the windows and doors are locked, he leaves her side; going in search of Ken.

He finds the chef in the kitchen of the mess hall stirring a soup. Ken heard the door open and looks over his shoulder with a smile.

"Hey Todoroki, finally feeling hungry?"

Todoroki walks around the side of the kitchen, looking for something, but he's not sure what.

"I can make you some mashed potatoes and veggies. Maybe I can take out some jerky for us to snack on. Sound good?"

When he doesn't receive an answer, Ken pauses his stirring and looks to Todoroki, "Something wrong? Is Momo alright?"

"She's sick." He says tersely, "Very sick."

"Yeah," Ken faces forward, guilt flashing behind those brown eyes, "I know." 

How did he not see it sooner?

"Do you?"

The chef turns to him with an annoyed look, "Do I what?"

Todoroki advances closer, "Do you know how sick she is? Because I don't think you quite grasp what's happening to her."

"It's a bug. She'll get over it soon!"

"Her body is shutting down." Todoroki snaps and Ken flinches, "Whatever you're doing to her is killing her."

"M-Me?" His eyes widen, "Todoroki I-"

Todoroki punches the metal counter causing a loud SLAM to echo around the tile walls and floors. Ken winces as he steps back in fear, eyes wide.

"Don't lie to me."

Ken looks away, avoiding eye contact, "I don't know how you could think I'd do something like that. And to her."

Todoroki looks to the soup and back to Ken, "Eat it."

"What?"

The teen walks over to the soup and motions to it with his chin, "I want to watch you eat it."

Ken's eyes widen and he looks to the pot of red sauce like he’d rather take a bullet, "I- I don't want to take it away from Momo."

"Don't you fucking dare say her name!" Todoroki shouts, "Not after what you did!"

Ken makes no move to take the soup and Todoroki shrugs, "Alright."

He takes one step back, touching the first cabinet next to the stove. Ken's eyes follow his movement, "What are you doing?"

Todoroki opens the first cabinet, showing nothing but tins. 

“You had me fooled at first. Honestly it was a sly plan.” Todoroki looks over the tins, not letting that stop him he goes to the next and opens the cabinet; just some plastic containers.

“But, I knew from the beginning something wasn’t right. It was all to convenient; the timing, the place, you… It was all wrong.”

 When he moves to the next cabinet, Ken’s eyes nearly bug out of his head, "Todoroki."

The teen pauses, "You want to tell me something?"

Ken's eyes dart to the cabinet and back up at Todoroki, "You're crazy to think I would-"

Todoroki opens the cabinet and Ken's words die on his tongue. The teens dual color eyes look down and everything falls into place. The cabinet under the sink; commonly where many kept cleaning supplies or in this case, rat poison.

The grey bottle harboring an outline of a rodent and red X marks along the side. Crouching down, he picks up the container, feeling how light its contents are before looking up at Ken who's watching him like he's staring death itself in the face.

He might as well be. Because Todoroki is going to kill him for hurting her.

The silence in the room is deafening as the two men stare each other down. Todoroki stands back up, holding the jug out, "Ken?"

"That doesn't prove anything!" Ken says quickly inhaling deeply, "You can't just assume I did something to her!"

"Then take the soup." Todoroki sets the jug on the counter, "Eat it and prove me wrong."

Ken takes a careful step to the food. Todoroki watches his every move, ready for him to either fight or flight. Either way he's ready for Ken's worst reaction.

The chef looks down into the soup, "I don't see how this proves."

"Eat it or don't. But either way you're going to suffer."

Ken releases a shaky breath and looks down to the soup again. Fear is written across his face like black sharpie. Frankly the fear pisses him off. How dare he feel scared after what he's putting Yaoyorozu through?

Ken turns off the burner to the stove and sighs, looking away, "I didn't want to be alone."

Even though Todoroki knows what he did; hearing him admit it out loud caused a rage to build up inside him. He can feel his blood pumping with the need to hurt him, "So you try and kill an innocent person? That makes what you did alright?"


"No!" Ken takes another step back, "I know what I did is wrong but- but I did it to save you- to save HER!" He points in the direction of the nurse’s station, "You would have gotten her killed being out there with those things!"

Ken's body shakes as he tries talking more, though it sounds like he's trying to convince himself rather than Todoroki, "I told you, it's safe here! I have food and shelter- protection from the elements! We can survive together!"

"How safe is it when you're poisoning people?" Todoroki's voice is very calm, it's almost haunting, "But it's all for the greater good right? Just so you're not alone. As long as you're comfortable- who cares who gets hurt?" His words bite like venom as he takes slow, calculated steps towards Ken who takes similar steps back.

"That's not what I'm trying to do Todoroki-"

"Stop!"

Ken shakes his head, "I'm saving you! Hasn't the time you've spent here been calming? Not always looking over your shoulder for a monster? Eating three meals a day! Having fresh water at a second’s notice. It's better than what you've had out there. Tell me I'm wrong!"

"You're wrong." Todoroki says softly and Ken shakes his head.

"No!"

"You're wrong." He repeats taking another step.

"How? How am I so wrong?" Ken's own anger shows itself as he clenches his fists.

Todoroki stops, leaving a couple feet between them, "You're wrong because out there I can take care of her. In here, she's not safe with you around."

"She... she's safe with me. I-"

"You poisoned her! Twice! You betrayed her trust in you. I told her not to but she trusted you." His rage keeps building, and he's pretty sure his hands are shaking to punch something, "How could you do that to her!"

"It was meant for you!" Ken points at him and Todoroki's eyes widen.

"What?"

"It was always meant for you! The pancakes I made."

Todoroki remembers the chocolate pancakes that Momo took because she knows he doesn't like them. She took poison that was meant for him. She's sick because she knew something about him, because she got close enough.

If only he kept to himself about that, she would have eaten her own food and he'd be the sick one. Momo is fighting for he life and it's partially his fault... his and Ken's.

The anger became too much as he lets out a scream, "You bastard!" With that he lunges forward grabbing onto Ken's shirt, twisting the fabric around his knuckles and delivering a heavy punch to the American's face.

Ken struggles, bringing both hands up to try and cover himself but Todoroki throws him to the ground, "You hurt her!"

"No- No I swear-" Ken backs away, stumbling as he tries to stand.

"Repeatedly! You did it again! Why?"

"You would have found out if I did it to you!" Ken stutters around his word, blood drips from his mouth from the first hit, "I was only giving her small amounts. I was going to stop once you realize-"

Todoroki kicks Ken's arm from under him sending him from his knees to the floor on his side before kicking him again, "I should kill you!"

"No! Please stop!" Ken holds his hands out, curling in on himself sobbing, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" 

Todoroki hears his pleas to stop but he can only hear Momo's word from earlier, 'sorry' as she suffers through her fever dreams.

"Did you say that to her? You're sorry."

"I did!"

Todoroki sneers down at him, "She doesn't know that word. She shouldn't have to learn that word this way! You shouldn't have taught her that word!"

Todoroki jerks Ken up by his shirt again and slams him to the cabinets behind them, rattling the contents as the American clutches the counter to maintain his stance, "Todoroki no please-"

"You don't think she knows what it's like to be alone?" He can't stop himself. It's all pouring out of him, "She was alone, not in a world but contained away from all this for six months! You at least had the option to go where you wanted. She was trapped!"

Ken's mouth drops open, "What? What happened to her?"

"She was locked away- alone. Her biggest fear is being alone again. You poisoning her is isolating her back behind that door! You're killing her!"

Ken shakes his head, "I- I didn't know."

"Of course, you didn't know. Because you don't know her! You want us to stay to- to be your friends? We asked you to join us out there! To come with us and not be alone."

"I can't leave!" Ken shouts, tears gathering in his eyes, "I'm too scared! Don't you understand! I ran here to hide after the sickness started. I tried to get my family and friends to come but they wanted to stay. I was the only one smart enough to leave when it got dangerous! No one else! Me!"

"So, you're a coward!" Todoroki snaps, "You left everyone to save your own ass?"

"No!" Ken points to him, "I would have died too if I went out there! I'd be just like one of them! I'd- I'd be a monster!"

"You are a monster!" Todoroki shouts and Ken freezes as the teen shakes his head, "You're a goddamn monster." He looks away from him, "Killing you isn't even worth my time."

“What do you want me to say? I’m sorry!”

The teen turns away from him, ignoring his pleas, "Stay away from Yaoyorozu. When she's better we're leaving. But if I see you at all-" He looks to the chef over his shoulder with a promise in his eyes, "I'll make you wish you had taken that poison."

Ken says nothing as Todoroki leaves the mess hall, making his way back to the nurse’s station.

Upon entering he notices Momo quivering violently as he rushes to her side. She's shivering, and once he touches her skin, he realizes she's icy to the touch.

"Yaoyorozu," When he says her name, she cracks her eyes open, "T-Todoroki-san I-I'm s-so cold."

He rips the blankets off the other beds and lays them over her, "This'll help."

She's still shivering, "W-why am I so cold?"

"Your body's flushing out the poison."

"Poison?" Her eyes widen, "I was poisoned?"

"Calm down, Yaoyorozu," He crouches down to be eye level with her, "You need to keep your heart calm."

"But I was p-poisoned! How can I keep calm?" She has tears in her onyx eyes, "T-Todoroki!"

Not knowing what else to do the male stands back up, "Move over."

"Wha-" She whispers but he pulls back the covers.

"Move over." He sits on the bed next to her and throws the covers over them, pulling her shoulder to his chest, "I run hot so this'll help."

Momo's face burns a light pink, "I-Um- uh-"

"Don't over think this. I'm just getting you through this because it's my fault you're sick." He says down at her, running his hands over her arms that's covered by his jacket, "Now just relax!"

It takes her a full minute, but she eventually sinks into him, fisting her hands into his shirt. She buries her face into his chest and whispers her thanks to him as he shrugs, "S'alright."

They lay like that, in a small nurse’s bed, under four thin blankets; sharing any body heat. Her breathing evening out soon after and she falls back asleep. Thankfully her body temperature came back up after half an hour and Todoroki tried to leave the bed, but she refuses to release his shirt.

"Come on," He whispers, "First my jacket, and now you want my shirt?"

The only response he receives is her slight hitch in a snore and he cracks a smile.

They stay like that through the rest of the day as the sun sets over the camp, casing the room in a faint orange. Her legs tangled into his own, pulling their hips together, causing him to momentarily panic before telling himself it's not anything serious. Her small hands released their hold, pressing right over his chest, one being over his heart and he briefly wonders if she can hear it beating.

Watching her sleep does nothing to quell the guilt churning in his stomach.

He remembers standing on top of that truck when they first met, 'I don't like chocolate.'

She remembered him saying that.

How can she remember that and put himself over her own needs? If she had just forgotten he said it, or even just ignored him; that would have been better.

'Always hurting people Shouto. Your mother, my students, and now her.' His father’s voice whispers in his ear, 'You're too damaged to be around people.'

He pulls Momo closer to his chest and buries his nose into her black hair that has long since fallen out of her ponytail. Until he realizes what he’s doing and pulls back while looking at the ceiling. When they decided to remain together, he set a line; a boundary that shouldn’t ever be crossed.

‘I'll teach you how to defend yourself and you can teach me whatever you know. And once we feel that our companionship is no longer needed, we part ways.’ That’s what he said to her when they made this deal. That deal up until this moment has been kept. He’s taught her how to survive this world, and though she has a lot to learn she’s still going strong.

Todoroki closes his eyes and tells himself it’s just a deal. Not a friendship like she’s hinting at or more. He tells himself this as she leans her body further into his own for warmth and support. It can never be more than what it needs to be. She’s going to Alaska to find her family and he’s… He’s not sure what he’s doing yet but his destination isn’t Alaska. 

His destination isn’t her.

//~~~~~~~~End Ch 17~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

//~~~~~~~~~~~Ch 18~~~~~~~~~~\\


Those same ugly walls stare at her. Whose idea was it to not paint them? Just because this place is a shelter, doesn't mean the walls can't have a splash of color.

Even the ceiling is cement, rounding off at the top like she's in some stone ball. If she stares long enough, she gets the feeling she's spinning and gets sick.

Momo sits on the red carpet, staring up at the ceiling; letting her stomach twist and turn uncomfortably. What's the point? She may as well get used to it because this is her prison forever.

She's not sure how long she's been laying here since the clock is in the other room and staring at it would drive her insane. So, she just lays here.

"Yaoyorozu."

Her stomach churns and she covers it, rolling onto her side, "No" She doesn't want to be fooled by another voice.

"Yaoyorozu, come on."

"No thank you." She huffs, ready to cover her ears if needed be. But then the sound of someone laughing breaks through the cement ceiling and she opens her eyes for real this time. It’s not a real heart felt laugh; more like a breathy chuckle but she knows that sound. She’s heard it before.

The light assaults her as she blinks rapidly to adjust to it, "Todoroki-san?"

There's no evidence of that laugh on his face but she swore she heard it, "Good, you're awake."

He's sitting by her bed, and the more she wakes up she remembers him crawling next to her for warmth. Todoroki seems to read the expression on her face as he stands up, "Your temperature went back to normal last night. Figure I'd let you sleep."

"Oh," She nods as if that makes sense but her heart is racing inside of her chest as she nods, "Of course. Thank you."

He faces away, "You don't need to thank me."

Momo feels her cheeks flush as she sits up, feeling her stiff bones crack. Her stomach is sensitive but she feels much better.

"How are you feeling?" He walks to one of the windows and peeks through the blinds.

Momo cracks her neck to either side and moans, "Better. Much better, “She winces when she moves to quickly, “I have a headache, but my stomach feels lighter.”

"Probably because you threw up everything. There's some food next to you if you think you can handle it."

Turning her head, she finds his words to be true as she picks up a bottle of water and some dried fruit. She knows she's starving but just as she moves to place the food in her mouth she pauses and remembers what Todoroki said.

'Your body's flushing out the poison.'

That's right, she was poisoned. Slowly she pulls the food away and looks up at Todoroki who's still looking out the window, "Todoroki-san?"

"Hm?" He finally looks at her and notices the fear on her face.

"Was I really poisoned?"

He closes the blinds, taking the seat next to her bed again, "Yeah."

She sets the opened plastic package of food down, "By Ken?"

The way his eyes narrow, darting to the side confirm her suspicions.

Who else would tamper with their food? She knows Todoroki would never hurt her, but Ken-

"If it makes you feel any better." Todoroki says and she looks up to him as he crosses his arms, "He meant to poison me, not you."

"How is that supposed to make me feel better?" She feels her brows pinch together, "Why would he do this?"

"He didn't want to be alone. He was selfish enough to keep us here by any means necessary."

Todoroki warned her about him and she didn't listen. Once again, she's just proving what a hindrance she is instead of a valuable asset, "I'm sorry Todoroki-san."

He winces and looks to her sharply, "Don't say that."

"What?"

His face is covered by a rage she's only seen a few times, "Just don't apologize."

"Alright?" Momo cocks her head and looks down to her untouched food, "Where is he?"

"Away." Todoroki moves to the window again, peeking out, "Told him if he came anywhere near us I’d make him regret it."

A chill passes over at the promise in his words, "Oh"

He looks over his shoulder at her, "You're not eating?"

Momo picks up the package nervously, "I guess I'm just hesitant to trust anything right now."

He seems to understand as he walks to their bags by the door, before pulling out a familiar pack of pop tarts that brings a slight smile to her face. With a gentle toss it lands by her foot on the bed and she leans forward picking up the shiny wrapper, "There. Untouched food."

Bringing the frosted treat to her chest she feels those butterflies flutter against her empty stomach, "Thanks."

She eats it slowly, feeling every bite of food land in her hollow stomach with every uncomfortable swallow. Though the water goes down easier and Todoroki seems more at ease when she finishes her simple meal.

"When can we leave?" She dumps her trash in the bin next to the bed.

"Whenever you're good to go." He eyes her face and she blushes as she subconsciously swipes at a strand of hair that fell across her face.

Not wanting to feel like any more of a burden than she already is Momo speaks quickly, "I'm feeling good." Momo pushes the blankets back and moves to stand, but her knees shake. Todoroki moves to her side, hands hovering over her, ready to catch her should she fall. Momo holds a hand up and stands tall, "I'm fine, thanks."

He moves away though he seems hesitant, as if she were going to fall any second, “You sure you’re good?”

“I’m fine.”

Momo feels gross from lying in bed, sweating and vomiting for the past few days as she fidgets in her clothing.

"What?" He walks to the window again but can see her nervous movements.

"I feel gross." She slips his jacket off, tying it around her waist, "A bath would do me good."

Todoroki sighs, "Fine."

"Really?" She perks her head up, "No arguments?"

"Just don't strip down this time." He tosses a look over his shoulder almost like he's teasing, until he remembers something and looks back to the window.

Momo huffs as she crosses her arms and moves to pick up her bag but Todoroki already snatches it up, "Come on." With that said he walks through the door, holding it open for her, "You coming?"

Blinking at his strange behavior she follows him out of the nurse’s station and squints, cupping a hand over her eyes as the sun beams down on them. It's obvious from the position of the sun that it's a little past sunrise.

Todoroki walks them to the lake, looking around the area for any movement, knife already drawn with his gun at the ready in the holder by his leg. He hands Momo her bag once they reach the lakes edge and Momo fishes through for some 'fresh' clothes.

She finds some jeans and a greyish tank top that’s seen better days. Setting Todoroki's jacket and the clothes aside she kicks off her boots and walks knee deep into the cold water.

Cupping her hands, she manages to wash herself off enough to not feel completely gross. Her bones still ache and her stomach flips several times as she closes her eyes to hold back any possibly vomit. She can’t get sick again. Todoroki looks ready to jump out of his own skin if they stay any longer. She has to be strong for him and put this behind her.

"You good?"

Looking up she notices Todoroki watching her over his shoulder.

Momo forces a smile as she stands, swiping her damp hair to the side as her fingers comb through it, "All good."

His eyes seem to dart over her and she wonders what he sees that makes him look so sad, "Todoroki-san?"

Facing forward he answers her, "All done?"

He doesn't want to talk about it; that much is obvious enough from his facial features, "Yeah... yeah just about ready."

Momo walks back to shore and changes into her new clothes as Todoroki keeps his back facing her. She's quick enough as she finishes by tying her hair back up, though since it hasn't been brushed or properly cleaned in forever, it's slightly puffy. She makes a mental note to scavenge for a brush on their next search.

"Alright." She slaps her thighs, rubbing the jean material as he turns around. His dual eyes go directly to the jacket she put back on and she flushes, wondering if he'll say anything.

He doesn't.

Instead he holds out her knife that he's kept safe and she takes it, sliding the hilt through her belt loop to hang at her side. She pulls her backpack back on, before taking out her familiar bat. The weight of it feels comforting as she looks down to it with a small smile.

"Yaoyorozu?"

Looking up she finds Todoroki looking into her own eyes, "Ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be." She walks forward but pauses as she takes in the area around her.

It's quiet. Really quiet.

The mess hall sits to her right, as do the showers and the nurse’s station up ahead.

It looks untouched, almost as if Ken no longer dwells here. It's strange and strikes her in a way she didn't think she would feel.

Sad.

Todoroki pauses and looks back when he realizes she's not following, "Yaoyorozu?"

"We should find Ken."

"What?" He turns around fully and regards her as if she grew a third arm, "I don't think I heard you correctly? You want to do what?"

Momo shuffles her boots into the dirt nervously, "I want to find Ken. Talk to him."

"No"

"Todoroki-san-"

"He poisoned you! He almost killed you- why-" He runs a hand through his dual hair, skewing the colors in the center together, "Why do you want to talk to him?"

Momo bites her lower lip, looking to the side, "I just do. I need to before we leave."

Todoroki sighs loudly, dropping his hands with a slap to his side, "It won't make a difference confronting him for what he did."

"No, I just... please Todoroki-san?" She walks closer, touching his arm, blinking her big eyes up at him.

When he finally gives in to look at her; his head cocks to the side and his exasperated look turns soft as his shoulders sad and his eyes turn sad again.

"What?" Momo asks softly, wondering if there's something on her face.

"It's just-" He reaches a free hand up and pushes a curl of black hair behind her ear, "For a while back there I didn't think I'd get to see-" He sucks in a breath, dropping his hand as he takes a step away, "Nothing."

He walks several steps ahead and pauses, "It's pointless but if you're set on it, fine."

Momo sighs in relief, "Thank you."

They check the mess hall and shower station, but find nothing. So, they find themselves in the last place they know to look for him. His cabin.

As they walk closer Momo spots movement near the window as the blinds shut and she knows he's seen them.

They stop outside and Todoroki goes to knock but Momo stops him, "Let me."

He looks ready to argue but stops himself as he takes a step back and holds his arm out for her to go ahead. She smiles her thanks as she walks forward and stands before the wooden door. Her stomach churns as she thinks about what to say before raising her hand, giving three firm knocks that seem a lot louder than they should be.

Someone says something and Momo looks over her shoulder at Todoroki who translates for her, "He thinks we're here to kill him."

Her eyes widen as she faces the door and speaks in her limited English, "No! No no no Ken!" She bites her lip and speaks the rest in Japanese, "I'm here to talk."

Todoroki translates the last part for her aloud and they hear shuffling but the door hasn't opened.

Momo sighs sadly, moving her hands before her to knot in her shirt, "Um, I wanted to talk about what you did."

Todoroki translates her words but with a hitch of annoyance in his tone.

The door still doesn't open.

"What you did to me was- IS horrible. It hurt me and I-" She pauses to breath before continuing, "I want you to know that..."

Todoroki pauses his translations for her to continue.

"Despite what you did, I forgive you."

Todoroki doesn't translate and Momo looks over her shoulder to see his eyes widen in shock as she smiles and motions for her hand for him to go on and he quickly translates as she faces forward.

"I forgive you Ken, and in spite of everything. I still believe that there are people out there that are good at heart." She reaches out, touching the door, "You're good too. I know you are. You're just scared, and fear makes us do things. I know because I was alone for a long time."

She allows Todoroki to translate before continuing, "Just know I don't think you're a bad person. I hope you find someone; I wouldn't ever wish being alone on anyone."

With that said she steps away from the door, "Bye Ken."

She turns to find Todoroki staring at her and she shrugs as she walks past him to the path leading back to the front of the camp.

They walk in silence, hitting the pathway that'll take them to the gate. Though she can sense he wants to say something but he's holding back. She finally sighs, having enough of the silence and turns to him, "You alright?"

"Hm?" He looks to her with wide eyes like a deer caught in headlights before looking away, "Why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, I've been sick for a few days and I haven't gotten a chance to ask how you're doing."

"I don't understand." He cocks his head, "I wasn't the one poisoned." His eyes narrow and he huffs, "And I'm not the one who just forgave the guy that poisoned them."

"Ah," She says in realization as a smile creeps on her face, "So that's what it is? You're mad I forgave him?"

"I'm not mad," He says gruffly and she wants to giggle but holds back as he continues, "It doesn't make sense, but I don't care."

"Yes, you do." She bumps her shoulder against his own and he looks down to where her shoulder bumped before looking at her, "You so care. That's why you're mad. You want me to hate him."

"It makes no difference in my survival if you hate him or not. Your refusal to hate him is confounding but nothing I care to expand on."

"He almost killed me, of course I'm mad." She looks up to the trees and smiles, "But being mad doesn't mean I can't forgive him. My dad's very big on forgiveness."

"So, you forgave him for your dad?"

"No, I forgave him for me. You should forgive him too."

"I don't plan on that any time soon." His tone is stretched like he's trying to hold something back.

"Hmmm, well my dad always says, don't forgive others because they deserve it, but because you deserve peace."

"You dad sounds like a fortune cookie."

Momo snorts as a giggle bubbles past her lips, "He does! He really does sound like a fortune cookie. But, he's the wisest cookie."

Todoroki is about to say something when a screech sounds in the distance and both teens pause their talk as they stop dead in their tracks. Up ahead they can see several bodies running towards them at full speed.

"Shit!" Todoroki takes a step back and holds his hand out in front of Momo, "Go, run!"

Momo doesn't need to be told twice as she turns around, making a run for it with Todoroki following behind her. She clutches her bat tightly as she feels the hilt of her knife slap against her leg.

"H-How did they get in?" She calls over to Todoroki.

"I don't know! Keep going!"

The screeching grows closer; Momo can feel her stomach churn and her heart start to hurt. Is the poison still in her system? Why does it hurt to run?

They see the mess hall in the distance and suddenly Momo feels herself falling as the ground hits her like a punch.

"Yaoyorozu!" Todoroki stops in front of her, raising his gun and fires off two shots, taking out the closest hunters.

Momo winces at the loud sound as she curls her hands into fists, "My stomach!"

"Get up!" He shouts firing another round.

He's right.

She pushes herself up, retrieving her bat and feels Todoroki grab onto her arm as he pulls her along. She makes a mistake of looking over her shoulder to see five hunters round the corner of the nurses station, all covered in blood and staring right at them. Given how fast they’re going they must have either recently eaten or freshly turned.
Momo turns her face back to the mess hall and catches sight of Ken running towards them with two hunters chasing him.

"Ken!" She waves her hands in the air and he points to the mess hall.

Todoroki holds the door open as Momo and the American run in before he slams it shut and the hunters connect with the wooden door. Their bloody fists beating on it to try and get in.

Ken's pushing a table in front of the door as Momo helps him and Todoroki moves aside.

Breathing heavily the group look to each other and Ken's the first to speak, "How did those monsters get in?"

"I don't know. Maybe your gate isn't as secure as you think it is." Todoroki says back as Momo's left in the dark. He finally turns to her and puts a hand on her shoulder, "You alright?"

Momo nods, "I'm fine."

A hand smashes through the glass window and Momo screams as hunters flood through the delicate barrier.

"To the kitchen!" Ken pulls Momo by the arm and the three rush to the back.

Ken and Todoroki push the metal table in front of the door to buy them some time.

"What do we do?" Ken shouts running a hand through his messy hair.

Todoroki is looking around the room before pointing to the exit, "We can go here!"

"But there's a bunch of those things out there!" Momo says, "If we leave, they'll just chase us back in."

Todoroki and Ken talk for a minute before Todoroki faces her and translates, "He says his boat is out there."

"The one he came in on?" Momo asks and Todoroki nods.

"He said we can get across to the other side where there's an opening for a river that some of the campers used for rafting."

Momo nods, "Alright so we have a plan on how to escape, but how do we get to the boat with all those things?"

Todoroki turns back to Ken and speaks rapidly as Momo looks between them. Ken must have said something to stump Todoroki because he just stares at him until a particularly hard slam on the door has him nodding.

"What's the plan?" Momo asks watching as Ken and Todoroki go to the fire exit and she follows.

"Ken's going to run out there and distract them. He'll buy us enough time to get the boat on the water."

"No! No Ken wait!" Momo reaches out and grabs onto Ken's sleeve.

Ken looks to her and she can see the guilt on his face as he avoids her eyes, "Ken, there has to be another way."

"Momo there's no time. Let him do this." Todoroki reaches up, removing her hand from his arm, "He owes us that much."

She looks up at Ken and he continues to avoid her eyes as Todoroki moves to the door and cracks it open.

"Clear." He whispers and Ken looks up to Momo and she gasps as she reaches for him again but he moves away, rushing from the kitchen. Todoroki closes the door after him and Momo covers her mouth.

"Why did he go?"

"I told him I would do it but he wanted to go." Todoroki walks to the other side by the door the hunters are beating against, "He said he needs to do this."

"He's guilty," Momo smiles, "He wants to make amends for what he did."

Todoroki brings a finger to his lips and shushes her. The hunters on the other side sound like they're growing distant, "It's working."

They wait till they can no longer hear them and Todoroki pushes the table aside as he pushes the door open and peeks out, "We're clear. Let's go!"

Together they rush from mess hall and to the lake side where Ken's canoe is pushed up on land with the paddles resting in it.

"Get in!" Todoroki throws off his bag as Momo climbs into the small boat. He lifts one end and pushes it into the muddy water, "Watch my back."

Momo looks around for any signs of Ken, "I don't see any hunters or Ken."

The canoe reaches the water and Todoroki continues to push till he's waist deep and with a hop pulls himself in, rocking the boat. Momo clutches her stomach as it lurches.

She grabs at her stomach and Todoroki looks down at her, "You alright?"

"M' fine," She waves him off, "Where's Ken?"

Todoroki stands up, causing the boat to rock, "I don't know, but we need to get back."

He sits down and uses the paddles to push them further out as Momo crawls to the other side and grasps the edge, "But we can't leave him! We have to wait!"

Todoroki pulls at the paddles causing them to drift farther out, "He's coming, don't worry."

They drift further out into the water as Momo feels her stomach churn and her blood pump. Her heart feels like it's working twice as hard.

Then right as she's about to insist they go back she spots something running through the tree lines.

"There! There he is!" Momo points. Todoroki stops rowing and stands to see Ken running towards the lake.

Just as he reaches the water’s edge he slows down to a stop and Momo sits up on her knees, careful of the boat, "Ken! Ken come on!"

As she's waiving for him to come, she feels a hand grab her shoulder, "Yaoyorozu."

She looks over her shoulder and finds Todoroki has a grim look, "Look at his arm."

She looks back to Ken and true to Todoroki's words, Ken's left arm is covered in blood from a long scratch from elbow to wrist. It's dripping, creating a dark puddle in the dirt he stands on.

"No" Momo shakes her head, "It's not- it's just a-"

Ken seems to understand her head movements as he holds up his injured arm and nods.

"No! We can help him!" Momo leans over the front of the boat and tries to use her hand to paddle to shore but it does little to move the boat, "Todoroki help me!"

"Yaoyorozu!" He snaps and she looks over her shoulder at him.

"We can save him!"

Screeching is heard as both teens turn back to see several hunters break through the tree line and make a run for Ken.

"No! Ken!" Momo splashes harder, "Swim! Swim to us!"

Her frantic Japanese falling on deaf ears as the camp chef lowers his injured arm, giving Momo a peaceful smile. The American shouts something that she can't understand, and she sits back up on her knees, rocking the boat, "Todoroki we can get to him!"

She turns around but freezes when she spots Todoroki holding his gun up and leveling it at Ken's smiling figure.

"Todoroki-" Momo whispers with wide eyes, "No."

Both his dual color eyes are open as he levels the gun out with both hands.

She looks back to Ken as the gun fires off over her head.

It finds its mark right between Kens eyes and the American falls backwards just at the hunters reach him, jerking his body to the ground. Momo covers her mouth as she watches the hunters rip into his already dead body.

Todoroki calmly sits back down, picking back up the paddles as he rows them out into the lake.

From the tree lines more hunters come running at the sound of gun fire. Some try running into the lake after the teens, but they end up thrashing in the water once it becomes too deep. Others join the mauling as they rip into Ken and feast on his innards.

Momo can only watch as her heart beats erratically and her stomach churns.

They're near the middle of the lake and neither of them has said anything. The distant screams of the hunters growing farther away as Todoroki continues to steer the boat to the open path of the river.

At some point Momo must have gotten sick because she's leaning over the edge of the boat, emptying her stomach contents into the water. She doesn't realize this until she's looking at her own murky reflection in the dirty water.

"Yaoyorozu"

"Don't" Momo whispers.

He doesn't try again after that as they drift closer to the river. Which she's thankful for because she's not sure what she'll say if he tries to make her talk.

Anger and sadness swim around her as she curls her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around her legs. Her forehead is resting on her knees as she tries to calm herself down.

//~~~~~~~~~End Ch 18~~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~Ch 19~~~~~~~~~~~~\\ 

With each row of the paddle Todoroki can feel the silence growing heavier between them. They're nearly across the lake where the opening of the river sits and neither of them has said a thing since Todoroki did what he had to do. Looking back at Momo he finds her still curled up at the other end of the canoe with her face hidden in her knees. She's probably worried she'll still see Ken's body, but they're far enough away that it all looks like just a clump of hunters swarming the camp site.

If Momo hadn't of been healthy enough to move they might be dead right now. Just because Ken made a sacrifice to save them, doesn't mean Todoroki forgives him. He respects Ken's actions but in the end forgiveness isn't in Todoroki's nature.

Unlike Momo; he can't fathom forgiving someone so easily. Not Ken, or his father, or anyone really. Todoroki will hold his grudges till the day he dies.

Swirling water is heard up ahead as Todoroki pauses in his rowing to look over his shoulder. The opening of the river looks rough. Ken did say it's used for rafting, and judging from their boat; this isn't meant to be on those strong waters.

Which means he needs to say something now before it's to late. Sighing loudly, he turns to Momo and speaks up.

"Yaoyorozu."

She doesn't answer so he repeats her name again but firmly, "Yaoyorozu, you don't have to talk but I need you to listen."

He points his thumb over his shoulder, "The rivers opening is going to be rough to get through in this boat. I've never done anything like this before so there's a chance we could tip."

She peeks up at him, blinking her tear stained eyes to let him know she's listening as he continues.

"Are you a good swimmer?"

It takes her a second to comprehend as she gives a small nod.

"Good, so just hold on to the side as tightly as you can. If we flip; swim to shore, don't wait for me." With that said he turns back around, rowing harder as the water begins to pull them, "I'll try and steer as best I can."

Momo uncurls as she grasps onto the edge of the boat. Her eyes wide with fear.

"Hold the bags close." He uses his foot to slide both their bags down to her as she wraps both straps around one arm, making sure the bat is strapped onto her bag.

The dip from the lake to the river isn't huge but it's enough to jostle their boat as it momentarily takes on water when it hits the rushing rapids. Instantly one of the paddles is jerked from his hand, leaving him with just one.

"Shit!" He grasps onto the edge of the boat as it’s thrashed so heavily that both Momo and Todoroki hit the right side, nearly toppling out, "Hold on!"

He can hear rocks scrape along the bottom and side of the canoe.

Water sloshes into the boat, soaking the two teens as Momo squeaks when a sudden splash of water knocks her back to the left side now.

"Todoroki!" She calls, sputtering out water while hugging the edge of the boat.

"I know!" He uses the paddle to push against a rock and avoid it, "I got this!"

But just as he finishes that statement he feels the paddle catch between two rocks and it jerks him backwards into the water. His vision becomes a mixture of bubbles and sunlight as his head bobs from the surface to the water below. He’s gasping for air when he breaks through, not sure if it’ll be his last.

"Todoroki!" Momo holds her hand out to him.

He's feels the water pulling him next to the canoe. His hands fumbling for the edge but the pull has him trying to stay above the current. He feels her fingers wrap around his shirt and jerk him to the side of the boat.

"I got you!" She pulls, "Todoroki!"

That was the last thing he heard before his head connects with a rock and utter darkness takes him.

It feels like it was only for a second, because when his eyes snap open he's sitting up quickly, gasping for breath; still expecting to be in the water.

But he's not.

Instead he's laying out on the bank of the river, next to a small fire that's mostly composed of twigs, dry moss and grass.

"You're awake!"

Looking behind him he finds Momo standing there with an arm full of forest clutter; most likely to add to the fire.

She drops it next to their source of warmth as she gets down on her knees next to him, "Are you in any pain?"

"No" Which is a total lie because his head feels like he took a bullet right down the center of it. Reaching up he feels medical tape and looks up at Momo as she gives him a soft smile. Her hand reaches up, letting her fingers trail along the edges of the bandage wrapped around his head.

"You hit your hear when you fell out of the boat." She says softly, removing her hand and with it the warm sense he started to feel in his chest, leaving him cold.

"How did we get here?" Looking around he doesn't see the canoe, and instead finds their stuff hanging on a nearby tree branch to dry.

"After you hit your head, I jumped in after you and pulled us to shore like you suggested."

His eyes widen but he winces and holds the side of his head, "You pulled me to shore?"

Momo pouts, placing her hands on her hips, "I told you I'm a good swimmer. My parents had me take all kinds of safety classes when I was younger."

He grunts as he sits up more and Momo places a hand on his chest, "You should rest. Your head was bleeding when I pulled you out. Nothing bad but head injuries are still serious."

Todoroki looks down at the hand pressing firmly to his chest and back up at her. Those onyx, cat like eyes are stern as they dare him to challenge her. It's cute to think she can keep him down. Reaching up he gently takes her wrist and pulls it up between them. Her eyes widen as he pulls her closer, "It’s not that easy to keep me down."

She searches his face, looking for something that he's not sure of, but her cheeks heat up. His lower stomach pulls inward as if coiling on a spring.

"Todoroki-san," She whispers.

When he realizes he's still holding her wrist, he quickly drops it before pushing himself to stand, "How long have I been out?"

Momo touches her heart before standing as well; dusting off the dirt from her knees, "About two hours."

"Damn, we're loosing daylight. We should get going." He looks along each side of the river.

Momo sighs loudly and he looks over his shoulder at her, "What?"

"It's just, you had me scared to death, and now you want us to get up and go? We need to think about your health." She crosses her arms over her still damp tank top. His jacket is wrapped around her waist to dry.

"I thought you were mad at me." Todoroki picks up his wet bag, opening it to check that everything is still inside.

Silence greets him as he looks over his shoulder to find her looking at the ground in thought. Her brows are knitted together as her usual smile is replaced with an unsettling frown that doesn't sit well with him, "You're mad." He says softly.

"I'm-" She pauses, looking up as if searching for something to say and when she can't think of it she groans in annoyance, "I don't know! You shot- ..." She takes a deep breath and calmly takes down her bag, "You shot him."

"It was a mercy killing."

"It's still killing!" Momo rounds on him sharply, holding her hands out, "He's dead now!"

"He was already dead."

Todoroki reaches for the gun hanging in its holder, flipping open the chamber to see just two bullets remain. He'll need to either find more ammo or another long distance weapon.

"You don't think I understand that?" Momo walks ahead of him, keeping her arms crossed.


Todoroki follows two steps behind as they walk near the river bank. He's keeping an eye out for that heard they just escaped. Who knows if they're still ripping apart the camp or out looking for another meal.

They were fast. Freshly turned fast.

It's weird how there were so many but they've seen random herds come out of no where. Still, they should keep moving to get as far away as possible.

"I think you've never seen a human turn into one of those things. So it's hard to believe it can happen." Todoroki explains. Which he knows he should just keep his mouth shut. Why is he trying to explain himself?

"Nothing is hard to understand! He would have died. I get that but-" She kicks at a rock, "He could have had a better death."

"What I gave him IS considered a better death. Would you rather I not have shot him and let him get ripped apart by those monsters?" He feels anger fill his stomach, "Or should I have let him turn?"

"No- I don't know!" Momo rounds on him, nearly making Todoroki bump into her as he takes a quick step back.

Her hands are in fists at her side, "I just didn't want him to suffer!"

"He didn't," Todoroki feels his voice soften, "I promise."

Her lower lip trembles as those onyx eyes glass over as if this is something she’s been waiting to hear, "You promise?"

She takes a step closer and Todoroki reaches up, placing a hand on her cold arm, "I do. It was quick and he didn't feel a thing."

Todoroki expected that to be the end of the conversation which means he wasn't expecting her to lunge forward, wrapping her arms around his side as she cries into his shirt. His arms hang out, unsure of what to do as she grasps tightly onto him, "Um."

Her breathing is shallow as she cries in small puffs and gasps; shoulders shaking.

It reminds him of when he was a child and he use to latch onto his mother. The only form of comfort he had in that grating world he was born in. She wouldn't admonish his tears or tell him to man up like his father did. Instead she would place her arms around him like a shield, and let him cry.

So he did just that. He draped his muscular arms around her, and lets her cry. When she feels his arms encircle her she moves closer, pressing their stomachs and chests together. He swallows; not at all used to this much human contact after so much isolation. After his mother was taken away, the only form of contact he had was hitting someone.

But it's not as horrible as he thought it was going to be. In fact, it pushes the cold chill away, replacing it with warmth. It’s almost like stepping out into the sun after being locked away in a cold room for so long. He can’t think of any other way to describe how she’s making him feel.

It doesn't last long but he hears her cries turn to sniffles as she looks up, resting her chin on his chest, "Todoroki-san?"

"Hm?" He just stares ahead, not wanting to look at her beautiful face and feel anything else. He’s already reaching his limits just by doing this.

She leans back to press her cheek to his wet shirt as she snuggles closer, "You're a good man."

'You're a good boy, Shouto.' His mothers voice rings in his head.

Suddenly his eyes burn and he hates the feeling pulling at his heart as he drops his arms and steps back. Momo allows it; as she takes her own step away, drying her eyes on the back of her hands.


"We should get going." He clears his throat, trying to force these emotions back under lock and key where he's kept them for so many years now. 

"Alright. Lead the way." Momo holds her arm out as she smiles at him, wiping the last bit of wetness from her eyes with the back of her hand.

He knows they're good again.

She's already forgiven him for doing what had to be done.

Forgiveness is something that comes so easy to Momo. That's something he can't learn from her. Forgiveness isn't part of him.

After putting out the small fire Momo managed to start they walk along the edge of the river for two hours, stopping only to consult the very damp map Todoroki has in his bag. He flicks the thick paper out, splashing several water droplets in the process. From his calculations they should be nearing a bridge, that'll take them back on the road.

Maybe they can find another car and can once again take turns driving so the other can rest.

Even though Momo dragged him from a possibly watery grave, she still looks weak. She's still recovering from being poisoned and it shows. Meanwhile his own head injury has been aching ever since we woke up. A car sounds nice right now, like a luxury they can’t seem to afford.

Reaching out he places a hand to the back of his head, feeling the bandage. It's tight, but not constricting; just comfortable enough to be efficient. She's good at wrapping injuries. She did mention her parents put her through safety lessons. Maybe they also had her take first aid? It would come in handy if she did. He could always just ask her; but that's crossing that line he promised he wouldn't.

The hug along was pushing it. He needs to keep his distance from her, or else they both might end up dead next time.

"Todoroki-san?"

"Hm?" He snaps his head to find her staring at him with worry written across her features.

"Are you in pain?" She motions to the hand touching his head, "You keep touching it."

"Oh, no." He drops his hand quickly, "Just itchy."

The worry doesn't dissipate as she hugs the strap of her bag with both hands, "I hope it's not to tight. You were bleeding a bit and I just didn't want it to get infected."

"It's fine." He assures her, jumping over a thick log in their path while Momo climbs over it gently.

"Do you mid if I check it?"

"Yaoyorozu, it's alright. I'm not seeing doubles, not short of breath, and I can walk just fine." He pauses before glancing at her, "You on the other hand look a little green."

"Green?" Momo scoffs, "I'm chipper as a chipmunk!"

"Wha-" He pauses before a huff of laughter blows out and he stops, realizing what he's doing before schooling his features back to that neutral expression.

Momo sees it though as she smiles up at him and they continue to walk, "You like that phrase?"

"It's unusual to say the least."

"My mom says it after her second cup of coffee. Me and my dad kind of blurt it out from time to time." She giggles as if remembering a fond memory, "Not sure where she picked it up from."

Todoroki keeps quiet, not wanting to indulge further into her happy moment.

They walk for a bit longer before Todoroki pauses and Momo mimics him as she squints up ahead.

"What's that?"

He takes out the binoculars from his wet bag and checks out the distance, "Looks like a fishing cabin."

"A fishing cabin?" She repeats, "Looks small."

Todoroki hands the binoculars to Momo as she peers though them. It’s a small, wooden shed like building with an equally miniature dock out on the calm brown water. The door is swinging open ominously as the chairs sit empty on the floating dock. 

“Wait here,” Todoroki says, holding his knife at the ready, stalking forward.

No sooner did he say that, he hears Momo follow close behind and he pauses, looking over his shoulder at her. She’s holding her bat before her like a life line and giving a determined look at him.

“What?” She whispers, “I’m done staying behind. We should go together.”

It’s fair enough but he doesn’t want to admit he’d rather go alone and hurt her feelings. Instead he turns forward and continues towards the shed like building. The dock is rickety as he steps on it and pauses to test its sturdiness. When he’s satisfied that it wont break off or sink he motions with his head for her to follow. It’s good the door is open because he can see the empty shed entirely from the dock. All that resides in it are a couple fishing polls, an overturned cooler, and some empty beer cans littering the floor.

“It’s empty.” He says, walking through the threshold, kicking away a can, “Looks like it’s been deserted for awhile.”

“What makes you say that?” Momo stands in the doorway, bat at the ready.

Todoroki motions with his knife to the cooler and fishing poles, “There’s cobwebs all over this stuff. No one’s touched it in months probably.”

She finally walks in, humming in though, looking around, forming her own opinion on the place. When Todoroki finds nothing useful, he takes off his bag and turns to her, “We should stay here for the night.”

“Really?” Momo asks in shock, “Here?”

“It’s not like it’s a poor choice. It’ll be dark soon and I’d rather us be hidden somewhere with walls. We can’t expect to find better this late in the day. Besides-“ He takes a fishing pole, brushing away the cobwebs, “We can get some dinner.”

“You fish?” Momo takes off her own bag, placing it next to Todoroki’s.

“I learned pretty quickly when I had to.” He checks the hook that’s attaches snugly to the reel in its clip, “Not so hard.”

“There’s no bait.” Momo observes, crossing her arms in amusement, “How do you plan on catching anything without bait.”

Todoroki quirks a brow at her challenge as he sets the pole next to the door frame, “Don’t worry, I’ll get some.”

Within the hour he has their empty can security system strung up around the outside of the cabin to alert them of any danger that might trip the string. He also gave Momo a quick lesson in worm digging, which had her looking white in the face as he produced a handful of pink worms from the mud on the shore of the river. Momo clears the beer cans from the floor, tying some of them to the string for extra noise as she adds small pebbles to them.

Todoroki shows her how to get the worm on the hook before setting the pole in the holder on the dock, “Now we leave it here, and when you hear the reel click, it means there’s a bite.”

“So we just wait?” Momo bends at the waist, looking at the pole that’s leaning over the water with the string hanging limp.

“Yes”

And wait they did.

An hour later the two are sitting out on the dock; Momo going through her bag, wringing out anything that’s still wet from their dunk earlier. Todoroki’s staring at the fishing pole, waiting for it to do something.

“Does it usually take this long?” Momo asks and he glances at her to see that mischievous smirk at the ready. He doesn’t intend to play into her playful banter this time.

“Sometimes”

From the corner of his eye he can see the pout take on full force at his lack of conversation. She tries again.

“You like to fish?”

“It’s a necessary skill.”

She hums, knowing he’s being distant for a reason that he’s not willing to share, “Just like conversations?”

“Not really.” He glances at her before facing back, “I can do without that.”

“Is that your way of telling me to shut up?” Her voice takes on an edge.

“Take it how you will.” Todoroki feels his mouth lift, sensing her annoyance bubble up. He can’t help it.

She stands up, placing her hands on her hips, “You got something to say to me?”

“Yes,” He looks up at her and levels his neutral stare, “You’ll scare the fishes away with how loud you’re being.”

Her cheeks puff out as she knits her eyebrows together in anger before blowing out an angry breath of air, “Ohhhh you-“

Todoroki holds up a finger to his lips as if to remind her before pointing to the fishing rod, “Remember?”

She shakes her fists in the air as she storms into the cabin where he hears her muttering angrily to herself.

“What a JERK!” Her whispered voice carries and he can’t help but chuckle under his breath.

Alright, so maybe he’s toeing the line with her right now, but honestly this is the first bit of fun he’s had since he can’t remember. When she gets that pufferfish face, he feels something come out of him he’s never seen before.

After a few minutes of her muttering he’s about to say something when the fishing line begins to click and he pauses to look at it. After a few seconds it clicks faster and he snatches it up. Momo must have heard it as well because she’s back at his side in an instant with wide eyes.

“Is it a fish?” She asks in surprise as a smile pulls at her face.

“Maybe.” He feels it resisting but keeps steady on the reel; knowing to give and take. After about a minute of wrestling he manages to pull the large fish from the brown water and it swings closer to them.

Momo squeals quietly as the fish flops next to her and she takes a step back, letting him lower it to the deck, “It’s huge!”

Todoroki takes out his knife and quickly makes work of killing it. The flopping slows down and he hears clapping as he looks up to see Momo doing just that.

“You did it Todoroki-san!”

He’ll never admit it, but a sense of pride swells in his chest as she looks at him with such amazement, like he just lassoed the sun for her. Maybe he would if it meant she kept looking at him like that.

Like he matters.

Within an hour they have the fish cooked and ready to eat as they settle down on the dock, watching the sun set over the tree line. They’re sitting in the old wooden chairs that reside on the dock in silence. Neither having said anything since he started cooking. Part of him wonders if she’s still annoyed with his refusal to talk to her earlier. If so; good. He doesn’t need her getting any closer than she already is to him. It’s for the best, he reminds himself.

“How’s your head?”

He looks up, shocked she said something as he looks back down to his food, “S’fine.”

“Mind if I take a look?” She pops in another piece of fish, chewing slowly.

“I do actually.” He sighs, hoping she takes the hint and drops it.

Her chair pushes back as she stands up, setting her food down into the seat, “What’s wrong Todoroki?”

He tries to act neutral, “What are you talking about?” 

“This hot and cold act you’ve been giving me since the camp!” Her arms spread out as if to present the fact to him, “One minute you’re distant and the next kind, but then back to cold before showing me that sweet side of you. What happened?”

He knew this would happen so he might as well tell her, “You got sick because of me.”

“No, it was Ken-“

Todoroki’s quick to interrupt, dropping his fork onto his half-eaten food, “No! He meant to poison me. The pancakes- the- the chocolate ones.” He says as if it all should make sense.

“What about the chocolate ones?” She cocks her head as if not understanding.

“I told you I don’t like chocolate. So, you took them and gave me yours. You got sick because you know something about me. You got hurt because of me.” He runs a hand through his hair as he looks away to the still waters, “I can’t let that happen again.”

Silence follows as he closes his eyes, knowing she understands and will respect his wishes. At least he thought she understood until she started laughing.

He snaps his head around to face her as she places a hand across her stomach while the other covers her laughing mouth.

“What is so funny?” He bites out.

“I’m sorry- I’m sorry!” Momo rushes out shaking her head, “It’s just-“ She laughs some more before trying to control her breathing, “You’re so caring without trying to be!”

He just blinks at her, waiting for her to calm down. Once she regains her breathing, she places her arms behind her back and gives him one of those blinding smiles he’s trying to not get use to.

“You’re always looking out for me, making sure I’m alright. But maybe you should be the one being taken care of.”

“Excuse me?” He asks, not at all understanding her.

“What I mean to say is-“ Momo makes a thinking face before finding the correct words to say, “Don’t worry about me getting hurt. When you care about someone. Hurt is part of the package.”

Those words stir something inside of him as she continues, “Learning more about you won’t hurt me at all. I’m glad I got the poison instead of you.”

He just blinks up at her while Momo bends at the waist a bit to level their stares, “Try as you might, you wont get me to hate you. Because it’s to late; I care about you.”

Heat floods his face as he tries to look away but can’t bring himself to do it, “Eh?”

His expression must amuse her because she’s giggling again, “I’ll get annoyed with you, maybe confused; but learning more about you has now become part of my goal. You already know how set I am on my goals.”

“Yaoyorozu-“

She holds her finger up to her lips, silencing him, “Shhh, you’ll scare the fish.”

With that said she takes her food and returns to her seat next to Todoroki as she continues to eat. He thinks over what she said, pondering on why she’s so persistent to know more about him when it almost got her killed. Is this an act to get him to stay with her till they reach Alaska? As soon as that thought enters his mind, it’s already dashed away by his doubt.

She wouldn’t do that.

Glancing at her from the corner of his eye she takes another bite, smiling at the taste of the fish on her tongue.

She wants to know more about him?

That familiar warm feeling enters his stomach again, like a small fire coming to life. It’s not as off-putting as he once thought when it first happened. In fact the warmth feels good on his cold bones.

He wants to smile but his features are cemented in place as he looks down, “I like matcha.”

“Hm?” Momo looks up from her nearly finishes plate of food, “What?”

“I like matcha.” He repeats, feeling the tip of his nose burn as he tries to hide it from her, “My sister use to make it for me after my lessons.”

That’s all he could share; anymore might cause a break in his resolve, and that’s something he never wants to happen.

Though she seems to understand as her smile slowly returns to her face and she nods, “Alright.”

They turn back to the sun as it dips over the horizon, putting an end to this exhausting day. When it rises tomorrow, with it will come a new day where maybe he can learn something about Momo. Because now he feels a slight excitement at that prospect and it feels good to look forward to something for the first time in forever.

//~~~~~~~End Ch 19~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

//~~~~~~~~~~Ch 20~~~~~~~~~\\ 


"They're right behind us!" Momo breaths out heavily as their feet pound the pavement of the road.

Todoroki motions with his knife up ahead, "Duck in there!"

Momo follows his knife to the old RV sitting along the side of the road with all its engines organs spilt out. Whoever owned it must have been trying to repair it.

They reach the RV and throw open the doors, though they stumble back when an old hunter lunges at them from inside. Momo brings down her bat on its shoulder sending it to the ground as Todoroki ends it with his knife.

"Quick!" He doesn't give her time to admire their teamwork, since he's pushing her inside the swinging door.

As soon as he closes it behind him, they duck down onto the dirty carpet to wait.

Within a few minutes, the sounds of a small herd begins outside. Not the biggest they've seen but when they saw it coming out of the woods, they made a run for it; in hopes they weren't seen yet.

Some of the bodies bump and scrape against the vehicle, but none make an attempt to get in which is a good sign. The duo waits, holding their breath for it to pass like so many others.

Momo holds her bat to her chest, looking to Todoroki as he presses his back to the door; ready to fight should something try and come through it.

This should be a terrifying moment. They could be discovered and possibly ripped apart at any second. But all Momo can focus on is the plush looking bed that she can see at the end of the RV. The accordion like door cracked enough to make out a mattress and a blanket peeking out. Her heavy eyes keep glancing at it longingly.

It's been over a week since they escaped the camp, and Momo's having trouble sleeping.

The first night away from the camp, in their little fishing shack; Momo drifted to sleep, only to be awakened by a horrifying nightmare of Ken getting shot, over and over. It's the first time she didn't dream about the bunker, but this isn't exactly better. Sometimes it wasn't Ken on the edge of the lake; and instead it was her parents. Other times they weren't shot, but instead ripped apart by the hunters.

She's afraid to sleep and see it again so she's always volunteering to stay watch first. When it's Todoroki's turn, she sometimes pretends to sleep or just studies her English to pass the time. She thinks he's starting to suspect something.

After fifteen minutes of silence Todoroki's the first to peek out the window and signal that it's all clear. Momo's instantly up, stretching her back from squatting for so long.

"Let's look around for anything useful." Todoroki's already at the front of the RV.

Momo gets to looking through the old brown cabinets, finding dirty pots and pans, along with some questionable boxes of instant meals.

"Check this out." Momo holds up two small cartons of instant ramen and shakes them, "Tonight, we eat like royalty."

Todoroki blows out a puff of air in amusement as he turns back around to check the overhead compartment on the driver’s side, "You consider ramen a five star meal?"

"It is when you've been having squirrel and pop tarts for the past week." She says, sticking her tongue out at his back before standing, "But I'm not finding much."

"Same here." Todoroki shuts the empty compartment, "It'll be dark soon. We can stay here."

At that Momo scrunches her face up, "Can we at least open a window? It smells like garbage in here."

"That’s the smell of rotting flesh." He brushes by her in the narrow walk way as he pushes open a tall window that's no bigger than his arm. It'll be safe enough for now to leave it open, "You're not use to it yet?"

"I don't want to get used to it." Momo pouts as she walks to the back and slides the accordion door open to get a good look at the bed. It takes up the whole back of the camper with blankets skewed every which way. It's almost unsettling to think that the last person to sleep in it is dead. She closes it quickly so as not to look at it any longer. No matter how sleepy she is; it just doesn't feel right now that she’s thinking about it like this.

They heat up the ramen and find themselves sitting in the driver and passenger seats, staring out at the open road. The sun's already setting, casting the sky in a soft orange that Momo loves to admire. She picks up a clump of noodles on her fork before blowing at the steam.

Todoroki meanwhile is slurping his noodles, not even caring if he made a sound. She glances at him with wide eyes as he faces her with that neutral look he's coined as his own.

He bites off the noodles and swallows as he raises a brow at her stare, "What?"

Momo giggles, looking forward, "Nothing! It's just you have atrocious manners."

Not even offended a little; he looks back to the steering wheel, "Am I offending your delicate sensibilities?"

"Not at all." Momo shrugs, twirling her fork around the next bite, "Just picturing what face my parents would make if they could see it."

"I'll have you know I can be a proper gentleman when the occasion calls for it."

"Oh, can you?" Momo loves when he gets like this. A small sense of playfulness to his tone as his eyes seem to break from their stone cold procedure to allow her a moment of his relaxed side.

"My father use to drag me to all these dinner parties." His voice waivers as if remembering something, "I felt it was to show me off. Like his prized weapon."

"Todoroki-san," Momo feels her heart ache as he looks down to his half cup of noodles, "You're no ones weapon anymore."

"I'm your weapon, aren't I?" He faces her expectantly, "I'm getting you to Alaska in one piece. Sounds like something a weapon would do."

She has no idea how he could think of her like that, "Do you really believe I think of you as a weapon?"

He shrugs, "It's nothing bad. I'd rather be your weapon than his. At least you don't make me do anything I don't want to."

Momo leans back in the large leather seat with sad eyes. It's obvious Todoroki doesn't want to talk about it anymore since he's back to slurping his food. She doesn't want to push it so she instead forces a smile, "You know. My parents took me to a lot of dinner parties as well. What do you think the chances are that we went to the same party at one point?"

"There could be a chance." He says around his food.

"I use to get all dressed up in these gowns. My mother would go all in! When she enters a room, people notice her. I always wanted to be like that."

"You don't think people notice you?" 

Momo lifts her shoulders in a subtle way, "You haven't seen my mom. She's so pretty. My dad says she lights up any room with her smile." She sighs happily.

Todoroki hums in thought as Momo blushes, changing the subject quickly, "I used to hang out by the food. But if the host had a pet; good luck seeing me anywhere but in their study with it."

Her companion smiles a bit at that which she's relieved because it means he's coming out of his thoughts.

She takes another bite of her food before setting her cup in the holder between the seats and reaching for the glove box.

"It's locked." Todoroki says and she nods.

"I'll get it open." She leans back picking up her backpack before dragging it over the seat and riffling through it for her tools. Once in hand she takes out two long thin metal sticks and begins, though feels his eyes on her as she glances over her shoulder to see him chewing and admiring her work, "Dinner and a show?"

He shrugs, "It's the most interesting thing going on right now."

She feels her cheeks glow since he called her work interesting as she faces forward, "Thanks, I guess."

Within a minute the lock pops open and she gives a victory sign to him before placing her tools to the side for later. Inside are a bunch of road maps, some receipts, and registration papers along with a passport. Momo hands some maps over to Todoroki as she picks up her noodles and places her feet up on the dash of the RV.

Todoroki finishes his noodles quickly before accepting the map and spreading it out on the console next to her feet. He's reading it intensely before taking out his own map and comparing them.

"So what's it say, map whisperer?" She asks after swallowing her food.

He gives her a raised brow at the name before pointing to some routs, "We can either enter Colorado, or Nebraska from this split here. Either way it's closer to Alaska."

Momo leans forward and looks over it with a nod, "Nebraska seems like a good choice."

He folds it, "I agree."

Todoroki looks to the sun that's nearly set, casting the sky in slow creeping darkness, "We should get some sleep."

"I'll take first watch!" Momo says quickly and he agrees, though his eyes show he knows somethings up.

"Sure."

The RV seat doesn't recline, but he also doesn't move to take the bed in the back. Instead he adjusts his body to lean against the side door and closes his eyes. Momo digs through her bag, taking out her English studies and squints in the growing darkness. She hates reading in the dark, but it's better than just staring out at the road, waiting for something to happen.

She feels she's beginning to get a grasp on basic conversation.

Hello, how are you?

Do you know where the bathroom is?

I'm looking for my parents...

She looks up every so often to take in her surroundings, though it's the same as always. At one point a hunter stumbles across the road up ahead and Momo watches till it's out of sight. It doesn't even look at the RV or have the basic motor functions to process a possible meal might be inside.

When the half moon is high overhead, Todoroki stirs from his slumber. She smiles as he takes in the supposed time around him.

"Why didn't you wake me?" He rubs at his eyes and she can't help but think how cute he looks, "It's past my shift."

Momo shuts her book with a shrug, "Guess I got so lost in my studies."

"Well, it's your turn now. You can take the bed in the back." He cracks his stiff neck both ways and she hears the sickening pop of it.

"You sure? I can stay up a bit longer."

He fixes her with that stare; the same one that means he's on to her and she presses her lips together in a thin line as she inhales through her nose; knowing what's about to come.

"Yaoyorozu-"

"I'm fine!" She says quickly, "It was just an offer. I'll get some sleep. But not back there."

"Something wrong with that bed?"

Momo shakes her head gently, "I just don't want to."

"Alright. You can stay up here with me." He says taking out his gun and an oil rag to clean it with. Even though it's very dark outside and inside; Todoroki could take apart his gun and re-assemble it blindfolded. It's actually quite interesting to watch him give such care to an object.

She settles back in the large leather seat, picking her feet up and curling them under her as she crosses her arms. Todoroki's jacket still securely on her body, keeping her warm. He still hasn't asked for it back, but she's caught him staring at it from time to time so it's not lost on him that she's claimed it as her own.

Maybe he just feels weird asking for it back?

It no longer has his scent on it which is sad because she misses flipping the collar up and nuzzling her nose into it for that comfort.

Coming out of her thoughts, she closes her eyes and tries to focus on anything other than the fear of what's waiting for her in her subconscious.

"Momo! Momo darling!" Her mother calls as her father waves over to her.

Momo's sitting in that canoe, as it lazily floats in the perfectly mirrored water of the camps lake. She smiles back and waves in return.

Out from the tree's the hunters come in droves. Decaying faces and limbs jerking as they run towards her picture perfect family. Screeching like vultures, ready for their next meal.

Momo feels strangely calm, as if she knows what must be done.

She turns her head ever so slightly and catches sight of Todoroki holding his gun at eye level.

Her voice doesn't work, though she already knows this and doesn't even try as she hears the click of the hammer striking the chamber.

The bullet sails over her head as she follows it, watching it strike her mother between the eyes. Her father though isn't as fortunate as the hunters reach him first. He's jerked backwards and into the mess of limbs and teeth.

Todoroki's voice can be heard clearly in her ear, "I promised you. Didn't I?"

Her eyes snap open as she gasps for air, looking around.

"Yaoyorozu"

She turns to face Todoroki; finding him staring at her with concerned eyes, "You alright?"

Placing a hand over her rapidly beating heart she nods quickly, "Yeah! Of course! Just, um- just a bad dream."

"You've been having a lot of those lately."

She forces a smile and sits up, smoothing out her jacket- erm- his jacket before turning to look out the window. The moon is low, leaning it'll be day break soon.

"We should get ready to head out at first light."

His dual color eyes stare holes into the side of her head; she can feel them. After a moment longer of this she hears him stand and crawl over the seat divider. Blowing out a breath of air in relief she follows.

They collect their stuff before Todoroki heads out first to check the area. He signals her and she joins him quickly as they continue on their way.

As they walk Momo scratches at her hair, feeling it caked with dirt and sweat. With each day that passes, she feels less and less like a human and more like a street cat. Not that there's anything wrong with street cats. Momo always gets so excited when she spots any feline; but usually the ones without collars are the ones infested with fleas and covered in dirt. She doesn't want to be a street cat anymore.

She pulls out her ponytail and reties it back up, hating the heavy weight to her hair. The days where she would brush it before her mirror are long gone. Maybe she should cut it? Sadness instantly fills her as she closes her eyes.

No! She loves her long hair! Her mother would spend hours playing with it while Momo sat in front of the coffee table doing her homework. So many memories of her mother styling it before parties and before school. It's something they did together, ever since she was little.

"Yaoyorozu?"

"Hm?" Momo snaps from her thought as she turns to her companion, "Yes?"

"You're strangely quiet."

She smiles softly at him, "I thought you prefer it when I'm silent."

Todoroki looks up in thought, "Yeah, I do."

Momo gasps as she playfully slaps his arm, "Todoroki-san!"

He cracks a smile as he looks to her, "What?"

In that moment she's struck by how handsome he is. Mouth curved upwards, eyes squinting in the bright sun. She knows if he had gone to school with her, he'd be the guy all the girls fawn over. If this were any other situation they wouldn't be together like this. Todoroki-san is confident and brave. He'd be just another classmate that didn't want to be friends with her.

"Nothing," Momo faces the road, loosing herself in thoughts.

Todoroki doesn't seem to want to drop the subject, much to her really wishing he would.

Though it seems luck is upon her because she stops dead in her tracks, causing Todoroki to stop as well as he brings his knife up, expecting her to have seen danger, "What is it?"

She points her finger forward, "A dog."

"Wha?"

Sure enough, up ahead on the road is a lovely chocolate brown and white dog walking along the road.

"It must be a stray- What are you doing?" Todoroki looks at her as she crouches down and clicks her tongue.

"Hey sweetie!" Momo coo's as the dog swivels its head back to look at them, "Awww, so cute! Good doggie!"

"Yaoyorozu you don't know if that thing has rabies." Todoroki grasps the back of her backpack and pulls her to stand back up, "It could be dangerous."

"Aw. but at em' Todoroki-san!" She waves to the dog as it faces forward, "It looks so well fed."

He releases her bag as she walks forward carefully, stopping half way to crouch again, "Come here! Sweet baby."

The dog slowly turns around and crouches low as if scares. She smiles warmly at it, encouraging it to come closer.

"It's alright honey. No one wants to hurt you."

Todoroki scoffs which she purposely ignores, focusing on the task of petting the dog. Which is a timely task as the creature crawls over on low paws. Just as she feels the wet snout bump against the tip of her fingers it turns and looks back at her as she cocks her head, "What is it?"

It faces forward and begins to walk as she stands, smiling at it, "I think it wants us to follow?"

"What?" Todoroki shakes his head, "No, we have a plan."

"Come on! Let's go!" Momo ignores him as she jogs to catch up to the dog.

She hears his annoyed huff of air as he follows reluctantly. Together they walk several paces behind the dog on the deserted highway. They're walking for a good ten minutes before Todoroki reaches out and takes her wrist gently into his warm hand. She looks up into his dual eyes that always seem to be lighter or darker depending on any variable.

"Yaoyorozu, we can't follow this dog. We have a plan and a route to stay set on."

Momo's tired eyes lower as she leans into his warmth, "I know, but I have a feeling-"

"A feeling?" He drops her hand, "You're just tired."

A bark pulls both their attention to the dog up ahead as it walks near a tall sound wall on the highway with a large crack in the bottom. The two tone dog slides under it and disappears.

"What’s back there?" Momo jogs up ahead, hearing Todoroki sigh as he follows non the less.

They stop at the large crack that's big enough for them to squeeze through. They find themselves behind a large cookie cutter house, standing in an overgrown lawn. "It's a house," Momo observes as she lifts her boots to step over the tall grass, "Looks deserted."

"Yaoyorozu, wait-" Todoroki walks in front of her as he takes the lead and they walk around the side of the home to the gate. It slide open with a rough push as they peek out into the street.

From the looks of it, it's a newly built neighborhood still in renovations. Three fully built houses sit on the street while eight more are half standing with construction equipment sitting in the overgrown lawns.

"It's a community." Todoroki observes, "Must have still been in the development stages."

"Looks clear." Momo walks from around the open fence and into the street as Todoroki follows, "And clean."

“Stay vigilant,” He reminds her as he has his knife out; eyes sweeping for any signs of danger.

Momo returns to the backyard, looking for their new friend, “Where did he go?” She whispers, sweeping through the tall grass.

A small sound pulls their attention to the back porch where two French doors sit closed. Though near the side is a swinging doggie door. Momo goes to it first and squats next to it, “This must be his home.”

Todoroki joins her as he looks through the glass panels of the door, “Looks empty.” He taps his knuckles to the door and they wait. After a few minutes of him repeating this with no action means the place should be cleared out. Momo picks the lock on the door, once again feeling his eyes on her as she turns to smile up at him.

“I can teach you once we clear the place out.” 

He huffs, not answering but she knows he would like that as she faces forward and twists the unlocked handle. Todoroki steps in first as she peeks over his shoulder to look around the place.

“Sweetie?” She whispers.

“What?” He instantly turns to her and Momo’s face turns bright red as she takes a step back, holding her hands up.

“I- um was calling the dog.”

The way his face morphs into that of shock and realization are humorous enough that if she also wasn’t feeling completely embarrassed she would have laughed.

“I knew that.” He faces forward and she covers her mouth with the back of her hand to hide her smile.

The universe seemed to want to spare them the awkward silence because the sound of nails on the hardwood floor caught their attention as the dog peeks around the corner. Momo drops to her knees, holding her arms out, “Hey there!”

The dog’s tongue hangs out as he trots over and snuggles against her side as she pets him, “Aw what a sweetie.”

She hears Todoroki cough and looks up to see that familiar blush highlighting his cheeks as she smiles coyly up at him, “You know I can always call you-“

“Don’t even think about it.” He beats her to the punch as he turns away to look around the home. 

Momo giggles as she nuzzles her face into the dogs neck, “Thanks for taking us here-“ She glances under his stomach briefly before nodding, “Boy- defiantly a boy.”

“Yaoyorozu,” Todoroki calls from the other room as she stands and walks past the open kitchen to the laundry room, pausing at the open door.

“Wow,” She takes in the sight of the mountain of dog food stacked by the washing machine. A good chunk of the empty bags are pushed to the side while two are ripped open and spilled out across the floor, “Guess that explains why the dog looks so well fed.”

“It’s lucky the owner bought so much before the sickness.” Todoroki moves around Momo to the hallway, “This place is obviously a demo home.”

“Demo home?” Momo looks around to the fake picture frames with random people in it skiing, camping and at sporting events, “Like to sell?”

“Yeah, they’re building exact replicas but they wanted to start selling so this is the one they show to people.” Todoroki walks them into the open livingroom that has simploe furniture along with some fake props scattered out like books, wine glasses and a cardboard TV, “Which might benefit us.”

“How so?” Momo peeks up the staircase to the side.

“Usually demo homes have their own water system.” 

Momo pauses and looks to Todoroki with wide eyes, “You mean-“ She pauses and takes a deep breath, “Like showers and stuff?”

He nods once, “Yeah, it’s-“ He didn’t get to finish as Momo rushes up the stairs and he follows, “Yaoyorozu, wait!”

Momo funds the first bedroom to her right that has a bathroom in it. She runs to the shower, swinging open the glass door and turning the silver handle. The pipes groan before sputtering out water. Momo holds her hand out and feels that it’s cold but that really doesn’t bother her.

A SHOWER! An ACTUAL shower!

“I need to use this!” She announces quickly, turning to Todoroki in the doorway, “Get out.”

“Wha-“ He blinks as her, though Momo doesn’t give him any more time as she gently pushes him to the door, “Go go go, I’m going to take a shower.”

“Yaoyorozu, we need to check-“ He doesn’t get to finish because she slams the door in his face.

Maybe that was kind of rude, but the prospect of taking an actual shower that’s not in a gas station bathroom, or a dirty lake sounds like actual heaven to her. As soon as the door is shut she’s dropping her bag and pulling off her jacket- or yeah, it’s Todoroki’s jacket. She strips bare and looks at herself in the mirror. Her skin is caked in mud, sweat, and stains from all kinds of nature elements. Pulling the hairband from her hair, she feels the black tresses fall around her as she steps in the shower. The water is very cold but once again, who cares?

She closes her eyes and lets it wash over her as she sighs loudly. After a few minutes she looks to her left to see several new bottles of soap lining the pristine marble counter. Not knowing at all what they say she takes the first one and squirts a generous amount of white liquid in her hand and begins to scrub her hair. Feeling her nails rake against her scalp is enough to send her into a state of pure bliss. She does this with two of the other soaps, also making sure to rub down her body. The water pooling around her feet is dark brown as she kicks it to the drain. 

If she closes her eyes while showering, she can almost picture she’s back at home getting ready for school or going out with her parents. Before she knows it she finds herself humming while brushing her fingers through her black hair. 

When she finds she’s been in there long enough, the guilt from kicking Todoroki out starts to come to her as she sighs and turns off the water. Maybe he’d also like to take a shower?

She thinks back at the camp, how he stood in the lake and when she peeked at him those muscles greeted her. Stepping from the shower she pats her cheeks to snap her out of such un-lady like thoughts.

The towel she grabs is soft, almost as if it’s new and never been through a dryer in it’s lifetime. She uses the other to scrub through her hair until it’s no longer dripping around her. 

Taking a deep breath she opens the door a crack and peeks into the bedroom that she hardly got to look at, “Todoroki-san?”

He’s standing near the large window, looking out onto the streets below. She takes a step out of the bathroom, hugging her towel to her chest. He glances over at her and she feels her heart race as his eyes sweep over her not once but twice before looking back to the window, “You done?”

“Yeah,” She bites her lip and walks to the bed where the dog is curled up on as she pets it, “Sorry about slamming the door on you.”

“S’fine,” He shrugs, “Just don’t do it again.” 

“I promise!” Momo insists as she walks to the closet near the window, “Wow they even have clothes in here!”

“It’s modeled to look lived in.” He says as she looks over her shoulder to make sure he’s not looking as she drops the towel around her feet and steps into the closet. Honestly she’s never been this brazen around someone of the opposite sex before. Momo from several months ago would be a blushing mess at the idea of being naked in a room with a boy. Now she’s cavorting around as naked as the day she was born behind Todoroki’s back. If it had been anyone else she wouldn’t even have come out. But since it’s Todoroki, she feels she can trust him.

She looks along the clothes and touches some as she talks to him, “How do you know so much about places like this?”

“When I came to the states, I looked at a few properties to rent. A lot of them are like this.” He says and she peeks out the closet to see him still by the window before pulling some some clothes. Not exactly her size but she’ll make due. She doesn’t want to put back on her dirty clothes. Maybe they can wash them if the set downstairs works!

“That’s so cool! Living on your own.” Momo sighs at the thought, “Did you find a place?”

“Yeah, I found a place.” He doesn’t go into it further.

She buttons the burgundy, long sleeve shirt and smooths down the shorts before stepping out, “I always thought my first place would be a dorm, or maybe an apartment for college.”

He glances at her as she walks to the dresser and touches some of the items scattered on top. A pair of cuff links, a watch, some earrings; before landing on the handle of an elegant teal brush. 

Finally!

Picking it up she drops down onto the bed next to the dog and proceeds to running it through her knotted hair. The pull of the knots sting and bring tears to her eyes but it has to be done. She inhales before raking it thoroughly.

“The house is clear, I’ll be downstairs.” Todoroki leaves the room, allowing Momo to take her time in combing her freshly wet hair. 

With every knot she frees she feels herself becoming the woman she once was before all of this. It takes some time and patience but she eventually is able to run the object through without it snagging on anything. Her arm hurts now as she drops the brush next to the dog and leans back into the bed with a sign. 

Now clean, wearing fresh clothes, and perfectly combed hair; Momo feels her eyes grow heavier by the second. She yawns behind her hand as she crawls up to the pillow and snuggles into it’s warmth. The dog scoots up next to her as she gives it a soft pet before falling asleep willingly for the first time since that camp came into their lives.

//~~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 20~~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

//~~~~~~~~~~Ch 21~~~~~~~~~\\

Todoroki checks on Momo for the seventh time since he first left her to brush her hair. 

She’s still asleep.

Sighing he makes his way back downstairs and does another check of the perimeter if nothing to just past the time. She’s been asleep for over four hours now, and while he realizes she has needed the rest, it’s concerning to say. In this new world you can’t sleep as deeply as you want without consequences. Maybe she’s getting to comfortable here. 

She lets out a moan as she turns her head to the side as if looking away from something. Todoroki walks to the bed and looks down. Her bare legs are curled up as her toes point downwards. He glances next to the bed to see her boots still there waiting for her, untouched. That’s concerning…

Should he go wake her? Would that be wrong?

Settling on letting her rest, he takes station in the kitchen; rotating from the living room and back to make sure nothing sneaks up on them. It’s a welcoming distraction from thinking about her up there and how she was yet again naked near him. Is she that comfortable with him that she’d just drop her towel and assume he wouldn’t look? Of course, he didn’t look but that didn’t mean the muscle in his jaw didn’t tighten or the coil in his lower stomach didn’t pull and heat up. 

She’s acting as though he’s not a threat to her. He just thinks of all the times at the dojo how everyone tensed up around him. No one spoke to him or even made eye contact. Not that he cared because if his father felt someone wanted to challenge him, he would put them on the floor together to settle it. 

It’s strange to have someone trust him so much. Though she forgets he’s still a man with hormones that’s been repressed his whole life. 

Huffing out a lung full of air he collapses in the couch, laying across it as he tries not to think about her soft body. Shame and desire mingling hot in his throat. Closing his eyes, he inhales again to calm himself down. He repeats his action several times as he controls his breathing.

“Todoroki-san”

Opening his eyes, he turns his head to look down at Momo as she sits on her knees next to the cough. She’s smiling up at him in the white towel that’s riding low on her endowed chest.

“You fell asleep,” She leans forward on her hands and knees, eager to see him for some reason.

He reaches out, placing his hand on the side of her face, cupping it gently. She just smiles while leaning into it before turning her face ever so slightly and opened her mouth. Her pink tongue slips out as she gives the palm of his hand a lick. Todoroki just watches as she gives him a teasing look before yet again, slowly dragging her tongue up from the inside of his thumb to his index finger. Her teeth biting down on the tip before she closes her lips around it, taking the whole digit in her mouth. Her tongue pillows his finger as he imagines something else in her mouth.

Todoroki feels her teeth scrape against his skin as she slowly slides it out of her mouth at an agonizing pace. She bites down again on his finger before releasing it and placing a soft kiss onto the abused flesh. Her mouth drops open as she gasps, leaning towards him, begging him to engage her. He blinks down at her, inserting two fingers now back into her mouth, sliding them down her throat. Her tongue is wet and hot as she moans in pleasure. Closing her lips around him, sucking while her head bobs forward. 

He can feel lust burning in his brain as pleasure pours through his veins. All he can focus on is how active her tongue is and how willing she is to please him.

“Yaoyorozu?” He whispers as she releases his finger with a breathy gasp and looks up at him with dark onyx eyes.

“Todoroki-san,” She begs, pushing the material of the towel lower, “Please,”

A loud creak on the stairs has Todoroki snapping his eyes open as he sits up, reaching for his knife. 

“Oh! Sorry! Did I wake you?” Momo smiles nervously from the bottom of the stairs.

He blinks over at her before looking back to the spot next to the couch and back at her. What had just happened?

“I wasn’t sleeping.” He says quickly as he sits up further and places his feet to the ground. He would have stood but something in his lap prevented him from doing so or else she might see. To be safe he reaches over and grasps a decorative pillow before covering his lap with it, “I was just- sitting here.”

She smiles at him as she reaches down and pets behind the dogs’ ears, “Alright. You looked asleep to me but sure. You hungry?”

“Yeah.” He says quickly.

“I’ll go make dinner. I can’t believe I slept for so long! If you want to take a shower go ahead. I’ll wait for you to eat.” She disappears into the kitchen, leaving him and his painful erection to stare at the dog that’s seated at the end of the stairs still.

“What are you looking at?” He grunts to the canine that gets up to follow Momo.

Once alone he stands up and makes his way to the stairs where he finds the bathroom Momo had used earlier. Shutting the door, he sighs, leaning his forehead against the wood.

What the fuck was that?

He didn’t dream, so that had to have just been a hallucination. Lack of sleep? Poor diet? Maybe he was even going insane. But it isn’t because he actually wants to fuck her. He grew up without that urge that so many of his peers had. Todoroki just hadn’t been interested in anything enough to look at it sexually. He’s woken up hard before, but he chalked that up to basic male anatomy in the mornings. It usually went down on its own as he ignores it. 

After a moment of cooling down he turns on the shower and proceeds to strip, all while trying to avoid the memory of the way her tongue felt on his hand. Stepping into the cold shower did little to help his throbbing erection. He tried ignoring it as he washed his hair but it didn’t want to go away as it still fantasized about her and her ministrations. The detail her tongue used when running over his fingers and how soft it felt against his skin.

‘Todoroki’ Her breathy voice begging him to do things to her.

He leans his back against the cold marble wall as the freezing water assaults his senses. He can’t do this. It would be wrong to do what he’s thinking about. She’s so innocent and kind; she wouldn’t hurt a fly and she’s saved him a handful of times. She deserved better than him jerking off to her in the shower while she’s downstairs. He inhales deeply as he turns his head to the side and grasps onto his dick. He can think of other things that’ll get this down. But what should he think about? He doesn’t specifically have a dream woman he fantasias about to get him to completion. What did he even find attractive in a woman? 

Dark hair is the first thing that comes to mind. Black, specifically.

Slowly his hand pulls up and he hisses under his breath at the pleasing feel of finally chasing his needs. 

Intelligent eyes, slanted up at him. They don’t need to be any identifying color, though deep onyx ones would be preferred.

Pumping it slowly he bucks his hips forward before pulling his hand away as he pictures Momo on her knees in the shower with him. Her big onyx eyes looking up as she opens her mouth; black hair falling around her like a curtain.

He can’t do this. 

But the erection’s becoming nearly painful as he gives in seconds later and goes back to stroking it. The motions range from up and down to slight twisting strokes from tip to base. He opens his mouth in a silent moan as he pictures her doing this to him; touching him like this. Her wet body pressing up against his own till her breasts slide against his wet chest. 

Todoroki’s release is like a white, hot flash behind his eyes. His hips buck forward as his head hits the wall of the shower. The pleasure is short lived as shame fills him.

“Fuck” He whispers to the empty room.

After he cleans all the evidence by swatting it down the drain, he dries off, changing into his jeans and a fresh shirt from the closet. Though as he’s lacing his boots up, he notices Momo’s boots still sitting by her bag near the end of the bed. 

He walks down the stairs and hears that familiar humming he heard earlier when she was in the shower. It’s peppy, happy, almost borderline dreamlike as he walks into the kitchen to see her stand before the island in the middle of the kitchen, swiping peanut butter on some crackers with a knife from the block behind her. When she spots him in the entryway her eyes light up and the guilt at what he just did takes another bite out of him.

“Wow, so there IS a person under all that dirt and grime.” She winks playfully as she slides the plate closer to him, “Eat up.”

“You seem-“ He picks up a cracker and eyes the glob of creamy sustenance on the top, “Cheerful”

Momo giggles to herself as she screws the lid back on, “I’m always cheerful.”

“Not since the camp.” He says, noticing how she freezes up and her eyes squint down at the jar, “You know we’re out of here tomorrow morning right?”

“Of course,” Momo puts the jar in the cabinet instead of the open bag on the table that has their supplies in it. He raises a brow at that and looks down to her bare feet padding across the wood floor.

“Don’t get comfortable.”

“I’m far from comfortable.” Momo rolls her eyes as she takes a cracker for herself, “I know the deal Todoroki; we’ll be gone by sun up.”

Outside the sun set a few hours ago, casting everything in a dark shadow. The two teens eat their meal as Momo goes on to explore the rest of the house with Todoroki. There’s another bedroom, along with a nursery down the hall that Momo coo’s over briefly before shutting the door. She manages to find a chew toy and sits with the dog downstairs in the living room while Todoroki looks over their maps. The only light they have is a single candle sitting lit on the coffee table, providing enough light for Todoroki to read.

“Why do you think they have a dog here?” 

Todoroki looks up at Momo as he considers her question, “The dog could be considered just another prop in this house.”

“Hm?” She cocks her head as he continues.

“The big American dream, a house with a yard, two point three kids and a dog.” He waives his hand as he goes back to looking at the maps, “The real-estate owner could have had him here to give the illusion of home.”

“Well, I wouldn’t have just left him here.” She turns back to the furry baby and smiles, “What should I call you?” Momo smiles sweetly to the dog as Todoroki looks up from his map again.

“Nothing, because we’re not keeping him.”

The shocked look she gives him is painfully amusing as she pouts, “Come on Todoroki-san! He needs us!”

“We can’t take care of him out there.”

“What happens when the food runs out here?”

Todoroki scoffs, “Then he’ll forage for food like the rest of the wild animals out there.”

“Or die” She gasps, “We can’t let that happen!”

“Yaoyorozu-“

Momo gets on her knees next to the couch where he’s sitting and gives him her best puppy dog eyes, “Please Todoroki-san!”

The way she’s kneeling reminds him of his ‘dream’ as he looks away, “You should be worried about getting to Alaska; not some dog.”

“How about Michi?” Momo puts a finger to her chin, “Such a cute name.”

“Are you listening to me?” He stares at her as she turns back to the dog and ruffles his fur.

“Of course, I am!” She smirks over her shoulder at him, “Would you prefer I call him sweetie or did you call dibs on that?”

Todoroki feels his heart leap up into his throat. Is she flirting with him? Is this woman seriously flirting with him after he just told her to leave the dog here to die?

‘Try as you might, you won’t get me to hate you. Because it’s too late; I care about you.’

Breathing in through his nose he feels the side of his mouth quirk up, “I was here first so yeah. Call me sweetie.”

“T-Todoroki-san!” Momo’s face flushes pink as she covers it with her hands, “So bold.”

It’s cute how flustered she got over him simple responding to her playful jab at him. He folds the map and slides it back into his bag, “I’m going to get some sleep.”

“Alright, I’ll keep watch.” She‘s already back to playing with the dog as he walks by her.

“Don’t get attached Yaoyorozu. We’re leaving him here at dawn.” He reminds her as he walks from the kitchen, not even stopping to hear her reply if there was even one.

He goes up the stairs to the bedroom with the attached bathroom and looks over the disturbed blankets that Yaoyorozu had slept in earlier. Instead of taking the bed he picks up the pillow and blanket and makes a small nest like spot between the bed and side wall next to the window. Always ready to escape, should the time call for it.

As he settles down, he keeps glancing over at Momo’s boots by her bag and wonders if she’s comfortable here because it reminds her of her old life, or—

Shaking his head, he decides that he doesn’t care and closes his eyes to force sleep onto him. Which it does as his body succumbs to the need of more energy. He luckily doesn’t have any more dreams or hallucinations just as he’s always done. It’s how he likes it.

When he wakes up, it’s the middle of the night, meaning he’s gotten at least three hours of sleep. That’s more than he’s had in a while so his body feels quite sluggish as he stands up. 

Momo’s boots are still by her bag as he walks by them and down the stairs. He finds Momo snuggled comfortably on the couch with her English book and a flashlight. She hears the floors creek as she shines it towards him as he uses his hand to block the light from his eyes, “Hey.”

“Oh, hello Todoroki-san,” She lowers the light to her book again, “Up already?”

“I slept way to long.” He cracks his neck to the side, hearing the satisfying pop, “Everything alright down here?”

Momo nods as she closes her book, “Michi and I have been reading,“ She reaches down to the end of the couch where the dog is curled up. The dog seems touch starved as it snuggles its snout into her hand.

Grunting he turns to the kitchen to get his water but pauses when he looks around the kitchen to find their supply bag emptied out and on the counter.

“Wha-“

“Oh!” Momo shoulders past him and holds her arm out, “I was going through our supplies; checking what we have.”

His eyebrow twitches in annoyance as he walks into the kitchen, “So you just left it out?”

“Sorry, I got sidetracked by my book,” She scratches the back of her hair, “I’ll put it away.”

“What if we had to make a quick get away?”

Momo pouts and taps her fingers on the counter, “I would have-“

“No, you wouldn’t because we’d have to leave this stuff and go,” He snaps and she winces.

“Todoroki-san?”

He sighs loudly, “You’re too comfortable here.” 

“Excuse me?” She raises a brow at his tone, “I’m what?”

“Comfortable. You’re acting as if this isn’t the god damn apocalypse outside,” He points to the back door, “Any second a horde of hunters could rush us and eat us for a midnight snack and you’re reclining and reading a book?”

“Well what do you expect me to do? Constantly look out a window like you?” She puts her hands on her hips.

“Yes!” Todoroki throws his hands up, “Be vigilant! That’s what I’ve been teaching you! Don’t let your guard down just for a shower and clean clothes! Ever since we got here you’ve been acting like it’s summer break at your own private home.”

“I have not!”

“What’s going on Yaoyorozu?”

“I-“

“Because ever since we left the camp-“


“Todoroki-“

“You haven’t been sleeping. When we’re out there you look like you’re about to give up any second!” He snaps.

“I’m not!”

“You want to let your guard down. Why? That could get you killed. Have you forgotten about your parents?”

That might have been a low blow, since her face goes hard and her eyes narrow, “Of course I haven’t. They’re all I can think about. I’m always wondering if they’re alive, or safe. If they met a similar fate like Ken’s or if they weren’t as lucky. I’m always wondering…. So, excuse me for wanting a moment to forget and focus on something other than the living dead that are outside these doors.” She has tears prickling the corners of her eyes, “I just wanted one moment.”

“Yaoyorozu,” He exhales, calming himself down, “We don’t have the luxury to forget. What happened to Ken, happens… period. It happened to billions of people and it’s still happening to this very day. We can’t just kick off our shoes and shut our eyes.”

“I know.” She hiccups and looks away. Michi presses his wet nose to her hand for comfort, “I know.”

His heart feels as though it’s growing heavier with every tear that leaks out of her eyes. He knows that look on her face very well. It’s the same one he wore every time he looked at his father, “How long have you been carrying this anger?”

“I’m not angry.” Momo whispers, “I’m not.”

“Yes, you are.”

The way she looks over at him would have frozen any man under that stare, “No.”

“Let it out,” He finds himself saying, “Let it out Yaoyorozu.”

She swallows as she storms away from him and he follows up the stairs to the bedroom. Momo sits on the bed as she shoves her boots on, knotting the laces tightly, “Is that what you want?”

He stands in the doorway watching as she stands up and grabs the bat from her bag before shouldering by him and heading downstairs, “I can be vigilant! I can do that!”

Todoroki follows as she throws open the front door and storms out into the deserted street, “I can survive this world, even though you apparently don’t think I can!” She points her bat at him, “You think I’m weak!”

She storms down the middle of the street to one of the half-built houses, stopping out front, clenching the bat so tightly her knuckles turn white. Todoroki follows close behind, watching her every move.

“Yaoyorozu, when you hold that anger in it’s bound to flow over at some point.”

“Alright you want to hear me say it?” She rounds on him, pointing the bat out at him, “I AM angry! I’m mad and frustrated that the only time I sleep, I’m having nightmares of that place or- or-“ Her eyes bubble over with tears, “Why does there need to be so much blood Todoroki? I don’t want to get used to it but I am. Even in my sleep the blood is as normal as when I’m awake. I don’t want people dying to be normal for me!”

He stays silent, allowing her this moment to let it out. He knew this has been something coming for a long time now.

“I want to go to college, and see my parents, and- and eat real food bought from a store. I don’t want to kill! But I have- I- I killed a hunter with this.” She holds the bat up to the moon, “I just- I don’t want to be mad anymore.”

She soundlessly drops to her knees, scuffing them on the hard pebbles of the road, “I just want to go back to how it used to be.”

Todoroki walks forward slowly until he’s standing over her crying form, “It’s about time you broke.”

She looks up at him, and he’s glad it’s a full moon out because he’s sure he wouldn’t have seen her otherwise as her eyes reflect up at him, “What?”

He squats down before her so they’re at eye level, “Now that you’ve hit rock bottom; we can build you back up. Make you stronger.”

She doesn’t answer him, which is fine because he has more to say, “I’ve been where you are right now. You feel helpless, like nothing can possibly help you right now. You just want to give up and let the dark thoughts in…” He reaches up and places his hand over the scar on his left eye, “You can’t let it.”

Her eyes dart over to his scar as they widen and he feels the same sting of hot water that he did so many years ago, “If you give up, it means you never wanted it.”

“I-“ She breaths out, “I want it.”

“Billions of people are dead, and the only reason you’re not with them right now is because you’re strong enough to live.” He removes the hand from over his scar and holds it out to her, “You were strong enough to get away from the people that took you right?”

She doesn’t answer but he continues, “You fight when you’re backed into a corner! Those bastards that chased you to the gas station? You fought them! The men that took you after that, you didn’t give up! Even when poisoned you got back up, every step of the fucking way you’ve fought.”

“You’re allowed to scream. You’re allowed to cry, but you do not give up.”

Like a dam breaking; her tears increased as she bows her head, but her hand reaches up and snatches into his outstretched one, “Todoroki-san.”

“Use this anger.” He squeezes her hand, “Don’t shy away or fear it. Use it to survive; bend it to your will.”

Momo sobs as she nods her head, “I will.”

“Yeah?” He feels a smile curl at the corner of his mouth, “You promise me?”

“I promise you Todoroki-san!” She shouts as the tears overlap and drip down her chin, “I’ll become stronger!”

The first rays of the sun peek over the horizon, casting the two teens in its twilight glow. Starting a new day for the both of them. 

He looks down to their joined hands and feels the weight on his heart ease itself, “Todoroki-san?”

He hums, watching her blink past her tears, “Yeah?”

“I really think were becoming friends,” She squeezes his hand as she gives a weak smile, “Is that okay?”

She’s quoting what she said to him during that thunder storm in the tree stand. She said that to him and he said, ‘I don’t know.’

Swallowing the lump in his throat he sighs loudly, “Maybe”

Todoroki cocks his head at her as she pulls her hand away and lunges forward, wrapping her arms around his neck. She pulls him into the tightest hug he’s ever received from her or anyone that he can remember.

Instead of holding his arms out like he usually did, he wraps them around her back and squeezes back just as hard. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have her as a friend. His heart beats a little faster at the very idea of allowing someone to possibly touch it.

After a good, long hug he’s the first to pull away, holding her shoulders at arm’s length as she uses her hands to dry her eyes, “You ready to head out?”

“That depends,” She whispers and he raises a brow.

“On what?”

Lowering her hands, she smiles, blinking those impossibly beautiful eyes up at him, “Can we keep the dog?”

Todoroki feels a small laugh bubble past his lips as he closes his eyes, “Damn it.”

//~~~~~~~~End Ch 21~~~~~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

//~~~~~~~~~Ch 22~~~~~~~~~~~\\

“Michi! Go fetch!” Momo throws the stick across the parking lot as the brown and white dog sprints after it. She claps happily as their dog picks up the stick and retrieves it by coming back and pressing it to the side of her leg, which she takes, “Good boy!”

She winds back and throws the stick again with a strong arm.

“You know you really shouldn’t get so attached to that thing.” Todoroki says from his position squatting next to a random cars gas tank as he syphons the liquid from inside.

They left the demo house two days ago; taking the dog with them, along with as much dog food as they could comfortably carry. Neither have spoken about their confrontation, but honestly Momo’s never felt so light in her life. She feels as though a weight has been taken off her shoulders and she doesn’t have to pretend anymore. Like she’s been reborn into this new world ready to do what it takes to survive. Her anger no longer a fear or hindrance to her progress. With Todoroki’s help she’ll grow stronger and find her parents. She’ll protect them from this world and never let go.

Momo comes close to his side and bends at the waist to look at his handiwork, “Why is that Todoroki-san?”

“Because if it comes down to it, I’ll eat him before I starve to death.” His dead pan expression would be taken seriously by any other person, but Momo knows he wouldn’t do such a thing.

She giggles behind her hand, “By equivalent that means you’d eat me before starving to death.”

He makes a thoughtful look up at the grey clouds, “Possibly. I wouldn’t rule out cannibalism in moments of need.”

“I bet I’d taste delicious,” Momo winks down at him, loving the way his cheeks flair up into a soft pink as he faces back to his work, “You’d probably consider me a delicacy.”

“You’re getting weird with it,” He scoffs, taking the tube from the now empty car and standing, “Let’s get ready to head out.”

“Aw, come on Todoroki-san, I’m just joking.” She bumps her hip against his own as she picks up his bag and they walk to the truck they found the other day, “I know deep down you love that dog as much as I do.”

“Not really.” He says just as Michi walks to his side and holds the stick up as if begging him to throw it. He shakes his head, “Not happening.” 

“Eh?” She walks faster to keep up with his long legs, “Did you ever have a pet?”

“Nope,” He answers as if it were obvious, “Wasn’t allowed to have one. Besides I didn’t have time for one between practice and tournaments.”

“Aw, that’s too bad.” She smiles as Michi trots at her side now with his stick held proudly between his teeth, “I always wanted a pet, but my dad is like extremely allergic to pet hair. I even asked for those special hypo-allergenic cats, but it was still a no.”

He hums in acknowledgement as he pops the cap open on their truck and proceeds to fill it while glancing up at the sky, “Looks like rain.”

Momo smells the wet air with a nod, “Yeah, looks like it’ll be a heavy one.”

She opens the passenger door and whistles for the dog to come on. Michi jumps up as Momo follows once Todoroki’s finishes loading the tank by shutting it. He gets into the drivers seat just as a rumble of thunder is heard in the distance.

“Just in time.” He says, taking out the keys from his pocket. The dog sits next to him as he nudges it with his elbow, “Can you scoot over?” The dog huffs, wagging its tale at the prospects of being spoken to.

Momo proceeds to take out her English book while Michi turns and snuggles into the open seat between the teens; rests his head in her lap. Todoroki starts the truck; proceeding to pull back onto the road.

“How’s your book coming along?” He asks and she smiles at him from the corner of her eye. He’s always interested in her studies and helping her get better. Yet another reason why she’s lucky to have Todoroki-san as a friend.

“Perfect. I’m on the chapter about sentence structure.” She sighs, “It’s starting to slowly make sense.”

“You’re doing well,” He keeps his eyes on the road, not at all noticing how her cheeks turn red at the compliment. Rain starts to plop against the vehicle as they drive right into the storm. 

“Thank you, Todoroki-san. I’m trying really hard.”

“It shows.” He says in English as she giggles behind her book. She looks out the window to the quickly passing world. Maybe he can quiz her on some words; though frankly, she just wants to hear him speak more English to her. If she were to admit it to anyone it would be because she kind of finds his voice sexy when he speaks a whole other language. Momo bites her lip; squeezing her legs together when that same hot feeling pools into her stomach as she recalls it.

“Well, I do have quite a great teacher,” She clears her throat.

Just as he opens his mouth to say something, a hunter rushes out from behind a sign right in the middle of the road. Momo grasp onto Michi as Todoroki tries to swerve the car to the side. But it’s to late, as the body of the hunter smashes onto the hood, hitting the windshield before rolling over the car to the road behind them. The wheels lock to the left as the tires slide on the slick road towards the side.

Momo screams when the world beyond the shattered windshield spins. She feel Todoroki’s hand shoot across the cab and press against her chest to hold her in place.

The truck connects with a road sign with a heavy thunk, stopping their momentum in the wet grass and mud. A beeping comes on the dash board while both teens can be heard breathing heavily as the rain outside plunks down on the car.

“Yaoyorozu, are you alright?” 

She turns her head to see Todoroki looking her over for any injuries as she touches a hand to Michi who’s curled up in her lap shaking, “I’m fine- we’re fine.”

“Stay here,” He demands as he looks behind them at the body squirming around in the road. He throws open the door; knife already out as he storms over to the injured hunter that’s thrashing around on two very broken legs. 

Momo twists in her seat to watch and make sure he’s alright. He stabs the hunter through the head before checking the area for any more. He comes back to the car and leans his soaking wet body into the cab, “It’s clear for now, but it looks like we’re stuck.”

Momo sets Michi down onto the floor of the truck as she scoots closer to the driver side, “What do we do?”

“I’ll push; you give it some gas.” He walks away from the open door to the hood of the car that’s smashes onto the metal pole of a green road sign. Todoroki places both hands on the left side of the hood, calling to her, “Ready?”

Momo places the car in reverse as she pushes gently on the gas. The engine revs causing the tires to start to spin in the mud, making slick sounds as the rubber slides against it without moving.

“Give it more,” Todoroki calls over the rain as he pushes against the mud.

At his request she presses further down on the gas, listening as the engine growls at the sudden change in power. She hears Todoroki grunt as the truck gives a lurch backwards. Momo squeaks but keeps her attention on the task at hand.

“It’s moving!” She shouts happily pressing harder on the gas, feeling the truck lurch over large clumps of dirt as she steers it backwards to the road. It takes some time but the truck pressed back onto the road and she quickly places it in park, “We did it!”

Todoroki walks around to the driver’s side and Momo covers her mouth as she gasps, “Oh, Todoroki-san.”

From head to toe, he’s covered in clumps of grass and mud from where the tires sloshed him with. He blinks back at her as he wipes the clumps off his clothes, “I’m fine.”

She scoots back to the passenger side as he climbs in and shuts the door. As he adjusts himself and checks over the beeping on the car Momo looks out her passenger window to the sign they hit. It’s large and green with white letters depicting a turn off for a state park up ahead. But it’s not the directions that cause her to pause. Spray painted over the sign in red paint is a simple word.

‘Salvation’

“Todoroki-san?” She asks as he turns to her while wiping some mud off his cheek.

“Hm?”

“What’s that word?” She points to the window as Todoroki leans over to get a good look at what she’s pointing at.

“It’s says, salvation.”

“Salvation?” She tests it out, “Why would that be put up on that sign like that?”

“Who knows?” Todoroki puts the truck in drive, “Could have been there before the world went to shit, or could just be some taggers.”

He begins to drive but Momo casts the sign one last glance as they continue down the road at a slower pace since it’s hard for Todoroki to see past the large crack in the windshield. 

They drive for a bit but the rain grows harder, making it nearly impossible to see past the cracks. Eventually they find a turn off to a gas station and park the truck under the deserted shelter next to the pumps. Once parked Todoroki turns the car off and sighs as a shiver wrack through him that Momo notices.

“Todoroki-san you should get out of those wet clothes. You’ll catch your death in them.”

“Fine, but I’m cleaning off first.” He opens the door and steps out under their shelter as he looks around for any signs of danger. Momo follows as she leaves Michi in the car so he didn’t run off and get wet. Todoroki sheds his shirt over his head, before dumping it on the hood of the car. Momo blushes as she watches from the side as he walks out from under the shelter to the rain. He cups his hands and scrubs the mud off his arms and face.

She leans over the hood of the truck, biting her lip, watching his hands wipe away the dirt from his handsome face. He looks over his shoulder at her and she squeaks as she pretends to be looking at the abandoned gas station to the right. 

Her body feels warm when his tone body comes to mind, even though she’s no longer looking. There’s no way a body like that could exist on a teenager! It’s impossible, yet there he stands like some statuesque god she’s seen in so many paintings in museums. Off the top of her head she can’t think of a single guy from her school that every evoked these feelings like Todoroki does. That same hot feeling pools lower in her stomach and she looks away, completely flustered.

To keep herself busy she grabs a towel from her bag and makes her way over to him while keeping her gaze to the side. They can be comfortable around each other when they’re like this. She might as well get used to it. She did after all bathe and walk around naked while his back was to her. This is going to be their new normal so she needs to do this.

He seems to have finished up as he walks towards her and accepts the towel.

“Feel better?” She asks, rocking on the heel of her boots.

“Yeah,” He sighs, throwing the towel around his neck and holds it in both hands.

She pouts up at him as his wet hair drips across his face, “You’ll get sick if you don’t do it properly.”

He chuckles at her expression as he takes the towel and runs it through his hair, taking the immediate dampness away before lowering it, “This alright?”

Momo feels her own smile crack on her features as she watches his usually stoic hair stick up in all directions at being ruffled by the towel. It’s absolutely cute in every way as she covers her mouth with her hands while he raises a brow at her, “What?”

“Your hair,” She giggles before reaching out, taking his hand and pulling him to the truck, “Here, let me take care of this.”

Digging in her bag she finds the brush she took from the house. She pushes herself up onto the hood of the truck and spreads her legs open, motioning for him to come closer. He complies as she grabs his shoulder, turning his back to nestle between her legs. Gently she begins to run the brush through his hair.

“Is this alright?”

He takes a moment to answer but when he does, it’s a deep grumble of approval as he leans into her touch. She feels the pressure of his body press into her as she spreads her legs a bit wider to accommodate him. The brush runs through a bit rough at first but soon enough it’s smooth as she pulls it through without snagging on a single knot. Her body seems to have a mind of its own as she leans into his back, pressing her chest to it. One hand holds the rbrush while the other grasps onto his bare shoulder to keep him in place.

“There we go, it’s already looking a lot better.” She continues to do this since he’s making no movement to pull away.

She does however pause for a second when she feels his hands prop themselves on her bare legs. They rest on the outside of her knees but still, it’s like ice and fire pulse through the skin on skin connection. She forces herself to continue to brush back his hair, swallowing the lump in her throat.

“You’re pretty good at this.” He says, his voice gravely like he just woke up. It sends shivers down her spine right into her lower stomach as his back presses further against her chest. She swears his thumb starts to draw slow circles on the skin of her leg as she glances down to watch the lazy ministration. He’s still shirtless so she rests her other free hand up on his shoulder, feeling the taunt muscles knot at attention.

How is something as simple as brushing his hair turn into this? She feels like she’s walking on a thin tightrope that she could slip off at any moment. She’s broken from her thoughts as the nails on his fingers scratch against her cold skin. Momo bites her lower lip, trapping the moan she wants to release into the world. Part of her wonders if he knows what he’s doing because his other hand does the same thing while he leans back into her.

“You feeling cold?” He asks, pressing his fingers deeper into the soft flesh of her leg.

“A little.” She bites out as she quickly sets the brush aside, knowing she should end this before it goes any further. But does she want it to go futher? Thoughts of him turning around and using those same fingers on her in other places makes her breathing go shallow.

Once he realizes she’s finishes he turns in her hold, placing both hands on either side of the hood of the truck, “Thanks”

“N-no problem,” She feels her cheeks flame at how close he is to her, “I can do that anytime.”

“I might take you up on that offer,” He smirks as she feels her heart pound in her chest.

Momo isn’t sure why this little piece of information pops into her head but it does. She once read somewhere that when the human body is attracted to someone, their eyed dilate to allow more light in and they don’t blink as much. As she looks into his dual color eyes she watches the black center expand. Her stomach knots up and she’s leans forward without meaning to, “Like I said… Anytime.”

He holds her stare and she swear his eyes flicker down to her mouth before looking back at her. She thinks he’s about to say something, but instead he turns away, walking to the driver’s side of the car where he retrieves his bag so he can put on a new shirt. She’s sad to see those muscles covered but happy since he’s wearing something dry and warm.

Momo strolls to the edge of the shelter, looking out into the rain, “How long do you think it’ll last?”

Todoroki walks up next to her, “Could be the rest of the day.”

“What would you like to do to pass the time?” She faces him with her hands behind her back.

He makes a thoughtful face before looking back at her, “How about we go over some of those sentence structures?”

Butterflies flutter in her chest at the thought of him speaking to her in English as she nods, “I would very much like that.”

“Of course, you would. I’m a great teacher after all.” He walks back to the truck as she follows.

“Yes, you are.”

//~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 22~~~~~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~~~Ch 23~~~~~~~~~~~\\ 

"S-A-L-V-A-T-I-O-N" Momo spells out as she writes it down on a piece of paper in her lap. Bringing the pen back to tap against her chin in thought as her head cocks to the side.

"You don't need to learn that word," Todoroki says from behind the wheel of the new car they snatched.

"But it's on all the signs," Momo points to another road sign that's coming up on their right, "Salvation." Written in bright red paint over the shiny green signs.

He blows out a huff of air, "I know, it's concerning that it's on so many." He’s trying to not let his concern show every time he spots one of those vandalized signs.

"Do you think it's survivors doing it?" She scratches Michi behind his ear as he curls up on the floor next to her feet. The dogs taken a personal attachment to Momo since they left those model homes. Todoroki’s not much of a dog person but he’d be lying if he didn’t admit the dog is at least loyal.

Todoroki spots something and begins to slow their car down as they roll up to a new sign. This one; like all the others has 'Salvation' painted on it but this time it has an arrow directing them in the direction they're driving.

"Whoever's doing it. I don't trust them. We could be driving in to a trap." He puts the car in reverse as Momo lowers her English notes to look around.

"What are you doing?"

Todoroki looks in the review mirror as they back up, "I don't want us going where the arrow points. We can backtrack and take another road."

"That'll take too much time! We should just drive through." She leans towards him with set eyes, "Come on Todoroki-san, we're almost out of Nebraska!"

He stops the car and looks at her puppy dog eyes as she smiles, “Besides whatever made these signs isn’t as tough as you, right Todoroki-san?”

 

He looks away as his cheeks heat up, "Alright."

The smile she gives him makes him almost not want to look at the road but he does. Though he wants to make it very clear he didn't give in because of her. It's actually a good idea to keep going and save time. They did lose to much time at the camp; so driving through would make up some of it.

"We should hit one last stop and fill up. I don't want to stop the rest of the way through." He directs the car to the side where a turn off for a rest stop sits. He's pleased to find no tagging for 'Salvation' and figures this is as good as they're going to get before leaving the state.

The car comes to a rolling stop near the picnic tables and an abandoned mini-van. Up ahead sit's an abandoned semi-truck parked sideways. Todoroki makes a mental note to search it before leaving.

He's not even out of his seat belt before Momo's opening the door.

"Come on Michi! Let's go!" She calls their dog as she steps out and lifts her hands above her head in a long stretch. Todoroki; who's still in the car, gets a good look at her stomach as her shirt rides up. He can feel the tips of his ears heat up as he fumbles out of the car, looking around the area. Walking to the back of the car; he pops the trunk open and leans over to call to Momo.

"You wanna find a- uhhh" His words die on his tongue as he's met with her round bottom in those sinfully short shorts. She's bending forward placing both palms onto the concrete; stretching out her back. Her upside-down face looks at him from between her spread legs; a smile staring back at him. His eyes flicker to her bottom and back, "Uh."

"Sorry, I just felt so cramped."

"It's fi-" His eyes widen as she stands up and bends backwards, cracking her back. Todoroki faces forward, snatching up the red gas can and slamming the trunk.

"I'll get the gas."

"You sure?" Momo stands up before going to his side as his eyes look to his jacket hanging off her shoulders, "It's my turn."

The actual thought of her on her knees sucking anything has him lowering the canister over the front of his pants, "No, I got it."

She gives a thankful smile and turns to Michi, "Wanna play?"

Michi gives an excited whine, wagging his tail quickly. Momo grabs her bat from the passenger door before jogging over to the open concrete, "Let's find you a stick!"

"Don't go far," Todoroki warns, walking to the car they parked near.

"We won't" She waves at him as they stop near some old tree's and pick up a good throwing stick.

Momo gives it a throw and Michi chases after it as she giggles. Todoroki watches them for a bit; making sure the area is clear before popping open the gas tank of the old sedan.

Every time he looks up, he finds Momo keeping watch of the area. She's moved a lot closer to him, though she throws the stick out across the nearly deserted parking lot for Michi. He’s satisfied that she’s not ignoring her surroundings and staying vigilant. After her break down the other day, Todoroki meant what he said about building her up. She’ll be nothing but an asset to their cause if she keeps moving forward like this. Never back.
 
He gags when the gasoline meets the bag of his throat; shoving the tube into the canister as he rocks back onto his feet, crouching next to it. Looking to the side he spits the taste out of his mouth, wiping it with the back of his hand.

While the gas pours into their container he looks back to find Momo walking towards him with Michi, "You alright?"

"Fine." He motions with his head to the still filling can, "Looks like we're getting a good amount."

"Since this is out last stop, I can make us a quick lunch." Her hands are holding the bat behind her back as she leans forward. His eyes stay on her own even though his inner hormones are daring him to look elsewhere.

"Sounds good. As long as you're quick about it." He turns back to his task to keep himself busy.

Momo goes back to the car and fishes out a box of crackers and a half-filled jar of peanut butter. As she sets to work, Todoroki keeps glancing up at her.

His mind has been nothing short of busy, trying to decipher these emotions he's just now feeling. Every time he blinks, he sees her in some form or another. Smiling, sleepy, angry, pouting, laughing.

No matter the emotion it's always the same... her.

He recalls his older sister trying to sit down with him when he was fifteen.

'Todoroki, you're a young man now and as such your body is changing.' She says softly.

Todoroki is doing sit ups in his room, 'I'm getting stronger.'

'Yes, but that's not what I mean.' She's blushing as she cups her cheeks, 'Natsuo should talk to you about this but he's away for college, so the responsibility falls on me.'

'Fu if you're here to talk about sex, don't bother. Father already gave me that discussion.' Todoroki grunts as he does another sit up.

Fu's face opens in shock, 'He did?'

'Sex is nothing but a distraction used to make a person weak. I have no desire to procreate children with anyone, nor do I want to.'

'That's not-um- Sho- erm-" Fu isn't sure what to say as she takes a deep breath, 'When two people love each other-'

'Father already spoke to me about love.' He pauses in his work out to sit up and look at her, 'Another distraction. If I'm to be the best, I need to get stronger.'

'Little brother, you don't need to be the strongest.'

Todoroki remembers feeling anger surge up inside of him, 'No. Just strong enough to beat our father.'

With that said he goes back to working out, not even bothering to watch Fu side open his door before looking back at him, ‘I hope you find someone that you love. Someone you plan on sharing your whole life with.’

‘Mom did that and look where it got her.’ He grunts, ‘No thank you.’

Not knowing what else to say to that, Fu shut his door, leaving him to his training.

In truth, while his father’s teaching on the topic of sex were sparse; he learned more though his studies as he grew older. Never having the urge to do anything it described. He would hear men talking in the locker rooms about dates, and bases they've reached with partners. Not once did he stop to indulge himself in wondering if that was something he even wanted to consider. He had a goal to achieve and those ‘feelings’ and ‘desires’ would just get in his way.

Try as he might to push them back from whence, they came, it just fought back harder. Literally, every glance at her drew something to his attention.

The way she would cross her long legs to prop her notebook up while writing, or chew at the cap of her pen before taking it out of her mouth and tapping it repeatedly to her chin. Her tongue sometimes pokes out when she's really understanding something and how Momo tilts her head ever so slightly when she doesn't understand something.

He's noticing everything she does! It's driving him crazy how he catalogs away tiny bits of information as if he's going to someday need it.

Like how she pouts when she's still hungry or how she taps her fingers against her leg when she's itching to have a conversation.

These things don't matter. Knowing she prefers canned peaches to anything else won't keep them alive.

Remembering that she prefers to wear her long hair up in a ponytail won't find them food for the night.

Best he can do is continue to keep all this to himself. Push down these feelings and thoughts; die with them if he has to. Because there's no way he's going to let Momo know he's thinking about her like that.

He's broken from his thoughts as she calls over to him, "Todoroki-san! Foods ready."

Looking up from his gas can he spots her waving to him. He can't help but feel the corner of his mouth lift like some sort of magnet. Standing up he heads over to her, dumping their stuff in the trunk, along with the filled gas can. He’ll fill the car after eating.

Michi barks loudly and both teens look over. He's generally a quiet dog which means he's spotted something. In the distance a hunter; heavily decayed, stumbles out into the parking lot near the semi-truck that's parked sideways.

"Should we go?" Momo asks, holding her bat close to her.

"Nah, I can take it out." Todoroki walks towards the hunter that's taking swipes at the dog that dances around it just out of reach.

Todoroki whistles, "Michi, back away."

The dog walks sideways as if herding the hunter away from them. Doesn't matter because Todoroki is fast enough to take it down. Shoving his knife into its wet flesh. It drops to the ground, falling off his knife like melting butter. Giving the blade a flick, he cleans it off before turning around.

Something catches his attention.

The semi-truck that's parked sideways.

On the side facing them, there's nothing. But once you walk over here, in giant red letters; dripping down is a word that curls his stomach.

'SALVATION'

His eyes look down and watch as the still wet paint drips like blood from a haunted house sign.

"Yaoyorozu!" Todoroki calls out, backing up from the sign, "Yaoyorozu, we need to go!"

Coming around from the side of the truck his hand clenches around the hilt of his knife. Over by their vehicle is Momo, backing away from a man and woman.

He runs over, though the adults make no move to advance as he pulls Momo behind him, "Who are you?"

The woman's smile doubles, "Oh good! You speak English. We thought you'd be like her."

Momo looks between the adults and Todoroki as Michi comes to her side. She squats down and holds him by the collar, "Todoroki, what's going on?"

Todoroki doesn't answer her as he takes in their possible threat. The man has a pistol by his side but they're both holding bibles in their hands; still smiling.

"We're so happy to find more survivors." The woman speaks, "It's been a while." She looks well fed, though her appearance is unsettle as she holds that bible like a life line.

"I'm going to ask you once more. Who are you?"

"I'm Rebecca, and this is John. We're from the New Life church. We come bringing you the opportunity of salvation."

Todoroki scoffs and glances down at Momo, "We're not interested in anything you've got."

"Food? Water? The word of our lord?" Rebecca holds up her book, "In times of trouble we find looking to the good book helps us. Right John?"

John nods, "Of course."

"Well, like I said. We're not interested. Step away from our car."

"We just want to he-"

Todoroki draws his weapon and points it directly at them, "I said, move."

"We don't fear your weapons," Rebecca giggles as if amused by his gun.

"Why is that?" Todoroki pulls the hammer back on his gun, making a loud click sound.

"Because this is the new world," She holds her arms out as if to present it, "God has begun his trial. The unworthy will die while the true believers walk his world."

"Lady, we're not interested." Todoroki growls at he looks to John who's smiling at Momo.

"Todoroki," Momo whispers, "What's going on?" She stands up and holds her bat at the ready to fight. The fact that she’s not trying to befriend them like Ken shows she’s unsettled by their appearance as well.

"They're with a church. Trying to recruit members." He translates, not taking his eyes off them.

Momo steps up, "We're not interested!" She says in Japanese, "Please move!"

The adults look to each other before turning back and opening their mouth.

The gun goes off in Todoroki's hand. Both John and Rebecca flinch back as the bullet whizzes past their head. Fear dances on their faces as Todoroki smirks.

"Guess you're not as brave as you think you are. Next one won't be a warning. Move."

The two adults break out into a laugh as if he just told a funny story. They eventually step back, holding their bibles close to their stomachs.

Todoroki isn't going to waste a getaway moment as he motions with his head to Momo, "Get in the car."

Momo gives a nod as she goes around to the other side of the car. Michi starts barking again, which makes hearing Momo's gasp near impossible.

"Todoroki?"

The fear in her voice has him looking over to see her standing on the other side of the car with a man behind her, holding a gun to her head. Dread fills his stomach as his eyes go wide, "Yaoyorozu."

He must have been hiding out of sight in case things went bad.

The new face peeks out from around Momo, "Sorry for the dramatics neighbor. But you started waving your gun around first."

Gritting his teeth, Todoroki tightens his hold on the gun, "Let her go."

"Drop yours first."

"Todoroki," Momo whispers as he looks back at her.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to let him hurt you." He says with a nod, lowering his gun.

"Don't" Momo hisses as she watches him place his weapon on the hood of the car, along with his knife at his side.

Todoroki holds his hands up as he faces Rebecca, "Well? What now?"

Rebecca's smile hasn't dropped as she steps forward while John takes Todoroki's weapons off the car, "Now we welcome you into our flock once you pass our tests."

"Tests?" Todoroki raises a brow, "What kind of tests?"

The man holding Momo shouts, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time!”

"You heard him... In due time. Until then, we're sorry for this." She shrugs.

"For what?" Todoroki looks to John at his side, not noticing the fist coming at him until it's to late.

Next thing he knows, he's on the ground while his head pounds. His eye is stinging but it’s the connection his head makes with the concrete that causes him to fade in and out from black.

"Todoroki!" Momo screams. Michi's barking still but he can't quite make out what the Americans are saying.

"Load them up—"

"Bring—Reverend Const-"

"Todoroki!"

"Grab her."

"Todoroki!"

More barking as he rolls over and finds a face looking down at him, "You'll be saved soon enough. Blessed are the wanderers under gods divine hand."

"Todoroki!"

//~~~~~~~~~~~~End Ch 23~~~~~~~~~~~~\\

 

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~Ch 24~~~~~~~\\ 

"Todoroki!" Momo tries to get to him but the man behind her wraps a meaty hand around her waist, picking her up.

"Hold on girly," The man says as Momo kicks her feet. Michi is still barking as Momo's boot connects with the mans leg and he grunts, "Stop it!"

"Load them up, and get control of her," Rebecca snaps at the man holding Momo while walking to Todoroki.

The man holding her shuffles her around the car to the trunk as she continues to kick and scream. She catches sight of Todoroki on the ground as that woman kneels over him. Throwing her elbow back Momo hears a grunt before he drops her.

"Grab her!" John snaps as the man lunges forward, snatching her arm before jerking her back.

"Todoroki!"

Momo raises her bat but so she can fight back but the man grabs the back of her hair and slams her head onto the back of the car. She instantly sees stars dance across her vision as she slums down. Arms grab either side of her and haul her up to the open trunk.

"Todoroki!" She tries screaming again before she's thrown into the trunk.

Blinking away the pain in her head she looks up to the barrel of the gun pointed down at her.

"Move and you'll regret it." John says, "We’re just following God’s will!"

Momo has no idea what he's saying. She makes out the words 'Move' and 'God' but the others are to fast for her to comprehend after having her face smashed into the back of a car.

The other man soon appears, holding Todoroki. John and him proceed to place him in the trunk next to Momo as she reaches out and holds the back of his head, lowering it down gently on the trunk bed. She looks over his unconscious face before facing her assailants.


"Let us-" She didn't get to finish as the trunk is slammed shut on them, engulfing the teens in darkness.

Leaning over Todoroki; Momo cups his face in her hands as she turns him to look at her, "Todoroki?"

When he doesn't answer she leans her ear down to his chest. Moving in the trunk is difficult but she manages to hold her breath until she hears the reassuring sound of his heartbeat.

Sighing loudly she rests on his chest for a moment longer before moving back up and trailing a hand down the side of his head, "You scared me."

The sounds of the car starting, startled her as she holds Todoroki close to her. No telling when they'll open this back up and try to take him from her. She'll never allow that.

She could hear Michi barking outside as her heart stung.

"I'm sorry baby." She wants to help him but she can't even help herself.

It's strange what a person can recall in a moment of stress and fear. Because as Momo felt the car start to move and the barking of Michi, she recalls when those police officers came to her middle school class to talk to everyone about public safety.

'Ladies,' The kind old man in his blue uniform looks out across the sea of faces in her English class, 'It always pays to be prepared for anything. As young women you'll find yourself a more prominent target over your male peers. And as such you need to know how to protect yourself.'

A girl with pigtails raises her hand, 'Can't we just call 911?'

He smiles to her, 'Of course, but what if you cant? What if someone takes you when you least expect it? Throws you in the back of a car and takes off? Now what?'

'I'd used my cell phone to call the cops,' Another girl scoffs.

'You can't always rely on having that little do-da-techy thing on you. What else can you do?'

Momo remembers looking out the window at the cherry blossoms. It's the last day before the weekend and her parents are taking her to the ocean to sail. It'll be so pretty.

'Young lady?' The officer calls and Momo faces forward, embarrassed to be caught dazing off. She's always so focused; but her plans are weighing her mind down.

'Yes sir?' Momo stands quickly, 'Sorry sir.'

The class chuckles at her expense as her cheeks glow. The officer doesn’t seem mad as he just smiles at her, 'Any idea on what to do if you're ever taken and placed in the trunk of a car?'

'Pfft, who'd want to take her?' A particular mean girl snorts as she looks back at Momo, 'She's so boring.'

'Taska!' Their teacher snaps, but goes back to reading her book.

'What? It’s just an observation,' Taska sneers as she looks Momo up and down, 'Honestly I feel bad for the poor sap that wants to take her.'

The class erupted in laughter as Momo sits down, lowering her head to try and disappear from her peers eyes.

'Don't listen to them.'

Momo looks up at the old officer, 'And young lady, I wouldn't wish being taken on my worst enemy. So you watch yourself. A day might come where you need help and no one stands up for you.'

'Whatever' The middle school bully takes out her phone to ignore the rest of class.

'The answer to this question is simple.' He looks at Momo as she stares back at him, 'Fight. Kick out the tail light, wave your hand around, look for an emergency latch to open the trunk. But whatever you do don't give up fighting.'

Momo hadn't thought of that officer in years, so for that memory to surface has her reeling her leg back in the small space before kicking at the corner where the tail light sits. She does this several times before light fills the cabin as the light shatters behind the slow moving vehicle.

Sliding to the other end Momo peeks out and finds them pulling out from the rest stop. Michi is chasing the car, barking loudly.

"Michi!" Momo holds her arm outside the hole, reaching for her dog.

Michi's cold snout bumps against it before the vehicle speeds up and she's now out of reach from her baby. Michi tries to run faster but it's useless.

"Stay boy! We'll come back for you! Just stay!" She shouts, hoping he hears her.

Pulling her hand back in, she watches with a breaking heart as Michi stops in the middle of the road,  watching her go.

Tears pool to the corner of her eyes as she watches him till he's out of sight.

A groan catches her attention and she quickly crawls back up to Todoroki's side. The light provided by the hole lets her see the bruise forming on his jaw.

"Todoroki?" She turns his face to her gently.

His eyes crack open with a groan, "What happened?"

"We're in the trunk of our car. They took us."

As if it all came back to him he tries to sit up but the roof stops him and he turns to her. His hands touch her hips before roaming up the curve of her waist, "You alright? Did they hurt you?"

"Just a bump." She touches the top of her head, "And a major headache."

She instantly feels his hand touch her head as his thumb swipes gently over the small bump on her head. Though it hurts, she doesn't want to shy away and instead leans into it. But his hand is gone before she can focus on how warm it is.

"How long have I been out?" He looks down at the hole she made.

"A few minutes. We just hit the road and I kicked out the blinker light."

"You did that?" He looks to her and from the sparse like she can see he's impressed as her cheeks darken.

"Y-yeah."

"Good job, I'm going to go down there."

It was difficult but Todoroki manages to switch sides so he's facing the hole. Once he's finished, Momo does the same, though she keeps brushing up against him which makes her nervous. Finally they both are situated as she peeks over his shoulder.

"See anything?"

"Just a road. Looking for landmarks so we can-"

The car takes a sharp turn causing Momo to roll onto Todoroki's back, bumping her head on the roof.

"Ouch!" She hisses and rolls back off.

"Here" Todoroki puts an arm on her back to steady her, "We need a plan."

"We can search for an emergency latch." She squints at the sides of the trunk.

"I mean when we get to wherever they're taking us. Wouldn't do us much good to jump out of a moving vehicle." He sighs and looks back out the hole, "When they open the trunk, I'll fight them. Cause a distraction so you get away."

She feels her stomach flip as she shakes her head, "No! We run together. I'm not leaving you."

"Yaoyorozu, I-"

"You're one person!" She interrupts quickly, "There's three of them- maybe more. You need someone to watch your back. That person is me."

He seems to take her words with a grain of salt as his face twists in thought. Though he looks back out the hole, "Wait, I see something."

"What is it?" Momo leans closer.

"A town... we're driving past a town."

The car slows down as they drive for a bit, taking turns carefully until they come upon a trailer park, "Trailers, lots of them. Looks like we're leaving the town now."

"See any names or signs?" Momo whispers as if the passengers might hear them. Doesn't matter if they do unless they speak Japanese.

"Pine Grove RV park." He recites and Momo tucks it away should they need it later, "If I had my map I could find us but-"

The car turns off the road and onto a dirt path and the teens feel jostled as the car dips and swerves. Todoroki's hand holding her down firmly while his other sets on the top of her head to avoid anymore bumps. When the car finally stops both teens look to each other in shock.

"I'll fight them," He whispers, "You run."

"Todoroki" She hisses, but the trunk is thrown open. John and the man that slammed her head both reach down for them.

They pull Todoroki out first, which is difficult because he bashes into both of them like a line backer.


"Yaoyorozu! Run!" He shouts.

Momo crawls from the trunk and is met with several sets of eyes and two sets of hands grabbing each of her arms. They jerk her from the trunk and she falls to her knees, scraping them on the dirt below. She fights back, jerking her arms, "Let us go!"

Todoroki seems to be doing a lot better since he's kicking one guy to the ground and using his weight to knock the other back. Another man runs in and grabs at his shoulder, but Todoroki throws punches like a trained professional. Momo feels so childish as she tries to get off her knees but the women holding her press down together till her face hits the dirt.

A gun goes off, stilling everyone as all eyes look over to Rebecca. She's standing on the stairs of a large white church, with a wooden steeple that towers over the trees around them.

Rebecca lowers the pistol and holds her arms out, "We welcome you!"

The doors behind her open and a man in black robes strolls out holding a thick leather bible. His grey hair and wrinkles show he's lived a life far beyond their years. His smile growing at the sight of the new faces.

"My children please, there's no need for violence in Gods house." He holds a hand up as the men circling Todoroki back off and the ones holding Momo release her.

Todoroki's at her side helping her up as he stands before her.

"What did he say?" Momo rubs her sore arms while looking to the people around them.

Todoroki doesn't translate and instead holds his fists up, ready to strike, "If you don't want violence, you need to let us go."

The man walks down the steps, stopping just shy of the circle of people. His smile never waivers as he places his hands behind his back, "I am Reverend Constantine of the New Life Church. And I understand you both were less than willing to come worship with us."

"That's one way of putting it." Todoroki hasn't broken his stance while Momo watches his back, making sure no one tries to grab them again.

"We have all your answers inside," The man in black takes a step to the left, holding his arm out to the church's large double doors.

"We don't want them." Todoroki snaps, "Just let us go and you'll never see us again."

"I'm afraid that's not possible," The older man sighs, "Our next sermon is starting now. Please join us."

When Todoroki and Momo make no move to follow he walks up the steps, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

Several men and woman surround the teens as they go back to back and take in how outnumbered they are.

"Yaoyorozu," Todoroki says as she cocks her head back.

"Hm?"

"We're going in," He sounds defeated as she turns to face him.

"Todo-"

He takes her hand and pulls her along the line of people towards the church, "We need to keep their guard down. Until then we go along with whatever this all is."

"We should fight." She insists walking up the stairs after the older man.

"We're outnumbered and we don't have anything to fight with. Just follow my lead." He squeezes her hand as she looks down to it. Is it the fear that's making her heart race or is it-

"Alright, I trust you." Momo nods, following him past the open double doors of the church.


The church is quite large for the small group of people that accompany it. The teens are taken to the front pew to sit while the other followers take seats throughout the large space. Turning around they take in their surroundings.

"I count thirteen, including the reverend up there," Todoroki whispers to her as Momo glances up at the man standing before a large stone podium, next to a marble font filled to the top with clear water.

Momo looks behind her to see the faces of this man's followers. One little boy sitting next to an elderly woman, along with two teenage girls about their age. The remaining eight look to be healthy men and woman that are ready to fight them if needed be. Facing forward she inhales deeply, "What do we do now?"

"My children! Blessed be another day as the chosen ones under Gods hands." Constantine lifts his arms as the church hums in acknowledgement.

"Praise be!" They chanted like mechanical robots.

Momo leans in to Todoroki, "I have no idea what they're saying."

Todoroki opens his mouth but the reverend points to them, speaking first, "Do not fret my child. If you speak languages that others don't know, God will understand what you are trying to say, though no one else will know what you mean. As the Lord says, 'I will use strangers who speak unknown languages to talk to my people. They will speak to them in foreign languages, but still my people won't listen to me.' Scriptures."

"He's making no sense." Todoroki whispers, "It's recycled garbage from this book."

Momo looks to her left and picks up a black leather book, well-worn with love, and traces the golden cross on the cover, "I'm scared."

Todoroki reaches down and takes her hand again, "Don't be. Don't let them see your fear." He says strongly.

"Ask of me, and I will surely give the nations as your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, you shall shatter them like earthenware." He holds up the black book Momo's holding and points out to them, "His words have come to light. This sickly world plagued by war, famine, greed, the horrible attributed of man that goes against this very book; it's all gone. I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth."

He points to the teens, "God has spoken to me! This world is ours to start over with. Purge the wicked so that the righteous may walk the soil! God-" He slaps the book onto the pedestal, "Has begun revelations! It is up to us- his loyal followers to finish his goal. This is what he spoke unto me! Me his loyal child! Cast Satan out, back into the fire and brimstone of hell."

The reverend walks down before Todoroki and Momo and smiles down at them, "We brought you here not in violence or hate. But with welcome and understanding. If you are the chosen ones by God's hand, we want to bring you into our flock."

"IF?" Todoroki asks, "What do you mean IF we are chose? We're healthy. The virus didn't infect us."

"Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." He crouches down to their level, "Are either of you washed of sin?"

Todoroki doesn't answer as the man turns to Momo, "My child?"

"She doesn't understand you." Todoroki snaps, trying to draw the attention back on him.

Momo looks between them, "I don't understand."

The reverend stands, "Don't worry; either of you. We shall clean you of sin so that we may judge you for not your past crimes but by God's divine hand."

The Reverend goes back to the pedestal as Todoroki tries to translate to her what was said. Though she can hear the hesitation in his voice as he looks around for any signs of an escape or weapon. She hates that she's hindering him from getting away. If she weren't so weak, he'd be out of this already.

Just then Momo watches the Reverend motion to them as several members stand and come to their side.

"Todoroki?" She whispers, leaning into him, grasping his arm, "What are they doing?"

"They're separating us." He shakes his head as he shouts something in English at the people but they manage to get them apart. Todoroki turns to her, "Calm down! It's temporary!"

Momo feels Rebecca and another woman drag her to the opposite pew from Todoroki. They tie her hands behind her back with zip ties and sit on either side of her. They do the same to Todoroki and Momo tries to fight back the tears. She has no idea what’s going on but the women next to her pats her arm and shush her when a whimper falls from between her lips.

"Like a shepherd he will tend to his flock and gather them upon his shoulders and feed them. As the lord preaches so will I. By baptizing these wanderers of their previous sin so that we may test their clean souls properly." Constantine points to Momo, "Bring her to me."

The woman lift her by the arms to stand as Momo struggles, "No! No what are you doing?"

"Take me first!" Todoroki stands as the men on either side of him follow to push him down but Constantine holds his hand up to stop them.

"Of course. Blessed are those that have not seen him yet still believe! I commend your enthusiasm young man. Bring him." He motions to the pillar of water.

The two men grab Todoroki's upper arms and pull him along to the alter. Momo is forced to sit back down but she struggles against her restraints as the women hold her back, "Todoroki!"

He looks to her as he stops before the water. His eyes are stone cold, already accepting his fate. The reverend stands before him, motioning with his hand over the clear water.

"For you are God's masterpiece created in Christ to do good works which God prepared in advance for you to do. This is the part where you find out who you are."

"The Lord is my strength and my shield." Constantine says as the followers chime in with praises.

With that said the reverend places a hand behind Todoroki's head and pushes him face first into the water.

"Todoroki!" Momo screeches as she jerks harder at the hands holding her, "Let him go!"

"There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do." Constantine holds him down while speaking slowly. His smile curling in the corners as he watches Todoroki struggle against his hold. The two men behind him holding his body firm.

"You're drowning him!" She turns and shouts in the woman's face, "You're killing him!"

The reverend watches Todoroki struggle, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Finally, after what feels like an eternity the reverend pulls Todoroki back by his hair. The teen looks up to the ceiling with wide eyes, gasping for air as the water drips down his neck, soaking his shirt.

"Praise be the Lord!"

"Praise him!"

"Thank you, Heavenly Father!"

The followers all rejoice for the freshly cleansed soul as some clap and other hold hands up in worship. Momo can feel her heart going a mile a minute as the Reverend motions to her. Once again, she's pulled up and pressed forward to the alter as the two man take Todoroki away.

"No! Don't!" He fights against them, still gasping for air, “She doesn’t understand!”

Momo's forced into the same spot Todoroki once stood staring down at the clear water with wide eyes.

Constantine is talking though she doesn't understand a word, or maybe she doesn't listen because her heart is beating so loudly in her chest that it amplifies thought her ears. She can feel his hand touch the back of her head, fists it into her black hair. Momo doesn't even think to inhale as she's pushed face first into the cold water.

There's something serene when you think you're about to die. You think you'll be paralyzed with fear or anger until it's all over; when the inevitable end comes for you.

For Momo she thinks about sailing with her parents during their summer breaks. Now don't let it fool you, Momo and her mother were terrible sailors. It near broke her father's heart in a funny sort of way.

Every time they'd tack—that's when you turn the sailboat across the wind—her father would yell out, 'Ready about!' As Momo and her mother giggled at his theatrics while getting ready. He would then shout, 'Hard Alee!'—That's when you push the tiller hard to the lee side.

The point of this thought is… If Momo and her Mother managed to do it right, they would pick up good wind and sail smoothly across the water like blades on ice.

However—If they did it wrong, as they often do, they'd wind up in irons.

Now you may be wondering, what's ‘in irons’? Well, it's when you're pointing straight at the wind. And you can try and fight, but you are stuck.

She recalls her and her mother laughing till their sides are sore and their jaws hurt as they watch Momo's father shake his fist to the wind and demand a re-do.

Even though they would be stuck in irons for a good amount of time, they'd stop for a minute to rest. The three of them laying out on the deck, to regain their strength to try again. Momo remembers letting the waves take them for a while, even if they weren't going anywhere.

It was still… sailing.

She feels something jerk at her hair, pulling her back up. Momo gasps for air as the water pools down her body in waves from the sloshing pedestal. Her eyes nearly roll to the back of her head as air surges through her; filling her lungs.

Constantine is speaking as he pats her back, rubbing her in soothing circles as he rejoices in her cleansed soul. The woman holding her take her away as Momo heaves for more air, trying to calm herself.

Everything in her body is hyper aware and sensitive. Light, sound, touch all amplified as she shivers from the cold sensation washing over her. Her onyx eyes search the room, finding no boy with dual colored eyes.

Where is Todoroki?

They walk her down the center isle as she sweeps her head both ways looking for her Todoroki. How long was she under? Did they take him away?

They turn to the left where a door sits cracked. Upon entering she's taken down some dark stairs to a basement. At the bottom she nearly sobs in relief, yet manages to hold back. Todoroki is in the corner on his knees watching her. The women set her down next to him before leaving them and closing the door behind them, leaving them in nothing but the shallow light of a tiny barred window near the top of the wall.

Once alone Momo nearly breaks, "Todoroki."

"Shh" His voice his calm as he nods, "It's going to be fine."

"Is it?" Momo asks, "What are they doing?"

"They're preparing for a ceremony."

"Ceremony?" She shakes her head as water droplets fall from the tips of her hair that fell from its ponytail, "What ceremony?"

"I don't know. But we need to get out of here."

His body leans towards her as she adjusts to sit down which is difficult with tied hands and curls her knees up to her chest. Todoroki sits next to her as she drops her head onto his shoulder, "I'm scared." 

"It's alright. I'm here." He turns his head to rest on the crowd of her hair, "We'll figure this out together."

Momo breaths deeply as she tries to calm her racing heart. Convincing herself they they're resting just long enough to regain their strength and try again.

But until then, they're stuck here...

In irons.

//~~~~~~~End Ch 24~~~~~~~\\

Chapter Text

 

//~~~~~~~~Ch 25~~~~~~~~~~\\ 


Todoroki searches every inch of that basement. He works at the plastic on the zip ties and even tries to get Momo to help his but it's difficult since she can only do it with her own back turned to him. Giving up on that he tries to find something to give them any type of advantage.

The walls are all made of wood with metal pipes here and there. None of the nails felt loose enough to pull with teeth or hands and nothing was loose enough to break off as a weapon. Todoroki tried to look out the small window no bigger than his head, but all he could see was tall uncut grass.

He and Momo wondered the room for hours until the light from the outside faded away and the door upstairs was opened.

Rebecca came down with food, offering to feed them. Which ended with Todoroki trying to take her down. She got away and locked the door behind her as he slammed it with his shoulder.

"Hey! You can't keep us down here forever!" He shouts at the door, kicking it for good measure.

"Todoroki-san" Momo says and he looks down the stairs at her shadowed figure.

Walking back to her side he realizes he hasn't spoken much since she got down there.

She squats down to the floor and rests her head in her knees, "What are we going to do?"

Todoroki sighs, looking around the dark room once more, "I don't know. But they're trying to feed us so I doubt they want us dead."

"What are they waiting for?" She rolls her head to the side.

"The reverend mentioned a test a few times... so did that woman. To prove we're one of Gods chosen like they are." He walks to the wall next to her and slides down to offer support from closeness, though he doesn't touch her. If his father was here he would tell Todoroki to stay focused and ignore all distractions.

"What if we fail?"

"Maybe they kill us? Or maybe they'll let us go." He shrugs, "All we can do it keep trying."

"I'm hungry," She whispers, and as if on cue Todoroki's stomach lets out a string of sounds that has his cheeks turning pink. Though the embarrassment is worth is since the sound of Momo's giggle follows it.

"You too?"

He shrugs, "Eh, a little."

It's Momo’s turn to sigh as he feels her head plop down on his shoulder. His whole body tenses up as he looks everywhere but her direction, "Todoroki-san, I'm sorry."

"About what?" He can't think with her this close.

"It's my fault we're in this. If I had just let you turn around when you wanted. We would be long gone." She sniffles a bit in the dark and he wonders if there are tears in those big onyx eyes.

He inhales as he speaks before thinking, which is something rare for him, "This is not your fault."

"Don't try and make me feel better." She turns her face into the sleeve of his jacket, nuzzling her face in it like she's scratching her nose or drying her tears.

"I don't make people feel better. I'm telling the truth." Todoroki looks up to focus on the wooden ceiling above them, "I agreed to go this way too. I chose the spot to pull over in. And I'm the one that didn't see the other guy hiding behind the car. If anything, this is all my fault. I should apologize to you."

She sniffles a bit before humming, "We make an odd pair. Blaming ourselves for something we couldn't predict."

"I guess"

Her soft laughter fills the darkness with a light chuckle, "I'll agree to not blame myself if you don't blame yourself."

"Why would you care if I blame myself? My faults aren’t yours to bare."

"Because we're friends. And friends look out for each other. You see my flaws, I see yours and while we may not be able to fix them; we can at least be there for each other through it all."

Her words are pretty, but that's all they are... pretty words to cover up the fact that his flaws overflow into a sea of damaged goods.

"You don't have to agree. Just know I don't blame you at all Todoroki-san. If this is the end of us, just know I still trust you completely."

Gritting his teeth he snaps to look down at her as she looks up at him from his shoulder, "Stop talking like we're about to die!"

"Todoroki-san?"

He leans in closer, squinting at her face in the dark, "I'm not going to let them hurt you- us. We're going to get out of this."

In the darkness of the room he can feel her breath fan across his mouth. He didn't realize he had gotten this close, and a part of him doesn't want to move away.

"Alright." She whispers and he can just make out the outline of her smile, "I trust you."

Todoroki turns away, sitting up straight as her head plops back down on his shoulder. No one has ever said that to him. She trusts him?  

Shaking his head he buries that inner conflict to dissect another day. Right now he needs to work on getting them out of there alive.

After an hour of silence, he thought she had fallen asleep until her voice whispers to him in the night, "Todoroki-san?"

"Hm?" He hums, leaning his head back. He hasn't been able to rest. His mind is rolling over scenarios and tactics that might help them.

"Are you afraid of dying?"

The question comes out of left field and slaps his mind to the present as he looks down at the top of her head still resting on him, "What?"

"I'm sorry, it's just..." She seems to weight her words carefully, "I'm just wondering if you've ever thought about dying. It crossed my mind at the camp when I was sick. But with everything going on I didn't focus on it."

"Until now?" He doesn't know why they're talking about this.

"Until now." She sighs, "When that man pushed me under the water. I didn't know if that was it. I guess the thought kind of stuck with me."

Todoroki thinks about her words, "Are you afraid of dying?"

"Way to answer my question with a question," She huffs out a laugh before letting out a long breath, "I don't know. I think more than anything I'm afraid of dying before I find my parents."

Todoroki stays quiet, readjusting his back to the wall as she snuggles her head into his shoulder, "When I was under the water all I could think about was them. It was a happy thought but it made me sad."

"A happy thought made you sad?" He looks down at the top of her head again, "Why?"

"Because it makes me think I won't have another memory to make with them. What I have is all I'll have until I die."

Todoroki hums in thought before staring off into the darkness of the basement, "My sister use to say something to me that I never understood. At least not until now."

"What's that?" Momo sits up and they look to each other.

"You talk as if you're well beyond your years. You forget you're still so young." He recites, remembering how she would spout this with a knowing smile.

"Are you calling me old? Or childish?" She raises an eyebrow up at him as he shrugs.

"Take it how you will." He presses a thumb to her head and smooth's out the wrinkles of her worry, "Just don't grow too old with your thoughts."

She giggles as she leans into his touch, "You're very wise, Todoroki-san."

Pulling his hand away he faces forward and feels her head plop back onto his shoulder, "You should get some sleep. I'll stay watch."

She lets out a yawn before nodding as she snuggles into his arm, "You didn't answer my question though."

He waits, thinking out an answer that'll get her to drop it but he ends up finding himself saying, "No, I'm not afraid of dying."

"Really?"

"Answering my answer with a question," He shoots back as Momo giggles, "Go to sleep."

"Alright. Goodnight Todoroki-san."

"Night" He sighs and feels her weight lean into his as her body succumbs to rest. Good; she'll need it by the morning.

Momo woke up several times through the night, offering to let him sleep, but he turned her town every time. He needs to stay vigilant and think of a way out of this. She seems to understand this since she allows him to stand back up and search the room for the hundredth time.

The light from outside began to peek through the small window, giving him the light, he so craves to look for a way out.

He didn't have much time to dwell on the light since the door at the top of the stairs opens. Two men come down as Todoroki stands before Momo.

"We're here to take you to breakfast. Don't try anything. You won't get far." The man stands aside sweeping an arm out for them to walk. Todoroki let's Momo go first, not wanting her to walk up the stairs with anyone but him behind her. Once at the top they're met with Rebecca and John's smiling faces.

"You must be starving." Rebecca turns to the open double doors of the church, "We have everything set up."

They leave the church as Todoroki takes in everything he can. The building is large, white wood; looks to be hand build a long time ago. They're surrounded by trees circling the perimeter with just a large dirt path leading up to the building. They all go behind the church to find tables set up with food spread across it. The church members are sitting around talking as the Reverend stands at the head with that trusty bible in his hands.

It isn't until Constantine spots them that his smile doubles and his arm spread, "Welcome my children! Sit, sit! Eat with us and rejoice in God's many gifts!"

They're sat near the end before two fully loaded plates of vegetables and cornbread. Todoroki looks to Momo and notices how her face goes white. She's just as hesitant as he is about consuming food neither of them witnessed in the making.

Their hands are untied as they bring them forward and rub at their raw wrists. Todoroki considers the risks of fighting now. It wouldn't be good considering they're out numbered. If he were alone, maybe, but not with Momo here.

One of the men that brought them up sits on the other side of the table and motions with his hands to make a prayer fist.

Neither of the teens go to mimic him as the congregation bows to pray.

"Dear heavenly father, thank you for this bountiful feast that we may enjoy from your prosperous land. And thank you for bringing two new souls into our flock, so that we may judge them with your mighty fist. Should they pass your divine tests, they will be welcomed with open arms. Amen."

"Amen" The others said in harmony.

"Dig in" Constantine sits down and begins to eat his own largely filled plate.

Todoroki and Momo make no movement to pick up their forks as they look down to the food.


"It ain't poisoned." The man across from them laughs as they look up, "It's the best damn cornbread Mrs. Lisa could scrub up." He motions to the elderly woman at the other end of the table.

"Excuse us if we don't take your word for it." Todoroki has sarcasm dripping from his words as he glares at the man, "We're not hungry."

"Sure, about that?" He looks between them. When neither of them makes a move to eat he reaches over, plucking Todoroki's plate from before him and moves it onto his own side, "More for me anyways."

"Names Erik by the way," He says with a nod, "Mighty excited for you to be here."

"And why is that Erik?" Todoroki leans into the table, glancing up at Constantine who's watching them carefully from the head of the table. Though many are talking to him, begging for his attention with pleading smiles and wide worshiping eyes.

Erik looks at Todoroki like he's crazy, "So you can join our flock. Weren't you listening in the sermon?"

"Yeah, but frankly none of this makes sense. We just want to go."

"No can do." Erik takes a bite of the cornbread and moans around it as he looks to Momo, "You sure you don't want any?" He holds it out, "It's so good."

Momo makes a sickened face as she shakes her head to the offered food, "No thank you."

"Oh, so she does speak English. The fellas and I thought she was-"

Todoroki cuts him off quickly, "Why can't you let us go?"

Erik sighs as if tired of explaining it, "You have to take the test."

"What test?"

"The test God gave to Reverend Constantine." Erik motions with his cornbread to their leader, "At the start of all this revelations."

Shaking his head, Todoroki tries to make sense of this, "God… spoke with Constantine?"

"Oh, yeah! When everyone started gettin' sick, our town didn't have any hospitals or doctors for a long ways away. Father Donovan opened the church to everyone to stay here and wait out the sickness."

"Father Donovan?" Todoroki asks.

"He was the churches first Reverend-" He looks around before leaning in to whisper, "Constantine use to be a history teacher at our towns high school."

"A high school teacher? How did he become a reverend?"

"Well, when everyone started getting sick and dying, Reverend Donovan passed along with them. The day after he passed Constantine said he was visited in his sleep by God." Erik's eyes widen as does his smile. He must really love this story.

"He said God sent this illness as a test to strike down the non-believers and find the truly devoted ones to join him in his heavenly palace. That once the world is cleansed of evil, only then can we truly enter heaven." Erik looks up to the sky, "Ain't it beautiful?"

"So your people just fell for that? How many of there were you before this all started?"

Erik counts to himself for a second before looking back at him, "About two hundred and fifty townsfolk."

"And your group is all that's left?" Todoroki looks down at the twelve other survivors.

"Well, we had a few others but they didn't believe in Reverend Constantine. They weren't worthy to enter our new flock." Erik's eyes go dark, "We took care of them."

"By making them take the test?" Todoroki asks as Erik nods.

"They weren't true believers."

"What's the test?"

Erik smirks, "You'll be given the blood of Christ."

"The blood of Christ?" Todoroki parrots in confusion, "And do what with it?"

"Drink it of course." Erik laughs as if it's obvious, "It's the only way to test that you're worthy to join our flock."

"Did you drink the blood?"

"Heck no!" Erik snaps as if offended, "I'm a believer from day one. When Constantine came forward and spoke of his dream where he walked with God, I knew that had to be the reason this all happened." He looks to Momo and back to Todoroki, "Constantine knew we were already chosen when we joined him. We don't need to take the test. We believe in him."

Todoroki looks to the head of the table and finds Reverend Constantine looking at them with a wide smile. As if he knew what they were talking about. His old hand circling the rim of his glass cup.

"Erik," Todoroki whispers, looking back to him. He hasn't been translating for Momo and he knows she must be in the dark, but he needs answers, "Where does the blood of Christ come from?"

"From the unworthy." He whispers as if the name itself is taboo, "The sick."

It's like his stomach is stabbing itself as his mind runs past a million things to say, "That's suicide. There's no way we can pass that."

"You need to believe if you don't wanna get sick." Erik takes another bite of his food, "Just pray."

"Praying won't do us SHIT!" He stands up with a shout drawing attention on him, "You all expect us to drink the virus and not get sick? You're going to kill us!"

Constantine stands up, "The blood flowing through those damned children's veins is the same as our own. It's the blood God gave us. The only difference is they didn't believe so their punishment is to walk the earth forever as a rotting corpse. If you truly believe you have nothing to worry about. Your fate is in Gods hands."

"Fuck you!" Todoroki picks up his glass of water and smashes it onto the table, "You're crazy! All of you are crazy!"

"Take them away." Constantine says with a sigh. Four people jump up and grab onto Todoroki as he struggles.

"Let us go! You're sentencing us to death! To death!" He shoves a man as Rebecca and another man grab Momo. She had jumped up when he stood, looking confused and scared as the women pull her towards the building.

Constantine raises his hand to him, "We will pray for your soul. Tonight you'll be judged by God and all eyes. I suggest you pray."

Todoroki put up quite the fight, kicking and grabbing onto anything he could. His fathers teachings doing him well until more rushed him, pulling him down as they tied his hands behind his back again and shoved him back into the church. Momo's already in the basement when he's nearly pushed down the stairs after her and the doors shut.

"Todoroki!" Momo rushes to his side, "What was that? What did he say?"

Todoroki looks to her with wide, wild eyes. He should tell her—he needs to tell her. But he knows all it'll do is frighten her.

"They're going to have us take the test tonight."

Her eyes widen, "Tonight? We need to get out of here."

All he can do is nod as he paces around the room looking once again for anything to save them. He slams his shoulder into the wall several times, trying to weaken any wooden boards.

"Todoroki, stop! You'll hurt yourself!" She comes to his side as he shrugs her hand off his shoulder and rams the wall again, wincing from the pain.

"I have to get us out." He runs at the wall and hits it again, falling backwards as his shoulder screams at him.

"There has to be another way!" She insists.

"There's none! Yaoyorozu if we don't get out of here now, we're going to die!" He snaps as she gasps.

Momo backs away from him as he shakes his head; regret filling him, "Yaoyorozu-"

"We have to be smart about this. You always told me we need to be smart about our choices. Breaking your shoulder isn't going to help us right now." She says sternly.

Todoroki's impressed with her level head as he rolls his painful shoulder back, "I'm all ears if you have any ideas you've been withholding?"

She pouts, "I've got nothing, but that doesn't mean we're down and out just yet."

"Got another pep talk or saying your parents use to give you?"

Momo smiles up at him, "In fact I do. If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal."

Todoroki huffs in amusement, "Your dad or mom?"

"My dad actually. He told it to me when I was having a hard time in my Home Ec class." She blushes at the mention of not doing well in a subject, "I couldn't quite grasp the aspects of cooking."

"Really?" He hums, "You strike me as a great cook. Not that I've ever eaten anything you've made."

"Well, it's a lot harder then you think. But my dad was right. I changed how I looked at the recipe and found if I look at it like a math problem, I'm pretty good at it." She smiles at the memory of her father.

"Alright, so let's change plans." He walks to the center of the room and stands there. After several minutes he looks back at her, "Anything yet?"

Momo shakes her head, "Nothing."

"Well, fuck" He curses with a giant sigh.

For the rest of the day the two bounce ideas off each other, from busting down the door to faking an emergency to try and get someone down there.

Before either of the knew it the light from outside turned a bright orange as it began to set. Todoroki could feel his energy as his blood pumped twice as fast. Their time would be up any minute now.

What if this is it for them? What if they are about to die?

No—this can't be how they go. Todoroki still hasn't- he hasn't done anything with his time here in the states. He came here with a goal and to die before reaching it would just be a huge slap to the face. What was the point of coming to this country if he didn't complete his mission?

Looking over at Momo he feels that familiar churning in his stomach as she looks at him from her inspection of the wall and gives him a smile.

If he had never came here, he would have never met her.


If he does die tonight, at least he won't regret one thing. 

Meeting her.

The door at the top of the stairs opens. Todoroki feels his mouth go dry.

This is it…

Rebecca and John stand at the top of the stairs with Erik and the man that brought them here. They walk down the steps and smile at them.

"It's time." Rebecca holds her bible out, "You will be judged."

Erik moves forward, setting a candle on the ground as he lights it and steps back while Rebecca bows, "We'll let you two pray one last time."

Momo turns to Todoroki with wide eyes, "Is this is?"

Todoroki swallows, though his throat is dry, "I think so."

Tears peak at the corner of her eyes, "Todoroki-san, I-"

"I'm sorry, I failed you." He says quickly, "I'm so sorry Yaoyorozu."

"No," She steps closer resting her forehead against his chest, "Don't—remember what I said." Momo looks up at him with those shining onyx eyes, "I trust in Todoroki-san.

And I still do."

"Yaoyorozu-" He whispers, feeling his body lean into her own.

"Alright you two." Rebecca steps forward, "Time to go. Take the girl first."

John steps forward as Todoroki shoulders Momo behind him, "No! Take me."

"Todoroki?" She looks between them, "Wha-"

"Take me first!" He insists with hard eyes.

"Not this time. Erik, Jamal, hold him back." She motions with her bible to Todoroki as the two men walk forward.

"No, don't fucking touch her!" He knee's Erik in the stomach, but the other guy manages to get him on his knees. With his hands tied it's not easy to fight the two men hold him while Momo drops down to her knees to lean her forehead against his own.

"It's alright Todoroki-san. I'll go." She whispers, "I'll go first."

"No!"

John comes up behind her, lifting her up by her upper arms before moving her to the stairs. Todoroki is struggling under the weight of two grown men, "Yaoyorozu!" He grunt loudly, "Yaoyorozu! Yaoyorozu stop! Don't drink anything! Don't drink anything!"

She casts him one last look before she's gone through the door. Erik and Jamal push off him as they back away.

"You're next son." Erik motions to the bible Rebecca set next to the candle, "I'd be praying for her instead of putting up a fuss." The two men walked up the stairs as Todoroki kneels next to the candle.

He looks up at the door that's slowly shutting, "Momo!" He shouts loudly hoping she can hear him call out to her, "I trust you too!"

The door shuts with a click as he's left in the flickering light of the candle. The sun had set outside, leaving the window to cast nothing but darkness onto his body. His heart is beating rapidly as he worries about what they're going to do to her. He could literally be dead in the next few minutes, but all he cares about is her.

That when it hits him like a ton of bricks…

He's not scared of dying. But he is scared of Momo dying and leaving him alone again.

When did she do this to him?

What can he do? He can't just sit down here and accept his fate. He needs to save her! Get them out of here so he can get her to Alaska!

'If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.'

It's like lighting went off in his brain, shocking him into what he has to do.

His dual color eyes look down at the candle as an idea forms, "Change the plan, never the goal." He whispers.

He turns his back to the candle and holds the zip tie over the flame. Hissing as the fire burns at his flesh and the plastic of his confines. He pulls at it until it snaps apart and he stands. Rushing to the door he jerks at the handle and finds it locked. Like earlier he uses his shoulder to try and ram the door down, though the sturdy oak mixed with his lack of energy from food or water leaves little to be done.

"Change the plan, not the goal." He says again going down to the basement again and looking around before stopping on the candle. Another plan forming.

If he can't get the both of them out of here... he'll at least just get her out of here.

He picks up the bible and begins ripping pages from inside of it, creating a pile of pages near the wooden wall. Once all the pages have been ripped he picks up the candle and lights the pile.

He's going to save Momo, even if it kills him in the process.

//~~~~~~~~End Ch 25~~~~~~~~~~~\\