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misery loves company

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Three years ago he fought a villain with an avalanche quirk. Just as Todoroki managed to counteract the rock slide with a wall of ice, a boulder the size of a tire collided with his chest. It’d knocked the air out of him, caused him to lose control of ice quirk for a moment, and left a bruise on his torso that ached for weeks.

This feeling in his chest now… It reminds him an awful lot of that wound.

Which was strange, because all Midoriya had said was And remember Friday is Yaoyorozu’s engagement party .

It was nothing like a boulder to the chest-- Except, it was. Precisely. Only Momo isn’t there this time to apply ointment to his chest, to suck the air through her teeth and tell him how his skin resembles an opal. To remind him that he should be more careful. For her nimble fingers to linger on his warm skin and ask if he’ll be okay.

Todoroki presses a fist to his sternum and pushes, hard. It doesn’t help quell the ache. It does nothing to distract him. With a sigh, he lets his hand drop back to his side as he tries to make sense of whatever’s pained him.

Yaoyorozu is getting engaged. On his sofa table, his phone buzzed. Todoroki considered ignoring it in favor of laying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling and pining until the world swallows him whole.

Instead, he pushes himself up on his elbows and reaches across the space to retrieve his phone.

A message from Midoriya stares back at him. A message with the details of Yaoyorozu’s party. A message reminding him that the proposal is a surprise so not to spoil anything before her boyfriend pops the question.

Todoroki rolls his eyes and lets his phone drop back onto the table with a hollow smack. Lying on his back and lacing his fingers behind his head, elbows out, he frowns at the ceiling. A surprise engagement at Yaoyorozu’s two-years with the agency party is a shitty idea. He knows the creation hero well enough to understand this isn’t the kind of grand gesture she wants. Her parents will love it, sure, and her friends will all embrace her and be excited for her, which Todoroki guesses she’ll appreciate, but it isn’t what she wants.

Yaoyorozu would prefer something private and intimate. She’d want to celebrate quietly, or, if she were unsure about her answer, she’d want to be somewhere where she could sit and untangle her feelings. To calculate how she felt and how best to proceed. Barraging her at an event celebrating her success in front of all her friends and family was a shitty thing to do. Todoroki’s eyes slide shut. But Yaoyorozu was so fucking kind. Even if she weren’t 100% certain--which he knew she was, she made pros and cons lists when it came to buying socks, after all--an engagement isn’t something she’ll take lightly.

He also knows Yaoyorozu would want to take part in the engagement discussion. She’s a planner and would prefer not to have something so life changing suddenly sprung on her. She wants a partner, not a party. And from all of their time shared together, Todoroki can’t remember a single time she’s ever mentioned wanting to get married anytime in the near future.

His phone buzzes again. Probably Midoriya or Iida asking where he is. He ignores it this time. He doesn’t want to think about it--about her. He just wants to not feel like this anymore. Just wants to not feel anything.

He doesn’t want to go to the stupid party where she’s wearing a pretty dress. Where she thinks everyone’s present to celebrate her hero work, but really it’s for something else entirely. He doesn’t want to see her get engaged. Doesn’t want her to smile at him--her very close friend--while wearing a stupid, glittering ring of a promise she’s made to someone else. Doesn’t want to face her, to face himself.

So he doesn’t go. He opens his eyes, contemplates a shower. Maybe some mindless television. There’s a book lying on his bedside Yaoyorozu recommended. But he doesn’t move. His phone buzzes incessantly on his table and he blocks the world out.

Outside the window powdery snow falls from the sky. He can watch the freezing rain cut a jagged path in the streetlamps from his position lounging on the sofa. He can hear his neighbors chattering about the storm on their balcony. He can close his eyes and pretend his mopey mood has brought snow flurries upon the city. It’s kind of poetic, and a humorless smile tugs at his features.

He should tell her so he can stop being so miserable. But he’s a coward. More so than that, Todoroki knows he doesn’t say anything because he doesn’t want to stop her happiness. Above all else, Yaoyorozu deserves to be happy.

Because that guy she’s always with. Her boyfri— fiancé, now— is always there. And damn him, the idiot makes her smile. But sometimes, when they’re alone on patrol or they grab dinner after work, there’s a look she gives him. Sometimes, when his hand lingers on her arm she parts her lips, it’s like she knows how he feels. Like she knows how badly he wants her, and she pauses. He doesn’t say anything and she doesn't say anything and he moves his hand and he stops staring so deeply into her eyes. And it fucking hurts but he doesn’t say anything. He can handle a little pain. He’s a hero, after all.

He thinks of the guy who Yaoyorozu lets put a hand on the curve of her waist. The guy is supposedly smart, head of a hero agency’s finances. His quirk is practically worthless and Todoroki knows he could best him to a duel, but Momo wouldn’t want anything that barbaric. She doesn’t want to be fought over, isn’t so immature to desire being a prize.

No, Todoroki opens his eyes and they sting a bit. He missed his chance to tell her, and now it’s too late.

His phone stops buzzing. It’s quiet in his living room. Then the buzzing starts up again and he pushes himself into a sitting position. If Midoriya’s sent him a photo of the happy couple he swears he’s going to…

There’s a knock at his door. Sharp and quick, but tentative. Todoroki glances at his phone and he sees the missed calls are all from Yaoyorozu. He’s on his feet, rushing to the door, and when he pulls it open she's standing there. A red dress under a cream coat. Her makeup smeared, her hair windswept. Her cheeks red, her lips chapped…

Around her, the snow falls like a singular, solid mass and she shivers against it.

“It’s snowing,” she says in lieu of greeting, and Todoroki pulls her inside, closing the door behind her. Her teeth chatter as she rubs her arms, trying to use friction to warm herself.

Todoroki gathers her into his arms quickly and she’s like ice against his chest. Using his fire quirk to raise his body temperature, he sighs as she shivers against him.

“Why didn't you make yourself a warmer coat?” he scolds.

Instead of answering, she sobs into his chest. Her tears soaking the material of his white t-shirt.

Todoroki runs his hands up her back and back down again, over and over, his mind racing. “Aren’t you supposed to be at your party?”

She stills for a moment, long enough for him to plant a kiss on the crown of her hair. Long enough for him to take a breath and inhale the scent of her shampoo. When she looks up at him, eyes wet and lips trembling, she asks, “Why didn’t you come to my party?”

He swallows, adam’s apple bobbing. “Why are you here?”

“Because…” Her eyes slide closed, her fingers twisting the material of his shirt. “Because he asked me to marry him and I said no.”

Todoroki stills. His hands move from her back to rest on top of her chilly fingers still clinging to his shirt. “Yaoyorozu…” he says, and because he doesn’t know what else to say, because her running here in a snowstorm wasn’t one of the scenarios he’d tortured himself with that evening, he crushes her against his chest.

She shivers against him and he raises his body temperature more—not enough to burn her, but enough that she slides out of her coat and moulds herself against him like a second skin.

“I didn’t go because I…” he looks down at the top of her dark hair. “I want you to be happy. I just can’t stand to see it.”

Momo shivers and he holds her closer.

Silence settles between them. She seems warmer now and he lowers his body temperature, but she doesn’t let go.

“Why did you say no?” he asks, wincing at the slight wobble in his voice.

“Because it wouldn’t be fair to him, or myself, if I’d said yes.” Yaoyorozu pulls away enough to look at him. Her cheeks are still flushed, whether from the cold or her own shame he isn’t sure, but she’s so lovely in the low light of his entryway, melted snow clinging to her hair. He should make her some tea. Let her change clothes. But she continues talking before he can suggest any of it. “It wouldn’t be fair. Not when there’s someone else.”

“Someone else?” he hears himself saying, hears himself daring to hope.

Her plump lips fold to a frown. There’s an annoyed little fold creasing her brow, and his hand fit around her arms, holding her close.

“You’re so dense sometimes, Todoroki.”

He frowns. “Yaoyorozu…”

“Will you…” She blinks away her tears. She shivers in his arms. “Will you kiss me?”

He kisses her. He doesn’t want to be a distraction because she’s sad, but he’s wanted this, her, for so long… And he’s selfish to his core… This might be his only chance and so he takes it.

His lips fit against hers, her mouth parting, tongue meeting his. Her fingers slide down his shirt, moving to his waist to untuck it. Her teeth take his lower lip between them, nibbling for a moment before pressing a gentle peck to the corner of his mouth.

It’s too much and it isn’t enough, and when her hand slips under his shirt, up over the planes of his stomach, he rests his forehead in the crook of her neck, stopping both of them with a pained whisper of her name.

“Don’t talk, Shouto,” she says, hands shaking. Eyes wet.

Shouto . He stills. An impasse for a moment and then he’s kissing her again, hoisting her up and pressing her against his wall. Her legs lock around him and hold him close. Her hands play with the fine hairs at the back of his neck. He can feel her heartbeat hammering against his chest. It’s like she’s cured the ache, healed the bruise, and his fingers tangle in her hair while her heels dig into his back. Todoroki has never been sure of much, but in that moment he’s positive she’s the only thing he’ll ever want this much.

When he pulls away she’s panting.

“Why didn’t you come to my party?” she asks again, breathless.

“Because I’m in love with you.” His eyes meet hers, serious and unyielding. Her smile falters for a moment and he asks, “Why are you here?”

“Because,” she breathes against him. “Because I’m in love with you, too.”