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A Warmth in My Heart

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Slowly opening the door to her parent's bedroom, Miyuki Todoroki slips into the dark room and inches towards her mother's side of the bed, planning to wake her.

Shouto faintly hears the slight sound of bare feet hitting the hardwood floor. He gently rises, untangling his arms from around Momo, knowing that she had a late patrol and needs to rest. He slowly turns towards where the sound is coming from, the corners of his lips curve into a small, amused smile as his young daughter attempts to be stealthy. Miyuki freezes, mid-tiptoe, as her matching blue eyes widen and meet his heterochromatic stare. Noticing the direction his daughter was heading for, he waves his hand, beckoning for her to come closer to him instead.

The girl carefully pitter-patters her way towards his side of the bed. The faint brushing sound of her purple pajamas is heard with each step until she finally stands next to him. The young girl had insisted on wearing the same pajamas almost every night for the last week since they had Auntie Kyouka on them. It seems that Earphone Jack has quite a young fanbase, much to her dismay... The thought of Jirou groaning about how it's “not very rock 'n' roll"  briefly comes to Shouto's mind.

"Miyuki," Shouto whispers, "your mother needs her rest, please don't wake her up. Are you okay?"

"I'm sorry, Daddy," Miyuki says softly with a pout, "I know she worked late, but Mommy always braids my hair for school!"

"Shhhh," he says softly, "let's not wake Mommy up today. Come on, I'll help you get ready." He carefully slides his legs off the bed, glancing to his left to make sure his wife is still sleeping. He thinks about how lucky he is while taking in the beauty of Momo's sleeping form. Her long dark hair is fanned out around her peaceful face as her chest rises up and down steadily with each breath.

He looks up, amused once again as his daughter dramatically tiptoes towards the door as if she is in slow motion. She turns to him with a finger to her lips, signaling for him to be quiet. His smile widens as he imitates her wide steps as they begin to draw near the hallway.

They finally reach the archway leading into the living room. Early morning light illuminates the room from the huge windows lining the wall opposite them. A large tan-colored couch sits in the center of the room. Following closely behind the small head of dark hair before him, Shouto takes a seat in the middle of the couch. Miyuki sits down cross-legged on the floor at his feet, facing away from him.

"Daddy, do you even know what you're doing?" Miyuki wonders aloud with a slight turn of her head. She sees Shouto just sitting there with his hands in his lap out of the corner of her eye. A light laugh slips from between his pursed lips as he gives her a pat on the head.

"Of course, I do. I've seen your mother do this countless times," Shouto reassures her while lifting his hands to grasp a few sections of her hair.

His fingers sort through her dark locks, occasionally coming across a red strand. He attempts to weave the strands together, crossing sections over each other as he has seen Momo do countless times. Miyuki shifts uncomfortably as his fingers get caught on a strand. Shouto looks at the strand, not knowing how it ended up there. The strand in question is coming from the front of her head. He somewhat successfully pulls the offending strand out of the braid, but not without disheveling the section that it had been mixed in with.

Fully aware that he is failing miserably, Shouto murmurs an apology and perseveres.

Unbeknownst to Shouto or Miyuki, Momo walks through the hallway, now fully awake. She approaches the archway leading to the living room and comes to a stop. The corners of her lips curve into a sweet smile as she looks on in endearment at the sight before her. She notices hints of frustration behind Shouto's calm and focused expression. She has not seen her husband look this focused since their days at UA and that's saying something considering their field of work as pro-heroes.

Quietly walking over to the couch, she is careful to avoid stepping on their daughter who seems to be becoming more and more impatient. Momo slips into the seat next to Shouto, close enough for him to feel the cushion dip due to the sudden weight. She gently places her hand over his to stop his movements. He looks up at her and she gives him a gentle smile meeting, his questioning gaze. His grip on the strands goes lax as he allows Momo to shift them to her own hands. Shouto watched silently as she undoes the messy braid. Momo's eyes swoop back up to him.

"Mommy's going to take over braiding your hair and show your father how it's done," Momo explains to their daughter with a hint of teasing directed towards Shouto.

Amusedly, the right side of Shouto's lips quirk upward into a smirk. "One day the student will surpass the master, just you wait," he drawls in his usual slightly monotonous tone.

Momo effortlessly picks up on the playful yet challenging undertone in his voice. Her expression blossoms into a full-blown smile. Looking up from her hands, she meets his gaze with the same challenge reflecting in her own eyes.

"That's big talk for someone who can't even do a simple three-strand braid. Watch and learn, my prodigy," Momo trails off. Her head tilts to gesture towards their daughter while her eyes remain locked in a staring contest with Shouto. Miyuki lets out a grumble, followed by an exaggerated sigh.

"MOOOM, DAAAAD, can someone PLEASE just braid my hair? I have to be at school soon!" the 6-year-old complains as she crosses her arms with a huff.

Momo feels the tension in the strands from Miyuki's movements. Their daughter's annoyance elicits a small laugh from Shouto. Finally tearing her eyes from Shouto's intense gaze, Momo shifts her focus back to the head of hair in front of her. With their attention finally turned towards their daughter, Shouto watches earnestly as Momo effortlessly crosses the strands over each other. Her nimble fingers continue to weave the strands, making sure to keep up with the pattern of the braid.

Just from watching Momo, Shouto never would have fathomed how meticulous the process is. He knows better now after trying and failing to do it himself. Momo begins to hum as she braids, and the comforting lull of her voice resonates throughout the room. Shouto becomes entranced with the movement of her hands and the sound of her voice. He watches the braid come closer and closer to its completion. Momo finally crosses the ends together, ready to finish the braid as she holds it together with one hand.

"Sho, can you please hand me the hair tie?" she questions without looking up, but it is enough to break him out of his stupor.

Shouto holds the tie in his right hand, reaching out to extend it towards Momo's waiting free hand. As she reaches out to take it, her warm, slender fingers brush over his cold fingertips. The simple touch of her fingertips still makes Shouto's heart race and leaves his left side feeling a bit warmer despite their eight years of marriage. He watches as Momo finally ties off the braid and leans back to inspect her handiwork. Miyuki rises from her position and turns around to face her still seated parents. They give her their full attention, awaiting her verdict. The small girl runs her hand over the braid as she inspects it. A pleased smile forms on her lips, reaching her eyes as they widen and sparkle with contentment.

“Thank you, I love it!" she exclaims in delight as her blue eyes somehow brighten even more. She moves forward, draping her right arm around her mother and her left arm around her father, pulling them in for a tight group hug.

"And I love you, both of you," Shouto says softly. The sweet smile on his face is practically audible despite it being obscured by the embrace.

Slightly pulling away, Shouto looks at Momo over Miyuki's back. Feeling his gaze, Momo turns to look at him with affection practically pouring out of her onyx eyes. The words are left unspoken, but Shouto simply knows she loves him too. The look in her eyes says it all, and the thought causes heat to spread throughout him once again. He knows that the warmth of her touch, her words, her gaze, and her very presence will always travel straight to his heart.