"I'm not going."
Fuyumi stared, wide eyed look behind her blue glasses.
Enji had broken her red ones before-
"Natsuo he's our father!"
"And he's dead so he can't threaten me to go now so no, I'm not going to that bastard's funeral." He reiterated, his expression darkening at the end of his statement, stuffing his hands in his jean pockets as he turned his chin up in clear defiance.
"Mom!" Fuyumi pleaded, setting her eyes on their mother, who'd been sitting beside Shouto at the dining room table, the both of them sipping tea and settling in the other's presence as just mother and son, allowed to be.
Something they hadn't been able to do since Shouto had gotten his quirk and she had been sent away.
"Your brother's a fine young man Fuyumi, an adult young man that can make his own decisions. If he doesn't want to go then he doesn't have to. You don't force him." Rei spoke, voice soft yet her voice seemed to harden at the end of her part.
Shouto put a hand over her own clenched fist carefully, even if it was a little awkward with having to maneuver his right hand considering she was seated to his left.
She relaxed, the frost he created over her skin blooming into beautiful patterns, delicate and fleeting.
Fuyumi dropped it, not wanting to cause her mother anymore stress than she was under.
That she had been under for the past few years.
"Shouto what about you? You're going to go aren't you?" Fuyumi asked him, practically begging him at this point.
Shouto removed his hand from his mother's, mismatched gaze focused on his cup of tea, watching the steam waft up into swirls of white that dispersed into nothing.
He took a sip and set the cup down before speaking.
"Do you remember Koromi-San?" Shouto finally asked, throwing everyone off for a moment at such an out of the blue question.
Natsuo nodded, "Yeah, she was one of our maids wasn't she? Made the best snacks." He mused, "What about her?"
"Enji fired her when the house phone went missing." Shouto explained.
"When didn't the bastard fire someone over something small? I swear they couldn't even breathe without getting put out." Natsuo quipped.
"I snuck the phone in my room, whenever I'd hear mom and Enji fighting I'd take it out and dial the first two numbers of one, one, nine, and wait with my finger over the nine. Told myself if I heard it get real bad I'd actually call." Shouto paused, relaxing the hold on his mug of tea when his mother put a hand on his arm, giving him a moment to breathe.
He couldn't look at her, didn't want to see what kind of expression she had as he told his story.
"Obviously that didn't happen," He chuckled darkly, grim look on his face, wiping away at the tears that ran down his cheeks. No one commented on it, but his mother rubbed soothing patterns into his knuckles with her thumb. "I think...deep down I didn't want to know what he'd do after the police left."
The silence was deafening, the exact meaning of those particular words weighing impossibly heavy on everyone in the room.
"So no, I won't be going to father's funeral." Shouto spat, the tea in his mug freezing solid, "And if I am made to go I'll wipe his damn grave from the very ground until there's nothing left. He left enough marks of his presence on us while alive," The 'On Me' went unsaid. "I'll be damned if I allow him to make his mark dead as well."
Shouto pushed himself harshly from the table, ignoring his mother and siblings' calls of his name as he rushed to the bathroom down the hall, closing the door harshly though being careful not to slam the door.
This house had seen enough of that.
And truthfully he still couldn't hear a door slam without flinching, even if he was the one doing the slamming.
He stood in front of the bathroom mirror, hands on the sink, knuckles bone white with tension as he clenched his hands against the porcelain.
"Shouto?" His mother's voice filtered through the door, soft and gentle. During their short time together, a month roughly, he learned she reserved that tone of voice for him specifically.
It was a welcome change from a deep voice laced with threats.
He wiped the frustrated tears from his face, taking a deep breath to calm himself before he opened the door. His mother stood in the doorway, concern etched into her face as she looked him over, grey eyes flitting to look over him.
"Shouto?" She hesitantly reached up to cup a hand to his cheek, careful not to touch his scar.
She didn't quite have a proper read on how he felt about his scar.
And if she was telling the truth, she hadn't quite gotten over what she'd done to him all those years ago.
She was sure she never would.
"Are you okay?" She asked him, voice soft.
"I'm fine." He answered just as quick, the choked up tone in his voice betraying his true feelings on the matter.
"Are you sure?"
There was a pause, a lull in time as the tears he had tried so hard to hold in came back full force, dripping down over his cheeks.
"No." He choked out.
She pulled him down into a hug, holding him tightly as her son sobbed briefly into her shoulder, his hands clutching desperately at the back of her shirt.
"He can't hurt you anymore." She whispered, voice watery as tears built up in her own eyes, carding chilled fingers through bicolored hair. Something she vaguely remembers doing when he was younger, on the days when Enji would be out all day and through the night and she could actually see him and comfort him when the nightmares got too bad.
As his sobbing quieted down she was grateful that some things hadn't changed.
Natsuo knocked quietly on the bathroom door, Fuyumi hovering over his shoulder, worry etched into her face.
She hadn't meant to upset him, any of them with her insistence they attend father's funeral, she'd only thought it best they pay their respects and move on. Though if she'd known her baby brother would land himself in a panic attack she would have kept her damn mouth shut, like she should have kept doing from the start.
She should not speak unless spoken to.
That was the rule.
Just because father was gone now didn't mean that rule still didn't apply.
Their mother's voice sounded out from behind the door, prompting Natsuo to open it slowly and quietly like she had asked.
Inside her mother sat on the floor of the bathroom, Shouto's head in her lap as he slept soundly, face a ruddy red from crying, his hair plastered to his forehead. Possibly his quirk acting up, though not serious enough for their mother to feel the need to do anything about it, the cold vapors from her hand carding through his hair telling them she had it all under control.
"Mom I-" Fuyumi started, their mother cutting her off before she could even begin. "Natsuo, would you take Shouto to bed? I don't think he'll be up for awhile." She spoke softly, her second son nodding, silently hefting Shouto up with little trouble, careful not to bump his baby brother's head against the door jam as he left his mother and sister alone together.
"Mom, I'm sorry I-" Fuyumi stammered over her words, clutching her hands to her chest, mouth pressed in a thin line, looking down at the floor as shame curled in her belly.
"Fuyumi look at me."
The young woman looked up at her mother, a small smile gracing the older woman's face, eyes patient and kind.
"I know your father didn't keep you all together," She brushed a lock of hair from her daughter's face, her other hand gripping her clenched hands firmly but gently, "And I know your brothers care about you so much they wouldn't want to worry you," Her hand dragged down from her daughter's hair to wipe away a stray tear that had fallen from the corner of her eyes, "So you likely don't know the extent of what they went through. And they don't blame you, I don't blame you for that. But understand that what they went through with him," She paused, swallowing thickly, "They can't see him as a father, to them...to me he was anything but. The only link to fatherhood Enji had was by blood relation and that was it." Rei's voice had hardened by the end of her explanation, a certain anger in her tone that Fuyumi had never heard before.
Then again, this would be the first time her mother would have been allowed to be angry.
Rei took a breath, calming herself, hands moving to Fuyumi's shoulders in a soothing motion.
"Let's go start on dinner, Shouto still likes cold soba right?"
Fuyumi froze, realizing with that question asked as she looked upon her mother's now calm and smiling face, the same question her mother should never have had to ask in the first place, that she could feel just a bit of that sadness and rage that Natsuo and Shouto felt towards their father.
Shouto woke up to darkness, the red numbers of his clock glowing a crisp thirty-five minutes past three in the morning. Outside the sky was dark, nothing but black sky and the white peppering of stars to indicate how late it actually was to those without a clock.
The trip to the kitchen was uneventful, the only bump on his journey was having almost tripped over both Natsuo and Fuyumi who both saw fit to lay upon the floor in his room as he slept.
Something they wouldn't have dare done before Enji's death.
And now he was in front of the open fridge, blankly looking at the food choices and finding his stomach turning at all the options.
Even the cold soba saved for him didn't look appealing.
On a whim Shouto closed the fridge door, making his way quietly upstairs, down a hall that he hadn't been down for years and yet he could get to his destination with his eyes closed.
The door hadn't creaked as he opened it, little miracles, shuffling inside to pluck a hoodie from the closet before leaving the vacant room as it was. His eyes didn't dare look at the pictures he knew were taped behind the full length vanity mirror. The precious one of a kind photos hidden from Enji's wrath.
He'd hurried downstairs, just making it to the front door, hand on the knob before he heard a creak of the floorboards.
His veins seemed to fill with ice, standing frozen as his heart pounded, holding his breath as the flash of fear held him there like a deer in headlights.
"Shouto? What are you doing up so late?"
He instantly relaxed at his mother's voice, taking a deep breath to calm down. "Can't sleep."
Despite his attempts at calming himself, the words were still said with a shaken fear.
He didn't want to face his mother, to see her expression, to let her see him like this.
But if her placing a soothing, cool hand on his back was anything to go by she had already picked up on it, rubbing soothing circles to distract him. With her free hand she gently took his other hand from the knob, soothing her fingers over bone white knuckles that had gripped the knob so tightly it had taken her a small bit of force for her to pry his fingers away.
"Here," She went into the living room, coming back quickly with something clutched in her hand, holding it out for Shouto to take, "Text if anything changes or if you need something, but keep it on you okay?"
His fingers gripped the phone securely, nodding in agreement as his mother smiled, tired and half there but genuine all the same.
With a press to his shoulder she had him bend down just enough for her to place a gentle kiss against his scar, her own form of an apology his therapist had said when he told her about it.
Though Shouto felt there was no need, he'd forgiven her long ago, he still let her do as she pleased. The gentle and heartfelt affections were always nice and he could get them now, so really there wasn't a loser in this kind of situation.
"Be safe Shouto." She whispered softly, voice as gentle and soothing as her ice.
"Of course." And with his own gentle kiss to her cheek and a too long hug he was out the front door, pretending he hadn't noticed when she'd taken in the smell of his hoodie and choked down a sob as she realized who it had belonged to previously.
She deserved the same peace to sort herself out that she'd given him.
Outside was cool, the city quiet aside from the sound of air conditioners running on apartment buildings and the occasional stray cat that found it fit to tell him the latest gossip. Of which Shouto would reward them with scritches as payment for their services and invaluable information.
It wasn't until the third cat he'd come across that he realized he was being followed, keeping himself calm and making sure he still looked occupied as he listened out for whoever it was that had the bad luck of tailing him of all people.
He stood up once he felt he'd repaid the current cat enough, the cute tabby rubbing against his ankles as a proper goodbye before moving on.
"You can come out now since Misabell won't be in the way." He spoke, turning towards the darkened shadows of the alley behind him.
"Aw, you named her? Cute."
Recognizing the voice Shouto relaxed instantly, a head of familiar purple hair coming forth from the shadows, dressed plainly and eerily similar to their former homeroom teacher.
"Ah, Hitoshi." Shouto spoke, his tone warm and familiar.
He watched as Hitoshi ducked his head into the capture weapon resting around his neck, a habit of his he had picked up from their teacher Shouto noticed, furthering his theory of Hitoshi being Aizawa's son.
There were too many similarities between them for it to not be true.
"You on patrol?" Shouto asked, continuing to walk forward, choosing not to voice his illegitimate son theories on Hitoshi who kept pace beside him.
"Hm, yes and no, I'm on the clock but I'm just doing some light work tonight." He explained, "Getting my support gear upgraded so I'm barred from doing anything too heavy. Which is bullshit since I'm plenty capable of kicking ass without it but whatever." Hitoshi said, looking over at Shouto with tired eyes.
"What about you? What's got you out here at four in the morning?" He asked, noticing how Shouto looked drawn out and tired in the face.
Short and to the point.
Hitoshi hummed in acknowledgement, thinking as silence fell around them.
"How's your mom?" Hitoshi asked him, lavender eyes glancing to Shouto, gauging his reaction.
The two were...friends.
Hitoshi didn't really know how they were friends by human standards. But realizing that the other behaved similarly to a cat made reading him all the more easier. And made it easier to understand just how Shouto considered them both friends.
That and Hitoshi roasting his father right to his face when they first met might have had something to do with it too.
Seeing the dubbed "Ice Prince of 1A" laugh so openly and genuinely at what he had said did things to his poor gay heart.
Shouto really was a pretty boy.
Hitoshi shook his head, ridding those particular thoughts from his mind. He didn't need this right now.
"Mom's doing...ok?" Shouto sounded perplexed, taking a moment to gather his thoughts. "She's doing as okay as she can, all things considered..." He trailed off, taking in a breath as he hugged his arms closer to himself.
"That's good at least." Hitoshi noticed how Shouto's hoodie settled quite loosely on him, even as filled out as he was. It was black with a small All Might logo on the back. And knowing how his father was it was unlikely he would have gotten it himself, considering how closely Enji had kept his eye on the youngest Todoroki.
Not his own then.
Silence fell once more as they walked side by side, the sky turning into a faint pink color as time passed, both finding comfort in the other's presence even with the silence between them.
"You plan on going home?" Hitoshi asked, eyes glancing around as the city slowly but surely came to wake.
Shouto didn't answer right away, a yawn leaving him, sleeved wrist to his mouth to politely cover himself.
"I don't...I don't know." He finally answered, voice unsure.
"You can crash at my place if you want." Hitoshi offered, pushing his hands in his pockets as he ducked his head in his capture weapon.
Shouto watched him from the corner of his eye, an imperceptible smile lifting at the corners of his lips, "I'd like that."
Hitoshi's apartment was cozy, pictures lined the walls, small knick knacks dotting the shelves, several throw blankets thrown on cushioned seats and draped over the back of the couch. There were cat toys scattered about, a cat tree placed next to said couch but away from foot traffic. Creating a nice, stress free place to play and rest for whatever cat or cats he had.
And as soon as Shouto thought it the cat in question appeared. The tabby looked senile, one blind eye and their left front leg missing, whiskers curled and scraggly looking. And her meow was deep and growly, like a thirty year smoker voice put in the body of a cat.
Shouto was instantly charmed.
"Ah, this is Miss Applesauce, she owns the apartment so what she says goes." Hitoshi told him, Shouto nodding seriously as he bent down to allow Miss Applesauce to inspect him.
Whatever she found she liked, hobbling up into his lap and plopping herself down comfortably.
"She likes you. Good. I won't have to kill you then." Hitoshi joked.
"That's good, I have an appointment Thursday, I'd hate to miss it." Shouto responded, giving Miss Applesauce her well deserved scritches.
Hitoshi let out a bark of laughter at that, the deadpan tone Shouto had adopted for that answer really selling it.
And now here Shouto was, laying on the couch, pillow fluffed up behind him with the comfiest blanket he had ever felt thrown over himself, Miss Applesauce laying comfortably across his legs, throaty rumbles that might have been purring resonating through her small body onto his legs.
He'd fired off a quick text to his mother, telling her he was spending the night or remainder of it at a friend's and had sent her the address as well, if only to ease her worries in case of an emergency.
She'd responded barely a minute ago, telling him to have a good night and to text her when he woke up.
With that done with Shouto put away his phone, settling down under the comforter, Miss Applesauce rumbling away as the first few dredges of light peeked over the horizon from the window, eyes fluttering closed as sleep overtook him.