Chapter 12: The Blue Fire, Koyureis Starting Line!
The stadium was loud, the crowd all cheering and roaring for the next event. I took a deep breath and steeled myself, my flames were dominant and I wasn't scared, because I was doing it for the one thing I wanted to be the most…
Over the noise of the crowd, I heard my heartbeat pounding and hammering, my breath came out fast and I steadied myself, I was nervous, scared, but I was alive. I remembered every second of my training when I was younger. The ticking of the clock in there, the weights, the smell of sweat and the taste of my tears. Just suffering and fighting as hard as I could to reach where my Dad was. Now I was here to prove it all.
To dad and Momo and Shoto, and Grandmother too. I was back in that room in my mind; the ticking grew into the hammer of my heartbeat. Everything was crashing in and I just held onto the memory of that room. The room where I lost everything. The room where I was burned, the room where I was burned to ashes… now standing here, reborn. Standing here at the edge of what I always wanted. Dad was watching, Grandmother was, Natsuo and Fuyumi were, Mom would be too if she was able.
I sighed and got ready for my first round, my first fight. Flames ready and Ice ready, standing, heart hammering, legs shaking, knowing what I have to do. Knowing that I have to burn the others to get that one MOMENT. That moment where my dad is my dad again and we just sit like we always did just…
I have to swallow my pride and just do it. Swallow down the loftiness of being Endeavor's son, being the son of the one person trying to surpass a god among men. I can't just look at anyone in the eyes anymore without thinking of them burning in my flames.
Stop. Watching. Don't look at me, not anymore. You'll see what He wanted out there. You'll see his perfect son. Not your Koyurei but the Koyurei he wanted. Slowly, ever so slowly, I walked out, the crowd a muffled din and the hawking of Mic quieted, muffled.
I reach out my hand and feel my uniform catch, feeding the flames, feeding the greedy blue flares with the things that made me who I was. The pain, the pleasure, the loss and the fallout. All of it just feeding the beast that I just got started using. The beast I barely tamed and now I was standing across from my opponent. I said nothing. Monoma didn't deserve any words. All he did was smile, that's all he did.
"So, here we are! Are ya ready, Todoroki? I'm ready!" He exclaimed. All I did was stay silent, waiting for him to come on and meet the real Koyurei from the ashes that I left behind. I felt nothing. I spread my hand and my flames lashed out viciously, incinerating the arenas floor into obsidian, was he watching?
Was HE WATCHING?!
Regardless of Monoma's little tricks, flames consumed him, he ran out of bounds the moment I burned the surrounding arena. Framed by blue… I said one word.
Monoma scrambled for the edge and Midnight announced me as the winner. I just wanted to show my father what he made me be. When I made it back to the student box, everyone stared at me in fear. Momo huddled against me. Next was Midoriya and Shinsou, but all I cared about was my fight. I didn't care about anything else. I petted Momo's hair and just… everything turned gray. Everything is just toned in gray scale. Momo shifted, and I noticed that Tokoyami was already gone and she was getting up. I pulled her back and saw nervousness etched on her face, dodging my eyes.
I kissed her, and she reciprocated it. I watched her go and sat back, ignoring the fatigue from my flames and the pain of my muscles. I needed to see my girlfriend fight her best. She summoned a shield, and I cheered loudly, my flames and ice amping up in joy.
"Yeeeeaaaahhhh! Go Momo! Wooooooooo!" I screamed, my flames flaring as I pumped my fists, I watched her circling and then the monstrous quirk of Tokoyami shot out at her. It was vicious and never let up, slashing her towards the boundary.
I clenched my fists tightly, my eyes narrower, my hair billowing, my quirk amping up, "Momo! Don't give up!" I begged, seeing her getting closer and closer to the boundary line, "Come on, there's gotta be a way building up in that beautiful head of yours!"
She went over the line.
I went out of the box to meet her and I went down to the tunnel, seeing her curled into a little ball, shaking shoulders and a ruined shield still on her arm. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes.
I sat down and gathered her into my lap, my eyes closed as I rocked gently. Momo cried, all the stress from studying, from worrying about our future, from worrying about everything and everyone. She was sniffling and sobbing, face buried into my chest, my hand busy petting her hair, silky and smooth, threading through my fingers.
She hugged me so tightly.
"Don't cry, don't cry…" I muttered, "Don't cry, Momo… I've seen too many I care about crying and I can't do anything about it," I said, "I don't want you to cry anymore!" I exclaimed, pushing her off me and holding her shoulders. Seeing her eyes leaking tears and snot dribbling out of her nose.
"Haha… your face is messy, don't worry, Momo… once we're married, it's gonna be better, you're gonna be my partner and my wife, and we're gonna become Japan's best power couple! With a big house, a nice job set, a couple of kids, it's gonna be something we both made, but…" I reached out and dried her face with a handkerchief I had.
"I want to be a hero you can be proud of, Momo… I want to be a hero everyone can be proud of having around! Just… just like the man my Dad was, I just want you to know that every second I'm out there I just want to run away and hide like I used to!"
"I want… I want to be a hero and a husband you can be proud of every single day of the rest of our lives!" I exclaimed, she smiled and kissed me, touching my right cheek and touching foreheads with me.
"You keep on trying to meet his standards, Koyurei, when will you realize that?" she asked,
"When I finally extinguish and look back, and I see all the good I've done. When these blue flames and harsh ice carve a name in history so deep that they'll be talking about me long after I'm dead,"
I stood, and she did too, hugging me tightly, I returned it and left for my room, finding it already unlocked, and I opened it the rest of the way. Momo had gone to hers. But I had to change into my new (third) uniform so who else could be in there? Then I saw Dad sitting at my table, arms uncrossed and totally extinguished…
Dad smiled, a genuine smile, "Son, I know your brother dislikes his left side as much as you dislike your right. But how you won your first round of battles was proof that you took my lessons to heart! Prominence Jet must've been inspired by my Jet Burn, yes?"
"No, I didn't. Did Grandmother hit you on the head with the stiletto again?" I asked, seeing that Dad was serious, and… and he was genuinely… glad? This was new. Definitely new. He seemed interested, even chuckling at my reaction. What is this? Did he get hit by another quirk that made him nice or is this just a clone? He smiled and threw my fresh shirt at me.
I caught it and yanked it on, seeing him just watching me was oddly creepy and oddly… comforting.
"Son, how about… we uhm… talk later?" he asked sheepishly, like he hadn't planned this far ahead and was just shooting in the dark. I turned on my heel and walked out.
"Son, I'm serious."
"So? How do I know… this weird… one eighty flip isn't temporary or something just so you can stress me out again?"
Dad hesitated, "Just… consider it," he sighed.
I scoffed and went back to the student tunnel to wait for round two. My second fight wasn't much to talk about, Shiozaki had given up after what happened to Monoma, so… I dropped in to say sorry. I went to their side, and they all looked at me for a brief second, Monoma hid behind that Itsuka girl with the side tail and was muttering something. Shiozaki looked at me with those big green eyes and looked away shyly. I wasn't bad looking, but…
Didn't know she liked me. Or was flustered by me. I bowed deeply.
"I'm sorry, everyone! I just kinda… got into my role, ya know?" I mumbled, "Shit, I'm not good with apologies, so I'm gonna… go," I left and didn't notice that Shiozaki was blushing the whole time.
I got back down into the tunnel for the next round, because of the forfeit I had to fight Tokoyami. I held no malice and the world was still gray. At least I could handle it with my flames. Dark Shadow was a shadow, flames break those. If agility was what he wanted, then I'd have a lot to give to him. Prominence Jet was going to carry me through this. I just walked out and Tokoyami was waiting. His red eyes and bird like head were odd, but even odder was his quirk being what it was.
"You born of flame and of frost, how does it feel facing me after I trounced your woman?" he asked, the yellow eyed shadow hovering over him.
"Shut it, that doesn't matter! All that matters is if you can take my flames!" I snarled, seeing the shadow blitz towards me, I moved back, lashing out with my flames, they roared up my side, burning me harshly and winking out, Dark Shadow couldn't get around my flames. It got my leg though and slashed right through it.
'Skin deep, not too bad. I can still stand. I have to move faster though...' I thought, 'my flames can't ignite anymore, but the ones I have in play now… they won't burn forever!' I got an idea and readied myself. Dark Shadow went for another attack and I leapt into the air, freezing a path to slide off of and pick up height and speed. Dark Shadow was winding around it, pursuing me doggedly. I skated hard, like a speed skater.
I needed to pull this off flawlessly, I couldn't lose now! Not when everything was riding on this! I leapt off the path and dove right for Tokoyami and his Shadow. With the last of my flames before I'd overheat, I blasted Dark Shadow and made a snow drift to land in. 'Thanks Mom…' I thought, 'Thanks, Fuyumi…' standing tall was a massive ice tower, with the top shattered, and standing in the middle of it was Tokoyami passed out from my Prominence Ice Tower.
I stood shakily, going in and helping Tokoyami out. He opened one of his eyes and looked at me.
"You have… no more malice… regardless of the scars you… persevere?" he asked. I smiled and got him to the infirmary, ice burns and slight singes marred him. I looked down at my shaking right hand.
"Fearing your quirk only holds you back," I said. I left soon after, running into Natsuo and Fuyumi. They smiled and Natsuo bear-hugged me. I groaned, but he was happy to see me.
"BRO! You used what Mom and Fuyu taught'cha! I thought your ice and fire were uncontrollable though…" he commented, ruffling my hair joyfully.
"I'm not scared of them anymore," I stated, bandaging my arm and my leg. Fuyumi handed me a water bottle, looking a little nervous.
"Sis? What's wrong?" I asked. She sighed and smiled.
"Nana told me you and Dad are kind of similar, when he was younger, he was just as stubborn, but she also told me that you and Shoto have Mom's heart under all that," she said, "I'm just worried that you're going to…"
"End up like him?" I scoffed, "Nah, that's illogical," I stood and smiled, hugging them before going to watch Shoto and Midoriya. Shoto mostly used his ice for most of the battle before Midoriya yelled that it was Shoto's flames and not His.
At that, I stood, "SHOTOO! This is the beginning of something brighter for the two of us! Out of His Shadow! We're not just his sons! We're our own people! We don't have to live in his shadow anymore! DO IT!" I thundered, Dad looked over at me with shock, like I stole the words out of his mouth and made it not about him.
I knew that no matter what, my last fight would be the genuine test.
The crowd was silent, waiting, when I stepped out through the fire and flames blasted forth. I decided to fully ice up and ignite. Mic yowled out my epithet that I'm pretty sure he just workshopped.
"The power of Muspelheim and Niflheim, brought together to create this mighty future hero! Flames on his right, Ice on his left! His name is Koyurei Todoroki: The Ragnarok of UA High!" He screamed, switching deftly to a crashing metal number.
"He's lean, mean, and a munitions machine! He stands as the challenger for the coveted title of top dog here at the Sports Fest! His name is Katsuki Bakugou: The Demo man of UA High!" Katsuki strode out, eyes narrowed as he mad dogged me, sticking his tongue out.
"Come on! Let's get this going!" he snapped at Midnight. She raised her whip, just back from all the ice and fire and now back in it. She was a trooper for it. I readied myself, the ice and fire on me now in perfect sync after some water and eating some ice and drinking something hot. I wasn't ready for this. He blasted at me, throwing the biggest explosion he could muster at me, pain rollicked my body as I barely froze a barrier to stop me from flying out of bounds. I was woozy, lightheaded; I hacked up some blood, my chest heaving.
"Really?! You call this kid Ragnarok?! All I see is a dumbass that got lucky and banged the right girl so he didn't have to stay with Daddy Dearest! All I see is a dumb little coward that ran away when people needed him most! Man, you can't run now!" he snarled, grabbing my collar and yanking me to my feet.
My eyes met his, and they were so much like His. I snarled and he smiled.
"Even your Mommy forgot you, what a damn joke you are!" he snarled, letting me go and drop off on my barrier. I clenched my fists, eyes watering.
"What… did you say… about MY MOM?!"
Flames tore out of my left side as I stomped towards him, eyes glaring through right towards him. I took a few blasts, my flames tearing through them, my breath hissing out, my body couldn't take much more.
If only I knew Dad was closing in, fully ignited. I tore right at Bakugou, ignoring my own pain to deal it all back to him. I got close enough and he looked terrified the moment I hoisted him off the ground and smiled, hearing nothing but burn him down thundering around me and just the joy I took in seeing him fall. I tossed him hard out of bounds, that wasn't enough. I slammed him brutally into the far wall, about to fire a point blank Gungnir right into his smug face. I stood, wreathed in blue flames, eyes wide and laughing.
Bakugo fell to the arena floor, I felt woozy but then Dad grabbed me, hoisting me up and carrying me out, bathed in flames of his own, I looked up at him.
"Are you happy? I… I wanted… to be like you," I croaked. He looked down at me in shock, tears clouding my vision.
"That's what you wanted…" I sniffled. Silence, being set down and just hearing…
"Take that award and send it to my home! You can take this little pageant and shove it!" he snapped. I was a fool to think he was getting better. I closed my eyes and finally rested. I just wanted to be like him. Maybe he wouldn't be so violent or angry? Now I know never to trust that logic again.
The UA Sports Festival ended in fire, and with a whimper.
I woke up with a splitting headache, cold and laying in the tub back at home. I blinked and saw him sitting on the toilet lid, waiting. Extinguished and just watching me with hollow blue eyes until he saw me wake up.
"Koyurei?" he asked. No son or no you? I looked at him and he moved some of my hair out of my eyes. I felt my chest hitch and my eyes stung harshly with tears. God, please tell me this isn't a dream.
Dad plucked me out of the tub and held me, "Shh… shh… it's alright… I know I did this, I know I hurt you and the others and shouldn't even try to fix it. I- I broke you, Koyurei. I made you think you weren't good enough, I made you think you needed improvements, I controlled you and puppeted you into something you didn't want," he hugged me tighter.
"Every time I see you and Shoto and Fuyumi… and Natsuo, I see your mother staring back at me. My pursuit of power blinded me and being stronger that I didn't see all the art you drew or all the things you wrote and never attended a single event during your childhood," he sighed.
"So… this is all up to you," he said, "Do you want to intern with me and your brother, or do you want to transfer out of the hero course and choose what you want to do?" he looked me dead in the eyes and I saw him crying too.
"I… I don't know," I gurgled.
"That's fine," he said brightly, setting me down and handing me a gold medal. The gold medal from the sports festival.
I let it clatter to the floor, "But I- I didn't win," I mumbled.
"Koyurei, that doesn't matter. What matters is that you grew into… into a great young man, they gave it to you, but you looked so scared, terrified in my arms and I just…" for the first time I saw him so hesitant as he hugged me again.
"You didn't need me. You grew without me, and… I'm… I'm proud of you, Koyurei,"
At that moment, I sobbed. Just me and him. Just me and my dad.