Chapter 14: Going the Distance
Class was lively today, everyone was talking and carrying on as me and Shoto sat next to each other, both of us staring at each other like we had the strangest weekend of our entire lives at that moment. Momo was good-naturedly talking to Jiro and Ashido, glancing at me and smiling, waving a bit.
"Was Da… Endeavor, acting strange?"
Shoto nodded, "Grandmother must've done a number on him."
I chuckled and sighed, "Man, Grandmother is so cool…"
Shoto smirked and seemed to laugh a little more, "Koyurei, he seemed really fired up when he told me about your choice."
I scoffed and grinned, "Was there any other choice, Shoto?"
Shoto shrugged and huffed with a resigned air to it all. That was our plot in life, guided by the same bastard that ruined our childhoods in a bid for more strength. At least I was out of that but, without Momo…
Hell, without Mom or Grandmother or even… even Mr. Ashes, I'd never have made it this far. Without my flames or my ice, I would have just been like Natsuo and what he remembered of Touya. A meaningless boy with no conviction or drive. Now I'm alive and living without regret for the past or future. Running on and on without halting. I'd burn the shadows away and freeze the rats scurrying in the dark.
To be the cleansing flame and the glass floor of ice that covers the healing earth. To be the kinda hero that can do anything he can set his mind to! Not Endeavor and not anyone else, either! I smiled and looked down at my Hero Name… The Frozen Hellflame Hero…
"Ragnarok… Nah. That wouldn't work, sounds too scary. "I muttered, I decided on Ragnarok but I didn't like it too much. I needed something with oomph, but not too much. I was thinking about something, some kind of symbol they could use to ID me from everyone else. Dad's mask was too iconic, Mom would make it snow sometimes, but Grandmother… she noted that when I got mad or scared, my flames would ignite and she'd have to put me out with an extinguisher so I wouldn't torch the house.
*FWOOOOM!* *Fwisssshhh.* It lengthened my hair with frozen tongues of flame ending at my shoulders. Everyone jumped at the sudden activation but as quickly as they came, they melted and winked out.
"Dammit…" I sighed.
Shoto noticed me trying to make a gimmick, but he just owned my hero suitcase and chucked my old long coat at me, tattered and charred from the USJ but patched up by…
Mom. In fact, the long coat used to be one of Dad's I modified and reshaped to fit me. I noticed a tiny note flutter to the floor.
I wicked it up and read it.
Dear Snow Flurry,
Surprise! I recently got back into sewing! I know how much you loved this coat, so I made this a little project all on its own! I know everything is strange with your father lately, Shoto has told me all about it.
Just remember, you don't need to be like your father or like anyone else, I hope your little girlfriend sees it that way too!
I smiled and realized that Shoto also took the rest down to the Support Wing of the school and got it all fitted out with a lot of things like a coolant system and a warmer too. Two gauntlets that assembled into a full shoulder flame guidance system that could redirect my flames to shoot them out. I folded it back in and took the case with me to lunch. The buzz of excitement over internships drowned out everything else but deep down I dreaded it. Just thinking about me and Shoto with him for a full week made me want to do a Wicker Man. I got my food which was some shrimp tempura and hot soba.
I also ate some salad too. Gotta stay healthy and at least train my guts out. I have to get way stronger and better. I'm not aiming for second billing. I'm aiming for my summit. Shoto sat with Tenya and Izuku now, and I was alone. Until Momo cheerily parked herself right next to me and leaned her head against my shoulder. I didn't have many friends.I wasn't exactly the type to have them. Still, I had a few I'd hang out with.
"This feels nice, doesn't it?" She asked, kissing me on the cheek. I nodded and reciprocated. I just wanted to survive this internship with my life intact. Everything is just gonna be okay. Well, I hope it is.
I don't want to just end up a whole disappointment to him. If I knew Dad, he'd have an enormous amount of expectations and other ridiculousness. Either I'd be the Alpha Twin or the Coffee Boy. One thing remained unchanged, however, it was always the way he'd bark orders at us like a rabid drill sergeant a la Major Payne.
I sighed and laid my head on Momo's shoulder, feeling her hand petting my hair. I didn't wanna go into the trenches without some morale boosts. She kissed my cheek again. I pulled back a little and pecked her on the lips.
"Good luck tomorrow, sweetie," I said, "Yer gonna need it more than me,"
Momo pulled me into her arms and kissed me on the top of my head, "Thanks, I'm not too sure of what it entails, but I'll do my best!" she exclaimed. I grinned and hugged her tightly, petting her hair, lingering a little.
"I know you will, Creati," I said, adjusting my pajamas and holding her close, yawning and closing my eyes. I fell asleep soundly, knowing that I had to wake up early enough so that Dad wouldn't chew me out for being late.
Waking up was hard to do when you're cuddling an adorable modern princess sleepyhead. Especially when she was holding on with both legs and arms. I tried to shove her off a little.
"Nuuuu… my Koyu…" she whined, wiggling.
"Babe, I gotta get up, my Dad's gonna kill me if I don't show up," I said, she pouted and laid on me, squeezing tighter and looking into my eyes, kissing me softly. Her hair was messy from the bed and she pushed some of my hair out of my eyes.
"My flaming and icy hero~ such beautiful eyes, too!" She exclaimed, I huffed and squeezed her tightly back, kissing her deeply and giving in to her. 'Damn it, babe… why'd you have to be so cute in the morning?' I thought, kissing her and running my hands through her silky hair.
She yanked herself back and moved her shirt down, exposing her neck and looking at me, smiling and grabbing my shirt. This was new. She groaned a little, yielding to my kisses and just looking at me with so much love.
I didn't want to go and neither did she. I just wanted to send a fuck you to my dad by spending time with someone that didn't traumatize me. Someone that loved me for me, no matter how broken. Nibbling and biting at her neck, she moaned and whined out.
"Koyurei, I'm nervous…" she whimpered.
"Nervous? Why're you nervous?"
Because, I… I don't know if I can, ah!"
I bit her a little harder, mostly to make a point. Nibbling at her neck and leaving a little mark there, she reciprocated and we ended up making out, barely breathing in before the other closed the distance, laying in bed and holding each other until… My phone blasted out my new ringtone and I answered. On the other end was Shoto I think.
I couldn't hear much, but I knew it was Shoto, "Koyurei! Get here, now! He's got his flames all ignited, and he's waiting! I know you and Yaoyorozu are active, but come on, He's getting all…"
"Tell him to piss off!" Momo said while I was on the phone.
"No! No! Momo, Momo, shhh!"
"BLACK COFFEE! GET IT!" Endeavor yelled, yanking the phone away from Shoto.
"Why can't you do it?" I asked, trying not to bleed from my ears.
"JUST GET IT ON YOUR WAY IN KOYUREEEEIIIII!" Endeavor thundered.
"Great, Koyurei Todoroki, Coffee Boy." I muttered to myself. He hung up and Momo sighed, getting on her costume.
"Hardass…" I sighed, "Guess this is what I get for being with you instead of him!" I snarled, "No time for my girl, no time to actually LIVE A LIFE…" I growled, my flames stoking. Then whimpering out when I breathed deeply, being hugged by Momo and brought back out of my rage.
"Shh, it's okay, maybe it's not as bad as you think it is!"
The Endeavor Agency was a high rise in the glitzy district. I was balancing two enormous cups of coffee, one for HIM, the other for me. What kind of MONSTER drinks straight BLACK COFFEE?! Then again, like Mother, like Son… I marched in there, the flames flickering off the onyx walls and elaborate murals, going towards his office. I kicked down the double doors, seeing Shoto and Dad standing there, and a small desk next to his with a stack of paperwork the size of Mount Fuji.
"I'm not apologizing, so shut it. Is it organized?" I asked, looking at it with a disapproving eye and knowing that it most likely isn't.
"No," he said.
"Thought so, your sidekicks are slacking," I sighed, sitting down and scooching in.
"Get tha-" I cut him off by my blue flames stoking and me just grinning at him.
"No. No deadlines. You pawned this off on me, you reap what you sow, I reap what I sow. You get it when you get it, Father." I growled. And so began my first day of internships. Using Grandmother's patented time management scheme, I set to work.
First part was easy enough, I could forge his signature well. "Gee, using your sidekicks and son to plow through paperwork rather than do it yourself, never heard of that before." I sighed and began getting through the first stack with little issue.
The only issue was that NONE OF THEM. NONE OF THEM AT ALL! WERE ORG! AN! IZED! I scrambled at my end and growled, still trying to keep in my rage. I felt my flames ignite. Fuck it. I kicked down the office door, the leftover sidekicks scrambling to get back to work, but I ignited fully, my blue flames jetting out of my shoulders and arms, wreathing around me.
"ALL OF YOU GET TO WORK! ORGANIZE THEM! OTHERWISE I'LL MOUNT YOUR ASSCHEEKS ON MY MANTLE!" I roared, flames blasting viciously from my body before they froze in ice, "Whew! Whooo! I lost my cool, sorry! I'm fine… Im okay…" I sighed, my ice fading and my fire winking out. I continued my work and forgot all about how it was a punishment. Dad had done this kind of thing before, so…
I was used to it. But my eyes stung with tears. Was it a bad thing to be late? It's not like he was bragging about my win, he literally stayed silent about it. I knew it was just a power move. He just wanted me to be the Coffee Boy and Shoto to be the cool hero.
I sniffled, all that work for nothing. All that time training for nothing. Tears coursed down my cheeks, the last sheets on the stack and nothing to show for it. My hero name sucked. My hard work was nothing to my father. It overwhelmed me. Realizing it'd take me hurting myself or going off the handle to make him notice. Something big and drastic. Something so monumental that he had to notice… but at this moment I just wanted to go home and go to bed and never wake up again.
Just… Why did I even try? Why the hell did I win? I just can't keep moving anymore. I can't keep fighting when I know I'll always be overshadowed. Maybe… if I just look like him… If I just force it all out and be a beacon maybe…
That won't do a damn thing. I got up and left, the finished work stayed and I just kept walking, I was never meant to be a hero. Hell, I wasn't even meant to exist. I sighed and marched along the road, closing my eyes and just remembering how I felt and how I did what I wanted to do. Win and maybe, just maybe, he'd change. I just felt lost. And I steed out into the road a little too late, feeling something yank me back. The smell of ashes flooded my nose and azure eyes found me in the gloom, scars lancing up his arms and his face was covered with them.
Now you see the hypocrisy of it all, Koyurei. Endeavor's a hero, but he hurt you and all your family, who's to say he won't hurt your girl or your kids in the future?
What's going to stop him, or rather… who You shoved and shoved, and you did all you could but that wasn't enough. Don't you want to…
Blue flames licked at my hands, Burn it all down
He held his hand out. The traffic slowed, the whole area, I can make it right. I can make it right, Koyurei. Come on, I'll make it all okay. I promised, don't you remember?
Mr. Ashes changed a little, white-haired and scarless. Holding out his hand as one word hung in the air.
Touya! I gasped, looking around and finding Shoto and Dad back, Dad was combing through the work he left me with an impressed glimmer in his eyes. Shoto sighed and I rubbed my eyes.
"Sorry, Endeavor, I… I uhm…"
"No, don't apologize, you did well,"
Dad nodded, reaching out and ruffling my hair. I didn't exactly let him do it for long, he got that from Grandmother. But I still didn't know what happened to me. Maybe I dozed off and had that nightmare after I came back in from my rant.
It felt so real. Did I really run into him?
Did I run into Touya out there?
So many times I saw Mr. Ashes, so many times he was there when I needed him the most. But… was that flash for a moment a clue to who he really was
He'd show up whenever I was about to give up, grabbing me by the shoulders and carrying me away from wherever I was to tell me to not go through with it. Maybe it was all a dream, but…
I got out of my chair and stretched, looking down at my right hand. Nothing was there. So it was a dream. Dad and Shoto stared at me.
"Is something wrong, Koyurei?"
"No, Dad, It's nothing," I denied. He nodded and walked out, extinguished and more tired looking than I thought. Shoto looked downright ragged and I looked like I made sweet love to a desk and got hit on the head with the coy machine.
Dad all the sudden got out a couple of cans and handed them to us, "Here,"
"Dad, is this alcohol?"
"No, it's not."
"You'd think I'd stoop that low?"
"I wouldn't put it past you," Shoto stated.
"Tch, whatever, drink it or don't, your choice,"
"I've had wine before," I blurted, "Didn't like it, sat it out and Momo never let a single glass touch her lips because I wouldn't kiss them, after that I called the rest of the family douche canoes,"
"Fft… Ffffft! FFFFFTTT! HAAHHAHAHAHA!" Dad howled, guzzling his can and laughing harder, "it was alcohol for him, must've been in a good mood, My son with the jokes… haha… I'm so… proud of you, sons!"
What world is this What universe is this Were the cans all. No, just his… one can, huh.
"Okay, Not Taking Care Of Him 123 Not It!" I blurted.
"Not it! Dammit!" Shoto snarled.
"No no, my babies, Daddy can take care of himsellfff…"
"Oopsie Daisy… sorry ma'am…" He ran right into a light pole and I just giggled, Shoto was filming so Natsuo could laugh at it later. Dad stumbled back towards us. He was smiling, cheeks flushed and his flames stuttered and flickered. Some other guys were filming and he noticed.
"Oho! An audience! Oookaaayyy~!"
Shoto and I watched as he just went down the street raving like a madman, throwing his arms out to his sides and doing a really good John Cleese impression. I cleared my throat.
"Here we have the Alpha Male Endeavorus Dumbassius, now others among his species enjoy courtship via alcohol and mad raving while imitating British Comedians like Ricky Gervais and John Cleese. Now he is singing Singin in the Rain while sinning in a mad dash for a female, he is crying lonely and doesn't know how to express himself without trying to prove he has testes," I explained.
"Imma go touch him," Shoto said in his best Crocodile Hunter impression. Once he did, Dad hugged him tightly.
"Ahh! He's ANGRY!" Shoto yelled.
"HAHAHA! GOTCHAAAA! He ran down the road, WE GOTTA GOOOOOO FAST!" I watched them get to the station and sighed, this was the last thing I wanted… Dad was drunk, Shoto was weirded out, and I just wanted to go home… I pretty much ran home and didn't stop until I hit the door, unlocking it and finding Momo laying horizontal on the bed, eyes half lidded and wearing something I never expected on her.
Bright red lingerie, lacy and revealing. She looked at me and beckoned me over. Her hair looked strange but she just smiled and yanked me into the bed, holding me tightly and kissing me all over my face.
"I missed you too," I said, seeing the springy hair and odd blush on her cheeks, she looked away with a smile.
"I… I just thought I could surprise you when I got home,"she admitted, "To be honest, I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about today, and from what I can tell, you weren't either,"
I buried my face into her chest and sighed, feeling her hands running through my hair. Remembering working so hard only to KO at the end. Momo chuckled.
"So no sexual acts, dear?"
"Too tired… Had to battle a paperwork dragon and it won…" I moaned a little, rubbing my face against her chest, "So loving on these might just do the trick…"
Momo continued to run her hand through my hair, humming softly and slowly her other hand scooched my coat aside, then my shirt, pulling me up to her face and kissing me. But then she pulled back.
"You don't smell good…" she sighed.
"Tch, tell that to my dad's worthless sidekicks," I sighed, "I lost my mind a little and my dad doesn't have a shower. I can't just let it all go,"
"Well…" she slipped off her top, ditching her panties too, "Maybe I can take your stress away." she mumbled a little, yanking me close and locking lips with me. I yanked myself away and just marched right into the shower, turning it on and making sure I locked the door.
I wasn't in the mood. I just wanted to go to bed and not do anything lovey dovey right now. Staring up at the shower steam and humming I Have A Dream by ABBA. A song I barely remembered who played it but whatever. It wasn't a bad song, but I just started belting it out in the shower like a total idiot.
I just remembered it laying at some point in my past. I just got done in the shower and ignited a little, instantly dry. The water hissed a little and became even more steam. I miscalculated but it wasn't like Grandmother who made the water boil constantly.
I just got out of the bathroom and ignored Momo, rolling over and closing my eyes, huffing sharply and just not wanting to do anything. Even if she didn't have a good internship, I just spent most of the day working on paperwork and I just found it so boring.
I was still in the shadows even if I won the Festival and flipped the bird at my Dad's vision of the perfect son. He didn't deserve that satisfaction anymore. I would jump without him saying how high, I'd run without him saying how far, so I decided right at that moment to just go into the training room and shut the door, sitting down on the cold concrete and shutting my eyes.
Just trying to find a way to break out of that was hard. Dad playing nice and trying to be a dad was weird and wrong. Dad just being a dad in general was wrong on so many levels. Heat on my right shoulder, cold on my left, flames licking at the floor and wall, and the ice forming jaggedly on the other side.
I started to dance, flames whirling and embers surrounding my right and left was forming snow in the air, making harsh vocalizations as I did it. Something Grandmother taught me, a dance that was a mix of where she came from and tai chi, which was an odd combination but a good one.
Flowing brutally, that was my way. The training room was in the basement of the building, it was unused and empty so I decided to shack up there. Burning and freezing around me, becoming a coexisting wasteland of ice and fire, with me yelling and snarling in the middle, fierce and determined. The ice melted and the fire faded, leaving the room blackened and wet, with me standing in the middle, huffing and shirtless, remembering how much I did this to destress, if I did it while Momo and I were intimate… lets just say she wasn't going to survive it.
I fell to the floor and went to sleep calmly. I didn't have a dream. I just felt warm and safe, waking up back in the apartment with Momo cuddled up to me. There was a soft blanket around us and she was still asleep.
I guess she came to get me after my little tantrum… I'm just glad she didn't follow me. I kissed her gently on the forehead and she smiled. I never wanted to hurt her or anything like that. I saw enough of my mom getting hurt by my dad to swear to never do that to my Momo bug.
Momo shifted and kissed me deeply, smiling when she pulled away. I didn't want to leave her or anything like that. I just wanted to stay. Maybe I didn't belong in the hero world because I wasn't meant for it.
What else was I gonna do though? What else could I do? I was trained from the very start to be a hero but I didn't feel like that it meant me to do that anymore. I meant Shoto for that. He had the confidence and the drive, but I didn't have that. All I had was something to control the power and the right personality I didn't have a say in. I reached over to my phone and hesitated. I didn't feel like I liked trying to be a hero. Trying to be a hero was like forcing on a mask and trying to be something I'm not and never will be. I won't be him.
So… I decided or got inspired or whatever, to at least talk things out with Grandmother first. She was many things, and a woman with connections was one of them. At least I could take a bit of a break from yesterday. Hopefully she's not in one of her moods. Now I get why Natsuo wants to be as far away from Dad as possible. Momo was getting ready. I was too, but the way out was still open, just one call and Grandmother can most likely set me up somewhere.
Momo got behind me and kissed my cheek, looking in the mirror with me as I straightened my coat and smiled.
"Just imagine us in a few years, both of us ready to go out and be whatever we want to be," she sighed, "My strong, heroic husband."
I sighed and nodded, "Yeah, yeah… Right."
Momo got concerned, "Honey? what's wrong?"
"Just… I… I don't feel like I can be one, ya know?" I was yanked into a kiss.
She jerked back and smacked me on the cheek, hard. I flinched and took it, my hand flying to my cheek, igniting and glaring at her, "What the hell was that for?"
"Just… Koyurei, you're as stubborn as your father," she huffed, "I'll be damned if you won't be a hero, you don't need to meet expectations that aren't there,"
I sighed and extinguished, knowing I had to go in back to more paperwork. More orders of black coffee, and more everything else that his sidekicks never do. Momo grabbed me and yanked me back into her arms.
"I learned that little smacking trick from your grandmother, she said it works, but if you think for one second, I'll ever see you say things like that again, I know exactly what makes you tick, Koyurei Todoroki," Momo sweetly growled, kissing the forming mark and walking out the door.
I stroked my cheek, blushing and looking down at my feet. I needed to get going. So when I walked to work today, I realized that everyone was talking about me and my festival win. Others stopped me in the street to take pictures with me and asked for autographs. It was so weird, but I kept ongoing towards the building, seeing my father standing there with his arms crossed.
"We're heading out to Hosu today. The Hero Killer is out there, but I know you want some action, so you and Shoto will be going with me,"
'Is he serious? Is he… he is.'
"When we're out there, call me Endeavor." he said, smirking a little. I smiled widely and was about to do something dumb but I was already amped up from the slap and how hot Momo was at that moment.
"Then when we're out there, call me… uhm… well..." I am NOT using that name! I just did it to move on and it was kinda embarrassing. It was the nickname Momo used for me.
"Call you what, Koyurei?"
"Koyu~! Koyu kun! Koyu… don't run from me!"
I blinked out of the cute fantasies of Momo saying my nickname to Dad waving his hand in front of my face, "Oh ah, its uhm… Koyu,"
Dad laughed a little, "That's adorable,"
"Daaad! It's embarrassing!" I snapped.
"Better than your brother's, it's just his name."
"So is mine!" I sighed heavily.
"Oh, stop being a baby, I've said my piece. Now, lets go, Koyu,"
"Just… hah…" I sighed, closing my eyes and remembering what I was going to do. I was gonna be a hero.