In the Shadow.
Chapter 17. Let's Go.
"Ahm! Ahhhgg! Mm! Ah! Man, that's some good stuff! Ha ha!" I exclaimed, patting my belly and grinning at Momo quietly eating across from me, noticing she was a little tightly wound from all the attention I was getting.
"You're not nervous about everyone we've been around asking for autographs and pictures?" Momo asked, inclining her sunglasses down to look at me.
"There's nothing wrong with that!" I exclaimed, "Besides! I like it."
"You do?" Momo asked.
I nodded gladly, "Yeah! Building up a fanbase is really crucial to be a hero! I mean come on, I'm living out my Dad's dream but my own way!" I exclaimed, raising my cup of soda.
"So come on, Momo, here's to us! Without cha, I'd be back to the cards again!" I declared, clinking glasses with her and grinning again. We were out getting ready for the training camp for our quirks, but Momo and I already packed.
"This… this was special." Momo sighed, "now… it's become a weird fan meetup…"
I sighed and stood up, "Momo, honey, it's okay."
"No, no it's not," she sighed. I huffed and grabbed her hand, glaring at my fans and igniting a little.
"Out of our way," I growled. They backed off but I heard a few girlish squeals. I just wanted to be left alone, I was done with playing nice with the crowds. Momo hugged my arm and I felt her pressing her chest against it.
I sighed and got out of there, I just wanted to be alone, it was draining out there. I just wanted to go somewhere quiet. I just didn't get it. Why did Dad tell me never to tell Grandmother I could fly? Why did I feel so… tired?
I just closed my eyes, and Momo noticed that. Just the thought of being alone with her was nice. So Momo just took me to a park and sat down. The beautiful day was cool, and the sun shined through the leaves. Momo laid my head down in her lap, her eyes staring down at me and running her hand through my hair. She smiled and kissed my cheek.
"Feeling better, dear? I know how you get overwhelmed." She asked, scooching me up towards her chest, "Maybe one day we can go somewhere nice, maybe Malibu or Miami or even somewhere cooler."
"Just anywhere away from my Dad and my fanbase… god, I don't get why they're so… so important! No wonder my Grandmother became a hermit…" I ranted a little. Momo giggled and kissed me again.
"You're mine, Koyurei, and one day I'll get that message through to everyone else," she said. I smiled and Momo just held me until I calmed down. Sometimes I still became overwhelmed. So it was nice to just sit somewhere quiet.
My ice came back to cool me down as well. The surrounding day was bright. Just feeling the sun on my face, bright and climbing higher into the sky. Eyes fixed on the way ahead with Momo clinging to me with a gentle weight. Still, the heat filled sulfur of ash followed us around. Like a remembrance of why I hated my flames so much. Momo looked around us, the smell growing stronger like a dark miasma. Almost as if it had a life of its own.
And it did. Blue eyes shone in the gloom of an alleyway, the smell grew stronger as walking out was a shadow of my ast. Tall and wearing burnt clothing, facing the shadow I used to fear and confess to. In the distance, watching and never speaking to me. A scarred and twisted nightmare just beyond the treeline and standing in a field. Blue eyes afire even when I sleep. Everywhere in the darkness those eyes watched.
Almost like a ghost, but not really. Because Momo could see him too. Just closing in fast. Shoes clicking on the pavement, a drum of whatever the hell he was now just behind us. We hurried along, Momo having a small knife covered by her arms and I was hauling ass. The shadow seemed to close in no matter how much we tried to shake him. So I just shuffled Momo behind me. Seeing him standing there with a smirk on his burnt, blackened face. He spread his hands and blue flames ignited, I gritted my teeth, tearing and searing cold flowed out of me.
"So it's true, huuh… she's that important to you even when you let him take her from her life and shove her into yours?" He asked, "I wonder if she's happy with you," he glared at Momo and she tensed, her knife in her hands.
"Poor little Koyurei Todoroki, not even knowing that you're repeating the same mistakes as your dad… the same vicious eyes, the same scowl… Daddy would be so proud of you!"
The cold increased, my eyes narrowed, "I… I played along just to survive!" I hissed, tears running down my cheeks, feeling Momo's fear through my body.
"And became his perfect little soldier in the process! You could've just joined me!" he exclaimed, "So scarred and so broken that you still love that bastard!" He turned to Momo.
"You know, he's going to turn you into a breeding mare, right? You better enjoy these last few years, Yaoyorozu!" He turned his back to us and waved, "See ya!" He marched away with a shit-eating grin on his face. I dried my eyes and took a deep breath.
Momo rubbed my back, "Don't listen to him…" she sighed.
"I… I know he's right…" I mumbled, "but I couldn't just run away and let my family get hurt even more, ya know,"
"That's not true! That man isn't right! Koyurei, you're not your father," Momo sighed, "Come here, come here honey…" she gathered me into her arms and hugged me tight, "Shh… shhh…"
I smelled the tea on her; the scent calming me down. She kissed my cheek and helped me up. I didn't know that it'd shake me up that badly. Momo just led on, with us running into Midoriya and Uraraka on our way out.
"Oh! Yaomomo! T… Todoroki!" Midoriya squeaked. We nodded and Uraraka noticed my stiffness. I sighed and relaxed.
"You too, huh?" she asked, "Izuku ran into one of the League members too…"
I just turned away, tugging Momo after me. I didn't want to be outside anymore. I didn't care, I just wanted to go home. I just walked on, pounding the pavement angrily, my steps marred by ice and sparks.
I just shut myself in the training room. Igniting and seeing my blue hair streaks ignite alongside my wings, seeing the flames and ice spread out and just sealing everything. Just sitting in the middle, both of them fading and leaving me just sitting on the floor in a cold room of ice.
What the hell happened to me? What… what was happening to me? I just didn't know what the hell to do. The door was forced in by Momo, seeing me kneeling in a room of ice. My safe place where no one could hurt me. It chilled me to the bone, my breath fogging around me. Curled into a tiny ball. Momo sighed and created a blanket, wrapping herself in it and laying on me. More like lazily slamming into me with a soft huff.
"Shut it and stop moping around." She sighed, kissing me on the forehead, "I love you, okay, but sitting here and doing nothing isn't healthy for you!" she sniffled a little.
"Wha! Hey! No crying!" I sighed, seeing her shut down, 'Crap! My only weakness!' I thought. Seeing Momo cry made me feel like a huge jerk. I hugged her tightly, she was so warm and sad and I didnt want her to be sad.
"I wont… I wont let anyone hurt you… when I saw you fight that monster I…" she sniffled, my chest growing wet. I hugged her tightly.
"I won't let anyone else hurt you either," I said simply, my eyes closing as I kissed her. Her soft lips hungry and arms wrapped tight around me. I just felt how warm she was. The surrounding coldness slowly melting from her warmth. Feeling safe from it all. All the monsters out there.
When I woke up, I wasn't expecting the doorbell to sound. It jostled the two of us out of the seas of sleep, with Momo yawning softly and getting up with me. We both shuffled back into the apartment with the doorbell still sounding. I drifted towards the door, yawning loudly. My hand turned the knob, and I saw Grandmother on the other side, rubbing my eyes and she grinned, blue eyes alight and hair aglow like always.
"Hey, good morning!" She greeted happily enough, hustling in as the sounds of crushing ice went throughout my training room with Momo busting some of it up with an ice pick and I think a drill.
Grandmother looked at me with a sympathetic smile, "Sweetie, did something happen? Was your father being a dumbass again?"
"No, it was… just some random guy…" I mumbled, "Had blue flames like mine," I sat down on a chair and heaved out a sigh. Grandmother blinked before getting dead serious.
"I knew it…" she hissed. I tilted my head a little, and she shook her head a bit. Did I see her just get a little scared? This was totally unsettling. The only time she got truly scared was when I almost fell off the balcony at her house when I was little.
"Nothing, Koyurei, just… something that I'd never thought I'd hear about again," she sighed. Momo came out of the iced up training room with a couple buckets of ice. Grandmother looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
"We didn't do what you're thinking," I said.
Momo noticed Grandmother and brightened, "Oh! Miss Todoroki! What a surprise!" she exclaimed, "I was just about to make some tea, make yourself at home!"
"Of course I will, my future granddaughter-in-law!" Grandmother exclaimed, sitting at the table, and I sat across from her. She seemed tense, and she looked at me with intense blue eyes glowing fiercely.
"Koyurei, I heard you can fly now," she said, her mouth down-turned into a frown. I almost iced up right there because of HOLY SHIT. She knows. She KNOWS! Grandmother sighed.
"I know your grandfather would be so happy to hear that, despite that, you shouldnt've fought that thing, you should've let your father handle it," she said, "At least I'd be a lot less worried, seeing that huge explosion of fire even from my house almost gave me a heart attack,"
I sighed and closed my eyes, "If I let that thing go, it'd hurt more people, I wasn't out to impress my dad if that's what you're thinking," I huffed. Grandmother chuckled as Momo brought the tea out. She took a cup, and I did too, with Momo settling in my lap.
"So, how did your exams go?" Grandmother asked. Momo smiled and grinned happily, resting her head on my chest.
"Well, I had to fight our teacher, and it was quite difficult, but I used my friends' quirk to distract him while we took him down. I… I just felt like everything clicked, but… he held back, I'm sure of it."
Grandmother smiled, looking at me, "So… what kinda hell did your father put you and Shoto through?"
"Well… I fought dad, and he made a big volcano, did some fancy flying an..."
Grandmother's grip on the teacup ended up cracking it. Her magma spread to her veins, making her skin turn red and orange with the magma flow, she was making a weird growling sound. Her anger was clear.
"The last time someone in our family used the Tahuna Motu technique, I lost your great grandparents, I was only a child, Koyurei! Your father uses a technique that has the destructive potential to level an entire city on a couple of kids!" she ranted, calming down.
I sighed and smiled, "I did fistfight him in that volcano though," she snorted and laughed loudly. I laughed too and Momo looked sort of confused and did that kind of laughter that's short and awkward.
"I don't know which one of you is crazier!" she chuckled, "Especially since you look like him!" My body jolted, and I just got up abruptly, the chair ditching my backside and I just walked into my room, shutting the door behind me and getting under the covers, shuffling under them and curling into a tiny ball. Why did she have to remind me of that? Now I'm gonna look like a weird mix between her, Mom, and Dad. Even if Shoto and I were identical twins. At least I'm nicer than him. I just stayed turtled. I heard the door open, and the mattress caved in a little. Feeling a weight on me. Momo was holding me. I was just having a terrible week so far…
"Honey, it's okay, she didn't mean it."
"I know… it's just… do I really look like him?" I asked, "Because history has a bad rep for repeating itself in my family," I huffed.
"Well, think of it like this, you have your mother's eyes, your father's facial structure, but you're you, Koyurei. You might look like them but you're not… like them, you know?" I rolled over and shuffled back under the covers.
"Oh yeah, that's not how everyone else sees it. Everyone sees me and Shoto like the next Endeavor! What's four more kids to traumatize and one more wife to break?" I mumbled, Momo sat up.
"Dear…" she sighed
"Just… drop it, I'll have kids when he's dead, no, wait, when the goth nightmare I've been having starts to chase us again I might as well just go all Mortal Kombat on him," I sighed, "Blast him with a giant volcano,"
"Koyurei, I just want you to know that honestly I never saw you as your father at all," she admitted, "You're still that cute boy in the long gray coat with color coded cards…" Momo scooted under the sheets with me.
I yanked her into my arms with a bright grin on my face, I won't ever let anyone hurt her. Momo was too important to lose. If I lose her… I don't think I'd ever recover. Hell, if I lose anyone in my family, I might never recover from it. That's why I worried about my grandmother sometimes. She seemed so content with being alone and she's even more of a jerk than Dad is. She would just have this presence about her that isolated me even more when I'd visit..
Because I looked like them. Girls fawned over me, but Grandmother warded them off. Sometimes… sometimes she'd even tell me I looked a ton like my grandfather. I just hope that nothing like what happened with me and Shoto never happens to my kids. I'd sooner die than ever hurt them. So why did I feel like I still couldn't run? With the two of them, I couldn't ever escape it. I got up and saw Grandmother about to leave. She turned towards me and smiled a little.
"Just… make sure you two come back in one piece, got it? I'm going back home, so… I'll see you when you graduate," she stated, just as awkward as Dad is. Giving me a flutter tap hug, stiff and awkward like she was at that moment.
Not like Dad where it felt like my guts were gonna come outta my butt. Momo smiled and hugged me, my cheeks flaring and a few wisps of flame danced in my hair, winking out. Momo's hugs were like a marshmallow with a little bit of flames on it.
Tomorrow was the day for the camp, everything was riding on that. I was developing my quirk by leaps and bounds. Everything was just hinging on all that. Momo kissed me tenderly. I just let out a shaky smile.
"You can do this, Koyurei," she said, "I know you're scared,"
"Scared? Me? Hell no!" I snarled, "Just fed up with being compared,"
"Don't worry about being compared, honey, just worry about us," she grabbed me from behind and kissed my neck, "Just focus on our dreams," I sighed and leaned against her, sitting on the couch together.
"What if I don't have one that's actually mine?" I asked. She giggled and smiled.
"Just dream about us in the hospital, hand aching from me almost crushing it because of our baby, so tired and worn down from saving people that you and I just end up asleep with our baby safe in my arms." she said, "Then coming home and raising our child together without your father's influence,"
"That's extremely specific."
"What if I told you I want one?" she asked.
"Even if you're more passionate about being a hero?" I asked. Momo nodded.
"I'd be happy because it's our baby…" she sighed, undoing her ponytail, "I'm… lacking a certain material,"
"Momo, come on…"
"Koyurei~! Just let me try to initiate foreplay for one second!" she snapped and kissed me deeply. There was nowhere I'd rather be. And if she wanted one, so be it.