In the Shadow @my.hero.xiii
Chapter 2

Chapter Two: I am The Modren Man.

I sighed and pulled out the White Cards. Cards Mom made for me when I was little, big declarations, rants, emotional things. The red ones went in the box and the standards came with me. I walked as if death was ahead of me. Marching towards the outside world again. Marching back out with Him getting in the car. I got into the car and it wasn't fancy at all, a lower-class car just to not flex our status. He drove thickly, hands bunched, gigantic frame hunkered down like a gargoyle.

Silence, intense silence. Streetlights guiding the way and the car putting along, He tapped the wheel calmly. I zipped my jacket all the way up over my mouth, not talking. The car slowed before a fancy restaurant.

"Son, what you do here determines your future, be a gentleman and try not to crack under the pressure. It'll be okay," he tried to assure me. The restaurant was one of those with a three-month long waitlist, but I guess being the number two has its perks… I drifted in and flicked up my introduction card, I waited for my fiance. Standing at her chair.

"Oh goodness! Sorry I'm late!" a voice exclaimed, making me turn in the fancy restaurant to see a girl in a nice white dress, flared out like a skirt and… and… oh god, am… am I blushing?! I started forward, pulling her chair out for her. Is this her? Her dark hair looked so soft, and… and her eyes seemed to- just- wow~ I hurriedly sat down, blushing and unzipping my coat, taking it off and shivering as the air hit my skin. This wasn't normal. Normally I'd NEVER take my coats off or sweaters or anything.

"You… you look…" I started, flipping through my white cards, Mom HAD to have put one to describe how KNOCKOUT GORGEOUS this girl was. Flicking and yanking one out like a tooth, red-faced and scarred with chalky burns.

She looked, "Oh! That's a relief… honestly I thought this was a little much…" she admitted, her cheeks pinking and handing the card back. Watching her being nervous made me feel a little better.

"It's… It's not…" I muttered. I looked at the card.

"You look beautiful."

'Thank god for my mom… I owe her SO many hugs!' The girl, presumably Yaoyorozu, blinked and smiled.

"I'm glad you like it, honestly when the number two hero reached out to my parents about this they practically pounced, you're my… second date. My first one was with this boy that yelled a lot and… punched himself in the face…" she giggled a little.

I flicked another card her way.

"Sounds festive…"

She laughed. Mom was a little snarky in the writing's tone in a lot of her stuff, mostly when I'd visit we'd just laugh at her increasingly snarky cards. I mostly pointed at what I wanted, It was mostly meat and stuff like that.

"So… if you can talk, why do you need cards? It's just us, so don't be so shy…" she sighed, "Oh wait, I'm so sorry for not introducing myself, I'm Momo Yaoyorozu,"

"Koyurei… that's my designation…" I stated quietly, almost as if I had to measure my words. Momo tilted her head to the side.

"Designation?" she asked.

"Indeed… It is my name, my assignment. It contains kanji for ghosts and ice… Fitting considering my background and power…" I sighed, "But… if you require me to converse with you, I can bear that burden,"

Momo looked a little shocked, and I looked away, "I don't want it to be a burden to you, so… if you need me to be silent, that's fine… I'm used to it," I looked away and took a sip of my drink, the coolness making me colder.

"Are you alright, Koyurei?" she asked.

"In terms of mentally? I'm shot. In terms of physicality, I'm fine…" I felt a weight on my hand and a soft pressure there. My heart beat faster, the soft weight tracing the ice burn scars there. 'I just met her! And He's expecting me to… to marry her? To consummate the union and produce an heir when I can barely string together a sentence without crying?' I thought.

The food came and I flicked a card up, Momo looked at the smooth robotic motion oddly. All of my movements were delicate. We ate and I couldn't help but see Momo savor it, her eyes shining, a cute smile on her face, her hair swishing slightly and her silver eyes locked with my own. She giggled, and I didn't break eye contact. My heart was beating so fast, my IBM brain was going ninety-nine miles from a parsec just trying to equate the response. She was so pretty… was she wearing makeup? No, she wasn't. Surely not.

"You're staring." she said.

"A-am I? F-forgive me." I mumbled, "I- tend to because- I have little to look at that's… that's like… you," I was blushing, 'Dammit! Now she thinks I'm weird! Goodbye, Future! Oh goodbye, Sweet Future! How I will miss thee!'

"What do you mean?" she asked. Her lips down turned into a slight frown. Worry creased her perfect face, and I took a deep breath, closing my eyes, "I… I think you're… beautiful! G-gorgeous even!" I blurted.

"I… I know I'm far from a perfect man… I know I'm nowhere near capable enough… but…" it cut me off by the check. I put the money down, "I insist on paying. I saved up enough from dodging the Balrog during training…" I mumbled, shutting down and flicking to a white card.

She put her hand on mine, "No. I'll pay. Don't worry, that should be used towards what makes you happy, right?" Momo was such a saint.

I didn't want her to go. I didn't want to go. As silent as I was. I wanted to stay. Did I have a card for that?! Did I… I exposed my arm. Her gentle, firm hands held my arm up, studying it closer. I yanked it out of her grip and put on my coat.

"These don't look like Dry Ice burns…" she said.


"Don't speak of them."

"Why not?" she asked.

"Not good, not good at all."

Momo sighed, "Listen, whatever you have to tell me, you can tell me, I won't tell another soul, I promise,"

"Prove it."

Momo pouted and looked kinda cute, "Listen, if I tell you something about me, you tell me something about you," she stated, "That way we have nothing to hide, let's go out and just walk around and talk, okay?"

I nodded and heeled her. It was a beautiful summer's night, and Momo stuck close to my side, my cold keeping the mugginess at bay. The way she looked at me was so new. A girl never looked at me like she did. Or like Mina did. It felt nice. She smiled and looped her arm through one of mine, "My parents threw me at every boy, like… 'Take her! Take her! We don't want her!' It was dumb. It was asinine and cruel… what about yours?" she asked.

"My father burned me, told me I was worthless over and over, and how I'd die alone. I found that my ice grows stronger with the bitter pills he made me swallow. I became a ghost. Finding solace alone rather than with others," I described, smiling calmly.

"Your mother?" she wondered, "If you don't want to speak about her that's okay," she said. I smiled and sat down, bringing her down with me. She sat next to me and I smiled.

"My mother, as flawed as she is, showed me love. My mother showed me what it means to truly sacrifice everything. She harmed my brother, and harmed me by extension, but I don't blame her. I just, just want to be happy," I found ice crystals running down my face from my eyes.

They sparkled down into my lap, "I want my family back, the way it was before all hell broke loose! I just… just wanna be happy!" I exclaimed. I saw an azure and purple light shine from her hand as she wiped my tears with a small handkerchief.

"Are you happy right now?" she asked, "Don't cry," she muttered, her tone lowering to a sympathetic murmur. I grinned a little.

"Thank you for your handkerchief, and for not overstepping, I am grateful," I stated. Momo grinned and pressed a small sheet of paper into my hand. I looked down at it and she grinned. Then, I felt a slight weight on my cheek. A soft something touched it and she pulled back.

"You're welcome, Koyurei," she said. I saw His dowdy car and the slick limousine, I opened the door for her and she got in, He honked at me to hurry it up, but when I got in the car, he looked happy. It was odd.

"I knew you two were compatible. Now, to find your brother a suitable mate, what do you think?" He glanced at me as I touched the cheek Momo kissed, "Already smitten I see, well then that's good!" He was… smiling? What went wrong? Was he sick? Did I do something wrong by letting Momo in? Was I doing something he liked? He saw the handkerchief.

"And a gift! She's reciprocating, that's even better!" he exclaimed, "You're a loyal son of mine! Taking what you want and giving little!" I felt my heart drop to my stomach, no. I wasn't like him. I wasn't like him at all. It made me think. What if I turn out like him? What if I turn out to be a shameless monster? What if I hurt her? What if I hurt our children? Frost formed on my window, my panic making my quirk go into a defensive mode.

I froze things when I was scared, multiple times I tried that on Him. I couldn't stop him. I couldn't stop anything. He continued to drive, even looking a lot less threatening. What was he going to do? What was his game?

"Even if you don't have fire, I still believe you can surpass All Might. Your ice is stronger than your other siblings, and even your mother. I've named it something more appropriate to your interest in Norse Mythology," He announced, his eyes looking softer.

"It was your sister that introduced you, and I asked her what Rune I could name your quirk after," he continued, sliding a piece of paper my way across the dash. I picked it up and saw the rune Isa, or Ice.

"See? Nice, right?" He asked, "Don't worry, I know a lot more than you think,"

'That only makes me worry more, you Balrog.' I thought. I felt the car slow down, and He got out first, I followed soon after, making my steps slow and deliberately that way so I would have time to consider that maybe I should deny my happiness once more.

I could never see Mom, or even send a letter, I couldn't play my games or watch a movie, my life was strictly vicariously lived through my father. He lived through me. I was just an extension. Half of him writhed in me like Fenrir, begging and baying to be let loose at Ragnarok, and I feared it. My mother probably misses me. Fuyumi always ends up crying after a visit, hugging me and telling me over and over that she wished that she could take me to see her. To see our mother and let her questions be answered.

She always asked if I was happy. She always asked if I was doing well. I took off my coat, letting my scars breathe, taking off my shirt and picking up the only photo I had of her, I smiled and clenched it, like I was hugging her.

"I am happy." I confirmed, "I'm happy, Mom,"

It all started with an arranged date, I could only hope she felt the same about me. I could only hope that my one allowed happiness stayed with me. I got under the covers and laid my head down on my pillow.

I felt a smile stretch on my face.

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