In the Shadow @my.hero.xiii
Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Such a Good-For-Nothing Boy.

I felt warm. Really warm. Swaddled in blankets and just feeling so nice. I wanted to stay like this forever. I loved the warmth. No wonder Mom stayed with Him for so long other than the money and us. But this warmth was different. It was new, a gentle warmth rather than unpleasant.

"Mm? Oh, you're up," Momo groaned, "What're you doing down there? Sleeping against my chest?" she asked.

"Nn… it's warrrmmm…" I mumbled, "Nice and soft, no wonder Mineta likes them," I felt her grip tighten on me, hearing her heartbeat quicken. She was muttering something about how close I was, or how cute I was?

"Koyurei, you're still cold," she said, "I can probably warm you up, right? I-I mean… you're already doing t-thaaat…" she was completely scarlet. I looked up at her and she was sputtering, her cheeks flushed and she looked so cute, her messy hair and pajamas all rumpled and bedraggled.

Momo cleared her throat and I slightly moved away, "We should get ready for school, you know?" she asked. I groaned and kissed her chest before getting up.

"I don' wanna… Just lemme stay in," I sighed, "School's overwhelming."

Momo sighed and hugged me again, "I know it's overwhelming, but you'll get through this, okay? You're away from the toxicity for the most part, so don't worry," I hugged her back and she pulled away a bit.

I got up and pulled on a new compression shirt to cover up my scars. I didn't glance over at Momo, but my eyes wandered, seeing her fiddling with her hair and looking into the mirror, she was beautiful, and it was almost like we were newlyweds or something.

She turned, "Oh, I'm… I'm going to change, so…" she trailed off, making a little shooing motion with her hands. I got up and went out of our room, already dressed and pulling my tie. It wasn't bad, but I got started on breakfast.

After He deemed me a failure at first, Mom took me under her wing and taught me housework stuff, that way I could help her out. I knew everyone's favorites and how to make them, even though He never appreciated it.

It was early, around five in the morning, so here I was, in the kitchen, trying to think about what Momo's favorite things could be. Good thing the stove wasn't gas-powered otherwise I'd have flashbacks and freeze it to death.

I needed to know what to make. I mean, I knew her favorite type of tea, so I made the tea, not knowing why exactly Shoto would act so weird around them before. Well, the kettle, not the cup itself. I don't remember why, but I heard Momo come out of our room.

"Oh? You're cooking?" she asked.

"Yeah, I wanted to… is that a bad thing?" I asked, starting to move away from the stove. She stopped me with a hug from behind. She was turning her attention towards the food I was making.

"Noodles aren't a breakfast food, dear…" she sighed.

"You're gonna eat 'em and you're gonna like 'em," I insisted, "Because I like them, and I'm not sure what you like," I scooped them into a couple of bowls, with Momo taking hers and taking a bite.

Her eyes widened and she started shoveling it in, judging by her expression, she loved it. I guess that's one thing she likes. Momo didn't stop eating until it was empty and I blinked, I mean, her quirk takes mass from her body to form objects, but I've never seen a girl put that much away. She looked up at me, putting down the bowl.

"Oh! I'm sorry, can I have some more, dear?" she asked, I filled her bowl and she kissed me on the cheek, "Thank you,"

"Guess she likes it a little too much…" I muttered.

Momo smiled, "Of course I do! Because it's made by my precious boyfriend!" she exclaimed. I smiled and hugged her tightly, I smiled goofily.

"Well, it's after years of trial and error, and a lot of taste testing by my mom to get it right," I admitted, finding that she liked it made me happy. She leaned close and stayed barely inches away from my face.

"Maybe I could be your taste-tester?" she asked.

"Well, you can," I stated, "I could try making some of your favorite things later," I forgot my cards. No more silence. Because I was away from that. We finished it all up and headed out, heading towards the train station and getting on, standing close to one another as we went towards the school.

Our hands wrapped around each other.

Coming into class, I could tell everyone was excited, but I surprised them by saying, "Good morning, everyone!" That made everyone stop. I didn't know I could stop them with my voice, but it looked like Mina was about to pass out.

"No waaaaayyy! He can talk!" she gasped, "And he sounds so nice!"

"Huh? Of course I can talk… I just- Needed help," I said, "Thank you for your opinion, Mina, but… I'm already with someone!" I blurted, with Momo giggling at that. Mina pouted.

"Just 'cause your Dad said you had to be with her doesn't mean you have to be," she huffed, "Look, I found things out," she explained, "You're changing because you're away from whatever weird stuff happened to you and TodoOne."

I blushed and looked away, "I think so?" I mumbled. Mina sighed, "Everyone and their mama knows about Quirk Marriages," I closed my eyes.

'What if it's just an act?'

'What if Momo's in cahoots with him?'

'Why else would He allow this? Why else would she be so kind? This is just a game! Just some sick joke! She chose me just so He could tell me I was getting my hopes up!'

'No one wants a broken, lonely boy with no future, no mother, no assets, no self esteem, no pride, no anything! They want guys like Shoto because he's competent!'

'They don't want you. They don't need you. You're just another failure on his list no matter what you do. You're a ghost, Koyurei Todoroki! That's what you are!' Maybe my thoughts were right. Maybe it was all right. I laid my head down, letting everything fade into white noise.

I barely heard All Might come in or my brother trying to awaken me from the static. All I wanted was to understand. Why me? Why me out of all the guys she could've picked? Was my mind right or was I just scared?

"Is he okay, Young Shoto?" the warm, booming voice of All Might cut through the static, and I opened my eyes, seeing the hero above me, his comic-like appearance making me think of all those times He compared himself to All Might.

"He is, All Might, just overwhelmed," Shoto said.

"Shut up, Shoto." I snarled, "I'm fine. Why would he be concerned? He's at the top." I stood and muscled past the others, my eyes set on the front, not noticing I was trailing some frost behind me.

"Wow…" Another boy commented, "What crawled up his butt an' died?" He had blond hair and a black streak, "I mean, I get it, son of the number two and all, but… he's really really messed up,"

"Hey! Don't say that about my brother!" Shoto snapped, I was still listening.

'See? You're just like your daddy!'

"Yeah, I don't see him bein' a hero at all! What a fuckin' edgelord!" Another boy with ash blond hair and reddish brown eyes laughed, "Dude's just another extra!" Shoto's defense fell on deaf ears and I just went to the locker room with my case. I didn't wanna deal with any of this.

When I got in, I removed my uniform, folding it and taking off my compression shirt, looking in a mirror and palming the scar on my chest.

'Face it. Shoto's the better version of you. Just look at yourself! Shoto only has one burn! You have a ton! If you were stronger, you'd only have one, too! If you were stronger, you'd have fire, too! Momo only pities you! Shoto only pities you! Dad kept you around because of Mom!'

I pulled on my costume, it was a long gray coat with a ton of pockets, leather gloves, and snow boots with retractable skates. Not that I'd get much use out of this anyway. Even if I got far enough into the hero business, I'd never be as good as Shoto.

I pushed the goggles down over my eyes, sheathing everything in blue. I sighed and looked at myself in the mirror.

'Why not just freeze forever? It wouldn't hurt, and you wouldn't have to deal with anyone! Easy! Your life's a wreck so why not just crash now? Who'd care? You're not good at anything! See? Look at everyone else, moving on! When you're still here crying for your mother!'

'Broken! Useless! Weak! Without me you wouldn't be here! Now give up! You fail everything!'

I lashed out with a wave of ice, making the other guys flinch away from the wave of vicious, twisting spikes. The temperature of the room dropped and I left it without so much as a word, I leaned myself against the wall, grounding myself. I was breathing fast, the cold calming me and making me feel like Mom was there with me.

What would she do?

Probably cry.

God, Shoto gets the best parts of Him and Mom, and I get the worst! Wait, stop the self-deprecation… I saw the other guys come out, all glaring at me and I just sheltered further into my coat, trying not to make myself big at all.

Shoto had to clear the ice. Luckily it was more like a weak field of ice, so it wasn't hard to clean up, but I still hated that I did that. I was in front of the others, but the ash-blond-haired boy grabbed my shoulder.

"What's your deal? Why're you so strong?! Come on, emo! Out with it!" he snarled.

"Watch me and you'll know," I stated, sounding just like... him. I stood off to the side, just like I'd always done. My quirk was making things colder. I didn't know that Momo was next to me until she opened my coat and snuggled in.

"Warm…" she sighed gently. I looked away from her, impassive and more focused on the task ahead. 'And here's the fake girlfriend, as if a girl could love a useless boy like you.' I wanted that other voice to shut the fuck up!

'I mean, look at her! Masterful acting!'

'I said SHUT UP!' I thought viciously, seeing Momo's hero suit. I didn't care. It was carmine, and had little to no defense. Moving on. She needed exposed skin for her quirk, so why was she so embarrassed? No, no, I'm sounding like him again!

Momo hugged me tightly, "Koyurei, you're freaking out again. Easy, okay? Breathe…" I breathed in and then back out, trying to stay calm despite my worry. I just wanted to focus, and seeing her in her skimpy carmine suit, and her boots, and her steady silver eyes holding my gray.

"Look at me, okay?" she asked, "You're more than him. You're more tha-" I cut her off by pushing away.

"Just… just stop, okay? Stop trying to get through to me," I said, closing my eyes, why can't I be happy with someone that loves me other than my family? Why can't I understand that some people love me regardless of what happened to me?

Why can't I just let people in? Why can't I just let myself smile and tear off the mask and become Kilroy like Mr. Roboto did? Why can't I just move on and forget and finally see Mom again?

Oh, that's right, the trauma! No, you can't be happy without wanting to burn your face off! No, you can't become your own person because your dad hated any individuality! No, you can't see mom because of crippling abandonment issues!

I felt Momo grab my hand, "I'm… I'm not giving up on you, okay? Just listen, I know you don't know what to do, and Ashido raised a good point, and Endeavor did terrible things to you, but…"

In an instant, I was little, one last time, different blue eyes. Burns on his face but still smiling down at me. Someone I knew vaguely, but he looked familiar. I was at the park somewhere, and he looked so familiar.

"Things might be hard now, but… let people in."

A hand rested on my head.

"Can you protect them for me, Todoroki Koyurei?"

I didn't know who he was. Or where he came from. All that I knew was that he looked familiar. He was Mister Ashes. A nice guy, my imaginary friend. A smile, the smell of ash, talking and laughing with him.

Feeling like me.

He'd always come when I was crying, when I was little. But then he didn't.

I snapped out of it. She wasn't setting me up. She wouldn't be this genuine if she was lying. She did all she could to get me out of there, so why was I doubting her? Why do so many people have a wonderful dad? He made me mistrust everyone except for him. She pulled me into her arms, holding me close, rubbing my back and letting me just stay there.

It still broke me. Still learning, despite my flaws.

"Ugh! So lucky!" an unfamiliar voice jolted me out of my moment of comfort, "Cuddling with the hottest girl in class!" I ignored it, it was some pervert that everyone disliked. I sighed and stood with the others, still feeling Momo's hand around mine.

"Well then, that's one team down! Young Koyurei and Young Yaoyorozu versus… Young Todoroki and Young Mezo!" All Might exclaimed. The basics were that Momo and I were going to protect a bomb, and the other team was gonna get to it. I watched the first fight, knowing that the boy that threatened me was a powder keg.

I felt nervous. Of course I had a strong power, but Shoto's power was superior to mine. He was His favorite. No matter what I did. He was encouraged, even nurtured. Recommended when I was in standard, I worked myself halfway to DEATH'S DOOR.

So here we were, about to start our match. Next to the bomb which I was sheathing a ton of ice around, so Shoto would have to take us out instead of tagging the bomb. I knew he'd never use his fire. Especially since he hated it.

Momo handed me a sword, and a shield which I expanded with more ice, making traps throughout the building, Momo worked fast and we met back up. I held her hand and she smiled at me.

"It's going to be alright, we'll do this together," she said. I didn't move, I just stared at the entrance, I heard so many of the traps go off, but no- In an instant, ice burst through the door, barely giving me time to counter with my own. I breathed out mist, seeing Shoji and Momo fighting, I dodged another wave of ice and took to the wall, skating on it and seeing Shoto trying to pick his way through the ice.

'Freezing Flame Series: Gungnir!' I thought, forming a spear in my hands, throwing it right at Shoto's feet, seeing it explode in a torrent of ice fractals and blistering cold winds. I adapted a lot of his moves into my own, I had no choice. I had to embrace the monster to become stronger.

Shoto was half-frozen on his left side, but there was something interesting happening, he was still fighting off my attacks, and he was doing well! I noticed that he was using his ice as armor to guard against my spikes.

"You're holding back, huh? Where's the fire, brother? Come on!" I snarled, "I'm not gonna hold back, not anymore!" I made another Gungnir and smiled, "I don't care if I win, all I care about is one last fight! Let it out, bring it on! The Balrog isn't here to watch us!"

I saw a few sparks ignite, feeling Momo bumping against my back, she looked a little hair was a little loose, but she nodded at me. I smirked and drove my spear into the floor, vaulting over the other team and taking Momo along with me, our plan going off flawlessly. Matryoshkas were in the air and when they hit my spikes, they burst into bright flashes. When we landed, I raised my hand up.

'Freezing Fire Series: Gleipnir!' I thought, seeing chains of ice whip out and grab Shoto and Mezo, the massive Octopus-like boy struggled, and Shoto accepted it. My ice faded and I could barely move, my breath shuddering out in mist. I pushed myself too hard and now I was almost frozen myself.

All Might came on the intercom, "Well fought, villains! This win goes to Young Koyurei and Young Momo!" he called, making Momo almost jump into my arms with so much happiness I could've sworn she could power a small town. She had a plush blanket ready for me and she wrapped me in it.

"Comfy?" she asked.

"Y-yeah," I admitted. She kissed me on the cheek. I blushed, and she helped me into the observation room, which was toasty warm, and I curled up on Momo's lap, happily warm that I beat Shoto at something.

"So? Any comments? Yes, Young Bakugou?" All Might asked the walking munitions factory.

"How in the hell was he in the standards?! And he beat ME?! Like, what the hell?!" he snarled, All Might raised his hands.

"Take it easy there, Young Bakugou, there's no need to get riled up, it's just training," he cautioned, "Young Koyurei and Young Momo did their best and won, there's no competition,"

"Rr… you're lucky you weren't up against me, Icy-Pop! Seriously, you're LUCKY you had Ponytail wi-" I rose, my power barely able to chill the room.

"One day, you'll need us. And when that day comes, I won't help," I said, turning and leaving the room to warm up in peace. I walked back into the locker room, putting back on my uniform and tightening the tie, looking in the mirror.

I grabbed my case and smiled, 'I survive to live another day.' I thought.

Shoto and Momo walked with me out of the school, "The old man's practically counting down the days until you two tie the knot, it's almost enough to make Fuyumi and I barf," he sighed, "He's already decided the next few years, too,"

"I guess it's safe to say he's happy without me," I stated with a shrug, holding Momo's hand, "He won't see me or her, or our kids, so… fuck 'im," I looked at Momo, who was looking a little offended.

"Koyurei! You don't mean that! Time could change things, we just have to be patient, darling," she advised, lightly slapping me on the arm.

"If that were true, Mom would be home, He wouldn't be an ass, and… and… Touya would…" I trailed off, my mind wandering, "Can- can we go home?" I asked Momo. Momo smiled and laid her head against my shoulder.

"Of course, love. I'll handle dinner since you handled breakfast," she reasoned. We walked to the station and got on the train back to the apartment, passing by my old stop. Once we got back, I wrapped the blanket around myself and laying down on the couch, I closed my eyes and dreamed of something nicer.

I dreamed of being in Momo's lap again. Laying looking up at her. She was older, and her belly was swollen. She smiled.

"They aren't even born yet, Koyurei, and you're already planning out names?" she asked.

"Well, they're our kids, Momo…" I sighed, "I never got to find out why my… urgh, father, named me Koyurei,"

"At least we'll know how we'll name ours, sweetie," she said, I kissed her stomach, "They'll be great one day, I just know it," I felt her lips on mine and I woke up. Seeing her close to my face, the smell of pork in the air and a smile on her face.

"Dinner's ready, darling," she said, "Seems like you were having a pleasant dream," I nodded and she took my hand, leading me into the dining area, seeing steak there. I smiled and sat down.

"Thanks, Momo. I gotta say I wasn't expecting this out of you," I said. She blushed and waved her hand dismissively.

"My mother taught me many things, especially how to be an excellent homemaker to my husband, but with your mother teaching you similar things… I guess we're both spouse material," she commented, cutting some steak and eating it.

"So, marvellous job in the battle, babe," I said. She smiled.

"Aw, thank you, honey! You did well, too!" she exclaimed. I smiled, blushing a little.

"Well, my brother's way better than me, I didn't expect it to be so easy, hell, I barely thought I'd pull through," I admitted, "Going day in day out being told you're worthless does a number on you, but I forgot all about that," I swirled my finger on the rim of my glass.

"I… I just felt like the name 'Todoroki Koyurei' never mattered," I sighed, tearing into my steak. After I was done, I continued, "All that mattered was you and winning. And that's all I wanted,"

Momo smiled and grabbed my hand, "Koyurei," she said, making me feel tingly, a good tingle that made me happy.

"Can you keep saying my name?" I asked.

"Of course, Koyurei." she stated.

I smiled widely. She pulled me up and into her arms, "No matter what. You're not useless. You're not broken. You're not stupid. You're mine and I won't let Him back into our life together if I can help it. That's my promise to you, Koyurei," she stated warmly, kissing my forehead.

I grinned, finally ready to take that chance.

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