He hasn't had friends.
His older sister had encouraged him to make some when he was younger, after mom was gone, when he was still in grade school. She had held his hand and told him to go play one day, wiping away tears and giving him a watery smile. She'd been fighting with their father again. Shouto didn't hear it all, but he heard his name mentioned, and when she returned to the kitchen with red-rimmed eyes and kissed the top of his head he had figured he wasn't going to ask her.
Shouto had looked at her and frowned. "Don't cry, Fuyumi," he said softly.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she said, thumbing away tears under her glasses. She sniffled and looked at him tiredly, reaching across the table to hold one of his hands. "You are so special, Shouto," she whispered. "I am so proud of you."
Shouto had been slightly confused, but he tried to smile for her. "Thanks."
She sniffled and sighed. "I just hate to see him push you so hard, I want you to be able to be a kid. You deserve to be a little kid, Shouto."
He didn't know what to say to that. He still cried sometimes for his mom, after grueling training sessions with his father, after he had thrown up in the shower for the fourth time that week. After another nightmare. He still saw her face late at night when he woke up and stared at the ceiling. He looked in the mirror every day and thought of her as he traced the edges of the patchy scar, he missed her. He missed her so much.
His older sister squeezed his hand. "I love you."
"Fuyumi, enough with the mushy stuff," he teased.
She kicked him lightly under the table. "Now go play with your friends for the rest of the day."
He had hopped off of his chair and frowned. "I don't really have any."
She looked down at him. "Well, why not? Surely you have kids in your class that you like to play with?"
Shouto wiped his nose on his sleeve and looked at his feet. "Not really. They think I'm weird because of my scar and because I train so much."
Fuyumi pushed up her glasses and smoothed her shirt. Her eyes were sad for a moment, Shouto caught a glimpse of weary repression, but she hid it quickly. "Oh. Well, go play with your brothers for the rest of the day, then, okay?"
"I can't. Dad told me I have training-"
Fuyumi's face clouded over. "Shouto."
She signed and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Just go play, okay? Please?" she said warily. He nodded and went outside to find his brothers.
That was a very long time ago. He remembered the day after, his father had been absolutely relentless in training. Shouto had thrown up and passed out and came to with his father yelling at him, harshly shaking him and forcing him to do it again, use your powers, don't be weak. He had cried, then, and it was the first time he had cried in training in a very long time. He remembers his father's harsh palm on his cheek and how the strike had came out of nowhere, how he had numbly stood up and wiped his tears away, breaking on the inside, shaking like a leaf, how he had trained for hours beyond that.
But that's done. He's fine, now. He made it out alive.
Fuyumi had told him to make friends only once after that, and then it was like the thought was lost. She had finally given up and came to her senses like Shouto had so long ago.
He runs his fingers over the gauze on his arm, half-asleep and muscles aching. His back protests as he tries to stretch out on the starchy hospital sheets. The wound on his arm pulses angrily, and if his injury is minor then he can only imagine how Midoriya and Iida must feel.
Iida is asleep for the moment, propped up against pillows. He had passed out on the way to the hospital in the ambulance; he was easily the most wounded of the three of them. Todoroki had clutched a patch of gauze to his arm and sat upright on the bench in the ambulance next to Midoriya, who had turned a funny shade of chalk-white as an EMT wrapped a temporary bandage around his leg. The cut was pretty deep, from what Todoroki could tell, and there was a lot of blood.
Todoroki had been the first one into the room that the three of them now occupy. A med student had knelt in front of him, room empty save for the two of them, talking lightly and kindly. Todoroki had started to feel lightheaded, and he remembers pitching forward with darkening vision into the surprised doctor's arms. He had come to lying flat on the bed as the med student removed his costume, darkened with blood and grime from the night. He felt woozy and distant. A nurse came in and together, her and the med student had helped him into a hospital gown. Todoroki was too tired to be embarrassed. The nurse had pushed an IV into his arm and he tried to focus on the drip in the capsule rather than the needle weaving in and out of his torn flesh as his arm was stitched shut.
Soon after, Midoriya joined him. The lights had been turned off and Todoroki had been told to rest as it was close to eleven o'clock, but he had stared at the ceiling illuminated by streetlights below and the city's hazy light pollution until Midoriya's wheelchair rolled into the door. He sported a similar bandage around his leg and arm but looked to be far worse off than Todoroki was with a blood bag in one hand and an IV in the same arm. His face had been cleaned of the dirt and scuffs and now all that was left was tight, frail exhaustion. Todoroki was glad to see his face had gained some color since he last saw him in the ambulance. Midoriya had managed a half-smile when they made eye-contact, but it was clear to see that he was wiped.
The nurse got him settled on the bed next to Todoroki and then left to attend to the dozens of other waiting patients.
Midoriya had looked at him and noticed the IV. "Are you alright?"
Todoroki internally shook his head. Selfless. "I'm fine. You seem to be worse off. Any lasting damage?"
Midoriya smiled wanly and looked at the ceiling. "No. I have stress fractures in my arm, and it took a lot of stitches to close the cuts. You could see the bone in my leg if you looked hard enough. It should be healed in a few days, though. They had a healer come in. I'm okay."
Todoroki had nodded and went back to staring at the ceiling. They lapsed into silence, and when he looked over again, Midoriya had curled up on his side and closed his eyes, mouth pressed into a thin line. His breathing didn't indicate sleep, but Todoroki didn't blame him. There was no way any of them were going to sleep tonight.
A nurse came and took out his and Midoriya's IVs around midnight, and Iida was rolled into the room not long after that. His arms were wrapped and held in slings, his face weary. Midoriya had sat up and the three of them were left to converse in the dark room.
"Are you okay, Iida?" Midoriya had asked softly across the room.
Iida had nodded. "And you two?"
"He has worse cuts than I do, but we will both be fine," Todoroki said.
Illuminated by the moonlight, Iida looked visibly relieved and very guilty. "I apologize," he murmured again for the eighth time that night. "Your injuries are my fault."
Midoriya had frowned. "We forgive you," he said quietly, "but we fought to defeat the Hero Killer by our own choosing. All turned out well."
Todoroki nodded his agreement and they fell silent after that.
Now, Iida is asleep and Midoriya is looking at the ceiling again. All scraps of lingering adrenaline are gone, leaving the three of them to lie in their beds, bone-tired with the uneasiness of the night.
Todoroki would never say it aloud, but he really is grateful that the three of them are in the same room. He's rattled from the events of the night -- Stain had been truly scary. Not many things can shake him anymore since his childhood with his father, but when he fell to the ground and Stain had screamed about All-Might, he felt the ice of fear creep into his heart for a moment. Even now, lying in this bed, he still is irked every time the image of the Hero Killer appears in his mind. His father would call him weak, but his father isn't here. Iida and Midoriya are here, though. They probably feel the same way.
And it's comforting. It's a lot less... lonely.
Midoriya rolls over to face him; Todoroki hears the shuffling of the covers. Todoroki lets his head fall to the side and they look at each other for a long moment, two pairs of tired eyes. "I can't get his face out of my mind," Midoriya whispers. His voice fills the room, fuzzy and worn in the sterile hospital air.
Todoroki nods. He thinks back to the way Midoriya fought, how none of his bones are broken, and he wonders what changed. He displayed control over his quirk, completely different from the Sports Festival. Todoroki had seen the energy ebb throughout his whole body this time and not just with one limb or a finger. He saw Midoriya's punches, and they were powerful. After the last one, Todoroki expected to find him twitching on the ground, arm purple, but Midoriya stood relatively unscathed to the naked eye, save for his leg. Todoroki was, dare he say it, impressed. He recognizes now that he has a very powerful friend.
Exhaustion presses at his muscles and settles in his brain, his arm continues to throb. Are they friends? Is this what friends do? Todoroki considers Midoriya a friend, after the whole Sports Festival thing, and Midoriya probably feels the same. But Midoriya would have done that for anyone. So, does that make Midoriya friends with everyone? Todoroki really doesn't know. He's never had allies like this before. Comrades, teammates. He thinks that they are friends. He hopes so, after all of this shit. He'd like to call Midoriya a friend. He does call Midoriya a friend.
Wow, he thinks, turning his head to look at the ceiling again. I have a friend. It might even be his first friend. It is his first friend, actually, Midoriya is his first real friend. It's all very strange, and he must be half-delirious with exhaustion and shock to even be thinking about this.
Midoriya pulls him out of his thoughts. "Iida's pretty lucky to have friends like us," he murmurs as he rolls into his back.
Todoroki blinks. Oh. Is he friends with Iida, too? Two friends, he guesses he's getting pretty good at this. Does that make everyone in class 1-A his friend? No, it's probably a mutual brush-with-death thing. Todoroki has shared a bond with Iida and Midoriya due to the unsettling fight with Stain. Well, actually, now that he thinks about it, maybe friends are made by screaming at each other. Midoriya had yelled at him about his left side during the Sports Festival; he had yelled at Iida in the alleyway, wiry and voice-wrecked, heat-of-the-moment and Stain looming over him, heart in his throat though he'd never make it known. Friendship is weird, he decides. He didn't try to make friends, it just happened.
It's not a bad thing, though. Is it?
He dozes off for a while. When he opens his eyes again, the room is lightening with the dawn. His arm still throbs.
The chief of police comes and that mess is solved and Todoroki doesn't want to be a hero for the recognition but it sure feels like shit when they say the news will say his father beat Stain.
He sits heavily on his bed and pushes the feelings down. Midoriya's weird internship hero comes back and talks with the two of them for a while, and then Midoriya leaves and Iida gets examined and it's kind of bleak for a minute but then Midoriya comes back and they share a laugh and become closer, Todoroki thinks. He thinks that this is how friendship works.
And he's glad.
From then on, Midoriya and Iida are his friends.