“Can you feel this?”
Midterms for the semester were right around the corner. A thick layer of tension hung over the U.A. dorms like a suffocating blanket. It was the final weekend of freedom the students were allotted before they went to face their dreaded exams. The common room usually was a boisterous hangout location, but on this particular day, only found itself occupied by students with their noses buried ten chapters into their textbooks.
There were two distinct groups within the class 1-A: those that crammed last minute and those that confidently rehearsed notes they’d studied continuously over the semester. Todoroki firmly sat in the latter category. While he didn’t take the upcoming tests lightly, he wasn’t nearly as frantic that evening as others were. Even now, he could hear Ashido’s and Kaminari’s muffled voices through the wall as they made their panicked ways through the required material.
He was halfway through reviewing his handcrafted study guide when a gentle series of knocks on his door pulled him out of his concentration. For a brief moment, irritation shadowed his face as he looked up from the open faced notebook on his desk.
“Come in,” he called as plainly as he could. A series of faces flashed in his mind as the door cracked open. His visitor could have been anyone. Some of his peers were rather persistent. The quicker he entertained them, the quicker he could get back to studying.
To his pleasant surprise, your face peeked out from around the wooden door. You glanced around the room before your eyes settled on his seated figure. Todoroki watched as a smile bloomed on your face. It dissipated his irritation, replacing it with a fond warmth.
“Sorry to be bothering you. I know you’re probably super busy studying,” you apologized. You stayed where you were, partially obscured by the door as your eyes flicked from his desk back to his face.
“No, it’s okay,” he said, closing both his notebook and textbook and stacking the two atop one another. “I needed to take a break, anyway.” A simple lie, one that you seemed to buy with ease.
“Oh! Great!” you chirped. The color of your eyes brightened as you stepped into the room and shut the door behind you for privacy’s sake. Your school bag dangled from your shoulder, a strange sight to behold. Had you come to study with him? That didn’t seem right, given your tone of voice.
You hustled over to where he sat, hands secured around the single strap of your bag. “Oh, no, you can stay seated. It’s okay!” you reassured Todoroki the moment he moved to stand up.
He paused mid-movement, throwing you a confused glance before lowering himself into the low cushioned chair once more. You knelt by his side, settling into a comfortable position. The bag you carried was placed between the two of you. Todoroki couldn’t help but stare at it, further trying to work out your intentions.
“I was really hoping you’d want to take a break. I know all this studying can be pretty hectic,” you laughed, unzipping the bag.
Todoroki nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “What exactly...did you have planned?”
You lifted your head, expression beaming as your hands rifled around the dark insides of your bag. “To help you relax! You were complaining about headaches the other day so I figured...I could help,” you replied, suddenly bashful.
He vaguely remembered making such complaints. They were minor in nature and were meant to be nothing more than passing statements. The fact that you’d latched onto such a minute detail was unsurprising. You had a habit of offering help to others, no matter the size of their problems. That’s what he liked about you.
“Thank you. I appreciate it,” he said with a small smile.
Your face flushed as you nodded. “Of course!” you chirped. You dipped your head as you focused on pulling out the mysterious object you’d packed for your impromptu visit. A few murmurs later and you pulled the thing out. “Aha!” you proclaimed, holding it up so he could have a better look at it.
It wasn’t very often Todoroki found himself at a loss. This was one of those rare occurrences. The object you held so enthusiastically in your hands was foreign to him. It kind of looked like a kitchen whisk that’d been cut at the bottom so all of the individual wires splayed out in random directions. The entire item had been painted a metallic purple, including the handle.
“What...is it?” he asked. His brows furrowed as he looked the object over with an intense stare.
“It’s a head massager! It can help with headaches and it feels great!” your replied with a grin.
It was difficult to pin his reaction. His emotions had always been difficult to read. Todoroki wasn’t exactly what you would call an open person. While he’d made great progress into showing more emotions other than stoic , he still came off as closed-off more often than not. A somewhat useful trait for hero work, but not so much when you were desperate to know his thoughts on your carefully planned surprise.
“Well?” you urged.
“Well what?” came his basic reply.
“Well go on!” you said. You gestured to him with the massager in hand, beckoning him to take it from you. “Try it!”
He seemed hesitant at your insistence. His mismatched eyes glanced to you. You nodded, offering encouragement with your smile. It seemed to be enough, as not a moment later, Todoroki reached out and took the object from your hand. He handled it with care, giving the impression that he was afraid of breaking it. Either that, or he feared it’d come to life and bite him. Both images had you struggling to hold back a fit of giggles as each had an air of absurdity to them.
Todoroki sat there as he rotated the head massager in his hand. He seemed to be clueless as to how to actually use it. You sighed and leaned over, plucking the massager from his hand. The heterochromatic eyed boy blinking in surprise as you shimmied around on your knees until you faced the back of his chair.
“Uh-uh, stay put,” you said as he began to turn. You placed one hand on his shoulder while the other gripped the head massager. “Just sit tight, relax, and enjoy!”
He mumbled something unintelligible, but made no other move to stop you.
You angled the massager until the rounded ends touched the crown of his scalp. With a gentle pressure, you pushed down, watching as the wires expanded to fit around his head. Your hand moved in slow, deliberate strokes. He shivered.
“Can you feel this?” you asked as you pulled back.
“Yeah, it’s...weird,” he admitted.
“Right? But it helps!” you laughed.
“If you say so.” Todoroki didn’t sound entirely convinced. Despite that, he never made a move to stop you. He only grabbed your free hand in his and leaned back into his chair as you massaged his scalp.