Todoroki set down the pen, turning around to lock his door. Grabbing an energy drink, he sat back down and ran a tired hand through his unwashed hair. His eyes burned with exhaustion and sorrow as he brushed a quick hand against them. Nightmares kept him awake for days at a time. Usually he’d wake up screaming as if he was still staring down at Midoriya’s pale face.
'Yesterday I finally got my provisional hero license. Hero name, 'Equilibrium.' That’s the name you suggested that night we were sharing sleeping bags. You told it me it was a perfect name since I have both fire and ice powers. I remember you suggesting it with that reassuring smile of yours as you pulled me close that night. Getting my license should have been an idyllic day, a huge step in becoming pro heroes, but it definitely wasn’t. The teachers brought food to celebrate our achievements but your absence was so incredibly heartbreaking. It was so quiet. Ashido and Kirishima tried to keep things lighthearted but nobody could forget that you couldn't join us. The celebration was more of a chore, and even Monoma had nothing to say. All of U.A, no, all of hero society is in a state of shock. The teachers are doing damage control, trying to hold on their reputations and trying to prevent the trust in heroes and the institution from crumbling.
But all I could do is keep reliving the memories of when I couldn’t save you.'
Flashback (in italics):
Class 1-A was just finishing up a shopping trip to rejuvenate themselves after a particularly grueling training session before heading to a desert for more training. A huge explosion rattled everything within range, spreading dust and debris everywhere. Civilians ducked for cover as the newly christened semi-pros split up to deal with a gang of villains thought to be involved with the League, those without licenses joining for rescue, alerting the pros of the villain attack.
The villains worked quickly, destroying the buildings around the area. Midoriya was cornered alone, trying to hold off a masked villain and nomu in attempts to save two young kids. The villains were quick, wounding Midoriya with a sharp stab in the process. The green haired teen’s movements were sluggish then as he strained to stay ahead of his attackers, one with a knife and sharp claw-like fingernails, the tips hollowed out looking like a straw, or perhaps a syringe needle. A flash of silver turning red and a giant hand reaching out from nowhere, and Midoriya was plucked out of midair and slammed to the ground with a devastating crash. He gasped from the impact as a sharp blow to the head drew blood, arm bleeding and abdomen bleeding from the knife.
Gasping for air and coughing up blood and teeth, Midoriya rolled and got to his feet, grabbing the two children, one in each arm, activating full cowling, before getting snatched out of midair, the children going flying, the semi-pro slamming into the side of a building, crumpled like a discarded doll. Deserting the children completely, the villain stomped over to the crumpled teen, jabbing him with his nefarious fingernails in the chest. After a few moments Deku stirred again, before puking blood and white foam, arms shaking. Driven by adrenaline alone, the Green teen aimed a particularly clever shoot style hit to the needle villain, who dodged and grabbed the fighting teenager, and sunk those nails into his torso, exacerbating the already severe chest wound and head injury. Soon Midoriya’s vision started to swirl, black and white. Stumbling around, he collapsed, pain spreading through his body, heart palpitating, chest tightening, lungs burning. Lifting a hand to his head, he gingerly felt the gash in his head.
“I can’t let you down, All Might,” Midoriya thought, barely opening his eyes at the sound of raging fire in the distance. Could it have been Endeavor? Are the pros coming? Is there anyone here? He didn’t know. His vision was hazy, too hazy and he shivered due to blood loss. Coughing up blood and unable to move, with blood pooling around his weak body as he struggled for air, Midoriya passed out. The villains dealt a particularly bonecrunching stomp on the hapless teenager’s lower extremities, crushing him.
“Midoriya!” Todoroki had screamed, quickly using his ice to freeze the villain before switching to his flames for a finishing blow, deftly sending them packing. Limping noticeably, he created a barrier of ice to protect them. “Midoriya! You’re supposed to be helping everyone, supposed to swoop in there to save your friends. Come on.” The half and half teen rushed over, gently rolling the green freckled sunshine onto his back, checking for a pulse on the column of his neck. There was one, but it was weak. His breathing was barely there. Brushing the seriously injured’s blood soaked hair out of his eyes, Todoroki grabbed a cloth to attempt to stop his bleeding, using Todoroki’s own costume as a tourniquet around his leg.
At long last, Midoriya opened his eyes, struggling to form words. Todoroki lifted his head to look into those sparkling green eyes, those beautiful green eyes. A bloody hand barely grazed Todoroki’s left cheek as if to comfort the other before falling back to the ground, breathing becoming increasingly shallow.
“Hang on, Midoriya. We’ll get out of here.”
“Are----the---kids----safe? Is---All Might safe?” Midoriya’s voice became hushed, like the gentlest of breezes would knock it away.
Trying not to appear worried, the other blinked away tears threatening to drop before answering. “Yes, the kids are alright. All Might is safe too. Just stay with me. The battle is going on, but you’re safe now. The pros are going to help us. I called for help.”
“Todor—ok—i, stay.” Midoriya tried lifting up his hand to touch the other’s cheek again, but he wasn’t strong enough and instead the appendage fell limply as the green haired boy struggled for air.
“I‘m here.” The dual coloured hair teen gently took the fallen limb, gently stroking each scar with his own thumb before bringing Midoriya’s up to his cheek, gently nuzzling the hand against his cheek, and under his eye. There were so many scars; Midoriya seemed to have accumulated them more quickly than he thought, a token of hard work and determination. “I’m not leaving.”
Never letting go of the other’s hand, Todoroki blinked, trying to see through the tsunami of tears quickly forming. He gently rubbed a spot of dirt and grime away from underneath those scared green eyes with his other thumb, allowing a few tears to fall.
Why was there no one coming? Explosions echoed from streets away, but it seemed more like a dull roar.
Todoroki searched desperately for any sign of a chance to clot the bleeding, to find the source of the bleeding. Blood was everywhere and the blood pooled around his body, staining the ground. Midoriya’s unkempt hair was stained red from the blood, matted and dirty from the debris. He was too weak to move, too weak to talk. Midoriya opened his eyes and locked eyes with Todoroki, opening his mouth as if he was going to say something but couldn't muster the strength to do so, closing it gently, lip quivering. Tears poured down his face, pain clearly shown on his face.
"No. Please. Not now, not like this. Don't leave. Midoriya, please don’t go. I can’t lift you because that villain and Nomu probably crushed your spine and I don’t want to hurt you more. They’ll send in Recovery Girl.” He linked their fingers together, gripping his hand firmly, receiving a gentle squeeze in return. Snaking the other arm behind Midoriya’s neck, Todoroki leaned over his classmate. Green eyes full of terror looked back at him, tears continuing to flow. Rain began falling, turning all the rubble and dust into mud. It was as if the universe knew the gravity of the situation, as if it knew that the upcoming symbol of peace was dying in an alleyway. The rain pounded on the two students, Todoroki trying to position himself to protect the green haired boy from the downpour.
“T—Todoro---ki” Midoriya barely whispered, that one word draining his strength, and had the aforementioned boy not been listening closely, he would have missed the vocalization over the sound of the rain and other battles.
“Hey, I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere till you’re safe.” He gave a watery smile and crawled closer to him, pulling him close after opening an umbrella that stands (yaoyorozu’s creation) to protect him from the rain.
A gentle hand squeeze later, Midoriya closed his eyes, the tension leaving his body as he took his last breath, the grip on Todoroki’s hand fading away, his pulse fading to nothing, mouth opening slightly as he laid limply on Todoroki’s arm.
“No. No.” Todoroki felt his heart stop, falling to the pit of his stomach then thrown in a blender and crushed.
Positioning himself with easy access to the other’s mouth, he leaned down, plugging the greenette’s nose and blowing deeply into the other’s mouth. A last ditch effort, the last thing he could think of doing. He had to try.
"Midoriya? Can you hear me? No, come on please wake up. MIDORIYA! Help me! Please! Please don’t go!” Only the storm replied, taunting and jeering. The devastated teenager pulled Midoriya close, pleading with the universe to let him live.
A flashing signaled the arrival of paramedics and they were saying things but it sounded like they were underwater, barely discernable from the background noise. It was all so garbled and Todoroki couldn't react to anything- it was like all his senses were turned off except for the horrible sting in his heart and the tears that just wouldn’t stop. He felt hands grabbing his shoulders but he couldn't respond. He couldn't move. All he could do was cling tighter and tighter, unable to process the hero’s attempt to free Midoriya from his grasp.
A familiar deep voice caught him off guard, saying something, ruffling his hair and another female voice said another thing and suddenly Todoroki fell asleep, his head falling on Midoriya’s chest. it must have been Midnight who knocked him out.
It was like it had happened yesterday. The wounds were so fresh, ripping holes in the entire U.A community. For Class 1-A, it was the worst possible outcome. For Hero Society, it was the worst possible outcome. Todoroki’s stomach growled but everything thus far tasted like blood and grit mixed with ash.
I’m not here to make excuses for your death; I’m here to take responsibility for my shortcomings that I couldn’t explain at your funeral. Merely stating that the villains were so strong doesn’t work for me. I didn’t arrive on time and you suffered. I failed you. I didn’t tell you how I felt about you when you were alive, either. I know there won’t be any reunions or reconciliations between us. I should have told you.
My pride and insecurities and the ever present fact of being my father’s son complicated not how I felt but if I was ever going to tell you. In reality, you’re the bravest person I know. You have true bravery, not fake confidence to stick to the status quo like others, like me. I was a coward. And now you’re gone. You opened my eyes to a feeling I never thought I could have, and I couldn’t even save your life. I guess I have no idea if you felt the same way about me, but when I was around you I was truly happy, imagining a scenario in which we would start dating. I was too cowardly to tell you, and too late to save you from the villains like you saved me many times over.
Quickly brushing a teardrop off the paper, Todoroki leaned forward to put his head in his arms on the desk, sobs barely muffled. Over the sound of his sobs he barely heard the knock on his door. Iida, Sato, and Uraraka were standing outside his room.
“Todoroki?” Uraraka’s voice cracked. “Sato brought you his famous chiffon cake in hopes you’ll open the door. You barely ate anything at the provisional licensing banquet yesterday.” Tears began flowing down her face too. “We’re all really worried about you!”
“Go away, I’m fine,” replied the voice of the obviously not so fine Todoroki.
“I brought substantial food as well! Nobody should really be alone right now!” Iida interjected, his face not dry either. “Come out of there. We’re all gathering in the common room with sleeping bags because Midoriya loved slumber parties and it’s better if we have each other for company! Don't lock yourself away!”
“I’m doing homework! Leave me alone! Go away. ” Todoroki shouted.
Todoroki woke up in a warm bed, sunlight pouring into the room, a cruel trick. Blinking quickly to focus his eyes, Todoroki realized he was in the nurse’s office. All Might, Recovery Girl, and Mr Aizawa surrounded the bed with sorrowful expressions on their faces. The teen hurriedly tried to sit up, eyes flying open. A gentle hand pushed him back to relax. Recovery Girl's. "Sit, my dear."
"What about Midoriya--is he-All Might-- he didn't- I told him to—I have to tell him--" He struggled against the hand gently easing him back in a more comfortable position.
"Young Todoroki," All Might gently sat down next to Todoroki, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry. There was nothing anyone could do. He’s gone." All Might looked particularly tired, eyes especially sunken. He clearly had been crying but kept it together in front of his pupil. “This wasn’t your fault. You both fought so valiantly, and I’m so proud of both of you.”
Everything stopped as Todoroki’s heart dropped. No that can’t be. They had to have brought him back to life. Yeah he died in his arms but it was only for a minute that’s not too long for them to help--didn’t they even try to help him? Aren’t heroes supposed to help people? Fresh tears sprang forth from his eyes as he gaped at the former symbol of peace.
“—No. Please. No. Get me out of here so I can see him I have to tell him. I have to tell him—“ Todoroki fought off the covers but a firm hand landed on his shoulder another rubbing his back, like a parent would. All Might caught the flailing teenager, who collapsed in tears, clinging to his teacher, anguish rushing out of him in uncontrollable sobs. There was not a dry cheek in the entire clinic that day.
I saw your mom today. She and All Might had a long talk before she was let into your dorm room. She’s been visiting each day. I can’t even imagine what she’s going through. I’m too scared to approach her, but Uraraka and Iida have been by her side each time. I wish I could say something-anything but there’s no way anything I say will help. You helped me realize so much, taught me how to acknowledge feelings and I can’t even say hi to your mom. I can’t even muster the energy to head to the hospital to visit my own mom. She knows what happened, and she knows how much you mean to me. I can’t face her knowing that you died right in front of me and I couldn’t do anything.
I’m not strong enough to even leave this room apart from classes. Even those I’ve been missing. I barely scraped by during the exam, I couldn’t concentrate.
Those two kids you saved came by to offer their condolences and thanked you for saving their lives. I’ll enclose the letter and picture they sent you, since I stole the letter off of iida because he probably isn’t writing these letters so religiously. There are people knocking on my door and they won’t stop until I get up and tell them to go away. I have to go. I love you.
Todoroki folded the letter, putting it in an envelope and kissing it shut, throwing it in his top drawer. Opening the door, he stepped out to grab the cake to only send the others away, returning to his warm and comfortable bed.