He was running for his life.
Don’t give him that look. It wasn’t weird— this was an average Tuesday night.
“Can’t catch me,” he sang, ducking through the doorway with the file tucked underneath his arm and the USB clenched in his fist. He already knew he was gonna make it out of here. There was a window only a few meters away.
A bullet whizzed by his head. The man sidestepped neatly, took a running start, leapt over the neat oaken desk—
—and crashed through the window.
Shards of glass glittered around him as he flew, through the air, over the gap, tucking and rolling onto the next building’s rooftop.
He vanished without a trace.
The file and the USB made their way to the desk of a detective. Shaking his head, he swept them into his desk drawer. It would end badly if people knew where his department’s information came from.
...that didn’t mean the files wouldn’t be put to use, though.
The next day, the newspaper headlines declared that the CEO of Takeda Inc. had been arrested for funding a villain organization. The picture most prominently splashed across the front covers was one of the disgraced man being dragged out of the building with spittle flying from his mouth.
Meanwhile, the instigator danced in his apartment, singing a pop song and brushing glass out of his hair.
He approached a mirror and pressed his fingers to his cheek. There was a shallow cut— to be expected when you launched yourself out of a window— but, well.
It was nothing makeup couldn’t fix.
Todoroki Shouto can count on one hand the amount of times he’s been rendered speechless.
The first was when his mother had dumped boiling water on his face and he’d been too shocked to do much but scream. The second was when his father died and he’d been asked to comment at the wake. The third time was when his old classmate, Kirishima, had called him up out of the blue and said, “Hey, I’m marrying Katsuki— oh, you know, Ground Zero— do you wanna come to the wedding?”
(He’d gone, of course, though he hadn’t known what to do with himself.)
The fourth time is… right about now, with his PR manager looking at him expectantly.
“I’m sorry,” he manages to work out, “but you want me to what?”
“I’ve been contacted by Kemuri Record Label because they want a hero to be Dekiru’s bodyguard,” she explains with a staggering amount of patience. “You do know who Dekiru is, right? One of the most famous idols in Japan?”
“Of course I know who he is, I can’t go a day without seeing a billboard or an advertisement or something with his face all over it,” Shouto says, raking a hand through his hair. He knows an instant after he’s done it that he’s irreversibly ruined the careful division of red and white, but he’s still too stunned to care.
The manager taps her pen on her clipboard. “What’s the problem? Do you want me to tell them no?”
“I just… I don’t understand why an idol needs a pro hero to protect them. Aren’t there actual bodyguard agencies for this? I have other responsibilities…”
Well, not that many responsibilities. Crime hasn’t been too crazy lately, not with Lemillion at the wheel. Plus, most of his old class— 1A— is in the top 20 for hero rankings. They can certainly take care of business if Shouto takes a random hiatus to… keep Dekiru from being mobbed by fans or tie his shoes or do whatever bodyguards do.
“Look at the news, Todoroki-kun,” the manager says, handing him her phone. He dutifully scrolls through the Google results for “dekiru idol” and blanches when they actually register in his brain.
In the past two months, there have been no less than fifteen attempts on Dekiru’s life. Some of them were perpetuated by known villains— he spots a photo of Calamity in there, and another of Toga Himiko. The most recent attack occurred last week.
Shouto gives the phone back. “Alright, I see why a pro might be necessary. What on earth did he do to warrant this type of attention?”
As far as Shouto had known, the idol was just that: a born singer with a pretty face and copious amounts of charm. Why was he being hunted like a hero?
“No one’s sure. You have a meeting with him in a few days, if you’re willing. Should I inform Kemuri HQ that you’ll be there?”
What the hell. Shouto needs a change of pace, and if there’s one thing that will make his shitty old man turn in his grave, it’ll be leaving standard hero duties behind to baby an entertainer.
“Let them know.”
On Friday, Shouto finds himself being ushered into the posh building belonging to Kemuri Records. Everything there is in shades of matte black and chrome silver, and the tiles are so polished that Shouto can see his harried reflection staring back at him. He almost feels bad for needing to walk on them, but he can’t float like Uravity.
A man dressed in an impeccably tailored suit meets him at the elevator. His blue eyes are more frigid than Shouto’s mother’s.
“This way, Freezerburn,” he says stiffly.
They ride up in dead silence. Shouto feels so uncomfortable that he fidgets with his sleeves, watching the red numbers tick by. When the door opens, he nearly collapses in relief.
A shorter man with bright orange hair greets them as they step out.
“Oh, boo, you went and got him without me? How could you do this?!” he exclaims, bounding down the hallway.
“Nobody has to cater to you,” the man retorts, stalking after him.
I did not sign up for this, Shouto thinks as he follows. Regret crawls up his spine.
“Sure they do!” The redhead says over his shoulder. “I’m literally named after the sun— the world revolves around me!”
Shouto abruptly realizes who the orange haired man is. He’s Sunspot, one of the richest men in Japan. Although no one knows what his job actually is, Sunspot’s sunny (heh) disposition and quick ability to make friends, coupled with his bright Quirk, have made him nearly unbeatable in sales and business deals— Shouto really shouldn’t be surprised to find out that he’s got his hands in the music industry too.
The pair leads Shouto to a room, bickering the whole way. They even scuffle about who gets to open the door (a fight which the blue eyed man wins solely by being taller) and he is escorted in.
“Good luck,” Sunspot chirps, his brown eyes glittering gold for a brief second. He shuts the door in Shouto’s face and audibly takes off down the hall, the stoic man in tow.
Shouto walks further into the room, which is empty. There are two black couches with a glass table set between them. He awkwardly takes a seat on one of the couches and waits.
A few minutes later, after Shouto has unraveled some stitching in his boredom and self-reproach, a man walks in. He’s so absorbed in his phone call that he doesn’t even notice the hero in waiting.
“—I’m telling you, you have to push back the announcement! I can’t write five new songs to my standards in that little time, especially when I’m constantly on the verge of dying— no, no, listen to me, Masuda, you have to postpone it! I already released one full album this year! Why do I even need a mini-album?! Wait!”
He hangs up and looks down at the phone like he’s contemplating throwing it through a window. Shouto knows the feeling. Instead of snickering like he wants to, he clears his throat.
The other man, world famous idol and media darling Dekiru, jumps three feet in the air.
“Hi,” Shouto says amusedly. “I was under the impression that we were supposed to have a meeting today?”
Dekiru doesn’t react at the little jab like Shouto expects. Instead, he nearly vaults over the other couch to grab hold of Shouto’s hands.
“Oh my god, you’re Freezerburn! The hero with the two-toned hair and two-sided Quirk! Oh, that’s so exciting— hey, are you really immune to extreme temperatures? The hero forums have been debating for years, but I’ve never really bought it— crap, sorry, I’m rambling. Hi, I’m Midoriya Izuku, and yes, we were supposed to meet, but I forgot it was Friday! Sorry!”
Shouto needs about 45 seconds to process all of that. He slowly untangles their clasped hands, saying,
“I’m gonna try to respond to everything— Yes, I’m Freezerburn, no, I’m not exactly immune to extreme temperatures, but I can influence my own homeostasis more effectively than others, it’s okay, and you can call me Todoroki, I suppose,” he finally manages to answer.
The idol bounces in place, looking much like a bunny. “It’s nice to meet you! I wish it were under better circumstances, though.”
That sombers the mood. Shouto straightens, and Midoriya takes a seat opposite him.
“I heard you’ve been in trouble pretty frequently following your concert in Yokohama,” Shouto begins. “In the past two months, you’ve faced fifteen assassination attempts.”
Midoriya looks down at his hands. His eyes are as green as they are in the billboards, Shouto notices. They might as well be emeralds.
“Yeah. I’ve gotten threats before, but nothing like this. It’s… awful.”
“I can’t imagine,” Shouto mutters, because he’s worn the promise of danger on his skin since his Quirk manifested. Midoriya blinks in shock and Shouto nearly bangs his head against the table. He’s all over the place today, and the lack of professionalism is not a good look.
After a beat, he asks, “Can you think of any reason why this might be happening?”
Midoriya starts counting on his fingers. “I’ve always been a vocal supporter of heroes— I don’t know if you’ve heard any of my songs, but it’s a big theme— I donate frequently to hero agencies and charities, and I work in close contact with Present Mic and Earphone Jack, since they’re also singers. Take your pick.”
Shouto furrows his brow in thought. Something about that justification seems a little weak. Plenty of idols sing about heroism— literally every other song on the radio is about saving the day— so why single out Dekiru?
But then again, villains don’t need stellar reasons to love wreaking havoc.
“I’ll see into an investigation. Anyway, this was just a trial run, wasn’t it? To see if we can be in close contact without an actual homicide being committed? Our managers still have to draw up a contract,” Shouto says.
“Yup. I don’t know how you feel about me, Todoroki. But I, um… I already liked you before you walked in here. So I look forward to being in your care, and uh, witnessing a distinct lack of homicides.”
Blinking, Shouto wonders about the raw honesty in that statement. It seems somewhat personal— but how can it be, when their worlds are so far apart?
He wants to ask, but it wouldn’t be a good idea. He should just return the kindness before his thoughtless words get him in trouble again.
“I’d like to get to know you too, Midoriya,” Shouto says.
As they awkwardly smile at each other, Shouto notices a cut high up on Midoriya’s cheek, carefully hidden under makeup.
Damn it. Was Midoriya danger prone even when he wasn’t being chased down by villains?
This bodyguard gig was going to be a chore and a half.