Hiraeth (hi-raeth) - a homesickness for a home that you can’t return to, or that never was. a yearning and wistful grief for people and things long gone
❝I wonder why people make promises they won’t be able to keep.❞
–Yuki Obata, We Were There
There were only a few things that Todoroki Shouto really, truly, deeply loved in this world, and he could count them in one hand. First, his mother. Warm and gentle despite everything that had happened in the past, he could never hate his mother for the faults of his father. Second, he loved his sister, who was always there to support him in his mother’s absence, taking care of him, covering for his slip-ups and so on. Third, his favorite cold soba. And lastly, Midoriya Izuku, the freckle-kissed boy who was the living incarnation of sunshine and light, he was warmth, kindness, laughter and joy rolled into one and born into this world and for that he is forever grateful for the Gods who were kind enough to give him Midoriya Izuku.
He didn’t understand what he had done to deserve Izuku and he probably never would but regardless, he was infinitely thankful.
He doesn’t quite remember when or quite how he fell in love, but he does remember the whys’
“Todoroki-kun! Todoroki-kun! Let’s go to a cafe!”
“Cafe?” Shouto blinks, “We just went to one yesterday, didn’t we?”
“Not just any cafe, a cat cafe!” Izuku says, stars in his eyes and practically vibrating with excitement, “I saw a flyer for it and they’ve just opened recently and so I thought I wanted to go with you! It could be really fun and I really like cats, you like cats too, don’t you, Todoroki-kun?” Izuku glances at the quiet boy and he laughs at what he sees. There are practically stars in his eyes too.
“Un, yeah, I do.”
“Let’s go then.”
A bit awkwardly and a bit shy, hand-in-hand, they headed back. They were still new to the whole concept of reciprocated feelings, this was another first for Shouto. Izuku was his first friend, and now his first boyfriend? He didn’t know what they were yet but they’d figure it out together. With that being said, Shouto wondered how many more firsts he would have with Izuku, how many more the green haired boy would give him. Izuku’s hands were rough, scarred, but they were warm. He decided then that he wanted to always be there to hold Izuku’s hand from there on out, he wanted to always see his blindingly brilliant smile.
He decided then, ‘I want to always protect Midoriya’s smile’
Shouto smiled at the memory and then the shrill ring of his cell phone broke him out of his thoughts. He looks down to check the called and he sees Uraraka’s name, he accepts the call and brings the phone to his ear, “Hello?”
She’s gasping and sobbing and this immediately sends warning bells ringing in his head, “Uraraka, what’s wrong?” Shouto asks, his gut twisting, “Uraraka!”
“T-Todoroki-kun, I-I-I’m sorry, I’m sorry! H-He, I just…”
“Uraraka? Where are you? What’s going on?” Shouto says, already picking up his coat and keys, “Did something happen? Are you alright?”
“I-I’m fine, it’s...it’s Deku-kun.”
And slowly, he felt his world crash and burn.
Numb. He felt numb, Shouto couldn’t feel anything, he just felt…empty. He could see Uraraka and Iida at the corner of his eye, crying, gasping, grieving, he could see Bakugo on the other side, angry, raging, his teeth and fists clenched, and yet he could feel Bakugo’s regret and frustration, alongside with his grief and anger rolling in waves, he could hear Izuku’s mother sobbing, he could see All Might trying to be strong but failing. And yet, he wasn’t crying at all, wasn’t feeling at all.
He stands in the middle, looking at Izuku’s sleeping form, unmoving, as if time had frozen.
‘I need to wake up, wake up, wake up wake up.’ He thinks again and again and again and yet he’s still in this nightmare, Izuku still doesn’t move, doesn’t take in a breath, doesn’t open his brilliant green eyes. His cheeks don’t flush red, his skin doesn’t return to it’s usual healthy color, his lips don’t curve into his usual blinding smile ‘Why am I not waking up? Wake up wake up wakeupwakeupwakeup’
He isn’t waking up and he thinks, ‘So when does this nightmare end?’
“Sh-Shouto-kun?” He turns his head to the side and he sees Uraraka, her eyes red from crying, “A-Are you okay?”
Shouto looks at Uraraka again then looks over to Izuku’s unmoving body again, “I will be when I wake up from this nightmare. I don’t seem to be waking up from it though.”
He hears Uraraka suck in a sharp breath and the tears fall even faster, “Todoroki-kun.” She says, hiccuping, “This isn’t a dream. This is real.” Her voice cracks, breaks. And Shouto still refuses to believe that this isn’t a dream because Izuku wouldn’t leave him alone, wouldn’t leave Uraraka and Iida alone. He promised. Izuku had promised.
“No. No, I’m sure of it, this is just a dream, a nightmare. You aren’t real. None of this is.”
“Shouto! Wake up!”
His eyes fly open, and he shoots up, still dazed and confused. His body aches and his head throbs, “Wh-What happened?” He says quietly.
“You rushed in without telling any of us and the villain got to you.” Ochako says and clenches her fist, “What were you thinking?! We could’ve lost you, we could’ve —”
“Did I get him?” Shouto asks. Cutting Ochako off, “Did I subdue the villain?”
“Are you — Shouto! Are you seriously asking about that?”
“Yes, did I get the villain? It’s not that hard of a question, Uravity.” Shouto says, voice hard and cold.
“Shouto-kun! You can’t just — You can’t do this yourself! What would Izuku say?!” Iida exclaims.
Shouto scoffs, “Yeah, what would he say? It’s a shame he isn’t here for us to know.”
Ochako flinches, “Shou —”
“I’m fine now, I’ll be heading back.”
He ignores the both of them and heads back, this is a nightmare, this is a nightmare, this is a nightmare, this is all just a nightmare… right?
“Isn’t it weird though?” Shouto asks, the shop in front of them bustling with life chatter and warm air filling the shop, little kids running around squealing in delight.
“Is what weird?” Izuku asks, looks at Shouto and tilts his head to the side, his green eyes, sparkling with curiosity and excitement, and goddammit, Todoroki feels his face flush and his left side almost bursting into flames. Almost.
4 years. 4 fucking years he had been with Izuku and yet, he still can never get used to how fucking adorable Izuku can be.
“J-Just, buying our classmates’ hero merch. I mean, we see them all the time, right? So isn’t it weird?” Shouto asks, cursing slightly at his stutter.
Izuku may be the new number 1 hero, but he was always going to be a hero fanboy.
“Hmm, not at all, I mean, if it means showing support for our friends then not at all. But it’s not just about showing support, I mean, they’re all really cool! I mean, Ochako has really cool merch! I really want the hoodie they have for her but they’re always out of stock and it’s frustrating because I’ve been wanting the hoodie for months now, Tenya also has a collection of running shoes out too, I actually got them! And you know what, Jirou has earphones! And I heard it was amazing! I really want to buy them because I broke my old ones in one of our missions! And–” Shouto laughs and tweaks Izuku’s nose
Shouto huffs out a sound somewhere between a sigh and a laugh and tweaks Izuku’s nose, “Breathe, Izuku.”
Izuku laughs, “Sorry,” Breaking out from one of his mutter storms, “it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? We haven’t had time like this for ourselves in a while. This is really nice, yeah?”
Shouto looks down at their intertwined hands, and then
“Ne, ne, Shou-kun, look!” Izuku says, and laughter leaves his lips as he hold up a plushie, the plushie’s hair half red, half white and Shouto blinks, “It’s you.” Izuku lets out a laugh again and Shouto’s lips curve into a smile.
“It’s me.” Shouto looks around the shop with Izuku, plushie tucked under one arm and basket, and they end up leaving the store with way too much for just the both of them to carry and they end up having to take multiple trips.
Shouto’s helping Izuku carry the bags and bags of hero merch, and he huffs out a laugh, “You went overboard again, Izuku.” He says this but he could never say no to Izuku, not when he got like this. He loved heroes, and more than that, he loved his friends who had grown to be not just his friends but his family.
“Sorry, it’s just. I can’t help thinking that having their merch is like always having a piece or part of them close by. That’s why I’ll always but our friends’ merch. So that I always have something that reminds me of them, whenever I’m sad, or scared, or in a rough time.” Izuku says then his lips turn into a full blown grin and turns to Shouto, “Guess that’s why I buy so much of your merch too!”
Shouto flushes and his right steams, and Izuku laughs, warm and bright, the way it’s always been and despite Shouto’s slight embarrassment at having his boyfriend admit to buying a shit ton of his own merch, he smiles at the brightness that Izuku is. This warmth, this kindness, it’s his. And he will forever be grateful for Izuku.
The next day, he too goes to the same store to buy Izuku’s merch, and Izuku flushes and becomes a stuttering mess at the sight of his boyfriend clad in his merch.
Shouto passes by the same shop once more and once he gets home he decides to throw away all of the merch that Izuku used to own.
Izuku was brilliant but he was just as human as the rest of them, and there were days when he had his moods, days when his thoughts overwhelmed him and ate away at him.
Izuku is quiet today, Shouto notices. There’s no excited chatter about the new U.A student from the sports fest, or usual mumbling that happens as he falls deep into his thoughts. There’s only silence and deep thoughts on his end. Shouto can tell, he’s fallen into a slump once again, anxiety and insecurity eating at him. Shouto can tell from the lack of light in his eyes and how he held himself back from his usual little gestures of affection.
“Izuku.” Shouto says. They’re in his room on his bed, taking a break from their studies and just lying down together, “What’s bothering you?”
“N-Nothing’s bothering me.” Izuku says, avoiding Shouto’s gaze and he sighs.
“You can tell me anything, you know that right?” Shouto says, hand reaching out to touch Izuku’s cheek, and Izuku leans into his touch.
“It’s just — Shou-kun… Why me?” Izuku asks as their foreheads touch, breaths mingling, electricity coursing through their veins, fingertips dancing across skin, leaving a trail of fire behind in its wake, “Why me?”
“What do you mean…?” Shouto asks, unsure, ‘Why me?’ The words ring in his head.
“I mean, I’m… I’m not really special, I’m plain looking and average, I’m not confident and I stumble and, just, Shou-kun is really strong and amazing and beautiful. Scar or not, you’re beautiful, Shou-kun. You’re really amazing and everything everyone wants to be. I just… Don’t you deserve someone better than me? I look at myself in the mirror all the time and wonder what you see in me when all I see is just… nothing. I’m nothing.” Izuku trails off as demons from a distant past, demons that he had thought he had locked up come surfacing back again.
‘You’ll never be anything but a useless Deku!’
‘You can’t be a hero!’
‘Just give up on your stupid dream of being a hero, you’re just a worthless nobody.’
‘I’m sorry, Izuku!’
Shouto looks at Izuku and sighs, “Come here.” He says. He runs his fingers through white and red tresses and leans forward, Izuku meets him halfway in a gentle kiss. Shouto rolls them over, and Izuku allows Shouto to pin him down on the bed. Shouto lets go of Izuku’s wrist and run his hand through Izuku’s hair, tugs on his hair and Izuku responds, tilting his head back until their lips fit together perfectly, Izuku run his hands over Shouto’s face, down to his neck to his arms, tracing imaginary shapes, sparks of electricity dancing from the trail his fingertips left. It’s warm lips, tongue and teeth, warm breaths and so much want. Slowly and reluctantly, they part and rest their foreheads together and they open their eyes. Shouto looks at Izuku, eyes meeting and they’re the vivid green Shouto fell in love with and will continue to love.
Izuku huffs, breathless from the kiss and asks, “Why?”
Shouto closes his eyes and he understands. Of course Izuku, doesn’t get it because Izuku has never seen himself outside a mirror. He has never know what it’s like to see how brilliant his smile is, will never see what it’s like to see his eyes sparkle at the mention of heroes, will never understand how amazing he truly is when he has his little mutter storms and shows his true intellect and brilliance. Izuku has never seen the kindness he so openly gives to everyone, they way he gives and gives till there’s nothing is left to give, and even then he gives his everything. Selflessness and desire to help so genuine and pure it’s utterly heartbreaking.
It’s Shouto who wonders why Izuku chose him but he won’t complain, he’s selfish like that, it’s always been Izuku in their relationship that had been selfless enough for the both of them.
“Izuku, look.” Shouto starts, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past. I’m human just like you, I can smile, laugh, hate, rage. But goddammit, I’m not perfect. I’m not the perfect person you think me to be.” He pulls Izuku towards his chest, it’s beat erratic from their kiss.
“You hear that? I’ve made mistakes before just as every other person has, but wanting you, being with you, loving you? That will never be a mistake, okay? Never.” Shouto kisses Izuku again, a touch of desperation and more want, “You’re amazing. I don’t care what anyone says, to me you’re enough, you’re more than enough.”
Izuku’s arms around him tighten, and he can feel the sleeve in his shirt grow wet but he doesn’t say anything, “Shouto, thank you.”
Shouto closes his eyes and he smells the seaside and the scent of sunshine on Izuku. He thinks of the freckles that dance across Izuku’s skin and eyes much like the stars that dance in the galaxies.
“I love you, Izuku.”
“I love you too, Shouto.”
Shouto wraps his arms around the smaller boy and buries himself in Izuku’s green hair, “It always going to be you and me, okay?” Izuku says
“I love you.”
Izuku laughs softly, “You already said that, Shou-kun, but me too. I love you too. I promise, it’s always going to be you and me.”
“I promise I’ll be here when you wake up.” Izuku says and plants kiss on Shouto’s neck.
“I promise I’ll wake you up from your nightmares.” Izuku kisses Shouto’s eyelids.
“I promise I’ll be here when you get home.”
“I’ll be here. Always, for as long as you’ll have me.”
“I love you, Izu.” Shouto murmurs, whisper-soft and buries himself in Izuku’s hair and he can feel Izuku smile against his neck.
Shouto wakes up with tears in his eyes and he brings his forearms to his face to wipe away the tears before quietly saying, “Liar.”
Ochako and Tenya come over to the apartment at the request of Izuku’s mom, “We’re here to — to clear Izuku’s things.”
“Oh.” Shouto says, before stepping aside to let them in, “O-Okay.”
They both enter the room. There’s a tension in the air from arguments and miscommunications of the past few months and wordlessly, they’re shuffling around the house scrambling for Izuku’s things. They work silently, with only murmurs coming from Tenya and Ochako.
Ochako pauses and bites her lip, hesitating but approaching Shouto. “Shouto, before Deku-kun died… he wanted to tell you that he was sorry for b-breaking his promise and t-that he–”
“If he’s so sorry, why didn’t he just live? Why didn’t he come here himself and tell me that?” His voice is rising, growing angrier and angrier by the second, fists clenching hard enough to draw blood, knuckles turning white, “Why did he have to be so fucking selfless? Why did he have to?”
“Sh-Shouto, you’re going to hurt yourself!”
Shouto slams his fist down on the table and he shoots up, gripping at the edges of the table, because he felt that if he didn’t, he would probably collapse, he knows he’ll collapse.
His eyes meet Uraraka’s and Iida’s and the two suck in a breath because they were prepared to handle the grief Todoroki carried, but they didn’t understand how deep that hurt ran till now. His eyes reflected something very much like despair, desolation and desperation. His body shook with anger and frustration, eyes welled up with tears, his breath erratic.
“I don’t want these feelings! I don’t want to feel this anymore! Why’d he leave? Why’d he go? Couldn’t you be selfish for once in your life?! I wish you lived! I wish you lived for me !” Todoroki shouts as he throws the box filled with Izuku’s things to the wall, angry tears fall down and more than anything he wants to hear Izuku’s voice, just anything, scream at him, get mad at him, hear him fret over the box that he had thrown at the wall, “Just! Just why did you leave?! You promised. You promised me.” Shouto whimpers, Izuku’s promise ringing in his head, ‘I promise I’ll be here when you wake up. I promise I’ll be here when you have a nightmare. I promise I’ll be here when you get home, I’ll be here.’ Then he starts to scream, he didn’t know why, was it anger? Grief? Both? He didn’t know anymore Arms wrap around him, and he doesn’t resist.
“It’s not ending, this dream isn’t ending and I...” Shouto says, and their heads shoot up, looking at Shouto who’s back is turned to them, and then he turn his head to them and their hearts clench at the sight of tears falling down his face, “What do I do now? What am I supposed to do?”
They stay like that for a long time, Uraraka and Iida staying with the lonely boy, offering their support and comfort. Shouto fall asleep there, in their arms and Uraraka smiles sadly at the sleeping boy, “You live, Todoroki-kun. You live for us, your friends. For your mother and sister, you live for the people that look up to you. For Deku-kun.”
They stay with him, and at one point, he falls asleep with the image of green and sound of laughter ringing in his mind.
“Shouto.” Shouto’s head shoots up at the familiar voice and he sees Izuku, “Hi, Shou-kun.”
Izuku is setting across him, “Izuku,” Shouto whispers, pain lacing his voice and Izuku just smiles back softly, “Izuku. I knew it was a nightmare.”
“Sorry, Shou-kun, but I think this is the nightmare.”
“No,” Shouto shakes his head, “No, this is real, I’m sure of it.”
“Shouto, you need to wake up, you need to understand that I’m long gone now. Shouto, I’m sorry but this is the truth.” Izuku says, ducking his head down apologetically and he reaches to grab Shouto’s hand but he pulls his hand away.
“I — Why’d you go?” Shouto says, his voice cracking and throat tightening in attempt not to cry, “Why?”
Izuku leans in and kisses his forehead, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Shouto.”
Shouto collapses on his knees and he buries his face in his hands sobbing and Izuku embraces him, apologizing again and again. “I’m sorry for leaving you behind, Shouto.”
They stay there like that for awhile until Shouto’s sobs quiet down, “I miss you,” He murmured, “I miss you so much.”
“I know,” Izuku says, slipping a hand into Shouto’s hair.
“I wish you were still with me,”
Silence embraces them and Shouto smiles slightly, “Hey, Izuku.”
“You never answered me this, but did you like about being All Might’s illegitimate son?”
Izuku blinks, pulling away from their embrace before laughing with tears in his eyes, “I miss you so much, Shouto.”
Tears well into Shouto’s eyes once more, “I love you, Izuku. I love you.”
“I’m sorry, Shouto. This is the last time.”
“I miss you so much.”
“I know. I know, Shouto, but this is goodbye.” Izuku says and then leans in to kiss him.
“I love you. Till we see each other again, goodbye.”
Shouto shoots up from his bed and tears stream down his face. The wind chime by their window chimes, and he laughs before sobs wracked his body once again.
“Shouto-kun? What are you doing?” Tenya asks.
“I’m…” Shouto pauses at the sight of his friends then looking down at the box he was carrying, “I’m going to move out, I’ve decided.” He says flatly, his eyes glassy, “It’s just… I can’t stay here anymore if I ever wanna feel okay again. It hurts, hurts so much that I can’t breath. This was Izuku’s and my home, our home. And, just… everywhere I turn, I see him, hear him. I have too much memories in this place and it hurts so much. I’ll always always love Izuku. That’s never ever going to change but I need to accept that he’s gone. I need to learn how to live without him in my life and I can’t do that if I don’t accept this. I need this. I just need to breathe for awhile.” Shouto says and smiles slightly.
“You know you’ll always have us, right?”
“Yeah, of course. I-I’m sorry for the way I treated you these... these past few months. You didn’t deserve that.”
“It’s alright, Shouto. Just know we’re always here for you, okay?”
Shouto smiles and nods before saying, “I saw Izuku in a dream last night.”
“Huh? You did? Was it a — Was it a bad dream?” Tenya asks hesitantly before Shouto shakes his head.
“What happened in the dream?”
Shouto laughs slightly, “I asked him if he was lying about not being All Might’s illegitimate son.”
Ochako and Tenya blink and tilt their head in confusion.
The wind blows and the bell chimes much like his laughter once did, and he looks to the sky and he too huffs a soft laugh, “I know, I know. I’m off, Izuku.”
The winds blow once more and the bells chimes again, and if they listened carefully, they could hear the sound of faint laughter intertwined with the chime of the bells.