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Those who smile the brightest hide the most

Chapter Text

Todoroki wasn’t exactly an insomniac. He has had nights of really peaceful sleep, and nights not so much but still long rests. However, he was still so often exhausted during the day, especially when neither of those was the case. Occasionally, he couldn’t get to sleep at all rather than just having a restless one.

He hated those days. They left him irritated and exhausted, fighting to keep his composure when talking to anybody. He hadn’t had one of those though since moving into the dorms. His family home always kept him occupied with bitter memories, no matter how hard he tried to forget them.

But still, it’s not like he could avoid it all together for too long, as his brain just wouldn’t want to shut off.

He sat up on the edge of his bed, gripping the mattress. Checking the clock, it was barely past 2, but everyone would already be sleeping. It was still a weekday, so it would not do him good to not get any sleep at all, but he had to do something to take his mind off of trying to. Maybe it would help.

He got up and switched his light on, planning to grab a book or something to occupy his time with. However, before he could even take more than a step, the light started flickering. It wasn’t too bad, but a little disorientating. He looked up at it curiously. It seemed to come in bursts. Stop, start. Uneven but a lot stranger than if it was constant. He was sure UA would have checked the electrical lines in the building, so it was unlikely it was the wiring. Besides, wasn’t it dangerous to leave damaged electrical equipment in building walls?

He doubted they’d do it. Usually he would have possibly left it till morning, but he had to do something to help himself sleep anyway.

But it wasn’t like there were many possibilities. So once he realised it, as silently as he could, he put on some shoes and walked into the hallway, quietly closing the door behind him.

The hallways were lit very gently in case anyone needed to go to the teachers if they accidentally used their quirks at night and hurt themselves or just if something went wrong. They were supposed to be in their beds by night, but as long as they stayed in the dorms, Aizawa didn’t tend to admonish them. However, the soft yellow lights highlighting the hallway were also very clearly under the effect of something. It was almost annoying Shoto’s eyes.

He was on the fifth floor, so he did wonder if he was right what was going on with them considering there was an entire floor in between them. How much power were they using? It became less curiosity and more genuine concern when, by the time he got to the third floor, the lights were like fireworks, flashing and brightening at odd moments in such quick succession it hurt his head.

He didn’t waste much time when he got to Kaminari’s door, knocking on it. He didn’t want to say anything as to not wake up everybody else, but his knocking may have been louder anyway.

“Kaminari.” He called in.

And suddenly the lights stopped fluttering. He looked around the hallways slightly, before hearing the door open in front of him and soon he was looking at a very messy haired teenager standing in front of him. He looked rather confused, rubbing his eyes.

“Todoroki? What’s going on?”

“The electricity was off in the building. I was wondering if it was you.”

He seemed a lot more awake all of a sudden. He dropped his hand and widened his eyes briefly.

“It may have been, I guess. I was sleeping, I don’t know. But-“

Before he could finish his sentence, the door to the room on his right opened and a far less put together than usual Iida popped his head out from his room.

“You should be sleeping, not be talking in the hallway. What are you even doing here, Todoroki?”

“I couldn’t sleep.”

“Well, you really should try. But either way, don’t have a conversation out here, other people are trying to sleep, Kaminari.”

“Why are you saying that to me?” He asked, offended.

Of course, he had an idea since he hadn’t appeared to have heard what Todoroki had said to him, just the noise of someone talking. He was convinced the teachers set their dorm layouts like they did so that he was among 3 people who would hold him back from being as loud as he usually was. He was offended until he mentioned this to Bakugo, who had said that nobody would have done anything else with him being as annoying as he was. By that point, he was offended by something else. It didn’t really bother him much after that though.

“Just be quiet. As UA students, we have to make sure we get enough rest so that our brains are working fine.”

“Sorry, Iida. We’ll stop.”

He turned back at Shoto’s words and closed the door behind him.

“Hey. Just come in, then.”

He smiled softly, waving him in. Todoroki blinked and stepped into the room as Kaminari turned the light on and closed the door behind them. He had never really looked much around his room. He had only been in it once, and it wasn’t exactly like he had much time to contemplate what he saw. Besides, he was really rather sleepy then and didn’t pay much attention. Looking around now, it was very clearly not his style by any means. It was more cluttered and filled to the brim with trinkets, but there was certainly a lot of personality to it. Very joyous, which he wasn’t surprised by. What did surprise him slightly was the book tucked barely under his bed, with a bookmark sticking out from it about halfway.

He looked closer, trying to read the title. He was not exactly bad at English, but he wasn’t expecting to find a use for it in Kaminari’s bedroom. However, he certainly wasn’t fluent by any means, so it’s why he was so surprised that the book wasn’t translated as far as he could tell. Kaminari was seemingly reading the original version of The Great Gatsby and was almost halfway through it.

“You want any food?” He asked, opening the mini fridge they all had in their rooms.

Todoroki stepped closer to take a look at the food he had. “Aren’t those just bags of crisps?”

“Yeah, sorry.” He laughed, moving over and sitting cross legged on his bed. “I usually just eat them here. I eat other food downstairs.”

“Why are you refrigerating them?”

He frowned, searching the room for a reason for the question. “Where else would I keep them?”

Todoroki just glanced back at the book. “Do you speak English?”

His face practically lit up. He had been hoping people would ask about things he actually knew about, rather than history or something like it which just kind of went in one ear and out the other with him. Everyone always just assumed he was bad at everything, but he had things he was good with. Language was one of them. He was fluent in English, having gone to America before, and learning it so he could say he spoke 2 languages. It supposedly made people more interesting and he was very interested in that sort of stuff. He hated learning it in school, it was dull and dry, so he often zoned out, but he still passed because he was one of the few people who actually was just naturally competent in it prior to High School. Nobody really paid much mind to him in that sense considering he always just acted like a bumbling idiot mostly. But he always found it weird to read translated versions of what he’s told are classics. They just confuse him even more when something comes up that couldn’t be accurately translated. It was worth to learn. Unfortunately, it hasn’t exactly helped his popularity with anybody yet.

“Yeah! Do you?”

“Not really.”

He raised his eyebrows. “But your grades are good.”

“School is just about remembering things. It doesn’t mean I’d be able to use everything in other situations.”

“I know, right? But English is fun! There’s multiple languages I can watch things in without having to read subtitles, and there are a lot of good books in English.”

Todoroki just looked at him with contemplation. He hadn’t mentioned why he had come down there since they entered the room, but this was a little more interesting he supposed.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

Kaminari asked him with a grin, subconsciously tugging at his sleeves. Todoroki stopped staring but glanced down as he was picking on the material. He does that in class with Ojiro’s tail. It must be a tick of some form.

But as his sleeve slid up when he kept picking up the fabric then dropping it, Todoroki squinted at his arms. Thin red lines ran up along his skin, crossing over with each other and forming patterns that likely ran all along his arms. They all changed in the same changing room in classes, and while he didn’t exactly look closely, he was sure somebody would have mentioned them, even if he hadn’t seen the Lichtenberg figures covering his body, if they were there before, so they probably weren’t.

“What happened to your arms?”

His smile slipped only briefly in surprise, as he pulled his sleeves up, Todoroki was right, they covered the entire expanse of his skin. If he looked closely, he could tell they had reached up to his neck as well just slightly.

“Oh, again. This happens if I use my quirk too much without meaning to or being aware of it, though they don’t really hurt. So yeah, I suppose it was definitely me who messed with the lights, sorry. You don’t have to stand, you know.”

Todoroki had been standing perfectly still facing the bed the whole time, so it was probably a bit strange while he was relaxed on top of the sheets.

“It’s okay. But why did you accidentally activate your powers?” Todoroki knew it was something quite common, although usually among younger kids, but around their age it is most likely very closely related to emotional distress. “Did you have a nightmare?”

He shrugged but seemed unsure himself. “Not really. But, what about you?”

“What do you mean?”

“If you noticed the lights, then you were awake. Did you wake up from a bad dream, or something?”

“No, I just couldn’t get to sleep at all.”

“Aw, sorry man.” He stretched that last word out on a yawn.

“I apologise, I shouldn’t have woken you. I’ll leave now.”

He was a lot more curious, but it was late, and even if he couldn’t sleep he felt tired. Even just resting still helped, though he hoped he’d be able to actually get some deeper sleep. He headed to the door, reminding himself to remain silent, not that he had an issue with that when he was alone.

“Wait.” He turned back. “Are you sure you’ll be fine if you couldn’t fall asleep before?”

“I can’t really control if I can’t, so it won’t make much of a difference whether I’ll be fine or not.”

“Okay, but if you need company, you can stay and I’ll give you some pillows and a blanket.”

Glancing down, he noticed that Kaminari did, indeed, have 2 blankets messily on top of his bed. He probably found it comforting. But it also seemed he felt too hot underneath them once he slept, as one of them was kicked off towards one corner.

“I’m fine, thank you.”

“Okay, then.” He said with another yawn, looking down at his arms. “Hopefully we won’t have practical class tomorrow. I don’t want to have to explain this to too many people. I’ll probably get told off for damaging the dorms’ electrical supplies.”

“Goodnight then.”

“Goodnight, Todoroki.”

He left the room, shutting the door quietly behind him. He had a lot more questions than he expected he would when he first went to his room. He’ll need to remember to ask about them later.

Once the door closed behind him, Kaminari slumped his shoulders slightly, smile leaving his face. He got up and walked to his desk, opening a drawer, and taking out a small bottle. He bought it a while back. He was worried when he did that cashiers would stare at him for buying concealer, but as it turned out, no one really turned an eye. Nobody cares about what strangers buy, it seemed. He sighed, walking to his bathroom to look at the mirror with the make up in hand. He should be doing this in the morning, frankly, as it could be harmful for his skin, but he wasn’t sure he’d wake up in time. He would have just waited if Todoroki stayed, but since he hadn’t, it didn’t matter.

He pulled his shirt off to look at the lines running along his body. He didn’t need to cover them all, just the parts visible from under his uniform. They were not too bad, better than some other times it happened, so as long as they didn’t need to change tomorrow, they should fade soon anyway and he should be fine, but he didn’t want to risk it. So he started blending in the cream to his neck, followed by his wrist and forearm.

Soon, only his upper arms were obviously effected, his chest, neck, and forearms mostly covered by the foundation. He had gotten pretty good at it.

Twisting around to check if he got the back of his neck as well, he covered the top of the bottle and left the bathroom. He hoped it wouldn't rub off on his bed when he slept, but at least he wasn’t worried about Todoroki. Out of everyone, he’s one of the least likely to go accidentally gossiping about it. But still, people may know him well, but he had a lot about him that they still didn’t know. He’d have to be a little more aware of these things.

Letting his heart calm down to a more comfortable beat, he slid back into his bed, snuggling into his covers.