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One Step At A Time

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"I'm sorry, um, Mr.Todoroki, but your son is quirkless."


Quirkless. So he has no quirk?


"What do you mean he's quirkless? He shows perfect signs of having the ability to have not one, but TWO quirks!"


"I know it may seem like it, but as I said, he's quirkless. As you can see from the x-rays we took, he has in many rare cases that I've taken, TWO joints. Having these two joints makes him one of the rare cases of having no quirk at all. I'm truly sorry, but your son wouldn't and could never have a quirk."


So he doesn't have a quirk, and can never get one. That's okay, right? He'll just have to find some way to live with it. Shouto fiddled with his fingers as he sat on the chair beside his father as the rising heat from the flames caused him to feel worried and tense up. It was okay, right? His father had always told him that he would have the quirk that he had been always wanting. Now, he has none. When he looked up to look at his father's expression, all he saw was awaiting anger to finally explode. His mother should have been the one to take him, she wouldn't be angry like his father was. She would tell him it was okay, and that he can always find other ways to help people like he wanted to. Mother always got yelled at by his father when he's angry, and sometimes she gets hit too. When it happens, he stays hidden in his room covering his ears to try, and make the yelling go away. He wanted help his mother and others like All Might does when they're in trouble. Looking back down at his feet, he looked at his foot that they took a picture, or an x-ray as they called it, wondering how he has two joints if his foot looks normal like his other foot. 


"Come Shouto, we'll discuss things at home."


Jumping down from his chair, he waved at the doctor goodbye before running to catch up with his father who was already halfway down the hall towards the elevator. Shouto stuck close to his father even though the flames were too close to his body for comfort. He looked around like any curious child would, finding the plain walls and floor to be more interesting to look at than face his father. The silence between the two was heavy, something that he didn't like even though they were surrounded by noise from everyone being so busy. As they reached the elevators, his father didn't say anything as he pressed the button, and waited for the elevator's door to open. Maybe if he told his father that it was okay, then he would say it was okay, and everything would be okay. 




"Don't say a word quirkless brat."


Okay, that didn't work. The doors opened finally as a few people got out of the elevator leaving only him and his father as the only ones riding down the elevator. Standing beside his father, Shouto tried to focus on the walls or the carpet floor beneath his feet to not makes things any worse by looking at his father. The pull of gravity as they descended made his body feel light than it did when they were going up. It was like his body was growing heavy, and had to grab onto the railing that was in the elevator to keep himself from falling over. Once the doors opened again, he walked out quickly before he could get trampled by the people trying to get inside walking a little faster to keep up with his father. Sure he could grab his hand, but the last time he did it, he pulled away quickly. The silence dragged on until reached the car, his father opening the car door to the backseats letting him get in before slamming it shut. Used to the loud sound, he buckled himself in his booster seat staring out the window since there wasn't much to do in the car, but to sleep. Maybe listen to music, but only his mother does that, not his father. Without the music, the heavy and tense silence grew making the hairs on his arms rise.




How dare that woman! That brat showed perfect signs of having the perfect quirk he's been trying to create. Both fire and ice. Perfect to defeat All Might, but the disgrace of son had to be quirkless. What's worse is that woman was injured during her pregnancy with the child, and can't give birth to any more children. They're all defects. Failures to become the masterpiece he had been trying to create with that woman. They're all worthless now, more so the boy. He cannot have a quirkless child under his family name. Every child under his family name had quirk or quirks, but never quirkless. Now to have a son that could have had not one, but TWO quirks, is quirkless and worthless to him. Enji gripped the steering wheel tighter as he looked through the back rear mirror to look at the 4 year old boy, glaring hatred and anger at the small child that looked out the window with interest. He needed to get rid of him, and he'll pull every string he could if it meant to make that boy disappear for good.




By the time they arrived back at the house, Shouto was nodding on and off to sleep until he heard his father's door slam as he got out. Unbuckling his seatbelt, he got out of the car after it was opened walking ahead to get inside quicker, and with his mother. Pulling his shoes off like he was taught to, he put them neatly beside the door before running down the many halls in their house until he reached the kitchen where he knows his mother will be cooking something for everyone to eat. Fuyumi would come down when he is sent to go call her to come to the dining room to eat. Natsou moved out into some big building called dorms at a big school he's going to study some stuff that he would probably learn when he gets older. Upon entering the kitchen, the delicious smell of food as it hit his nose making his stomach grumble in response. Giggling to himself, he ran over to his mother hugging her legs causing her to jump in surprise before feeling her hand gently touch his head.


"Welcome back Shouto, how did the hospital visit go?"


"It was okay, th-"


"You ungrateful woman, he's like all the other of the defects, but worse."


"What do you mean? Doesn't he have-"




A stain? What does he mean by that? Shouto stared at his father confused and hurt as he hugged his mother's legs tighter trying to make himself smaller as his father's piercing gaze fell on him. He was angry. Angry to the point he looked like he could explode any minute, and it'll all be at his mother. He didn't want her to get yelled at again, he hated it when she did. Feeling his mother's hand freeze, he looked up to only see a sad look in her eyes as she pushed a few strands of hair away from his face. Why was she sad? Did he do something wrong? Was it because father yelled at her?


"You're quirkless Shouto?"


"That's what the doctor said mama."


"Oh Shouto..."


She put the wooden spoon she had in her hand down on the counter before kneeling down wrapping her arms around his small body. Returning the hug, Shouto hid his face between where the shoulder and neck touched finding comfort in her cold embrace. He could hear his father's heavy footsteps fade as he walked out of the kitchen, leaving the two in the sorrowful silence. When his mother finally pulled away, he still held on not wanting to leave her cold embrace, but the comforting hand on his head made him finally pull away as well to look up at his mother. There was the same sad look in her eyes as she smiled down at him before handing him the wooden spoon that was on the counter, picking him up in her arms to show him the food cooking inside the pot. Getting the idea, he put the wooden spoon inside the pot, and started to steer it slowly to not spill anything. They stayed like that in silence until the food was finished, letting his mother set him back down in the floor to put the bowls and chopsticks on the table.


"Thank you Shouto. Why don't you go, and call your sister to come to the kitchen for dinner."


"Yes mama."


Setting down the chopsticks by the bowl, he rushed out of the dining room heading towards his sister's bedroom hearing only the tap tap from his own small footsteps. As he got closer to the side of the house where the bedrooms were, he slowed down to a walk making sure to not cause any noise. 


'Papa can be sleeping. Can't wake papa up, or he'll be mad.'


Walking down the hallway that held his and his sister's room, Shouto knocked on her door quietly waiting for her to open it. When she didn't, he knocked again, but louder. Hearing shuffling on the other side of the room, he backed away one step as she opened her door looking down to see her baby brother. 


"Oh! Sorry Shouto, I was grading some work, and didn't hear you the first time. Is dinner ready?"


"Yeah! And I helped this time!"


"I'm sure you did great. Let me put the papers away, and I'll be on my way to dinner."




Running excitedly and quietly back down the hall towards the dining room, Shouto giggled to myself as he rushed passed the rooms ready to eat dinner. Making a stop in the kitchen, he opened the cabinet under the sink to take a small stool that he uses to reach the sink when he wants to help with mother with the dishes. He turned the faucet on after getting on his toes grabbing the soap that was beside the sink his mother left for him to use when getting ready for dinner. Scrubbing his hands thoroughly and carefully, he shut the faucet off drying his hands with the towel hanging from the oven's handle. Putting the stool away, a cold yet comforting hand touched the top of his head as he looked up at his mother grabbing her hand to head towards the dining room where the food will be waiting. As his sister promised, she was already waiting at the low table sitting in a kneeling position beside the spot where he normally sits that was across from his mother's spot. Rushing over to his spot, he knelt down beside his sister putting his hands on his lap as they waited for their father to arrive. His mother kept down across from him waiting as well, knowing he'll arrive on his own. 


They waited for what a few minutes, feeling like 10 minutes, before finally his father arrived not bothering to say a word to anyone. Staying silent, they waited until he took his first bite giving their thanks before digging into the food he made with his mother. Shouto grasped the chopsticks between his small fingers the best he could as he dug in, savoring the delicious taste that was left in his mouth with every bite. No conversations were made, but that was fine. It wouldn't be the first time that dinner was eaten in silence. Bite after bite, the food slowly started to disappear from his bowl even though he had been told by his mother many times to slow down when he eats. It wasn't until he took his last bite that his father decided to break the silence that covered the room like a blanket. 


"Don't ask for seconds brat."


"Enji, if he wants seconds, then he can have a little bit more."


"The child has eaten enough food as it is, and it would be no use for him to eat more when he'll never grow up to be the masterpiece I wanted him to be."


"That's enough, Enji. He's only a child, and it doesn't matter if he's quirkless, he's your son."


"He's no son of mine if that child doesn't have a quirk."


Shouto could feel and see the frost cover his mother's arm as the room grew colder only to be overpowered by the heat of his father's flames. The room grew into a deadly silence as his father and mother glared at one another, forgetting that their children were there this time to watch their argument. It was his first time seeing his parents actually argue in front of him than hearing them arguing in their bedroom. Was it always this tense? Picking up his bowl and chopsticks, he walked over to the sink putting them down inside the sink breaking the silence with the clashing of the bowl hitting the bottle of the sink. No one moved from the seats, even when he walked over to his mother's chair to give her a hug. Cold arms wrapped around his small frame embracing him tightly. He can feel his father's eyes on him, but pushes against the nervous feeling as he turned his head to look at his father from the corner of his eyes. 


"I-I'm not hungry mommy, can I go play in my room now?"


"Yes you can...I'll be there to go tuck you in when it's time to go to sleep."




Without any further questions, Shouto left his mother's side to run past his father's chair to head towards his room. The pitter patter of his feet were the only sounds in the hallway as he headed towards the side of the house where the bedrooms were at. After opening his bedroom door with a little difficulty, he shut the door behind him walking towards the small box he had full of toys. Most of the toys were still baby toys, but some were for his age like the wooden blocks that he was able to convince his mother to buy when he saw the wooden block figures they had. Picking up the wooden block figure of All Might he put it on top of a small stack of wooden blocks to make it look like he was standing on a building. He played with the blocks for nearly an hour and a half before the door to his room opened. Grabbing the All Might figure, he hid the piece of toy under a small bridge created turning around to only see his sister standing at the doorway. Where's mama? Wasn't she supposed to come to tuck him in bed? Fuyumi walked over next to him sitting down on his knees to look at the small city he created, fixing a few blocks that looked out of place. They stayed in silence until finally his sister decided to speak.


"Mom is talking with dad right now, but she'll come over here to tuck you in soon."


"They're fighting again, right?"


"What? No! No no no no, they're just...talking things out right now about your doctor's appointment."


"Is it because I'm quer-qur-"




"Yeah! Is it because of...that?"


"No! It's not because you're quirkless..."




Sticking out his pinky finger, Shouto waited for his sister to wrap hers around his to complete the pinky finger. She leaned down close to him wrapping her finger her around his smiling as she did so.


"Promise. Now lets get you ready for bed, okay?"


Grabbing onto her hand, he stood up from his spot on the floor before they walked over to his closet to pick out some pajamas for him to wear for the night. There wasn't much clothing, but he had a fair amount of each pair of clothing to not have to worry about not having any clothes for the next day. Picking out a baby blue night shirt with a pair of shorts as well, they worked together to slip off his old clothes to the new ones making no sudden sound the whole time. He walked over to the connected bathroom to get ready to brush his teeth while his older sister picked up his clothes to go put them in the laundry basket. Maybe he could brush his teeth by himself this time. Dragging the stool they left in his room for this type of purpose over to the sink, a faint sound of the bathroom opening and closing barely passed his ears while dragging the stool. A hand came up from behind him to grab his toothbrush and toothpaste causing him to pout when he tried to get it back.


"Fuyumiiii, I can do it myself!"


"That's what you said last time before toothpaste somehow ended up in your hair, and all over the floor."


"It wasn't my fault I squeezed it too hard!"


"Whatever you say Sho, but for now, lets get those teeth of yours cleaned."


Not pushing the argument any further, the small boy grabbed his toothbrush from Fuyumi's hand before looking up into the mirror to brush his teeth. Up, down. Up, down. It went like this for exactly two minutes as his sister said it should be before spitting the toothpaste out, letting it fall into the sink. Shouto turned the water on first cleaning his toothbrush, then the sink, and finally, his mouth and chin. A small towel was handed over to him to dry off his chin, hopping off the stool to push it back into the corner of the bathroom. He grabbed his sister's hand before they headed out of the bathroom back into his room where the bed was waiting for him to sleep in. Getting put into bed was easy, but falling asleep wasn't. His mother was the only one to help him fall asleep when he couldn't, so he waited in bed even when his sister tried to get him to rest.


"Shouto, go to sleep."


"No, I'm waiting for mama."


"It's almost past your bedtime."


"But mama..."


"...Fine, but if she doesn't come by then, at least try to sleep, okay?"




Kissing his forehead, he watched his sister leave the room after turning on the night light that was beside his bed smiling at him one last time before closing the door. Shouto sat on his bed as he waited for his mother to come, and tuck him into bed like she always did. Sometimes she would read him a story, or sing him a lullaby. Her voice always put him to sleep just like how her soft, cold touches brought comfort. There were times when he would sleep his mother in her room when their father isn't home due to hero work which would cause him to be out of town for a few days or a week at most. As the minutes went by, he could feel exhaustion start to take over causing his eyes to grow heavier. He couldn't sleep, he wanted to wait for mama. So he forced himself to stay awake by getting out of bed to walk around the room a bit. It wasn't until fifteen minutes later that the soft sounds of footsteps were heard coming down the hall getting closer to his room. Rushing over to his bed, he got back under the blanket ready for his mother to tuck him in. As the door opened, his mother's shadow appeared from the doorway walking in shutting the door behind her.


"Hey Sho...aren't you supposed to be sleeping, young man?"


"I was waiting for you mama."


"But it's past your bedtime sweetie."


"B-But I want you to sing me that lullaby."


"If I sing you the lullaby, then will you promise me to sleep early tomorrow?"


"Uh huh!"


It's time for sleep my little one


Fly away in dreams


And I will be there to watch over you


I'll hold you and sing you a lullaby tune...




The sound of a car was the first thing he heard as he slowly woke up from his slumber. Opening his heterochromia eyes, Shouto looked around only to find himself in his father's car. Rubbing his eyes, he looked over to the driver's seat only to see his father's red hair in the dim lighting of the buildings and street lights. Deciding not to question why they were driving in the middle of the night, the child turned his head towards the window to watch the lights pass by until they came to a stop somewhere he doesn't remember ever visiting. His father got out of the car before opening his door to let him out into the street. As he got out, and stood on the street he heard the car door open and close again. Turning around, he stared confused as the car was started up again, and then it started to move. Wait, what? As it moved forward, he started to run towards the car to try and get his father's attention. Why did they come here if there was nothing here? 




The car started to speed up causing his legs to get weaker, and the air was leaving out of his lungs fast. 




Then the car sped off as he bent over to catch his breath, looking up towards the slowly fading car. 




He'll come back. He has to. He will probably notice, and turn around. So he waited.














And waited.














And waited.














He's not coming back.