Apologies in advance for anything BnHA lore-breaking, angst, and people constantly looking away from each other.
Also mild references to things from season 3 - in case anyone else is as behind the times as I am.
“Jump on.” Todoroki says, his eyes on the icy snow at his feet. He can’t look at her as he says it, partly because he doesn’t want to see the guilt on her face – she knows she’s the one slowing them down, but it’s also because it’s Uraraka. Why did it have to be the two of them together? Why after what he saw?
When she doesn’t answer he has to look, he turns slowly and regrets it immediately. He can see the protest, but there’s that guilt outweighing it. “Maybe...” she starts, but she shakes her head. “You’re right, we should keep moving. We can’t be the only ones that were transported out here right?”
“I doubt it.” Todoroki says. “But who knows...we don’t know enough about that warp gate guy. Best assume we’ll have to find our own way back.”
“Back from where?” Uraraka asks in dismay, her small frame shaking in the icy wind. Todoroki doesn’t answer, doesn’t want to admit that he’s as scared as she is. Everything around them is endless and white. It’s hard to tell where the ground even meets the sky. “Does Japan have any tundras?”
“Jump on.” Todoroki repeats instead of answering, turning away from her and holding out his arms to help her clamber, more than jump, onto his back.
They do cover more ground, Todoroki casting icy paths ahead of them to slide along, but it doesn’t help. He can’t even tell if they’re turning in circles and with every passing minute he feels Uraraka’s grip on his shoulders weakening.
When he finally stops, his arm burning from the constant use of his ice, she all but falls from his back. “Todoroki-kun” she stutters weakly. “It’s so cold...the wind...I can’t.”
He hadn’t even been thinking of how the extra wind their speed would create but he can see how weak the cold is making her. “Maybe we should stop for a little while. I can make a shelter...”
Uraraka nods in relief. “Thank you.”
He flexes his fingers to try and shake off the frost forming up his arm and then blasts out small wave of ice for them to shelter under. She’s still shaking, even huddled away from the icy storm, her eyes are closed tight and her breath is just a series of short puffs of vapour between them.
It almost pains him to do it but he turns to face her, parting his arms and legs to tug her in close to his body. He feels her weak gasp and he swallows down his discomfort to murmur “Just to keep you warm” into her hair.
It’s hard to shake the image, with her held in his arms like this, of Midoriya holding her almost this same way, two nights ago in the common room when they thought everyone else had gone to bed. He can’t help picture the way her head had turned, eyes so bright before they’d fluttered closed, Midoriya’s lips soft against hers.
He can feel the hurt in his chest again, the sinking feeling of lost hope. It’s stupid, because he had no reason to hope, and neither one of them knew it would hurt him. He has to push it away, because he has to compose himself if he’s going to control his quirk properly.
He draws in a long breath and lets it go slowly, trying to empty his mind of everything but the fire radiating inside him – too hot too soon would be as bad as staying frozen.
“I wish Deku were here.” she mumbles sometime later and Todoroki feels his sharp intake of surprise. “Ah” she continues quickly. “I just meant...he always knows what to do...”
“It’s OK.” he says after taking a moment to breathe. “I know what you meant...I saw you the other night.”
She pulls away in surprise and tilts her head to look at him. Todoroki can’t meet her eyes. “You did...ah...we’re not...” she insists, her voice flustered, and that only makes it worse.
“I don’t care.” he forces himself to say, trying to maintain his characteristic stoicism. “I’m not going to tell anyone.”
For a moment she just looks at him, a mix of admiration and relief. “Thank you.”
Todoroki averts his gaze again. “You feel a little warmer now.”
“Un.” she agrees, but her eyes start to droop again as she rests her head back against his chest. “A little.”
They should move, because sitting here is getting them nowhere, and because he doesn’t like sitting here with her like this. Not when she’s the reason he lost hope. It’s partly that he can’t use the hot side of his quirk constantly, any more than he can the cold side, he can stand another few minutes though.
A noise catches his attention, his name, only it must just be the wind, or his imagination.
“Todoroki!” he hears again and Uraraka raises her head this time too. “Todoroki!” he hears once more and his chest tightens because it’s the voice they’ve both been longing to hear, the last person they want to see them this way.
Midoriya rounds the corner, wrapped up tightly in furs, but he freezes the moment he sees them. He’s not the only one, a second later Yaoyorozu appears, her eyes widening and then turning to the ground.
Uraraka rushes to her feet and dashes over to Midoriya and he wraps his arms, seemingly subconsciously, around her.. “Todoroki-kun used his quirk to keep me warm...” she explains feebly. “If he weren’t with me I might have frozen.”
Midoriya nods but the look he shoots Todoroki as he gets up from the floor, still looks uncertain. It hurts almost as much as it had to see them kissing.
“We saw your ice...” Yaoyorozu says, voice quiet, her eyes still looking anywhere other than at Todoroki.
“Yaoyorozu-chan made coats and mufflers...and skies too.” Midoriya chips in, his hands running up and down Uraraka’s arms which are already staring to shake again. “I probably would have frozen without her too”
“Oh wait.” Yaoyorozu says, like the thought has just occurred to her, and she unfastens her layers to bare her skin and produce more winter clothing. “I have a tracking device.” she adds as she passes them out, her eyes still averted from everyone else’s. “The tracker is in my room...and the device says we’re only around 50 miles from it...so my assumption is that we’re somewhere in the mountain range west of Tokyo...if we keep heading in the direction of my tracker we have to reach civilisation soon...”
Uraraka turns to look at her, looking much cosier in her thick furs. “Momo-chan is so clever...”
Yaoyorozu gives her a strained kind of smile, a sad one. “We should move while it’s still light.” and she turns to go back the way they came. Uraraka’s expression falls into confused worry as she turns to follow her friend.
Todoroki isn’t confused, he knows exactly why she’s upset and it only makes him feel worse. How could he not notice the quiet looks? The way her cheeks flush the colour of peaches when he meets her eyes? He feels sad that he can’t return her affections, she’s everything he should want after all, intelligent, resourceful, strong, ambitious...everything that the object of his affections is. Only she’s not...
“Midoriya.” Todoroki calls, voice catching in his throat, as Midoriya turns to follow the others, but when Midoriya turns back to him he feels lost for words. His face is too warm – just a combination of the warm clothes and using his quirk for so long, he’s sure. He has no excuse for the way his heart is pounding though, or the sickly itch of discomfort all over his skin. He knows he should say something, to explain, only he isn’t meant to know, wasn’t supposed to see that scene that he wishes he could unsee. Even if he did know, Todoroki isn’t supposed to care, he shouldn’t have a reason to feel as desolate as he does. “It’s nothing...” he says eventually, his voice defeated.
It’s what he tells himself too, as he watches Midoriya back retreating. It’s just that Midoriya is the first person Todoroki has ever really respected, the first first person he’s ever really admired. It isn’t that Midoriya is the first person he’s ever loved.
It's your turn now softboys thank you for having me on your team!!!