"Warm" by deltachye

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“Excuse me! E-excuse me! Please, excuse me…! Um! Excuse! Me! Mister!”

Todoroki turned around, the stoic expression on his face not yet disturbed. He’d only looked out of instinct, not having expected the faraway cries to be for him, but was surprised as a red-faced girl staggered up to him. You leant over, panting hard, looking as if a sudden breeze would accidentally blow you over.

“Do you... need something?” he asked, a bit hesitant, but also concerned for your wellbeing. You shook your head and suddenly thrust something out at his face, words apparently too far gone for your exhausted body. Todoroki’s first instinct was fear—a villain, in broad daylight?!—but then the object settled in his field of view, and he realized that it belonged to him all along.

“You dropped… your… ID card,” you wheezed out between breaths. “Man, you walk fast!”

“I’m sorry,” he said, apologizing quickly as he took the card from you. “I wasn’t aware.” He must have dropped the card on his rush out the door, the flimsy piece of plastic easily misplaced in his bag or pocket. He bowed to you politely as you kept struggling to catch your breath. “Thank you, but… why did you run so far? It has my school on it. You could’ve just returned it later.”

“Oh. That’s a good point.” You laughed sheepishly, your teeth showing crookedly in a shy grin as you scratched the back of your head. “I guess I’m not very smart, eh? But I’m glad I caught up to you.”

His heart swelled with a bit of warmth. Some days, he’d forgotten that there was kindness in the world. His eyes caught on your uniform and he noticed with a jolt that it was similar to his own.

“Do you also go to Taiyou?” he asked hesitantly, walking slowly with you to match your pace. You nodded brightly.

“Yeah. I know you, too. Todoroki-kun, right?”

He was surprised by the easiness with which you recalled his name, and bowed his head apologetically. “Yes, that’s me. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”

“That’s not much of a surprise!” you said easily, laughing sheepishly as you waved him off vigorously. “I’m quirkless, so I don’t really stand out.”

“You are?” Todoroki asked, nearly tripping over his shoes. He was absolutely stunned. He’d never met anybody outside of his family that was quirkless before. You laughed again, and he felt his heart pound in the middle of his chest when he heard it, stifled behind your hand.

“Yeah. Everybody has that reaction. Isn’t it funny to think that everybody used to be quirkless? How the tables have turned…” You shrugged nonchalantly. “I can’t help it. My parents and their parents and their parents before them never had any quirks. We just never got any of those genes, I guess. Is that embarrassing of me to admit?”

“No,” he replied quickly, turning away so that he wouldn’t keep staring at your face. Wistfully, he smiled at his feet. A life without any pressure to succeed…

“No… it’s not at all. I think that sounds nice.”

“You have the Half-Cold, Half-Hot quirk, right?” you asked. “Everybody talks about it. People are jealous, but I think it’s great that you have such a powerful quirk. You’re probably going to become a great Pro Hero some—ah! I’m so sorry, I keep rambling to you—”

“It’s fine!” Todoroki blurted out, losing the composure he had managed to build up over the years. He hadn’t ever had a complete stranger talk to him this animatedly over trivial things before. He didn’t think strangers even wanted to talk to him, what with the shadow of his father looming over him. But you seemed to be oblivious to that. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be blissfully ignorant? He looked down at his shoes again, watching them pass over the concrete. “I never really put much thought into being a Pro Hero. After all, it’s what my dad wants for me…” The thought spited him and his right hand clenched automatically, tendrils of icy steam coming off of his skin. You didn’t seem to notice and merely hummed thoughtfully.

“Well, you’re not your dad. He can’t stop you from doing what you want to do. Even so, I think the world would really benefit from having you around.” You smiled again at him, and he felt his hand relax. The sickening cold evaporated from his fingers, and they were… warm, again. Not burning hot. Just simply warm.

“We’re at school,” you announced, and he looked up, having been so lost in thought that he’d totally forgotten where he was. You gave him another grin. “I’ll see you around, Todoroki-kun.”

“Wait!” he called after you, as you turned to leave, “what’s your name?”

“Mine?” you asked, eyes wide. “Why would you want to know my name?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“I’m so ordinary,” you sighed, giving him a pained smile and a shrug. Something told him that you’d had this conversation many times before, with people much haughtier than he. “A quirkless girl like me is just a waste of your time, I bet.”

“You’re not ordinary. You’re one of the 20% that don’t have quirks. A minority. And you’re the one who picked up my ID card, not somebody else. You’re not a waste of time.”

You still seemed hesitant, but finally, a grin blossomed across your tiny face as you nodded eagerly. You bounced on your feet before bowing stiffly.

“[Surname] [Name]. It’s my pleasure to meet you!” You shouted energetically to the floor, your body at a full right angle. He couldn’t help an incredulous laugh, but bowed to you politely as well.

“Todoroki Shouto. Pleased to meet you.”

Maybe you did have a quirk, without knowing it. Maybe that quirk was the ability to warm his heart after seeing just your smile, because it never, ever failed to work. He didn’t think you were very ordinary at all. At least to him, you were the most special, most important person in the world. Maybe that ordinariness was what made you so extraordinary.

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