Written for the BNHA Rarepair Week event on Tumblr. Prompt: sadness
"Thank you for the hard work, Red Riot."
Kirishima's eyes are drawn away from the man being taken into the ambulance to settle on the paramedic that has made her way towards him, at the center of the villain attack scene. Her gaze flickers to where his own had been, a knowing and gentle smile on her face.
"You did a great job today. Because of you, we'll be able to save him."
You shouldn't have to. I should've been the one to save him in the first place, echoes in Kirishima's head, but he swats away the thought.
"Thank you. I'm counting on you," is what he answers instead. It's incredibly hard to force out one of his bubbly smiles, and he's almost relieved when the paramedic nods before quickly going back to assist her colleagues, leaving him on his own once again.
Kirishima dodges the cameras and requests for interviews as politely as he can, thankful for the late hour that warrants less people to gather around the scene. The strain of muscles as he tries to keep smiling feels strangely odd, his mind wandering back to the man's battered and unconscious face as he was rushed to the hospital. By the time Kirishima is able to make his way back to the office, his body is drained of energy - a hollow feeling, worse than the tiredness that comes from physical exertion.
Kirishima knows this feeling. It plagues him from time to time, has done so ever since he can remember, and he hates it.
Anyone else would've done better. And you call yourself a hero?
"Shut up," Kirishima mutters. He's thankful there's not many people around - it's the middle of the night, and the few pro heroes on duty hours are still out on their own shifts, so the receptionist is the only one that keeps him company as he writes down his report about the villain attack. He doesn't realize he's biting on his bottom lip until a coppery taste fills his mouth - quickly, he relaxes his jaw, breath coming out in shaky puffs as he describes the victim's injuries.
Weak. Can't even save anyone.
Kirishima tries to ignore the part of his brain that nags at him. He just needs to get through this report, and then he can go home.
"I'm home," Kirishima mutters when he enters the apartment. There's no response, and the lights are all out - Todoroki's probably already asleep. Truth be told, it's better this way. Todoroki has a tendency to notice when he's hiding something, and Kirishima doesn't think he has the strength left to fake yet another another smile - not for him. He can get over this without needlessly worrying Todoroki when he must be tired from his own shift.
Kirishima doesn't turn on the lights, trying to make as little noise as possible as he takes a quick shower, his body moving on autopilot through the usual routine. The persistent thoughts are still there, but he grits his teeth and keeps his mind blank, fighting the choking feeling that threatens to overwhelm him. By the time he makes his way to the bed, he's exhausted, and yet when he crawlsunder the covers next to Todoroki he can't bring himself to sleep.
He keeps seeing blood, hearing screams, his eyes stinging even behind close eyelids.
He turns to his side, hoping to find a comfortable position that'll allow him some rest, and behind him Todoroki stirs.
"Eijirou?" Todoroki's voice is raspy, still heavy with sleep. "Welcome back."
"I'm home," Kirishima says once again, hoping the other's half-awake state won't let him notice the light tremor ion his voice.
To his relief, all Todoroki does is inch closer, one of his arms sneaking around Kirishima's waist as he clings to him, nuzzling his neck through the still damp strands of his hair.
It makes it a little easier to sleep.
Most of the time, a good night's sleep is what it takes to drive the insecurities away. Yet, when Kirishima wakes up the following morning - to an empty bed, since Todoroki's shift at his hero agency starts earlier than Kirishima's - he still feels, to put it lightly, like shit.
To make things worse, it's a mostly uneventful day at work, with nothing but a few minor occurrences that require a pro hero's job. Kirishima defeats the villains in the blink of an eye - not only because they weren't any major threats, but because he pushes himself harder than usual, more than would be necessary for the situation, only to see if with that he can overwhelm the words ion his head.
You think you're a hero just because you win against some weak-ass Quirks? Bet that man you let get onallowed to slip to the brink of death doesn't think so.
Once again, he has to fake smiles, force the muscles on his face and his voice to resemble his cheerful self, all the while hoping no one will notice. It's no wonder that when he finally gets home, earlier than the night before and still in time for dinner, he tries to dodge Todoroki's presence, greeting him with only a quick kiss, announcing he needs a shower and slipping into the bathroom before Todoroki can ask anything about his day.
Kirishima knows his limits. He can tell when he's close to reaching them.
He's not one to stay in the shower for long, but the minutes tickle by as he lets the water hit him, hot to the point where it's almost scalding. It helps distract him from the burning in his throat, from the sobs he pushes down again and again and again, his whole body trembling with the effort.
He just wants those feelings to end. That nagging voice to go away. It's not too much to ask, is it?
When Kirishima comes out of the bathroom, Todoroki is no longer in the living room like when he'd arrived. Instead, there's noise coming from the kitchen - which is strange, because Todoroki never cooks, usually waiting for Kirishima to make dinner or heating up some leftovers on days when he's alone.
Yet, when Kirishima enters the room, Todoroki's putting two bowls with what looks like ramen on the table.
"I don't know if they're any good," he says when he notices Kirishima standing at the door. "But I didn't think you'd want to cook today."
While his expression doesn't change, the way Todoroki looks at Kirishima tells him he's noticed - he's seen through Kirishima's act, just like Kirishima knew he would, yet he's not pushing him to talk about it. He never does.
Kirishima swallows around the lump on his throat, sitting down and picking up the chopsticks, keeping his gaze fixed on the bowl as he brings some noodles to his mouth.
They're overcooked, the consistency soggy and strange, and it's ridiculous but it's what makes Kirishima break down, a lame bowl of ramen that his boyfriend who can't cook tried to make for him because he was being an idiot and letting stupid thoughts get the better of himself.
He puts the chopsticks down, squeezing his eyes closed against the tears as the sobs he'd been fighting for so long threaten to come out.
Gentle fingers thread through his hair, still down from the shower, and when Kirishima looks up Todoroki's staring at him.
"You can cry if you want to," he says, pulling back the strands that fall over Kirishima's eyes, and then using that same hand to cradle his head close when Kirishima leans forward, clinging to Todoroki's waist and pressing his forehead to his hip as he finally cries.
He cries, like's been wanting to do the whole day, and the tears don't stop even when it starts getting difficult to breathe through the sobs that wrack his body. It's relieving yet suffocating, but Todoroki's presence grounds him, his fingers that rub constant circles on Kirishima's neck strangely comforting.
"Come here," Todoroki says after Kirishima has calmed down enough to at least stop choking on his breath, gently pulling him up and intertwining their fingers before leading him to the living room. Kirishima squeezes Todoroki's fingers like a lifeline, sniffling and trying to wipe away the tears that stubbornly continue to track down his face with his free hand.
They sit down on the couch, Kirishima bringing his knees up and turning around so he's nearly on Todoroki's lap, tucking his head on the other's neck while Todoroki traces idle patterns on his back.
"Do you want to talk?" Todoroki asks.
Kirishima knows that if he says he doesn't, Todoroki will respect his decision and let it go. There's still a part of him that tells him he should stay quiet - that he's being too weak already, bothering Todoroki too much with his stupidity.
And that's what makes Kirishima talk, because that voice won't go away unless he does.
Todoroki listens without interrupting him, patiently waiting when Kirishima has to stop to control the tears once again, offering silent comfort through his fingers that keep touching Kirishima's back, running through his hair, squeezing his hand. Todoroki isn't very good with words - that much has been clear ever since they started dating - but it doesn't matter. Just being able to talk about the things that have been going through his head out loud makes Kirishima see them in another perspective, and Todoroki doesn't have to say anything for him to feel like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
He just has to listen. That's all.
By the time Kirishima stops talking, his throat is raw and he's feeling emotionally drained. It's different from before, though, from that emptiness that left no room for anything. Now, he's just tired, as if it were the first day of starting to recover after an illness or a serious injury.
"Thanks, Shouto," Kirishima mutters, pressing his lips to Todoroki's and hoping the other can understand just how much he means with that.
Todoroki shakes his head lightly, his expression softening when he looks at Kirishima.
"You don't have to hide anything from me. I can't do much, but I'll be here when you need me," he says, pressing kiss to the top of Kirishima's head. "You're a great hero, Eijirou."
Kirishima nods. For once, the part of his brain that's been bothering him for the last 24 hours is quiet, and while it might still take a few days for it to completely go away, he feels like the worst has passed.
And if it does come back, he won't try to hide it anymore.
"Are you hungry?" Todoroki asks, and Kirishima hums a yes against the skin of his neck.
"Don't want to move for now, though."
Todoroki squirms around a little to get his phone out of his pocket and says, "I can order pizza. It'll take a while for them to deliver. Unless you want to heat up the ramen?"
"No. You're wonderful, babe, and I'm sorry, but your cooking sucks," Kirishima says. It's still not as easy to get the teasing words out of his mouth, but they're not forced - and neither is the small smile that makes its way to his lips when Todoroki quietly laughs.
"I know. Pizza it is, then."