Written for BakuTodo Week 2018. Prompt: trust.
His eyes are heavy.
His head bends forward, black taking over his mind, but seconds later Todoroki jerks awake.
Thump thump thump.
His heartbeat speeds up, hammering in his head, furthering the dull pain that's been his company for a while, and there's that familiar moment of panic that surges whenever he succumbs to exhaustion. He sits up in the uncomfortable chair, eyes frantically scanning the person that lies on the bed in front of him, breath coming out in a shuddering exhale when he notices the steady rise and fall of their chest.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The monitor set up by the hospital bed keeps beeping in continuous intervals, and Todoroki clings to the sound like a lifeline.
He also clings to Bakugou's inert hand, hoping for a twitch, a tightening of fingers – anything.
It doesn't come.
First, they had to trust each other as heroes.
Mutual respect had been born from their days at UA, but as pro-heroes building their careers, the several missions in which they had to work together required that to become something else. More often than not, their lives were on the line, as well as the lives of others; working side by side meant making compromises and learning how to shut up and trust the other's plan, sometimes.
It had taken time, but they'd learned; at some point, Todoroki had been surprised to realize he actually enjoyed working with Bakugou.
No one could deny they made a good team.
"Todoroki-kun, have you gone home today?"
It takes him a moment to place the concerned voice that breaks through his vigil.
"You're still wearing your hero uniform," Midoriya says.
Todoroki can't muster up the strength to shrug. His eyes don't stray from Bakugou, thumb rubbing rhythmic circles on the back of his hand, right next to one of the IV tubes. He hates them – they look so ugly, alien against Bakugou's skin – yet he loves them because they're helping keep Bakugou alive.
He's pretty sure Bakugou would just hate them.
Todoroki is aware that he should've showered or at least changed before coming to the hospital straight from work, but it seemed like too much trouble. He keeps going out on patrol and fighting villains and saving people because Bakugou would hate him if he didn't do so and he'd hate himself if he didn't do so, but that's it.
Every minute he spends away from Bakugou could be the minute when he wakes up.
"Todoroki-kun, you need to get some rest."
He's waiting for the minute when Bakugou wakes up.
Second, they had to trust each other as lovers.
If anything, that had been the most difficult step of all. They were people who worked hard to build walls around them, and letting them go, finding themselves bared to such vulnerability – it wasn't easy. It took many hours of discovering every inch of each other's bodies, of learning to give voice to wants and dislikes and do's and don't's, of giving up control and surrendering to the heat and the touches and the feelings that came with them.
But they'd done it.
There's something soft against his cheek.
When Todoroki opens his eyes, he's met with the dull white of the hospital bed covers. He has drooled where his head rested on his arms, and he mindlessly wipes his mouth as the haze in his mind persists.
He can hear voices from outside the door, though none of them is the voice he wants to hear.
"I'm worried about him. He's - I know he cares but - this isn't healthy."
"I know. It's been two weeks already. "
"Can't the hospital staff do something?"
"They've tried. I think they mentioned visiting hours restrictions, but he won't listen, so they're letting him stay. Number 2 hero privileges."
Todoroki is thankful for the moment of silence that follows. He can focus on the low sound of Bakugou's breathing again – so familiar. He can almost imagine it's just another morning on their bed, him waking up earlier and burrowing in the comfort of Bakugou's arms as the other remains asleep.
Except he's in an uncomfortable chair in a hospital room, and the last time he was in Bakugou's arms seems like nothing more than a distant memory.
"We need to do something, Yaoyorozu-san. I don't want to think about this, but what if - what if Kacchan never wakes up?"
He's too tired for this. Midoriya, Yaoyorozu - they don't know what they're talking about.
They don't know what Bakugou said.
Todoroki feels for Bakugou's wrist, settling his thumb over his pulse point and letting the steady beat lull him back to sleep.
Lastly, the had to simply... trust each other.
Todoroki doesn't remember when the habit started, or who started it in the first place, but the words were always the same. As pro-heroes, any mission could be their last; while they'd accepted that a long time ago, that didn't mean the seed of fear wasn't there every time they had to watch the other walk out the door.
That day had been no different.
"Come back," Todoroki had said as Bakugou was leaving after getting an emergency call.
Bakugou had stopped by the door, covering the distance back to Todoroki in a few strides and pulling him into a searing kiss that held promises of something to come. The last thing he did was smirk in that smug way of his before letting Todoroki go.
"You know I will."
A flutter of eyelids.
Todoroki might've missed it if he hadn't been watching Bakugou with absolute attention for the past month. A flash of red is there and gone in a blink, but it's followed by a weak twitch in the hand Todoroki is holding, and the cold metal of his chair and the ruckus of the hospital and the weariness that weighs down his bones suddenly mean nothing faced with the fact that he's waking up.
Bakugou is waking up.
"Katsuki." Todoroki's voice is raspy when he utters the name, but it feels like honey on his tongue – sweet and comforting – so he repeats it. "Katsuki."
Bakugou doesn't respond immediately, eyes struggling to stay open. He seems to be taking everything in – the tubes in his arms, the beeping machine by his side, the hospital room he's in.
His gaze finally settles on Todoroki, corners of his mouth twitching up.
"You look like shit," he says. It's barely audible, his throat still bearing the brunt of healing injuries and disuse, but Todoroki has never been happier to hear Bakugou's cursing. He laughs – the sound seems foreign to his own ears, made watery by the sob of relief he fights back.
"So do you," he says. He squeezes Bakugou's hand lightly, and for the first time since Todoroki had first sat on that hospital chair, Bakugou squeezes back. "You took a while to come back."
"I said I would, didn't I?"
"You did," Todoroki agrees. "So I waited."
Bakugou's expression softens. Todoroki notices the way he looks him over again, and he knows what Bakugou must be seeing – his messy hair, his wrinkled clothes, the bags under his eyes.
Todoroki can count in one hand the number of times he's heard Bakugou say those words out loud – most of the time, they're hidden behind his actions. Now, however, he doesn't even hesitate before saying them, that strength that Todoroki knows so well slowly returning to his voice.
"Thank you for waiting for me."
Bakugou is still pale, his eyes reddening with the threat of tears, but he's awake and he's talking and more importantly, he's still alive.
He has never looked more beautiful.