"Use your fire," his father demanded. The young boy shook his head. His eyes seemed sunken in his skull, ringed in black from exhaustion and the constant assaults on him from his own father.

"I said use your fire!" Shoto's jaw exploded in pain, a knee colliding with him as he toppled over from the force.

"And to think you're supposed to overtake me, you can hardly stand on your own from a little kick. Useless. Absolutely useless. Go to your room."

His father stormed out of the office, which functionally served as a gym and training room.

Spite fueled him. He was determined not to allow his father's quirk to continue onwards through him. He only let his mother's quirk, the coldness of ice, leave his body. It was all he needed to get into UA. It allowed him to get into the top of his class. It allowed him to be feared and respected by his classmates and even his teachers. It allowed him to be who he wanted to be, a hero, but nowhere like the one his father wanted him to be.

However, a quirk of ice could not hide the scar on his eye. He was tired of the stares from them. He hated the burn. He hated the time he spent in the hospital for it and he absolutely hated the nerve damage that caused his eye to twitch and the inability to grow eyelashes, which let things get into his eye more. He hated the scar, the memories that came with it, and the physical issues of which it had caused.

However, naturally, that was only the one scar. There were many more scattered upon him like stars would be over a sky. Except these stars were not peaceful, they were ugly, mottled, tinted red and caused the emotional duress and the failings he had made to his father – and to himself.

He turned his hand over in the light of the way-too-early morning in his dorm. Sleeping shirtless was new to him, but now that he had his own little place he had found it infinitely more comfortable to do so. The clock flashed 4:58, two minutes before he was set to wakeup and begin his routine.

He shoved his face into the pillow and groaned, wishing to everything holy that his PTSD nightmares would fade away for just a single night.

Shoto forced himself out of bed and hit the cancel alarm on his phone. He reached his hands into the air and twisted them, the mottled marks on his arms twisted from shoulder to forearm like a malformed lattice sleeve. He stretched his calf, pressing his heel into his hip before switching legs and repeating. Then, seemingly already tired, he let himself fall onto the floor where he continued stretching.

He glanced at his phone, 5:17. He sat up and when to the small fridge he kept in what served as a makeshift kitchen. He opened a box of cereal, his fingers trembling from the strain of the fine movements. The scaring of his hands and wrist made certain innocuous tasks difficult so early in the morning.

He ate his breakfast; his hand slowly became more stable. He pulled his school outfit out from the drawer where it was neatly stored and walked to class earlier than he likely had to.

/

"Todoroki, you're here early," Tenya said. He seemed to be making rounds in the hallway and assisting with morning prep. Shoto waved passively at him as he went to continue to his homeroom.

"Actually, if you don't mind I need a little assistance," he said, his hands chopping the air as one may have chopped an onion. "There is a lot of books which need to be transported from the library to class B and I have been asked to help by Mr. King since he is grading paperwork."

"Sure."

The books piled high in their arms, threatening to spill at any moment. Students had started to trickle in and they had begun to have a few more obstacles in their way as they traveled from one end of the school to the exact other. Of course, as luck would have it, they had run into someone who did not appear to see them coming.

"Shit, sorry, sorry," Kaminari said, quickly helping to pick up Shoto's dropped books and taking some of the load off of him. Iida swiftly began rambling about how he needed to pay more attention, as well as assuring him that it was okay.

"Todoroki, are you alright?"

"I'm fine, Iida, really."

"You have blood on your hand, please put the books down."

With a look of slight panic, he glanced at his right hand, where a small trail of blood had worked his way to the tip of his finger. A self-inflicted punishment mark had reopened. His heart started racing and a headache quickly set in. If anyone saw the injury his life here would be over, and he would be kicked out of the program. He had frozen in panic – but to an outside viewer, it just looked like he was staring at the wound as if it was a mild irritant.

Iida pulled a tissue out of his back pocket and handed it to Shoto, who wiped away the blood and stuffed it into his sleeve. The last thing he needed was to have a blood stain on this uniform.

"It's fine. I re-opened a wound from training yesterday. It is small, it will stop bleeding," Shoto stated. Had Iida been better at reading the social cues and the look of panic in his eyes, he would have known he was lying. Instead he simply nodded and picked up the books Kaminari had not grabbed. He started towards 1B.

"Damn, Shoto, someone managed to injure you? That's a first," Kaminari called down the hall, leaving Shoto behind to ponder what had happened – and how it could have gone very wrong.

/

"Todoroki please stay in the classroom for a moment," Aizawa stated as the class had ended for the day. Izuku offered to stay behind and wait for him but was shooed forward by both Shoto and the teacher.

"Did I do something wrong?" he asked, glancing up from packing his backpack with the last of his folders. He forced an air of calm over himself, thinking that one of the teachers had a comment about his English essay or something along those lines.

"Iida mentioned that you injured yourself earlier today, and you've been itching your wrist for most of the class. Have you taken care of the wound?"

Panic set in quickly and his heart started racing yet again. He grabbed the injured wrist and rubbed it unconsciously, looking up at him. His eyes had a level of panic in them as he claimed he had taken care of it.

"Your eyes are also redder than usual, so are you sick, high, or have you been crying?"

"I didn't sleep well," he stated.

"Todoroki you are aware you can talk to the guidance consoler, or me if necessary." Where the hell was this going?

"I am aware, but I don't know why you are bringing this up."

Aizawa paused, sitting down on the floor by the podium and leaning against it. He yawned and rubbed the back of his neck. The silence extended for a bit. This caused Shoto immense panic. He could feel his blood turning to ice and the pressure behind his eyes to build. He knew better than to cry, however the stress headache set in. He prayed to a theoretical deity that this was not going where he thought it would.

"Shoto, during training today your shirt had slipped. You have several injuries on your wrist, and I know where they came from," Aizawa finally said, looking him dead in the eyes. His expression was unreadable, but the panic on Shoto's was no longer.

"I do not know what you are talking about," he whispered, his voice cracked. Damn.

"Shoto are you self-harming?"

"What, no absolutely not."

Aizawa put his hand out towards him. His palm faced upwards with an expectant look.

"Give me your wrist."

"No."

"Shoto you are not in trouble now show me your wrist."

"No."

Aizawa grabbed his hand, his voice becoming harsh, "Listen to me. You are not in trouble. I won't tell anyone, but I need to see your wrist so I can treat the injury and make sure you are not a serious threat to yourself." Aizawa cleared his throat.

"I apologize, I did not mean for it to come out like that. Please let me look at your injury," while this may have sounded like a request his sleeve was already being pushed up his arm.

"There is a first aid box behind the podium," Aizawa said before letting go to grab it. "I'm going to put some antibiotic on your wrist and then I'm going to ask you to talk to me about this. If you would prefer it be another teacher, that is alright as well."

"Am I going to be kicked out of UA…"

Aizawa stopped rummaging and looked at him "Kiddo I don't know what put that idea in your mind."

"I'm a failure," he muttered, "And I hurt myself. And I'm not safe and shouldn't be a hero if I can't take care of myself properly.

Aizawa sighed, sitting down in front of Shoto and gently taking his wrist. "Listen, Shoto, you're talented. You have more potential than possibly anyone else in this school. You are so incredibly powerful. You are not a failure. I don't know who told you that, but they're a liar."

"I—"

"I'm not done talking.," he said, putting a bandage on the arm before letting go. "You are not the only kid in this school with mental health issues. It's common. Even the teachers have them. All-Might has PTSD, did you know that. And Crimson Riot has severe ADHD. Bakugo takes a sedative mood stabilizer every morning. There are kids who have cut as well. Tell me, Shoto, why would we kick you out of this class?"

"I don't know," he said quietly.

"We aren't going to."

Silence hung in the air for a while as Shoto shoved his face into his arms. He was crying, yes, but not a single noise was made during so.

"Can you tell me why you did it, Shoto?"

"I felt worthless," he whispered into his sleeve, his chest heaving heavily after the statement. "I have nightmares that make it worse, and issues from before I got in here and it's all really exhausting."

"Is there anything I can do right now to help? Anything at all, kiddo?"

"…Do you have water? My throat hurts."

"I'll go get you some water. Clean yourself up a little and catch your breath. We'll talk more when you calm down."

/

"So, when did this start?" Aizawa asked him, handing him a glass of water and watching as Shoto dropped some of his own ice into it.

"When I was maybe seven or eight," he said before taking a sip and draining half of the glass.

"Why?"

"Because Endeavor was a shitty father and mom was no longer actively in my life, so I resorted to this," he said, waving his hand.

"Have you tried anything else for it?"

"Not really, sometimes sparring works."

"If that's the case, next time you feel like this I want you to talk to me. I'd rather you practice punching with me than see you cut yourself."

"I couldn't possibly do that."

"Yes, you can, because if you don't I'll give you extra homework," he said with a wide smile. "I'm kidding, but Shoto please do talk to me the next time you have a flair up. If you would rather I could get All-Might or Hizashi."

"Not Hizashi. He's loud and usually I have a headache when it does flair up."

"What about talking to Izuku, you two seem fairly close. I'm also sure he'd enjoy sparring with you. The kid looks up to you, you know?"

Aizawa snorted. "Kid you're not even aware, everyone in this class loves you and looks up to you. You could wake any number of them at two in the morning and they would help you without a second thought. You have a fantastic support system here, Shoto, if only you felt okay enough to let them help. Trust me, if my stupid ass can recover so can you."

"I'll tell Izuku about it later… I think I can trust him not to talk."