just my type
Momo had a type. She didn't like that fact, not one little bit. However, after she and her third boyfriend in the span of less than a year fell apart, she was forced to look at her past and find out what was going wrong. She was emotionally mature. She was ready for a relationship. She wanted a relationship. So why wasn't anything working out?
The results of an analysis? Devastating.
Yaoyorozu Momo had a thing for sad boys. Soft, often charismatic, sad boys.
Momo stared at her best friend Kyouka with wide-eyed shock when the news was delivered to her.
"Are you kidding me?" she said, which, of course, only made Kyouka start choking on laughter. "That's depressing! I'm attracted to sadness?"
Kyouka wiped her tears of mirth away and said, "I mean, it checks out to me, Yaomomo. What do you do when someone comes to you to talk about their past?"
"I listen to them," Momo answered, then hesitated. "Am I not supposed to do that?"
Kyouka made a funky face that meant, "ehhh, kind of." "I'm not saying that you're not supposed to do that, my dude, but you also shouldn't have to be these people's therapists after an hour of learning their name."
Momo looked around their empty living room, at a loss for words. "I was never playing at being their therapist," she argued.
"Yes, you were!" Kyouka said, throwing her hands up into the air. "You would listen to them, and coddle them, and give them advice, and tell them you loved them—"
"It is against a therapist's code of ethics to start a relationship with their patient," Momo said. "I'm pretty sure they are not allowed to say, 'I love you,' and so therefore, I was simply being a supportive partner."
"Then why did you guys always fall apart, Yaomomo?" Kyouka asked, aggressively gesturing at the woman in question.
All of Momo's emotional momentum hit a wall, and she bit her lip. She'd already been made to think about this; she wouldn't be having this conversation with Kyouka otherwise. But she didn't like to think about it, not as much as she might like to pretend she did.
"I'd get tired," she said, slowly. And it was true. After a while, she'd start sleeping more.
"Uhuh," said Kyouka, crossing her arms and sitting back. "Because you were expending so much emotional labor on these little twits without friends that you could no longer provide them the service they were using you for, and because they're little twits who've never known what having a friend is like, they took for granted your caring nature and lashed out when you became exhausted and unable to baby them."
Momo puffed her cheeks. As immature a move it was, it made her feel better.
(Kyouka reached over and clapped Momo's cheeks, causing the latter to make some sort of catlike noise of displeasure.)
"Honestly, Momo," Kyouka sighed. She stirred her straw around in her drink for a minute, then flashed a grin. "You sure you don't wanna give me another shot?"
"Kyouka, I love you," Momo said, "but we've tried that already. As Mina would put it, 'and they were roommates' is just not our trope."
"I'm just saying," Kyouka said. She batted her lashes for a minute, then burst into laughter. "Yeah, I getcha. But still, you have to consider the tax benefits."
Momo stood up, her time running low. She had to go to work soon. "Mmm, Kaminari's gonna have to do something else with that ring, then," she said, casually ruffling Kyouka's hair.
Kyouka cackled as she waved goodbye.
She met him because of her friend Ochako's wedding, Todoroki Shoto. He was one of the groomsmen. She was one of the bridesmaids. For them to hook up, it would have been cliché, wouldn't it?
Well, Momo was pleased to announce that she didn't. Hook up with him, that is. That wasn't saying much, honestly speaking— she wasn't much of a hookup person in the first place— but there really wasn't much to say about her behavior at all that evening: she spent it listening to him talk.
Within an hour of learning each other's names at the rehearsal dinner, he told her about his childhood. About how his father beat his mother until she had a breakdown, and that's where he got his scar. About growing up in a broken household without a mother, a runaway eldest brother, a people-pleasing elder sister, and a distant other brother, and that's why he didn't really know how to talk to people.
And she fell for it. Not romantically (though it felt like it at the time): she fell for it more in the sense that old people fall for email phishing scams. At least, that's how she felt about it after she took a quick bathroom break and realized she was dancing the same dance with Mr. Todoroki that she'd danced with so many sad boys before him.
To all the sad boys I've loved before, she thought to herself as she splashed her face with water, I'll be damned if I fall for this one more.
(It took her a hot second to make that couplet, but it felt right to do so. Maybe it would stick in her head better.)
She returned to her place at the table, feeling a little fresher, a little more determined to escape the fluttering in her chest that came when she looked at Todo— ah, it was happening again.
Wonderful. Lovely. Incredible, even! Momo was so rarely sarcastic, but she did not want to get tangled up with yet another Sad Boy, and sarcasm during moments of romantic frustration was just something she'd picked up from Kyouka during their years as roommates.
She sighed as she sat down. She decided to focus on her dessert while Todoroki stared intently at her, but he didn't say anything.
"Are you okay?" he asked after a minute of awkward silence.
Momo choked on her cake.
Or at least, she pretended to. Hearing his voice made her stomach drop into an abyss and her heart jump after it, and suddenly, her brain was screaming at her to get out. If she didn't, she was going to fall in love, she just knew it, she just knew it, and she wasn't ready for that.
"Sorry," she said, thumping her chest and grabbing her purse. "I need to go."
She couldn't relax until she was home again. Then, in her room, Momo took in a long breath. Her chest creaked, and it was hard to let the air go once it was in her lungs, but once it was gone, so was the anxiety. She shook in her seat, feeling small, trembling alone in the dark of a locked room. Kyouka wouldn't be back until after the dinner officially ended, so she just had to wait a little while longer.
Momo flopped backwards onto her pillows, grateful that she could breathe and spending a few solid minutes just appreciating the feeling.
But she couldn't slow down. She kept gulping down air as though she were drowning, the bad feelings entering and exiting and building up in her lungs again until the corners of her eyes stung with unborn tears and her muscles were tense and ah, shit, shit, shit, she was mad.
She rolled over and slammed her fist into her pillow.
Again? Again? This again, again, again? She loved how she could make a promise to herself and break it less than ten minutes later.
She was not going to fall in love with Todoroki Shoto. She wasn't even going to see him again after the wedding. He was just another sad boy, and she was not going to be his manic pixie dream girl, she was not going to be his therapist and solve all his problems.
She sniffled, trying to at least keep her pillowcase clean. (The onset of tears kind of ruined that, though.)
That's what she told herself, but the heartbeat didn't lie.
She avoided him at the wedding.
Momo knew the day would someday come when Kaminari proposed and she and Kyouka would no longer be roommates, but that didn't mean she had to be ecstatic about it. Moving out was never much fun, especially when you found your long-missing heart in the hands of your new neighbor that you met six months ago at a friend's wedding.
Because of course it would turn out like this. Of course she would sign a year-long lease on a place without checking the neighbors first because who would have thought? Who would have expected? Who would have known that her next-door neighbor was none other than Sad Boy Todoroki Shoto?
She found out when she went out onto her balcony on that first night and he gave her a heart attack with just one word.
Momo jumped so high, she could have cleared the railing on her balcony if she wanted to. Her heart beating in her chest like, bum-badum-badum-badum, she pivoted in the direction of the voice, and the moment she caught sight of his unforgettable half-and-half face, she wished a hole would crumble through the floor and let her fall to her death.
"Uhhh," she said. Her mouth was embarrassingly wide open, and though she was aware of it, she couldn't get her jaw to close no matter how hard she tried. Her cheeks flushed, the burning made worse by the nip of the chilly night air. She wished she could say something, but her brain was a useless buzz of omg omg pretty boy pretty boyyy kiss?? and throw yourself over the railing right now, do it, you coward at the same time.
All at once, Momo stopped. Her brain crashed. She stopped making that weird teakettle sound, and she found herself in control of herself again. She blinked a couple times to figure it out again, met his gaze, and, while her heart started racing again, it didn't hurt this time. It was... refreshingly nice, actually.
"I noticed you ran away from me last time we met, at Midoriya's wedding," her new neighbor Todoroki continued, his voice even and calm. Soothing to her soul, which, in all honesty, really needed some soothing. He never looked away, and neither could she, as she became nearly entranced by his pretty heterochromia. "So, I apologize if I made you uncomfortable with my excessive personal sharing. It's..." he trailed off, bit his lower lip, and looked away, at the floor off to the side, showing her his cheek. "...A bad habit, you could say. My therapist and I are trying to work on it."
Oh, Momo thought, taking control of her thoughts again. He's apologizing. She scratched the spot where her jaw met the base of her neck, reveling in this new feeling of lightness that came to her. And he goes to therapy. Those were two things that set him apart from all the sad boys before him.
"It's—" she paused to swallow down a painful lump in the back of her throat "—okay."
Todoroki briefly glanced at her, then looked down away again.
He was pretty. He was so pretty, it hurt. And he was soft, and gentle, and he apologized to her— that was new to her! That was new to her!! And so was the therapy!!
Her heart lurched forward in her chest as he shook out his head, stretched, and faced her. But, it didn't hurt so bad anymore. It didn't scare her so much anymore.
For the first time in a while, she allowed her feelings to flutter to life again. It felt like she was floating on air by some sort of magic—
"Well, it's getting late," said Todoroki, who yawned. "Goodnight."
—that immediately dissipated, popping her little bubble of romantic fantasy and dropping her unceremoniously to the floor, and she was left standing scramble-brained, watching him plod back into his apartment.
The wind tugged at the tips of her ponytail. Her heart was thudding in her chest.
"Oh," she breathed.
She was in love.
The problem with being a single person when pretty much all your friends were all in committed relationships was that those friends kept on trying to set you up on dates with their other single friends even though you were perfectly happy not meeting other single people for the purposes of dating.
Still, Kyouka had a way with words.
And by, "a way with words," Momo meant that Kyo said she'd meet her at a particular bench in a particular aquarium one particular evening and then sent her a text ten minutes after the appointed time saying, "Hey! Sorry, I won't be able to make it, but don't worry, you won't be alone~" along with a coy little wink.
Momo stared at the c; on her screen, propping her head up with her elbow and trying to not slam her forehead into the wall from sheer exasperation. She sighed, already coming up with a flurry of excuses to not do this again. It wasn't that she didn't want to go out with anyone— it had been nearly a year since her last breakup, after all. She just… would rather it be someone she knew. She really wasn't interested in meeting new people. For as she hated to admit it, she had her heart set on one person and one alone: her neighbor Todoroki.
Sure, they had been neighbors for a couple weeks now, but nooo, she hadn't gone out of her way to talk to him since that first day. Heck, she couldn't even say she'd ever gone out of her way to speak to him; it was just by coincidence that he caught her out on their balconies.
She just didn't think she should. Maybe it was her traditional upbringing, maybe it was something that spoke to deeper psychological issues, but she just figured that if it was meant to be, it would be. She'd gone out of her way to do things for her previous partners, and they all fell apart for the same reason, so maybe it was just time for her to sit back and wait for someone to come to her for once.
Momo nearly dropped her phone as she leapt off the bench, her heart rate having doubled in the span of half a second. "To-To-To-Todoroki!" she yelped, scrambling to catch her phone before it shattered on the floor. "Wh-wh-what brings— what brings you here?"
Todoroki stared at her, his expression blank, but unjudgmental. "A friend of mine invited me out, but they're kind of a flake."
"Ah," said Momo, relaxing her shoulders and adjusting her purse. "My friend stood me up, too."
Todoroki hummed. He shoved his hands into his pockets and glanced over at the entrance. "You wanna go together anyway?"
Momo blinked at him, and her mouth formed a little 'o'.
If it's meant to be, it will be.
The phrase flashed through her mind again, and she could not deny the fact that, while it did technically reek of friendly interference, he came to her. This could still be the sign she was waiting for, telling her it was meant to be.
A smile tugged at her lips as a childish sort of excitement bloomed in her chest. "Sure," she said, shyly offering him her hand.
He looked at her hand with a blank expression. He didn't take it (though it felt more like he was too awkward to know what to do in the situation) and gestured vaguely in the direction of the entrance.
"Let's go," he said as Momo dropped her hand back down to her side.
She trotted after him, happy as a clam at high tide.
"So," she said, clasping her hands together behind her back as they took in the glowing sight of the fluorescent jellyfish through a window, "who were you going to come with? If I may ask, of course, and it's not too much."
Todoroki shrugged, staring at the jellies as they floated by. "It's not a big deal, what you ask me. I've already told you the worst I have to offer," he said. His face was illuminated by the blue glow of the tank, and Momo found it distracting to a near-dizzying degree. "My old neighbor's name was Kaminari Denki. You moved into his old place, actually, but that's beside the point. He was the one who asked me if I wanted to go to the aquarium with him."
He glanced over at her, and Momo hastily looked away, as though she weren't just staring at him. Her heart was pounding in her chest; her face was burning like her cheeks were made of kindling.
So it was another one of Kyouka's spontaneous blind dates, she thought, though it wasn't as though she were mad about it. It sort of took away from the fate thing, although perhaps the fact that Kyouka and her fiancé had chosen Todoroki at all instead of someone else was the work of many smaller steps of fate all coming together on this one first date to the aquarium.
"What was that?" Todoroki asked.
Momo jumped, startled. "O-oh, did I say that— did I say that out loud?" she stammered.
Todoroki tilted his head at her, either beckoning her to explain or answering 'yes' to her question. She couldn't tell which he meant, so she awkwardly, hastily waved him off and said, "Never mind."
Todoroki shrugged and began to wander away, evidently not the type to push or pry.
(That was nice. And fresh, too. So many things about this man were nice and fresh and new, new, new as the morning dew.)
Momo followed her heart as he moved on to the next exhibit. The tapping of their shoes on the tile floor echoed through the dark hall, her light, quick steps and his slow, nearly-silent ones. It was funny, almost, how he could make his presence nearly undetectable if he wanted, considering how wildly attractive he was. (Attractive in what way? she could hear Kyouka's smug question in her head. Attractive as in, his regular appearance— with his half white, half red hair, different colored eyes, and a bright red splotch of a burn scar— was just so extraordinary, it attracted attention. Obviously.) How did he do it? She wondered.
And then she remembered the type of household he was raised in.
And she said, "I have a thing for sad boys."
"Do you now?" he asked, absently, half mumbling.
She nodded. Her hands began to tremble. Why was she telling him this? The words had simply slipped out unbidden, as though they had decided on their own to be known. "Soft, often charismatic, sad boys."
Todoroki grunted. "Aren't you a bit old to be into boys?" he asked. "You're what, twenty-three? Twenty-four?"
Her face grew hot and she looked away, although she pretended it was because they suddenly walked somewhere bright. "Twenty-three," she said. "And that's not— that is not what I meant!"
Todoroki stopped and stared down the next hall, the kind that was supposed to make you feel like you were underwater, with the glass walls and arched ceiling. He glanced down at her again, making her feel strangely small. She both hated and relished the feeling, like she was sick but enjoying it for some reason.
(Because it was familiar.)
"You shouldn't infantilize your romantic interests," he said. It was a sort of gentle scolding, like he were teaching some child who should have known better. Which, if she were being honest, wasn't entirely unwarranted— she should have known better. She'd just never thought of it that way until he put it into words for her. "If you do, then they can never really be your partner."
Momo stared at the reflection of them in the glass wall. She could see the fish swimming beyond the glass, back and forth with very little concern for the petty concerns of human beings. The warping of their reflections made Todoroki look even taller in comparison to her than he really was, and suddenly, Momo felt stupidly silly for having said anything to him that evening.
(Her heart tightened in her chest.)
"You're right," she said. Because he was.
A shark swam by, distracting her, keeping her from wallowing in her bad thoughts and feelings.
She started moving again, and this time, it was Todoroki who trotted to catch up to her. She didn't say anything to him, for fear of making a fool of herself again, and he wasn't really much of a talker, period, so they walked through the rest of the fish tunnel hall without conversing. It wasn't silent— there were other people there, talking, as smooth jazz played quietly in the background— so it wasn't as awkward as it could have been. In fact, she was actually able to calm herself.
She was fine. She was used to this.
"Sorry," Todoroki mumbled as they started on their way to the next exhibit. "I made you feel bad again, didn't I?"
"No, it's fine!" Momo reflexively said, flinching at the way her voice echoed in the cavernous hall.
(She stole a glance at Todoroki, only to be surprised by the intensity of her stare.)
"You don't have to pretend for my sake," he said. "I won't be upset. It's better to tell the truth anyway, in my opinion. I only lie to people I don't respect, 'cause I don't think they can handle the truth."
Momo looked down at her shoes, her legs running through her walk cycle almost as though they were machines set to autopilot.
"Sorry," she said, because it was easier than saying, 'you're right; you hurt me.' Because it wasn't his fault she was like this, that he didn't know she was like this. And she liked him, and she wanted him to like her back. If she told him, he wouldn't like her.
(Who would want damaged goods, after all?)
"You have nothing to apologize for," he said. "If I did something to hurt you, you need to tell me so that I don't do it again."
Momo tightened her grip on the railing that separated the two of them from a dolphin's skeleton. She felt Todoroki's gaze on her again, and she knew he wasn't trying to pressure her or anything, but the beating of her heart made her feel like she was bleeding from within.
"Please don't stare at me," she whispered. She wished she was ready. She wanted to be ready.
Wordlessly, Todoroki looked away.
Was she ready?
She started walking again, tugging him along by the sleeve of his jacket.
"I wish I could tell you," she said as they wove through the people and the exhibits.
"You don't have to tell me," he replied.
"I wish I could tell you," she repeated, a bit more urgently. "I want you to know. Because I—" Her throat cut off, and her words went on strike.
"You don't owe me anything," Todoroki insisted. He pulled his sleeve out of her fragile grip and caught her by the wrist. "I told you about my past with abuse because I thought you were a trustworthy person. I thought you could handle it, and I felt like talking about it that day."
She turned around to face him. "At a wedding rehearsal dinner?" she asked, incredulous.
"We're at an aquarium; do you really think this is any better of a place to talk about your trauma?" Todoroki shot back, his brow furrowing from his intensity.
They stared at each other for what felt like forever, ignoring the whispers of the people nearby.
"You're right," she said, words clipped.
Todoroki let go of her wrist, looking away as he said, "Sorry."
"Let's go home," she said, adjusting her purse. She looked at him, heart softening at his expression. She rubbed her wrist and said, "It's okay."
He gave her a wary look, one that probably said, "No, it's not; it's really not," so she did her best to smile and say, "I mean it." Because she did. She really did.
She offered him her hand again.
Todoroki looked between her face and her hand several times, anxious concern written all over his face. He reached out to take it— but hesitated.
She took his hand.
The last person she'd told about her past relationships' failings was Kyouka. Even then, it had been more of an episodic tale, where she'd update Kyouka every time something fresh happened. She'd never really gone over the whole ordeal, for lack of a better word, from start to finish with someone who knew nothing, who didn't know her emotional shorthand.
It was cathartic.
But it was also exhausting, frustrating, and sad.
Exhausting because up until she finished telling Todoroki all the details of the fiasco of her first high school girlfriend an hour into the night, she hadn't realized how much there was to her life, and why she was like this. Everything went so far back, and how much everything after that both built off that experience and shaped her as a person. Everything was connected, and she hadn't even fully realized it because always, when she talked about it, the other person knew at least one part of it. Todoroki didn't always immediately understand her. It was frustrating, and it made her sad. Sad, sad, sadder than all the sad men and women she'd dated in the past, she was pretty sure.
She sighed as she leaned against her balcony railing, exhausted. It had become a ritual of sorts for them at this point, to hang out together on their balconies after the moon came out. They'd stay up late talking— not always about their past, thank goodness. Momo wouldn't know what to do with herself if she turned into one of the very depressing, draining people that, if she had to put it bluntly, made her like this.
Not that Todoroki did to her what she did to them. While he listened to her (obviously), he never coddled her, or gave her advice. Which was a good thing, in her opinion: she'd been coddling herself, letting herself wallow in self-pity for far too long at this point. She wished he told her he loved her, though. Even if it made sense that he didn't.
They weren't a thing, after all.
(She kind of wished they were, though.)
She still enjoyed their time together, getting to know each other. In exchange for her life story, she learned that he made up with his mother before he left high school, and that he sends her money and letters several times a month. She learned that his favorite food was cold soba, because his older sister used to take him to a restaurant that specialized in it when he did a good job. She learned that he had a phase in high school where he'd try to bleach the red out of his hair, although it never entirely worked for one reason or another.
The night sky was littered with little silver pinpricks, twinkling alongside the round, white moon in the sky. A breeze tugged at the tips of her hair and the hem of her shirt, caressed her bare arms and legs. They were enjoying the night together.
"The moon is very beautiful tonight," Todoroki said after a spell.
"Mhmm," Momo hummed. There were so many feelings going on inside her at the moment, she couldn't quite pinpoint what their names were, but they weren't bad feelings. Feelings weren't inherently good or bad, after all, because they weren't actions. She was enjoying them, actually, and maybe, now that he understood her, she could finally say to him what she'd been wanting for a while.
"I think," she said, and suddenly, terror was all up in her throat, trying to cut her off like last time. She swallowed it down, though, for it was just a habit. She wasn't in danger; she could say it. "I think I'm falling in love with you."
Todoroki tilted his head at her, inviting her to go on.
"And," she continued, and her chest started tightening and tightening, so much that she was scared that it would turn into a black hole from which no nice feelings could ever escape again and she would just end up radiating fear and sadness for the rest of her life. She put a hand to her chest, rumpled her shirt, and pretended to pull the fear out from her chest, letting it all go in one long, smooth breath. "That scares me. As you might be able to tell." She laughed, nervous.
There was a long pause. Todoroki shifted his position against the balcony rail, his pajamas softly swishing against the iron bars as the crickets sang their little songs. The night breeze tugged again at Momo's hair, brushed against the back of her neck, and sent chills up her arms and down her spine.
"It's okay," Todoroki said, and suddenly, Momo could breathe easy again. "I was terrified when I started liking Midoriya, too. I didn't know that love wasn't supposed to feel bad."
Momo's head was spinning, but Todoroki kept on talking, his dull, almost monotone voice soothing the sharp fragments of her mind, though she couldn't exactly process what he was saying.
"Wait," she said, and Todoroki stopped. "Midoriya? You mean Midoriya Izuku? Whose wedding rehearsal dinner we met at?"
Todoroki nodded, his expression surprisingly blank and unreadable. "He didn't like me back," he said simply.
"Oh," Momo said. She swallowed, unsure of what to say. "I'm sorry."
Todoroki shrugged. "It's okay," he said. "It was in high school anyway."
Momo felt her heart flutter back to life in her chest again. "I see," she said.
"He was the first person I told about my father," Todoroki continued, leaning against the railing and staring up at the sky.
Momo stared as his expression gradually softened, smiling faintly at the moon. It seemed like he had a halo floating above him almost, with the warm, yellow light from inside his apartment lighting him from the back.
"Is that why you felt like talking about it at his wedding?" she asked, leaning into him ever so slightly.
"Who knows?" he answered. He snorted, then blew a lock of hair out of his eyes.
Momo reached out and brushed his bangs out of his eyes, her fingertips just barely grazing his forehead in the process. He turned to her, surprised, his eyes widening by a tiny fraction and shining in the moonlight.
"Oh," he said softly. His breath tickled her nose.
Suddenly, Momo realized just how close their faces were, just how far over her railing she had leaned, and she blushed. "Sorry," she said, fumbling around in an attempt to get back to her own side without falling over.
Todoroki reached out and stabilized her.
For a moment, it felt like time stopped. His hand was warm, the pressure grounding. The breeze was gone, the air perfectly still.
Their eyes met, and Momo swore, if he let go, she wouldn't even fall that far before she started flying.
Slowly, though, she leaned backwards until her feet touched down to earth again, and the weight on her heels drew her back into the real world.
"I love you," she whispered, and this time, the words made something good bloom in her chest.
"What was that?" Todoroki asked.
"I love you," she repeated, louder, riding on the high of the night. She was not afraid. She smiled at him.
For the first time since meeting him, Todoroki's face flushed a dark red. It seemed as if his face would catch fire on its own, if that were at all possible. And he said, "oh." As he was apt to do.
There was a pause. He wouldn't meet her gaze, staring instead down at his hands, drumming anxiously on his balcony rail. Then, he stopped. Took a deep breath, and looked her in the eye.
(Her heart sped up.)
"Step back," he said.
She obeyed, but more out of confusion than anything else. "Huh?"
"I'm not good with words," he explained, climbing onto the railing. "I'm better with actions. Step back again."
She took a few steps back, panicking a little bit. She could see what was coming, but there was— he wasn't being serious about it, right? There was no way— he wouldn't actually, right?
Todoroki leapt over the gap between their balconies, letting out a string of swear words as he skittered to a stop right before he crashed into her. Momo yelped, scampering backwards from surprise.
Todoroki shook himself out, brushed the imaginary dust off his clothes, then took a step towards Momo. "May I?" he asked, a hand hovering just above her cheek.
Momo swallowed. He said some pretty words just now, and while the way he delivered it was more awkward than anything else, he was so close to her at the moment, sending her heart aflutter, her stomach into loops, and her mind into a complete tizzy. "May you… what?" she faintly replied.
She saw his Adam's apple bob. "Show you," he said, his voice low. "My answer, that is."
She could feel the heat radiating out of him, and she was certain he could feel her blush, too. She feared she would sound like a tiny teakettle if she opened her mouth to speak, so she bit her tongue and simply nodded.
Gently, ever so gently, he cupped her cheek in his hand, and tenderly, ever so tenderly, he tilted her chin up to meet his gaze. He closed his eyes and leaned in. Momo's eyelids fluttered shut, and she let out a tiny little wisp of a sigh as softly, ever so softly, Todoroki pressed his lips against hers.
Warmth flooded her chest. She put her hand on his, just to feel if he had it, too. She ended up with his heartbeat just under the palm of her hand, its gentle, rhythmic bum-badum-badum-badum reminding her that they were both alive and real. Regardless of their pasts or how they got there, they made it to each other.
And oh, it was love.
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