In the Wake of Scandal: A Forum Post
(Part of the In the Wake of Scandal AU)
A Blunt and Honest Defense of Enji Todoroki
posted 21-7-2017 01:34, by Hello_Mr_Hero
I’ll start by saying this post may simply get buried, and if not, I may be opening myself up to a flood of hatemail for my title alone (a lot of which will probably come from people who did not even bother reading the full post). Still, in light of how things have unfolded since Enji Todoroki’s arrest, this is a story I have to share.
I’ve been an earnest user of HeroForum for the last seven years, back when the active userbase was small enough to identify every poster by name. I’ve seen it develop and grow in ways, both good and bad, to become the cornerstone of hero enthusiast exchange that it is today. In that time, I’ve gotten comfortable posting in the background, or simply lurking some days, and so most of you may not know my username. And certainly, none of you know my real name. But that’s not something I can keep hidden if I want to explain my story in full. So like heroes do—I’m willing to take a risk and make that sacrifice.
My name is Otsuka Koji. I’m 35 years old, and I live with my family in the outskirts of Tokyo.
I have one daughter and one son, both sleeping soundly a few rooms over while I type this by desk light. If it were not for Enji Todoroki, neither of them would be alive.
For those of you who have followed Endeavor’s heroics closely, you may already recognize my name. You may already know the incident. It is not the most glamorous rescue that Endeavor has carried out since no villains were involved, but it is the one I owe the lives of my family to.
At 9:14 pm, June 7th, 2010, a power surge through my apartment building caused the electricity to fail. Many of my neighbors’ electronics fried in the surge, and due to frayed insulation of a cable in the apartment below mine, fire sparked against one of the outlets. It crawled up the back wall, then spread laterally, and the carpet carried the flame to the adjacent wall where the front door to this apartment lay. I can still see the trail of black describing its path when I shut my eyes.
The fire alarm triggered, but in the wake of the power surge, my children as well as their babysitter for the night assumed it was one of the many alarms that had been triggered due to the reset of the building’s power. My son, who was only 2 at the time, was afraid of the loud noise, so our babysitter focused on comforting him and keeping him calm as she waited for the alarms to quiet. She, my daughter, and my son remained inside the apartment, unaware of the blaze spreading one floor below them.
Our babysitter called my wife and I about the power surge, and we left our dinner early to come home.
I will never forget the sense of dread, catching sight of emergency lights, and the scream of sirens, growing brighter and louder as my wife and I neared home. I will never forget the horror of rounding the corner, and seeing it was my own building in flames. My children were not among the crowd of my neighbors who had escaped, standing back behind the row of firetrucks which had gathered. Hoses and water-quirked rescue workers attempted to stifle the fire which, to my eyes, had hopelessly engulfed everything.
Those next seven and a half minutes were the worst I’ve experienced in my life. I asked around to every rescuer on site if they had seen my daughter, my son. I found myself wondering if coffins were sold small enough for a two year old child, if joint funerals were held for people who had died together. I couldn’t consider it. I didn’t want to.
I don’t remember fully, but my wife tells me at one point, I just dropped to my knees, and whispered endlessly under my breath about how it couldn’t be possible, it just couldn’t be possible.
I must have stayed like that until my wife shook my shoulder. She was screaming at me to look, pointing and screaming. I was terrified to know what she spotted. But I turned anyway.
And I saw a man, engulfed in flame, stepping out of the front door of our apartment building as calmly as a man walking out of a bank. Enji Todoroki held five people under his arms. I instantly recognized the two small heads of my children. When he put them down, they could stand under their own power.
The building burned down that night. My family and I lost every possession we owned. But no one died in the blaze. My children survived.
My daughter Reiko is 13 now. She adores the color orange more than anyone I’ve ever met. Her new bedroom is orange top to bottom, and it’s filled with boyband posters of a group that she and my wife Mio adore. I help her with her biology homework at night, and just the other day she pulled me aside after dinner and told me, full of embarrassment, that she’d just got her very first boyfriend.
Aki is 9. He’s got the brightest smile I’ve seen on a child, and he wears it effortlessly, all the time. He just took up an interest in ballet, and my wife and I got him lessons starting this August. He likes to write stories, both in his head and on paper, and he and Reiko will sit in the living room together, Aki reading, Reiko listening, cheering, rooting him on.
I’ve seen the reports released to the public about Enji Todoroki’s arrest. I’ve read through the pieces of Shouto’s training regimen, everything that the public has seen, and it does sicken me. My heart goes out to Shouto Todoroki. I wish he’d never experienced these things at the hands of his father.
But I do not think he should have disclosed any of it.
The circumstances aren’t fair for him. I have no doubt the accusations are genuine. I’m sick to learn that the hero I owe my children’s lives to, who I’ve followed extensively on the HeroForum for the last seven years now, is an abusive man.
But Shouto’s disclosure was a selfish act. He should not have gone to the authorities. He should not have pursued justice like this.
And it has nothing to do with fairness. I base this stance on the cruel facts of the matter. Because it’s not just my children whose lives Endeavor has saved. It’s been countless others. My story isn’t unique.
It would have been countless more that Endeavor saved, if he were not in jail right now.
I fear people may have died already, since Enji Todoroki’s arrest, who might have been saved if Endeavor were still protecting these streets. I dread the day I read about another house fire, and look at the death count, and find myself haunted wondering if that number may have been lower in a world where Endeavor was still there to save people.
According to the police reports, Enji’s abuse of Shouto started more than ten years ago. The apartment fire that nearly killed my children was seven years ago. My fears are not empty fears. The people who will die are not imaginary. Because if Shouto Todoroki had spoken out against his father like this 10, or 9, or 8, or 7 years prior,
Then my children would not be alive.
–With full heart-felt honesty, Hello_Mr_Hero, Otsuka Koji