Honestly, Aizawa had never really understood the importance of holidays.
It hadn’t been something he’d been raised with, and it was something he’d never learned. He viewed most holidays as time off, a day when he could catch up on work or sleep or spending time with other people. It was nice, but he’d never understood actually celebrating. This, however, was a ‘holiday’ he didn’t get a day off for and therefore, to Aizawa, it was just like any other day.
That didn’t go for everyone else, though, unfortunately, and that was apparent from the very moment he was woken up with a near-deafening screech of ‘ Happy birthday, Shouta! ’ from Yamada Hizashi, the man he lived with and was, sadly, married to.
Aizawa had gotten out of there as fast as he could, before Hizashi could bombard him with more celebrating and affection. He’d said he had to drop off some reports at the police station, which was technically true, though Aizawa could’ve easily waited a week to hand them in. He dressed, not even caring to brush his hair or properly eat, grabbed his bag, and left the house with only a few words to a way-too-energetic Hizashi.
He’d dropped off the villain reports at the police station and left without saying much, and had started making his way towards the school, which had brought him here.
Aizawa stared down, not moving, a bit surprised.
He usually drove with Hizashi to work, but he did occasionally walk, and he always wound up stopping here. He was in front of an alleyway that opened up between a bakery and some trinket shop, a place where a bunch of stray cats seemed to use as a safe place. Both shops used the alleyway for their trash, and the cats seemed to like playing and sleeping in the boxes and various things dropped there, and Aizawa was sure leftover food was dropped in the dumpsters here, both from the bakery and from the surrounding eateries on the street.
Bad food. It’s unhealthy for them, he thought, staring at the cat purring and rubbing up against his legs, tail high as she brushed his face against the fabric of his jumpsuit. He had a habit of feeding the cats here and giving them cat treats when he passed by, and the cats usually didn’t pay him much mind, typically allowing for a few pets before Aizawa had to be on his way, but today…
“You, too, huh?” Aizawa sighed, leaning down to pet the lithe cat that rubbed up against him, scratching her between the ears. He hadn’t thought to bring any actual cat food, but he always had a backup in case of emergencies.
He patted around his utility belt, quickly digging into the pocket where he knew he kept this particular thing, grabbing a handful of pellets and giving the cat who’d now wound herself between his legs another pet before throwing the cat treats onto the ground, spreading them over the concrete of the sidewalk.
The cat at his legs purred louder, giving his legs one last happy rub before turning, tail high and quivering with happiness, and started to gnaw at the cat treats he’d thrown on the ground. Aizawa stood back up, watching as other cats made their way from the alleyway to the food he’d put out, and gave another sigh when he checked the time and realized it was time to go.
So far, that was already two things out of the ordinary, and school hadn’t even started yet.
He could already tell it was going to be a long day.
He made it to the school early, as he always did, but this time, Aizawa actually hesitated before entering the hallway the staff room was down. He’d been working with most of these people for the past six years, and they undoubtedly knew. He supposed it was irrational for them not to know after working with him for over half a decade, and last year, they’d taken it upon themselves to kidnap him for a party. He only hoped that that had been a one-time thing, given that he’d been turning thirty last year. Thirty-one was far more insignificant, he decided, and they probably wouldn’t care to harass him as much.
Besides, he’d made the mistake of leaving his paperwork in there, paperwork for an expulsion and transfer that he’d wanted to get done today so it’d be over and finished and he could stop going through red tape. If he wanted that done today, he really needed to pick it up from his desk. His desk in the staff room, that was. Which meant he’d also have to face Hizashi again.
After over a decade of dating him, Aizawa had learned how to put up with Hizashi’s constant stream of energy, but today it was directed at him, not at someone else or some upcoming event, and there was no doubt in his mind that Hizashi would somehow corner him at some point today and force him into some celebration and not take no for an answer. It was only a matter of time before that happened, and Aizawa just had to avoid him until he couldn’t anymore.
Aizawa rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration and started slowly making his way down the hallway. Even though he’d built his entire career on being stealthy and blending in, there was no way he could sneak his way into the staff room without everyone else noticing. There was only one entrance, and they were used to his antics, anyways. Trying to get past them was illogical, since they’d probably just track him down at some point, anyways.
He didn’t even let himself look into the staff room before he pulled the door open, half-knowing what was waiting for him.
Half-knowing, though, couldn’t prepare him for the onslaught of noise that made Aizawa grimace and duck his face into his scarf, giving his co workers and their... decorations a hard stare.
“Happy birthday, Shouta-kun!”
It was Nemuri who yelled it this time, sat on top the desk right in front of the door, giving him a wide grin. A bang immediately followed it, making Aizawa flinch at the noise of it, and he turned his glare to Hizashi beside her, who had a still smoking party popper in his hand.
His eyes wandered around the room. His coworkers were all here, all of them grinning and smiling at him. A banner stretched itself across the ceiling, sloppily tied to some of the support beams there and just barely holding on. The writing on it was neat, and Aizawa immediately recognized Nemuri’s formal handwriting. He wouldn’t admit it out loud, but despite the hazardous way it was tied to the ceiling, it did look kind of nice. Maybe he’d keep it after they somehow got it down.
Happy birthday, Aizawa-sensei!!
There were balloons, too, brightly colored ones, tied all over the room. And confetti at Hizashi’s feet where he’d blown the party popper. It was all going to be an enormous mess to clean up, and he could only hope that they didn’t expect him to clean it.
“Aizawa-san, you didn’t tell me it was your birthday!”
Aizawa almost wanted to walk out of the room.
It wasn’t that he didn’t like Toshinori. They were getting along quite well, despite Aizawa edging towards disliking him when he’d initially came to UA. They had different styles, and Toshinori was still a naive first-time teacher, but he was a good guy, at least, and didn’t seem to have much of a problem doing what Aizawa told him to on most occasions. But now—Toshinori was still emotional, and he made a big deal out of things like this, as did Hizashi.
“I don’t like birthdays,” Aizawa told him, half mumbling it into his scarf as he actually stepped into the room. The other staff members were here, too, most of them only half paying attention. Kan seemed to be getting some sort of amusement out of this, from the way the much larger man sat at his desk, grinning at Aizawa.
“That’s a lie!” Hizashi sauntered up to him, pulling an arm around Aizawa’s waist as he did. Aizawa groaned, but refused to push him off, instead going easily as Hizashi yanked him close to his side. Hizashi leaned in, being obvious about his affection, “You like celebrating my birthday.”
“Stop that,” It came out with less irritation than Aizawa had meant it to, and he returned his gaze to Toshinori. The other man looked almost sheepishly at him, though the thin smile on his face remained. He was his usual self and by now, he’d accepted his smaller form as much as possible, though, Aizawa noticed, he was still adamant about wearing those baggy bright-yellow suits. Aizawa wasn’t much to talk, though, given his usual attire.
“I don’t like my birthday,” He clarified with another sigh, rolling his eyes at the way Toshinori’s face turned to an expression of pity. He looked around again, staring at the balloons and he banner and the way Nemuri and the others were still grinning at him. He raised an eyebrow at Nemuri in particular, “With that expression, I’m almost afraid that you’re going to play some sadistic prank on me.”
That wiped the grin right off of her face, and Nemuri crossed her arms over her chest, painted red lips twitching downwards in an offended look, “Come on, Shouta, don’t be a grump. You’re not allowed to be an unhappy asshole today.”
“Oh, but what if I want to be an unhappy asshole? It is my birthday, after all,” He smirked, pulling from Hizashi’s hold so that he could go to his desk. The object of his desires was still sitting on top of it, the paperwork untouched from where he’d left it before heading home the previous night.
“You’re horrible, Shouta-kun,” Nemuri chided him, though she didn’t yell at him in irritation like he’d tried to get her to. That was a bad sign, and he recognized it immediately. It distracted him momentarily, one of his hands still on the file with the paperwork in it, as he narrowed his eyes at her, the offended look clearing off her face, quickly replaced by one of her terrible smirks, a smirk that let him know that she had something up her sleeve, “Fine. Be a grump. But you’re going to meet us at Lucky Cat Cafe at six today, and you can be a grump there.”
“I have work to do.”
“You’re caught up on work,” Hizashi jumped in, suddenly at Aizawa’s side again. He leaned in, purring into his ear like a cat, and Aizawa cursed the fact that his quirk made him able to form his voice into almost any noise, “No need to get ahead, Shouta.”
He needed another excuse if Hizashi was going to pull that.
“Someone needs to watch the kids at the dorms tonight.”
“Aizawa, are you starting to lose your memory already ? Your kids and mine are doing a joint activity tonight and one of my staff will be watching over them,” Kan looked entirely too pleased to be speaking up from across Aizawa, and he wanted to do nothing but wipe that stupid smile off of his face. They’d planned for this.
Three things. Three things were already out of the ordinary, and this was by far the worst of them. School hadn’t even started yet and he was already trying to come up with some excuse to get him out of this situation. They were all ganging up on him, and they hadn’t left him a lot of room to come up with something.
“I’m training Shinsou Hitoshi today,” He tried. He hadn’t actually scheduled with the kid today, but Aizawa was sure there was some way to bribe the kid into being quiet. He didn’t like to use his status to get what he wanted, but Shinsou did idolize him and would probably jump at the chance to spend more time around Aizawa.
“Nice try, babe, but I already asked him and he said you hadn’t scheduled with him until tomorrow,” Hizashi also sounded entirely too happy about this situation, and too gleeful to shoot down every one of Aizawa’s protests and excuses. Hizashi tsked at him, voice dropping to a playfully mocking tone, “Trying to use your favorite student to get out of this is playing dirty.”
“I don’t have favorite students.”
“Don’t change the subject,” There was a slight giggle in Nemuri’s voice, and she touched her lips lightly as she spoke, shooting him a wink. “You’ll be there at six whether you like it or not, Shouta-kun.”
“Aizawa-san, it’ll be fun,” Toshinori was obviously trying to make the situation better, but his voice just got more on Aizawa’s nerves than the rest of them did. “Celebrating can be fun!”
“No, it can’t,” Aizawa mumbled, wanting to be done with the conversation. He dropped his head with a groan, flipping open the file he still had his hand on, reading over the partially done paperwork a few times, wondering over and over again why he was surrounded by these types. He unfortunately just seemed to attract stubborn extroverts and excitable people, if his partner and assortment of ‘friends’ were any indication.
Three things out of the ordinary before the first bell. Aizawa really hated when there was a break in his routine.
He could tell immediately that something was off when he walked into the classroom at first bell. He prided himself in the fact that the kids respected him (or were afraid of him) enough that they typically were in their seats and pretty quiet as soon as he walked through the door. It made his life a lot easier, since he didn’t have to hassle them into their assigned desks and get them to calm down. They could still be terribly rowdy and loud, but that was usually only after something actually riled them up.
Today was different. None of them were in their seats. They were all crowded around a desk. His desk.
“...Is there a reason none of you are sitting down?”
Half of them startled at the sound of his voice, as if they’d been too involved in their personal murmurings that they hadn’t even heard him slide the door open and walk in. A few turned to him, looking plainly guilty, and Aizawa narrowed his dark eyes at the few students who dared to actually meet his gaze.
“Sensei—!” Izuku was one of those students, and Aizawa could almost see the way his harsh gaze was making the kid sweat. “We were—Uh—”
Aizawa said nothing, and that clearly made the problem child even more nervous. He usually got entertainment out of this, out of watching kids badly try to lie to him or hide what they were doing, but he had a sinking suspicion of what was going on and was trying to figure out how they could possibly know. His teaching record was technically public, but had to be requested, and was typically only requested when a parent or someone wanted to know about his expulsion and graduation record. He hadn’t thought any of the kids would do it to find out something as inane as this.
One of the other teachers could’ve said something. Hizashi had a notoriously big mouth. It was a wonder that he somehow hadn’t let it slip to the kids that he was married to Aizawa. He could’ve gotten too excited in a conversation with a student and let his plans for today slip, and one question could’ve led to another, and that one kid could’ve then told everyone else.
Or, really, Aizawa wouldn’t put it past Izuku to request his teaching record to find out more about him. That kid knew more knowledge, both useful and useless, about heroes than anyone else Aizawa had ever met. This wouldn’t be that odd for him to try to figure out.
Regardless, something was clearly up and it was too much of coincidence to not be related to his birthday.
“We were just—”
Aizawa had to keep himself from flinching at the loud, shrillness of Mina’s voice as she all but yelled his name in a singy voice, officially alerting the rest of the class that he’d arrived.
“I wonder if I should give you all detention for not being ready to start class at the bell…?”
The horrified look the twenty students gave him almost made this worth it.
“Hm, I’d have to schedule you all on different days if I did that. That shouldn’t be too hard, though. Where did I put my detention slips…?”
More horror. It was definitely worth it now.
A murmuring erupted between the kids, and though Aizawa couldn’t pick up anything specific with how quietly the kids were talking, they sounded worried. Aizawa leaned back, letting them deliberate and grow even more worried, before one voice finally broke out of the crowd.
“Sensei, we wanted to give you something for your birthday as a gift for what you’ve done for us this year,” It was Momo, and the rest of her classmates hushed with the sound of her voice. It made sense—the rest of them seemed to look to her with some sort of respect, and it was no surprise that she was automatically the one to speak for them. She stood at the center of the crowd of twenty teenagers, at the front of his desk, “But, due to some poor planning, we didn’t realize that the bell was going to ring so soon.”
Aizawa continued to do nothing but stare at them, watching them get more and more nervous under his gaze. First Hizashi in the morning, then that cat rubbing up against him, then his co workers harassing him into half-agreeing to some get-together, and now this.
“I won’t give you detention if you tell me how you found out,” He finally decided. In reality, he’d had no intention of actually punishing them in the first place. Scheduling twenty different detentions for different days and times so kids wouldn’t be together was too much of a hassle, and Aizawa didn’t want to actually bother with that when he had much better things to be doing.
(He told himself it was simply irrational to waste time giving twenty kids detention, but he found himself hoping his students didn’t see through the ruse covering up his soft parts.)
“It was Mic-sensei.”
Aizawa had to shove his face into his scarf to keep from actually laughing. There was no hesitation. Kaminari immediately spoke up, blurting out whose fault it was and incriminated their English teacher as soon as Aizawa asked.
“I’ll kill him,” Aizawa said, rolling his eyes and finally moving towards his still-crowded desk.
“Can you please wait until I finish my training with him before you do?” Jirou asked him dryly, and Aizawa couldn’t stop the smirk that forced itself onto his face.
“Sure,” He moved behind his desk, every one of the kids still staring at him. He raised an eyebrow at the small crowd, “Go to your seats so we can start class.”
Not one of them moved.
“I really will give you all detention.”
The one to speak up was the kid in the back, the kid who Aizawa had just moved into the class in the last week. Honestly, Aizawa was a little surprised to see him following the rest of the crowd so easily. Aizawa knew him a little better than he knew the others—and Aizawa actually knew the others pretty well —and he hadn’t necessarily thought that he’d be involved in this nonsense. Still, the kid stared at him, tired eyes matching Aizawa’s, a stoic expression on his face as he stood a little further than the rest of them and spoke up finally.
“Look under your desk,” Shinsou told him, and half the kids immediately whipped around to stare at him.
“It was supposed to be a surprise, asshole! You ruined it!” God, even Bakugou was participating. Aizawa groaned at the stupidity of this all. It was a waste of time. He could’ve been lecturing by now. They didn’t have a lot of homeroom time before it was Hizashi’s turn to come in and teach his class, and Aizawa was already trying to decide what to do with him.
“Calm down,” Aizawa ordered, sitting down in the chair pushed into his desk. He waited, watching them, trying to see if he could make them scatter back to their seats without much more trouble. Teenagers were unfortunately stubborn, though, and when they got an idea into their heads, they tended to not listen to him as much, if at all.
Finally, he gave in, kicking his foot under his desk and instantly making contact with something large, plush, and soft. That… hadn’t been what he’d expected at all. He hadn’t really known what to expect with these kids, but that certainly surprised him and threw him.
He could’ve sworn he’d left his sleeping bag under Hizashi’s desk in the staff room, where it usually was when he decided not to use it…? He’d seen it just before coming to class. There was no way he was imagining things when he very specifically remembered seeing it earlier.
He could almost hear the excitement buzzing in the room when he pushed his chair out from the desk a little and bent over to look under it. Sure enough, bright yellow met his eyes, but it was brighter than his sleeping bag was, and much more new. Now that he thought about it, it looked suspiciously like the newer model of the one he was so attached to—
This was exactly what Aizawa had been trying to avoid.
“This isn’t necessary.”
He stared up at his class from where he was still leaning down. They were silent, all twenty of them, and the excitement still buzzed in the air, starting to die out a little.
They looked a little crestfallen, actually. The grins had dropped off of their faces, and they seemed a little more tense and nervous.
“Y-Your old one had a big tear in it, right?” Izuku, of course, was the one to speak up, stuttering with the anxiety that Aizawa could both see in his face and hear in his voice. He was always a nervous kid, and a little too willing to take the blame for the other kids. The kid wasn’t wrong. His sleeping bag had recently gotten a little torn. It was a bit embarrassing how it’d come to be, too. Aizawa had been catching some sleep under Hizashi’s desk and some unexpected visitor being shown around by one of their human resources staff had accidentally stepped on him. Said visitor had unfortunately also had claws for feet, and what had resulted was an ugly rip right in the middle of his sleeping bag.
Hizashi had actually been trying to convince him to get a new one. Aizawa would never admit it to the kids, but it was well-known around the staff that Aizawa was rather attached to it, which was irrational, given that it was just an object, but he supposed certain things were hard to control. It was to the point where Aizawa would often refuse to get it cleaned and Hizashi would have to do it for him.
The kids definitely looked pretty crestfallen. A couple of them refused to look at him anymore, glancing away or at their feet. Some didn’t even try to hide their disappointment. Aizawa stopped for a moment, watching the faces of the twenty kids he saw every day, and realized that he had to put aside his own personal feelings about today for now. After all, they were just kids. He supposed that something like this was important to them, even if it was odd for him.
He closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose as he tried to pick his words correctly, “It isn’t necessary, but it is appreciated. Now go take your seats so I can start actually teaching.”
The cheers from the class that followed his words were definitely the loudest thing Aizawa had ever heard, and that was a feat in itself given that he was married to one of the loudest men in the country.
The bell rang, signaling the end of homeroom, and Aizawa was out the door by the start of the last chime. The kids had never really seen him move that fast, but Aizawa was in the hallway in record time, just in time to nearly run straight into Hizashi, and Aizawa made it no secret how annoyed he was with him.
Hizashi stopped in his tracks the moment he saw Aizawa glaring at him. He opened his mouth, probably to explain himself or apologize or make some stupid joke, but Aizawa was quicker.
“You told them it was my birthday?” He hissed under his breath, leaning into Hizashi’s space, nearly right up against his chest. He kept his voice low; given how nosy the kids were, there was the very real possibility that they had their ears right up against the door and were listening in. He wouldn’t put it past them. “Hizashi, you know I don’t like—”
“Come on, Shouta,” Hizashi smiled, despite having Aizawa irritated in his face. His voice was quiet, too, in contrast to the tone he usually used in school. “How bad can it be? What happened, did the kids make fun of you or something? Don’t get mad that a bunch of teenagers poked a little fun at you!”
“No,” Aizawa said, backing off a little, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jumpsuit. “They gave me something.”
“Aww,” Hizashi instantly cooed, wrapping an arm around Aizawa and pulling him into his chest again. He leaned close, nearly brushing his nose with Aizawa’s. “How cute.”
“Stop it,” Aizawa said, though he didn’t pull away from him.
“I can’t even give you a birthday kiss?”
“Not unless you want the whole school knowing that we’re married. Keep your voice down.”
Hizashi gave him a signature pout and squeezed his arms around him. Aizawa let himself go limp in his hold, resting his head on his shoulder, thinking that he could probably do this for just a moment, just this once. Probably.
“You should go teach,” Aizawa told him, not even standing up and not moving away from him at all. “The kids are going to wonder where you are.”
“No, I like this.”
“You can hug me more later. And probably kiss me, too,” Regretting it, Aizawa stood up, pulling out of Hizashi’s hold. He readjusted his scarf and tucked the file with the rest of Shinsou’s paperwork under his arm again. He gave Hizashi a small wave, starting to walk away from him to the staff lounge again, where he could use his free period to finish off these forms. “Don’t spill any more of my secrets to the kids. I promised Jirou I wouldn’t get back at you for it until you’re done training her.”
Hizashi stuck out his tongue at him, “Guess she’ll have to be my intern then so I can protect myself from bodily harm for the next few years. Though, you’re too much of a softie. You’re all words, Shouta.”
He heard Hizashi laugh as he opened the classroom door, and then his yelled greeting to the class. Aizawa lingered for a moment, and then started the walk back to the staff room.
A few minutes later, his phone buzzed with a message from Hizashi: Now we can throw out that old ripped up dirty sleeping bag, Shouta!!!!! Look how nice your kids are!!!!!!!
Aizawa frowned, and returned to his paperwork without a second thought.
Four things. Four things out of the ordinary. Four weird things today.
Maybe it wasn’t so bad, though.
Aizawa almost expected it when a couple kids hesitated to leave at the end of the day. Most of them filed out, seemingly forgetting about this morning’s incident, yelling about clubs and food and whatever else they did at the end of the day. Aizawa was going through the worksheets he’d handed out in general education today, trying to decide whether to grade them now or wait, when he realized he wasn’t completely alone in the classroom, despite the final bell having rung five minutes previous.
Namely, Asui and Uraraka were left behind, talking closely with each other. Shinsou also lingered behind, though he had for the last few days, mainly to wait for Aizawa for training or to talk with him about his transfer or living arrangements. That was far less weird than the two girls.
They fell silent as soon as they caught him looking at them.
“Don’t you two have somewhere to be?” He asked, tapping his grading pen on his desk and resting his cheek on his hand. “If you’d like to talk, I believe you two live in the same dorm, or did one of you suddenly decide to move out?”
“Sorry, Sensei,” Asui croaked, looking appropriately apologetic. “I guess we just got caught up with talking.”
“Aizawa-sensei, are you going to be in the dorms tonight?” Uraraka seemed nervous, much like Izuku had been earlier. He was beginning to dislike that nervousness, if only for today, because it seemed to mean that the kids had something up their sleeves.
“I might be,” He’d been planning to try to get some work done in the common room, partially as a way to hide from Nemuri, Hizashi, and Toshinori or whoever else had it in their plans to ambush him today. It wasn’t uncommon for him to spend time in the dorms, nor was it odd—the kids needed someone around all the time and while Aizawa wasn’t always assigned dorm parent, he took the responsibility quite often and would free up his co workers for a break and spend a few hours there even if he wasn’t. He supposed it came from a place of his own nervousness, since if there was an attack on the kids, like there had been multiple times, he could be there right away.
“Oh, aren’t you going anywhere for your birthday?”
He really should’ve expected that question. He was inclined not to answer it, mostly out of a place of his policy of not wanting to talk about himself or his personal life, but he was going to make an exception just this once.
“The other staff members are trying to drag me away for some sort of get together tonight,” His voice took on an annoyed tone as he spoke to her. “I’ll probably be working in the dorms for a few hours in order to avoid them. I need to get something done today.”
The girls seemed satisfied with that answer and began talking together in hushed tones again, and all Aizawa had to do was give them his usual hard look, and Asui gave him an apologetic nod and started ushering her friend out the door, leaving Aizawa with Shinsou and an otherwise empty classroom.
At least Shinsou was attempting to look like he was putting his things away, though Aizawa had been watching him long enough to know that he was really just shuffling his papers around in his bag.
“We’re not training today,” Aizawa told him, almost hoping that would be the end of the conversation. “The other teachers apparently made sure of that.”
Shinsou looked up at him with tired eyes and stood up, keeping his eyes on him as he approached him. Shinsou was the one kid who didn’t seem intimidated by Aizawa, but that was probably due to the fact that Aizawa had been privately training him for the last few months. The discovery that the kid didn’t have a parental figure where he was living had led to a bigger soft spot than the one Aizawa had for most of the other kids, and he’d wound up basically taking the kid under his wing. He’d spent a lot of time with Aizawa and though Aizawa never talked much about himself, Shinsou probably knew him the best out of all his students.
“I know,” He said quietly. There was a hesitation as Shinsou stopped at his desk, a moment where he just stared at Aizawa, before he produced a small brown-wrapped package and threw it onto Aizawa’s desk. “Thanks for training me and everything.”
“Don’t be such an old man about this, Sensei,” Shinsou kept his gaze, cutting Aizawa off in a way that would’ve garnered some sort of lecture about respect for any other kid. “You’re acting all annoyed about this, but everyone is only doing this because they like you. All those kids like and respect you. I do, too. Besides, it’s handmade. It’d be pretty unnecessarily mean to reject something handmade, wouldn’t it?”
Aizawa didn’t say anything, looking at the small package on his desk.
Shinsou’s lips twitched upwards into a small, thin smile, and he didn’t linger, instead turning away and making his way towards the door, “Happy birthday, Sensei. And thanks again.”
Aizawa sighed, and his curiosity almost immediately got the best of him. He unwrapped the package, cutting the sloppy tape job with a knife from his utility belt, and opened the small box Shinsou had given him. Inside was a neatly folded scarf, clearly hand-knitted and patterned with what looked like cat prints. He frowned, holding it in his hands, and knew that he couldn’t reject something that Shinsou had put so much work into.
Apparently, his students knew him too well, because they’d given him something handmade and something else that was useful and rational.
Five. That was five things. How annoying.
Working in the common area of the 1-A dorm turned out to be a good choice. Or, at least it did for the first two hours.
Most of the kids were out. The others were in their rooms. It was fairly quiet and calm, and Aizawa was actually able to sit on the floor of the common area with his laptop and get some work done, work that had been put on hold with everyone else bothering him all day. The best part was that none of the rest of the staff discovered him. It was the perfect cover. Hizashi had texted him a few times, asking him where he was and what he was up to, in between texts containing sappy messages and birthday wishes, and Aizawa had been intentionally vague with every response.
Things were fine until the kids started filtering back in.
It kicked off almost as soon as the first group came in. Momo, Jirou, and Kaminari had been apparently training together, because they walked into the doors in a group, Aizawa barely paying them any attention until he heard Momo giggle and then quietly call out to him.
“Aizawa-sensei, isn’t that the scarf Shinsou-san has been working on?”
Aizawa looked down, having forgotten that he’d changed into civilian clothes in preparation for whatever the rest of the staff was going to do to him after they inevitably found him. He’d wrapped the warm, handmade scarf around his neck and thrown on a sweater and sweatpants before deciding it was good enough to go out in. Not that he wanted to go out, but at this point, he didn’t have much of a choice.
He hadn’t really thought anyone would know where the scarf came from, but once again, his students were determined to prove him utterly wrong.
“It was convenient,” He explained, focusing back on his computer screen, expecting the conversation to fall to an end.
“Sensei, shouldn’t you be spending time with your family or something? Don’t you have, like—a wife or something to spend your birthday with?” Kaminari, on the other hand, didn’t want the conversation to end, because he kept talking in that terribly amused tone of his.
Aizawa raised his eyes, repeating his words in disbelief, “A wife?”
Kaminari’s smirk fell slightly, “Uh, maybe a girlfriend? Somebody? You’re not actually married to your job, are you?”
“Something like that,” Aizawa commented, going back to typing the rest of his report. “You could call him a job, I suppose. It’s certainly a job to keep him in line.”
“—A guy?!” Jirou finally spoke up, her voice shocked, talking loud enough that Aizawa would be surprised if the rest of the dorm hadn’t heard it. “Who is it? Do we know him?”
“Depends. Maybe,” A lie, but Aizawa was fine giving the kids little white lies. “Don’t you three have better things to do than bother me? I’m working.”
“Shouldn’t you have fun on your birthday?” Momo wondered out loud, and Aizawa narrowed his eyes at the question. He wanted to be done with the conversation. He’d come to the common room to work, not to be pestered by students desperately trying to figure out what kind of life he lived outside of the classroom.
“I don’t like birthdays,” It was the same thing he’d said to Toshinori earlier today.
“That’s boring,” Jirou sighed at him. “Have fun, sensei.”
Somewhere, Aizawa got the sinking suspicion that his admission of the fact that he’d later get dragged into going out had made its way around the class’s ranks. These kids seemed to spread information quicker than any sort of technology they had. It baffled him how quickly things got around.
They left him alone after that, and then others started filing in, some staying in the common room, others not. Aizawa ignored most questions and proddings and only gave one word answers. It worked, for the most pat, and quickly, he felt his eyes getting heavier as he continued to try to stare at his computer screen. After about an hour, he dared to lean his head back against the couch, telling himself he was just going to rest his chronically dry eyes, and promptly fell asleep.
When he woke up to Hizashi jostling him awake and telling him to put his things away, there was a card in his lap signed by all twenty kids, and when Aizawa reached up to inspect why his bangs weren’t hanging in his face like usual, he found that one of the kids had put two cat shaped barrettes in his hair. His suspicions were immediately on Uraraka, but he said nothing, only yawning as he packed up his work and begrudgingly followed Hizashi out to the car.
Six things. Half a dozen. Somehow, Aizawa was getting less and less irritated with every added thing done to him.
Just one more to get through, he reminded himself. And then things would be back to normal. Hopefully, at least.
Aizawa was forced to accept that he was being thrown a party as Hizashi walked with him to the cat cafe, talking every second of the way. Aizawa went along with it, hands shoved into the pockets of his pants, a little disappointed in himself that he wasn’t completely dreading this anymore. The cat cafe was one of the most popular ones in their district, and from what Hizashi had told him, the staff had rented it out for a few hours to throw him a party. He couldn’t really be too mad when they’d actually put some thought into this. It also meant that Aizawa could play with cats, and that was all he wanted from a social gathering.
So he didn’t put up much of a fight. He acted grumpy on the way there, frowning and pouting as Hizashi walked with him. Hizashi laughed at him, chiding him, sometimes brushing back Aizawa’s hair and kissing his cheek or commenting playfully on the clips still in Aizawa’s hair.
When they walked through the doors of the cafe, the hostesses greeted them happily. They knew Aizawa by name, since this was one of the places he frequented, among other cat cafes, and they recognized him. The area behind the gates was decorated similarly to how the staff room had been, with the same banner and more balloons.
“Aizawa-san, please wear these since it’s your birthday!” One of the hostesses pushed a black headband with cat ears into his hands, smiling and talking politely to him.
He stared down at it, mumbling his words, “Thanks, I guess.”
He didn’t fight when Hizashi took it from him and carefully arranged it on his head, though. They went through the normal procedure of removing their shoes, and were let through the gates to the cat area, where Aizawa was immediately greeted with another onslaught of celebrating yelling.
“Shouta-kun! I’m so glad you decided to come!” Nemuri was the first voice he picked out, and he didn’t get much time to react or even look around the room before she was shoving him into her chest in a crushing hug that knocked the breath right from his lungs. “Or, I guess I’m glad that Hizashi dragged you here.”
“Kayama-san, I think you’re suffocating him.”
Toshinori had come, too, and he was the one to get Nemuri to free Aizawa from her pressing hug. He glared at her when she let go of him, making a show of sticking out his bottom lip in a full pout and catching his breath from her trying to kill him with affection. Toshinori gave him a wide grin that was undoubtedly the signature of All Might himself.
He dared to put a hand on Aizawa’s shoulder, and Aizawa didn’t attempt to shrug him off, “I told you celebrating would be fun.”
“I never said it was fun ,” Aizawa frowned, glancing around the rest of the room. Some others were here—Thirteen had taken off from their rescue work to attend, Snipe was sitting playing with a cat, even Emi was here, laughing with Ectoplasm, another one of Aizawa’s coworkers. He was at least relieved to know that Hizashi hadn’t invited as many people as he had last time. It wasn’t bad, he supposed. He liked smaller crowds, and he was fairly close with all of these people. Close enough to not feel uncomfortable or out of place.
Balloons decorated the place, surprisingly not being shredded or played with by the multitude of cats in the room. Cat trees and cat toys littered the floor, far outnumbering the amount of people in here and even now, a long-haired striped cat rubbed itself against Aizawa’s legs in the same way the cat from this morning had. He reached down, petting it between the ears, and it purred happily at him.
“Aw, Shouta-kun, your hair is so cute,” Nemuri teased him, making Aizawa gently touch the clips he’d left in his hair.
“I fell asleep in the common room and one of the kids did it to me,” He acted grumpy about it, pouting again and frowning at the idea of the kids messing with him while he was asleep. It was convenient to have his long hair out of his face, though. He didn’t mind not having to brush away his bangs or look through his mass of hair to see someone. Maybe he’d keep the clips they’d put in his hair and have Hizashi teach him how to put back his bangs like that. “I didn’t get a chance to take it out.”
“Oh? Because you had the entire car ride over here to do that,” Nemuri laughed at him, and then reached out, Aizawa letting her touch him gently as she took the scarf Shinsou had made him between her painted fingers. She raised an eyebrow at him, “Another gift?”
“Shinsou Hitoshi made it,” He looked away from her, staring at a cat off to his left, playing with a hanging wall toy. He knew what was coming, and he didn’t want to see her as she said it. “He wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“I bet you didn’t push very hard. You’ve got a soft spot for that kid,” She sang as she brushed her hands over the pattern of the scarf. “I mean, you have a soft spot for all the kids, but especially that one. You’ve got a favorite student, Shouta-kun.”
There it was. The same teasing he’d been hearing for the past couple months. He groaned a little at it.
“I don’t play favorites.”
Any further argument she had was lost, because Hizashi came up from behind him, placing a hand on Aizawa’s waist and handing him a glass of what he quickly identified to be champagne. He mumbled a thanks, hesitated, and leaned over, brushing his lips against Hizashi’s cheek in appreciation, earning a laugh from him.
“Ah, look,” Aizawa reached into the pocket of his sweatpants and retrieved the folded up handmade card the kids had given him, passing it to Hizashi to show him. It quickly garnered the attention of some of the others, and before he knew it, both Toshinori and Nemuri were mooning over it.
“‘Happy birthday, Aizawa-sensei’,” Nemuri read off, her tone getting increasingly entertained as she read off each word. She paused, giggling, and then read the next part through her giggles. “‘You’re our favorite teacher. Thank you for teaching our homeroom.’ Aw, Shouta, I’m so jealous. I wanna be your class’s favorite.”
“Get your own homeroom,” Aizawa told her, taking the card back from her hands, looking over the signatures on it again and the little drawings the kids had made him. He hated to admit it, but the sentiment was surprisingly nice. He didn’t do this for thanks or praise or anything, but something about the kids not always taking him for granted was nice to know.
“The kids really are sweet…” Toshinori said, looking pointedly away from Aizawa, forcing Aizawa to lean in and stare at him.
“You’re not crying, are you?”
“No,” Toshinori immediately denied, looking at Aizawa with sunken emotional eyes. Aizawa was almost inclined to make fun of him, but held his tongue for the time being. “The next generation’s heroes is going to be a set of very caring, good people.”
“Jeez, don’t get so emotional,” Aizawa allowed himself to chide that much. That was the difference between he and Toshinori—Toshinori tended to act more on emotion, whereas Aizawa erred on the side of rationality. There were times when he got emotional, too, though Aizawa desperately tried to keep that from happening often.
His response was Hizashi elbowing him in the side.
“You’re part of raising them, too,” Aizawa sighed, looking up at Toshinori in a shoddy attempt to make him less obviously emotional. “You’ll find out that you affect them more than you think. If they become good heroes, it’ll partially be because of you.”
“And you, too, Shouta-kun,” Nemuri butted in, having acquired her own glass of champagne from somewhere. “Those kids look at you like some kind of parent.”
He couldn’t argue with that, either. He was, after all, their homeroom teacher. Any decision made about them went through him. He knew those kids better than the other teachers did, and they did have a certain respect and admiration for him that he supposed could be likened to a kid looking up to their parent. And he… well, he was attached. He always got attached, eventually, and he’d gotten attached to this year much quicker than any other year. Herding twenty kids around every day of the week and also partially living with them in the dorms had made him more attached than necessary. He cared a lot for every kid in his class, even if they didn’t listen to him all the time and even occasionally directly disobeyed him.
He dreaded anything happening to any of them. It was becoming a bit of a problem for him.
Aizawa glanced around the room again. The cafe was painted and decorated in pastels, giving off a warm feeling, and his dark eyes fell on people he considered his friends and well-liked coworkers. The hostesses were excitedly talking and there was a cat at his feet, purring and rubbing against him. He hadn’t noticed before, but on one of the tables sat a cake and a bottle of champagne. It wasn’t all that bad, he decided, and he was even a little glad that Hizashi had found him and dragged him here.
“It can’t be helped,” He told Nemuri, letting himself relax a little. He leaned on Hizashi, and Hizashi gently touched the cat ears on his head with a hum “The kids get attached to their teachers.”
“It’s not only the kids getting attached…” He didn’t have to look over to see Hizashi smirking. He could hear it perfectly fine in his voice. “Anyways, come on, Shouta. Let’s eat cake and get drunk.”
He started pulling Aizawa towards the table with the cake on it, and Aizawa let him, making a show out of frowning, though he wasn’t completely sure that people were buying his act of non-compliance any more.
Still, Aizawa got the last word in before Hizashi had him sit on the floor so they could sing some annoying song to him, “ I’m drinking. You’re not. I’m not dragging your drunk ass home.”
The party ended at around midnight, and Aizawa was more than happy to go home and sleep off the buzz the alcohol had given him. He was tired, especially after his nap had been so rudely interrupted earlier, and even in the car, he leaned his head back in the passenger’s seat and let his eyes fall shut as Hizashi drove them back to their house.
Admittedly, it’d been fun. Maybe small gatherings in places he actually liked weren’t all that bad. The evening had consisted of talking and joking around, drinking and eating and petting cats. It’d been… enjoyable. Aizawa had never celebrated things like this as a kid, and it’d been a new experience when he’d met Hizashi, who celebrated everything. He was still getting used to it. And this had been nice. It hadn’t been too much, even if Aizawa had put up a fight at first and done everything he could to get out of it.
The day wasn’t a total loss. He even had a new sleeping bag to replace the old torn one. He’d gotten some work done and finally finished the transfer and expulsion paperwork. Despite the way the day had started, he was content with the way it’d turned out.
“Hey, Shouta, you awake?” Hizashi prodded, tapping him gently with one hand as he continued to drive.
Aizawa only hummed in tired response. Hizashi was apparently fine with that as an answer.
“Don’t fall asleep yet,” Hizashi told him gently. “I finished that blanket I was knitting for you. I want to show it to you when we get home. I think you’ll like it. It’s pretty heavy.”
Aizawa dared to open his eyes slightly to look at Hizashi. He looked nice like this, in his civilian clothes. Aizawa honestly didn’t mind his public image and persona, but this Hizashi felt more natural to him, and he liked that. The car was dark from the night outside, but the passing streetlights lit Hizashi up as they drove past them, lighting up his slightly-tanned skin and blonde hair. Aizawa let his lips twitch up into a smile, and closed his eyes again.
“I like anything you make,” He probably also had some sort of a soft spot for handmade things. Shinsou had made him the scarf, too, and the fact that it had been handmade had made Aizawa unable to reject the gift.
“Was the party alright? I tried to keep it small.”
“It was fine,” Aizawa told him, speaking slowly in the silence of the car, sleeping beginning to creep up on him. They were almost home, he knew, but all he wanted to do was fall asleep here. “Good. Nice. Small.”
Hizashi laughed softly, “Someone’s tired.”
“I’m always tired.”
There was quiet, and Aizawa felt himself slipping closer to sleep.
“Hey,” He said, not even bothering to open his eyes again. Hizashi hummed in acknowledgement. “Thanks. For this.”
“Anytime, Shouta,” He felt Hizashi pull into their driveway and shut the car off. He leaned over the console of the car, and Aizawa felt Hizashi’s lips gently touch his. He wrapped an arm around his neck to keep him there, limbs limp with exhausted as he relaxed into the chaste kiss. Hizashi pulled away and reached over, opening Aizawa’s door for him with a last murmured sentiment, “Happy birthday, Shouta.”