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You Want it Darker

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Detective Tsukauchi’s smile might as well be a google image search for the word ‘fake smile’ printed off and taped to the front of his face. “Eraser, would you care to explain this?” Meaning the uncanny resemblance between Aizawa’s new intern and the mass-murderer whose face is printed on a giant poster inside the neon-list room. Aizawa doesn't really blame him for that.

“I thought that’s what I was doing,” Shinsou offers instead, holding up his hands to peer at them as if he’s perplexed. “Weird. Am I see-through or dead or something?”

That’d fit, Aizawa thinks with a wry grimace. The ghost of Dr. Shinsou, haunting them on a killer’s trail. “The Detective just wants to know why I brought you here.”

“Why you think you brought him here,” Tsukauchi cautions. Aizawa can’t tell if he’s serious or not, but either way it’s an insinuation that would make Aizawa’s blood boil if he thinks about it at all. Like, grab-a-detective-by-the-front-of-his-big-stupid-coat-and-yell-at-him boil. Which is to be… avoided.

So, the only rational option Aizawa has left is to shove the problem out of his lap as fast as it hops into it; Aizawa is just done at the outset. “I’m not even going to dignify that with an answer.”

“Why not?” Tsukauchi sounds almost as if he’s asking if Aizawa can.

Even if Aizawa was being controlled by Shinsou, he wouldn’t have the ability to respond to anyone else anyway. Not that Aizawa would let it happen, except in hush-hush backalley training exercises. Tsukauchi seems to be making some wild logical leaps, which is part and parcel of the territory. Consider every angle, Aizawa does it himself. But some things are too illogical to dwell on for more than a moment. Whatever Tsukauchi’s got in his head must be one of those utterly dismissible wildballs, if he suspects Shinsou of anything.

“Because it’s against the law to punch you,” Aizawa replies bluntly. He’ll definitely at least pretend-accidentally shoulder Tsukauchi if he gets a chance. Instead, Aizawa stays still and uses bigger words than he could actions. “Hitoshi isn’t like his father.” As soon as he says it, Aizawa wishes he’d gone the other way. Except that saying ‘Shinsou’ reiterates the connection Aizawa wants to disprove: why Shinsou is – Hitoshi is– different. Not like his biological father, he’s like–

Aizawa needs to get his head on straight. The piercing down-the-lens stare of Dr. Shinsou Masaru’s face plastered four-foot high on a poster isn’t helping one bit.

Tsukuachi remains unapologetic. Like some kind of professional. “You understand that as a Detective, it’s literally my job to consider every possibility?”

Done has become done-er. “You’ve considered it. Move on.” Aizawa doesn’t put it lightly, because he’s one shred of remaining rationality away from actually clocking Tsukauchi. He can’t, but that doesn’t affect the amount of wanting to. Even if Tsukauchi is just doing his job, and rationally Aizawa knows that. He just isn’t terribly rational about Shinsou anymore… seeing everyone think the worst of the kid before they dare to consider the best. Why should Aizawa be unbiased, when everyone else clearly isn’t?

Dislike it or hate it – those are the two options – Tsukauchi remains ever the skeptic. Which is supposed to be Aizawa’s job in the first place, being the biggest cynic in the room. “So I’m supposed to take this for a coincidence?” The Detective is standing with Dr. Shinsou’s face as his accidental backdrop, and it’s unnerving the shit out of Aizawa. Which in turn makes him more defiant.

“You’re supposed to take me at my word,” Aizawa snaps like the crack of one of Midnight’s whips. His quirk is dormant, but there is still an erasing aspect to Aizawa’s gaze as he finds Tsukauchi’s and locks it the hell down. “I’m responsible for him.” That means doubting Shinsou is calling Aizawa’s credibility as a hero into question, and he’s handed the police too many aces in too many holes to be challenged on that front.

Tsukauchi holds Aizawa’s stare for a moment, then turns it back to the wall, tiled in an irregular mosaic to the illustrious Dr. Shinsou, mass-murderer, PhD. Aizawa is asking for a little more than usual, and the detective makes this known. “So you keep saying.” Tsukauchi could use his quirk on Aizawa – the oh-so-pleasant (not) experience of being mentally probed by the human lie detector. The detective could try it, and Aizawa might actually let him, just to prove he’s being completely honest about Shinsou. It’s insulting, but Aizawa would do it for the kid.

“The connection between me and the Doc here is obvious.” Shinsou steps closer to the wall, peering close enough to read the text of the pages. Aizawa knows what they are already, but he won’t stop Shinsou drawing his own conclusions. “Isn’t the connection with the killer what we’re supposed to be interested in?” Turning back, Shinsu affixes an accusatory look on Tsukauchi. “Or maybe I’ve got this policework thing all wrong.”

“Then perhaps that’s something you can tell me about.” Tsukauchi drags his ‘are you seriously asking me to go with this?’ gaze away from Aizawa and drifts closer to Shinsou, moving to get a better look at the pages pinned across the wall.

Aizawa follows his hunch and asks – without thinking, like an idiot – from the back of the room, “Are they from his book?”

Shinsou’s head whips around, looking entirely spooky by the eerie floor-lighting in this unpleasant little karaoke booth of a room. “How did you know?”

“The writing on the wall,” Aizawa indicates before this can look any weirder than it has to.

Shinsou’s attention pulls over to the scrawling mess of numbers converging in the middle of the wall adjacent to the Doc’s neon-lit stare. Aizawa recognises the page layouts from across the room too, but that would imply he’s actually been reading Dr. Shinsou’s book more closely. Which would not help this delicate situation with Tsukauchi right now, so Aizawa keeps it under his hat, so to speak.

“What does that mean?” Tsukauchi presses on, the last uninformed party of the situation. Unfortunately, also the only party with actual legal jurisdiction.

“My father wrote a book called The 90% Mind,” Shinsou answers, just like Aizawa wants him to. Just because Shinsou has shown all – well, most – of his cards doesn’t mean Aizawa has to give the game up himself. Only one of them needs to look suspiciously well-informed on the subject of the Doctor's body of work right now.

“And what does that have to do with Hakamata Shiyoko?” Tuskauchi asks. “If that even is her name.”

“I can prove it is,” Aizawa interjects like a fool, getting straight to the point and directing the investigation like a class plan. “Check the freezer.”

Tuskauchi gives Aizawa a look he's gotten from Hizashi too many times to count. It’s the ‘you're about to gross me out’ face. “Why? ” Tsukauchi sounds unduly concerned. “What's in the freezer?”

“The missing piece of the puzzle,” Aizawa answers as he finally steps closer to check the individual pages torn from Dr. Shinsou’s book. They're fixed to the wall in a disjointed order, like someone tried to map out the Professor’s insane theories in real space. Hitoshi is right – it's the relationship between the Doc and Shiyoko they should be worried about. When Tsukauchi urgently passes Aizawa on his way out of the haunted bedroom, Aizawa allows his shoulder to bump the detective’s by merit of not giving way as he’s coming through. Like that small jostle of contact shakes it out of Aizawa, he flings a handful of vindictive, dared-to-doubt-me salt at Tsukauchi. “One of them.”

Tsukauchi’s got other priorities than letting Aizawa get a rise out of him, disappearing across the apartment like a bloodhound following a scent. There’s the plasticky thwump of the freezer opening and the cry, “Fucking hell, Eraser! You could've warned me!”

“Language,” Aizawa nags drearily as he plods through to the main room, where Tsukauchi’s glaring at him from in front of an open freezer containing a perfectly preserved chunk of man's hand.

“Would you care to explain this?!” Tsukauchi bursts like a blocked hosepipe after the water’s been turned on a few minutes.

“Settle down,” Aizawa sighs. “I know whose hand that is.”

“Why is that supposed to reassure me?” Tsukauchi tries to outdo Aizawa’s sigh by several hundred percent. Shinsou shuffles in after Aizawa and quickly becomes a victim to the demand, “Did you know about this?”

“About wh-eugh!” Shinsou reacts pretty authentically. Aizawa wouldn’t put it past him to overact for the drama of it. “I heard the police were shorthanded, but this is something else.” All hell breaks loose shortly after.

So the ‘missing piece’ Aizawa spoke of was a frozen two-thirds of a human hand. So what? There’s no reason for Tsukauchi to make such a fuss over it.

Even if Aizawa can appreciate that it could be construed to look a little… suspect. That's no reason for Tsukauchi to actually suspect them. So Shinsou is the son of a mass-murderer professor of mentalist quirks who their prime suspect is obsessed with? So Aizawa knew about the hand in the freezer (because he looked) and exactly whose it was, how long it'd been there, and why it proves the killer's real name?

It's typical: do some good detective work and end up looking like a serial killer. Or a serial killer’s accomplice(s). Some thanks Aizawa gets for doing the police’s job for them. Again. Sure, perhaps that wasn't the best line to drop – angrily – while trying to explain it all to Tsukauchi, but Aizawa only has so much patience. Or perhaps it should be not much.

Tsukauchi could always use his quirk on Aizawa, but the judges and lawyers have a lovely way of calling everything into question when a ‘suspicious’ quirk like Aizawa’s factors into the police report during a trial. They’d say there’s no way of knowing Aizawa didn’t erase Tsukauchi’s quirk, and only make it seem like he wasn’t lying, counteracting the Detective’s inbuilt ability to whiff a falsehood in someone’s brain like bad cheese at the back of the fridge. Because Tsukauchi can only do it when he’s sticking his head in there for a sniff, and Aizawa can deny him the second he feels it happen – which Aizawa can and will, if those meddlesome fingers start testing the locked handle to his mind. Aizawa would also be offended if Tsukauchi actually felt the need to test whether Aizawa's complicit in this clusterfuck, so they’ll have to settle this the old-fashioned way. With a quarrel.

It's obviously still in the middle of arguing and with Detective ‘I need reasonable doubt’ Tsukauchi that Aizawa's phone starts to sing its most attention-grabbing of ringtones. He ignores it the first time, but by the third pick-me-up cycle Aizawa finally breaks away from squabbling about how much police evidence he’s ‘allowed’ access to and answers it.

Aizawa tries not to snap, and surely fails at it. “What?”

“Sort your shit and get back here, bitch.” Ah, Hizashi’s classic no-fooling term of address. “We’re going out.”

“This isn’t the time.”

“You know as well as I do there’s no such thing as ‘the time’,” Hizashi counters fiercely. Aizawa wonders if he’s at home yet, or maybe still driving. Pulling faces at himself in a mirror either way, no doubt. “Saturday night means no excuses.”

Tsukauchi looks annoyed that Aizawa decided to answer the phone, which is already a good enough reason to have done it. “I have to finish up with an…” It's Tsukauchi he's looking at, not Shinsou. Never Shinsou. Well, sometimes. “Annoyance over here. I’ll text you when I’m on my way.”

“No, you won’t.”

“Okay, I won’t,” Aizawa repeats back to Hizashi: a firm tug to hoist him by his own petard. “Bye.”

“WAI—” Hizashi’s shout has barely gotten started when Aizawa hangs up.

Reverting to their heated topic of discussion, Tsukauchi adjusts his hat and declares, “Give me one good reason I shouldn't call the Chief and tell him you've been withholding evidence.”

“Because without me the evidence wouldn't even exist.” Aizawa has run this damn case so far and Tsukauchi knows it. He just needs the law to actually pick the damn thing up once he’s snatched it hot off the stove. Which means not pissing around wanting to know why Aizawa knows certain things, no bitchfits over his methodology, and no talk on whether or not the things he’s done could be considered unprofessional or ‘technically illegal’ or would hold up in court. Aizawa’s job is to catch the killer: the police’s is to prove they did it.

It’s lucky that Aizawa hasn't had to make mention of the ‘father-son visit to famous mass-murderer in high-security prison’ part of his and Shinsou’s recent casework thus far. There’s no need to get pulled into that murky world of suspicion. Neither Aizawa or Shinsou could be in any way responsible for these deaths, of course, but to someone who doesn’t think too hard about things it could be possible, and that’s enough to sensationalise.

“You gotta admit, arresting someone for doing your job wouldn’t look great to your boss.” Shinsou’s leaning against the kitchen counter as Aizawa and Tsukauchi argue around the open freezer. Tsukauchi has pocketed his hat and puts on a pair of latex gloves, then produces a large evidence bag from one of his seemingly endless coat pockets.

“I'll get to you later, kid,” Tsukauchi doesn't exactly snap, but Aizawa doesn't appreciate his tone one bit. “I can't believe I have to say this to you, Eraser, but if you find human body parts at a crime scene, I expect you to tell me about it.”

“I did.”

Right away.”

“Well that's just pedantry,” Aizawa counters stiffly.” I was going to tell you once we’d looked over the whole place.”

“Sure, right after we stopped off at the shrine to your intern’s father.”

“I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Then you could act a little more surprised.”

“How's this?” Aizawa's expression doesn't change, he just deadpan stares at Tsukauchi wondering how much longer they're going to have to do this.

“Crappy.” Shinsou isn't exactly helping, but he can't really make things much worse either. And Aizawa finds him amusing, so that counts for something. “What about this?” Shinsou points at his face, mimicking a kind of concerted surprise. “Oh no. We found a piece of critical evidence in the home of our prime suspect. How terrible for us.”

Tsukauchi looks as if he'd like to tell Aizawa to keep his intern under control but for the fact that this is Aizawa's intern. Expectations will have to be managed about what constitutes ‘under control’ in the first place. Aizawa’s not gonna stop Shinsou saying or doing things he'd probably do himself. In fact he'd probably be even worse if it was just Aizawa and the poor, frustrated detective – he is at least trying to set a reasonable example for Shinsou. So really Tsukauchi ought to be thanking Shinsou; he’s the reason Aizawa’s using the barest form of restraint and not actively encouraging the shit talk.

Thankfully, Aizawa can also just prove his innocence, and sometimes that works too. “The level of frost buildup should indicate how long the hand has been there. There’s no way I could have planted it recently.” A delicate icing has crept across the irregularly butchered piece of human wrist-and-hand that stands neatly preserved in the back of the freezer. It’ll be solid all the way through, no way Aizawa could have had it on him – even pre-frozen – and placed it in this freezer just to make the police look silly. Why on earth would he even want to ?

Reasonable doubt Aizawa’s ass.

But Tsukauchi remains unflapped. “Your kid pointed out this place has been accessed from the outside before. What if I'm asked why it couldn't have been you?”

One, I only got this address when you sent it,” Aizawa begins.

Two, the shoe has to fit,” Shinsou jumps in right after. “The footprint isn't big enough to be either of ours.”

Tsukauchi writes all of this down in his notebook and flips it shut. “Fine.” He takes a picture of the hand in the freezer and then reaches in to snap it out of its frosted mount.

The tension seems to hold like a roof of uncertain thickness, no one falling through the ceiling into a packed biker den. Maybe reasonable doubt can be reasonable, now and again. “Look for the writing,” Aizawa instructs when it seems like they’re out of the weeds – for now.

Tsukauchi finds it, exactly as Aizawa expected even before looking himself some time earlier: 墓又 死. “Hakamata Shi.”

“Shiyoko,” Aizawa finishes. “You'll find the rest on the body in your morgue.”

Tsukauchi frowns as he drops the hand into an evidence bag. “I sometimes wonder who Kuwabara thinks she works for.”

“Whoever’s on the case,” Aizawa interjects wearily. They've done this dance before. “Can we put the pissing contest on hold and finish up?”

“Why – you got a better invitation?” Shinsou teases.

“Than this?” Aizawa replies scathingly, but he’s looking right at Tsukauchi in comparison. “Would've thought that's obvious.”

“Unless you've hidden any more body parts around here that you’ve yet to tell me about, Eraser, I've seen everything I can stomach for the night.” Tsukauchi’s also got a handsicle in a bag that's no longer on ice, which is a frozen treat that no one wants melting in the back of their car. Hizashi wouldn’t drive Aizawa to school for weeks after they learned that invaluable lesson.

Aizawa clears out a list in his head scrawled on the mental equivalent of the back of a receipt. “Nothing springs to mind." Unlike the not-all-that-unfortunate molester who sprung to his death after launching himself from the platform, striking the train with so much impact the shattering windscreen sliced him literally to pieces. A piece that Shiyoko found and kept.

Aizawa feels a few blocks shift in his mind; the first death was the trigger, complete with motive and premeditation. But then, like Dr. Shinsou said, one is never enough. She didn’t get the job, or it stopped mattering. Shiyoko was assaulted on the train home and instead of accepting it, instead of going to an authority that would look this with unkind indifference, she grabbed her attacker and pulled him back – Aizawa remembers the tape from the station still. How startled the man was for Shiyoko to come after him, allowing her to write her name on the back of his hand while he fell into a brainwashed trance.

Shiyoko left, or went to hide, and waited while her victim stood on the platform waiting to die. Was he aware, in some level of his consciousness, as he stood there, staring blank ahead and not moving a muscle until the train came charging into the station? When he leapt with unnatural force to launch himself in front of the train, butchering his body like a kobe cow, with the finest cut set aside for Shiyoko. That’s why Aizawa believes the hand was left here, in the apartment she abandoned when the pattern truly began. A physical statement of intent, left for them to find on the cold part of her trail.

This is where – how – a single act of vengeance became a warped killing spree, each death more angry and brutal than the last. The real question, it inevitably follows, is how far will it go before she’s stopped?

The car ride back to the police station is quiet and prickly, like invisible barbed wire is strung through the back of the police car in all directions.

Not really wanting to be in the separated front of the police car, probably not even technically “allowed” to ride passenger – though he does it with Tama all the time – Aizawa sits in the back with Shinsou rather than with Tsukauchi up front.

“So this is what it feels like,” Shinsou murmurs as they first settle in. Being in the back of a police car, Aizawa assumes, though Shinsou has ridden in the back plenty of times while Yamaguichi’s driving. Maybe she’s different – at least to Shinsou.

“You get used to it.”

Shinsou looks around and narrows his eyes at Tsukauchi in the driver’s seat. “Dunno about that.”

“What are you two murmuring about back there?” Tsukauchi pipes up from the front. “It better not be the case.”

“Just planning our next murder,” Shinsou announces with completely deadpan defiance. Aizawa jabs him in the arm with his elbow. “Joking. Geez, you’re lame.”

“Horses are lame,” Aizawa counters, which Shinsou seems to find cringeworthy. “I’m sticking my neck out for you, try not to make me look like an asshole doing it.”

Shinsou’s expression turns sheepish. “Can’t believe it took you this long to work out my evil plan.” Ah yes, the ultimate strategy: make Aizawa look soft by taking so many liberties on a bratty shit-talker of a kid. Aizawa would be ashamed if he wasn’t so proud.

Aizawa gives Shinsou another shove, and then his phone starts to sing its impassioned love song once more. Aizawa would change it, but that takes effort and a mastery of phone settings he has absolutely no grasp on, the secrets of its operation kept like a dragon hoard. Hizashi has fried every single mobile phone Aizawa has ever owned, and always replaces them with some new and fancier model that Aizawa has only just figured out how to use when Hizashi blows it out again. Aizawa suspects he gets them for free from one of his ad deals.

“I'm definitely getting a personalised ringtone,” Shinsou seems to be muttering as Aizawa picks up.

Rolling his eyes at Shinsou, Aizawa answers, “Yeah?”

Hizashi is indignant. “Yeah!? Where the fuck are you!”

“Back of a police car. On my way to the station.”

“Oh, did you finally snap? Do I need to come bail you out at long last?”

Normally that'd be a funny joke. Right now it's a little awkward. “No.”

“Alright alright, chill baby. So you're on your way home.”

“That's overstating it.”

“Yes you are.” It's not a negotiation: it's a declaration of terms. “Saturday night means—”

“No excuses,” Aizawa answers quietly. “Except work.”

Fuck work.” Hizashi is right, of course. “You know I'm right.”

“I do.”

“Then stop screwing around and get back here.” Back at home is where the screwing around will happen surely, but Aizawa’s not going to dwell on that just yet.


“I'm going to pregame without you.” Hizashi sounds like he already has, going by the irregular volume of his voice and what sounds like music in the background.

“You always do.”

Shinsou is watching Aizawa out the corner of his eye, pretending he's not.

“Love you.” Hizashi is testing him, surely. Calls it free therapy, making Aizawa declare his love over the phone in a variety of public places – or get called a coward. In court was one of the weirder ones. This is baby tier in comparison.

Aizawa’s no coward. “Love you too.” Aizawa catches the subtle shift of recognition from Shinsou, desperate as ever for those morsels of teacher’s life outside school hours. Outside of the school hours that fall outside actual school hours, at least.

“Good.” Hizashi is content with this offering. “Now get your ass back here, slut.”

This time it's Hizashi who hangs up. Aizawa is left smiling, still holding the phone to his face.

“Looks like someone's getting laid tonight,” Shinsou doesn't really joke, but Aizawa lets him get away with it – it’s just a bit of banter. Teachers and students aren't really meant to joke about that kind of stuff; then again, they aren't really teacher and student.

That's why Aizawa replies – much to the ever-so-grownup delight of Shinsou – “I goddam hope so.”

Aizawa has no sooner crossed the threshold of his own door than a pair of flying jeans strike him clean across the face.

This isn't the work of Best Jeanist, but one Yamada Hizashi, who in spite of having hours ahead of Aizawa to prepare, seems to have drunk disproportionately more whiskey than he's actually gotten himself ready to go out a la Saturday Night. In fact, going by the music blaring and rocking movement of Hizashi’s body as Aizawa comes through the door, he’s gotten the party started already. Aizawa’s best guess is Hizashi was swinging the only pair of jeans Aizawa tolerates wearing around his head like a lasso before he walked in.

Hizashi takes a swig of his drink, and a solid sphere of ice clinks against the side of one of his fancy whiskey glasses – the ones Aizawa isn’t supposed to touch. Aizawa wonders if Hizashi washes them first, because Aizawa’s definitely stuck his balls in them – out of principle, obviously – more than once. Usually after Hizashi clucks at him for drinking coffee out of them when he can’t find the mugs. Serves Hizashi right for rearranging the fucking cupboards all the time.

The alcohol would probably kill off anything suspect in the glasses, Aizawa concludes as Hizashi takes another thirsty swig of whiskey. Like he’s got to load up his tongue and ready his quirk to spit actual fire at Aizawa. But all Hizashi offers is a smuggish, “Took your sweet fucking time.”

Aizawa looks the love of his life up and down and wonders – not for the first or last time – how on earth he ended up with such a creature. “You've got to be kidding me.”

“Hey!” Hizashi’s outraged, of course, but he knows exactly what Aizawa’s referring to. “These used to belong to Eddie Murphy, I'll have you know.”

Aizawa doesn't have the faintest idea who that is, but whoever that is, he clearly likes bright red leather pants. Going by the way Hizashi fills out the skin-tight layer wrapping around his thighs, this Eddie guy also liked his pants intimately tight.

Naturally, Hizashi’s got no shirt to speak of either. With a bare chest and his arms outstretched, Hizashi could be posing for one of his ridiculous album cover photoshoots, or god forbid advertisements he makes all this outrageous cash off. Being a teacher and pro hero are satisfying careers, sure; being a musician is another ‘side piece’, as the entrepreneurial all-rounder calls it. But Hizashi has to get the cash for his literal mansion of high-end living somewhere, and it’s no secret that adverts are great money.

Aizawa spots the familiar outline of his goggles – not the actual ones, but a cleverly depth-deceiving tattooed set – wrapped around Hizashi’s bicep. An addition that came shortly after they became an item, so to speak. The band sits nestled between the start of the keyboard that goes all the way down Hizashi's arm, and the matching sun and moon that wrap around each of his shoulders.

The rest of Hizashi’s shoulders and neck is hidden parts of the story for now, curtained by the loose tresses of his unstyled hair. This could mean two things. Aizawa’s about to find out which. “What if we don’t go out?”

“Oh no!” Hizashi’s hand shoots out with the whiskey glass at the end of it, a single finger outstretched to point at Aizawa. “Don’t you dare, Shota.”

“You’re barely ready.” After fifteen years beside Hizashi, Aizawa’s judgement for these things has been whittled down to a perfect needle point. He takes a few steps over to the lounge area Hizashi is set up in, if the bottle of whiskey on the table and pack of – Aizawa knew he’d pinched them – cigarettes is any indication. “Someone at work bought those for me,” Aizawa tells Hizashi as he gets close enough to be certain it’s the nice cigarettes Yamaguichi picked up.

“I haven’t had any,” Hizashi purrs, starting to shake and shift to the music again. “Yet.”

Then why steal them? Aizawa barely considers before returning back to the point they were vying away from. “What is there to do outside that we can’t do here?” Aizawa takes a step closer and then stops on the other side of the sofa. Not to mention, there are things they can do here that they can’t do outside – not without getting arrested for indecency.

“Saturday night means–”

“I know what it means,” Aizawa cuts him off, putting a hand down to vault across the sofa and rapidly close the distance between them. He only has to straighten up before Hizashi’s half-assed (but what an ass) dancing collides with the shock-absorbing punchbag of Aizawa’s body. He wraps an arm around Hizashi and looks straight at him. They’re just about the same height when Aizawa’s in boots and Hizashi's barefoot.

There aren’t many people Aizawa stares at like this without using his quirk. As always, Hizashi adores the eye of his beholder, stationary barely a moment before he sprawls backwards against the sure weight of Aizawa’s arm folded behind him. Hizashi has less raw power than Aizawa in his body – doesn’t need it with a voice like that – but makes up for it in limberness, spine flexing like a spring as he flicks rockstar hair behind his shoulders.

A mantle of inky lanterns hangs across Hizashi’s collarbone, stretching from shoulder-to-shoulder. The face of the largest lanterns are painted with the names of the people who mean the most to Hizashi: his parents, siblings, Aizawa again – though that stylised stencil of his name dates back to when they were just friends. ‘You’re my best friend, of course I want you up there,’ he’d scoffed at the time, totally blasé about having Aizawa’s name inked on him forever. Awkwardly, Hizashi’s then-girlfriend had gotten a spot too – a lantern that’s now been filled in with a solid green that sets off Hizashi’s eyes as he gazes lovingly back at Aizawa.

Below the string of lanterns, on the left of Hizashi’s chest, sits a styled heart, anatomical in design but bursting with musical notes instead of blood cells. His right pec is covered in a piece of manuscript, the notes mixed in with figures like kids’ toys playing heroes and villains. A musical comic strip of his life as a hero. He picked it from a fan design competition; Hizashi took Aizawa with him for dinner with the winner instead of his then (different) girlfriend. It’s always been sensible to keep girls who dated Hizashi away from his more intense fans, and Aizawa was the perfect nameless stand-in – who got free dinner and drinks all night at such events. At a time when Aizawa didn’t really ‘buy food’ for himself in a conventional sense, a three-course dinner and as much as he could drink was sometimes the most he’d have eaten in weeks.

Then again, there was the whole thing where the fans who looked feverishly at the publicity that came out about these things thought that Aizawa and Hizashi were… together. They weren’t at the time but had probably let the rumour run on longer than if they’d not been a little too comfy with people thinking they were a couple. They hadn’t been, but that was mostly because it’d never occured to Aizawa to think of Hizashi as attractive – he was just Hizashi, or Yamada back then. Aizawa hadn’t made a point of ogling the physical assets of his friends on a daily basis. Or ever. It wasn’t something he looked for at all, much less in friends he already had an important relationship with. What was the need to change something that already worked?

It’d taken direct confrontation for Aizawa to even consider whether Hizashi was attractive or not. More the fool Aizawa. Or he’d have realised what a stone-cold knockout he’s been best friends with his whole adult life.

Hizashi’s grinning at Aizawa like he sure knows it too. When Aizawa does fall: it’s hard. However, perhaps because of the notion that he’s already got Aizawa right where he wants him, when Aizawa leans in Hizashi tries to wriggle away. Just to be sure Aizawa will catch and reel him back.

Too damn right.

With just a squeeze of his arm around Hizashi’s back, Aizawa draws him into a whiskey-tasting kiss that escalates fast. Aizawa’s palm slides down the patterned skin of Hizashi’s back, until he hits tight leather, giving Hizashi’s ass a no-nonsense grope. It’s a well-known fact that Hizashi’s a flirt, but Aizawa is all hands. “Let’s stay in,” he poses devilishly in Hizashi’s ear; the voice of a lethargic do-nothing tempting him into bed.

Hizashi settles for the sofa, which he achieves by sitting his ass down on it with Aizawa’s hand still on it. Because Aizawa allows it to happen, this results in Hizashi’s asscheek planted square in Aizawa’s hand as he spreads himself out across the sofa, dragging the rest of Aizawa over him like pulling up a cover.

With the far more prolific and varied dating history (or lack thereof, in Aizawa’s case) between them, Hizashi is without a doubt the smoother operator between them. This means he knows exactly what he’s doing as Aizawa comes in to boldly straddle Hizashi’s lap, unfastening Aizawa’s belt and pulling down the zipper on his jumpsuit with a well-practiced fluidity. Right before grasping fingers snake into the hollow between Aizawa’s bare skin and the fabric. Hizashi’s got his hand around Aizawa’s cock so fast it’s amazing there isn’t a small breeze left in his wake, squeezing a grizzled noise of encouragement from Aizawa’s sandpaper throat.

Hizashi looks up at Aizawa with a billionaire’s smile and a hand deftly working inside Aizawa’s boxers. “We can go out after.”

Aizawa has a feeling he’s in for another long night; just in the best way possible.

It’s past ten before Aizawa and Hizashi have both taken all their clothes off – gotten very sidetracked – and then finally put different ones on, respectively getting ‘ready’ enough to go out for that Saturday night on the town Hizashi’s adamantly been calling for. In Hizashi’s case, this means an only marginally less outlandish outfit (Aizawa hid the red leather under the sofa), and in Aizawa’s case changing into his people clothes and a quick catnap on the sofa.

This makes it nearly eleven before they even arrive at the seedy bar that they finally agreed on going to halfway through the drive to another place, Hizashi paying the driver extra for changing the destination in his enthusiasm to go back to their old regular. The destination in question is a bar they’ve been avoiding for a while, on account of Aizawa getting stabbed the last time they were there. Just lightly, but it’s a powder keg they figured it’d be good to stay away from… at least for a bit.

It’s hard to stay away from a favourite, and this is the kind of dive where the cheapness of the drinks undercuts all classes and social strata. Everyone in here must have some reason for wanting to get fucked up on the cheap. For Aizawa and Hizashi, it’s a good place to cruise for illegal activity; hence why ‘Mic’ has his hair pulled into a simple ponytail and contacts instead of glasses.

Hizashi’s straight-up shirtless under one of his many leather jackets, putting a fair amount of his skin – and tattoos – on show on top of the black drainpipe jeans that make him look like some kind of stick figure caricature dashing around all excited once they get out of the taxi near the bar. Only people who are thinking really hard about it will equate this Yakuza-esque looking motherfucker with the popular voice Hero Present Mic. If anything, Aizawa’s the one they’re going to remember – the busybody they knifed for trying (and succeeding) to break up a drug trafficking ring running out of the men’s bathroom three weeks ago.

Aizawa is out of his usual garb as a gesture to date night being more than getting drunk on the job with Hizashi, even if that’s usually exactly what it is. There’s only one outfit that Aizawa has agreed to wear ‘out’ in years upon years of Hizashi pleading for Aizawa to let Hizashi dress him. It consists of one pair of jeans Hizashi brought back from a trip to America, the only pair he’s found that actually fit Aizawa and haven’t split open the first time he squats in them, and a generic black t-shirt that Aizawa is certain Hizashi buys for him a size too small on purpose. That’s his ‘going out’ outfit, and until it stops being Hizashi-approved for such purposes Aizawa won’t be getting another one.

After an only slightly awkward stare when they first stroll in, Aizawa and Hizashi mosey up to the bar for a couple of drinks – more whiskey for Hizashi, beer for Aizawa – and then settle in on a pair of high stools tucked in a corner around a table that’s extremely tacky both in style and texture.

“Alright, lover,” Hizashi breaks into a smile that’s like sun burning through cloudy skies. “How the fuck are you?”