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He didn’t know why he agreed to this.

Maybe it was because he always felt sort of hopeless at the start of a new year because, while those around him attempted to refine themselves, he seemed to be anchored in the same inescapable predicament as he had been for fifteen years. Maybe it was because he felt like he deserved better. Because he surely hadn’t committed some tremendous mortal sin that condemned him to such a misery – he knew he deserved good. Maybe it was because he had grown tired of feeling sorry for himself, day after wretched day. Maybe it was because he yearned for a new experience. Maybe it was because he wanted to get laid.

Yet if he was being honest, there was one thing Aizawa Shouta was certain about. He only agreed because Hizashi had suggested it.

Which was how Shouta found himself dressing reluctantly for a blind date.

“Hey, you in there?” A knock sounded at his bedroom door, followed by Hizashi’s voice calling his name. Shouta opened the door and allowed him to step through, gut twisting with nervousness at each passing second.

“How are you feeling?” Hizashi questioned, placing a hand on the small of Shouta’s back, and the touch of Hizashi’s fingers seemed to sear burns into his skin. Shouta adjusted the towel at his waist and grimaced, wishing that he was in any situation but the one he was currently in. “You’re gonna be fine,” Hizashi laughed, and the sound helped to dissipate some of the tension in Shouta's posture. Hizashi smiled softly at him, reaching to tuck a strand of hair behind Shouta's ear. “There’s no need to be nervous, Shou. He’s a friend of Nemuri’s, so he’s gotta be great.”

Stepping away from Hizashi toward the front of the mirror, Shouta ran a hand through his damp hair and sighed. He did not want to do this, and that much he knew was obvious to his best friend. Hizashi met his eyes in the mirror, giving a sympathetic half smile, and Shouta realizes he still hasn’t responded even a single word. He didn’t trust his own voice to speak, worried of the betrayal his wavering tone may hold.

“Shouta, come on, I know you’re nervous. But it’ll be fine! Great, actually! And if it isn’t all that great, we can watch whatever you want when you get home, and you can forget it ever happened.”

Shouta huffed a sarcastic sigh, attempting to hide his growing smile at the reassurances. He narrowed his eyes and jokingly glared at Hizashi, who stood broadly, eyebrows expectantly raised. “Fine,” Shouta whined, giving in almost immediately. How could he ever say no to Hizashi. It was impossible, Shouta knew. "Then you have to help me pick out a shirt.”

And, immediately, Hizashi lit up and hurried to Shouta closet, chattering endlessly as he pulled out various outfits. Living with Hizashi was a blessing and a curse. It was more convenient for the both of them, since their pro-hero work often brought them home bruised and battered, desperate to not be alone. Shouta couldn’t count the amount of times he’d stayed up until Hizashi got home so he wouldn't have to face the darkness on his own. Nights were always the worst, and it was endlessly helpful to have someone home - even if it caused them to worry about each other.

Some nights, he needed Hizashi when he’d gotten home from a tough assignment. Some nights, Hizashi needed him just as bad, would be so relieved that he’d crawl into bed with Shouta, hold him close, and beg him to never scare him like that again. And on those nights, Shouta wouldn’t trade their shared apartment for anything.

But there were other times that Shouta wishes he could detach himself slowly from Hizashi’s life, so that he could finally get over the man he’d been in love with for over a decade.

Still, as Hizashi looks at him with a wide grin, Shouta knows he wouldn’t change a thing. Shouta wants to believe that he tries to calm his rapid heartbeat.

When Shouta finally deems himself ready, he headed to the lounge where he found Hizashi grading papers with a bored expression. Though Shouta had intended on asking for his seal of approval, he didn’t have to bother. Because Hizashi had already breathed out a short “wow.” Shouta raised his eyebrows in slight surprise as Hizashi gazed over his white button-up, ironed black pants, and deep red tie. “You look really good, Shouta.”

Shouta’s eyes widen, cautionary.

While Shouta wasn't incredibly self-conscious, he never expected to hear praise from Hizashi, who was practically the definition of beautiful. And sure, it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence that someone found Shouta attractive, but Hizashi’s compliments made his head spin and his stomach flip unlike anything he’s used to. Shouta nervously scratched at his neck, pulling at his collar as he questioned warily, “You think so?”

“Definitely,” Hizashi confirms, and Shouta is sure he imagined the blush on his cheeks or the hesitance in his voice.

“Thanks, ‘Zashi,” Shouta says appreciatively through a shakily nervous sigh. “Guess it’s time to go.” He turns to leave, but before he can even exit the living room, Hizashi’s scrambling off the couch and turning him around. His eyes bore into Shouta’s for a second before he reaches into his pocket. Shouta watches his every move, as if he's scared of what might happen next.

“Here,” he says, handing him a small coin, engraved with a small symbol. “My mom gave it to me for good luck in love.”

Shouta takes the coin, enclosing it in his palm. He recognized the coin as soon as he saw it, remembers its significance and story, remembers everything Hizashi says, no matter how insignificant. Shouta drops it in his pocket, straightens his tie, and looks back up at Hizashi, who is gazing at him expectantly. “It’s always been my good luck charm,” Hizashi smiles. “Hopefully it’ll help you.”

Shouta wants to say that he doesn’t need it. He wants to say Hizashi is his good luck charm. Instead, he remains silent. He doesn't need to say it. Hizashi knows. So he simply grins back at Hizashi, only halfway faked, and whispers his gratitude. Shouta wants to believe that he tries not to blush from the intensity of the moment.

The second he arrived at the fancy restaurant, Shouta had a bad feeling.

For starters, he’d arrived before his date and, in hindsight, he should’ve left right then. Shouta himself had arrived five minutes late – fashionably, of course – and checked with the hostess, who’d seated him with the promise they’d send his date back when he arrived. He nervously drummed his fingers against his beautiful white plate, waiting, waiting, anxiously waiting.

He contemplated texting his date, Kaito, but eventually decided against it. Shouta didn’t want to come off needy. Plus, he could just be stuck in the ceaseless traffic. Maybe he was just running late. So Shouta waited another few minutes, trying not to overthink things, until a waitress approached him.

“Are you ready to order yet?” The short redhead inquired impolitely, tone almost snappy. Shouta felt embarrassment flush his cheeks as he shook his head, feeling his previously-pinned hair fall out of place. She huffed in frustration and rolled her eyes.

“Can I, uh, have just a few more minutes?” He stuttered. His tongue felt foreign in his mouth, and he didn’t meet her eyes, seeing her nod stiffly and walk away – but not without shaking her head dismissively.

His phone buzzed with a text, and Shouta rushed to retrieve it from the pocket of his trousers. He hoped to god it was Kaito with some explanation for his absence, but, of course, it wasn’t. It was Hizashi.

So on a scale of 1, being I need to call you right now so you can fake an emergency and escape, to 10, being I need to vacate the apartment for the night: how is it going?
wish it was even on that scale
he hasn’t even shown up
What?!? Seriously!
Just wait a few more minutes
I know you’re freaking out but there’s plenty of reasonable explanations for this
i'm gonna kill nemuri
Relax, Shou

Shouta let out a breath he hadn’t realize he’d been holding and subconsciously acknowledged that Hizashi knew him too well. Shouta decided he would stay for five more minutes and then leave. Everything was fine. This definitely wasn’t a big deal.

Except, after a few minutes, it was a big deal, because he’d been stood up. The five minutes he'd promised had passed as he busied himself on his phone, and then Shouta ended up with his face buried in his hands and breathing shakily. He felt his eyes begin to sting with frustrated tears but managed to ignore it in favor of picking at loose threads on his sleeve. Until he noticed another glare from the waitress.

Shouta knew he should’ve never agreed to this. He knew it was a bad idea for more reasons than one. Why would Kaito even want to meet him? Shouta was just a mess of sarcastic comments and bland reactions. Beauty certainly didn’t make up for his lack of personality; he never was breathtaking like Hizashi, instead he let his hair dry to be frizzy and refused to shave his stubble. He was pathetic for so many reasons, but mostly for waiting so long to try to move on. He was pathetic for thinking someone would want to go on a date with him. But worst of all, he was pathetic for tethering Hizashi to him throughout everything.

i'm leaving. can't believe this happened. have a tissue box and some ice cream ready when i get home.
Just wait one more minute, okay??

Shouta didn't reply but decided to stay, regardless. He trusted Hizashi with not only his life, but his heart.

And tonight was no disappointment, because as Shouta finally allowed tears to pool in his eyes, there was Hizashi.

Before Shouta could even register what was happening, Hizashi was kissing his cheek and announcing, “Babe, sorry I’m late! So much traffic, y’know?” And when Shouta just stared at him in confusion Hizashi muttered behind his ear, “Just go with it.”
So Shouta did. He wants to believe that he tries not to smile too wide.

They ordered fancy food and drank fancy wine and jokingly talked like fancy people. And Shouta knew he was more content sitting at a pretentious restaurant with Hizashi than he ever would’ve been with Kaito. Hizashi had stepped in and saved Shouta the mortification of leaving the restaurant alone, and for that, Shouta was beyond grateful.

Hizashi was and always will be his saving grace.

So as they sat and sipped from crystal wine glasses, Shouta reached across the table and grabbed his best friend’s hand tentatively. Hizashi ceased his rambling and looked up at Shouta, who convinced himself he was imagining the blush on Hizashi’s cheeks. “Thank you,” Shouta whispered, soft and full of all the emotion he hoped to convey.

“No problem, Shouta,” he smiled back gently. “Ready to go home?”

The pair stood up and made their way out, but on the way they passed the waitress who had been rude to Shouta. They’d discussed it over dinner, and Hizashi got defensive. He argued that it wasn’t Shouta’s fault he’d been stood up, that she had no right to treat him the way she had.

“I had a wonderful time tonight, Shouta,” he declared, excessively loud and deliberately making eye contact with the waitress. Hizashi slung an arm around Shouta’s neck and kissed him directly on the lips.

Hizashi kissed him on the lips.

But it was over before he had any time to respond, and Shouta just stood there, in front of the hostess stand, in front of the rude waitress, wide-eyed and gaping. “Just go with it,” Hizashi whispered for the second time that night. So Shouta did.

He grabbed Hizashi’s hand, laced their fingers together, and walked out proudly.

The moment their feet hit the pavement, however, Shouta dropped the confident act, stuttering. “What was that? I don’t understand, 'Zashi, I mean, what the fuck?” Shouta stared at the man incredulously, while Hizashi just shrugged and waved down a taxi. Shouta drew his eyebrows together in confusion. “We have to talk about this!” He nearly shouted as they clambered into the cab. “Don’t ignore me!”

“What’s there to discuss? I was proving to her that you weren’t alone. She treated you unfairly, Shouta. Don’t even try and tell me you didn’t want to spite her. The look on her face was priceless!” He laughed but Shouta was shaking, practically fuming now at Hizashi’s nonchalance.

“You can’t just do that, though! What makes you think that was okay? You know how I feel, and that wasn’t fair to me,” he babbled, looking anywhere but Hizashi’s eyes, mostly angry but partly humiliated. “That was cruel, Hizashi. God, you know what you mean to me.”

And as a six-foot tall male, Shouta had never imagined he could feel as painfully small as he did in that moment.

The twisting in his gut made his eyes start to water, but he forced it down, willed it away. Why had Hizashi shown up for him? Why did he kiss him? It wasn’t fair, it just wasn’t fucking fair.

And then Hizashi was at his lips again, and this time it lasted more than a second, because Shouta responded. He hastily pulled Hizashi closer to him, hands in his hair, around his waist, on his back, desperately clinging to what he’d been deprived of since he started pining in high school. 'Just friends' was a shitty arrangement, he realized, as Hizashi bit at his bottom lip. It turned out that Hizashi was just as desperate for this as Shouta was.

Eventually, it started to become too much for the backseat of a taxi, but that didn’t seem to stop Hizashi from pressing breathy, open-mouth kisses along Shouta’s neck as he let out a needy whine. Hizashi began to take control of the situation, but Shouta decided he can’t, he just can’t do it.

“Hizashi, please,” he said, but it was so high-pitched yet simultaneously guttural that Hizashi mistook it for a moan. Shouta reiterates, “Please stop.”

And Hizashi was so good, so wonderful, so considerate, that he stops immediately, pulling back with wide eyes to search for an answer. “What’s wrong?” He pleaded quietly, but it just made Shouta want to punch him. Why can’t Hizashi just get angry with him ever? “You don’t want this?”

And it was too much, and Shouta was flustered, fingernails digging into his bleeding palms as he shouts, “Just stop, okay? You can’t do this when you know how I feel! You can’t fuck with my emotions for no good reason!”

“Shouta,” he interrupts, voice calm and steady and everything that Shouta isn’t right now. He feels like he’s spinning and spinning and he’s going to crash if he doesn’t figure out how to control himself. He looks up at Hizashi, and he just knows that he looks heartbreakingly pathetic as his eyes fill with tears. Hizashi puts a hand on his cheek. “You know what you mean to me,” he repeats Shouta’s own words, and that’s when Shouta finally breaks.

He’s crying into Hizashi’s shoulder, heaving and sputtering, and he feels stupid. He feels so, so stupid. It’s actually kind of ridiculous, but he’s finally safe. Hizashi is safety, and he’s warmth, and he’s love, and he’s all Shouta ever wanted.

Hizashi is all Shouta ever needed.

He wants to believe he tried not to fall even more hopelessly in love with the man he’s desperately grasping.

But he did not try.