Shouta looks up from where he’s studying his beer and contemplating the merits of getting a refill, eyeing Nemuri’s gaze that is, in his opinion, looking far too intelligent right now.
“So, indeed.” He mutters, looking back down at his glass.
It’s an emergency meet-up, extremely short notice, but he’s glad that Hizashi and Nemuri weren’t previously occupied - or were able to cancel their plans - and able to meet him at their usual spot. Even their regular table had been free, and Shouta tips his glass up to catch the dregs of his beer, rubbing at an eye as he glances at the pair.
“‘Big mission’, huh?” Hizashi supplies, chewing a ball of takoyaki thoughtfully. That’s all Shouta’d said in the text, but it was as good a call to meet as any, and he nods, sighing through his nose.
“Yeah. Undercover infiltration mission. You’ve been hearing about the kids going missing, right?” Shouta says, peering at his best friends who both nod after a moment. The case is messy as shit and there haven’t been any leads - just kids with impressive or powerful quirks disappearing with no notice. Mostly middle and high school kids, but there’s been a handful with newly showing quirks that have vanished. It’s...a disaster. The police are working overtime to try and keep it out of the news to prevent mass panic, but there’s still whispers of it everywhere.
Kids can’t just vanish with no warning and have the people around them continue on like nothing has happened. People are starting to ask questions. Parents are getting desperate.
Nemuri looks a little concerned next to Hizashi who openly gapes, shaking his head after a moment. “What, did they find a lead?” He asks, side-eyeing Nemuri.
“Apparently. I don’t know much yet, but from the gist of it, I’ll be gone for a few months.”
“Lucky you expelled your class this year then, huh?” Nemuri murmurs, sipping her beer. There’s a sad air over the trio as they think about it - Shouta’s quirk will be useful, but it’ll be extremely dangerous. “Do you have backup going with you?” She asks after a moment.
Shouta shrugs. He doesn’t actually know, yet. “I’ll probably have to also take a kid or someone with an age regression quirk, too. If it’s kids that are getting taken, they’ll probably want...bait.” He winces a little with that last word, hating the idea immediately. Across from him, Hizashi and Nemuri mirror his action.
“Well!” In a bright, fake-happy tone of voice, Nemuri pushes back from the table and taps her glass against Shouta’s and then Hizashi’s, downing the contents and points to the bar. “Refill?”
It’s a welcome distraction from the heavy air that’s settled over the table, and the remainder of the night turns to other, more entertaining things. Hizashi’s absolutely disastrous interview on his radio show last week or Nemuri’s horrific Tinder date, for instance.
Three days later, as he’s watching class 1-B’s hero training and giving pointers to Vlad King, his phone rings. It’s the police station, mentioning that they’ve organised a meeting for the next day, and Shouta will be meeting his fellow teammates and learning more details of the case. He sighs, hanging up, and gently headbutts Vlad’s shoulder who can only laugh.
This sort of thing - being the focus in a room full of people - has never been his scene, but he supposes he just has to deal with it.
He scrubs a hand over his face as he makes his way through the police building toward the conference room, bleary-eyed and tired. The night-shift had been pretty hectic and he hadn’t made it back to his apartment before 5am, so Shouta’s sort of out of it as he rounds a corner and double-takes at the man standing halfway down the corridor, speaking quietly with a police officer and a kid with wild, purple hair.
The trio make for a sort of unconventional group, but it’s the fact that one of them towers above the rest with what is probably a height quirk of some sort and looks like he could be taken down by the kid without a fight that makes Shouta’s steps slow as he brushes past them. The kid glances across at him as he passes and his eyes widen a fraction, mouth opening to say something when the officer clears his throat politely and gestures to the door that’s propped open further down the hall, people in suits filing in.
Kenji Tsuragamae stands at the head of the table as everyone finds a seat, shooting a polite smile at Shouta before he clears his throat and begins to speak.
“Thank you for joining us this morning. For those not completely up to date - the quirk kidnappings case has finally, finally found a lead.” Here, he gestures to the purple haired boy who sits up straighter. He looks uncertain, but it’s not surprising when he’s in a room full of pro heroes and high ranking policemen. “Shinso Hitoshi managed to escape an attack where three of his friends were taken, one week ago, because he didn’t openly use his quirk. If he had, he too would be missing. But in the panic he managed to get a photo.”
The screen behind Kenji lights up to reveal a blurry picture of a car with two men standing beside it, one of them restraining a young teenager. It’s...hard to look at. Shouta shrinks in on himself a little, shooting a glance at Shinso, who’s studying his hands in his lap. The number plate is clearly displayed, and the slide changes quickly to show a map with a point highlighted. It’s about three hours away from Musutafu, but Shouta sits up straighter all the same. This information will be important.
“We tracked the vehicle to this location. The plates were seen by police two days ago, but we’re unsure if the vehicle has been abandoned at this stage. In any case,” Kenji presses his hands to the table, leaning on them and staring at them for a moment. “We have reason to believe that we can start moving.”
There’s a soft murmur through the crowd; police muttering to one another, heroes exchanging looks - the blonde man from earlier leans over to whisper something to Shinso, who shoots him a small smile in return. When Kenji clears his throat, the room quietens once more.
“The underground hero Eraserhead has been asked to take this mission, and has accepted. With his quirk, it will make rescuing the children much easier if we get far enough to stop the operation. Shinso will be joining him, and,” Kenji looks across at the blonde, who nods. “All Might’s secretary, Yagi. Quirkless, but with an extensive knowledge of quirk theory and the ability to defend himself if necessary. We will also be placing other lesser known pro heroes, interns and sidekicks in the vicinity in case back-up is needed urgently. But the three of them - with minor adjustments to their appearances - are practically invisible to those that would consider looking for them in hero databases or online. Plus, Eraserhead’s knowledge of teaching from his position at UA will make it far easier to plant him in the local highschool that has had the largest number of abductions. We have reason to believe that there is a mole amongst the staff, leaking information to the villains.”
There’s another round of murmuring and Shouta squints at the blonde - Yagi, apparently - who is supposedly All Mights secretary. Huh. He wouldn’t have picked it, would’ve assumed the number one heroes’ personal staff would have at least been...nicer to look at. But, Shouta assumes, that’s probably why he’s here. He’s never seen Yagi before - or even heard of him.
It’s pretty smart, actually.
The meeting continues on as questions are asked and then - if able to - answered, and by the end of it Kenji dismisses everyone except Shouta, Yagi, and Shinso. They look at each other as the room clears out and Shouta pushes himself up to fill a glass of water from the jug in the corner, mulling over everything that’s been discussed.
This case is...big. He wasn’t aware of all of the facts until just now, and it’s a lot to take in.
Someone clears their throat to the side and Shouta turns, looking up - and up - at Yagi, who smiles politely and extends a hand. “It’s very nice to meet you, Eraserhead. I’ve heard about you before, only on occasions, but I’d like to thank you for the work you’ve put into both raising the new generation of heroes and keeping Musutafu safe.”
His voice is deep and a lot more soothing than Shouta would have expected from his gaunt and frail appearance. It’s...weird.
Shouta grunts but shakes his hand, nodding to him. “Don’t mention it,” He says before he sips from his cup, watching Kenji approach Shinso and exchange a few words and then moving toward them, the boy in tow.
“I hope that meeting answered anything you wanted to know - we have files with final touches being added to give to you soon - but is there anything you’d like to know?”
“I have a question,” Yagi says, looking pointedly at Kenji before his gaze slides to Shinso. “Which is, mostly, why are we bringing a child with us? This job is clearly dangerous - especially for students - and I want to know why exactly you’ve chosen to bring a victim of one of these kidnappings in when we could very easily seek out the assistance of one of the underground heroes with age regression quirks, who regularly assist with cases like this?”
Shouta can admit that it’s a good fucking question, and watches Kenji mull over it for a moment. Shinso doesn’t look too perplexed, though that’s probably because he’s only shown about three emotional responses to the whole meeting so far. They probably need to get that checked out.
“If it’s teenagers that these people are seeking,” Kenji starts, folding his hands over his stomach. “Then we should be using teenagers. Multiple operatives with age related quirks have stated on numerous occasions that they cannot always sustain their disguise and need time alone to operate in their normal state, and that they sometimes cannot react to particular stimuli the same way a teenager - or child - ordinarily would. We have spoken with Shinso’s parents extensively in order to get their approval, and they - and Shinso himself - are the key to this operation. If they refuse or change their mind at any stage in the operation, we will be ceasing all movements immediately.”
Yagi doesn’t look convinced.
He sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose and gestures to the side in Shinso’s vague direction. “I understand, but that doesn’t mean we cannot approach students with provisional hero licenses - second year high school students come to mind - who have more practice, knowledge, and a stronger capacity to understand the situation at hand. I don’t want to endanger a child if I don’t have to. At least we could approach students who actively want to do hero work, who don’t look their ages...there are other ways to do this, Kenji.”
“Probably, but Shinso has agreed to this - even volunteered, himself - and has an invisible quirk that, if presented as quirkless, which he will be, will protect him if the situation calls for it. The boy has expressed interest in heroics, too.” Kenji raises his hands in a placating gesture toward the secretary, voice softening. “I know this is stressful for you, for all of you, but if we waste time trying to find a student with an invisible quirk that won’t make them an immediate target, we may lose this opportunity. We have the explicit permission of Shinso’s parents. There’s no point in trying to find someone else.”
“I want to do this.”
Kenji and Yagi both pause, blinking at one another before they look down at Shinso who stands, staring at the floor, hands fisted against his side. His shoulders are tense, his teeth gritted, but the determination is clear. He looks up at Yagi, eyes flashing. “I watched my friends get taken by these people. I want to help. I want to be a hero that I can be proud of, and I’m not going to sit out. My quirk is invisible - it’s brainwashing - and only activates when I want it to. I want to save my friends, if that’s alright with you.” He’s scowling by the end and Yagi takes a moment before he laughs, placing a hand on his shoulder gently.
“I apologise for not asking for your opinion, my boy. You’ll do a fine job, and we’ll protect you.”
Shinso only grunts, but slips out from under Yagi’s hand as an officer pokes their head in and offers the files to Kenji, who watches Shinso for a moment and then glances at the two men, handing them each one of the folders.
“I hope it’s not too uncomfortable, but with Shinso being there we’d prefer for you to present as a family - married or otherwise - so that one of you isn’t undergoing more stress than the other during this. These files have your background information, job positions and anything else you may need to create your character.” Shouta raises his eyebrows as he opens the front page and sees his new name - Otani Kentaro, apparently - printed next to Yagi’s. Otani Yoritoki. His husband’s name, by the looks of things. There’s no way in hell they can pass this off as brothers.
Yagi hums as he opens the file and studies the front page, flipping through it absently before he snaps it shut and bows to Kenji, a small smile on his face. “Thank you. I will do the best that I can to ensure Shinso’s safety and get these children home.”
Shouta wants to roll his eyes at the gesture, wondering absently if All Might’s agency makes people too polite when Yagi turns to him and extends a hand like he’d done earlier. “Aizawa. It’s been a pleasure to make your acquaintance, but unfortunately I must get back to the agency. There’s a few things I need to take care of before we move out.” He bows to Shinso - apologising once more - and then he’s gone.
Shinso watches him leave, scratching at his face, before he looks up at Shouta curiously. “So. Dad,” He begins, and a shitty little smile crosses his face after a moment. “How much experience do you have with teenagers?”
Shouta spends the next two days desperately trying to run errands and sort out his living arrangements in Musutafu - the police and All Might’s agency will be covering his rent, seeing as they’re unsure how long he’s going to be out of town - and the moving day creeps up on him way too soon. Shouta is sitting in the passenger seat of a little moving van, Yagi beside him driving and Shinso huddled against the window, looking out at the city as it moves past.
Yagi taps his fingers against the steering wheel and hums along to the radio under his breath, in good spirits - Shouta’s starting to understand why he works for All Might - and asks the occasional question of Shinso, who mumbles back replies occasionally.
An hour into their drive, Yagi glances at Shouta, and chuckles.
“We should probably come up with a little bit of backstory, don’t you think?”
He grunts, opening the folder in his lap that contains all of their information - family names, given names, occupations, references, Shinso’s adoption papers - everything that they’ll need to pull this off. There’s a pen wedged into the corner and he plucks it out, clicking the end a few times before glancing up at Yagi who’s focussed back on the road.
“Like how we met, when we got married, how we met, uh, Hidetoshi?”
Yagi hums in confirmation, eyes back on the road. Beside him, Shinso shuffles a little, glancing at him from the corner of his eye. Paying attention now that his fake name has been used.
“We've already got most of that information from the documents,” Yagi murmurs more to himself than Shouta, his brow pulling forward in a little frown. “But I think we need to figure out the where’s and the how’s, yes?”
Shouta feels an elbow jab into his side and shoots a glare at Shinso, who leers at him. “Like how Yagi-san proposed and whether you cried or not?”
Oh, cool. They’re dealing with a little shit.
Yagi barks out a laugh and Shouta rolls his eyes with a groan, pressing a finger to his temple. It's too early to discuss this, but it does need to be figured out. He shuffles in his seat, stretches his toes in his new dress shoes, and sighs.
“We've been together for, say, four years. If you're a quirk specialist, we could have either met at a quirk training event for high school staff, you could have given a talk at my school, or we met randomly. Bar, or party, or something of the like.
“We’re moving to Koriyama for your work - you've been specifically asked for for your specialised knowledge - and I wasn't happy but agreed to after specific forms of bribery. You're doing the dishes the whole time we're here, because I hate it, but I’ll attend all your events because you don’t want to be drinking alone at them.” Yagi snorts beside him but doesn’t say anything immediately, and Shouta takes that as a good sign to continue but Yagi beats him to it.
“You make it sound like you're a trophy husband, Aizawa-san,” Yagi laughs, and even Shinso’s chuckling, though he tries to hide it. “Did I only marry you for your looks?”
“Absolutely.” Shouta sniffs, folding his arms across his chest. “We both know I’m the handsome one out of the pair of us, and you’re the brains. Anyway.
“You proposed in June two years ago, shortly before we decided to start a family of our own. You did it walking home one night from a date, in the light from a street-lamp, and it was extremely romantic. I said yes, of course, and we got married at…” He lifts the certificate out of the pile of documents, squinting at the kanji written at the top. “...some celebratory place in the mountains. Small wedding.”
Yagi and Shinso are both laughing now, thoroughly entertained by the sheer amount of thought he’s put into this. Shouta would be embarrassed, but he doesn't know Yagi well enough yet. He can humiliate himself later.
“And we adopted Hidetoshi six months later, yes?” Yagi’s voice is a little rough from the laughter but he’s entertained by it all, leaning over to pluck his water bottle from the cup holders on the dash. “I think that works for all of us. We can go over it more carefully in the next week, anyway, as we figure everything else out.”
Shouta hums, and glances sidelong at Shinso, who’s still giggling to himself. He smiles.
Maybe this won’t actually be that awful.
It's embarrassing to say, but Shouta almost jumpscares himself when he passes by the mirror that's been placed in his and Yagi’s room, damn near dropping the box of linen he'd carted in from the van.
He knows Nemuri and Hizashi both picked his undercover hairstyle - knows he'd wanted to strangle them when he saw it at the stylists - but after sitting in a car for three hours, he's sort of...forgotten. Sure, his head feels lighter and he keeps whipping around almost too fast and screwing his centre of gravity, but seeing the shaved sides - so weird to touch - and the shorter hair tied into a wispy, loose bun on top is almost too fucking weird to deal with.
He doesn't look like Shouta anymore.
Yagi breezes in after him and smiles kindly when he notices that Shouta's distracted by, well, himself; awkwardly tucking a strand of his long hair behind his ear. “It must be tough to get used to, losing your hair like that. Did you agree to it?”
“Sort of. I was drunk at the time, but my shitty friends don't really consider that an excuse.”
His husband laughs, placing the box in his hands down and slapping his hands together to get rid of excess dust. “Well, it looks quite handsome! You look like a young man ready to make his mark on the world!”
Shouta wrinkles his nose. He personally thinks he looks like a hipster, but there's no point arguing; he doesn't know Yagi well enough to bicker over stupid shit like this.
So instead he grunts, dumping the box in his hands beside the bed frame and trailing after Yagi back to the van to help Shinso with his futon.
Once the apartment is vaguely unpacked and the sun has set, they settle on the couches that Yagi brought - Shinso boneless with his feet thrown over the side of one of them, Shouta and Yagi sagging a polite distance apart on the other - and pick at takeout as they talk quietly between them. Learning about their lives; what Shinso likes at school, what sort of hero work he’s interested in. What sort of work Yagi does for All Might - what the Symbol of Peace is even like as a person up close - and what Shouta does for his underground hero work. What it’s like at UA, as a teacher.
It’s surprisingly nice, actually, to just...talk. It’s a good way to settle into it, and get to know one another. Once Shinso goes to his room to call his mothers’ and turn in for the night, they discuss the finer details of their marriage.
Mostly, what they’re comfortable with.
Yagi mentions that he doesn’t react well to being touched on his left side - around his waist and below his chest - and Shouta makes a note to remember that. Shouta, also, doesn’t like his neck being touched.
Kisses are sort of only for really necessary moments, and they make a note to figure out a system in the near future in case it’s required of them in public and Shouta tries really hard not to snort at the face Yagi pulls in regards to it.
He tells him shortly after that he hasn’t dated anyone in years, and is out of practice with everything involving dating, much less being married.
They’ll figure it out. Probably.
When they turn in, Shouta stands at the end of their queen sized bed and sort of just...stares.
They’re going to be sharing this room, and sleeping together, for the next six weeks at the very least.
“I don’t snore, so don’t worry about that,” Yagi teases as he swans in after him from their ensuite, draped in a monstrous white t-shirt and compression tights. He smells like mint. “But if it’s going to be weird to share, I can sleep on the couch.”
Shouta snorts, halfway through pulling his shirt over his head. “It’s fine. The bed’s huge anyway, so it won’t be that weird.”
He hopes. Fuck, he hopes it’s not weird.
Their bedtime routines are slightly awkward to share with one another, Shouta notes quickly. Yagi has a container of medication split between the days in a week and morning and evening, and he sits on his side of the bed, shoulders visibly tense as he checks his blood sugar with the little machine and takes his medications.
Shouta tries to give him privacy, lying on his side of the bed and facing the other way while staring blankly at his phone, but he can still hear him rattling around behind him for a while before he settles, wheezing a little.
He doesn’t really know how to inform his ‘husband’ that his sleep cycle is sort of fucked from the combination of hero work and teaching, and he probably won’t fall asleep until at least 3am. But Yagi mumbles a soft little ’good night’ and tucks the duvet over his shoulder, curling up, and Shouta figures he may as well attempt to fix his cycle. He won’t be doing hero work for a little while, anyway.
It takes him three hours to fall asleep.