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.
SORRY FOR NOT UPDATING SOONERRR i wanted to post this a few days ago but we got a puppy and that threw EVERYTHING outta whack
i also realised like 2 days ago why this chapter has been annoying the shit outta me so i've been trying to fix that too lmaooo
hope you enjoy!!! i'm dying over all the nice comments so far ;o;
Toshinori cooks breakfast on the first official day of their posting, getting up early and opening windows, airing out the apartment while he ducks out to grab groceries. While out, he sort of realises that they’ll need to discuss meal plans and organise chores and figure out who likes and doesn’t like what.
He knows he’s going to be a pain in the ass with his dietary requirements, so maybe they could treat it like a housemate situation; but in any case, Shinso’s lurking in the lounge room when he returns and offers to help Toshinori cook when he bustles in with a few bags of urgent groceries that will keep them alive for the next few days.
Instead of helping, Toshinori gives him a notepad and pen and asks him to write down what food he likes, what snacks, and anything he really, really hates, and while he writes and thinks and taps his pen on the table, Toshinori cooks him breakfast and places a bowl in the oven for Aizawa when he surfaces.
It’s a nice, easy and casual way to start things off, and the kid looks happy as he splits the egg yolk over his rice with a little hum.
After they’ve eaten and Shinso’s relocated to finish setting up his room, Toshinori clears the kitchen and does the dishes and then, when he’s done literally everything else, he pulls the ring he’d been given for their postings out of the bag that’s been sitting ominously on the bench and studies it.
It’s a nice band, simply designed, in gold with a dark tungsten interior and stripe running around the middle. The other ring in the bag is the same, but in reverse - tungsten band with gold plated interior and stripe, and Toshinori has to admire the craftsmanship and overall simplicity in the design. If he were actually getting married, he wouldn’t mind the ring at all.
“I want the dark one.”
He jumps, fumbling with the band in his surprise and only just manages to catch it before it skitters off the edge of the bench. Aizawa stands a few feet away, looking entertained by the flustered grabbing Toshinori’s just made, but points at the ring he’s holding in his fingers and continues.
“Gold outer would probably suit you more, anyway. Your hair matches it, y’know? And you seem to like lighter colours from what I’ve seen. Well. You probably like them more than I do, at least.”
That’s a fair point, actually. Toshinori’s wearing a white t-shirt and mushroom slacks, while Aizawa’s dressed in grey and black. Absently he wonders if the man owns anything other than dark tones.
“That makes sense,” Toshinori murmurs, picking up the tungsten band and peering at it. Aizawa steps closer and gently pries the gold plated one from his other hand, twists it around a few times, and then slips it on with little fanfare and a head-tilt that’s strangely adorable.
He looks at it for a moment, sniffs, wiggles his finger, then shakes his head and pulls it off.
“Yeah. Definitely give me the dark one.”
“It looks cute on you, though!” Toshinori laughs, wiggling his fingers at him. He’d slid the darker ring on while Aizawa tried the other, but he’s definitely right - the dark one looks...weird, on him.
Aizawa rolls his eyes good-naturedly and plucks Toshinori’s left hand up from where it’s resting on the bench between them, angling it so he can slide the gold ring onto his finger. It makes him shiver - the intimacy of the act, the ring confirming everything they’ve organised, prepared for and planned - and Toshinori finds himself a little lost for words as his husband settles back with a pleased hum, twisting his hand so the gold catches the morning light.
Toshinori nods dumbly, staring at the band on his ring finger.
It’s official, now.
He quickly does the same for Aizawa, holding his hand ever so gently as he slides the tungsten band into place and watches the way he wiggles his fingers to get used to the weight, still feeling weirdly choked up from the whole thing. Maybe it’s because this is something he’s wanted for a while, and he’s technically getting it now, even if it’s all a farce.
Still. Watching Aizawa’s gaze flick between their wedding rings as he slides his hand free from Toshinori’s and moves over to the oven to retrieve the soup he’d placed in there earlier settles his stomach, spotting the red creeping into his ears as he moves away to sit at the table. He can see Aizawa occasionally peering at his left hand as he eats and flicks through various apps on his phone, twisting the ring with his thumb, and he smiles a little to himself as he straightens to continue unpacking boxes.
It's been three days since they've settled, and Shinso’s still...quiet. Not that Toshinori knew him before any of this, but he knows the boy is hurting from what he witnessed. He could also be traumatised, and he wouldn't even be remotely surprised.
Aizawa’s emptying one of the last boxes in the kitchen when he thinks to mention it and he stills, hands in the sink; washing up from dinner as he glances across at him.
“I know this isn't actually part of the plan, but do you think…” Toshinori clears his throat, slowly and methodically drying his hands on the towel to the side. Aizawa looks up at him, one hand buried in the box of cups Kenji had given them and Toshinori glances toward Shinso’s closed bedroom door, dropping his voice. “Do you think we should look into getting him an appointment with one of the police psychologists? After, y’know. Everything that happened leading up to this?”
Aizawa is silent across from him, looking up in thought. It's a good question - both of them know this, know what can happen to those that experience these situations - and nods silently after a moment.
“It'd be a good idea, I think. We can at the very least ask his opinion tomorrow before he heads back to school on Monday.” Aizawa turns to place the glasses in the cupboard above the kettle and sighs through his nose. It's his first day on Monday, too - same as Toshinori - and the stress is palpable.
“Yeah,” He hums, returning to the sink and placing another plate in the water. “Good idea.”
He's a little disappointed to find out that high schoolers are just as frustrating in and out of hero courses and Shouta groans a little as he finishes up for the day, scrubbing a hand over his face. Classes have been...alright. Introducing himself - and remembering to respond to ‘Otani-sensei’ in time - hasn't been too difficult, but it was always somewhat mentally draining.
The staff had seemed kind enough, and welcomed him with open arms when he’d met them earlier in the day, some even bringing treats.
It's...not too unlike UA, in a sense.
Still different, though. There’s no media presence here, or any top heroes that attended the school hanging over the students and creating high expectations.
Komori - the receptionist that has been showing him around for the entire day - pokes her head in through the door and beams at him, sharp teeth flashing in the afternoon sun. It's her quirk, apparently - carnivorous attributes, sharpened teeth and hardened, longer nails, a keen sense of smell and eyes that can see far better than a normal person - and Shouta finds it...sort of alarming, at times. She seems too sweet to have that many teeth on display.
“Otani-sensei! How'd you find your first day of class?” She drums her nails on the door, painted bright blue to match her eyes, and watches him keenly. Shouta shrugs, leaning back in his chair.
“Pretty normal, all things considered. Glad to know that students don't change too much across districts.”
He slides papers into his bag as Komori throws her head back and cackles, trying to tune her out as best he can. Shouta's looking forward to passing the fuck out as soon as he gets back to their apartment - social niceties or no. If Yagi's his ‘husband’ then he'll need to accept his occasional failure to be a respectable human being at some stage, or there will be problems. Mostly in the form of Shouta not being able to pretend to be in love with him.
“It’s lucky, isn’t it!” Komori’s settled from her laughing and looks down the hall for a moment, waving excitedly at someone as they walk by the door. Shouta has no idea who they are from the glimpse he caught and has no interest in figuring it out.
So he stands up from his desk, brushes imaginary lint off his slacks and dress-shirt, and studiously ignores the interested gleam in Komori’s eye as he brushes past her before she apparently remembers something and charges after him.
“Otani-sensei! Hold on - we wanted to ask if you wanted to come out this Friday with us!”
Shouta pauses, glancing at her over his shoulder.
Komori beams up at him when she catches up and matches his stride, nails glinting in the afternoon sun as she fidgets. “The staff, of course! It’s a bi-weekly routine we do. Food, drinks, catch up...y’know. You did it at your previous school too, didn’t you?”
She’s asking him like it’s a stupid question with an obvious answer, and...well. He did, but he’s not going to tell her that.
Shouta simply shrugs in response, sliding open the staffroom door and glancing back at her. “I’ll think about it. Have a good night.”
He can hear her excited response even through the door.
Shinso informs them over dinner that his school is good, the teachers and students are nice, and no one’s asked him about his quirk yet. Which is a relief, seeing as his is basically invisible. Toshinori sighs and feels marginally better about it already.
He’s still not sure about Shinso being involved with this operation - still really doesn’t want to endanger a child who’s never trained in a hero course - but the boy is bright eyed and alert, and he seems determined. He even helped clean up last night after dinner, which was a nice surprise.
Toshinori’s sort of forgotten what teenagers are like, though he hasn’t been around any in close proximity for a long time. He knows he was certainly a little more lax about his duties.
Maybe it’s the whole ’undercover’ thing that’s making him want to help where he can.
“They started discussing high schools today, too.” He mentions, and Aizawa looks across at him curiously. Shinso scratches his nose. “I know I can play it off that because I’m new to the area I don’t really know the local schools, but...should I look into it?”
“You could always put mine down.” Aizawa murmurs, and Toshinori glances sidelong at him. His hair is down, freshly washed, and whenever he turns his head he catches a waft of something floral and sweet.
Must be his shampoo.
“I don’t really think I’d want to attend the same school as my dad, dad,” Shinso replies, sharp and quick. His nose is wrinkled, and Toshinori huffs a laugh at the affronted look Aizawa shoots him. “It’d be weird.”
“Not to mention a conflict of interest, too,” Toshinori adds, voice lilting. Watching Shinso and Aizawa tease one another has been interesting and fucking hilarious so far, and it’s only natural that he’d spur it on. “Though with that said, you’d be able to avoid Aizawa-san’s classes entirely. Could be useful to you.”
Aizawa scoffs from beside him, rolling his eyes. “Oh, don’t encourage him, Yagi-san. I thought you were meant to be on my side.”
He ducks his head into his scarf as Toshinori tips his head back and laughs, spluttering toward the end as he hunches over and coughs into his hands. No blood, this time.
“Anyway,” Aizawa says, pulling his hand away from where it’d been awkwardly patting Toshinori’s back to help him through the fit. “I can help you look up schools this weekend, if you want. We can figure it out.”
Shinso grins, nods, and flashes him a thumbs up.
His wedding band catches the sunlight streaming in from the window on the train home after school, and Shouta stares at it for a moment.
If he's being honest, he still has absolutely no fucking clue how to feel about it.
He moves his fingers slightly, light reflecting off the simple band. It's pretty. Simple, which suits his tastes just fine.
But he's never really considered himself the ‘marrying’ type - even though this is a big falsehood, and he's not actually married to Yagi - and the wedding band sits on his finger as a weird little reminder of what it represents, of what he could have if he chose to get off his ass and actually try.
He doesn’t really know how to feel about it, but he has a bad feeling it’s probably not going to be overly pleasant as time moves on.
Shinso’s psychologist appointment is booked - and attended - and afterwards the three go out to one of the cat cafe’s Aizawa found a week prior as a distraction from his appointment.
He seems...slightly more relaxed, Toshinori muses as he watches him flick a cat toy across the floor much to a ragdoll kittens delight, a small, precious smile on his face.
It's not an immediate fix, and Shinso needs to go back again in a week, but it's a start. He knows he's got a support network at his back, and he can probably start relaxing into his makeshift life of the next few months.
Shouta presses his forehead against the door of their apartment and groans softly, fishing in his pockets for his keys. The day has dragged - he sometimes wishes he could expel these students instead of giving them detention - and he hadn’t even gotten that much work done, after a quirk fight broke out in the cafeteria over lunch.
Sometimes he dearly misses UA.
Still, he’s home, and that’s all that matters as he pushes the door open and bends to remove his shoes in the entryway, hearing a faint trickle of laughter come from the kitchen. He frowns. That doesn’t sound like Yagi’s laughter, and Shouta frowns even more at the fact that he now knows what Yagi's laughter sounds like enough that he can differentiate it from others.
Straightening, he makes his way down the hall, bag falling off his shoulder, and pauses in the entryway to the kitchen when he spots a mop of purple hair leaning over the pot Yagi’s stirring and watching intently.
Belatedly, Shouta realises that Yagi is teaching Shinso how to cook. Curry, from the smell that sits in the air, warm and inviting.
“Okay. Sweet potato and potato will take the longest to cook, so we might as well get that in now, don't you think?” Yagi queries, and Shinso’s head bobs in a vigorous nod and then he's turning, eyes widening as he spots Shouta in the doorway. He looks like he's been caught doing something he shouldn't be and Shouta snorts, walking in and placing his bag on the table with a roll of his eyes. Yagi chirps a hello and waves the hand not currently stirring, and Shinso returns to his side and scoops the vegetables into the pot with a little flourish.
Yagi is attentive and points things out as they go, and it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that Shinso’s enjoying himself, from the way his attention is solely focused on Yagi, phone forgotten on the bench, to the questions he asks, voice soft and unsure at first, but growing with every new thing that he thinks of. Shouta stays quiet through most of it, simply watching and slowly working through grading on a quiz he'd sprung on his class earlier in the day when Yagi looks at him curiously.
“Aizawa-san. You can cook, can't you?” His voice is quiet, the question softly uttered, but it's clear that he's curious. Shouta can cook, but it's mostly to ensure that he doesn't die of malnutrition. His knowledge comfortably sits over three dishes, and everything else he needs advice or a recipe for. It's not great, but he hasn't poisoned himself yet.
He looks up at Yagi and taps his pen against a test. “Sort of. Not like you can, I'm nowhere near that good at it. But I don't burn things, if it helps.”
Yagi’s laugh is nice to hear in response, and even Shinso snorts at him, commenting on how it's a ‘good thing.’
“Would you like to show Shinso how to cook rice in a pot, then?”
Shouta looks pointedly at the rice cooker in the corner, and Yagi has the decency to look sheepish as he rubs a hand over the back of his neck.
“I feel like it's a good skill to have, in case there isn't a rice cooker or it breaks, don't you think? Besides, everything is mostly done here; we just need to wait for the vegetables to soften a little more.”
He rolls his eyes good naturedly but stands anyway, stepping around the bench to reach into a cupboard and pull out a saucepan, eyeing Shinso as he moves.
“Come on, kid. I'll show you how it's done.”
Their dinner is good, if a little over-cooked while some of the vegetable chunks were cut a little too big, but Shinso positively glows under their praise, beaming, and Shouta really can't fault it after that.
Later that night, when it's way too late for any of them to be awake and Shouta’s curled in the little window-seat looking out over the streets, he hears Yagi move behind him and a cup is held just in front of his face; some sort of herbal tea, judging from the little tag that dangles over the side.
“Hey.” Yagi’s voice is soft, and a little husky. He’s tired, and has spent the whole day in meetings, if Shouta remembers correctly. Plus, he’d been talking almost non-stop for a good hour while he showed Shinso what to do. The smell still lingers in the air even after everything’s been packaged into the fridge and plates and pots and utensils washed. It’s a good smell. Homey.
“Hey yourself. What's this?” He takes the cup from Yagi’s long fingers and sniffs it, picking up the tag to study the cardboard.
Sleepy-time tea, apparently. So he's definitely noticed Shouta’s struggles.
“I understand you're still acclimatising to not doing overnight work, right?” The cushion shifts as Yagi leans his knee on it; still a distance from Shouta but not too far to be awkward. He's looking out the window as he continues, fidgeting with his hands. “I find this tea helps to settle me after a long day. Maybe it'll help you?”
Shouta glances aside at him, at the dark circles under his eyes that seem to have gotten better over the last week, if barely. “I don't really like tea, Yagi.”
His husband huffs, finally looking at him - at the little smirk that was evident from the teasing lilt in his tone, the dark circles under his eyes, and his hands, curled protectively around the cup - and smiles.
“No take-backs. Drink your tea.”
god this chapter actually turned out to be Real Big so i had to cut it!!! i'm sorry!!!!!!
i'd take a bullet for mama bear toshi any day lads
Shinso discovers that their apartment complex has a rooftop garden, and damn near gives Aizawa and Toshinori a heart attack when they realise he's gone from the apartment with no notice.
Toshinori is standing in the kitchen unloading the takeout he’d picked up on his way home from an urgent call to assist a child that had presented their quirk - exhaling fucking poisonous gas instead of the usual carbon dioxide - and looks up as Aizawa barrels around the corner from the hallway, hair mussed and looking wide-eyed as he almost shouts that Shinso’s not in his room.
It takes them five minutes to find him, Toshinori with his phone to his ear the whole time frantically calling the kid who picks up the fourth time he redials, mentioning that he has a ‘really nice view from up here’. Aizawa gives him a fucking earful when they eventually make their way up onto the roof but Shinso is too pleased with himself to really listen, and Toshinori can only laugh as he passes a takeout box to him that he'd gone down and retrieved as soon as they'd figured it out.
Despite the small panic it took to find him, the view is really nice, and Toshinori studies the little plants potted around the rooftop, absently brushing his thumb against a leaf that’s invited itself into his personal space on the bench they’re sitting on and only half listens to Aizawa and Shinso bickering.
“-It doesn’t matter that you never left the building, you still need to let us know if you’re planning on leaving the apartment, Yagi, back me up here. I’m right, Shinso. I’m right and you know it, don’t argue.”
Shinso opens his mouth to say something in rebuttal and Aizawa flicks a peanut at him, devolving into laughter at the sheer outrage on their charges face, and Toshinori has to cover his mouth to hide the big, stupid smile.
They're spotted by one of Shouta’s coworkers one afternoon, lurking in the grocery store as they try to remember what they actually need for the week. Yagi’s in a good mood, swinging his basket absently as he chatters on about the kids he'd spent the day with, and Shouta hums occasionally in response, sort of listening but also paying slightly more attention to the job they actually came here to do.
As he picks up an energy pack, studying the back and studiously ignoring the look Yagi shoots him, someone calls out to him.
The pair of them look up - they both go by Otani-san anyway - and Shouta’s hand clenches around the packet in his hands as one of the teachers...2C’s, if he remembers correctly, approaches them with a big smile on their face.They look moist, and Shouta fucking hates that thought even as it crosses his mind.
“Otani-san! I didn't realise you lived in the area, I haven't seen you around!”
“You never asked,” He replies curtly, trying really hard to remember their name. “I live a little further out, but my husband works around here.”
There's a beat of silence as the words are processed, Yagi choking off a cough beside him, but his coworker looks between them with visible interest.
“I didn't realise you were married, Otani-san.”
Shouta shrugs, tucking his hands into his pockets once he's dropped the energy pack back onto the shelf. Too much sugar. “I don't particularly broadcast it, no.” He gestures to Yagi, who lifts a hand to wave cheerily. “This is Yoritoki.”
“It's nice to meet you!” He chirps, extending a hand gracefully. 2C looks up - and up - at him, before holding their hands up to reveal weird little suckers on their fingers.
“I’d shake your hand, but it probably wouldn't end well for you, Otani-san.” They wiggle their fingers a little. “But it's nice to meet you, though! You two make a handsome couple.”
Shouta chokes, and Yagi covers his mouth, shoulders shaking with the surprised cough as pink seeps into his cheeks.
Like that wasn't awkward as shit.
“Oh! Uh, thank you!” Yagi laughs, waving the hand he'd extended before in a lazy circle, as if brushing the awkward pause away. “That's very kind of you!”
They beam up at him, either ignoring the reaction to their statement or missing it entirely; something fluttering on their neck and Shouta realises after a second that it's gills, and that 2C has an aquatic quirk of some sort. Explains why they always look so shiny.
They open their mouth to reply when their phone vibrates in their pocket and they jump, picking it out and glancing at the screen curiously. Their shoulders sag and they look at Shouta apologetically, tucking their phone back into their pants and taking a step back with a gesture over their shoulder.
“Okay, I have to run, gotta pick up my kids, but I'll see you tomorrow Otani-san! And it was lovely to meet your husband, too!”
With a quick bow they're gone, and Shouta groans, tipping his head back until it thuds against Yagi’s chest who laughs, reaching up with a warm hand to squeeze his shoulder.
“That wasn't so bad...” He says kindly, massaging a tight spot and Shouta snorts, wriggling his shoulder as Yagi presses at it. “It was kind of funny, anyway.”
He brings his hands up to scrub at his face. “What, when they said we were handsome?”
“Yeah! Surprising, but sweet nonetheless.”
Yagi’s clearly thoroughly entertained by the situation and Shouta rubs at his eyes, dropping his hands after a moment and moving with his husband as he's gently steered toward the fresh produce. “Could've been worse, I guess.”
He hums. “It could have.”
When Shinso finally shows them his quirk - and its capabilities - Toshinori laughs so hard he almost throws up.
They're up on the roof again; Aizawa showing him some tricks that he knows, seeing as both of their quirks don't physically enhance them in any way, when Toshinori puts the book on quirk theory he's reading down over his knee and peers at Shinso curiously.
“Hey, I was just thinking...have you shown us how your quirk works, yet?”
Aizawa straightens from where he'd been crouching, gently adjusting Shinso’s position and tilts his head at Toshinori. Shinso straightens as well, and looks off to the side with a hand at his neck.
“I haven't, no. I sorta need someone to demonstrate it with, you know?”
Toshinori's in the process of raising his hand to volunteer when Aizawa grunts, shuffling on his feet.
“You can use it on me. Yagi-san knows more about quirks and can probably help you more than I can.” He glances across at Toshinori, eyebrows raised. “Right?”
“Ah! Yes, you're right! Though you can probably use it on the both of us so the other one can see it in action and plan accordingly!”
Aizawa rolls his eyes but Shinso’s smiling, clearly excited. He's heard Toshinori discuss quirks over the last few weeks - even watched him eagerly discussing Aizawa's quirks’ capabilities as they cooked dinner - so Toshinori assumes anything he can tell him will be eagerly remembered.
He pushes himself to his feet and moves closer to the pair, rubbing at his bottom lip. “What can you tell us about it?”
“It’s sort of like a call and response,” Shinso begins, looking upward in thought and chewing his lip. “It doesn’t work through a phone, or a speaker, and I can’t control multiple people for long periods. I also can’t really make them, like, do things that require them to think. Driving’s out, same as writing or cutting things...that sort of stuff. If someone responds to me I can activate it, and it’s...impossible, I think? To break free of it until I let them go.”
“Spooky.” Is all Aizawa says on the matter, and Toshinori snorts.
He’s not wrong.
“So you need to want to control them when you say something? Is that how it works?” He asks, tucking his hands into his pockets. All the time he’s spent around quirks - as All Might or posing as his secretary - hasn’t really turned up anything like this, so it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens. Good research for the future, and it’ll be good to test its limits, as well.
“Yeah, I think so. That’s how I normally go about it, anyway.”
“So it’s a voice quirk, then. Do you train it?” Shinso stares at Aizawa, confusion clear. Aizawa blinks at him, then shrugs, tucking a stray hair away from his face. “...that’s a no, then. Show us what you can do, and I’ll show you how to strengthen your quirk after you control Yagi.”
Shinso nods, and shuffles in place. He looks nervous - which isn’t surprising, as he’s about to brainwash one of his guardians - but when he meets Aizawa’s eye, he’s determined. “Hey. Lemme brainwash you, dad. Okay?”
Aizawa snorts, but gives a small shrug. “Sure, ki-”
There’s a shift in the air - like his ears have popped, or the air pressure has shifted - and Toshinori looks up at Aizawa’s blank face, at his hollow eyes, and promptly loses his shit.
There’s nothing specifically funny about it, really, but the fact that Aizawa doesn’t look all that different from how he usually does, blank faced as he lifts an arm at Shinso’s command, is fucking hilarious.
Shinso side-eyes him as he moves to stand beside the boy, smile hidden behind his hand, but he sobers after a minimal amount of chuckling.
“That's quite a quirk you've got there, isn't it?” Toshinori murmurs, leaning in closer to peer at Aizawa’s face. There's absolutely nothing going on in there - blank face, vacant stare - and it's actually kind of unsettling. “What can you do with it active like this?”
He skitters back as Shinso speaks and Aizawa shifts suddenly to face him, not blinking. It's so eerie, and Toshinori swallows before Shinso clears his throat.
“I can't make him do anything that would require him to think or speak - so I can't ask questions that I don't know the answer to, or get him to write something down. It's sort of just, like,” He rubs the back of his head, fingers digging into purple hair. “Having someone at my literal beck and call? Kind of like a servant, I think. He knows what's happening but can't break free.”
Huh. That sounds absolutely terrifying.
Shinso spends the rest of his time brainwashing Aizawa to do stupid shit - like flossing while he videos it - and after a few minutes of answering and demonstrating any queries Toshinori has, he drops his control. Aizawa staggers, hand pressed to his forehead as he blinks and takes a deep breath, and then he's jabbing a finger at the boy and glaring at him.
“I know you videoed me doing that stupid fucking dance, so if you're not going to delete it then please don't send it to anyone I know.”
Toshinori snorts, and Aizawa’s glare snaps to him as Shinso chuckles and shrugs vaguely, making zero promises.
“How did it feel, Aizawa-san?” He asks quietly, folding his hands over his stomach once his breathing has returned to normal.
Aizawa shrugs, though it’s clear he’s...unsettled. He keeps glancing at Shinso from the corner of his eye, eyebrows raised. “I could see myself doing as he told - knew I was moving - but it was like there was a fog in my head. Like...nothing.” He wiggles his fingers in the air as he speaks, and Toshinori hums.
Shinso’s still looking pleased with himself when Toshinori turns back to him, and he can’t help the soft little smile that crosses his face at the kid’s attitude to this whole thing. It kind of seems like this is the first time other people have taken him seriously and are asking him about it. The boy is practically glowing.
“I suppose it’s my turn then, isn’t it?”
And it is.
Toshinori’s experience is much the same as what Aizawa described - being able to sort of see what he’s doing - but having absolutely nothing happening in his head. He watches himself move to Shinso’s commands, lifting his hands and turning and moving back and forth - even doing the same dance he made Aizawa do - and it’s...it’s so weird.
It’s feels sort of like he’s dreaming.
Shinso tucks his hands into his pockets and releases him after a little while, after Toshinori watched him conversing with Aizawa, and once he’s free he leans forward and presses his hands against his knees and breathes slowly, blinking down at the stone.
That quirk isn’t really something he’d enjoy having a second go with, if he’s being honest.
Toshinori looks up when he realises the two are still talking and straightens, moving closer to them. Aizawa’s rubbing his bottom lip, looking upward in thought. “I don’t think you’ll get into the hero course with the practical exam we have - it’s not...specifically designed for quirks like these, and you’ll slip through the cracks - so I’d highly recommend applying for both the hero and general course, just in case. You can always transfer if you prove yourself during the sports’ festival.”
Shinso nods, frowning a little at the new information but he looks happy enough with what Aizawa’s just told him, and then he looks at Toshinori and grins.
“So, pops. You’re a fake quirk specialist. How do I strengthen it?”
Four students from four different classes mysteriously disappear from Shinso’s school over the span of two weeks, and Yagi and Aizawa begin meeting him at the train station when their schedules align.
They’d decided it after the news broke, once Toshinori had gotten off the phone after giving the sergeant in charge of their operation a book and a half over the situation and how Shinso wasn’t fucking safe, after they’d discussed every possible thing that could happen. Aizawa had stared sullenly into his mug and suggested they meet the kid on his way home from school, seeing as that’s where most of the abductions took place, and Toshinori very quickly agreed.
Kids were getting off the train, or leaving the school grounds, and never walking in the front doors of their homes.
It’s fucking terrifying, and Toshinori has half a mind to beg Shinso to call and talk to them while he walks home if neither can meet him at the station.
But they start off by meeting him, and Toshinori finds it relaxing - to see his and Aizawa’s charge safe, if a little surprised to see them waiting for him - and it also allows for a little more bonding as they walk home together after their days are over.
Often it's him that meets Shinso, seeing as his day starts the earliest - students sometimes needing to see him before school or before their first classes end - so he finds himself wandering out to meet the boy most afternoons with little much else to do. They usually stop by the cafe on the way home, or pick out groceries for dinner together. On Tuesday’s, Aizawa goes with Toshinori to the station and they talk quietly, asking about the other’s day as they make the ten minute walk from home to Shinso.
It seems to be good for him, Toshinori notes one afternoon, as the three of them are walking home. Aizawa had met them at the station seeing as his train arrived five minutes after Shinso’s, and they’d stopped to get coffees to walk with after Shinso picked their groceries. He’s talking and laughing with Aizawa, light teasing, a happy little smile on his face. Toshinori remembers the grave look the boy’s mothers had given him when they explained his quirk and the fallout of it - of how people were too scared to speak with him, how he didn’t have many friends - and feels his chest warm as Aizawa says something and Shinso tips his head back and laughs.
It’s good to see him settled and happy, Toshinori thinks. Not having to live with the fear of others - himself and Aizawa included - judging him for the control he’d have over them if he so chose.
Maybe acting quirkless and being practically invisible to the major populace isn’t so bad, after all.
Yagi has weird habits, and knows how to do a lot of things that Shouta considers fucking odd for someone with his job description.
And it's not the house husband type shit that he likes to do - no, that had been a surprise, sure, but not really weird - but as he sits on the rooftop and grades the tests he'd sprung on his class, watching Yagi teach Shinso how to grapple, Shouta wonders why on earth All Might’s private secretary needs to know how to break holds and fight dirty and restrain people the way he’s teaching Shinso how to do.
Wasn't he just a glorified receptionist?
Shinso grunts as Yagi demonstrates one of the holds on him - sort of awkward given their ridiculous height difference - but he listens to the advice given and only messes it up twice before he manages to successfully break free from Yagi’s grip, rolling when he hits the ground.
He cheers behind him, helping Shinso up with kind words and an offered hand, and Shouta realises he’s forgotten all about what he actually came up here to do.
Yagi’s reflexes are...too good, too fast. Too in tune with his body, with his opponents - in this case Shinso’s - movements. Too hero-like. He throws his weight around like it’s nothing, effortless where Shinso looks awkward and overcompensatory.
It’s fucking baffling, but Shouta has absolutely no idea how to bring it up and not sound like a dickhead. Yagi looks sick. He’s willowy and gangly and his fingers are weirdly long - not that Shouta’s stared at them, or anything - and he doesn’t look like he should be this graceful, but he is.
So he doesn't say anything, and simply grows used to his habits; the way he's always awake before 6:30, how he hums to himself while doing things and probably doesn't realise everyone can hear him.
The way he sometimes presses his fingers to his left side when they watch the news and there's a fight featured, or how he’s always on high alert whenever they move around the neighbourhood at night, but the way a hero normally is. Light steps, fighters’ pose a split second away from activation, his fingers curling and uncurling into fists as he walks slightly in front of Shinso, Aizawa sandwiching him in on the other side.
How he sometimes wakes from nightmares with a gasp and a hoarse shout, cold sweat pouring down his neck as his fingers clench into the sheets or pillow, and sometimes he almost looks like he gets bigger, but Shouta doesn’t think much of it. Yagi sometimes doesn’t sleep at all, and instead stays up in the lounge-room, reading quietly with a mug of tea cupped in his huge hands.
Shouta had sat with him one night, asked him what was bothering him, and the smile he’d shot him had been so fucking sad that he’d almost asked what horrors he could have possibly seen beside the number one hero. Because it’s pretty widely assumed that All Might has seen some shit, but Shouta’s never really considered that his staff might have shared the experiences as well.
Yagi’s weird, and he gets skittish whenever he’s undressed around Shouta and he can see the healing wounds on his legs - the ugly, green bruising on his thigh under the gauze and bandaging - and covers up as quickly as possible. He also never shows his left side - always wearing a singlet or a towel or simply covering it with whatever he’s planning on wearing - as if he’s hiding something.
Shouta doesn’t really know what to do with it.
On Wednesday afternoon, Shouta misses a call from a random number - he's teaching, so his phone is silenced anyway - but when he picks it up after class he sees the three missed calls from Yagi and the text that vaguely mentions Shinso getting into trouble, and before he realises what's happening he's cramming his things into his bag and running out of the school to the train station, phone to his ear.
“Hello? Kentaro, how are you?”
Yagi's voice is pleasant but there's an underlying concern there, like something's amiss. Shouta shakes his head as he weaves through the crowd, dodging slow moving businessmen.
“Yori. What happened to Hidetoshi? Why did you call me three times, I was teaching, is he okay? What happened?”
”He's fine, love.” Yagi's laugh trickles down the line, and it soothes him more than he'd like to admit. If Yagi is laughing, things are okay. Shinso hasn't been taken. ”He just got into a fight, is all. They've asked you and I to come in to sort it out - I'm on my way - and I assume you are too?”
“Yeah,” He grunts as he jogs into the station, checking the timetable - two minutes until his train - and comes to a stop on his platform, adjusting his phone. “I'll be there in twenty minutes.”
”See you soon, love.” Yagi says, and then Shouta sticks his hands into his pockets, realising he's breathing harder than he should be for how much he's just run.
He might be reacting to the scare - to his fear of the kid disappearing - and he closes his eyes and sucks in a deep breath, tilting his head back.
The train comes, the ride uneventful, and Shouta bolts the second he's off the train, through the station, out onto the street and toward the school. He's frustrated that he's not wearing his hero jumpsuit - hasn't worn it for weeks, now - and the tight pants he's been stuffing himself into dig into his hips as he runs.
Man, but he can't wait for this shitshow to be over.
Yagi's sitting beside Shinso in the hallway when Shouta arrives, breathing regulated since he stopped running when he got close to the school so as to not look like a fucking loser when he walked in. Shinso doesn't look hurt - just angry, if the set of his shoulders is anything to go by - and from the quiet conversation he's having with Yagi, he's not going to settle any time soon.
No use wasting words, then. Any solace will probably wash right off him.
“What happened? Are you alright?” Shouta asks as he nears them, Yagi waving cheerfully and Shinso looking up at him for a moment before looking back down at his feet, arms crossed.
Shouta realises he's sulking.
Before he can pester the boy further the door nearby opens and a man in a well tailored suit pokes his head out, smiling politely at the three of them. “Ah, yes, the Otani family? Would you like to come in?”
His office is plain, and extremely boring. There's gaudy fixtures and gold detailing on the pot that houses a really sad looking little succulent, and Shouta feels sorry for it as he follows Yagi into the room and takes a seat on the stiff and uncomfortable couch the principal offers them.
He takes a seat opposite them, an incident report on the little table between them, and doesn't try to hide the air of superiority he's been emitting since he spotted them. He hasn't looked at Shinso, and Shouta knows the ugly tactic. Belittle the teenager, guilt them into falling in line, take away any confidence or pride they've ever had. It's a low blow.
“It's a pleasure to meet you both, even if the circumstances aren’t as nice as we’d have liked. I’m Fuchizaki Gyukudo, the principal of this school. Now. Mr Otani,” He taps his finger against the slip of paper in front of him. “This is a serious offence, what's taken place, and we believe a three-day suspension - as well as detention for a month when he returns to the school - will be the best course of action in this situation.”
Shouta blinks. Did the kid fucking stab someone, or something?
“I'm sorry, Mr Fuchizaki, but what exactly did Hidetoshi do?” Yagi says from beside him, leaning forward with his hands covering his mouth. His eyes are narrowed.
“You weren't informed?”
“I was not. Our son didn't want to discuss the matter, so we didn't press it. What happened?”
The principal clears his throat, preens a little, and then slides the paper across so Shouta and Yagi can look at it. As soon as he sees the incident described, though, he's frowning.
That...that can't be right.
“As you can see, he punched another student, Mr. Otani, and-”
Fuchizaki blinks at Yagi, confused. “I'm sorry?”
“Why did Hidetoshi punch a student, Mr. Fuchizaki? I assume you asked this, even though the reason hasn't been written down?” Yagi taps his finger against the page in a mirror of what Fuchizaki did moments before, but he looks fucking furious from where Shouta can see him, knuckles white as his other hand grips his knee, shoulders radiating tension.
It's understandable, and Shouta knows he's also starting to get frustrated, but the absolute fury Yagi exudes is kind of fucking terrifying.
Fuchizaki fidgets for a moment, unsure, but clears his throat and continues on with an adopted air of confidence. It could be better. “The student made a joke, apparently, and your son reacted poorly. We're here to address that, which is the matter at hand - not what was said to provoke it.”
“I don't know about that,” Yagi replies coolly, and he looks across at Shinso. “Why did you punch them? What did they say?”
Shinso curls in on himself more, and Shouta nudges him gently, placing a hand on his shoulder. Hopefully a soothing gesture, and he can hear the boy suck in a shaky breath as he looks at Yagi, that same fire in his eyes from their first meeting.
“He said awful things about you and dad. That because I don't have a mother, I'll be ‘weird’. That I am weird. Made it out like I was a threat to the other students because my parents are gay.”
Yagi pats his arm gently, shares a look with Shouta - who is three seconds from throttling the principal himself - and then turns to face Fuchizaki, baring his teeth.
“So. My son is apparently being bullied by another student and you have the audacity to call us in when he reacts to it? What punishment is the other student receiving?”
Fuchizaki holds his hands up in front of himself, shaking his head, and laughs weakly.
“To be fair, Mr. Otani, the other student never assaulted your son, so-”
“I think,” Yagi cuts him off again, voice clipped. “That bullying is just as bad - if not worse - than what Hidetoshi did. He’ll apologise, of course, but I would like to know what punishment is being issued for the offensive - and, frankly, downright homophobic - things the other student has said. And if you say ‘none’, we’ll find a better and more accepting school for Hidetoshi to complete his studies in. I want nothing to do with a school that promotes - and justifies - such behaviour, and will happily inform any of my clients that show interest with this school of the attitude we've been shown.”
Shinso stares at Yagi, slack jawed, and Shouta knows he isn't looking much better. Yagi, who, up until now, has been nothing but kind and considerate to those around him. Yagi, who is cheerful and talkative and more than happy to share his extensive knowledge and assist with training Shinso to use his quirk better and more effectively. That Yagi. That same Yagi who just lashed out at the principal, who looks poised in his seat, staring the man down like he's nothing more than an extremely pointless waste of time.
Shouta feels like he has whiplash.
“M-Mr. Otani, please, we haven't yet spoken with his family - we wanted to speak with you first, to sort out a suitable punishment for your son’s physical assault - and…Mr. Otani?”
Yagi has stood during Fuchizaki’s desperate appeal and picked up his coat, and he gently pulls Shinso to his feet and offers a hand to Shouta, who gladly takes it, sneering down at the man.
“I think,” Yagi adjusts his tie, adjusts his hold on his coat, and gently squeezes Shouta's hand before he lets go. “That you should contact the other family, and figure out what really happened between the students before you think to call me again, Mr. Fuchizaki. My son wouldn’t punch another student unless it’s justified - and in this case, I think it was. Have a nice afternoon.”
And then he's moving, gently leading Shinso out of the room, Shouta hot on his tail. They're silent as they walk through the halls, and as they leave the school building and walk into the afternoon sun, Yagi turns to face Shinso, shielding his eyes from the sunlight.
“How hard did you punch him, anyway?”
Shinso blinks at him. “I made his nose bleed?” He offers, extremely caught off guard. This is...weird.
Then Yagi chuckles, before it devolves into stupid, bright laughter, and he claps Shinso on the shoulder.
“I'll teach you how to break his nose, next time. Also, you're grounded.”
i just wanna say THANK YOOOUUU to everyone who's been commenting bc it honestly makes my day and y'all are so beautuful and lovely and kind and sweet and UGHHHH !!! i LOVE Y'ALL
also i hope everyone has a good christmas / holiday season & new year!!! <3
He pulls the phone away from his ear as quickly as he can but isn’t quite fast enough, and Shouta claps his other hand to his ear to stop the ringing from Hizashi’s fucking outburst as his phone crackles down the line.
Joke’s on him for forgetting how loud the bastard can be.
He’s up on the roof, walking rings around the little garden that’s been planted in the middle and kicking at a bottle-cap from the housemates a floor above who’ve taken to loudly carrying on up here on weekends, looking out over the sprawling suburbs.
“Hey, dude. How’ve you been?”
“We’ve been good, Shou-chan!” Nemuri’s voice pipes up, and Shouta’s shoulders relax at knowing that the pair of them are hanging out. Tensei’s probably somewhere nearby too, fluttering around the kitchen and organising food or drinks, like he usually does. ”School’s fine, you’re not missing much, Hizashi’s show’s going well, I had a date that didn’t suck, and Tensei’s little brother is gonna apply for U.A next year!” Tensei’s small ‘woohoo!’ in the background confirms his presence, and Shouta can’t help but smile.
She’s happy. They’re happy. It’s good to hear, but it does make him miss them a whole lot more.
There’s movement on the other end and then Hizashi’s voice cuts back in, further away than it had been before, so the movement was probably shoving him slightly more out of range of the phone. ”How about you, bro? How’s your handsome little - wait, fucking enormous - husband doing? What’s the non-hero school like compared to U.A, anyway? How’s the kid?”
They exchange stories for about ten minutes, Shouta explaining the differences and similarities between the schools - how annoying the receptionist can be, and how surprisingly stupid some of the students are - and his current home life. Tensei tells them about Tenya’s growth spurt, snorting about how he’s starting to look like an accountant even though he’s still a fucking kid, and they chortle and laugh about it in good humour. It’s fun, to just...catch up. Shouta wonders if they can come and visit him - or if he can go and visit them - in a month or so. Talking over the phone is vastly different to the jostling and volume of the group when they’re all together.
They keep talking, another beer clicks as it’s placed down beside Hizashi’s phone, and Shouta remembers what he actually called them for. He needs help, and it’s stupid, but this group of idiots is his best bet for an actual...kind of intelligent solution.
He takes a breath. “Guys. I need a pet-name for Yagi.”
Shouta jerks as the trio on the other end devolve into chaos, shouting and laughing and hooting at his plight. Which is fair, really, seeing as he’s never particularly cared about pet-names before. At all. He groans and scrubs a hand over his face. “I’m serious! He calls me ‘love’ and it feels weird not to have something in return, other than a shortened version of his first name!”
Nemuri coos, and Shouta can hear Tensei snort-laughing beside her.
”Man, Shou! You’re probably the only person who’d feel guilty over something stupid like that!”
”Be nice, Tensei! He’s right though, sweetie, c’mon. What names do feel comfortable with using, anyway?”
“I don’t know!” Shouta snaps, jaw clenched. He’s sort of regretting this decision. “I don’t know what I’m okay with! Baby or babe feels weird, but I think it’s the only one I’m used to, but-”
”Oh! Oh, babe is perfect! No take-backs, Shou, that’s-” Hizashi squawks as he’s cut off, there's jostling as he's probably shoved aside, and Nemuri’s voice cuts back in.
“Babe is good! But maybe you should, like, you know. Talk to your husband about it? See what works for him!”
Shouta groans, pressing his fingers to his temple. “Fine,” He grumbles after a moment, rolling his eyes and staring up at the sky. “I’ll see what he thinks.”
Nemuri chuckles, and Shouta fucking hates the smug air she’s adopted as she continues. ”So.You started falling for him yet, sweetie?”
He hangs up, groans, kicks the bottle cap off the edge of the roof and then sulks back down to their apartment with his hands stuffed into his pockets.
Yagi and Shinso are sitting on the couch watching something on TV, but Yagi’s clearly multitasking - he’s got a book open in his lap, Shouta finds as he nears - and his head bobs to look down at what he’s reading and then look up at the screen to not miss out on whatever’s going on. But he smiles as Shouta nears and shoves one of the couch cushions aside so he can sit, and he really doesn’t want to think too long on why that makes his chest warm.
“How was your call?” Yagi asks softly once he’s seated, nudging him. “Get everything sorted?”
Shouta groans. “Yeah,” He says, scratching his stubble and resolutely not looking at Yagi. “No bad news, at least.”
Yagi hums in response and goes back to reading his book, and after another half hour Shinso lets out a jaw-cracking yawn and calls it a night. He pats Yagi’s head and then attempts the same for Shouta as he passes the back of the couch on his way toward his room, laughing when he’s swatted away. Shouta can see Yagi watching from the corner of his eye as Shinso disappears into his room and closes the door, and as the latch clicks he reaches over and switches the TV off, turning to peer at Shouta.
“Okay. What happened.”
He sputters and Yagi laughs quietly and pushes himself to his feet, wandering into the kitchen to flick the kettle on, and Shouta joins him once he’s stopped choking. He looks entertained as he props his hip against the counter, raising his eyebrows at Shouta expectantly.
“Before you start, nothing actually happened,” He says at length, holding his hands out and watching the kettle as it starts to boil. “Just had to ask their opinion on something, is all.”
“And that opinion is…?”
Well. Fuck it.
Shouta feels his shoulders rising with embarrassment and sinks into himself, almost grimacing. “Pet names?”
Yagi blinks, processes what he’s said, and then he chuckles softly into a hand. “Pet names? Really? That’s what had you so distracted the last few days?”
“Shut up!” Shouta snaps, but Yagi only slips into actual laughter, shoulders shaking as he tries to muffle it with his hands. “You use one for me, but I don't have one to use for you! It feels weird!”
The kettle flicks off and Shouta rolls his eyes, stepping around Yagi and shoving him aside as gently as he can seeing as the man’s somehow choked on air and is coughing roughly into a hand, and goes about making two mugs of that sleepy tea his husband likes. It's apparently working, so he might as well indulge him.
Yagi’s shoulders are hiked up near his ears when Shouta turns back and he startles when he sees blood dripping between his fingers, tension snapping through his body, but Yagi waves a hand weakly.
There's blood on his fingertips.
He picks up a handful of tissues and gently presses them into Yagi’s outstretched hand to help mop up the blood, and after a moment his coughs seem to abate, though he's wheezing slightly from the lack of air. He gasps, gives a wet cough, and chokes on the excess blood in his throat but doesn't slide into another fit, so Shouta…vaguely considers it a win.
It takes another few minutes for Yagi to settle, and he's methodically wiping his fingers down with the tissues from Shouta when he clears his throat, hunching over slightly. “Sorry.”
Shouta feels his eyebrows raise, and he places a glass of water down beside him. “For what?”
Yagi shoots him a droll look.
“I interrupted you while you were speaking. Um.” He shifts, and throws the tissues in the bin to give his hands something to do before rethinking it and washing them in the sink to get rid of anything he missed. He's not looking at Shouta. “They're not usually that bad...but, I cut you off.”
Shouta doesn't really think they can get back into the banter from before but he doesn't say it, instead pressing the glass of water into Yagi’s hands once he's dried them and picking up both mugs. “Doesn't matter. C’mon. Let's get you to bed.”
He whips around to glare at Yagi, pointedly looking at the hallway after a moment. “Honey.” Wait, shit. That's not right. “Babe. Bed. I'll figure out my shit eventually once I'm more used to this situation, yeah?”
Yagi blinks at him, and there's no mistaking the slight tinge of pink in his cheeks as he bows his head with a little chuckle and follows after him. “Of course.”
Yagi misses dinner one night due to a doctor’s appointment, and the apartment feels...weird without him in it.
Dinner is sort of his thing, and as Shouta helps Shinso grill salmon fillets that were left in the fridge with a note on the top from Yagi, the boy says as much.
“It's quieter, without him here,” He comments idly as he stirs the rice over the stove, glancing sidelong at Shouta. “When's he coming home?”
“No clue,” He responds, bending down to check on the fish. “He said he'd be a little while, cos’ it was a big checkup, or something. Probably not for a few hours then.”
Shinso hums, clearly disappointed, but doesn't say anything more on the matter.
It's quiet that night, as they eat.
Shouta sort of wishes Yagi would get home sooner.
“We haven’t seen much from your boss lately, Yagi-san.”
He looks up from where he’s been working on a care plan for one of his patients - a plant based quirk, with vines and thorns that have a tendency to break the skin - and across at Aizawa, who’s sitting on the other side of the table with a lesson plan spread out in front of him.
It’s a Wednesday evening and they’ve all had dinner, the dishes are done, so the three of them have wound up at the table with a pile of books and papers separating their respective areas. Shinso’s face is buried in a history textbook, pen tapping against the table rhythmically, but Toshinori can see the glow of his phone reflecting off his face.
At least he's…trying to look busy.
“My boss...? Oh! Yes, All Might!” He scrubs at his cheek, embarrassed. It's always difficult to act as if he's two separate people - always awkward, sometimes downright humiliating - but Aizawa seems interested anyway. He waves his phone at him, on the front page of a news site with a rather large headline asking where All Might has gone.
“Yeah. All Might. He's been quiet, recently. Everything okay?”
“I think he needed to take some time to sort out his affairs...personal life, accounts, all of it.” Shinso’s near, so he can't really use the fight from three and a half years ago that almost killed him as an excuse. Aizawa would probably know about it, though - all active heroes in the area during that time were informed, while the population have been kept in the dark - but he doesn't want to assume. “That, or his paperwork is piling up because I'm not around to help him with it!”
Shinso snorts, poking his head out from behind his book while Aizawa shoots him a thoroughly unimpressed glare as he laughs at his own joke.
“Seriously, though. People are saying he's doing some undercover mission, or he got hurt in his last fight against that crab quirk. It got his leg pretty good, didn't it?”
It sure did. Toshinori had his stitches removed last week, and his thigh still aches in the morning, sometimes.
Besides, Aizawa’s first assumption isn't exactly wrong.
“He did need stitches after that fight, you're correct, but it wouldn't normally stop him from continuing his work…” Toshinori pinches his bottom lip as he speaks, looking down in thought. Really, he's frantically trying to come up with any excuse for All Might’s disappearance. He'd never even thought about how to play this off.
Across from him, Aizawa shrugs. He picks his pen back up, fiddling with it as he turns his attention back to his plans. “It's just strange, is all. Didn't realise how often he popped up in the news until he stopped doing that.”
“Yeah,” Toshinori says in response, looking back down at his care-plan. “Strange, indeed.”
It's lucky Shouta had the foresight to bring his only fitted suit with him, just in case he'd need it during the whole affair.
And it turns out he does need it, as Yagi politely informs him one night when they're getting ready for bed, brushing his teeth as Shouta crawls under the covers.
“Are you doing anything this Saturday, Aizawa-kun?”
He looks up from where he was absently checking messages, spotting the back half of Yagi puttering around the bathroom, and gives a half-assed shrug that he realises halfway through doing that Yagi won't actually see. “Don't think so. Why?”
He pokes his head around the door, blonde hair sitting up at stupid angles while his bangs dangle against his collar bones, and gives an apologetic smile.
“The quirk agency is having a small party - for its anniversary, I think? - but it's black tie, and one of the receptionists asked if I could, well.” Yagi scratches the back of his neck, looking away with a soft laugh. “She asked if I could bring you, actually. She wants to meet my husband, and talks about it a lot.”
Shouta raises his eyebrows at him, a little taken aback.
“How did she know you were married?”
“...because I talked about you and Shinso? Seeing as you're my...you know. Family?”
He still hesitates over the word, as if it's unfamiliar not just with this farce, but with him completely. It's odd, but Shouta's not enough of an asshole to bring it up. So instead he leans his elbows on his knees and shrugs at Yagi once more, hair sliding over his shoulder with the movement.
Yagi's eyes track it closely.
“Sure, I can come. Do you want Shinso there too?”
“Ah! No, he has that study day, remember? And it's during the afternoon, so we’ll probably be home before dinner to pick him up, anyway.” Yagi's smiling, soft and gentle, and Shouta's suddenly really glad that he said yes to this.
He doesn't say much else on the matter; just mentions the need to dress nicely, and that's it.
Saturday comes, and as Shouta stares at his reflection and adjusts his tie, he realises vaguely that he hasn't worn this suit for over a year now. It's a little tight in the shoulders - all the weights and upper body workouts have paid off, apparently - and he hates to admit it, but he looks good. The shaved sides of his head certainly add a level of intimidation, which suits Shouta just fine. He looks hot. Definitely trophy husband material.
“You look very handsome, Aizawa,” Comes a voice from the doorway, and he twists to spot Yagi with two ties of outrageously ugly colours in his hands, smiling at him. “I didn’t think you’d own such a fitted suit!”
Which is heavily implying that Yagi didn’t think he owned one, period. But Shouta snorts anyway, shrugging and brushing a hand through his hair before he pulls it back off his face, tying it in a little knot on top of his head.
“School shit forced me to buy one - and my friends made me get it adjusted - so if they hadn’t intervened I probably wouldn’t be wearing anything as nice as this.”
Yagi chuckles and appears just behind him in the mirror, holding one tie up to his throat at a time with a tilt of his head, surveying. The bright yellow one suits him more, suits the dark navy blazer over mushroom chinos, but the red one probably suits the occasion a little better. If he’s being honest, Shouta’s just thankful he didn’t grab one of his patterned or floral ones.
Kids may love them, but it mostly stops there.
Shouta watches him decide for a moment and then twists and picks the red one out of his hands, tossing it onto the bed and leaving the room, calling over his shoulder. “Yellow one looks better, and you’re going to make us late if you keep dithering.”
They’re not late - somehow - but they cut it pretty closely, and Yagi slips his fingers through his as they make their way to the events room. The party is on a golf course, in the biggest and fanciest function room they probably own, and Shouta sometimes wishes he wouldn’t be as stunned at such blatant displays of wealth as he is, dawdling behind his husband and staring at the statues and photos of lush grass that line the walls.
It’s the first time he’s been on a golf course, ever, and the huge windows that cover two walls of the room open out onto a balcony and an absolutely incredible view of rolling green fields. It’s...beautiful. If inherently fucking pointless.
“Otani-san! There you are!”
Shouta looks up when he feels Yagi’s hand pull free of his to wave at someone who bustles toward them, a huge smile on her face, arms spread wide. She looks...like a mother. Flowers sprout in her hair and there’s moss on her face, and she looks almost like she’s glowing as she pulls Yagi into a huge bear hug, beaming.
Yagi, to his credit, pats her shoulder awkwardly and gives a strained but polite laugh. Shouta can’t see his face, but he’s probably smiling. Probably.
The pair exchange greetings, the woman happily steering the conversation with a hand clasped around Yagi’s arm when she looks to the side and spots Shouta, cutting herself off mid-sentence and staring at him.
Shouta instinctively takes a step backward, hand tightening around the champagne flute he’d snagged from a passing waiter, but the woman doesn’t move toward him; instead, she gestures to him to come forward, a huge, delighted grin on her face and when he’s close enough, she reaches out to grab his arm and stares up at Yagi with wide eyes.
“This is him, isn’t it!? Your husband? Oh, he’s so handsome!”
Shouta still has absolutely no fucking idea who she is.
Yagi’s arm snakes around his waist and tugs him free from the woman’s grip and closer to his side, tapping a rhythm against his hip. Shouta’s grateful that he’d noticed his discomfort - he notices a lot, really - and the warmth of his arm is comforting against the small of his back and he finds himself pressing into Yagi absently, taking a sip from his glass.
“It is! This is Kentaro. Ken, this is Nishi Satu. She’s my receptionist at the office, and the person I spend most of my time with at work, actually! I’d be lost without her guidance, and her delightful smile!”
Fuck, he’s so polite. And charming, if the way Nishi blushes and waves a hand is anything to go by. She looks smitten.
It’s not exactly hard to see why.
“It's nice to meet you,” Shouta says as he extends his hand, and Nishi shakes it vigorously. “It's nice to see someone looking after Yori aside from myself.”
Yagi elbows him for the jab, but he's laughing. Nishi beams.
“I'm trying! But he's doing a good job on his own, I promise! It's surprising we didn't try to grab him before, he knows so much about all of this!”
Shouta can feel Yagi’s fingers tighten on his hip and he presses his shoulder into his chest - he's clearly unaccustomed to compliments - and takes another sip from his glass as his husband joins in to joke around with her.
Nishi’s definitely a mother figure, and she includes Shouta often in their conversation - asking about his work, complimenting his clothes - and it's not hard for him to relax around her. It's...nice.
He spends the majority of the afternoon not too far away from Yagi, meeting his coworkers - most are lovely, and talk excitedly with him about the new generation of quirks with questions on his experiences as a teacher - and normally has a glass of something in his hands; whether it's water or alcohol depends on his feelings when he decides he needs something else.
Seeing Yagi in this environment is interesting, too. Shouta's only really seen him at home - after work or in the morning, and he's normally not functioning enough before school to have an actual conversation with - but watching him tease and laugh and just have fun is cute to watch.
His receptionists’ definitely love him, and the other specialists actively include him in their debates and banter, smiling the whole time he gives his opinions. Despite working full time as All Might’s secretary, he knows his shit - better than some of the actual professionals - and adds new takes to conversations they hadn’t even considered. Shouta supposes it’s from what he’s seen working alongside the number one hero, but he can’t be sure. In any case, it’s increasingly obvious that he may have missed his calling as a quirk specialist in his life.
And the fucking kids love him, too. Shouta should have expected it, really. Yagi just seems to have a good heart and wants to please people, no matter their age.
They spend most of the afternoon touching. Usually it's a simple arm around the other - usually Yagi’s the one doing it, or Shouta will slide his hand into his to give it a squeeze as he slips away, but it's...easy. Casual.
Yagi also pressed a kiss to his temple at one stage as he was called away in the middle of a small and heated conversation over the legislation on quirks, and Nishi had giggled over the completely dumbfounded look on Shouta's face once he'd realised what happened.
“It's sweet,” She notes, sipping from her champagne flute. “You two have been together for years, yet you still look so surprised and flustered when he touches you. Like you can't believe that he's your husband!”
Shouta's face burns, because she's right, but not in the way she probably thinks.
So he merely grunts in agreement, finishes off the dregs of his beer, and wills the colour to leave his face when he glances over the guests and makes eye contact with Yagi, who shoots him a wink.
They leave the party a few hours later, and Shouta’s thankful for the space Yagi gives him as they slip into the backseat of the cab, seeing how fucking tired he is. He feels wrung out; from the social expectations and polite conversation he’s had to sit through with a fake smile for the past hour and a half, from how he had to remain not-horrifically-drunk for the whole thing so he wouldn’t embarrass his husband, and from the sheer amount of PDA he and Yagi have had to do for the afternoon.
That last one wasn’t awful. Just sort of...awkward. They’re still acclimatising to one another, getting used to this situation and how to act in their characters, but Yagi’s hand had been warm in his, his arm a nice pressure to keep him grounded when it curled around his waist during boring discussions of quirk usage and the laws surrounding it. It was probably to keep him from escaping, but the gesture hadn’t been unpleasant.
“Hey. Are you okay?”
Shouta looks up from where he’s zoned out, staring out the window at nothing in particular, and he looks across at Yagi who’s watching him with concern. His hand is hovering between them, as if he’d been about to touch Shouta’s shoulder, but retreats quickly when he looks down at it and flushes, hands now tucked safely in his lap.
“I’m fine, Yori. Just...unused to social gatherings that involve so much talking.” And touching. Shouta feels like he needs a shower from all the hands clasped on his arm or shoulder.
Yagi laughs softly, shaking his head. “Yeah, I hadn’t realised it would be that...much. I’m sorry.”
Shouta grunts, but nudges Yagi’s shoulder lightly with a fist. It could be a punch, but it's much too gentle. “It's cool...just don't bother me tomorrow too much. Gotta recharge.”
He nods, and they fall into quiet once again. Shinso texts halfway through to let them know he's already home, and Shouta can feel some excess stress leave him knowing that the kid is safe. He sags in his seat when Yagi relays the message, who chuckles lightly at him, but doesn't say anything else.
“It feels weird,” Yagi begins one afternoon, and Shouta blinks at him as they climb the stairs of their apartment building, letting him collect his thoughts in the quiet. “To use first names under our guises, and yet have you call me ‘Yagi-san’ at home.”
He’s fidgeting. Clearly Yagi’s unsure of himself right now.
“What do you mean?” He asks softly, slowing to a stop on the stairwell between floors. Shouta’s always liked these small, tight spaces. They’re completely alone right now. It forces one to be slightly more honest in the intimate space between them, in the cramped and stale air of the stairs.
Yagi blushes - he actually blushes - and reaches up to scratch at the back of his neck, choking out an awkward, forced laugh. “I, um. I just think, that it might be, you know. Easier if you called me Toshinori...at home. There’s still a disconnect between how we react to one another, and something’s going to slip through the cracks sooner or later.”
Shouta blinks at him. “So...you want me to call you by your first name all the time?”
“If...if that’s okay with you? I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, Aizawa-kun! I mean, we’re faking this - sure, we’re living together with Shinso, but we’re not together together, you know? - so if I’m stepping out of bounds, please tell me! I don’t want to make this any harder on you than it already is, and-“
That shuts him up immediately, and he blinks, ears slowly turning a charming shade of pink.
“Um, yeah. Like that.”
His voice is rough, almost like he needs to cough, and he clears his throat and looks down. He’s so flushed Shouta’s almost worried he’s going to die, or something, but Toshinori looks back up at him with a tentative smile, almost glowing.
Shouta tucks his hands into his pockets and looks away, wishing for his capture weapon to hide the warmth in his cheeks. “Call me Shouta, then. You’re right anyway about the...disconnect. If it’s going to make it easier, more believable, then we might as well.”
He tries to hide the shiver as Toshinori mumbles his name to himself, before starting up the stairs again as a distraction from the charged air between them. Behind him, Toshinori laughs lightly, but he can hear his steps resume and smiles to himself.
Shouta drags himself into the staff room on Tuesday morning and beelines for the coffee maker, scrubbing a hand over his eyes in an effort to wake up. It’s been...a rough night. Toshinori had spent more than half of it coughing, sometimes small huffs and other times deep, wracking ones - he’d thrown up twice - and Shouta had stayed up with him, mostly to make sure he didn’t have to call an ambulance, but to also keep the poor man company as his body collapsed around him.
By four in the morning, after a total hour of sleep, Shouta had drifted off on the bathroom floor across from Toshinori whose forehead rested against the toilet bowl, occasionally leaning forward to spit blood into it. It wasn’t a good sleep, at all, but he’d woken up in bed with his arms around Toshinori; almost as if he’d passed out the second he placed him down in the bed.
He was warm, and fucking tired, but Toshinori was surprisingly comfortable to sleep against - and so warm - and he’d almost drifted off back to sleep when his husband roused him gently with soft hands and soft words and promises of extremely fucking strong coffee.
The staff room coffee machine doesn’t even compare, but it’s caffeine, and he’s desperate.
He can hear Komori excitedly babbling to someone, and once he’s gotten a cup of coffee as strong as he can possibly get it he turns, mug to his lips, and realises she’s talking with 2C’s teacher. They’re both looking at their phone, and Komori is cooing excitedly at what Shouta assumes are photos, if 2C’s proud little smile is anything to go by.
“What are their quirks?” Komori asks, tapping their phone with a claw. “That one looks like yours!”
2C preens. “Yes! My partner and I both have aquatic based quirks - they’re able to shift water around - so our kids got a sort of mix of them, I think. Our youngest hasn’t presented her quirk yet, but she’s got the same suckers as I do!” They wiggle their fingers to show them off, and Komori looks like she’s going to explode. Her eyes are wide and shining, and she’s grinning like she’s just been told she won the lottery.
Shouta watches her gush for a moment before shrugging and chugging his coffee, groaning.
“Do you ever wonder why they didn't give you a, uh…”
Shouta looks away from the city, up at Toshinori, and tilts his head at the man as he trails off and scrubs the back of his neck, looking embarrassed.
They're up on the roof - it's almost one in the morning, Shinso passed out a little while ago - but neither of them could sleep. So here they are. Existing in the same space, sharing warmth and air and the lull of the evening. Toshinori takes a deep breath, readying himself, and continues.
“Why they didn't pair you with a woman for this case? I mean, it'd sell that family dynamic a little better than we can, right?”
He has...a point. As a couple, he and Toshinori draw the eye - especially when Shinso’s out with them in public - but Shouta’s of the opinion that sometimes hiding in plain sight is the easiest thing to do. It'd be like he dyed his hair pink; that sort of thing. Flying under the radar.
“I mean, sure?” He grunts, tucking his hands into his pockets. “The nuclear family dynamic would be easier to work with a guy and a girl, but I wouldn't necessarily be comfortable, like. Proving I was in love with her.”
There's a beat of silence, Toshinori processing his words, and then he's looking down at him in blatant confusion, mouth opening to question what the fuck he means by that.
Shouta beats him to it.
“I'm gay. I'm not attracted to women at all.”
He holds Toshinori’s gaze - it’s almost a challenge, in a way, in case he reacts poorly - but the man surprises him, chuckling. Tension drops from Shouta’s shoulders as his husband nods with a little hum and looks out over the city again.
“I figured as much,” He starts, eyeing Shouta from the side. “I’ve been wondering why you didn’t have an issue with...well, me, and why you always seemed very uncomfortable when women flirted with you out in public. It’s nice to know I was correct, in a way.”
“In a way?”
Toshinori looks at him again, hand rubbing at the back of his neck. Must be a nervous tic. “Oh, I just sort of assumed you were bi, too. Figured it’d be the easiest way to go about it.”
Shouta hums, processing what he’s just said. Bi, huh. At least he knows Toshinori falls on the mlm scale - he’d been wondering about that too, quietly, in the back of his mind - but it’s good to know.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS / MERRY CHRISTMAS / HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYOOOONEEE !!!
um just a warning for this chapter it DOES go into detail abt toshi's health issues / talks a little about the uhh. fallout of the First AFO/OFA Fight i'm not 100% sure on how to tag it??
thank you to everyone so far for all your support !! i'm dying !! i love you all and i hope you've all had a good break the last few days !!
“I think,” Toshinori says one morning, stirring his tea and frowning at the bottom of his mug. “There’s a traitor at the clinic.”
Shinso looks up with a mouthful of natto, gaze sliding to Shouta, before he swallows and tilts his head at him. “Who?”
It’s a fair question, but Naomasa slid him another police file last night over dinner, and Toshinori had recognised all of the names of the missing children as regulars at the clinic. Who the traitor is, though, he has no fucking clue.
“No idea,” He says, but rubs at his bottom lip as he thinks out loud. “But the only link between all of the most recent missing kids is the clinic, as far as I can tell.”
Shouta nods, and slides the file across for Shinso to look at, tapping the highlighter in his hand against the table. “All the kids attended different schools, and lived in different areas. I think you’re correct.”
“There’s like, thirty people on staff, though, and they all have access to the database.” Toshinori shoves a hand through his hair, scowling down at the table. Twelve quirk specialists, five interns, four receptionists, and nine nurses amongst other staff won’t make it easy to investigate and reveal. One child taken was one of his patients, anyway, and he was booked to meet her in two days.
So much for that.
“At least you know where to start looking,” Shouta murmurs, sitting back in his chair. His hands are clasped over his stomach and he’s looking up in thought, fingers tapping against his shirt in a rhythm only he can hear. “Maybe start with the other specialists. Whoever’s got the most victims under them.”
“Naomasa’s already started looking into it, but I’ll see what I can find.” He hums, picking up his tea to blow on it. “It’ll probably be easier for me to ask around, anyway. I imagine they’ll be tense, after this announcement.”
Class has absolutely sucked today, and Shouta groans quietly to himself as he remembers the tests he needs to grade tonight to return to his class tomorrow, scrubbing a hand over his face as he makes his way down the hall toward the staff room.
It's a Monday - there was apparently a party over the weekend that had gone to hell and resulted in a hospital visit - and the entire year level has been buzzing over it for the whole day. He's had to interrupt multiple conversations on it, confiscate a phone as one student showed three others photos from the party, and overhear details that he doesn't ever want to have to hear about again. Teenagers are fucking gross, sometimes.
But as he slows outside the staff room and overhears someone inside almost hysterically yelling, he slumps even further.
Long day. Loooong day.
2C’s surrounded by staff when he pushes the door open, face in their hands, damn near hyperventilating. Komori’s cooing softly to them, and she meets Shouta’s eyes as he walks in and grimaces, mouthing the word ‘kids’ when he tilts his head at her.
“I don't - we’d asked them to, to call us, and - and today was only a half day for them, and - and!” They wail, voice scratchy and broken from how absolutely heartbroken they are.
Shouta can only watch for a moment before his hero side kicks in - the side trained to deal with this sort of trauma, to ask questions, to help - and he pushes his way through the crowd until he's standing in front of 2C and crouches down to meet their eyes.
“Hey. It’s going to be okay. What can you tell us?”
He stays crouched on the floor for almost an hour as 2C warbles what they know, and they go through two boxes of tissues before the end of it. Shouta listens, and takes notes, and slides a ripped scrap of paper from one of his lesson plans to Komori partway through that simply says ‘close the school?’ and nothing else.
It's a shit situation - until now Shouta hasn't known anyone personally that's had their kids disappear - and the absolute terror on 2C’s face is heartbreaking. They blame themselves, because of course they do, those are their fucking kids, and Shouta struggles way harder to console them than he would have liked. He also relates a lot more to their reaction than he'd like; Shinso’s wiggled under his skin like any kid would after he's spent an extended period of time with them, and Shouta wouldn't hesitate to beat the absolute shit out of anyone that tries to hurt him.
Untimely realisation, but it's true.
By the time everyone finally peels off to go home Shouta has two pages of quickly scribbled notes on the abduction that he's promised the staff to type up and email out and an extra class to take care of for the next week, as 2C’s been told to take some time to recover. It only happened today, after all.
Shouta walks them to the station, lets them hug him close as they separate to head to their different platforms, and feels vaguely guilty at how exhausted he feels as he trundles up to his own platform and onto the train, scrubbing a hand through his hair.
Long day indeed.
Toshinori’s texted him when he checks his phone; needing a distraction from the jumble of thoughts in his head that haven't calmed for the last hour. He feels wrung out, like he needs to sleep for about two weeks - sort of like how he usually felt after an underground shift and then immediately went into UA - and Shouta sighs and tips his head back against the wall of the train, blinking blearily at the ceiling.
Toshinori had asked if he was okay, seeing as he was meant to be home a while ago.
He's started using emojis in his messages, too, and Shouta would rather die than admit to it being cute as fuck. There's a star at the end of the message, this time.
Shouta replies and tucks his phone into his pocket, feeling a buzz a few minutes later at what's probably Toshinori’s response. It doesn't take him too much longer to get home, and when he stumbles into the kitchen he accidentally interrupts the conversation being had because his husband takes one look at him and immediately moves to pull him into a hug.
He stiffens immediately at the contact, hands clenching into Toshinori's shirt to push him away, or to pull him closer - to do something - but he relaxes after a moment when he feels a warm hand drag across his back to hold him tighter, and then he pulls Toshinori forward into what's probably a death grip, hands fisted into his shirt hard enough to leave creases.
The night is quiet, and not much else happens after that. Toshinori quizzes Shinso over dinner about pro-heroes and in turn gets asked about his experiences with them - he tells a story about Endeavour that leaves the kid howling with laughter, tears streaming down his face - and Shouta isn't really present for much of it, too lost in thought.
Toshinori doesn't bring it up at all, or make any comment. He just leaves Shouta be, voice soft if he needs to ask him something, and stays a distance away as best he can.
When Shinso heads to bed Shouta finds himself in the little window seat, playing with his fingers as he looks out over the street. There's a couple walking with their young child, and they're holding hands. Shouta watches the mum tip her head back and laugh at something her partner says, and his fingers slow.
He feels like he's intruding.
“I'm sorry for, um. Earlier.”
His gaze snaps up to spot Toshinori standing a few feet away, looking awkward and sheepish. He's holding two cups of tea, and Shouta can recognise the tea bag easily in the soft light of the apartment - it's the sleepy tea he gave him on their second night - and shifts so that there's space in the window for his husband to sit.
Toshinori passes him a mug and slides in to sit opposite him, trying to take up as little space as possible which is unsurprisingly fucking hard for someone who's over seven feet tall, but they manage after a little shifting.
“I didn't mean to hug you, and I know that was probably a lot more contact than you would have liked…” He trails off, looking down at his mug. “You just looked so…heartbroken, and I didn't know what else to do.”
Shouta nods, takes a sip, and sighs as well.
“One of the staff had their kids abducted, and it hit me pretty hard.” He glances toward the hallway, toward Shinso’s room; and feels Toshinori's gaze locked onto him when he looks back.
His eyes are glowing.
“Did you speak with them about it?”
“Yeah,” Shouta grunts, swiping his free hand across his eyes and shoving his fringe out of his face. “Got like, two pages of shit to read through and write down on the computer. Ask your detective friend for the police report the next time you see him, if you can.”
Toshinori hums, settling back against the wall. He glances out the window occasionally, playing with the tag on his teabag, and Shouta knows he's marshalling his thoughts. So he sips his tea, and waits. The family has walked by by now, and the streets are empty from what he can see.
“I'm scared for Shinso.”
Shouta looks up at Toshinori, at his bright eyes that are tinged with fear and worry, and nods. He's the same.
“The kid will be okay, Toshinori.” He murmurs, sipping his tea to give himself something to do other than staring at his husband's face. Even from the corner of his eye he can see the faint flush crawling into his cheeks at his first name being used, and it’s...
“We've been training him to fight back and subvert attacks...you've seen some of the footage, how kids are just grabbed with little else to it. We've been showing him how to break those holds; how to strengthen and utilise his quirk to a better performance, how to move in these situations.” Shouta sighs and tips his head back against the wall with a dull little thunk. “I'm sure you've noticed he's getting stronger, too. He doesn't struggle as much when you show him grapples, and I've noticed he's more confident in his movements when I test him on poses and movements.”
Toshinori watches him for a moment when he trails off, and then chuckles into his mug, shifting his hold, and Shouta tries really hard not to stare as his fingers slide over the ceramic.
“He really is starting to become our kid, isn't he?” It's lighthearted - or it's supposed to be - and Shouta chuckles along, giving a shitty half-assed shrug in response.
It's three in the morning, Shinso’s only just fallen asleep against his shoulder, and Shouta’s playing with his phone anxiously as Toshinori hacks up a startling amount of blood into the toilet.
His fingers are stained red, and it dribbles down his chin when he pulls back with a huff and swipes at his mouth which only further spreads the blood on his hands.
“You look like you've just eaten someone.” Shouta comments, and Toshinori snorts and swipes weakly at him with a choked laugh. There are tear trails down his gaunt cheeks, his teeth are stained and all in all, he looks like shit.
Shouta shifts where he's sitting to pass his husband a glass of water, and settles back with a minimal amount of sleepy grumbling from their charge. “For real though, are you okay? That was worse than the last ones.”
Toshinori hums, swishing a mouthful of water around to clear the blood and spits it into the toilet, and shrugs when he sits back.
“I've been better.”
Yeah, no shit.
There's a small part of Shouta that wants to just ask why he almost dies about once a week due to violent coughing fits, but he doesn't want to push his luck, either. The injury Toshinori probably has must be severe - even after months behind the case, he still hasn't seen his left side bare - and Shouta knows it has to be a touchy subject. Any debilitating injury is.
Toshinori reaches up to flush and moves, twisting to slide in beside the toilet and the bath, and looks at Shouta from his new spot. Easier to talk to his face than his back, he supposes. “I'm surprised you've never asked about it,” Toshinori says after a beat of silence, and he rests his forehead against the side of the toilet as he leans back against the wall and peers at him. “Anyone else would have.”
“It's not my business to ask.” Shouta grunts, and he swipes at his nose. He doesn't want to look at Toshinori as he speaks. “You've clearly been injured by something, something that's causing you extreme discomfort - could be killing you, from the blood loss - and because we're not, like, actually a married couple, it's never been my right to know what happened.”
Shouta looks up once he’s finished, and Toshinori smiles sadly back at him.
There's still blood on his teeth.
“You could have, though.” He says quietly, hands fidgeting in his lap. “I probably would have told you. Eventually.”
Shouta raises his eyebrows, and Toshinori can't help but laugh. Shinso’s still got his face mashed into his shoulder, unconscious, and he rolls his eyes fondly - at both the kid and his husband - before pushing himself to his feet and scooping the boy into his arms as best he can.
Toshinori moves to help but stops when Shouta glares at him, but he tilts his head toward the lounge room anyway. “How about I boil the kettle and tell you once you've put him to bed, yeah?”
“Deal.” At the doorway he pauses, twisting to both accommodate the kid and look back at Toshinori, and he swallows. “Don’t...don’t move just yet, though. I don’t want you to have another fit again so soon.”
Toshinori just rolls his eyes and waves him off with a huff, but he’s smiling as he does it.
Shinso wakes up at the entrance to his room when Shouta has to awkwardly manoeuvre him in order to open the door, and it’s a relief to have the decision made for him over whether to wake the kid up or not. Once he’s brushed his teeth and put himself to bed, Shouta dawdles back into the living room and scrubs a hand over his face as he checks the time on his phone and winces.
Toshinori’s still puttering around the kitchen and he joins him at the counter, taking the mug of tea he’s offered and following him mindlessly out to the window seat. It’s become somewhat of a thing now; to just sit and talk there when the rest of the world’s asleep. It’s soothing.
Shouta tucks his knees up onto the seat and blows on his tea, fidgets with the little tag on the side until Toshinori marshalls his thoughts enough to shift and look at him.
Instead of saying anything, though, he simply places his mug down on the windowsill and pulls his shirt up, and Shouta damn near spills tea over himself at the gesture, and then at the damage to his side. It’s red, and it’s angry, and it probably should have killed him. That’s a big fucking scar. It’s fucking huge.
“Three and a half years ago,” Toshinori begins, and after Shouta’s gaze finally draws away from the scar and back to his face he drops his shirt and picks his tea back up, poking his fingers together when they meet around the back of the mug. “You might remember the fight that took All Might out of commission for a little while and reduced part of the city to rubble. Lots of casualties, both hero and civilian.”
Shouta remembers it. How could he not.
He’d been a fresh-faced, newly debuted underground hero for all of six months when the news came in of the fight, and he and Nemuri and Hizashi had hauled ass to get there in order to help with the cleanup only to find complete and utter devastation.
There’d been so many bodies.
He still has nightmares about it, sometimes.
Shouta nods, though, to show he’s both listening and remembers it, and stares down at his tea for a moment to collect himself. “I was there to assist with the clean-up,” He begins, and he snorts without humour. “Though I was effectively useless. No quirks to erase if everyone’s dead, right?”
The hero network had passed it off as a gas leak combined with an unfortunate combustion quirk activated at the wrong time, and no one had been willing to question them on it after such devastation. Some of the victims were never identified, and still had yet to be.
He still doesn’t know who All Might fought.
Toshinori chuckles, shaking his head. “No, I suppose you’re right in that. I’m sorry you weren’t able to help as much as you would have liked. It must have eaten at you for a while, didn’t it?”
Shouta nods, and the smile he gets in return is so fucking sad it almost hurts.
“I was the same. We were out for dinner; I’d been scheduling appointments and helping All Might organise his calendar when the call came in, but I was too close to the epicentre of the first explosion to even think about getting out or to safety. He saved me. Though,” Toshinori snorts and gestures to his side, winking at Shouta. “There admittedly wasn’t much to save after I was run through with a table leg.”
He definitely shouldn’t be this lighthearted about being impaled, Shouta vaguely thinks, but he can only really blink and stare at his husband as he continues on with a vague wave of his hand after he’s taken a sip from his mug. He can’t find the words to express his distress, right now.
Shouta doesn’t know if he ever will.
Toshinori shifts in his seat again, looking down at his knees. “I don’t have most of my stomach, anymore, and they had to remove one of my lungs after it perforated during the emergency surgery. The blood is...a side-effect, from the gastrectomy - severe ulcers and heartburn - but there’s not much they can do about it now. It’s sort of become normal, for me.”
Shouta pushes a hand through his hair and sucks in a deep breath, and realises after a moment that his hands are shaking. Toshinori leans across to steady the mug in his hand and eventually just plucks it from his grip, but Shouta tangles their fingers together, needing to touch, to hold something, anything.
His hands are warm.
“Please say something,” Toshinori says after a few minutes, and he’s trying for lighthearted, trying to make it funny, but his voice is strained and he sounds a little choked up, and Shouta finally - finally - looks up at him, says fuck it, and yanks his hand forward to pull the man into a crushing hug. Toshinori yelps, and Shouta can hear his mug hitting the windowsill a little louder and harsher than usual - as if he’s put it down in a hurry, which makes sense seeing as Shouta’s currently trying to bury his face into his shoulder - but he laughs softly and curls his long fingers around the back of Shouta’s neck and the other around his waist, pulling him ever closer.
Shouta sucks in a shaky breath and keeps his face pressed into Toshinori’s collar bones, one hand still gripping his and the other clenching and unclenching against his back, but the only thing that he can think about right now is how fucking warm Toshinori is against him - how warm, how solid, how alive - and feels some of the stress leave his body when he realises Toshinori’s stroking his hair gently, waiting for him to come back. But he doesn’t stop holding Shouta just as tightly as he’s being held, and he can feel the blonde hair from his front bangs tickling his ear, and he smells like he usually does, and Shouta eventually pulls away but keeps holding his hand, and he stares at it for a moment as he sits back and tucks his knee up under his chin.
Toshinori almost looks ethereal, in the street lights with his glowing eyes and wild, blonde hair.
There’s still blood on his lip.
“Thank you,” Shouta starts, and he finally releases Toshinori’s hand to pick up his mug of tea, taking a sip. “I appreciate that you trusted me enough to tell me about it. It must not have been...easy, to do. You didn’t have to.”
Toshinori laughs softly. “Oh, love, it wasn’t that hard. You’ve stayed up with me enough times that I figured you should know what’s going on with me, haven’t you? It’s only fair.”
His gaze snaps up at that, breath catching in his throat when Toshinori cups his face and swipes his thumb absently under his eye, but he’s smiling. It’s not sad, anymore. Shouta can feel his wedding band pressing against his cheek.
“I wanted to tell you.”
He swallows, and reaches up to press his fingers against Toshinori’s hand, against the wedding band.
HAPPY NEW YEEEEAAAAARRR!!!!!
sorry for the late update! (it's still technically friday tho so.....i'm good. technically.) this chapter gave me a lot of trouble guhgghgh
hope you all had a great holiday !! love you !! have some dads!!!!
Toshinori looks up from the stove and across at Shinso, who’s staring into the rice cooker like it holds all the secrets of the universe. With a sigh he shuts the lid and hits the button to start it, stepping over to join Toshinori at the stove and pillows his head on his arm, pulling at his bottom lip. It’s a self-soothing gesture, he’s noticed. Helps him when he’s deep in thought.
“What’s up, kiddo?” He prompts gently, turning the fish in the frying pan when it pops.
“Do you ever regret not developing a quirk? Or is being quirkless, like...okay. Y’know. Once you’re not a teenager anymore.”
Shinso’s digging his chin into his arm as he peers up at him, and Toshinori blinks.
Isn’t that a question.
Before he can say anything Shinso barrels on, picking at a loose thread on his school blazer.
“Because, like. It’s been kinda nice to just...pretend I don’t have a quirk at school, y’know? Like, yeah, some people have poked fun but I’ve still been able to make friends, and talk to people without them being weird about my quirk. No one’s ignoring me, or bullying me, or avoiding me because I have the ability to control them. It’s just...nice. To have nothing that makes them immediately see me as a threat, you know? To, like...have friends.”
Toshinori’s heart aches for the kid in that moment. But he chuckles and drops his hand onto Shinso’s head to ruffle his hair, laughing when he grunts and grabs at his wrist to get him to stop.
“Yeah, I remember being really upset when I was little, when all my friends developed quirks and I just...never did. But it made people assume I was weaker, so befriending them wasn’t too hard. They sort of felt sorry for me, in a way.”
At least on this topic he can speak from experience.
“As for regretting it? I...I don't know. It's hard to regret something I had literally no say in, isn't it?”
Plus, he can't really say he's still quirkless...just a late bloomer.
Toshinori chuckles, flicks the stove off, and drapes his arm over Shinso’s shoulder to pull him into a half-hug. “Not having a quirk is hard, in a society where everyone has them. On one side, though, I’m lucky. I haven’t had to learn how to control something that has the potential to hurt people if used incorrectly or mismanaged - like most of my patients at the clinic have had to do - and especially at such a young age. I’m sure if you talked to Shouta about this he’d be able to recount his experiences with trying to manage such a powerful quirk as a child.”
He squeezes Shinso’s shoulder.
“And I’m sure you could do the same! But I don’t really mind not having a quirk, to answer your question. Sometimes it hurts, watching the fights that happen and knowing that if I maybe had a quirk I could have been useful, but I also could have not been useful at all, right? Besides, that’s why there are pro heroes. It eases that worry; because I can’t do anything, but they can.”
“Like All Might?”
Shinso slips out from under his arm and moves to pull plates from one of the cupboards to put on the table, and Toshinori watches him go, fingers flexing over the handle of the tongs. “Yeah. Like All Might.” He pauses, swallows. “You know, your quirk is a good quirk, Shinso. I’m sorry that you’ve been isolated because of it, but if people knew the capabilities - and the level of control that you have over it - I’m sure they wouldn’t be as nasty as they are.”
The smile he gets in response is meek, but still a little sad. Toshinori’s chest aches.
“Teenagers will be teenagers, right?”
“Yeah. And they’re going to be assholes, too.”
It manages to startle a laugh out of Shinso - up until now Toshinori’s tried to curb his proclivity to curse - but he smiles, watching the kid’s shoulders shake as he sets the table for dinner. Shouta’s not due home for about an hour, so there’s not a huge reason to prepare everything so early - it’s just a habit, by now - and as Toshinori bends to place the fish in the oven the keep warm, he can hear Shinso puttering around the living room.
“Do you ever regret your quirk, kid?” He asks when he’s straightened, flicking the kettle on and moving to lean in the doorway of the kitchen. Shinso’s sprawled himself across the couch and peers up at him, remote in one hand and phone in the other, and stares for a long moment.
The question has the potential to get a really, really upsetting answer, and Toshinori braces internally.
“No. I don’t think I do.”
“I mean,” Shinso continues, pushing himself up into a sitting position and staring at his hands, flexing them in his lap. “Like, yeah? It sucks sometimes? But I can use my quirk to help people. You and dad have been helping me realise that - that even though my quirk isn’t physical, it can be useful in the right situations - and you’ve helped me train my body to be stronger. I’m stronger.”
He curls his hands into fists, knuckles white as his nails bite into his skin. Toshinori’s so fucking proud of him.
“So no. I don’t regret it, I don’t think.”
“That’s good! I don’t know what I would have done if you’d said otherwise!”
Shinso laughs, and throws a pillow at him, and Toshinori catches it and tucks it under an arm as he turns back into the kitchen to make a pot of tea and bring it out, sitting down next to his kid to watch whatever he’s decided to put on. He passes the pillow back to Shinso, who tucks it under his head, and before the opening titles come on for the series he hears the faint little ‘thanks, dad’ muttered into the fabric that he probably shouldn’t have been privy to.
Shinso’s been quiet for the last few days, and Shouta’s starting to...worry.
It’s not the same quiet like the beginning of the operation - where he was awkward and didn’t know what to do with himself because he was in a house with two unfamiliar caretakers who also had no fucking clue what to do - but it’s a contemplative quiet, like he’s trying really hard to figure something out but the puzzle pieces just aren’t falling into place.
He mentions it to Toshinori one night before bed - it’s a Friday night, and neither of them have anywhere to be tomorrow morning, and it shouldn’t excite Shouta as much as it does - but he agrees with him; he’s noticed it too. There’s a minimal amount of shuffling as they get comfortable under the sheets and Shouta settles on his side, watching the planes of Toshinori’s face as he blinks at the ceiling and fiddles with his wedding band.
He’s woken up twice now in the last few weeks with a hand on his husband’s waist - getting cosy, he’s fucking snuggling him - and has self-banished himself to the farthest point in their bed. Toshinori’s only side-eyed him with amusement since he’s noticed.
“Do you think this whole thing is starting to get to him?” He asks softly, after a moment. “I think a few more students disappeared this week...maybe we need to swap him out. Find an older kid to take his place, who probably won’t be as susceptible to trauma if shit goes sideways any time soon...”
Shouta shakes his head.
“It’s been over two months, Toshinori.” He still jolts when his name is said, and Shouta watches with interest as he tilts his head to look at him, cheeks pink. “He’s in it now, I think removing him from the case will do more harm than good.”
“I suppose you’re right. I just don’t know what we can do...he looks sort of lost, don’t you think?”
Shouta nods, yawning, and Toshinori can only laugh and reach out to switch his lamp off.
“Okay. You need to sleep, love. We can discuss it with him in the morning, after breakfast.”
As he leans across Shouta to switch his light off - which was something he could have done himself, thank you - his hair tickles his face, brushing against his stubble, and Shouta curls in on himself with a snort. Toshinori chuckles along, and as his fingers find the switch on the lamp he leans down and brushes his lips against Shouta’s temple, who fucking jolts in surprise and blinks at him with wide eyes in the dark.
A street lamp reflects softly off his hair, and Shouta can see the gentle curl of his lips as he watches him for a moment before offering a goodnight and lying down again.
Shouta stares at the ceiling with his cheeks burning for a good hour after that.
Once Toshinori’s dished up breakfast in the morning and they’ve eaten, Shouta figures it’s as good a time as any to broach the subject. Shinso’s staring at the table, a thousand miles away, and jumps when Shouta leans across and taps his finger beside his hand to get his attention.
“Kid. What’s going on.”
Shinso stares at him, blinks, and looks away with a hand reaching up to scratch at the back of his neck. “It’s...it’s nothing, really. I’m just trying to figure something out.”
“What is it?” Toshinori asks, leaning forward. There’s a cup of ginger tea in his hands, and Shouta can see the steam curling out the lip of the mug in the morning sun. Shinso seems to shrink in on himself even further, and Shouta and Toshinori exchange concerned glances.
“I don’t...I’m trying to figure out how I can start finding suspects, in the school...but I don’t know where to even start.”
Shouta blinks at the same time Toshinori does, but the blonde manages to beat him to the response as he places his mug down and reaches across to touch Shinso’s wrist lightly.
“Why don’t you tell us what you’ve got, and we can work from there? We can help you formulate your own list of suspects, if you want to, or at the very least we can look at what you’ve got and help you figure out what to do. Sound good?”
Shinso looks at him for a long moment, blinks slowly, and then he’s moving: hurriedly stacking the bowls and plates to the side, pushing Toshinori’s mug closer toward him and shoving Shouta’s lesson plans aside (which he barely catches before they tumble off the side of the table with a curse) and, once he deems the space cleared enough, slaps a little notebook down beside his phone.
They stare at it.
“Okay.” Shinso looks intense right now, extremely serious with his brows furrowed as he pulls open the book and Shouta and Toshinori lean over to read the list of names on the first page. The kid taps his finger to the list, and Shouta can feel himself growing more and more proud with him as he sees the neat ordering of the missing kids from class to year to their quirks.
It’s impressive, to say the least.
“So I’ve been talking to people and working on this - these are the students missing from my school - and adding to it slowly.” He flips the page, and Shouta spots Fuchizaki’s name there, realising this second list is of the staff, and the third list - colour coordinated - has names from both lists.
“Next, I wanted to see, like. Who came into contact or had classes with the most of the missing students, and started pairing them under the teachers. Cos’,” Shinso sits back, scratching at his nose as he taps his fingers against the pages. “So there was a fight in the cafeteria, this week, and all four kids got sent to Fuchizaki-sensei’s office. And they disappeared the next day, but...they’d all had classes together with two other teachers, but Fuchizaki’s the principal, so he’d have access to everything, right? But it could also be a student, yeah? But a really, like, shitty one, right?”
Toshinori makes a noise at Shinso cursing but Shouta can only punch his shoulder gently, laughing as he reaches across to drag the notebook closer so he and Toshinori can look at it.
“You’ve actually done a pretty good job of setting it all up, kid. Like, a really good job.” He comments as he flicks through it, pointing things out to Toshinori who does the same. It’s well organised, there’s colours grouping things - even a page of questions hurriedly jotted down - and everything’s written in a neat, steady hand.
It’s extremely fucking well done.
“It could be a student,” Toshinori agrees quietly, hands wrapped around his mug of tea once again. “But their access is limited as far as databases go. Shouta’s been looking into the adults in his school - just like you - but he’s been looking at it in terms of who can get into the systems that have all the quirks and personal information of the students listed. Does that make sense?”
“I’ve been looking at the teaching staff the last few weeks but I’m about to start looking into the office staff,” Shouta agrees, scratching his beard as he looks upward in thought. “I was studying the staff that had students taken from their homerooms, initially, but nothing’s turned up. Those in the office have full access to the database at any time of the day, so I think I probably should have looked at them first, but it was easier to cut down the staff. Still.”
Shouta shrugs. “You’ve done a good job with it. Any suspects standing out to you?”
“Fuchizaki-sensei,” Shinso doesn’t even hesitate with his response, blunt as ever. “He’s an asshole.”
“Language!” Toshinori snips, fingers tightening around his mug but he's smiling despite the chiding tone. “Just because he's an asshole doesn't mean he's sabotaging students and letting them get kidnapped. Have you noticed anything else about him that marks him as suspicious?”
Shinso blinks. That's got him.
The kid rubs his bottom lip and stares down at the table, brows pulling together in thought. “He's, like. So all the quirk fights that have broken out at school, right? They don't happen a lot, but there's been about four or five since I started there...every time they go to the principal's office, they disappear.”
“So it could be Fuchizaki-sensei,” Toshinori prompts, voice gentle. “Or, it could be a member of the office staff that's setting him up for the fall, or using the trouble the students have gotten into to attack. There's reception staff and an assistant principal too, right?”
Shinso nods slowly, and hurriedly scribbles something in his notebook on the page full of staff names.
Must've forgotten about the office administrators, then.
Shouta takes the pause to push back from the table and scoop up the plates, ruffling the kid’s hair as he passes behind him toward the kitchen. He needs more coffee.
“You've made an excellent start, kid,” He says as he places the dishes in the sink and retrieves a mug, smiling at Shinso - who's fucking beaming at the praise - as he makes his coffee. “And it's gonna make it easier for us to look into everything too, with all your notes. Thanks for the help.”
Shinso glows for the rest of the day.
Shouta pushes open the door to their apartment and pauses briefly in the doorway, frowning at the light coloured coat hanging on the hook beside the door.
There’s an extra pair of shoes beside their little pile though, and as he drops his bag to pull off his coat and shoes he can hear voices in the kitchen - there’s laughter, he realises - and Shouta tries really hard not to sulk as he drags himself down the hallway. He’s tired, damnit. He doesn’t want to deal with other people.
Detective Tsukauchi’s leaning against the kitchen bench with a mug of coffee in his hands, and he looks up and grins when Shouta appears, waving cheerily at him. Toshinori’s got his back to both men, stirring something over the stove but he raises a hand in greeting and Shouta notices the comically small apron tied in a neat, fancy little bow at the waistband of his jeans, and snorts. It’s disgustingly domestic.
“Aizawa-san! How are you?” Tsukauchi greets, and shuffles over into another stool so Shouta can join him in whatever the fuck they’ve been talking about. There’s another two mugs littered across the bench, and he realises that the detective’s been here for a while, which is sort of weird to notice, seeing as it’s like. 4 o’clock on a Friday.
Why weren’t they both at work…?
“Tired,” Is what he starts with as he sinks into the vacated seat, wiggling with a small grimace at the leftover heat. Weird, weird, weird. “But I’m alright, aside from that. You?”
Tsukauchi nods, taking a sip from his mug. “I’m sorry to hear that. But I’m good! Had a little breakthrough on the case, which is why I’ve been hanging around for the last hour or so.”
Toshinori turns around from the stove and smiles at Shouta, gaze sliding to Tsukauchi after a moment. “I was going to call you, but knew you had exams on. We figured it’d be best to wait until you got home before Tsukauchi-kun told us anything, so we could all hear it at once, at the same time.”
Tsukauchi nods along, and slides a small stack of papers across for him to look at.
It’s surveillance photos, mostly; there are photos from the most recent kidnapping last week - the four students from Shinso’s school, Shouta can recognise the uniform - but there are also one or two blurry photos of cars, vans, and the drivers of each.
The next page reveals two mug-shots, and Shouta stares at them.
“You caught someone.”
“Sure did!” Tsukauchi beams, tapping his finger to the glowering face of the first crook. “We intercepted an attack, a few nights ago. Nothing happened, the student got away, but we did arrest the driver and accomplice. So no massive breakthrough, but it’s a start nonetheless.”
Shouta feels Toshinori’s hair brush his ear as he leans between the pair to look at the photos, fingers tapping a rhythm against the back of his seat.
“That’s a pretty good start, you know. I assume you’ve interrogated them?”
Tsukauchi hums an affirmative. “We know there’s a meeting between the front-runners this weekend, though we’re unsure specifically where. One of them knows, but won’t say anything, so I’ll be locking myself in with them for a few hours tomorrow to ask yes or no questions. We’ll figure it out from there.”
Shouta processes the information for a second before he frowns and twists his head to look at Tsukauchi, nose brushing Toshinori’s ear - he’d completely forgotten the man was there - but his husband laughs as Shouta jumps, pulling away to scrub at his ear. “Tsukauchi-kun has a lie detecting quirk, Shouta. Those yes or no questions will be pretty useful, I think.”
Tsukauchi’s gaze slides between the two men for a moment, appraising, before he clears his throat and launches into the updated details from the case - something Toshinori’s heard before, apparently, as he slips away to boil the kettle and hang up his apron - and Shouta listens and jots down notes on the papers he’d been handed earlier, nodding along. It’s pretty standard stuff - their window of potential locations is starting to close in, and they’re starting to line up vague suspects from different schools and organisations in the local area - but all in all, they’ve made some pretty good headway. This lead they could get from the arrested men could also prove extremely useful in the long run, especially if the police are able to identify members at the meeting.
A little while later, after Tsukauchi’s filled him in on everything he can think of, Shouta excuses himself to work on lesson plans for the upcoming week and as he sits at the table and stares at his hands, he can’t help but feel...weird. It’s an ache, sort of, in his chest. Like he craves something.
He’s got no fucking idea what that something is, though, and bows his head to work, only vaguely listening to the two men bicker good-naturedly in the kitchen. It clicks as he watches Tsukauchi and Toshinori later, joking and talking lightly between them, and Shouta drops his pen and sits back in his seat, staring at the ceiling.
He's fucking jealous. Shouta hates himself a little for feeling that way - this isn't real, they're not together in any capacity, they're literally faking it - but it still smarts. Toshinori’s so at ease with his friend - boyfriend? - and he can't help but feel...bad, that it's not this easy with him. Like, sure, it’s getting easier, but watching his husband relax completely with someone he knows is...nice, but also a little painful.
Ugh. What the fuck.
His mood sours even further from the realisation and the tiredness coming back full bore, but he knows if he puts himself to bed he’ll just look like a dickhead. It’s not even seven.
Shouta’s quiet over dinner, prodding at his food - Toshinori asks if he’s okay and he gets away with a grumbled response over being exhausted - but his chest still aches a little bit, and he spends most of the meal thinking.
Yes, Toshinori and Tsukauchi are friends. Could be more, though he’d probably have been informed if that were the case. They’ve got a good relationship that probably wasn’t formed by being forced to act as if they’re in love; it probably happened naturally. Shouta’s just being a dick because Toshinori’s mood is obviously in higher spirits, and he’s happy to have someone to talk to.
Not that he and Shouta don’t talk, but it’s...it’s different.
God, he’s a fucking asshole.
Tsukauchi stays for a little while after dinner, enough for a cup of tea, before he makes his excuses and heads out. Toshinori’s mood stays high as he chatters with Shinso in the kitchen, doing the dishes, and Shouta glowers at his lesson plans and gives up after realising he’s only filled half a page in the last two hours.
He makes his excuses and slinks off to bed, and it’s only another ten minutes before he hears Toshinori clear his throat in the doorway to the bathroom.
“Hey yourself.” Shouta grunts, glaring at his reflection in the mirror as he brushes his teeth. He can see his husband leaning against the doorframe, watching him with concern, and flicks the faucet on to spit and rinse so that he doesn’t have to look him in the eye and admit that he’s being fucking stupid.
Toshinori’s still watching him when he straightens.
“You’ve been sort of weird this afternoon - I don’t know, since about an hour after you got home - and I wanted to see if you were...you know. Okay.” He wrings his hands, concern etched into his features, and Shouta sighs.
“I’m just ti-”
His voice is sharp in the bathroom, echoing off the tiles a little. It’s sort of unnerving, but Toshinori holds his gaze, blue eyes glowing, and steps forward to rest a hand on Shouta’s shoulder with a gentle squeeze.
“I don’t think it’s just that you’re tired. Something happened - whether I said something, or Tsukauchi-kun said something, or you read something that affected you - I want to know. Mostly so I can apologise, but also so that I’ll know what makes you uncomfortable and to avoid it in future.”
Shouta stares at him, then glowers at the ground, gritting his teeth.
Now or never, right? At least he’ll know if he’s been making eyes at a guy that’s involved with someone else.
“It’s not that. I’m not uncomfortable, I just...realised. Something. I should have asked this before, and I’m sorry I didn’t. But are you and Tsukauchi-kun…?”
Toshinori blinks at him, confused. “What?”
God, he fucking hates the feeling building up in his chest, hates the heat pooling into his cheeks as he clenches his fists, shoulders raised, and spits through gritted teeth.
“You and Tsukauchi-kun. You’re together, aren’t you?”
Toshinori looks at him - really looks, gaze drawing over his face - before something dawns, and he promptly starts laughing at him.
“Toshinori!” Shouta hisses, unclenching and clenching his hands. Fuck, this is awkward, and the bastard’s laughing at him? Not helpful. “I’m serious!”
“I - no, no, love, we’re not - not together, I promise, we’re-” Toshinori breaks off to guffaw, had clapped over his mouth and shoulders shaking. It’s attractive as shit to watch him lose it, laughing so freely over something so fucking stupid.
Shouta’s face still burns.
It takes another minute for Toshinori to settle and he coughs at the end, blood spurting and dribbling down his chin, but he giggles through it nonetheless, and keeps occasionally chuckling, as if the notion of he and Tsukauchi being together was fucking absurd.
It’s not. It’s definitely not absurd in the least.
Shouta feels the wedding band slide against his skin as Toshinori cups his cheek, tilting his face up from where he’s been glaring at the floor to look up at him. His gaze is so gentle. “Shouta, I’m not involved with anyone. Were you worried…?”
He grunts, nodding.
Better to say he was worried than jealous, all things considered. At least he’ll look like less of a shitheel over it.
Toshinori chuckles and swipes his thumb below his eye, pulling Shouta into a hug that he definitely needed. He grips his shirt, fingers pulling at the cotton as long fingers drag through his hair, and Toshinori hums. He’s still thoroughly fucking entertained by it all, Shouta knows, but he can’t bring himself to be angry over it anymore. Instead he feels relieved - like he can develop his dumb little crush in peace and not feel bad about it - and sighs into the comfort his husband offers, forehead resting against his chest.
“It’s okay. I wouldn’t have agreed to this if I’d have been involved with someone, so you don’t have to worry, Shouta.”
“Can’t believe I forgot to ask, though.” He grumbles, twisting his head to pillow his cheek against one of Toshinori’s pectorals. The fingers in his hair don’t stop brushing, and he can feel that same tiredness from before tenfold. “It could've been so awkward…”
Toshinori snorts, and gently steers Shouta from the bathroom and toward their bed, squeezing his shoulder as he passes him on his way back into the bathroom.
“Why?” He calls, and he looks so exceptionally smug from where he’s standing in front of the sink, toothbrush in hand, blonde hair wild from where he’s put his pyjamas on. “Are you afraid you’ll have competition at the end of this?”
It’s a joke - it has to be a fucking joke - because Shouta promptly chokes and Toshinori laughs brightly, shooting him a wink as he turns back to the mirror to begin his nightly routine.
It takes Shouta another minute to stop coughing.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
so i finished this chapter like. three months ago and i'm p sure it was either the first or second chapter i finished LMAOOO
Shouta taps a finger against his glass, staring down at the bubbles coating the bottom, studiously avoiding eye contact with Toshinori.
This was, potentially, a terrible idea.
Tsukauchi had called the day before to inform them that he had in fact made some headway with their reluctant informant (’headway’ being used in the loosest of terms) but had about six different locations for potential meeting points listed on a little map. So here they are, waiting for vaguely suspicious people they don't know the names or appearances of, in a garbage bar while five other groups do the same across the town.
But he chased them out the door with a promise to babysit the kid, and even if nothing happens - if the suspects group up at another bar - at least Shouta can savour the break. Plus, hanging out with Toshinori - just them - is always fun.
Toshinori looks a little uneasy, but Shouta kind of thinks it might be because he always looks uneasy in situations like this - when they have to pretend to be in love, to be smitten with one another in ways that they totally aren't while out in public - and he's unsure if it should frustrate him as much as it does. They're only faking it, right?
Across from him, his husband chuckles.
“It's been a while since I've been in a bar as shitty as this, I have to say.” Toshinori looks around as he speaks, taking a delicate sip of water as he eyes the corridor leading off to the restrooms, at the horrendous lighting and the garbage music blasting from the old, decrepit speakers.
It really is a shit spot. Shouta suddenly can't blame him for looking so uncomfortable.
He hums instead, taking a sip of his beer, and raises an eyebrow at him. “I suppose with that boss of yours, you'd be used to something of higher class, wouldn't you?”
Toshinori chuckles, lifting one shoulder in a vague attempt at a shrug but focusing on Shouta with those electric, bright eyes of his.
“What can I say? We both happen to share a taste for the finer things.”
He swallows. Those words - and the soft, low delivery - had no right to do the things to him that they did.
Shouta rolls his eyes but doesn’t comment any further, polishing off his drink as his husband laughs to himself beside him. It’s been kind of nice so far - location not included - but being able to relax with Toshinori doing something he usually does with Hizashi and Nemuri stirs a weird feeling in his gut, so he ignores it studiously. Of course he’s supposed to enjoy Toshinori’s company. They’re married, after all.
They talk on and off for another hour, Shouta returning to the bar twice to refill his beer and get more water for his husband, but the second time he returns he notices Toshinori eyeing a man in a well dressed suit leaning against the bar and flirting with a young woman. He raises an eyebrow as he slides into the booth, a little closer than before since the patronage has increased and the background noise keeps getting louder. Their corner is quiet, and Toshinori smiles easily as Shouta pushes his glass toward him with a finger.
He opens his mouth to say something - a jest at Toshinori eyeing off other men, perhaps - glances to the side as he adjusts the hair that’s fallen into his face, and-
-and Shouta's about 90% sure the principal of Shinso’s school, Fuchizaki Gyukudo, just slid into the booth behind Toshinori.
Ah. So that’s who he’d been staring at.
With a jolt he realises they’ve accidentally picked out the perfect fucking spot when they had initially wanted something a little quieter than the tables around the front of the bar - a better vantage to watch the door - but as Shouta studies the people sitting behind Toshinori from the corner of his eye as he takes a sip of his beer, he realises that they’ve had the fucking jackpot dropped right in their laps.
He can’t see two of them, with their backs turned away as they are, but that’s definitely the principal Toshinori almost tore apart in their first weeks undercover smiling and joking good-naturedly with the others, and Shouta feels a keen sense of disappointment at the knowledge that they had, probably, just found the mole in Shinso’s school.
At least the kid was right. He’ll be proud of himself for that.
It's lucky they've been slowly sliding closer over the course of the evening, lucky the music was slightly too loud to be able to stay at arms length talking comfortably, lucky Toshinori is as fucking tall as he is, seeing as Shouta can very comfortably, very easily slide his beer glass away from him and hook one knee over his lap, sliding in slowly. Toshinori could move, push him off, ask him to get out of his personal space - but he doesn't, instead turning beet red - and Shouta gently settles, leaning forward so his face is more or less hidden.
Toshinori's breath is warm as it gasps softly against his cheek, caught off guard by his very forward movement, and Shouta slides his hands into soft blonde hair and leans forward, lips grazing his earlobe as he speaks softly. “They're sitting right behind you.”
Shouta hums a yes, pulling back to study the blonde that's almost shaking beneath him. Toshinori's face is so flushed, his cheeks red and his ears a charming shade of pink, but he returns his gaze with his chin tilted, a little embarrassed smile crossing his face after a moment.
“So indeed. They haven't recognised us yet, they're just talking.”
Shouta speaks casually but his heart is beating a fucking mile a minute, and he prays it doesn't show on his face as he twists blonde hair around his fingers and watches with interest the way Toshinori's head tilts toward the pressure, eyes never leaving his. His throat works as he swallows, and Shouta wants to fucking devour him.
“Then we both know what we need to do right now, don't we?”
He's not wrong. It's a bar - it's a shady, shitty bar - and Shouta's pretty sure he saw a couple damn near fucking in a corner when he approached the counter last. If they want to blend in, to disappear from prying eyes; sticking their tongues down each other's throats like teenagers will absolutely do the trick, even if Shouta will probably not be able to look at Toshinori for a week afterwards.
But he takes the bait anyway, rolls his eyes, and after one more glance at the booth behind Toshinori that currently holds the same three as before, Shouta leans forward.
The first brush of lips - barely a kiss - is gentle and tentative, both a little unsure, but then Toshinori almost surges forward and makes a little noise that only Shouta can hear, and it's fucking over for him from that point on.
He has to pay attention to the meeting behind them - at least see the others’ faces, see the files Fuchizaki just dropped on the table, see something - but Toshinori's fingers are tangling in his hair, tugging him into a slightly different position and he can't help but groan a little into his mouth as he feels his tongue brush against his bottom lip, and he damn near melts at the contact.
Let it be known that Shouta had absolutely no fucking idea Yagi Toshinori could kiss this well.
He shifts in his lap and almost moans when he feels a large hand cup his hip, and Toshinori makes another little sound as his thumb brushes his ear, kissing so softly but with so much…something behind it.
Best not to dwell on what that ‘something’ could be.
It’s weird, Shouta muses, as Toshinori’s hand maps his back and drags his fingers up his spine, making him shiver while he sucks on his tongue. Toshinori has seemed, from the beginning, weak. He knows his shit and how to throw his weight, sure, but it's always been, like, not a strength thing and more a how to use his opponents weight against them thing. He’s a receptionist - a personal assistant, with little strength needed to do his job - but the hand that’s touching him is strong, doesn’t seem to require much else as it pushes Shouta closer until he’s pressed up against Toshinori’s broad chest, flush to him.
He also hadn’t seemed like he really knew what he was doing in regards to their relationship, but Shouta is sure as shit reevaluating that right now. He’s confident, knows how to tilt his head to ensure the best angle, and he’s so fucking warm against his hands it’s stupid.
Shouta pulls back for a moment to take a breath and looks at Toshinori, who looks back at him with his bright eyes, panting, skin flushed and hair thoroughly fucking messy now that his hands have been through it for the last few minutes.
There's a dumb smile on his face as he leans up to kiss Shouta gently, mouths slightly off - a soft press of thin lips to the corner of his mouth - and his grip on Toshinori's blonde hair tightens at the gesture, unable to fucking deal with how gentle he's being.
Instead of saying anything stupid - of ruining this weird, hot moment - Shouta kisses the corner of Toshinori’s mouth in return and then slides to the side, mapping his jaw, his cheek bones, the spot underneath his ear, taking gross pleasure in the way his head tilts back and he keens softly, fingers sliding into dark hair.
Toshinori twitches when he feels Shouta's stubble brush against his throat, trembles when his breath ghosts over his skin - and doesn't that send a fucking bolt straight down his spine - but Shouta rolls with it and sucks a hickey into Toshinori's neck as he peers at the meeting behind them, hidden by their hair.
Six people now sit around the booth, all nursing a beer and looking polite, but at the same time like they don’t trust their neighbour for a second. Shouta can recognise two more of them - the three facing him, at least - and knows that when this case blows, shit is going to go sideways very quickly.
The principal of one of the most prestigious middle-schools in the area; one of the local politicians with strong ties and reasonably well liked within the people, and a young man that Shouta could have sworn used to work as a sidekick or intern for...some high ranking hero. He can't remember the details, and he's getting thoroughly distracted by the noises Toshinori is making.
Shouta nips his throat to the side of the mark he's just sucked into it and Toshinori groans above him, long fingers tugging at the back of his head to get him to move, to get closer, to just kiss him already, damn it, fingers tangled in dark hair, and Shouta can't really hide the smile on his face as he leans up and kisses him again, subtly shifting in his lap to grind against his thigh.
“There's six of them,” Shouta pants when he pulls away to breathe, scrubbing at Toshinori's scalp with his fingers as he relays the information. He's trembling beneath him, thoroughly wrecked by Shouta's kisses, by his soft touches, but he watches him with sharp eyes and nods to show he's heard. “Politician, Fuchizaki, and a rookie hero, i think.”
He can feel Toshinori stiffen under his hands when he mentions the hero, knows he wants to turn around and look at him - to see whether they work for All Might’s agency - but Shouta cups his face, brushes his thumb against his bottom lip, and gives a soft smile. No use frowning like he wants to, seeing as they just spent the last five minutes performing one of the hottest kisses of Shouta’s life - it’ll give them away immediately.
“Do you want to try and figure out the other three?” Toshinori murmurs, leaning forward to suck a mark just under Shouta’s ear and he keens, feeling the blonde snort as his head tilts to the side to allow him access. So Shouta’s neck is sensitive and kisses make him weak. Sue him. “Do you want to walk past, or would you like me to?”
“You go,” He gasps, feeling Toshinori's teeth press against his neck in a smile, pressing ever closer into him. “I don't know if I can walk in a straight line.”
Toshinori laughs against his throat, squeezing his hip. “You haven't had that much to drink, Shouta,” He teases, and brushes a hand through Shouta's hair to get it away from his mouth as he sucks a mark into the skin. “But I guess this is sort of distracting, so I don't blame you.” Shouta pulls back and slaps his husband's shoulder lightly, frowning until Toshinori stops laughing and kisses him again in apology, hands on his hips to help him off his lap.
And then he's standing and moving away, and Shouta sags against the booth and pushes a hand through his hair, cheeks puffing on the huge exhale.
What the fuck had that just been?
His heart's pounding in his chest and he can feel the blush on his face, how warm his neck is right now - he probably looks a mess, too - but Shouta can safely say that he's never been kissed that well in his life, will probably dream about this for months to come, and if there wasn't a kid at home he'd be absolutely trying to follow it up the second they walked through the door.
What the fuck.
His phone buzzes in his pocket a few minutes later and Shouta tips his head back against the booth as he fishes it out of his pocket - it's Toshinori - and he blinks as he opens it and reads the message, frowning.
’Come outside. Have pic, lets go home’
It's not like he has a good reason to say no, and the cool night air will definitely help with how flustered he is right now, so Shouta moves outside and joins Toshinori who's leaning against the wall just outside the door, texting someone. He's so focused on his phone he almost jumps a fucking mile when Shouta leans his chin on his arm, but then he's laughing and linking their fingers together - something he's only ever done before when they’re in public, pretending - and shows him the photo he'd managed to get of the six people at the table.
Shouta's eyes widen at the photo and he stares up at Toshinori's grim face, who leans down and presses a soft kiss to his forehead, squeezing his hand.
“C’mon, Kentaro. Let's go home.”
Of course, Tsukauchi damn near vibrates out of his skin when they return and Toshinori shows him the photo, mouth agape for a moment before he can find his words. Shinso’s in bed - which is good, seeing as it's almost 3 in the morning when they stumble through the door - and Shouta crumples onto the couch with a bottle of water as Tsukauchi and Toshinori discuss what the photo means in soft voices.
A gentle hand brushes through his hair later, stirring him from his unconscious state, and Shouta blinks blearily up at Toshinori who smiles.
“Come on, love. We need to go to bed.”
“Tsu-Tsukauchi?” He's almost too tired to speak, too tired to register how softly the pet name is uttered, tender. Like he's not addressing him like he normally would as his fake husband, like it's something else in its entirely.
“He left ten minutes ago. You fell asleep, but I didn't want to wake you until I could help you get into bed.”
Shouta blearily realises that Toshinori's in his pyjamas, his hair is brushed and he smells vaguely of mint - meanwhile he smells like the bar and looks like a fucking disaster - but he pushes himself up and stumbles once he's on his feet, feeling the soft laughter bubble in Toshinori's chest as he steadies him with gentle hands.
His hair he can deal with tomorrow morning, he reasons, as Shouta stumbles down the hall into the bathroom and leaves Toshinori to turn off lights in the main living room, and soon enough he's crawling into bed beside the tall, warm body that automatically reaches for him with a sleepy mumble, tugging him close and kissing his cheek before he props his chin on Shouta's crown, and he falls asleep so, so warm and with a dumb, happy smile on his face.
Toshinori isn't there when he wakes up, and while this isn't normally a surprise, it's a little disappointing to see. Then again, it's 11:30 on a Sunday morning, and that shocks Shouta out of bed faster than he'd like to admit.
He stumbles into the living room, scrubbing at his face and rubbing his eyes free of sleep, when he hears Shinso laugh from where he's propped on the couch, playing cards in his hand.
“Ah! Good morning, Shouta!” Toshinori chirps from where he's sitting on the floor across from their charge - he's teaching him how to play cards, Shouta realises - and he grunts in response, stumbling towards the kitchen.
He needs coffee before he can begin scolding Toshinori for teaching a 14 year old how to gamble.
“There's some breakfast for you in the oven,” Shouta jumps at the quiet voice behind him and twists to see Toshinori in the doorframe, wringing his hands, a little smile on his face. He's blushing - it's not obvious, but there's a faint dusting of pink against his skin - and watching Shouta curiously, and he realises that they're both a little unsure of what to do about last night. “Shinso boiled the kettle a little while ago, if you'd like some instant coffee, too.”
He hums and presses the little button to warm up his coffee machine - the one item he'd adamantly refused to leave behind - and flicks the oven off before stepping into Toshinori's space, peering up at him curiously as he snakes his arms around his waist and presses against him, giving a squeeze.
Toshinori's really blushing now, a hand scrubbing at the back of his neck as he stutters, and Shouta can't help the laugh that escapes him as he leans up on his toes and headbutts his shoulder gently.
A hand moves into his hair, scratching his scalp gently, and he melts against Toshinori’s chest, groaning softly. He laughs, scratches again, and his other hand trails up to lightly stroke Shouta’s back, which he feels acutely through the thin fabric of his sleep shirt.
“I was worried,” Toshinori begins, and at the questioning noise from Shouta, he clears his throat and continues. “About last night. How it might...have made things awkward. Between us.”
Ah. Yes, that.
Shouta rests down on the balls of his feet but slides his hands up to grab handfuls of Toshinori's sweater, nose pressed into his shirt as he takes a moment to mull over his words.
It's good, that Toshinori had also been worried. It would've been weird as hell if he hadn't thought anything of it - if he'd continued on as they had been and pretended it hadn't happened - and Shouta doesn't really want to think about that. It feels wrong.
“It'll definitely change some things, you know,” He mumbles, tilting his face to the side so his cheek is pillowed against soft fabric and he can actually speak, and Toshinori chuckles above him. “But I guess, with what we know now, that some things have changed. What now?”
“There will be an urgent meeting tomorrow morning, to figure out what to do from here. With six potential kingpins identified, we can start creating cases against them. I guess all we need to do is start compiling evidence as we find it, but I worry it will be...difficult to do so.”
At least Toshinori had had the foresight to take a photo. That'll be handy if things go south.
They stand in silence for a little while, simply holding one another. Toshinori is a steady presence - strong, but solid, not easily pushed over - and Shouta is tired and soft, but he burrows against his husband anyway, feeling the soft kiss pressed against his head and feeling stupid for the warmth it brings to his face.
Toshinori laces their fingers together and brings their hands up to his mouth, tipping Shouta's head back with his other hand so he can smile down at him, kissing their knuckles. Shouta kind of thinks he might die from the look he's giving him.
“When this is all over,” He says, and he releases Shouta's hand to cup his cheek instead, thumb swiping below his right eye. “You should come by the office sometime. We could get dinner.”
Shouta can't really do anything except stand on his toes again and grab Toshinori's face and tug him down into another kiss, the blonde laughing the whole way down. It's nothing like last night - last night had been a desperate, quickly thought of plan - but right now has been carefully considered from the moment Toshinori joined him in the kitchen and Shouta can feel himself smiling into his mouth, his fingers massaging into blonde hair and feeling long fingers teasing around his waist to tug him closer.
Shouta doesn't want to say he's developing feelings, but the bright laugh Toshinori gives when he pulls away makes him feel weird inside, and he huffs as he feels him kiss his cheek before pulling away and returning to Shinso, leaving him flushed in the kitchen with no fucking idea what to do. Toshinori hadn't even looked affected by the whole thing at all, and Shouta pours his coffee and pulls his bowl from the oven and slinks into the living room to sink down onto the couch and scowl at Toshinori over his breakfast.
He looks far too pleased with himself as he teaches Shinso how to play snap.
“I'm sorry, you what!?”
Hizashi stares at him from over the rims of his glasses, slack-jawed with the straw from his drink dangling stupidly out of his mouth, and Nemuri isn't any better.
Shouta groans and tips his beer back, downing the half glass he'd had remaining and levels a cool look at his best friends. “I hooked up with Yoritoki in a bar.”
Nemuri pushes her glasses up her nose primly and fishes a chip from the basket, waving it at Shouta. “Okay. How did you hook up with him - and how far did you get?”
It's the weekend, and earlier in the week in a fit of kindness Kenji had approved the current U.A teachers’ request to see Shouta, and here they are. The usual - a bar, beer, shitty food, and someone having a midlife crisis.
Shouta's not particularly a big fan that it's his turn this time around.
“Naomasa intercepted some intel and sent us out to the bar to ‘investigate’, and Yori and I wound up beside their little meeting. We needed to avoid being seen, cos’ someone we’d both met was there, so...we did what any drunk couple would do in a shitty bar.” God, but he doesn't want to talk about this, and sinks further down into his seat in an attempt to avoid finishing his sentence. “We...made out. Nothing more.”
Nemuri’s leaned forward through his miserable retelling of the events, eyes bright and interested, but she boos at the end and pushes a hand through the blonde hair cascading over her shoulder.
It's a nice wig, all things considered, but Hizashi looks fucking stupid with dark hair and Shouta will tease him mercilessly over it for the next six months.
“Huh,” Nemuri says after a moment, tongue poking into her cheek as she narrows her eyes at him, still processing everything. “Was it a good kiss?”
Hizashi squawks, slapping her shoulder. “Nemuri!”
“What! It's a valid question! We know Kentaro’s kissed loads of boys - I want to know why this boy is special! Normally he's not so hung up over it!”
Shouta groans. He'd forgotten why he was enjoying the radio silence from these idiots. They're far too perceptive, sometimes.
He tips his head back to rest against the back of the chair and breathes through his nose, looking up eventually when the pair fall silent across from him. They're waiting.
He has to answer them. Shit.
“Yeah,” Shouta grumbles, reaching up to scratch at his face and mask the blush that he can feel beginning to develop in his cheeks. “Yeah. It was the hottest kiss I've had in, like. I dunno. Years.”
Hizashi hoots and slaps the table as Nemuri belts out a laugh, and Shouta really hates them right now.
“You're definitely going to see him after this whole thing blows over, right? Shou? Shouta? Shou-chan, you're going to date after this, aren't you?”
He rolls his eyes and nods. “He mentioned it the morning after...said we should get dinner at the end. Dunno if we’ll actually do it, but...y’know. We've briefly talked about it.”
Nemuri’s hand covers his on the table and gives a gentle squeeze and he sits forward, lifting his head from the seat to blink at her. He’s embarrassed. Embarrassed this conversation is happening with the two idiots that can read him like an open book; embarrassed that he’s been thinking about kissing Toshinori again, thinking about it a lot, actually, and he’s embarrassed mostly because he knows he’s developing feelings.
“You’ve seemed different since the last time we saw you, Shou-chan,” Hizashi pipes up, but he’s grinning like an idiot as he reaches across to join their little hand holding moment. “But you’re happy. Not just content, like you’ve been for the last few years. You’re happy, and we’re so proud of you! You gotta keep Yagi-san after this!”
Shouta sighs through his nose, before pushing himself up from the table and disentangling their hands in spite of the whining from his friends.
“I’ll do my best, Hizashi. Refill?”
HHHGHHGHH SORRY FOR BEING LATE it's still friday but still. But Still
oh yeah i keep forgetting i'm actually @microrockets on socials wahoo!!!!!!! i love y'all!!!!!!!!!
Things get easier, after that.
Not to say that it was hard to begin with, or anything, but the PDA certainly gets less awkward to initiate when they’re in public, and on one afternoon as they meet at the station to pick Shinso up Toshinori brushes a tangled few hairs out of his face and kisses him sweetly, and Shouta’s toes had curled a little at the action.
It’s sort of like it’s real, now, like they’re no longer faking it. He likes Toshinori, and Toshinori likes him back - and isn’t that a thought - so there's no point in tiptoeing around it. Shouta no longer recoils from cuddling close to him in the mornings, and Toshinori doesn't choke and sputter when Shouta gets a little too close to him while they're cooking.
Shinso’s also started pulling more and more revolted faces whenever he accidentally catches them being gross - they typically avoid it whenever he's around, anyway - and Shouta always smiles and holds eye contact with their kid as he pulls away from Toshinori’s furiously reddening face.
One of the nurses at his work apparently got engaged before they'd started the mission, and Toshinori finds himself pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to the engagement party one afternoon as he prepares to go home, smiling at the little envelope propped innocently on his desk.
It's sweet, to be included in these things. The nurse is a lovely girl, too, and he'd met her fiancée only briefly at the last party, but they make a beautiful couple. They're happy, together.
His heart aches.
But Shouta agrees to come with him to the party when he asks - even Shinso accepts - and he smiles to himself as he texts a confirmation and catches Shouta looking at him from the corner of his eye.
It's kind of like the last party they went to - full of Toshinori’s work colleagues, in a fancy estate - but this time. This time his face won't burn as much and he won't feel those same nervous butterflies as he holds his husband's hand, or kisses his cheek.
At least this time it'll feel real, and he knows as he adjusts Shinso’s tie on the way to the event that it's going to be a fun afternoon. Shouta’s wearing his suit; his nicely tailored one with the crisp shirt and yellow tie - it's new, definitely to match his, though he's been in denial since Toshinori even dared to mentioned it - and they'd gone out and found Shinso a suit of his own the weekend before in a fun little shopping trip that had taken far too much time and involved way too many off-topic purchases.
Toshinori smiles to himself at the memory as he finishes fixing Shinso’s tie, and he can feel Shouta’s curious gaze on him from his position in the front seat.
“What are you smiling about?” He asks, narrowing his eyes, and Toshinori can only chuckle.
“Nothing important, love.” It’s said with an airy wave of a hand as he pulls away from their son, and Toshinori folds his hands together in his lap and smiles again - it’s brighter, more intentional this time, and aimed directly at his husband - and Shouta looks away after a moment with a slight dusting of pink in his cheeks.
He’s so cute.
The engagement party was initially meant to be a partially outdoors event in the gardens of one of the bride’s family homes - the weather isn’t great this time of year, but there are days where it’s kinder to its people - but as the trio pull up in the rain they can see that it’s become a strictly indoors event. Even under an umbrella Toshinori’s still damp as he shakes it out under the entryway, looking around in barely disguised awe.
As All Might, he owns a pretty fancy apartment in the hub of the city. A penthouse, to give him a good view of his surroundings. Apartments are all the city really has to offer, anyway, and as the number one hero, he’s sort of required to respond quickly. A house like this has never really been on the cards, but holy shit. The opulence is sort of staggering.
Maybe, when he retires, he can move out of the cities and buy a big, fancy house to sit in and stare out the windows.
He can see Shouta and Shinso gawking a little further down the hallway when he slips inside, shoes off and coat neatly folded over his arm, and he can’t help but smile at their open gaping. Before he can catch up to them and poke fun at their expressions, however, Nishi appears from around a corner and yanks Shouta into a crushing hug the second she sees him, letting out a delighted little squeal as he chokes and Shinso jumps back.
Toshinori winces, hand reaching up to scrub the back of his neck.
He may or may not have forgotten to warn Shouta about how excited she was to meet their son.
As he draws closer he can hear her babbling excitedly to his husband, though, and Shouta doesn’t look too put-out by it. Instead he’s smiling gently, hands clasped in Nishi’s, and answering her questions about their kid. When they adopted him, how difficult it was to get settled, why they chose adoption over surrogacy, and so on. Toshinori’s honestly a little surprised at how gracefully Shouta can answer her questions when there are a few thrown in that even he’d struggle with on the fly. It’s impressive as hell, and as he’s yanked down into a hug when Nishi spots him, he can’t help but catch Shouta’s eye and smile up at him. He kind of smiles back, in his own way, but his gaze snaps to Shinso as the kid moves further into the house with a vague grumbling of ’hungry.’
It’s not like the kid can get too far, anyway, and from what Toshinori remembers, there were going to be a handful of other kids around from the families’ of his fellow staff. At least he can...maybe make some friends. Maybe.
Toshinori’s lurking at the drinks table to refill Shouta’s champagne glass when he feels Nishi draw up to his side, and when he looks down at her she’s smiling and gazing into the crowd full of younger people.
There are violets sprouting in her hair.
“Do you ever miss being young?” She asks, and Toshinori huffs a laugh as he places the bottle down and twists to people-watch with her. It’s become a sort of habit of theirs, sometimes, when they’ve done everything they need to at the office. They’ll sit near his window and talk about the people walking below over a cup of tea.
Toshinori slides his thumb over the stem of Shouta’s glass. “Sometimes,” He says, and it’s true. He can see his husband speaking with one of the other doctors - Takeshita, elusive and dark and sort of terrifying - and Toshinori only gazes at him for a moment before he looks back down at his receptionist. “But I have lots of things to enjoy now. I mostly miss having that endless energy, if I’m being honest!”
Nishi laughs brightly, and Toshinori can’t help but smile as he takes a sip from the glass. He can refill it again before he gives it to Shouta, anyway.
“That’s true, isn’t it? You and Otani-san haven’t been married for all that long, have you?”
“It’s coming up to two years, yeah.” He murmurs, and Shouta looks over and catches his eye and smiles at him through the crowd.
His breath stutters in his throat.
Beside him, Nishi hums before prodding him in his side. “No wonder you’re so in love with him, Otani-san! Two years isn’t long at all, what were you doing before he came along, huh!?”
Toshinori laughs and swats her hand away, wriggling out of her reach with one arm raised to protect Shouta’s champagne.
If he’s being honest, he doesn’t actually know the answer to that one.
“You’re having fun, aren’t you?”
Toshinori looks up from where he’d been studying one of the flower arrangements in the garden, spotting Shouta walking towards him with a glass of champagne in each hand. His shoes crunch over the gravel as he moves, but he looks serene. Content. It’s a good look on him; just like the tight suit jacket and the shirt that leaves little to the imagination with how it’s pulled tightly over his chest.
“I was just looking at the roses the girls’ had picked out,” He says by way of explanation, gesturing to the arrangement in front of him. From behind Shouta he can see Shinso picking his way down toward them, a soda in his hand. “I like the colours.”
“Mmn,” Shouta hums as he nears him, pressing his shoulder against Toshinori’s arm. “They’re pretty, I guess.” He offers the spare flute as he drinks from the other, and Toshinori takes it with a soft little thank you and proceeds to fidget with the stem of it, staring at the flowers. The rain has stopped, but it’s still cloudy overhead. Everything looks sort of eerie; like a calm before the storm, and everything drips with excess rainwater. It’s soothing.
Shinso appears by his other side and pillows his head on his free arm, and as he pulls a snack from his pocket and takes a bite, Toshinori can’t help but laugh.
There are violets in his hair, probably from Nishi’s quirk, and potentially placed there by the little girl they’d seen frolicking around the house over the course of the afternoon.
“Are you enjoying yourselves?” Toshinori asks, tucking his hands into his pockets. With his husbands’ and sons’ heads occupying his arms, there’s not much he can really...do. Aside from be a makeshift, spindly pillow for the pair of them.
Shinso grunts and takes a sip from his drink, clearing his throat. “I like the little girl. You should consider getting me a sister.” Toshinori feels his head move, as if he’s looking off to the side. “You know. For the mission.”
“And what the hell will another kid do for us apart from give us more headaches?” Shouta snaps from his other side, but there’s no heat to it. He’s smiling, anyway, and Shinso and Toshinori both devolve into laughter at how affronted he’d sounded.
He tugs his hands from his pockets and jostles Shouta and Shinso, winding his arms around their shoulders to pull them to his chest. Shouta’s head rests just below his collarbone, while Shinso’s presses against his scar and Toshinori has to fight to not flinch away from the pressure.
But they talk and bicker and laugh for a good hour, standing in front of the flower arrangements, and when it starts raining again and they have to run for cover Toshinori can’t find it in himself to be upset. His face hurts from laughing, anyway, and as they stand underneath the patio and watch the rain fall, he can feel Shouta doing something to his suit jacket.
When he looks down, he spots the little rose he’d been admiring when Shouta first arrived, and he smiles.
Toshinori rolls over into the morning sun, eyebrows pulled together as the sunlight hits his face and he grunts, scrubbing his fist against his eyes.
His whole body hurts, the scar tearing through his left side almost feeling as if it's on fire. When he rubs at his eyes again his fingers ache - it's in the joints, his knees aren't much better - and he groans quietly. Bad pain day.
He cracks an eye open and spots bright pink, blinks, closes his eyes again, and when he opens them for a third time he thinks he’s probably still dreaming.
Shouta’s in pink sweatpants. Like, bright pink.
He's rubbing a towel through his hair, fresh out of the shower and still waking up if the jaw-cracking yawn he does is anything to go by, but he's smiling. Relaxed.
It's comforting to see.
“You're up early,” Toshinori murmurs, scrubbing his face again as he yawns, caught on from Shouta's. “Normally I'm up before you...what's happening?”
Shouta’s not wearing a shirt. It's distracting as shit when he turns to face the bed, and Toshinori gets a full view of his chest - sculpted and well muscled with a dusting of dark hair - and he tries really hard not to let his gaze linger, but Shouta's smirking when he looks back up at his face.
Ah. He noticed.
“I woke up about an hour ago, I think,” He says, stretching his arms above his head and grunting at the pops of his spine. “Couldn't sleep again, so I figured I'd just…get up.”
“That seems fair. Also, where did those pants come from?”
That gets a small laugh out of Shouta and he plucks at the waistband, a kind of manic grin on his face. “They're from Nemuri, actually. Birthday present. Haven't stopped wearing them for three years.”
Toshinori chuckles, and pushes himself up on an elbow, watching the planes of Shouta’s back with interest as he putters around; pulling a shirt on and ducking into the bathroom to hang his towel up, returning with a comb to brush through his hair.
“You're staring, Toshi.”
He blinks, and looks up at Shouta who's somehow moved right in front of him during the time he zoned out, and all he can really do is give a weak smile up at him. He's caught, and he can't really say much to defend himself.
Warm hands card through his hair and Toshinori leans forward to bump his forehead against Shouta's stomach, exhaling as fingers massage his scalp.
“You're tired, and it’s obvious you're hurting. We've got nothing planned for today,” Shouta's voice is soft from above him, but Toshinori can hear the smile in his voice. “So why don't you stay in bed? I'll get you some tea.”
“Shouta, it's okay, you don't-”
He kisses his temple and Toshinori shuts up immediately, mouth open. He tilts his head up to blink at Shouta, who looks marginally entertained as he tugs gently on one of his bangs, wrapping it around his fingers.
“I want to. C’mon. Lie back down, I'll be back soon.”
And then he's gone, ducking out of their room and Toshinori can hear him saying something to Shinso - probably rude, if the kid’s laughter is anything to go by - and he smiles a little, slowly reaching over to pick up spare pillows and prop them behind him, getting as comfortable as he can amidst the aches and pains of his body wearing out.
“How was your appointment this morning, by the way?”
Toshinori looks up from where he’s rinsing their bowls from dinner, blinking at Shouta for a moment before he beams.
“It was good! The follow up surgery hasn’t brought any new issues to light, and because I’ve been taking it easy with this case they’ve given me the all clear!”
He looks so bright and cheery as he speaks, Shouta almost raises a hand to block his smile. It’s good that he’s happy, good that he received positive news, but something niggles at him.
“All clear for what, exactly?”
His hands still in the sink. “Uh, you know...clear for life stuff. I don’t have to be careful, anymore.”
“I didn’t realise you were being careful, Toshi.” Elbows resting on the bench, Shouta drops his chin into his hands - and the tea towel - and raises his eyebrows at him.
“Well…” His ears are slowly going pink, shoulders pressing in at his chin, and the blonde looks stupidly cute as flustered as he is. “I mean, that I don't have to stress about needing to do anything strenuous, if the need arises. Like if someone came at us, I could defend - if applicable - without necessarily injuring myself.”
Shouta nods slowly, picking up the bowl Toshinori's just washed and drying it. That...makes sense, he guesses, but he has a pretty strong feeling that that’s not the entire truth. At least it's a stress off his back - sort of - but the man seems very pleased with what he's been told, and he doesn't want to ruin it by saying anything stupid so he hums instead and gently bumps his shoulder against Toshinori's, smiling down at the bowl in his hands as he laughs lightly.
He’s sliding papers into one of the folders on his desk, trying to remember what he needs for the next day and the quirk evaluation that’s been booked for the little girl with a gorgon-esque quirk, when there’s movement from the corner of his eye.
Looking up, Toshinori blinks as Takeshita hunches over Satu’s desk, clicking through one of her files.
They must not have noticed that they weren’t actually alone.
Toshinori stills, watching carefully as Takeshita huffs in annoyance and opens another file, and then another. They’re clearly looking for something, but Satu’s computer isn’t giving it to them without a fight. Or she’s just hidden it well.
She does have an odd system for her filing, and Toshinori’s sort of just beginning to get used to it. After three months.
Takeshita makes another sound, clearly frustrated, and when they open, read, and still don’t find what they’re looking for they snarl, batting the computer mouse onto the floor beside them and spin, halting when they spot Toshinori.
“Otani-kun.” Takeshita says coolly, looking him over. “I didn’t think you were still here.”
Toshinori chuckles as he pushes himself out of his seat, looking back down at his desk and shuffling papers. “Ah, yes. I got a little held up with organising paperwork for tomorrow. It’s going to be a big day!”
He doesn’t feel safe right now. Takeshita’s quirk is dangerous even when it’s highly regulated, and Toshinori knows for a fact that they could incapacitate him before he could even think to switch to his muscled form. It’s vaguely terrifying.
Plus, he knows they look down on him for being quirkless. He wouldn’t stand a chance.
He slings his bag over his shoulder and picks up his phone, looking at his desk for a moment longer before he grips the strap and smiles at Takeshita, moving out of his office. He doesn’t turn his back on them - knows how stupid he’d be if he did - but rather shuffles somewhat awkwardly around Satu’s desk after he’s locked his door, keys hooked around his finger.
“I won’t be in your way for much longer, Takeshita-kun! I hope you have a good evening, and I’ll see you tomorrow!”
With that said, he’s out of the office and only barely hears their reply, heart pounding in his throat. If he’d asked what they were doing at Satu’s computer, he can’t imagine it ending well in any way. It’s fucking terrifying. What’s more terrifying is the way Toshinori feels their eyes on the back of his neck as he steps out onto the street, standing in the window of the reception area and watching him wrap his scarf around the lower half of his face and duck into the crowd.
Well. He’s probably found his mole, then.
But why did it have to be fucking Takeshita?
ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ !!!
here we go!!!!!!
Shinso’s out at a party for one of his classmate’s fifteenth birthdays, and it’s left Toshinori and Shouta with an impromptu...date night. Not that it was intentionally planned as such, but Toshinori had leaned over half an hour after Shinso trotted out the door to go and do teenager things, and asked if Shouta wanted to go for dinner somewhere nice.
Which he did. He very much wanted to go out for dinner with his husband, thank you.
They walk side by side, hand in hand, mouths almost hidden by scarves but talking and laughing softly in the evening air. Toshinori says something stupid and Shouta finds himself laughing easily along with him, and in the back of his mind he thinks that he hasn’t felt this happy, or relaxed, or at ease with someone in a long time. It’s just...so easy.
He and Toshinori get along, and their banter is fun - he’s got an extremely sharp wit and a dark sense of humour that catches even Shouta by surprise sometimes - and he cares about so much and just wants to do good in a world that has frequently tried to put him down.
It’s inspiring, and Shouta’s definitely falling for his fake husband. He almost wishes it were real, if he’s being honest.
Dinner is a nice affair, in a fancier restaurant than Shouta would have picked, but the food is good, the atmosphere relaxed, and the company excellent as they get stuck into some philosophical discussion or other, and Toshinori laughs at him when he mentions that he should consider teaching if he ever gets sick of organising All Might’s life.
Toshinori insists on paying, cheeks lightly flushed from the sake they’d shared, and they bicker as they make their way to the counter to pay, teasing and laughing at one another to the amusement of their server.
It’s a good night.
Toshinori’s soft and pliant under his hands as he kisses him into the couch when they get home, fingers rubbing into his clothes and pulling his hair for a better angle, and it’s sloppy - not as bad as their frantic bar make out, but it’s close - but Shouta honestly doesn’t give a fuck as Toshinori sucks a mark into his neck and he keens, a pathetic little noise escaping him as the blonde snickers below, kissing the reddened skin gently.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Toshinori is so gentle, with his kisses and his touches and his words, breathed so softly Shouta can barely hear them, but he’s pretty sure he heard something along the lines of ’I love you’ as he scraped his teeth just below blonde hair, feeling his back arch off the couch and his grip tighten where it’s buried in his hair, palms brushing over the shaved sides and making him shiver.
He just sort of likes Toshinori.
Shouta sits back in Toshinori’s lap and sucks in a deep breath, trying to catch it and failing. He pushes a hand through his hair - which has come out from the bun it was in, and he doesn’t really know if he’ll ever find the tie - and looks down at his husband, who’s staring up at him like he’s the only person in the world right now.
Warm, big hands slide up his front and settle on his hips, thumbs drawing circles in his jeans, and Toshinori’s smiling. He’s beautiful, and Shouta says as much - leaning down to kiss him again and feeling Toshinori’s delighted hum in response, hands sliding up his back-
-and there’s movement just outside the front door, the sound of a bag hitting the ground, and Shouta springs off of Toshinori and throws himself over the back of the couch, ignoring the burst of uncontrollable laughter as Shinso opens the door and pauses, staring at them both in confusion with his hand still on the doorknob.
Shouta’s flushed - he can feel the heat seeping down his neck toward his chest, his hair’s probably a fucking mess, and his lips are red from kissing Toshinori who probably doesn’t look much better. Though it’s hard to tell if the blush in his ears as he sits up is from lack of air from laughing or from being kissed stupid.
He flicks the kettle on as Shinso closes the door and half-drags his bag behind him toward his room, answering Toshinori’s questions as he dumps his bag and moves back to sprawl over the armchair across from the couch. The kettle boils, and Shouta busies himself making a pot of tea and bustling between rooms, moving cups and a heat mat to place on the kotatsu, returning for the teapot and then sinking down beside Toshinori with his knee pressed against his.
Shinso eyes them, suspicious, but doesn’t say anything and instead blows on his mug of tea and tells them about the fight that almost broke out over Mario Kart.
“Oh! Oh, Otani-san!”
Shouta slows his steps and tips his head up to the ceiling with a heavy sigh, eyes closed.
Komori. Of course.
He can hear her heels clicking against the linoleum as she catches up to him, and when he feels her nearing he twists to glance at her over his shoulder. It’s the end of the school week, and he wants to go home; Toshinori’s making that curry that doesn’t make him sick and Shinso’s agreed to help, and he’s hungry. And tired. But mostly hungry. And he misses his family.
Komori blocks his exit from the staff room with a smooth little movement, nails tapping against the door as she peers up at him with a kind little smile. “Otani-san! You never told me you had a kid!”
Shouta blinks at her.
“That’s because I didn’t tell you.”
“I know! I had to find out from the other staff that you had a son, and even then they weren’t completely sure about it! Haha, it’s so weird! Everyone here knows about everyone’s family situation except for you!”
She’s laughing, twirling a ringlet of hair around her finger and Shouta sighs, tucking the papers in his hand into his satchel to give himself something to do. “With the current situation with students disappearing, I didn’t see the point in revealing that I also had a child of my own. He’s quirkless, which means he’s probably not as much of a target as others, but I don’t want to go telling everyone about him. It’s none of their business and I sort of prioritise the safety of my child over the need to tell other people my secrets.”
“Ohh, he’s quirkless, is he? Just like you are, right?” Komori’s head tilts a little to the side, a pitying look on her face.
Shouta tries really hard not to sneer at her expression. “And my husband, yes. We figured it’d be easier for us to give a quirkless child a loving and supportive home, seeing as we knew personally what their experiences would be like, growing up in a quirk-filled society. Seems to be working so far.”
Komori coos a little, pressing her hands to her cheeks with a bright laugh. “That’s so sweet of you to do! Oh, how beautiful! You must be such a good dad, Otani-san!”
He snorts, adjusting the strap over his shoulder and gives a half-assed shrug. “I'm trying.”
She laughs again at his words and waves him off as he ducks out of the staff room, immediately shifting to harass one of the other teachers as soon as he's closed the door behind him.
Komori’s...nice. She's peppy and bright and kind of reminds him of Hizashi, in a way, with her unending energy and cheery disposition. It's sorta weird - just like Hizashi - how she never seems to run out.
“You’re totally falling for him, aren’t you?”
Shouta looks up sharply from where he’s attempting to grade essays and glares at Shinso who’s sprawled out on the couch across from him, feet propped on the arm, staring at his phone. There’s a disgustingly smug aura coming from him, though, and Shouta narrows his eyes.
“Falling for who.”
Shinso looks across at him with a look that makes Shouta feel incredibly stupid, but he doesn’t want this conversation to happen now, if ever. Especially not with a fourteen year old who he’s pretending to raise who apparently knows more than he does.
Toshinori is out doing a grocery run, and it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon; sunlight is pooling on the couch that Shouta has claimed as his own and, like a cat, has curled up in. Shinso moves to sit up and places his phone down on the coffee table, clasping his hands between his knees and watching his dad curiously.
“Falling for Yagi. Duh.”
He stares at him for a moment, mind blank, before he feels heat rush to his face and pushes himself off the couch, almost hissing at the kid. “I’m not - no - I’m not falling for him, what the fuck are you talking about-”
“Dad.” Shinso looks so utterly unimpressed, though he’s doing a pretty good job of hiding his smile. Shouta realises that the little shit finds this whole thing fucking hilarious. “You’re blushing. Plus, I know you were kissing on the couch when I got home last week. It was really obvious.”
Shouta opens his mouth to say something - anything, really - but it’s not like he can say he’s being silly. Shinso’s right, loathe as he is to admit it. Toshinori’s started cuddling him at night, probably by accident, but he doesn’t mind. He’s big and warm and the apartment gets cold at night, so why should he push him away?
“So.” Shouta looks up and glares at Shinso, who’s still grinning at him. “You’re married, aren’t you? Can’t you just ask him to make it official when this is over?”
“It’s not that simple,” He snaps, brushing a hand through his hair. “Plus, I don’t want that; when this is over we’ll be separated and go back to our lives. You’ll go back to your school, I’ll go back to UA, and Toshinori will go back to All Might’s agency. This is a...fling that’s been caused by the close proximity and situation. If I were with anyone else, it’d probably happen, too.”
That’s a lie. He’s done this twice before and didn’t want to fuck his partners at the end of it.
Shinso thinks for a moment, but Shouta takes the opportunity to pull the tests back into his lap and resume grading, shoulders tight and his lip jutting forward. He’s sulking, sure, but being reminded that this probably won’t last was never going to make him especially happy, now that there’s stupid feelings involved.
“I hope you can make it work out.” Shinso’s voice is soft as it drifts over toward him, and Shouta sighs and looks up at the kid. “You seem happy together. It’s cute, and gross.”
“Me too, kid.” He grunts, bowing his head to continue marking.
Tsukauchi looks nervous when Toshinori opens their apartment door to see him, and he can feel what's left of his stomach sink into the floor at how sleep-deprived his friend looks.
“Toshinori!” He manages a smile - almost as kind as his usual ones, but he looks so tired, and he can only laugh softly as he ushers the man inside and takes his coat.
Shouta and Shinso are sitting at the table working on their own things and glance up when Tsukauchi enters the apartment, both giving a small wave of greeting. Toshinori slips behind him and into the kitchen to boil the kettle as his friend drops an armful of files onto the table with a groan, scrubbing the back of his neck. He rolls his shoulders, massaging a knot in one of them, and then drops unceremoniously into a seat with none of the grace he usually has.
“You look exhausted.” Shouta notes, and he can only laugh.
“Like you’d probably look after a couple of night shift overtimes, right?” Tsukauchi shoots back, and the two men snicker amongst themselves as Shinso opens one of the files curiously.
Toshinori can only smile from where he's leaning his hip against the bench, half listening to the three talk amongst themselves and half listening to the kettle, and before he's really thinking too hard about it he's stepping away to switch on Shouta’s coffee machine, pulling his cat themed mug from the cupboard.
Halfway through preparing his coffee - black, no sugar - he stills, spoon clattering a little as it hits the side of the mug mid-stir. The kettle’s boiled, the three are still talking at the table, and Toshinori’s apparently so used to doing this that it's become second nature.
In any case, before too long he's sliding into his seat at the table with a pot of tea steeping in the middle of the files and Shouta’s got his hands wrapped around his mug of coffee, a faint little smile on his face as he catches Toshinori’s eye.
His heart thuds in his chest.
“Okay,” Tsukauchi begins, leaning forward to grab one of the files from the pile. Shinso’s got a handful around him - he's been flicking through them, sort of just looking over the contents without absorbing any of it - and he pushes them back toward Takauchi with a sheepish smile. “So. We've collected our cases against most of the people you two saw at the bar, and we're pretty sure we can start moving in the next week or two.”
That's...sooner than he'd expected.
“Our police mole has been closely watched since they were photographed and we can probably make an arrest this weekend; Fuchizaki - yes, you did a very good job of picking him, Shinso - won't be too difficult to apprehend and we can probably get him soon, too.”
“What about Takeshita?” Toshinori queries, leaning forward. “It might be dangerous to attempt an arrest, even if you've got a strong enough case...their quirk is too dangerous to risk it.”
Shinso tilts his head at the same time Shouta eyes him, and Toshinori sighs.
“It's called Blood Flow. They have the ability to literally stop a person’s heart or create a clot or aneurysm by making contact with their bare skin, or, at the very least slow their blood.” He shifts, fidgeting with his wedding band. “It's...terrifying.”
Tsukauchi sucks a breath in through his teeth from beside him. “Yeah. We, uh...don't really have a case against them, just yet. We know they're leaking information - from what you witnessed, and we were able to get CCTV footage from the security cameras in the office to further support it - but that's...just about it.” He gives a weak smile, holding his hands out in an apologetic gesture. “There's not too much else we can do just yet, y’know? Plus, we sort of have more against other people. The hero intern - Heironymous - will also be arrested this week. From Endeavour’s agency, we believe.”
Shouta nods slowly, processing the information as he sips at his coffee. “What about their base of operations?”
“We, uh. Also don't have much on that, either. We believe it's either heavily fortified, or there's a quirk at work to help hide it.”
“Have you started searching the industrial estates at least? It has to be somewhere where there's less people but more infrastructure. That many kids can't be easy to hide in an apartment or house.”
Tsukauchi hums in thought as he pours a cup of tea. “We're looking, if it helps. We've got beat cops out nearly every day searching the vicinity of nearly every town in the local areas, but it only started this week. It'll take us some time to find suspicious activity, especially if the public aren't as willing to come forward with information.”
“Is there anything you require from us in the meantime?” Toshinori asks, pinching his bottom lip. He's sick of feeling so useless all the time, especially now, seeing how wrung out his friend is.
It's not fair.
“If I'm being honest, you three have done more work than we could have even begun to ask you to do - you've found out more from this operation than we have with months of investigating - so I think you're free to, you know. Relax. Take it easy.” He shoots a pointed glare at Toshinori and he wilts slightly, noticing Shouta’s eyes narrow at the exchange.
“Just keep Shinso safe, and keep your heads down. We’re looking into every option as fast as we can, and once we've made these arrests and they've talked, we can send you guys home.”
Tsukauchi sort of looks alarmed when he finishes speaking and notices the three looking a little sad at his final comment. Not that Toshinori can blame him, really, but it is...unfortunate, to hear. Not that he wanted this to go on for forever, but...a little longer - without any kids being kidnapped, of course - could have been nice.
At least he’ll still have Shouta’s number at the end of it, right?
Toshinori sits in the window seat after Shinso’s gone to bed, listening to Shouta puttering around in the bathroom, and he sighs softly to himself as he slides the wedding band off his finger and studies it in the half light. It's raining, and he can see the droplets racing each other down the glass from a streetlight reflected in the window.
“I suppose with that announcement from before; things are sort of going to end soon, huh?”
He looks up to see Shouta lurking in the hallway, illuminated from the back by the bathroom light down the hall. His hair is mussed and he's wearing those infernal pink sweatpants and an oversized ‘Put Your Hands Up Radio!’ t-shirt, and he looks so handsome, just standing there, existing, that Toshinori unconsciously clenches his fist around the ring in an effort to stop himself from saying something stupid.
“Yeah,” He goes with instead, and looks out the window again. “I'm sort of sad to hear it, if I'm being honest.”
Behind him, Shouta chuckles.
“You and me both. But I guess we can still see each other afterwards, right? I know where you work, and you know where I work…”
“And it shouldn't be too difficult to run into each other on the job, right?”
“I dunno, Toshinori.” Shouta sounds amused, and he realises the man has moved closer. “I think I'm slightly more likely to meet that elusive big boss of yours, right? Dunno how often you'd be on the scenes.”
He has to bite his tongue from accidentally blurting out the truth - the ’you've technically been on the scene with him the whole time,’ on the tip of his tongue - but he refrains. Barely.
Shouta has no need to know the truth right now. Not unless it's an emergency.
“That's true,” Toshinori muses. “But I said I’d buy you dinner, didn't I?”
“That you did, and I'm going to call in a strong no take-backs on that one.”
He nudges Toshinori’s shoulder and he can't help but laugh, tipping his head back to rest against his husband’s chest. Shouta looks down at him with a soft little smile on his face, streetlights reflected in his dark eyes, hair falling like a little curtain around them.
“I guess you've got me there, don't you?”
Shouta only hums in amusement, leaning down to kiss him sweetly and slide his fingers through blonde hair, massaging his scalp as Toshinori damn near melts against him. He only pulls away by a hair, lips brushing against his husband's as he murmurs against his mouth, “I sure do, baby.”
Toshinori almost proposes for real in that moment.
The movie they’re watching is making less and less sense at it progresses, but Shouta has a feeling it’s more because he’s three seconds away from passing out on top of his husband, whose warm hands are doing good things to his back and hair, dutifully massaging his shoulders while he lulls him further into sleep with soft drags of his fingers through dark hair.
Shinso’s at another party slash sleepover - another birthday, another night probably spent up playing games and eating shitty food - and won’t be home until the morning. It suits them just fine, and after cooking dinner they’d settled on the couch amid lazy kisses and steeping tea.
Toshinori’s fingers find and press into a particularly impressive knot in his shoulder and Shouta hisses, wriggling on top of Toshinori as he chuckles and wraps his free arm around his waist in an attempt to stop him from moving.
“Hold still! I won’t be able to help your aches if you keep moving, love.” Toshinori’s breath brushes his cheek but at least Shouta’s stopped moving, and he grumbles, propping himself up on an elbow and studying his husband beneath him. Fingers dig into his skin again and he jerks, opening his mouth to say something probably rude, but Toshinori surges up and kisses him instead and it does the trick.
His wandering hands have stopped too, so it’s not like he has a reason to wriggle anymore.
Shouta sighs and slumps against his chest, one hand trailing up Toshinori’s side to cup his chin, who lets out a little mewl and adjusts his hands, stroking down his back instead.
Something important is happening on the TV, there’s guns and explosions and all that loud shit, but Shouta honestly couldn’t care less as he sucks on Toshinori’s tongue, trying really hard not to smile when he groans.
His hands press and touch as they were before they got...distracted, and Shouta pays it no mind until they clamp down on his sides and heave, and he’s suddenly blinking up at blue-black eyes, blonde hair tickling his cheeks.
Toshinori’s flipped them. How, he has no fucking clue, seeing as the man seems weak as a kitten, but they’re here now. Toshinori’s sitting on his hips, hands slowly trailing across his chest, and he’s looking at him as if he’s irrevocably in love with him.
And then he’s leaning forward and kissing him again, and this is much better, letting him take charge, and Shouta whines into his mouth as he pulls away, chasing him for more.
“We can’t,” He breathes, kissing down Shouta’s neck who’s two seconds from moaning, hands scrabbling against Toshinori’s back. “Keep doing this when Shinso’s gone.” He nips at his collarbone and pulls away with a big stupid smile on his face, squeezing Shouta’s hips with his thighs.
“And I don’t mean that like it’s a bad thing, I just mean that it’s sort of hard waiting for him to have something on or an event or...something...before I can kiss you like this. You know?”
Shouta’s going to fucking kill him if he keeps talking.
He glares up at him, tugging on his stupid, ugly tie, and Toshinori moves down to kiss him again, horribly amused. “I want to do this all the time, Shou.”
And doesn’t that make him jolt.
He melts back against the cushions with a small noise, hands buried in blonde hair, and he wants to fucking devour the man straddling him right now. Toshinori’s pliable under his hands, seems to know where Shouta likes being touched the most, easily molded to what he wants. It’s sort of powerful, really, being able to subtly move him into the best position, adjust him so their kisses are deeper, better, and smoother.
Something vibrates on the table beside them.
Toshinori pulls back and rests his forehead on Shouta’s collarbone, panting as he reaches for his phone, fingers snagging the end once, twice before he finally grabs it and sits back, frowning at the caller ID.
“It’s...hold on.” He answers the call, pressing his phone to his ear, and Shouta can immediately tell something’s wrong from the way Toshinori’s eyes widen and his hand clenches in his shirt.
Oh. Oh no.
“Shinso? Hitoshi! What’s - what’s happening?”
He makes eye contacts with Shouta and flips the phone to speaker, so he can hear the terrified screams filling the air, and the sound of things breaking in the background. Shinso’s voice is high with terror, and he’s panting - Shouta realises that he’s running - and he sits up, cupping Toshinori’s shaking hands around the phone.
”Dad! Dad, you have to help - they’re here, they’re here,they found us - I’m trying to - trying to get out, but there’s people everywhere, and-“
“Shinso, don’t do anything stupid! We're on our way, we’ll be there soon, and-”
There’s a burst of static and Shouta and Toshinori call his name at the same time, hands tightening against one another.
The phone crackles, and faintly they can hear Shinso yelling something, his feet slapping the ground, and then he's back, gasping for air.
”Help me! Dad, please, I just had to use my quirk, and-”
The line goes dead in his hand.
The silence is painful, and they stare at one another - at the phone cradled in their hands, screen informing them that the call has failed - and Shouta kind of wants to cry.
That's their kid. That's their kid, that they swore to protect, that they promised to be there for, that-
-vaguely, Shouta realises Toshinori is...steaming. It rolls off him, part of him, and he’s about to mention it, to say something when there’s a crack, the smell of ozone filling the apartment, and he stares up - and up - at All Might, who’s still straddling him, who’s apparently meek, gentle Toshinori, who’s moving his fingers over the keypad of his phone, blue eyes shining, teeth bared.
“What the fuck?”
It’s not eloquent by a long shot - it’s the furthest thing from it, actually - but Shouta scrabbles at the side of the couch, brain completely unable to process this information, his thighs are about to explode from the pressure of fucking All Might sitting on top of him, he can’t think, can’t blink, can’t-
“Shouta. Look at me.”
It’s all he can do, really, as large hands cup his face and angle it so he’s staring up at All Might’s chiseled features, and he’s not smiling his trademark smile, he looks fucking terrified, but his thumb is rubbing under his right eye, and Shouta sucks in a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding and wheezes.
“Focus. Shou, you need to focus. We need to move - you need to get your hero uniform and get dressed. We need to get Shinso. I’ll tell you everything when he’s safe, okay? I promise. But we need to move.”
His phone buzzes in his hand and All Might pushes himself up from the couch - off Shouta’s lap - and it’s like his brain reboots itself the second that too-warm weight isn’t holding him down, because Shouta throws himself off the couch and runs into their bedroom, digging through a drawer until he finds his costume. He pulls it on in record time and steps out into the living room, adjusting his goggles and scarf, and stares at All Might’s broad back in front of him, talking into his phone that looks, frankly, like a child’s toy.
Shouta’s never really encountered All Might in a professional context - has only seen him on TV and on social media and in magazines - so it’s easy to admit he’s a little floored by the fact the man is standing in their apartment. He’s also completely fucking undone by the notion that he’s been Toshinori this whole time, but that’s a future Shouta problem. He can break down over it later. He probably will break down over it later.
All Might turns, spots him, and his eyes flash as he answers something the person on the line asks, and then he’s hanging up, and stepping towards Shouta. He looks distracting as hell, shirt torn up the front and sleeves all but gone - seeing as he’s about three times as big as he’s looked for the last few months - and he swallows as All Might draws ever closer, clearing his throat.
“Okay. I’ve notified the police - they’re tracking Shinso’s signal and alerting all heroes in the immediate area. We’re moving tonight; we can’t risk the boy getting hurt if he’s captured.”
Shouta swallows around the lump in his throat, voice rough. “Who’s there for immediate backup?”
“A few local heroes, and one or two interns from mine and Endeavour’s agency. They’re en route now to the apartment building where the kids were having the party. I need to change, and then we need to move. Are you ready?”
“As I’ll ever be,” He murmurs, pressing his face into his capture scarf. All Might’s chest is right in front of him, at eye level, and the scar that he’s seen Toshinori try to hide occasionally is stretched and angry looking. He doesn’t want to wait until this is over - he wants to know what the fuck is going on now - but he steps aside and lets All Might slip into their bedroom as he moves to the bathroom, collecting his eye drops and sticking them into one of the pockets of his hero suit, medical supplies into two others and confirming there’s zip ties in the one over his hip.
They’re doing this. Tonight, this whole operation will be over, and Shouta will be moving back to Musutafu in a matter of days’, and he...well. He glances at their closed door, and pushes his face further into his scarf.
Now he might not actually get to see Toshinori, after everything’s said and done. Seeing as he’s All Might, apparently.
What the fuck.
Shouta’s in the midst of reassessing the last few months and is two seconds from losing his fucking mind over this reveal when the bedroom door opens and he turns to see All Might striding through, adjusting the cuffs of his trademark costume. He’s frowning, worrying his lip between his teeth, but looks up at Shouta and smiles - and there’s Toshinori, in the gentle curve of his mouth and the softness of his eyes as he looks at him - and he can feel himself relax when All Might steps closer.
“Hey,” He says softly, cupping Shouta’s cheek with a large, warm hand. “It's going to be okay. We’ll get him home safe.”
“I know,” Shouta croaks, but he presses his face into the warm contact anyway, sighing. “But I'm going to be worried until I see him.”
All Might chuckles, and leans down to kiss him oh so gently. It almost makes Shouta’s knees go weak and he groans, pulling away to slide his boots on.
They have a job to do.
HERE WE GOOOOOO i had to split this bc it’s a Big Boy sorry lads
ALSO PLEASE NOTE THE RATING CHANGE!!!!
it’s nothing too hardcore but there IS mention of ear trauma and bones being broken!!!! sorry !!
Red and blue flashing lights greet them when they arrive, All Might landing with a little hop and Shouta adjusting the goggles on his face once he’s put down, panting a little. Those jumps the hero did were...kind of terrifying, if he was being honest, and Shouta much preferred his way of getting around, thank you.
Naomasa jogs toward All Might when he spots him, face grim, and they immediately take to discussing what’s happened and Shouta grits his teeth when he hears that all the children are gone. The parents are unconscious, were knocked out when the villains invaded the home, and the apartment floor is a mess; one huge chunk of wall missing from the third floor as firefighters duck in and out of the building, continuing their evacuation.
The building isn’t stable anymore.
“It looks like the children were separated - there’s evidence of quirk usage in the side streets - so we think that either some managed to escape and were caught as they ran, or they’d been separated before the villains even chose to attack.” Naomasa looks apologetic as he speaks in a soft voice. He knows Shinso was there.
“Shinso was running outside when he called us,” All Might says, and he glances across at Shouta as he speaks. “So it makes sense. Were any villains left behind and have they been apprehended yet?”
The pair move closer together to discuss the villains - amongst other things, like what the fuck they’re going to do now - and Shouta twists and starts running toward the alley that runs parallel to the apartment block, teeth gritted so hard his jaw aches.
The police know how to do their jobs, sure, but Shouta doesn’t trust them to not miss something. His underground knowledge - and the people he’s faced - have taught him a thing or two about villains’ mechanisms during attacks like this.
He rounds the corner, sprints past a collection of officers who have, actually, apprehended someone, and keeps moving. They’ll get what they can out of that idiot, but Shouta needs answers and he needs to get them his way, now. Through the alley, onto a side-street, and he sees movement up ahead.
Someone’s running, frantic slaps of their shoes on the ground, breath wheezing as they try to make their escape. They’re not even trying to hide, nor are they attempting to move anywhere except the straight line of the road.
So it’s either a child, or a newbie villain that he’s come across. Probably not a kid because they wouldn’t be stupid enough to run, but he can hope.
Shouta takes off after them, hand fisted in his capture weapon as he shouts at them to stop - they don’t which he expects, but it does shock them into stumbling - and he finds himself gaining on them pretty quickly, all things considered. He’s meant to be fast; he’s a speed-precision hero, but this just seems too easy.
When the villain twists and throws their hands up and Shouta collides with something invisible, however, he reconsiders that thought. Air quirk. Or they’re a literal mime with invisible objects.
God, he hates them already.
Pushing himself back to his feet, Shouta presses his hand forward gingerly until it taps something solid and hard, and he raps his knuckles against it and decides, from the hollow sound it makes, that it’s probably an air solidifying quirk he’s dealing with.
He steps back, looks up, and throws his capture weapon to a balcony railing, the other end wrapping around a drainage pipe alongside it. It’ll be easier to pursue them from above, and he can keep out of sight of the villain as he approaches. Easier to avoid the air quirk, too.
Shouta backs up a few more steps and then runs forward, hands bunching in his weapon to throw it out and hoist himself up, muscles straining as he scales the side of the apartment building in seconds. The balcony railing creaks when his weight is momentarily pulling on it but the drain pipe holds, and the air vent at the top supports his weight as he throws himself over the lip and lands, sucking in a breath before he’s off again.
The villain’s moved by the time he starts looking - no longer running straight, they’ve taken a left hand turn somewhere - but Shouta sprints after them, throwing himself up and over rooftops and swinging from light poles as he chases them down. He’s about ten metres behind them when they turn and spot him and they shriek, the shrill noise cutting through the silence that’s only been broken by laboured breathing and feet hitting the ground.
Shouta grins and activates his quirk as they move their hands again, capture tape at the ready when they make a confused noise, staring at their hands, and then he moves.
It’s easy, leaping from the roof and hurling his tape down to constrain the villain’s ankles and they hit the ground with a cry, face scraping along the road as he lands behind them and pulls them up, his scarf steadily wrapping around their body to restrain them. The villain screams when Shouta pulls his capture weapon tight and there's a sickening crunch that pierces the air, and he belatedly realises that he's broken two of their fingers.
“Where are the students?” He snarls, shoving the villain hard against the wall, who only wheezes out a laugh, sneering up at him. They’re both panting from the run, Shouta can feel sweat rolling down his back, but the villain is much more breathless and red-faced, blood dribbling down their cheek.
“Like we'd tell you, hero.”
Shouta looks at them boredly for a moment, studies the sweat that dribbles down their nose, at their grimace from the pain, and then reaches across and snaps their index finger on their other hand, and leans in as they start screaming again.
“Where. Are. They.”
His conversation with Naomasa doesn't last for much longer after Shouta takes off, but All Might still feels cold with fear and tension even after the policeman tells him of the two villains that were apprehended while trying to make a getaway. The van with its victims escaped, but at least not everybody managed to get free.
Still. He needs to find Shouta. They need to find Shinso.
With a hop to reach the roof of a nearby apartment, it doesn’t take him all that long to find the other hero - charging down a side street in pursuit of…someone - and with one last glance at the burning apartment building now under control thanks to the local emergency services, he starts running.
He hits the ground a street away when the villain is apprehended, but the bellow of pain that splits the air is alarming. Shouta mustn’t have been all that gentle when he caught them, apparently. There’s another scream, and he can actually hear the snapping of bones this time as Shouta leans into their space.
All Might moves to intervene, to stop Shouta from doing anything worse, but he realises as he steps closer that the villain is, actually, talking to him, tears streaming down their face as they wail out the pick-up location, hyperventilating.
Clearly unused to extreme pain, then.
“Eraserhead…” All Might’s voice is soft as he reaches out toward him, hesitant. He doesn’t want to interrupt the villain's impromptu confession, but he doesn’t really want to see them get hurt any more. Shouta looks across at him and drops his capture tape, reaching into one of his little pockets and removing a handful of zip ties, crouching down to restrain the villain who collapsed as soon as they were released.
“These guys,” He hisses through his teeth, attaching the villain’s wrist to a pipe that trails down the wall in front of him. “Are pathetic. It’s amazing they managed to cause as much trouble as they did.”
He stands, brushing himself off. There’s dust on his suit - he’s clearly hit the ground or scaled buildings at a fast pace - and Toshinori has to remind himself that this is a crime scene before he says something stupid about how beautiful Shouta is, or that he might possibly be in love with him.
“Henchmen, I’d guess.” He says instead, kicking his boot into the ground lightly to give himself something to do. “Tsukauchi-kun told me they’ve caught two other villains; weak quirks, but easily molded into subordinates.”
Shouta grunts. “This one gave me a location, at least, and in almost record time.” The villain is still whimpering behind them, moaning something about their fingers.
“Do you normally rough them up like that? Or was it situational?”
“They moved weirdly as I restrained them,” Shouta grunts, wrapping his scarf around his neck in slow, steady movements. A soothing gesture. “So it was actually an accident. Why?”
His eyes are red-rimmed as he looks up at All Might through his lashes. “Do I look like the type to hurt people?”
“Not usually…” He begins, rubbing the back of his neck and feeling kind of awkward. “I just found it surprising, is all. But it makes sense now, Eraserhead! We should find them a police officer and, uh, maybe a paramedic to see to their hands…then we need to move.”
Shouta leers up at him, a manic smile on his face as he wiggles his phone in the air before tucking it into a pocket, and before long All Might can hear heavy duty boots slapping the ground as police round the corner and spot them.
Ah. He prepared for this, apparently.
A few of the policemen stare at him with stars in their eyes as their companions move to restrain the villain with actual handcuffs and another speaks in a soft, quick voice with Shouta to assess the situation. The villain yowls as they're shifted and one of the men bumps their hand, but they pipe down soon enough as they're hauled to their feet. They're whimpering.
“Do you think you'll be able to finish the job tonight?” All Might overhears one of the officers ask Shouta and he twists to look at his husband who’s standing in a relaxed pose, hands tucked into his pockets but radiating a nervous and tense energy. It’s clear to All Might - who’s lived with this man for months, who’s seen him live and breathe and be himself - that he’s fucking terrified, but he’s not so sure about the police surrounding him as Shouta shrugs.
“Maybe. I dunno, we’ll have to see what we get at the factory.”
It doesn’t take much longer for the area to be cleared, the apartment building to be declared safe (enough) and paramedics and firemen to slowly peel away from the location. The police remain, still, and as Shouta hauls himself up to the roof of an apartment building he watches All Might and Tsukauchi lean in and discuss something for a moment before he hops up to meet him. He fidgets with the little wings on his arm cuffs, looking down at his hands - readying himself, Shouta supposes - and he steps up on the edge of the building and looks out in the direction they’re about to head.
“The police are satisfied with the situation...or as good as they can be, really. At least arrests have been made.” All Might mutters, and Shouta looks up - and up - at his face to meet his gaze. “Tsukauchi-kun will follow us to the factory but we’ll be the first on the scene in any case. Are you ready?”
“As I’ll ever be,” He mutters, taking a deep breath. “You?”
All Might chuckles. “About the same, if I’m being honest.”
“We need to be careful.” Shouta mutters as they close in on the location the villain gave to him, hands wringing his capture scarf in and out, in and out. He’s stressed. He’s so fucking stressed it’s almost palpable, there’s a tense line to his shoulders and his jaw is aching from how hard his teeth are pressed together, but they’re almost there. They’re almost there, they’re almost able to save Shinso - and countless other children - and he’s fucking terrified of what he might find when they do, eventually, get inside.
“I know,” All Might replies, voice gentle. Of course he knows. He’s done this shit a thousand times, knows what it’s like to rescue screaming and terrified children. He knows. Shouta’s steps slow as the weight of that realisation settles on his shoulders. But a large hand cups the small of his back and he stumbles forward, and All Might’s smiling down at him. “We can do this, Eraserhead. Don’t worry too much, okay?”
That’s not particularly easy to do. He’s so fucking worried he can feel early grey hairs sprouting out of his scalp.
The factory is big and dark and eerie when All Might gently steers him around the corner, and as he removes his hand they both sort of come to a stop, just looking at it.
Where do they even begin?
Trucks are parked outside the perimeter, almost creating an extra wall of defence. There aren’t many gaps - none for more than one or two people to slip through at a time - and when Shouta squints through the small pair of binoculars he’d brought with him, he can see surveillance equipment fucking everywhere. On the walls of the factory, on some of the vehicles and even, he notes, on some streets adjacent to the building. It’s heavily defended and protected.
“I don’t know where to even start, with this…” He mutters, passing the binoculars to All Might, who looks through them for second before handing them back, face grim.
“Well. I suppose that explains why we’ve never been able to get eyes on this place before now - it’s like a fortress - so it makes sense that police haven’t been able to do, well, anything.” He sucks in a breath, letting it out slowly through his teeth. “Shit.”
Shouta tries really hard not to shiver at the sound of All Might swearing. His pride is at stake here.
“Think you could get in there without setting off any alarms, number one?” Shouta asks, lightly teasing as he tucks the binoculars back into one of his little pockets. Beside him, All Might chuckles.
“That depends on if you can keep up or if I'll have to carry you again, love.”
“Well you're distracting enough, so…” Shouta trails off, narrowing his eyes at the rooftop of the facility. “I could potentially slip in through the roof if you go through the front or side. Split up, cover more ground, you know?”
“You don't know what's in there, though. What if you get stuck or trapped?”
“So we stick together?”
All Might shuffles, straightening up and pushing a hand through his hair. His eyes are glowing.
“I think I’d feel a lot better knowing you were nearby watching my back, if I'm being honest, so yes. I know you, um. Don't particularly like working with others, but, in this case...”
Shouta snorts, burying his nose into his capture scarf to hide his dumb little smile as Toshinori shoots him a pleading look. All Might’s worried about him. All Might.
With a sigh he straightens and kicks his leg out to shake the pins and needles from the weird pressure he’s been putting on it, chewing his lip as he looks at the factory. They’ve probably been spotted by now with the amount of security equipment in the area, though there’s no alarms blaring to announce their arrival. Maybe the building’s soundproofed. Still.
“I think we should just...go for it. They probably know we’re here by now, anyway, right?” He mutters, pulling a couple of loops of his capture weapon over his head and side-eyeing All Might. He tilts his head toward what he assumes is the front entrance - there’s heavy-duty trucks parked out the front, and the security looks a little more focused on the massive roller doors with a 1 and 2 painted on them - and raises his eyebrows. “Might as well get it over with, don’t you think?”
All Might rolls his shoulders and grins that trademark smile of his, teeth gleaming in the light. Shouta’s right. They both know this, and know there’s not much of a point fucking around out the front when they’re probably being watched from inside, anyway. They might as well make a move, get inside, get something happening, and then they can coordinate their shit on the move. But they need to do something, anything or else Shouta’s going to vibrate out of his skin with nervous energy.
A pair of headlights illuminate one of the parked trucks out the front as a van veers around a corner a little way down from where they’re camped, and All Might gently pulls Shouta back into the shadows. Its engine is roaring and it’s probably doing about three times the recommended speed limit for the area, and about three seconds after it appears two more slide into view, tyres squealing.
“They must be the children from the apartment,” All Might breathes, hand unconsciously clenching where it’s grasping Shouta’s shoulder, and he hisses a little as his bones creak under the pressure. “We need to move. This is our chance, now, Shouta, we need to go.”
He skitters out of the alleyway as the three vehicles careen past them and into the yard, hauling ass up and over trucks and vans as people peel out of the warehouse to unload the kids. Shouta’s jaw’s clenches hard enough to hurt as he watches from his peripheral as kids are roughly pulled from the cars, struggling the whole way. They’re fighting - some are trying to use quirks but are being held back, somehow, and others are not making a sound even though they appear to be screaming, or shouting, or just plain crying - but he can’t dwell for too long or search desperately for a shock of purple hair because All Might’s grabbing his forearm and pulling him inside through a side-door up on the fire escape, and the panic and scuffling from outside cuts off sharply as they descend into darkness, and silence, and, well. Nothing, really.
They’re a floor above the ground, on a catwalk of sorts, and if Shouta leans to the side he’d be able to see the kids as they’re dragged inside from the cars. Their shadows are long and panicked, illuminated by the cars’ headlights, but there’s nothing in the main factory floor to light the way aside from the little red lights that blink occasionally.
CCTV, probably. Great.
There’s a small tug on his sleeve and Shouta blinks up - and up - at blue eyes, as All Might gestures to keep quiet and points along the catwalk to a wall and, subsequently, a sealed door. The warehouse floor is open, but the rest of the factory is probably split into floors, so it’s a good idea for them to move before they’re spotted. Who knows what quirks the henchmen are carrying, or what weapons. Shouta doesn’t particularly want to test his luck and he follows after All Might, looking under his arm occasionally to watch the kids being dragged inside.
His chest aches.
Once they’re through the door and into the factory, the hallways seem have a weird quality to them as Shouta creeps along beside All Might - whose footfalls should have been louder, but were almost muffled, somehow - and he thinks back to the catwalk of warehouse they’d been in, and he knows something’s up. His footsteps are muffled, like he’s underwater or 50 kilos lighter, or there’s cotton wool stuffed in his ears, or…
...or it’s a quirk.
Or it’s a fucking sound-nullifying quirk, and Shouta damn near pokes himself in the eye as he slaps a hand to his forehead with a groan that barely makes a peep. Fucking sound quirks. No wonder those kids hadn’t made a noise in spite of their wheezing chests and mouths opened in silent screams and cries for help. Of fucking course.
Just as he turns to All Might - who's looking about as confused as he is, when he spots him - an ear-splitting sound pierces the air around them, cutting off Shouta before he can even begin to try and form words and he claps his hands over his ears and keels over, the shriek piercing his thoughts, his head, his body, and he knows All Might isn’t much better. He’s hunched over, hands pressed to his head and damn near dwarfing it, but it’s hard to form any other thoughts on the matter. Shouta’s in fucking pain, and his eardrums are going to rupture soon if the sound doesn’t stop.
Shit. Fuck. Fuck!
It cuts off as abruptly as it starts and Shouta actually staggers forward, face pinched in pain, hands pressing bruises into the sides of his head while his ears ring high and loud.
Definitely a sound quirk.
All Might steadies him with gentle hands but it's clear he's also a little bleary from the assault. His hands are shaking a little as he shakes his head in an effort to clear it. He opens his mouth and says something but nothing comes out - dead silent, which Shouta realises encompasses the entire hallway, he can't actually hear himself breathing - and they both realise this at the same time if All Might’s brows pinching together is any indication. He tries again, though, speaking slower.
’Are you okay?’
It's lucky Shouta learned how to read lips.
He nods, raising his eyebrows at the hero and gesturing at him in return to which he smiles and nods, gently pressing at his ear and glancing at his fingertips. Shouta narrows his eyes, but All Might leans forward and gently cups his face, tilting it to the side to check his ears.
Ah. Potential ruptured eardrums.
Before they can really move any further the assault starts again and both men hunch over instinctively, clapping their hands to their ears in a weak effort to subvert the piercing sound. It's so fucking loud it almost shakes the hallway, and Shouta, at this point, would honestly consider death over dealing with this fucking bullshit.
He can feel someone approaching through the assault, can see something moving from the corner of his eye through the tears, and Shouta cries out when a sharp pain explodes in his right ear. Fuck. Fuck!
His jaw aches from how hard he’s clenching it and All Might’s not doing much better from what he can see - blearily, he can’t really see shit right now through the tears and pain of his eardrum actually rupturing - and when the attack cuts off and he sags, he can hear a vaguely familiar voice laughing.
Fuchizaki has the nerve to look smug as he approaches; hands tucked into his fancy suit pockets and the heels of his dress shoes clicking against the concrete as he steps forward, and Shouta wants nothing more than to beat the absolute shit out of him.
The fact that this bastard is a highly paid teacher whose work focuses on raising a new generation of kids and has been assisting with the kidnapping of his own students makes him sick.
“Looks like we’ve got the big leagues in here tonight, eh boys? Mister Otani, I can't really say it’s a pleasure, but…” His eyes flash as he notes the trickle of blood leaking out of Shouta’s ear, and he sneers at him. “Well. I suppose it’s about time I got a little payback for that stupid scene your husband pulled, don’t you think?”
It’s a little strange. Fuchizaki’s voice and movements sound normal - as if Shouta’s standing in his office across from him exchanging pleasantries - but everything else is muffled or just...gone. His right ear is ringing something fierce from the assault he pulled, and he can feel the blood dribbling from his eardrum, and he wants to claw the whole thing off his face.
Fuchizaki stops a few feet away from them, hands still in his pockets, and All Might bares his teeth and moves to step toward him but hesitates when the principal pulls a hand from his pocket and wags a finger at him.
“Ah, I wouldn’t do that if I were you, All Might!” His voice wavers a little over the number one hero’s title, and Shouta can clearly see he’s shit-scared of the man. It figures, at least. All Might is Japan’s top rated hero and is literally there to stop villains. Which is what Fuchizaki definitely is, so it’s obvious he’d be a little uneasy, being the stereotypical All Might cliche villain and all. His false confidence has improved since the last time they met him, though. “See, I know you could probably break my neck before I could blink, right? But I’m unsure if you’re aware of how dangerous high-frequency sounds with large decibels can be. See, if you look at mister Otani - which I’m positive isn’t your actual name, right? - you’d be able to see the evidence of a ruptured eardrum. Blood, yeah?”
Shouta glowers at him.
“So I’d be a little more careful, All Might! I could probably create a high decibel, high frequency sound before you get to me and potentially do irreparable damage to your ears, don’t you think!” His voice has risen as he gloats, and Fuchizaki really looks like one of those Saturday morning cartoon villains after he makes some stupid and grand gesture and Shouta barely refrains from rolling his eyes.
At least he has no fucking idea his quirk is going to be useless the second Shouta activates his quirk, and it’ll probably he heinously funny to watch. Probably. It should make up for the sharp ache in his ear, anyhow.
All Might side-eyes him and raises his hands in a placating gesture, and Shouta realises after a moment that Fuchizaki doesn’t particularly give a shit about him right now with the number one hero in the room, at his mercy. In truth he could knock the dickhead out before he even thought to activate his quirk, but his bravado is impressive nonetheless. As is his stupidity.
“So tell me,” All Might begins, and his voice is a little louder than usual. “What’s in it for you? Stealing your students like this. Don’t you think it’s a little...I don’t know. Screwed up?”
“Oh! There’s plenty in it for me! Like, it’s mostly money - especially with the people involved in this - but I’ll also get to come forward with the publicity from my school being a target because of the quirks my students have! Think of the interviews!”
“Hold on. You’re going to try to capitalise off this?”
“Why wouldn’t I? I mean, even if I was arrested tonight - and, looking at you, big guy, I don’t like my chances of escaping - it’s still my school that’s been targeted. And I’m not a high enough player in this operation to get the big sentence, if you know what I mean.”
“You’re still an accomplice,” Shouta snarls, hand fisted in his capture weapon. Oh, he wants to knock his fucking teeth out right now. “That’s no slap on the wrist, Fuchizaki. You’ll serve time.”
He laughs, waving a hand airily. “And my story will be so sought after once I’m released, yes? To get the inside scoop! To know what happened behind the scenes! I mean, this whole quirk singularity research is sort of groundbreaking, you know?”
Shouta blinks, thrown off. Quirk singularity? What the fuck is that all about?
Fuchizaki blinks at them too before he claps a hand over his mouth, eyes wide. “Ah. Perhaps I’ve said too much...but, maybe if I...” He murmurs into his hand, and Shouta can see the smile spreading across his face and the cold, amused look in his eyes as he levels his gaze on All Might, points his finger, and-
-and Shouta activates his quirk, feeling his hair brush his cheeks as it surges upward and his eyes burn and Fuchizaki gapes, finger delicately poised. There’s nothing - no sound, no ear-splitting shriek, no perforated eardrums.
He doesn’t give the man too much time to react further and flings his capture tape forward with the intention to restrain, but All Might beats him to it. Literally. He lunges toward the man, teeth bared, and Shouta’s weapon binds itself around his free arm as he cracks his knuckles against Fuchizaki’s cheek, the crunch of his jaw shattering making Shouta wince.
Fuchizaki drops with little ceremony, unconscious, and All Might dusts his hands together when he hits the ground and immediately turns to Shouta to survey the damage the second wave of noise caused. He’s got his hand pressed to his ear, pulling a face at the fact that his hearing’s sort of gone - or at least extremely thrown off with one ear effectively useless - but relaxes only slightly when All Might brushes his fingers aside to look at him.
“Did it perforate?” He asks, voice soft, and Shouta hums an affirmative. All Might looks concerned - which is weird, seeing as he’s normally only smiling or looking pissed while being All Might - and it’s a little piece of Toshinori shining through, just here, just for him.
Fuck, he’s in deep.
“It’ll be fine,” He grunts, pulling away and shaking his head. “Hizashi’s pierced my eardrum before with his quirk so it’s not actually the first time it’s happened.”
“I suppose it fits in the job description, right?” All Might jokes, dragging Fuchizaki’s limp body back the way they’d come. With him out cold Shouta notes that the hallway seems less affected by his quirk, but the sound is still sort of...duller. Could be the insulation. Or his stupid ear affecting it. There’s a length of wire near the doorway and All Might coils it around the man’s body a few times - with how hard he was punched, he should hopefully be out for a little while - but Shouta pulls his phone out of a side pocket and texts Tsukauchi his capture location nonetheless. Just in case.
“Do you know anything about what he said before you punched him?” He asks when he’s sent his message and tucked his phone away, looking up at All Might.
The man looks a little lost, as if trying to remember what was said, before he shakes his head with an apologetic look on his face. “The quirk singularity? I’m afraid not.” All Might rubs the back of his head, looking up in thought. “I wouldn’t even know where to start with decoding that one.”
Damn. Worth a shot, in any case.
Shouta shrugs, tucking his hands into his pockets and nudging Fuchizaki with his foot. When he makes no sound or any real indication of being awake in any way he starts walking, back to where they’d first run into him. “Maybe someone else will know, but we should keep looking. There’s probably more idiots prowling around here, anyway, if Fuchizaki’s here.”
All Might hums, falling into step beside him with a small smile. “Lead the way, my love.”
Shouta buries his face into his capture weapon to hide the light flush that stains his cheeks as he trots further into the factory, All Might right behind him.
HI.....I AM SO SORRY JKHFJGH
my major project for my course is due in a week and i'm DYIIIIINGGG but finally had!! the energy !!! to write !! i've been feeling so guilty abt missing last weeks update time HHHGHHHH
UM...warnings for this chapter include gun violence and medical discussions and like, all that
i'm so sorry if this seems rushed i was STARING AT IT SO HARD LIKE ... IS THIS OKAY ... but i honestly can't tell i've been looking at it for 2 weeks so just TAKE IT !!! I LOVE YOU !!!
They manage to explore the rest of the level with little incident, and Shouta frowns into his capture scarf as All Might shoots him another concerned look when he scrubs at the blood drying on his throat. It’s...fine. He’ll be okay, granted he doesn’t have to do anything that requires being able to hear well.
As they delve deeper into the level - further back, toward the rear of the factory - All Might gently grips Shouta’s forearm and brings them to a halt. He’s frowning, looking at something ahead, and he realises that there’s soft voices coming from behind a locked door. Young voices - kids, they’re fucking children - and All Might pulls the door free with a snap as the lock mechanism breaks, and Shouta crouches down to peer into the small, cramped room.
There are three kids - two can’t be older than thirteen, and one is about...seven. Or eight - and each one of them looks...warm. Fire quirks, Shouta thinks absently as he blinks at the flames licking the ends of one of the girls hair, and then there’s a chorus of ’All Might!’ and the silence is thoroughly broken as the kids surge forward, babbling and yelling and crying into All Might’s open arms.
It’s...lucky, that he’s such a well known figure. Fuck, it’s so lucky. Shouta wouldn’t have had the slightest idea of what to do, especially since he’s not a known hero and doesn’t dress like one either.
His phone chirps in his side-pocket and Shouta pulls it free as All Might talks to the kids - soothes their tears, tells them that it’s going to be okay, because ’We are here!’ - and he reads the message from one of the local heroes, noting that they’re grouping up outside waiting for the police to arrive.
Good. At least they’re no longer alone with this.
Shouta looks up sharply to see All Might with the three kids - one under each arm, and the younger one perched on his shoulders, little hands fisted into his hair - and he takes a moment to study their overwhelmed expressions. It’s been rough on them, he can tell - these kids disappeared over a month ago, if he’s remembering the report correctly - and there are dark, bruised bags under their eyes and their skin looks almost waxy. Their hair is grotty and full of knots, and their hands are bruised and bleeding and Shouta feels sick.
“Heroes are arriving on the scene, but we’re still waiting on Tsukauchi,” He grunts, tucking his phone back into his pocket. “We should see how many other kids are on this level and clear them out...there should be someone outside who’d be able to look after them, right?”
All Might hums, adjusting the girl when her hair burns a little brighter and smoke begins to curl from her plaits, her emotions setting her quirk off. “That’s a good idea, you’re right.” He looks over his shoulder at the door and stairwell sitting innocently at the end of the hall and then back at Shouta. “When we’ve cleared this area, should we split up? It might be easier if I herded the little ones outside and you kept going to the level above. I have a feeling there’s just going to be more kids underneath us.”
Shouta grunts, and turns around to start testing doors as one of the kids whispers into All Might’s ear and he replies, voice soft. They’re talking about the layout, if Shouta’s not mistaken - they’re telling him what’s where, confirming the bottom floor is, in fact, full of imprisoned kids - and he tunes them out after a moment when his ear sharply reminds him that it is, in fact, injured.
Out of the eleven other doors spread around, only two provide kids. Kids who had, apparently, just come back from ‘tests,’ who, like the three they’d found earlier, were bruised and malnourished and in poor shape. Shouta’s hands are clenched so tightly he can feel blood trickle between his fingers from the cuts he’s dug in with his nails, and his jaw is aching now from all the clenching and gritted teeth, and he’s just. Fucking done with this whole operation.
He just wants to talk to Toshinori, figure out what the everloving fuck is going on with that All Might business, and maybe sort of tell him he might actually be in love with him.
Not skulk around in the dark, tense as shit and so on edge a kid’s sneeze had almost given him a heart attack.
Even All Might seems tense as he leads the small group of kids back the way they’d come, and he peers over his shoulder at Shouta a few times after they split ways. He’s carrying one child who’s too weak to move, but the others are grouped close - some not even reaching his mid-thigh, hands clenched against his boots or fisted into his uniform - and Shouta nods at him, unable to hide the dumb little smile.
“Be safe, Eraserhead,” He’d murmured earlier, right before they’d split up - with a gentle hand tucking some of his hair out of his face, away from the blood - and Shouta’d only been able to nod dumbly and grunt out a ’You, too,’ before watching him lead the gaggle of kids around the corner and out of sight, and hopefully to safety.
As soon as he can’t hear their voices or footsteps, he starts running.
The part of the factory Shouta finds himself in after hauling himself up the stairs has been refitted to create laboratories - full of high profile equipment, top quality products, and a concerning amount of blood samples - and as he charges down the hallways intersecting the rooms he can see screens displaying security footage, and kids locked in smaller, isolated rooms with clear glass.
Under observation, then.
He feels sick.
There’s a noise from up ahead - voices - and Shouta slows to a stop, padded boots masking his footfalls as he crouches down and approaches. Two people, maybe three - one he definitely recognises, too - and he pulls his goggles down over his face as he creeps by another lab, trying not to stare at the child within with a mutation quirk who stares right back, with their goat horns and eyes and ears and hooves, soft fur sprouting from their body in random places. They’re hooked up to an IV tube, the little bag dangling from the ceiling, and their arms are bruised and purple from what is, probably, multiple injections.
Shouta feels sick.
It’s been five minutes since he split with All Might and Shouta can’t help but feel a little on edge from the lack of someone watching his back, but he’s used to this. This, at least, he knows like the back of his hand with his underground work. Infiltrate, apprehend, give his report, and get out. But he knows he’s grown a little soft from the last few months, so used to having someone near him - to talk with, to watch his back - that creeping around kinda feels...weird.
He’s going to have to throw himself back into the underground work as soon as this is over to get rid of the cobwebs this mission has given him, sedentary and co-dependent as it’s been.
The voices grow louder as he nears and he scratches at his ear again, cursing the dullness of the sounds around him. He can’t hear clearly, can only barely make out bits and pieces - they’re arguing, voices raised, and he’s heard an All Might hissed out once or twice - and realises that they’re probably trying to work out what the fuck to do now that the entire operation has sort of gone belly up.
Good. They’re panicking. If All Might could join him soon, it’d be even better.
One of the voices is definitely familiar as he gets closer, hidden behind what kind of looks like a ventilator out in the hallway, and Shouta sucks in a breath between his teeth, bouncing on his heels. Deep breath, anticipate, move.
He kicks the ventilator hard to shift it into the trio’s line of sight and distract them long enough to lunge out and round the corner, capture tape out and ready before stopping short at the gun that’s leveled at his head, Komori’s finger held delicately over the trigger. Komori, who’s wearing a pristine lab coat with a small sprinkle of blood on one of the cuffs, with too many teeth on display, nose twitching as she studies him.
He's sort of suspected Komori since the incident with 2C’s homeroom teacher, but seeing her - the polite, bubbly receptionist - standing in a room full of horrors beside who Shouta recognises as Toshinori’s suspect and some random scientist fucking hurts.
He feels like he's been punched in the gut.
“Mr Otani!” She sings, looking far too pleased with herself. Ah. She must have smelled or heard him coming, then. Shouta’s pretty sure he could take her in a fight, or at the very least distract her for long enough to run, but he doesn’t like his chances against a fucking gun. There’s nothing to erase. “So nice to see you again! Also, you lied about your son, didn’t you?”
She buffs her nails against her coat, lashes fluttering over her cheeks as she looks down at them. “Nifty quirk, that. Brainwashing, right? We could do some cool things with it!”
Oh, he wants to kick the absolute shit out of her.
“What the fuck did you do to him?” He snarls before he can even think to do anything else, gripping his weapon so hard his knuckles turn white. “And what the fuck is this whole operation even about? Kids? Really? What do you have to gain from this!?”
His persona’s cracking - the cool, aloof man too tired for anything - broken by the horrors of seeing seven year old children effectively stuck into boxes or chained to the floor. It’s fucked. It’s so fucked he wants to claw his eyes out so he doesn’t have to relive the scenes, or witness them again coming out of here.
Komori flaps her hand, laughing. “Oh, don’t be so dramatic! He’s fine - we’re going to put him with some other kids with nifty quirks so we can study them! As for the, like, kids? The operation as a whole?” She tilts her head at him. “You’ve heard of the quirk singularity, haven’t you?”
“Yes! It's a phenomenon scientists have been noticing recently - you would too, probably, being a teacher and all - but with every new generation, every combination of genetics and quirks, they're evolving. Quirks, that is. Getting stronger, y’know?” Komori waves her hand as she speaks, nails glinting in the light. The gun is still pointed at his head, though, and no matter how much she jitters and shifts, that hand doesn't waver. “There's a theory that in, like, a hundred years or whatever, people are gonna be born with ties to every quirk in existence. Or, at the very least, said quirks are gonna be super strong. Like your erasure versus its earlier form of suppression!”
Shouta balks at Komori’s expression as it shifts into something nasty, and she sneers at him. There's something husky in her chest, and he realises after a moment that she's fucking growling at him.
“Don't think we didn't know there were people snooping around, Eraserhead. It took us until tonight to figure you out, actually, but we couldn't figure out your husband. Still can't! Who even is that guy? He's in, like, zero databases!”
Ah. That makes a lot of sense now, considering what Shouta knows about Toshinori.
He stays quiet, glowering at her, and Komori rolls her eyes after a moment and sighs. “Anyway, yeah. Your quirk is an evolved, improved form of its predecessor, and if you have kids there'll be a chance they're also stronger than you. It's why-”
“-why you've been grabbing kids that have displayed strong quirks,” Shouta grunts, burying his face into his capture scarf. “So you can figure out the improvements and combinations from their parents.”
“Bingo!” She sings, laughing brightly once again.
God, she’s unnerving.
“So what are you planning on doing, once you’ve finished researching these kids? You gonna let them go?”
“Oh, of course! We’ve got someone on staff with a memory quirk, so we’ve been testing it out on a couple of subjects to see what happens when we wipe, like, two months. Lots of tests, couple of failures here and there, but, y’know. All part of the process, right?”
Shouta glowers at her. “And this research? What are you going to do? You can’t exactly go public with the knowledge that you’ve been doing human experimentation, and what physical evidence will you take from this, anyway? All this is so far is just...words on paper.”
“Oh, you want proof, do you?” Komori sneers, then gestures to the corridor Shouta’s just burst out of with a quirk of her lips. “That goat quirk you probably saw - the kid? With the horns, yeah? - he didn’t come in looking like that. We managed to boost his quirk! We’ve got the before and after shots, and everything! And, if you have been poking around like we know you have, you’ve probably founded the boosted fire quirks too. Girl with the plaits? Very successful.”
She sounds pleased - she sounds so pleased with the results, with what they’ve managed to do - that Shouta sort of realises, a little too late, that she has disconnected herself from the project to the point that she doesn’t really consider the tests…people. And yet she’s been working at a school for who knows how long, pretending.
He feels sick.
Something in his expression makes her laugh, and Komori titters with a hand pressed to her mouth. “C’mon now, sweetheart. I should’ve had a bigger, better quirk from my parents - but I didn’t - and so I’ve watched a generation of kids grow up with better abilities, better skills, and I couldn’t help but be jealous, y’know? So why not research why that was, to figure out why my genes got screwed over while my neighbour had a strength augmentation quirk and went on to become a pro hero?”
“They don’t know what you’re doing to them! This research could have been done in a humane manner with older, rational and consenting adults agreeing to let you take samples or whatever it is you needed, but you resorted to this? To kidnapping five year-olds from their commute home? Didn’t you ever stop to think about how fucking vile that is?”
She laughs again, and Shouta snarls as he surges forward with a hand reaching up to fling his capture weapon at her - this conversation is only making him angry, he’s not being rational, this is dangerous - and Komori doesn’t even blink as she pulls the trigger.
The gunshot rings out across the silent laboratory, sharp, loud, it's so loud, and Shouta stumbles back with a grunt, hand clenched over his left shoulder, suit torn and feeling warm and wet as blood begins to seep.
Komori leers at him.
“I’d tell you not to try anything, but, like, how much use are you going to be if you can’t throw that fancy tape of yours anymore? And, anyway, I doubt you’d be able to do much against this, right?” She wiggles the gun, teeth gnashing in delight, and Shouta wonders once again where the fuck All Might’s gotten to.
He can’t do this alone, and he doubts he can get away from her with a ruptured eardrum and bullet now lodged in his shoulder.
“I’m kind of sad it has to end this way on a bad note, y’know? You were so lovely! I kind of had a feeling you might have been the investigator, but I couldn’t find a thing about you anywhere! Same for your husband! And I still have no idea who he is. But he was fun - Fuchizaki bitched for like, a week after he tore strips off him, remember that? God, that was funny - is he around, tonight? I can’t remember if I ever got to meet him, but I heard stories. Takeshita reeeeally hated him, actually.”
Shouta’s kind of too busy attempting to stem the bloodflow with his capture tape to really pay attention to what she’s saying and she notices after a moment, scoffing. It’s not the first time he’s been shot - absolutely not, and it’ll happen again - but it still sucks, and the combination of ear and shoulder isn’t a fun one to deal with while he’s trying to focus on not actually dying.
He has to save Shinsou, they need to get out of here, he needs to talk to Toshinori, he needs-
-Komori scoffs once again and raises the gun, levelled at his head - right between the eyes, her aim is a little horrifying because clearly the shot to his shoulder has been a warning - and she smiles, gives a little shrug, and -
-And All Might ploughs through the wall behind her a split second before she fires at Shouta, the surprise on her face obvious as the huge hero takes her down in a second. His ears are ringing, he’s in even more pain than before, if it was even possible - and a quick check reveals the deep fucking chunk the bullet took out of his deltoid, his hero costume shredded and blood already leaking down his arm. Shouta stamps his foot, teeth clenched and punches the glass beside him in an effort to keep himself from screaming, but it’s only just.
Komori hisses and snaps her teeth underneath All Might’s grip as he cuffs her, kicking and floundering. She’s fucking furious, and hurls insults at the pair of them even as she’s lifted and gently carried into one of the labs with an open door and deposited roughly on the floor, All Might pulling the door closed behind him as he steps back into the hall.
They’ll deal with her later, once everything is sorted and the kids are safe.
“Are you okay?” He murmurs as he steps closer - like he hasn’t just saved Shouta’s life, like he hasn’t disappeared for the last twenty minutes doing god knows what - and Shouta attempts to look at him but gives up after a moment, eyes squeezed shut. He’s breathing hard through his nose, jaw aching from how hard his teeth are gritted, and he only whimpers a little bit as big, warm hands coax his away from his shoulder so he can survey the damage.
All Might clicks his tongue and steps away. As Shouta’s about to open his eyes and ask what the fuck they’re going to do now he feels him return - that warmth is too good to ignore - and murmur something about how ’this is going to hurt, love, and then something is pressed against the wound hard, steeping the blood flow.
Shouta hisses and curses and tries to wriggle away from the fucking agony that makes up his shoulder right now, no matter how gently All Might speaks to him, no matter how soft his hand is over his waist to hold him in place. No matter how much he tells him he’s doing good work. His hand fists and clenches into his super suit and he takes a moment to feel the rigid muscle beneath his hands - suitably distracted - but then the pressure on his shoulder shifts and he’s muttering ’fuck fuck fuck fUCK FUCK-‘ as he presses his face into his husband’s shoulder, hissing.
“It’s okay, Eraser,” All Might’s voice is soothing, a deep rumble coming from his chest. “You’re okay.”
“What the fuck were you even doing for the last twenty minutes, anyway? I could’ve-“ Shouta groans, trying really hard not to bite the hero in front of him as he presses a little harder against his shoulder. “-I could’ve used your help.”
He can feel All Might’s chest move with a soft little laugh. “I was actually organising with Tsukauchi-kun to get the emergency services in here. There are ambulances and police outside, ready to assist, and I started breaking the restraints downstairs and moving people.”
Oh. He was being useful.
“How many out of the six traitors have we got so far?”
Shouta presses a little further into All Might as he hums in thought, hissing slightly when he twists him toward the doorway. His hands are warm, prodding him forward even though he’s no longer facing him; a warm palm on his back while the other holds the lab coat over his shoulder. “Four, I think. Fuchizaki, Komori...I intercepted Takeshita on the way up here, and Tsukauchi-kun finally made a move on the mole within the force. She was arrested earlier this evening. The hero and politician will be pretty easy to arrest after tonight, too.”
Damn. That’s actually not bad at all.
“And the others?”
“With four being taken into custody tonight and with that photo I got a few weeks ago, if we don’t run into them tonight, I imagine they’ll give it up soon. We know who they are, so it won’t take long to track them down.”
Shouta grunts. He can hear voices floating up from the air vents, emergency service workers evacuating the lower floors and assisting any kids that are too weak to move. They’ll need to move with the rest of them, but Shouta remembers the kid with the goat quirk and tries to turn, flinching with a small noise at the pain in his shoulder.
“All Might - there’s a kid, in the labs - we need to - Hitoshi-“
“-The police are scouring the building to find him, love. I’ll inform them when we get outside, but for now we need to get you looked at. This bullet wound needs to be tended to quickly. You’ve done your job, Shou. Now we can let the others’ do theirs.”
He wants to fight him on it - he’s barely done anything, just sniffed around like anynoe else could have done - but All Might’s hands are gentle but firm as they steer him toward the stairs, toward the exit. His steps are a little stuttered, he’s tired, his eyes are starting to ache, and that’s not even getting into the two bullets he’s taken tonight or the damage to his ear.
Okay, yeah. Maybe he’s done enough.
As they pass by an unmarked door, Shouta pauses. He’s wobbly on his feet, adrenaline still charging through his body from ten minutes before, but he could’ve sworn he heard something. A shifting, a noise, a sniffle. Something. All Might’s looking at the door now too, brows furrowed, and he shifts Shouta in his grip slightly to test the handle - and when that’s locked, because of fucking course it is - he simply yanks the handle and door accompanying off its hinges, and Shouta chokes and drops to his knees when he spots that familiar unruly mop of purple hair.
Shinsou’s a little bruised, there’s ash smeared over his face broken by tear trails, and the second he lays eyes on Shouta he breaks. He surges forward, already crying even as he latches onto his dad and All Might shifts awkwardly behind them, giving them space.
It makes sense for him to back off. All Might doesn’t know Shinsou, anyway, but Toshinori does. This must be hard for him.
Shinsou struggles to speak as he buries his face in Shouta’s shoulder, hands gripping his hero costume in a near death grip, and he’s sobbing - the panic from the past few hours at the forefront of his mind - and Shouta has to grit his teeth when he nudges his shoulder by accident so as to not make a sound.
“Easy, easy,” He soothes, cupping the back of his kid's head in as much of a comforting gesture as he can manage. Hitoshi’s shoulders shake with hiccups and he’s babbling - a mixture of ’I’m sorry’s’ and ’I was so scared’s’ and ’thank you’s’ - but he’s immediately distracted from it when he moves and brushes Shouta’s shoulder again, pulling his hand away with blood against his fingertips.
Their kid backpedals almost immediately, still shaken up - he’s too alarmed by the fact that Shouta’s bleeding to bother wiping the tears away, and that’s before he even realises that fucking All Might is standing behind them, awkward and fidgeting with his arm cuffs as he gives a stupid little wave.
Before Shinsou can open his mouth Shouta grabs his shoulder, squeezing it. “I’ll be okay, kid. You’re safe.” He teeters, suddenly light headed, and All Might’s large hand fists into the back of his jumpsuit before he loses his balance and crushes Shinsou.
“You sure you’re okay, old man?” His voice is weak, and strained, and his smile is shaky but relieved, and Shouta punches him lightly. Shinsou laughs, and he’s crying again, but none of them think to mention it as All Might scoops his husband off the floor and pulls Shinsou up a moment later, sticking close to protect the pair of them.
“You did a wonderful job tonight, Shinsou,” He says as he adjusts Shouta’s footing, holding him closely. Shinsou doesn’t miss it - narrows his eyes slightly at them when Shouta tips his head back and groans against his shoulder - but he stammers out a thank you anyway and scratches at the back of his neck, embarrassed.
But he sticks close to Shouta’s other side and ducks his head under his uninjured arm to sling it across his back, helping to support him as they make their way down toward the ground floor. He’s exhausted - the bags under his eyes are dark and his skin is almost waxy from the stress, and he definitely needs a shower - but he talks in a soft voice, telling them what happened before the party was interrupted, what he experienced coming into the factory.
Shouta looks furious by the time they reach the ground and step outside and a paramedic actually recoils for a second at his expression, but All Might eases the tension in a second with a laugh as he passes both his husband and adopted son into the emergency workers’ capable hands.
As it turns out, All Might can’t actually keep his promise to tell Shouta everything - it’s understandable with the fucking media storm that descends as soon as word gets out that he’s been seen in the area - but as dawn creeps across the sky and Shouta’s shoulder is seen to by a doctor with a healing quirk and he’s dismissed, he can’t help but feel a little frustrated with the number one hero, with Toshinori, for holding out on him.
Not that it’s his fault, per se. The poor man hasn’t caught a break since they finished the operation.
Shouta watches him from the back of the ambulance he’s been sitting in for the last half hour, flexing his fingers slowly, methodically. His job is done. All Might, however, hasn’t had a chance to stop - he’s still smiling, still talking lively with reporters and the police - but it’s obvious he’s exhausted.
Shinsou spent a good forty minutes giving a police report before he was taken to the local hospital to be checked over - everyone they found in the factory was admitted to check their physical and mental states - and Shouta hasn’t seen him or heard from him since. To be fair, his phone’s probably flat or broken from the nights’ events and his isn’t much better all things considered.
They’ll check on him later in the day, when they’ve had time to rest.
He must have zoned out because a short while later a shape moving in front of him makes him flinch back and instinctively reach for his capture weapon before he hears the soft laugh and recognises the primary colours, and he stares up at All Might.
He’s still a little dumbfounded at the revelation from the start of the night, if he’s being honest.
Shouta doesn’t know if he’ll ever come to terms with it.
“I must apologise for not having a moment to speak with you until now,” He says softly, fidgeting with the wings on the sleeve of his suit. “You shouldn’t have had to wait for me, Eraserhead.”
Fuck, that was awkward as shit.
“It’s fine,” He grunts, scratching at his cheek. It’s...it’s really not, but he’s not going to mouth off at the number one hero that he’s been falling for for the last few months. “You had things to do.”
All Might’s laugh is muted. He’s exhausted, swaying on his feet, skin sallow and streaked with grime and sweat and dirt. Blood pools at the corner of his mouth. He shouldn’t be here right now.
“Are you okay?” Shouta asks quietly, pushing himself to his feet and reaching for the hero, clasping his wrist to slow his hands. If he’d done this to Toshinori, he’d have been able to circle the bones easily. Now he gets about halfway. “You look wrung out.”
“You’re not much better, love.”
Shouta huffs, scrubbing a hand through his hair All Might continues.
“I’ll live. I’ve had worse days than this, anyway. As I’m sure you have, too. It’s just...I guess having a few months off sort of softened me, you know? I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally affected by this…” All Might’s voice trails off toward the end and he’s looking down at his hands - at Shouta’s curled around his wrist - and sighs. “It’s going to be tough in the next few weeks wading through the fallout of this, and at the public’s reaction to the people stripped from grace...but we’ll be okay. Busy, but okay.”
“You still owe me dinner and an explanation, anyway.” Shouta rubs his thumb over the pulse point in All Might’s wrist, a wry smile on his face. He squeezes, and the love struck little smile he gets in response is beautiful, as is his little chuff of laughter.
“I do, don’t I?”
sorry for taking so long !! i've been finishing my course and doin conventions and getting sick but HOOOO
i just wanna say thanks for your support ?? everyone's been so lovely and sweet and i'm dying over how nice of a reception this got !! you're all beautiful and i love. you all
It's been three weeks since everything happened, two weeks since Shouta returned to Musutafu, and about eight days since he returned to UA to teach actual heroics classes when Nemuri sits delicately across from where he's trying to nap on the couch and kicks him. Hard.
Shouta growls and curls in on himself, tugging the sleeping bag further over his face as he glares at the back of the couch, exhausted and grumpy and really not in the mood.
“Shou. Shouta. Shou-chan,” Nemuri says with every poke, the point on her heels digging into his spine and making him hiss and twist in an effort to get away. “Shou, we need to talk about this. You're pining, and it’s cute and all, but you’re being a real bitch and we’re fucking o-”
He rolls over suddenly and grabs her ankle, making her squeal - not at the motion, but at how sleep deprived he looks right now - and Nemuri retracts, hands up in front of herself.
“What,” He snarls, propping himself up on an elbow, letting go of her foot and brushing a grossly tangled bit of hair out of his face. “The fuck do you mean by pining.” Shouta’s not pining. He’s definitely not pining. He and Toshinori split on amicable, if sort of...sad, terms, and he only stared at the text he sent him last week for two hours before replying. He’s not fucking pining.
“You’re pining.” Nemuri says bluntly, folding her arms across her chest. “And it’s cute, but you need to go and see your husband - fake or not - and deal with this. Seriously. It’s pathetic.” She sniffs, crossing an ankle over her knee and sneers down at him. “It’s obvious you miss him! Go and organise a date, or coffee, or drinks! Take him home! Get some of that unresolved sexual tension out of the air cos’ he’s not even here and we can feel it and it’s stupid, and we’re all worried about you.”
He really wants to punch her right now.
Instead, Shouta groans, flopping onto his back and pressing his hands into his eye sockets, eyes squeezed shut. He shouldn’t be feeling like this, for fucks’ sake.
The week following the case breaking had been stupidly hectic and full of interviews and police reports and, on top of that, packing down the apartment they’d used, and Shouta’s still tired from it all. All Might had been out for most of each day giving interviews and talking about what he’d been up to for the last few months - Shouta watched one or two when he could, but always felt weird doing so; unused to the man being his fake husband - and Shouta had spent most of his time at the police station or hospital helping out where he could.
Most of the kids were released within the first week with therapy planned as well as routine check-ups, and Shinsou had gone home two days after the incident. Shouta still hasn’t seen him, but they text one another updates about their lives.
He misses the kid.
He also fucking misses Toshinori, but he doesn’t want to talk about that right now. They’d barely seen each other in the week after, so busy with their respective jobs, and they only really saw each other at night as Shouta crawled into bed beside a sleeping Toshinori, and woke to an empty bed or a kiss to his temple as he left for the day.
He hadn't realised how used to Toshinori's presence, how in tune he was to him, while they slept, and now his eyes feel like they're on fucking fire. It's pretty safe to say he hasn't slept a proper night in the two weeks since he’s been back, and it's…it's bad. Even Hizashi recoiled this morning, and Shouta had to be really bad to get that sort of reaction.
Maybe he needs to see Toshinori again. Bastard still owes him dinner and an explanation.
He’s still not over the fact that he’s been unceremoniously hooking up with fucking All Might for the last six weeks.
“Ask if he wants to catch up, sweetie,” Nemuri’s voice is closer and Shouta feels her fingers in his hair, gently brushing through to disentangle some of the worst knots. It's...nice. “There's nothing wrong with asking, and you can pass it off as discussing the final details of the case - chase up any leads - in case you're worried he'll react poorly. Which he won't, by the way.”
Shouta grumbles, turning away and hisses when Nemuri pokes his face with a manicured nail. “What if he does, though?” He snaps, glaring up at her.
Nemuri only shrugs, resuming her brushing.
“You can't be this torn up about it and have the other guy be completely fine, Shou. There had to be something underneath all that faking if it's got you this messed up, right?”
She has a point, much as he’s loathe to admit it.
He’s saved from trying to contact Toshinori and making a fool of himself by Naomasa, who informs him of a meeting to more or less touch base with those involved, and to fill them in on the fallout thus far. He could, honestly, kiss him.
The police precinct is stuffy and full of suits, there’s a media camp out the front, and Shouta elbows his way through the crowd with a little more force than is entirely necessary, anxious to get inside and get this over with.
Anxious to see Toshinori again, mostly.
He’s missed him.
All Might’s been spotted in the news every few days since getting back to the city - not that he’s been checking - but there’s a clip of him doing something almost every day on social media or news sites, whether it’s a fight or an interview or a close-up of his ass taken by a fan. The people have clearly missed him.
Tsukauchi greets him as he drags himself into the conference room, a polite smile on his face as he enquires on his shoulder - it’s better, but still twinges if moved in the wrong direction - and how he’s settling back into life.
The answer to the second question is a solid ‘I could be settling better.’
It’s been weird, being back in his own apartment by himself. He’s so used to Toshinori puttering around in the mornings or Shinsou playing music that the silence is almost painful, and it’s safe to say that he’s definitely avoiding being home alone at this stage.
Tsukauchi seems to understand and bumps his shoulder with a small smile, splitting off to talk to another officer before his phone buzzes and he disappears from the room. Shouta can’t really blame him - he’s surrounded by politicians and police, and it’s awkward - but he manages to make small and polite conversation with Kenji over various details when he hears an all too familiar voice and twists to spot Toshinori walking into the room with Tsukauchi at his elbow, smiling and joking about something or other.
All Might’s in high demand since his return, which is completely unsurprising but the man looks almost haggard, the shadows under his eyes worse than usual, and he looks like he may have lost weight. His cheeks are a little sharper than what he can remember.
But he pauses in his laughter and looks straight at Shouta - across the room, looking like a sleep-deprived disaster himself thanks to the underground work he’s thrown himself back into a little faster than he probably should have - and he smiles. It’s soft, gentle, as if he can’t believe Shouta’s standing over there surrounded by stuffy suits and boring policemen, and he looks smitten.
He’s definitely not ready for this reunion.
The meeting is called to attention and everyone finds a seat, and Shouta can feel Toshinori’s eyes on the back of his neck the whole damn time. Honestly, he sort of wonders if the man has paid any attention to a word Kenji’s said - it’s sort of important, but with All Might’s involvement he supposes he probably already knows everything - but it’s distracting as shit and he has to keep checking himself to make sure he’s actually absorbing the information given and not fantasising about what he’s going to say to Toshinori.
Five more arrests have been made and the heads of the operation are now all behind bars, and all of the children have been released from hospital with therapy planned for the next year.
It’s been, all in all, an overwhelming success, and Shouta’s a little pissed that he’s been having such a shit time for the last few weeks without his husband by his side.
It doesn’t take too long to go over everything and by the end of it everyone’s laughing and shaking hands and clapping each other on the back, and Kenji’s smiling, and Shouta endures four handshakes and claps on the shoulder and horrifically fake smiles in his direction before he’s slipping between suits and out the door, needing air. His stomach’s been in knots for the last hour and he’s so stupidly nervous to speak to Toshinori again - which is fucking stupid, but he’s still not over the revelation on the night the case broke, and he doesn’t actually know if he ever will be.
Once he’s through the station and out in the sunset, sucking in a deep breath of clean air that isn’t choked with cologne, he realises that he wasn’t alone in his decision to bail early.
Toshinori’s resting against the light post outside the station, hand gently pressed to his chest - like his heart aches, or he needs to breathe properly, or something - and he startles the moment he hears Shouta approach, looking up, and…
...and they both just sort of stare at one another, with no idea what to do.
Hi, I’ve missed you, please take me back, I think I’m in love with you-
“Hey,” Toshinori’s voice is deep, and a little rough - probably from all the talking he’s been doing as All Might - and Shouta shivers as the sound washes over him.
“Hey yourself,” He murmurs, tucking his hands into his pockets as he wanders closer. “You’ve been busy.”
Toshinori laughs softly, raising a hand to do…something before he thinks better of it, tucking it into his elbow as he crosses his arms. “I have, yes. You too, I take it?”
He grunts, giving a noncommittal shrug before he comes to a stop just in front of his husband, peering up - and up - at him as the streetlight blinks to life and casts his face in deep shadow. He’s definitely lost weight. It’s sort of alarming to notice. “Yeah. Yeah, I have been.” Shouta sniffs and swipes at his nose, looking down the street to avoid Toshinori’s piercing gaze. It’s intense, and he knows he’s studying him - like he did before - to see how well he’s adjusting to being single. Independent.
A tiny part of him wants to just tell him he’s adjusting terribly and needs to sleep in Toshinori’s arms again, but...well. His pride is at stake here.
A large hand cups his jaw and Shouta looks back up at Toshinori, lips parting on a soft catch of breath from the contact. Fuck, he’s so warm. His eyes slip closed and he feels Toshinori chuckle as he brushes his thumb beneath his eye, gentle as ever, and then he’s shifting closer and tugging him into an embrace, the hand cupping his jaw sliding back to cup the back of his head, and Shouta fucking melts into the hug. He feels sort of desperate, the way he bunches his hands into Toshinori’s dress shirt and pulls him closer, burying his face against his chest - but the strong hands gripping him are also desperate, and Shouta can’t help but huff a laugh against his obnoxious tie.
It’s been two weeks back in the city, back to regular life, and he finally feels like he’s home.
“Have you eaten?” Toshinori asks after a while - not letting Shouta go, but his chin is propped on his head and his hold around him has loosened slightly - and Shouta pulls his head free to look up at him, shaking it after a moment.
“Nah, I came straight from school. Have you?”
Since they’re no longer pressed so tightly against one another Toshinori reaches for Shouta’s arm in an attempt to keep physical contact, shaking his head.
“No, but I owe you dinner, don’t I?” He murmurs, sliding his fingers against Shouta’s until they’re holding hands, squeezing gently, “And an explanation.”
God, fuck, he’s missed this.
“Where works best for you?” Shouta tries to keep his voice even, tries really hard not to let Toshinori see how wrecked he is right now by such simple, intimate contact, but the bastard chuckles and squeezes his hand again, teasing.
“Are you hungry? We can either go to a restaurant I know that’s pretty secluded and private, or, well...my apartment is close by. It’s probably as isolated as you can get.” There’s a light dusting of pink creeping its way over Toshinori’s cheeks, and Shouta grins.
He gives a light shrug - either works for him, honestly - but tugs on their joined hands, leading Toshinori. “I’m good with either, so it’s up to you.”
He’s sort of disappointed when Toshinori picks the restaurant, but thankful all the same. It means he's not going to be distracted from the important information that he's about to become privy to.
Absently, Shouta wonders how many people actually know the secret of All Might.
The restaurant is nice, if way too expensive and fancy for Shouta’s tastes, with the
chandelier and silk curtains and dark marble decor. But their booth is secluded and private, and he peruses the menu with a minimum of eyebrow raising, joking with Toshinori about bits and pieces. It's nice to hang out with him again, and he can see the blonde peeking at him over the top of his menu as he pretends to look at it.
It's fucking cute.
They order food and drinks and sit back to wait, and Shouta lifts his water glass to his lips to take a sip when Toshinori clears his throat.
“So.” His hands are folded on the table in front of him, and he's staring hard at them.
“So, indeed.” Shouta murmurs, blinking at him. Here it comes.
“I'm afraid that before I say anything, I need you to understand that it’s extremely confidential. Like, your hero license security can get upgraded, confidential.” He fidgets, tucking long fingers over one another, and Shouta tries hard not to get distracted by it. “When I accepted this case, I was under the impression that I wouldn’t have to reveal anything. They did thorough background checks on you and interviewed principal Nezu extensively to ensure you could be trusted. The fact that you were asked - and succeeded with the entire operation - says much about what we decided.”
Shouta hums, allowing one more glance down at Toshinori’s hands - the ring is gone, of course, but he wants to hold them - but he’s still, watching him carefully.
“I am All Might.”
It’s still earth shattering, impossible and absurd news to take in. This man - Yagi Toshinori - who looks like he could be broken by a small breeze, who’s willowy and delicate with most things he does, who’s so fucking gentle with his large, spindly hands...is All Might. Shouta can’t even disagree or tell him he’s fucking with him, because he literally witnessed it a month ago.
It’s been one month since he found out, and Shouta still has absolutely no idea how he should react to this. He’s got nothing.
His silence doesn’t really help Toshinori’s nerves and he looks at him for a moment, blue-black eyes twitching over his face, before he stares resolutely at his hands and picks up one of his chopsticks, fiddling.
“I wasn’t lying too much when I showed you my scar, a little bit into the operation. You remember that, right?”
How could he not. That night sort of changed the entire dynamic of their relationship.
“I assume it wasn’t a table-leg that did that to your stomach, then?”
“No, no, it wasn’t. I’m still missing the stomach and lung, but the circumstances over the damage are slightly different. All For One, they call him. Big villain, potentially the biggest, and a bastard. I was holding my stomach in with one hand while I fought him with my other, and only barely managed to survive. He fractured my spine on top of that, and after all the surgeries I had to relearn how to walk...you might remember All Might’s disappearance for a few months after it, right?”
Shouta nods dumbly, and realises his hands are shaking. Just like they were when Toshinori first told him about his injury.
“Yeah. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you the truth immediately, but you understand now why that wasn’t exactly possible, I’d assume…”
He hums in agreement, taking another sip from his water glass. “Thank you.”
Toshinori blinks at him. “For lying?”
“No, idiot. For telling me everything now. To be honest, I didn’t even consider that you could have fudged the details on that - just accepted it as it was - so...y’know. Thanks. For deeming me worthy to know the truth.”
There’s a light dusting of pink in Toshinori’s cheeks and he ducks his head, looking away. He’s still fiddling with the chopstick he’d picked up earlier, and Shouta chuckles more to himself than anything. Still awkward, after everything that’s happened.
“So why did you accept this case, anyway?” He asks once the silence has grown a bit too long, and Toshinori’s started fidgeting again. Shouta’s been wondering about it on and off for the last few weeks, so hopefully he can get an answer.
Toshinori looks up at him. “Two reasons. The injuries from the fight against the crab quirk, and then I had surgery, two weeks before the case began and shortly after the fight. It was on my intestinal tract, and I couldn’t do anything strenuous for fear of damaging the stitching or tearing something internally. This case was sort of the only thing that forced me to sit on my ass - and even then I’ve still been tempted - until I was given the clear from my doctors.”
“So all those doctor appointments…”
“...were actual checkups to see if my surgery was a success, yes. I wasn’t lying about going to the doctor, Shouta.” He snorts, and rolls his eyes fondly. “I just had slightly different reasons for going.”
Shouta sips his water as he absorbs the information just handed to him, mulling it over slowly. This is...big. He lifts his hands as their food is served and picks up a ball of takoyaki, watching the fish flakes dance on top before blowing on it.
“Okay.” He says after he’s taken a small bite.
Toshinori blinks. “Okay?”
“Yeah. Okay.” He takes a breath. “This is clearly - obviously - information you don’t give out to just anyone. Thank you for telling me, I’ll admit, I’ve been curious - but I’ve also been trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been hooking up with fucking All Might for the last two months - and it's...not easy going.”
He chimes a laugh across from him, holding udon carefully in his chopsticks, and Shouta rubs a hand through his hair, embarrassed.
“I promise that I didn’t actually want you to find that out about me!” Toshinori’s still chuckling as he nibbles at his udon, but he’s not offended. He looks...happy. “But you took it well. Better than I thought you would, actually. So thank you.”
He grunts, mouth full of takoyaki, and shrugs. It’s sort of part of the job.
“So how does it work? Your quirk, I mean. The...All Might, muscle version, and Toshinori.” Shouta leans forward as he speaks, head tilted, and doesn’t miss the red that creeps into the blonde’s cheeks when he says his name. Toshinori scrubs at the back of his neck, laughing softly.
“I don’t actually know, if I’m being honest. My quirk...I’ll tell you more about it next time, but I used to look like All Might all the time. This, now?” He gestures to himself. “This is the last four years of surgery and recovery. This is what I look like every day, as you’ve seen. I have limited time as All Might; six hours per day, currently, but that’s dwindling down to five hours rather quickly.”
Shouta stares at him. “So...what’s your plan, then? This time away has forced heroes to prove themselves, which is a good step toward making them independent of you.” He speaks softly, spearing another ball of takoyaki. “What happens when that time drops to an hour?”
Toshinori’s silent for a moment, staring down at his water glass.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll retire.”
It makes sense, if he’s being honest - All Might was never going to last forever, but Shouta had grown complacent with the man - it’s still shocking, all the same. In two years time, All Might might not be a hero anymore.
“Thank you, Toshi.”
His head snaps up to stare wide-eyed at Shouta who holds his gaze, making a mental note to call him by his first name whenever he can. His reaction is always beautiful.
Their dinner continues pretty well after their awkward little hiccup, and Toshinori tells Shouta a little more about himself - honestly, this time - and Shouta tries really hard to ignore the way they’ve been moving closer to one another, leaning over the table a little more and a little more each time. He’s intoxicating.
“Come home with me,” Toshinori says as they leave the restaurant after a small argument over who got to pay. He’d won, and he slides his hand into Shouta’s as they pause in the foyer, bringing them to his mouth to kiss his knuckles. “I’ve missed you.”
He nods mutely, unable to say much more seeing as his brain has fucking shut down to focus on his words, but Toshinori smiles that effortless smile of his and leads him, gently, back to his home. It’s in a nice neighbourhood, only two stations away from the restaurant, and Shouta looks around with interest as they walk. Words are few between them but the silence is comfortable and doesn’t need to be filled, and soon enough Toshinori is scanning his little pass to open the door to his apartment building, spacious and comfortably designed.
There’s an elevator at the end of the pristine and fancy as shit hallway but Toshinori guides him toward the stairs, one hand on the railing and the other sliding around Shouta’s waist to cup his hip before letting go.
Which is dumb as hell, really, but this is the first time he’s been, like, alone with Toshinori without the shared space of Shinsou or the cases fallout hanging over them, and he frankly has no idea what to expect.
It doesn’t take much longer for them to reach his door and now Toshinori also looks nervous, fingers clumsy as he fumbles his keys a couple of times, soft laughter escaping him with his shoulders hunching forward in embarrassment.
It’s cute. It’s so fucking cute.
“Um. Here we are...” He murmurs as his keys eventually snag in the lock and he’s able to push the door open and hold it for Shouta to enter, who looks around with interest. It’s about as fancy as he’d expected - big windows, tall ceilings, stone benches - but there’s a pile of plants sitting near the window which catches his eye. He tugs his shoes off before venturing any further in, but is caught by thin fingers before he can go too far.
Toshinori is looking at him with such concern - like he doesn’t really believe he’s in his apartment - and he slides his hand down to twine their fingers, giving his hand a gentle squeeze.
Shouta steps closer.
“I wanted to ask, um. What we had - you know, before everything blew up - and, well, it’s been a few weeks now, and our situations have changed. You’re teaching at UA again and have resumed your underground work, and I’m back to being the number one hero...but I wanted to…”
He scrubs the back of his neck, looking away.
“I wanted to ask, if you maybe...wanted to, I don’t know. Try again? But on our own terms?”
Here, in his entryway, Toshinori - All Might - stands, heart on his sleeve, asking if Shouta wants to fucking try. Try to date him, officially, with marginally less secrets but more fucked up lives and no kids to rescue and protect. He wants to try. It’s kind of funny that he even thought he needed to ask.
Shouta huffs, a laugh by optimistic terms, and stands on his tippy toes to kiss Toshinori’s neck. He’s not going to reach his mouth even if he tried, so he might as well settle. Toshinori gasps at the gesture, stooping down a little bit, and Shouta wraps his arms around his neck, smiles at him, nods, and kisses him.
It’s all downhill from there.
It’s been three weeks since they’ve seen each other - and even then, their last meeting was extremely stressful and fraught with tension - and Toshinori moans softly into Shouta’s mouth as he cups his face and reaches into his hair, tugging gently.
Fuck, it’s good.
They kiss, and reacquaint themselves with one another, and then Toshinori’s hand slips from his hair to massage his shoulder and he groans.
“Why the restaurant, if this is what you really wanted to do?” He teases as Toshinori’s hands map his back, fingers dragging down his hero suit and pressing into the spots that he knows - remembers - get tight and he sags against the blonde’s chest, humming.
“Probably because I didn’t want to be held accountable for forgetting to tell you what I needed to say, since I’d be...distracted, with you so close to me.” Toshinori mumbles, a smile in his voice as he leans down to kiss him again.
It’s like the last three weeks didn’t even happen as Shouta fucking melts in his grip, feeling long fingers slide into his hair and blunt nails scrub over his scalp, and he shivers, pressing back against the door and effectively caging himself in Toshinori’s arms, tilting his head to improve the angle.
Toshinori kisses just as good as he did - which is unsurprising, but it’s still a nice reminder - and his grip is gentle and sure as he coaxes Shouta away from the door and toward his couch. “I’ve missed you,” He breathes into their shared air, kissing the corner of his mouth, and Shouta moans softly. “Haven’t been able to sleep all that well, cos’ I was so used to you being with me...it’s been tough. I was so used to being alone, and now it feels weird.”
God, Shouta understands him completely.
“So do you just want to sleep?” He teases as he sinks down onto the couch and pulls Toshinori on top of him, sinking into the cushions with a stupid, love-struck smile on his face as the blonde presses a kiss to his cheek, his nose, his temple.
“I’m considering it,” He murmurs, and Shouta actually laughs aloud at that, hands fisted in Toshinori’s shirt to keep him close, and he can feel warm air puff against his cheek as he continues. “But I’m slightly more interested in making up for lost time, with you.”
He finishes his sentence with a toe-curling kiss, and Shouta buries his hands in Toshinori’s hair as he pulls away, bubbly and happy and so in love that he doesn’t even really think as he pulls him back in, as he kisses the corner of his mouth and feels the blonde snort above him, scratching at his scalp. It’s so effortless as he wriggles on the couch to accommodate Toshinori a little better, gangly legs hanging off the couch on one side.
It’s so easy to murmur a soft little “I love you,” as Toshinori pulls away, lips kiss bruised and hair messy as shit. He blinks down at him, wide-eyed and flushed, and as Shouta’s brain kicks in and he realises what the fuck he just said and opens his mouth to apologise - to say something, anything - Toshinori smiles.
It’s not an All Might smile, which he’s still trying to link back to Toshinori. It’s not one of his exasperated smiles, or his fond smiles, or his cheeky smiles for when he’s made a terrible dad joke and is waiting for them to react. It’s not one of his bad-day smiles, or genuinely entertained smiles, or happy smiles as he watches Shinsou master a new move Shouta has taught him.
This one is new.
This one says ’I know, you idiot’ and ’I love you, too’ as he cups Shouta’s face, thumb brushing below his right eye, and kisses him soundly.
“It feels kind of weird, doesn’t it?”
Shouta looks up from where he’s been staring hard at the little cake Toshinori’s made, glancing up at his boyfriend. His boyfriend.
God, he feels like a teenager.
Toshinori chuckles, and gestures ahead to the apartment complex Shinsou lives in with his family - it’s in a nice area, good schools and a nice, family-friendly reputation to boot - before looking down to meet Shouta’s gaze.
“You know. Weird, to be meeting his actual family. I still kind of forget he’s not our kid.”
Shouta snorts, burying his face into his scarf to hide his smile and feels Toshinori chuckle and drift closer to avoid the passing family on their left. He’s right - Shinsou (or Hitoshi, as he’s decided) has been texting them on and off since they split, asking about the case, about life, asking if Shouta’s kissed Toshinori again - and it feels almost normal, to see him. Weirder that they haven't been seeing him.
A mop of purple hair appears over one of the balconies of the complex, shouts, and immediately vanishes only to appear about a minute later as Hitoshi flings himself outside the entrance to the building and sprints towards them, arms outstretched as he practically throws himself into Toshinori’s open arms.
They’re laughing as he spins their kid around, squeezing him tight, and Hitoshi’s excitedly talking at him at a hundred miles a minute, breathless but so, so happy to see him again.
Toshinori’s elected to not tell him about All Might for his safety, so the last time Hitoshi saw him was, technically, before everything went to complete and utter shit.
He spins their kid around once more before slowing to a halt and depositing him on the ground but Toshinori doesn’t break the hug and Hitoshi makes no movement to let him go, hands fisted in the back of his shirt like he’s a lifeline.
”I’ve missed you,” Shouta hears Hitoshi murmur and Toshinori’s soft response as he rubs his back - stooped awkwardly to accommodate the, frankly, stupid height difference between them - and then dark eyes are peeking around his boyfriend to peer at him and Shouta has about a second to lift the cake above his head and make a warning sound before Hitoshi’s roughly pulling him into a hug, too.
Toshinori lifts the cake from his hands with a laugh, letting him ruffle the kid’s hair and huff as he pulls him in closer.
God, he’s missed this.
Not that he’ll admit it out loud.
“Took you long enough to visit,” Hitoshi grumbles from where he’s buried his face in his scarf, poking him in the side. “You can’t have been that busy.”
“You do remember that I’m an underground hero as well as a teacher, right? And this case was kind of a big deal?”
“Well, yeah, but dad’s been busy shadowing All Might for all his press stuff, and you haven’t. You just disappeared, like you...well. Like you probably normally do.”
“Yeah, because there’s sort of an emphasis on underground, you little brat.” Shouta hisses, and before Hitoshi can smack him Toshinori gently eases himself between them, laughing softly.
“Come on, kid. It’s not like you haven’t done anything aside from be mean to us in the group chat about when we were coming to visit.” He drops a hand onto Hitoshi’s shoulder and steers him back toward his apartment, passing the cake to the boy and talking to him quietly, and Shouta moves to Toshinori’s other side and gets a steady hand around his shoulder as well.
It’s just like it used to be - almost back to normal - and the tension melts out of their kid the closer they get to his home, as if he’s been nervous for this meeting. Which is understandable, but when he opens the door and trots inside to introduce his parents, who are so extremely kind and beautiful and full of love for their son (and for Shouta and Toshinori for taking care of him as well as they had) Shouta can’t help but wonder why Hitoshi was as nervous as he was.
He talks easily with the four adults - with his four different parents, as he jokingly mentions to Shouta while he helps prepare dinner - and his mothers’ are witty and fun to talk with and happily poke fun of their son when the opportunity arises over the course of the evening.
It’s nice, and as Toshinori helps clean up after dinner and disappears into the kitchen with Hitoshi to do the dishes and prepare dessert, Shouta finds himself being invited back for semi-regular dinner - when possible - over tea.
“Hitoshi’s happy with you,” He’s told, hands clenching a little around his mug of tea that has a cat face on it. ”He’s more confident and sure of himself. Fitter, and in better spirits. This job was really good for him, we think.You were good for him.”
Hitoshi falls asleep wedged between Shouta and Toshinori on the couch a few hours later - it’s late, but they’ve been talking the whole time and they’re into their third pot of tea - and they figure it’s about time to call it a night. The kid stirs when Toshinori moves, scrubbing at his eyes with a grunt and a sleepy mumble, but wakes up when he realises his dads are leaving and insists he walk them out of the building.
”You’re coming back, right?” He demands as they make their way to the stairs, arms folded across his chest and bottom lip poking out in an impressively similar manner to Shouta’s pout. “My mums really liked you, so you sort of have to, now. Plus, I still need lessons for the entrance exam.”
“So demanding,” Toshinori laughs, but he tousles the kids’ hair nonetheless and agrees to his request while Shouta nods along, muffling a yawn against the back of his hand. It’ll be tricky to organise with their schedules now that they’re not living together, but they’ll make it work. As long as the kid keeps up his practice time, he’ll be alright.
When they get outside Hitoshi pulls Toshinori into a crushing hug - like he had at the start of the night - and they have a muffled conversation that ends with his boyfriend choking a laugh as his ears go a cute shade of pink. Hitoshi looks proud of himself - too proud - as he pulls away and lets Toshinori scuttle down the steps onto the street, and then he’s turning on Shouta and advancing with his arms outstretched.
“You’re making it work?” He asks after a moment once Shouta’s pulled him into a tight hug, face mashed against his shoulder and words muffled, but he hears him all the same.
He hums. “We are, yeah. Took a little bit, but...yeah.”
“And you’re happy?”
Shouta snorts, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, kid. I’m happy.”
The arms around his chest squeeze a little tighter, and he can hear Hitoshi laughing into his shoulder. When he pulls away, he reaches up to pat Shouta’s head and only just manages to avoid the hand coming up to slap his away, laughing as he darts back toward the stairs.
Hitoshi’s happy. He’s so happy, so full of love and light-spirited and so damn happy, it’s beautiful to see. He waves goodbye to Shouta from his safe place and only flips him off right as he’s turning to head out onto the street. It leaves Shouta chuckling as he makes his way down the stairs to join Toshinori, who hums a greeting and slides his free hand around his waist, tucking him close and pressing a kiss to his head.
It’s a good night - Toshinori’s staying over, and he doesn’t have patrol, and All Might’s hours have been used up, and they have nothing planned for the morning - so if they dawdle and hold hands and talk in soft voices about Hitoshi’s training regime as they make their way home, it’s okay. They’re not missing out on anything.
Two years later, after Midoriya has finished his first year at UA and Hitoshi is accepted to join the hero course - and both Toshinori and Shouta somehow manage to survive the fucking turbulent year - Toshinori books a week away in one of the fancy estates in the mountains overlooking the valleys. To spoil Shouta, and to give him a break after the shit he's had to deal with over the year.
The house is opulent, and open and beautifully maintained and they have personal staff for the first few days to help make their stay more comfortable, and Shouta refused the second Toshinori mentioned it - which he’d expected, but that didn’t make it any less funny - but it’s just like the one from the engagement party, with little flower arrangements dotting the living area and gardens.
(Toshinori had organised them separately, and every time he catches Shouta admiring one he can’t help but smile in spite of the glare he receives for staring.)
They spend most of the week relaxing and catching up on things - on books, on social media, on their time together since they’ve both been so bloody busy - but there are trips organised in-between the catching up. A lunch on top of one of the hills with a stupidly beautiful view, an afternoon at one of the local onsens, a winery tour, and a visit to one of the more popular cafe’s with one of the rarest imported coffees.
It’s on the fifth day, when they’ve had dinner and are settling down for the night, cleaning up after cooking - Shouta’s washing dishes, grumbling a little to himself as he does it - and Toshinori can’t think of a better time to ask.
“Hey,” He begins, picking up the saucepan from the drying rack, and Shouta eyes him with an amused huff.
“Hey, yourself.” Shouta says, rinsing a plate and placing it where the saucepan had just been. He’s smiling, shoulders relaxed and free of tension after the massage Toshinori damn near had to hold him down for.
Watches his boyfriend pick up the other plate and place it in the water.
“I think we should get married,” He begins, passing the dish towel over the saucepan and trying to keep a straight face when he hears Shouta fumble with the plate he’s washing, splashing water over himself with a muffled curse. “Like. You know. Properly. Have a wedding, and everything.”
Shouta’s dead silent beside him, and Toshinori drops the saucepan a little to peek at him - at his completely shocked expression, soap suds dripping from his arms and shirt, staring right back up at him - and he can’t help but smile, looking back down as he places the saucepan aside and picks up a plate.
His hands are shaking.
“Because I think about it, you know. About the mission. A lot. And I really liked wearing that ring, and I think about that stupid ring all the damn time, and I figured...why not? I’d like to wear one again - one that you get to pick - and I’d like to be your husband. Officially. Aizawa Toshinori has a nice, you know, feel to it, don’t you think?”
He’s babbling. He’s fucking babbling, and Shouta’s still staring at him, and maybe he should’ve picked a better time to propose than when they’re cleaning up after dinner, but, like, this is one of his favourite things to do, if he’s being honest, and Toshinori just didn’t think the other places they’d visited would have done the whole thing justice, and-
-and Shouta gently tugs the plate out of his hands to place it down on the bench, and cups his face, and laughs as he pulls him down into a firm, very affirmative kiss.
“Yes, you idiot,” He gasps when he pulls away, a little watery-eyed but laughing nonetheless, smiling up at him. “Yes, of course I’ll marry you.”
Toshinori stares at him, slack-jawed, but recovers quickly and tilts his head to kiss Shouta’s palm as he reaches into his jacket pocket to tug the little box free, opening it up and gently easing his fiancé’s hand from his face to slide the tungsten band onto his finger. It sits perfectly - similar to the one he’d worn on the mission two years ago, but more elegant - and Shouta stares at it for a moment, transfixed.
“God,” He says after a moment, laughing again as he wiggles his ring finger. He might also be crying. “I can’t believe we’re going to get married.”
Toshinori laughs, hiccuping as he’s pulled down into another kiss, smiling dumbly against Shouta’s mouth. They’re both sniffling, and Toshinori can’t stop smiling for the rest of the night and keeps getting distracted by the glint of dark metal against his fiancé’s finger, but it’s okay.
Shouta keeps getting distracted too.
(‘I doubt it’s a good time to tell you there’s no take-backs on the ring, right?’ Toshinori asks as they get ready for bed that night, pulling his shirt over his head in an effort to hide his stupid, lovestruck and cheeky smile as Shouta groans from the bathroom and flings his towel at him.)