Touya lowered the metal shutter of his small tattoo parlor with a rattling noise. He scrunched his nose in distaste as the sky dropped buckets of cold water on him. Of fucking course, he didn’t bring an umbrella this morning. One day, he would stop trusting this dumb weather forecast app.
His ripped skinny jeans were already sticking to his legs in the worst way possible. Droplets of water were running on the nape of his exposed neck, sending shivers along his spine.
After a final tug on the lock, he rushed to the nearest subway station, weaving between the umbrellas. He stepped in a traitorous puddle and winced as the water flooded his already drenched sneakers.
He finally reached the subway station, every step producing a squelching noise. He welcomed the warmth of the underground corridors with relief.
He disentangled the cords of his earphones with more internal cursing. Soon, music enveloped him in his personal bubble of peace. It made the commute easier, especially when he ended up squished between a fat dude and a woman with two children clinging to her arms.
Touya took advantage of this time to reply to the new comments on the picture he posted an hour earlier. He was pretty happy about this piece. The young woman bore the pain like a champ. Rib tattoos were not the less painful ones and the pattern was honestly huge, with a lot of shading. But she didn’t move a hair during these five long hours of pain.
He checked for what was probably the thousandth time the group chat he shared with his siblings. It had been quiet since the morning when they all sent silly messages and emojis to Shouto, to wish him good luck for his entrance exam.
The little shit hadn’t given any sign of life since then. It was hard to guess if it was a good or a bad sign. His younger brother had probably been his oblivious self, once again.
After a quick stop at the Konbini, Touya finally arrived at his apartment. The light was filtering from underneath the door's gap and he could hear the muffled sound of the TV. He rolled his eyes and opened the unlocked door.
Sure enough, he spotted a mop of red and white hair emerging from the couch, the TV blasting some crappy shows.
“You don’t have anymore Pocky.”
Touya grunted as he removed his soaked sneakers. “Sorry for the inconvenience, brat.”
“Mmmh. It’s fine. Make sure to restock.”
Touya tugged on his wet socks and sent them flying toward the couch.
Shouto squealed when the flying socks landed on his head. “Ew! Gross!”
Touya snickered before walking towards the bathroom. “You better have left some hot water, bitch, otherwise I’ll turn you into bacon.”
“I’d like to see you try.”
“And I expect a full report on your entrance exam!”
“Yeah yeah, whatever.”
“Love you too, Tinkerbell.”
Touya grinned as he closed the door of the steamy bathroom. Shouto had left the bathtub filled with hot water. Good kid.
After an epic battle to get rid of his sticky jeans, Touya finally sank in the warm water with a sigh of relief. He closed his eyes, determined to stay in the bath until he looked like a wrinkled prune. Numb by the heat, his mind started to wander, imagining new tattoos designs.
His bubble of peace and quiet shattered when the voice of his younger brother reached him through the door. “Hey Shortcake!”
“Fuck off, brat!” Touya shouted.
“There’s your boyfriend on TV!”
Touya shot his eyes opened. He sprung out of the bath as if he had just received an electric shock. He burst out of the bathroom, hastily wrapping a towel around his waist.
The brat better not lied to him. But there was no way he missed the opportunity to see him in action. No fucking way.
Yes, he was ridiculous, sue him.
Shouto snickered at his disheveled state, water already creating a pool on the hardwood floor. But Touya couldn’t care less. On the large TV screen, a pair of trademark red wings were displayed. The camera was struggling to keep up with the high speed of the Number 3 Hero as he was diving on a villain equipped with a jetpack.
Touya had to fight the urge to go closer to the screen. He didn’t need to give more teasing material to his brother.
"Damnit, get closer, you fuck," he groaned, his eyes glued on the flying hero.
The camera finally managed to take a close-up of Hawks’ pretty face and Touya bit his lower lip. Traitorous butterflies appeared in his stomach. His crush on the pro hero was completely ridiculous but it was not like he could help it, right? Not that he wanted to anyway.
As soon as the Wing Hero made his great debut, taking the heroes community by storm, Touya had been hooked. And God knew how much he hated heroes. But this dude? Damn. He would snack on him every hour of every day for the rest of his life if given the chance.
“Aaaaaw, you’re blushing. That would be cute if it was not so lame.”
Touya groaned. “Shut up, brat.”
Touya diverted his eyes from the TV to jump on his brother’s slouched figure. “Oh yeah?”
“Nooooo! Get your gross skinny ass off of me!” Shouto whined, trying to get rid of Touya.
One couldn’t grow up with two brothers and a sister without developing sneaky techniques to consolidate one’s supremacy. Especially when said brothers started to become unfairly tall. Only Fuyumi was able to put them three on their knees. But it was because they let her...obviously...nothing to do with her vicious pinkie-twisting technique. Absolutely nothing.
Touya wrapped himself around Shouto like a skinny vine, his wet hair dripping on Shouto’s face.
“Go away, you twerp!” Shouto squirmed and stirred but Touya didn’t let go. He might be short but there were muscles on this bony ass. After a few minutes of grunts, colorful insults and the loss of a towel, he managed to put Shouto in a headlock.
“Anything to say, brother?”
“Uncle, uncle!!” Shouto called, his voice strangled.
Touya gave a final squeeze, just to make his point, and released his brother. Shouto coughed and glared at him. Touya ruffled his brother’s hair. “You still have a lot to learn, kiddo.”
“Shut it. Once I’ll start UA, you won’t win so easily.”
“Oh, is that so? Cocky brat.”
Shouto huffed, trying to put some order in his messy hair. Touya left the couch to put some clothes on, grumbling when he noticed that Shouto had stolen his favorite t-shirt, again, the All Might one Fuyumi and he found in a thrift shop.
When he came back to the living-room, Shouto was typing on his phone, sporting his best resting bitch face. Touya winced. He knew this expression all too well.
“Enji?” he asked, slumping next to his brother.
“What does Flaming Mustache want?”
“He wants to know where I am. Can I crash here tonight?”
“Shou…once and for all, stop asking.”
“Mmmh…I don’t know, maybe you have plans…”
“Even if I had, my home is your home, dumbass.”
Shouto leaned against his brother’s shoulder. “…thanks, Nii-chan.”
“No worries, kiddo. So? Are you going to tell me how the exam went?”
Shouto’s face lit up. “I think it went well. I’m pretty sure I nailed the written exam. I don’t know about the interview…”
“You can never know about those things. And the practical exam?”
A real smile stretched Shouto’s lips. “I ended up second but it was fun! It was an obstacle race and there was this weird dude who kept on talking to me. He was so damn loud and we raced together. He finished first but that was close.”
Touya stretched his legs to rest his bare feet on the coffee table. “Quirk?”
“A thing with air? I think he can create whirlwinds with his hands or something. We didn’t really have the time to discuss after the exam because there was the interview thing. And he was one of the first to go and I was last.”
Shouto chuckled. “I think so. Pretty intense. I hope he’ll get in.”
“Aaaaaw look at that, my brother making friends outside of his siblings.”
Shouto pouted. “Not my fault if Stupid Mustache had me homeschooled…”
“I’m kidding, Shou,” Touya replied with a soothing tone. “I’m happy it went well. I’m sure you nailed it.”
“Hopefully…Otherwise, Enji will never let me live through it…”
Touya bumped his shoulder into Shouto’s. “Don’t you worry, brat. If you fail, I’ll teach you how to tattoo and we’ll become the famous Tattoos Brothers.”
Shouto snorted. “Another disappointment for Enji. I almost wish I’ll fail.”
“Are you going to keep on staring at this damn envelope for the next ten years or are you going to open it?”
“Touya, be quiet.”
“But Fuyu, we’ve been staring at this dumb thing for the past fifteen minutes!”
“I said: be quiet. Take your time, Shou-chan.”
Natsuo leaned over Touya and whispered. “I’ll tackle him and you take the envelope?”
“If one of you dare to move a toe, I’m going to end you. Painfully.”
Touya and Natsuo exchanged a look and reclined in the couch to stare at their younger brother sitting down on the floor. His mismatched eyes were boring holes in the innocuous brown envelope on Touya’s coffee table.
Shouto finally raised his eyes and caught Touya’s. There was doubt and worry in them. Touya sighed and left his spot between Fuyumi and Natsuo. He rounded the coffee table and plopped down next to Shouto.
He slung an arm around his brother’s tensed shoulders. “Come on, kiddo. Remember what we said. Tattoos Brothers, right?”
Shouto relaxed a little and finally opened the envelope. They all startled when the booming voice of All Might rang in the living room.
The Number One Hero, all smiles and insane muscles, cheerfully announced that Shouto had passed.
Fuyumi clasped a hand on her mouth, tears already welling in her eyes. Natsuo whooped loudly.
“Told you you’d nail it,” Touya said quietly, squeezing his brother’s shoulders.
A smile slowly bloomed on Shouto’s face. “I’ve made it…” He chuckled. “I’ve really made it.”
“You did. I’m proud of you, Shou.”
Touya pushed the dread and the concern away to focus on his little brother's blinding smile. He would worry later. If becoming a hero was what made Shouto happy, so be it.
Shouto had all the qualities to become a damn good hero, one billion times better than their poor excuse of a father. And Touya would be his number one fan, no matter his personal opinion on heroes.