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“Tell me what you want?”

“Well that’s a nice way to greet an old friend.” Hizashi offers a shaky grin

“Old is right.” Shouta continues to clean the glass in his hands. He only offers the man across from his a cursory glance, “You cut your hair.”

Hizashi lets out a bitter chuckle, “Not much of a choice. Better than keeping the burnt tips Endeavor gave me.”

That gets Shouta’s attention. A quick look around shows the bar is mostly empty except for those dead drunk on the floor. Not so unusual for 5am. He puts the glass down and gives his former schoolmate a serious look across the bar. Hizashi looks wrecked. His left eye is healing from some bad bruising. That narrow nose was crooked from a badly mended broken bone. His clothing looked a bit worn out, too thin in places like the elbows and hems. And the blond was missing his signature sunglasses, “Why are you here?”

“I don’t know if you heard the news a few months ago but...I fucked up Sho.” Hizashi bites his lip before he sniffs, “I messed up so bad.”

Shouta remembers the loudmouth. They had attended UA for a full year together. But then Shouta had been framed by some jealous classmates and Hizashi hadn't taken his side. Because of that Shouta had lost all credibility. His parents, who had been skeptical of his ambitions in the first place, told him to move on. So Shouta had. He moved out the very next week and tried to find people who would appreciate his skills. It had taken a few years but eventually Shouta had managed to carve out a life for himself. Now here was a reminder of his worst failure. And for some reason Shouta felt a bit of sympathy well up in his empty heart, “I don’t watch the news. Tell me what happened.”

Hizashi broke. Tears began to form in his eyes, “I killed someone.” he whispered in pure self horror, “I killed an innocent person.”

“You would never do that.” Shouta said without hesitation

“I didn't mean to.” Hizashi sobbed as he slammed a fist on the bar, “I didn't mean to!” the bar rattled slightly while the drunks on the floor moaned

“Stop.” Hizashi flinched. Shouta sighed, “Wait a minute.” he went out into the main floor area and kicked the still bodies. After a few choice words the men left swiftly. Anyone who came here knew better than to argue with him. He returned to the bar where Hizashi was sniffling. It looked like the tears weren't able to stop now that they had been loosed. Shouta poured a shot of strong whiskey and put it in front of the blond, “Drink it. Then finish.”

Hizashi did as instructed. Through sobs and tears the poor guy explained how he had graduated middle of his class. How he hadn't managed to get any good positions in radio so focused entirely on Hero work. Then about going to work for Endevor. And in true fashion the violent Number Two had encouraged Hizashi to be more aggressive with his Quirk. Which led to a building collapsing on a young man during a villain fight. Endeavor had thrown the poor guy under the bus. Even going so far as to publicly throw him out onto the street with his own two burning hands. The family of the dead man had sued Hizashi for everything he had. Last night they had finally take his home.

By this time Hizashi had had two more drinks and gone through a half a box of tissues. As he quieted down Shouta asked calmly, “Why are you telling me all this? What does it have to do with you being here?”

Hizashi sighed heavily and laid his cheek against the dark wood of the bar, face turned away, “I...had heard things. While I was doing Hero work. Stuff about a certain figure in the shadows who was moving things for villains. Endeavor was trying to figure out who it was when I worked for him. And this one time...I was sent out for recon. They sent me to an empty lot in the Juninko neighborhood.”

Shouta stiffened, “See anything interesting?”

Hizashi let out a hollow laugh, “You know what I saw. I even got pictures.” Shouta’s fingers started itching toward a dark space under the bar, “I almost got them developed too,” Shouta paused while Hizashi sighed, “But then I remembered this kid I used to know. How I let him down once. And I thought that maybe I owed him one for ruining his future.”

“That’s awfully big of you.” Shouta said sarcastically as his hand returned to its original goal. As his fingers wrapped around a familiar leather handle he asked, “Does that mean you expect something from this kid in return.”

“Not really.” Again Hizashi’s words shocked Shouta a small bit. Hizashi sat up and looked at Shouta with empty eyes, “I just thought maybe he’d take pity on me and give me a job. It’s either that or he’s going to kill me in a minute. Either way I’m good with what happens.” Hizashi’s eyes drop to where Shouta’s had is still under the bar. There is no fear. Only an odd sort of acceptance, almost relief.

“A job?” Shouta is truly stunned, “You want to work for me at the bar?”

“If that’s where you want me.” Hizashi still sounds raw as he motions to the bottle at Shouta’s elbow, “Can I have more of that?”

Shouta wordlessly slides the bottle over. Hizashi just pours himself another drink and sips it. He doesn't speak again while Shouta thinks over his options. It’s true that Shouta is involved in some shady things. Turns out having a Quirk like Erasure makes it easy to take out your competition. Especially when that competition only sees you as a short 15 year old. Shouta never let anyone close enough to know he was in charge, always giving the impression of being some weak lacky. They always thought that up until he stabbed them in the back. Over the last five years he had absorbed four different territories and overthrown two major smuggling rings to take over their customers. He moved everything from bootleg movies all the way up to Villain Support Items. Those smart enough to connect it all to one person called that being Void. He doubted Hizashi knew everything. But the man knew Shouta was involved. And instead of using that to save his own skin with a Pro he came crawling to Shouta on his knees. It was almost too perfect.

“I have the apartment upstairs.”

“Huh?” Hizashi looks a bit bright in the cheeks, the alcohol obviously setting in

“You can stay on the couch tonight. We’ll talk tomorrow.” Shouta moves around the bar and starts putting up chairs on the few tables he has, “Help me out.” without a word Hizashi does just that. Once all the lights are out and glasses are put away Shouta leads them upstairs. The apartment is large and contains only a single room. The window had been bricked up years ago so the lights from the billboard across the street didn't bother Shouta. The carpet was soft and dark brown. The furniture was the same color and covered in fluffy velvet. Shouta liked soft things. Across from the large couch was his own larger bed. It was decked out in neat yellow sheets. Once Shouta locked the door behind them he pushed Hizashi hard.

The man yelped as he landed on his hands and knees, having tripped over from trying to remove his shoes, “What…”

“Quiet.” Shouta was on him instantly, holding the thinner man still as his free hand went under the shirt beneath him

“Hey, you can’t just…” Hizashi sounded distressed as he started to struggle

“I said quiet!” Shouta snapped as he pushed the man down harder. To his surprised Hizashi did still. He was stiff for a moment before going limp. Shouta didn't really care why. He was on a mission. With haste and efficiency he stripped the downed blond of every clothing item. When the man was bare Shouta roughly flipped him. Shouta mechanically let his eyes rove over all the visible skin and hummed in satisfaction, “That’s good.” he said to himself

“I’m glad you like it.” he looked up to see Hizashi was crying again. The man was bright red and looked ready to fall to pieces, “Just get it over with already. It’s what I deserve.”

“Get it…” Shotua’s own face suddenly heated as he realized what Hizashi was thinking. He got up, trying to remain outwardly calm, “It’s not like that.” he walked over toward his open kitchen, “I was looking for a wire.”

Silence was the answer. Shouta let it continue as he put on the kettle. After a few moments he heard the sound of cloth moving. By the time Shouta turned back Hizashi was mostly dressed, minus his earlier shirt. The shirt was being wrung in nervous hands. Hizashi was still red in the face, “I thought…” he swallowed, “I mean, what else was I supposed to think?”

“I guess I should be more clear about that sort of thing. It doesn't come up much though.” Shouta motions to the couch, “Sit, I’m making tea.” Hizashi nods and goes to sit, “Like I said, I was looking for a wire. You can’t really blame me. You tell me you worked for Endeavor and that you let me slide because we used to know each other. It would be the perfect set up for a sting operation. I’m still not truly convinced this isn't that.” he turns and starts going through his tea selection, “So for now, until I can trust you, you can work at the bar. Dishes are easy, the people don’t talk too much, and I don’t serve anything fancy so you should not need much drink training. Don’t expect payment though. In exchange I’m going to let you sleep here. But you have to do whatever I tell you without questioning me. And that all starts now.” as he picks out two bags of green tea he looks over his shoulder. Hizashi is staring at him with wide green eyes, “Is that understood Yamada?”

“I…” Hizashi shuts his mouth quickly. After a few seconds he nods stiffly, “Yes sir.”

--------------------------BREAK-----------------------------------

“So, who is the new meat?” asks one of the older regulars as Shouta counts the till the next evening

“Old friend.” Shouta says simply

“Not like you to hire help.” the man observes. Shouta frowns a little when the guy licks a black tongue over sharp teeth, “He’s a cute one.”

“Oh yeah?” Shouta wonders where this is going but he’s already got a pretty good idea

“How much.”

Shouta sighs, “Rex, that isn't what he’s for.”

“Seriously?” the man laughs, “But he doesn't look like he can do much of anything. He already broke three glasses tonight. And he got my order wrong twice. What else do you keep him around for?”

“I don’t think that’s your business.” Shouta puts his money down and glares, “You know the boss doesn't like you right?” he asks quietly

Rex freezes, “What?”

“He thinks you’re lazy and untrustworthy. The only reason he keeps you around is because you have a useful Quirk. But all things lose their usefulness eventually. That guy is more useful than you right now. So I wouldn't go poking that bear.”

“You little shit.” Rex fixes him with a glare, “If you weren't the bosses favorite little fuck toy I’d have killed you ages ago.”

“Tell yourself whatever you want.” Shouta picks the money back up, “I think you should go now. Before I report you.”

Rex growls before storming out, knocking his glass to shatter on the floor like a child having a tantrum. That crash draws Hizashi’s attention. The guy comes rushing over with a towel and starts picking up glass from the floor, “What happened? Are you alright?”

“I’m fine Yamada.” Shouta writes down the total for the till before turning to head for the kitchen, “Finish cleaning that up and then work on the tables. We’ll be closing in half an hour and I want this place spotless.”

“Yes sir.”

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“Please, I’m sorry.” the pink haired teen sobs as he lays on the ground of the alley

“You should have been sorry much sooner.” Shouta says coldly as he twirls his blade in his hand, “It wouldn't have come to this.”

“I’ll never come back. I swear!” the kid starts to shuffle backward until his back hits brick

“I told you to leave already. This is Void’s street.” Shouta steps forward, grinding a bag of pills under the heel of his thick boot, “But you didn't listen. So now you have to be an example.”

“Like Hell I’ll just let you kill me!” the teen yells. In one last desperate move the kid’s eyes start to glow. Shouta’s are faster though. Whatever was supposed to happen doesn't, “What the…”

The words cut off with a watery gurgle as Shouta strikes. He smiles as the eyes empty and the body slumps to the side. With a sigh of satisfaction he pulls his knife away to clean it on the teen’s shirt, “They always try.” he mutters to himself as he walks away

The trip home takes about twenty minutes by rooftop. He gets to the bar by the time the sun starts to peek over the horizon. One look around shows that Hizashi had managed not to burn the place down while he was gone. The room is empty of customers while the blond counts the nights earnings behind the bar. Hizashi looks up but his smile dims almost instantly, “Boss, you okay?”

Shouta follows the look and notices he’s got some blood on his shirt. Shit, he liked this one, “I’m fine.”

Hizashi opens his mouth again but stops. It’s something he does often. Shouta knows it’s hard for the other not to ask questions. These last few weeks there had been a lot of strange things. Shouta coming and going at odd hours. The occasional night off. People coming in and trying to give Hizashi messages in code. But as per their deal Hizashi never asked about a thing. Just let Shouta do his own business and do what he was told. As Hizashi went back to counting Shouta moved forward slowly. It might be time to test a few things out.

He sat across from his employee and said, “Yamada, I need you to do something for me.”

Hizashi just smiled wide, “Sure Boss. What can I do?”

“I’m going to give you an address. I need you to go there before you turn in for the day. Pick up a package. The guy who answers the door is going to ask what you want. You tell him you want piano lessons. He’ll ask if you want home lessons. You say yes. Bring me what he gives you. Is that understood?”

Hizashi nods, his face serious, “Yeah, I can do that.”

“Good.” he stands and moves for the stairs, “I’m going to take a shower and go to bed. Don’t wake me up when you come back.”

“You got it.”

When Shouta wakes up there is a package on the kitchen counter. A detailed examination shows it hasn't been opened. Shouta looks back at the couch behind him where Hizashi is still snoring. This was a good first step.

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Shouta grunts as his back hits the ground. Rex is standing over him with a bloodthirsty look in his eyes, “You’ll take me to him you brat!” he screams in rage

“I won’t.” Shouta says calmly as he wipes a trail of blood from his lip. Letting people hit him pissed him off. But he had to keep up the helpless act while other patrons were present, “He didn't ask for you.”

“He never does!” the drunken man screams as a lizard tail starts to creep out from under his long coat, “It’s like he’s ignoring me. I do all his stupid little errands and not ever do I get a thank you. All I get is you smirking in my face and a pitiful bonus. It ends tonight!”

“Hey, take it easy man.” Hizashi has jumped the bar while the smarter patrons clear out, “Let's all take a deep breath here. How about another drink?”

“And him!” Rex points a clawed finger at Hizashi who freezes, “He’s only been here a few weeks but he gets sent on more jobs than me. Don’t deny it. I’ve been watching.”

“What Yamada does is not your business.” Shouta narrows his eyes, “You know the Boss doesn't like…”

“SHUT UP!” Rex lunges and wraps his fingers around Shouta’s throat, “I’m going to kill you! Some little fuck toy isn't going to upstage me! Just because the Boss wants your ass every night doesn't give you superiority over…” the noise the man makes is sudden and short. It’s paired with an oddly wet thump

Shouta takes a deep breath as the hands around his throat loosen. Rex falls to the floor. Shouta can see the large knife in the man’s back. It’s what they used to cut lemons behind the bar. Hizashi is standing there. He looks like he isn't breathing as he observes the clearly dead man on the floor. Before Shouta can say a word Hizashi collapses backward as he passes out.

Shouta takes a moment to absorb what has just happened. The second he understands he looks around the room. Thankfully there is no one present. To keep it that way he runs over to the front door and bolts it shut. After that he runs behind the bar to grab as many towels as he can carry. Approaching Rex’s quickly cooling corpse Shouta examines the wound. The spine near the base of the brain is severed. An almost instant death. It’s also getting bloodier by the second. Shouta wraps the towels tightly around Rexy’s neck until it’s mostly stopped the leakage. Quickly he drags the large man across the floor and into the kitchen. He stuffs the body into the drink fridge. It’s extra large and contains a drain for a reason. Once a lock is firmly in place he rushes back to Hizashi’s side. The guy is just starting to twitch.

“Yamada?” Hizashi moans but doesn't open his eyes. Shouta tries something a bit more personal, “Hizashi, can you hear me? I need you awake.”

“Sho?” Shouta’s going to let that pass for the moment, “What…” his eyes snap open and he lets out a short yell. It makes Shouta flinch back and activate his own Quirk. Hizashi doesn't even seem to notice as he stares at the small puddle of blood in the middle of the floor. He looks back at Shouta and raises his hand in a dazed fashion. Shouta slaps the hand away when it touches his slowly bruising cheek.

“Get yourself together Yamada!” he snaps and gives Hizashi’s shoulder a shake

“I...there was...Rex.” Hizashi is breathing faster and faster, “He was gonna hurt ya.” a slight country accent starts to peek out, interesting, “I took the knife and I…”

“You defended me.” Shouta said firmly, “Which was the right thing to do.”

“But I…” Shouta claps a hand over the man’s mouth

“You defended your Boss. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s going to win you a lot of favors.” Shouta wants Hizashi to focus. This is a very important moment. Hizashi is fresh from a purposeful kill. He needs something positive to associate with this. If Shouta can manage that things will be so much easier from now on.

“Favors?” Hizashi is still breathing hard as his hands go for his hair, fisting in the short strands

“The Big Boss, he likes me. The fact you took out someone who was after me is going to mean something. Can you understand that?” Shouta shakes him slightly again, getting their gazes to meet, “He might even want to meet you.”

“The Big Boss.” Hizashi’s eyes clear slightly. As they do a small bit of hope seems to take root, “You really think so?”

“I know so.” Shouta assures, “Who knows, he might even start to pay you. You could save up and move out. Become a real member of something.”

“I could…” the hope turns oddly sad. He shoots Shouta a weird look, “What if…” he stops and bites his lip

“You can ask.” Shouta permitted. This was amazing. Even in his shocked state Hizashi was following orders.

“What if I don’t want to move out?”

Shouta blinked, “Why wouldn't you want to?”

“It’s just…” Hizashi closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, “I really like it here. At least for a while longer, please. I feel safe. Like you’ll protect me the way I did for you if anything were to happen.”

“Because I owe you now?” Shouta asked cautiously

“No!” Hizashi insisted, “Because we’re...we were...friends.” Hizashi finishes quietly

That annoying warm feeling is back in Shouta’s chest. He sighs, “We’ll see what the Boss says. I’ll try to keep us together. But only for a little while, understand.”

“Doesn’t this mean we’re friends?” Hizashi asks hesitantly

“Only if you help me bury the body.”

---------------------------BREAK-------------------------------

“WHOA!” Shouta winces and his eyes flare as he glares at Hizashi. The idiot is jumping around the middle of the bar like a lunatic. He’s holding the envelope Shouta had handed him just a few seconds ago. Apparently the amount written on the check was acceptable. Hizashi ran straight back over to Shouta and beamed at him, “Thank Big Boss for me if you get the chance please. I really don’t deserve this much.”

“You really do.” Shouta assured, “You acted with loyalty and no hesitation. That gets rewards. This isn't like with that hypocrite Endeavor. As long as you do what is asked of you the group will always have your back.” Shouta meant every word. Loyalty was the most important thing to him. And Hizashi was perfect.

---------------------BREAK---------------------------------------

Shouta had made a decision. He came to it the moment he woke up exactly a year after Hizashi moved in. Hizashi was the most trusted person Shouta had in his organization. He had been the most loyal person to ever exist in Shouta’s twenty one years of living. So that night, after they closed down, Shouta shared his biggest secret, “I’m the Big Boss.”

Hizashi blinks. Shouta expects him to laugh any second now. Instead Hizashi blinks again and nods, “Alright.”

Shouta actually lets his jaw drop for a moment. Of all the things he had expected such a calm response was not one of them. He expected dissbelief, anger, possibly some hysterical laughter. Not complete and unquestioning acceptance, “Is that it?”

“Yup.” Hizashi’s smile turns hard, his eyes sparkle with mirth at Shouta’s reaction, “I do what you say Boss. And I don’t ask questions.”