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Stars Sway Into Each Step

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Hizashi had long needed a work sabbatical in order to get things taken care of face-to-face with associates from the US who were willing to come halfway.

But that had only taken up the first three days of the two weeks he had set aside because everything had gone smoothly and efficiently at the meetings, probably because both parties wanted time to enjoy their surroundings.

So, instead of going back to Japan early, he chose to spend the remaining time resting. He was burned out and had been for awhile.

Everything had been squared away back home, all his work carried out by others.

He tried to relax but the one thing he could never get covered completely was his best friend Sho. Aizawa Shouta, the infamous Eraserhead; that is, the "infamously hard to interview" recluse of a Hero. The guy was practically allergic to the spotlight; as decoy to the press during the Kamino bust Hizashi had thought Sho was gonna break out into hives. Of course that didn’t happen.

Sho had always been far more reliable under pressure than not. And he always seemed under pressure.

Frankly, after a week of this sabbatical-turned-vacation in Hawai'i, while Hizashi sipped his tea by the calming waves of the coastline—his doctor long told him to drop the energy drinks and caffeine because of the heart arrythmia he’d developed—Hizashi was bored.

He had always had an active mind, high energy, and an intense drive to learn and educate. It was what made him so good at his radio and teaching gig.

But this sabbatical was driving him nuts with inaction. Sure the first couple of days he slept and rested and lazed about, napping when drowsy, enjoying massage sessions. His exhaustion from his triple-career had overtaken him that first week.

Now he was wide awake and restless, and worried as hell about Sho. Just about now, the meals he’d frozen and packed the man’s freezer with would be about depleted, leaving the guy with his lifetime supply of meal replacement jelly packs that he’d won back when they were still teenagers.

Every six months a pallet would show up at Hizashi’s posh apartment and Sho would drop in like a bat to carry a box out as needed.

But Hizashi was on sabbatical, and he’d promised himself he wouldn’t pester his best friend into taking care of himself. They were both thirty-one for Pete’s sake, and Hizashi didn’t want to come off as a nag.

So, to take his mind off this constant worry buzzing through his mind, Hizashi was trawling all the news sites, unable to stay out of the know any longer.

The usual world stage happenings were in full swing, political mishaps and gaffes, threat of pirates near the Atlantic Ocean, civil unrest in poorer countries, et cetera. Hizashi quickly catalogued it and moved on to Celebrity News.

When eyes caught onto All Might, he clicked on the article and then nearly spitting out his drink as he read the tail end of it about the bold princess coming strong on the Retired International Number One Hero.

“Sho!!!” He yelped and nearly rolled out of his beach chair. Picking his glasses up out of the sand, he shoved them on his face, tapping to his encrypted messaging app.

SHOUTA WHAT THE HELL MAN— He deleted and tried again.

Sho, when were you going to tell your best friend of fifteen years about fuc— He deleted it again, pinching his nose and taking a breath.

Chill, be smooth. Don’t accuse. There had to be a reason for this. Maybe, maybe Yagi-san had blurted out the first name in mind. Hizashi had seen the old man gazing in Shouta’s direction when his tired eyes went unfocused. Hizashi had watched Yagi long enough to know the man had a serious crush but for whatever reason—maybe because he felt washed out and a generation too old to even try.

But Hizashi had long known Shouta hated All Might’s over the top Herosona and unattainable perfection, but loved Yagi in the quiet way Shouta loved things he could never keep. Hizashi had seen his best friend with enough stray cats to know what silent sadness from being rebuffed looked like… And it hung around his shoulders whenever he had to talk to the veteran Hero.

Hizashi let out a deep whuff of air as another idea occurred to him.

Or maybe they’d been dating this whole time under your nose, he thought. That thought smarted, especially the tender sociable part of him that had been often accused of being a gossiping loudmouth unable to keep secrets. It hurt to think he couldn’t be trusted with something like that.

He looked at the time on his phone with misty eyes comparing it to the time the news article was posted. Sho would still be working right now.

He would have no idea about any of this going down.

Steeling himself with a breath and banishing the pain, Hizashi forced a grin on his face.

Yo you’ve GOT to see this:

He attached the article he’d just read.  After a few beats later he worries his lower lip with light teeth. Hell, what if Sho didn’t read it. The grump would hate himself in the morning when he went to UA without knowing a thing despite being forewarned.

Hizashi thought about summarizing the article for Sho, but decided against it. He still felt too raw about the whole situation. Maybe it was a colossal misunderstanding. It’d be bad for him to jump to conclusions.

So Hizashi encouraged him to read it with several more texts, trying to get his seriousness across.

Duty done, Hizashi takes a deep breath of sea air, enjoying the bright, sunny day and the seagulls screaming in the distance feeling a silly kind of kinship with them.

The hurt driven away momentarily, he drinks the rest of his tea and texts, Why didn’t you TELL me you were dating All Might???

Good, that sounded flippant and pouty instead of upset. Hopefully Sho would answer him instead of ignoring and blocking him when Hizashi pushed too much.

His phone pings with a message, just as the sea was lulling him into a calm.

Sho-chan:  I was waiting until I was sure it was going to last.

Dread curls in Hizashi’s gut. Oh no.

His phone clinks against the table, as it slides from his fingers.

They really had been dating. Normally he’d be ecstatic! Excited! Happy for his friends!

But Sho… Hizashi sucked his lips in with a sour expression. That text made it seem like what they had was a tenuous fling, like he might be thrown away at any moment like trash.

Anger began simmering in his gut. What the hell was Yagi-san doing to make Sho feel so insecure about their relationship??

He snapped up his phone, the charms Nermuri, Tensei, and Shouta had given him tinkling together.

All Might, we need to talk about— he deleted the text.

Hell. Hizashi hung his head back, covering his face with a free hand. What the hell was he gonna say??

Frustration added hot seasoning to his belly, and his anger began to boil without any outlet. He tried again.

If you hurt him I swear to god I’ll— He deleted it again.

This was so hard. Why the hell hadn’t they told him jack about their relationship? He was Sho’s best friend. Plus, Yagi-san was on good terms with him and knew how close they were.

I don’t know how long you’ve been dating him, All Might, but his favorite treat is an import, salmiakki, and he loves cats, even strays. He loses track of time and forgets to eat and sleep, so please watch over him. He’s bad at self-care.

Bittersweet sadness welled in Hizashi’s chest as he sent the text and turned off his waterproof phone and slipped it back into its case strapped to his leg.

He wouldn’t be able to bear it if Yagi-san, his biggest Hero crush for over a decade, sent him lame excuses or, worse, tried to call him for the first time in Hizashi’s life.

He finally let the building tears fall, sinking against his arms on the warm table, hair pooling around his head, forcing the feelings of betrayal out into the open where it could be bleached by the purifying rays of the sun.

After what felt like an eternity of pain, but was probably only half an hour, he breathed deeply and sat up, adjusting his hair. He felt wrung out by the emotional upheaval but okay. This sort of thing happened in life, and he was on sabbatical without having to play a role for anybody.

He pulled his hair through the tie he’d kept around his wrist and decided to go for another dip in the ocean. His skin was toned and sun-tanned, and he felt absolutely stunning in his bright yellow tightly-fitting swimmer’s thong. He lightly jogged along the hot sand and into the noisy surf, diving into the cool water.

In a few days, his nose would be back to the grindstone of work and he wouldn’t have the time or energy for worries and hypotheticals to consume him.

He broke the surface of the water to get air, standing on the sandy surf littered with shells as waves tried to roll him back up the beach, and promised himself that he’d leave his petty wrath on this shore.

His best friend was going to need all the support he could get.