“Shouta, wait up!”
Hizashi yells out across the campus, grasping his bags tightly as he sprints to catch up to his friend. The second year hero classes are heading out for a joint camping-slash-training camp for the weekend, getting out of Friday classes with permission. A few unfortunate classmates have to stay behind for remedial classes to bolster their struggling grades- they still get to train with the teachers that stay behind, but they don't get to have the camping experience. Hizashi feels bad, but he did offer to tutor Oboro multiple times. At least Shouta is going on the trip too!
"It's not like you to be late." Shouta says, his eyes drooping with the telltale sign of teenage exhaustion.
Hizashi breathes heavily as he comes to a stop by Shouta's side, making up the end of the line going onto the bus. The other kids are getting their bags put into the undercarriage before getting marked for attendance. Hizashi cranes his neck, trying to see into the bus, hoping he can snag a seat next to Shouta.
"Yeah, I know! But I was so excited last night, I couldn't sleep on time, and I sorta overslept… at least I had everything packed ahead of time! What about you? Fighting with your bed again? Did the pillows call you ugly? I said I'd fight them for you--"
Shouta shakes his head, trying and failing to hide his smile at Hizashi's bad joke.
"Just the usual. I was gonna sleep on the bus, anyways. I can't stay awake in vehicles."
"Ok, sounds good! I brought my earbud splitter and some music if you wanna listen before you conk out. I'll even play that CD you like!"
"Sure. Just remember to disconnect me before you change it to that noisy stuff this time."
"I'm sorry! I won't forget!"
Hizashi and Shouta finally reach the doors, handing their bigger bags over to the driver so he can stow them. Silver Ox looks them over before checking them off as present, snorting in amusement.
"So the trio is finally split up, huh?"
"Hey, we tried to help him." Hizashi shrugs.
"He only has himself to blame." Shouta says with a sigh.
They all look back at UA, spotting a speck of white in a distant window, gazing longingly at the bus idling on the curb. Silver Ox laughs, ushering them inside and stepping in as they finally start their departure.
Hizashi lets Shouta take the window seat that's open near the front, already knowing he'll get more sleep there. And Hizashi knows he can always say he was just looking out the window if someone catches him staring at Shouta's cute sleeping face. Silver Ox starts up their spiel about appropriate behavior for students of UA and their expectations for the weekend. Hizashi tunes it out, pulling out his Ipod and hooking up his splitter with two cords.
They're both happily listening to Hizashi's calm mix as the bus finally departs, and Silver Ox takes their spot next to another chaperone. Hizashi takes out a notebook and scribbles down some lyrics in English, smiling as the bumps and turns make his shoulder brush against Shouta's. While it lulls Shouta to sleep, Hizashi finds his energy spiking, his feet and fingers tapping as his music starts to ramp up. He makes sure to disconnect Shouta's cord before putting on some pop music, taking out one earbud as he turns around to strike up a conversation.
After about sixty miles, three hours, two selfies with a sleeping Shouta, and one large bag of chips later, Hizashi is eagerly watching the passing trees with the slightest anxious feeling. He's been so focused on the excitement of training his quirk and spending quality time with Shouta that he sort of glossed over the uncomfortable reality of camping in the middle of a forest. Did his mom remember to pack him some bug spray?
The bus makes a slow turn into the parking lot and the general volume increases as everyone starts talking at once. Hizashi turns to look at Shouta, quietly amazed he's still asleep. That's energy-saver-chan for you. He only shakes Shouta's shoulder half-heartedly, taking a few more moments to appreciate how cute he looks. He hopes they get to choose who their tent-mate is, because he already knows only Shouta will actually be happy to be paired with him. And he likes how cute Shouta looks when he rubs the sleep from his eyes.
He gets to see it now as Shouta finally wakes up, disturbed by the sudden jerk of the bus coming to a stop. Hizashi smiles and waits for Shouta to stop blinking so much before he starts chattering, directing Shouta's attention out the window.
"Look Shouta, we're here! You slept like a brick and missed it! I saved you some chips- hey, you still wanna be my tent-mate, yeah? I think we have to set up before we train--"
Hizashi cuts himself off, turning to get Silver Ox's attention with an exuberant shout.
"Hey sensei! Do we get to choose our tent-mates?"
Silver Ox sighs, while the bus explodes into loud chatter. Hizashi ignores the snide remarks shot his way, focusing on Silver Ox as they clear their throat and snap their fingers to get everyone's attention.
"To answer Yamada's question: yes, we will allow you to choose your partners, as long as there are no disturbances at night. If you're staying up all night talking and disturbing others, you will be separated." Silver Ox looks at Hizashi at the last part, but there's no venom in their tone. Some of the other kids snicker quietly, while others start whispering to their friends.
"To continue, once you exit the bus, follow Ultrasounder with your bags and get everything set up. The quicker you work, the more time you'll have for lunch. And yes, we will be training afterwards, so don't go overboard. With that, I expect you to know how to behave. So have at it."
The bus erupts into motion as everyone gathers their things and heads off the bus, rushing to get out and stretch their legs. For once Hizashi sits patiently, waiting for Shouta to finish yawning and pack up his things. He tells Shouta about the trip over, first talking about the music, then the scenery, and then the latest gossip he learned from talking to everyone around them. He juggles his bags to show Shouta the selfies he took, laughing at Shouta's blushing face. He offers to send them as he sets one as his background, before sending them anyways and laughing as Shouta's phone buzzes.
The clearing set aside for their camp is up a steep incline, leaving some of their classmates tired and grumpy as every group claims a tent from the provided pile and claims a spot around the central campfire pit. Hizashi goes to claim a spot as close to the pit as allowed, toeing the line and waving Shouta over as he brings the kit. Being closer to the fire means there will be less bugs, right?
Setting up the tent is easy, just requiring some elbow grease and good teamwork. Hizashi never stops smiling as he lists out the steps and watches Shouta follow them perfectly, his face scrunched up with concentration while his deft hands make quick work of even the hardest knots. Hizashi almost misses a step when he gets mesmerized by Shouta's tongue sticking out from his lips, thinking of all the blep-ing cat pictures Shouta showed him. If only he could sneak a picture, he could do some Photoshop magic and create the best picture of all time- neko-Shouta!
"Earth to Hizashi…" Shouta says, starting to sound annoyed. Hizashi blinks rapidly, a blush covering his cheeks as he turns back to his work.
"Neko-Shouta…" he mumbles under his breath, smiling to himself, unaware of Shouta's fleeting glances.
They are among the first to finish, so they join the teachers by the newly started bonfire, picking up a bowl of food and sitting on the logs dragged over for seating. Hizashi pokes the bark a few times to make sure it isn't loose from termites or other bugs, huffing when Shouta laughs at him.
"We'll see who's laughing when you have bugs in your pants!"
Shouta just smirks with a raised eyebrow, making Hizashi flustered with how cool he looks. It's so unfair! Why does his best friend have to be cute and hot? Hizashi uses the time that his mouth is full of food to think, and this time he spends it thinking of Shouta, completely unworried about any training in the face of his ever-growing crush. His joy at having Shouta to himself is now joined by the worry that he might mess things up.
He watches Shouta from the corner of his eye for a moment, taking in the way he eats without caring if anyone is watching, focused only on his hunger instead of being proper. Hizashi thinks its cool, but he can remember his mothers asking him why such a nice boy eats like a slob.
As more kids join them for lunch, more kids end up on the log benches, until Shouta and Hizashi are pressed together. It's a little warm, considering the afternoon sun and the cooking fire, but Hizashi is content to enjoy it, pressing against Shouta a bit more than he needs to. Shouta just leans into it, using Hizashi like a wall as he drops his head to rest his eyes.
"Did you bring your eye drops?" Hizashi asks, fiddling with his empty bowl. He doesn't want to get up and return it yet.
"Yeah. Just gonna take a nap before sensei starts talking about the training."
"You're just going to nap through that too, aren't you?" Hizashi teases.
Shouta pushes against Hizashi but otherwise doesn't respond. Hizashi doesn't need to lean over and look to know Shouta is pouting.
Silver Ox starts their lecture soon enough, and Shouta only looks up when Hizashi elbows him, so Silver Ox will see him paying attention. Hizashi keeps his eyes glued onto their teacher, but he barely hears the instructions, caught up in thinking about how warm Shouta is, and how strong he feels, and the slightest smell of his soap- will he smell a bit like Shouta after this?
"Yamaguchi and Yamada-"
"Huh?" He gulps, sitting up straighter as he snaps to attention.
"You're going to have to go with Featherfall to the summit, since your quirks are so wide-ranged. But I think you will finally be able to show us how far you can push yourselves."
Hizashi nods, excitement swirling in his stomach at the chance to really let loose. He'll do his best, then he can spend the rest of the night hanging out with Shouta. Hopefully he won't just want to sleep early.
"Shouta-" Hizashi whispers, ducking as Silver Ox gives some instructions to another group of kids. "Try to nap after you train so we can hang out tonight!"
Shouta just nods, probably already planning to do that anyways. They finally part ways when Silver Ox has them group up with their tutors, Hizashi and Yamaguchi following Featherfall to the long trail up the nearby hill.
Its dinnertime by the time Hizashi makes it back to camp, his throat raw from yelling. He rubs at it as he joins the line for food, looking around for Shouta, ignoring the few annoyed glances he gets. It's not his fault the teacher had him scream for hours.
He doesn't see Shouta around the fire, but he does find him inside their shared tent, curled up in his sleeping bag. Hizashi clutches his food close as he kneels down, reaching out to shake Shouta's shoulder. He isn't ready for Shouta to sit up in surprise, his food tumbling from his grasp and all over Shouta's sleeping bag.
"Shit!" Hizashi croaks, watching with wide eyes and a growing sense of dread as Shouta stares at his messy lap.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Hizashi ends up bowing with his head to the ground in apology, unsure of what else to do. It seems logical- he is sorry after all. "You can take my sleeping bag! I'll help you wash it! Just don't be mad at me!"
"You're hopeless…" Shouta says, but his tone is more amused than murderous, which Hizashi counts as a win.
Shouta grabs them dinner while Hizashi cleans up, washing the bag off with some water and soap the teachers brought. He hangs it up over a tree branch so it can dry overnight, hoping no animals come and ruin it. He's totally willing to buy Shouta a new sleeping bag if that happens, but he'd rather save his allowance for something else. Like a cat cafe trip for two.
Hizashi is quiet over dinner, nursing his sore throat as he sits close to Shouta. At least Shouta isn't mad, but he does keep looking at Hizashi over their food.
"You know I'm not really mad, right?" Shouta says suddenly, twirling his spoon in his empty bowl.
"Huh? What?" Hizashi croaks, caught off guard. " I mean… yeah?"
"You can talk like you usually do, you know. You don't have to be quiet to make me feel better…"
"What- no! No, that's not it at all!" Hizashi quickly replies, putting his dishes on the ground so he can wave his hands around. "My throat is just sore from the training! I was screaming for hours!"
Realization dawns on Shouta's face, from the explanation and the way Hizashi's voice cracks from the effort of talking so much. Shouta reaches out to cover Hizashi's mouth with his hand, sighing with a lopsided smile.
"Okay, I get it. Rest your throat. I guess I can pick up your slack for once…" Shouta snorts and trails off as his forehead pinches in thought. "Want to hear about the training I did?"
Hizashi nods eagerly, lips still tingling from the warmth of Shouta's hand. Shouta's story is more like a lecture, straightforward and logical without embellishments, but that suits Hizashi just fine. He could listen to Shouta's voice forever. It's not often he can get Shouta to talk so much, so he makes sure to savor the moment, giving Shouta his undivided attention with a dopey smile.
Their moment is interrupted as the teachers start calling for bedtime, reminding everyone that tomorrow night will have a scavenger hunt after morning training and lunch.
"If you want to have the energy to have fun after your training, then you better rest up now! And don't forget to brush your teeth! Make sure to use the latrines so you're not getting up in the middle of the night and disturbing everyone else."
There's a mad dash where everyone tries to get somewhere before everyone else, kids shouting and laughing as they wind up before winding down. Hizashi challenges Shouta to see who can clean up and get to the tent first to get the comfy spot, cackling wildly when Shouta starts running too.
Shouta is already in the tent and in his pyjamas when Hizashi makes it back. Hizashi sticks out his tongue when Shouta just smirks at him, both of them rolling out the sleeping mats provided with the tent. They don't have a lantern, so they make do with their phone lights, the harsh flashlights casting weird shadows. Hizashi wordlessly hands over his sleeping bag before focusing on changing, keeping his back turned as he tries not to imagine Shouta's eyes on his back.
When he turns around he's surprised to see the sleeping bag completely unzipped and laid across both the mats. Shouta is sitting up and fiddling with his phone, turning off the flashlight.
"You're gonna share with me?" Hizashi asks quietly, turning his own flashlight off as he shoots under the sleeping bag.
"Yeah. Its big enough with our mats pushed together like this anyways."
"But don't you get cold?"
"Just lie down." Shouta huffs.
Hizashi wonders if that's the end to it, but when he lies down, Shouta's plan becomes very apparent as Shouta curls up against Hizashi's back, his breath ghosting across Hizashi's neck and making his hair stand on end. Hizashi can feel Shouta gripping at his shirt, either to anchor himself or to try and pull Hizashi closer. He feels very grateful for the total darkness enveloping them, hiding the full-body blush he can feel heating him up.
"You're warm…" Shouta says, whispering, and Hizashi feels like anything louder would shatter everything around them like glass.
He doesn't try to reply, not wanting to croak past the frog in his throat. He just shifts backwards a little, pulling the sleeping bag tighter around them both. His ears pick up Shouta's soft sigh of contentment, and the way his breathing evens out as he drifts off to sleep.
He kind of envies Shouta's ability to sleep on the drop of a dime, because he isn't going to be sleeping any time soon like this. He tries to focus on the sound of nature, but there is no breeze to rustle the leaves, and he really doesn't want to be reminded that crickets exist. Which just leaves Shouta's gentle snores, and the warm air on his neck, and the tingling warmth of his skin where they're pressed together.
He idly wishes he could turn around so he could at least watch Shouta sleep, but the darkness would make that impossible anyways. Trying to watch videos would just wake him up. Sure, he could turn the sound off, but the brightness would just hurt his eyes anyways.
So he's left alone with his thoughts, his heart calming as he imagines curling up with Shouta every night. They could move in together after school, and be boyfriends, and cook and clean and spend time together. Hizashi could give Shouta a bunch of cats and buy those expensive timed feeders so they don't have to worry about being home on time. He can imagine their walls covered in photos and posters of anything they want. He would even pay to print out photos from his phone for that.
In the darkness of the night, Hizashi's mind slowly forms a plan, a plan to finally confess his feelings, to give hope to his future or to give him a dose of reality so he doesn't waste his time daydreaming the impossible. He can confess during the scavenger hunt. He can drag them off track if he insists on being team leader, and then they can be completely alone, perhaps in some shady clearing with wildflowers, or by a river flanked by mossy stones. He saw both on his way up to the summit.
He finally falls asleep after tiring his brain out, and sleeps deeply until morning. For once he isn't the first to wake up, exhausted by two nights of excited thinking in a row. He doesn't get to wake up to find Shouta's arms around his chest, or a leg slung over his. He remains dead to the world as Shouta crawls off of him and sheepishly wipes at the drool he left behind.
When Hizashi finally does wake up, he has to rush to get dressed and eat, his heart pounding as the teachers shout for stragglers. Why didn't Shouta wake him up? He almost runs into Shouta as he tumbles out of the tent, making Shouta brace his feet and hold up the bowl of rice and fish. He hands it over once Hizashi has found his balance again, leaving Hizashi scrambling for words.
"Oh, you- is this why you didn't wake me up?"
"You looked tired. And then you didn't come to breakfast, so I saved some for you."
"You need to eat fast before Featherfall starts looking for you."
Shouta opens his mouth to say more but then decides against it, shutting his mouth and raising an eyebrow. He gestures to the food, shaking his head when Hizashi opens his mouth to speak. Hizashi wisely sticks some food in there instead.
Training lasts all morning, leaving them with a late lunch that almost puts a damper on Hizashi's plans. But they still have a few hours of sunlight left for the scavenger hunt, and then there will be fireside snacks and stories. Hopefully Hizashi will be spending that time with Shouta, but if Shouta needs to hide in their tent afterwards, then so be it. Hizashi just can't wait any longer. He wants to hold Shouta's hand and cuddle him when they're alone, and call him his boyfriend and smother him in affection.
He drags Shouta along as the teachers start to hand out the lists, each team getting their own objects to find so no one can steal or sabotage from anyone else. He's one of the first to grab a sheet, barely looking at it before rushing off towards a nearby trail, constantly looking back to make sure Shouta is following.
"Come on, no time to waste!" He says, voice as chipper as he can make it with how hoarse he is. Shouta winces in sympathy as he runs to catch up.
"Why the rush?" Shouta says, keeping up easily as they reach a steep incline.
"You'll see!" Hizashi gasps, keeping his smile despite the sweat beading on his forehead.
They slow to a jog as they reach a sheltered trail, and Hizashi leads Shouta towards the clearing he saw the day before. Shouta keeps trying to steal looks at the scavenger hunt paper, then tries stealing it directly, turning their walk into an impromptu chase. Hizashi runs like his life depends on it, laughing loudly when he feels Shouta's hand brush his shirt.
They break into the clearing at a run, Hizashi tripping on a branch with a loud yelp. Shouta tumbles after him, unable to stop, dirt and grass flying as they roll across the ground. A short wrestling match ensues, with Shouta emerging victorious, holding up a crumpled up piece of paper high out of Hizashi's reach. Hizashi can only lie there, looking up at Shouta with moon eyes as Shouta keeps him pinned.
"You're amazing," Hizashi says in a wrecked voice, drawing Shouta's attention away from the paper, "you're so smart and strong and handsome and I really, really like you!"
They stare at each other in silence as a cicada calls in the distance. Shouta's face is slowly turning red, his mouth clamped shut as he regards Hizashi with wide eyes. Hizashi's face is already red, his eyes just as wide as he stares up at Shouta with hope and fear nesting in his stomach and feeding the butterflies.
"What?" Shouta finally says, his arm slowly falling until he presses the paper to Hizashi's chest.
"I like you. I want to be your boyfriend." Hizashi tries again, hoping to get through Shouta's thick skull. He knows his voice is the only thing that can get through it, considering how he broke his hand the last time they sparred, when he punched Shouta in the face.
Shouta pauses, thinking it all through as he watches Hizashi for any sign of insincerity. "Is that why you brought me up here? To confess?"
"Yeah!" Hizashi nods, smiling as Shouta chambers off of him. He helps Hizashi sit up as he finally looks at the paper, reading a list that needs them to go down to the river.
"You're such a dork." Shouta says with laughter in his voice. He looks around at the bright clearing, then over at Hizashi, and Hizashi wishes he could read minds, wanting to know what put that soft expression on his face. Its the face he always gets when he looks at a cute kitten, even when its peeing on his shoes.
"Is that a yes?" Hizashi asks, leaning forward.
"To being your boyfriend?"
"Yeah! You don't have to, but… I really wanna hold your hand, and take you to the cafe as a date-date."
"That does sound fun…" Shouta trails off into thought, even as Hizashi leans in further.
"So, yes?" He asks, hope coming out from the swarm of butterflies and making his heart soar. It keeps soaring as Shouta leans in to kiss him, soft and quick, and Hizashi knows he'll spend the rest of his life in the clouds with the sun.