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My Friend’s Old Number

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Aizawa looked down as his phone lit up. He sighed, it was the third time in as many weeks that same number had called him. Like most sensible people, if it was someone he didn’t know, he let it ring and go to voice mail. It was the price you paid for being cheap and getting a pay as you go phone. You almost always got a recycled number and went through a few months of strangers calling you. After two rings, the phone when dead and the man shrugged and went back to grading his students work, the stranger’s calls already forgotten.

The phone calls were put out of his mind, until it happened again. This time it was in the early morning, after he had struggled to get to sleep and finally manged it after hours of staring at the ceiling. He let out a groan, reaching for it. If Hizashi was drunk he would call an Uber for him, but he was not coming to pick him up. He scowled when he saw the number, vaguely recognizing it as the stranger that kept calling him at random times. How dare they wake him up on a school night.

He snatched it up, ready to lit into the person. You figured after a few unanswered phone calls they would get the hint that they had the wrong fucking number.

“Listen you.” He started to yell into the phone but was startled into silence when he heard a gasp and a great shuddering breath. “Hello?”

“Oh.” a deep gravely voice said into the phone. Aizawa could almost hear the surprise and the regret in the caller’s voice. “Oh I am so sorry. ”There was another shuddering breath. “I forgot for a moment again.”

There was such a bone shaking tiredness in the voice, the voice was pitched low and it woke something in Aizawa. Some long buried empathy that the man kept buried until the early hours of the morning.

“Forgot?”He asked, his own voice rough with sleep. He rubbed his face, trying to wipe the sleep from his eyes and scratching along the rough stubble of his jaw. He really should shave sometime this month.

“A friend of mine used to have this number.”the voice replied. “I keep forgetting it isn’t his anymore.” there was a soft smooth chuckle. Aizawa wished it sounded happy instead of just on the edge of broken. “I’ll let you go.”

“Wait.”Aizawa said softly, shifting back so his back rested against the head board. He had no clue what kept him talking to the voice when it was obvious the man was trying to let him go. He supposed it was curiosity. “How come you don’t have his number anymore?”

There was a pause, Aizawa thought the man had hung up but then another shuddering breath told him he was still on the line.

“He was killed a month ago.” The voice whispered back, and Aizawa’s heart stopped, his fingers tightening on the phone. “Shot in the line of duty.”

“Oh god.” Aizawa breathed. “I am so sorry.” He didn’t know what to say, the phrasing, “Line of Duty”only meant one thing. Cop. Maybe this guy was a cop too?

“Thank you.” The voice said softy. “He was my best friend. ” It was like some dam had been broken inside the other man and Aizawa listened as words poured out of the strangers mouth. “I always called him for everything and he did the same for me. I don't know what to do now.”

The shuddering breaths were back and Aizawa realized that the man was quietly crying.

“Why did you call?”Aizawa asked softy. He didn’t know why but he was up out of the bed, pacing around his room. Tension running along his shoulders and down his back. He couldn’t sit still anymore, not listing to a man obviously in that much pain. “Why did you need him this late?”

“I broke down.”The voice said between breaths. “Flat.” There was a pause as coughing could be heard over the line. “I am still injured and can’t change it, I was calling him for help, only…”

Aizawa paused and reached for his blue jeans, yanking them on. “Where are you?”He asked.

“What?”The voice sounded startled. He had shocked the voice out of his breathy crying.

“Send me your location and I”ll come help.“ He was already turning on the lights in the room, and tugging on his shoes, fuck socks he would go without. He tugged on his t-shirt glancing outside. It wasn’t that cold, he would just stay in that and grab his jacket.

“You can’t.” The voice said, the breath hitching again. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to put you out.”

“Look we both know if you call Triple A, you will be there three or more hours waiting.”He grabbed his keys and opened his front door. “I am already outside heading to my car, don’t piss me off more after waking me up. Send me your damn location.”

There was silence on the end before a watery laugh came over the line. ‘For a moment you sounded almost like him.“ A few sniffs followed then a ping.

Aizawa looked down and noticed that the location was several miles off the highway. It would take about forty five minutes to get there. Not that it was a problem. He was already going.

“Okay get back in your car if you are out of it, stay warm, ”He said into the phone wondering why he was worried. “I’ll be there soon.” He paused. “do you need me to say on the line?”

Again he was met with silence and wondered if the man on the other end had hung up on him.

“No.” The voice said really softly. “No. I will be okay until you get here.”

“Good.”Aizawa nodded and opened and his car door sliding into the drivers seat, he started the car. “See you in a little bit.” He hung up and put the phone into the dash holder, the directions already telling him the way to get to the man. He paused as he pulled out of the parking space. “What the fuck am I doing?”He asked out loud, shaking his head. He figured it wasn’t the dumbest thing he had ever done, but it was up there.