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*

They’re fifteen when Hizashi meets the most important person he’s ever going to know, and of all the things to be their first words, Hizashi has to go for these ones.

“Hey, you look like a goth fucked a garbage bag, what’s your deal?”

It's a dumb gut reaction, hot off the press from the all-hours wordmill mouth of the hero who’s gonna be known as Present Mic one day. But the dour little raincloud by the name of Aizawa who'll sit at the desk next to Hizashi’s for the next three years doesn’t laugh, just peers incredulously at Hizashi past straggly locks of hair and says it all with his silence.

*

Hizashi only realises his desk-mate has become his friend when someone else says it under less than glowing circumstances. Aizawa’s quirk, along with his propensity for taking egos down a notch or ten, has made him less than popular among their peers. So when the class want something from him it apparently falls to Hizashi to make him do it.

“Go on, Yamada, he’s your friend, he won't say no if you ask him.”

He bloody will, but more importantly, Hizashi didn’t realise they were actually friends rather than amusingly bickering desk-neighbours. Are they friends? He thinks about it right up until he realises he's eating lunch with Aizawa on one side and Shirakumo on the other later that same day. Although Aizawa doesn’t say a word, he’s listening to everything that comes out of Hizashi’s mouth too fast and not always in the right order. A frenetic rush of parallel thoughts and tangents upon tangents that Hizashi has been told is near-incomprehensible when he’s not paring back his quirk enough, though Aizawa seems to take it all in his stride.

“Hey, are we friends?” Hizashi blurts at the end of a spiel with a sudden need to know, and Aizawa gives him another of those scathing stares, followed by an underwhelming shrug.

“I guess so.”

*

He realises they’re best friends at the funeral of the only other person who could have contested Hizashi for that title. So not for any good reason, but because he’s the only one left by Aizawa’s side after everyone else has gone, staring silently at the hole in the ground together, suffocated by the loss.

*

Aizawa finally calls Hizashi his best friend the very first time he’s drunk, which is Hizashi’s fault for giving him the beer in the first place. Drunk Aizawa wants very much to go for a run around the UA woods in the middle of the fucking night, and Hizashi isn’t getting busted for his lightweight two-beer-wasted ass.

“Some best fren’ you are,” Aizawa slurs resentfully, cheek squashed to the floor as Hizashi sits on his back to keep him from trying to crawl out the dorm room door, though this only results in Aizawa dragging them both along like a really weird kind of tortoise.

“Oh?” Hizashi spouts eagerly, bending over to meet Aizawa’s hazy eyes upside-down to right-way-up. “I’m your best friend am I?”

“Shuddup,” Aizawa drawls, and Hizashi can’t possibly do anything except smile at how hysterically funny this is, still being scooted slowly across the floor by Aizawa while their classmates fall around laughing.

*

They don’t go into business together as heroes once they graduate, since that plan is missing too important a part, and they never talked about it again after the funeral. Hizashi takes a sidekick gig for the Pro Hero Beatmaster and Aizawa disappears for days at a time, usually turning up on the doorstep of Hizashi’s shitty apartment bleeding from one or several orifices.

They’re best friends, so Hizashi takes him in, feeds and washes him like any responsible pet owner, and gives up his couch for the next twelve hours while Aizawa sleeps like the dead. 

Hizashi's girlfriend, another sidekick at the agency, hates Aizawa on sight and doesn’t stop complaining about how rude it is of him to just turn up and take advantage of Hizashi’s hospitality the way he does. Hizashi would see his best friend a lot less if he didn’t, though, so he doesn’t mind. He tells his girlfriend – I don’t mind, baby, I don’t mind, I seriously don’t mind – over and over, until she finally gets fed up of him ‘making excuses’ and they break up one afternoon while Aizawa’s snoring blissfully on the sofa.

*

Hizashi’s got a slightly better apartment, and a much better girlfriend, the first time Aizawa lets a comment slip about someone by the name of Cricket. They’re smoking cheeky cigarettes out the window of Hizashi’s bathroom with the shower running, since his new girlfriend hates the smell, but he's not just gonna stand there and watch Aizawa smoke without him. 

“Cricket?” Hizashi repeats over the sweet sweet taste of nicotine on his tongue. “Who the fuck goes by a name like Cricket?”

“It’s not his real name, obviously,” Aizawa replies with one of his classic withering looks, puffing on his cigarette with a roll of his eyes. “He just… helps me with cases sometimes.”

Aizawa’s cases, as he refers to them, seem to almost exclusively involve dead people these days. Hizashi could claim he doesn’t know where his best friend went down such a dark path of heroism, but he does know, and they just don’t talk about it. Aizawa’s dreams of being the kind of hero who saves the living died with the ones who couldn’t be saved. One in particular.

“How does he help?” Hizashi says scathingly. “The people you work for are already dead, aren’t they?” 

“He knows things,” Aizawa snaps defensively, and Hizashi’s pretty sure Aizawa didn’t mean to bring this person up at all, just said it by mistake when he was taking his usual shots at the Pro Ranking system – Cricket says it’s all bullshit too, or something stupid like that. “And I don’t work for dead people, I work for the people they leave behind.”

“I know, I know.” They’ve gone through all this before, Hizashi just likes the stupid wrinkle in Aizawa’s brow when he’s getting mildly annoyed about something. “So Cricket is his hero name?”

Aizawa scoffs so hard he knocks the ash off the end of his cigarette, pinched in the corner of his mouth as he drags a rogue lock of hair out of his eyes. “Not fucking likely,” he says in a way that’s instantly grating to Hizashi. “Forget I mentioned him, he’s nobody.”

In the four years they’ve been friends Hizashi hasn’t known Aizawa to ever drop the name of anyone who’s a nobody, so he doesn’t buy it for a second, but when a tapping on the bathroom door starts up with a disapproving, “Hizashi? Are you smoking in there again?” he lets it go for now.

*

“Uh, why do you smell like weed?” Hizashi demands one afternoon when Aizawa rolls into his apartment sleep-deprived as usual and wafting a particular kind of funk.

Hizashi let Aizawa have a spare key to his place since it spares him the need to get out of bed if Aizawa wants to rock in at dumb-o-clock in the morning and crash on his couch – or faceplant in his bed, if Hizashi’s still out and about himself. Aizawa has an allergy to going back to his own shitty apartment, but it's really shitty, so Hizashi would much rather see him here anyway. Even the rats have rats there. But it's cheap, which is still probably more than Aizawa can afford, given how little he gets from the friends and family of the deceased he provides his oh-so-specialist services to. He refuses to even apply for a subsidy from the government, much less take the pittance they would give him for the harrowing work he takes upon himself day-in, day-out.

“Oh, you can smell that?” Aizawa says with a perfect deadpan. 

“You can’t?” Hizashi shoots back, enjoying a rare afternoon off because he's playing a gig later that evening with the band he’s managed to club together from friends of friends and vague acquaintances who don’t suck at carrying a tune. It’s for shits and giggles, mostly, since he’ll go nuts if he doesn’t have something to distract him from the soulless grind of being someone else’s sidekick day in day out, paying his dues like good freshly graduated heroes are supposed to do. 

When Aizawa pulls a joint the length of a ballpoint pen out of his pocket like it’s the most ordinary thing in the world, Hizashi’s jaw falls open. “Where the fuck did you get that?”

After a moment’s hesitation Aizawa tells him, “Cricket gave it to me."

There’s that name again, but the more important question Hizashi has for him is, "Why?" 

"Said it'd loosen me up, and maybe I'd stop being such a deadass humourless motherfucker," Aizawa appears to repeat verbatim, and Hizashi bursts out laughing. 

"Well he's got that right," Hizashi chuckles. "What are you waiting for? Spark it."

They don't even smoke half of the thing before being way too high to function, but it's worth it, just to witness Aizawa having a full on hysterical giggling fit at cats misjudging jumps on some gag-reel clipshow playing on Hizashi’s TV. 

Hizashi’s not sure he's ever seen him so happy, which should've been more of a warning sign than it was at the time.

*

Hizashi’s band-for-fun takes off the summer just over a year after he graduates UA, when a DJ spins one of the songs from their EP on a late-night up-and-comers show and calls them the next big thing. Within a week they’ve suddenly booked enough gigs to actually be a tour, and riding on the high of this fifteen minutes of fame, Hizashi hurriedly records his first full album, simply titled: Present Mic Presents!

Sidekicks don't get extended holidays to play music with their bands, so with absolute relish Hizashi quits his job at the agency, registers as an independent Pro Hero, and then breaks up with his girlfriend on the mutual agreement that being long-distance while he’s touring for the first time is a disaster waiting to happen.

Aizawa doesn’t congratulate Hizashi for his band’s breakthrough, which he's always treated with a huge degree of scepticism – and that’s fine, Hizashi’s bandmates are convinced Aizawa is some kind of goblin by their own admission anyway – but Aizawa does say well done for quitting the sidekick gig. And he reminds Hizashi not to forget the responsibilities of being an Indie Hero as well as a so-called ‘Musician’ when his fifteen minutes of fame give out. 

The way he chooses to phrase this, right when Hizashi’s leaving his apartment in Aizawa’s care and hitting the road for the very first time, is nothing special, and at the same time exactly what he needs to hear.

“Don’t forget who you are, Yamada.”

*

Unsurprisingly for the hero-come-frontman of a hot new band touring the country, Hizashi gets laid more in three months than he’s ever been in his life, and gets his life doing it.

So much for putting in hard work as a sidekick and climbing up the greasy pole of success the hard way. He becomes famous overnight for staggering out of after-parties with a girl or boy on each arm, fresh from playing a gig, then tripping over criminals on the way back to the hotel. He's the only one in the band who's a hero, and people seem to eat that shit up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

He gets around. Doors that he didn’t know existed start flying open, lucrative offers are made, and once he sucks a few executive cocks the favours start rolling in.

In no time Hizashi starts making real money instead of chump change, gets his first tattoo, then the next five – two of which he only learns about after waking up the morning after being blackout drunk yet again after a gig. It’s one morning on a hangover, his ass burning from bad decisions and a tattoo gun, that he realises it’s been weeks, maybe even months since he’s heard from Aizawa. Guy could be dead for all Hizashi knows – but, no, that wouldn’t happen. Kayama would definitely tell Hizashi if anything happened to his best friend while he was out of town. Unless she doesn't know. No. Don’t think about that. Aizawa has to be okay because he just does.

Hizashi picks up his phone and fires off a text to Aizawa, asking how he’s doing, but has fallen asleep and woken up again before he gets a one-word reply that just reads: fine.

Hizashi could take it as offish, but he wouldn’t be friends with Aizawa if that initial layer of reticence and frost bothered him, so responds with a cheeky: Trashed my apartment yet?

Aizawa replies quicker this time: yes.

Hizashi laughs out loud to himself in the hotel room, and absolutely believes it. He sends Aizawa a picture he apparently took last night of himself posing with a wad of cash in the club and the boast: never mind, I can afford a new one.

Aizawa totals three words for the whole conversation with his returning shot: sellout.

Hizashi just grins and types out: u know it bitch.

*

Aizawa wasn’t kidding about trashing Hizashi’s apartment, not that he sees the carnage himself, but the email with the bill from the landlord contains several expletives that promise whatever Aizawa did to it was pretty bad. Hizashi pays it off with his biggest hero paycheck yet from the government and considers it the least they owe Aizawa for all the hours he’s put in without getting a single yen from their asses in return. Not that Aizawa would accept it, which is what Hizashi is for.

Next order of business: Hizashi lines himself up a homecoming party to end all parties. He asks Aizawa to come, not expecting him to, so is totally shocked when his vaguely estranged best friend turns up around three a.m. looking almost exactly the same as the day Hizashi left; like, as if he hasn’t even changed his fucking clothes, though he's maybe a little thinner in the face. Same dishrag unwashed hair, same jumpsuit torn and patched up with duct tape and the occasional staple, same unimpressed look, but the same mouth that lifts just a little at the corners when he catches Hizashi’s eye across the crowded club. Hizashi’s pretty popular, turns out. This place is packed to the rafters.

The last words Aizawa said to Hizashi in person, before he left to become the hero now well-known as Present Mic were, don’t forget who you are, Yamada.

Hizashi doesn’t need to remember, when he’s got Aizawa to remind him.

Hizashi’s so thrilled Aizawa shows up that he gets away with a full running-jump hug at him across the dimly-lit dancefloor – and Aizawa actually catches him, but only just.

“Well that was unnecessary,” Aizawa comments when Hizashi has peeled back off him in front of an audience of so many eyes who can’t figure out what Present Mic is doing embracing some raggedy-ass hobo-looking guy.

It’s only later into the night that Hizashi decides something is a bit different with Aizawa, slightly off in some way he can’t quite place. He’s here, for one, and doesn’t even seem bothered by the crowds or noise or people spilling their drinks all over the place, but it's also like he’s… altered, or something. Hizashi’s not exactly the same as when he left either, ten-plus tattoos to testify to that, but for some stupid reason he feels like Aizawa doesn’t change, except when he does.

They’re smoking out the back of the venue when it clicks, just the two of them with the music thumping in the background, which is a much more familiar environment for them. No crowds, just Hizashi blabbermouthing and Aizawa letting it wash over him, when Hizashi notices how Aizawa’s jaw is clenching over and over, how wide his pupils are even under the harsh floodlights, and puts two and two together.

“You’re on something,” Hizashi finds himself announcing like he’s been possessed, grasping for the set-up to this where Aizawa arrives at a party already buzzed, and is he really that guy now?

“So?” Aizawa replies without a flicker of doubt, without even blinking.

“And you aren’t gonna share?!” Hizashi bursts in over-feigned outrage. “I just got back into town and you started partying without me?”

“I don’t party,” Aizawa insists sourly, taking a hungry drag on his cigarette. “And I don’t have any left.”

“Oh that’s considerate of you, after I let you trash my apartment and everything,” Hizashi goads, but it’s playful because he’s honestly thrilled to see Aizawa again. Something about his deadpan humourless ass is just funny to Hizashi, and he missed all these stupid little exchanges with someone who doesn’t hold back with him, who’s always been wholly and unashamedly himself. Aizawa shrugs with utter indifference, and Hizashi scoffs even more dramatically. “Get more then! Who’s dealing?”

Aizawa gives Hizashi a funny look, like a thought materialises in his head and then evaporates just as quickly, until Hizashi knows the answer the second he hears it. “It’s Cricket’s stuff,” Aizawa says simply, and Hizashi had forgotten about that mysteriously guarded name that pops up in Aizawa’s mouth like cold sores. “But I can’t ask for more,” Aizawa tells him plainly.

“Why not? I’ll pay,” Hizashi insists brightly, because it’s not like he wasn’t offered all sorts of things on his ride around the nation’s top spots for an all-nighter, so he could use a pick-me-up as well as a put-me-back-down. “C’mon! Just get your dealer boyfriend to hook me up already!”

“He’s not my–!” Aizawa snaps so hard, so fast, that Hizashi knows at exactly that moment. Hizashi’s never had to be told Aizawa's gay because he's just never been straight. Hizashi wasn't sure he was anything, to be honest. 

“Okay, okay,” Hizashi settles, though he doesn’t buy it, and Aizawa better know he doesn’t. “Can he get it, though?”

“Fine,” Aizawa grunts, dodging Hizashi’s delighted ratted-you-out stare as he stubs out his cigarette. “But he doesn’t do phones, so it’ll be whenever it’s gonna be.” Then with another resentful stare, like he wouldn’t do this for anyone except Hizashi, but what are best friends for? “And the money’s upfront.”

Hizashi pulls a wad of cash out of his jacket and hands it over with a grin. “You tell him I said hi.”

Aizawa rolls his blown-out eyes, and lights another cigarette.

*

“Holy fucking shit, Aizawa,” Hizashi spews at the goodie-bag of who-knows-what Aizawa tosses down on the coffee table in his new and improved apartment. A large plastic bag full of smaller bags with pills, powders, poppers and some shit Hizashi’s never even seen before. “Did you buy all the drugs?”

Aizawa snorts, like if Hizashi thinks this is impressive he’s seen nothing yet. Hizashi had thought he'd amped it up when he turned into a sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll type of musician-come-hero right after hitting twenty, but apparently Aizawa’s on another level. “Hardly.”

He’s already walking away when Hizashi calls out, “Hey wait, aren’t you gonna stay and do any with me?”

“Gotta work,” Aizawa replies without even turning around, and it’s only once he’s gone Hizashi realises he was probably wired from the moment he walked in.

Oh well, Hizashi writes off with a gleeful grin. More for him.

*

Hizashi parties his ass off, gets a bunch more tattoos, and records his second album in a drug-fuelled haze that no one likes as much as the first album from before they were famous and anyone gave a shit whether they were ‘good’ or not. Hizashi likes it, so fuck what anyone else thinks, naming the record HUSTLE as a tribute to everything he did to get to this place. He starts dating a TV personality and model who also, unsurprisingly, hates Aizawa on sight.

But that’s okay, because Hizashi doesn’t see Aizawa that much anyway at this point. They move in different circles, getting more different by the second, but stay friends because they always have been so they always will be. Even if they don’t see each other as much anymore.

Aizawa doesn’t have a key to Hizashi’s new apartment, after what he supposedly did to the last one, but Hizashi still gets up at any time of night to let in Aizawa when he turns up like a stray looking for someone’s legs to wrap around. Still feeds him leftovers or takes him as a plus-one to stupid catered industry events with snotty venue management to make sure he eats –  still buys from Aizawa’s druggie boyfriend that’s he’s getting suspicious about having never met.

*

As soon as Hizashi meets the guy he regrets it. Not that it happens on purpose, but he goes round to Aizawa’s latest in a long line of really shitty apartments – as much as Hizashi’s living situation has gotten better, Aizawa’s has gotten equally worse – to pick up some pills for a party later and catches a lanky straight-up homeless guy stepping out of Aizawa’s doorway just as Hizashi’s walking up.

He’s uncommonly tall, hair that might be red if it wasn’t so filthy, and has a net of thin scars stretching across his face that leave Hizashi staring slack-jawed at the person he hears saying goodbye to Aizawa within.

“And fuck you too,” Aizawa is saying from inside, out of sight of Hizashi, which also means that Aizawa doesn’t yet know Hizashi is there, so this interaction has to be all-natural.

“Only when you ask nicely, Eraser,” replies the ladder of a man with a sick grin. He’s wearing a coat more filthy than Aizawa’s worst days all put together, and his smile is like a keyboard that’s had a fight with a hammer. The mystery dirtbag backs away from the doorframe and turns to stride past Hizashi.

Hizashi’s staring, of course. How could he not? But all this stranger does is lock eyes with him fearlessly and raise his hand in a rude gesture as they pass one another.

Aizawa’s closing the door when Hizashi gets close enough to jam his arm in the gap. “Hey,” he lurches as Aizawa lets the door back open, and somehow it’s even more alarming that Aizawa’s only wearing boxers, and they’ve seen better days too. “Who the fuck was that?” Hizashi’s got some questions as he storms into Aizawa’s hovel, forcing Aizawa to back up accordingly.

With one of his groggy what the fuck do you mean stares dawning on his face, Aizawa tips his head slightly off-kilter and says, “Cricket, duh.”

Hizashi shouldn’t be so shocked, because who else would touch Aizawa with a ten foot pole? But somehow he can’t believe it. Won’t believe it?

“Fucking hell, Aizawa,” is the only thing Hizashi can think to say.

“What?” Aizawa doesn’t seem indifferent to this the way he normally does. No, this is defensive. Aizawa turns his back and walks away from Hizashi further into the one-room ‘apartment’ that’s more of a one-window cell, and Hizashi follows him every step of the way.

Somehow, the only appropriate reaction once Hizashi gets in to take full stock of the place is another, “Fucking hell, Aizawa.”

If what Aizawa did to Hizashi’s place is anything like what he’s done to this one, it involves a lot of things that aren’t ashtrays being used as overstuffed ashtrays, lots of empty baggies and – oh fuck, it’s kind of a good thing, but also, ugh – condom wrappers. But maybe the worst part of it is the burned spoon next to the bit of rubber tubing and very-much-used syringe just laying out in the open. Hizashi sure as shit hopes that’s not Aizawa’s, though cursory peeks at his arms show no needle marks on that pale, lightless skin. He’s not exactly sober, though, and with a sudden jolt Hizashi realises he doesn’t remember the last time Aizawa was in his company. Before Hizashi went away on tour, maybe?

It sounds stupid, but Hizashi starts to realise that Aizawa’s convenient ability to acquire any kind or amount of drugs might be an indication he’s a fucking addict.

Hizashi just stares at Aizawa for a moment, and though he looks much like he’s always looked, what if he’s always looked kinda like he’s on drugs and now he just is always kinda on drugs?

What Hizashi says is, “Are you fucking a hobo?”

Aizawa scowls. “What kind of a question is that?”

“The kind someone asks when they see a fucking hobo leaving your place in the morning,” Hizashi snaps this time, but he’s panicking. This was all just meant to be fun, but someone leaving their shit for shooting up in Aizawa’s apartment that looks like a goddamn crack den isn’t fun, and Hizashi’s angry at someone, maybe himself, for not seeing it sooner.

“Stop saying that.” Aizawa’s mad, Hizashi can just about tell by the way his jaw clenches, but he’s still got that addled, not-sure-if-coming-up-or-down look about him. Hizashi suddenly realises he’s losing his friend in some much more definable way than vague drifting apart, and now he really panics.

“Okay, okay, look… I’m sorry, alright?” Hizashi doesn’t know what he’s even apologising for, but he’s well aware that he will get thrown out on his ass if he keeps backing Aizawa into a corner. He’s stubborn like that, and always has been. “I just… didn’t expect Cricket to be like that.”

“Like what?” Aizawa shoots resentfully. “He’s just a person, Yamada. Being homeless doesn’t make him into some kind of monster.”

“No, but what about that stuff?” Hizashi asks with a roll of his eyes at the corner of the table with the syringe.

“Cricket’s… different,” Aizawa says with so much reservation that Hizashi knows he’s hiding something, but if he’s not telling, he’s not telling. Hizashi never even got Aizawa to talk about Shirakumo for fuck’s sake, what chance does he stand with this? “Besides, he got your shit for you, just like you asked.”

Aizawa leans down to open a tin on the table, and when his hair falls forward in almost one solid piece Hizashi sees the rosette of purple marks on his neck, and it takes every nerve Hizashi has not to shudder at the thought of the mouth that made them.

Hizashi almost misses the baggie Aizawa tosses aggressively at him, so focused is he on not thinking about his best friend and that… person he just saw leaving here. “So you can go, now you’ve got what you wanted.”

“No,” Hizashi says so fast he practically trips over himself, though he pockets the baggie all the same. “I mean, thanks, but I don’t just come here to pick up drugs, do I?”

Aizawa shrugs, closed up tighter than an oyster who knows it’s shucking time, and Hizashi has never been quite so desperate to affirm their friendship than in this fraught, frightening moment.

“Look, let me… let me buy you breakfast, okay?” Hizashi just needs a reason, some kind of incentive to spend more time with Aizawa, not because he wants or needs to find out more about this godawful Cricket situation, but just to… to remember who he is. Who they both are. Aizawa said it to him last year, before he went away on tour, but it’s only just occurred to Hizashi that Aizawa could need him for the same reason.

“Fine.” Aizawa might be pissed off, but not so much that he’ll turn down free food, especially when Hizashi’s paying. He turns away and picks his tattered jumpsuit up from an unsavory pile in the floor, dressed and ready to go in seconds.

He seems a little more docile as he locks the apartment after they leave. It’s always uncomfortable when they fight, so Hizashi can hope he’s feeling that too, maybe even a little guilt over the way he snapped, even if Hizashi was pushing harder than Aizawa likes to be pushed about his private life. Hizashi’s meant to be his best friend, and even he barely knows what Aizawa gets up to most of the time.

But if he doesn’t try, they’re never going to get anywhere. So Hizashi tries.

“You know, it’s enough to make me mad that people think I’m the crazy slut between us,” he comments with forced humour as they descend the stairs down to ground level.

“Says the guy with the name of people he’s fucked tattooed on his ass,” Aizawa fires back after a moment’s pause, but it sparks such a deep relief in Hizashi that he could gasp for air. That they’re still okay, if they can bicker like this and it feels like it always does.

“I’m a crazy slut in a relationship,” Hizashi points out wryly, and with a narrow, testing glance sideways adds, “Better than fucking homeless guys for drugs.”

“I don’t do it for drugs,” Aizawa returns utterly nonplussed by any such statement, and Hizashi’s sort of relieved by that too. Is he? Right up until Aizawa continues, “I do it for case leads.”

“What?!” Hizashi shoots too loud, because Aizawa uses his quirk a second later and forcefully shuts him up with a single irate glare. While denied the chance to speak, Hizashi returns to the memory of Aizawa saying Cricket ‘helps’ him on cases what seems like a long time ago, how he ‘knows things’ that must relate to the murky world of chasing down murderers that Aizawa’s made his business.

“It’s a barter system,” Aizawa says blankly, as if it’s not fucking bonkers – then again, what would Aizawa know about sanity? “Cricket knows things no one else does, and if I… do him a favour, he’ll do one for me in return.”

“That’s all I need to know about how much he does you, thanks,” Hizashi zips back with that manufactured air of joking, but it comes a little easier than before, and Aizawa gives the smallest snort of amusement that promises it’s gonna be alright. Because whoever or whatever Cricket is to Aizawa, it’s not worth losing their friendship over. Nothing is. “Anyway, least you’re getting laid.” Hizashi offers a consolation prize in the form of his open-faced palm, “Gimmie five, you big hobofucker.”

Aizawa gives Hizashi a borderline hateful stare, but he still high-fives back. 

*

Hizashi quickly comes to hate Cricket, which is fine, since Cricket hates him too. Not to mention, Hizashi’s girlfriends all hate Aizawa, so really it’s a wonder they even stay friends, but they do, somehow.  It only comes through in flashes, but Hizashi’s sure they both cling to it for the same reason – every new tattoo, or scar gained from fighting off the murderer of some poor girl they can’t even bear to show on the news, takes them a little bit further away from each other, and who they used to be. The kids who sat at desks next to each other and learned to be heroes for three years together.

When Hizashi’s doing a press conference about some raid he pulled off half-pissed as if he’s planned a single thing in his goddam life, or when Aizawa’s doing… whatever it is he does for Cricket to get ahead in his sordid underworld activities, it can be hard to remember what they got into this gig for.

Sometimes, Hizashi’s sure they need each other more now than they ever have.

*

“Ah, Yamada? We’re sorry to call out of the blue like this.” Aizawa’s parents sound worried, and it’s been years since Hizashi last met them, but they’ve still got each other’s numbers saved, and the moment he sees who’s calling Hizashi realises what this is about. He’d been thinking of it himself, wondering if, what he should do about the friend he’s watching slowly spiral down a drain of his own making.

“It’s no problem, Mr. and Mrs. Aizawa,” he replies with as much warmth and comfort as he can muster. “Do you still live above the shop? Should I come over?”

“That’d be… great, if you don’t mind.” Hizashi can tell they’re on speaker together, crowded over the old handset in the cramped little two-bed apartment above the store that Hizashi only went to with Aizawa a handful of times when he was young, and then not for very long. “We don’t want to impose, it’s just…”

“Don’t worry about it. I should have talked to you sooner, really.” Hizashi’s feeling the guilt, but where the fuck to start?

It’d been about six months, Hizashi thinks, since Aizawa’s rental contract expired, or he simply stopped paying it, and he got kicked out of the shittiest apartment yet – the one with Cricket’s needles in it, which Hizashi’s sure the landlord was absolutely crazy about. It took Hizashi a month or two to realise, given he only sees Aizawa about that much, that the last shitty place hadn’t been replaced with another one. With anything.

Aizawa still shows up at Hizashi’s place at weird hours of the night or day, which his girlfriend absolutely hates, but it’s only when Aizawa actually asks to use his shower one time, since he ‘doesn’t have one now’ that the pieces finally clicked.

Not having a shower, of course, makes sense when you don’t have an apartment to put it in.

Since Hizashi’s managed to harness enough of a following to stay an independent hero and float somewhere around C-list celebrity, he gets to make his own hours. That means he can give himself the afternoon off and head straight over to Aizawa’s family home without the faintest idea of whether Aizawa’s going to be there, or if he even knows this is happening.

His mother looks like she’s been crying, and for such normal, hard-working people Hizashi’s sure they don’t know where they went wrong. They’re old enough to think about retiring but haven't yet, still running their odds-and-ends convenience store just far enough out of the good neighbourhoods to be cheap and cheerfully affordable. They worked hard to put Aizawa through UA, Hizashi knows, and those long years show in their kind, weathered faces.

“How did you find out?” Hizashi has to ask them, guilt-ridden that it didn’t come from him, from someone who knows their son well enough to try and explain how this could have happened, why there’s nothing they could have done.

“A friend of ours. They… saw him sleeping on the street,” Aizawa’s mother says with her eyes turned shamefully away. Shorter than her husband by a head or more, with neat quaffed hair that falls in waves, Hizashi knows she’s the one who rules the household. “I told her that he does that sometimes when he’s working, but she said he’d been there every night that week. That he’s… friends with the other homeless people.”

More than friends with at least one, Hizashi has the displeasure to know.

“It’s not your fault,” Hizashi feels compelled to tell them, and it looks like his mother’s gonna start crying all over again. “He’s still doing hero work, all he does is work. I think that’s the problem.” That and the drugs, but Hizashi’s pretty sure it’s not an either-or thing for Aizawa anymore. Hizashi would probably want to be high all the time if he was sleeping on the streets and working himself into an early grave too. It’s hard not to hate himself; to think he could’ve, should’ve done more.

Aizawa’s parents are hardworking like him, instilled that discipline into their son from a young age. Too bad Aizawa applies that ruthless work ethic to a dismal corner of being a hero, and forgets he has to save some fucks to give for himself too. Instead he trades them with Cricket for case leads. But Aizawa’s parents probably don't know about that. 

“We asked him to come over,” Aizawa’s father says nervously, twisting a cleaning cloth in his large, leathery hands. “He doesn’t know why, or that you’re here. We just thought…”

“I’ll talk to him,” Hizashi assures them, suddenly craving a cigarette, which are helpfully sold behind the shop counter. “Hey, can I get a pack of Lucky Strike?”

*

Hizashi is outside with his Lucky Strike, leaning against a lamp post smoking out his last nerves, when Aizawa shows up. Aizawa never really looks different, but he feels different sometimes, especially the suspicion with which he recognises Hizashi propped up outside his parents’ shop for no reason in particular.

“What’re you doing here?” he asks with unspoken accusation, and Hizashi just offers him the box of cigarettes. Aizawa takes two, one for between his lips, sliding the other behind his ear.

“They called me.” Hizashi’s telling the truth, because he knows Aizawa needs the truth, can take it even when he doesn’t like it. “Apparently you’re going to have a little brother or sister soon.”

It takes Aizawa a second before he scoffs, pulling out a lighter and lighting up with a deep drag, like he breathes smoke instead of air. He doesn’t look off, but at this point, Hizashi thinks that Aizawa would only seem off when he’s not on something, it’s that integrated into his everyday life. Lot of Cricket to blame for that, Hizashi tells himself, but also a lot of Aizawa too; for letting it get to this. For using whatever the fuck he uses as an alternative for having to deal with whatever the fuck he doesn’t deal with.

“Nice try,” Aizawa says gruffly, flicking the first bit of ash off his cigarette, eyes lingering on the door of his parents’ shop. “They worry about me too much.”

“I dunno, I think they worry just the right amount,” Hizashi muses, flicking his own ash and wishing there was an easier way of doing this. “Just… answer me one thing, okay?” Hizashi finds the question bubbling up in his throat, the fear he’s never put into words because he’s afraid of the answer, and the reaction Aizawa might have if he’s forced to admit it.

“What?” Aizawa doesn’t seem so bothered by any of this, but perhaps he’s not realising the gravity of the matter just yet.

“When was the last time you were like, completely sober?” 

Aizawa pulls a face. Not a pleased one.

“When’s the last time you were?”

“I’m sober right now, Aizawa,” Hizashi tells him, because to Hizashi, it’s a way to have fun. It’s an add-on to something already awesome to make it more awesome. But Aizawa doesn’t seem like he’s having fun, and that’s the fucking problem. “Are you?”

Aizawa’s silent, like he’s trying to decide on an answer, but that says enough.

“I work better–”

“You think you work better,” Hizashi interjects, and knows he’s supposed to wait til they go inside, to let Aizawa’s parents tell him they know he’s sleeping rough and ask him what the fuck’s going on, but Hizashi knows what’s going on, and he can’t be blamed for wanting to give the poor couple a head start at cracking a nut this tough.

“It’s just a little bit.”

“Maybe to you,” Hizashi retorts, but he’s seen what Aizawa thinks is ‘a little’ joint these days, or just a ‘little’ bump of speed to keep him up those extra six hours to push through to the end of a case. Hizashi uses it to party all night. Aizawa tweaks to not sleep for three fucking days while he’s hunting down more dangerious people than anyone should wish to meet in their lives. “Do you not think there’s a point where it’s gonna be too much?”

“I have to,” Aizawa rationalises like every junkie has done ever. “I can’t keep up otherwise.”

“Keep up with what?” Hizashi asks.

“With…” Aizawa struggles for the words, stopping to puff on his cigarette again. But Hizashi knows the answer, even if Aizawa doesn’t: to keep up with himself, and with the completely unrealistic expectations and pressure he puts on himself to do what he does all the time. Except when he can’t anymore, and then he just gets fucked up on even more drugs and does things Hizashi would rather not think about with Cricket.

“It’s like a treadmill,” Hizashi says as he tips off a little more ash, almost at the end of his smoke. “You keep running, and it keeps getting faster, so you run faster, so it goes faster. We just think you…”

“We?” Aizawa echoes like acid, because they’re his parents, waiting for him inside, hoping against the odds that their stubborn son is going to listen to them. Hizashi doesn’t get a claim to them.

“Alright, I think,” Hizashi corrects curtly. “They’ll tell you what they think in a minute.” That gets through to Aizawa, a momentary look like the fifteen year-old Hizashi used to know, fearful of being grounded for staying up all night yet again. “I think you’ve forgotten how to stop running, Aizawa. And if you don’t, sooner or later you’re just gonna collapse.”

“You decided all of this now?” Aizawa suggests acerbically, like this is awfully convenient timing for Hizashi to grow a conscience about what his best friend has gotten himself into.

“No. I’ve thought about it for a while, I just…” Hizashi sighs impatiently looking away down the ordinary street that Aizawa grew up to be such an extraordinary person from. “I knew you’d do this.”

“Do what?”

“Insist you can handle it.” Hizashi knows Aizawa, maybe even better than Aizawa knows himself, sometimes. “You act like if you burn out then it’s because you just weren’t good enough, so it’s somehow what you deserve. You’d think after spending so much time around the friends and family of dead people, you’d see what you’re gonna do to your own if you let this… thing kill you.”

“I know my limits,” Aizawa dismisses, just like Hizashi was sure he would.

“Do you, though?” Hizashi forces, finishing his cigarette and stubbing it out on the lampost, chucking it in the bin. “Just listen to them, okay? They found out their son is sleeping on the fucking streets, it’s not exactly a parent’s dream, is it?”

Aizawa furrows his brow, another accusation in his voice, “How did they–”

“People notice,” Hizashi shoots. “I didn’t say anything, if that’s what you’re about to suggest. They called me because they clearly knew you wouldn’t listen to them alone, so I’m telling you now: just give them something. Tell them my address if it helps, anything.”

“Your address?” Aizawa repeats back at him. “What does that do?”

“It lets them think you have a roof over your fucking head, Aizawa,” Hizashi snaps. “Weirdly enough, most folks seem to want that for their kids.” But it’s not just that, telling’s no good if there’s no follow through, so he launches into a painfully genuine, “You know you can always stay with me, right?”

“Not what your girlfriend thinks,” Aizawa points out, smoking lazily, but he’s not as hard as he was before. Hizashi’s trying to do more than just point out problems, he has to have some solutions too.

“It doesn’t matter what she thinks, it’s my place,” Hizashi insists. “You’re my best friend, and I…” he hesitates saying it, but he’s thought it, so fuck it, Aizawa can handle the truth. “I don’t wanna lose you and feel like there’s something I could’ve done.”

“I’m fine,” Aizawa growls in exasperation, but guess what? Hizashi’s fed up too.

“Alright, then get clean for a week, just to prove to me you can.”

Aizawa rolls his eyes as he stubs his cigarette out and pockets the stub – which, gross – and heads over to his parents’ shop to repeat this conversation all over again for their benefit, though probably with less curse words and drug references. “Sure, if it’ll get you off my back.”

*

Aizawa accepts he might have more of a substance dependency than he thought when he detoxes hard on Hizashi’s sofa for the next week straight. Hizashi’s latest musician-actress girlfriend, who obviously hates Aizawa, refuses to come round, but the stupid thing is that it’s the most time they’ve spent together since school. Watching daytime TV together while Aizawa sweats through another blanket, eating handfuls of cereal out of the box. It fills Hizashi with nostalgia, even though it’s not like he hasn’t seen Aizawa at all. Just not like this.

Hizashi agrees to help Aizawa with what he’s working on in the evenings as compensation for forcing him to go through withdrawal just to prove a point. Though the point is clearly that Aizawa was a lot more fucking hooked than he thought he was, and Hizashi just made him notice.

The case is brutal. Aizawa always says case like such an unassuming thing, drops the ‘cold’ off the front because he doesn’t really do the other kind of cases. They have enough heroes for that, he says. Hizashi would know: he’s one. 

Because heroes who don’t save people aren’t known as great heroes, so when the victims are already dead the pool of anyone willing to help dwindles, even moreso when those deceased people aren't always society’s best beloved. That's where Aizawa comes in, looking like hell and smelling much worse. 

This is how Hizashi gets dragged through his paces by a still-detoxing-hard Aizawa, who would rather die than admit he’s letting this thing beat him physically. He’s got the shakes, shivers, and barfs in several trashcans in the space of a few short days. And the people they associate with are dire. No wonder Aizawa’s fucking a homeless guy. They deal with drug addicts who ought to be a horrifying reminder to Aizawa of what can happen if he doesn't get a handle on his shit, pimps and hookers and cutthroat dealers who make Cricket look almost passable as a human being. Worse yet, they all seem to know Aizawa, think he’s just one of the other users, and he is, technically. Deep cover so deep even Aizawa seems to have been taken in by it.

Hizashi sees more blood in that week than he ever wants to for the rest of his life, but they get the fucker right at the very top, and take the whole goddamn crime ring down while they’re at it. Because Hizashi is a named, ranking-registered hero with enough weight as a standalone celebrity to pull headlines, it gets lauded as a huge bust, and they put his picture in the paper with a sweaty, chain-smoking Aizawa in the background. Hizashi’s not sure if it’s the best or worst week of his life, but he gets a bump in his hero stats because of it all the same.

“Alright,” Aizawa says to him on the very last day out of fucking blue-sky nowhere, back on the sofa drinking a couple of beers to ring the close of the case in. Hizashi understands why Aizawa sleeps for what seems like days straight now, in the gutter or otherwise. “I get it.”

“Get what?” Hizashi asks, though he’s got a thought, and a hope.

“I let it build up too much,” Aizawa murmurs without looking around, eyes still trained listlessly on the TV. “The drugs. I let it get on top of me.”

“You let everything get on top of you,” Hizashi replies surely. “You let Cricket get on top of you.”

Aizawa doesn’t laugh unless he’s stoned, not properly, but he does do scoffs of amused derision, and Hizashi’s treated to one now. He did tell his parents to treat Hizashi’s address as his own in the end, which seemed to give them some comfort. It gives Hizashi some too.

“I’m just saying, point taken,” Aizawa murmurs without making it out to be as much of a deal as it probably is. "I'd started to…” he takes another slug of beer, choosing his words carefully, like he always does, “forget who I was."

"Hey, don’t worry ‘bout it," Hizashi returns, soft-spoken for a rare moment because most of the time he and Aizawa couldn't be more different, but at others they hit exactly the same wavelength and it's just there, the foundation of their friendship that's endured through the years. "What are best friends for?" 

*

Chapter Text

*

Amid the hustle and bustle of the trendy restaurant Hizashi’s getting a sweet kickback for agreeing to be seen eating dinner at, his girlfriend finishes touching up her makeup in the compact mirror and then snaps it shut with a pointed click. 

“I’m sorry, Mic, it’s just not working out.”

“What!” Hizashi squawks. “What is it? The fame, the sex, my hair? I can change at least two of those things!” Hizashi could quit public life and change what he does in bed, but his hair’s staying.

“No, it’s not that, it’s just…”

“What? You can tell me, baby.” Hizashi’s not great at being dumped. Well, to be more accurate, he’s not used to it. It’s normally at least mutual, fizzling sparks after a couple of weeks, wanting to fool around with other people, just straight up forgetting he’s in a relationship for drug-and-alcohol influenced periods of time. But he actually likes his current musician-actress girlfriend, and didn’t do any of those things specifically because he likes her.

“It’s just…” his beautiful, talented girlfriend struggles for words before finally settling on, “it’s Aizawa.”

This one, Hizashi doesn’t expect.

“WHAT?”

“I just can’t deal with him anymore. I hope you understand.”

“No I don’t understand!” Hizashi blares far too loud for being out in public, then bites his lip when his girlfriend gives him a scolding glare. “What about Aizawa?” It’s a niggling thing, but it does bother Hizashi that everyone he dates doesn’t like Aizawa. Hizashi likes him, so why does everyone else seem to struggle with it?

Hizashi’s girlfriend gives a deep sigh. “I just can’t compete with him anymore.”

This, also, Hizashi doesn’t expect.

“COMPETE?”

“Shh, please,” his girlfriend hisses, seeming upset even though she’s the one doing the dumping here. “I’ve given this a lot of thought, Mic. I’m sorry, but I just can’t… stand between you two anymore.”

It’s the most insane thing Hizashi’s heard in his life.

“You’re not between us, that makes it sound like…”

“Like he’s jealous.”

Hizashi, truly, is trying. But this one really gets him.

“JEALOUS?!”

One of the champagne glasses at the table cracks, the whole restaurant turns around for a second, and Hizashi realises they might need to go somewhere a little more quiet. Except it doesn’t seem like she’s keen on going anywhere with him anymore.

“I didn't mean to shout, baby,” Hizashi forces himself to an inside voice, barely. “But me and Aizawa are not like that.”

Aizawa being jealous doesn’t make any sense, what would he even have to be jealous of? Jealousy implies there’s something that Aizawa wants, and Hizashi knows for a fact that Aizawa only wants two things in this world: an endless stream of grisly cases to solve, and a constant supply of drugs to keep himself going through them. Friendship with Hizashi, even best- friendship, is just an add-on in Aizawa’s extreme tunnel-vision view of the world.

But Hizashi’s soon-to-be-ex girlfriend tilts her head at him in a decidedly suspicious way and asks, “Are you sure?”

“Yes I’m sure!” Hizashi hisses, hunching down over the table and hitting the sort of quiet-loud of someone not doing the best job at keeping his shit under wraps. “We’re best friends. Just best friends. We go way back.” A hundred thousand little moments that Hizashi can’t explain to an outsider who takes one look at Aizawa and just sees a raggedy recovering junkie taking up space on Hizashi’s sofa. Not knowing that there’s nowhere Hizashi would rather have him, to be sure Aizawa’s close and well instead of far away and fucked past the point of knowing he’s fucked. In Hizashi’s experience since knowing Aizawa, having him around is just way better than not having him.

Hizashi’s girlfriend squeezes her mouth into a thin line that promises trouble. “You told me you’ve been with guys before.”

“So?!” Hizashi yelps, and people are starting to slowly shift their tables away from them, flinching every time his voice gets a little bit too loud to be comfortable. “That doesn’t mean… Aizawa’s not like that.” Not a guy. Not the kind Hizashi goes for, anyway. He likes clean boys who brush their teeth and have tight asses. And that’s not the point.

Hizashi’s girlfriend remains unconvinced. "Well, have you ever asked him?" 

"Asked him what?" 

"If it's like that."  

Hizashi lets out a hoot so loud the lights above them flicker. "Aizawa?! You're acting like he's secretly in love with me." Hizashi says it as a kind of outrageous joke, only to realise his apparently now ex-girlfriend isn't joking at all. No, the way she’s staring dead back at him: she's deadly fucking serious. 

Hizashi would tear his hair out if it wasn't one of his most precious assets. 

"Babe, I can promise you that Aizawa is not in love with me."

His newest ex huffs and checks her phone like she wasn’t expecting this to take so long. They haven’t ordered food yet, but it doesn’t seem like they’re going to. The bottle of champagne Hizashi had the waiter bring round better not go to waste, though. Even if Hizashi has to shotgun it. "How can you be so sure?" 

"Because he's my best friend! I'd notice if he was pining for me." Hizashi has never seen Aizawa pine for anything in his life. Well, maybe he pined for drugs that week he was detoxing, but that doesn’t count. All addicts pine for what they’re addicted to.

"I don't think you have noticed,” Hizashi’s ex tells him concisely. “He's clearly into you.”

Hizashi stops himself shrieking, but only by covering his mouth for a moment, uncapping it again to mutter, "He really isn't."

"Then why does he keep trying to watch us having sex?" 

"He's erasing my quirk!” Hizashi defends shrilly. “Okay, I know it's a little bit weird–" 

"It's really weird."

Hizashi had only said Aizawa should erase his quirk when he’s getting a little… loud during sex as a drunken joke, but Aizawa gets jokes around 25-50% of the time, and this was one of the occasions where he apparently thought Hizashi was being serious.

Aizawa’s been using his quirk to erase Hizashi’s voice for years over the most minor of infractions on a regular basis. Doing it when Hizashi’s having sex while Aizawa’s in the next room is just a weirdly specific niche within their friendship. It is a pretty useful trick, to be fair, and Aizawa only sticks his head in right at the very end when Hizashi’s getting noisy enough to annoy him. Hizashi barely knows Aizawa’s there until he’s past the point of caring if he’s making any sound or not while he comes his brains out. It’s not like they’ve ever made eye contact or anything. It’d be weird anyway, Aizawa being laser eyes at that point and all.

"Well you can wear the noise cancelling headphones instead,” Hizashi points out cattily, “but you say they make your face look fat." 

"My face isn't fat!" his ex retorts in outrage.

"I didn't say… you know what?” Hizashi cuts himself off. “You're right– not about Aizawa, I mean, that this isn't working out between us."

"Because–" 

"Because you're the one irrationally jealous of my best friend who is not in love with me." Hizashi is a grown man, and doesn’t sulk, but if he did it’d be right now.

His ex gives a scoff of disbelief. "Then tell me something. Who were you with before coming out to meet me?" 

"I was at home… with Aizawa… but he wasn't even conscious!" Rolled in again smelling of death like he usually does after not sleeping in a few days, but sober, which is always nice. 

Aizawa had meant it when he admitted to letting his drug habit get out of control, and has been making a sustained effort since then to not fall straight back into old ways, which does involve spending a lot more time at Hizashi’s. As far as Aizawa’s parents know, it’s where their son is living until he gets back on his feet, which is sorta true. Not that it really feels like they live together, since Aizawa’s still in and out more like a stray cat that Hizashi occasionally takes care of than an actual roommate.

Hizashi’s girlfriend, though, isn’t buying it. She isn’t even trying out the free sample. "He sleeps in our bed!"

"Only when no one else is using it,” Hizashi argues. “And it's my bed, I can decide who's allowed to sleep in it." Especially when they don't have anywhere better to go that won’t expose them to all sorts of vices they’re supposed to be indulging less on account of being less of a junkie fucking hobo – or is that a hobo fucking junkie? Hizashi always changes the sheets after Aizawa’s been in there anyway, since he’s never been known to be clean.

"So who are you going to spend time with once you leave?" Hizashi’s newly inaugurated former girlfriend puts to him like it somehow proves anything.  

"That's not fair, you're breaking up with me!" 

"Yes, I am.” Hizashi is furious. It makes no sense. As if Aizawa’s managed to be in love with Hizashi without ever once giving a single indication that he has a romantic bone in his body, much less to be carrying a torch for his best friend. Aizawa fucks Cricket, who is as far from Hizashi as any human can possibly be. There's just no way. 

“Fine,” Hizashi gives up, throwing his hands in the air and waving over the waiter to wrap up this pity party before anyone in the restaurant can start filming – if they aren’t already. “Whatever you say, babe. It was fun while it lasted.”

“I'm sorry." his shiny new ex-girlfriend says coldly as she gets up and slings her bag over her shoulder, leaving Hizashi with a bottle of champagne with his name on it – literally. Sponsorship deal. “Goodbye, Mic.”

*

Hizashi slams the front door when he arrives home, just tipsy enough not to give any fucks after chugging the bottle of champagne he ordered for the nice dinner with his girlfriend – no, ex-girlfriend – that he never got to have. The noise doesn’t matter, since his neighbours all agreed to sign a waiver when he moved in regarding sound complaints in exchange for having a ranked and registered pro hero for a neighbour, so they can all just deal with it tonight.

"Well!" Hizashi steams as he charges into his living room to discover Aizawa slouched on his sofa reading a book. "She broke up with me!" 

"Who?" Since getting his shit marginally more together, at least in regards to the amount of time he spends on the streets or drugs, Aizawa’s resumed some other non-drug hobbies, and the last thing Hizashi is ever going to do is discourage that. He knows better than anyone Aizawa’s only a few crack pipes out of the gutter, and it's a slippery slope back down.

"My girlfriend!" It's the rejection, Hizashi tells himself. And the utterly stupid reason behind it. 

"Oh." Aizawa pauses to turn a page. "Which one?" 

"I only have one!" 

Aizawa shrugs. "They change so often, it's hard to keep up."

"No they don't… okay, maybe they do,” Hizashi’s forced to admit. “But get this. The reason she broke up with me is you."

Aizawa takes a minute to register this, or maybe he’s just finishing his page, before his eyes lift up to Hizashi’s. He echoes like he must be wrong, “Me?”

“Which other you would I be talking about?” Hizashi spits incandescently. “You, Aizawa. You.”

Aizawa takes another moment to process this, marking the page in his book – well, Hizashi’s book, but Aizawa’s reading it in his newly acquired time spent doing things other than work or drugs – and carefully lowering it before he gives Hizashi his full and undivided attention. 

“What?”

“That’s what I said!” Hizashi belts, filled up on champagne bubbles and vitriol. “She said– you’re not gonna believe this, she said that you were jealous, must be secretly in love with me, and that she didn’t want to stand between us anymore!”

Aizawa’s got a deadass stare that could kill a deer at thirty paces. He tries it on Hizashi now, but Hizashi’s already so fired up there’s no chance he’s backing down. Aizawa lifts the book up again, starting to read again before he remarks, “Yeah, okay. Good joke.” 

“I’m not joking!” The flipside of Aizawa only getting jokes sometimes is the times he’s convinced Hizashi’s joking when he’s absolutely not, so Hizashi really belts it to make sure he gets the point across. “She broke up with me because you’re apparently pining for me!” As in, that thing that Aizawa’s never done in his entire life. Not for a human, anyway.

“I have got,” Aizawa flips the page, his gaze lifting to Hizashi’s for just a moment while it turns before his eyes lower back down to carry on reading, “much better things to be doing than pining for you.”

“What, like giving out handjobs to homeless guys?” Hizashi retorts, blowing off steam because if Aizawa’s good at anything, it’s withstanding the full force of Hizashi’s unbridled manic energy.

“Exactly,” Aizawa says without looking away from the page. That part’s not a joke either. But it is ridiculous, and Hizashi’s grateful that Aizawa has validated it as such. Because even if Aizawa was secretly in love with Hizashi, which he isn’t, wouldn’t it be a betrayal of their friendship to hide something like that for how long?

“So you’re not secretly in love with me?” Hizashi puts out there with every single confidence that if Aizawa was passionately in love with him – which, as mentioned, he wouldn’t and isn’t – then the last thing his best friend would do is keep it some kind of secret.

Aizawa gives a quiet scoff. “No, Yamada.”

Hizashi wishes he weren’t trying not to be a bad influence on Aizawa right now, or he’d ask if he’s got any weed right about now to take the edge off this turd of an evening. Instead he compromises and goes to the fridge to pull out a couple of beers, tossing one to Aizawa, who catches it without even looking, and cracks the other for himself.

“Welp,” Hizashi announces spitefully as he raises a toast to another failed relationship. If he notched his bedpost it’d be whittled away to splinters by now. “Another one bites the dust.”

*

Hizashi wishes he could say that’s the only time he gets dumped because of Aizawa, but he’s had plenty of relationships nose-dive and crash because of the point of contention Aizawa’s presence seems to create for Hizashi’s significant others. But it’s also not the only time Hizashi’s dumped specifically because who he’s dating thinks Aizawa or Hizashi have secret feelings for each other. It happens… a few times. Like half a dozen at most.

Foolishly, when Hizashi starts dating a guy for the first time, he tells himself it’s going to be different – that the girls he’s dated’s hatred of Aizawa was a female thing, and now he’s dating a boy it’ll be different. But Hizashi’s boyfriend hates Aizawa more than all his girlfriends put together. He absolutely detests Aizawa from the very start. Although Hizashi tries to make it work despite that, deep down he knows that anyone who refuses to be in the same room as Aizawa isn’t going to last longer than it takes for the novelty of them to wear off.

With Hizashi’s boyfriend, it struggles to reach the two month mark and then goes down in spectacular flames when Hizashi accidentally hits on his… well, what he thought was his boyfriend's sister. Turns out his mother’s just looking fine as hell for her age. But really, all Hizashi does is act out in such a way that finishes what’s already ending. He’s good at that – putting final nails in the coffin, which ought to be Aizawa’s bit, morbid motherfucker that he is… even if Hizashi’s more of the motherfucker, technically speaking.

It turns into a joke that’s only some parts a joke between him and Kayama; that Hizashi will know when someone’s perfect for him if they don’t hate Aizawa. 

Not everyone he dates does hate Aizawa, just a lot of them. But even among the ones that don’t outright detest Hizashi’s best friend, who actually seem to get along with Aizawa, some still go down the way of swearing there’s unresolved feelings between them as their reason for jumping ship. Hizashi could tear his hair out trying to explain that it is not a fucking thing.

Him and Aizawa are just friends, best friends, and that’s all there is to it.

*

Hizashi gets home one day and catches Aizawa doing a line off his coffee table. Catches might be a strong word, since Aizawa’s doing it in the open and doesn’t stop even when he clearly knows Hizashi is there. That'd imply he has something to hide, which he doesn’t, not from Hizashi in any case.

“Hey! What the fuck do you call this?!” Hizashi blasts as Aizawa shakes off the line and wipes his nose.

“Bumped into Cricket on a job,” Aizawa murmurs perfectly casually, tidying up the next line of neat white powder that he’s chopped up nicely along Hizashi’s glass top coffee table. “Did him a favour and he didn’t want to owe me one back.”

“Whatever happened to staying clean?” Hizashi’s torn, because he’s had great times getting high with Aizawa before, but now there’s always a certain nervousness behind it, like if he doesn’t get in the way then it’s just a matter of time before they’re back outside his parents’ house having to negotiate the terms of another intervention. Hizashi has never really been that friend, except when he's had to, for Aizawa. It doesn’t come easy.

“I cut back, I never said I was gonna stop completely,” Aizawa counters, tilting his eyes up to meet Hizashi’s. “So you don’t wanna share?”

“Well I never said that,” Hizashi gets in quickly, and it makes a certain kind of sense. He is doing a DJ set later, since spinning records is much easier than trying to get his band all in one place to play anything these days, and whatever drugs that he does are drugs Aizawa can’t do. So Hizashi pulls out a crisp note and rolls himself up a nice straw to suck a line of speed into his system so sharp it makes him feel like his eyes are going to pop out of his head for a moment.

“Hey,” Aizawa grouses when Hizashi goes straight for another one, jostling him out of the way. “I said share, not take.”

“I’m saving you from yourself,” Hizashi insists, then yowls when Aizawa shoulders him out of the way. “No fair! What’re you even gonna do with those drugs anyway?!”

“You don’t need more,” Aizawa insists sagely, guarding the rest for himself like a drug-dragon. “Cricks gave me the good shit, you don’t wanna overdo it.”

Hizashi's outraged. “And you do?”

Aizawa lifts an eyebrow at him. “My tolerance is different.”

“Oh, just because you’re a recovering crackwhore you get to decide what I can and can’t handle?” Hizashi squawks, but Aizawa’s adamant that he can’t have anymore.

Half an hour or so later, Hizashi realises why. He also happens to be shirtless, and dancing in the living room to what feels like the best music he’s ever heard in his entire life, blasting from his speakers with enough bass for the air to feel like it's vibrating. 

“Fucking hell, Aizawa,” Hizashi declares as the beat runs through every nerve in his body. “What the fuck is this stuff? How come you never gave me shit like this before?”

“Cricket never gave you the goods is all,” Aizawa replies barely above the sound of the music, and he's surprisingly chill for someone Hizashi’s watched do enough speed to be experiencing reality about an hour ahead of time. He keeps turning down the volume every couple of minutes, only for Hizashi to turn it vindictively back up. It’s fun, the push-and-pull games between them that have always been part of their opposites-attract dynamic.

“And you didn’t either?! Some best friend you are." But Hizashi can't stay mad at Aizawa, not when he feels this amazing, shaking his hair out and rippling with the music. He whips around after turning the music back up just as Aizawa's finishing off the last line and sings along because the music is in him and it's gotta get out one way or another. Aizawa sits comfortably on the floor, looking up at Hizashi like he's worth watching.

Aizawa's never made Hizashi feel like a celebrity in his life, which is what other people are for. He's actually the complete opposite, an ego killer most days. But from time to time, Aizawa makes Hizashi feel like something special, just from the way that dark gaze rests on him.

Hizashi’s mouth is running about fifteen seconds ahead of his brain, which is why he’s aware of saying, “I wanna go out,” as he hears himself say it, rather than a conscious translation of thought into expression.

Aizawa’s gaze gets a little more deadpan. “Where?”

“Doesn't matter!” Hizashi brays. “I’m DJing later but I wanna do something now.  C'mon, let's go somewhere.” Doesn’t matter where, just anywhere, feeling this good, with Aizawa.

“No,” Aizawa delivers like a walking buzzkill even though he’s had enough party drugs that even he should be susceptible to having like, the tiniest bit of fun. “I’m going out to patrol.”

Hizashi scoffs. But then again, patrolling is probably the closest thing to partying for Aizawa most of the time. “You just did enough speed to make a tortoise win the 100m dash and you want to go out on patrol?! Come onnnn, go out with me.” Not to mention, trying to drag Aizawa away from what probably feels like an incredibly productive cycle of drugs and work is just doing his duty as a best friend.

“No, Yamada.”

Hizashi’s mind is moving fast, so the more Aizawa says he doesn’t want to do something together the more Hizashi’s contrarian instincts insist that they absolutely do have to do something, literally anything together. “What if we patrol first and party after?”

Aizawa snorts, tracing a finger through the residue left on Hizashi’s table to rub into his gums idly. “You wouldn’t be able to keep up with me.”

“How dare you!” Hizashi accuses, pointing a finger down at the sad-sack lame excuse for a best friend that he has and yet somehow still adores. “You wouldn’t be able to keep up partying with me!” 

“Fine.” Aizawa makes a completely ridiculous show of rolling his eyes, holding up his hand for Hizashi to shake on it. “You’re on.”

*

Aizawa was right. They both were. Hizashi was destroyed by even trying to keep up with Aizawa swinging through the city like a goddamn demented spider-monkey on drugs, and is forced to admit he can’t handle Aizawa’s pace when it comes to what he likes to call ‘patrols’.

Revenge is sweet, though, by the end of the night. After an hour or so of breakneck legging it across the city, they interrupt several muggings and a dicey situation that could have easily turned into date-rape. It’s a potent combo when they’re out on the streets together, Hizashi’s recognisable face of Heroism – Present Mic, The Voice Hero! – and Aizawa’s ability to exist in every single shadow, pouncing out of the dark to end fights before they even begin.

When Aizawa’s convinced enough is enough they hit up a bar near the club Hizashi’s DJing at later for a few warm-up drinks. Three-beers Aizawa’s already a little woozy when Hizashi’s barely tipsy. For someone with enough stimulants in his system to wake up an exhausted elephant, Aizawa’s no better at holding his booze than when they were teenagers, and Hizashi can still drink him under the table any night of the week. This happens to be a Tuesday, Hizashi thinks, not that it really matters.

They get to the club early for a few more drinks before Hizashi starts his set, and Hizashi gets chatting to the most scorching hot girl at the bar who turns out to be the DJ who just finished, so he doesn't see Aizawa again until his session’s finished. And only then because one of the security guys hooks him off the dancefloor with the hot DJ to go get his ‘friend’ – their use of air quotation marks, not his – who’s passed out in the cloakroom. Well, in the corridor outside it.

Aizawa’s flat-out and face-down on the floor. He weighs a ton, far heavier than his frame suggests he ought to be, and Hizashi makes some rather unattractive sounds trying to lug his out-cold best friend upright when it’s the last thing either of them want.

“Come onnnnnnnnn Aizawa,” Hizashi groans as he drags Aizawa by the tangled mess of capture weapon around his neck in an effort to roll him over. “You’re not exactly who I had in mind taking home tonight.”

A low, gurgling sound rises out of Aizawa like bubbles in a drain, his eyes fluttering open for just a moment, and it’s only once Hizashi’s hauled Aizawa to sit up and he makes the noise again that Hizashi realises it’s some kind of a snigger.

“Oh shut up,” Hizashi bitches. “You couldn’t keep up partying with me after all, just like I said.”

Blackout drunk Aizawa has the consistency of a soaking wet sack of potatoes, only much less cooperative. Hizashi’s not exactly sober either, so he makes sure to grab the hot DJ’s number and then makes it out of the club hauling Aizawa at who-the-fuck-knows-a-clock in the morning with the grace of a roller-skating giraffe and hippo taped together. Worse yet, as they’re leaving one of the bouncers mistakenly tells Hizashi he wishes he had such a patient boyfriend to drag his wasted ass home, and Hizashi’s too preoccupied with steering Aizawa in a somewhat straight line to correct him.

It’s certainly not the first time that anyone’s assumed Hizashi and Aizawa are dating, but it’s one of the first that Hizashi doesn’t bother to correct, even if it’s by oversight. More focused on getting Aizawa into a taxi that takes them both home. To his credit, Aizawa’s got an iron-clad stomach, so despite being completely and utterly smashed, he’d never be sick in the car, which is one less thing to worry about.

Maybe it’s the drugs, and booze, or sheer exhaustion of being dragged halfway across the city on a crimefighting spree by Aizawa before partying for five hours straight, but Hizashi feels a little weird thinking back on the bouncer’s comments while he’s walking the final leg with Aizawa’s arm levered over his shoulder back to his – their, sorta – apartment.

Hizashi would do the same for anyone he’s dating, not that Aizawa’s like someone’s he’s dating, like, at all. But the reality is that in a normal relationship Hizashi’s more likely to be the one getting taken home slaughtered than doing the taking. Aizawa just manages to bring it out in him by merit of having his shit less together than Hizashi in some very specific ways.

"You're lucky to have me, you know," Hizashi natters away to himself as he's tactically swinging Aizawa onto the sofa, landing with a thump like a soggy mattress hitting the floor. 

Aizawa heaves a breath, clearly relieved to be horizontal again, and Hizashi’s staggering in the direction of the bathroom when he hears Aizawa sluggishly murmur, "I know."

*

The next time someone mistakenly thinks Hizashi and Aizawa are dating and Hizashi doesn’t correct them, it’s intentional. And kind of a long story. 

How it starts is Hizashi’s PR manager lands him a sponsorship gig with an energy drink company. The promotion features a lucky draw where the winner gets a fancy dinner with Hizashi as a prize. It means cash for Hizashi, a nice bit of publicity for Present Mic, and a meal out with someone who worships the ground that he walks on. Sounds great, right?

On many an occasion Hizashi would’ve given the lucky winner a night to remember all the way back to a hotel room, except Hizashi’s literally just snagged a proper date with the cool DJ chick he met at a gig, and knows that he doesn’t stand a chance at hanging onto her long enough to hook up if he’s fucking fans left, right and centre. Hizashi also can’t bring his hopefully new-girlfriend along either, as that would be uncomfortable as hell for everyone involved, as well as chronically embarrass Hizashi in front of his entirely too-cool-for-corporate-sponsorship-deals would-be girlfriend.

That’s when Aizawa lets himself into the picture by showing up early morning at Hizashi’s apartment, as he’s wont to do, crossing paths by getting into Hizashi’s bed just as Hizashi’s getting out of it. Hizashi takes one look at Aizawa’s half-awake, bruised and lightly – probably not his – blood-splattered face and realises exactly what kind of a third wheel would kill all romantic atmosphere in an evening immediately.

“Hey, what are you doing tonight?” Hizashi shoots into the rapidly closing window before Aizawa’s completely dead to the world.

“Sleeping,” Aizawa replies groggily. He’s been away four nights, which Hizashi never really worries about, but that doesn’t mean he’s not counting.

“That’s hours away!” Hizashi retorts, standing at the door of his bedroom halfway yelling at Aizawa in his bed, as he’ll fall asleep if Hizashi’s any quieter. It’s not like there’s anyone else sleeping in Hizashi’s bed at the moment either, since he’s only gotten as far as making out with the cool DJ. It doesn’t make a bit of difference to Hizashi whether Aizawa crashes there during the day while Hizashi’s out, and it’s a shitload better than him sleeping on the streets, like he probably has been since Hizashi last saw him.

Sometimes, if Hizashi thinks about it too much, he feels guilty Aizawa had already been sleeping rough every night for nearly half a year before Hizashi opened his door. Well, the door was always open, but Hizashi had to lure Aizawa back in like a stray cat that’d forgotten how comfortable the inside could be. Hizashi jokes sometimes that the only difference between Aizawa and a pet stray is that Aizawa can use the can opener.

“I’ve got a stupid publicity thing tonight where I have to take a fan out for a meal, you should come with me,” Hizashi tells Aizawa more than he asks, since if he asks the answer is going to be no.

“No,” Aizawa says anyway.

“It’s a free dinner!” Hizashi insists. “Come on, do it as a favour to me.”

“Why?” Aizawa grumbles, and would have gone to sleep already were he talking to anyone else but Hizashi, since Hizashi’s mastered the exact pitch and volume to ensure that Aizawa cannot voluntarily pass out while talking to him.

“Because I need a third wheel to make it super unromantic and awkward,” Hizashi announces like the absolutely rock-solid plan that it is. “You’ll be perfect!”

“Why?” Aizawa grunts again. Not why would he make things utterly unromantic, since they both know that, but why would Hizashi require such a favour.

“The girl I’m trying to get with will be pissed if she sees me getting cosy with some superfan,” Hizashi explains impatiently. “It’s hardly like you to turn down a free dinner, Aizawa, just come along for fuck’s sake.”

“Fine,” Aizawa grumbles, rolling over in Hizashi’s bed and pulling the covers up past his head as a signal that he wants this conversation to be over.

“Brilliant,” Hizashi replies with a grin. “I’ll pick you up at eight.”

*

To cut a long story short, half an evening later with an extremely zealous fangirl, Aizawa has rolled his eyes so many times they might have disconnected from his head. If he’d known this was the price of his free dinner he might’ve said no, but that’s why Hizashi asked him when he was trying to fall asleep and was more defenceless than usual.

But it’s worked an absolute treat for Hizashi’s purposes, since the otherwise rather sweet and cute girl who won the fan contest is not trying to flirt with him in the slightest. Her night with Hizashi could’ve ended up somewhere rather different, since it’s the way these nights often end up when he’s not trying to fuck someone else, but not tonight. Tonight she took one look at Aizawa and knew romance wasn't just off the table, it wasn't even in the damn restaurant. 

What Hizashi's sure of is that his fan thinks she doesn't stand a chance with him because Aizawa’s there – introduced as his friend-slash-bodyguard to accompany them for the evening, which was a bit awkward at first, since Hizashi doesn't actually need a bodyguard, but that was totally the point.

What Hizashi didn’t realise, not right away, was exactly why his #1 energy-drink-consuming fan thought that hooking up with Hizashi wasn’t going to happen.

Aizawa excuses himself for a cigarette before he starts bleeding from the eyes, and Hizashi stays behind, just him and the fan in the otherwise cosy and comfortable booth in a restaurant Hizashi has favoured many a time over the years. Aizawa seems to like it too, though he has basically no standard of taste to go by so it probably doesn’t matter.

But Aizawa hasn’t been out of the room a minute when the fan asks Hizashi if Aizawa is really “just his friend,” in a tone loaded with implication.

“Uh… kinda,” Hizashi replies clunkily, thinking that Aizawa’s almost more of a roommate these days, though it’s not something they’ve ever actually talked about. “We’ve known each other a long time.”

“I totally get it, you know,” Hizashi’s fan says with a glazed blush that might be some parts the sake they’ve been drinking. “It must be so hard for you and him to be together.”

The cogs in Hizashi’s brain jam, about to say that it’s not really hard for him and Aizawa to be together since they’ve had so many years of each other’s company to get used to it, before he realises what kind of together she means.

“Oh… yeah. Right. Yeah,” Hizashi blabs unconvincingly, and then for some crazy reason decides to add, “Don’t tell anyone about it, okay? My… friend hates being in the spotlight.”

“Of course, I’d never,” Hizashi’s fan gushes, reaching across the table to clasp one of Hizashi’s hands for an over-excited moment before snatching hers back. “I almost can’t believe that Present Mic could have a forbidden love.”

“Uhuh,” Hizashi murmurs like he might be sweating pure guilt. “Me either.”

It’s a perfect plan, Hizashi tells himself. The girl thinks they’re secretly dating, doesn’t hit on Hizashi, Hizashi doesn’t spontaneously decide to fuck her since it’s being offered and he has low impulse control, and no pictures of him sticking his tongue down a fan’s throat grace the social media channels where his hopefully-new-girlfriend could see them. The perfect plan. Aizawa doesn’t even need to know about it.

Except when Aizawa’s been gone for his cigarette for a while, Hizashi starts worrying he’s done a runner, which would really undermine the plan and absolutely be within the limits of shit Aizawa would pull. So Hizashi decides to leave his not-a-date fangirl unattended for a bit to go look for Aizawa under the auspices of a bathroom break, in the hopes of catching him climbing over the back wall rather than already being gone.

What Hizashi gets, when he slips out the back of the restaurant through the fire door by the men’s bathroom that practically has Aizawa’s name on it, is a hit of something that’s not just the smell of tobacco.

“Aizawa?” Hizashi hisses his form of a whisper, casting his gaze left to right in the alley until he catches the tall patch of shadow with the glowing red ember hovering in front of a scraggly stubbled mouth. “Are you for fucking real?”

“What?” Aizawa replies completely deadfaced, practically nonchalant. “You expect me to sit through more of this not stoned?”

“No, bitch,” Hizashi shoots as he steps into the alley and shuts the door behind him, striding over to Aizawa with a menacing grin. “I expect you to share.”

Aizawa snorts, takes a deliberately long drag on the joint and then hands it over to Hizashi.

Holding his breath with a chestful of weedy smoke, and oh, Aizawa still rolls a smooth fucking joint, Hizashi breathes out slowly and decides this: Aizawa’s completely right. Doing the rest of this not stoned is a terrible idea.

“She’s not that bad,” Hizashi finds himself saying after he takes another toke or two and then passes it back to Aizawa.

“She’s fine,” Aizawa replies indifferently. “It’s just weird.”

“What is?” Hizashi asks.

“The way people treat you.” Aizawa has this way of saying the most extraordinary things in a completely nondescript way. “Present Mic is someone that exists for them, you know, but I look at you and just think…” Aizawa pauses as he takes a slow drag on the joint, his eyes meeting Hizashi’s across the pungent smoke. Then his mouth cracks, and his eyes wince, and Hizashi only ever hears Aizawa fully laugh when he’s stoned, but it’s a great sound, no matter what he’s saying. “What is he doing?”

Hizashi ugly-laughs and inhales at the same time, grabbing his stomach and rolling against the wall as Aizawa laughs like a rusty garden gate.

"Okay, I'll give you that," Hizashi grants, and then, because his impulse control is famously low, adds, "You wanna hear something really funny?" Aizawa makes a noise of vague interest, so Hizashi keeps going. “She thinks we’re together.”

“What?” Aizawa rasps as he passes the joint back, crossing his arms over his chest.

“You and me. Like, a couple,” Hizashi reiterates, his voice pitching up higher and higher as he barely stops himself from laughing. “She thinks you’re my secret gay lover.” He loses the battle at the end not to laugh, which, considering he just took another hit on the joint, ends up in a half-laughter, half-coughing fit, holding out the joint for Aizawa to take back before Hizashi drops it in the gutter.

Aizawa snorts, which is sort of like laughing for him. “Why would she think that?”

“I don’t know, why does anyone think we’re secretly into each other?” Hizashi points out. If Hizashi understood where the insane assumption comes from maybe he could do something to address it, and not just repeat the same tired excuses that they really are just friends and not pining for each other for some ridiculous convoluted reason.

“It’s so stupid,” Aizawa remarks before taking another puff.

“Well we know that,” Hizashi agrees. “It’s everyone else that thinks otherwise.”

Aizawa snorts again, and hands Hizashi the joint in its last few tokes. “You’d never date someone like me.”

Hizashi’s inhaling, and almost chokes when he hears this part, saving the smoke in his chest before passing back and asking with a sigh of an exhale, “What’s that supposed to mean?” Hizashi’s never thought of himself as having a type, but the certainty with which Aizawa says he’s not datable in Hizashi’s books ignites an instinct in him that wants to argue against anything so absolute.

“You like… bubbly, creative people,” Aizawa points out the same way he reels off the number of armed people in a gang before they hit up a convenience store. Aizawa is obviously neither of those things, but that’s not the point.

“I like all kinds of people,” Hizashi retorts, watching Aizawa take the final drags on the joint and stub it out on the wall. “Just because I haven’t gone out with anyone like you doesn’t mean I wouldn’t.” Aizawa gives one of those little snorts again, which ruffles Hizashi’s feathers in a way he can’t place. As if Aizawa doesn’t believe him. “Well, my fan back there thinks I’d go out with you,” he ends up arguing, and it’s not a real argument, just stupid bickering the way they always do, but there’s a nerve in there Hizashi doesn’t like being touched, as if Aizawa’s not… good enough for him, or something.

“Shows what she knows,” Aizawa mutters, but must register the look on Hizashi’s face, because he follows it up with, “It’s fine. It’s just how it is.”

“No it’s not,” Hizashi counters automatically, like Aizawa’s the hammer that just tapped his tendon and swung out his knee. “I go out with all kinds of people, Aizawa. I’d date someone like you.” If he ever met anyone like Aizawa, except for Aizawa himself, who obviously doesn’t count. “Maybe not the bit where you fuck gross asshole hobos, but apart from that.”

“Hmph,” Aizawa huffs in that way that simultaneously infuriates and entertains Hizashi, because the fact that Aizawa doesn’t just go along with anything Hizashi does or says – like most people do – is one of the things that makes him fun to be around. “Your standards must be even lower than I thought.”

“Oh,” Hizashi scoffs melodramatically, “like you’re one to talk.” 

Hizashi knows they’re going to have to go back in there for the rest of the evening, and he'll carry on being fawned and fanned over by a girl who thinks he and Aizawa are secretly dating, which even though it’s not happening, still could be a plausibly happening thing in some parallel universe where a copy of Aizawa that Hizashi wants to fuck, and vice-versa, exists.

But for now, Hizashi likes it out here with Aizawa. Just the two of them chatting shit like they always do, and how a lot of the time, Hizashi doesn’t want or need anything more than that. In the way that so many people are never enough for Hizashi – they can’t keep up, or handle him at all extremeties of his moods, or he just gets fucking bored of them – Aizawa’s always been enough, exactly the way he is.

*

Hizashi only realises how used he’s gotten to Aizawa being at least two out of five parts a roommate when he stops being any parts one. Not for a bad reason, though, not even a little bit.

“I found a place, by the way,” Aizawa tells Hizashi one morning when their opposite cycles overlap in the living room. 

“Huh? What kinda place?” Hizashi’s busy brushing his hair, sitting cross-legged on his sofa while he tries to stomach one of Aizawa’s deathly strong coffees that he made after getting back just when Hizashi was getting out of the shower. 

“An apartment,” Aizawa explains obviously, which is when it clicks, and a stone hits the bottom of Hizashi’s stomach. “Something in my budget range came up, thought it’d get me out of your hair.”

Tangles are what Hizashi gets out of his hair, but he gets the sentiment. “You really don’t have to, but… good for you.” It’s a positive for Aizawa, no matter what Hizashi feels about it. “Just don’t stop hanging out with me now you’ve got your own place, I totally got used to having you around.”

“Your girlfriend will thank me,” Aizawa points out, and she will. Hizashi’s been dating the DJ a few months and it’s been going pretty well. She doesn’t hate Aizawa, even after waking up in bed next to him once by mistake and not realising it wasn’t Hizashi until she touched somewhere… awkward, apparently. Hizashi would’ve asked exactly what happened, but his girlfriend blushes bright red and refuses to talk about it, so he’s decided it’s a stone best left unturned.

“It’s a great step for you,” Hizashi says, because the fact that he feels a little down about Aizawa presumably spending less time here doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s obviously a really good thing for him. He’s a long way away from the actually homeless drug addict that Hizashi basically forced into his apartment over a year ago, and for Aizawa to get his own place to live again – to think it’s a valid, worthwhile thing to have – shows just how far he's come.

Aizawa makes a little sound in the back of his mouth, taking a bitter swig of his fiercely black coffee. “Not what Cricket thinks.”

Being able to afford apartments is also an indication that Aizawa’s managing to save money, and isn’t just pissing it away on drugs. He still does drugs, obviously, and sometimes with Hizashi, but the dependency has changed enough not to make Hizashi anxious anytime Aizawa’s high around him. He doesn’t work high anymore, isn’t always carrying something or the other ‘just in case’, and Hizashi hasn’t had the displeasure of bumping into Cricket for a good long while, which means the flow of illicit substances Aizawa’s got access too through him may have dried up to a trickle. Or altogether. 

“Oh yeah?” Hizashi prods gently, which is as much as Aizawa will ever respond to when it comes to his private life.

“Yeah,” Aizawa murmurs with his eyes turned out the window, rather than looking right at Hizashi. It's clear that Cricket’s been against Aizawa’s slow recovery from being deep in the gutter, since Cricks is the one who greased the chute down there in the first place. “He says he might be a whore for a lot of things, but he draws the line at society.”

“Of course he does,” Hizashi declares sardonically. Because a roof over Aizawa’s head is clearly a sign of him being a sellout in Cricket’s eyes. Aizawa doesn’t talk about Cricks much, but it’s enough for Hizashi to read between the lines. “Must be hard for him to be so fucking principled all the time.”

Aizawa shrugs. “He says it’s over, whatever it was.”

After barely a moment’s respect, Hizashi says, “Ah well, I hated him, and I’m glad he dumped you.”

Aizawa’s head whips over towards Hizashi with a glare. “He didn’t dump me.”

Hizashi chuckles, and Aizawa glares at him even harder. Aizawa’s changed over the years in plenty of ways, some for better, some for worse. But some things always stay the same with them.

“Whatever you say, buddy.” Hizashi pulls his shades down his nose far enough to wink at Aizawa. “Congrats on the new place.” And for having his shit together enough that Cricket doesn’t find him desirable anymore, which as far as Hizashi’s concerned can only be a good thing. “When’s the moving in party?”

“Never, if I don’t want to get immediately kicked out,” Aizawa retorts, and Hizashi laughs.

“Alright, so we’ll have it here,” Hizashi proposes. “Call it your moving out party.”

Aizawa rolls his eyes, and there’s no sight more amusing. A day Hizashi hasn’t annoyed Aizawa at least once is a waste as far as he’s concerned.

“You won’t shut up about this until I say yes, will you?”

“Why do you even ask such stupid questions, Aizawa?” Hizashi turns back incredulously, finished with brushing his hair and just tossing the brush up and down in his hand. “Of course I won’t.”

Aizawa rolls his eyes one more time, which has Hizashi grinning, though not so widely as when he inevitably gets his way.

“Alright, Yamada. Whatever you say.”

*

Chapter Text

*

Hizashi’s fabulously cool DJ girlfriend downs the rest of her vodka soda and brings the glass back to the bar with a clack, raising her hand again to tuck a lock of her black bob-cut hair with neon green tips behind her ear for the five seconds it’s going to stay there before falling back out. This establishment gives Hizashi a crate of their best whiskies in exchange for being seen drinking in here every couple of months, so he’s meant to be paying his dues, but the look on her face bodes trouble.

“I’m sorry, Hizashi.” Just from the tone of her voice, he knows what’s coming, like watching a hammer swing right before it clocks him in the face. “We have to break up.”

“Really?" he heaves in disappointment more than anything. "Why?”

He assumes it’s something he’s done, but there's one excuse above all that Hizashi’s learned to dread, so when she says, "I'm moving to Thailand, I've been offered a spot DJing at a big club on one of the islands,” he’s elated.

"Oh, that's… that's great,” Hizashi replies cheerfully for someone being dumped. “Congratulations, babe! Ah, I mean, good for you.” Probably best not to keep calling her babe if they’re breaking up.

Suspicion is written all over her ghostly white face, accentuated by the thinnest black arcs of her winged eyeliner and razor sharp brows that had struck Hizashi from the first moment he laid eyes on her. She observes, "You seem pretty pleased about this."

"No no, I'm super bummed,” Hizashi admits forwardly. “I'm just relieved you didn't say it was because of Aizawa."

"Well since you mentioned it, it is also because of Aizawa," she has to throw in, tapping her polished black nails against the side of her glass. 

"Seriously?!” Hizashi just can’t catch a break sometimes. “But I thought you liked him."

"He's… fine,” she says awkwardly, and Hizashi never did get to the bottom of what happened that makes her ever so slightly flustered around Aizawa. “It's not… it’s just… I did think about whether we could do long distance, since this gig won't last forever, but I know what you're like." As in, what Hizashi’s relationship with monogamy and impulse control is like.

"That's not fair, you're assuming I'd do something before I've even done it,” he counters. Even if he probably would do it, knowing him. But he’d try not to, and there’s other ways to do long distance than being completely celibate. “And what’s that got to do with Aizawa?”

But then Hizashi’s not-his-girlfriend-anymore says, "No, what I mean is, I don't think it'd work if we tried long distance because you don't actually need a girlfriend when you've got him."

This one comes for Hizashi out of a dark corner with a vengeance.

“What?!” he bursts. "That's ridiculous, babe.” Fuck, he did it again. “Aizawa’s nothing like a girlfriend– or boyfriend." Since he’s a dude and all, though by Aizawa’s own admission that’s ‘only by default’. Hizashi’s not sure Aizawa’s given enough thought to what he is in any sense of sexuality or gender to identify as anything: he’s got better things to do. That’s what he is.

"Well, he kinda is.” Hizashi’s former girlfriend is smart, cool, funny, and insightful as fuck, which makes what she’s saying more worrying than usual, coming from her and not some bimbo or himbo whose opinion Hizashi can just write off as misunderstanding or simple jealousy. 

It’s normal that whoever he dates feels threatened by Aizawa, Hizashi has learned to accept. He and Aizawa have known each other for years, since they were snot-nosed brats with big dreams. There’s a history they share that anyone Hizashi’s dating naturally feels intimidated by. But his… former girlfriend hadn’t been like that. She’s been one of the good ones. Until now.

"In what way is he like that?!” Hizashi demands as much as he squawks like an irate parrot. He can think of one absolutely unmissable way in particular that he and Aizawa are nothing like boyfriends. “We don't have sex." The joke has been made that Aizawa’s too filthy for Hizashi to ever want to fuck him, and likewise Hizashi’s far too clean to get down and dirty, or dirt ier, with him. 

"Okay, but that's like, the only thing you don't do," she explains pretty calmly all in all, and as if she's thought about this for longer than Hizashi ever has. "You and me both know you can get laid anytime you want, so if sex is the only thing you don't do with Aizawa that you do with me, and I'm going away, then it's just not enough to hang onto, is it?"

It’s not the sex, she’s trying to say: it’s everything else. Hizashi… almost gets it. Sure, Kayama has teased him and Aizawa for years over being like an old married couple, but what the fuck does she know about anything?

"I seriously didn't expect this from you,” Hizashi tries not to sound utterly crushed, when it’s exactly what he is. “About me and Aizawa, I mean. I've told you–" 

"And I believe you," she cuts him off. "I'm not saying you and Aizawa are… secret lovers or anything." Which is exactly what the press thought for a while, after the rumour Hizashi may or may not have inadvertently endorsed about him and Aizawa being an item got a bit further around than he'd planned it to.

Aizawa hadn’t been best pleased, not because of the part where he and Hizashi were supposed to be in a relationship – Present Mic dating a mysterious dark stranger?! – which Aizawa didn’t seem to care about in the slightest, just the fact that it put any media attention onto him at all. In the fantasy sequence where they did date it'd surely be a nightmare, since Hizashi tries to be newsworthy at all times, and if Aizawa had it his way Hizashi and his parents would probably be the only people who know he actually exists.

"So why are you acting like Aizawa’s the reason we have to break up?” Hizashi spits in frustration. “If you know there’s nothing like that between us."

"Hizashi," his latest ex-girlfriend says with a fatigued sigh. "There is something between you two."

Hizashi makes a frustrated noise. "But–" 

"I'm not saying it's romantic," she interjects. "But… you love him, right?" 

"I…" Hizashi freezes like a bunny facing down a dazzling pair of headlights. Where the fuck did this come from? "Well… yeah, as a friend."

"Whatever kind of label you give it,” she insists. “I don't think there's anyone you love as much as you love him."

"But it's different.” Hizashi rushes, “The way I love Aizawa…" It feels so weird to say out loud, like putting his shoes on the wrong feet, or a butt plug that's shifted to a funny angle. Like he's admitting to something he hasn't ever admitted to before. Hadn’t even thought about until he was made to, and now he’s not sure he likes the feeling.

But then his former best girlfriend yet stares what feels like straight into Hizashi’s soul and says, "All I'm saying is– is there a chance you haven't realised it?" 

This one, also, catches Hizashi out of nowhere.

"Realised what?" he hisses. 

"I believe you when you say there's nothing romantic between you and Aizawa,” she explains painstakingly, patience of a saint, honestly, not that it’s helping Hizashi now, “but… could there be?"

"What does that have to do with anything?” Hizashi shoots. “I mean…” Briefly, he makes himself think about it. Briefly. “I mean, maybe, yeah, in a parallel universe."

"How about in this universe?” she retorts quicker than Hizashi can keep dismissing anything so insane. “Is there anything actually stopping you?" 

"Aside from the fact that we aren't at all attracted to each other?" Hizashi points out bluntly.

"That kind of chemistry doesn't have to be instant.” The problem when Hizashi’s girlfriend becomes his ex, he has to admit, is that now she knows him way too well and doesn’t have any reason to hold back speaking her mind. It was easier dating shallow minor celebrities and idols who looked good in pictures and didn’t think so damn much. Fuck.

Being one of the few people Hizashi’s dated not to have just not hated Aizawa, but actually seemed to like him, she’s also spent enough time around Hizashi’s best friend to know him pretty well too. “I know there’s usually a spark right away for you, but it's obviously not like that for Aizawa. Did you ever think that maybe it'd only be there if you look for it?" 

Hizashi gives it a hot second’s thought before squashing the consideration like a mosquito hovering around his ear. "No. Nope.” Hizashi gets up off his stool and backs away from her at the bar, as if it’ll help distance him from what she’s saying. “I'm not having this conversation anymore, we're supposed to be breaking up, not… analysing my relationship with Aizawa for weird hidden sexual chemistry that's not there."

"That you think isn't there."

"That I know isn't there!” Hizashi snaps too harsh, and too loud. He needs to get out of here: fast. “I’m sorry, babe. About everything. Have a great time in Thailand."

The worst part is how she doesn't even seem mad. It's like she just… pities him. 

"I will.” Getting up herself, she steps over and reaches out a hand to lay on Hizashi’s shoulder for a moment. He’s a bit more used to being broken up with by now, but this one hurts more than most. “Goodbye, Hizashi."

*

Hizashi doesn’t tell Aizawa about this one because… he just doesn’t, okay? Well, he tells Aizawa his ex got a gig in Thailand and they both agreed he’d struggle not to cheat on her if they did long distance – right before launching into a vindictive string of meaningless hookups to prove to himself that’s what, all it was. He doesn’t say anything about her reasons involving him and Aizawa. That one he hangs onto, and just… thinks about, from time to time.

Aizawa’s not been around quite as much since he moved into his own apartment, which is the least shitty place he’s ever lived in, and Hizashi’s proud of him for that. The night they threw Aizawa’s moving out party at Hizashi’s was one for the books, not least because it featured a game of strip snakes and ladders – instigated by Kayama, obviously – that Aizawa refused to participate in, leading them all to declare he was clearly embarrassed about having a third, fourth and fifth nipple, and teased him until Hizashi was literally crying with laughter. Aizawa climbed out onto the roof in protest to smoke a blunt in sullen peace.

Once Aizawa was done sulking, or more specifically, blazed off his tits, he returned and surprisingly agreed to a round of shots and dares – kinda like truth or dare, but mostly just doing shots and then being dared to do something stupid. That’s how Kayama ended up waving Hizashi’s tattoo gun out and daring Aizawa to prove he could handle the pain as well as he kept saying he could. Hizashi’s stopped getting stupid home-done tattoos and pays actual good money for proper tattoo artists to give him ink now, but that doesn’t mean he gave the gun away.

It was only once Aizawa had grabbed the needle gun and started inking his own fucking name on the top of his foot that Hizashi realised they were both being serious. After snatching the gun off him, Hizashi for some insane reason took it upon himself to finish the lop-sided drunken tattoo scrawl of Aizawa Shota that can now be used to identify his body, so they only sort of joked the next morning on horrendous hangovers. It was better than him just having Aiza on this bloody foot, wasn’t it?

Aizawa does still spend a decent amount of time with Hizashi, which he’s grateful for, after worrying a little that they’d drift apart when Aizawa wasn’t being a recovering junkie on his couch all the time. Or even that he’d go back to being a junkie. Neither came true. 

It tends to be that Aizawa still shows up at Hizashi’s place at least once a week looking to crash, mostly if he ends up working closer to Hizashi’s apartment than his own and can’t be bothered to go home. He still does drugs, too, but never as often or much as he used to. Not seeing Cricket anymore probably helps with that, though he still manages to acquire anything he wants from his seedy underworld contacts when he does want it. Hizashi keeps an eye on him out of habit now, having sworn to himself he’ll never let it get to the stage it was at before he speaks up. That he owes it to Aizawa, and their friendship.

The bit Hizashi ends up thinking about the most is how his ex said Aizawa wasn’t the type of person to have instant chemistry with someone. Not sexual chemistry, in any case. Hizashi’s never paid a huge amount of attention to exactly who Aizawa fucks and why, aside from the canker that was Cricket on account of his being such a uniquely obnoxious and despicable human being whose guts Hizashi hated, but Aizawa managed to like way more than he should’ve. It’d feel weird to pry, so Hizashi doesn’t.

He sort of assumes Aizawa does get laid from time to time, but it’s nothing he ever talks about. Hizashi’s never known him to flirt, or have crushes, or act in the least bit romantically inclined. But even if he were to do any of those things, why would Hizashi see that side of him? They’re best friends, nothing else, so obviously Hizashi wouldn’t be aware of Aizawa’s… tendencies like that. It’s stupid. He tries not to think about it. But does.

His ex looks like she’s having an amazing time in Thailand in any case, and Hizashi’s happy for her, even if he’s less pleased with the weird invasive thoughts she left him with. Whether there could be something there with Aizawa, but they would only know if Hizashi looked for it.

No, Hizashi thinks and tells himself whenever he finds his thoughts lingering around that particular plughole in his brain. He doesn’t need to know if something is there, because he knows there’s not or doesn’t need to be. All he’s doing is getting hung up on something stupid because his ex put the thought in his head and he’s still rebounding. Or something.

*

Aizawa rings Hizashi in the middle of the night, which is fine since Hizashi’s on his way home from a DJ gig with a cute hookup on his arm, but is also why Hizashi answers the phone with, “This better be good.”

“Need your help,” Aizawa says like a shot straight to the temple, and Hizashi stops walking, bemusing the extremely cute androgynous person he’d scooped off the dancefloor on his way out of the club. Aizawa asks for help almost never, far less than he should, so when he does Hizashi knows that it’s serious right away.

“Where are you?”

“Gonna send you my location. I haven’t done anything yet,” Aizawa explains quickly, and that much calms Hizashi somewhat. It’s not past Aizawa’s capability to only call once he’s already fucked up, which makes Hizashi’s work a lot harder since he has to worry about dragging Aizawa out of there on one hand while he restrains the criminals on another. “It’s just a big job. Need some backup.”

“What’s going on, Mic?” his hookup asks, and Hizashi pats their back unconsciously, since his mind is somewhere else.

“And it can’t wait?” Hizashi checks. It’s not likely, but it’s worth a shot. He was kind of looking forward to a one-night stand, rather than an all-night stand-off.

“If it could wait I wouldn’t need help,” Aizawa responds crossly. “Leave the ass and get yours over here.”

Ah, so he did hear someone in the background of Hizashi’s phone.

“Alright, alright. I’ll be there soon.” Hizashi doesn’t say goodbye because Aizawa’s already hung up, but he does turn to his hookup and say, “Sorry but duty just called, I gotta go.”

“Aww,” they coo, reaching for his phone to key their number into it. “Well, text me when you’re done saving the day.”

“Sure, I’ll–” Hizashi starts with a grin, grabbing the phone back when he sees Aizawa’s GPS pin pop up. It’s not too far away, enough that he can run it faster than he can get there most other ways at this time of night, and when it comes to these things Aizawa hates to be kept waiting. “Oops, gotta go, bye!”

In his hurry to get moving, Hizashi forgets to even kiss them goodbye – or save their phone number. But that’s the life of a hero.

Half an hour of hard running later and a quick climb up a rickety fire escape, Aizawa is crouched on the corner of a rooftop looking like a gargoyle when Hizashi finally arrives and then promptly flops flat onto his back panting heavily.

He sprinted here like a madman on fire, and all Aizawa’s got to say is, “Took your damn time.”

“Came as fast as I damn-well could,” Hizashi retorts, still gasping up at the few stars trying to sparkle tonight, “so shut up. I’m here now.” 

While Hizashi’s catching his breath Aizawa catches him up on what they’re dealing with. It’s ‘just a gang’, he says like it’s nothing, because what he means is an absolutely ruthless and bloodthirsty biker gang who have been trafficking the big three: weapons, drugs, and people. Aizawa’s finally honed in on their hideout when the head of the operation is paying a visit, and even he’s not stupid enough to go in there alone.

“And I’m the only one you called?” Hizashi says scathingly.

“Kayama’s out on another job,” Aizawa answers dourly. “There’s a few cops on the way, but I always end up worrying about them more than relying on them for backup.” Hizashi has to agree: the police are mostly for cleanup once the situation is under control. “That’s why I called you.”

“Sure, what are best friend heroes for?” Hizashi remarks wryly, watching Aizawa pull out a couple of short-wave radio earpieces, holding one of them out to Hizashi. They’re next door to the building Aizawa’s led him to believe is full of extremely nasty criminals with any number of dangerous quirks – so, just another day on the job.

“I’m gonna go in first, try and work out where their boss is,” Aizawa explains quietly. “He’ll disappear the second they know anything’s up. You–”

“I do what I always do,” Hizashi hops in without needing to be told. “Wait for your signal then scream the house down.”

Aizawa nods, and he’s not exactly a cheerful character, but Hizashi can tell when something is weighing on him, and knows that it probably means he’s biting off more than he can chew. That they are, since Hizashi’s meant to be the dagger to Aizawa’s cloak.

“Should we call someone else?” Hizashi offers spontaneously, as there’s a dozen ranked heroes he could bring over here to lend a hand, but Aizawa just shakes his head.

“I waited long enough for you already,” he mutters, and Hizashi only ran here as fast as his legs could take him, but obviously it’s still longer than Aizawa ever wants to wait before doing his life’s work “It’ll be fine.”

*

It’s not fine.

Hizashi doesn’t know exactly what happens, but instead of getting a signal from Aizawa to go in he hears a fight break out that it doesn’t sound like Aizawa’s winning. So Hizashi doesn’t wait for a signal to start kicking ass and taking names.

There’s noises, bad noises coming down the shortwave radio as Hizashi storms through the disused industrial estate, dropping his voice to non-combative levels and unmuting the radio to spit, “Eraser, where the fuck are you?!” but gets no answer. The police are moving in hot after Hizashi, cuffing all the thugs rolling around on the floor with blood coming out of their ears, but Hizashi doesn’t care about them.

Aizawa’s breathing is uneven on the radio, too shallow, too fucking quiet, and Hizashi already knows deep in his gut that something’s really wrong. He hasn’t been answering Hizashi’s calls, which isn’t just a bad sign, it’s an absolutely terrible one.

“I found him!” comes the voice of a policeman in the background of Aizawa’s radio, and Hizashi’s just running from place to place in the filthy den getting more and more afraid each time he finds a room full of armed criminals he needs to subdue and not Aizawa. “He’s hurt.”

“Fuck! Where?!” Hizashi belts, static spitting from his earpiece as it protests what Hizashi’s putting it through volume-wise.

Then he hears Aizawa’s voice, but he’s talking to the policeman, and must have forgotten or not realised his radio is still working. Because if Aizawa knew Hizashi could hear him, he wouldn’t need to wheeze, “Tell Mic I…” and trail off into unintelligible sounds Hizashi can't shape into words.

“Tell me yourself!” Hizashi’s barely below screaming, but maybe the radio got fucked up somehow and Hizashi can hear Aizawa, but he can’t hear Hizashi.

Hizashi feels like throwing up all his internal organs at once, especially when Aizawa fades out repeating, “Tell him…”

“Oh shit, just hang on,” the policeman’s saying when Hizashi finally finds them, smashing into a room with a hole in the ceiling and several guys wrapped up in Aizawa’s capture weapon, but more importantly, Aizawa lying in the middle of the floor in a pool of his own blood, a worried policeman crouched at his side.

Hizashi skids to his knees next to Aizawa and sees the policeman holding a blood-soaked dressing over Aizawa’s stomach, while Aizawa’s own hands lay limp by his sides.

For some crazy reason the first thing Hizashi says is, “Tell me what?! Hey! Look at me!” as he hovers over Aizawa’s face and watches him trying to focus. “I’m right here, Eraser.” Snaps his fingers, pulls focus the way he’s always known how to when Aizawa’s concerned. “Stay awake, what did you want to tell me?”

But Aizawa’s not at the point of talking anymore, just bleeding, and Hizashi can only help compress the wound until they get some paramedics in there. The boss is among the men restrained with Aizawa’s capture weapon, so the raid is considered a success, but Hizashi doesn’t stay long enough to get his picture taken, because he muscles his way into the ambulance with Aizawa to the hospital, watching every too-far-apart bleep on the heart rate monitor with Aizawa’s blood all over his hands and fear in his heart.

They take Aizawa straight into emergency surgery while Hizashi calls his parents, who come right away, looking another ten years older between the pair of them. Not the first time Aizawa’s put them through this, unfortunately.

Aizawa’s parents are asked if they want to see him, even though he’s still in surgery, and Hizashi’s too squeamish to consider such an awful sight; not blood generally, but Aizawa’s blood, which he washed off his hands in the hospital bathroom hyperventilating on the cusp of a full panic attack. But it turns out they wouldn’t let him, even if he’d have wanted to.

“Are you his… partner?” one of the nurses says when Hizashi asks her yet again about Aizawa’s condition, and it takes Hizashi a little too long to realise what she means. “Only family are allowed through, but if you were…” Family in the spousal sense, she means, and only then does Hizashi get it.

“Oh, no… he’s just a… friend.” It sounds so underwhelming like that, as if the words Hizashi has to use for what Aizawa means to him don’t fit the feelings he has. That Aizawa’s not just a friend, he’s Hizashi’s best and oldest friend. The person who knows him most in the whole world, and who Hizashi can’t live without if Aizawa dies, because then he won’t have that person who reminds him who he is and will lose himself and… 

Taking another deep breath, Hizashi thanks the nurse and then retreats to the smoking area. He begs a cigarette off the nearest tired Doctor, picks Aizawa’s dried blood out from under his fingernails and tears himself apart wondering what it was that Aizawa wanted to tell him.

When Aizawa’s parents come back, it seems they’re looking for Hizashi, who’s been fidgeting in an uncomfortable hospital chair for hours. Going for periodic smoke breaks on scrounged cigarettes until he feels more ash than human being.

“How is he?” Hizashi gets in before they even open their mouths. They look exhausted, the pair of them, each boasting Aizawa’s own tell-tale under-eye bags. Aizawa’s dad’s has salt and pepper hair, falling in black and silver streaks down from a straight middle parting to around his ears, but his mother’s hair is completely white, and sits in tousled waves that she’s passed down to her son’s ever-unruly mop.

“He’s… stable,” Aizawa’s mother answers, and looks like she’s been crying again. Red on purple from fear and stress carved into every line of her soft sweet face. Fuck, why does Hizashi only ever see her when she’s been crying? “But… there was a moment when his heart stopped during the surgery.”

“What?” Hizashi knows that it means Aizawa was technically dead, if only for a moment. The fucking bastard, he was gonna die on them?

“They got it going again, but it was pretty serious,” his mother says in utter exhaustion. Her husband’s hands are resting on her shoulders. He's like Aizawa in that respect: the strong, silent type. “The Doctors say he’s lucky to be alive.”

“Yeah,” Hizashi murmurs ominously as he pulls up Recovery Girl’s phone number. “He will be, when I’m through with him.”

*

They finally let Hizashi see Aizawa when visiting hours for non-family begin the following morning, and although no sight is quite as bad as the view Hizashi got of Aizawa lying in a puddle of his own blood back in that hideout, this one of him in a hospital bed is a close second.

He’s so pale. And Aizawa usually looks like the sun never shines on him, so now he’s practically the same colour as the goddamn sheets.

Hizashi just stands there awkwardly at first, since Aizawa’s eyes are closed and Hizashi is remembering what it felt like holding Aizawa’s guts in from those nasty stab-wounds in his abdomen. Hizashi’s since found out that Aizawa was slashed by someone with a quirk that turns their limbs into glass, shredding flesh as much as piercing it, the shards breaking off inside Aizawa’s gut with liberal abandon, so the fact that more of his organs weren’t damaged is probably a miracle. His liver will grow back, apparently, and the rest they seem to think he can live with. He’ll have to.

The words keep echoing in Hizashi’s head.

Tell Mic I… and then what?

When Hizashi clears his throat, Aizawa's eyes grind open more than they flutter, and it takes him a moment to focus on Hizashi. There’s no sudden stroke of recognition, just a dry, “Hey.”

“Hi,” Hizashi replies over-eagerly, stepping towards the side of the bed before stopping himself a pace away. Like a compulsion, the next thing that makes it out of his mouth is a desperate, “What were you gonna say to me?”

Aizawa’s eyes narrow, the struggle of his mind translating to his face. “What?”

“Do you know what happened?” Hizashi blurts. “Back at the hideout. You got hurt, and I… I could hear you but you couldn’t hear me. You wanted to tell me something, you said: tell Mic I– and then it was all jumbled up.”

Aizawa makes a face at Hizashi like he’s just started talking another language, crunchy around the edges as he offers a hoarse, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You wanted to tell me something!” Hizashi blurts too loud, making the beeps on Aizawa’s heart rate monitor surge for a second. Then it hits him, as Aizawa’s least impressed stare hits Hizashi: he doesn’t remember. They could have been his dying words, words that above everything, every one else he wanted delivered to Hizashi, and he doesn’t fucking remember them.

“I… never mind,” Hizashi sighs, closing the distance between himself and Aizawa’s bedside. 

He’s just a friend, Hizashi had had to tell the nurse, and wait until ‘just friends’ were allowed to see patients in the ICU. Is that all their friendship is worth? Hizashi reaches for Aizawa’s hand, and it’s so cold. Aizawa looks surprised by the gesture, but what does he know? He doesn’t even know what his almost-dying words to Hizashi were supposed to be.

“I’m just glad you’re still here.”

Aizawa takes a shallow breath, not looking at all like himself, and Hizashi hates it. He contacted Recovery Girl already, but she swore up and down that she wasn’t going to come near Aizawa to expedite his recovery until he’d had at least a full day’s bedrest, so Aizawa’s stuck here for now with a bunch of bloody spaghetti for innards and a tube running out of his hand into an IV bag. He’s had several blood transfusions already, Hizashi knows, since much of his own must have long-since soaked into that grotty hideout floor, the rest washed down the sink from Hizashi’s trembling hands. 

But Aizawa’s still himself on the inside, because Hizashi feels it when that dark, tired gaze turns onto his.

“Me too,” Aizawa says simply, and Hizashi realises he’s still holding onto Aizawa’s hand, bringing warmth to cold flesh with his touch. “They got him, right?” Aizawa asks next. “The boss.”

Hizashi whips his hand back with an exasperated noise. “Would you stop thinking about work for a fucking second?! You almost died!”

Aizawa gives him another of those puzzling looks, and it occurs to Hizashi: did his parents even tell him that?

“What?” Aizawa murmurs. So, apparently not.

“During surgery,” Hizashi explains, since he got this far already. “There was a moment when your heart stopped. Not for long, but… this could’ve been it, Aizawa.” And since Hizashi’s had plenty of time to feel guilty about this already. “We should have called someone else.”

Aizawa shakes his head softly. “It would’ve happened anyway.”

“Don’t just write it off!” Hizashi snaps. “I shouldn’t have let you go in like that, I… we should’ve…”

Aizawa levels Hizashi with one of those looks that says everything and nothing: the remember who you are look. Or perhaps more than that: the remember who we are one.

“Did we get him?” Aizawa repeats, and Hizashi sinks down to sit on the chair by Aizawa’s bedside, back against the wall, and puts his head in his hands.

“Yeah,” he confesses like a much more terrible thing than it is. “Yeah. You got him.”

“Good.” Because to Aizawa it’s worth dying over, or it’s not worth doing at all.

“No,” Hizashi retorts, clenching his brow, trying to drag his fingers through his tangled hair wrapped into a horrendous topknot. He’s had worse things to worry about than his fucking hair, for once. “Not good, Aizawa. You can’t just…”

Hizashi picks his head back up and stares at his best friend, and more than that, his most important fucking rock in this world. The person who always remembers who Hizashi used to be, so he’ll never lose touch with himself as long as Aizawa’s here. But he almost wasn’t here, and that’s too much fear for Hizashi to take.

“You can’t leave me,” Hizashi confesses brokenly, watching Aizawa watch him and reckoning Aizawa probably doesn’t have the faintest idea what he’s talking about, because the last person Aizawa ever spares a thought is himself. But he’ll never think about what happens if he dies, so who else is supposed to hammer it into his thick skull?

“First Shirakumo, but not you, Aizawa,” Hizashi unloads like ripping a piece of shrapnel out of his chest, on the verge of the tears he held back when he was washing away Aizawa’s blood and clinging by his fingernails to the edge of a complete fucking meltdown. Because if there is one person that Hizashi can’t live in this world without, it’s this blockhead on the hospital bed. “You can’t just… die on me like that.”

Like Shirakumo did, and they’ve never talked about because what the fuck is there to say: oh yeah, remember when our best friend at school got killed doing what we do now, every day, pretending that it couldn’t be us?

Aizawa takes another careful, deep breath, and the beeps on his heart rate monitor are steady, but might be a little faster than before. Hizashi’s been getting him riled up, of course, since that’s what Hizashi does best.

“I’m still here,” he tells Hizashi, never needing lots of words to mean what he’s saying. 

“I know,” Hizashi replies, tangling his fingers together, thinking about Aizawa’s corpse-like skin against his. “Just… don’t scare me like that again.”

Aizawa closes his eyes again, clearly tired, and Hizashi’s tired too. “Okay.”

What Hizashi thinks he means is he’s sorry, but they can read between the lines all the same.

*

The words of Hizashi’s ex return to him when he’s at the hospital vending machine getting some snacks because Aizawa won’t stop complaining about the hospital portions. One second Hizashi’s deliberating over which kind of bread roll to pick, then the next like a grandfather clock there’s a question ringing out the peals of midnight in his mind.

“But… you love him, right?”

Hizashi ends up resting his head against the cool glass for a second, letting the words wash over him. Finally gives proper consideration to the question many weeks, months after it was first asked to him.

*

Recovery Girl puts off seeing Aizawa for an extra day after speaking with his Doctor, so by the time Aizawa’s finally discharged from hospital Hizashi has been living in a state of self-inflicted torture for two whole days. 

Like a single rock starting off a landslide, everything has seemed to come crashing down with a force far beyond Hizashi’s control. Everything they’ve denied, everything Hizashi has known to be true about his and Aizawa’s relationship: what if it’s wrong?

“Did you ever think that maybe it'd only be there if you look for it?" 

Hizashi’s starting to think he might have to look.

Because it’s not that Hizashi is sure anything is there. He’s not sure a fucking thing right now, except that Aizawa almost died, and his dying words were for Hizashi, and the fear of losing Aizawa is the worst thing he’s ever felt. Worse than other times Aizawa’s been close to death, because none of those times had involved Hizashi being right there and seeing him bleed out under Hizashi’s hands, or being denied information by the hospital because they’re just friends and that doesn’t count enough the way something different, something else would.

It’s not that Hizashi even knows what might be there, if he looked for it, but the idea that something could be is too much for him to handle now. He has to find out, because not knowing is going to destroy him.

That’s why Hizashi’s decided to do it: to talk to Aizawa about that conversation Hizashi had with his ex, the one he never told Aizawa about because he didn’t know how. But the fucking timing. Hizashi picks Aizawa up at the hospital when he’s finally cleared to be discharged, and no mistake, Aizawa’s still fucking wrecked, but he’s the kind of wrecked where he can just go home and sleep Recovery Girl’s super-speed healing process off in his own bed.

“You’re quiet,” Aizawa observes on the ride back. Hizashi drove to get him, since dragging Aizawa back on the train is ridiculous and his parents don’t have a car. The tension in Hizashi’s car is thick enough to cut with a knife.

“Am I?” Hizashi replies guiltily, when really all he can think about is how the fuck does he even start this conversation, when he doesn’t have a clue what he’s even trying to say.

“Yeah. S’nice,” Aizawa mumbles, and Hizashi gives a scoff.

“Oh nice, that’s what I get for being your taxi driver the day you’re discharged from hospital?” Hizashi reverts to familiar bickering, safe in silly chatter and feigned indignation. “Thanks for shutting up?”

“You offered to pick me up.” Aizawa’s still dead on his feet, Hizashi would know just from the tone of his voice even if he weren’t obviously drifting off against the car window.

“Yeah.” Where does Hizashi start? Where’s it gonna end? All he can do is find out. “Aizawa, I…” Hizashi glances over, only to see Aizawa’s basically asleep.

“What?” Aizawa murmurs at such a timbre the air in the car almost vibrates.

“Nothing.” Hizashi backs off. If he’s gonna do this, Aizawa might as well be fully conscious.

Hizashi stops off at a grocery store on the way and insists on buying several days worth of pre-made meals for Aizawa to make sure he’s going to eat. Then he parks up outside Aizawa’s dinky apartment block and carries the shopping bag up for a weary, shuffling best friend who takes about five agonising minutes to find his own keys in the same bloodied jumpsuit he went into hospital in, the tears over his gut and everything. 

Hizashi almost does it. Almost. But once Aizawa’s slumped down on the cheap second-hand sofa, which Hizashi helped him carry up here from the backstreet where Aizawa found it, Hizashi’s nerve wavers, leaving him just staring at Aizawa in hopeless desperation.

“What?” Aizawa repeats almost irately. “You keep giving me funny looks.”

“Nothing,” Hizashi shoots, backing away from the precipice even when he knows it’s probably as good a chance as he’s had yet. “Just… look after yourself properly, okay?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Aizawa agrees like he’ll half-ass it the way he does most self-care. That cuts Hizashi up too, knowing that Aizawa’s not going to take care of himself as well as he should. As Hizashi wants him to. “Bye then.”

It catches Hizashi off-guard, realising Aizawa’s waiting for him to leave. “Right… bye.”

Hizashi turns around and every step he takes toward Aizawa’s door is a mistake. He’s being a ridiculous, stupid, coward. So he’s gotten exactly one pace through the front door and started to pull it shut behind him when he throws himself into reverse. This isn’t the Present Mic way. He barges straight back into the apartment, where Aizawa’s almost falling asleep on the sofa, and bursts, “Okay look, should we go out?!”

Aizawa stares up at Hizashi for a moment, and then says, “I just got here."

“No,” Hizashi counters. “Not like that. Like… okay, remember my last girlfriend, the one who moved to Thailand?”

“What?” Aizawa’s got the most characteristic unimpressed ‘what’ that Hizashi’s ever heard. But it’s started now, he can’t be stopped. He has to settle this once and for all.

“So when we broke up, there’s some stuff we talked about at the time that I didn’t tell you.” Hizashi’s got enough nervous energy to power the whole city, practically vibrating in his boots.

At the complete opposite end of the scale, Aizawa lifts a tired eyebrow. “Do you have to do this right now?”

“Yes!” Hizashi bolts. “Just listen to me.” Hizashi didn’t listen back then, but it’s finally sunk in. “She knew there wasn’t anything going on between us, but then she asked me if there could be. Something… something romantic, you know?” Hizashi feels like he’s about to puke, pass out or something even worse.

Aizawa visibly sighs. “I’m too tired for one of your freakouts, Yamada.”

“It’s important!” Hizashi squawks. “What if we… if you and me… what if everyone was right?”

Aizawa winces. “Right about what?”

“About us!” Hizashi would tear his hair out if it wasn’t his most precious asset, but fuck, he didn’t anticipate Aizawa making it this difficult. “I’m saying what if we should be together?!”

Aizawa stares at him without blinking, then blinks, but very slowly. “Are you feeling alright?”

“No! That’s the point!” Hizashi hasn’t felt alright in days. Not since the moment Aizawa told him it’d be fine on a rooftop and everything after that has been super fucking not fine and Hizashi doesn’t know what will fix it, but he’s desperate enough to try anything.

“My ex was saying that… maybe there is something between the two of us, and we just haven’t noticed it because that kinda chemistry isn’t always instant, even though it usually is for me– but what if it’s not this time, what if it’s…” Hizashi trails off upon recognising the fact that Aizawa is following this not-at-fucking-all.

“Okay.” Hizashi takes a fresh breath, feeling like he might need to be taken off in the ambulance next, but fuck it. He’s paddled out this far, might as well throw himself over the waterfall. “Are you attracted to me?”

Aizawa’s mouth actually hangs open a little, and Hizashi doesn’t know if it’s the time and place, or the proposition itself. Probably both. “What kind of a question is that?”

“One I’m asking you,” Hizashi reasserts with more confidence, because if the kneejerk answer to that was no then Aizawa would’ve surely said it already, wouldn’t he? “Are you attracted to me, Aizawa?”

Aizawa’s actually gawping at Hizashi, so at least he’s got the element of surprise. And it does something fucking weird to Hizashi’s stomach that Aizawa’s answer, agonising moments later, is no more than, “You know you’re attractive.”

“I know it,” Hizashi replies hurriedly. “I want to know if you think so.”

Aizawa’s puzzling look could recite epic tales of its confusion. Hizashi still feels like he could explode from any orifice in his body, but he couldn’t keep that pressure inside him anymore. So even if it’s messy, at least he’s letting it out.  

After another excruciating pause, Aizawa answers, “I guess?”

Hizashi’s ego, truth be told, probably needs taking down a few pegs most days of the week. But this one doesn’t land well.

“You guess?!”

His body moves by itself, or so Hizashi feels like when he goes from standing a short distance in front of Aizawa to kneeling over him on the sofa. His hands are perched either side of Aizawa’s shoulders, tightly gripping the back cushion for dear life. He’s touched Aizawa thousands of times, it must be, since they were first stupid teenagers together at neighbouring desks. But never quite like this. Where it’s thigh to thigh, Hizashi’s weight resting evenly across Aizawa’s and their breaths close enough to mingle.

“Don’t guess,” Hizashi says quietly, actually quietly, for once. He’s not sure he’s ever been this close to Aizawa face to face. Not close enough to see the burnt warmth in the otherwise nearly brown-black of his eyes, or to pick out the different hues of the perpetual bags under each, a deeper purple-green-yellow than usual. Hizashi licks his lips, and feels his heart beating underneath his tongue. “Just think about it for a second.”

Aizawa hasn’t moved a muscle so far, not even when Hizashi climbed into his lap three seconds ago. But all of that seems incomparable when Aizawa raises a single hand to lay lightly against Hizashi’s side, slipping between the leather of his jacket and the cotton of his t-shirt, and then presses Hizashi closer. 

Aizawa kisses him.

Despite Hizashi initiating just about all of this, he doesn’t initiate that. The fact that Aizawa could, and does, catches Hizashi totally off guard. As in, he pulls away after a couple of seconds of feeling Aizawa’s lips against his and covers his mouth with his hands kind of off-guard.

Aizawa gives Hizashi another scathing look, his palm still resting lightly at the base of Hizashi’s ribcage like he’s forgotten about it, and asks, “Is that what you were looking for?”

Through his hands, Hizashi murmurs. “Is it a yes?”

“Yes, what?” Aizawa says with a roll his eyes, and Hizashi drops his hands from his face.

“Yes, you’re attracted to me!” He’s being too loud, which is very obvious just from Aizawa’s flinch.

“I told you.” Aizawa actually shrugs, and the fucking nerve of him. “I guess.”

“But you kissed me!”

“I thought you wanted me to,” Aizawa points out like it’s the most completely obvious thing that he’s given literally no thought about until the moment right before he did it.

“I–!” Hizashi cuts himself off, overwhelmed with the lingering sensation of Aizawa’s mouth on his. Did he want Aizawa to? “I asked you a question.”

“And I answered it,” Aizawa counters matter-of-factly, and when he heaves a deep breath it hits the V of Hizashi's chest above the collar of his t-shirt, lifting the hairs on the back of his neck. “Look, where the fuck is this coming from?”

“You nearly died!” Hizashi fires right from the hip, because even though this is a trainwreck, it’s still a very much in-progress trainwreck. “And your dying words were almost some cryptic message to me that you don’t even fucking remember and you… you…”

Aizawa takes the space while Hizashi splutters into red-faced silence to observe, “You’re freaking out.”

At another wince-inducing pitch Hizashi shrieks, “You think?!” 

Glancing down at their position, meaning Hizashi straddling Aizawa’s lap, he adds the observation, “This was your idea.”

“I know! I just…” Hizashi stops for a shallow breath, collects his scattered thoughts like a handful of marbles on the loose. “I started wondering if there’s a reason why so many people think there’s something going on between us. If… if something has been there, but we wouldn’t know unless we tried to find it, so I’m… trying.”

Aizawa seems a little disgruntled. “To prove what?” he just about accuses, a defensive flair that means something in this is real, because Aizawa never gets defensive unless it matters to him. “That I’m attracted to you?”

“No, not to prove anything, just that we…” Hizashi arrives at the inescapable, overwhelming conclusion. “I think we should date.”

As if he can't believe it, Aizawa states, “You’re asking me out?”

“Uh… maybe.” It sounds so fucking weird when he says it like that.

Aizawa’s eyebrows practically tie themselves in a knot. “Maybe?”

“Okay, yes!” Hizashi confesses under the slightest pressure, like the simple weight of Aizawa’s palm against him. “Yes, I think we should date, because we might be in love!”

Aizawa murmurs, “Ridiculous,” with his head tilted down to stare at Hizashi’s collarbone, and Hizashi’s stomach relocates to an apartment several floors down. But he doesn’t have more time to react before Aizawa continues in the same mumbling tone, “of course I… love you.”

Hizashi wasn’t sure about any of this, but what he’s sure of is that his heart does a triple backflip when Aizawa says that.

“You do?”

“Yeah,” Aizawa replies obviously. “You’re my best friend.”

“Same! I mean, me too,” Hizashi fumbles. “But do you think we could… that maybe we could have other kinds of… love?”

Aizawa shuffles for the first time underneath Hizashi, and it’s worth noting that he doesn’t really seem uncomfortable, just confused. “That’s what all this is about?”

Hizashi, rarely, doesn’t say anything at all. Just nods. 

The pressure of Aizawa’s hand against his side increases again, but this time Hizashi moves as well, leaning in while Aizawa tips his face up curiously and their mouths meet a second, much more tentative time. Hizashi shuts his eyes, devotes himself to the moment, and one thing’s for sure – that gnawing, not-enough fear over Aizawa that Hizashi’s lived with the past few days is nowhere to be found now.

Then Aizawa adjusts the tilt of his head, not by much, but enough to press a little more firmly against Hizashi’s mouth, and oh, that’s a something right there.

Hizashi’s hands fall short of gripping the sofa to alight on Aizawa’s shoulders, and he feels Aizawa’s fingertips curl against his side as the kiss twists and lingers. It’s so weird, so totally completely weird to be doing this with Aizawa – but is it a bad kind of weird? Hizashi’s heart doesn’t think so, apparently, since it’s pounding fit to burst.

When he finally backs away Hizashi is, unsurprisingly, still in Aizawa’s lap. He’s so familiar with Aizawa’s face, every inch and line, but now it’s like looking at him with completely different eyes. Seeing not just his friend, but someone who could be more, and he just never fucking looked for it.

“So…” Hizashi starts unsteadily, still clinging to Aizawa’s shoulders like he’ll float away without an anchor, “is this gonna be a thing?” 

Aizawa looks right back at him, and in his totally underwhelming way that’s also just enough, replies, “I guess so.”

*

Chapter Text

*

It’s been a wild couple of days. First Aizawa almost dies, then one thing leads to another and now they’re here, with Hizashi straddling Aizawa’s lap in his apartment after kissing for the first time, and are they boyfriends now?

“So, uh… what now?” Hizashi says for lack of anything better to say, since he’s compelled to fill an empty space with words, no matter how dumb, and this is what they’re left with.

Because it’s Aizawa, who has all the romantic instincts of a pile of bricks. Yet who can apparently pump Hizashi’s heart like he’s holding it in his fingers with simple words like, “Mind getting off?”

“What?!” Hizashi’s hardly the slowest moving casanova in the pack, but Aizawa can’t mean what it sounds like he means… right?

“‘I’m not that bothered,” Aizawa murmurs indifferently, “but I was gonna have a cigarette and you’re kinda in the way.”

Get off his lap. Perhaps it means something that this pose feels so natural Hizashi has practically forgotten he’s doing it – that it’s not normal for him to be kneeling square across Aizawa’s loosely spread legs. Most of the time someone Hizashi’s dating wouldn’t hold his weight quite so effortlessly for this long, but Aizawa’s much more built than his crappy, ill-fitting clothing ever gives away, so apparently the only real inconvenience Hizashi poses to him is hampering his ability to smoke.

“Oh, right!” Hizashi slides sideways rather than backs up, swiveling as he goes to slump next to Aizawa on the sofa. On a really solid level this is exactly the same as hanging out with his best friend has always been. There’s just another level that’s brand new and totally overwhelming, which if Hizashi thinks about for any amount of time he loses his fucking mind.

Aizawa doesn’t have any cigarettes on him, so he gets up to forage for them elsewhere in his apartment. This gives Hizashi some breathing room, until Aizawa comes back with one already lit, hanging from the corner of his mouth as the smell of tobacco wafts with him through the air. 

Hizashi watches Aizawa stepping through the smoke and thinks for a second, him? Aizawa’s always been… Aizawa, and Hizashi can’t say he’s ever given serious thought to whether he’s attractive or not. Especially not now, when he’s so haggard from his injuries, though Hizashi doubts if anyone would be much to look at after three days in the hospital.

There’s gaps in the front of Aizawa’s jumpsuit, stiff from his own dried blood where the attacker’s glass limbs had pierced him, where Hizashi had so desperately pressed down as he begged Aizawa to tell him whatever it was he’d wanted to say. His hair is a mess too, dark and tangled around his face where several weeks of unattended stubble sparsely scatter his jaw. Which is nothing new, but it’s new to Hizashi to look that closely and think, and wonder… Aizawa says he ‘guesses’ he’s attracted to Hizashi, and Hizashi’s said before he’d date someone like Aizawa, which, now he’s like, actually dating Aizawa. The real one.

So what about Hizashi? Is he attracted to Aizawa?

Aizawa takes the cigarette out from between his lips and taps the ash off in an ‘ashtray’, which is actually a beer can with the top cut off, on his ‘coffee table’, which is actually an upturned crate. He just stands across the room from Hizashi, watching Hizashi watching him.

“What?” Aizawa’s been saying that a lot recently, though Hizashi can’t really blame him. He’s been staring a lot.

Hizashi opens his mouth, not exactly sure what’s going to come out until he says, “Gimmie a drag of your cigarette.”

Aizawa snorts, holding the cigarette pinched in one corner of his mouth as he talks out of the other. “I have more.”

“No, I want some of yours,” Hizashi counters, getting up so he’s on the same level as Aizawa, who raises his eyebrows as he takes another puff.

“Is this a dating thing?” It sounds bizarre coming from Aizawa’s mouth, which probably indicates that it is bizarre.

A laugh sneaks out of Hizashi like a wayward parrot. “No, because we share cigarettes all the time, jackass.” Mostly joints, but that’s a technicality.

Aizawa seems sceptical, but passes the cigarette over to Hizashi anyway. It’s not meant to be a dating thing, but does Hizashi think about how the filter’s touched Aizawa’s lips, which were just touching his own? Yeah, of course he fucking does.

The nicotine rush helps, a soothing wave that blankets Hizashi with a little piece of familiarity. A ritual they’ve held for longer than all this new bullshit, because there’s nothing he and Aizawa can’t talk out over a cigarette.

“This is insane,” Hizashi finally comes up with as he returns the cigarette to Aizawa, who stares at him in confusion and waits for an explanation. “This, as in, us, I mean.”

“You started it,” Aizawa points out, taking a deep inhale and long exhale as the smoke crowds his little apartment. Most places would discourage smoking indoors, but not the kind of dives Aizawa exclusively favours. The ceiling was already yellow when Aizawa got here, there’s not much worse he can do to it at this point.

“I know, I know, it’s just… they were right,” Hizashi stumbles into with a fatigued sigh.

Aizawa takes another drag, holding the smoke in his chest for a second before releasing it with the question, "Who was?" 

"Everyone!” Hizashi bursts, making grabby fingers to get the cigarette back that Aizawa pretends not to see. “Everyone who insisted we were together or secretly in love with each other."

"If it was a secret then it was one to us too,” Aizawa reflects, still withholding the cigarette, but now Hizashi’s got a taste for it and keeps angling. Reaches over to try and pluck it directly from Aizawa’s mouth, who just leans back to dodge it and huffs out a cloud of spiteful smoke.

"Huh?" Hizashi says inelegantly, more distracted with their game of grab-the-cigarette than what Aizawa’s actually saying.

Aizawa takes the cigarette from between his lips, stretching his arm out behind him purposely beyond Hizashi’s reach as he explains, "Other people said we were hiding it, like we knew but were in denial or something, but that’s not true.” This resonates enough that Hizashi stops messing around and actually listens for a hot second.

“So what’s the truth?” he asks. Aizawa has a way of expressing himself that’s completely in contrast to Hizashi’s own chaotic thoughts, so it’s actually reassuring the way he lays it out, as it sits in his own mind with perfect clarity.

"We just… hadn't figured it out."

More tentatively than he expects to hear himself, Hizashi says, "And we have? Figured it out?” He doesn’t really feel figured out, but maybe he just doesn’t know what he’s looking for.

Aizawa shrugs. "Seems like."

"Ugh, this is so weird," Hizashi groans.

"Why?" Aizawa almost seems a little put out for a second, a frown passing across his face before falling back to the usual blank slate.

"Because you’re the person I usually talk to about who I’m dating,” Hizashi begins to unwind the frantic knot of every fucking thing in his head all twisted up and tied together. “What do I do when that person is you?”

Aizawa gives a half-amused scoff and finally passes the cigarette back like a pity offering. “Do you want me to list the reasons it won’t work out?”

Hizashi’s shocked, taking a greedy drag first before echoing on the exhale, “That it won’t?” He’s been so fixated on the fact that maybe him and Aizawa should date that he’d never even considered what might happen after. If this thing that might be there between them would even work the way relationships are supposed to.

“That’s what I normally do, isn’t it?” Aizawa suggests, then reclaims the cigarette from Hizashi and taps off ash again, taking a leisurely drag before he continues, “Let’s start with the fact that it takes you hours to get ready in the morning.”

Hizashi takes it back: now he’s shocked. Is Aizawa actually fucking sassing him?

“Well you only get out of bed five minutes before you have to leave,” Hizashi returns the serve, because if Aizawa wants to go he's got a list of complaints and character flaws a mile fucking long.

“Because I’d rather get more sleep than do something ridiculous with my hair,” Aizawa baits as he takes another utterly unbothered, unironic drag on his cigarette. “Clearly, I’m the unreasonable one here.”

Hizashi is suddenly and violently reminded that one of the most notable things about Aizawa is that he’s entirely and completely himself at all fucking times. He’s never pulled a punch with Hizashi in his life, and he’s not gonna start just because they're going out. 

“Oh, you want to talk about hair?!” Hizashi snaps back tighter than an elastic band about to break, and does this count as their first fight as a couple? All of two minutes in. “I’ve met raccoons with better grooming habits than you. Dead raccoons!”

Aizawa takes his sweet time, stooping over to drop the cigarette butt in the overcrowded ashtray and then straightening all the way back up to look Hizashi square in the eyes. Calm and collected, like he’s waited a long time to say this, he announces, “You’re a clean freak.”

Hizashi raucously laughs in Aizawa’s face, because he would say that. “You’re too messy!” And because Aizawa insulted Hizashi’s hair first, and he’s been staring at Aizawa’s scraggly weeks-long stubble trying to decide what he feels about it, tacks on, “You’re allergic to razors!”

Aizawa does something surprising, which is that he takes an entire step closer to Hizashi. So now the distance between them is just inches, the scent of tobacco hanging in the air and Aizawa’s stubbly chin stuck out in defiance.

In the same way he always speaks, with his energy level resting right back on its haunches because he doesn't need more, Aizawa tells him, “I can grow more of a beard than you.”

A lapse in focus later, Hizashi is kissing him again. Not quite able to trace what took place in that blind spot of inattention, exactly who sprung for who across the distance that Aizawa intentionally shortened. Like dangling a cat toy in front of a cat, waiting for it to pounce. Either way, it’s happening now.

It’s different to the first times, more heated, standing on stronger legs as Hizashi kisses Aizawa knowing Aizawa’s going to kiss back, actually knows how despite it seeming like one of those things he’s never been bothered with in his life. Then again, Hizashi doesn’t know everything there is to know about Aizawa, or they wouldn’t be like this now.

Hizashi hooks an arm around Aizawa’s back, while Aizawa’s hands come to settle on Hizashi’s waist. Hizashi’s aware that Aizawa literally just got out of hospital and should probably be back in bed asleep by this point, but other issues seem a little more pressing. Like that of Aizawa’s tongue touching Hizashi’s when their lips part and they both try to make kiss someone senseless into a literal term.

“Hm,” Aizawa murmurs when they part a mouthy tussle later.

“What?” Hizashi says with their profiles still intertwined, halfway between catching his breath and hyperventilating because he’s making out with Aizawa and it’s nothing like he’d have ever imagined it would be.

“Thought you’d be… better at it, somehow,” Aizawa has the fucking audacity to say with his whore troll hobo-fucking mouth.

“Better?! How dare you!” Hizashi belts, and any attempts Aizawa might have made to retaliate are swallowed up by the whopper Hizashi plants on him moments later. 

Perhaps Hizashi had been going slowly out of respect for Aizawa, and how fucking new and weird all this is, but apparently his consideration is wasted. Because if Aizawa wants Hizashi’s tongue stuck down his throat then fine, he’ll get it.

Hizashi only realises Aizawa’s grip on him has tightened into two fists at the bottom of his t-shirt when Aizawa uses them to pull Hizashi fully against him, their chests touching as Hizashi gives Aizawa the kind of kiss that blows most people’s socks off. When they separate the next time, it’s for a mutual gasp for air.

“Okay,” Aizawa’s the first to speak, and he tastes like cigarettes and bad decisions, but when has that ever stopped Hizashi? “Settles that, then.”

“Settles what?” Hizashi asks more breathily than he’s proud to admit, because maybe Aizawa just mortally insulted his kissing ability, but Hizashi had also expected Aizawa to be worse at it, somehow.

Because Aizawa kisses like he does just about anything: with total certainty in his every action, as if he's never experienced doubt for a second in his life. He does it again now, places his lips onto Hizashi’s, then ventures deeper like he’s feeling out Hizashi’s mouth by touch to fit it for the shape of his own tongue. A shiver catches Hizashi by the back of the neck, lifting his mouth with an intoxicating sound of lip on lip.

Backing up just enough to comfortably meet Hizashi’s eyes, Aizawa’s phantom complexion is dusted with a rare flush of faint, rosy pink. Then he confirms, “Looks like I’m attracted to you.”

*

Hizashi had thought it’d get easier.

It doesn’t.

Although Aizawa says it’s ‘fine’ if Hizashi wants to stay the night after everything happens, like a true anti-romantic, "stay over if you want, it’s fine," Hizashi decides that he’d rather go back to his own bed than chance it with Aizawa’s tenth-hand futon. Aizawa’s fresh out of the hospital and literally only going to pass out anyway, so what difference does it make if Hizashi’s there or not? 

Maybe they’ve just established that yes, okay, kissing is a thing that seems to work between them. Works quite well, actually, but that’s like step one, and Hizashi’s not sure about going straight to step ‘sleep together’ right away. Which is pretty astonishing, coming from him, but then Hizashi’s used to jumping into bed with people he barely knows, not people he’s known for eight fucking years and only just started thinking of in a romantic way. It’s weird. It’s really weird.

It’s so weird that Hizashi doesn’t know where to start on how he’s supposed to date Aizawa, given that Aizawa doesn’t do any of the things Hizashi normally does with dates. 

He starts out by asking if Aizawa wants to go to one of Hizashi’s fancy free dinner places, but Aizawa says no and states that ‘all food is the same’ so they get into a forty-minute argument about how that’s categorically not true, followed by twenty minutes of riled-up making out before ordering take-out. Aizawa’s taken no time at all to figure out that kissing shuts Hizashi up for longer than he can go without blinking, and that’s already way too much power for him to have.

And while Hizashi’s kind of getting used to kissing Aizawa as a legitimate outlet of the regularly generated tension between them, the extension of this into S-E-X has Hizashi breaking out in a cold sweat. Not because he’s totally against having sex with Aizawa, but that wrapping his head around the idea of Aizawa wanting to is like trying to run a sprint with his shoes on the wrong feet. Aizawa has never oozed sex appeal in his life, hasn’t even trickled it. And even though Hizashi’s naturally overflowing with sexuality, this is something that has registered to Aizawa exactly never, so why would it start now?

Basically, Hizashi’s overthinking it, and there’s nothing less sexy than overthinking something. And if he can’t quite figure out if he wants to have sex with Aizawa, knowing whether it’d be good sex is even further out of the frame. Picturing Aizawa in a sexual situation is a bit like a deer on roller skates: technically possible, but probably quite awkward.

Hizashi’s next plan to go on An Actual Date with Aizawa is something they’ve done before, which is to hit the bar, and that one Aizawa at least agrees to. But it’s exactly like hanging out between them always is, not even slightly date-like or romantic. So because it’s just like always, or maybe because he’s on edge over how normal it is, Hizashi drinks a little too much too fast, which is how he ends up drunkenly ranting to Aizawa about how fucking awkward it is to date him.

Aizawa allows Hizashi to vent uninterrupted at him for a good ten minutes, waiting until Hizashi stops to take a drink before offering a one-sentence riposte. “You’re the one making it awkward.”

“How is it my fault?!” Hizashi squawks. He’s great at dating, what the fuck would Aizawa know about it?

“Because you’re trying to force us into a template that you’re used to,” Aizawa points out. “You’re doing it backwards.”

“Backwards? Then what’s frontwards?” Hizashi slurs as he wobbles on his barstool just a little, Aizawa reaching out to grab his shoulder before he topples.

“Why is what we were and are now supposed to be different?” Aizawa puts to him, and it’s frustrating that Aizawa seems to have taken this jump into ‘dating’ completely in his stride while also treating it as if absolutely nothing has happened. Nothing that he sees as important, anyway. “Wasn’t the point that we’re already like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like we’re in a relationship,” Aizawa explains with a twitch that could be irritation, or maybe just exasperation. “Instead of making us into what you think dating should be, shouldn’t you change what you think dating is to match how we actually are?”

Hizashi… kinda gets it. And kinda doesn’t. But maybe that’s just because he’s drunk.

“So what's the difference between us being friends and in a relationship?” he says helplessly, and Aizawa shrugs.

“Whatever we want it to be?”

Hizashi stares at Aizawa, which he does a lot these days, and drags the line in his head from point A to B.

“So you’re saying… the reason it’s awkward trying to date you is because I’m trying to do it the way I’d date anyone else, but you’re not like anyone else?” That’s certainly an understatement; Aizawa’s always been a one-off original.

“You could put it that way,” Aizawa answers, taking a casual slug of his beer. He’s had a couple, but he’s being careful this time, unlike Hizashi. He’s planning to go out and work later, Hizashi knows, while Hizashi just got done for the day.

“Then how do I date you?” Hizashi drunkenly lands on.

Aizawa gives him a completely withering look. “Just be yourself, Yamada.”

Another lapse of attention later, Hizashi is more in Aizawa’s lap than out of it, and is trying to kiss him while also sort of falling off his barstool.

“Easy, I’m gonna drop you if you keep doing that,” Aizawa mutters as he loops an arm around Hizashi’s back to scoop him back onto his chair. But it’s definitely a thing that the complete and total ease with which Aizawa supports him makes Hizashi think that perhaps it wouldn’t be so weird having sex with Aizawa after all. Or maybe he’s just drunk and horny.

“Why don’t you wanna kiss meee?” Hizashi moans, annoyed that Aizawa puts him back in his seat instead of allowing Hizashi to keep falling all over him.

“We’re in the middle of a bar,” Aizawa says bluntly.

“Oh, and what, you’re ashamed of me?!” Hizashi barks, reaching over to prod Aizawa in the chest but only succeeding in pushing himself backwards and needing to be caught again before he spills off in the other direction. “You should be so fuckin’ lucky, baby.”

Aizawa gives Hizashi a solid second’s stare of wide-eyed unblinking shock, and then bursts out in the kind of laugh that he usually only does when he’s high. 

“You did not just call me that.”

“Get used to it, baby,” Hizashi taunts viciously, and then is pleasantly surprised when Aizawa snatches him by the arm still reaching towards Aizawa’s chest and yanks him in for a quick but surprisingly passionate kiss. 

Hovering his mouth a short distance over Hizashi’s after he lifts away, Aizawa offers a scathing, “If anyone should be ashamed of you, it’s you.”

Hizashi scoffs and shoves himself back. They already thought he and Aizawa were going out in the media once before and the story probably won’t sell a second time, so screw what anyone in the bar thinks. “Sorry to let you down, but I don’t come equipped with a shame function.”

“I know,” Aizawa replies with a narrow look at Hizashi before he takes a fresh sip of his beer, and it’s the confidence that he says it with. Hizashi’s never dated someone who knew him inside-out and back-to-front from the very first date, so just those two words, uttered with total certainty, are incredibly hot all of a sudden. That Aizawa knows Hizashi has no shame because he already knows Hizashi.

Announcing itself with a rush of blood that’s definitely not to the head, it dawns on Hizashi that maybe he does want to fuck Aizawa after all.

*

Hizashi wakes up alone and with an absolutely blinding hangover. What did Aizawa let him drink last night?

After a certain point in the evening the details of Hizashi’s memory are a touch fuzzy around the edges, or in some cases a little bit absent entirely. But he remembers Aizawa walking them home, so why the fuck Aizawa isn’t here makes no sense.

Where did u go? Hizashi texts Aizawa immediately, followed up with, p.s. I’m dying.

Aizawa doesn’t reply right away, but Hizashi’s dragged his corpse out to the kitchen and gotten himself a glass of water when an answer arrives.

No you’re not.

Hizashi snorts, as his head begs to differ, and allows himself to collapse dramatically onto the sofa – when it hits him.

A flashback of the night before, or more particularly, of making out with Aizawa on the sofa like it was about to go out of fashion, and Hizashi really wanting to take it further. Hizashi’s skin shivers with a memory of Aizawa’s hands on him, of Hizashi throwing the full chaotic energy of his wasted and horny self at Aizawa and Aizawa just taking it. 

So why didn’t it go further? It definitely could’ve, but definitely didn’t. Hizashi doesn’t usually forget sex even when he’s otherwise blackout drunk. And more to the point: if they’d fucked there would be evidence.

The answer, or part of it, comes in a subsequent message.

Working. Talk later.

That's right, Aizawa was practically sober by the time he dragged Hizashi back here, since he tries to only work sober these days. This makes what happened on the sofa even more impressive in a way, because Hizashi’s drunk memory informs him that there was plenty of reciprocation from Aizawa to his drunken advances. That whatever Hizashi throws at him, Aizawa has always been able to take it, and this is no exception.

Then again, Aizawa did leave, so he can't have wanted to screw around as much as Hizashi did. No one ever does, though it does mean Hizashi’s a little miffed after the fact. But knowing what Aizawa’s like on the job, there's no point in trying to start a conversation about it, so Hizashi just tells him: come over when you're done.  

Aizawa responds: ok.  

*

Aizawa’s 'work' lasts two days. 

That’s actually not that bad for him, but it’s long enough for Hizashi to be completely over his hangover, have gotten annoyed, un-annoyed and then re-annoyed again about being left hanging. He’s Present Fucking Mic, he’s not supposed to be kept waiting around twiddling his thumbs over someone.

Except he’s not Present Mic to Aizawa, and never has been. He’s just Yamada Hizashi, and always will be.

So when Aizawa finally rolls into Hizashi’s apartment two mornings later smelling like dead ashtray, Hizashi sticks his head out of the bathroom with a toothbrush in the corner of his mouth to check it’s who he thinks it is, and then hollers a spiteful, “And what time do you call this?!” through the apartment.

“Bedtime,” he hears Aizawa reply faintly, followed by the closing of his bedroom door. Hizashi spits toothpaste into the sink and goes straight after him. It’s kind of weird that they’ve basically lived together before they were even dating, making such space feel both familiar and unfamiliar. That they aren’t living together, but when Aizawa’s here it’s exactly like they are.

Hizashi gets into the bedroom as Aizawa’s stripping off the furled mess of his capture weapon, much of the dirty white looking a worrying red.

“You realise it’s been like, two days?” Hizashi says curtly, and Aizawa just shrugs.

“Finished as fast as I could,” he mutters, and if his capture weapon is bloodied, Hizashi’s not so sure about the rest of him. He reaches out for Aizawa’s arm to coax him around, and his jumpsuit is definitely sticky.

“Are you hurt?” Always the first thing in Hizashi’s mind, but that doesn’t mean he’s all smiles and fucking sunshine if the blood isn’t Aizawa’s

Aizawa shakes his head, and looks exactly like he hasn’t slept since the afternoon Hizashi woke him up to go out to the bar for another attempt at a date two days ago. Hizashi’s meant to be the high chaos energy trainwreck in the relationship. How are they supposed to do this if Aizawa’s just as bad?

“Well, you’re not getting in bed like this,” Hizashi asserts, and Aizawa gives him a look nearly as filthy as he is.

“Excuse me?”

“I said you’re not getting into bed covered in blood and shit!” Hizashi barks. “You can’t drop off the map for days at a time and just roll back in here expecting to stink up the place.”

Aizawa looks at him scathingly, since that’s exactly what he does do, but all he says is, “It’s not my blood.”

“And hopefully not your shit either,” Hizashi retorts with a hint more humour. “You’re taking a shower before you get into bed.”

Aizawa stares at him in what seems like total shock, following up with, “Is this a dating thing?”

“It’s a you’re not sleeping in my bed covered in filth thing!” Hizashi yelps.

“But you’ve never had a problem before,” Aizawa points out, souring into a more stubborn, “It’s clearly a dating thing.”

“Just because I didn’t do something before doesn’t make it a dating thing,” Hizashi snaps, even though maybe it is, a tiny bit, because Hizashi never used to care about the state Aizawa was in when he used Hizashi’s bed because he always washed his sheets before sharing it with anyone else. But now the one he’d be sharing his bed with, potentially, is Aizawa. He’d like for it to remain free of other people’s bodily fluids.

Hizashi steers Aizawa by the arm, pulling him away from the bed and out of the door. “Your ass. Shower. Now.”

Aizawa grumbles, but actually allows Hizashi to drag him all the way to the bathroom and stick him in the shower, jumpsuit and all, since that’s getting hosed down first before it even thinks about touching Hizashi’s washing machine. Actually, Hizashi doesn’t know if Aizawa washes his jumpsuits at all. Shudder.

Hizashi finishes up his bathroom routine while Aizawa’s in the shower, pretending he’s not peeking in the mirror at Aizawa’s back through the frosted glass shower door. Hizashi’s seen Aizawa next-to-naked enough times that it shouldn’t be a big deal, but things keep changing between them and that makes everything feel like a bigger deal than it was.

Hizashi’s finishing his hair and can’t get a good look at anything before Aizawa shuts off the water and wraps a towel around his waist, emerging soaking wet and leaving the bathroom in a hurry.

“Wait, where are you going?” Hizashi calls after him.

“Bed,” Aizawa repeats crossly, causing Hizashi to leg after him down the hallway.

“Not with wet hair you’re not!” His pillows will smell like wet dog for weeks. Learned that one the hard way.

Aizawa turns around on Hizashi with a frustrated, “Seriously, Yamada?!” that sets Hizashi back with how hard it hits, like an unexpectedly big wave in shallow waters. “I’d have gone home if I knew you were going to make such a fuss.”

“A fuss?!” Hizashi screeches, and while half of him is really ticked off at Aizawa for making such reasonable requests sound like he’s being incredibly demanding, the other half of him is going, ‘oh right, Aizawa’s got an absolutely rocking body’ on the other side of the room.

Aizawa’s not self-conscious in the slightest, but he’s also not prone to showing much skin either, so it’s kinda a novelty seeing him in nothing but a towel. Hizashi somehow forgets that what Aizawa puts himself through for his brand of hero work requires a huge amount of strength, and that does show in his frame.

While Hizashi’s taste in guys may have had a predominant theme over the years that falls into the twinkish category, it’s not so specific that Aizawa’s not in his ballpark. Clearly not, since the half of Hizashi that’s not irritated with him is preoccupied with the smattering of hair on Aizawa’s chest and how he seems to have an eight -pack instead of the usual six, and… what was he mad about again?

“Yeah, you ask me to come over, force me to take a shower before I can sleep, and now I can’t sleep because I took a shower?” Aizawa rants, and oh yeah, that’s why Hizashi was mad. He’s being completely unreasonable and cranky because he didn’t sleep for two days like the dumb bastard he is, and Hizashi isn’t letting him go to sleep in Hizashi’s bed covered in crap.

“It’s just your hair, for fuck’s sake,” Hizashi huffs.

“Yeah, it’s just hair,” Aizawa retorts. “So what does it matter if it’s wet?”

“Just wait a minute, honestly,” Hizashi berates as he stomps back into the bathroom and grabs an extra towel – though he was tempted to snatch the one around Aizawa’s waist just to see how low those abs actually go, but has a strong suspicion Aizawa would try to punch him if he did that.

Whipping a spare towel at Aizawa’s head, Hizashi catches him with it around the side of the face and then assertively reaches for his scalp to start ruffling Aizawa’s literally soaking wet octopus ink hair.

“This is so unnecessary,” Aizawa’s voice, muffled, comes from within the folds of the towel as Hizashi dries his hair.

“I’ll let you go in a second,” he replies vindictively, and then picks up a lock of Aizawa’s hair and gives it a suspicious sniff. “Did you shampoo with my menthol shower gel?” Talk about minty fresh.

“Yamada,” Aizawa growls, and Hizashi lets it go. The fact that Aizawa’s face is covered by the towel also means he can’t notice exactly how much Hizashi is staring at his body while his hands unconsciously follow the motions of towel-drying hair.

Aizawa’s never been stacked like a bodybuilder, where muscles are trained primarily to look good; all of his muscles work overtime at doing their actual jobs, and it doesn’t make him ripped so much as solid. It’s not just his chest that has hair on it either, a trail of dark symmetrical hair running from his navel down across the lower half of that eight-pack and disappearing behind the towel wrapped around his waist.

It’s a damn shame Hizashi is about to go to work. Then again, Aizawa’s about to sleep for as long as Hizashi’s likely to be on the day-shift, so maybe the timing’s not so bad after all.

“I’ll be back later,” Hizashi says quietly, suddenly not nearly as annoyed by Aizawa as he was half a minute ago. He pushes the towel off Aizawa’s head to rest around his shoulders. “Don’t go anywhere.”

Aizawa gives Hizashi a funny look with his ruffled, backwards-hedge hair and asks, “Why?”

They’re standing in the hallway, so it doesn’t take much for Hizashi to press Aizawa’s back against the wall by the grip on the towel draped round his shoulders. Right after that, and more importantly, is Hizashi’s mouth pressing onto Aizawa’s.

Hizashi kisses Aizawa like if Aizawa ever dares to question his kissing ability again Hizashi will personally cut his tongue out, but Aizawa certainly doesn’t seem to mind. He lets himself be pushed against the wall, opens his lips to Hizashi’s and greets the tongue in his mouth like he's laid a welcome mat out for it.

Pulling back just before Hizashi gets so invested in what he’s doing that he thinks about calling off the patrol he’s supposed to be going on, Hizashi fixes Aizawa square in the eyes and tells it like it is.

"Because you and I have some unfinished business."

*

In the… eight, nearly nine years Hizashi has known Aizawa, he’s spent more time thinking about his best friend in a sexual sense in the past few days than all of the thousands before them put together.

Maybe it’s the fact that if Aizawa had just gone along with Drunk Hizashi’s plans they’d have already fucked by now, gotten that first awkward time out of the way and just be able to get on with it, but no. For whatever reason that’s slipped through Hizash’s mind like a sieve they didn’t, and Hizashi just has sensory memories that cling to him all day during patrol, press conference, another patrol and a supermarket opening before he can go back home and drag Aizawa out of bed to drag him straight back into it.

The feeling of Aizawa walking him home the other night is a persistent one. The arm slung around Hizashi’s hips the way he’s walked with Aizawa when the drunken shoe has been on the other foot. But this time when Aizawa dropped Hizashi on the sofa, Hizashi had pulled Aizawa down with him. It turns out Aizawa is surprisingly tolerant of letting Hizashi push and pull him around. Well, not that surprising, but far more than Hizashi had ever realised was possible. He hears Aizawa’s voice in the back of his head asking a characteristic “is this a dating thing?” and supposes it is, on both their parts.

Hizashi had been ready two nights ago. He was boozed up, Aizawa was there, and had kissed back when Hizashi wrapped around him like an amorous octopus. What more could he have wanted? Whatever it was, it better have been worth it.

Having never been attracted to his best friend before, it’s a weird emotion for Hizashi, something that he keeps revisiting throughout the day like he’s trying to catch himself out – hey, remember when he was in just a towel? You liked it! But then he second guesses himself, thinking maybe it’s just because Aizawa was clean for once. Except that catches Hizashi out too, because Aizawa let himself be put in the shower.

Even though it’s normally Aizawa’s bit, Hizashi knows that’s a dating thing. Because they’re dating.

It’s just actually starting to feel like it.

Hizashi circles the point so many times that by the time he’s finished opening the supermarket he’s about ready to blow a fuse. The worst thing in the world, or one of them, as far as Hizashi’s concerned, is the time that exists between wanting to do something and actually doing it. 

So by the time Hizashi returns home, it’s been days that feel like years he’s been waiting for this. Or maybe it has been years, and he only just realised it.

Aizawa’s lying on the sofa holding up his phone to read when Hizashi lets himself in. Flinging the door open and shut forcefully behind him, Hizashi storms across the room full of intention, ripping off his support gear to dump on the floor and unzipping his jacket to go after it.

“Hey,” is Aizawa’s flatline greeting, not even looking up until Hizashi is vaulting over the back of sofa in an expert manoeuvre that lands him squarely onto his knees either side of Aizawa’s lap.

Hizashi shoves the arm Aizawa’s holding his phone with out of the way and looms over him to demand, “Why did you stop?” as if the past two and a half days haven’t happened and they’re right where they left off.

Aizawa gives him a puzzled look, which might be because ten seconds ago Hizashi opened the front door and now he’s straddling Aizawa. “Stop what?”

“The other night. When we were…” Hizashi looks down at himself on top of Aizawa, who’s wearing a set of Hizashi’s cast-off tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt that doesn’t even pretend to fit him. When had wearing Hizashi’s clothes become something he did? When had it become so hot? “We were like this, pretty much.”

“Ah,” Aizawa sounds out unhurriedly, letting his phone drop from his fingers to the floor, though Hizashi’s stay closed around his wrist. “You don’t remember?”

“Apparently not,” Hizashi retorts. “I know we didn’t… that you stopped.” Aizawa meets Hizashi’s gaze without fear or compromise, because there’s never been any hiding things between them. Not when they’re getting along the way they should. 

Then Aizawa’s eyebrows lift a little, splayed out underneath Hizashi like a human tar-spill. “Why’re you so sure I was the one who stopped?”

“Because I wouldn’t have,” Hizashi returns instantly, resting over Aizawa and wondering if the racing pulse in his palm is his own or Aizawa’s. “Process of elimination.”

“Fine, since you forgot,” Aizawa seems to admit. “I knew you’d be more annoyed if something happened and you didn’t remember than if I stopped.” When he says it, Hizashi does remember Aizawa telling him something of the sort as he bundled all-hands Drunk Hizashi into his bed. Some kinda vague ‘you’ll thank me for it later’ promise while Hizashi whined about Aizawa being such a fucking pricktease.

“I’d have remembered,” Hizashi insists, and Aizawa bobs his eyebrows again.

“Does it matter now?”

Hizashi grins. After all, he’s got Aizawa where he wants him now. “Guess not.”

Aizawa moves up to catch the kiss that Hizashi swoops down with like an eagle, tangling in the middle with a newly growing confidence in each other’s habits. Like that Aizawa’s a lip biter, something he does to Hizashi’s bottom one now, right before Hizashi reintroduces his tongue to its new second home in Aizawa’s mouth.

If the reason Aizawa didn’t take things further with Hizashi the other night was because he knew they should savor this, he was damn fucking right. Drunk Hizashi wants to have all the fun, but Sober Hizashi really knows how to appreciate it. 

Aizawa touches Hizashi like he’s entitled to it, whether it’s squeezing Hizashi’s thighs in his leather trousers or trailing fingertips across his stomach underneath the hem of his t-shirt. Like these actions are the most ordinary things in the world that he does all the time, which has Hizashi thinking – is this ordinary? Their new normal?

They’ve definitely spent a fair amount of time making out on this sofa by now, but each time it’s gotten steamier. Hizashi doesn’t remember the last occasion in full technicolour glory, but if it’s anything like now then it was a hell of a thing to behold. Aizawa had reciprocated back then too, but it’s still surprising just how much he does give back as good as he gets. That Hizashi’s way-too-smart ex was right, and these things are only there for Aizawa if they’re looked for, but when they are it’s definitely fucking there.

Speaking of things that are definitely there, Hizashi shifts his weight over Aizawa, pretty much just a grind at this point, and his first thought is that Aizawa’s got the TV remote in his pocket or something, because that can’t be…

“Wait,” Hizashi blurts as he clumsily pulls his mouth from Aizawa’s and shifts further back. “That’s not…”

It is.

In a pair of Hizashi’s trackies no less, Aizawa’s got a boner that pitches a circus big top more than a tent.

“What?” Aizawa says grouchily, staring at Hizashi staring at his crotch, following this up with, “Hey!” when Hizashi immediately grabs his waistband and yanks it down, because this isn’t something he can wait even a second longer to confirm.

Hizashi takes one look at Aizawa’s, is it even fully hard, cock and then slaps himself in the face to make sure he isn’t dreaming.

“What’s gotten into you?” Aizawa reiterates, so Hizashi lurches forwards and slaps him. “What the fuck’s wrong with you?!” he snaps. “What was that for?”

“For keeping that python a secret all these years!” Hizashi yells, because of course, Aizawa just would have a massive dick, wouldn’t he? 

Aizawa stares at Hizashi in complete abject confusion. “What?” he hisses, eyebrows tangling into a couple of angry squiggles on his face, looking down at Hizashi holding his tracksuit down and the slack-jawed wonder on Hizashi’s face. “Because it’s… big?” He doesn’t even sound sure of this, and Hizashi has never been so simultaneously indignant and elated in his life.

“Big?!” Hizashi lets go of the waistband to ping down against Aizawa’s thighs. “It’s huge!!” When Hizashi tries to slap Aizawa a second time, he gets his wrist snatched, and resorts to telling him, “You might’ve at least mentioned it!”

“I didn’t know!” Aizawa retorts. “It’s hardly a conversation starter.”

“Well it should be!” Hizashi insists. “Fucking hell, Aizawa, if I’d known…”

“What?” Aizawa cuts in a little sharper this time. “You’d have thought about doing this sooner?”

That catches Hizashi out, because would it have changed anything? Hizashi’s only started thinking about Aizawa like this in the space of a week. Is he really the kind of guy who’d have thought about fucking his best friend earlier if he knew he had a big dick?

“.... Probably, to be honest,” Hizashi does try to be honest with himself, and had he known, the chances that he would’ve left that knowledge alone – especially knowing as he does now that all this chemistry with Aizawa is there when it's looked for – are slim to none.

“How shallow of you,” Aizawa comments, but he doesn’t maintain such a disgruntled expression when Hizashi reaches down to wrap his hand around Aizawa’s absolutely monster cock.

“You’ve met me, right?” Hizashi retorts with a wicked grin. Aizawa’s cheeks are taking on a rapid flush that could be embarrassment over this conversation or just the fact that Hizashi’s touching his cock at all.

With a little twitch in his expression and a blush that Hizashi could easily describe as adorable, Aizawa mutters a brief, “Unfortunately.”

“Tch, you won’t be singing that tune for long,” Hizashi baits, adjusting his fingers around the shaft to size him up properly. Fucking hell just about sums it up.

Aizawa makes a stifled sound that’s even cuter than his full-face blush, and manages to get out, “Didn’t think you’d care,” while Hizashi’s hand moves experimentally, and god dammit, he isn’t even fully hard, “It’s not like you’d be the one to…”

“To what?” Hizashi eagerly snatches the words off Aizawa’s tongue, daring him to keep going. 

Aizawa looks so flustered it’s the most hilarious and weirdly cute thing Hizashi’s ever seen. As if no one else has ever seen him looking the way he does right now, not even Hizashi until this moment, and that makes it incredibly precious by the rules of supply and demand.

“I… figured you were a top,” he mumbles, and Hizashi flashes a smile with a lot of teeth. So Aizawa does have some cognisance of these things, not that he’d ever talk about it outside of these very specific circumstances.

“Shows what you know.” Unable to resist any longer, Hizashi leans down like a dipping bird desk-toy and takes just the crown of Aizawa’s cock into his mouth.

Aizawa’s voice stretches out like bubblegum, the blush spreading all the way down to his neck. Hizashi could just eat him, if he wasn’t already. "You… ah– aren't?" 

Hizashi drags the flat of his tongue from base to head, which is quite a trip, and damn, some people really do have it all.

Holding Aizawa’s cock like he’s talking into a microphone, Hizashi declares, "You can't expect me to not have a go on this thing, can you?" 

Forget deer in the headlights, Aizawa looks so dazed right now Hizashi could take a picture to use as a reference on the definition of ‘confused horny’. Or maybe he always looks like that when someone’s touching his cock. Things to find out.

"I don't know,” Aizawa murmurs groggily, leaning back on his elbows watching Hizashi handling him like a cut of kobe beef. “Can you?" 

"Hah!" Hizashi snorts, adjusting his grip on Aizawa’s now fully erect monolith of a cock. Can he indeed. Brimming with confidence that’s far more of a taunt than it is a promise, Hizashi repeats, “Shows what you know.”

*

Chapter Text

*

Hizashi knocks on the bathroom door, the sound of running water covering for anything else that might be happening on the other side. “Do you need some help in there?”

“No.” Aizawa sounds flustered, which is a theme for the evening so far. “I can’t do it if you’re hovering around outside.”

Aizawa had thought Hizashi was joking at first when he was offered use of ‘the guest douche’, before being told that it is very much not a joke. Hizashi would be surprised Aizawa never saw the well-organised box under the sink before, but that assumes he spends a lot of time in the bathroom, which he clearly doesn’t.

Hizashi pointed out that offering such facilities has a high success rate at fucking people who might not have been open to getting fucked in the ass otherwise. And people who don’t ask don’t get anal, so Hizashi is an asker.

“I can show you if you don’t know how.”

“I know how,” Aizawa snaps through the door, though he’d sure seemed shocked when Hizashi had excused himself to the bathroom before their fooling around on the sofa got any more involved. If it has to be done, which it does as far as Hizashi’s concerned, better to do it sooner rather than later, when the interruption is only going to be more awkward than it already is.

According to Aizawa, why anyone would want to wash before sex is puzzling, and that’s kind of worrying to think about on its own. But he’d taken Hizashi up on the offer when Hizashi pointed out that if Aizawa didn’t want to get fucked then by all means don’t bother. Changed his tune pretty quick after that. Just because he’s used to fucking hobos doesn’t mean Hizashi has to get used to it.

Even though it’s taking way too long, Hizashi has to respect Aizawa’s privacy and retreats to the couch for a little bit. Until finally Aizawa returns, looking incredibly sheepish and like he’s forgotten what they were doing.

“We in business?” Hizashi asks him from the sofa, leaning back on the arm with his legs propped up along the back, hands tucked behind his head.

“Sure,” Aizawa replies, and it’s not the most romantic or mood-setting thing to deal with, but neither are the consequences of skipping that stage before they really get into it.

“Bedroom?” Hizashi swings his legs down from the back of the sofa, and Aizawa seems almost… embarrassed, although it’s been a nearly permanent state since Hizashi first got an eyeful and then generous handful of his cock.

Aizawa nods bashfully, but Hizashi doesn’t take it to heart, springing up and putting his hands on Aizawa’s shoulders to steer him in.

“Isn’t it nice how the bed’s not covered in not-your-blood?” Hizashi remarks as they weave into the bedroom, but before Aizawa has a chance to respond continues, “Don’t answer that, actually.”

Aizawa stops at the foot of the bed, as does Hizashi, and after breaking the rhythm with this unfortunate yet entirely necessary interruption, things feel a little strange again.

“So… how are we gonna do this?” Hizashi space-fills, his hands still resting on Aizawa’s shoulders from behind, only lifting when Aizawa turns around to sit on the end of the bed.

“Do what?” he asks like he doesn’t bloody-well know what.

“Well, who goes first,” Hizashi responds, suddenly a bit massively overwhelmed with the fact that he and Aizawa are actually going to have sex and that’s something he never thought would happen until about a week ago.

“Oh. I don’t know,” Aizawa says unhelpfully, head tilted back to look up at Hizashi. He’s still wearing Hizashi’s tracksuit bottoms, while Hizashi’s just in his underwear. They’ve been this barely-dressed together hundreds of times over the years, but it still feels more naked than they’ve ever been around each other.

Hizashi’s mouth moves ahead of his brain a good proportion of the time, meaning he’s already said, “Flip a coin?” before reflecting on what an absurd idea it is.

Aizawa doesn’t react dramatically, but the lift of his eyebrows is dramatic in context for his expressions. “Do you have a coin?”

“Uhh, no.” There goes that plan. Next Hizashi tries, “Rock paper scissors?”

Now Aizawa actually sounds scathing. “You want to play rock paper scissors for who bottoms first?”

“Yeah!” Hizashi insists, since any plan is better than no fucking plan at all. “Winner tops!”

Aizawa rolls his eyes, and that’s perfect, really, because it’s them in a way that cuts through the tension. “You’re ridiculous.”

Hizashi scoffs, “You agreed to go out with me.”

“Exactly,” Aizawa returns, warming up like leftovers, a secret hint of amusement hidden in his eyes. “There must be something really wrong with me.”

“Oh come on!” Hizashi baits, holding out his fist demonstratively. “Just play me for it.”

Aizawa sighs, because that’s what he does, and then gives in, because that’s also what he does. Holds out his fist and bounces on a count that Hizashi calls out, “One, two, three!”

Aizawa’s fist, perhaps predictably, doesn’t change shape, but Hizashi’s does. Two fingers thrown out, and whether it’s a conscious or subconscious thing probably doesn’t matter. 

“Hah! You win!” Hizashi crows, getting more excited again. “Alright, let’s do this, I’ll put some music on.” He’s got a speaker in the bedroom all loaded up for this very purpose, dashing over to pick out his sexy times playlist and hitting shuffle.

As the first randomly selected track begins, when Hizashi’s own voice kicks in over the opening bars of a song from his first album, Aizawa’s expression goes from ‘not quite sure what’s going on’ to ‘the least impressed he’s literally ever been’.

“You have a playlist full of your own music to listen to during sex?”

“I like the songs!” Hizashi brays indignantly. “That’s why I made them!” It’s not all his music, but a couple… dozen of his favourites? Sure. “Don’t act like you haven’t heard me playing this before in the bedroom.” When he was fucking other people with Aizawa indifferently in the next room. Looking back, okay, it probably was a little indicative that they weren’t as bothered by that as the people Hizashi was sleeping with usually were.

Aizawa gives him another of those raised-eyebrow looks. “You assume I paid attention?” 

“Uh, apparently not,” Hizashi shoots back like he's offended. Which he sorta is. 

Aizawa’s looking Hizashi up and down in the same way Hizashi has looked at him before, the one where he’s thinking ‘him?’ on the inside but it’s showing on the outside.

It sends a jolt of contrarian hyperactivity down Hizashi’s spine when Aizawa mutters, “So egotistical,” like he really can’t believe he’s about to do this, but the truth of it is Hizashi’s much more comfortable when Aizawa’s slinging insults at him than the crushing silence of not knowing what to do with themselves. So even though it’s stupid, it still works.

Aizawa’s still sitting on the end of Hizashi’s bed, which makes it an easy transition for Hizashi to return to one of his favourite new positions, which is spontaneously straddling Aizawa’s lap.

Linking his hands behind Aizawa’s neck, set at a level where their mouths don’t quite meet, Hizashi tilts his gaze downwards and suggests, “Are you gonna put me in my place? Take me down a notch?”

Wow, he was just joking around, but Hizashi kinda turns himself on with the insinuation. Aizawa’s always been an ego killer, and Hizashi’s is big enough to need that far more than he usually admits.

Aizawa reaches out to take hold of Hizashi by the hips so assertively that Hizashi’s ‘good mood’ is returning with a vengeance, and mutters before covering Hizashi’s mouth with his own, “I’m going to shut you up.”

*

Turns out the only thing better than Hizashi’s voice being erased by Aizawa while he’s coming is when Aizawa’s also the one giving him the orgasm.

Hizashi doesn’t really know the exact mechanics of it, since Aizawa’s quirk has always been something that just happens, but whenever Aizawa’s erasing Hizashi’s quirk he still feels as if he’s making a sound, but nothing actually comes out. Out of his vocal chords, at least. Plenty comes out of his cock when Aizawa gives him a prostate orgasm so powerful he might have actually screamed a hole in the roof if it wasn’t for Aizawa’s erasing gaze at the moment of la petite mort as the French say, and damn, they really meant it.

There’s a handful of things Aizawa does utterly incompetently, like brushing his hair, staying off drugs, and eating and sleeping regularly, but this is not one of them. Once it’s agreed that he’s fucking Hizashi first, he applies that diligent, extremely thorough work ethic until Hizashi’s completely ready to take him, muttering a sly comment about seeing just how much of a clean freak Hizashi really is before pressing his mouth between Hizashi’s cheeks because he really doesn’t skimp on the foreplay.

It’s pretty necessary foreplay, since Aizawa’s cock is probably the biggest thing Hizashi’s ever had in his ass, though note that’s only probably. But once he’s lying on his back with his legs up on Aizawa’s shoulders, taking all of that stoic, uncompromising bastard inside of him, they’re very much in business. It was lucky enough Hizashi had a condom that would even fit Aizawa. It happens to be a novelty design he received a free pack of as a promotion for his lube sponsorship deal and says OH YEAH down the shaft in block capitals, which Hizashi had thought was funny at the time, and thinks it might be even funnier now he’s getting fucked by one.

What Aizawa can’t do is stop Hizashi from talking all of the time. So it’s just part of the package, and what a package it is, that Aizawa gets a running commentary on how their seminal we’re-best-friends-but-dating-now sex is going. Which is fucking great.

“Ohhhh fuck, baby, just like that,” Hizashi jabbers as Aizawa holds him by the calf in one hand and the thigh in the other, hips rocking steadily back and forth so that impressive cock touches every sweet spot Hizashi has plus a few he didn’t know about. It’s been tricky in the past for people to properly reach his prostate, actually easier being pegged than leaving it to dick-to-dick chance, since bigger tends to be better, but especially thicker. And Aizawa’s is a blunt tool, but it sure gets the fucking job done. “Oh please fuck I’m gonna oohhHHH–”

And that was the point Aizawa cut him off while Hizashi had a blindingly powerful climax with a hand wrapped tightly around his own cock. Aizawa slows down while Hizashi’s coming and stops when he’s finished, which Hizashi appreciates, though he doesn’t skip over the elephant in the room.

“Aren’t you gonna finish?” Hizashi asks groggily, feeling unbelievably good, no post-climax regrets or fears rushing in that maybe this was a bad idea. This was a fucking great idea, and if there’s anyone who knows Hizashi well enough to recognise the hot mess of a person spawled out on the mattress covered in his own jizz, it’s Aizawa. Not the hero, or the heavily tattooed musician and DJ, or the flighty boyfriend who’s always been unusually attached to his best friend. The real person who’s part of all those things, but no single one entirely.

“Like this?” Aizawa questions as if finishing balls deep in Hizashi’s ass is an unusual concept to him. Which it is, Hizashi supposes, but it shouldn’t be. “Probably not.”

“Why nooooht?” Hizashi asks around a moan as Aizawa pulls out of him, squirming towards the bedside table to snatch up a couple of tissues from the box whose existence revolves around cleanup of mostly sex-related bodily fluids.

Aizawa shrugs. “Just harder for me, I guess.”

“Not the only thing that’s hard,” Hizashi quips, though he knows it must mean Aizawa fucked him like that for Hizashi’s enjoyment more than his own, and if that’s not a turn-on Hizashi doesn’t know what is. "You want me to do something about it?" 

Aizawa’s eyes narrow a little, as if he can’t imagine what Hizashi’s implying. He’s still on his knees halfway down the bed, so Hizashi just reaches for his wrist and pulls him over to lie down on his back. “Fine, I’ll show you.”

Hizashi whips the condom off, appreciating the mild flavouring of… is it banana? When he goes back to sucking Aizawa off and this time isn’t going to stop until he sees this thing to completion.

Aizawa doesn’t make a lot of sound, but he makes enough that Hizashi’s quietly confident it’s doing the trick. Aizawa’s got a lot of cock to take, but Hizashi’s throat is more than hard-wearing enough to withstand it. It’s worth gagging just to glance up and see Aizawa watching him looking so utterly fucking disarmed.

It’s dangerous seeing Aizawa like this, because now Hizashi has he’s not sure he wants to see his best friend any other way. That someone usually so guarded, even around Hizashi about certain things, is just sparking raw wires. Biting back moans when Hizashi adds a hand to boost the efforts of his mouth and drags Aizawa up to the edge of his own orgasm – as if Hizashi was going to let him get away without getting off.

Hizashi keeps changing things up, varies pressures and speed to figure out what works best, and it’s when he hears the soft grunt of, “Fuck,” that he knows he’s onto a winner. Not long after, Aizawa comes with a muffled noise that Hizashi could chop up in a line and snort.

“Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Hizashi jokes after spitting into another tissue.

“Who said it was bad?” Aizawa replies to the ceiling, flopped out on his back letting that fierce erection deflate. His eyes roll to the side, following Hizashi up and down the bed, clearly thinking something over before he comments, “I just thought you’d be more…” he stalls for a minute, but then goes for it anyway, “heterosexual.”

“HAH!” Hizashi squawks, slumping down onto his side facing Aizawa, “How’d you figure that?”

Aizawa’s face is much more expressive than others give him credit for, little changes that Hizashi’s used to reading after many years of practice. A wrinkling of his brow to suggest his scepticism, framing an otherwise monotone delivery with a layer of emotion that’d be easy to miss otherwise.

“Well what’s the ratio?”

“Ratio of what?” Hizashi retorts, and there’s something else to be said for fucking Aizawa, since he’s right there to talk to after like they’ve always chatted. Best friend and boyfriend. Hizashi can’t believe he only recently realised what a great combination that could be.

“Of women to men.”

Hizashi snorts, and has to remind himself that Aizawa’s got a very narrow type of sexual experience. And they’ve never really talked about this sort of stuff before, so who else would tell him?

“I mean, probably like seventy-thirty, I guess, but that’s because there’s more straight women around than gay men.” Hizashi doesn’t begrudge explaining this to Aizawa, it’s just kind of funny that he’s twenty-three already and thinks there’s a correlation between how gay Hizashi is and the amount of men or women he’s fucked. “What you should be asking is how many of my girlfriends pegged me,” he tries to joke, but it’s lost on Aizawa, who stares at him so blankly that a few seconds later Hizashi sighs and adds, “It’s when someone fucks you with a strap-on, idiot.”

“Oh,” Aizawa remarks with the quiet implication that he’d never considered such an act in his life, and to be fair he probably hasn’t. “Why, how many have done that?”

“Like, easily eighty percent,” Hizashi answers. “Especially if you count one-night stands who saw the strap and wanted to go for it.” Hizashi had never expected pillow talk with Aizawa to be similar to anything else he’s experienced, since nothing he does with Aizawa seems to be similar to his dating history, but it’s still not even close to what Hizashi thought it might be. “But the gender balance and type of sex don’t have anything to do with sexuality, you know.”

“I know.” Aizawa’s so… novel like this. Like Hizashi has known him practically ten years and this is a brand new side of his friend that he’s only just found. What wouldn’t he love about getting to know more Aizawa? “I just…”

“Assumed things about me?” Hizashi prompts sharkishly when Aizawa conspicuously trails off.

Aizawa shrugs. “Yeah, I suppose so.”

“Means you thought about it, though,” Hizashi hints, wondering if he can be bothered to go smoke a cigarette or if it’s better to just lay here basking in it. They could smoke in bed if they were at Aizawa’s, but then they’d be on his garbage paper-thin futon, and Hizashi prefers his nice expensive mattress over that. Aizawa probably does too, the way he gets himself situated like a cat finding a comfy spot not to move from for the next few hours.

“About what?” That perturbed wrinkle in Aizawa’s brow is back.

“Me,” Hizashi says obviously. "If you were expecting me to be straighter than I am.” What a ridiculous concept, but Hizashi knows where it comes from. No one, not even someone like Aizawa, apparently, can fully separate themselves from the heternormative filter that someone like Hizashi gets perceived through. That the women he fucks will always outweigh the men on the scales, and people think it means anything except the fact that he’ll take whatever he gets.

“Only…” Aizawa stops again, looking over at Hizashi, who’s got his head propped on his hand in the perfect lounge lizard position, “… recently.”

“Yeah?” Hizashi keeps grinning. The more impressive thing is that Aizawa never noticed Hizashi being pegged by any of his exes when he used to do his sticking his head in the door to use his quirk to shut Hizashi up during orgasm bit, but then it’s already been established he wasn’t paying nearly as much attention to that as most people would. “How recently?”

“Since we kissed,” Aizawa answers simply, and Hizashi almost chokes on his own laughter.

“So let me get this straight,” Hizashi sets up with a wave of sarcasm, “You’ve been thinking about how heterosexual I am after we started dating?”

“It sounds stupid when you say it like that,” Aizawa replies grumpily.

“Because it is stupid,” Hizashi retorts. “Were you thinking I was only gonna want to fuck you and not the other way round?” As if that's less gay somehow.

Aizawa’s face says that’s exactly what he thought, and he really is a total noob when it comes to this stuff. Then again, Hizashi’s not sure Aizawa’s spent more than fifteen minutes in his entire life contemplating the breadth or depth of human sexuality. His own seems to work on a gay-case-by-case basis, kinda like the rest of him.

Aizawa shrugs again. “I wouldn’t have minded.”

“Hah!” Hizashi squawks. “You’re that desperate to get fucked, huh?”

Aizawa literally just banged Hizashi’s brains out, but he gets flustered now. “I just thought it’d be your thing.”

“Baby, everything’s my thing,” Hizashi zings, and the displeased crease between Aizawa’s eyebrows returns.

“Do you have to call me that?”

“Yes.” There’s no question, no hesitation to answer. He better just get used to it. “I should stop calling you Aizawa too, probably.”

Aizawa’s expression twists incredulously. “Why?”

“Because I think we’re a bit closer than that now, don’t you?!” Hizashi hoots, but quietens down for the next bit. “Your parents are the only ones who call you Shota, aren’t they?”

He nods, still watching Hizashi peacefully with those brown Bambi eyes. “It’s weird when you say it.”

“I dunno, I kinda like it,” Hizashi narrates to himself as much as anyone. It’s right in the way Hizashi not being allowed to see Aizawa in the hospital until general visiting hours was wrong. That Hizashi and Aizawa’s parents are on a different level to everyone else, and calling him Shota is just a small way of showing that. “Shota,” he tries out, and getting no reaction repeats, “Shota. Shota Shota Shota–” 

“What?” Ai… no, Shota snaps.

Hizashi smiles. “You have to call me Hizashi too.”

“If you say so, Yamada,” he replies just wryly enough to be deliberate.

“No! Hizashi!” Hizashi demands, reaching out to poke one of Shota’s delicious pecs. That makes more sense than most things, Hizashi thinks. Aizawa’s never had a chest Hizashi wants to eat three meals a day off of, but Shota sure does. Pokes him again. “Say it!”

Rolling his eyes, Shota sighs, “Fine. Hizashi.”

“Good.” Hizashi could claim to be satisfied, but he’d be a dirty liar. In fact, he rolls over and onto Shota with renewed vigor. “Now, what was this about wanting me to fuck you?”

Hizashi’s got him there. Sees it in those burnt earth eyes, longer eyelashes than seems fair on anyone as aesthetically barren as him.

Shota presses up into Hizashi’s weight, and his erection hasn’t really gone down so much as taken a quick power nap. There’s heat in his tone that soaks right into Hizashi’s bones.

“I was beginning to think you’d never ask.”

*

Shota is much more Hizashi’s type than previously thought, because according to the record, Hizashi likes clean boys who brush their teeth and have tight asses. Well, Shota’s had a shower fairly recently, and might have even brushed his teeth, but his ass is definitely tight enough to make up for any failings on the first two.

“Oh fuck, Shota,” Hizashi pants with his hands clenched tightly around the sides of Shota’s lower back. Where Shota gets this ‘harder to come this way’ story is utterly astounding, because if Hizashi hadn’t recently climaxed his soul temporarily out of his body he’d be struggling not to sprint to the finish line now.

Shota, still getting used to that, but in the way of sinking into a slightly too hot bathtub, is breathing deeply, resting on his hands and knees with his back running slightly downhill towards the mattress. Hizashi’s not sure he’d mind being pounded to oblivion straight away, as for someone with so much dominant, controlling energy in the professional aspects of his life, he’s shockingly submissive in his personal habits. 

The more Hizashi thinks about it, the more he realises that Shota just lets things happen to him; like Cricket did, like drugs did, and like Hizashi did too. Difference being that Hizashi would like to be good for him in the way those other things weren’t. So with that in mind, he’s not just gonna fuck Shota selfishly, since Shota didn’t do that for him.

No, Hizashi’s gonna take his sweet-ass time with this one.

Shota’s not particularly noisy, but he buries his mouth in the duvet and pushes back against Hizashi every time Hizashi thrusts into him, those muffled sounds getting a little louder each time. So it could be said that Hizashi’s goal is to get Shota to make as much noise as possible, and it could be said he succeeds at that. Hizashi’s never heard his old buddy Aizawa moan the way he does now, but when Hizashi’s worked out exactly the right angle to hit with each thrust, Shota’s another question.

“Ah… there,” Shota groans so quietly against the covers, and Hizashi’s hooked on him already, wanting nothing more than to explore every last inch and nuance of this new side of someone he’s known forever.

“Right there, huh?” Hizashi’s starting to babble again, but hell if it doesn’t feel good enough to lose a little coherence. “Like that? You gonna come for me, Shota? You gonna– ahh!” he feels it before anything else, because Shota doesn’t give any warning, just grunts a little deeper than other times and is already gone. Hizashi was gonna wash the sheets anyway.

Hizashi stops thrusting, taking a second to admire Shota’s sculpted, heaving back laid out in front of him, chest fully pressed to the bed, and thinks to himself that it’s a view he could stand seeing an awful lot of.

“You can keep going,” Shota’s voice comes through husky, bringing Hizashi back down into the room just to appreciate the texture of that distinctive rasp.

“Really?” Hizashi moves slowly, tentatively even, but the sound Shota makes this time is like petrol in his blood. “It’s not too much?”

“S’fine,” Shota grunts into the covers, and Hizashi’s not mistaken, he’s still grinding backwards against Hizashi, still wants more even after getting a whole lot. 

“Who knew you were such a greedy bottom?” Hizashi teases, though he’s sure as shit not complaining, since he could keep fucking his bestie like this all night. Hell, that sounds like a great plan.

“I did,” Shota replies, and now he actually lifts himself up on his arms enough to grind back on Hizashi deliberately. “Keep going.”

Hizashi gets a grip on Shota’s ass, nice ass that it is, and decides fuck it, if he wants to get pounded so badly, Hizashi will just have to give it to him. “Remember that you wanted this in about five minutes time.”

“If I’m capable of remembering anything you aren’t doing it right,” Shota says in that way of his that’s always lit a fire under Hizashi’s ass, now they’re just flames of a much fuckier nature than their usual friendly rivalry.

“Now that’s a challenge,” Hizashi baits, using his knees to spread Shota’s stance a little wider, then leans forward to push his boyfriend's upper body back down onto the bed, fixing that angle that made him moan the loudest. Hizashi’s not going to be satisfied until he screams. “You asked for it, baby.”

*

So Shota multiples.

He comes, and just keeps coming. Until he’s the deconstructed essence of a person fucked all seven ways to Sunday, and the only reason they stop is because Hizashi’s thighs are close to cramping and he can’t edge himself any longer without actually losing his mind. He finishes with his forehead pressed to the top of Shota’s back and his fingers digging marks over Shota’s hips, loosing a sound that neither of them are put together enough to stop from shaking pictures off the walls.

Hizashi doesn’t know what time it is by that point, but after the minimal amount of necessary cleanup he just about passes out on the bed next to Shota, who might already be asleep by his similarly exhausted breathing.

They’ve shared a bed before, plenty of times over the years, but never like this. Where after an indeterminable amount of sweaty, fucked-out sleep Hizashi can wake up and feel for Shota in the darkness. Finds him solid as a rock, agreeable to being spooned, then ground on, and then after some sleepy murmurs and fumbling in the dark to get a condom on, fucked again without introduction. Just lies there under Hizashi, legs wrapped around Hizashi’s waist, gasping in quiet pleasure while Hizashi covers his mouth in kisses and realises that all the weird things about fucking his best friend are also all of the best things about it. 

Because there’s no confusion or reservations between them, no barriers the way Hizashi would be testing out with someone new. He knows Shota well enough to trust all his reactions are genuine, to know what he wants just from the way he pants and pulls Hizashi closer, deeper into him. That Shota doesn’t do ungenuine reactions, so every drop of pleasure Hizashi wrings out of him has to be authentic.

They fuck half the night away at least, probably more, until the mind can be willing but the body’s had enough, and a couple more times after that they really have to stop. Hizashi rides Shota right into the early hours of the morning, this time determined they’re both going to come from it. With the help of a butt plug he achieves this goal, thriving on Shota’s surprised groans like the hull of an old battleship when he’s brought to orgasm by Hizashi bouncing on his cock.

Another cataonic sex-nap later Hizashi wakes up with a wicked case of beard burn from Shota’s stubble and aching so much from the waist down he’s not sure he can walk, much less make it to the shower. But Shota’s not going to go by himself, so it’s up to Hizashi to drag him along too.

“Why’d you wanna shower?” Shota slurs to him groggily, the same he’s always looked first thing in the morning. Or, mostly the same. The hickies and the sex hair are less familiar, and certainly not when Hizashi was the one who gave it all to him, and then some. “I just had one.”

“Yesterday, before fucking literally all night,” Hizashi declares sideways from his sex-sweaty pillows and sheets that have suffered enough come and lube to deserve some mercy.

Shota remains unimpressed. "So?"

"So, we can fuck some more in the shower if you stop stalling," Hizashi points out salicously. 

"We can fuck here too," he counters without moving a muscle. Hizashi’s not sure he can move a muscle either, but his dick begs to differ.

"No, shower," Hizashi demands, rolling over to Shota and persuasively getting him started with a handie before getting up and not carrying on unless he follows Hizashi to the shower. Which he does, albeit complaining along the way. 

They’re both too sore to fully fuck again, as tentative exploration quickly proves, and that’s how Hizashi ends up with Shota on his knees under the flow of the shower, sucking Hizashi’s cock like that’s just the shit they do now. The sight of Shota’s inky black hair pasted down against his face and neck while Hizashi’s tender cock pumps in and out of his warm, wet mouth is enough to get off on imagery alone. Plus, getting head in the shower means Hizashi can come all over Shota’s face and it’s washed away almost instantly. Honestly, there’s a lot to be said for the satisfaction of jizzing on the face of his oldest friend and the pain in his ass most days, but extra literally today.

Hizashi finishes Shota with the continuation of his handjob and a couple of soapy fingers up the butt, so sensitive that it takes almost no time at all. Perhaps to get even, or just because he’s that kinda bastard, Shota aims for Hizashi’s face too, managing to get him right in the eye and then sniggering when Hizashi tries to scold him as he washes it out under the shower.

Unlike Shota’s ‘thought you were straighter’ storyline that makes no fucking sense, Hizashi hadn’t come into this with a bag full of preconceptions about what he thought sleeping with Shota would be like. Well, not true. He had come in with no preconceptions, because he couldn’t picture his otherwise utterly non-sexual friend in a sexual context, and had mistakenly thought the fact that he isn’t particularly sexual elsewhere in his life would translate in some way to his bedroom habits. And that was wrong. Shota is a hungry bottom with a big dick who can actually keep up with Hizashi’s sex drive at its peak, and that is no small achievement.

Since Hizashi is washing his own hair anyway, he also does Shota’s, something he’d never considered being in his wheelhouse before. That rats’ nest has always been such a fucking disaster that Hizashi normally wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. But when Shota moans more dramatically from Hizashi massaging his scalp than his cock, Hizashi reckons wheelhouses are overrated and he can be the one to introduce his boyfriend’s poor hair to conditioner for the first time in its life. 

That Shota allows all this isn’t exactly surprising anymore, as Hizashi’s realised he’s textbook sex-stupid and really that easy to manipulate through his cock, but it’s funny how much he seems to enjoy it. Lets Hizashi bribe him into the shower and have his hair washed properly for once. And it’s so fun. Why is it so fun?

Maybe because doing most things with his best friend is fun, Hizashi’s forced to admit. Sex is no exception.

Hizashi’s got a full day planned as he usually does, but isn’t in such a rush that he can’t make coffee and drink it with Shota in the living room like they’ve always done when they get the chance, a few differences aside. Like how Shota does such a shitty job trying to brush his hair that Hizashi gets cross and does that for him too, putting them in the bizarre position of Hizashi sitting on the sofa with Shota on the floor teasing out all the tangles Hizashi fucked into his hair last night.

“This isn’t really necessary, you know,” Shota comments as he sips his coffee and doesn’t lift a finger to stop it.

“Sure it is,” Hizashi replies, kind of enjoying the ease of untangling hair not attached to his own head. It’s sorta therapeutic, and is much less strenuous than everything else he’s been doing with Shota. Although, that doesn’t stop him leaning down closer to Shota’s ear to slip a lurid, “Maybe I like having something good to grab onto,” into his ear, and Shota turns his head just enough to catch Hizashi in a heated gaze. He just would be into that, wouldn’t he?

Turning back to the front, Shota’s calm as he announces, “I’ll be going out to work later, new case came up.” Where he’s had the time to check for new cases between getting fucked senseless literally all night is amazing, but then, Shota kinda is. He takes another slurp of his coffee and casually adds, “I’ll be gone by the time you get back.”

Hizashi stops brushing again and leans forwards, folding over and draping his arms across Shota’s front, chin perched on his shoulder. “You’re saying you won’t be here to get fucked within an inch of your life again?”

Shota snorts, tipping his head to make more room for Hizashi on his shoulder, which Hizashi takes as an invitation to latch onto his neck. Turns out that Shota’s skin is so fair even the lightest pressure will leave love bites, but he doesn’t care what he looks like and clearly loves the sensation, because he reaches up to grip Hizashi’s arm and squeezes it while Hizashi sucks one more mark onto that pale neck, just to be extra sure he knows the score.

Shota riffs the way Hizashi likes his coffee, hot and sweet with just a hint of bitterness, “I’m not dead yet.”

*

Hizashi texts his ex.

He doesn’t know why, really, except that he has to tell someone, and of all the people who’d understand, she’s the one who figured it out long before Hizashi did. Who helped him figure it out, not that he realised it at the time.

So he starts with a casual hi but right after sends a straightforward: you were right about me and Aizawa.

She replies pretty quickly with just a few question marks, so Hizashi elaborates with we’re dating and waits for the inevitable I told you so. Which is why he’s really not expecting the response he does get.

HE’S GOT A HUGE DICK

Hizashi’s mouth falls open, he can admit, and he replies, HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?!?!

IT WAS AN ACCIDENT

So that’s what happened, Hizashi finally realises.

THAT’S what you were too embarrassed to tell me?!

Yeah! How was I supposed to say I knew it wasn’t you because his cock was too big????

Like that, Hizashi supposes, though he doesn’t know what it would’ve achieved back then.

You could’ve at least mentioned it!

Right, like you’d have wanted to hear from me back then that your best friend has a bigger dick than you do.

True. Hizashi almost questions why they broke up, given she’s still just as funny and cool to talk to as she’s always been, but then he didn’t spend the last twelve hours fucking his best friend until their cocks were about to fall off because he’s still in love with his ex.

So Hizashi has to give her that much, as well as the obvious admission. Well you were right all along. It was there.

You’re actually together?!

Hizashi hasn’t admitted it to anyone else yet, he realises as he replies with an over-exposed-feeling, Yeah.

That’s amazing, I’m so happy for you!

It’s still not what Hizashi was expecting to hear, so he doesn’t really know how to react at first. In the end he just goes for a vaguely uncomfortable, thanks.

*

When Hizashi asks Recovery Girl to do a STD screening for him, something that Hizashi has asked from her a dozen or more times in his life, and shouldn’t be out of the ordinary, he really doesn’t expect her response to be a completely deadpan, “Ah, finally fucking Aizawa, are you?”

“What?!” Hizashi screeches in the UA nurses’ office, where he stopped off on the way back from a patrol for a bolt of nostalgia, but mostly so she could draw blood and run the tests. Hizashi needs to make an appointment at the clinic, but Recovery Girl takes walk-ins.

“Shhh!” she shushes him fiercely. “You’ll take the bloody windows out, Yamada. Again.”

“I just… how did you jump to that conclusion?” Hizashi isn’t denying it, he tells himself. He just doesn’t know why she’d know. It’s not like Shota would’ve told her.

“He came in here yesterday for the same thing,” Recovery Girl reveals smugly, and maybe Shota did tell her then, in his own way. “You’re here now. I put two and two together.” 

It was something they’d discussed basically as Hizashi was leaving in the morning – some stupid throwaway comment about how Hizashi would find time to raw Shota later whether he was working or not. Shota had steadfastly responded that Hizashi wasn’t ‘rawing’ anyone without a clean STD test. Coming from the man who used to fuck a needle-using hobo with less teeth than Hizashi has fingers and toes, this was an insult of the highest degree.

At least, Hizashi made out like it was, until Shota asked him to give the names of the last five people he fucked, and when Hizashi couldn’t even remember one admitted that perhaps they were the pot and kettle after all. It hadn’t been a really serious conversation so much as a bickering argument where they’d both insisted the other needed a test if they had to get one, and apparently both had the bright idea to ask Recovery Girl. Putting them in this position.

Honestly, Hizashi’s most shocked that Shota beat him to it. Not so fucking busy with his case after all.

“When was he in here?” Hizashi asks suspiciously, as it’s been nearly two days since they parted ways and he hasn’t heard more than a handful of ‘not dead’ messages from Shota since then. If he’s finding time to go for STD tests he can pick up the fucking phone to his boyfriend, a title Hizashi doesn’t have to be totally used to yet to throw around the weight of.

“About ten last night,” Recovery Girl answers routinely, getting out a syringe to draw some of Hizashi’s blood. “Stupid bugger got himself shot again, wanted me to throw the STD test in while I was patching him up.”

“WHAT?!” Hizashi yells even louder, and Recovery Girl smacks him on the knee.

“Pipe down! Honestly, Yamada, if you break the windows again Nezu is going to bill you out the nose for the soundproof replacement.” It won’t work, as there’s few materials that have been proven Present Mic-level soundproof, but they can try. Hizashi can afford it.

“He got shot?!” Hizashi’s… mad? He’s mad? He’s a lot of something, that’s for sure.

“Oh, he didn’t tell you?” Recovery Girl remarks with her little eyebrows adding about an inch to her tiny statue, that’s how high she hoists them. “You’re sleeping together but don’t even know what he’s up to?”

“We’re–!”  Well, he can’t exactly say they’re not sleeping together, as that’s not what Hizashi’s still aching muscles have been telling him over the past day or so. "He doesn’t tell me things like that…" Never has. Isn’t that kind of fucked up?

“It was just a flesh wound, but I’ve never known someone who bleeds like he does,” Recovery Girl bemoans with an impatient roll of her eyes.

“Why?” Hizashi has… hangups about Shota and blood, this much he knows.

“Oh, he probably just has a big heart,” Recovery Girl says in such a normal way, but it’s still weird to hear. “It happens sometimes with very athletic people, their heart adapts to pump more blood to accommodate regular strenuous physical activity. It’s not a harmful condition, unless you’ve gotten yourself shot or stabbed and start bleeding out like there’s no tomorrow.”

Hizashi feels sick, and not because Recovery Girl’s sticking a needle in his arm to draw out his own blood. Because he’s back in that den with Shota on the floor in a pool of his own blood, pressing down over his guts and begging him to stay awake, to finish what he was saying while the blood soaked Hizashi’s hands so thoroughly he was picking it out from under his nails hours later. That it could have happened again and Hizashi wasn’t there, wouldn’t have even fucking known about it. He’s so mad he’s shaking.

“Are you alright, Yamada? You’ve gone white as a sheet,” Recovery Girl comments as she pulls the syringe back and pops a bit of cotton wool over the spot of blood that wells up.

“Yeah,” Hizashi lies thinly. “So he’s alright?”

“Just stupid, like he always is,” she replies, and Hizashi clenches his jaw.

“Yeah,” Hizashi agrees, swallowing bitterly. “Stupid.”

*

You didn’t tell me you got hurt.

Hizashi sends it as soon as he’s left Recovery Girl’s office, but Shota doesn’t even look at it for almost an hour, and doesn’t reply for even longer.

?

So fucking underwhelming. Hizashi isn’t sure what he wants to do to Shota, but he wants to do it a whole lot.

Saw Recovery Girl. She told me you were in there with a GUNSHOT yesterday.

Again, Shota makes him wait before responding, and Hizashi gets so frustrated he doesn’t wait, demanding instead, Where are you?

That one Shota responds to quicker.

Working.

WHERE Hizashi replies fiercely. He’s finished his formal commitments for the day and was going to have a drink with some music friends, but that’ll have to wait.

Shota responds with a GPS pin around forty minutes away from Hizashi’s location. All Hizashi says is, I’m on my way.

The tall dark drink of trouble is waiting for Hizashi in a dingy alleyway, or maybe he’s just taking a smoke break and it’s a coincidence that it’s where he is when Hizashi finally jogs up full of indignant fire.

Starting easy, Shota comments, “You didn’t need to come–” but cuts off when Hizashi doesn’t slow down and just charges right up to him. Grabs hold of Shota by the ring of capture weapon around his neck and shoves him hard enough to slam back against the wall.

“You tell me when you get hurt.” Hizashi’s not here to negotiate, to argue the toss about this like Shota’s the one who chooses what’s serious enough to bother mentioning. This isn’t a warning, it’s the ultimatum.

Shota stares at Hizashi holding him to the wall with unfiltered surprise, a wisp of smoke lifting from his hand where the forgotten cigarette burns between his fingers.

“I’m fine,” he offers.

“You don’t get to decide that,” Hizashi tells him, his knuckles white as Shota’s capture weapon bunched in his fists.

“Why?” Shota starts incredulously, but Hizashi isn’t here for a debate.

“Because you always think you’re fine until you’re fucking not!” Hizashi snaps. “I shouldn’t have to find out you got shot from some old lady.” Not just any old lady, but that’s not the point.

“I shouldn’t have to tell you everything I’m doing,” Shota replies like the stupid fucking stubborn bastard that he is, so Hizashi shuts him up the best way they know how, which is a kiss so angry he could blow fire between Shota’s lips and it’d be no different.

Shota doesn’t see it coming, but he definitely responds, raising his empty hand to grab onto Hizashi’s forearm and squeezing it in that way that means don’t stop.

Breaking away with a steamy pant, Hizashi catches his fuming breath and backs up enough to see the dazed, sex idiot look in his boyfriend’s eyes. “You tell me when you’re hurt, Shota,” he repeats one more time for emphasis. “It’s not a question. I’m telling you.”

It’s like a piece slotting into place that Hizashi hadn’t realised was out before, a scratch finally itched when Shota closes his mouth and nods obediently. That all the anxiety and concern Hizashi has always had around Shota fits into this better than it did anything else, and now they’re together, it actually makes sense.

Hizashi kisses him again, less aggressively this time, but still with enough force to make sure Shota knows who the fuck’s calling the shots. He just hangs onto Hizashi and takes it the way he’s always taken everything Hizashi’s thrown at him.

“And before you ask,” Hizashi murmurs when he lifts his mouth just enough to speak, his breath pouring over Shota’s damp lips, “Yes, it’s a dating thing.”

*

Chapter Text

*

To say that they reach anything ‘stable’ would be an understatement. What Hizashi and Shota have is far more of a see-saw rocking back and forth while they jump on either end than anything that could be described as steady. Reliable in its unreliability, perhaps, but that hardly counts.

Hizashi still doesn’t know where Shota is a lot of the time, or when he’s coming back beyond an open-ended ‘soon’ that he doesn’t always get in advance of Shota showing up like something the cat dragged in. But he does start to hear, or see by blurry phone-picture, when Shota’s been hurt. Ideally he actually gets a heads-up before Shota does something ballsy that could risk him being hurt, and goes to do it with him. They worked together quite a bit already, but with this new angle they’re teaming up even more to prevent certain worst-case scenarios. Namely, Shota getting injured and then Hizashi straight up murdering him for not asking for help sooner. It’s great for Hizashi’s – or Present Mic’s – image, since he’s the perfect smiling face to slap on some of the otherwise really awful shit that Eraserhead makes his business.

Hizashi soon goes from scraping by in the hero department to coasting. Or, as he likes to point out over late-night joints on his balcony that are both post- and pre-coital, he’s collecting the meagre offerings Shota’s work would get from the government if he was a hero on the grid – like he still refuses to be out of principle, simultaneously proving the point and reaping the benefits in one fell swoop.

Shota doesn’t love the arrangement, obviously, because he thinks that getting recognition or thanks for doing hero work is a gratuitous ego trip under any circumstances. Hizashi just says he doesn’t need the credit then and shoves the mysterious hero called Eraserhead to to the back of pictures where he belongs. Builds up a whole scrapbook of press cuttings where Hizashi’s at the front and Shota’s lurking around in the background like a human smudge on camera. They’re better than ever as a combo on the mean city streets, though they also end up fooling around in some totally inappropriate places when tensions boil over and later is never as appealing as right-goddamn-now.

It’s still always a lottery whenever Hizashi heads home, at any time of the day or night, of whether Shota will be there or not. He still has his own apartment, still sleeps there sometimes too, but Hizashi reckons they’ve both accepted that when the lease is up he’s unlikely to renew it, or get anywhere else to replace it. He won’t be back on the streets again, though, that’s for sure. They’ve lived together before, so why wouldn’t they again? Even if that’s going ‘fast’ for how long they’ve been dating, in the context of how long they’ve been together, it’s practically a snail’s pace.

It’s still… weird, dating his best friend, but in a weirdly comfortable way. Most of the people Hizashi breaks ‘the news’ to are one of two things. 1. Not at all surprised, or 2. Only surprised it took them this long.

Kayama specifically says nothing more than, “Welcome to the fucking party at long last, morons,” and Hizashi would’ve loved to have a comback for that, but the truth is he’s got jack shit. They were late to the party, as Hizashi sometimes reflects when Shota drags him in close halfway through a stupid argument and suggests Hizashi take all that excess energy out on him in another, preferably sexual way. Hizashi’s a real sucker for that one.

They fuck like rabbits with busy, conflicting schedules, but the sex actually manages to get better, which Hizashi hasn’t experienced before. Usually there’s a decline for him that goes hand in hand with a fall to into predictability, as the thrill of fucking someone new settles to routine that Hizashi inevitably gets bored of. But the fact that there’s no predictability to Shota in the first place probably works against that. Everything about Shota works against Hizashi’s natural tendency to bore of people, because Shota’s never not entertaining to him.

If Hizashi gets home late one night three-quarters pissed and finds Shota curled up in his bed like a cat that comes and goes as he pleases, it’s always still a little bit thrilling, because it’s something Hizashi can’t rely on. Though what he can rely on is Shota’s reaction when Hizashi does strip off and slip into bed behind him, wrapping his arms around Shota’s sturdy torso and mouthing his neck whether he’s asleep or awake. Hard to tell the difference sometimes.

When Shota’s really out of it he won’t wake up at all, but most of the time he does, and then he’s always the same. Spreads himself back into Hizashi’s hold like room temperature butter and makes demanding, needy noises while Hizashi’s hand finds its way down to his cock. Hizashi has a hunch Shota’s never gotten off so much in his life since they got together, but boy does he eat it up for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper, and a tasty midnight snack on the days-long crashes they spend together between his cases.

Recovery Girl cleared them both STD-wise not too long ago, and Shota was so much more vocal and overwhelmed the first time they fucked without condoms it took Hizashi a minute to figure out it was because he’d never done it before; afterwards, of course, since during Hizashi was more occupied by how fucking incredible it felt. He liked that, once he’d reflected on it enough and Shota confirmed as much after the fact. That no one else had Shota like Hizashi gets to have him.

Hizashi knows he has a high sex drive, but what’s surprising is just how willing Shota is to keep up with it. More than willing. That nine times out of ten if he wakes up with Hizashi mindlessly grinding an erection against his ass, Shota’s going to want to do something about it – even if the thing he does most of the time is just lying there getting fucked. Which Hizashi has absolutely no problem with, since that’s what he wants most of the time to begin with. A willing ass to pound and damn, Shota’s got a great one for the job.

“Started without me?” Hizashi slurs in his ear, horny-pissed when he comes home and finds Shota already lubed after probing a couple of fingers between his cheeks.

“Only a little,” he murmurs, probably without even opening his eyes, but grinding back on Hizashi’s hand all the same. He’s definitely taken leaps and bounds when it comes to being clean and prepped whenever he’s warming Hizashi’s bed, and gotten pretty familiar with Hizashi’s sex-toybox while he’s at it. Something else that was entirely new to him apparently, since until this point he’s been pretty light on worldy possessions. Which is fine, since Hizashi’s got plenty for the both of them. Sex toys and otherwise. Now Hizashi pretty much just has to be in bed with Shota to be hard and ready to rock. Which is convenient when that seems to be exactly what Shota wants when he’s in Hizashi’s bed too. Talk about Pavlovian training.

Those late nights they do what they do best, grabby and frantic, with Hizashi’s face buried into Shota’s shoulder, digging his teeth into hot skin, Shota gasping against him, awake for just long enough to get fucked sideways and go back to sleep.

In some ways, Hizashi thinks from time to time, Shota’s the perfect boyfriend. But only in some.

*

Hizashi’s getting the band back together, if only for one night. They’ve all moved on in one way or another, some still in music, others giving it up to get white collar jobs and the like, but it’s about to be five years since Present Mic Presents! and Hizashi wants to celebrate with a reunion gig and re-release on vinyl now he's got the cash to throw behind it. 

It’s bizarre seeing everyone again, how they’re different but also all still themselves, just… different versions of themselves. Like Hizashi is too, he has to assume. More tattoos, more money, but the same amount of too-much ego.

They’re mucking around doing a sound check in the afternoon before the show, the empty gig venue cavernous when it’s not packed with die-hard fans. There’s less of them, fans that is, than there were back when they were new to the scene, but the ones who’ve stuck around are total maniacs, as Hizashi can testify whenever he gets stopped for a picture or to autograph someone’s tits or ass. One of his latest tattoos is a fantastic comic done for him by a fan as part of an online contest, so fucking good Hizashi just had to wear it permanently on his body, the way everything important to him has to be at some point or another.

On which point, he’s already got Shota’s name in one of the few lanterns on his chest not to have needed filling in after yet another breakup, then again around his wrist along with his first ever headline, and an absolutely hilarious caricature of an Eraserhead-styled cat sitting in a fake pocket inked on Hizashi’s stomach due to a bet Hizashi was determined to have the last laugh on, but those are… Aizawa tattoos. He’s been thinking about a Shota one a lot more lately.

It’s great being with his band again, takes Hizashi back to the prime idiot youth in which they all came together that’s crazy to think of as being five years ago already. Chatting away several years of missed bullshit, it’s only a matter of time before one of them, Tanaka the drummer, in this case, who asks, “So how’s Aizawa?” like Hizashi has been waiting for someone to ask this whole time.

“Ah, he’s good,” Hizashi starts a little forced, if not actually awkwardly, “he’s uh… we’re actually going out now.” Hizashi has never lacked confidence in who he’s dating ever, like literally ever… except when it comes to Shota. Not because he feels any kind of negative about their relationship, it’s just… it’s closer to home, or something, and Hizashi finds himself weirdly self-conscious whenever he has to talk about it to someone who’s known them long enough to react a certain way. Prime example.

“Seriously?” Tanaka bursts with a huge grin. “It actually happened?!”

Hizashi could pretend to be shocked, but he’s not, because he’s gone through this enough times now that there’s very little that surprises him, so he just sighs and admits, “Yeah.”

Though when his drummer turns to the bassist and barks, “You better pay up, Sugimoto!” that’s a first.

“Pay up?!” Hizashi squawks.

“No way!” Sugimoto retorts, strumming away at his bass like it’ll budge the rust from his fingers. “That was years ago.”

“So?” Tanaka keeps going strong. “It wasn’t a time-bound thing!”

“What wasn’t?!” Hizashi’s meant to be the leader here, but remembers why he stopped putting so much effort into his band. They’re worse than a bag full of cats with a handful of catnip thrown in.

“I bet Sugimoto that you and Aizawa were going to hook up sooner or later,” Tanaka boasts as if he had anything to do with it, before sending a pointed glare in the bassist’s direction. “And later still counts.”

“How much was the bet?” Hizashi dares to ask.

“Five hundred yen. Pay up, Sugimoto!” Tanaka demands adamantly. He’s one of the ones still in music, a crew-cut wearing maniac with crazy eyes who, being a drummer, has always been a little bit unhinged.

“Five hundred?!” Hizashi shouldn’t be offended, but he totally is. Why is he offended by the price more than the bet? “You can barely buy a beer with that!”

“So? I’ll buy part of a beer with it,” Tanaka insists.

“Okay, how about I buy you both a beer and you call the bet off?” Hizashi offers suddenly, thinking he’s being sly.

“No, it’s the principle of the thing,” Tanaka won’t give up, of course, because that would be rational. Hizashi loves these fucknuts, in their own way, but he’s also glad he doesn’t have to deal with them quite so often anymore.

“Why do you care anyway?” Sugimoto gets on Hizashi’s ass next, the always too-tall and gangly guy who had to cut his classic long greasy bassist hair because he’s married with a kid already, and has the boring desk job for some big company to go with it. “Will the missus not like it?”

Hizashi feels his nose wrinkle, not sure if he’s about to laugh or sneer at the very concept of Shota being his ‘missus’, and instead lets his stupid mouth run like its competing for the shit-talking olympics. “Well he’s got a bigger dick than you, Sugimoto, so I don’t reckon he gives much of a shit either way.”

Their mouths hang open for a second, all of them, even Handsome Matsuda the guitarist whose most attractive quality is keeping his mouth shut and letting everyone else, mostly Hizashi, do all the talking.

After a moment of gaping, Sugimoto’s mouth closes, and then opens back up to say, “How’d you know how big mine is?” like the absolutely hetero he is.

“Pft, all the times we’ve pissed together and you think I never got a look?” Hizashi shoots with a grin, and Sugimoto unconvincingly tries to shrug it off while blushing bright red.

“So is he coming?” Tanaka butts back in.

“Who?” Hizashi retorts, whipping around to look back at him sitting behind the drums.

“Aizawa, duh,” Tanaka replies, spinning a drumstick over and over in his hand. He’s still playing most nights of the week, was the only one Hizashi actually had to book in advance. From the songs they’ve been going through to remind themselves how the fuck they go before performing them in front of a sold-out crowd later, he’s the most improved musically by far. But if there’s anyone who’s gonna have his shit together on that front, Hizashi’s glad it’s the drummer.

“I, uh, dunno,” Hizashi replies, coming across thoughtful all of a sudden. He’d told Shota this is what he’s doing tonight, but not where it was any kind of invitation. Shota’s never shown a lick of interest in Hizashi’s music before, and a hell of a lot of more skepticism when they were younger and ‘the Cricket Years’ Aizawa was convinced that just having a place to live was way too fucking mainstream, much less being in a chart-topping band. But they weren’t in a relationship before, and things change, now and again. “I'll text him.”

“Oh, that supportive huh?” Tanaka ribs playfully, but he’s the one who called Hizashi and Shota getting together the farthest back of anyone yet, apparently. Hizashi wonders what gave it away.

“Shut up, Tanaka,” Hizashi shoots right back, holding the microphone up to his mouth while he’s talking so the sound guys can figure out what the fuck to do with it that won’t blow the speakers out. Spoiler: it probably will. “I had to tell Sugimoto’s wife we were just going out for dinner before she’d give him permission to go.”

“HAH!” Tanaka screams in delight, and while he and Sugimoto yell at each other Hizashi whips his phone out and messages Shota the address of the venue and the instruction, in case you feel like not being a workaholic loser and a blowing kiss emoji.

Shota doesn’t respond, but he’s right in the thick of doing what he does, so Hizashi’s been lucky just to get occasional check-ins. Or in one case, a badly lit picture of a minor stab wound with the caption, you should see the other guy. But who knows, Hizashi dismisses as Tanaka counts them into rehearsing another fan favourite. Stranger things could happen.

*

Hizashi forgot how much fun it is leaping around on a stage in front of a sold-out crowd for a second there, but wow, what a rush. The music’s right, the lights are right, the audience are losing their minds, and Present Mic is doing his motherfucking thing.

It’s so much fun that Hizashi forgets all about texting Shota earlier on, and is consequently stunned to come off after the final screaming encore and find him propped up against a wall in one of the wings with his arms crossed over his chest and a head wound bleeding literally all over his face.

Fresh from bellowing his lungs out in front of a crowd hollering every lyric along with him, Hizashi’s automatically set at ‘way too loud’ and hollers so hard Shota flinches, “You’re actually here?!”

“Finished… early,” Shota replies, glancing up as if he can feel something on his forehead but isn’t aware that it’s his own blood, trickling past the errant locks of his hair that Hizashi may or may not have cut with kitchen scissors one night drunk because he’d had the idea that it would look good for some reason, only to change his mind after seeing it on Shota’s very unimpressed face. 

“Uh, you’re kind of bleeding all over yourself,” Hizashi points out, and could try to get pissed about Shota showing up hurt as usual, but he’s actually fucking here and that trumps everything. “Were you watching?”

“Isn’t that the point?” Shota responds without missing a beat, and that means yes. Hizashi can’t get over the moment of complete and total awe of thinking that Shota was watching him out there with everyone else. Seeing that side of him. Wanting to.

Hizashi’s suddenly hyper aware of the rest of the band watching them, so quickly rips all his sound gear off and then grabs Shota by the wrist to start dragging him over to the bathrooms.

“Come on, we’ve gotta get you cleaned up.”

Shota lets himself be taken away, of course, and slumps back against the sinks looking bored while Hizashi wipes the blood off his face the way a mother licks her thumb to scrub food off her child’s cheek.

“I really didn’t think you were gonna show,” Hizashi finds himself confessing as he’s peeling out a bit of sticking plaster for Shota’s forehead. He swears, the more first aid Hizashi does for him the less and less Shota actually does for himself. But it makes Hizashi feel a bit better and he does a far better job than Shota ever bothers for his own sake, so they both get something out of it.

“Like I said, I finished early,” Shota responds in a low, smokey tone while Hizashi’s taping him up. He’s been cut from the eyebrow right up to forehead, a shallow slash that won’t scar if he’s lucky, and he usually is, the bastard. 

“Oh, real romantic,” Hizashi scoffs, backing away to take Shota in at a bit more of a distance. He’d asked Tanaka, before the gig started; what had made him so sure that Hizashi and Shota were going to end up fucking ‘sooner or later’ in his own words.

The answer Hizashi gets is the last, very last thing he’s ever expecting, even knowing Tanaka. 

Most people have cited Hizashi and Shota’s clearly co-dependent relationship for so many years preceding their romantic one. Or their unusually high level of physical and emotional intimacy for people who were supposed to ‘just be friends’. Or the fact that whenever someone Hizashi was dating made it a ‘me or Aizawa’ choice the answer has never been them.

But Tanaka just winked at Hizashi from behind the drums and said, “Well he’s kinda hot, ain’t he?”

And Tanaka’s a wild, maniac of a man who Hizashi’s watched benchpress a fan at an afterparty before, so of course he sees it.

It just boggles the mind sometimes how Hizashi never did. Looks at Shota now and sees that scruffy-with-a-little-bit-of-rugged, so self-assured you’d think it was arrogance if you didn’t know him, actual lowkey hunk of a guy staring right back at him in the grotty backstage bathroom mirror.

“What?” Shota says bluntly, little drops of his own blood sinking into the spool of his capture weapon sitting around his neck and an even dirtier look on his face. It’s only been a couple of days since Hizashi washed Shota’s hair the way it actually likes to be washed, and he looks like he might even have passed a brush through it since then, as it sits in heavy waves tumbling past his face to rest on the slope of his shoulders. How when you look closely he’s got bone structure you could hang your laundry out to dry on, and eyes that throw a rock straight through the window to the soul.

It’s not that Hizashi can’t believe Shota’s this hot, it’s that he’s always been this hot and Hizashi just didn’t fucking notice all those years. Enough that it actually leaves him speechless from time to time; and for him, that’s something.

“Are you just–”

Hizashi’s not gonna just anything, because he cuts Shota off by grabbing a handful of his capture weapon and drags him directly onto Hizashi’s mouth. He kisses back. Always does.

But this time he also pushes back too, raising himself from leaning against the sink to surge into Hizashi’s demanding grasp like a wave smashes against rocks that go absolutely nowhere against all the might of the ocean. Hizashi pushes a lot and Shota often gives in, but he also only goes exactly as far as he wants to sometimes. Becomes an immovable object to Hizashi’s unstoppable force.

In a lapse between kisses, Shota lifts his mouth from Hizashi’s enough to say, “So is this some kinda adrenaline thing because you just came off stage?”

“Let’s go with that,” Hizashi replies salaciously, locking onto one of the cubicles behind him and thinking why the fuck not. He’s already gotten the pleasure of discovering just how little Shota cares about where they get down and dirty, which makes sense given his background must include an awful lot of fucking out on the open streets and under bridges and the like. Compared to that even Hizashi’s kind of civilised, toilet cubicle and all.

A little less than ten minutes later, they’re in the stall and Hizashi’s trousers are peeled down to his thighs while Shota’s entire jumpsuit and underwear are down at his ankles. One perk of the way he dresses is that Shota can go from dressed to fuckably naked in about thirty seconds, and Hizashi’s really come to appreciate that about him. Shota’s also started carrying ‘emergency lube’ in one of his many tactical pockets, so all things taken into consideration it really is under a ten minute job for them to go from not-fucking to fucking regardless of the time or place.

Hizashi has dated plenty of people who were up for a bit of cheeky public sex, and hooked up with many more in clubs and such, but there was always something different about that compared to Shota. With others the thrill was that they were out in public, but Hizashi’s pretty certain Shota literally doesn’t care where he is and probably thinks it’s ‘logical’ to just do it where they are rather than waiting to go home.

Some culmination of these factors, combined with just how great it is feeling Shota pushing back in time with Hizashi’s thrusts, propped up against the cubicle wall with his head bowed between his arms, grunting pleasantly with each bounce of Hizashi’s hips against his ass, results in the words, “Fuck, I love fucking you,” coming from Hizashi’s mouth ahead of his brain actually thinking through them.

Though it’s more disarming by far that Shota’s response to this, a half-heard mumble on the tail end of a contented moan, is no more than, “love you too.”

Hizashi’s too caught up in the moment to be derailed by this right away, far too determined to keep ploughing until he comes. Shota, judging by the timbre of his moans, came already, though that doesn’t mean a second time’s out of the question.

It’s only after the delicious squeeze of climax has wrung Hizashi out like a wet dishcloth that he realises what he heard – what Shota said. How it was probably a sensible response in his own head, but that Hizashi had been talking about what a great lay he is, and Shota just came out with he loves me???  

But they knew that already, Hizashi tells himself while his million-miles-an-hour mind goes full steam ahead as they put themselves back together. Hizashi literally admitted he loved Shota before they were even dating, and Shota’s said the same. As best friends. Just not like this.

When they come back out of the bathroom the rest of the band are still there, and Hizashi knows it’s pretty fucking obvious even if Shota wasn’t still zipping up his jumpsuit and Hizashi’s checking he remembered to do up his fly.

“Oh shit, you two really are dating,” Tanaka declares with a jackal-like grin.

Shota just shrugs and announces, “I’m going for a cigarette.”

“Uh, out the back over there,” Hizashi directs, quickly implying he won’t go for one himself, even though it might slow down his racing heart. Watches Shota wander off like a stray cat on the roam and dares to think, just to himself, fuck, they really are like that, aren’t they?

Shota disappears for his smoke, and Tanaka is still giving Hizashi that grin, so Hizashi finally turns around and hisses, “What?”

“Nothing,” Tanaka replies. “Just funny seeing you all settled down.”

“Settled down?!” Hizashi yelps in outrage. “Not fucking likely!”

“Oh please,” Tanaka retorts with a knowing grin that makes Hizashi want to shrug out of his own skin a little bit. “You’re practically married.”

“Where’d you pull that one from?” Hizashi shoots, feeling more exposed than a hermit crab about to swap shells only to discover there’s not a seashell in sight – not even the one he came out of.

With so much confidence Hizashi can’t think of denying it, Tanaka just says, “The way you look at him, dumbass,” and deep down Hizashi knows it’s true.

*

“I’m thinking of getting a new tattoo,” Hizashi tells Shota one evening after Shota’s just up and Hizashi’s gotten back with a bunch of take-out because he knows for a fact Shota’s been living on food paste and energy drinks for days.

“So?” Shota asks with a mouthful of noodles like the complete animal that he is.

“So, I’m trying to have a conversation with you about it,” Hizashi bites. “I need your goggles as a reference.” Because that’s the right way to lead into this, clearly. Not to say the thing itself, but something that just implies it because Hizashi’s too weird to tell it to him straight.

“What?” Shota grunts, only halfway paying attention so Hizashi reaches out to knock the chopsticks away from his mouth.

“Listen for a sec, you fucking caveman. I want to get a tattoo that’s about you.”

Shota does stop eating for a moment, but only to wash it down with a swig of beer, his throat bobbing as he slurps before lowering the can and pointing out, “You already have tattoos about me.”

“No, I mean a new one,” Hizashi explains, not sure if he’s asking permission or seeing if Shota thinks its a bad idea or whatever the fuck he’s doing. “Those are tats from before we were together. I want something now that we are.”

“So why my goggles?” Shota questions, and he’s not saying ‘no Hizashi, it’s a bad idea because you always get tattoos for the people you’re dating and it never works out and I know something that you don’t’, and was that what Hizashi’s been waiting for him to say?

“I dunno, I just thought it’d be cool,” Hizashi mutters. “Like one of those 3D monochrome ones, as if I’ve got ‘em wrapped around my arm about here.” He points to the gap he’s been eyeing up for a week or so, below the moon on his shoulder and above the keyboard running up from his elbow to his bicep.

Shota gives him a funny look. “I don’t wear them on my arm.”

“That’s not the point,” Hizashi huffs, frustrated by more than he can try to articulate. “You wear them over your eyes, but I’m not getting a fucking face tattoo, am I? I’ve got space there.” And running out of it elsewhere, Hizashi must confess as he gets more creative about finding space to fit all his new ideas for tattoos among all the one’s he’s already got.

“So what do you want from me?” Shota replies ordinarily, going back to eating from the container balanced between his crossed legs. “They’re over with my stuff.” Ah yes, the pile of Shota’s shit that moves around Hizashi’s apartment without ever being put away.

“I just… I wanted to see if you think it’s a good idea.” To see if Shota would tell him no, it’s too early to start getting permanent marks of just how much he means to Hizashi, at least on a conscious level.

“If you wanna do it then do it,” Shota offers indifferently. “Being a bad idea never stopped you getting tattoos before.” 

“Oh, says the guy with his own name inked badly on his foot,” Hizashi snorts, and guesses that settles it, doesn’t it.

“Your fault,” Shota tries to claim, but rather than letting that ridiculous notion completely distract him from the point, Hizashi keeps his eye on the prize.

“I’ll need you to help me take some reference pics then, to show the artist.” He’s got one in mind already, has just been waiting for a reason to pull the trigger. Or not.

“M’okay,” Shota muffles through a mouthful of food, and he’s still a savage at heart, but Hizashi can’t help but smile. The Barely Domesticated Boyfriend.

*

Hizashi gets the tattoo: Eraserhead’s goggles wrapped around his arm, done by a master artist of 3D illusions so the dynamic shape of Shota’s shutter-goggles looks like it almost stands out against Hizashi’s skin from the right angles. He loves it. Even Shota says it’s ‘pretty cool’ which from him is glowing praise.

But a new tattoo doesn’t take away this feeling Hizashi’s been trying to get rid of. That niggling, invasive thought that there’s something he’s missing, because statistically speaking, most things are really too good to be true. What are the chances that his relationship with Shota is the exception to an otherwise universal rule?

Sure, they’re not that good when Shota traipses in covered in who-knows-what and whose- knows-what and is too tired to get in the shower, so Hizashi makes him sleep out on the balcony until he’s consented to make himself presentable enough to be allowed in the bed without leaving a himself-shaped red-brown mark where he’s been laying, but that’s still good in its own way. The way that keeps Hizashi guessing what’s coming next. The fact that Shota doesn’t, hasn’t, and isn’t ever going to throw his whole life into being Hizashi’s boyfriend, because first and foremost he’s himself. How something bad hasn’t happened yet, no roadblocks thrown up, and for Hizashi that’s basically unprecedented, so must mean there’s a big one on the way… right?

Hizashi hates waiting for things, which often manifests itself in trying to set the events in motion just so he doesn’t have to sit around with stuff hanging over him potentially being about to happen. He’s always had this inability to let things be, pulls every loose thread, picks every chipped nail. His impulse control is… temperamental, at best. It’s why he and Shota are together at all, because he couldn’t let that be either.

But speaking of impulse control, that’s why the thing he ends up trying to push on Shota is what it is. Because no matter what, any relationship Hizashi is in will hit this roadblock sooner or later.

Shota’s been busy on some new deep cover case that put him completely off the grid for well over a week, in which Hizashi went out more than a few times and declined more than a few advances. Well, declined them eventually, before harmless flirting moved into anything serious.

But when Shota’s just gone for days and days at a time, Hizashi gets to worrying about more than whether he’s alright. A certain something that’s dogged Hizashi his entire dating career. And when Hizashi worries about things, it’s only a matter of time before they come shooting out of his mouth at the first awkward opportunity.

Which, in this case, is after catching his breath having completed the post-Shota-return fuckfest that’s become a ritual as much as a habit. The thought occurs, as thoughts often do, that as amazing as it is having these marathon all-day-or-night-ers with Shota every week or so, it’s the incommunicado periods in-between that he’s getting antsy over. Because they still work together a lot, but not all the time, and those cases when there’s no room for Present Mic are the ones when Shota’s gone longest of all.

How Hizashi phrases all of this is a completely inelegant, out of nowhere comment that runs, “We never talked about being exclusive, did we?”

Post-sex Shota is still regaining his processing power, and he looks over at Hizashi with a puzzled enough expression that begs further explanation.

“Like, like in the relationship sense,” Hizashi blabbers uneasily, “not to say we have to–”

“Never tried it,” Shota interrupts before Hizashi can pick up steam again, and the fact that he’s not freaking out should be a good sign, right?

“Well it’s not like we have to, and I’m not saying that I’ve done anything,” Hizashi rushes to justify, since that’s usually what people assume when he starts having this conversation, “just in case that’s what you’re thinking– not that you’d have a reason to think it, but it’s just something people do talk about, you know?”

“You’re babbling,” Shota points out blankly.

“No, I mean, I’m just saying that it’s an option, like a thing that couples can actually discuss with each other,” Hizashi flaps and keeps babbling anyway, because that’s the best way he knows how to try and explain himself sometimes, “but only if being open in a relationship is something you feel okay with, obviously, because if you don’t–”

“Not that,” Shota interrupts again. “I haven’t tried the other one.”

“The other…” Hizashi slows down, drags himself through the Shota version of thought processing where he’s probably only taking every other word into account and cutting out the fluff. Unless he means… “Wait, are you saying you haven’t tried monogamy?”

Shota gives him a lightly withering look. “You make it sound like that’s a bad thing.”

“No! I mean, I just figured because most people assume…” But most people aren’t Shota, and if Hizashi was going to say ‘but what about Cricket?’ he’d get laughed out of his own apartment. What about Cricket suggested he would ever conform to what society, and Hizashi, have accepted to be normal traits of a ‘relationship’ like exclusivity? And what about Shota’s most significant relationship being Cricket would suggest that ‘monogamy’ is something he’s tried?

Like he’s already bored of this conversation, Shota asks, “Do you have a point?”

“Yes, okay!” Hizashi blurts ugly-style. “I just wanted to see how you felt about it… about, not necessarily being like, totally exclusive or whatever.” There. He’s said it.

Shota is Shota, and that gives him the subtlety of a cement pair of tap shoes. So he just looks Hizashi straight in the eyes with his hickies and his sex hair and says, “You want to fuck other people.”

“You’re not always around, you know!” Hizashi doesn’t know why he’s reacting like this when it’s a conversation he started that Shota is taking it completely in his stride. Or maybe that’s exactly why, because it’s frustating when Shota’s so fucking put together all the time. Outside of sex, at least. Maybe that’s why Hizashi loves fucking him so much, when the screws are finally loose enough to see the shitshow underneath.

“I know,” Shota replies simply, rolling onto his back and stretching. “I hadn’t really thought about it, to be honest.”

“I know,” Hizashi echoes nervously. “Like I said, I’m not saying I’ve done anything–”

“I wouldn’t care if you had,” Shota cuts him off again, and that one really shocks Hizashi.

“You wouldn’t?” He wouldn’t even care? Like, at all?

“It’s a pointless thing to get upset over, isn’t it?” Shota puts to him, or to the ceiling, but it’s directed at Hizashi. Spares only a sideways glance as he asks, “You still want to be in a relationship, right?”

“Yes,” Hizashi answers faster than he feels like he’s ever spoken in his life, a kneejerk reaction to the emotional sucker punch of suggesting that’s something he wouldn’t want. He does want it. He does. He just wants… lots of things.

“So what’s the problem?” Shota says. “If you want to fuck other people, you still want to do it regardless of whether you actually do or not. So you might as well.”

“Really?” Hizashi wasn’t expecting this. Granted, he doesn’t expect a lot of Shota’s approaches to these things, but this one he really wasn’t expecting.

“Better than not doing it and resenting me for it, or saying you won’t and then doing it anyway,” Shota continues to explain like the rational, unemotional creature he can be at times, and Hizashi’s not sure quite how he feels about that. He’s so used to… to that feeling of restriction being part of a relationship, of it being something he has to work at because he’s supposed to want monogamy, to not have a wandering eye and dick that follows right after it. “And like you said, I’m not always around.”

“No, and I… well you know what my impulse control is like,” Hizashi finds himself confessing because he’s not even sure Shota would mention it otherwise. “So you… you don’t mind?”

“Why would I mind?” Shota remarks, and Hizashi doesn’t know why he would. Why he kinda wants Shota to. “There’s a big difference between sex and being in a relationship.” That’s why Shota is the way he is, Hizashi knows, the understated confidence of the things that he believes and would never doubt for a second. How Hizashi might be the one still figuring this stuff out.

“Yeah, there is,” Hizashi agrees tentatively, wondering why he still has that weird niggling feeling, even though he’s supposedly got what he wanted.

*

The next time Shota’s been gone for a couple of days and Hizashi gets that smile from a girl in a bar, he doesn’t make any excuses. Doesn’t hold himself back, even when it feels weird and wrong and like he shouldn’t even though he knows he’s been told that if he wants to, he should. So he does.

They only get as far as making out on the dancefloor, but that’s still enough to have classified as cheating and ended a relationship over before. Less, even. He doesn’t know if he should tell Shota or not. If he’d even care, since he’s barely responding to normal messages right now.

Hizashi gets home to an empty apartment and finds himself wondering if he could’ve gone home with the girl, could be having sex with her right now, instead of being here alone, feeling weird about it anyway. Wonders if what doesn’t affect Shota can’t hurt him, and maybe that’s why he was so blasé about it, because he understands this shit better than Hizashi does – he must do, if monogamy is the rarity for him. The thing he’s still never tried, technically, as of tonight.

Kissing someone else was… different, mostly. Not better, or worse, just different. Fresher, at least. Hizashi ends up falling asleep still trying to decide if he’s feeling happy or sad about it, and if he is sad, why and what in the fuck he’s got to be sad about.

*

“I hooked up with someone while you were gone,” Hizashi tells Shota when they’re having a post-sex cigarette out on his balcony. Doesn’t know what kind of a reaction he’s expecting, or even wants. 

Yet Shota, somehow, is still underwhelming, taking a simple drag on his smoke before murmuring, “Mhm.”

“Not all the way, though I guess I could’ve.” Hizashi feels himself starting to babble already, waiting for the interruption he logically knows isn’t coming, the part where Shota turns around and yells ‘trick question, I do care and you fucked up!’ But that doesn't happen, so he keeps going. “She was just– do you even care? Do you want me to tell you about this stuff?”

Shota gives him one of those looks that guts Hizashi like a whaling harpoon, the end of his cigarette glowing as he takes a long inhale.

“Tell me whatever you want to tell me, Hizashi,” he says it simple, like he always does, and it’s still the last thing Hizashi’s expecting to hear.

Maybe that’s why Hizashi’s response is the last thing he expects to hear from himself in return.

“I love you.”

Shota doesn’t react in any particular way, exhaling a cloud of smoke and tapping off ash into the ashtray they’re rapidly filling up since he got back a few hours ago. But that’s what Hizashi wanted to tell him, right at that very instant.

Because Shota is nothing like Hizashi ever thought he’d be to date, he’s almost too good to be true. He takes everything Hizashi is and more, like he’s never experienced doubt about them for a second. It’s why Hizashi’s so fucking scared of waiting for the other shoe to drop, because if it does he doesn’t know what he’s gonna do. How he’s supposed to function without Shota if things don’t work out.

But Shota doesn’t know or even care about any of that, probably. He concerns himself with what’s relevant and right in front of him. In this case, Hizashi perched on the balcony railing, his feet hooked through the bottom bars in a pair of bright pink tracksuit bottoms and no shirt staring at Shota desperately across the slim space. Just his inked skin and entire soul on show, Eraserhead’s own goggles wrapped around Hizashi’s arm. He thought it would help somehow, by making things feel more permanent that he’s struggling to trust can last.

Not because Hizashi doubts Shota, who has permanence in spades, but Hizashi himself, knowing he always finds some way to fuck things up in the end.

Shota just smiles at him, though, that little shift of his mouth that’s not utterly terrifying like most of his grins are, and adores Hizashi with his eyes.

He takes another drag on his cigarette before replying, “Love you too.”

*

Things get a little… even less stable, after that. Hizashi starts to think he was having more of an anchoring effect on Shota than he’d realised. That having a longer leash between them, at Hizashi’s own request no less, means the distances between Shota’s dis- and re-appearances get longer too. As if Shota’s not worrying about what Hizashi’s doing while he’s gone anymore. Whether he’s lonely, for instance, in a way that might’ve previously been a factor.

Hizashi gets more opportunities with other people, and stops second-guessing himself about taking them. Remembers what it’s like having casual sex for fun, the low-committment no-strings-in-sight easy hookups that he just seems to attract like a magnet. Never brings anyone back to his apartment; not because he can’t, just doesn’t want to. Only once does he come back from someone else’s place and find Shota’s already there, fast asleep on the sofa fully dressed. Hizashi jumps straight in the shower and tries to cool his nerves, because they have established that this stuff is okay and if Shota cared that much he’d have told Hizashi he was on his way back in the first place and Hizashi wouldn’t have been screwing around somewhere else. But Shota hasn’t even moved a muscle when Hizashi comes out of the shower.

He looks clean enough, and even if he isn’t, Hizashi doesn’t think he cares, reaching for Shota’s shoulder to shake him ‘gently’ awake, which in his case is quite vigorous.

“We have a bed, you know, you big hobo,” he announces fondly, watching as Shota’s eyes flit open and lock in on him. He says nothing, but then his hand closes around Hizashi’s wrist and he pulls Hizashi down on top of him.

Despite coming straight from a one-night stand, it’s suddenly like Hizashi hasn’t been touched since Shota left. Every inch of him suddenly on fire for as much contact as possible. Being kissed as if he’d forgotten what it feels like, how much he needs it, why the weight of Shota’s hands on his hips is the most important thing in the world, why his scratchy stubble and warm mouth are perfect. Why Hizashi still longs for him like the tide needs the moon.

They fuck right there on the sofa, unzipping Shota’s jumpsuit just enough for Hizashi to ride him the second he’s ready to take it, or just a little bit before, hissing and cussing as he stretches himself on Shota’s cock while Shota holds his moans at the back of his throat. But if it isn’t what Hizashi feels like he needs, wrapped up in a pleasure-pain package that he’ll sign for every time.

It’s so fucking good that Hizashi suddenly knows exactly what Shota means about there being a difference between sex and what they have, because it doesn’t feel like this with anyone else. It still feels good fucking other people, obviously, and Hizashi likes doing it, likes being able to do it without feeling like he’s walking a constant tightrope over his own restraint. But that it doesn’t satisfy him the same way, and it’s never going to. Because they’re different things, and not in competition with each other, or Hizashi wouldn’t be hungry for Shota the way he is now; but the truth of it is he’s starving.

“I love you,” Hizashi pants as he’s bouncing up and down Shota’s absolutely irreplacable cock, because it’s more than just good sex on a physical level, it’s with his best friend in the whole world. A depth of emotional connection he’s never had before, that he isn’t sure he can have with anyone except Shota, because no one else knows him like this. “I love you,” he repeats, over and over and over, his voice getting louder until Shota finally erases it the moment before he climaxes, “I love you, I love you, I love you–” 

*

Chapter Text

*

Something inalienable about Hizashi is that when he gets an inch, he automatically wants a mile. So if he gets what seems like a free pass with an open relationship for the first time ever, he’s going to need to see how far he can take it. Which, when Shota’s absent for up to a week at a time and has repeatedly stated that as long as Hizashi’s staying safe he doesn’t care in the least what his boyfriend gets up to with other people in the interim, is an awful lot.

Relationships change, Hizashi tells himself now and again when he’s entertaining himself with an endless stream of low-effort sex because why not? It’s not like he’s got anything better to be doing, and he still loves Shota. Things are still incredible when they’re together, and if they’re together a little bit less that’s just life sometimes. 

Hizashi thinks everything is fine. He’s sure everything’s fine. Until he comes back one morning-after just like any other and finds that Shota’s trashed the place.

Trashed might be a strong word. Hizashi isn’t sure if Shota has properly moved in or not, whether his old apartment’s lease is up already or he’s still been crashing over there instead of on the streets whenever he’s not here. Wherever it is he goes when Hizashi’s not home either, the way he’s stopped trying to be, because missing Shota in an empty apartment is infinitely worse than not missing him as much from someone else’s.

The smell hits Hizashi the second he steps in through the door. That stink of tobacco-heavy joints smoked one after the other all night, the dregs of tobacco from pulled-apart cigarettes and weed crumbs all over his coffee table. There’s empty baggies on there too, ones that Hizashi doesn’t reckon had weed in them either, but whatever that was is long gone. All that remains is the shredded guy in the ragged boxers that he won’t let Hizashi throw away sitting on his balcony, smoking a spliff as thick as his little finger. 

Why he’s even bothering to sit on the balcony to smoke seems absurd, since it smells like he’s been smoking indoors anyway. Perhaps earlier in the night, if he’s been here a while, and it looks like he has, and realised Hizashi wasn’t coming back.

Shota doesn’t even see him until Hizashi throws the sliding door open, looking over with a dull flicker of surprise registering on his face, which means he’s got to be royally fucking baked.

“And what do you call this?” Hizashi spits with venom to put a snake to shame.

“Breakfast,” Shota replies mellowly, taking a greedy, fat puff on the joint while Hizashi stands at the open doorway. “Why, you want some?” he offers with a tilt of his hand.

“No I don’t!” Hizashi snaps, and a crease appears in Shota’s brow.

“Suit yourself,” he replies, setting it back to his lips to suck on again.

“It’s… eight ‘o clock in the fucking morning, Shota,” Hizashi finds himself announcing after a frustrated check of the clock. “What are you doing?”

Shota shrugs, sitting back on a folding chair with his feet propped on one of the lower balcony rails. He’s got little flakes of ash down his chest, stuck in his hair, and Hizashi hasn’t seen him in… fuck, he can’t remember right now, but it’s not supposed to be like this.

“Finished a case. Got back last night. Why,” Shota leads into ominously, taking the joint away from his lips as he casts a groggy look up and down at Hizashi, “where’ve you been?”

“That… that doesn’t matter,” Hizashi dodges guiltily, cross at just the implication that he’s got anything to feel bad about. “I’m not getting blazed first thing in the morning.”

“No, just rolling in with a hangover straight outta some stranger’s bed.” Shota does this thing when he’s not in the mood to be fucked with, a cocksure nonchalance that makes Hizashi want to throw a fist straight through the back of his head. How he uses all his powers of observation to be a complete and utter dick, adding a grating, “But sure, go ahead and judge me.”

He’s coming down, Hizashi realises with a clench of his teeth. That’s why he’s so bitchy, that’s why the eight a.m. joints, and maybe Hizashi is hungover and spent the night getting shit sleep on a stranger’s garbage mattress, but that’s not the fucking point.

“Don’t you dare try to guilt me,” he warns once, and once only. “You know that shit doesn’t fly.” Because they’ve gone over this exhaustively, and even if Hizashi’s still got the lipstick on his collar when he walks in, Shota doesn’t mind – no, wait, he doesn’t care. That’s the correct word for it.

“I’m not guilting you,” Shota points out obnoxiously. “I’m just saying: I don’t tell you how to live your life.” He takes another pointed drag on the joint, and Hizashi has to wonder what would’ve happened if he’d been home when Shota got back. If things would’ve gone differently, if they’d be in bed now having had mindblowing sex all night and everything would be fine instead of not-fine. But Hizashi didn’t know that he was gonna be here.

“You tell me fuck all,” Hizashi retorts bitterly. “You didn’t even tell me you were coming back.”

“Did,” Shota replies instantly, mouth muffled by the joint he’s still holding in his mouth, taking it out to elaborate, “Check your messages.”

Hizashi clenches his hand but doesn’t go for his phone, because he knows already that if Shota says he did, he must have. But Hizashi was drunk and chasing ass last night, so no, he didn’t check his fucking messages.

“So what? You’ve been gone for how long? I’m not hanging around twiddling my thumbs waiting on you.” Hizashi’s mad enough to scream, to shatter every window in this goddamn place, though if he tried he knows Shota would shut up him up with a single look.

“Not expecting you to,” Shota replies aloofly, tipping his chin up and plucking the joint from his lips as he blows a plume of smoke straight up into the air. “Just don’t get why you feel like crawling up my ass for no reason.”

“It’s not no reason,” Hizashi shoots. “My place is a mess and you’re out here baked off your tits first thing in the morning.”

Shota gives him a look, a hard one. The one that reminds everyone Eraserhead would rather be a cracked out hobo than a willing pawn in the system, and that he takes a certain view on people trying to tell him how to live his life: they can fuck off.

“So what?” Shota states blankly– no, not blankly, threateningly.

Hizashi’s mind moves in zigzags sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time, which is why the next thing he says is a catty, demanding, “Did you see Cricket?”

The joint sags in Shota’s mouth a little, which does mean Hizashi’s managed to get him in some way.

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Yes, then,” Hizashi returns, his blood having gone from a simmer to a boil. “That’s why you’re still wired despite trying to smoke yourself unconscious.” He narrows in on the point, staring at Shota’s face, the depth of the circles under his eyes. “Have you even slept?”

Glaring right back at him, Shota returns, “Have you?”

Losing control of himself for a second, Hizashi belts, “Answer the fucking question Sho–” and then cuts off completely when Shota erases his quirk.

“So what,” Shota starts curtly, “the sex was bad or something?”

If Hizashi could speak right now, he’d scream. Instead he has to wait until Shota stops using his quirk, the dregs of his hair falling limp back around his shoulders, and Hizashi forces himself to keep to an acceptable volume.

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“You’re not usually like this,” Shota observes neutrally.

“You’re not either!” Hizashi retorts not at all neutrally, and Shota furrows his brows, because of course he can’t see it. Hizashi turns to point behind him at the debris and clutter all around the living room. “That’s how I know you saw Cricket, dumbass.”

“I didn’t,” Shota snaps. “I picked up from someone else after finishing my case. Got enough to share, but you weren’t here.”

“So you just did it all.” Hizashi’s tone is sharp enough to do a cutthroat shave with, like blood would drip from the edge if he drew it even gently against Shota’s cheek.

Shota shrugs, and takes another puff before holding the joint out to Hizashi again, like he needs calming down.

“I said no,” Hizashi repeats through gritted teeth, and Shota takes it back with another suit-yourself shrug. “So that’s it, you’re just gonna sit here all day getting baked?”

Shota rolls his eyes, accompanied by an even eye-rollier, “Problem?”

“Yes, problem!” Hizashi snaps.

“Why?”

“Because you’re a fucking addict.”

Pausing only long enough to flick off ash and set the joint back to his lips, Shota murmurs, “So’re you.”

“I’m a drug user, not an addict.” Difference being that Hizashi wouldn’t be high all the time if he could, and Shota’s pretty much just standing on the edge of that cliff waiting to take the dive.

“I didn’t say it was drugs.” Gives him another of those looks, and Hizashi knows exactly what he means by it and is angry that he does. “Besides, if you’d been here you would’ve done them with me and you know it.”

“I don’t do that,” Hizashi punctuates with another gesture back at the table, the tell-tale trail of a druggie who only cares where the line is so they can snort it, “and you know it.”

“No, you just stay out all night with people you barely know because you can’t stand being alone.”

“And you get high because you can’t stand it either!” Hizashi turns right back on him. Because a sober Shota left alone has to deal with his feelings, and far be it for him to address any of that like a healthy adult.

Shota gives a frustrated sigh, and Hizashi wants to rip him a new one for acting like Hizashi’s the one being unreasonable here, when he knows he isn’t. Is he? “I’d have gone home if I knew you were gonna kick off.”

“Like you’ve got a place to go.” Hizashi’s being stupid, and saying shit he doesn’t really know is true or not because he wants it to be true in the moment. Because in his head, if Shota’s doing this here he can’t have anywhere else to do it.

“Only my apartment,” Shota replies like paint thinner, as if he’ll dissolve anything that sits in him long enough.

“Oh that’s still a thing?” Hizashi remarks caustically. 

“Yeah, and maybe it still needs to be a thing if you’re gonna get like this every time I wanna get high,” Shota gives like for like in the shitty attitude department, finally stubbing out the choking ends of the joint in an ashtray and standing up. “I thought you’d want me to be here, but clearly not.”

“Not after you’ve made a fucking mess of my place.” Hizashi backs up when Shota barges past him through to the apartment. The other side of the coin from Shota being able to go from dressed to undressed so quickly is that he’s ready to go in just as little time too. Which means that it’s only once Shota’s stepped into his jumpsuit, stomped on his shoes and is doing up the zip that Hizashi realises he’s actually planning to leave.

What really punches it home is the bitter, “Fine. See ya, Yamada,” he offers as he heaves his capture weapon over his shoulders. He only calls Hizashi that when he’s mad, like he forgets the person he loves and remembers the pain-in-his-ass friend who he took a good two terms to soften up to all those years ago.

“Wait.” This isn’t what Hizashi meant to happen, he realises as Shota’s walking away. “Shota, wait.” Goes after him, catches Shota by the back of his jumpsuit when he’s got a hand on the front door. “Wait, dammit!”

“Why?!” Shota turns around and barks as Hizashi’s hand withdraws quick as a whip. “So you can keep riding my ass?!” And not in the fun way, in the way they could be if things hadn’t started badly and gotten even worse.

“No! Because I–” Because if he just lets Shota go he’s only going to do more drugs, and he’s been gone so long already that Hizashi doesn’t want him to go, but also doesn’t want him to stay when he’s like this. Where’s the sense in that? “Because, because…”

“I don’t give you shit about what you do with your free time, do I?” Aizawa’s harder than granite, than diamonds, and Hizashi knows him well enough to know exactly how stubborn he’ll be when he’s backed into a corner.

“No. You don’t,” Hizashi admits quietly. “But we… talked about that.” About how it’s fine – no, how he doesn’t give a shit – if Hizashi’s sleeping around rather than waiting on him. Only, their scheduling is less than perfect on this occasion.

“We talk about drugs too,” Shota replies. “I’m not working, and I didn’t do them when I was working. You just came in here and flipped your shit because I made a mess.” The rules they never sat and carved out in stone, but the fact that Shota rattles them off the way he does proves their existence more than anything. Boundaries Shota sees himself as sticking to, the way Hizashi’s seeing them slip.

“No, that’s not what I…” Hizashi looks at himself through Shota’s eyes for long enough to see it, and winces. “I’m sorry, okay? You just… freaked me out.”

Shota does his puzzled face. “Why?”

“Because I’m waiting for you to relapse!” Hizashi blurts in all its unsightly glory. “Because that’s what happens, isn’t it? It starts out fine, and you keep telling me it’s fine, and then it’s not fine and you’re too stubborn to admit it until it’s completely fucking terrible.”

Shota takes a deep breath, and Hizashi sees the anger rolling off him like an aura, something hot and swirling; something he numbs with drugs because he doesn’t know how to deal with it any more than Hizashi does.

He repeats, “I don’t tell you how to live your life.”

“Stop saying that! I know you don’t!” Hizashi responds frantically. “But you don’t care, do you? I do care.”

Scrunching up his brow, Shota asks, “I don’t care about what?”

“About where I am or who I’m with,” Hizashi barrels through, “You’ve told me plenty of times how much you don’t give a shit, so it’s not the same because I do care if you’re binging.” He’s not watching Shota go straight down the drain into the gutter again. He’s not.

“I care about what you’re doing,” Shota states simply, and that just makes Hizashi crosser, somehow.

“No you don’t, Shota, you’ve made it really fucking clear that you don’t.” Because that’s what bothers Hizashi, isn’t it? There’s a part of him so coded to what’s supposedly ‘normal’ that he wants Shota to give some kind of a shit when Hizashi’s with other people, to actually want him rather than being so indifferent.

“I don’t want you to resent me for stopping you from doing something you want to do,” Shota explains, and Hizashi sees the line of logic. Like with him and drugs. Like he resents Hizashi right now.

“No, I know, and I… I appreciate that, but I…” Hizashi stalls, broken, and puts his head in his hands as he tries to force the words out in some kind of order. “I didn’t want it to be like this.”

Shota isn’t the most emotionally nuanced at the best of times, much less when he’s more baked than a brownie. “Like what?”

“Like this!” Hizashi roars, the hallway too small to contain him, his voice, and Shota standing there with that look of tense confusion on his face. “Where we’re angry and yelling at each other and I’ve missed you but I’m pissed off!”

“I missed you too.” Shota has, when he wants, the ability to take Hizashi’s entire heart in his hand and just crush it. “But you were busy.”

“Because I hate waiting around for you!” Hizashi confesses furiously, hands balled tightly into fists, jaw like iron. “So you’re right, the sex was terrible, and I barely fucking slept, and if I’d known you were gonna be here then I’d have been here too!” And Shota wouldn’t be strung out like fairy lights and Hizashi wouldn’t be hungover and angry and they wouldn’t be screaming at each other the way they are right now.

“Okay.” Shota drops back a whole aggression level, and he doesn’t really do apologies, because in his mind he’s never fucking wrong. But he does acknowledge where the mistake was, does admit when things have gotten twisted. “So now what?”

“Can we just… talk? Okay?” Hizashi flexes his hands again, feeling like he wants to drag Shota away from the door. Not to kiss him, or anything like that; he’s still too weird and cross to want anything like that. But he does not, under any circumstances, want Shota to walk out that door. “I didn’t… I didn’t explain myself properly, why I was angry at you for being stoned.”

Obtusely, Shota points out, “You shouldn’t be angry at me for being stoned.”

“I know, I know,” Hizashi bleats, backing up and breathing out a sigh of relief when Shota walks with him. “Not angry, just…”

“Scared,” Shota puts the word in his mouth, but if the boot fits.

“Scared,” Hizashi echoes awkwardly. “Yeah.”

“Scared I’m gonna relapse,” Shota recites cooly, as if you could run your fingers along each word and brush the frost off the top. “That’s what you said.”

“Yeah.” Hizashi nods defeatedly, drifting back over to the sofa. Admits to himself that it’s really not that messy in here, it’s just not the way he likes it. That it reminds him of Hizashi’s old apartment, full of needles and Cricket’s other even less appealing leavings. “I just wish you’d told me.”

“I told you I was coming back,” Shota reiterates as Hizashi’s sitting down.

“You tell me as you’re coming back,” Hizashi bites off the end of his sentence, watching or glaring – bit of both – even as Shota comes and sits beside him, not close enough to touch, but enough to reach, if they wanted. Not sure they do. “And not always then, either. If I don’t look at my phone for a few hours I’ll miss it, and I don’t want to live checking my phone all the time just in case you deign to give me a heads up that you’re done.”

“Okay.” It’s got weight when Shota says it, the way no one else seems to be able to give to such a simple word. “You want me to tell you further in advance.”

“Yes,” Hizashi sighs so hard he practically sobs. “Yes, because then I can be here, instead of killing time with some meaningless fling.”

“I thought you wanted to.” Because that’s what Hizashi asked for, wasn’t it?

“I do! But not… not instead of you.” Hizashi feels like he’s having a panic attack. Hell, maybe he is. Because it’s so awful and scary to admit this, and is that what the feeling has been all this time. He’s just afraid?

"Oh," Shota says noncommittally, then is pushed by a look from Hizashi to keep going, "When you put it like that."

“Yeah.” Hizashi keeps unrolling like a bolt of cloth falling off a table, because it’s easy to blame Shota for everything, but it’s not the truth. “And you… you have a point, okay? When you said I’m… that I’ve got addictive patterns as well. I get carried away, and end up doing it because I can, not because I actually want to.” And that’s the truth he’s been dodging as well, because it’s really fucking sad if the reason he’s screwing around is because he misses his boyfriend, and Hizashi doesn’t want to be that guy.

“Then don’t do it.” Shota remains, as ever, straightforward to the point of infuriation.

“And do what instead?!” Hizashi bursts. “Sit around here fucking missing you, hoping that you’re actually gonna answer my texts, or show up out of nowhere? I love you, Shota. I love you and I can’t fucking control you, so I just try to deal with it the best way I can.” Which is by getting lost in an alcohol-fuelled blur of no-strings hookups, because the only strings he wants are tangled up in this gorgeous ratbag that he’s never loved or hated more than this moment.

“I’m sorry.” Shota speaks quietly, but fills the whole space with his intention, surprising Hizashi that he’s actually apologising right now, so easily. “I didn’t realise that’s how you’ve been feeling.”

“I… don’t think I did, either,” Hizashi confesses breathlessly, head sinking back down into his hands again. “I’m trying not to think about it, aren’t I?” So he just keeps spinning those old records, keeps moving and being distracted and not thinking about the things that aren’t fun to think about. Because that’s what Present Mic does, often to the detriment of Yamada Hizashi.

“Kinda sounds like you should.” Shota’s hand, warm and weighty, moves to rest on Hizashi’s shoulder, and Hizashi lets it sit. Shota likes to touch, much more than Hizashi ever expected him to. Then again, he’s always been someone of actions before words.

“And you should think more about how your actions impact others,” Hizashi returns swing for swing. “I don’t have the energy to beg you all the time to just communicate with me. I’m not asking for much, am I?”

“No,” Shota admits, a little less comfortable now. “You’re not.”

Desperately Hizashi asks, “So why do you make it so hard?”

Shota swallows, looking forward. “I don’t know.”

“I need you to, though,” Hizashi almost pleads now. “I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, but I need you to meet me further in from how you are when it’s just you in there.” Because when it’s just Shota living the way he wants to live, he’s an on-again-off-again homeless junkie with a deathwish, and Hizashi can’t deal with that, even if he wants to.

Shota nods, his fingers twitching against Hizashi’s back. “Okay. You’re right.” It’s incredible to hear him admit it, a pressure Hizashi didn’t realise was getting so pent up until they both just blew. “I just get… caught up in everything.”

“And I try to be understanding, but it… it’s not gone great, has it?” Hizashi admits painfully. This certainly isn’t either of them at their best, that’s for-fucking-sure.

Shota nods again, looking a lot more sorry for himself than he did when he was about to walk out of here. “I’ll try harder.”

It’s such a relief to hear that Hizashi wants to break down. Like he’s been holding himself together over something he couldn’t look at or he knew he was going to completely lose it, but now he’s finally dragged the ugly thing out in the open and has to accept it for what it is. Nothing is perfect, not even this relationship, and certainly not Shota.

“Thank you.” Hizashi really is grateful. So fucking grateful. This kind of blowout could’ve ended things for him in the past, but they’re both still here. Their friendship, the thing that underpins everything, gets them through hell and high water, and it’s much stronger than this.

Shota looks over at Hizashi again, with his stupid red stoner deer eyes and his matted hair and absolutely no hickies on his neck like he deserves. “I do love you,” Shota tells him sadly, “I’m just… not very good at it sometimes.”

Look at all the practice he’s had. Hizashi forgets that when Shota’s so clear and put-together in so many other areas of his life. It’s easy to forget he doesn’t know the first fucking thing about being in a relationship.

Hizashi reaches up to wrap his fingers around Shota’s forearm reaching over to his shoulder, tracing his thumb across that soft inner-arm skin as he closes the gap between them a little more, sighing as he leans into the touch. “I know, baby.”

*

Hizashi takes a long shower while Shota has a bath, so the armistice is finally settled with both of them wrapped in towels. Emotionally burned out and so exhausted that when Shota puts his arm around Hizashi’s shoulders on their way out of the bathroom Hizashi just falls into him. They hug, just hug, for a minute in the hallway, no sound but their breaths and the patter of drips on the floor. 

They’ve said sorrys already, made promises to be better at saying what they mean, or saying it in a way the other can actually react to. But it still doesn’t seem fully mended again until Hizashi feels Shota’s lips pressing to his cheek, mouthing the words against his fresh, damp skin.

“I really am sorry.”

Hizashi squeezes his eyes shut and presses his face into Shota’s shoulder, undisturbed for once by his glasses that he forgot in the bathroom after getting out of the shower. It’s been a week, or six days and a night, Hizashi can actually remember now, and he loves Shota too much to go so long between these moments.

Into Shota’s collarbone, Hizashi murmurs, “I am too.”

*

The makeup sex is… intense. They have great sex all the time, so it's not that, it's more… apologetic, or affirming of things they let themselves forget. Makeup sex for Hizashi is usually a melodramatic affair, like something out of a TV drama, bottled up feelings and unresolved resentment thrown in like gasoline on the fire, but Shota isn't really like that. Or Hizashi doesn't feel like he is. 

Shota’s just… sweet, maybe, or even sentimental. Any anger from before has long since dried up. When they fall tiredly into bed, shifting slowly from cuddling to kissing to desperately groping each other under the fresh sheets Hizashi put on the bed days ago and hasn't touched since, it's an apology in every tender touch, in the way Shota just surrenders himself to Hizashi. As if he can’t change the fact that he’s been away, but he can give Hizashi every inch of him now he’s here. And Hizashi wants every inch, he wants the mile, he wants them both to ache until the next time they do this so it’s impossible to forget one another like they had this morning.

“Fuck, Hizashi,” Shota gasps, his voice ragged from smoking all night, though he’s finally sober now. More or less. “Feels so good, don’t stop, please, ah~” He’s the most vocal Hizashi’s ever known him, folded up on himself with Hizashi’s hands hooked into the bend of his knees, pushing him wider and flatter as Hizashi rocks deeply into him.

Shota’s more flexible than he gets credit for, and looks incredible spread out in the morning light filling Hizashi’s bedroom. Their bedroom really, since they’ve been sharing it for longer than Hizashi’s shared it with anyone else. Shota has been the most permanent fixture in this bed long before they were together like this.

It’s so different to everything else Hizashi has been doing. Different even to good casual sex, and on another planet from shitty sex with someone who just lies there giving Hizashi nothing, making him feel nothing. How needily Shota reaches for Hizashi’s face with his hands, pulls him closer, grip tightening as he edges closer and closer to climax.

“I’m not gonna stop,” Hizashi soothes, settling a tone in Shota’s voice like he’s afraid of Hizashi pulling away, of something going wrong again like it did before. But even if things did go wrong, they’re better now than they were before, so it was a right kind of wrong in the end. Something that needed to happen, a rupture to relieve pressure neither of them had noticed building until it was ready to burst.

“I love you,” punches out of Shota as if the push of Hizashi’s cock into him shoves the words off the tip of his tongue, the next falling in time with each new thrust. “I’m sorry. I love you.” One after the other, chasing each other out. He almost seems like he’s close to tears, but Hizashi’s never seen him cry. Not even at funerals.

“I love you too,” Hizashi returns before losing his lips in a kiss as Shota drags Hizashi’s mouth onto his. He surfaces for air and to echo, “I’m sorry too.”

It takes a little work, and some careful edging for Shota while he falls to absolute pieces, but Hizashi manages to time it so they come together. The earth shakes, stars collide, every trope in the book, you name it. It’s good. It’s home.

“I’m gonna do better,” Shota promises him quietly in the aftermath, his face resting on Hizashi’s chest with Hizashi’s arm wrapped around his shoulders, breathing together on the edge of sleep. It’s still the late morning, but hell if they couldn’t both use a nap. “I promise.”

Hizashi just kisses his forehead, nods, and for once, doesn’t say anything at all.

*

Things do get better. Enough that Hizashi feels like they were idiots for not doing it sooner, for not just talking to each other instead of retreating further and further into their own unhealthy coping mechanisms. Not realising that if they put their head up and looked over the wall they’d see the other one doing exactly the same thing, and they’re just the same brand of moron sometimes.

Shota starts to message Hizashi every day, unprompted, which Hizashi insists he doesn’t need to do like clockwork, as if it’s a chore to be ticked off, but Shota says the routine helps him remember. It’s nice not always being the first to reach out, and Hizashi stops feeling like he’s throwing energy into a bottomless hole that leaves him on read all the time. Shota gets better at giving estimates of how much longer he’s going to be away too, learning to trust that Hizashi would rather get something approximate and understand when it changes than have nothing at all.

Shota even starts to come back while he’s working sometimes, which is brand new and Hizashi never thought would happen, and maybe Shota didn’t either. But as soon as he does the benefits become immediately apparent, and it goes from something Shota does because he understands Hizashi would rather spend a little extra time with him than with anyone else, to something Shota wants to do because it helps him recharge and keep going. Beats a sleeping bag under a bridge any day, which Hizashi teases him for being so slow to recognise – while also being grateful beyond words that Shota can, has changed these habits that seemed so ingrained. Shota teases him back for not realising that all Hizashi has to do is ask for things from him, not constructing an elaborate means of distraction rather than a simple ‘I miss you, let’s meet up’ he can actually respond to.

Because Shota doesn’t always have to come all the way to Hizashi either, and if he actually tells Hizashi where he is and when he’s got free time then Hizashi will gladly go to him. They see the inside of more than a few sleazy Love Hotels, Hizashi usually slipping in incognito so as not to draw attention, and it’s actually fun. Stupid, sexy, themed-room fun.

Hizashi also starts to think a little more broadly on his side of things, now Shota understands that asking for more freedom sexually isn’t the same thing as asking for less time with him. Hizashi reins back on going out looking for one thing only, and stops feeling like he needs someone whenever Shota’s not an option. The fucking self-fulfilling prophecy of it is that when he’s seeing and talking to Shota more often he doesn’t mind being alone nearly as much, loses that itch of needing anyone because anyone is better than no one.

He also starts getting more creative with what ‘open’ can mean, since Shota tells him – the same way he tells Hizashi most things he’d never dreamed of hearing coming so ordinarily from the person he’s dating’s mouth – that he’s ‘fine’ with Hizashi bringing other people in if Shota does happen to be around and an opportunity comes up.

“Even a woman?” Hizashi tests, openly shocked.

“Sure.” Shota sips his tea with one of his legs hanging over Hizashi’s lap while the TV plays nonsense in the background, then looks over when he senses Hizashi staring. “What?”

“Really?” Hizashi has said before the only woman’s vagina Shota’s touched was his mother’s on the way out, and Shota agreed with him. He’s about as straight as a paperclip.

So it’s weird watching Shota shrug now, as if it’s not that he refuses to have sexual interaction with women, he’s just never fucking considered it or something like that. “It’s not like I’d have to fuck her, is it?”

“No, I guess not.” Hizashi hadn’t even thought about how that’d work, assuming when he asked the question that Shota would draw a line somewhere, anywhere. One of the weirdest things for Hizashi in this relationship has been that lack of sexual boundaries, so used to having them set down for him by whoever he’s dating because Hizashi always wants more than the other person’s willing to give.

Except in the way that other people come with a set of pre-programmed rules and expectations when it comes to sex and relationships, Shota’s got a wide, borderless expanse of nothing. Actually drawing the boundaries up himself is bizarre for Hizashi, though not in a bad way.

“So that’s seriously okay?” Hizashi checks again. “You’d have, like, a threeway with a woman?”

Shota shrugs again, the epitome of demisexuality with freshly washed hair; Hizashi loves him so much. “As long as you’re there.”

*

With a new challenge in his sights, Hizashi stops avoiding talking about his dating situation when he’s out and about, and starts putting out there at the earliest opportunity that he’s happily in a relationship with an absolutely top-notch guy but there’s always ‘room for a party’.

It puts off more people than it intrigues, and Hizashi thinks at first that Shota would feel more comfortable with a man than a woman, so approaches it from that angle. Only to be told, after another frustrating strike-out, that Shota’s not going to feel any differently about a stranger depending on their gender, nor is he going to be the one fucking them either way, so it makes absolutely no difference to him.

This takes Hizashi a while to wrap his head around, and they end up properly talking about it over take-out one evening. Hizashi doesn’t think Shota’s ever bothered to pull it all out of his head before either, so it’s… interesting, honestly, helping him to piece it out.

It seems to boil down to the fact that Shota is either completely indifferent or extremely specific about who he has sex with, with a sub-note that he’s definitely not interested in women. For a guy who’s given out sexual favours for case leads, it kinda makes sense that those offers only tend to come in from less-than-desirable dudes in the first place.

It also makes its own kind of sense that the only people he wants to sleep with are those he’s already attached to, and if he’s not attached then he doesn’t actively want it – Hizashi had figured that much out about him already. He doesn’t dislike sex, though, clearly not, so if there’s another reason to screw around with literally any guy then he’ll happily go along with it.

Cricket, Hizashi dares to find out, wincing through his own reservations and worries around such a volatile topic, started as the latter and became the former. How Shota got attached to him makes Hizashi shudder to think about, but he doesn’t pretend he’s got no idea whatsoever. Cricket is the magnified, extreme conclusion of a part of Shota that makes him who he is, why he does what he does as the hero Eraserhead and the principles that underpin it all. Because Hizashi doesn’t hate Cricks – well, he does hate Cricks – what he really hates is what Cricket brings out in Shota.

Hizashi starts feeling a bit uncomfortable at one point, wondering if he’s taking advantage if the only reason that Shota would do something with a third party is because Hizashi wants him to. But Shota clarifies that it’s not that he doesn’t want it, because then he wouldn’t do it. It’s just that if Hizashi wants something that’s good enough for Shota to at least try, since by his own admission he ‘doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing anyway’, which is certainly true. 

There’s a space for him between ‘want’ and ‘don’t want’ that’s best described as ‘don’t mind’, basically, which is not the same as not caring, they’ve finally hashed out. He just cares in a way that looks different, and that’s hard for people to understand from the outside. He cares if Hizashi wants to do something, and as long as Shota doesn’t not want it, then he’s open to whatever it is.

So he doesn’t want to have sex with women, but he also doesn’t really want to have sex with anyone except Hizashi, he explains pragmatically. There’s no one else he cares about the way he cares about Hizashi, so of course he doesn’t want anyone else that way. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what the other person’s gender is, since they’re not there for him, but as an extension of Hizashi, which makes it okay apparently. Also, as Shota points out, the main difference between Hizashi fucking someone else when Shota isn’t there and doing it when he’s right here is just a matter of geography.

It’ll make more sense at the time, Shota assures Hizashi, and it does, in the end. For all his efforts to pull, Hizashi gets chatted up one afternoon at a music store by a girl with five separate face piercings who only gets more interested when Hizashi says he’s got a boyfriend back home. Literally, since Shota finished a case a day or so ago and hasn’t managed to pick something else up yet – unlike Hizashi, who shows up with a bottle of whiskey and ‘new friend’ who’s ready to party.

“This is Suki,” Hizashi introduces a little awkwardly, though he’d been messaging Shota ahead of time just to see if he was still okay with this. Sure, Shota had underwhelmingly replied, as he likes to do, see you soon.

Shota gives the girl a thoughtful look for a moment, while Hizashi’s stomach is doing weird you-definitely-fucked-this-up-backflips.

But then Shota just says, “You want some weed?” Of course, his classic ice-breaker.

“Fuck yeah I’ll smoke some weed,” Suki, as she’s said to call her, boldly replies. She recognised Hizashi from the other side of the store and played it cool initially, but the second he was at the counter asked him to sign every one of his records that she'd already set aside, so he thinks he might be making her entire year with this one.

“You have weed?” Hizashi says like he’s surprised, which would be because he is.

“Yeah.” Shota looks up at him from the sofa, gaze narrow, seeming as home in his own skin as he ever has.

“And you haven’t smoked it yet?” Hizashi certainly can’t smell it, and Shota has been here for more than long enough to have cracked into anything he’s holding – or so Hizashi would’ve assumed.

Shota smirks at him. “Are you proud of me or something?”

“Yeah, I kinda am,” Hizashi scoffs, while their new ‘friend’ Suki is taking the plastic wrap off the top of the whiskey bottle. “You roll, though.” Shota still rolls the best joints, and Hizashi can’t take that away from him.

It’s a bit weird, the shift in dynamic, but it’s definitely less weird once they’re a few drinks in and smoking one of Shota’s get-fucked joints, huddled out on the balcony passing it back and forth as if they could forget what Suki is here for, why there’s a stranger in the middle of Hizashi and Shota’s otherwise perfectly balanced dynamic.

Suki, however, is determined not to fade into the background. “So how long have you two been together?” She’s definitely living the dream, Hizashi’s decided: meeting Present Mic just as she’s about to finish work, then getting taken home to said hero’s apartment to get wasted and fool around with the aforementioned and his enigmatic top-secret underground hero boyfriend. Not that she knows all of the last part, but Hizashi does, and that’s totally enough.

“Uh, I guess… like, two years now?” Hizashi’s not sure where all the time went, honestly, since it feels like it wasn’t that long ago he was freaking out about Shota’s near-miss with death and demanding to know if Shota found him attractive or not. They’ve got the answer to that one well and truly sorted.

Shota shrugs, accepting the joint from Suki and taking a lazy toke, and Hizashi has noticed her eyeing him up curiously. She’ll probably be disappointed when she finds out he’s off limits to her – though that might turn into relief when she sees the size of his cock, little thing that she is. It's not personal, though: Shota seems to like her as much as he would anyone he doesn't really know.

And Hizashi does know how to pick a good hookup, he just doesn’t always exercise that level of taste. But for Shota it needed to be right, so Hizashi was sure to pull the trigger on someone with a vibe he thinks Shota could get along with, which seems to be going alright so far.

Suki is not in the least bit intimidating and doesn’t even come up to either of their shoulders, her hair in four little bunches at each corner of her head and a face full of metal. Hizashi ought to get more piercings, he’s thinking as he watches them move with her expressions across the balcony.

“So you’re like…” she turns across from Shota to Hizashi, a sparkle in her eye that screams of fangirl wet dreams. “Gonna make out?”

Hizashi’s stunned when Shota’s classic stoned laugh beats his own to the punch, chuckling through a smokey exhale as he passes the joint over to Hizashi.

“Sure,” Hizashi lilts with a grin, glancing between Shota and Suki standing next to each other and thinks damn, some people really do get to have it all. “Why, you wanna watch?”

Suki’s got a lip piercing and tongue ring, and they make a sound when she drags one against the other, a little metallic clink.

“Do bears shit in the woods?” she answers greedily, and Shota sniggers again. Yeah, Hizashi thinks to himself as he takes one more toke and passes the joint back to her. He’s set this one up nicely.

Once they’ve finished smoking and gone back inside, Hizashi stays on his feet while Shota slumps back down onto the sofa, since the place Hizashi’s planning to sit is directly in Shota’s lap. Straddling it, in fact, after he downs the rest of his whiskey and coke and settles with his knees on either side of Shota’s lazily spread legs. Rather a familiar position for them, this.

“You wanted to watch, didn’t you?” Hizashi remarks across to Suki, who’s frozen with wide eyes and her mouth hanging open on the way to raising her glass to her mouth, like maybe she wasn’t expecting it this soon, even though Hizashi hates waiting around for just about anything. Shota, for the most part, seems comfortable, settling his hands over Hizashi’s thighs and looking up at him through sleepy, freshly-stoned eyes. As long as you're here, he'd said before, and Hizashi gets it now. 

Hizashi loves kissing Shota, this isn’t new information by any stretch of the word. But kissing him in front of someone is like experiencing it fresh and dip-coated in adrenaline. Shota’s not really into PDA, intensely private by nature, so the fact that he kisses back when Hizashi pours over him like lighter fluid on a bonfire unleashes a force Hizashi isn’t sure he can contain.

It gets heated, fast, tongues, teeth, all that stuff. Hizashi could almost change his mind about fucking anyone except Shota based on such a kiss, but that wouldn’t be fair on the girl.

When they break apart again, Shota’s hands still confidently gripping Hizashi’s thighs, thumbs dipping down to rest on his inner leg, it’s quiet for a moment before Suki chimes in, “Oh my god.”

Hizashi stares straight at Shota, initially tempted to voice just how fucking turned on he is right now, but imagines Shota can work that out for himself from the super-conspicuous boner Hizashi’s popped. Eventually he drags himself away from Shota’s gaze to look over at the stunned – and now, furiously blushing – girl who’s managed to finish her drink since Hizashi got in Shota’s lap several minutes ago.

“We should go over some ground rules,” Hizashi announces excitedly, and it might just be timing, but feels Shota breathing out against him. 

*

Chapter Text

*

Hizashi hadn't thought it would be possible to love Shota any more than he already does, but it turns out nothing is impossible. He adores Shota more than he ever thought a person could love someone, and never more than when he’s blowing Shota at the foot of the bed while their inaugural third party, Suki, sits against the headboard with one of the vibrators from Hizashi’s toybox watching them go at it. After Shota’s come, spoiled first and foremost because Hizashi’s so excited and grateful to him for being here, willing to do this, he’s apparently content to sit back and watch Hizashi move right along and do Suki next. Hizashi's oral skills are unmatched across the board, and he loves being able to show that off.

It’s probably an extension, in some way, of the ease with which Shota casually stuck his head into the bedroom when Hizashi was fucking someone in the past to erase his voice before the windows shattered. That on a deep level there is nothing within Shota that goes against him seeing Hizashi with other people, and all their relationship has done is increased Shota’s interest level in actually paying attention.

Hizashi asks him, afterwards, once they’ve said their bizarre goodbyes and parted ways with Suki, who smiles and nods and seems like she might still be in a sex coma, why it doesn’t bother him at all. Why Shota’s idea of being possessive doesn’t intersect with jealousy the way it does for most people.

“Why would I be jealous?” Shota tells him simply, sprawled out on the sofa like they didn’t just have a spur of the moment three-way. “It’s completely different.”

“What is?” Hizashi thinks he knows, but it’s never clearer than coming from Shota’s own mouth.

“What you and I have,” he says so easily, with a certainty that erases doubts the same way his gaze erases quirks. “Sex is just a physical act, what makes it meaningful are the feelings for who it’s with. You don’t have those feelings for someone else, so why would I be jealous of something physical that you do with me too?”

And Hizashi sure did do it with him too. While he was fucking Suki, Shota just hung out on the bed next to them spectating, as if he found it interesting being able to see Hizashi that way without the distraction of being the one he’s having sex with. It almost broke Hizashi’s desire to keep going with Suki at all when Shota idly picked up one of his preferred butt plugs to start messing around with, halfway paying attention to Hizashi and the rest just straight-up masturbating, having his own fun while patiently waiting his turn because he knew he’d get one sooner or later. Fucking tease.

By the time Suki had enough to be totally fucked out, Hizashi wasn’t even close to done, so it was a mad, horny scramble to rip the condom off and sink right back into Shota, fucking him hard and frantically, remembering the merits of their respective stamina and just how familiar their bodies are with each other. The best of both worlds. A feeling that seemed mutual, since Shota came again, then kept going because he’s good like that, before Hizashi finally finished, Shota erasing Hizashi’s quirk exactly when he needed to.

Shota was right, like he usually is. Trust anyone as obstinately demisexual as him to point out that the physical act and the emotional baggage are different. That Hizashi doesn’t love anyone even close to the way he loves Shota, so there’s nothing he’d have to be jealous of and there never has been. Shota gets everything and more that Hizashi has to give, and what other people get from Hizashi doesn’t detract from it in the slightest.

So it’s a success, to say the least. Definitely something to try again whenever the opportunity arises, though to tell the truth it also seems to cement just how amazing it is having sex with just Shota. How no one else knows Hizashi’s ins and outs so well, and how to leverage them to devastating advantage. Quite literal ins and outs, sometimes, since no one else can fuck Hizashi quite like Shota does either, with enough practice to whittle it down into an artform.

Hizashi mostly tops, especially with other people, as it’s more predictable that way. Less dependent on them knowing what they’re doing and more in Hizashi’s control to go the way he wants it to. But no one brings out the submissive streak in him like Shota does. Something kept in one of Shota’s many tactical pockets, and pulled out only when he feels like it.

Like when Hizashi’s having a moment one day, after Shota has been working for longer than usual, and away much longer than Hizashi likes him to be away. They’re still texting, which is something, but Hizashi’s in enough of a mood to bring into question if they’re even dating, at least when Shota’s not around.

He doesn’t know why he says it, really, since he knows it’s not true, but it’s how he feels in the moment. Like if he can have sex with anyone, and just happens to have a lot of it with Shota when he deigns to be available, what actually makes it a relationship and not just an extremely integrated level of best-friends-with-benefits? That’s how he puts it in any case, mostly looking for a reaction, an affirmation from Shota that’s not always forthcoming in his understated nature.

But Shota’s reply is just, is that so?  

Yeah, if we didn’t fuck I’d barely know the difference from when we were just friends, Hizashi sends back, knowing it’s petty, knowing it’s not completely true, but it’s also not completely false either. His relationship with Shota is so different to any other he’s had, sometimes Hizashi just wants a little reminder that it is a relationship – something that’s hard to do when Shota’s been gone five days and counting.

Hizashi doesn’t hear back for hours, thinking he’d succeeded in pissing Shota off by pushing it too far, and they’ll have an argument to look forward to when he’s finally done with his shit. Whenever that is.

But the next message Hizashi gets from Shota after that long stretch of loaded silence is no more than, Back by nine. Be ready.

It’s a total surprise, and sends a tingle of anticipation down Hizashi’s spine, wondering if he might’ve poked the bear in a different way than he’d realised. He quickly cancels all his evening plans.

Nine is still several hours away, which is good in the ‘Shota giving him more notice’ department, but absolutely shit-awful in the ‘having to wait’ department. This means that Hizashi is cleaner than a soap bubble, three boredom drinks in, and dying of suspense when the door unlocks and Shota lets himself in at 9.05 p.m. exactly.

“That was fast, you’re practically on time,” Hizashi calls over sarcastically from the arm of the sofa where he’s perched, not sure what side of Shota’s he’s about to get. 

“Moved some things around and handed over to the police,” Shota announces neutrally, the thump of his boots down the hallway like a heartbeat. "Seemed like we had a situation here."

"Do we?" Hizashi returns with a flash of teeth closer to a snarl than a grin, sitting up and watching Shota come in and stop at the end of the sofa closest to the door, opposite end from Hizashi like weights on either side of a furniture-shaped scale. 

"Yeah,” Shota confirms, reaching up to pull the spools of his capture weapon off his neck and dump them on the floor, keeping an unbroken stare centred dead on Hizashi. “Apparently you’re under the impression that we’re not in a relationship.”

Hizashi has two ways to go with this, and he picks the dumb one.

“Sorry,” he says with a peverse grin, “Who are you again? And who gave you keys to my apartment?” Shota hasn’t really been gone for that long, in the bigger picture, but Hizashi was fed up of him not being here, and is voicing that discontent in a less-than-mature way.

Hizashi’s finally managed to reconcile the difference between the desire to go out and fool around because it’s fun, and the desire to go out and fool around when it’s not fun because he’s missing Shota. He was getting closer to the second, and may have translated some of that frustration into unreasonably provocative statements about their relationship status.

“Hm,” Shota huffs, pulling his goggles from on top of his head down to sit around his neck. “Come over here and find out, then.”

Hizashi’s throat tightens a little, but he doesn’t budge yet. “Find out what?”

There is a twitch, just a twitch, in the corner of Shota’s mouth, and this is what makes him so great to be around, so able to match Hizashi in a way no one else has managed. They’ve been giving each other shit for ten years now, and their supposed ‘relationship’ doesn’t change that one bit.

“How much of a relationship we’re in,” Shota replies coolly, standing right where he is and not moving a goddamn inch. He’s not going to, Hizashi knows already. He’s so fresh from work, cutting himself off early, even, that this is Eraserhead mode Shota who doesn’t need to grab for control when it sits automatically in his two very dexterous hands. He’s going to make Hizashi come to him, just to prove that Hizashi will.

Hizashi is static for as long as he can stand, which rolls in at a solid three seconds, and then lunges across the sofa, propping his hands on the other arm as he rises up like a performing seal and tilts his face up towards Shota’s.

“Go on and prove it, then.”

Shota doesn’t move fast, but with great purpose. One of his hands lifts to Hizashi’s outstretched throat, tracing across the stave he got tattooed across it last year – hurt like a bitch, but so cool – and settles under his chin. Thumbs along Hizashi’s jaw, looking down at him with delicious forboding in those dark brown eyes.

The truth is that sometimes Hizashi pushes Shota just so he’ll get pushed back, because their shove-me-shove-you game isn’t as much fun if only one of them’s doing the shoving.

“You demand a lot of attention, you know,” Shota remarks in a low tone, almost as if he’s complaining, only without sounding in the least bit opposed to such a fact.

“Correction: I deserve a lot of attention.” Hizashi’s still holding his performing seal pose, his face resting in one of Shota’s hands like holding up a hand mirror. They are reflections of each other in a lot of ways, it just takes a clever eye to see it.

“Hm.” Shota rearranged his evening for this too, and that’s the commitment Hizashi wanted all along. To feel important enough to pull Shota out of his world and into their shared one occasionally.

Shota dips in for a kiss, but it’s too light, and he rises back up after a second to leave Hizashi straining after him. His voice is like old, polished wood, full of texture and grain, but still smooth somehow. “You can always just say you miss me.”

“And you’d ignore it,” Hizashi returns, and they’re both a little bit right. Shota wouldn’t completely ignore it, but he wouldn’t drop everything to be here now, so from where Hizashi’s sitting he only did what had to be done.

“Up,” Shota commands, because the secret is that he gives over authority to Hizashi all the time, but he’s the one giving it up voluntarily, and there’s an awful lot of power lying dormant in him, like a volcano just waiting for the right moment to blow. Not many people get away with bossing Hizashi around, but Shota’s definitely one of them.

Hizashi hops over the sofa arm to stand in front of Shota, keen and obedient, because he knows what he wants, knows Shota knows it too, and hopes he’s going to get it if he does as he’s told.

Except what Hizashi wants is a proper kiss, and what he’s told is, “Turn around.”

Hizashi’s only wearing a pair of loose pyjama bottoms, which aren’t doing much to disguise his ‘interest’ as he poutily turns his back to Shota without getting any sort of kiss. His hair is hanging loose, brushed out and silky down his back, which Shota draws away from his skin like pulling back a curtain.

Only then does Shota’s mouth return to Hizashi’s skin, gracing the top of his neck with another light kiss, ghosting his lips out along one shoulder. Hizashi loves to rush, but Shota takes his sweet fucking time. Holds Hizashi by the hips to tilt him forward, folding him over the sofa arm. Shota’s mouth makes the trip inch by tattooed inch, descending the full mural of Hizashi’s back until he’s bent over the armrest with his hands on the sofa cushion and Shota’s down on the floor on his knees.

“Let’s see,” Shota murmurs as he smoothly pulls Hizashi’s pyjamas down, no underwear underneath because what’s the point of that? “Hm,” he hums with his lips approximately zero milimetres away from the skin of Hizashi’s asscheek, the one with all the signatures inked on it that Hizashi likes to refer to as the ‘autograph pad’.

“What?” Hizashi bites, trying not to fidget in the firm grip Shota has of him by the tops of his thighs. It sounds as if there’s something amiss, though truly, any situation in which Hizashi’s bent over something with Shota behind him can’t be too far off from an ideal scenario.

“I can’t find my name on here,” Shota explains throatily, sounding like he stops to lick his lips before carefully brushing his mouth across the wild squiggles of some of Hizashi’s most egotistical tattoos. “So I must not be one of your conquests.” He could be, of course, but that’s not the point he’s insinuating.

“You’re not,” Hizashi blurts, desperate for more contact, except pushing back only forces him against Shota’s ironlike, immovable grip.

“Oh,” Shota plays dumb, sounding surprised, “then what am I?”

Hizashi could behave himself, but then, it’s not like Shota is. So flippantly he remarks, “Dunno, some guy who shows up here occasionally and– ahh,” then breaks off when Shota’s teeth dig into the fullest part of his ass, just a playful nip to get them started.

“Wrong answer,” Shota states quietly, pressing in with his thumbs to spread Hizashi’s stance a little wider. They both know what’s poised to happen, and Hizashi hates waiting – so does Shota, for that matter, but it’s no understatement to say he’s also a little bit of a masochist. So they wait.

When Shota grabs Hizashi directly by the ass to tug apart and just breathes out, the warm air alone caressing some of Hizashi’s more intimate skin, Hizashi buckles.

“You’re my boyfriend,” Hizashi confesses, as if he’s the one who needed to reaffirm it instead of Shota. Maybe he was.

“Oh I am, am I?” Shota’s infuriating, so smug if he was about to do anything apart from what he’s about to do then Hizashi would’ve told him to fuck off already. That’s probably exactly why Shota knows he can get away with it. “Then I guess I’d do something like this.”

It’s a little known secret that Shota eats ass like he’s skipped every other meal in anticipation, and Hizashi has often been delighted by this hidden talent.

“Isn’t this– ah, better than whatever stupid work you were– oh fuck, doing?” Hizashi staggers through while Shota digs in, jaw and tongue teaming up on him in the best way possible.

Shota doesn’t answer, of course, since his mouth is otherwise occupied. Soon Hizasih’s legs are twitching, to say nothing of grinding his cock mindlessly against the sofa arm. Just the sound of his own mindless sex-jabbering into the still appartment air, escalating pleas until he’s finally outright begging Shota to fuck him

And only once he’s begging does Shota finally concede any ground, standing up suddenly and using a hand to rub his bare cock against Hizashi’s ass. Apparently he found the time while he was eating Hizashi out to unzip himself and already get started with the lube, because there’s definitely a tolerable amount of slippage when he pushes right between Hizashi’s cheeks.

“Fucking hell please Shota I didn’t mean it, alright?” Hizashi unloads desperately, quite certain that if he doesn’t get dicked soon he’s absolutely going to die. 

“Didn’t mean what?” Shota’s enjoying this, clearly. Not just the physical aspects, but the process of reducing Hizashi to a forlorn, babbling mess. 

Hizashi supposes it’s the same way he feels about seeing this side of Shota too, when he methodically takes Shota to pieces because it’s what he needs more than he can express in any words. Shota’s literally cried during that kind of sex, and Hizashi freaked out big time when it first happened, not sure how Shota expected Hizashi to keep going while he literally started sobbing: the first time Hizashi had ever seen him cry, no less. When the answer to the question of if the sex is why he’s crying is a tearful ‘yeah’ Hizashi can’t intrinsically know that’s exactly the point, and Shota really does want him to keep going. Maybe Shota didn’t know that either, at the time.

Turns out the case Shota had just finished took a lot more out of him than even he realised, and though the sex is why he’s crying, it’s in a good way rather than a bad one. They managed to talk it out in the end, somehow, and now Hizashi knows how to anticipate those times better, what to say and do to let Shota break the right way. Hizashi doesn’t cry like that, probably doesn’t need to, not the way Shota does when everything he’s bottled up finally gets decanted.

But Hizashi does tell truths that can’t be worked out of him any other way than when he’s like this, confessing desperately, “What I said about us, that we’re not dating.”

“Oh?” Shota murmurs indifferently, one hand on Hizashi’s hip and the other on his own cock, sounding far more interested in rubbing against Hizashi’s ass than anything coming out of his mouth. 

“Yeah, I just said it okay?” Hizashi blurts. “I was lonely and wanted to provoke you into coming over.”

As casually as anyone can be while grinding their cock on someone’s ass, Shota remarks, “I know,” and then pushes teasingly against Hizashi’s hole as a warmup to the main event, before going back to sliding the full length across his cheeks.

“You– fuck– do?” Hizashi gasps, finding words harder and harder to focus on as Shota penetrates him little by little.

“You’re not as subtle as you think you are,” Shota says smugly, backing up all of a sudden. Hizashi whines, but catches the sound in his own throat when Shota’s slick fingers return in lieu. “You think I can’t tell when you just wanna get fucked?”

“By you,” Hizashi finishes as Shota’s fingers vanish again, hopefully to be replaced by something much better. “Just by you, Shota. Please, I'm begging you, please– ahh~” 

And then Shota finally gives Hizashi what he’s asking for, exactly the way he wants it.

*

They go for a smoke after, and in respect to the people in the building opposite put on some clothes to do this. Namely, Shota wears Hizashi’s pyjama bottoms, and Hizashi takes a well-placed and by now lightly soiled sofa cushion to hold over his junk.

There’s only one small chair out on the narrow balcony of the apartment that Hizashi’s starting to feel like he’s outgrowing, even though it’s served him well for these years, from long before he and Shota were dating. What Hizashi would really like is a place he doesn’t need to wear clothes in at all – and neither would Shota, since in this fantasy dream apartment of Hizashi’s he's obviously there as well. Though perhaps they should try officially living together at all first before taking any huge leaps like that.

As it is, Shota takes the chair and Hizashi sits on his lap, the pillow over his crotch to preserve a minor amount of decency for the long-suffering neighbours. 

“I have to go back to work in a bit,” Shota warns, one arm slung around Hizashi’s waist and the other to smoke with.

“Really? I thought you finished early.”

“I said I moved things around,” Shota specifies as he lights up. “The police are covering ‘cause I told them I needed a couple of hours to take care of some personal matters.” Hizashi has mixed feelings about Shota showing up just to fuck him and leave again, but it is a booty call he demanded, after all. If Shota really does need to get back to work it must be important enough that it means something he got away for this long at all. Or so Hizashi tells himself.

“Fine,” Hizashi sighs, taking a pouty drag on his cigarette.

“Don’t make that face at me,” Shota remarks lightly enough to be considered playful rather than a jab.

“I’m not, I’m making it at the situation,” Hizashi counters, sighing again when Shota squeezes him soothingly.

“I’ll be done soon, if things go well.”

“You always say that,” Hizashi adds with another huffy puff on his cigarette. “And when do things ever go well for you?”

But if Shota holds all the cards for Hizashi’s heart, he knows exactly when to play his hand, offering a mellow, “Worked out just fine with you, didn’t it?”

Hizashi smiles before he can do anything else, and wiggles contently in Shota’s lap. Shota did say he had to go soon, not now.

“Alright, you can stop trying to be charming.” It’s always unexpected coming from Shota, even though he’s as capable of being complimentary as anyone, he just chooses his moments very carefully.

“I’m just stating the facts,” Shota insists, and then, because fucking Hizashi’s brain out over the sofa is all well and good, just a clean bit of raunchy fun, but what they have is so, so much more than that, he continues as naturally as turning a corner, “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Hizashi inhales sharply, holding smoke in his lungs while his heart seems like it could pound out of his chest and go bouncing down the street.

What’s he supposed to say to that? I know? Thanks? I got you off constantly doing drugs, so duh!?

Slowly Hizashi lets the breath out, pouring smoke over them both as he twists to face Shota directly, and tells the truth. “Me too. I mean– I feel the same way.” Hizashi wouldn’t be who he is without Shota, and in all honesty, he’d be a far worse person without the anchor of their friendship to keep him vaguely down to earth. 

“Oh,” Shota says, a wry cut to his tone that tells of good-mood banter, “You think you’re the best thing that ever happened to me too?”

“No, jackass!” Hizashi slaps his arm. “I mean, yeah, obviously I am, but you’re the best thing that happened to me too.”

Shota smiles at him so genuinely Hizashi dives in to snatch a kiss, just a peck on the lips, pulling back to add, “You said you only had to go soon, right? So we have enough time for another round?”

Shota smirks and takes a drag on his cigarette, bouncing Hizashi on his knees pleasingly. Hizashi doesn’t feel bad about throwing a fit to get Shota to come over, because when he does he clearly enjoys it too. A breath of fresh air in his world of smog.

“I sure hope so.”

*

Shota doesn’t move in all at once so much as piece by piece, without the two of them ever really talking about it beyond an abstract inevitability. Until one day Hizashi mentions something to sort out for ‘once he’s moved in’ and Shota just stares at him blankly before announcing that his lease expired already and he’s been moved in for months.

"But where's all your stuff?" Hizashi asks bemusedly.

"What stuff?" Shota replies equally confused, gesturing to his current pile in the corner. “It’s already here.”

“That’s everything you own?” Hizashi yelps. “Don’t you want like, a drawer or space in the closet?”

Shota raises his eyebrows. “Like you have room for that.”

“Okay fair, but I kind of expected to know, you know?” Hizashi doesn’t know why he’s arguing, but that’s never stopped him before. “I thought we’d like, talk about it or something.”

“What would we need to talk about? We’ve lived together before,” Shota points out sensibly. “You’re just making it into another dating thing.”

“It is a dating thing!” Hizashi contradicts shrilly. “You’re making it into not a dating thing!”

“I just figured you’d have noticed,” Shota says a little smugly, shrugging on the sofa over his case file one quiet early evening.

“But you’re still only here half the time, how am I supposed to tell the difference?” Hizashi knew Shota’s apartment was barely more than a single room with a place to sleep in, but he still expected some more worldly possessions than a single heaped pile of mostly work-related stuff.

Shota keeps his eyes on the file in his hands, perhaps paying a solid 40% attention to this conversation despite Hizashi’s apparent indignation. “Then there isn’t really a difference. I never made out like you should expect me to be here every night.”

That’s never going to happen, Hizashi knows, though he’s managed to impose some aspects of almost-normality on Shota, like eating solid food instead of living on endless packs of apple sauce, coffee and cigarettes. Hizashi started keeping track of it with a sticker chart on the fridge: one square meal a day entitling Shota to a blowjob, fucking him for two, and if he can prove he had a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner in the same day, Hizashi will eat his ass. Hizashi does all those things anyway, but it seems to work regardless.

“No, I know, just… I thought it’d be more of a deal, somehow,” Hizashi admits. He’s literally never lived with anyone he’s going out with before, and now he already is?

“Thought or wanted?” Shota asks cleverly, looking up and over from his faded police file. He’s had a thing for old, unsolved cases recently, which is more research and less life-and-death risks, so Hizashi can’t complain too much.

“Wanted,” Hizashi admits. “It’s usually a big step for couples, isn’t it?”

“We aren’t like most couples,” Shota points out, but he’s not completely stiff, finally setting the file down onto his lap to give Hizashi all of his attention. “So what, do you want to throw a moving-back-in party?”

“That’s an amazing idea!” Hizashi gushes, shocked he hadn’t thought of it. Less than five years after Shota ‘got out of Hizashi’s hair’ by no longer being a recovering junkie crashing on this very couch, he’s back again. But this time he’s not planning on going anywhere.

Instantly Hizashi feels like the lack of acknowledgement between them for something that should usually be a milestone isn’t a problem at all, and gets excited instead. Starts calling around, inviting friends, ordering a few crates of beer, and then at one point scrolling down his long, long name of names in his phonebook claps on one in particular.

“Hey Shota,” Hizashi says at such a particular pitch, in such a specific way, that Shota looks over at him within seconds. Like a dog whistle trained for his ears only. “Why don’t I invite Suki? We haven’t seen her in a while.”

A flicker of a smile crosses Shota’s face before his eyes drop back down. “Sure.”

They’ve fooled around with a whole host of people as and when the situation arises – or more often, is heavily engineered by Hizashi – but maybe it was because she was the first, or just by merit of being the one Shota’s known the longest, Suki has been someone they come back to. She even has the honour of being the first female to perform certain acts on Shota, endearing herself enough to him that when she asked one time – with Hizashi railing her from behind – if she could try sucking his cock, Shota actually said yes.

Hizashi was fascinated to see something he never thought Shota would do happening right in front of him, perfectly positioned to watch the look on Shota’s face when little Suki with the big appetite fully deep-throated him.

“You alright?” Hizash had asked as Shota’s cheeks were flooded bright red.

“Y-yeah, it’s just–” Shota had choked out, “piercing.”

Hizashi had laughed, because of course the main difference for Shota getting head from – not really a girl, or probably not the way Shota’s thinking of it – Suki is her tongue stud. It’s cool, though. How Shota’s slowly getting more interested in being involved in group sex activities rather than just fixated on Hizashi, if not quite dabbling in heterostexuality, which is still not really a thing for him.

Shota is a predictable creature in a lot of ways, so while he wasn’t really inclined to begin with, as his comfort level and experience of having other people join them grew, so has his willingness to try new things. Hizashi’s even started to get an eye for the type of people who pique his interest, able to latch onto anyone cultivating the closest thing for Shota to what most people would call a crush. They’re always loads of fun to bring in and watch Shota actually wanting to experiment sexually with someone new; a fun, perhaps slightly weird study Hizashi likes to run, as he’s probably more interested in Shota’s sexuality than Shota’s ever been.

Speaking of experimenting sexually, once Kayama clocks Suki going nowhere at the end of Shota’s moving-in party, she rips the pair of them for a new one the next day for not telling her they’d been fucking other people, especially women.

Shota says matter-of-factly that it was none of her business, so Kayama points out that everything fucky is her business, and how could they be such bad friends as not to tell her about them having kinky threeways.

“They’re not that kinky,” Shota replies bluntly, which is all the opening Kayama needed.

“Not when you don’t ask me for tips, fuckwits.”

With a combination of drunken berating and outright flirting, it isn’t long before Kayama has given them more ‘tips’ than they’ll ever be able to use. Never satisfied, of course, she inevitably talks them one night into letting her do the dominatrix thing, just to ‘show them how it’s fucking done’ in her own words.

Hizashi’s up to try anything once, and Shota naturally goes along with anything Hizashi’s up for trying, but the first time Midnight – as she likes to be called while she’s in boss bitch mode – trusses Shota up like a parcel of highly submissive ass, Hizashi can see from a mile off just how much it clicks for him.

It’s not like things with Suki, where Shota gets agreeable to pushing beyond his comfort zone because he’s feeling secure enough to venture outside his normal boundaries: this is his comfort zone. Hizashi’s seen fewer sights more arousing than Shota tied up and smacked around by Midnight until he’s completely blissed out. He’s the one who says he wants to do it again afterwards, even before Hizashi does.

What Hizashi loves most about Shota, or about their relationship, really, is the way they can discover things together. How it grows, and isn’t always perfect, but it’s not trying to be. Because perfection implies a fixed state, and what they have isn’t fixed. It changes with them. Hizashi’s starting to realise he’ll never get bored, because they’re still their own people, they’re just going through their lives together, and that alone is exciting.

*

Kayama talks them into lots of things over time, but the most vanilla by far is teaching.

“They let you be around children?” Shota said when she first told them she was going to start teaching at UA in the next semester.

“Of course! Who do you think understands horny teenagers better than me?!” she’d replied, and wasn’t wrong, of course. She talks Hizashi into it first, into just agreeing to have a meeting with Nezu initially, thinking that it’d get her off his back, and that he’s got plenty going on without needing an extra job.

Then he sees what Nezu is prepared to pay him.

“I uh… I think I’m gonna take Nezu’s offer,” Hizashi tells Shota on the phone the next day, having spent the time since wracking his brains for every reason not to against all the extremely good reasons the Principal gave him for saying yes.

“You don’t need the money,” Shota tells him, his voice quiet from whatever all-day-and-night stakeout he’s being kept away with now.

“It’s not about the money.”

“Liar.”

“Okay, it’s a little about the money.” Hizashi has been cruising dream apartments in his free time on the nights when Shota’s away, not that he’s explicitly talked to Shota about it yet, and Nezu’s offer would be the difference between the moon and the stars in terms of where he can aim. “He makes a lot of really good points, you know?”

“Like what?”

“Well, that we aren’t gonna be able to do this forever, and the next generation of heroes will have to take our place sooner or later. Teaching is a way of passing on what we’ve learned.” 

Shota’s quiet, which could mean he’s not listening because something happened on his end, or because he doesn’t know what to say. 

“You still there?” Hizashi checks.

“Yeah,” Shota says softly, and Hizashi loves being able to talk to him on the phone. So much better than texting. “It’s a good point.”

“It is?” Hizashi’s not expecting Shota to agree so strongly, was almost counting on him to talk Hizashi out of it, not further into it. Kayama’s been saying Shota should join up too, get a real fucking job with an actual salary for once in his hobo-ass life, and if you’d asked Hizashi of the chances of Shota supporting the idea of getting a steady job any less than ten seconds ago, he’d have confidently said that pigs would fly first. “So you think I should do it?”

“I won’t tell you what to do,” Shota says steadily, never one to exert control over Hizashi’s choices according to his own strict philosophy. “But I’d understand if you decided to.”

That’s about the biggest endorsement Hizashi could ever get from Shota, so the truth is he already knows what he’s gonna tell Nezu.

“Will you join too?” Hizashi adds hopefully. “We’d see a lot more of each other if we were both working there.” Hizashi would also be a lot less worried about Shota if he knew they were both going to be stuck in a classroom half the day, reducing the amount of time Shota has to make reckless life endangerment decisions.

There’s a long pause from Shota on the phone, perhaps as he’s distracted by his stakeout for a second, but Hizashi can’t really know just from the sound of his silence.

But then with a sigh that admits more than anyone except Hizashi would be able to tell, Shota says, “I’ll think about it.”

*

Hizashi finds his dream apartment. Penthouse, two bedrooms technically, but what would usually be the master bedroom would be a perfect space for a home studio, and the second room has tonnes of space considering all Shota and Hizashi are going to do is fuck in it.

He swears he mentions it to Shota, really, he does, but when Hizashi’s in the final stages of agreeing to the lease and corners Shota one day to sign some of the papers he needs to be on, Shota just says, “Oh, are we moving?” as if it’s brand new information to him.

Turns out, it is. That or Hizashi only talked to him about it when he was asleep, both scenarios entirely possible within the realms of their ‘functionally dysfunctional’ relationship, as Kayama once put it.

Shota doesn’t mind that Hizashi hasn’t said anything about getting an apartment together until he was literally signing the paperwork, but what surprises Hizashi the most is that Shota insists he should pay for half the rent.

“Really, it’s fine,” Hizashi tells him, “I know you can’t afford it.”

“I can with what Nezu’s gonna give me,” Shota replies bluntly, which is how Hizashi finds out he’s decided to take the UA job.

“No no, you shouldn’t take a job just so you can pay what feels like your fair share,” Hizashi insists, and he’s been bankrolling Shota pretty much their entire lives together so he’s not about to start caring about it now.

“What? No, I already told him,” Shota clarifies.

“And I found out second?!” Hizashi squawks irately, and Shota just raises an eyebrow at him as if to say, ‘really?’

“I was gonna tell you,” he explains much the same way Hizashi was gonna tell him about their new apartment. “I don’t really need the money anyway, might as well use it for rent.” 

Of course Shota takes a job not because earning a living appeals to him, but for the fucking principle of the thing. Hizashi’s half-surprised Nezu agreed to pay him at all.

“Okay, but this place isn’t exactly cheap,” Hizashi highlights. He can afford it because what Nezu’s prepared to give him – which is probably way more than Shota was offered, since Nezu isn’t a mastermind for nothing – is just one of Hizashi’s income streams. “You don’t need to plug all of the first salary you've ever had into something way above your means.” Shota literally doesn't know the meaning of the words steady income, and there’s usually some steps for people between that and a long-term lease on a high-end apartment with their boyfriend.

Shota snorts and responds, “What else would I do with the money? Just end up spending it on drugs.”

“Oh. That’s true. You probably would,” Hizashi admits. “Alright fine. But I’m buying all the furniture.”

Shota winces at him in confusion across the living room, and they’re going to have a lot more room in the next apartment, so much brand new space to be together in. Hizashi’s excitement is palpable. “You already have furniture.”

“Not to match this place I don’t!” Hizasih retorts “Honestly, Shota, you’re so clueless about these things. Leave the interior design to me.”

Scathing, Shota echoes, "Interior what?" 

"Exactly,” Hizashi shoots back merrily, grinning as he chucks the forms at him across the coffee table. “Just sign the fucking papers, baby."

Shota shrugs, and then fumbles around in his pockets for a pen.

*

There are upsides and downsides to becoming a teacher at UA alongside his best friend and boyfriend, Hizashi discovers when they start their first semester together as UA faculty.

Pro: he knows where Shota is half of every day, most days of the week.

Con: Shota starts working basically every night, often all night, and the super king size bed Hizashi picks out for their new apartment is terribly lonely without him.

Pro: they have an outrageous amount of sex at school to make up for it, and there is something equal parts fucked up and fucking great about banging his best friend from high school in their old classroom after lessons have ended for the day.

Con: other members of the UA faculty seem to think they can just wander around like they own the place and complain that it’s ‘inappropriate’ to walk in on two members of staff going at it over their old desks.

Pro: Kayama points out in the ensuing staff meeting that if they’re going to start having rules about 'decency' then she wouldn’t have taken the job in the first place, and Nezu is forced into letting them get away with it. 

Con: Hizashi has to give up one of his good bottles of whisky at the end of the year for the member of staff who’s walked in on Hizashi and Shota the most times.

Pro: teaching is fun and the kids are inspiring.

Con: teaching is terrible and the kids are a bunch of little bastards.

Pro: despite his best efforts, Hizashi’s actually settling down.

Con: despite his best efforts, Hizashi’s actually settling down.

*

Telling their families, especially Hizashi’s, is kinda… odd. Of all the people to be least or most surprised by Hizashi and Shota’s inevitable ending up together, their parents are somewhere between ‘already figured it out’ and surprised they actually managed to make it work.

It’s not like their families are the last to know, or anything, since Hizashi definitely told his folks after he and Shota had been dating a few months – to which the reaction was an underwhelming, “Oh really? Alright then,” – and Hizashi assumed Shota had done the same. It definitely would’ve made his kissing Shota goodbye if he has to leave early when they’re with Shota’s parents a little weird to explain otherwise. They see Shota’s parents a couple of times a month maybe, but it’s a whole lot more than Hizashi’s.

With Hizashi’s family, it’s not the telling that’s actually the trouble, moreso the believing. Or maybe just the remembering. The Yamada clan have a spectacular ability to be scattered to the four winds at any given time. Between vacations dressed up as work trips, globe-trotting retirements, and at least one of Hizashi’s siblings being off ‘travelling’ at some point or another, getting all of them in the same place is a reason to celebrate in itself. Compared to the rest of his family, even Hizashi seems stable.

Hizashi’s on the phone to his dad debating the arrangements of one such get-together, long after he and Shota have moved into their new place and are a year's worth of terms down at UA. Hizashi thinks the fact that he decided to become a teacher is the most shocking thing he’s ever told his parents, and it was only once he explained that it was for UA’s hero course and in addition to all his other work that they seemed to accept it wasn’t a practical joke.

“So how many rooms do you need?” Hizashi’s dad asks from a beach hotel in Vietnam, where he and Hizashi’s mum have been resort-hopping for the past few months ‘working’, or so they claim of the multitude of services they offer to hotels in exchange for an endless supply of comped rooms.

“What?” Hizashi replies, an elbow propped up at his desk in the teacher’s room during a free period. He’s the only one in there at the moment, explaining why he was bored and decided to call his dad in the first place.

“You said you’re bringing Aizawa,” his dad states. “Does he want his own room?”

“Uh, no Dad,” Hizashi says incredulously. “We’re together.”

“Yeah yeah, okay– HE SAYS THEY ONLY WANT ONE ROOM!” Hizash’s dad yells presumably at his mum, who’s on the other side of the pool, going by his volume.

“IS HE SURE?!” Hizashi’s mum screeches in the background on the phone.

“She says are you sure?” his dad repeats.

“Yes! We’ve talked about this, Dad,” Hizashi insists, at a loss for how this can be a conversation that’s actually happening. “He and I are dating.”

It’s a credit to several things, none of them good, that Hizashi’s dad just replies, “Still?” like it’s a surprise, and okay, normally it would be.

Hizashi usually never had the same girl or boyfriend between conversations with his parents, but it’s been literally years that he and Shota have been together and it’s like his parents just forget about it. Reverting to the norm of Shota being Hizashi’s best friend who Hizashi used to bring to these family occasions when he didn’t have anyone else to tag along. Even then, when they were only friends, he and Shota used to share a room anyway, since Shota’s never worth reserving his own room when the chances of him actually sleeping in it are slim to none.

“Yes, still!” Hizashi barks, and he’d argued with Shota about not being allowed to turn up to the dress-to-impress occasion of a Yamada family reunion in the normal crap he wears and probably covered in blood, but now he’s tempted to take it all back. Hizashi will rub the dirt into him personally. “We got an apartment together, it’s a serious relationship!”

“Uhuh, uhuh,” Hizashi’s dad yammers, while in the background Hizashi hears his mum piping up, “DO THEY WANT A TWIN OR DOUBLE?!” and doesn’t even hesitate in starting to repeat, “Do you want a tw–”

“A double, Dad!” Hizashi snaps. “You shouldn’t have to ask!”

“Oh kaaaaaaay,” Hizashi’s dad retorts, “no need to get tetchy, kiddo. We’re very happy for you.” There’s barely a breath’s pause before he starts yelling across the pool, “THEY’RE STILL DATING!”

“SO?!” his mum belts. “DOUBLE OR TWIN?!”

“See you there, Dad.” Pinching the top of his nose under his glasses, Hizashi takes a deep breath and hangs up before he can hear the rest.

*

Chapter Text

*

A Yamada family reunion is always three things: loud, fun, and drowning in inordinate amounts of booze. So despite still being vaguely annoyed that his parents keep forgetting Hizashi and Shota are dating and not just live-in best friends, Hizashi does insist Shota change out of his raggedy jumpsuit and wear an actual shirt with a collar for the occasion. ‘The occasion’ being a full weekend away with Hizashi’s family at a five-star beach resort during the summer vacation at UA.

Technically this is the first kind of ‘holiday’ Hizashi and Shota have ever been on together, since Shota works far too much to make time for frivolous social occasions. But Shota’s parents are finally retiring in a few months and Hizashi agreed to help him move them out to their new house in the country, mostly meaning driving the van because Shota can’t drive and his parents are in their seventies, so a weekend at a party hotel with Hizashi’s family is a more than fair exchange when it comes to fulfilling parental obligations.

The maroon silk shirt Hizashi picked out for Shota before driving them down to the coast looks fucking great on him, so it’s hardly a selfless gesture getting him all dolled up for once, but Hizashi never claimed to be an altruist. So too does a proper shave and blowout for Shota’s hair do wonders, pulled into a meticulous glossy ponytail that bounces like the tail of a show pony when he walks across the car park with Hizashi into the lobby, waiting at the counter boredly while they get checked in, not noticing the staff behind the counter checking him out.

These were chores that Shota barely tolerated because Hizashi begged, bribed and even tried blackmailing to get him to agree to everything. Even managed a touch of concealer for his dark circles too, although that was about where Shota drew the line, finally swatting Hizashi’s hand away before he could get out the highlighter. Suppose Shota’s cheekbones don’t really need the help.

And sure, maybe there’s a point Hizashi wants to not-so-subtly make when they step into the lively main bar of the luxurious hotel his parents booked out for all of them for the weekend. They have nowhere else to meet up, since the Yamada family home was sold years ago to fund his parents’ everlasting vacation-retirement. Hizashi’s parents and his older brother and sister are at the table already, his younger sister running late as always.

Vietnam has clearly been great for his parents, since his mum is several shades more tan than the rest of them, bronzed and glowing from her shiny platinum blonde hair to the glittering tips of her acrylic nails. His dad has acquired a tanned-on sunglasses mark on his face that’s only noticeable when he’s wearing clear glasses, so is only a problem half the time he no doubt will argue if anyone dares to point it out.

Hizashi’s oldest brother looks like he came straight from whatever legal firm he’s working at now and is glued to his phone, probably still working knowing him. But his older sister’s grinning in Hizashi’s direction, the other middle child along with Hizashi, and has the most empty glasses in front of her around the table. If anyone can take it she can, and looks the most pleased to see Hizashi arrive. However, the initial elation on the faces of 75% of Hizashi’s family slowly shifts to bemusement the closer he and Shota get.

Hizashi’s about to ask how long they’ve been here getting the party started without him, but by the time he’s near enough to talk without yelling his parent’s get in first.

And that point Hizashi’s trying to make is never better illustrated than when his dad asks, “Where’s Aizawa?”

“Hi,” Shota replies ordinarily at Hizashi’s side, and it takes a lot for Hizashi not to burst into smug laughter when his dad jumps as if getting a static shock. All three of their mouths drop open around the table, Hizashi’s brother’s eyes only flicking up just long enough to lift his eyebrows incredulously and then look back down at his phone.

“Ahh–izawa!” Hizashi’s mother shoots up in her seat, almost giving her beehive whiplash as she rushes around to greet them properly. “So sorry, didn’t recognise you for a second there.”

“Oh,” Shota replies about a hair’s width away from uninterested, trying to slip his hands into the pockets of the black jeans Hizashi pestered him into wearing, only to discover they’re far too tight to allow such indulgent gestures. Hizashi thinks the jeans will be lucky to survive the night, knowing how Shota’s lower body likes to murder poor unsuspecting denim. He’s ripped as many pairs of jeans as Hizashi’s bought for him, and is still on the search for a perfect pair that actually fit his ridiculous thigh-ass-waist ratio. Hizashi could buy them baggy, of course, but why would he go for a dumb fucking move like that?

Hizashi thought his parents must have seen Shota in something apart from his usual trashbag getup before, but it’s not like they meet him very often, so maybe they haven’t. Not like this, anyway.

From the looks on their faces, it might not be so easy to forget he’s Hizashi’s boyfriend now.

*

One thing about tarting Shota up, Hizashi has to admit, is that he draws a lot more attention like this. No wonder he’s usually worse dressed than most self-respecting hobos, as he wouldn’t get half the shit done he usually accomplishes if the eyes of everyone he’s in a room with followed him the way they do when he looks like he does now. A natural form of camouflage for someone unwittingly blessed with good looks despite their lack of interest in anything so vapid, he'd probably say.

It’s fun, though, since Hizashi’s come to see the innate attractiveness of his partner, and knows exactly how to show it off on a purely superficial level. Plus, they do look great together, laughing and chatting over rounds and rounds of cocktails with Hizashi’s family over dinner, until Shota’s tipsy enough to actually smile at people and be a little more animated than his usual withdrawn self.

Hizashi’s older sister hooks him by the arm the second Shota’s gone off for a smoke and hisses, “Okay, bro, when the hell did Aizawa get so hot?” Hizashi would be smoking with him usually, except he’ll get a lecture from his dad about what it does to his voice and he can’t deal with that so early in the evening, so it’ll be the interrogation instead.

Hizashi turns to her with a greedy grin and says, “Sis, he was always hot, you just had to look for it.”

He certainly doesn’t blame her for being shocked, because she’s used to Shota being Hizashi’s quiet, awkward, gangly teenage best friend knocking around the house during school holidays all those years ago. Where the smoking hot twunk came out of is probably a bit of a shocker. It was for Hizashi.

“Oh, trust me,” his sister adds boisterously as they both watch Shota from afar at the edge of the restaurant, strolling out on a paved promenade that stretches down onto the windswept beach, ponytail fluttering in the breeze. “I’m looking.”

They launch into their usual thousand-miles-an-hour quickfire conversation, only slowing to watch Shota walk back up when he’s finished with his smoke. It was only a matter of time before licks of Shota’s hair escaped their binding to spring forward in erratic waves and half-curls around his face, which flutter in the seaside breeze that gushes across the mostly open downstairs bar that runs right down onto the beach. There’s also two buttons undone on Shota’s shirt because they literally wouldn’t do up, Hizashi has the pleasure to know. Not to mention jeans so tight they could be spray painted on, and honestly, Hizashi kind of loves the fact that Shota almost never dresses like this, because it makes the times he does seem so much more heightened. As if everyone around him suddenly realises how intensely fuckable he is, but only Hizashi gets to have him – back in the hotel room later, with any luck.

*

They don’t quite make it to the hotel room.

What had happened was, Hizashi’s parents failed to tell him until halfway through dinner that the promise of a DJ set by Present Mic was part of getting their rooms discounted for this particular annual Yamada family piss-up. However, this did include all-you-can-drink perks for the esteemed DJ, so Hizashi doesn’t complain about it for too long.

What Hizashi’s mum was also smart enough to do was tell Hizashi’s PR manager about this before she told Hizashi himself. So by the time Hizashi was tipsily getting to grips with the hotel’s sound setup, the word had already been put out, quickly packing the hotel bar with feelgood holiday makers stoked to be catching a secret DJ set by Present Mic, or so Hizashi’s manager had played it on social media.

Hizashi’s parents and siblings stayed back at the table with their drinks, but Shota understandably hovered close to Hizashi all evening rather than awkwardly hang out with his family without him. When Present Mic is DJing, this means Shota stays just off the edge of the tiny raised area that constitutes a ‘stage’ in the hotel’s main bar, standing in the mouth of a corridor meant for staff. Props himself up against a wall where if Hizashi twists right over his shoulder he can just about see Shota, which also means Shota can see him, albeit from the back. Might not be such an issue for him, that.

While Hizashi spins the first tracks and queues up his best trashy hotel party playlist, Shota hovers in the background polishing off all Hizashi’s drinks. Hizashi just hands them over unfinished, and Shota plays the part of half-roadie and half-groupie by downing the rest while he goes to get Hizashi new ones about as fast as the poor woman working behind the bar can make them. 

“SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!” Hizashi roars along with the track, no need for a microphone when his own voice has any sound system automatically beat, the heaving crowd in front of him bunched up against the two-inch stage living their very best lives. “That is a MOOD, party people! I’m gonna take a few minutes but I’m here all night so hold tight, and if you can’t do that get yourselves some SHOTS to tie you over! Present Mic will be right back after these advertisements!”

Heading into the staff-only corridor that doubles as a ‘backstage’ area for the evening, Shota’s slumped against the wall with his head tipped back, eyes at half-mast and an empty glass in his hand.

“Are you bored?” Hizashi asks right away, Shota’s eyes opening fully as Hizashi starts talking, though his gaze doesn’t change trajectory because he’s been looking right at Hizashi the whole time. “You don’t have to stay, you know, I’ll just–” but the rest is turned into a yelp of surprise as Shota reaches his empty hand out and grabs Hizashi by the belt buckle, yanking him over to drunkenly collide with Shota himself.

Hizashi only realises how wasted Shota is when he kisses Hizashi. Normally kissing is an act Shota executes with a degree of precision, but now it’s a slip-and-slide amusement park ride that leads to one destination and one destination only.

Shota also usually wants to fuck Hizashi in the sense that he’s amenable to the things that he likes, but right now Shota wants him. Wants him in a way he doesn’t want anyone else, possibly hasn’t ever wanted, and Hizashi never feels more adored than the messy way Shota kisses him right now.

Backing away with a wet smacking sound and seeing just how integrated Shota’s drunk blush is with his horny blush, Hizashi takes all of half a second to unload, “Back to the hotel room?”

Hizashi’s meant to be taking a quick five before finishing several more hours of this set, but a kiss from this Shota doesn’t beg for sex so much as tackle Hizashi walking down a backalley to rip off his trousers.

However, while Hizashi would be willing to bail, Shota shakes his head. “Toofar,” he slurs, changing his grap to wrap his fingers around Hizashi’s hand and then leading him with a jerk of his chin. “Foundaplace.”

Hizashi plucks the empty glass out of Shota’s hand to put down on a stray catering trolley, and lets Shota drag him by the other hand down the hallway and straight through an unmarked door into a storage closet full of towels and tablecloths. Hizashi could ask where this is coming from, whether it’s the booze, the sense that they’re actually on vacation together for the first time ever, or if there’s something about Hizashi being on any kind of stage that’s gotten into Shota, but the truth is Hizashi knows it’s not just the alcohol. Shota’s been this wasted around him plenty of times already, and doesn’t get like this without some kind contributing factor.

It takes them no seconds at all to be making out hard, liquor lips and thirsty tongues while Shota presses Hizashi surely back against the storage room shelves. It’s true that Shota feels exactly the same, and just looks different to usual with all Hizashi’s ‘unnecessary’ grooming, but it’s enough to change the edge a little. Especially when Shota puts his hands on either side of Hizashi to lift off him and looks him square in the eyes with that chiseled to-die-for face perfectly showcased. Or as square as anyone can manage to look when they’re trashed off their face from finishing all Hizashi’s drinks.

Even more of Shota’s hair has parted from the hair-tie that keeps his ponytail sagging ever further down the back of his head, enough strays to make a flyaway halo around his face that Hizashi can brush back with a palm and just drink him in. How gorgeous and intense he is and how lucky Hizashi feels to have him, thinking that if they’d never looked into their friendship that way they might have never had this. How grateful Hizashi is for that, and what he owes to his ex for making Hizashi’s go to the there that led to here.

Hopped up on whiskey and stage adrenaline, Hizashi’s poised to tell Shota how much he loves him, but before he can get to it Shota drops down to his knees and Hizashi just says, “Oh fuck yes,” instead.

Hizashi has to admit, if he was a homeless guy sitting on a wealth of valuable information, he’d be willing to part with basically all his secrets for unlimited blowjobs from Shota. Hizashi might hate Cricket, but Cricks wasn't fucking stupid – or immune to Shota’s rough-around-the-edges charm.

Hizashi’s rock hard by the time Drunk Shota figures out how to unzip his fly, peeling the leather back followed by dragging down Hizashi’s briefs – gives less panty-line than boxers in these trousers – and faster than the human eye can follow immediately swallows Hizashi’s entire cock, or so it feels that way when Shota’s lips are suddenly at the base of his crotch in less than a second.

“Ohffffuck, baby, like that,” Hizashi blurts involuntarily, a palm coming to rest on the top of Shota’s head, fingers splayed either side his ponytail, twitching as he resists the temptation to grab him by it – yet.  

Whether it’s some kind of training or Hizashi’s strong lead by example, Shota has definitely gotten more vocal over the… years, now. And what little sexual inhibitions Shota started out with this evening have fully dissolved in the last third of the double whiskies and coke that Hizashi’s been drinking since dinner finished and cocktails became too elaborate a way to get fucked up. What this adds up to is that Hizashi can literally feel Shota moaning quietly around his cock, and there goes his last bit of restraint.

Closing his fist around the base of Shota’s ponytail, Hizashi uses the grip to hold him back and literally pull Shota’s mouth off of him, shuddering his lips pop when they suction off Hizashi’s cock. This only makes Shota moan louder when his mouth comes unstopped, so luckily Hizashi’s not planning to be outside of it for long.

“Want me to fuck your mouth?” Hizashi asks with hot, sick pleasure sliding right down to pool in his stomach. His cock twitches in the cool air of Shota’s spit quickly drying in the overly warm maintenance room.

Shota looks up at him with those deep brown eyes in a haze under his long dark eyelashes, a shine of wetness hanging on his bottom lip in the light. He’s rarely disappointed Hizashi, and now’s no time to start.

“Please.”

The word’s no sooner left Shota’s mouth than Hizashi’s filled it back up, holding him steady by his hair and thrusting into the warm, soft heat.

“Ohhhh, Shota, baby, you look so fucking good down there, you love sucking my cock, huh? Love when I fuck your mouth?” Shota can’t answer of course, which makes the question kind of pointless, but most of Hizashi’s sex talk is.

Even more than the sensation, though it feels fantastic, it’s intoxicating how much Shota gives himself to Hizashi; how eager he is, even desperate, to be used like this. Hizashi’s got a great measure of exactly how deep Shota’s submissive side runs, and this is him at his best, lashes fluttering as he rolls his eyes up to look at Hizashi adoringly while he’s getting mouth-fucked for the ages. It’s perfect, or it would’ve been if Hizashi hadn’t heard the least arousing thing he could possibly hear to throw off his groove.

“Hizaashiiiiiii?! Where did you go?!” goes the siren-wail of Hizashi’s mother somewhere in the corridor outside.

“They said he went this way, he can’t have gone far,” Hizashi’s father pipes in next, half-pissed himself, their voices getting vaguely closer to this maintenance room that Drunk Shota decided was a brilliant place to fool around in and Drunk Hizashi was totally on board with.

Hizashi’s planning on stopping, really he is, but when he stops thrusting into Shota’s mouth of his own volition, Shota grabs him by the hips and resumes bobbing his head determinedly, simultaneously lighting Hizashi up with his quirk. Any capacity Hizashi has to make sound is already erased, so he just lets go of Shota’s hair and throws a hand over his eyes like it will somehow shut off his ears too. Focuses on the feeling and tries to drown out the sound of his parents looking for him, embracing the fucky weirdness of it all since Shota’s decided they’re gonna keep going and Hizashi’s too far gone to interfere with that. 

"Weird, he's not in the men's room either," Hizashi’s dad’s voice gets louder again, though never quite as loud as his wife.

“HIZASHI?!?! You’re paying your own hotel bill if you don’t finish this gig!!!” his mother belts as if she’ll make sure the whole hotel hears it if that’s what it takes. Truth is, Hizashi would gladly pay his own bill if it meant finishing this blowjob, not that Shota seems to care either way. He keeps taking Hizashi’s cock right to the back of his mouth, practically deep-throating him. Hizashi opts to look back down at Shota again like it’ll help shut out the calls of the circling vultures of his parents trying to cockblock him as usual.

This whole situation, Hizashi will admit as he tips over the edge, is undoubtedly a little weird. But he would’ve stopped, and it was drunk-off-his-tits-and-ass Shota who decided he needed Hizashi’s cock with such immediacy in the first place, and secondly, not to stop even with Hizashi’s parents hollering in the background. Hizashi’s not exactly sober either, and truly, in the moment it’s not like he’s thinking of anything except Shota’s mouth around his cock when he comes.

Hizashi tips his head back with a silent, erased moan, and jerks shallowly into Shota’s mouth, steadied by a firm grip on his hips. By the time he looks down in time to hit those glowing red eyes, Shota naturally swallows every last drop. He’s used to liquid meals, Hizashi’s joked before, but Shota’s probably not joking when he agrees with it.

Shota stops using his quirk and backs off Hizashi’s cock with a steamy breath, his lips wet and parted, panting lightly. Hizashi runs his fingertips over his moustache with an exhausted sigh, like Shota just sucked out a little bit of his soul. Probably did.

“I love you, baby,” Hizashi starts evenly, looking down at Shota on his knees, dressed up all pretty like a high class hooker, “but don’t ever do that again, okay?”

Shota wipes his mouth on the back of his hand and gives his best drunk snigger, wobbly on his feet when he gets back up to wrap his arms around Hizashi, who steadies him with an embrace and a kiss on the salty side.

When Shota backs away again, the shape of his fully hard cock in his tighter than tight jeans is a tantalizing sight, so Hizashi doesn’t hesitate to run his hand over the obscene bulge, feeling Shota shudder.

But then Shota puts a hand on Hizashi’s shoulder and pushes himself back, a weak, “Later,” on his lips as he extricates himself from Hizashi’s octopus embrace.

“Seriously?” Hizashi gapes, still hanging unsubtly out of his trousers, an unsanitary drip collecting on the tip of his cock.

Shota gives him a look and says, only slightly fuzzy around the edges, “Once these stupid jeans come off they’re not goin’ back on.”

Hizashi snorts, reaching up to try and tuck one of Shota’s flyaway locks of hair behind his ear, where it temporarily holds. “That’s a surprisingly rational point, babe.”

Shota pulls the most adorable perturbed face, “Why’sit surprising?”

“Because you’re wasted,” Hizashi scoffs, his fingers lingering on the edge of Shota’s face, trailing down the side of his neck to skirt along the open edges of his shirt.

“Hizashi! Dammnit where’s that boy gone?!” Hizashi’s dad hollers a little further away in the distance.

“Also, we don’ have enough time,” Shota adds, seemingly unbothered by Hizashi’s fondling.

“Ah, fuck’em,” Hizashi replies with a shrug. He’d rather fuck Shota, honestly, than go back to DJing for the rest of the night.

“No, s’fine,” Shota insists, catching Hizashi’s hand on a dive back down towards his crotch. “Later, babe.”

Hizashi’s desire to blow this whole thing off – the un-fun kind of blow – shoots through the roof with that. Shota almost never calls him anything lovey-dovey, so the second he does Hizashi turns to jelly, grabbing Shota by the waist and attempting to kiss him again, a mission that’s only part-successful when Shota turns his cheek but does let Hizashi cuddle him amorously.

“Oh come on, you seriously dragged me in here just to suck me off?” Hizashi complains against the side of Shota’s face, feeling his cheek move as he smiles.

“Yeah.”

Suddenly accepting that he’s probably not going to get what he wants, and if Shota’s decided he’d rather get his brains fucked out later back at the hotel room than rushing some half-measure here, Hizashi’s gotta give it to him.

Releasing Shota with another sigh and finally putting his lower half back into order, Hizashi tells him, “You’re one of a kind, you know that?”

Shota gives him the dirtiest grin, a beautiful mess, fucked up in all the right ways just for Hizashi, and replies, “'Course I am.”

*

Hizashi finishes his set and they make it back to the hotel room in the end, where Hizashi fucks Shota until neither of them remember where or who they are. That’s just great. The trouble only starts again when they’re having a customary post-coital cigarette out on the porch of their beachfront room. In the comfortable night air, silent but for the sound of the waves and their own smoking, there’s suddenly a distant bang and a scream.

They both look over, Shota’s hand falls with his burning cigarette clasped between two fingers, looking far more like himself now his hair has been fucked into a chaotic tangle that Hizashi’s going to regret not taking out of a ponytail before getting down to it, but those are problems for morning Hizashi to deal with.

Both of them are, to put it mildly, still fucking wasted, but being fucked up has never stopped Shota from doing what he does best, and Hizashi practically feels that radar go off.

“That was…” Hizashi starts tentatively.

“Gunshot,” Shota confirms, swinging his legs off the short wall he’s perched along and looking out down the beach. “Over there, I think.”

“You wanna check it out.” Hizashi doesn’t ask, since asking implies he doesn’t know the answer. The moon is out tonight, and lights dotted along the beachfront path give enough for someone to go on without ending up face down in the sea, not that Hizashi’s entirely sure he feels comfortable sending Shota gently into the good night like that.

“I’m just gon’ look,” Shota murmurs with his back turned, taking another drag of his cigarette to release a long plume of smoke, then turns back to look at Hizashi sprawled out in a comfy patio chair.

Hizashi’s fucking wrecked as much from DJing more than the booze, though the booze sure as shit doesn’t help. Shota peaked much earlier than him too, the arc of his wasted curve at its height around the time he dragged Hizashi into a supply closet to blow him with Hizashi’s parents braying in the background. Hizashi hit his peak a bit later, around the time he dragged Shota back to the hotel room to pound into the mattress, which was really not all that long ago. Basically, he’s still trashed.

“Don’t do anythin’ stupid,” Hizashi says in warning, dragging sluggishly on his own cigarette.

“I’ll come get you first,” Shota reassures him, and then with just a quick look back at Hizashi sets off, barefoot and dressed in just a set of Hizashi’s pyjama bottoms.

*

Hizashi wakes up with a jump in a pato chair in front of their hotel room with Shota shaking his arm. 

“Come on,” Shota says as Hizashi stumbles blurrily into consciousness.

“Whu?” Hizashi’s definitely still drunk, he realises mere sections after opening his eyes. “Whas’ happening?”

“Need you.”

“I’ll fuck you in the morning, baby,” Hizashi mutters as he tries to sit back down and close his eyes.

“No, the gunshot,” Shota reminds him, sparking the recollection of what happened before Hizashi passed out here. “Need backup.”

“Oh fuck,” Hizashi groans as he leans fowards into his hands. “Alright, gimmie a sec.”

Shota doesn’t give him more than two before he says, like it’s a totally ordinary thing to offer someone still drunk at like five in the morning waking up to do an impromptu crime bust, “I’ve got some coke.”

Hizashi wakes up much more quickly and stares straight up at Shota, wrinkling his brow somewhere between confused and impressed. “How?”

“The shot came from some fancy villa next door,” Shota begins to explain as he pulls a bundle of plastic out of his pocket. “Place was full of the stuff.”

Hizashi says acerbically, “Thought you were just gonna look?”

“I did just look,” Shota counters impatiently, since apparently he can pocket villains’ coke with his eyes now. “Are you coming or not?”

“Yeah, yeah, okay,” Hizashi drags himself up out of the chair and over-leans, Shota putting a hand on his shoulder to stop him toppling forward.

“Here.” Shota dumps the fistful of plastic with a mess of white powder in the middle in Hizashi’s hand and walks back into the room, clearly going to get suited up and grab his capture weapon.

Hizashi dips a finger into the powder and dabs the tip of his tongue curiously: yep, definitely coke. “So you stole their drugs because?”

“Evidence,” Shota replies from further into the room, and he’s way too perky right now to avoid suspicion. 

“You usually ingest evidence?” Hizashi comments, following Shota into the room and setting the ‘evidence’ down on a dresser as he starts fumbling around for his own shit.

Shota pauses long enough to give Hizashi a knowing look across the room. “Just checking what it was.”

“Yeah, ‘course you were,” Hizashi replies groggily, and he could be arsey about it, but honestly, he’s looking for his room keys because fuck if he couldn’t use a little bump to get him through this.

Shota comes over fully suited and looking wholly like Eraserhead once again, holding Hizashi’s directional speaker in one hand. More importantly, Hizashi’s found a key at last and uses the end to lift up a tipful of coke, putting it to his nose and hoovering it up with a sharp inhale.

“You?” Hizashi offers to Shota next, who nods and Hizashi scoops up another bump for him. Probably not the height of them having their shit together, this, but it’s not like Hizashi knew they were gonna be doing this when they got wasted earlier tonight… yesterday? Who the fuck knows anymore.

Hizashi pockets the hotel door keys and leaves the coke on the hotel dresser, taking his speaker off Shota and clipping himself in. Dragging a hand across his face as he feels the stimulant hitting his system like a sledgehammer, Hizashi grinds as much as he groans, “Let’s get this shit over with.”

*

By the time they make it back to bed, Hizashi and Shota, or Eraserhead and Present Mic, have handed an important villain syndicate boss over to the police after busting him during his own vacation, the sun is already up, and somewhere between the coke wearing off and the hangover kicking in Hizashi wants to literally die.

It wasn’t a difficult raid to pull off, not with both of them pepped up on blow and taking the villains completely by surprise in the middle of the fucking night. But that doesn’t make Hizashi feel like any less of a pile of steaming shit when they get back to the hotel room and fall into bed fully clothed, only pausing long enough to throw off their support gear before passing out in a tangle of sweaty limbs.

This uneasy slumber only lasts a couple of hours, before a rapping on the door preceeds Hizashi’s father yelling, “Up and at ‘em, Hizashi! You’re gonna miss breakfast!” 

Being Hizashi’s dad, he just keeps banging away on the door until Hizashi drags his corpse out of bed, throws on some shades and pulls open the door with a vicious, “What?”

“Wow, you look terrible, kid,” his dad says cheerily. “Come on, your mum’s holding a table for us.”

Hizashi could try to argue, but he didn’t inherit his famous Yamada persistence from nowhere. This weekend is also probably the most time Hizashi’s going to spend with his parents all year, and they both know it, so like hell is his dad going to give up so easily.

“Fine,” Hizashi groans, casting a look back at Shota lying face down on the bed and then stepping through the door to close behind himself.

“No Aizawa?” his dad pins disapprovingly, even more of an early bird than Hizashi usually is, drugs and alcohol aside.

“He’s… not really a morning person,” Hizashi excuses, meaning he’s even worse on a hangover and come-down than Hizashi is, and no one deserves to be subjected to that, least of all Shota.

“Ah well, whatever floats his boat, I suppose,” Hizashi’s dad remains obnoxiously upbeat, while Hizashi pushes his shades up his nose and longs for death. He hates to think it, much less say it, but Hizashi reckons he might be starting to get too old for some of this shit.

“Wow, bro, you look like a pile of steaming hot garbage,” Hizashi’s older sister comments the second he trudges up to the table his mum’s presiding over for breakfast. No sign of his little sister either, who is also not a morning person, but as the baby of the family gets away with everything that the rest of them have to put up with for some stupid reason.

“Yeah, well, I feel like steaming hot garbage, so that works out,” Hizashi returns bluntly, reaching for a pot of coffee on the table and a cup as he sinks into a chair.

“Such a lightweight,” his sister teases, though she wouldn’t be so fresh if she’d been coked up and run in a bunch of villain last night like Hizashi somehow allowed Shota to make seem like a reasonable sequence of events at the time. It’s not like it’s Shota’s fault, as such, because Hizashi’s well aware that they can be an equally bad influences on each other and things just get out of hand sometimes. Even if it’s fun in the moment, this is the height of kill-me-now unfun, so Hizashi definitely regrets something or the other.

“Yeah yeah, sis, whatever you say,” Hizashi mutters as he dumps several packs of sugar in his coffee and then just lets his face fall down onto his arms against the table.

“No Aizawa?” Hizashi’s mum repeats cheerily.

“He’s not a morning person, Hizashi says,” his dad thankfully fills in.

“Oh, so he’s hungover as fuck too,” Hizashi’s sister cackles, and Hizashi is this close to snapping that a hangover kicks a lot harder after busting a villain boss in the middle of the night while buzzed on said boss’s supply of extremely high-quality cocaine, but Hizashi’s parents freak out over him smoking cigarettes, they’re hardly going to react rationally to the druggie truth.

However, it turns out Hizashi doesn’t need to bring the bust up himself anyway, since some hotel security and the police interrupt them halfway through breakfast, wanting to ask Hizashi some follow-up questions about the raid Present Mic reportedly carried out overnight out of blue-sky fucking nowhere.

“Raid?” Hizashi’s dad echoes disbelievingly. “That can’t be right. My son was DJing right here all evening.”

“Yeah, after that,” Hizashi says quickly, standing up before his parents can embarrass him anymore and filling up his coffee cup to take with him, dodging their surprised stares. “Don’t sweat, I’ll handle it.”

It’s pretty routine stuff, thankfully, and Hizashi knows the drill: yes, I was the only pro hero there, no, there was no one else there with me, oh, reports seem to state there was a second hero on the scene, how curious, I probably would have noticed that so maybe they made a mistake, yes, I’ll sign the paperwork and so on. Probably a good thing Shota didn’t come to breakfast with Hizashi anyway, making it seem even more plausible Hizashi was here with just his family and certainly not accompanied by any underground heroes with an allergy to having their name on formal records.

Breakfast is almost over by the time it’s all done and dusted, which does spare Hizashi some teasing at the hands of his family that’s he really not in the mood for. He manages to scoop several pastries and a new pot of coffee from the buffet table before it’s all packed up, then heads back to the room where he can finally die, finding Shota in exactly the same position he was left in. Which is face down on the bed, snoring into the pillows.

“Rise and shine, dickhead,” Hizashi whoops vindictively as he puts the coffee down on the bedside table next to Shota, then proceeds to start stripping because if he doesn’t get in the shower in the next ten minutes he really might die.

Shota just gurgles on the mattress, but picks up his head when Hizashi pours a cup of coffee right next to the mound of tangled hair half-buried in the pillows. The beast stirs in the morning for caffeine, and Hizashi knows his boyfriend far too well not to take advantage of it.

The beast stirs for something else too, which is why when Shota’s hand sluggishly snakes out to find the cup, Hizashi’s finishes stripping off and adds, “I’m gonna be in the shower.”

He doesn’t need to add anything more, because the rest is implied. So Hizashi’s halfway through washing his hair in the hotel’s shower stall, which is actually smaller than the one they have at home now, when the door opens and a dishevelled wreck steps in.

“You look like I feel,” Hizashi tells him, backing up a little to let Shota have more of the steaming shower that’s making him feel very slightly more human.

“I feel like I look,” Shota replies hoarsely, hanging his head under the stream and letting Hizashi start to pick the tangled remains of the hair tie out of the disgraced remains of his ponytail.

“Cops came round again during breakfast,” Hizashi continues as he succeeds in untying Shota’s hair and moves onto shampoo. “Think I managed to convince them it was just me who pulled that shit last night, so you’re off the hook.”

“Thanks,” Shota grunts, then makes a sound of a more pleased nature when Hizashi starts casually working suds through his hair. It wasn’t meant to turn into such an ingrained routine, but now whenever Hizashi can wash Shota’s hair for him, he’s probably going to.

“Not exactly our finest hour, huh?” Hizashi remarks morosely, wiggling his nose and breathing in the spray and steam. They probably need to not have drugs literally sitting around in the open by the time housekeeping show up, but Hizashi remembered to put a do not disturb on the door handle when he came in, which buys them some time.

“Hm?” Shota isn’t very verbal, but he is listening.

“Working wasted,” Hizashi specifies, though he supposes the blowjob in the maintenance room could be considered questionable behaviour too.

“We got wasted first, so it’s not like it was on purpose,” Shota points out, and it’s not like they both haven’t been notorious for doing just that over the years either. Present Mic made his name for fighting crime trashed after gigs, and Hizashi would never be such a hypocrite to try and deny it.

“Yeah, I know. I just feel…” Hizashi pauses, urging Shota’s head back under the water to rinse the shampoo of his hair, and thinks about the words he was going to say. Then, because it’s just who he is, Hizashi says them anyway. “I just wonder if it’s something we’re supposed to grow out of.”

“If what is?” Shota’s not at his sharpest right now, but then again, neither is Hizashi.

Shota’s not going to get it unless Hizashi’s specific, so fine, he gets specific. “The binging, Shota. Doing shit just because it’s there.”

“You didn’t have to do the coke,” Shota tells him while Hizashi’s portioning out half a travel bottle of conditioner for himself, the other half for Shota.

“I know, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s just a… a spiral, isn’t it?” Hizashi stumbles through, squeezing the conditioner through his own hair before working the rest into Shota’s. “It’s fun at the time, but I feel fucking awful.” Not just the coke, but the bottomless drinks they made sure to push to the absolute limit for the sake of it too. Because if he hadn’t been that drunk in the first place, Hizashi wouldn’t have felt like he needed the drugs to balance it out.

“Yeah,” Shota agrees gruffly, though he’s a lot more pliable in Hizashi’s hands now. Leaving the conditioner to work, Hizashi grabs a little shower gel and starts to lather Shota’s chest up. Mostly because it’s a great opportunity to run his palms all over Shota’s body, starting at the pecs and working down to his washboard abs, foaming in the dusting of hair across Shota’s chest and from his navel down to his groin.

“It always seems like a good idea in the moment, but we’re not getting any younger, yanno.” Hizashi reflects on this fact far more than he should, enough to exasperate Shota, who seems to be accepting the passage of time far more gracefully than Hizashi’s prepared to let go of his youth. When Hizashi found a grey hair on Shota’s head several months ago he just shrugged. Thankfully Hizashi’s hair is fair enough that it’s much harder to spot greys, because if he had any, which he doesn’t, then he’s gonna freak.

Shota chugs in a way that’s half a laugh. He’s gentle under Hizashi’s touch, looking him deeply in the eyes. “You can say that again.” Hizashi backs Shota under the shower stream and reaches up to start combing out some of the tangles with his fingers. It’s like this, with his eyes closed and head tilted back under the stream of the shower, every daring cliffside angle of his magnificent face beaded with water, that Shota says, “So you want me to ditch it?” The coke, obviously, though Hizashi still pouts like he’s figuring something out.

“I don’t know.” If Hizashi did then it’d be easy: he could make a point and Shota would listen to it and they’d work something out. The problem is Hizashi doesn’t really have a clue, he just feels different than he used to – when waking up full of regrets from the night before was a badge of honour, and when did it stop feeling like that? “I just wonder if it’s always gonna be like this.”

Shota makes another snorty sound again, tipping his head back down and actually reaching up now to pull apart some tangles from his hair himself.

Then Shota delivers, straightforward as anything, his voice loud and clear over the hiss of the shower, “Of course it’s not always gonna be like this.”

It’s not that shocking, just how sure Shota sounds saying it.

“It isn’t?”

“Everything changes, Hizashi,” Shota tells him obviously, but it’s not until Hizashi hears it that the words make too much sense.

“Yeah,” Hizashi says quietly, probably too quiet for Shota to hear him over the water, his hands stilling with a lock of Shota’s sodden hair heavy in his fingertips. “Yeah, you’re right,” he repeats a little louder, hanging his head and then moving under the shower so the water strikes the back of his neck. Shota’s hand arrives there a moment later, heavy and freshly bruised over the knuckles from last night. Even if things do change, even if they change, they’ll be changing together.

Hizashi’s so tired he could just lean against Shota now and go back to sleep, but it’s a waste of water, so he just presses himself against Shota in a lazy embrace under the hot shower and doesn’t think about anything for a minute.

A minute after that, Hizashi feels Shota’s cock stirring against his leg and smiles.

“Want me to pay you back for last night?” he murmurs into Shota’s shoulder.

“Thought you already did,” he replies throatily, but Hizashi drops down to kneel on the tiled shower floor anyway, wrapping a hand around Shota’s swelling erection.

“Then you’ll owe me again,” Hizashi poses, dragging his tongue up the length of Shota’s cock before taking it into his mouth, easier now when he’s half-hard than it’s going to be in about a minute.

Shota just makes a pleased sound and rests his palm on the top of Hizashi’s head. Hizashi’s feeling better already.

*

The rest of the holiday passes much less eventfully than the first night, with Hizashi actually managing to get Shota into a pair of swimming trunks to hit the beach with his family by lunchtime.

If the extremely tightly fitting clothes from yesterday hadn’t suggested what kind of physique Shota has overtly enough, today he really doesn’t take any prisoners, fully shirtless and gleaming from sweat and the sunblock Hizashi lovingly rubbed into him once they were done fucking around in the shower. Hizashi’s sister's eyes almost fell out of her head from staring, and yeah, Hizashi’s a little bit smug. Or a lot.

They’re both still fucking hungover, so the order of the day is mostly lying in the shade and hydrating, with Shota taking an entire nap on a sun lounger with a towel over his head. Totally dead to the world and purring like a torn-up alley cat – he doesn’t always snore, but after a night like they had he sure does – with Hizashi next to him on the edge of the shade cast by the umbrella. 

Hizashi’s dad is basking in the full glory of the midday sun on the next lounger over, when out of what seems like goddamn nowhere he remarks, “You said you two were pretty serious, right Hizashi? You and Aizawa.”

Hizashi looks over in shock, like he’s expecting everyone to be watching this spur of the moment interrogation. But his mum is listening to music fullly starfished out in the sun on a beach towel a couple metres away, his sisters have gone for a swim and his brother didn’t even make it down to the beach because he’d look stupid out here in a suit, so he’s probably in the Hotel’s business centre chatting up some receptionist. It’s just Hizashi and his dad.

“Uh, yeah,” Hizashi says a little stiffly, sliding up in his lounger a few clicks. “I did say.” Several times, actually, not to make too much of a point of it.

“Sure, but you say all kinds of things, kiddo,” his dad replies sagely, glancing over at Hizashi, though now his sunglasses mark is perfectly covered by his glasses and Hizashi can’t see his eyes through the dark lenses. “Just didn’t expect you to be the first one to settle down.”

Before, Hizashi would kneejerk at a statement like this, insist he’s not settled and that the night on the tiles he and Shota just had prove exactly that. But that was before.

“Yeah,” Hizashi admits instead. “Funny how that works out.”

Like it or not, he is settled, or as settled as he’s ever likely to get, and maybe this weekend was what it took to sink in for his parents too. That Shota isn’t just some temporal thing Hizashi refers to in their sporadic catching-up calls between respectively busy schedules, but a whole slab of a person in Hizashi’s life that he bickers with and fusses over, much like Hizashi’s own parents. How Shota’s only ever gotten more important to Hizashi over the years, and that’s not going away.

“It’s good,” his dad professes in a completely dad-like way, as if nothing is formal until it’s got that stamp of paternal approval. “I’m happy for you two.” Obviously, he can’t just leave it there, adding a measured, “Always thought you were gonna go for someone more… well, not like Aizawa.”

Hizashi could get defensive about this too, but it’s not the truth, so he just says, “Me too.”

Hizashi’s dated actors, models, musicians and all manner of celebrities, including a few heroes who actually bothered with the whole ranking and public image thing, but Shota’s an anti-celebrity, and that’s a counterbalance to Hizashi he’d never get with anyone else. Especially the history Shota comes with, the knowing that stems from their shared youth and formative years together. If Hizashi’s settled, it’s because Shota grounds him in a way no one else can, or ever will.

"It's… amazing, honestly,” Hizashi says quietly, looking over at Shota clocked out on the beach lounger. Reaches out instinctively to squeeze his arm, knowing that there’s no way it’ll disturb him from his catatonic nap. “He’s literally my best friend, so every day it’s just like… Oh, this is still happening? It’s still this great?”

Hizashi’s dad gives a fatherly chuckle, and Hizashi looks over to see him watching his wife sprawled out on the sand. “That’s when you know they’re a keeper, son.”

“Yeah,” Hizashi agrees, bursting with love fiercer than the seaside sun, baking the sand until it’s too hot to walk on, reflecting off the sea so brightly it makes him squint. “He really is.”

*

Chapter Text

*

It’s a return to reality, to normal, when they get back to their apartment after a hedonistic weekend with Hizashi’s family on the coast. Shota disappears immediately off on a case for the last part of the summer break, though he drops in a few times along the way, so Hizashi never really gets to missing him between recording, his own hero work, and getting his radio show on the road after schmoozing a station executive in the hotel bar on the last day of the Yamada family reunion.

Put Your Hands Up Radio with DJ Present Mic debuts the first Friday after school starts again, broadcast from Hizashi’s very own home studio, and it’s almost as much fun as DJing in a club is. Pros include that Hizashi doesn’t have to pay for drinks from the bar he’s lovingly stocked at home – well, he doesn’t have to pay for them at the point of making drinks – and he can crawl straight into bed with Shota after, usually crawling in himself around the same time. Hizashi got his own start from a late-night DJ spinning one of his records ten years ago now – which is fucking bizarre, to put it lightly – so it feels good to give that back in some small way.

There’s a lot more normal in their lives in general, not all of it brought around by the fact that they’re teachers now, and it imposes a certain routine and predictability on their days that Hizashi and Shota never had before. A lot of it is from that, sure, and Hizashi only has to teach on horrible hangovers a few times to conclude that it’s a really terrible idea and he should only do it maximum twice a month.

As they get ever closer to being thirty and further away from the dumb, reckless twenty-year olds who didn’t know a good thing until it was shoved in their faces, Hizashi starts to embrace how ‘settled’ he is, even enjoys it. Because being settled is less about how tame or wild they are, which is still pretty wild when things do go off, but that intimate familiarity of themselves, and each other, that only grows stronger the longer they’ve been together.

With it comes knowing each other better than they know themselves sometimes. Whether it’s Hizashi knowing just when to insist Shota come home during ‘case fever’ because he needs it even when he swears he doesn’t, or Shota knowing when Hizashi just needs to blow off steam and lets him kick off over some tiny insignificant thing, venting that frantic energy and knowing the real issue, if any, will emerge from the smoking remains once a tantrum about not drinking coffee out of Hizashi’s good whiskey glasses has passed. 

Overall, it’s good, and it’s them, and Hizashi wouldn’t change it for the world.

*

They wrangle a Saturday morning off from teaching to help Shota’s parents move out to the countryside when the weekend of their official retirement rolls around, which happens so fast Hizashi could swear he’s only blinked a few times since the summer when it was months away. 

It starts at fuck ‘o clock in the morning, when Hizashi picks up the van and drives over to their – or not their anymore – shop, which has been cleared out a lot already and is down to just personal belongings. There’s a few big bits of furniture from the two-bedroom apartment upstairs, though a lot of that seems to have been sold off or given away as well. It’s still enough to fill the modest van, and it’s a hell of a task between Hizashi and Shota loading it all up at the asscrack of dawn when Shota’s less than fully and dazzlingly awake.

On the plus side, Hizashi comes across more than a few photo frames with adorably tiny baby Shotas in them, and makes Shota’s mum promise to find some copies for Hizashi to have. Baby pictures will be an incredible addition to his collection of embarrassing images of Shota, which he keeps in an album and is tempted to make into a full glossy coffee table book one day, because it’s just really funny how halfway annoyed it makes Shota – like he cares, but only just enough to be amusingly irritated, and that’s inherently hilarious.

Shota also took the, quite frankly stupid, executive decision that it would be easier for him to stay up until six in the morning than to wake up that early. So he only got home about four last night, spent an hour in the tub trying to wash some kind of quirk-based adhesive off him, then made and drank an entire pot of coffee, leaving none for Hizashi, and had the audacity to fall asleep on the drive over. Hizashi almost made him ride in the back of the truck as punishment, but it wouldn’t have made much difference, since Shota sleeps the entire drive out too, leaving Hizashi with his parents in the front seat of the van and their son passed out in-between.

Hizashi doesn’t mind one bit, though, and natters away to Shota’s parents the whole way. Much like their son, they seem content just to let Hizashi do his thing, and probably learn far more about their son’s life from Hizashi than they ever get from Shota, so it must suit them both in that respect.

“But listen to me going on,” Hizashi confesses at one point on the long uneventful stretch of road they’re coasting down. Shota’s soft, rhythmic breathing in the background like waves. “What about you two? Are you excited for retirement?”

“Oh, well… I don’t know, really,” Shota’s mum answers thoughtfully. “We haven’t started it yet.”

“Hah, I suppose so,” Hizashi replies, thinking about how that streak of defiant rationality runs strong in their family. “It must be strange to leave the shop after all this time, though. How long had you been there?”

“Since before Shota was born,” Shota’s dad replies, which means it’s almost thirty years. That’s insane to think about, and Hizashi’s just a spectator, rather than it being his own life. Maybe that’s why he asks the question he does next.

“What made you decide to go?”

“Pardon?” Shota’s mum says politely, speaking to Hizashi almost exactly the way she always has since the first time he went round to their shop, when they were all younger and he had the rare privilege of meeting Shota at home outside of school. So few people were ever invited over there it turned into a joke in their class that Shota had been raised by wolves, and Hizashi and Shirakumo were the only ones who’d ever known it wasn’t true. Now it’s just Hizashi.

“To sell up and move out here,” Hizashi explains a little better. “What brought it on?”

“Oh, well, I…” Shota’s mum stalls, turning to look at her husband. “We always talked about it, didn’t we?” Her husband just nods, a man of action before words, with his mid-length old hippie hair that's still raven black and only streaked with shocks of silver. “We always said when Shota left home we’d think about going, then he did, but I don’t think we were… quite ready, I suppose.”

Hizashi wonders. He wonders if the fact that when Shota ‘left home’ he didn’t exactly go to a home of his own. Not a decent one, or one that lasted more than a couple of years before the streets were his home. Hizashi wonders.

Turns out, he doesn’t really have to wonder.

“But now he’s all grown up,” Shota’s dad takes over, and his voice is always soft, never loud and absolutely never deafening the way Hizashi and his family get where they all have to yell over each other just to have a normal conversation – and no one yells louder than Hizashi. “The two of you have your teaching jobs, he’s taking much better care of himself, so it just… seemed like the right time.”

Hizashi could quip that he’s taking better care of Shota, rather than Shota showing himself a higher level of self-care, but it’s not entirely true either. Shota is better, by comparison, than he used to be. Right now he’s still fast asleep in-between his parents and Hizashi in the truck, alternating between leaning on his mum’s shoulder and Hizashi depending on which way they turned last. But he eats more, sleeps more, and does far less drugs as a substitute for the first two things than he used to even a few years ago. Hizashi has to wonder how much of that was Shota himself, and how much of it was because of them together; that effect they have of evening out the scales on each other’s greatest extremes.

“It’s going to be weird, you two not being so close by,” Hizashi confesses, matching the hushed tone in the driver’s cab. He’s literally never known Shota’s parents anywhere else than in that little shop, which is now going to belong to someone else and that’s weird for Hizashi to think about, much less them. Not stopping by to pick up some odd or end as a paper thin premise to see them, being talked into coming upstairs for a cup of tea and some snacks.

Hizashi once swore Shota hid or threw things away just to have something to get from his parents as an excuse to visit. Or, since they got the new apartment, for them to bring it over when they visited – and the look of awe on their faces when they saw how nice and ‘fancy’ Hizashi and Shota’s new place was. Mostly that’s Hizashi’s taste in outlandish furniture and pop art, but it’s probably more extravagant accommodation than any member of their family has lived in before. Hizashi tries to be sensitive to that in his own way, playing down the disparity of how his and Shota’s very different approaches to doing the same thing turn out.

And while Hizashi’s parents are a spectacle that only happen once or twice a year, Shota’s just seemed to always be there. But even they’re moving on, turning a new corner in their lives together. It’s a million things Hizashi can’t express except with weird, stupid-sounding questions.

“So you’re not scared?”

“Scared?” Shota’s mum echoes curiously. “Of what?”

“I don’t know.” Hizashi glances over at them once or twice, but keeps his eyes otherwise trained on the road. There’s a bizarre irony in there somewhere about him being the moving man for their lives while Shota lies passed out in the seat between them. “It’s a big change, isn’t it?”

“It’ll be different,” Shota’s mum agrees tentatively, and when Hizashi glances over next, sees that her hand has snuck out to clasp her husband’s between their respective laps. 

“True, but that’s what life is,” Shota’s dad says pensively, head and shoulders above his little wife. “Nothing ever really stays the same.”

It strikes Hizashi like a knock on the funny bone, remembering Shota say something so similar to him when they were on holiday with Hizashi’s parents. How much it had impacted Hizashi at the time, torn over a sudden realisation that the antics of their younger years didn’t fit them in quite the same way anymore; Hizashi’s anxiety over the fact that despite his best efforts, he’s getting older every day.

What this means now is Hizashi chuckles softly, and Shota’s mother, without an ounce of hesitation in her tone, asks, “What’s funny, dear?”

There’s another irony in there too, how Hizashi’s parents have only just started to realise what a permanent fixture Shota is in Hizashi’s life – his love life, at least – while Shota’s parents already seem to consider him a son-in-law. They have less kids, Hizashi supposes, so while his folks already have their hands full without additions, Shota is all his parents have got, and that makes Hizashi more significant to them in a way.

“Nothing,” Hizashi says warmly, “Shota’s just told me the same thing before.”

“Hm,” his mum sighs fondly, turning to look at Shota slumped over against Hizashi, on this occasion. Pausing before she speaks, as if carefully thinking something through, Hizashi waits with the sense that it’s important to her. None of Shota’s family, himself included, spend much energy on words they don’t mean.

Yet it catches Hizashi totally off-guard that this thing she’s working herself up to say comes out as, “I’m just glad he’s so happy.” Then, after, a small pause, enough time for a ripple to spread across still water from the first gentle touch, adds, “I think we owe a lot to you for that, Hizashi.”

Hizashi doesn’t remember when they went from calling him Mic to Hizashi, since he’ll answer to just about anything, but somewhere along the shift of Shota doing it they must have started too.

“Oh, me?” Hizashi shrugs off like it’s nothing, not because he doesn’t think so – he knows the difference he’s made to Shota’s life over the years, and Shota has told him before. But it’s not that. It’s because taking all the credit makes it seem like Hizashi did it for that reason, and not the unintended consequences of being progressively more in love with Shota for going on fifteen years. “Don’t mention it. It’s… he makes me happy too.”

"That's wonderful to hear," Shota’s mum says, and it truly is.

Hizashi’s heart could burst figuratively speaking, but it becomes a serious risk in the literal when Shota’s dad continues where his wife left off. He’s a smoker too, chesty in the voice as he talks like he’s chatting the shit with a delivery guy, "Thank you for staying by his side for so long. I know it's been a big comfort to us that he has you to rely on."

"You two! You're gonna make me tear up at this rate," Hizashi blurts like he's joking, though he isn't in the least. So he drops a volume level and speaks more sincerely for the next part, glancing at the sleeping beauty on his shoulder. "Your son is really amazing, I'm glad he's stuck with me for so long too."

Because Shota didn't have to, and there's been points when they could have so easily drifted apart, let all those differences carry them away from each other, but here they are.

It's been a long and not always smooth journey, but Hizashi’s thankful they’re on it.

*

Shota must be tired, because when Hizashi shoves him off his shoulder to get out of the van at a service station, instead of waking up he just faceplants on the empty seat. So Hizashi gets even less subtle.

“Wake the fuck up, sleepyhead,” Hizashi says too loud as he leans down over the heap of his boyfriend sprawled across the truck seat, making full use of the space since Shota’s parents have gotten out to stretch their legs already.

Hizashi would normally let Shota sleep, if he hadn’t been so fucking annoying this morning. Well, that and they’re also only stopping once on the way, so if Shota does wake up, and wants to piss after shotgunning an entire pot of coffee before napping for three hours, he is not doing it into a bottle in front of his parents while Hizashi’s driving. He likes Shota’s folks and all, but they’re not even nearly that close yet.

More lyrically, starting to sing the words with his lips right next to the unbrushed hairball he presumes to be over Shota’s ear, Hizashi continues, “Wake the fuck up, babyyyy, wake the fuck upppp.”

Shota puts his palm flat over Hizashi’s face and shoves him back, Hizashi laughing and falling back as Shota drags himself into consciousness. 

“We’re making a pit stop.”

Shota narrows his eyes at Hizashi across the seat in accusation, hanging one hand on the van steering wheel and the other on his knee, twisted to face Shota. “Why’d you wake me?”

“Because we’re not stopping again if you need to go pee, so go do that and grab me a coffee while I fill the van up,” Hizashi replies boisterously, because as much fun as it would be to act like teenagers and playfully neck in the truck seat as a means of resolving tension while Shota’s parents are away, Hizashi would rather Shota get him that coffee instead.

Shota gives him a thoughtful look that holds for a few seconds, in which Hizashi contemplates exactly how his parents’ features have translated into his own: cheekbones and eyes from his mum, nose and jaw from his dad. They gave him good genes, that’s all Hizashi’s saying.

“Fine,” Shota sighs, and Hizashi almost rethinks the necking option, but if he doesn’t get a giant coffee with at least a quarter cup of pure syrup in it before carrying on this drive, he’s really going to be cranky.

Hizashi lurches over to give Shota a quick peck on the mouth before wriggling back behind the drivers seat, turning the engine on to head over to the truck refuelling area.

“Thanks babe love ya!” but said fast enough that it’s almost one word – thanksbabeloveya! Practically a catchphrase at this point. Hizashi knows he probably says it a lot, more than most people would express their love for their partner by the usual standards, but so what? People say they love each other in English all the time, why shouldn’t he?

Shota gives a sigh as he pushes the door open and gets out, facing away from Hizashi for his soft-spoken reply, “Love you too.”

*

Shota does get Hizashi his ‘abomination’ of a coffee, in his own words. So Hizashi finishes the drive more wired than a chipmunk on speed, excess energy that helps get him and Shota through the inevitable unloading process to undo their reloading from the start of the day.

Shota’s parents help too, but with lighter things, being retirement age and all. Though Shota’s dad has to lend a hand with some particularly unwieldy pieces of furniture that don’t want to come out of the van the same way they went in, mostly providing guidance while Shota and Hizashi hold the sofa or some such up in the air and resist the urge to curse at each other in frustration. Hizashi would swear some of the pieces rearranged themselves back there along the way, or they were still too asleep in the morning not to think about how shit was supposed to come back out after they’d haphazardly shoved it in – which sounds like them in more ways than one, unfortunately.

The house Shota’s parents have bought is an old building in the countryside a stone’s throw from the coast. Not so close you can hear the waves, but can smell it in the air that sweeps clean and fresh across the expansive garden surrounding the traditional one-story building. It’s absolutely beautiful, stunning, and Hizashi knows they got it for a steal because it’s been abandoned for years, too remote for anyone except a Mr. and Mrs. Aizawa to want.

“This place is amazing,” Hizashi says as they’re piling up boxes in one of the biggest rooms, all woodwork and beautiful panelling. “You’re gonna have so much space.”

“Yes, I almost don’t know what we’ll do with it,” Shota’s mum replies, unpacking a carefully prepared box of kitchen supplies so she can clean the room and then be set up to make tea and coffee while the boys do all the heavy lifting. Mostly Shota, honestly, when it comes to the proper lifting. It’s what he’s good at, though, and Hizashi can’t deny appreciating what all this exercise does for his chest and arms in a t-shirt Hizashi purposely bought on the small side for him. Shota would wear only sacks with arm and leg holes cut out if he could, but when Hizashi gets things for him, he tends to wear them sooner or later. If there’s a cat anywhere on it then he definitely wears them, such as this t-shirt with a set of cheeky ears poking out of the stitched-on front pocket that Hizashi absolutely couldn’t resist when he clapped eyes on it a couple of weeks ago.

They get everything out of the van at least, although most of it ends up piled up in various rooms than actually put away or in the right place, but that’s tomorrow’s problem. They get out some futons for the bedrooms first, one for Shota’s parents and another for him and Hizashi. It doesn’t miss Hizashi that Shota’s parents never need to question how many rooms, or whether he and Shota will share a futon, and the difference it makes is huge. Hizashi not feeling like there’s anything to prove, and how much calmer and easy-going it makes him around both of them.

Dusk falls across the tranquil surroundings, and sitting outside on an old bench surrounded by intense overgrowth, Hizashi and Shota are smoking with Shota’s dad. Another difference: that where Hizashi hides his smoking habit from his parents, Shota’s dad is a smoker too, used to sell Hizashi cigarettes back when he had a shop to sell them in.

It’s in the easy silence, so natural to any Aizawa, that Shota remarks to his father after a puff, “So this is it, huh?”

“What?” Shota’s dad responds evenly.

“Where you’ll be now.” Shota’s more awake now than he’s been all day, after spending hours of physical exertion that have Hizashi absolutely knackered on top of the drive. He’s looking straight forward, almost prophetic in his far-off gaze and thoughtful pose, though Hizashi knows he often looks like that, it’s just the setting that makes it seem so poignant. 

“Yeah.” Shota’s dad has never hurried a thought in his life, Hizashi thinks, because he takes a long and leisurely drag on his cigarette, with his long face pulled downward by age and no need to go any faster than at his own damn pace. “It’s a new chapter.”

Hizashi shuts up for once and listens, not least because he’s tired, but also because hearing Shota talk to his parents is interesting. The meaningful intensity of everything they say, crystal clear and at its purest.

Shota’s sharp right now, but not in an unnatural way, like he’s running on adrenaline or other less organic stimulants. Just… clear, like he’s focused on something beyond Hizashi’s comprehension, sitting in the van questioning Shota’s parents over whether they’re scared and what a massive change it’s going to be.

“You’ll enjoy it,” Shota declares as he’s bringing his cigarette back up to his lips, eyes narrowing a little as he inhales. His hair’s pulled into a loose ponytail, which he did himself to get it out of the way, and is therefore much messier than if Hizashi had done it to prove a point.

“Yes, I think we will,” Shota’s dad responds, tipping off ash and looking around the slightly delipidated house, all wild and overgrown. Shota’s parents are practical people, fixers of things and buying nothing they can’t do for themselves. So this house is solid in the bones, as typical of their family, but the outside needs a little work. “It’s a big change, but it’s good to try new things.”

Maybe Hizashi’s talk with Shota’s parents did prompt something after all, he wonders peacefully as he sits next to Shota with his feet propped up on the stool Shota’s dad set out here to sit on, but has stood the whole time instead, insisting that it’s good for his bones after sitting down in the van for so long. Used to being on his feet behind a counter almost every day, little habits that will fade slowly as they settle into a new way of life.

This is all very comforting to Hizashi, in a weird way. As if he always thought his life would be over past a certain point, but that the older he gets, and the more he starts seeing his own and Shota’s parents lives, he’s realising that oh, it actually goes on all the way. It’s not just partying all the way to thirty and then giving up forever.

Speaking of not exactly partying, but something that brings Hizashi right back to the wild days, which are still scattered intermittently throughout his and Shota’s life, they’re just not everyday like they used to be, Shota announces, “I’ve got some weed,” as if they’re back in Hizashi’s old apartment with friends, and not the middle of goddamn nowhere with Shota’s actual father.

At exactly the same time, but Hizashi a lot louder, Hizashi and Shota’s dad say, “What?” and look directly at Shota.

“Marijuana,” Shota specifies like that was at all the fucking question – not Hizashi’s, anyway. 

Before Shota’s dad can react, Hizashi does with a shrill, “When did you get weed?!” Shota’s been awake for about five hours today, and unsupervised for almost none of them.

“At the service station,” Shota answers indifferently.

“Okay, only you would pick up at a roadside service station,” Hizashi points out scathingly.

“I was having a smoke and some guy offered,” Shota remarks with a shrug, taking a drag on his cigarette. He does have the look about him, so almost anywhere dealers of any kind recognise him as a guy who’d probably be interested in getting a little fucked up. “I checked and it’s good stuff, I’m not a total idiot.”

“I never said you were, just, uh… impressed or something,” Hizashi half-fumbles, stopping somewhere between talking to Shota naturally the way they’ve always chatted about drugs, and trying to factor in the fact that Shota’s dad is standing literally right there still calmly smoking his cigarette.

Shota looks over to his father and says, “Whaddya think, Dad? It’s a new thing.”

Shota’s dad laughs softly, smiling, and with smoky breath says, “Only as far as you know, son.”

“Oh?” Shota’s got a mischievous grin, the kind he’d probably only wear around his parents. “Am I wrong?”

“I’ll see what your mother says,” Shota’s dad says thoughtfully, leaning over to actually raise his voice to call down one of the long corridors bordering different rooms of the house. “Honey?”

“Yes?” she replies faintly, and Hizashi couldn’t believe this is real, if it wasn’t happening right now. 

“Shota bought some marijuana, do you want to have any?”

Hizashi draws in a sharp breath, stifling a noise of reaction or laugh as he’s caught out by thinking Shota’s dad was going to ask for permission, not if she wanted to partake. 

“Oh, why not? I’ll just make some tea,” Shota’s mum calls back, and oh shit, this is really happening, isn’t it?

Shota begins methodically emptying pockets of the dark green camo trousers Hizashi also got for him years ago, when he would only agree to wearing ‘practical’ things, which for him just means a shit ton of pockets. Then he pulls apart a cigarette to empty into a rolling paper he just so happened to also have on him. Probably stashed in one of the pockets since the last time he wore them, most likely. It’s still rare for any of Shota’s clothing not to contain at least a lighter and some rolling papers, as it’s always better to have them and not want them than want them and not have them, so he says.

Of all the things Hizashi ever imagined doing to celebrate Shota’s parents’ retirement with them, smoking a joint was not even an entry onto the list, much less high on it. Shota rolls two technically, one for his parents and one for him and Hizashi, since one of Shota’s normal joints would fucking ruin his parents and Hizashi’s sure none of them are here for that.

Hizashi will say this much: it’s a nice way to relax after a longass fucking day.

There are few stranger sights than Shota’s easygoing little mum carefully puffing on a baby joint rolled for her by her son, before passing it back to her husband who takes a much more ambitious one. It might’ve been a few years, maybe, but he insinuated he wasn’t entirely new to it, which makes sense with an old hippie-type like that. Shota’s mother coughs the most, which is adorable, though Hizashi can still hardly believe this is even happening.

Once they’re all thoroughly stoned, and it’s getting dark enough outside to need to go back in, they all relocate to what will be Shota’s parents’ living room, once everything is unpacked properly and laid out. As it is they perch on the couch between all the boxes, looking around and letting the weirdness all sink in. Shota couldn’t have said it better: so this is it.

It’s not much now, of course, because Shota’s parents only just got here and have the rest of their lives to get it into shape. But it feels right, even in silence that Hizashi would usually find unbearable.

“Oh, I know! I brought some bread and we can unpack the toaster,” Shota’s mum declares apropos of nothing, but she bounces off and scuttles off to make it happen. She seems almost exactly the same as she always does, even when high, just more likely to spontaneously decide to make toast. The smell of it wafting through the room before long makes Hizashi desperate for some too, all of them crunching away on slices slathered in honey without plates, as they’re in a box no one can remember where they put just now.

The time slips away as it usually does when stoned, until Shota’s parents are ready for bed and honestly, Hizashi is too. Not that he and Shota don’t slip out for one last cheeky joint before retiring, standing in the pitch black garden just outside the house, keeping track of each other just by the end of the joint and each other’s voices.

“I can’t believe we got high with your parents,” Hizashi volunteers first, hearing the quiet scoff from Shota in response.

“Me either.” He puffs on the joint, the end glowing brighter, just enough to see his features by for a second, then passes it to Hizashi.

“It was your idea.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t expect them to say yes,” Shota remarks, and it’s so dark here, not like in the city, where the light pollution means it’s never totally pitch black like it is right now – just the stars up over their head to be stared into by tiny high humans on the ground.

“Pretty funny, though.” Hizashi could compare it to his own parents, but they just wouldn’t be like that. Not around Hizashi anyway.

“Yeah.” Only hearing Shota in the dark makes Hizashi long for him, reaching out to find his arm with a free hand, the other putting the joint to his lips. Shota doesn’t say anything, but he makes a soft quizzical sound when Hizashi touches him, settling when it’s clear that all Hizashi wants is to touch. Just to be close to Shota, to know he’s there when they can’t see each other.

Shota lets Hizashi wind an arm slowly around his waist, pulling closer together as Hizashi takes a long, deep breath on the joint and holds it in his chest before putting his lips to Shota’s. Blowbacks are a silly, trivial, unnecessary thing, but that doesn’t stop Shota inhaling when Hizashi blows into his mouth. A toke’s a toke, even second-hand, and he’s too much of a scrounger to let it go to waste.

When Shota breathes out though, the third-hand smoke rolling over Hizashi, there’s no pause at all before he puts his lips right back onto Hizashi’s. Shota kisses him lazily, Hizashi letting the hand holding the joint fall down pinched between his fingers, distracted by the stroke of Shota’s tongue over his, and the tightening arm that’s crept around his own waist in return.

They finish the joint somehow, and stumble back into the guest bedroom with their – well, Hizashi’s – bags and a futon and nothing else in it, but that’s all they need. All they’ve ever needed.

There’s a dated lampshade hanging from the ceiling that throws a muted light over the sparse collection of items on the floor, soon to be added to with Shota’s t-shirt, which Hizashi pulls up over his head in a schoolboyish frenzy – if they’d ever fucked when they were still students. A lot more time they’d have had together like this if they did, but they’d be different people to who they were after going separate ways until they did get together. Hizashi likes it better this way, where they both got a chance to become themselves before figuring out how to be with each other, to get the recipe just right.

Shota’s lovely in the lamplight, glowing underneath a tasseled shade that would put any self-respecting grandma to shame. Shirtless and soft, stoned eyes that smile more sweetly than his mouth ever does, lips tugged into that maniacal grin right before he and Hizashi collide again.

It’s a long way down to the floor, but they make it somehow, Shota going down first and Hizashi slotting between his legs. Slow gropes and dry humping that only makes sense when you’re too stoney baloney to remember that trousers are something that can come off.

Shota’s always held his drugs better than Hizashi, probably explaining how he manages to roll over and flip them somewhere along the line of the dumb, wonderful makeoutfest that’s Hizashi being high with his favourite person in the world. 

“Oh Shota,” Hizashi moans when Shota sits up and properly grinds down over Hizashi’s crotch. Shota leans all the way back down, his hair a curtain against the light.

“Shh, my parents will hear,” he says hoarsely in Hizashi’s ear, and Hizashi almost says oh, now he gives a shit about parents overhearing them getting fucky. But that would lead to less sex than Hizashi wants right now, so he just bites his lip and nods, gasping again when Shota’s hips roll down on him again.

Shota figures out how to take trousers off first, but Hizashi’s the one who remembers where he packed the lube in their overnight bag, though Shota’s the one to actually go and find it. Slicks up Hizashi with one hand and himself with the other, few things in this world better than the sight of Shota buttass naked, fingering himself while he jerks Hizashi off. 

It’s down to Shota’s quirk to silence Hizashi when it comes to Shota straddling him and sinking down inevitably on Hizashi’s cock, a muted moan as he presses inside that runs between them like reverberations of a tuning fork. Hizashi puts a lot of the work in a lot of the time, which he’s more than happy to do because he’s got all that energy to burn in the first place, but it makes the occasions when he doesn’t have to do anything but lie there a real treat, especially when he’s way too stoned to do the job properly himself. Leave it to Shota, who knows what he wants and can just take Hizashi along for the delirious ride.

Shota can only hold his fire eyes stare for so long, and he’s more occupied by moving on Hizashi’s cock anyway, sitting back up and angling it just right for himself as Hizashi pants, “Shota, baby, yeah,” and the like.

“I know,” Shota tells him softly in return, his cock bouncing weighty and full over Hizashi’s stomach. But Hizashi doesn’t really lose it until he hears the words, “I know, baby,” leaving Shota’s lips like rare night birds leaving the nest.

With a helpless moan Hizashi grips Shota by the hips, steadying him to thrust up into. He’s always been a sucker for the times when Shota uses rare endearments, and the mood couldn’t be more perfect. Meaning Hizashi’s already inside him, so there’s nothing else either of them could want.

Shota silences Hizashi with a kiss this time, leaning back down as he matches Hizashi’s rhythm to make the deepest point of each rise and fall that little bit better.

“I love you so much,” Hizashi blurts when Shota moves back again, just enough to rest on his arms either side of Hizashi’s head.

“I love you too,” Shota returns in full, his face contorting pleasurably as the wave builds. “Fuck, Hizashi.”

“Oh, you ready to come?” Hizashi coos as he reaches for Shota’s cock, finally starting to pump him good and fast, no time to spare when Hizashi’s well on his way too. When they know each other’s bodies this well it takes no time at all, not even stoned, for Shota to clench his hands into fists of the futon and bury his face in Hizashi’s shoulder to muffle his moan as he comes, hot and heavy over Hizashi’s t-shirt he forgot to take off somehow. Guess they have a designated clean-up cloth now.

Shota takes a short breather, but he doesn’t actually stop, since that would be uncharacteristic of him at this point, doubly so when he’s high and they’re kinda on another holiday of sorts. The only kind Shota’s family are likely to have, probably.

Now Shota’s focus shifts, less about himself and more on Hizashi, meaning that it’s not long before Shota’s riding him as hard and fast as Hizashi had jerked Shota off for his own climax. If anyone’s got the thighs to ride Hizashi straight into oblivion, it’s always been Shota.

“Fuck baby, yeah,” Hizashi remixes over and over as he gets there despite the weed and his own exhaustion. Before his babbling can get any louder, Shota shushes with his quirk, hair lifting all around him, backlit by the grandma lampshade and glowing from the eyes.

It took getting used to, but Hizashi’s associated his voice being erased with orgasm for so long now he’s not sure which triggers which anymore. What he does know is how sweet Shota’s soft raspy sounds are in the forced silence of his quirk on Hizashi, only the slap of skin each time Shota descends on him. Purring like a beat-up alleycat that’s learned how to live the good life indoors, “Good, Hizashi, you gonna come for me?”

Hizashi would howl in the affirmative if he could, but he can’t, so he just feels like he does and slams his hips up to lock into place as he comes desperately into Shota, breath shuddering when he finally relaxes back down.

Shota drapes over him like a blanket, lips touching Hizashi’s drowsily, still seated together. Hizashi lets the gentle throbs and slowly going soft ease the moment where he’s going to have to pull out sooner or later. 

Breathing quietly, just the sound of nature blanketing the house, Shota offers the dazzling insight, “I liked that.”

Hizashi laughs, “I could tell,” then clenches his teeth when Shota lifts off, flopping down onto the futon next to him contently. Hizashi wriggles out of his soiled t-shirt, offering it to Shota for a low-effort cleanup before falling asleep wrapped up with each other. Perfect, just as they are.

*

Hizashi wakes up to birdsong and nothing else, except a distant whooshing that might just be the sea. The quiet here is different to the city, to anywhere surrounded by more people than the only other occupants of this little house in the middle of nowhere.

Shota’s fast asleep, but his parents are up when Hizashi gets up himself to go exploring. Much easier to be ready for breakfast when he’s slept like a log and isn’t hungover – doesn’t even think they have a drop of booze in the place, just the dwindling supply of weed Shota picked up on the way.

“Oh, good morning, dear,” Shota’s mum says when Hizashi appears in the kitchen door in pyjama bottoms he didn’t sleep in and a vest top. “Do you want a coffee?”

“That’d be amazing, thanks,” Hizashi answers with a smile, reflecting on how easy it is for him to be around Shota’s parents without Shota there, and how the reverse isn’t really true for Shota with Hizashi’s parents. “If you make one for Shota too I can get him up.”

“Not to worry, let him sleep,” Shota’s dad says brightly, seeming more lively in the morning, sipping a mug of something dressed in what Hizashi can only describe as ‘dad trousers’ and a checkered shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Hizashi thought he was an early bird, but Shota’s parents seem to have been at it for a while, as the kitchen is absolutely spotless and most of the boxes in there are more unpacked than packed by this point.

There’s a toolbox open on the little kitchen table that seemed right at home in the tiny apartment they had before, but now appears absolutely miniature in the generous country kitchen. Hard at work already.

“How are you both?” Hizashi asks comfortably, leaning against one of the counters watching Shota’s mum spoon coffee into an old fashioned percolator. “Settling in nicely?”

“Yes, I think it’ll start feeling like home in no time,” Shota’s mother says as if she’s convincing Hizashi not to worry about them after all his nervous questioning from the drive over.

“Sure, I can’t wait to see what you do with the place,” Hizashi replies warmly, trying to signal that he gets it and isn’t going to pester them with anymore questions about what a scary, life-changing decision it is. It’s amazing, and an incredible opportunity they’re going to love, just like Shota said they would.

“I was going to get started on the garden, if you’d be willing to lend a hand,” Shota’s dad pops in casually. In the way that Hizashi’s parents never work unless they have to, Shota’s parents are always looking for something to be getting on with. Such practical, hands-on people, providing that counterbalance the way Shota does to Hizashi.

“Of course! I’m at your disposal– oh, three sugars please,” he declares to Shota’s mum, who makes such a face at him.

“Three?”

“You sound like Shota,” Hizashi teases, grinning from ear to ear. “Yes, three.”

Shota’s mum spoons them in, though not without giving Hizashi a look like he’s going to rot his teeth – they better not, with what he paid for them – and hands it over. It’s a lovely sunny autumn day outside, so after drinking his breakfast coffee on the delipidated bench, Hizashi gets started after Shota’s dad, who’s already begun clearing the garden by hacking away at long-left overgrowth with a big curved blade.

Shota appears of his own volition around the time Hizashi’s starting to think that ‘gardening’ sounds a lot less strenuous than it is. After being given a cup of coffee from his mother so strong Hizashi can smell it from several metres away, Shota takes over from Hizashi in the gardening department. Shota’s dad just straight-up hands his son an axe, which Shota nods at wordlessly, then takes to some unruly tree branches, soon climbing up like a monkey to prune them from above ground.

As could be expected for Shota and his father, they say almost nothing to each other, except simple directions about what they’re doing next, and Hizashi takes on the much easier chore of helping Shota’s mum with more unpacking just in sight of father and son’s hard labour outdoors.

“They’re really similar, huh?” Hizashi remarks fondly at one point, enjoying the smile he gets from Shota’s mum in return.

“Yes, they can be,” she says with a lovely sort of sigh, looking over at her husband staring up at her son, who’s still up in the tree, legs spread either side of a large branch. “Oh, before you leave, dear,” she adds, meaning Hizashi, since that might be his name to her now, “do you think you could drive me to buy some food?”

“Absolutely, whenever you– that’s right, you don’t have a car, do you?” Hizashi interrupts himself to announce exactly as it’s occurring to him. “You do drive, don’t you?”

“Oh yes, just not for a while,” Shota’s mum tells him all soothingly again. “We’ll get something sorted out second-hand soon, I’ve got some friends who might be selling their old car.”

Hizashi is a wilful, impulsive man with more money than sense sometimes, but what’s it for, if not over the top gestures?

“Or I could buy you one,” he remarks like it’s an extra box of eggs.

“What?”

“A car.” If there’s anything Hizashi loves almost as much as Shota, it’s shopping. “We can go get one today if you want.” If they’ll let Hizashi, he really means.

Shota’s mum looks at Hizashi like he’s gone completely insane.

“No no, we couldn’t let you do that.”

“Sure you could! There must be a dealership somewhere around here, we can go over in the van and pick something out right now, it’ll be fun!” The blank stare as if Hizashi’s insane doesn't get any lesser, so Hizashi calls in the calvary. “SHOTAAAA!?!”

“Yeah?!” comes the returning call from the nearby tree.

With all the subtlety he lacks, and no neighbours to worry about for miles, Hizashi bellows, “I WANNA BUY YOUR PARENTS A CAR!”

After a short pause, the tree responds, “That’s actually a good idea.”

“See? Call it a moving-in present,” Hizashi insists, and Shota’s mum, and then dad, try to resist him, really they do. But Aizawas are weak to Yamada willpower, and Shota’s backing him up to boot, so by the afternoon Hizashi’s walking around the nearest Toyota garage with Shota’s mum picking something out to drive off the lot – leaving Shota and his dad to the garden like the wild things they are.

“I really can’t thank you enough,” Shota’s mum keeps saying to Hizashi while he’s rushing through all the paperwork and payment once she's finally settled on something, but the extremely modest economy model she picked out costs less than bottles of whiskey Hizashi has seriously thought about buying before, and this is definitely a better use of his money than that.

“Don’t you worry a pretty hair on your head about it,” Hizashi reassures her just as many times in return. “We couldn’t leave you here without a way to get around.”

“You don’t have to keep saying we, Hizashi,” Shota’s mum cuts in so clearly it’s like a whistle, blowing straight through the Aizawa way.

“Alright, me then,” Hizashi admits just as easily. “Between teaching and royalties and my radio show it’s really not a problem, honestly, I won’t have you thinking that you owe me anything.”

Shota’s mum says he’s too kind, but Hizashi won’t hear a word of it. As far as he's concerned it’s completely worth it just to watch Shota’s little mum carefully take her iddy biddy little car out for a tentative first drive, and how pleased she looks to park it up outside her house when they get back home with fresh bags of shopping in the passenger seat.

Shota and his dad have made serious headway on the garden by then, though Shota is predictably filthy, mud and grass stains everywhere. There's enough green matter in his hair that Hizashi refuses to get close to him for fear of all the insects that could be lurking in there. Only after Shota’s agreed to an extremely hot shower and brushing his hair, himself, since Hizashi will scream if he pulls any awful creepy crawlies out of Shota’s unruly mop, will Hizashi tolerate getting close to him again.

Shota’s dad is inside with his wife, helping her unpack the shopping and get a start on dinner, while Hizashi sits on the bench with his legs resting across Shota’s lap, looking out at the transformed garden as sunlight tickles through the trees and thinking, if this was him and Shota, a lot of years from now, he would be completely at peace with that.

“Hey,” Hizashi says softly, since no thought lives in his head long enough to get comfortable before it pops out of his mouth.

“Hm?” Shota’s got a hand resting comfortably on Hizashi’s calf, damp hair drying in the clean outdoor air, just a hint of salt on the breeze from the sea. Hizashi could say there’s never been a moment more perfect between them than this one, but it’s not true because the perfect moments come with such constancy that to pick any one above the others would be a discredit to the rest.

“Let’s grow old together,” Hizashi announces quite ordinarily, but with great intention.

Shota’s mouth lifts at the corners. “Thought that’s what we were already doing.”

“No, like this I mean,” Hizashi says more meaningfully, looking around at the picturesque retirement Shota’s parents chose for themselves, just like Hizashi’s chose the perfect one for themselves too. Shota and Hizashi, he imagines, will end up falling somewhere in between. He’d like to find out. “Let’s grow really old together, like grandpas.”

A gentle not-quite laugh of fondness stirs Shota’s chest, and he looks at Hizashi more directly. His hand roams a little higher along Hizashi’s leg and squeezes. “Alright,” he answers loyally, still Hizashi’s best friend after all these years, and all the ones still to come. “We’ll grow old together.”

*