n. The restoration of a polarized state across a membrane, as in a muscle fiber following contraction. The act or process of polarizing again, a renewed polarization, the restoration of polarization.
Yaoyorozu has been hovering around his desk after classes for nearly a week now.
Aizawa expects something, anything to get said at this point, to stop his anxiety from ramping up that something is seriously wrong (with Hitoshi, with Midoriya, with Iida, any of his students, really; Yaoyorozu is co-class-rep and thus the most likely person to report it if anything went wrong), but nothing has been said.
Yaoyorozu has just… waited, fussed papers around, shifted from foot to foot, and then scooted quietly out of the room, looking defeated.
Aizawa thinks that he would be able to wait as long as it takes for Yaoyorozu to spill it, but his patience is quickly running thin. If she is at his desk today, he will ask her if there is something she’s been meaning to talk to him about.
Yaoyorozu is indeed standing at the corner of his desk, fists balled tight into the hem of her skirt and shoulders tense. Her expression, however, is one of determination.
“Is there something you’ve been meaning to ask me?” Aizawa asks, settling into his chair and gathering papers into a few manila folders. “You’ve been hovering.” He raises an eyebrow at her.
Yaoyorozu goes beet red. “Well,” she starts, voice soft. “Um.” Aizawa puts his papers down and folds his hands together on top of the latest folder. “Is… there any way you can make changes to your gradebook?”
This was a surprise. Was Yaoyorozu going to ask him to cheat grades for her? “That depends. Grades? Absolutely not.”
“Th-that’s not what I’m asking about!” she squeaks, letting go of her skirt to wave her hands defensively in front of herself. “I don’t want any grades changed!”
“Then explain what you mean,” he prompts, gentling his tone.
“My name isn’t Momo!” she blurts out.
Aizawa blinks a few times. “That’s… what I have on your paperwork.” He realizes that was the exact wrong thing to come out of his mouth when Yaoyorozu flinches back. Aizawa rubs a hand over his face. “I’m sorry. Not good to say when you’re telling me what your name is, is it?” He offers a wry half-smile to the student in front of him. “What do you want me to change it to?”
“Tadashi,” Yaoyorozu says. “My name is Tadashi.”
Aizawa feels like Yaoyorozu isn’t done.
There it is. He waits for Yaoyorozu to continue.
“Can you, maybe. Use ‘he’ and ‘him’ when talking about me in and out of class?” Yaoyorozu asks, dropping his hands to his sides.
“Of course.” Aizawa nods. “Anything else?” He pauses and scratches briefly at the scar under his eye. “A different uniform, maybe?”
Yaoyorozu’s shoulders sag with clear relief. “Please,” he says. Aizawa pulls his gradebook from under a neat stack of folders and flips it open, then picks up a pen and rewrites Yaoyorozu’s name in the proper field.
“Excuse me for prying, but you’re out to the rest of the class, correct?” he asks, folding the book shut. Yaoyorozu nods. “Are you out to your parents?”
Yaoyorozu shakes his head. “Um. No,” he says. He hesitates, and then, “I planned to tell them next break we leave the dorms.”
Aizawa peels a sticky note off the stack on his desk. “If that goes belly up, call me.” He scrawls numbers on the small square and hands it over.
“S...sensei...” Yaoyorozu stammers, taking the sticky note. “Is… this your work line?” he asks, pushing his fringe behind his ear with nervous fingers.
“No,” Aizawa says. Yaoyorozu looks up from the note at him. “That’s my personal number.” The note crinkles. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told Shinsou: If you call me on that number I will treat it as an emergency.”
Yaoyorozu nods. “Yes, of course!” he says.
Aizawa’s expression softens. “I should go find Yamamoto-san before she leaves for the day and let her know you’ll be by in the morning to pick up your new uniform,” he says. Yaoyorozu’s eyes go glossy, and the note in his hand crinkles further when he lifts his hand to swipe under one eye with the side of his fingers.
“You, um.” He pulls in a deep breath. “You’re much more supportive than I anticipated. Everyone has been. I’m… incredibly relieved.”
“Well.” Aizawa slides a few of the folders into the bag under his desk and zips it up. “I would have appreciated the same decency when I was here. I had to fight to get my uniform and name sorted out.”
He stands and comes around his desk, and when he hears Yaoyorozu choke back a tiny sob, drops a hand on his shoulder and squeezes in a way that he hopes is reassuring.
Aizawa is taken completely by surprise when his student throws arms around his middle and squeezes tight, burying his face against his shoulder. His arms pinwheel briefly, splayed awkwardly by the motion, and then he pats Yaoyorozu’s back a few times before Yaoyorozu lets him go and steps back.
“I’m sorry,” he says, scrubbing at his eyes with the heels of his hands. “This is more support than I could have ever hoped for.”
His voice is thick with tears. Aizawa clears his throat and looks anywhere but at Yaoyorozu.
“Sorry,” Yaoyorozu says again, taking a half step towards the impossibly tall door of the classroom. “We should both go. Thank you, Aizawa-sensei.”
Yaoyorozu wipes at his face one last time and gives Aizawa the brightest smile Aizawa’s ever seen from him, then turns and heads out.
Aizawa stays, just for a few moments longer, and then sighs to himself.
Yamamoto-san is locking up the uniform counter when Aizawa finally makes it down to her. She squints at him and adjusts her glasses, but waits for him to speak first.
“I have a student coming to you in the morning,” he says.
“And?” she replies, turning away from him and clicking the lock on the window shut.
“He needs a new uniform.” He shifts his bag on his back and stuffs his hands in his pockets. “Sure would be nice if it was ready for him to pick up as soon as he gets here.” His tone is half innocent and half pointed.
Yamamoto-san looks at him over her shoulder, eyes narrowed. “I want to go home, Aizawa,” she says.
“I just want Yaoyorozu-kun to have the right uniform,” he says, pulling a hand out of his pocket and tapping his chin. “And you do owe me a favor.” Yamamoto-san huffs noisily and jams her key into the lock of the door next to the counter window she was currently locking up. She kicks the door open.
“I really hate you right now,” she says. “But I can’t leave him without the right uniform, even without your stupid favor.”
“Great!” Aizawa grins too brightly and too cheerfully at her, really pushing it and letting it stretch across his face wider when she frowns at him and slams the door behind her.
Yaoyorozu is positively beaming when Aizawa sees him in class the next morning. They lock eyes, and Yaoyorozu gives him a tiny thumbs up. He gives the barest of nods back and opens his gradebook to take attendance.
Homeroom is full of jittering students who keep glancing at Yaoyorozu—some openly, like Ashido, and some more subtly, like Uraraka—every so often. This makes it clear to Aizawa that getting the uniform and putting it on had him cutting it close to class.
The bell rings, and Ashido and Hagakure are out of their seats before the sound finishes, crowding into the back of the room around Yaoyorozu. “Yaodashi!” Ashido crows, slamming her hands onto his desk. “You’re wearing the boys’ uniform!”
“I am!” Yaoyorozu says, voice bright.
“How do you feel?” Hagakure asks. Her sleeves brace themselves above invisible hands on Yaoyorozu’s desk. Asui joins them, looking over Yaoyorozu thoughtfully.
“You look happier,” she says. “It’s good.”
“I feel amazing ,” he says, clasping his hands in front of his chest. “Yamamoto-sensei had it ready for me when I walked up, like she already knew I was coming!” He tucks his fringe behind his ear. “I’m so happy, I thought I was going to have to be fitted, and lose class time, and…”
“You look so good ,” Hagakure coos. “Very handsome. Right, Kyouka!”
“Yeah, definitely. Super handsome,” Jirou agrees, strolling over. Yaoyorozu turns pink.
“ Hell yes!” Kirishima shouts, leaning in around Ashido with his hand outstretched. “You are lookin’ super good , my dude!” Yaoyorozu high fives him with a flustered laugh.
He spends the rest of class changes for the day fielding high fives, fist bumps, and congratulations with a steadily pinker face and a wider smile.
The pick up days for summer break roll around not long after.
“I’m telling my parents tonight,” Yaoyorozu tells Aizawa as he stands by the gate. “I have your number still in case it goes wrong, but I’m hoping it won’t!”
“Good luck,” Aizawa says as Yaoyorozu’s car pulls up. With one hand on the door handle, Yaoyorozu turns back, skirt twisting with the motion, and waves at him.
Aizawa lifts a hand in response, unable to stop himself. He’ll be glued to his phone all night, he thinks. Just in case.
The rest of the pick ups go according to both schedule and plan. Aizawa and Shinsou lock up the dorms and get in the car with Hizashi and Eri and the four go home. Dinner is takeout picked up on the way to their apartment.
Once home and he and Hizashi are on the couch with Shinsou and Eri perched at the squat table in front of them, Aizawa pulls the wrapper off his burger and peels the top bun up.
“What are you doing?” Hitoshi asks, looking up curiously from his own burger. He tilts his head, and Eri mimics it, nibbling on a chicken nugget.
“Don’t like tomatoes,” Aizawa says. He offers the rest of his burger forward instead of picking the tomatoes off and holding them out. “Do you want them?”
“No, thank you,” Hitoshi says. “I don’t like them either.”
“More for me then,” Hizashi says, and reaches over to pick the offending food from Aizawa’s burger. He crams the tomato slices into his mouth on their own instead of putting them on his own burger, and Aizawa has to fight back a smile at Hitoshi’s wrinkled nose and mildly horrified expression.
Aizawa eats half of his burger, then pulls the top bun off and picks the lettuce off. He eats it, then closes the burger and wraps the paper around it again.
“Done?” Hizashi asks, holding out his hand. Aizawa nods and puts the rest of the burger into Hizashi’s hand. Once finished with his own burger, Hizashi digs into the remains of Aizawa’s.
Aizawa must doze off, because the next thing he’s aware of is a loud ringtone, sharp buzzing, and someone shaking his shoulder. He sits up straight and fumbles his phone out of the hand offering it.
He barely catches it before the last ring. “Hello?” Aizawa hopes his voice doesn’t sound as bleary as it feels.
The only answer he gets is choked sobbing that sounds like it’s being muffled behind a tightly clamped hand and the distant noise of cicadas.
Aizawa is wide awake now. He tucks his phone between his ear and shoulder and waves Hizashi over. Get ready to go , he signs.
Hizashi’s brows pinch together with the accompanying confused frown, but he slinks over to the entryway and starts lacing himself into his boots. Aizawa stands and paces around the coffee table. Eri watches him pace from the couch, then glances at Hizashi, eyes wide and worried.
All he can hear is the sobbing, and occasional aborted half-words. When it starts to slow, he interjects as calmly and as gently as he can. “Can you tell me where you are?” he asks.
“I’m,” Tadashi chokes out. “At the p-p-p-park, by my h-house.” He hiccups, and the sobbing starts fresh. “It’s not my house anymore,” he wails. “They kicked me out.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Aizawa says. “Do you want me to stay on the line?”
“I don’t know,” Tadashi says, sucking in a shuddering breath.
Aizawa heads down the hallway, debating whether or not to put shoes on at all, and raps on the doorframe to the bedroom. “We’ll be back. Keep an eye on Eri,” he says, angling the phone away a bit when Hitoshi looks up from his intent scratching at Chips’ shoulders. Hitoshi nods, and Aizawa decides against shoes.
“I thought,” Tadashi says in his ear, voice thick. “I thought—” He cuts himself off with a particularly strangled sounding noise and a messy sniffle.
“I know,” Aizawa says.
The pathway outside their duplex is still warm from the mid-summer sunshine and it’s rough under Aizawa’s toes. Hizashi locks the door behind them, then makes a quick motion of asking who ?
Yaoyorozu , Aizawa fingerspells carefully. “Can you keep talking to me?” he says into the phone, ignoring Hizashi’s wide-eyed, vaguely shellshocked expression.
He listens to Yaoyorozu’s halting chattering and feels like he’s hearing a panic attack in progress.
In the car, Hizashi’s fingers touch his wrist and then brush over the heel of his hand. Hizashi starts the car.
“Tadashi,” Aizawa says. “Mic is with me. Is that okay? He’s driving me to come get you. He doesn’t have to get out of the car when we get there if you don’t want him to.”
“He can,” Yaoyorozu says, sniffling wetly. “It’s fine.”
Aizawa keeps Yaoyorozu on the phone with gentle prods of, “Stay on with me, Tadashi,” while Hizashi drives. The radio stays off. Hizashi stays quiet. Tadashi has dissolved from words to thick, hiccuping sobs all over again.
It is a tense ten minutes.
When they pull up to the park Yaoyorozu mentioned, it’s not hard to spot him sitting at one of the picnic tables under a nearby pavilion. Hizashi cuts the engine and pushes his door open. He waits for Aizawa to climb out of the car also, and then he’s speed-walking across the grass towards their student.
“Hey, kiddo,” floats back to Aizawa through the muggy summer air. “We’re here now.” It’s echoed through the phone line, and Aizawa takes that as a cue to take his phone from his ear and swipe his thumb over the icon that disconnects the call.
In the light from the streetlamp, Aizawa watches Yaoyorozu throw his arms around Hizashi and grip at the back of his t-shirt. Hizashi curls protectively around him and sways gently back and forth, one hand holding steady and the other rubbing soothing circles into the boy’s shoulder.
As he approaches, he hears Hizashi say, “We’ve got you. You’re okay. We’re here.” When he draws level, one hand goes on Hizashi’s back and one goes on Tadashi’s arm. “What happened?” Hizashi asks.
“They,” Tadashi starts, muffled by Hizashi’s shoulder. “They kicked me out. I t-told them I’m trans after dinner, and my mom told me to leave!” He sobs, and Aizawa feels more than he sees Hizashi hold Tadashi just that much tighter. “Dad said I had thirty minutes and that he was being generous with time, so I know they meant it.”
“That’s awful ,” Hizashi says. His voice is tight, and Aizawa is guiltily glad that out of the two of them Hizashi is the one with more capability to be empathetic. Right now, as it stands, Aizawa is just angry . He’s angry that Yaoyorozu’s parents reacted so coldly and heartlessly to him trusting them enough to tell them about himself. In fact, he’s harboring a simmering fury that the boy that had been cheerfully optimistic earlier that evening has been turned into a sobbing, shaking mess by his own parents.
Someone needed to be comforting for this child, and Aizawa was glad it was going to be Hizashi.
“I didn’t even get to unpack for summer ,” Tadashi blubbers.
“How long have you been out here?” Aizawa finds his voice long enough to ask.
“D-dinner was at six-thirty,” Tadashi says, lifting his head from Hizashi’s shoulder. Aizawa pulls his phone from the pocket of his sweats and checks the time. Eight thirteen. “I wanted to wait until I was calm to call, but I couldn’t calm down.”
Tadashi’s bangs are stuck to his forehead. In a small gesture of paternal affection, Hizashi smooths them back from his face as Tadashi pulls out of their hug. “That’s okay,” Hizashi says, dropping his hand to take one of Aizawa’s. “Let’s get you home. I bet Hitoshi’d like having a friend spend summer break with us.”
“My bags are under the table,” Tadashi says by way of answer. Aizawa grabs the duffel bag and rolling suitcase and lets Hizashi lead Tadashi back to the car with a hand on his shoulder.
The ride back is less tense and more tired .
Tadashi’s crying has petered out into occasional sniffles, and Aizawa has dug into the glovebox for a travel pack of tissues to hand back to him. He speaks up again as Hizashi is pulling into their driveway. “Do I… have to talk to my parents again?” he asks. His voice is timid and almost mousy despite being hoarse from tears.
“Only if you want to,” Hizashi answers before Aizawa can open his mouth. “And only when you’re ready. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”
Once again, Aizawa is grateful that Hizashi is there; his own answer would have been a point blank no and he would have left it at that.
The lock sticks when Hizashi shoves his key in, and the unending meows from the other side has Tadashi covering a tiny, watery smile. “You’ve never mentioned an-another cat. I just know Spaghetti,” he says.
“I don’t talk much about my home life, do I?” Aizawa says as Hizashi bends and scoops Chips up before she can slip out between the three of them and escape. Sketti darts back into the hallway, towards Hitoshi’s room.
He watches as Hizashi holds Chips out to Tadashi with one hand and pulls her leg out gently with the other. “My name’s Chips-sensei. It’s nice to meet you,” Hizashi says, in his usual mockery of Chips’ voice. Tadashi looks startled, but plays along and shakes Chips’ extended paw.
Aizawa guides Hizashi and then Tadashi through the doorway proper with a one-handed shooing motion, then follows them in. He has Tadashi’s suitcase in his hand. “Oh,” Hitoshi says from the doorway of his bedroom, Sketti’s tiny head sticking out of the crook of his arms. It’s soft, and Aizawa almost misses it, but understanding as well. Now that he thinks about it, Aizawa doesn’t actually remember properly explaining this set of possible circumstances to him.
Hitoshi watches Hizashi put Chips down and then guide Tadashi to sit on the couch. He disappears into his room and comes back a moment later, faded blue hoodie in one hand. “Here,” he says, handing it off to Tadashi, who takes it automatically. “Hold onto that.”
“Okay,” Tadashi says, clutching the hoodie to his chest. Aizawa hands Tadashi’s suitcase off to Hizashi, who sets it next to the arm of the couch, then heads into the kitchen. Hitoshi is digging through the pantry.
“Tadashi’s a stress eater,” Hitoshi says quietly, once he realizes Aizawa is behind him. “I figured he might want a snack.”
“Were you going to make him tea, too?” Aizawa asks, folding his arms and propping himself against the counter.
“Well, maybe. Nobody makes hot cocoa like you do, though.” Hitoshi straightens. He looks a bit comical, holding brightly colored bags of chips and other various snacks in each hand.
“I make it out of a packet, like everyone else does. And it’s July.”
“It’s still comforting,” Hitoshi says, too casually to be pointed, but Aizawa gets the message. As Hitoshi leaves the kitchen, Aizawa busies himself making the hot cocoa. He makes a mug for Tadashi, for Hitoshi, and one for Eri, as he hears her tiny voice float through the house. She must have been drawn out of her room by the new voice as she hadn’t been in the living room when they’d returned, and Aizawa knows she always wants hot chocolate when he makes it.
He pours extra milk in all three mugs to make it cool enough to drink, then brings them out. In the living room, Eri is holding up a stuffed animal—a marbled white and gold unicorn with a gold horn—and explaining how its name is Sprinkles and is the most important stuffed animal she has, because they’re twins.
Tadashi doesn’t necessarily look happy , but he looks less upset , and that’s what matters for the time being.