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Just A Little Advice

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The first thing that Yamada Hizashi does after getting home from a long day of school at UA is collapse face first on his bed.

The second thing he does is text Iida Tensei.

Tensei takes a good fifteen minutes to reply, which is a little strange, considering his usual texting speed. Then again, he did just get a new phone after his last one got shattered during training, so maybe he’s taking a while to figure out how it works. Finally, though, Hizashi’s phone buzzes with a text and he eagerly flips it open.

The reply he’s received isn’t quite what he was expecting.

u like that song? i’m p sure i’m going to tear my hair out if i have to hear it 1 more time.

Hizashi frowns at the text for a moment, before his phone buzzes with another message.

also i think u have the wrong #.

Which makes a lot more sense than Tensei sending him that first text. Hizashi feels a wave of relief after the near heart attack the first text had given him, but that relief is soon replaced by indignation.

hey!!! that song is quality!! he replies, his fingers tapping quickly at the small buttons on his phone keyboard.

After he hits send, Hizashi finds himself checking his phone every few seconds, willing the person on the other end to reply. Part of him worries that they won’t – it was a wrong number, after all – but thankfully a couple of minutes later his phone buzzes again.

i’ve heard it 5 times in the last hr

i guess it is a little overplayed, Hizashi admits, biting his lower lip as he types. but that’s just because it’s so good!!

if i hear it one more time i’m going to stab myself. or some1 else.

Hizashi can’t help but raise an eyebrow as he reads the new text. Someone’s clearly having a bad day.

wow that’s kind of an intense reaction. did something happen to u today??

mayb i’m just an intense person

Hizashi lets out a little snort of amusement at that. He’s not sure how he was picturing the person on the other end of the line before, but now they’ve been solidified in his mind as dark haired and gloomy looking.

oh my god r u some sort of goth teenager???

It takes the stranger a moment longer to reply this time, and Hizashi finds himself absently drumming his fingers over the surface of his bed.

i’m not a fan of punk-rock if that’s what ur insinuating, the person finally replies. Before Hizashi can text back, though, he receives another short text.

are u a teenager?

yep!! i’m 16!! he types, briefly wondering if that’s too much information to give out to a complete stranger. also i can’t believe u abbreviated “you’re” but actually typed out “insinuating”

shut up. and u shouldn’t tell strangers ur age. i could be a 50 yr old creeper.

well u asked and i’m pretty sure ur a teenager too ;)

The way the stranger texts certainly suggests as much, at least from what Hizashi’s seen of old people trying to figure out how phones work.

didn’t any1 ever teach u abt stranger danger?

hey it’s not like i’m gonna send u photos or agree to meet u or anything!!! Hizashi protests, feeling a little indignant. Maybe giving out his age wasn’t the best idea, but he’s not a complete idiot.

fine. i’m 16 too, the stranger replies, and Hizashi lets a triumphant grin spread across his face.

now who doesn’t know about stranger danger??? i could have lied about my age!!

no 50 yr old texts that fast

Well, Hizashi supposes he has a point there. Before he can reply, though, he hears a knock and turns to find his mother standing in the doorway.

“Dinner’s ready,” she signs, glancing pointedly at the phone still clutched in his hands.

“Just one sec!” Hizashi signs back, only taking his hands off his phone for a moment to make the hand gestures, before fixing his eyes intently on his phone as he types out another quick message.

i have to go now!! but it was nice talking to u!! even if u have bad taste in music!!

“Hizashi…” his mother signs again, a hint of annoyance in her movements now. Hizashi grimaces and tosses his phone down on his bed, before following downstairs, not waiting for a reply.

---

When Hizashi finally gets back up to his room after dinner and checks his phone, he finds one more text.

you’re weird. but i guess i’ve had worse conversations.

Hizashi grins and, after a second of hesitation, he saves the phone number in his contacts as “Stranger Danger.”

---

Hizashi mostly forgets about the brief conversation until the next day at school, when he’s talking with Tensei during their lunch period.

“By the way, you didn’t text me last night,” Tensei says, after swallowing a bite of his sandwich.

“Oh, crap, yeah, I think I put your number in wrong,” Hizashi replies, with a sheepish laugh. “I got an interesting conversation with a stranger out of it, though.”

“Do you realize how sketchy that just sounded?” Tensei snorts, his eyebrows rising up towards his hairline.

“Not you too,” Hizashi groans. “That’s exactly what the person I accidentally texted said.”

“I actually find that strangely comforting,” Tensei says, his tone thoughtful.

“Yeah, I have them saved in my contacts as ‘Stranger Danger’,” Hizashi snorts, taking another bite of the apple on his tray.

“You saved some random person’s number?” Tensei asks, sounding wary again. Hizashi grimaces internally, bracing himself for a lecture.

“I don’t know, they were kind of funny,” Hizashi says. Sure, the person’s sense of humor was sort of sharp and sarcastic, but Hizashi can appreciate that. “I’m probably not going to talk to them again, though. It’s just, you know, like a souvenir, so that I can look at the conversation and laugh or whatever.”

“If you say so,” Tensei replies, but his skepticism is clear in his tone.

“Hey, I’m not a complete idiot!” Hizashi huffs. “I’m not going to send them photos or agree to meet up with them or anything.”

“I want to believe you, but you’re kind of a people pleaser,” Tensei sighs, and Hizashi supposes he has a point. “I just don’t want you to get mixed up in something that’s going to come back to bite you – or worse.”

“Can we talk about something else?” Hizashi groans.

“Fine, how’s the Aizawa plan coming along?” Tensei asks, arching an eyebrow at Hizashi in challenge.

“Why am I friends with you?” Hizashi sighs, burying his face in his hands. “And for your information, the Aizawa plan is coming along fine. Just slowly.”

“So he’s still ignoring you,” Tensei snorts, and Hizashi peeks through his fingers to glare at him.

“Yes, he is,” Hizashi replies. “But, you know, third time’s the charm, right?”

“It’s been almost two months since he transferred from gen. ed. and he hasn’t talked to anyone voluntarily. Well, except for Kayama-senpai,” Tensei points out, and Hizashi grimaces. “Also, I’m pretty sure you’re at your eleventh attempt now.”

“I’m wearing him down slowly,” Hizashi huffs, his cheeks flushing a little. “He’ll start replying when I talk to him eventually.”

“Hizashi,” Tensei sighs. “Just give up already. It’s not going to work.”

“Not with that attitude it’s not,” Hizashi replies, stubborn. Tensei rolls his eyes in response.

“Seriously, maybe you’re coming on too strong,” Tensei says. “You need to chill with your awkward crush a little.”

“Why are you so mean to me? And it’s not like I’m flirting with him – I’m just trying to be friendly,” Hizashi complains. “See, this is why I was reluctant to tell you about the Aizawa situation in the first place!”

“I mean, I would have noticed eventually,” Tensei replies, sounding amused. “You’re not exactly subtle.”

Hizashi kicks him under the table.

“It’s not just because of my crush, okay?” Hizashi sighs, picking at his food. “Don’t you think he must be at least a little lonely? I mean, I know a few people were bitter about him winning the sports festival at first, but I’m pretty sure everyone’s gotten over that by now.”

“Look, you’ve already tried being friendly,” Tensei replies. “Maybe he’s just really introverted or something. You’re probably just annoying him at this point.”

“Alright, alright,” Hizashi says, conceding the point.

Still, the conversation nags at him all throughout the day. They changed the seating chart at the beginning of the semester so that Hizashi sits right behind Aizawa now, and he finds himself staring at the back of Aizawa’s head during Modern Lit, thinking about how to proceed.

Maybe he’s just projecting, but he can’t help but think that Aizawa maybe is a little lonely. Sure, he has Kayama-senpai, but she’s a year ahead of them, so it’s not like she and Aizawa can interact during class. Most of the other students in 1-A steer clear of Aizawa, partially because he’s so standoffish and partially because the fact that he transferred into heroics halfway through the year marks him as distinctly other.

The thing is, Aizawa acts like he doesn’t care.

It’s like no one’s opinion matters to him except his own, like he’s the only one able to define himself and everyone else is inconsequential. And while part of Hizashi is in awe of him and his raw self-confidence, part of Hizashi wonders if Aizawa is really that unaffected or if it’s just an act. Fake it ‘till you make it, if you will.

Sure, Hizashi can understand the whole “I’m here to become a hero, not to mess around” sort of mentality, but most everyone in their class is going to become a significant pro-hero someday, so making friends is important for networking, at the very least. Really, it would be in Aizawa’s best interest to make friends.

Still, despite his best efforts, Aizawa just doesn’t seem to be responding. Really, as of yet the most of a reaction Hizashi’s gotten is a mild glare.

When Hizashi gets home that evening, he texts Tensei – using the proper number this time. Tensei replies almost immediately and they chat for a while, until Tensei has to go help do something with his new baby brother. After sending his goodbye text, Hizashi makes a move to close his phone so that he can start on homework, but then he pauses.

For a moment he’s indecisive, but then he opens his text conversation with ‘Stranger Danger.’

so there’s this guy i wanna be friends with but he won’t even give me the time of day, he types, hitting ‘send’ quickly before he loses his nerve.

As soon as it’s been sent, he flips his phone shut with a click and sets it aside, pulling out his English homework. He manages to lose himself in the problems, but a few minutes later he’s startled out of his concentration by the buzzing of his phone. He flips it open eagerly, however his smile turns into a frown when he finds that all he’s received in reply is: ?

For a brief moment, he wonders if Stranger Danger had deleted their texts the previous night and doesn’t recognize the number anymore, but a moment later his phone buzzes with a second message.

y wld u want a friend like that

Hizashi bites his lip as he contemplates how to reply.

he seems cool? like he’s really motivated & doesn’t care what people think about him?? also he doesn’t have many friends and i think he’s kind of lonely.

It takes Stranger Danger a moment to respond this time.

so this is a pity thing

no!!!! Hizashi replies quickly, scowling. look i also have a bit of a crush on him?? it’s really not a pity thing.

Once again, Stranger Danger takes their sweet time responding and Hizashi’s about to give up on the conversation and go back to his English homework when he finally receives another message.

r u popular

The question throws Hizashi off guard and he frowns at it for a long moment, before texting, i guess??? what does that have to do with anything??

ur definitely popular, Stranger Danger replies, and Hizashi can almost hear the snort in their tone.

Hizashi’s about to send an annoyed reply, but Stranger Danger beats him to it.

look imagine ur invited 2 a party by some1 who’s nice but who’s popular & u don’t rlly know well. it’s ok at the start cuz they greet u & talk 2 u but then they have 2 go greet some1 else & ur left on ur own w/ a bunch of ppl who r all already friends w/ each other & u just end up in the corner. that’s prob y this person doesn’t wanna get involved w/ u.

Hizashi hadn’t really thought about it that way, but he supposes it makes sense, particularly when taking into account the fact that Aizawa transferred so late. Then again, Hizashi’s sure that people would warm up to him quickly enough if he actually made an effort to be friendly once in a while. Friendship is a two way street, after all.

so i should start small before inviting him to a party??? Hizashi replies. like maybe 1 on 1 and then invite another person and so on??

… i guess if that’s how u wanna interpret it, Stranger Danger texts back a moment later. or u cld just give up and save urself the trouble.

Well, Hizashi’s never been the type to give up easily.

---

The only thing is, now Hizashi needs a plan. Part of him wants to just go up to Aizawa and ask him to hang out after school, but another part of him is afraid that if he acts so boldly Aizawa will know – about Hizashi’s crush on him, that is. And while Hizashi would love to be confident enough to simply ask Aizawa out, he figures he should take things slowly at first. Friends, then maybe boyfriends, if Aizawa seems at all interested.

Hizashi zones out during class more than he probably should, trying to think up a solution, but nothing comes immediately to mind. He could have asked Aizawa to tutor him in some subject, if he weren’t already 2nd in the class, with Aizawa coming in 4th. With his abysmal English scores, Hizashi’s half tempted to ask Aizawa if he wants some study tips, but he’s pretty sure he’d just come off as arrogant then.

He’s still trying to think up ideas when hero training rolls around. They’re doing hero vs villain simulations today, and, as luck would have it, Hizashi gets paired up with Aizawa.

“Hey!” Hizashi says brightly, jogging over to Aizawa. “So, we’re partners.”

“Very observant of you,” Aizawa replies, his tone dry.

“I don’t think we’ve ever worked together before, have we?” Hizashi muses, doing his best to ignore Aizawa’s jab. “I mean, last time you got pared with Kan – ”

“Aren’t we supposed to be using this time to strategize?” Aizawa interrupts, annoyance growing in his expression.

“Yeah, we should probably do that,” Hizashi says with a small, sheepish laugh. “So. You can erase people’s quirks and I can scream really loud.”

That last comment earns him a small, amused snort from Aizawa, who seems a little caught off guard by his own involuntary reaction.

“And we’re up against Kaida and Sakakibara,” Hizashi continues, trying to ignore the swell of pride in his chest at being able to make Aizawa laugh. “Kaida’s quirk is mutation-class, so I’ll handle her – ”

“What?” Aizawa interrupts, and Hizashi blinks at him.

“I said I’ll deal with Kaida, because her quirk’s mutation-class,” Hizashi repeats, frowning slightly. “You know, because your quirk won’t work against her.”

“How’d you find out about that?” Aizawa demands, bristling slightly, like an agitated cat.

“I-I guess I’m just observant,” Hizashi stutters, smiling weakly. Shit, hopefully Aizawa doesn’t figure out about his huge crush before he’s even had the chance to try to put his ‘make friends with Aizawa’ plan into action.

Aizawa studies him carefully for a long moment, but then sighs and says, “Alright. Do you think the other team knows?”

“Probably not,” Hizashi replies, frowning slightly as he considers it. “I mean, you’re pretty lucky that there aren’t that many people with mutation-class quirks in our year. Most people think that during the sports festival, you took down Kawanaka without your quirk because you were being arrogant.”

Aizawa scowls, an annoyed expression his face.

“Not that I think that!” Hizashi tacks on quickly. “That’s just, you know, what some other people thought.”

“Kaida’s kind of hotheaded,” Aizawa says, and Hizashi frowns, wondering where he’s going with this. “Does she think I purposely didn’t use my quirk against Kawanaka?”

“I’m not sure,” Hizashi replies, biting his lower lip as the thinks. “I mean, she hangs out with Taguchi, though, and he’s pretty vocal about his, um. Issues. With you.”

“So if I engaged Kaida, she’d probably think I’m purposely not using my quirk and get pissed,” Aizawa muses, and Hizashi finally catches his drift.

“And then when she’s focused on you, I’ll strike!” Hizashi announces, punching the air with his fist.

“Think you’ll be able to avoid the spotlight for a couple of minutes?” Aizawa asks, but his tone is teasing, not mean, and Hizashi finds a dopey grin spreading across his lips.

“I think I’ll manage,” Hizashi sighs overdramatically, and for a moment he thinks he sees the ghost of a smile pass over Aizawa’s lips.

As the training exercise starts, Hizashi feels giddy, a little high off the anticipation of actually working together with Aizawa. Exactly as they had predicted, Sakakibara stays behind to guard the weapon while Kaida barges ahead to attack Hizashi and Aizawa head-on. Aizawa doesn’t hesitate to jump towards Kaida, and Hizashi has to admit that he’s a little impressed. Even though they have a plan in place, it takes some nerve to confront an opponent who you know your quirk will have no effect on, classroom exercise or not.

“I’ll take care of her,” Aizawa says, and although his voice is loud, there’s a certain laziness to it. “Go find the missile.”

Thankfully, Kaida reacts as predicted, her face flushing a little red with anger at Aizawa’s casual dismissal. Hizashi has to stifle a grin as he darts past Kaida and around the corner to wait for Aizawa’s signal.

It’s a little nerve-wracking just waiting, but as much as he wants to peek around the corner and make sure Aizawa’s doing alright, he can’t risk Kaida catching a glimpse of him. Instead, he closes his eyes for a moment and steadies his breathing. A clear, open airway is always important for his quirk, after all.

He counts the seconds as he waits and tries not to wonder how Aizawa is faring against Kaida. He’s probably just doing a lot of dodging, Hizashi suspects, and although he can’t quite make out the individual words from this distance, Hizashi can hear the frustration in Kaida’s voice increasing with every insult.

“Yamada!” Aizawa finally yells and Hizashi darts back around the corner and screams – not quite as loudly as he can, because he doesn’t want to compromise the building’s stability or permanently damage anyone’s hearing, but pretty damn loudly.

As Kaida drops to her knees, looking thoroughly dazed and disoriented, Hizashi briefly worries that he’s overdone it. Good thing he had earplugs to give Aizawa.

“C’mon,” Aizawa says, breaking Hizashi from his thoughts. Hizashi blinks as he realizes that Aizawa’s already starting to make his way to the second floor. “We’ve already used up half our time.”

“Right! Coming!” Hizashi replies, scrambling to keep up with Aizawa. There’s no way Sakakibara missed Hizashi’s yell just now, so she’s probably on guard. Now that they’ve lost the element of surprise, they can only hope that numbers – and possibly skill – will be enough to overpower her.

They find her on the top floor. She has a force-field quirk, one which strengthens her barriers the longer she maintains them, and by the surprised look on her face, she’d been expecting Kaida to be able to stall the two of them for longer.

In fact, it dawns on Hizashi that the reason Kaida didn’t really bother to try and stop him when he got past her was probably because she’s perceived Aizawa’s quirk as the greater threat to Sakakibara’s force-fields. If Hizashi had actually continued on like he’d pretended to, he probably would have just ended up yelling aimlessly at Sakakibara’s force-field until Aizawa showed up (or, if Kaida had been able to stall Aizawa, until their time ran out).

As it is, Aizawa just activates his quirk, eyes flashing red, and Sakakibara’s force-field flickers for a moment and then vanishes. Then, he pointedly puts his earplugs back in.

Hizashi grins and lets out an earsplitting scream.

Sakakibara sways a little, her balance compromised, and Aizawa lunges forward to neatly sweep her off her feet. Hizashi saunters on over, pleased to see that they still have a whole two minutes before their time is up, and reaches out to touch the missile. However, before his hand makes contact, he sees a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye.

Vaguely, in the back of his mind, he realizes that in their rush to get to the missile, they’d neglected to tie Kaida up.

Almost in slow motion, Hizashi watches as Kaida takes a swing at Aizawa’s exposed back, the sharp spines jutting out of her arm glinting dangerously. Hizashi’s first instinct is to scream, but while that would affect Kaida’s balance some, based on her stance it would probably just make her fall forward onto Aizawa.

So Hizashi lunges forward without a second thought.

As he moves, out of the corner of his eye he sees Aizawa catch a glimpse of Kaida, his eyes widening. It’s a second too late for him to dodge, though, and his quirk’s ineffectiveness against mutation-class quirks leaves him a sitting duck.

Hizashi tackles Aizawa to the floor and has to bite his lip so hard he breaks skin to keep from crying out as Kaida’s spines dig into his shoulder.

“Yamada? Yamada!” Aizawa yells, squirming underneath Hizashi. Idly, Hizashi thinks this would be a terribly awkward situation, if he were able to think about anything other than the searing pain in his shoulder.

“Oh my god – ” he hears Kaida say from somewhere behind him, her voice uncharacteristically nervous.

However, Hizashi ignores both of them as he realizes that neither he nor Aizawa have technically touched the missile yet. He struggles into a more upright position, ignoring Aizawa as he says, “Yamada, you shouldn’t – ” and taps his hand against the missile.

When he pulls his hand away, he leaves a bloody handprint behind. It’s… kind of disturbing looking.

“What sort of idiot are you?” Aizawa hisses, and Hizashi lets out a yelp of pain as Aizawa tugs at his jacket, wrestling it off of his shoulder to inspect the damage.

“Hey, I just saved you!” Hizashi says through gritted teeth as Aizawa prods at his wound.

“I’ll get Recovery Girl,” Kaida mutters before hightailing it out of the room, Sakakibara following after her with a, “I’ll get Sensei!”

“Off,” Aizawa demands, tugging at Hizashi’s shirt.

“What? Hey, you can’t just – ” Hizashi sputters, his cheeks heating as Aizawa tries to drag the shirt up over his head.

“I need something to stanch the bleeding with,” Aizawa says, finally managing to get the shirt over Hizashi’s head, before balling it up and pressing it against Hizashi’s ragged mess of a shoulder.

“Fuck,” Hizashi gasps, tears pricking at the corners of his eyes as Aizawa puts pressure on the wound. “Fucking shit fuck.”

“Well, it’s nice to know you’re not a complete goody two shoes,” Aizawa drawls, but there’s a certain softness to his tone.

“Goody two shoes?” Hizashi repeats around gritted teeth, his brow furrowing.

“You know, ‘let’s all get along and be friends!’” Aizawa says, mimicking Hizashi’s voice terribly.

“I do not sound like that!” Hizashi sputters, his cheeks heating. “And there are people I don’t like!”

“Really?” Aizawa asks, quirking an eyebrow at Hizashi in challenge. “Like who?”

“Plenty of people,” Hizashi mumbles, trying to focus on the conversation instead of the throbbing pain in his shoulder.

“Uh huh,” Aizawa replies, sounding unconvinced.

“Taguchi,” Hizashi blurts out, earning him a surprised expression from Aizawa. “I don’t like Taguchi.”

“Why?” Aizawa asks, and he can’t quite keep the genuine curiosity from his tone.

“Because he’s an asshole who insults people behind their backs,” Hizashi huffs, and Aizawa –

Aizawa laughs.

It’s not one of those small, amused snorts Hizashi’s heard him make before, but a sharp, full sound. Hizashi can’t help but gape for a moment, wondering if blood loss has made him delirious or something.

“That’s such a goody two shoes thing to say,” Aizawa finally replies, a smirk on his lips.

“Shut up,” Hizashi grumbles, his cheeks heating.

Before Aizawa can reply, though, Recovery Girl appears in the doorway and makes her way over to Hizashi. She tuts a little as she shoos Aizawa aside and removes the – now blood soaked – t-shirt from Hizashi’s shoulder. Thankfully, she heals up the wound fairly quickly, though.

And when Aizawa offers to help support him as he walks to the infirmary, slinging Hizashi’s undamaged arm over his shoulders, Hizashi can’t help but think that today was a reasonable success.

---

Hizashi’s at home, lying in bed and listening to music, when he gets the text. His shoulder is still a little sore from earlier, despite being healed by Recovery Girl, and he winces a little as he reaches for his phone.

how do u thank some1

It’s really not the sort of text he’d expected to receive from Stranger Danger and he stares at it for a long moment.

u just say “thank you”??? he finally replies.

This time, it takes barely a moment for Stranger Danger to text him back.

i mean 4 smth big

Hizashi frowns as he reads the reply, his brow furrowing.

what kind of big??

like say u almost got hit by a car but some1 pushed u out of the way & got hurt instead of u

Hizashi’s eyes widen as he reads the response, his fingers flying over the keyboard of his flip-phone.

oh my god u almost got hit by a car????? he replies, worrying his lower lip with his teeth as he types.

no! it was just similar

similar to getting hit by a car??? Hizashi asks, wincing a little as his sore shoulder throbs a bit. He massages it for a moment and wonders if getting stabbed during training feels anything like getting hit by a car.

look i just need 2 know how 2 thank this guy, Stranger Danger replies, their grumpiness and frustration evident even when distorted by text speak.

well saying “thank you” is still a good place to start, Hizashi points out.

This time, it takes Stranger Danger a little longer to reply, and briefly Hizashi wonders if they’ve gotten too frustrated and decided to ask someone else. Then again, Hizashi has to wonder how many friends they have if they’re asking a complete stranger for advice on how to thank someone.

that doesn’t feel like enough

Hizashi lets out a little sigh, slumping back onto his bed and trying to think up some better advice. How would he want Aizawa to thank him, after today’s situation? Briefly, he imagines requesting a kiss and his cheeks flush bright pink before he shoves that thought from his mind.

how well do u know this guy?? Hizashi finally asks.

we’re in the same class but we haven’t talked much before, Stranger Danger replies.                                                                              

well if ur in the same class then maybe u could figure out what he likes or something he wants and repay him that way, Hizashi suggests.

It seems like reasonable enough advice, in his opinion, even if it was partially inspired by his selfish desire for Aizawa to repay him for his earlier heroism with a kiss. (It wouldn’t even have to be a really involved kiss, really! Just, you know, a thank you kiss. Or something.)

ok

There’s a brief delay, but then Stranger Danger tacks on: thanks.

It appears Stranger Danger can be taught, Hizashi thinks, smiling to himself.

---

The aching in Hizashi’s shoulder has almost entirely vanished by the next morning. It still feels strange to move it, though, like he’s not quite used to all of the newly regenerated muscle yet, and so he slings his backpack over his opposite shoulder as he walks to school.

When he arrives at UA and enters 1-A’s classroom, he’s surprised to find Aizawa already there, sitting at his desk. While Aizawa’s never late, he’s certainly never early, and Hizashi finds himself staring for a moment as Aizawa glares at his phone, muttering something under his breath.

“Good morning!” Hizashi finally manages, plastering a smile on his face and making his way over to his desk. Aizawa startles a little, looking over at Hizashi and closing his phone with a sharp click.

“Morning,” Aizawa mumbles. He pauses for a second and then asks, “How’s your shoulder?”

“Still feels a little weird, but it doesn’t hurt or anything,” Hizashi answers, twisting his arm to demonstrate his range of movement. Aizawa watches him intently, as if looking for any signs of pain, and Hizashi does his best to fight the butterflies in his stomach at the feeling of Aizawa’s eyes on him.

“Thanks,” Aizawa says suddenly, startling Hizashi. “For what you did yesterday.”

“Uh, sure,” Hizashi replies, unable to entirely keep the surprise from his tone. “Anytime.”

“Did you seriously just offer to throw yourself out in front of danger for me anytime?” Aizawa asks, a hint of amusement in his voice.

“Well, within reason,” Hizashi answers, a smile spreading over his face. “If there are insects involved, you’re on your own.”

“You’re afraid of bugs?” Aizawa asks, sounding genuinely surprised.

“They’re just so…” Hizashi tries to explain, shuddering a little. “Crawly. And they have too many legs.”

“Alright, so you can protect me from bodily harm and I can protect you from bugs,” Aizawa snorts, the ghost of a smile on his face. Hizashi can’t help but stare a little.

“Sounds like an equal exchange,” Hizashi finally manages.

“Seriously, though,” Aizawa says, his expression turning serious. “If there’s anything I can do to thank you, just say so. I mean, I still think it was kind of stupid of you to just jump out in front of Kaida like that, but. Thanks. I owe you.”

Hizashi stares at Aizawa for a moment, caught off guard, and does his best not to think about thank-you kisses.

“Do you wanna go to the arcade with me?” Hizashi blurts out, the words spilling past his lips before he can overthink them. “After school?”

“Sure,” Aizawa answers easily, catching Hizashi off guard.

“Really?” Hizashi replies, blinking at Aizawa.

“Is that not the answer you wanted?” Aizawa asks, frowning.

“No! No, I do want you to go to the arcade with me, I was just kind of surprised you agreed,” Hizashi laughs. “I mean, I guess you’re kind of obligated because I helped you out yesterday, but, you know. Thanks for agreeing?”

Aizawa stares at him for a long moment and then says, “You’re weird.”

“Hey!” Hizashi sputters, his cheeks heating.

“I didn’t mean that in a bad way,” Aizawa huffs. “You kind of remind me of someone.”

Before Hizashi can ask what he means by that, though, a handful of their classmates come spilling into the room. Iida comes directly over to greet Hizashi, and a few other people crowd around him to ask how his shoulder’s doing, effectively cutting off his conversation with Aizawa.

However, despite the many distractions the school day provides, Hizashi isn’t quite able to keep his mind off of the fact that he and Aizawa are actually going to hang out after school. He’s been trying to get Aizawa to just talk to him for months now and the idea of them actually doing something together is more than a little surreal, even if Aizawa is just doing it out of obligation.

The end of the day comes around both too slowly and too quickly, and Hizashi feels like his heart is racing two times too fast as he comes over to Aizawa after class. He rocks back on his heels nervously, his hands shoved in his pockets, as he waits for Aizawa to finish packing up his books.

“Sooooo,” Hizashi says, drawing out the vowel. “What sort of arcade games do you like?”

“I’m not bad at prize games,” Aizawa replies with a shrug as they head out of the classroom. “You know, the ones with the cranes.”

“Ahhh, really?” Hizashi says. “I’m terrible at those. I have the high score on Dance Dance Revolution, though!”

“You’re not going to make me play that, are you?” Aizawa asks, sounding a little wary.

“Aww, c’mon, aren’t you supposed to be repaying me for saving your life?” Hizashi whines, giving Aizawa his best puppy dog eyes.

“I wouldn’t go quite that far,” Aizawa snorts, but there’s a hint of amusement in his tone.

“Fine, severe bodily harm, then,” Hizashi says as exit the school doors and start down the street.

“You didn’t actually sustain any permanent damage,” Aizawa replies, and Hizashi supposes he has a bit of a point. “Your arm’s perfectly fine today.”

“What an ingrate,” Hizashi sighs overdramatically, his tone exaggerated enough that hopefully Aizawa can tell that he’s joking. “See if I ever save you from severe physical pain again.”

“You’re the one trying to get me to play DDR,” Aizawa snorts. “I’m pretty sure that counts as severe physical pain to some people.”

“You know what, we can argue about this later,” Hizashi huffs as they enter the arcade, taking in the bright neon lights and bustle of people. “First you gotta show me this prize game skill you were bragging about.”

“I wasn’t bragging!” Aizawa protests, his cheeks going a little pink.

“So you’re saying you’re not good at prize games?” Hizashi asks, a hint of teasing challenge to his tone.

Aizawa narrows his eyes a little dangerously and then says, “Fine. Hold my bag.”

Hizashi takes it eagerly as Aizawa marches over to a plexiglas case full of stuffed animals. Hizashi watches on in fascination as Aizawa studies the layout of the prizes, frowning slightly, before digging his wallet out of his pocket and inserting a couple of coins.

Honestly, it’s a little hard for Hizashi to pay attention to Aizawa’s technique when Aizawa bites his lower lip in concentration as he maneuvers the crane, his lip plump and pink under his teeth. Hizashi manages to tear his eyes away after a few moments, though, to find that Aizawa’s already managed to pick up a stuffed cat and is skillfully maneuvering it over to the drop slot. He really wasn’t lying about being pretty good at prize games.

“There,” Aizawa says as he fishes the cutesy stuffed cat out of the prize slot and all but shoves it into Hizashi’s hands. “You were the one who wanted me to prove that I’m actually good at these, so you have to carry it around.”

Hizashi has to sternly remind himself that this is not a date as he clutches the stuffed cat.

“You sure you don’t want to try DDR?” Hizashi finally manages to ask. “You have pretty good coordination. You’d probably be good at it.”

“No,” Aizawa says flatly.

“C’mon, please?” Hizashi cajoles. “You said you owed me!”

Aizawa’s quiet for a very long moment, but then he sighs and says, “Once, alright? I’ll do it once.”

“Yes!” Hizashi exclaims, punching the air. Aizawa rolls his eyes, but follows Hizashi over to the DDR consoles. “You’ve played before, right?”

“A few times,” Aizawa mutters, shrugging.

Thankfully there’s no one already playing, so Hizashi sets their bags down next to the dance platforms, placing the stuffed cat carefully on top of them. Reluctantly, Aizawa steps up onto the dance platform next to Hizashi.

“Don’t worry; we can pick something easy,” Hizashi says as he fiddles with the controls, trying to determine what will fit Aizawa’s skill level (or lack thereof) best.

As the song starts up, Hizashi positions himself on the dance platform, bouncing a little on the balls of his feet in anticipation. He knows this routine well enough that he could probably do it in his sleep, and he can’t help but glance over at Aizawa, wondering how he’ll fare.

When he dances, Hizashi puts his whole body into it. He always feels awkward when just stomping his feet around, and he’s unable to keep himself from putting a little showmanship into it. Today in particular, he can’t help but up his game, wanting to show off a little for Aizawa.

He spares a moment to glance over at Aizawa and is surprised to find that he doesn’t look nearly as concentrated as Hizashi had been expecting. In fact, he looks almost bored. And, when Hizashi looks back at the screen, his eyes widen as he realizes that, so far, Aizawa has maintained a perfect score.

“Oh my god, you liar!” Hizashi exclaims as the song ends and the game congratulates them both on their perfect scores. “You’ve totally played this before!”

“I might have the PlayStation version at home,” Aizawa replies, a smug little smirk on his face. “But I’ve only played the arcade version a couple of times, so I wasn’t technically lying.”

“You know what, you should have just pretended to be horrible, because now I’m gonna make you play again, on Trick and Maniac level this time,” Hizashi huffs. “No more Basic mode.”

“If you insist,” Aizawa sighs – and then takes off his uniform jacket, reaching a hand up to loosen his tie. Hizashi swallows thickly and tries not to stare.

By the time they’re finished with their third song, they’re starting to gather a crowd. Aizawa’s been holding his own pretty well so far, although when they switched to Maniac level, his score slipped a little behind Hizashi’s. The onlookers don’t seem to be helping Aizawa’s performance either, Hizashi realizes. For all that Aizawa ignores their classmates in 1-A, Hizashi doesn’t miss the way he tenses up a little as more and more people gather around to watch.

“Hey, Aizawa,” Hizashi announces as they finish up their current song. “Wanna see me try to dance both parts at once?”

He’s never actually done both parts for a song harder than Trick level, but hey, if he ends up falling flat on his face in front of crowd of people, he might be able to get another laugh out of Aizawa. At least this’ll give Aizawa an excuse to slip out of the limelight without onlookers trying to cajole him into dancing more.

Aizawa looks at him carefully for a long moment and then says, “Don’t fall on your face.”

“Watch the master work,” Hizashi replies, making a show of rolling his shoulders and unbuttoning his shirt cuffs.

Amazingly enough, Hizashi manages to avoid falling at any point during the song. It’s a near thing a couple of times, though, and when he finally finishes his breathing is labored and he can already feel his legs starting to ache. His score isn’t perfect – by a larger margin than he was hoping, actually – but it’s not all that bad, considering.

“Alright, that’s it folks!” he announces, turning to face the crowd and striking his best pose. “Thanks for watching!”

There’s some scattered applause and cheering before people begin to disperse, going back to their own gaming now that the show is over.

“You’re really good at this,” Aizawa says suddenly, making Hizashi look over at him.

“At DDR?” Hizashi asks, frowning slightly.

“Well, yeah, but I what I meant was that you’re really good at entertaining people, I guess,” Aizawa answers, shrugging. “You’re going to make a good hero.”

“Wow,” Hizashi replies, his heartrate speeding up involuntarily. “Wow, uh, thanks.”

They both fall silent for a long moment, and Hizashi wracks his mind for something to say, but he has no clue how to respond after receiving this sort of praise from Aizawa, of all people.

“It’s getting kind of late,” Aizawa says suddenly, breaking the silence. “I should probably head home soon.”

“Oh,” Hizashi replies, unable to entirely keep the disappointment from his tone. “Do you have time to do one more thing?”

“I guess,” Aizawa answers, giving Hizashi a slightly confused look.

“C’mon,” Hizashi says, a small smile spreading across his lips as he picks up his bag and heads over to the other side of the arcade, Aizawa trailing after him a little warily.

“A photo booth?” Aizawa asks, frowning a little, when Hizashi finally comes to a stop.

“It’ll be fun!” Hizashi insists, herding a reluctant Aizawa into the booth. He always forgets how small these things actually are, and he has to fight a blush as he finds himself squished a little closer to Aizawa than he'd been anticipating. “Now you’ll have a souvenir to remember me by!”

“Aren’t my memories enough of a souvenir?” Aizawa asks dryly, but he doesn’t try to push his way back out of the photo booth.

“Just smile for the camera,” Hizashi retorts, throwing an arm around Aizawa’s shoulders and grinning.

In the end, Aizawa only smiles in the last photo, but it’s a small, soft smile that makes Hizashi’s heart catch in his throat.

He’s really got it bad.

---

When Hizashi gets home, he spends a long time staring at the photos, before finally taping them to his mirror. With a sigh, he digs out his math textbook, grimacing as he looks over all the problems he still has to do.

However, he’s only three problems in before his phone buzzes with a text.

u have a crush on some1 right

It takes a moment for Hizashi to realize that it’s from Stranger Danger and he frowns as he texts, yeah???

how do u know if u have a crush on some1, Stranger Danger replies, almost immediately.

Hizashi stares at the message for a long moment as he considers how to answer.

well u think about the person all the time, Hizashi finally replies. or more than u normally think about other people, at least. and sometimes you get a funny feeling in ur chest when they look at u or smile and u just really really want them to like u.

It takes much longer for Stranger Danger to reply this time.

i think i have a crush on some1

r u gonna ask them out??? Hizashi asks eagerly, and tries not to think about how he’s already trying to live vicariously through Stranger Danger, considering his own cowardice when it comes to the Aizawa situation.

i literally just figured out i have a crush on him, Stranger Danger texts back, and Hizashi can almost hear the huff in their tone. i need time 2 process.

Well, Hizashi supposes they have a point.

what’s this guy like?? Hizashi asks. Vaguely, he realizes that he still knows next to nothing about Stranger Danger, other than the fact that they’re sixteen. Hell, he doesn’t even know what pronouns to use for them.

loud

Hizashi stares at the short text, wondering how Stranger Danger has a crush on this guy if that’s all they can come up with.

& rlly nice. a ppl person. kind of handsome.

oooh, handsome?? ur breaking out the big compliments here, Hizashi replies, a grin slipping onto his face.

i said KIND OF handsome, Stranger Danger protests.

uh huh, Hizashi replies, hoping his teasing tone is apparent in the short message.

he’s the guy who sort of saved me the other day, Stranger Danger admits, and briefly Hizashi’s mind goes back to when he tried to protect Aizawa during training. He shakes his head to banish the image. Just because Stranger Danger’s crushing on the guy that saved them doesn’t mean that Aizawa’s going to suddenly fall head over heels for him.

so u got urself a knight in shining armor!!

i guess. my dad’s already teasing me abt it cuz we hung out today & i don’t normally hang out w/ ppl after school, Stranger Danger replies.

Hizashi frowns a little as he reads the text. Honestly, the whole situation kind of sounds like what’s happened between him and Aizawa recently – him saving Aizawa during practice and then the two of them going to the arcade this afternoon. Still, that would be a hell of a coincidence.

ur mom’s not teasing u too?? Hizashi asks, trying to forget his little conspiracy theory.

It takes a moment longer than usual for Stranger Danger to reply this time.

i don’t have a mom

Well, shit. Hizashi winces a little at his own callousness. Really, he should know better, considering his own family situation.

i mean i have 1. i just don’t know her, Stranger Danger tacks on.

ahhh sorry!! i didn’t mean to assume, Hizashi replies, worrying his lower lip with his teeth as he types. He hesitates for a moment but then adds, i don’t really know mine either.

After he hits sends, he realizes that he probably needs to add a little more explanation that that.

my birth parents, i mean. i’m adopted.

It’s not something he’s told anyone at school, except for Iida. He’s not embarrassed of his mom or being adopted or anything, but it’s just that, well. Talking about being adopted eventually leads to talking about the circumstances of his adoption, and he’s not really fond of telling people that he cried so loudly as a baby that his birth parents couldn’t take care of him without risking permanent hearing damage – which, consequently, is why he got placed with Yamada Tomiko, who was born deaf. No risk of hearing loss there.

i’ve only told one other person about it since starting high school, Hizashi admits.

It takes Stranger Danger a long moment to reply.

i’ve only told 1 other person abt my mom ever so i guess we have smth in common, Stranger Danger finally says. thanx 4 trusting me i guess.

u know, spelling “thanks” with an x kind of ruins the mood here, Hizashi texts back, a soft smile spreading over his lips.

it’s a letter shorter, Stranger Danger protests.

ur kind of a lazy texter, aren’t u?? Hizashi replies, still smiling.

shut up. it’s efficient.

Well, Hizashi can’t really argue with them on that point.

i have 2 go now, Stranger Danger says before Hizashi can reply to his previous text. my dad needs help with dinner or smth.

alright!! Hizashi says. good luck with ur crush!!

u too. & thanx 4 the advice.

anytime!! Hizashi answers, smiling softly, and he can’t help but hope that Stranger Danger’s crush works out. Maybe that’ll give him the courage to try asking Aizawa out.

---

In the chaos of the last few days’ events, Hizashi realizes that he’s gotten so caught up in his little crush on Aizawa that he’s forgotten his original goal: befriending Aizawa. The arcade excursion the other day was a good start, he thinks. Stranger Danger had suggested that he hang out with Aizawa one on one first, before adding more people.

But, well, as much as Hizashi would love to selfishly keep Aizawa to himself and do something with just the two of them again, it’s probably time for him to try broadening Aizawa’s friend group by adding another person.

“Hey, Aizawa!” Hizashi says, coming over to Aizawa after class as he’s packing up his things. “Do you wanna go to the arcade with me again?”

Aizawa blinks at him, clearly surprised, but then he says, “Sure.”

“Great!” Hizashi chirps, a grin spreading across his face. Then, he turns and yells, “Hey, Tensei, you’re coming too, right?”

“I already said yes when you asked me earlier,” Tensei huffs, slinging his bag over his shoulder. Hizashi doesn’t miss the slightly uncertain way he eyes Aizawa, though.

Sure enough, as they walk over to the arcade, Tensei hangs back a little, and when Hizashi slows his own pace to fall in step with him, Tensei softly asks, “How’d you get Aizawa to come with us?”

“Maybe I’m just that charming,” Hizashi huffs.

Tensei gives him a flat look.

“Look, I made him come with me yesterday to pay me back for the whole training accident,” Hizashi sighs, glancing briefly over at Aizawa, who’s walking slightly ahead of them, oblivious. “I guess he had fun.”

“I’m having a hard time imagining Aizawa at an arcade,” Tensei says, skepticism clear in his tone.

“He’s weirdly good at DDR,” Hizashi replies. “He was actually able to keep up with me on Maniac level!”

Tensei blinks at him, clearly surprised, and then says, “You know, I was skeptical of your crush at first, but now I’m pretty sure you’re soulmates or something. You finally have someone to share your weird DDR obsession with.”

“Hey!” Hizashi sputters, his cheeks heating. “It’s not weird!”

“It’s kind of weird,” Tensei replies, and Hizashi glares at him.

“Whatever,” Hizashi huffs. “Just – try to get along with him, I guess? He’s actually really fun to hang out with. I want you two to like each other.”

“Alright, alright,” Tensei says.

In the end, things do actually work out pretty well. Tensei wipes the floor with Aizawa in Street Fighter, but Aizawa returns the favor in all the prize games. In fact, Hizashi thinks he even sees them share a commiserating look when he decides to show off his DDR skills by trying to do double player mode by himself again.

The one thing Hizashi’s a little disappointed about is that he doesn’t get much time alone with Aizawa. Sure, they play DDR together a couple of times, but that’s partially because Tensei insists Aizawa prove that Hizashi wasn’t just over-exaggerating his abilities. It’s not like the previous day, when he had Aizawa’s attention all to himself.

But this isn’t supposed to be about fostering his crush. This is supposed to be about helping Aizawa make friends. If Aizawa happens to fall for him in the meantime, that’s just a bonus. (Well, a very unlikely bonus, but Hizashi can dream.)

When Hizashi finally gets home from the game, his feet a little sore from hero training and too much DDR, he falls down on his bed face first and just lies there for a long moment. Then, he digs his phone out of his pocket to send a text.

i think i’m sabotaging myself

It takes about a minute for Stranger Danger to respond, sending him simply: ?

i hung out with the guy i have a crush on today but i invited another friend along too, Hizashi explains, pulling himself up off his stomach and sitting cross-legged on his bed so he can text more easily.

this is the guy u thought was lonely right?

well, yeah, Hizashi answers. and i think he had a good time today??? but i wish i had more time with him to myself tbh. i feel really selfish for thinking that tho.

It takes Stranger Danger a long moment to reply this time.

u have a hero complex don’t u

Hizashi feels his cheeks flush a little as he reads the message. He supposes he sort of does, but he is aiming to become a pro-hero, after all.

if ur worried abt sending mxd signals or smth tho then mayb invite other ppl along sometimes but also make a point of spending time w/ this guy on ur own

That… actually sounds like reasonable advice. He won’t feel like he’s monopolizing all of Aizawa’s time, and he’ll still be able to have the opportunity to spend some time alone with Aizawa.

thanks for the advice!! Hizashi replies. how are u faring with ur crush??

i can’t really tell if he’s interested or not, Stranger Danger texts back.

what do u mean by that?? Hizashi asks, frowning slightly.

he’s 2 nice, Stranger Danger answers, and they seem almost disgruntled by it. Hizashi’s a little miffed. idk if he actually likes me or if he’s just being nice.

Hizashi’s frown deepens as he reads Stranger Danger’s text. It’s not exactly a problem he’s ever had to deal with, considering Aizawa doesn’t seem to like anyone very much. Figuring out where he stands with Aizawa almost seems more straightforward, considering he’s not really fighting anyone for Aizawa’s attention.

well has this guy saved anyone else from getting hit by a car?? Hizashi finally asks.

it wasn’t actually a car, Stranger Danger replies, and Hizashi can almost hear the huff in their tone. but no, he hasn’t. that’s mayb cuz he hasn’t had the chance tho.

speaking as a friendly person, if i specifically go out of my way to talk to someone instead of just talking with them when they come to me, that means i like them more, Hizashi says. maybe ur crush is like that.

mayb, Stranger Danger replies simply.

hey, keep ur hopes up!! Hizashi says. this guy saving u has gotta mean something!!

i guess, Stranger Danger texts back, sounding less than convinced.

i’m sure it’ll work out, Hizashi assures them.

thanx, Stranger Danger replies. u 2.

Hizashi can only hope that he’ll be that lucky. He appreciates the sentiment, though.

---

Going to the arcade with Aizawa becomes a regular thing, much to Hizashi’s delight. Sometimes Tensei comes along, but other times he has to go straight home after school to watch his baby brother. Hizashi’s kind of glad that he’s an only child.

(He got to hold baby Tenya once, which felt magical for about ten seconds before Tenya spit up on him. He’s begged out of holding babies since.)

Hizashi thinks he’s really making progress with Aizawa. Well, maybe not really romantically, but as a friend, at least. He might even have the courage to ask Aizawa out, in like a year or so.

“I’m so hungry,” Hizashi groans as he steps off the DDR platform, the screen declaring that he’s gotten marginally better at doing double person mode by himself. “Wanna get something to eat? There’s a café across the street.”

“You’re going to spoil your dinner,” Aizawa snorts, but he shrugs on his jacket and picks up his bag.

“I am perfectly capable of eating both cake and dinner,” Hizashi huffs, his shoulder brushing against Aizawa’s as they walk towards the arcade exit.

They end up seated in a booth in one corner of the café, and Hizashi has to ignore the pounding of his heart as he thinks that this is a little bit like a date. He peers over the top of his menu at Aizawa and wonders if maybe he should say something now, just blurt it out and get it over with. Aizawa seems to enjoy – or at least tolerate – his presence, and it’ll probably be easy to get his feelings out of the way now before they deepen their friendship and have more to lose.

But Hizashi’s not quite that brave. Instead he says, “I’m definitely getting the triple chocolate cake. What about you?”

“Strawberry,” Aizawa answers without hesitation.

“Not something chocolate?” Hizashi asks, cocking his head slightly.

“I don’t like chocolate,” Aizawa replies, and Hizashi’s eyes widen a little.

“How can you not like chocolate?” he demands, aghast. Aizawa gives him a flat look in reply.

“It tastes weird,” Aizawa says, wrinkling his nose slightly in a way Hizashi can’t help but find a little cute. “Too sweet.”

Hizashi opens his mouth to reply, but before he can get the words out, someone says, “Shōta?”

Aizawa’s shoulders stiffen minutely, his gaze fixed somewhere behind Hizashi. Curious, Hizashi glances over his shoulder, and is surprised to find Kayama making her way towards them. She smirks a little as her gaze lands on Hizashi, and something about it feels a little dangerous.

“Kayama,” Aizawa replies, and his tone sounds a little wary. Still, the casual familiarity makes an ugly feeling of jealousy coil in Hizashi’s chest.

“Who’s your friend here?” Kayama asks, coming to a stop in front of their table and giving Hizashi a careful onceover.

“Yamada Hizashi,” Hizashi replies, trying to plaster a polite smile on his face. “Uh, nice to meet you.”

“Yamada, huh?” Kayama says, her smirk somehow getting wider. “Well, it’s nice to know that Shōta has some real friends and not just weirdos who accidentally text him. Take good care of him for me, okay?”

“Okay?” Hizashi answers, feeling a little lost. Aizawa’s cheeks look a little pink, and Hizashi wonders what he’s missing here.

“I’m not actually your little brother,” Aizawa grumbles, glaring up at Kayama.

“Maybe not by blood,” Kayama replies, leaning over to ruffle Aizawa’s hair. “But spiritually you are.”

“What does that even mean?” Aizawa huffs, batting Kayama’s hand away and bristling a little, like an annoyed cat.

“Alright, well I have to meet with a girl about a thing,” Kayama announces, ignoring Aizawa’s complaint. “Be safe, kids!”

She shoots them both a wink as she says it, and Hizashi feels his own cheeks heat as he wonders if she’s implying what he thinks she is. Thankfully she saunters away before he can accidentally say anything incriminating, though.

“Sorry about her,” Aizawa sighs, making Hizashi look back over at him. “She doesn’t really understand boundaries.”

“It’s fine,” Hizashi replies, waving off Aizawa’s concerns. “She seems cool.”

Aizawa lets out a small, disbelieving snort at that.

“So, what did she mean about weirdos accidentally texting you?” Hizashi asks, curious.

“A few weeks ago, someone had a wrong number and ended up accidentally texting me,” Aizawa answers, shrugging. “We talk occasionally. Kayama thinks they’re a creepy old man trying to catfish me, though.”

For a moment, Hizashi thinks he heard wrong.

It’s not like he hasn’t thought about the similarities between his situation with Aizawa and Stranger Danger’s situation with their crush, but he’d assumed that that was just him being hopeful. This, though – this sounds like too much to be a coincidence.

“That does sound weird,” Hizashi manages to choke out, trying to figure out what to say to determine if he really has gone off his rocker, or if Aizawa really is Stranger Danger. “You know what, I think someone just texted me – ”

He digs his phone out of his pocket, trying to ignore the heavy thud of his heart in his chest as he feels Aizawa’s curious gaze on him. With clumsy fingers, he types out, so i think we might be sitting across from each other right now.

Then, he hits send.

Aizawa’s phone buzzes, but Hizashi keeps his eyes fixed on his own phone. Maybe it is just a coincidence, one hell of a –

“Yamada,” Aizawa says, his voice dangerously steady. “If this is some sort of joke, I’m going to kill you.”

“If it’s a joke on anybody, I think it’s probably on me,” Hizashi replies weakly, finally looking up from his phone to meet Aizawa’s eyes. “But hey, at least neither of us is an old creeper, right?”

And Aizawa –

Aizawa starts cracking up.

It’s not a soft snort of laughter, or even one of the short, sharp laughs of his that Hizashi covets. Instead, it starts as almost a giggle and then bubbles up and out of Aizawa’s mouth until there are tears building at the corners of his eyes.

For a moment, Hizashi doesn’t know how to react, frozen and wide-eyed, but then he finds himself laughing too – laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation, because really, what are the chances? He’s pretty sure that people at the other tables are staring at them, but he can’t figure out how to stop.

“So,” Hizashi says once he finally manages to stop laughing, his chest heaving with the effort. “I hear you have a crush on a guy who saved you from a situation similar to getting hit by a car.”

“Well, I hear you’ve been pining for longer than I have,” Aizawa snorts, an amused smile on his face.

“I – you’ve got me there,” Hizashi replies, his cheeks turning a little pink. “I can’t believe ‘loud’ is the first thing that came to your mind when describing me, though. Seriously?”

“It’s accurate,” Aizawa retorts, but his cheeks have gone a little pink.

“Yeah?” Hizashi asks, a smirk spreading over his face. “Because you also said I was handsome.”

Kind of handsome,” Aizawa corrects, his cheeks turning even redder.

“You still called me handsome,” Hizashi points out, a warm feeling flooding his chest. “And, uh, for the record, I think you are too. Handsome, I mean.”

“Thanks,” Aizawa mumbles, dipping his head forward a little so that his long hair obscures his brightly flushed face somewhat. It’s kind of adorable.

“So,” Hizashi starts. “If I like you and you like me, can I call this a date?”

Aizawa hesitates for a moment, but then says, “I’m not going to share my cake with you, if that’s what you’re asking.” There’s a small, teasing smile on his face, though.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Hizashi announces, his face splitting into a wide grin.

(Hizashi tries to steal a bite of cake, but unfortunately Aizawa protects it with a surprising viciousness. Hizashi’s attempt to steal a kiss, on the other hand, is much more successful.)

---

Fifteen Years Later

“Here, text Shōta for me and tell him we’re running a little late,” Hizashi says, taking a hand off the car’s steering wheel to dig his phone out of his pocket, tossing it over to Thirteen, who’s sitting in the passenger seat.

Hizashi cruses the traffic and drums his fingers impatiently on the steering wheel as Thirteen scrolls through the phone’s contacts list.

“Um, Mic-senpai,” Thirteen says. “I can’t find Aizawa-senpai’s number here.”

“It should be under Stranger Danger,” Hizashi replies, eyes still fixed on the road.

“Stranger Danger?” Thirteen asks, unable to entirely keep the surprise from their tone.

“It’s a long story,” Hizashi says, a soft smile on his face.