Yagi Toshinori’s first impression of his new apartment is that it’s rather small. In all actuality, it’s around the same size as his old one, but he does manage to hit his head on the top of the doorway when trying to move his things in, so maybe that’s why it seems smaller.
“Woah, you need help there?” someone asks as Toshinori swears under his breath and tries not to drop the box he’s carrying, his forehead smarting painfully. “Here, let me – ”
Toshinori blinks as he finds the box abruptly lifted out of his arms, and he blinks again as he takes in the person who’s just offered to help him.
“Oh, you don’t have to – ” Toshinori starts, his cheeks heating a little. It’s just his luck that he would happen to embarrass himself in front of such an attractive man – by walking into a doorframe, no less.
“Well, I certainly wouldn’t be a very good neighbor if I didn’t at least offer to help,” the man replies, amusement clear in his bright green eyes. “Yamada Hizashi, apartment 407.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Toshinori replies, and he almost extends a hand for Yamada to shake before remembering that Yamada’s hand are still occupied by a (rather heavy) cardboard box. “I’m Yagi Toshinori.”
“Welcome to the building,” Yamada replies, giving Toshinori a smile that does strange things to his insides. “Although I have to say, the building doesn’t seem to be welcoming you much. And here I thought I had an issue with doorways being too short.”
“I suppose I should be more used to ducking by now,” Toshinori says, with a sheepish smile. “Here, come on in. You can set the box down anywhere.”
“So, I have to ask,” Yamada starts as he follows Toshinori into the apartment. “Are you a professional basketball player or something?”
“Ah,” Toshinori replies, then hesitates. “No, I just teach boxing classes for kids.”
Or, well, that's what he will be doing, when he starts his new job tomorrow. He doesn’t need to go around telling the whole building that he used to be a professional boxer, though. It’s about time he started getting used to his new, post-injury life.
“That sounds tough,” Yamada says, setting the box down in the living room. “My partner is a high school teacher and he has his work cut out just teaching classical lit. I can’t imagine trying to keep control of a classroom where fists are supposed to be flying.”
Toshinori lets out a little laugh in response, unsure how to reply since he hasn’t actually started his new job yet. He’s been reading a few books on teaching methods, but reading theories about how to best control a classroom is very different than actually being able to implement them.
However, as Yamada’s full statement registers, Toshinori can’t help but pause, wondering what Yamada actually means by “partner.”
“Do you have more stuff you need help bringing up?” Yamada asks, and for a moment Toshinori wishes that he actually did, but the moment the thought crosses his mind, he feels guilty at even considering taking advantage of Yamada’s kindness.
“That was actually the last one,” he answers. “Thank you for your help.”
“Hey, like I said, what are neighbors for?” Yamada replies, shooting Toshinori another smile which makes butterflies flutter around in his stomach. “If you realize you need help with anything later, I’m right next door.”
“Would you like tea or anything before you leave? I think I have some here somewhere,” Toshinori says, feeling a little bad about being such a poor host.
“Nah, don’t worry about it,” Yamada replies, waving him off. “I should probably get back before Shōta starts wondering what happened to me. He gets grumpy when I make him worry. I might have to take you up on that offer some other time, though.”
He shoots Toshinori a wink before turning to leave, and Toshinori is certain that his face has turned beet red now. If he didn’t know better, he’d almost think that Yamada was flirting. Still, he can’t imagine a younger, attractive man actually being interested in him, especially when it seems that Yamada already has someone waiting for him at home.
Well, at least the people in his new building are friendly.
It’s not until the next day that Toshinori meets Yamada’s “partner.”
“So you’re the new neighbor,” someone says as Toshinori’s trying to unlock his apartment door. He startles, fumbling with his keys, and drops them down onto the floor. Before he can pick them up, though, someone beats him to it, long, slender fingers scooping the keys up and handing them back to him.
“Ah, thank – ” Toshinori starts, but the words get caught in his throat for a moment when he lays eyes on the stranger. “Thank you.”
The man is a different sort of attractive than Yamada. Where Yamada had clearly put some effort into his appearance, hair carefully styled and clothes fitted perfectly, this man looks like he might have just rolled out of bed. Despite his disheveled look, though, there’s a sort of effortless attractiveness to him, with his lean frame and dark, messy hair.
“Aizawa Shōta,” the man says, breaking Toshinori out of his daze. “I’m not sure if Hizashi mentioned me, but I also live in 407.”
Ah, so they are that sort of partners.
“Yagi Toshinori,” Toshinori replies a beat too late, extending a hand hastily. Aizawa shakes it briefly and once again Toshinori finds himself admiring Aizawa’s slim fingers for a moment too long.
“I hope Hizashi didn’t bother you too much yesterday,” Aizawa says. “He can be annoyingly persistent when he wants to get to know someone and doesn’t always know when to leave people alone.”
“Ah, no, I don’t mind,” Toshinori assures Aizawa quickly, waving off his concerns. “He was very nice.”
“Well, if he does start to get on your nerves, just tell me,” Aizawa snorts. “I think he’s planning on baking cookies for you or something. Apparently that’s a neighborly thing to do, nowadays. At least he’s a decent baker, so you shouldn’t have to worry about food poisoning.”
“Oh, he doesn’t have to – ” Toshinori says, a little embarrassed at the thought of making a virtual stranger go to that much effort for him.
“He’s already decided,” Aizawa snorts, interrupting Toshinori and waving off his concerns. “There’s no stopping him now.”
“That’s,” Toshinori finally manages, “nice of him.”
“Tell that to me again when you have more cookies than you could possibly eat,” Aizawa drawls, but there’s a hint of a smile gracing his lips and once again Toshinori feels his cheeks heat.
“Well, I’m sure I can always give the extras to my students,” Toshinori says with an awkward little laugh. At first he’d been nervous about teaching a bunch of fifteen year olds, but after his first day of classes, things seem to be going pretty well. The kids are definitely cute enough that he’d bake them cookies himself, if he wasn’t so bad at baking.
“Mm, Hizashi did mention something about you being a teacher,” Aizawa says, a certain hint of interest in his expression.
“Oh, not really,” Toshinori replies, letting out another small, awkward laugh. “It’s just boxing classes.”
“Teaching’s still teaching, no matter what level or subject,” Aizawa snorts. “Don’t sell yourself short. If you don’t have confidence in your teaching skills, than neither will your students.”
“Of course,” Toshinori says, his tone a little sheepish. “I’m fairly new to teaching, though.”
Aizawa lets out a little non-committal hum, like this admission isn’t exactly a surprise to him, and Toshinori can’t help but feel ever more awkward. It’s like now that he doesn’t have a TV camera in his face all the time, he’s completely forgotten how to interact with people.
“Well,” Aizawa says, and Toshinori finds himself trapped in Aizawa’s gaze, dark eyes fixated on him, “if you need teaching advice, you know where to find me.”
With that, he turns to head to his own apartment, leaving Toshinori to stand awkwardly in the hallway for a long moment, before realizing that he should probably go inside too. He sighs as he drops his keys again and wonders why he couldn’t have just gotten a sweet, seventy year old neighbor again, like in his last apartment building. Ms. Yamamoto certainly never made him trip over his own tongue.
Yamada does, in fact, bring over cookies. It’s been a long time since Toshinori actually had something home-baked and he has to stop himself from eating all the cookies by himself. His students seem to appreciate them, though, based on how quickly they disappear after class the next day.
Of course, that leaves Toshinori wondering what he should give as a return gift. It would be rude to just return an empty plate, after all, but unfortunately, Toshinori has never been a particularly good baker. He’s decent enough at cooking, but there’s something about pies and cakes that spell disaster for him.
Which, is how he finds himself standing outside the apartment building as the fire alarm blares, wishing he could just sink into the ground and just disappear.
“Don’t worry, it’s probably nothing major,” a familiar voice says, startling Toshinori, and he turns to find Yamada coming over to him, Aizawa following a step behind. “The fire alarms in this building are just really sensitive.”
“Oh,” Toshinori replies, trying not to think of the very burnt pie currently sitting on his kitchen counter.
“You looked kind of worried there,” Yamada adds, giving Toshinori a reassuring smile.
“Ah. Well,” Toshinori says, a little awkwardly. “That’s because unfortunately this is my doing. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience – I was just trying to bake and – ”
Yamada laughs, loud and amused, and Toshinori blinks at him for a moment, caught off guard.
“Well, you and Shōta can form a club now,” Yamada says, his smile transforming into a full-blown grin as he wraps an arm around Aizawa’s shoulders. “Our first week living here, he set off the fire alarm by making pancakes.”
Aizawa scowls a little and shoots Yamada a glare, but when he turns back to look at Toshinori, his expression softens a little.
“You’re not hurt at all, are you?” Aizawa asks, and Toshinori has to resist the urge to fidget under Aizawa’s intent gaze. Honestly, he feels a little like a chastised student right now.
“Ah, no, the pie I was baking just got a little burnt,” he answers, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. “I think I left it in the oven for too long.”
Aizawa gives him a little nod in response, apparently satisfied with his answer.
“You know, if you want, you could come over sometime and I could give you some baking tips,” Yamada says.
“Oh, I couldn’t – ” Toshinori starts.
“Hey, it’s no problem,” Yamada interrupts, waving off Toshinori’s protests. “At least you can’t be any worse than Shōta was when we first started dating. He could barely make pasta.”
“That’s an over-exaggeration,” Aizawa huffs, giving Yamada another side-eyed glare.
“Babe, we had to throw away one of my favorite pots because you didn’t put enough water in and when it all boiled off, the noodles got permanently glued to the sides,” Yamada snorts, and Toshinori sees Aizawa’s cheeks flush ever so slightly pink.
As sweet as their interaction is, though, Toshinori can’t help but feel a little out of place at the moment, watching this exchange on the sidelines. He wonders if there’s any way for him to discreetly excuse himself from the conversation.
“Anyway,” Yamada says, turning back to Toshinori. “If you’re free, come over tomorrow morning and we can try some baking.”
“Unfortunately, that kind of defeats the purpose of me baking,” Toshinori replies, a little sheepish. “I was actually hoping to repay you for those cookies.”
“Oh,” Yamada replies, blinking at Toshinori, clearly caught off guard. “I didn’t mean to make you feel obligated or anything.”
“Ah, I just meant that you’ve been very welcoming and I wanted to show my appreciation,” Toshinori clarifies quickly.
“Well, if that’s the case, then how about you bring the ingredients and I’ll just supply the instruction,” Yamada suggests, a smile spreading over his lips again. “I promise I’ll make you do most of the work.”
“I suppose if it’s not too inconvenient…” Toshinori replies, glancing over at Aizawa briefly.
“Please do,” Aizawa snorts. “It’ll keep him from waking me up at eight in the morning because he’s bored.”
“Well, if that’s the case,” Toshinori laughs, the edges of his lips turning up into a smile.
“Hey!” Yamada squawks, a betrayed expression on his face. Aizawa looks unmoved. “Just for that, you’re not getting any of the pie we make. You’ll just have to watch the two of us eat it.”
“Sleep is more important than food,” Aizawa replies, and Yamada lets out a loud sigh.
“Alright, well, I guess we’ll see you tomorrow morning, then,” Yamada says, looking back over at Toshinori. “Or I will at least. Shōta might just sleep the whole time and miss out on the awesome pie we’re going to bake.”
“Provided I don’t burn it,” Toshinori chuckles.
“That’s what I’m here for, right?” Yamada replies, shooting Toshinori a grin.
Before Toshinori can figure out what to say to that, though, the firefighters announce that the building has been cleared, and people start heading back inside. Yamada gives him one more smile before turning to follow Aizawa back into the apartment building. Toshinori replies with an awkward little wave, and wonders what he’s just gotten himself into.
Belatedly, Toshinori realizes that he doesn’t actually know when he’s supposed to come over in the morning. Yamada never did specify an actual time, and Toshinori doesn’t actually have Yamada or Aizawa’s contact information – although he supposes technically he could just walk down the hall and ask.
In the end, Toshinori decides to make his way over at eight and can only hope it’s not too early. (Aizawa was complaining about Yamada waking him up then, though, so hopefully it’s an appropriate hour.)
When he knocks on the door, it only takes a second for someone to answer, the door opening to reveal Yamada, who looks remarkably bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Toshinori’s heard the expression “opposites attract” a million times before, but he doesn’t think he’d fully believed in it before seeing Yamada’s early-morning energy as compared to Aizawa’s eternally-tired appearance.
“Hey, come on in,” Yamada says, steeping aside to let Toshinori into the apartment. This time he remembers to duck to avoid hitting his head on the top of the doorframe, and Yamada looks a little amused as he does so.
The apartment’s laid out the same as Toshinori’s is, but he lets Yamada lead the way to the kitchen. It’s certainly more cluttered than Toshinori’s, but in a lived-in sense. There are post-cards and photos stuck to the refrigerator with brightly colored magnets, a grocery list lying on the kitchen table, and a couple of bowls in the drying rack next to the sink.
“Pick an apron, any apron!” Yamada announces, and Toshinori blinks as he finds himself presented with a variety of brightly colored aprons.
“Do not do anything to the cook?” Toshinori reads off one of the aprons as he inspects it.
“That one’s Shōta’s,” Yamada replies.
Toshinori isn’t sure he feels comfortable wearing Aizawa’s apron without explicit permission from the man himself (although he suspects that Aizawa wouldn’t care that much), so instead he takes a pastel, floral patterned one from Yamada.
“Good choice,” Yamada says, choosing an apron with the slogan ‘that’s how I roll’ next to a rolling pin for himself. Despite not knowing him terribly well, Toshinori can’t help but think that’s it’s a very Yamada apron. “So, what sort of pie are we making?”
“I was thinking peach,” Toshinori replies. “That’s what I brought the ingredients for at least. I can always go buy something else, if you’d prefer – ”
“Nope, peach sounds great,” Yamada interrupts, ducking into the living room for a moment to grab what looks like a cookbook off one of the bookshelves. “Were you planning on making the crust from scratch or did you bring a pre-made one?”
“I barely managed to avoid burning down my kitchen yesterday,” Toshinori replies, unable to entirely suppress a laugh. “I don’t think I’m at that level yet.”
“Point taken,” Yamada replies, shooting Toshinori a slightly crooked smile. “We’ll start simple then.”
For all his energy, Yamada’s a surprisingly patient teacher. He guides Toshinori through the pie-making process easily, and Toshinori can't help but wonder if he's picked up some teaching skills from Aizawa.
Of course, while the kitchen isn’t exactly cramped, it’s still rather small. Toshinori almost drops a mixing bowl once when Yamada touches the small of his back in order to steer him to the side, trying to get a spatula out of a drawer that Toshinori had been blocking. After that, Toshinori feels almost hyper-aware of every time they accidentally brush up against each other while trying to maneuver in the small space.
In the end, though, Toshinori's actually feeling pretty good about the pie itself, once they finally put it into the oven, admiring the pretty lattice crust that Yamada had insisted he try making. (It's hardly the most beautiful lattice ever made, but Toshinori thinks it looks decent for a first try, even if Yamada had teased him about it being sort of crooked in places.)
Of course, the actual baking part is what Toshinori always seems to mess up, so really, the hard part's just begun. Yamada looks unconcerned, though, humming softly as he sets the oven timer for forty-five minutes.
“And now we wait,” Yamada says, turning to lean back against the kitchen counter, dusting his hands off on his apron.
“How often should we check on the pie?” Toshinori asks, peering through the small window in the front of the oven. Unfortunately, it's a fairly old oven and the window's been blacked around the edges, enough so that it's difficult to actually see what's going on inside the oven.
“Technically, we're supposed to bake it for fifty minutes to an hour, according to the recipe,” Yamada answers, tapping his finger against a page of the open cookbook. “But this oven's kind of finicky sometimes, so we'll check at forty-five minutes and add another five to ten, depending on what it looks like.”
“You're sure we don't need to check more often?” Toshinori questions, thinking back on the very burnt pie remnants sitting in his kitchen garbage can.
“It'll be fine,” Yamada assures him, patting him lightly on the shoulder. “Actually, opening the oven door too often floods it with cold air and can interfere with the temperature of the oven. It can actually make cakes and such rise less.”
“Oh,” Toshinori replies, a little awkwardly.
“Hey, it's a common baking mistake,” Yamada says, giving Toshinori a reassuring smile. “Don't worry about it.”
“The more you know, I suppose,” Toshinori replies with a soft laugh.
“And now we wait,” Yamada announces. “How’s teaching going?”
“Ah, fine,” Toshinori replies, the corners of his lips quirking up into a small smile. “My students are all very motivated.”
“Well, I imagine they would be, considering who’s teaching them,” Yamada laughs, and Toshinori blinks at him for a moment, a little confused.
“I’m not really – ” Toshinori starts.
“I thought something about you seemed familiar, so I looked you up,” Yamada clarifies, and Toshinori freezes up for a second. “I don’t know much about boxing, but World Champion is a pretty impressive title to hold.”
“Thank you,” Toshinori replies, a little awkwardly. “Although I’m afraid I’m not that impressive anymore.”
He certainly doesn’t feel terribly impressive anymore. The vast majority of his muscle mass has disappeared and he’s only starting to regain a bit of it through physical therapy. It’s hard to be proud of his accomplishments when he finds himself coughing up blood with even the slightest bit of overexertion.
“I don’t know,” Yamada says, giving Toshinori a slow once over. “I don’t think you look half bad. You’re cuter this way.”
Toshinori finds himself floundering for a moment, cheeks flushed bright pink, as he wonders how he’s supposed to reply to that.
Before he can actually think of an appropriate response, though, Aizawa pads into the kitchen, looking only half-awake. His bed-head is rather impressive, but it must not be out of the ordinary for him, because Yamada doesn’t even bat an eyelash at it – or at the fact that Aizawa’s still clad in a pair of pajama pants and a soft-looking t-shirt.
“Morning,” Yamada says brightly as Aizawa comes over to him, leaning in for a brief kiss.
Toshinori feels an uncomfortable sensation in his stomach as he’s reminded that he shouldn’t read too far into anything that Yamada says, no matter how flirty it might come out. Even if Yamada was being truthful about finding his current form “cute,” it doesn’t mean there’s any actual attraction there.
(And even if there were, it’s not like Yamada would act on it, when he has a much more attractive boyfriend already.)
Toshinori glances over at the oven and wills the pie to bake faster.
It’s not until a few days later that Toshinori realizes that he forgot to actually return the platter to Yamada and Aizawa when he’d gone over for his baking lesson. He still feels a little uncomfortable with returning just an empty plate, but at least the pie had turned out well, which makes things a little better.
This time when he knocks on the door to apartment 407, it’s Aizawa who answers. He looks only marginally more awake than he did on Sunday morning, but Toshinori’s starting to suspect that that’s just his natural state of being.
“Hizashi’s at the radio station right now,” Aizawa says. “He won’t be home until fairly late.”
“Oh, no, I’m just here to return this,” Toshinori replies quickly, holding out the plate. His cheeks heat a little as he wonders if Aizawa’s caught onto his budding crush and he finds himself unable to meet Aizawa’s eyes as Aizawa accepts the plate, staring down at the floor instead.
However, Toshinori blinks as he looks down and finds a black and white spotted cat padding over to him, coming up to rub against his legs.
“It looks like Jelly likes you,” Aizawa says, and there’s the barest hint of a smile on his lips.
“Jelly?” Toshinori asks, the word spilling past his lips before he can hold them back.
“Hizashi wanted to name her ‘Patches’,” Aizawa snorts, and Toshinori finds himself caught off guard by the fact that it was apparently Aizawa who named the cat ‘Jelly.’ “Come on, pick her up and bring her inside or she’ll go over to Ms. Satō’s apartment to beg for niboshi again.”
Toshinori hesitates for a moment, but then realizes that Aizawa can’t carry a cat with his arms already occupied by the plate Toshinori had just returned, so he leans down to scoop Jelly up into his arms. She lets out a little meow but doesn’t squirm, instead going kind of limp and floppy in Toshinori’s arms. Briefly, he wonders if that’s where her name came from.
He follows Aizawa into the apartment, but finds himself standing awkwardly in the hallway as Aizawa goes to put away the plate in the kitchen. Maybe he should just put the cat down and leave? He feels like he’s invited himself over now, but it would probably be rude to not at least say goodbye first.
A small meow breaks him out of his thoughts and he looks down in time to see Jelly headbutt his chest gently. Toshinori frowns for a moment, but then brings a hand up to scratch her behind the ears, earning him a pleased sound. (Or at least he assumes it’s pleased. He doesn’t know much about cats, to be entirely honest.)
“First Hizashi and now Jelly,” Aizawa snorts, startling Toshinori. Toshinori opens his mouth to apologize (for what, he’s not entirely sure), but before he can say anything, Aizawa comes closer to him and reaches out to scratch Jelly under the chin.
Toshinori finds himself standing a little stiffly, all too aware of Aizawa this close to him. He shifts his hold on Jelly a little, trying to hold her more securely and in doing so, his hand knocks up against Aizawa's.
“Sorry, I – ” Toshinori starts, wondering if he should try to hand Jelly back to Aizawa. He feels like he's overstayed his welcome somehow, and the last thing he wants is for Aizawa to resent him for butting into his life like this.
Before he can say as much, though, Aizawa says, “Do you want to stay for dinner?”
“Oh, I don't want to impose – ” Toshinori replies, a little caught off guard.
“I wouldn't have asked you if I thought it was an imposition,” Aizawa snorts, and Toshinori supposes that he's right. Now that he thinks about it, Aizawa doesn't seem like the sort of person who'd quietly tolerate someone who truly annoyed him. “And I promise my cooking's not as bad as Hizashi's made it out to be.”
“I didn't mean to imply – ” Toshinori says quickly.
“I know you didn't,” Aizawa interrupts, a slightly amused look on his face. “Is curry alright?”
“Of course,” Toshinori replies, and Aizawa gives Jelly one more stroke under the chin before turning to head back into the kitchen. For a moment Toshinori hesitates, but then he follows, still holding Jelly and petting her idly behind the ears.
There's already a pot on the stove, and the rice cooker on the counter is steaming a little, cooking merrily. Aizawa removes the top from the pot, inspecting the contents and stirring for a moment, before lowering the heat slightly.
“Is there anything I can help with?” Toshinori asks, hovering an appropriate distance away from the stove.
“There are plates in the top left cabinet, near the refrigerator,” Aizawa replies, stirring the contents of the pot a little more. “It'd be helpful if you set the table.”
“Alright,” Toshinori replies, setting Jelly back down on the floor and going to wash his hands. Jelly lets out a slightly annoyed-sounding meow, trotting after him to rub against his legs some more, asking to be picked up again. For a moment, Toshinori thinks he hears Aizawa let out a little snort at the cat’s antics, but he doesn't actually say anything.
As the curry finishes cooking, Toshinori actually finds himself relaxing somewhat. Yamada's radio show is playing softly in the background of the kitchen, the music filling up the kitchen pleasantly.
Toshinori manages to get Aizawa to talk about his students a little, as they work, and he finds himself laughing when Aizawa recounts some of their more outlandish antics. In return, Toshinori shares a bit about his first couple of weeks of teaching. Aizawa chastises him about some of his rookie teaching mistakes, but while Aizawa's tone is gruff, there's no real bite behind it -- in fact, he almost sounds amused at Toshinori's inexperienced mishaps.
Dinner itself progresses in a similar fashion, the two of them chatting idly as they eat at the small kitchen table. There are a few times where they fall into silence, but strangely enough, it doesn't feel uncomfortable. In fact, it feels more companionable than anything. Aizawa doesn't seem like a terribly talkative person in the first place, and while Toshinori considers himself a fairly outgoing person, he certainly isn't able to fill the silence with idle chatter the way Yamada seems to be able to.
Still, it's a pleasant evening.
“I should probably head out,” Toshinori says as he places the last of the dishes in the drying rack.
(He'd insisted on at least washing the dishes, considering Aizawa had so generously invited him over and cooked dinner. Aizawa had let out a little snort at the “generous” part, but hadn't actually protested him doing the dishes.)
Aizawa replies with just a small noise of confirmation.
“Maybe I can cook for you sometime,” Toshinori ventures.
Aizawa pauses for a moment, but then he says, “Hizashi works late on Fridays, too. Occasionally it's nice to have someone else around in the evenings.”
Briefly, Toshinori wonders if he should ask Yamada how he feels about that idea first. Aizawa knows Yamada better than he does, though, and Yamada doesn't seem like a particularly jealous person anyway. Yamada probably won't accuse him of trying to make a move on Aizawa. Hopefully.
“Alright,” Toshinori finally says, giving Aizawa a small smile.
He pets Jelly once more before he leaves, and as the door shuts behind him, he thinks he sees a thoughtful expression on Aizawa's face.
Somehow, Yamada and Aizawa seem to have become a permanent fixture in Toshinori's life. He has dinner with Aizawa almost every Friday, and he also finds himself swapping baked goods with Yamada, who seems to have made it his mission to improve Toshinori's baking skills enough so that there's no risk of him setting off the fire alarm again. He chats with them when they run into each other in the hallway too, or at the mailboxes, or in the laundry room. Once he even cat-sits Jelly when Yamada and Aizawa go to visit Yamada's parents one weekend.
It's been a long time since Toshinori's felt this welcome, with Tsukauchi so busy with work and all his old rivals and coaches focused on the current boxing season.
Truthfully, though, in some ways Toshinori feels a little too welcome.
By now he's fairly sure that all of Yamada's flirting is unconscious, without any real intent behind it, but he can't help but flush every time Yamada makes a comment that's probably a little less than appropriate. Yamada's tactile, too, always doling out idle little touches, brushing his fingers over the small of Toshinori's back or patting him on the upper arm.
Then there's Aizawa. Aizawa's affection is much more understated, but sometimes when they have dinner together, Toshinori finds himself wondering if this is what Aizawa's like with Yamada. He enjoys their conversations, too, pleased that Aizawa takes all of his questions about teaching seriously, despite the fact that all he's teaching are boxing class.
But Yamada and Aizawa are together, and despite how welcoming they are, there's no room for Toshinori in their relationship.
“Is this conversation not interesting enough for you?”
Aizawa's voice startles Toshinori out of his thoughts, and his cheeks heat as he realizes that he's somehow zoned out in the middle of dinner.
“Sorry,” Toshinori sighs. “I've just had a lot on my mind recently.”
Aizawa doesn't say anything in reply, instead studying Toshinori carefully, which Toshinori's come to realize roughly means, Do you want to talk about it?
Toshinori hesitates for a moment, but then says, “You and Yamada-kun make a very nice couple.”
“We've known each other for a very long time,” Aizawa replies, his tone very neutral – unreadable, at least to Toshinori.
“I suppose I was just thinking that it would be nice to have something like that,” Toshinori says, unable to quite meet Aizawa's eyes, somehow sure that Aizawa will know who, exactly, he wants a relationship with if he makes eye-contact.
“Yagi – ” Aizawa starts, but then he cuts himself off. He pauses for a moment, and then says, “Toshinori.”
Toshinori finally looks up and meets Aizawa's gaze, caught off guard by Aizawa's use of his given name, but before he can think of a response, Aizawa leans over the edge of the table and kisses him.
For a moment, Toshinori thinks he's hallucinating. Aizawa's mouth against his certainly feels real, though, soft and warm, his stubble a little scratchy against Toshinori's skin. Toshinori finds himself instinctively relaxing against Aizawa and for a moment he starts to kiss back before he realizes what, exactly, he's doing.
“I should – ” Toshinori stutters, pulling away from Aizawa and standing up abruptly from the table. “I should go – ”
“Yagi – ” Aizawa starts, but Toshinori's already making his way to the door, his heart beating fast in his chest. “Just wait a minute – ”
Toshinori doesn't hear the rest of what Aizawa says, though, as the door to apartment 407 shuts behind him with a loud clack. When he finally gets back to his own apartment, he slumps against the hallway wall and wonders how he's ever going to be able to look Yamada or Aizawa in the eye again. He hadn't thought Aizawa would be the type to cheat – especially not when he has a partner as amazing as Yamada – but apparently appearances can be deceiving.
Maybe he should start looking for a new apartment.
There’s a knock on Toshinori’s door the next morning, and he opens it to find Yamada, of all people, standing out in the hallway.
For a moment, Toshinori’s afraid that Yamada’s here to accuse him of sneaking around with Aizawa, but Yamada looks surprisingly calm. Maybe he doesn’t know about the kiss Toshinori had shared with his boyfriend the previous night, and Toshinori’s stomach twists as he wonders if he should say something.
Before he can figure out how to proceed, though, Yamada says, “So, Shōta told me he kissed you last night and then you ran away.”
Well, apparently he knows.
“You know, this is kind of refreshing actually,” Yamada continues, and Toshinori feels very, very lost. “Normally it’s Shōta complaining about me doing something impulsive.”
“I’m so sorry, I – ” Toshinori finally manages.
“Hey, it’s not your fault,” Yamada assures him, reaching out to squeeze his arm. “Shōta should have given you the full open relationship, polyamory explanation before making on you.”
“So you’re… not upset,” Toshinori says slowly. “About me kissing Aizawa-kun.”
“I am actually delighted,” Yamada replies, a grin spreading across his face. “It’s been a while since Shōta was interested in someone, and I gotta say, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested, myself. Not that you’re required to get involved with me if you wanna be involved with Shōta.”
Toshinori feels a little bit of hope swell in his chest, but he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“Is this – ” he says a little awkwardly. “A sex thing, or…?”
“Well, Shōta doesn’t really do sex, but that’s a conversation you’ll have to have with him,” Yamada answers. “But honestly, I think the both of us were hoping for a romantic relationship.”
“Oh,” Toshinori replies.
“So, if you want to, Shōta and I would love it if you came over for dinner tonight,” Yamada continues, and Toshinori finds himself unable to look away from Yamada’s bright green eyes, all sincerity and a bit of hopefulness. “As a date – not just dinner. Or I could go out and leave the two of you to it.”
“No,” Toshinori replies, but he quickly clarifies himself as he sees Yamada’s face fall. “I mean – I’d like it if both of you were there.”
“Yeah?” Yamada says, a smile spreading across his face. “Would you also like it if I kissed you?”
“Right now?” Toshinori blurts out, the words spilling past his lips before he can stop them.
“I mean, right now would be nice, but I can wait if you want,” Yamada replies, looking amused.
“Now is good,” Toshinori manages, and Yamada grins before pulling Toshinori down for a kiss.
It’s more involved than his kiss with Aizawa was, a little more energetic. Yamada kisses like how he talks, enthusiastic and maybe a little too fast, but his lips are soft and his mouth is warm and Toshinori finds himself a little dazed – in a good way – when they finally break apart.
“I guess we’ll see you this evening,” Yamada says, shooting Toshinori another grin.
“Yeah,” is all Toshinori manages to reply with.
“Ugh, you’re heavy, Shōta,” Hizashi complains as Shōta sprawls back against him, settling into the couch.
“And you’re not?” Shōta snorts, looking towards where Hizashi is snuggled up next to Toshinori, resting comfortably against his shoulder.
“I’ll have you know that I carefully positioned myself to make Toshinori as comfortable as possible and to avoid aggravating any old injuries,” Hizashi huffs and Toshinori lets out a soft laugh.
“Well, you’re not injured,” Shōta replies, not making any effort to shift his position.
“You are officially my second favorite boyfriend,” Hizashi shoots back, twisting his position a little to kiss Toshinori lightly on the cheek. “Toshinori now holds the most favored boyfriend spot.”
“I’m so hurt,” Shōta says, his voice a steady monotone. Jelly pads into the room a moment later, though, and makes a beeline for the couch, jumping up onto it and curling up against Shōta’s stomach. “At least someone still loves me.”
“I think there’s enough love to go around,” Toshinori replies, an amused smile on his face.
There’s enough for him, at least.