“Brings back memories?”
Toshinori, startled from his thoughts, half jumps, tearing his attention away from the classroom and towards the man leaning idly against the doorway. There’s no one else around, but he still feels anxious, almost as if they’re being watched. “Oh, yes, um… it’s been a while.”
Shouta, as always, can read him, and takes a step forwards, reaching out. It’s nothing for him to wrap his arms around Toshinori’s wasted frame, embracing him from behind and pressing his cheek against Toshinori’s shoulder blade. He’s pressed close enough for Toshinori to feel the low rumble of his voice as he speaks. “Relax, old man. You can do this.”
Toshinori lets out a breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding. “You believe in me.”
Shouta hums warmly in response. “Of course I do. What else are husbands for?”
“Chastising me when you think I’ve done something foolish?” Toshinori tries to chuckle, but it comes out more as a cough, and he finds Shouta gently but firmly turning him so they’re facing each other.
“I’ve done enough chastising,” Shouta declares, which is both the truth and a lie. Shouta always makes his views clear, but he never overstates them as he would with anyone else. They’ve talked a lot about this move, about Toshinori coming to teach at Yuuei. “I’m here to support you.”
Confident fingers caress the sunken lines of his cheeks, and Shouta gazes up at Toshinori in a way that, even after all these years, still steals his breath.
“And remember, Principal Nezu offered you the position. He believes in you. He’s not the kind to be swayed by the glamour of the Number One Hero, or to put the good press of having All Might as a teacher before the students’ safety and education.”
It’s something Shouta has pointed out before, and Toshinori knows he’s repeating it now because he can tell that, on the cusp of revealing his joining the staff to the rest of the faculty, Toshinori is anxious.
“I’ll be here for you,” Shouta promises. “I’ll always be here for you. The rest of the staff will support you too. They’re good people.”
Toshinori nods, even though he wants to keep the secret of his true form to as few people as possible. “I guess revealing that we’re married would be one shock too many,” he tries to joke.
Shouta leans in to kiss him, right there in the middle of the abandoned classroom. “They’ve survived the last four years without knowing,” he says softly as they pull apart. “They can survive a few more.”
Toshinori nods, feeling a heaviness in his heart despite the joy of having Shouta at his side. Even before his fight with All For One and his injury, Shouta was there, stubborn and unwavering in his affection despite everything that was thrown at them. Toshinori made it, with Shouta there every step of the way, but he knew that it was too dangerous to let villains know that there was someone they could use to try and get to him, even if Shouta could handle himself. There was also the media circus, which Toshinori wanted to keep Shouta from. Few people knew of their involvement with each other, and even fewer knew they were married.
“One day, I’m going to tell the world,” Toshinori promises. “I want everyone to know.”
With a gentle smile, Shouta kisses him again. “One day,” he echoes, lacing their fingers together as they move apart. “But for now, Mr Number One Hero, you’ve got some new colleagues to meet.”
Shouta can’t hold his hand for this. He can’t sit with him, or smile at him, or in any way reveal that they know each other as anything more than distant acquaintances at best, but the weight of the wedding band concealed on a necklace beneath his shirt lends Toshinori strength, helping him to get through what has to be one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences he’s endured in a long time.
Hizashi is loud, Nemuri excessive. Shouta often wonders how and why he ended up becoming close friends with such extroverted characters, but then he remembers the man he married, and figures that he must be some sort of masochist. For a man who longs for peace and quiet and a chance to rest, he’s surrounded himself with the wrong people and picked the wrong professions.
Or maybe he just loves it. Hizashi’s reactions are always so full of life, Nemuri so full of passion, and Toshinori pours his heart and soul into everything he does. It’s impossible to be bored around such people and, despite the drain they can put on him, Shouta loves them dearly. He loves his jobs too.
But right now, listening to them talk about Toshinori is… hard. He wishes he could do more to defend his husband.
“He looked so sickly!” Nemuri says, taking a delicate bite of one of her doughnut.
Shouta stares down at his own, not really wanting something so sweet. Hizashi will no doubt save him from the high carb menace once he’s done devouring his own.
“Yeah, I had no idea,” Hizashi agrees. “How do you reckon he kept it under wraps for so long? His PR crew must be amazing.”
“I wonder how he keeps up with his work. Do you think he can manage both teaching and working as a Pro Hero?”
“Principal Nezu wouldn’t have offered him the job if he didn’t believe All Might was up to it,” Shouta points out.
“Yes, but still…” Nemuri looks worried. “Gosh, and I thought he was such a big, strong guy.”
Shouta bites his tongue. Toshinori is strong. Strength isn’t just physical, it’s psychological and emotional too, and he’s never met anyone else with such a strong will before, such a strong drive to survive and save the world he loves.
“What, you wanted to get to know him?” Hizashi teases, nudging Nemuri with his elbow.
“Oh please! As if I’m the only one here who wouldn’t have killed for a date with him!”
Her words rub Shouta up the wrong way. “What, you’re not interested now you know what he’s really like? I’m pretty sure he’s been the same person all along.”
“Yeah, but he looks different. Before… wow…” She smirks and licks her lips. “I’d have hit that so hard. But now? He looks like a strong breeze would blow him over. He needs a cuddle and a cup of tea.”
“Not your style, then,” Hizashi laughs, at last relieving Shouta of his untouched doughnut. “He’s going to be good for the school’s ratings! The students will love it! And we can now say we work with All Might – the Hero, the myth, the legend!”
Shouta’s sure there’s a ‘man’ missing in there, but he doesn’t care enough to say anything.
“The media is going to have a field day,” Nemuri purrs, fixing Shouta with a predatory glare.
Hizashi makes a noise of disgust. “They’re going to be trouble.”
He can say that again. Shouta has no desire to be anywhere near them, both due to his own contempt for the way they operate and the danger of them uncovering something that should remain hidden.
He does feel a little bad for not telling his friends the truth about his relationship with Toshinori, but in the end he likes his peace and quiet too much to light that particular fuse. Maybe once the fuss over All Might teaching at Yuuei has died down he’ll have the opportunity to tell them why, for the last five years, he’s so often absent from his own home.
But for now he keeps quiet, listens to them chattering excitably about the upcoming school year, and referees for the doughnut challenge they inevitably end up doing.
Toshinori doesn’t sit down, instead hovering beside the kotatsu as Shouta works, waiting for his husband to look up. It takes Shouta a moment to realise that something is weighing on Toshinori’s mind, and he sets his work aside.
“What is it?” he asks, patting the cushion next to him.
Toshinori finds he can’t do anything but remain standing.
“I… I think I’ve found my successor.”
Shouta’s jaw drops, eyes widening. “You… How? Who?”
And then he’s standing, moving up to meet Toshinori. He reaches out to him, and Toshinori finds the contact reassuring after the day he’s had. He moves into it, wrapping his arms around Shouta and holding him close. Despite his relief, he knows what this means: his time at Number One Hero is already coming to a close, but this brings that moment so much closer.
“He’s just some quirkless kid,” is the first thing he finds himself admitting. He tells Shouta of his first encounter with Midoriya, and of how, to Shouta’s obvious alarm, he came to reveal the secret of his true form. “And then when I tracked down the villain another kid was being held hostage and couldn’t break free. I couldn’t do anything and this boy just… He didn’t even hesitate, Shouta. The moment I saw that, I knew it had to be him.”
“You’ve approached him?”
“Yes. He needs to become stronger before I can pass One For All onto him.”
Toshinori expected a little more resistance to the idea, but all Shouta does is tug him down and kiss him gently. “Congratulations.”
And he means it. He’s relaxed, at peace with the news. He doesn’t seem afraid of what it means, and his steadiness helps soothe Toshinori even further. It was the plan all along, after all, and it’s probably better that it happened sooner rather than later.
“Will you still be teaching at Yuuei?” Shouta asks, distracting Toshinori from thoughts of the distant future. “I was working on my lesson plans with you as a teacher in mind.”
That warms Toshinori’s heart enough that he would have changed his answer if it hadn’t already been the one Shouta hopes to hear. “Yes. Young Midoriya will be taking the entrance exam for the Hero Course. There’s a chance he might…”
“He might be in my class?”
“He might. Will you go easy on him?”
“You know I won’t.”
Toshinori gives a nervous chuckle. “You have quite a reputation. I never did find out why.”
Shouta smirks up at him in a wholly dangerous, thrilling way. “I told you: I have very high standards for my students.”
“Should I be worried for him?”
“Probably,” Shouta teases, and Toshinori finds himself falling even more in love with the beautiful man in his arms. He knows he can trust him with anything and everything, and has done so many times already in the few years they’ve been together.
“Did I ever tell you how much I love you?” he asks.
“You might have done,” Shouta smirks, “but you can tell me again, if you like.”
Toshinori settles for one better than that: he shows him.
The first thing Shouta registers is dissonance. Everything is disjointed and wrong, fuzzy and blurred around the edges. It doesn’t take long to figure out why; lurking beneath the haze of drugs is a dark abyss of pain he doesn’t want to acknowledge, but knows he can’t escape forever. He tries to move, stirring the pain and sending it cascading through his body.
The students , he tries to ask, but his jaw is locked shut, little more than a groan escaping him. He can’t open his eyes either.
“Hey, it’s okay!” a familiar voice promises. Through the layers of bandaging, Shouta feels someone squeeze his shoulder, and tries to turn towards his husband.
“The students are safe, Thirteen is too. It’s okay now, Shouta, don’t worry.”
Shouta believes him. He sighs and almost sobs, more relieved than he can express to hear those words. Knowing that, for now, everything is okay, he surrenders the tenuous grasp he has on the world around him and slips back into unconsciousness.
The next time he wakes, Toshinori is still by his side. For almost a minute Shouta listens without trying to open his eyes, comforted by the sound of Toshinori’s breathing.
“Shouta…” Toshinori says softly the moment he realises Shouta is awake. He sits forward, reaching out. His hand connects with a thick cast, jolting Shouta’s aching limb, and an apology immediately follows. “Oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean—”
“—Are you okay?”
Shouta’s voice is rasping as he forces it out. Something is different between now and the last time he woke, and he suspects Recovery Girl has something to do with it. He still can’t open his eyes, though, and his arms are too sore and heavy to raise to try and work out why. He fights back the panic, knowing he’s safe, and in good hands. Toshinori is with him.
“Yes,” his husband reassures him, and a lot of the lingering panic disappears. “Myself and the other teachers got there just in time. You and Thirteen bought us every second we needed.”
Toshinori’s voice is trembling, telling Shouta just how close they all came to an even more disastrous outcome.
“They won’t get away with this,” Toshinori promises, whispering.
“They won’t,” Shouta agrees. “You’re really okay?”
“Just a few scratches. Recovery Girl patched me up. She’s helped with some of your injuries too, but you’re at your limit.”
For a moment they sit in silence, Shouta feeling the way Toshinori frets with the bedsheets. In their five and a half years together, their positions have only been switched twice. Toshinori isn’t used to seeing the man he loves in a hospital bed, and it can’t be easy for him.
“I’ll need to get the doctor, I can’t explain everything that happened to you, medically speaking,” Toshinori admits at length. “Your eyes…”
Shouta tenses without meaning too, wanting to turn away, to block out the subject Toshinori has just touched upon. He hasn’t asked because he doesn’t feel ready to know. He knows he’ll have to face it, and there’s no logic behind delaying having all the facts, but he still wants to put it off.
“I’ll be okay, won’t I?” he can’t help asking.
“Of course,” Toshinori says without hesitation. His hand moves to Shouta’s chest, which isn’t as heavily bandaged as the rest of his upper body. “No matt—”
“—Where’s my ring!?” Shouta panics, suddenly realising that there’s nothing between his skin and the bandages. He tries to sit up, only to be laid low again by searing pain.
“I have it,” Toshinori reassures him. “It’s here, right next to mine. Don’t worry.”
Shouta can do little more than grunt, now worrying about something else entirely.
“It hurts?” Toshinori realises.
“Like hell,” Shouta manages to grit out.
“I’ve called for the nurse,” Toshinori says, no doubt having hit the call button. “Just hold still.”
There’s nothing else Shouta can do, but he doesn’t protest. “You’ll be with me no matter what, hm?”
“That’s the promise I made.”
Despite their situation he can hear the smile in Toshinori’s voice, and manages to find the strength to answer, only half joking. “I’ll hold you to that.”
Toshinori would be lying if he said taking care of Shouta is easy, but he’d also be lying if he said he doesn’t enjoy it. He worried for a brief moment that having to help Shouta with every aspect of his life would take its toll on not just him and their relationship but also Shouta’s mood, but it didn’t take long to settle into a comfortable rhythm that suits them both. With frequent treatments from Recovery Girl and constant monitoring of the slow healing in his arms and orbital floor, it’s possible to see Shouta’s positive progress. Toshinori couldn’t be prouder of how he’s coping with everything, from the pain he barely makes a noise about to having to rely on Toshinori to dress and undress him and change his bandages. They even tested Shouta’s Quirk, and found that it still works, even if the first attempt gave Shouta a blinding headache that had him curled up in the dark for the next three hours, Toshinori cuddled up with him too.
The headaches are less frequent now, and Shouta is relaxed enough to allow Toshinori to continue helping him, despite the fact he has some movement back in his hands. At work, Toshinori sees him insist he can make his own coffee and manage just fine on his own, thank you very much, and he pushes away everyone’s attempts to help, but at home he lets Toshinori do almost everything for him, and sits at the kotatsu next to Toshinori, dictating what he’d like Toshinori to write for him as he sips at his tea.
It’s the fact that Toshinori helped Shouta grade several quizzes and write feedback for Class 1-A that is their undoing. The staff don’t see or pay attention to Shouta’s grading, and they don’t see Toshinori’s handwriting often enough to recognise it. Midoriya, however, does. He puts two and two together, and the moment Toshinori sees him approach he gets a sinking feeling in his gut.
“Young Midoriya! How are you today!?”
Nervous, is the answer, but Midoriya doesn’t say as much, instead rubbing the back of his neck and not quite looking at Toshinori as he says what’s on his mind. “We had a test back from Aizawa-sensei today,” he prefaces, and then starts rambling a little, “one of those ones he likes to spring on us. It makes us all so nervous, we never know if he’s about to expel us or announce that we’re scheduled to help clean the cafeteria, you know?”
Toshinori does know. Shouta’s high standards are both amusing and terrifying, and he’s still relieved that Shouta saw potential in this year’s Hero class.
“Anyway, I did okay, I didn’t come top of the class, I think I was fourth or fifth overall.”
He was actually third, just ahead of Bakugo, but Toshinori doesn’t suppose Bakugo shared that fact. “Are you worried about your classwork?” Toshinori asks, hoping Midoriya will get to the point.
“Well, no. Not really. I study hard, and—”
“—Midoriya, my boy, what is it?”
“Are you and Aizawa-sensei… involved?”
Despite expecting the question, Toshinori struggles to choke back a cough. “What makes you think that?” he wants to know.
Midoriya is almost bright red at this point, focusing on a spot beyond Toshinori’s elbow. “You’ve been doing his marking for him since he was injured. I don’t think anyone else has noticed, but it’s your handwriting and Aizawa-sensei’s words.”
Toshinori is about to praise the observation and then point out that that doesn’t mean anything, when Midoriya’s focus shifts. He looks at Toshinori’s neck, gaze following a line as if he’s searching for something. The chain holding Toshinori’s wedding band suddenly burns into his skin.
“And during the fight at USJ I saw that he wears a ring on a necklace around his neck, just the same as yours.”
Toshinori had been careful to keep his hidden. He knows Shouta was careful too. He bows his head, hoping Shouta can forgive him. “You’re right,” he says softly, grateful that Midoriya had the good sense to approach him when no one else was around, or likely to interrupt them.
Gathering his strength, Toshinori meets Midoriya’s startled gaze. “We’re married.”
Midoriya’s jaw drops. “You’re…?”
Toshinori can’t help chuckling, and it’s not just at Midoriya’s reaction. Telling someone feels freeing. Despite the fear of their secret coming out, it feels good to share something that has made him the happiest man alive. “We have been for the last four years – almost five now – and were together for a year and a half before that. He was there when I was injured, he knows about One For All, he knows about you; everything.”
“You and Aizawa-sensei…”
Toshinori gives him a moment to process it. Despite having suspected it, the truth seems to have taken Midoriya aback. Then again, it’s a strange truth to swallow: the Number One Hero being married to an Underground Hero and teacher should be huge news, and then there’s the fact that both Toshinori and Shouta are Midoriya’s teachers. Given all that, and the fact Midoriya is one of the biggest Hero fans Toshinori has ever met, he’s taking the news very well.
“I’m afraid I have to ask something of you,” Toshinori says, allowing himself to reach up and press his hand against his chest where his ring sits low in this form.
“What is it?”
“Only a handful of people are aware of our relationship. I’m sorry to burden you with yet another secret, young Midoriya, but I’m sure you can understand why.”
It takes him half a moment to get what Toshinori is saying.
“It’s also a burden you will be faced with as my successor,” Toshinori admits. “I am truly sorry.”
Midoriya looks distressed. “But—!” he starts, and then immediately loses steam as he considers what they’re talking about. “Would villains really…?”
“I have faced enemies that, had they known I was involved with someone, would have stooped to such levels, yes. It is something Aizawa-sensei and I have talked about, and you must keep in the back of your mind going forward too.”
Midoriya gives a sombre nod, and then a tentative smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. “Despite all that, I’m happy for you, All Might. Congratulations.”
The lump in Toshinori’s throat makes it almost impossible to voice his trembling reply: “Thank you, my boy.”
Shouta is half wishing he’d expelled Class 1-A at the beginning of the year, just to get some peace and quiet. They were spectacular during the Sports Festival, and he feels a sense of pride in seeing how far they’ve come, but he also has a headache, and Nemuri and Hizashi’s excited chatter is doing nothing to help. They’ve dragged Toshinori into into a post-festival hang out, complete with awful take-away food, and there’s no way they can escape. All Shouta wants is to curl up at home in his husband’s arms and talk about the day’s events, but he’s not going to get so lucky.
So he focuses on his greasy noodles as much as possible, and tries not to keep looking towards Toshinori, who is seated the other side of Nemuri.
“And if that was them in first year just imagine how spectacular the Sports Festival will be next year!” Hizashi cheers. “Shouta, your students are a-ma-zing! What do you teach them!?”
“I told you,” Shouta says dryly, “I didn’t do anything. They spur each other on.”
“They have a lot of potential,” Toshinori chimes in.
“They’re so youthful! Oh, that was the best ! So much passion! I’ve never been to thrilled in all my life! I thought I was a gonner at least twice!”
“You shouldn’t be so happy about that,” Hizashi reminds her.
Nemuri just chuckles and helps herself to another dumpling as Hizashi starts discussing Todoroki Shouto. Shouta decides to ignore his friends in favour of his husband.
“Yagi-san,” he says, holding out his portion of pickled salad. “Try some of this.”
“Ah, thank you, Aizawa-kun!” Toshinori smiles, taking it gratefully. Nemuri had strong-armed her way into ordering food she thought he’d like, and Shouta had listened to the order with growing despair. He knew Toshinori could manage a bite or two of what was she’d chosen, at best, and had made sure his order was filled with things his husband could probably eat. After a bite of the salad, Shouta knew it was seasoned delicately enough for Toshinori to both enjoy and tolerate. The shredded beef was next for him to try, and after a few bites to make sure, he passed that over too.
“Oi, if you don’t like your food, give it to me!” Hizashi complains.
“Why did you order the beef anyway? You normally go for chicken,” Nemuri asks.
Shouta shrugs off the observation. “Someone said it was good.”
“They were right!” Toshinori reassures him.
“Well, you’re welcome to it,” Shouta says with a dismissive wave of his hand. It’s the closest to familiar and friendly he can be towards his husband while others are around, and he struggles not to telegraph his irritation. While it is amusing to see how truly clueless Hizashi and Nemuri are, Shouta wishes they didn’t have to hide. For now it’s still for the best that people don’t know, but that time is fast running out. It’s almost up, and Shouta can’t wait until the day he can tell his best friends that not only did they miss such a massive secret, but a high schooler managed to work it out before them.
There’s a scar. Toshinori can barely tear his eyes away from it, his vision fracturing before he blinks the tears away and reaches out to touch the damaged skin.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispers, his voice fragile.
Shouta huffs, but leans into the contact anyway. “It’s fine.”
It’s not, but Toshinori doesn’t say anything. He knows what Shouta means: Shouta understands his regret and remorse, and wants him to let go of it. What’s done is done, as Shouta says, learn from it, move on.
Toshinori has learnt. He leans in and kisses the scar, lips gentle and eyes closed as he tries not to wish with every fibre of his being that he hadn’t caused this. Shouta told him to let it go. It’s not like it will ever happen again.
“You’re thinking too much,” Shouta chastises, fondness in his voice. When Toshinori pulls back, he sees that Shouta is looking up at him with a gentle, reassuring smile. “I’m still here, see?”
And he pulls Toshinori’s arms, placing them around his body as he presses closer.
“Still here,” Shouta repeats, resting his cheek against Toshinori’s chest, where he can no doubt hear the racing of his heart. “Always here.”
Toshinori lets out a sigh, gathering his world in his arms and vowing to himself for the millionth time to never let go.
The benefit of Toshinori’s true form being so vastly different from All Might’s is that no one recognises them when they’re together. The chances of Shouta being recognised are slim, and so what if underground Hero Eraser Head is at a countryside ryokan with a tall, willowy husband in tow? No one pays them any mind, which is just the way they like it.
The ryokan is nice. Shouta doesn’t care much for the hot springs, but the cool mountain breeze that drifts through the open doors is soothing, sweet and welcome after a chaotic first term. With the Summer Camp looming he doesn’t have a lot of time to relax, and has even taken his work with him so that he can make sure every moment of the camp can be taken advantage of, but it’s just what he needs.
“Hello, handsome,” Toshinori says, smiling sweetly as he ambles back into their room wearing only the light yukata that was provided for them. Shouta has unrolled his futon in anticipation of taking a mid-afternoon nap, and Toshinori joins him on it, pressing close enough that Shouta can smell the mineral water clinging to his skin and damp hair. He looks good, Shouta thinks. He looks happy and relaxed, and there’s a healthy glow to his cheeks as he gazes at Shouta, a smile tugging at his thin lips.
“Hello yourself,” Shouta answers. “Did you have a good soak?”
“Very much so!”
For several minutes they enjoy the silence that settles over them, distant birdsong coming closer. Toshinori shifts, his fingers combing through Shouta’s tangled hair with gentle care.
“I can feel it fading.”
They’ve not talked much about this, and Shouta had hoped Toshinori would broach the subject before too long. He’d expected him to discuss it during the final exams, when Shouta was still testing his own Quirk and coming to terms with the fact that he might never reach the same level as before.
He waits, letting Toshinori continue in his own time.
“Ever since I passed my power to Midoriya, it’s been fading. Every time I’ve pushed myself… I think it’ll be gone soon.”
Toshinori sounds calm, despite what they’re talking about. Here, in the remote ryokan, Shouta doesn’t think it’s possible to feel afraid or uneasy. The atmosphere around them is relaxed and peaceful, and he devotes himself to keeping it that way.
“You are ready,” he reminds his husband. Here, away from the world, they can wear their wedding bands, and Shouta’s heart skips a beat when he catches sight of his own as he raises his hand to caress Toshinori’s cheek. Toshinori’s was resized long ago to fit his slender fingers, at a time when they sat down and discussed this same topic now under consideration, and talked about how it would all end.
“I don’t feel it,” Toshinori admits.
And there’s the flutter of fear Shouta expected. He kisses his husband, lending him his support in every way he can. “You know you are – we both are. You have a successor waiting to take your place, and you’re in the best position to continue to mentor him through all he will face. The Symbol of Peace will endure.”
“I don’t want to…”
What Toshinori doesn’t want is something they can’t avoid. Shouta kisses him again, trying to remind him that they still have something to look forward to.
“It will be okay,” he promises. “Everything will work out, you’ll see. And you’ve got me.”
“I’ve got you,” Toshinori agrees with a weak smile. “Oh, Shouta!” he then half wails, pulling Shouta close and crushing him with a desperate hug. “What would I do without you?”
“Give yourself some credit,” Shouta mumbles against the yukata. “You’d be fine.”
“I’d be lost without you!”
“You’d get by,” Shouta chuckles, pushing at him. “Toshi, I can’t breathe.”
Shouta pulls back, grinning up at a somewhat embarrassed Toshinori. Even after all the years they’ve been together, he’s still easy to fluster. “I love you,” he reminds him.
“I love you too, Shou-chan, more than words can say.”
It’s Shouta’s turn to pull Toshinori into a bone-crushing hug.
They barely get a moment alone. In the rush that follows immediately after the Summer Camp infiltration, the best they can manage is a fleeting conversation in the stairwell as plans are drawn together to retaliate.
“Are you okay?” Toshinori asks.
“Shaken. Angry,” Shouta bites out. “They won’t win.”
Toshinori nods in agreement. “They won’t. They’re up against us.”
“Give them hell.”
“Of course. Good luck.”
Toshinori has a feeling he might need it, but he doesn’t say as much.
Instead he kisses Shouta, trying to convey his support while drawing strength from the desperate touch.
And then they’re parted, and it’s the beginning of the end.
“Get out of my way!”
Shouta yells his warning, not much caring for the desperation in his voice. He saw it all, live on TV, and nothing on earth can keep him from Toshinori’s side. He’s not the first person to reach the hospital – the media is already gathered outside – but the urgency in his voice provokes the response it’s supposed to, and people part way for him to tear into the building.
He’s recognised enough to get through security, the fact he was on air not even an hour ago helping, but he’s prevented from reaching reception by the number of Pro Heroes and what he guesses are family members gathered there.
“What…? Excuse me!” he pants, trying to work his way through.
“Mic?” He looks around and sees his friend making his way towards him, Nemuri in tow. “What are you doing here?”
“The call went out for backup, but we’re not recovery so we came here to see if we could help, and to try and see Yagi-san. They’re not telling us anything though.”
“Where is he?”
“They won’t say!”
It’s not the answer Shouta wants to hear, and he pushes his way through the crowd, towards the reception desk.
“Shouta-kun, it’s no good, we’ll just have to wait,” Nemuri says somewhere behind him. “We should go over to the—”
He doesn’t bother listening to the rest of what she’s saying, losing both Hizashi and Nemuri in the crowd and half colliding with the desk when he reaches it. “I’m here to see All Might,” he announces.
The receptionist looks up at him, her expression flat. “I’m afraid he’s not receiving visitors at the moment, if you’d like to—”
“—I’m Aizawa Shouta.”
She pauses for a moment, and then types his name into her computer. The system obviously tells her what he needs it to, as a delicate eyebrow arches as she reads the information attached to Toshinori’s medical form.
“He’s on the second floor, in Room 2-27.”
Shouta only realises as he darts for the stairwell that he forgot to thank her. He decides it doesn’t matter, and takes the steps three at a time. Somewhere below him he hears Hizashi and Nemuri calling out for him to wait, but he doesn’t spare a moment to wonder how they got past reception too.
He slows his pace to a frantic walk, wanting to avoid startling any of the medical staff on the ward as he enters. He draws one or two glances, but no one seems bothered that he made it this far, and no one stops him as he counts the room numbers, drawing closer to 2-27.
His heart is in his mouth by the time he reaches it, almost giving out on him as he pulls the door open. Toshinori had still been standing at the end of the fight, but memories of the fight almost six years ago are fresher in his mind than they’ve ever been.
Toshinori greets him with a dazed smile, sitting up in his bed. “Shouta,” he breathes.
Shouta’s knees almost give out beneath him, and he falls forwards, stumbling towards the bed and reaching for Toshinori. His arms are in casts, his chest covered in layers of bandaging, but all Shouta sees is the way Toshinori looks at him. He cradles his face in his hands, kissing him over and over.
“I saw…” he manages to articulate. “I saw…”
Toshinori can’t hold him in return, instead angling his jaw in just the right way to keep Shouta from pulling away. “I’m okay,” he says between kisses. “One For All is gone, but I’m okay.”
Shouta blinks back tears, combing his fingers through Toshinori’s unruly hair. “Yes, yes you are,” he agrees, kissing Toshinori’s jaw and cheeks and nose before kissing him on the mouth again. “You’re okay, you did it, you—”
“—WHAT THE FUCK!?”
Shouta freezes at the sound of Nemuri’s alarmed shout, a panicked thrill tearing through him. It’s a small mercy that it’s Nemuri shouting, not Hizashi.
Slowly, he pulls back from Toshinori, eyes never leaving his husband’s. Silently, he asks a question, and Toshinori gives the slightest of nods in answer.
With that, he turns to face Nemuri, and finds that Hizashi is there too, his jaw almost literally on the floor.
“Yes?” he asks with surprising calm. He feels himself shaking, and realises that it’s from the desire to laugh.
“What are you…? You were kissing Yagi-san!”
“So I was,” he remarks with a grin.
“But…” Hizashi chokes out, for once in his life speechless.
Nemuri looks utterly scandalised. “You never said you two were seeing each other!”
“Well, strictly speaking, we’re not – not any more” Shouta shrugs, pausing for effect. “We’re married.”
He has to bring his hands up in an attempt to protect himself when Hizashi screeches.
“Since when!?” Nemuri demands, ignoring the damage Hizashi has caused to her ear.
Behind him, Toshinori is laughing, and when Shouta turns back towards his husband, his hand resting on Toshinori’s thigh, he is relieved to see that he was spared the worst of Hizashi’s dangerous reaction.
“Perhaps I should introduce myself properly,” Toshinori says, regaining his composure. “My name is Aizawa Toshinori. I have had the honour of being Shouta’s husband for almost five years now.”
“You’re joking!” Hizashi blurts out. “Oh my god, you’re joking! Please tell me you’re joking?”
“This is a setup, right?” Nemuri asks, glancing around as if she expects a camera crew to be filming. All she sees are the disgruntled staff in the corridor.
“I’ll come find you later,” Shouta half promises, “but right now I need some time alone with my husband.”
“You’re joking,” Hizashi repeats weakly, perhaps going into shock. “Five years…”
Nemuri puts a firm hand on his shoulder, pointing at Shouta with the other. “I’ll deal with you later,” she threatens.
Shouta couldn’t care less. He waits for them to retreat, the door sliding shut behind them courtesy of one of the nurses, and then lets the tension drain from his body as he turns towards Toshinori.
“They took that rather well, I think,” Toshinori chuckles.
Shouta stares at him for a moment, taking in the forced smile and the attempt at humour, trying to match it to the man he just saw give everything he had left to defeat All For One.
“Toshi…” he breathes, reaching for him and finding Toshinori leaning into the touch, pressing his cheek against the calloused palm of Shouta’s hand. “Are you okay?”
“Right now? I… I don’t know…” Toshinori admits. He screws his eyes shut, and Shouta feels the dampness against his skin. With a shuddering breath, almost interrupted by a cough, Toshinori opens his eyes and continues, holding Shouta’s gaze. “But I know I will be.”
Because of you , goes unsaid. Shouta struggles to swallow around the lump in his throat, and finds his voice won’t come free.
“And I think it’s time everyone knew,” Toshinori continues, before clarifying: “About us. I want to tell the world.”
“We can,” Shouta agrees. “We will.”
The look Toshinori gives him isn’t quite a smile, but it’s a look of relief, and in that moment Shouta knows without a shadow of a doubt that everything is going to be okay.
Toshinori isn’t used to people making a fuss over him. He was used to it as All Might, and took it in his stride, but those things were always about him being a Hero, not him being a man. If Shouta weren’t at his side, he’s not sure he’d be willing to go through with what they’re about to face.
For once, Shouta is more at ease with the impending social gather than Toshinori. “Relax,” he encourages, grinning and looking every bit as breathtakingly handsome as he’s ever been. He’s wearing a suit for the occasion, his hair swept back in a messy bun but a tie noticeably absent from his neck. Instead, the top button is undone, exposing his neck and a glimmer of the chain he’s worn for the last five years.
“Now?” Toshinori asks, reaching out to touch the warm metal.
“Yes, now,” Shouta nods, bowing his head when Toshinori’s trembling fingers ease the chain from around his neck.
Toshinori holds the ring tight in his hand as he bends just enough for Shouta to do the same, lifting his own precious necklace from him. “You know,” Toshinori says, trying to work out why he’s so nervous, “I didn’t think it was possible, but I love you even more now than I did when we got married.”
Shouta, having steadier hands, smiles up at him as he slips Toshinori’s ring free and takes his hand in his own. In the same way he had done five years ago to the day, Shouta slides the wedding band into place, gazing up at him as if Toshinori is his entire world. “I know what you mean, I feel the same.”
Afraid of dropping the ring, Toshinori does his best to keep his hands steady as he takes it from the chain and readies it to be slid into place on Shouta’s finger, where he knows it will stay. “Thank you,” he whispers, “for the life you have given me.”
The moment the gesture is complete, both their rings in place, Shouta laces their fingers together, metal sliding against metal.
“No, thank you ,” Shouta corrects, and then smiles when Toshinori kisses him, holding him close for an indulgent few minutes. “Come on,” he says softly when they pull apart. “I believe our friends are waiting to celebrate with us.”
Toshinori almost doesn’t want to go. Almost.
“I can’t believe we finally get our happily ever after.”
Shouta gives a soft snort. “I can. You deserve it. We deserve it.”
That’s something Toshinori can wholeheartedly agree with, and he answers Shouta’s grin with a smile of his own, squeezing his husband’s hand as they head towards the door, and the beginning of the rest of their lives together.