“So, what did you want?”
In front of him, Yagi shifted, fiddling with his hands and darting his eyes around. Shouta almost rolled his eyes for the inevitable fumbling question about- work, probably.
They’d been getting closer recently: having lunches, going out to the occasional dinner. It was a good chance for Shouta to air his grievances about the way Yagi taught, though the other man seemed grateful for the incidental advice he was getting. Yagi had even dished out his own topics, asking about hero work or school work or the weather.
“I, uh,” Yagi said.
Problem was, it took him about ten minutes to speak his inquiries.
“You see,” Yagi continued, “we’ve been- getting closer, in the past few weeks, and I was kind of wondering- could we, maybe—if I’m not reading the situation wrong—become... more? Like, you know.”
He made an incomprehensive gesture with his hands. Shouta absolutely did not know.
“Become what?” he asked.
“You know,” Yagi insisted. He blushed, his hands were doing nervous acrobatics around each other, and Shouta decided to put him out of his misery.
“Yeah, alright,” he said.
Yagi beamed, still blushing, said a quick “I’ll see you later then!” and went off to teach his class. Shouta walked back to the staff lounge for his afternoon nap.
“So, what did he want?” Hizashi asked knowingly from the couch. He was smirking. Shouta hated that smirk.
“He was just asking if we could be friends,” he answered. He couldn’t see the smirk slip off of Hizashi’s face and fall into confusion from where he was in his sleeping bag.
“He thinks All Might was asking if they could be friends,” Hizashi said to Nemuri later that night.
Nemuri downed her drink and said, “That fucking dumbass.”
The conversation lulled when she went to get more drinks, but the moment she returned, Hizashi was on her again.
“Friends,” he said, as if stressing the word would make it less real.
“I heard you the first time,” Nemuri said. “Look, I know I just called Shouta a dumbass, but he’s not that stupid. He’ll figure it out when All Might tries to hold his hand or something.”
Hizashi put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. “Nemuri, my bro from another hoe-”
“-you clearly overestimate our boy’s ability to function with, like, emotions and stuff. Did you know I had a crush on him in high school?”
“Everyone except him.”
Nemuri blinked in surprise. “I thought the two of you dated for like a year?”
“Nope!” Hizashi said. “I did everything—gave him chocolates, invited him to a fair, wrote him a confession letter—he thought it was all just friend stuff.”
“He thought a love letter was friend stuff?”
“Confession letter,” he corrected. “And he thought it was a joke someone else convinced me to try and play on him. He got pretty pissed.”
“Damn.” Nemuri considered her drink. “Damn.”
Hizashi nodded sagely. “Exactly.”
“All Might is going to think they’re dating for five years and Shouta is still going to think they’re being friendly.”
“They could get married, Hizashi,” Nemuri said. “They could live together and have sex once a week and adopt five kids and Shouta is going to think it’s regular friend stuff.”
“You seem oddly stressed by this.”
Nemuri thunked her head on the table. “They’re gonna live in a house with a white picket fence and a golden retriever and Shouta’s not gonna know they’re dating.”
“I think you’ve had enough to drink.”
She groaned and said a final, “This is going to be a nightmare.”
Shouta met Yagi at the gate after school. Yagi smiled and perked up when he saw him and, when Shouta got close enough, hugged him.
He hugged back after a moment of hesitation. Yagi seemed like the kind of person to be really affectionate toward his friends.
They stayed like that for an almost uncomfortable amount of time, before Yagi gave one last squeeze and pulled away. The smile on his face was softer, but no less affectionate.
“Where do you want to go tonight?” he asked.
Shouta shrugged and answered, “Wherever.”
Yagi set a hand on his chin as if he was about to stroke an invisible beard. It looked ridiculous. Shouta had to watch himself to keep from smiling.
“I could go for some burgers,” he suggested.
“Eh,” Shouta said, “I went to McDonald’s last week.”
“No, I mean a good burger place,” Yagi insisted. “Trust me.”
They walked to the train station side by side, close enough to brush arms. Sometimes, Shouta thought he could feel Yagi’s hand press against where he kept his in his pocket, but whenever he looked over Yagi had his head turned the other way.
The train station was empty. They stood together in silence, Yagi fidgeting and Shouta bored.
Shouta turned to look at Yagi. His face was flushed.
“Can we,” he started again, “uh, can we hold hands?”
He couldn’t keep his head flinching back in surprise or his eyes from widening a little. Yagi, still flushed, rubbed the back of his neck.
“Um, sorry,” he said. “Never mind. I didn’t mean to make you... uncomfortable.”
Well, Shouta thought, Yagi must like physical affection. It was probably within reasonable bounds to hold hands; it wasn’t as if he’d had too many friends in his life to compare.
“It’s fine,” he said. “I just didn’t expect it.”
Then he took his hand out of his pocket and wiggled it expectantly, and Yagi enthusiastically but gently grabbed it, linking their fingers together. His hand was clammy and warm, though it wasn’t an unwelcome feeling with the chilly air.
The two of them stood like that, not talking, until the train came. Shouta didn’t know when he was expected to stop holding Yagi’s hand, so he decided to wait until Yagi decided to let go.
They ended up holding hands all the way to the restaurant. It got pretty sweaty after a while, and Shouta would’ve liked to have a moment to at least wipe his hand off, but it might be rude to let go without any warning. At any rate, Yagi seemed fine with it.
(Toshinori was not fine. He was feeling both ecstatic to touch Aizawa and self-conscious at the way their palms slid with sticky moisture. He’d rather have a moment to wipe his hand off. Since Aizawa didn’t seem to be making a move to let go, though, he figured that he’d just have to suffer.)
“How many are we seating today?” the hostess asked with a bright smile. Her eyes darted briefly to their linked hands, but did not react otherwise.
“Two,” Yagi said.
She nodded and said, “Right this way.”
They were led to the back of a restaurant to a small booth. Shouta awkwardly hesitated before disentangling their hands and sitting down opposite of Yagi.
Yagi looked at him, looked away, then second guessed himself and determinedly stared into Shouta’s eyes. He stared back, not blinking.
Neither of them talked. His eyes began to burn. A flush was making its way onto Yagi’s face, and tears started to visibly pool in his eyes when the blush reached his ears.
The burn in his eyes got worse. His scar throbbed on his cheek.
“Fuck,” he said, and blinked rapidly. He got his eyedrops out from his pocket and squeezed a liberal amount into his eyes.
“Ha!” Yagi yelled, throwing his arms in the air. “I win!”
“Win what?” he asked.
“The, uh,” Yagi stuttered. “The. Staring contest?”
“Oh,” Shouta said. “Was that what it was?”
The blush, which had receded, returned full force on Yagi’s face. Shouta sighed.
“Relax,” he said tiredly. “I’m joking.”
They awkwardly fell back into silence. Yagi’s eyes were darting from him to the tabetop, his fingers fiddling with his bangs. Shouta decided to pick up his menu the same moment the waiter arrived.
“Decide on anything yet?” the waiter asked with the meniac grin of someone nearing the end of their shift.
“Uh, not yet?” Yagi said.
“Can I get anything to drink for you then?”
“Um,” Yagi said, finally picking up his own menu. He skimmed through the options on the back. “Can I get... water?”
The man nodded and jotted a word down on his notepad.
“And for you, sir?” he nodded at Shouta.
“Tea,” he said.
The waiter wrote it down, thanked them, and left. Shouta and Yagi went back to not talking.
The restaurant’s specialty was burgers, but it also had things like ribs and steak and a small selection of ramen. Shouta would have prefered a bowl of ramen. Since Yagi took him there for the burgers, he thought he should go with one of those.
When he made a decision, he closed his menu and put it down. Across from him, Yagi still hadn’t opened his.
“Aren’t you going to order some food?” he asked.
Yagi’s eyes jumped up from where he was fiddling with his shirt sleeves.
“Huh- what?” he said.
“Food,” Shouta said slowly, gesturing at the menu. Yagi blinked.
“Ah,” he said. He coughed. He picked up the menu, opened it, and gave a half-hearted sweep before putting it back down. “I’m actually not that hungry, so I’ll sit this one out.”
Shouta pointedly looked him up and down, lingering on his stick-thin arms and gaunt face. “Really,” he drawled.
Yagi hummed and nodded.
“Not hungry often?”
“When was the last time you ate?”
Yagi crossed his arms and leaned back against the booth.
“This afternoon,” he said shortly.
So he didn’t like it when people tried talking to him about how he ate. With the way he looked, Shouta wasn’t surprised.
“Was it a meal?” he asked insistently.
Yagi shrugged, face blank. Shouta rolled his eyes.
“You’re acting immature. Just pick something; I’ll pay.”
At that, emotion flooded back into Yagi’s eyes.
“You don’t have to do that!” he practically yelled. “I was the one who asked you to come here, so let me-”
“And I’m the one making you eat something,” Shouta said.
“You don’t have to,” Yagi told him.
“Maybe not, but I’d prefer you stay healthy.”
Yagi stared at him. Shouta stared back, though he didn’t really want to start another staring match.
Luckily, Yagi blinked before long. A small, sincere smile made its way onto his face, and he relaxed against the back of the booth. Shouta found himself absentmindedly smiling back.
That’s been happening more and more often around Yagi. It might turn into a bit of a problem, but he didn’t want to worry about it then.
The waiter returned long enough to get their orders—Yagi ended up getting a small caesar salad, which was good for his peace of mind—and the silence wasn’t nearly as awkward when he left.
“So,” Yagi said. He paused to cough and clear his throat. “So, I keep on wanting to ask about the students and their progress, but, well, we talk about that enough during our breaks, don’t we? I don’t really want to bring up work here.”
“Maybe not the best for this kind of outing,” Shouta agreed.
“Right,” Yagi nodded. “I, uh, don’t really know what else to talk about though?”
He shrugged. He was never much for conversation; Hizashi and Nemuri usually had that more than covered.
Yagi tapped his chin. “Well, we could always start simple.”
“How?” Shouta asked.
Yagi smiled at him and said, “What’s your favorite animal?”
A grin creeped on to his lips. Now, this was something Shouta could talk about all day.
Their food and drinks arrived without much fanfare; the waiter didn’t even say anything, since they were so entrenched in conversation.
They discovered, among other things, that they both liked cats (Shouta had two and Yagi had one), they weren’t huge fans of sweets, they lived off caffeine, and they had an unfortunate inclination for cheesy rom-coms, though Shouta wasn’t willing to mention this until Yagi told him about his favorite movie.
When the conversation started rolling so did the time. It wasn’t long until their food was gone and Shouta was finishing up his second cup of tea.
“You two ready for your check?” a new waitress asked them.
Shouta was about to answer no, when, with a start, he realized that their plates were empty and there was nothing keeping them there.
“Yeah,” he said.
The waitress left. Neither Yagi or Shouta made a move to talk, but the air was comfortable and speaking didn’t feel like an obligation. Yagi’s finger was tracing patterns on the table, gradually getting closer to Shouta’s hand. He didn’t think much of it until Yagi’s fingers started playing with his.
He furrowed his brows. Even Hizashi, touchy-feely as he was, never did something like that. Yagi must be more affectionate than he thought.
Of course All Might would take friendship as an invitation to get cuddly, he decided.
The check arrived, Shouta paid it—despite Yagi’s half-hearted arguments—and they were out in the fall air.
He shivered. He forgot how cold it was.
“Do you, uh,” Yagi stuttered. “Want. An arm?”
“What?” Shouta asked, giving him an uncomprehending look.
Yagi covered his mouth and cleared his throat. The blush was back. He’d been blushing a lot that day.
“Do you want me to put my arm- um- around you? Over your shoulder?”
Shouta pulled out his phone and looked at the time. “Nah,” he answered. “I need to head home now. See you tomorrow.”
Yagi shoulders hunched and his hands were shoved in his pockets. “Oh,” he said. “Would you... want to do this again? Sometime?”
“Sure,” he said, shrugging. He turned to walk off, but was stopped by Yagi.
“Wait!” he shouted. “Shouldn’t we trade... numbers? To text? And such?”
Shouta raised an eyebrow and said, “I’m surprised you know how to text, old man.”
Yagi seemed mildly insulted and opened his mouth to protest, so Shouta distracted him by shoving his phone at him.
“Here,” he said, “type in your number.”
That did the trick. Yagi grabbed his phone, slight forgotten, and tapped at it for a couple seconds before giving it back. Shouta saved his number under the contact name “off brand bunny”.
He sent a quick “hey,” nodded, and walked off with a, “See you later.”
Shouta wasn’t really much for socializing, but having Yagi as a friend was alright so far.
every cutesy erasermight fic has this chapter. you can not get any more cliche.
yooooooooo guess who finally got off their ass and finished this
also last chapter i forgot to thank ehren (Terias on ao3) for reading it over but i, a fool, am just posting this chapter with no regard for whatever mistakes there may be
Hizashi walked in the staff room and immediately headed for the coffee maker. He was, as always, the first one in, so he completed his usual task of filling it with water and grounds and turning it on.
His jaw cracked with a yawn. The coffee maker started to make gurgling sounds.
“Cover your mouth if you want to infect the air with your breath,” Shouta said next to him.
“You cover your mou- when did you get here.”
“Were you here when I came in?” Hizashi asked.
Another shrug. Hizashi eyed him suspiciously.
“You’re never here this early,” he said.
“Usually you just walk into your classroom at the last second.”
“Shouta,” Hizashi said seriously, “why are you here?”
The coffee machine’s gurgling quieted, and a beep rang out to signal that it was done. Shouta grabbed a mug that said “Drama Bitch”—Hizashi would have to remember to tell Ectoplasm where his favorite mug went—and said, “I wanted some coffee.”
He walked off with a sip followed by a grimace. Hizashi thought, Huh, that’s weird. He never drinks coffee.
Shouta sat at his desk, took another dutiful sip, and the staff room door creaked open.
Hizashi smiled, turned around, and said, “Good morning, All Might! How are you feeling on this fantastic day?”
Standing in the entryway—at 7:45 exactly, as always—was All Might, carrying a messenger bag across his shoulder and looking grimly tired. He stalked straight towards the coffee machine in lieu of answering, grabbed the largest mug, and poured half the pot in.
After taking a considerable gulp, he turned his head towards Hizashi with a tired smile and said, “Good morning, Mic.”
Hizashi patted him on the back. “Tough morning, huh?” he asked sympathetically.
“It usually is,” All Might answered.
From the corner of his eye, Hizashi could see Shouta sitting on one of the couches, unsubtly peeking up from whatever paperwork he grabbed. It took a few more gulps of coffee and long sigh before All Might saw him too. He immediately beamed and headed to him.
“Aizawa!” he yelled. “I’m sorry, I didn’t notice you when you came in! You’re not usually here this early, are you?”
Shouta shrugged, picked up his mug from the coffee table, and scrunched his face up before putting it back down.
“No, not usually,” he told All Might.
“HA!” Hizashi interrupted loudly. “Try neve-“
He choked on the rest of his words when Shouta started glaring at him. He didn’t even notice he was using his quirk.
All Might looked between them, brows furrowed in confusion, and then mercifully said, “So I, uh, caught you at the right time then?”
Shouta shrugged, crossed his arms and legs, and leaned back on the couch. “Seems so.”
“Neat!” All Might exclaimed, a little too enthusiastically. His face froze.
“I mean,” he continued, trying to salvage his dignity, “that is- that was- it’s nice that I can... see you? Here. In the morning. Drinking... coffee? I thought you didn’t like coffee.”
“You can have it if you want,” Shouta said.
All Might looked from his big ass mug to Shouta’s and, without hesitation, picked it up and poured it into his own.
Shouta’s eyebrows furrowed and he asked with some concern, “Are you okay?”
All Might stared into the distance. “...Maybe,” he said distantly.
“Do you...” Shouta cleared his throat and jerkily gestured next to him. “Do you want a seat?”
The gaunt man’s face lit up, and Hizashi felt a sort of pity for the guy. His own boyfriend didn’t even know that they were dating.
Wait, he thought, tragic musing coming to a halt, does it even count as dating if one of them is unaware of it?
While he was considering the intricacies of interpersonal relations, All Might had taken a careful seat next to Shouta, cradling his giant mug like he would a kitten.
“So,” All Might said, carefully nonchalant, “you, uh, had fun last night, right?”
“Sure,” Shouta said, eyeing him. “I thought that would've been obvious.”
“Then do you-" The door opened, and Nemuri entered. “-er, do you want to go out? Again? Tonight?”
Nemuri froze. She gathered herself enough to speed walk over to the coffee machine next to Hizashi.
“Oh my god,” she whispered intensely, pouring a mug for an excuse to loiter.
“I know,” he whispered back.
“We went somewhere last night,” Shouta said to All Might.
“Um, yeah,” All Might said. “We did. But I thought we could go out again? I like to spend time with you.”
“Hm.” Shouta tilted his head. “Alright.”
Nemuri loudly slurped her coffee with the same enthusiasm as someone eating popcorn in a movie theater.
“Really?” All Might said incredulously.
“Did you think I’d say no?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I just kind of assumed that you’d say you had too much grading to do."
“Do I seem like the kind of person who’d give out a lot of assignments.”
“...Yes?” All Might said cautiously.
Shouta sighed and leaned back in the couch, closing his eyes. “Homework is a hack.”
For a second, All Might just stared at him, and goddamn Hizashi hoped that Shouta got the memo soon if they were giving each other looks like that.
“Uh, you know...” All Might coughed. “You can lean on me. If you want.”
Hizashi choked on his coffee when Nemuri elbowed him. He glared at her, but she was too enraptured to notice.
“Mm.” Shouta rolled his head toward All Might. “Why would I lean on you?” he mumbled.
“Because you’re... tired?” He gripped his coffee mug harder, and Hizashi swore he could hear it creak from where he stood. “If you don’t want to, that’s fine, I just-"
Without a word, Shouta collapsed on All Might’s shoulder. A second later a snore buzzed out.
Hizashi cleared his throat and said, “Well! Guess he was tired.”
All Might smiled bashfully and rubbed the back of his neck. “That’s probably my fault, I think. We texted a bit last night and he was late to his patrol, so I think he stayed out longer to make up for it.”
“Texting, huh?” Nemuri crooned. She sidled up to him, perching on the arm of the couch. “So, sounds like your date went pretty well, did it?”
“Uh, yeah,” All Might told her, ducking his head and blushing. Hizashi wanted to coo and pinch his cheeks. “It was a bit awkward at first, but then we started talking, and it was nice. We’re going out again tonight- but, uh, you probably heard that, didn’t you.”
“I did,” Nemuri said. “I’m glad it’s going good so far, All Might. Maybe you’ll even get to kiss him soon, hm?”
All Might cleared his throat but carefully stayed still otherwise. “I- we, uh- I’m not sure? We held hands, and I hugged him, but- I don’t know. Kissing might be a little... fast.”
Nemuri flushed and put her hands on her cheeks. “You’re so cute, oh my god. Don’t worry, All Might- you’ll get to kiss him sooner or later! Just go at your own pace!”
She emphasized her message with a fist pump. All Might seemed appropriately enthused.
“Yeah!” he yelled, throwing his arms in the air- and, consequently, throwing Shouta to the other end of the couch. “You’re right! I should stop worrying, and let our relationship progress naturally! Even if I really want to kiss him right now I CAN WAIT UNTIL HE’S READY!”
“Uh.” Nemuri blinked. “Well, that might take a while, so maybe-"
“No!” All Might stood up, hands on his hips. “I refuse to force him into anything he doesn’t want to do! I’m not going to make any moves until he asks!”
“You know,” Hizashi said, “you could try talking about this? Communication is important in a relationship. Probably.”
All Might deflated. He pressed his pointer fingers together.
“Well,” he said softly, “maybe. That would be best. But how do you even bring something like that up? I don’t know, I think I’ll just wait until he feels like talking about it.”
All Might looked at the clock and straightened.
“Ah, I have to leave now to get things ready for first period. Have a good day, Midnight, Mic. And-" He looked back on the couch where Shouta was, miraculously, still snoring. “...Well, I’ll see you all later!”
All Might took his mug and strode to the exit. He gave a final wave before letting the door shut behind him.
“Honestly I really fucking wish that Shouta was awake for that,” Nemuri said.
“HA! Please!” Hizashi snorted. “That would’ve been way too easy! Not rom-com material at all!”
“Keep your goddamn voice down,” Shouta muttered in the couch cushion.
“You know I can’t, baby- and wow how long have you been awake.”
“Since just now.” He rolled onto his back and, consequently, the floor. “Where’d Yagi go?”
“Class,” Nemuri said. “Apparently he has to set some stuff up early.”
“Speaking of Yagi,” Hizashi interrupted, leaning suggestively against the counter, “how’d your date go last night?”
“It wasn’t a date,” Shouta told him immediately. “It was a friendly outing. And it was fine.”
“What else do you want me to say?” He sighed and sat up, hoisting himself back onto the couch. “He enjoyed it, I enjoyed it. It was fine.”
When his head hit the cushion, Shouta fell right back into sleep, snoring loudly.
“This is literally a nightmare,” Nemuri said gravely.
Hizashi nodded in both sympathy and agreement.
“Where are we going?” Shouta asked, scowling when one of the students bumped into him in their excitement to go home.
Yagi shrugged and said, “I thought you could pick? Since I decided last time.”
“I literally never go out. I have no idea what places there are to go to.”
“Are you sure?” Yagi tapped his chin in thought. “I feel like it’d be unfair if I always choose where we go out.”
Shouta shrugged. “The only place I ever bother to go to is a cat cafe, and I’m not sure if-”
“A cat cafe?!” Yagi yelled excitedly.
“-you’d like it. Never mind. I get extra points on my membership card if I bring someone with my anyway.”
“I’ve never been to a cat cafe!” Yagi clapped his hands together.
“Really?” Shouta said skeptically. “They’re common enough, and you said you like cats.”
“I do,” Yagi told him. “I have a cat of my own—I’m pretty sure I told you that?—but, uh, I’ve always been... busy. Whenever I had free time in the past, it didn’t seem worth it to go out and waste energy doing stuff when I could relax at home.”
“Hm.” Shouta, now more than ever, felt himself disapproving of the workaholic lifestyle Yagi had always seemed to live. “Well, I’ll lead the way then. Tell me about your cat? You didn’t say much yesterday.”
“Ha, yeah, there was just... a lot I wanted to tell you, I suppose,” Yagi laughed, rubbing the back of his neck. “His name’s- ah, George. He has long fur, and-”
“Wait. Did you say George.”
“...Yes?” Yagi cringed away from him, and rightfully so, since Shouta glared at him with red eyes.
“Why would you do that.”
“It seemed funny at the time!” Yagi said. He waved his arms around nonsensically. “It’s just- you never see a cat named George!”
“There’s good reason for that.”
“Anyway!” Yagi coughed into a fist. “He’s a Maine Coon, so he has long fur. He always acts really grumpy-”
“Probably because you named him George.”
“-oh, hush. He always acts grumpy, even though he’s only six years old. He never actually lays on my lap, but he likes sleeping beside me and jumping on my shoulders. Usually when I’m trying to cook. It was alarming at first, but now I’m used to it.”
“You’re tall, so I’m not surprised that cats would want to be on your shoulders,” Shouta said, “but how does a Maine Coon fit? You’re not exactly broad when you’re not all inflated.”
Yagi shrugged. “He gets all hunched up. It looks funny, actually, but I’m sure he’d get annoyed at me if I told him that.”
“Right,” Shouta snorted. “George the cat, annoyed by a slight. Seems about right.”
He jumped slightly when Yagi belted out laughing. It’s not the first time he made the man laugh. It’s not even the loudest laugh he’s heard.
But it catches him off guard, as always, and makes him feel that much warmer.
“I told you!” Yagi said between chuckles. “He’s very grumpy! Once I made a comment on how bad his litter box smelled, and he wouldn’t look at me for the rest of the day!”
Shouta’s lips twitched up.
“Yeah,” he said, “George sounds pretty uptight.”
The conversation lulled as Yagi fought to get his breath back, and so they reached The Cat’s Eye in silence.
Shouta lead the way in, bell jingling above them, and walked to the counter.
“Mr. Aizawa!” a woman sitting behind a desk said. “It’s been about a week since I’ve seen you in here! Have you been busy?”
He shrugged and said, “Eh. I brought someone. We’ll be here for...” he glanced back at Yagi to size him up, “...an hour.”
“Only an hour?” she said incredulously. “But you-"
“I know what I said,” Shouta snapped. His face flushed.
“Well, if you say so! Did you want to order anything?”
“Raspberry lemon tea and a grilled cheese sandwich,” he listed off. “Did you want anything, Yagi?”
Yagi jumped, his eyes darting down from where he was staring at the menu.
“I’ll, uh, have the same thing, I suppose,” he said.
“Wonderful!” The woman typed their orders in her register, and said, “Alright, that’ll be-"
Shouta was already getting out his wallet, but a long arm stretched past him, holding a card.
“I’ll pay, since you paid last time,” Yagi said. Shouta could practically feel his breath on the back of his head from how close he was.
“Alright,” Shouta conceded. His throat felt dry. “I’m still getting those points for my membership card though.”
He felt Yagi’s chuckles on his back. He cleared his throat as he took out his card from his wallet.
“Alright,” the woman said, getting out her stickers. “Since you brought a friend,” she waggled her eyebrows for some godforsaken reason, “you get two stickers this time! You’re almost close to filling it!”
“Thanks,” Shouta said dryly, taking back the card when she held it out.
“Go through the door on the right, and remember, let the cats come to you! Have a good time!”
Shouta walked away with a nod, though Yagi stayed behind to thank her properly. They walked through the door. Behind him, Yagi gasped.
“Aizawa,” he said breathlessly.
A city of cats lay before them. Skyscrapers of cat trees and shelves littered the walls, and large toys littered the middle of the room. A single corner was spared for a collection of low tables, where three other people sat. The majority of guests busied themselves in other parts of the room with cats.
“Come on,” Shouta said, and lead them to a table. They were quickly joined by three cats, all of them curling on or around Shouta.
Yagi’s lap stayed bare.
“You seem popular,” he said with a hint of jealousy.
“I come here often enough,” Shouta told him dismissively.
“Ah, I noticed.” Yagi smiled. “Ms. Tanaka certainly recognized you, didn’t she?”
Shouta started at him blankly. Yagi’s smile faded.
“The... worker? At the entrance?”
“Oh,” he said, and shrugged. “I never knew her name.”
“Why? She has a name tag.”
“It’s creepy to know her name without being told.”
A door near where they were sitting opened up, and a waiter walked in holding mugs of tea. He made a beeline to their table.
“I’ve got two raspberry lemon teas for you, and I’ll be back soon with grilled cheese,” he said, setting two cat shaped mugs on their table. He nodded at them, and left back into the kitchen.
“Oh my god,” Yagi gasped. He picked up his mug and cradled it like an antique vase.
“I know,” Shouta said.
“They’re so cute.”
It was lucky that Shouta was a regular customer. He’d had the same reaction the first couple times he visited, but at that point he could play it cool.
“Why on earth did you think I wouldn’t like it here?” Yagi asked, sounding offended.
“Hm.” Shouta sipped his drink. “Why don’t you try your tea?”
Yagi blinked and said, “Uh, alright?”
He took a gulp from his cup and immediately gagged.
“Is there fur in here?” Yagi asked. He opened his mouth and picked at his tongue, and came back with a tuft of fur.
“Yep,” Shouta said. “The kitchen’s clean, but around this time of year, with this many cats, there’s so much fur in the air that it always ends up in the cups and food. I promise it usually tastes good.”
“I mean, I’m used to it, since my cat sheds all the time, but...” He grimaced and looked into his drink. “...That’s a lot.”
“That’s what happens with so many cats.”
With that said, Shouta turned his attention from Yagi to the veritable army of cats surrounding him, each purring for attention. He took care to pet them all, ignoring the ones of his shoulders head butting his face.
Yagi scooched around the table. Shouta ignored him too.
He scooted closer. Some of the cats grumbled and walked off when he invaded their space.
Soon, Yagi was pressed against his side. Some of the cats spilled on his lap, and he obligingly scratched their heads.
“They really like you, huh,” Yagi said softly.
“They know me,” Shouta told him, just as soft.
Yagi hummed, and then there was an arm around his shoulders. One of the cats took advantage of the new path and climbed on to Yagi.
Shouta, while not complaining, was confused.
He was used to a friendly arm around the shoulder, courtesy of Hizashi. But it was always brash, constrictive, made to tease, meant to last for a minute at most.
It didn’t feel like Yagi was going to leave any time soon. Shouta was being comfortably squeezed, but not constricted.
He might, if pressured, admit that it was pleasant.
A cat walked by and rubbed against the hand that wrapped around Shouta, and then everything became clear.
“You like cats?” Shouta asked.
“...Yes?” Yagi said, confused. “I told you this. I have a cat. Why?”
He wondered if he should call Yagi out on the fact that he felt he had to wrap an arm around Shouta to get the cats’ attention.
A black tabby walked to Yagi’s face and rubbed against him. Yagi beamed happily, and the cat purred. The arm around his shoulder tightened.
He can have this, Shouta decided. I won’t ruin this for him.
They spent the next hour like that, letting their tea and grilled cheese cool.
Shouta felt that was worth it.
the stakes are raised. who will win this one person game of gay chicken?
guess who's back bitches
(the end of this chapter gets wild because im real tired sorry lol)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The sounds of pen scratching paper filled the living room, accompanied by the soft tones of Simon and Garfunkel. It was both cozy and much more comfortable than Shouta thought he’d ever be when in someone else’s house.
Shouta had been to Toshinori’s apartment many times in the weeks since they’d become friends. The first time had been the most awkward; Toshinori loudly suggested that they watch a movie after it was clear that neither of them knew how to conduct themselves.
The first five minutes of the movie were spent in stiff silence, both of them straight-backed and tight-lipped. In the sixth minute, Toshinori made a passing comment on how the movie subverts the classic “good hero/bad villain” trope. After that, the two of them ended up talking more about why Megamind was such a good film than actually watching it.
Since then, visits to each other’s apartments became simpler. More often than not, it was a means of having company while grading papers. Toshinori had told him once that he felt relieved to have more input on the rubric for scoring. Surprisingly, Shouta also found himself benefitting from the arrangement- he had a habit of putting off grading since he never assigned much in the first place.
Along the way, Shouta started calling the other man Toshinori instead. He hadn’t even befriended Hizashi that fast.
(To be fair to Hizashi, though, it was really hard to make friends with a teenaged Shouta.)
Beside him, a pen clicked, barely heard through the music. Toshinori stretched his arms up and cracked his back.
“Ah,” he groaned, “I knew it was a mistake to try and quiz them on obscure procedural rules. Half of them said that you had to find and list the name of every civilian involved when you write your report, did you know?”
“Technically, you do have to name everyone directly involved,” Shouta pointed out.
“Yeah, but not bystanders. That's a job for the police.”
Shouta shrugged and looked down at his own pile, which had been whittled down to six. Maybe he should take a page out of Toshinori's book and only hand out quizzes.
God, he hated homework.
Toshinori waited patiently for him to finish, tapping his fingers and humming along to The Boxer. Usually, Shouta was the one waiting, and when that happened he never hesitated from picking up the remote and watching TV.
His pen dug deeper in the papers in his haste to finish. They were planning on going out to dinner, and he didn't want to delay.
The pile had gotten down to one when Toshinori seemed to lose his patience.
“Shouta,” he said, turning on his seat to face him, “I've been meaning to ask you something.”
Shouta looked up from the last essay. “Hm?”
“So, uh.” Toshinori looked down and linked his fingers together. “We've been holding hands, and, uh, cu- cuddl- we've been very. Friendly. Right?”
He raised an eyebrow at the stammering, wondering about the odd tone he used for the word friendly.
Toshinori unwound his hands and started waving them around, and continued, “I mean, I talked about this with Nemuri sometime last month, so I've been waiting, but, I don't know- I feel like we can, you know?”
Shouta gave him a slow blink. “I have no idea what you're talking about.”
“Like we can-” He cut himself off and put his face in his hands. “Why is it so much harder to say to you. Ugh.”
“If it makes you feel better, students ask the same thing,” Shouta told him. He patted him on the back a second later in sympathy.
“I mean, it's just- I know I shouldn't rush into things and make you uncomfortable, but we've been together for over a month, so if it's okay with you, then-”
Toshinori peeked at Shouta from between his fingers.
“Yeah?” Shouta prompted.
It was a tense moment before Toshinori uncovered his face. He stared at Shouta like a mountain to be conquered.
(Maybe, Shouta’s hell brain whispered, like a mountain to be climbed.
Only in his dreams, though.)
“I’m going to try something,” Toshinori told him seriously. “And, uh, I know it’s probably not the best thing to surprise someone with, so I’m kind of half-expecting you to punch me in the face? But I don’t know how to ask, and I really like you. So.”
Shouta tilted his head at him. “I like you too. And I’m not going to punch you in the face.”
“Well, that remains to be seen.”
Toshinori took a deep breath. He twisted until he was facing Shouta, knee drawn up on the couch, one of his hands balancing himself on the back. His other hand was set on Shouta’s shoulder.
“Okay,” he said quietly, “okay.”
Then Toshinori leaned forward and kissed him.
Maybe kissed wasn’t the right word- it lasted less than a second, and he missed most of his mouth anyway. Probably fearful that their noses would bump against each other, or that their teeth would clack together.
When Toshinori drew back, red faced and eyes scrunched closed, all Shouta could think to do was blink in confusion.
That was... unexpected. He didn’t know how to react.
Why would Toshinori kiss him?
“What are you doing with your face?” he asked. It seemed like the easiest question to answer at that moment.
Toshinori hesitantly opened one eye. He opened the other one after taking an appraising look at Shouta.
“I was, uh, preparing myself,” he answered.
“Getting punched in the face.”
Shouta snorted. Toshinori smiled slowly.
“So, uh, was that fine? Can we... do that? More often?”
He didn’t answer immediately. Toshinori’s smile faded.
“Why’d you do that?” Shouta asked.
“Uh.” Toshinori looked down at his lap, where his hands rested. “I just thought... I don’t know. I wanted to get closer? I, um, really like you, and I want to kiss you a lot of the time. It’s fine if you don’t want to, though. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“Hm.” Shouta clicked his pen, remembering the last essay he had to grade. “Let me finish this.”
Toshinori nodded, still looking down. When Shouta pressed his pen to the paper, Toshinori scooted away until there was a good foot of space between them. It left his leg feeling cold.
As much as he was concentrating on finishing his work, he couldn’t help but spare some thought for the incident.
Apparently, Toshinori wanted to kiss him. That was a little weird. Shouta considered him a good friend, but even as deprived of interpersonal relationships as he’d been, he was 99% sure that kissing was a purely romantic gesture.
He added a comment about more counter-arguments being needed, and remembered something that happened when he was a teenager. It was a lot similar to what was happening at that moment, actually.
About fourteen or fifteen years ago, Hizashi had surprised him with a kiss.
It was one of the worst experiences he had. His face slammed into Shouta’s, their teeth cracked together, Hizashi’s glasses gave him a bruise on his cheek- technically, it was his first kiss, but he refused to count it on principle.
Afterwards, Shouta acted visibly disgusted. He yelled at Hizashi, for both hurting him and trying to kiss him in the first place. The two of them didn’t talk for a week.
Even when they started talking again, their friendship never really felt the same. It was a regret he didn’t think about too much, since it happened so long ago.
The more he thought about it, connecting the two, the more it made sense. Hizashi had spent the first few years of his life in America; he knew that Toshinori also lived in America for a time, though he didn’t exactly know when. For all he knew, kissing was more acceptable as a gesture of friendship there.
It made sense. It explained why Hizashi’s feelings were so hurt, if he interpreted Shouta’s reaction as a rejection of the closeness they’d developed.
He didn’t want to make Toshinori feel the same way. He wouldn’t forgive himself as easily, now that he was an adult and knew better.
Plus, the kiss felt nice.
Shouta wrote the final grade on the essay with a flourish, gathering up all the other papers and tapping them on the table noisily to let Toshinori know that he was finished.
“So,” Shouta said when Toshinori turned towards him, “I’ve thought about it.”
Toshinori blinked incredulously. “While you were grading?”
“I’m a man of many talents. Anyway.” He crossed his knee over his leg and twisted until his elbow was resting on the back of the couch. “I’m... fine with doing that. The lip thing.”
“It’s called kissing, Shouta,” Toshinori told him warmly. “So you’re really fine with kissing? You’re not just saying that because I want to?”
“Do I seem like the kind of person who’d do something I didn’t want to do,” he asked rhetorically. “But... yeah. I’m really fine with it. That, uh, kiss felt... nice.”
Toshinori’s lips quirked into a smirk. “Well, I think we can do better than that.”
And he leaned forward, and Shouta had a mildly panicked realization that Toshinori wanted to start kissing at that moment. He wasn’t ready. He ate garlic earlier. How many people had he kissed before, anyway?
Shouta tilted his head into the hand that cupped his cheek, not knowing when it got there but grateful for the sensation. His eyes closed the moment before Toshinori kissed him properly.
This one lasted a lot longer. Shouta never thought of his lips as being sensitive, but it still felt like little shocks going through his head, making his entire face tingle.
Toshinori pulled away, but kept his hand where it was.
“How was that?” he asked.
Shouta cracked open his eyes and didn’t have to think before answering, “It was pretty great.”
“Wanna try a couple more times, just to make sure?”
They might’ve been a little late to their planned dinner, but it wasn’t something that either of them minded.
“They disgust me,” Nemuri said with a scowl.
Hizashi gave her a questioning look. “I thought they were at the forefront of your fantasies.”
“I mean, yeah, but look at them.”
They turned their heads to the couch, where All Might was sitting half in Shouta’s lap. Shouta was absentmindedly raking a hand through his hair and holding his phone with the other one.
Judging by the noise, they were watching cute cat videos.
Nemuri slammed her fist on the kitchen counter. “It makes me sick.”
“Is everything all right in there?” All Might called from the couch, sounding concerned. “I heard a banging noise.”
She gritted her teeth into a pained smile. “Oh, everything is just fine! Don’t worry your pretty little head!”
All Might turned his confused face to Shouta.
“Just let them do whatever,” Shouta said. “I try not to think about them most of the time.”
Then he brushed All Might’s bangs back and stared him sappily in the eyes.
“I see what you mean,” Hizashi said gravely. “This is getting serious. How long have they been dating now?”
“A month and a half. And Shouta’s still being stupid.”
They sipped their coffee. Hizashi leaned back against the counter and sighed.
“Listen,” he said, “I know that when this all started I made it seem like there was no way Shouta would figure it out, but honestly? He’ll probably realize that something’s up when Toshinori tries to, I don’t know, kiss him or sleep with him or something.”
Nemuri cracked her neck with the speed her head turned, eyes gleaming and mouth open.
“I meant literal sleeping together.”
She pouted and took a disdainful gulp from her mug.
On the couch, All Might pointed at the screen, then leaned over and rubbed his nose against Shouta’s. Imitating cats was all the rage these days, it seemed.
“I wonder how he’s gonna write that off,” Nemuri grumbled.
“He’ll say something like, ‘oh, yeah, All Might just really likes cats, it’s fine, this is regular old friendship.’”
All Might stretched to a sitting position, back straight and feet flat on the floor. “Well, it’s time for me to leave. Don’t want the students to worry!”
“Ugh,” Shouta said. “You always leave first.”
“That’s because I had class first,” All Might told him, smiling stupidly.
Then the man stood up, stooped over, and casually pecked Shouta on the lips.
“Bye!” he yelled as he ran out the door.
Shouta went back to his cat videos. Hizashi and Nemuri gaped.
“Eraser!” Hizashi yelled accusingly. “I thought what we had was special-”
He was slapped on the back of the head before he got too far. Thank god. Shouta would’ve literally murdered him if his mouth was allowed to continue to say stuff.
“What he means to say,” Nemuri interrupted sweetly, “was congratulations! We didn’t know you and All Might were dating, Sho-chan!”
Inwardly, they breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, they could pester him about his relationships, and not worry about ruining All Might’s chances.
Shouta grabbed the mug of coffee All Might abandoned, giving it a sniff. “For the millionth time, we’re not dating.”
“Hm,” Nemuri said. “Excuse me for a moment, I think I need to go somewhere to... decompress.”
The two of them watched her speed walk out the door.
“She doesn’t mean-”
“It’s probably not sex,” Hizashi said firmly. “Or at least, it better not be. I wasn’t invited.”
Shouta hummed and sipped the coffee experimentally. He wrinkled his face together and opened his mouth to let the liquid fall back into the cup.
“Ew.” Hizashi stuck his tongue out at him. “Why do you keep trying to drink coffee anyway? You’re never gonna like it, my dude.”
“I hear it’s good at waking people up.” He set the mug back on the coffee table with an ungraceful thud. “Plus, every time I go to his apartment, Tosh- All Might tries to offer me coffee before he remembers that I hate it.”
“So, you’re...” He steepled his fingers together. “You’re trying to build up a tolerance for coffee—even though you hate it—because you... want to drink it with All Might.”
Shouta leaned against the arm of the couch and looked away.
“Dude. Dude.” Hizashi breathed in slowly. “You’ve been coming in the mornings way more often than you used to—you used to never come in early at all, actually—because you want to hang out with All Might, you’re trying to make yourself like coffee so you can drink it with All Might, he literally just kissed you on the lips just now- are you still trying to say that you, I don’t know, only like him as a friend? Or whatever?”
“Yep.” Shouta shrugged. “He’s a friend. That’s all. Don’t know what you’re getting so up in arms about.”
“I thought we agreed that this was a monogamous relatio - actually, you know what? No.” Hizashi stomped out of the kitchen, grabbing a chair so he can sit on it backwards across from Shouta. “I’m going to be serious. Please explain how lip kissing can be platonic. Please.”
“Simple. We’re friends, and we decided we want to kiss.”
“Okay,” Hizashi conceded, “you got me there. What about me, though? We’re friends. Would you kiss me on the lips.”
Shouta stood up and started walking to the door.
“No,” he answered. “Never.”
The door slammed behind him.
“Damn,” Hizashi said to himself. “Didn’t expect that to sting so much.”
Midoriya slid into the classroom, not bothering to shut the door behind him, and slammed into the teacher’s podium at the front.
“NO RUNNING!” Iida yelled above him from where he lay collapsed on the floor.
“Guh,” Midoriya said.
Uraraka peered down at him in concern. “Deku? Are you okay? You haven’t laid on the floor like this since Bakugou punched you in surprise when you called him by his last name.”
“While I disapprove of your blatant rule breaking,” Iida told him sternly with his hands on his hips, “I also have to express my worry. Did something happen, Midoriya?”
Midoriya shot up from the ground into a sitting position.
“I saw Aizawa-sensei kissing All Might,” he said like a man possessed.
The classroom chatter silenced almost immediately.
“Ha, yeah right,” Mineta scoffed. “Like Aizawa-sensei is-”
Iida calmly walked over to him, picked him up, and dumped him outside the classroom. No one paid them any mind.
Mina slammed her hands on her desk and stood up. “Repeat that, please.”
“I saw Aizawa-sensei kissing All Might,” Midoriya said again. His eyes were blank. He was staring into the blank wood of the podium. Uraraka leaned over and tapped him on the shoulder, and when he started floating, she arranged his limbs until he was in a standing position.
She clapped her hands together to let him go, and he stayed standing.
“Can you elaborate on that?” Momo asked.
“I was going into the teacher’s lounge to ask All Might a question,” Midoriya started in a monotone, “but before i could open the door all the way, I heard him talking, so I decided that I didn’t want to interrupt. But when I heard All Might saying that he needed to leave I figured that I could catch him as he walked out, so I opened the door a little, and.”
He turned his head to face the classroom. His expression was full of horror.
“I saw him lean down and kiss Aizawa-sensei on the lips.”
“Nice!” Kirishima yelled.
“No!” Midoriya yelled back.
“Why not! They’re showing their love! That’s manly as hell, dude!”
Midoriya groaned and looked like he was going to collapse on the ground again. “Kirishima, those are our dads!”
“Uh-huh, yeah, while he’s dealing with that whole mess he just said,” Mina interrupted with no regard to anyone’s emotional wellbeing, “I think we need to do a little investigating, don’t you?”
Toshinori walked in through the door, smiling wide and skipping every other step.
Kissing his boyfriend made him feel happy. So sue him. He’d kiss Shouta a million times before they could take him to court.
When he shut the door, all the students were sitting in their desks, wide-eyed and ready to learn. It was suspicious. Very suspicious.
Toshinori’s smile slipped and his eyes narrowed.
“Did anything happen before I came?”
None of them answered, but approximately half of them fluttered their eyelashes in a show of innocence.
“Right,” he said, unconvinced. “Well, I know we haven’t been out in the field a couple weeks, so I just wanted to let you all know that we’re going to continue to stay indoors for a while!”
A single groan echoed through the room before it was hushed.
Toshinori jokingly flexed his stick thin arm. “Hey now, I’m not as strong as I used to be. We’ll get out there soon, but quite a few of the important parts of being a hero is procedure. Now, since you all seem ready and willing, take out your notebooks and-”
“Hey, yeah, sorry Mr. All Might Sir,” Mina said with a raised hand, “but we had a question for you.”
“NO WE FUCKING DON’T,” Bakugou yelled, standing from his desk.
“Yes we do.”
He exploded in her face. To the people closest to him, it was a rather large explosion, but since Mina was across the room it had a lighter effect.
“Anyway,” Mina continued, “we were all wondering: do you have a boyfriend?”
“FUCK YOU WE WERE NOT ALL WONDERING THAT.”
Toshinori was frozen where he stood. He never expected to be asked that. He didn’t know how to react. Shouta wouldn’t want them to know, would he? God, they should’ve talked about it beforehand. He was screwed.
Okay, he told himself. Play it cool. Laugh it off. They’ll never suspect.
“HA HA HA,” he said. “HA.”
They stared at him.
“...Yeah, anyway,” Mina said.
“HA HA,” he told her. “Take out your notebooks. I am going to give a lecture on the proper way to communicate with police. Plus, me, dating? HA HA HA. Remember to take notes, because some of this will be on your next quiz. I’ve never dated anybody in my life. Be sure to pay attention!”
Kaminari leaned over to Kouda and whispered, “Hey, is the dating thing going to be on the quiz? I can’t tell.”
Kouda leaned away from him and gave a nervous shrug.
“Damn,” Kaminari said.
“So,” Mina said to her cohorts, “Plan A was a mild failure, but we can’t give up now!”
“You should give up now,” Sero told her.
“No,” Mina said.
“I dunno, guys.” Kaminari scratched his head with a pencil. “Like, I get that we probably caught All Might off guard and stuff, but I’m still not sure if his answers to the dating thing are gonna be on the quiz?”
“Aw, come on, bro!” Kirishima caught him in a headlock. “Don’t worry about it! Just do the quiz when the quiz comes! Anyway, were there, like, multiple plans? We can’t just ask Aizawa-sensei, right?”
“I don’t see why we can’t.” Mina leaned back in her seat, searching around the cafeteria. “Look, he’s about to pass our table. HEY, SENSEI! AIZAWA-SENSEI!”
“Mina,” Sero pleaded, “this isn’t how you want to go. Stop it.”
Aizawa ignored them and continued to make a beeline for the food.
“AIZAWA-SENSEI, DO YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND,” Mina yelled.
“No,” Aizawa said at a normal volume. He passed by them without a second thought.
Mina leaned back into her seat. “Huh.”
“Told you,” Sero said. “We’re not gonna get anything from him. Give it up.”
She twiddled her fingers together and stuck the tip of her tongue out, thinking intently. “No... you only think it’s the end. I’ll figure something out. I swear to you.”
“Hey, yeah, this is all fun and good,” Kaminari said, “but I literally couldn’t care less and also I’m like legit freaking out about the next quiz now?”
Kirishima patted him on the shoulder. “Aren’t we all, buddy.”