It was a routine job for the duo known as Shout and Mute, up until it wasn’t.
“You’d think they’d learn,” Hizashi remarked, keeping his tone low. Shouta, his eyes trained on the group below their rooftop vantage point, stifled a snort.
“If Overhaul’s capture wasn’t a clear signal to end Trigger-trafficking, they’re never going to get the hint. Besides, villains who can learn are troublesome.”
Hizashi hummed in agreement. “Fair enough. Ready?”
With that, Shouta hooked an arm around his partner and swung them down.
“Hey hey hey! What’s going on here, listeners?!”
Shouta flung the capture scarf around the villain furthest away and yanked. Those not knocked off their feet by Mic’s cheery shout were plowed down by their wrapped cohort. The scene erupted into a controlled chaos, with the villains attempting to grab the bags of Trigger and run, Hizashi foiling their attempts to gain any balance by humming a popular pop song, and Shouta making quick work of anyone who staggered to their feet. Each villain was rounded up, knocked out, and zip-tied (were he by himself, Shouta would have no problems cutting off lengths of his capture scarf to tie them up, but the police tended to show up a lot quicker when Mic was involved and the extreme holding method wasn’t needed), and within minutes the heroes were the only ones still standing in the dingy intersection.
“Sweet! Think we have time for ramen after this?” Hizashi wondered out loud, pulling out his phone to call in the success and arrange a police pickup. Shouta rolled his eyes and bent down to secure the last zip-tie.
“I’ve got at least three more hours of patrol, Mic. That’s a lot of villain activity to miss because you forgot to eat before we left,” he pointed out dryly.
“Great, thank you! We’ll see you in a moment!” Hizashi hung up and turned back to Shouta, putting his hands on his hips. “Hey! You know Tenya’s essays are a lot to get through and he’s one of the few who would care if I were a day late returning it—”
Hizashi’s indignant defense was suddenly cut off with a choked gasp. Shouta leapt to his feet, quirk activated, but Hizashi was already crumbling. The figure behind them wasn’t a familiar one, but their faintly glowing hands were pulling away tellingly from Hizashi. Actually, it almost looked like—
“You bastards! Overhaul was gonna help me make it big! We were gonna fix everything!”
Shouta dove to cushion Hizashi’s head as he fell, and the worried, split-second glance down to make sure he’d succeeded was all the villain needed. His last thought, as his vision went dark and his ears were covered by static, was that this would be a real pain for his later self.
“Hey, Shouta, wake up!”
Shouta’s head hurt. The panicked, hissed whispers did not help. Nor did the gentle shaking of his shoulder. He whined faintly and buried his head against the warmth it was laying on. Why was the rest of his body on something so hard and cold? Didn’t they usually camp out on at least a futon during movie nights?
“Shou-chan seriously I could use some backup to figure out what the hell happened this is not the time for you to go all octopus on me,” the voice above him registered faintly as Hizashi, and if Hizashi was there then everything was probably fine. He was a lot tougher than he let on. There was a faint murmur of voices in the background. Shouta tried to summon the energy to request that Hizashi turn the TV down already.
“I’ll take it from here, boys,” an adult woman’s voice who was definitely not either of Hizashi’s mothers cut through the background chatter. Shouta’s brow furrowed. Heels clicked against pavement, which was odd because Hizashi’s house was almost entirely carpeted—
“Oi, Eraser-chan, let’s get you and Baby Mic somewhere more secure, alright?” This shoulder shake was a lot brisker, and as Hizashi muttered an indignant Baby Mic?! to himself Shouta gave in and opened his eyes. A vaguely familiar pair of blue eyes behind bright red glasses stared back at him. This didn’t help with the confusion. While the costume was much the same, Nemuri’s aunt had red eyes and blue glasses, and she didn’t have quite the same shade of mischievous glee as Nemuri herself— nor this woman standing before them.
“You’re not going crazy,” she informed them in a low tone. Predictably, Hizashi had also caught on to the differences and had tensed from where Shouta’s head was cradled in his lap. “It’s still me. You guys got hit with a quirk during work and you’ve been turned back into cute little teenagers. Got any idea how old you’re supposed to be?”
“Sixteen,” Hizashi answered immediately. Shouta shrugged, considering the situation. As far as quirks went, literally anything was possible in their world nowadays. He’d have time to flip out later, anyway. It did explain why they were both wearing clothes entirely too big— though while he had on a jumpsuit that was still comfortable even with the extra room, Hizashi’s hero persona was, apparently and entirely unsurprisingly, very fond of leather.
“Do you remember anything of your adult lives?”
Adult Nemuri sighed. “Okay, let’s go back to UA. Nedzu probably has a solution, and I’m sure he’s up. Good news is you’re pros and teachers! Bad news is you probably can’t teach classes or fight baddies right now.”
Shouta wrinkled his nose. Teachers? Both of them? Hizashi would be a wonderful teacher, for sure— he put up with tutoring Shouta in English and was the top student by miles. Plus, even though he had plans to be a hero, everyone needed a dayjob. Maybe the radio internship he’d been planning on didn’t work out or something? But Shouta? He at least knew he didn’t have the patience to deal with clueless students, and the idea of teaching had never appealed. Half the time he’d wanted to request expulsion of fellow students.
The current Midnight shooed them into a waiting car and made straight for UA. Though the copious amounts of cameras at every entrance were new, and there were two new buildings that Nemuri explained were dorms for both the teachers and students, the main building was much the same as Shouta remembered from what felt like a few days ago. Their former-homeroom-teacher-turned-principal was also much the same, and he had a steaming cup of tea in front of all three before Nemuri finished explaining.
“Just when we think we’re used to the everyday life of heroes and villains and quirks, a curveball like this is thrown!” He remarked. “Of course, neither of you will be able to cover your current classes, so I will brainstorm a solution by morning. In the meantime, you’d better get some rest! Nemuri, while it’s supposed to be Cementoss’ night to dorm-parent, would you mind giving Aizawa and Yamada an escort back to the appropriate teacher’s dorm and stay on-campus for the night in case of any further incidents?”
“Of course! Come on, boys. You’re lucky curfew was a few hours ago. I can’t wait to see what your students think. Especially 1-A!”
The mildly sadistic smirk was back. Even if she was ten years older than last they’d seen her, this was definitely Nemuri. The smirk stayed as she chivvied them into one dorm, called a bright “goodnight!” and slammed it shut behind them.
Shouta was unimpressed and very tired. This was at the forefront of his mind as he found the (singular, with exactly one gorgeous king bed) bedroom, rummaged in a drawer for some pajama bottoms with a thankfully adjustable drawstring and predictably oversized shirt, shuffled into the bathroom to change, and collapsed into the astonishingly soft pillows. He studiously ignored all of Hizashi’s panicked muttering and stammered speculating and drew the thick blankets over his shoulders. When Hizashi eventually returned from a quick shower and reluctantly slid onto the other side of the bed with a respectful amount of distance between them, Shouta mentally rolled his eyes. His older self must have been awake and semi-functioning for ages, because he felt practically drunk on exhaustion now, and it sounded perfectly natural to roll over and throw his arm around Hizashi’s middle. He always slept better when he was close to Hizashi. Thank god he’d changed out of all that leather, at least.
He wasn’t sure how long Hizashi was awake, but Shouta was out like a light.
Nemuri took great pleasure in bursting through the dorm door. “Rise and shine, baby heroes!” She announced at the top of her lungs. “Nedzu got a hold of your moms, Hizashi, and they sent over some old clothes they’d packed away! Recovery Girl had some uniforms in your sizes, too! Might be small on the classic model of our Sleeping Prince of Relaxation, but better than your present-day clothes! The only reason I’m not coming into your bedroom to laugh at you is because I got zero sleep thanks to this nonsense and am far more focused on mainlining caffeine with how my day is shaping up so count your blessings! You’ve got an hour ‘til class starts and if I have to run the pack of hellions known as 1-A I’m dragging you down with me! Might wanna eat while you can!”
And just as suddenly as she’d whirled in, the door slammed shut again.
Shouta groaned. “Some things never change.”
“It’s Nemuri,” Hizashi’s voice, all too close to his ear and tinged with a sleepy amusement, answered. “What did you expect?”
Shouta was not going to flip out over waking up cuddled up to his best friend slash crush while still in the position with said crush, damnit. This was hardly the first time he’d ‘gone full octopus,’ as Hizashi put it, although they were a little more intertwined than usual. He always gravitated toward warmth in his sleep, and the habit certainly didn’t stop when it came to Hizashi. Shouta was curled up as close as possible to Hizashi, arm holding him close, though he’d migrated slightly to have his face buried in his friend’s chest. Hopefully his warm cheeks could be blamed on situational heat and nothing else. Hizashi, for his part, had tangled their legs together and kept an arm of his own wound around Shouta’s back. His hair was loose and fell on the pillow in tempting soft blond waves, the gel having been long-since worked out in Hizashi’s usual nighttime shower. Shouta secretly loved it down. Right now it was shoulder-length, but maybe his adult self had decided to let it go longer. (If not, now could be Shouta’s chance to convince him.) His red eyes met Shouta’s fondly, a smile playing on his far too close lips. This wasn’t Present Mic, hero-student who could level a city block one moment and pump up a crowd the next, easily the star of their entire graduating class. This was Hizashi, half-awake and relaxed and apparently a-okay with Shouta sleepily taking up all of his personal space.
“You slept with your hearing aids in?” Shouta murmured in surprise. Another strange thing about this morning was Hizashi choosing to talk rather than sign. Shouta felt the arm around him shift as Hizashi shrugged.
“Didn’t feel comfortable taking ‘em out for the night. It’s one thing to be home with my moms, and another to be in a completely unfamiliar environment and have to let all your guard down, y’know? Wasn’t sure if I’d need them in the night or not.”
Shouta hummed in acknowledgment, and thankfully further discussion was cut short by a curious sound from the floor near the bed.
“We have a cat?” Shouta scrambled out of the bed, thankful for the easy escape with minimal awkwardness while simultaneously wishing he could’ve just stayed wrapped up together for at least a week. There was indeed a cat sitting on the floor next to the bed, with a torn ear and scars not-quite-covered by a pink collar that spoke of being a former stray. Nonetheless, the calico gave a pleased chirp, didn’t hesitate to climb into Shouta’s arms, and began a proper sniff inspection. “Hi-kun. I love her.”
Hizashi chuckled warmly and reached over just enough to ruffle Shouta’s hair, not abandoning the blankets just yet. “Speaking of things that don’t change, looks like adult-you still has his priorities in order.”
Shouta checked the heart-shaped tag on the collar, studiously avoiding meeting Hizashi’s gaze just yet. “Her name is Hinata.”
“Oh good, I must’ve picked that one.”
Hizashi snorted and sat up. “Shou-chan. Do we need to talk about your cat naming abilities over the years? Let’s see, that one litter we found you ended up naming Spoon, Fork, and Knife, because and I quote they would be cat-lery, Hizashi, and that fluffy guy with the broken leg was Egg, and I know Mrs. Yoshito’s cat is supposed to answer to Makato not Branch but guess what you call her—”
Shouta shoved Hizashi, sending him tumbling back onto the bed, and stood up with Hinata. “We,” he said with all the dignity he could muster, knowing that he’d just woken up cuddling his crush and best friend and his hair was a tangled mess of bedhead and said best friend-crush was also calling him out when it was entirely too early to do so, “are going to get breakfast. You can fend for yourself. Alone. Without Hinata.”
Hizashi’s laughter followed them into the modest kitchen. “Let’s see who has the most edible breakfast, then, Shou-chan!”
Despite Hizashi’s (truthful) poking at his cooking skills, Shouta could at least feed Hinata, and quickly located a bag of high-end dry food as well as several cans of expensive wet food. Good. He did have his priorities in order. When she was trilling happily and munching on her own breakfast, Shouta took the opportunity to investigate the large laundry basket Nemuri had left in the middle of the living room. Most of them were familiar to his current memories, so it was fairly easy to find an outfit with pieces that would fit him for hanging out after classes, with the bonus of getting to wear Hizashi’s clothes. Predictably the UA uniform was a bit too long, but hopefully this quirk would wear off before he had to give in and hem this set as well. It had taken forever.
He set aside the casual wear and ducked into the bathroom to change, brushing his teeth (that was another thing— there were two tooth brushes. Shouta just grabbed the plainest one, trusting that his taste hadn’t changed that much) but not bothering to mess with his hair. When he emerged, Hizashi had also changed and started on a quick, simple breakfast.
“I found stuff for eggs and toast, but really not keen on older-you choosing protein packs over actual food,” Hizashi called, scowling at a cupboard that Shouta hadn’t touched yet but presumably held said protein packs. Shouta shrugged and peered over Hizashi’s shoulder as he worked.
“Good on future-me. It’s very efficient. Why didn’t I think of that before?”
Hizashi gave a slightly-strangled snort. Shouta really shouldn’t have found it so endearing.
Nemuri, trailed by the younger versions of her friends, was the last to arrive at the classroom at the start of homeroom. Nineteen curious pairs of eyes stared at the trio when she slid open the door. Nemuri took a deep breath, clearly steeling herself, then announced brightly, “Good morning, my dear students! Guess what? Two of your teachers were caught by a quirk last night and are currently your age! Feel free to mock them for this after classes and take it as a lesson that even pros need to be ever-vigilant. Until the villain is caught and the quirk erased or worn off, the principal has made me your temporary homeroom teacher— feel free to ask Shinsou how that’s gonna go, as he used to have me in 1-C— and obviously English and Ethics are on hiatus. I bet they could still tutor you in whatever subjects they remember, though!”
Hizashi brightened at the mention of his favorite subject. Shouta scowled at the reminder of his worst.
“Please leave questions for later! Because I’m a little bit late from picking these two up, let’s hurry and focus on going over the day’s plan.”
Nemuri waved Hizashi and Shouta to two extra desks that had been brought in and tucked into the back of the classroom. While Hizashi pouted a bit at being so out of the way, Shouta was glad for the respite. Most of the student obediently faced forward— whether out of a sense of studiousness or fear of Nemuri was up for debate, but Shouta was inclined toward the latter— but a few still manged to sneak glances back. Shouta slouched into the chair and buried his face in his hands, wishing he could’ve brought a scarf or Hinata and fully prepared to just sleep through the day, but Hizashi nudged him insistently.
Is that Little Tenya?!?! He signed, gesturing not-so-subtly to one of the students several rows ahead. Shouta squinted. He could just make out the engines beneath the uniform legs of the student in question.
Probably, he agreed. If we’re that far ahead then time-wise it would make sense.
Aww! He’s so big now! Hizashi signed in delight. Hey, if we’re all teachers I wonder if Tensei is, too?
Possibly, Shouta allowed. We can ask after class. Or we can ask Tenya, but something tells me that’s just going to open the floodgates. He grimaced.
One of the other students, taller than his classmates and with some sort of mutation quirk, subtly signed an interruption. Careful, sensei will catch you if you’re too obvious about talking during homeroom!
She can’t take Shout and Mute! Hizashi signed back confidently, looking pleased when the corners of Shouta’s mouth quirked in a hidden smile. Stop eavesdropping, yo!
“Aizawa-kun! Yamada-kun!” Nemuri barked. “Unless you want some very embarrassing stories shared, I suggest you pay attention!”
Predictably, this iteration of class 1-A wasted no time in pouncing on the duo the second Cementoss dismissed them for lunch. Shouta was not hiding behind Hizashi at the sudden attention. It was just clear they were going to be nosy despite his prickly attitude and Hizashi had always dealt with attention-heavy situations well. A boy with entirely too many freckles and green hair produced a notebook and began half-questioning half-muttering.
“So you were hit by a time-related quirk, Aizawa-sensei and Mic-sensei? Did you get a look at the villain? Do you remember anything about present day? Do you know exactly how far back you were de-aged? What are your current skill levels like? Do you know how the villain got to you? What year do you think it’s supposed to be? What do you think happened yesterday? Is it very strange seeing UA now? Is it much different from when you went to school?”
A girl with brown hair and circles on her cheeks slammed her hands down on Shouta’s desk. “Did you go to school with Midnight-sensei? Do you team up for hero work often?”
A boy with shorter blond hair that used only a fraction of the amount Hizashi went through piped up, “So if you agree to raise our grades when you’re still a kid does that mean you’ll have to stick to it when the quirk wears off? Because lemme tell you, I have access to some kickass video games that were just a twinkle in Miyamoto’s eye last you knew!”
“What are your families like?” An entirely pink, almost alien-looking girl asked eagerly. “Did you tell them about your accident? Are they going to pick you up or do you have to stay at school?”
“Okay! Thanks for your time, curious listeners! Time to go, Shouta!” Hizashi announced brightly. He grabbed their bags in one hand and Shouta with the other, pulling him out of the room and making a beeline for the teacher’s lounge.
The lounge was deserted, so they scribbled a quick note (Students are annoying and we aren’t even getting paid for it! We’ll stay on-campus and find you if we need to! -H+S) and left it on Nemuri’s desk, then headed to one of the quieter forest-style training grounds. This time it was Shouta’s turn to lead, dodging gaggles of students from the Hero Course, Support, and General Education alike with expert introvert ease. Hizashi finally settled down under a shady tree with a great whoosh of a sigh.
“Phew! I don’t think our 1-A is that exhausting or nosy!” He complained. While he distractedly muttered under his breath about UA taking in a bunch of weirdos, why was that girl pink and who just thinks they can interrupt a sign language conversation anyway Hizashi took the chance to dig out the bento they’d managed to grab from Lunch Rush before school started. He gave an exasperated sigh when Shouta ignored the proffered bento and just curled up with his head in Hizashi’s lap. “Shouta. You gotta eat.”
“Head hurts,” Shouta muttered. Hizashi sighed again. One hand fell to massage Shouta’s temples with practiced ease. The other held the chopsticks and began picking at his food.
“Head or eyes? Did you see any eye drops in the bathroom or anything?”
Shouta shook his head, wincing at the motion. “Little of both. Didn’t think about it.” And really, he’d had other things on his mind, like being stuck in the wrong time period where apparently his adult self shared a space with an adult Hizashi.
“Of course not. Okay, Recovery Girl should have plenty, especially if you’re a teacher. We’ll go check after classes get back and it quiets down. Geez, Shou-chan, how did you ever survive without me.” Poorly, Shouta wanted to reply, but the words got caught in his throat.
They sat like that for what must have been most of the lunch period, and eventually the faint sounds of hustle and bustle grew quieter still and students rushed back to classes. Shouta’s migraine eventually faded to a bearable level, probably helped by Hizashi forcing him to at least take bites of the delicious food Lunch Rush had provided. When both were reasonably full Hizashi kept his hand covering Shouta’s eyes and dug out a book from his bag with the other, leaving his friend to peacefully doze.
“Um. Excuse me.”
It was a tiny, timid voice, and belonged to a tiny, timid girl. If she was even old enough for elementary school, she must’ve just started. Long white hair cascaded down her back and mostly hid a tiny horn on her forehead. Her huge red eyes barely held Shouta’s gaze when he peered out from Hizashi’s palm, absentmindedly (if reluctantly) pushing the soothing hand away and sitting up. Hizashi gentled his usually enthusiastic tone, like he would for the more skittish cats he and Shouta would come across on their way home from school.
“Hey there, little listener! Where’d you come from?”
“’Toshi-nii took me to the cat cafe,” she said matter-of-factly. “He got special permission and skipped class. I got to pet the new kittens and he bought me cake,” she added, looking perfectly satisfied.
Hizashi grinned and nudged Shouta. “Sounds like a perfect date, huh, Shou-chan? Where’s your brother now, kiddo?”
The girl started when Hizashi spoke and opened her mouth to reply, but was cut off by a sharp voice calling out, “Eri! When I said follow me that usually means you do so, punk.”
A teen with wild purple hair and a tired expression Shouta felt down to his soul jogged up. Eri didn’t so much as glance up at the scolding, staring at Hizashi and Shouta with her eyebrows furrowing.
“He called him Shou-chan, ‘Toshi!” She cried, pointing at the pair. “But he did it just like Papa! Do we have cousins, ‘Toshi-nii?!?!”
“No,” the other boy paused, studying Shouta and Hizashi with an unnerving gaze for a moment, then sighed. “The one thing Aunt Nemuri said not to let you do, you manage to do anyway. Congrats, kiddo. Come on,” he unceremoniously sat down on Shouta’s other side and pulled out his phone. “I’m Shinsou Hitoshi. Want to see the cat pictures we took today?”
Eri cheered and clambered into Shinsou’s lap, so he had to tilt the phone to properly display the album’s worth of photos. Perfect as each and every one of them were, that wasn’t exactly a very promising opening exchange. Hizashi was fidgeting in that way that meant he was trying to figure out how to politely phrase something awkward, but this sort of situation called for Shouta’s brand of bluntness.
“I have no idea who you are. How do you know us?” He asked. Hizashi huffed on his other side. Really, he’d kept the demanding tone to a minimum, Shouta thought.
Shinsou hummed. “Technically spoilers, but it’s not like it’ll change anything once the quirk wears off. I’m one of your students. Eri is your adopted daughter. It’s a very long and sordid tale but just give her everything she asks for and you’ll be on the right track. I’m the only one who can see through to her sass anyway.”
“A daughter?” Hizashi said weakly. “Shouta! Did we throw you a belated baby shower?”
“That wouldn’t make sense,” Shinsou said reasonably, a smirk growing like the dread in Shouta’s stomach. “Considering you’re the other parent and all.” He waited a polite beat, then had the audacity to raise an eyebrow in mock-surprise. “She literally said only her Papa calls someone Shou-chan like that.”
“So when you say other parent, you mean in a r-relationship sort of way?” Hizashi squeaked. Through the haze of shock, Shouta was mildly impressed that Hizashi managed to keep a hold of his quirk even then.
Shinsou looked even more amused. Shouta really hoped he remembered to give him detention or something later. “You weren’t kidding about the obliviousness. C’mon Eri, time to go. Hinata hasn’t seen you in like a day and Tsuyu-san promised to do your hair during free period.”
“Froppy!” Eri cheered, bounding to her feet.
“Yep. Say bye to your future parents!”
Eri giggled. “Bye!”
And, fully aware of the chaos he was leaving behind and clearly taking a sadistic joy from it, Shinsou pocketed his phone and directed the small girl back toward the main school buildings. Shouta was at the very least going to write a note to give him a very stern talk.
Shouta groaned and flopped back down into Hizashi’s lap, letting his hair fall to cover his too-hot face. “When this wears off remind me to quit. There’s no way these students are worth all this trouble.”
Hizashi laughed softly, threading his fingers back through Shouta’s hair and giving a pleased hum when Shouta visibly relaxed at the contact. “So do you think we got married for the tax benefits, or does my hopeless crush have a chance?” There was a teasing lilt to his voice that was entirely too distracting for this discussion.
Oh god. How to navigate this. “Tax benefits, obviously,” Shouta said, but there was no bite to his tone. Hizashi’s left hand stayed firmly on his head, blessedly hiding his face and working out the knots, but his right slipped down to find Shouta’s and tangle their fingers together.
“So I didn’t hallucinate us sharing a dorm and a cat and everything?” Hizashi said hopefully. “Because I’mma be real upset if this quirk wears off and I’ve been a pining idiot for like fifteen years.” He squeezed the hand he was holding for emphasis.
Shouta huffed and squeezed back.
A mere three days later, newly returned to his proper age and memories but definitely out of sorts (while normally it wasn’t optimal when a villain died, it had turned out that this one was injecting themselves with an old experimental version of Eri’s blood, but mixing blood types could only go so long before the mis-matched transfusion proved fatal. The body had been found shortly after the quirk’s effects disappeared, and Shouta was viciously glad there was one less person attempting to profit off his daughter’s abilities), Shouta stumbled in the door and squinted blearily at the class, who were clearly vibrating with the effort of holding in gossip and questions, and shook his head.
“Nope. We’re not doing this today. Or any other day. New plan.”
He picked the chalk up and carefully wrote in large, if slightly messy, English:
Self Care Day
Having exhausted the extent he was willing to put up with the other language for the day, he wrote the next lines in kana.
Step One: rest
Step Two: regular lessons from other teachers
He replaced the chalk and pulled out his sleeping bag. “Everyone get a blanket and pillow from the hall closet— first one on the right. You have thirty minutes until Mic comes in, so you’d better make the most of it. Anyone who tries to do otherwise will be forbidden from the next training exercise, because you’ll have shown you can’t take care of yourself.”
Ignoring the bustle of activity and shouted questions, he pulled the zipper to cover his face. Hizashi would probably regret teaching him about the western phrase and indulgent customs, possibly resulting in a quirk-enhanced scolding, but that was a problem for Later Shouta.