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The Right Kind of Sinner

Chapter Text

They were directed out from the city and over a forest, onto the base of a mountain where a blaze lit up the night.

The biggest problem for Hawks was finding someplace to set the helicopter down where it wouldn’t also block the way for the trucks, currently speeding towards them. He ended up by the edge of a small pond and watched as his co-workers rushed off to assess the situation.

It was a cottage that burned; someone’s vacation home. The flames stretched far enough into the sky to reflect in the water of the pond. Hawks watched it as he waited for word back from his co-workers. It was close to three in the morning, still hours from sunrise. But Hawks had been on the nightshift a long time now, and he liked it better that way anyway.

When the word came that there were no signs of life by the cottage Hawks pushed off his headphones and climbed out of the helicopter. The house should be empty. He hoped it was empty.

The night was cool, but not cold. There was only a slight breeze, which was good. Maybe they could avoid this becoming a full forest fire.

He walked up towards the cottage and now he could hear the crackle of the flames, the thuds as the cottage crumbled into ash. The air smelled of wood smoke, like a bonfire. It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t a part of someone’s life burning.

The distant sound of sirens echoed up to them. That was a welcome sound, it meant this fire could soon be stopped. Hawks turned to the left, towards the road that lead up to the cottage, but he’d only taken a few steps when he noticed the dark figure half-sitting and half-leaning against a rock. One thing was for sure: it wasn’t one of his three co-workers.

“Hey,” Hawks called as he approached and the person turned their face from the fire to look at Hawks, who broke into a jog. “Shit, are you alright?” He was already reaching for his radio when the stranger laughed, dry and humourless.

“I’m fine,” he said. “Just watching the show.”

From up close Hawks could make out bright eyes and dark hair, but that wasn’t what had caught his eye first. No, that honour went to the scorched skin on the man’s face.

“Your face,” Hawks said, like an idiot. The stranger sneered, turned his eyes back towards the fire.

“Nothing recent,” he said. The sirens were coming closer and Hawks stared as the stranger cocked his head to the side, as he listened to it, then he smiled and pushed off the rock, turned and started walking away from Hawks.

“Hey, where are you going?” Hawks called after him and only got a short wave in return. His radio crackled.

Hey, Hawks, would you come have a look at this?”

Hawks watched the scarred stranger melt into the shadows of the trees as he raised his hand to his radio.

“I’ll be right there,” he said.

 

It wasn’t until the next day, when he heard the word arson that it occurred to him that he should have mentioned the stranger to someone else.

It wasn’t their job to find out who did things. It was their job to fix things. Still, maybe he should have said something about the person that had been at the scene. But with the boss in such a mood Hawks’ reflex was to just smile and do absolutely nothing to direct that fiery wrath onto himself. So he said nothing, even as Enji slammed the door to his office loud enough for it to echo through the entire station. He just winced and made his escape.

Last night had been an outlier. Most nights were calm and those on the nightshift could go about their business in peace. Such as this night.

Hawks had his own tasks to see to; co-workers to annoy, coffee to drink. And it was a perfectly quiet night. Once the sun rose and the day-crew started showing up, Hawks changed his clothes and left.

The best thing about nightshift might be the walk home afterwards, in a world just waking up. Hawks liked seeing people start their day as his was coming to an end, and he liked to get breakfast foods on his way home.  It was on his quest for this that he saw the scarred stranger again. This time in daylight.

He was leaning against a wall in an alleyway. He wore a washed-out black hoodie and jeans that looked to have been run over by a lawnmower. He was unmistakable however; with that dark shaggy hair and scars covering almost half his face. Hawks had seen enough burns to be able to identify those anywhere. But in the light it was also easy to see that they were healed over, probably many years old.

It was not Hawks’ consciousness that steered his steps across the road. He just found himself suddenly there, a few steps away.

“You know those are really bad for your health, right?” he said, gesturing towards the cigarette in the stranger’s hand. The look that was directed towards him was far from friendly. Hawks didn’t mind, it gave him a good look at those piercing blue eyes.

“The fuck do you want?” Very deliberately the stranger lifted his cigarette to his lips.

“Not much, really,” Hawks said, and fired of a bright smile. “Just curious really. And because I forgot to ask last time…” Hawks cocked his head to the side and leaned forward slightly. “Did you set that cottage on fire by any chance?”

Fully expecting to get a face full of smoke Hawks was pleasantly surprised when the stranger rolled his eyes and then turned as he breathed the smoke out. Hawks even caught the hint of a smile.

“You’re that firefighter,” he said.

“Sometimes,” Hawks said. “I’m mostly just the pilot. But I do think I’m qualified to speak on the dangers of smoke.”

“I really don’t care.”

“What’s your name?”

“Why would I tell you? Weren’t you just asking if I set a house on fire?”

“Yes, and don’t think I didn’t notice you not answering.” Hawks rolled back on his heels. “You don’t need to give me your real name.”

“I don’t need to give you anything.”

“Sure, but it’d be cool if you did.”

The stranger dropped the cigarette stub and crushed it with his heel, he was back to staring at Hawks as if I wished he could set fire to him with just his gaze. It was a very intense gaze, from a very intense face. Silver glinted from his eyebrows, the bridge of his nose, his ears.

“You can call me Dabi,” he eventually said.

“Yes!” Hawks threw a fist into the air in victory.

“What the hell,” Dabi said. “Don’t you have things to do? Cats to pick out of trees?”

“No, my shift’s over.” Hawks did tug on his jacket where a small enamel cat pin was stuck. “But look, I got this from my co-workers when I saved my hundredth cat!”

Dabi blinked.

“Isn’t that… a bit cliché?” he asked. Hawks shrugged.

“For a reason, I guess. Cats are really got at getting stuck where they shouldn’t be. And I’m really good at saving them!”

“Fascinating.” Dabi pulled his hood up over his head. “Why are you still here?”

“Why shouldn’t I be?” Hawks asked. “Maybe I’m still hoping you’ll answer my question?”

“Tell me, what would you do if my answer was Yes?”

Hawks hadn’t really thought that far, he mostly wanted to satisfy his personal curiosity.

“Well, I could give your description to the people running the investigation, I guess,” he said.

“And they’d care about the description of some random person you met on the street?”

“No, just the part where you were at the scene, you know.”

“Says who?”

“What?”

“I was where?”

“Where the fire was happening…” Hawks watched as a grin slowly crept onto Dabi’s face, it was a vicious thing.

“I don’t remember that at all,” he said. “What fire?”

Hawks sighed. He shouldn’t have expected anything else.

“Fine, Dabi, be like that. I’d love to play, but I’m really tired, so I’m just gonna go home and sleep instead.” He turned his back on Dabi to walk away.

“Finally,” Dabi muttered. But then. “You never told me your name.”

Hawks smiled to himself and raised his hand in a wave to the man behind him.

“No, I didn’t. Have a good day.”

 

-

 

Dabi glared at the stupid red embroidered wings on the back of the pilot’s bomber-jacket.

What an absolute idiot.

He’d looked like an idiot from the front too; what with the vintage-style aviator sunglasses and myriad of pins and patches. At least he was committed to the look, Dabi couldn’t deny that.

Once he couldn’t see tan leather and blond hair anymore Dabi turned and headed back to his apartment. He still had some time before he needed to get to work and maybe he could convince his sister to do him a favour. If she was awake yet.

Their apartment was a mess, how it had gotten into such a state after only a week of them living there he didn’t know. He couldn’t even put all the blame on Himiko when it was his own things he tripped over.

“Good morning, I thought you’d left already.” Himiko did not glance up from the sofa where she was eating cereal. Dabi sat down next to her with a grunt in reply. The TV was playing some sort of cartoons.

“Had to buy smokes,” he said. “Aren’t you a bit old for this bullshit?”

“It’s cute,” Himiko replied. “And no one is too old for cartoons.” She finally turned away from the TV, but only to stick her tongue out at him. He fought the urge to return the gesture. Instead he just poked at her hair.

“Did you sleep in these? You could house a rat up there.”

“Messy is in right now, I make it work.”

“Sure sure.” Dabi leaned back in the couch and yawned. “You’ve been making friends at school, right?”

“So many friends.” Himiko giggled into her cereal. “Everyone’s so nice.”

“Wonderful, I’m so happy. Then could you use your newfound connections to poke around a bit for me?”

“Maybe, what are you after?”

“Oh, you know, the usual family gossip.”

Himiko turned and fluttered her eyelashes at him.

“But I’m your family,” she said.

“I’d trade them all for you in a blink, and I don’t even like you,” Dabi said.

“Liar,” Himiko said, and stabbed her spoon in his direction. “You loooooove me.”

“Just ask around, will ya?”

“Fine. But you’ll owe me.”

“Deal.” Dabi reached out and patted her head which earning him an annoyed hiss in response. “Have fun at school, kid. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t.” He got back up and grabbed his phone and keys on his way towards the door.

“Say hi to everyone from me,” Himiko called after him before the door closed.

It had not been Dabi’s wish to come to this city. Back to this city. But this was where the work was, and he needed that. So, here he was, and he’d had to drag Himiko with him, not that she’d seem to mind. And of course there were some advantages. Opportunities.

It would have been better if his old co-workers hadn’t moved with them too. No, those he was apparently stuck with.

When he arrived at the construction site it had started raining, because of course it did. He was lucky enough to be working under cover at least. It wasn’t bad work, when it was just him and the sparks. And the loud noise made it easy to ignore people speaking to him.

 

Things kept calm for several days, until Spinner set himself on fire.

This wasn’t unusual or very hard to deal with. Except he panicked when he couldn’t get his jacket off and knocked over a gas canister that rolled daintily to the edge of the provisional floor and fell over. They were five floors up. The explosion was rather spectacular.

Dabi pushed his mask up and walked over to Spinner and patted his shoulder.

“Well done.”

Then followed a lot of screaming and more panic and work was halted as the damage was assessed and the fire brigade arrived.

Dabi took the chance to walk off and light a cigarette as he watched his superiors explain the situation to the fire fighters. They’d come in a truck so he thought he’d be safe from blond idiots. But then he saw that very blond head stick out of the window on the driver’s side to say something to his co-workers. He still had the sunglasses on. At least he hadn’t been noticed.

“Set anything on fire lately?”

“Fuck off, Shigi.”

Next to him Shigaraki just smiled and tugged on his hood.

“Do you think you could testify that Spinner did it on purpose so I can finally have him fired?” he asked.

“Since that’s what you want; no,” Dabi replied. He watched the smoke he breathed out twirl up into the air before it dissolved. Through the smoke he saw the pilot get out of the truck. At least he looked slightly less idiotic in his uniform.

Kurogiri had his phone against his ear and a pained expression on his face. Dabi could make a guess to who was on the other side. One of the firefighters had stayed with him as two more inspected the damage. The pilot, or driver, seemed happy to just hang back at the truck with his hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket.

“Shouldn’t you be the one over there arguing with the boss?” Dabi asked.

“I’ve delegated to Kurogiri,” Shigaraki said and just as he did Kurogiri looked over at them and his gaze was murderous, Dabi was glad it wasn’t directed at him. Kurogiri beckoned Shigaraki over with a wave and with a heavy sigh Shigaraki went.

“Serves you right,” Dabi muttered and got a middle finger thrown his way.

His glee was cut short when he saw that this had brought him to the pilot’s attention. He considered turning and walking away before it was too late. But he didn’t want the idiot to think he was running away. So he stood his ground and purposefully did not look at the grinning idiot that was coming his way.

“S,o we’ve established that you don’t care about your own health, but you did also just have a gas explosion and you’re smoking right next to it.”

“Shouldn’t be much gas left since it all went boom, should it.”

“It’s more the principle of the thing.”

“Fuck your principles.”

The pilot just kept smiling.

“Do you work here?” he asked.

“No, I just like to stand around construction sites,” Dabi said.

“What do you do?”

“Weld.”

“Ah, that makes sense.” The pilot turned so he was standing next to Dabi watching the ongoing argument.

“The fuck does that mean?” Dabi sneered.

“Uhm, just.” The pilot gestured vaguely. “Occupational hazard?” Dabi stared at him, raised his eyebrows. “Sorry, that’s probably… Uh, pretend I never said anything.”

Dabi dropped his stub and grinned.

“Oh, that was no occupational hazard,” he said. “More… what’s the word… hmm yeah; domestic.”

That smile finally dropped of off the pilot’s face, which Dabi counted as a win for himself.

“Shit, sorry,” he said.

“Why are you even here? Thought this wasn’t your jurisdiction.”

“Well, we work on a very whoever’s available basis. Today that was me. I don’t usually do the day-shifts but we had some scheduling problems. And while we have our specialities most have to be able to fit into most roles.”

Dabi almost felt bad for the poor firefighter that had been left to deal with Kurogiri and Shigaraki. They didn’t seem to be making much headway.

“In your professional opinion, will we be allowed to go back to work today or can I count on getting home early?” Dabi asked.

“That’s up to your employer. There’s probably going to be more inspections and a look into safety and you’re going to have to make sure the structure wasn’t damaged.”

“Great.” Dabi fished out his phone and snapped a picture of Shigaraki and Kurogiri next to the fire truck.

 

To Knife Baby: Spinner blew something up

To Knife Baby: [Picture sent]

From Knife Baby: Oh, are there firefighters?

From Knife Baby: I just heard something really cool about firefighters today

From Knife Baby: Specifically about the chief of the local station

From Knife Baby: Can you gueeeeessss what it is????

To Knife Baby: Yes

From Knife Baby: (◕︵◕)

From Knife Baby: Why didn’t you tellll meeeeeee

To Knife Baby: I thought I did

From Knife Baby: You’re the worst

To Knife Baby: I might get home early

From Knife Baby: Fuck yeah food!

To Knife Baby: So be nice

From Knife Baby: <3<3<3<3<3

 

Dabi stuffed his phone back into a pocket and reached for his cigarettes. He couldn’t quite tell with the sunglasses but he thought the pilot was looking at him. He left the cigarettes and stuck his hands in his pockets instead.

“What’s with the wings?” he asked. Because there they were again in the form of a patch at the top of the pilot’s sleeve; red wings. “Is it because people keep referring to helicopters as birds?”

He wasn’t sure what he expected but it wasn’t to be laughed at. He’d preferred to not be laughed at. But that was what was happening. The pilot laughed with his head thrown back and his shoulders shaking.

“No, no,” he said. “But that’s an interesting thought.” With a snort he pushed up his sunglasses into his hair and wiped a hand over his amber eyes. “Sorry, I forgot that…” He paused to laugh again and Dabi clenched his teeth together.

“My name is Hawks.”

“What?”

“The wings, it’s because my name is Hawks.”

Dabi blinked.

“I got that part, but what the fuck kind of name is Hawks?”

The pilot, Hawks, just grinned.

“It’s my kind of name,” he said.

“Fucking should have known your name was dumb as shit,” Dabi grumbled. “Hawks. In plural. Not just one.”

Hawks leaned closer so he could nudge Dabi with an elbow.

“Don’t be rude, you didn’t even give me your real name,” he said.

“Oh, and Hawks is your real name?”

“Legally, yeah.”

“Of course it is.” Dabi shook his head. “Then you can’t say anything about me, because mine’s also legal.”

“Hm, that still sounds like you just changed it, though,” Hawks said. Dabi stared at him.

“Yes, people do that, like… you?”

“Nuh-uh, didn’t have another one before this. That I know of.”

“Whatever, this is dumb.” Dabi turned away from Hawks. “I’m going home.”

“Shouldn’t you talk to your boss about that?”

“My boss can go fuck himself.”

“I see. Well then, have a good day, Dabi.”

Dabi made the mistake of glancing back at Hawks, who still hadn’t put the sunglasses back down. That much smiling couldn’t be healthy.

“I guess I’ll see you around,” Dabi said. “Doesn’t seem like I have a choice in the matter.”

He heard Kurogiri call his name as he walked away, but decided to ignore it in favour of planning what to make for dinner.

 

-

 

“Shinji tells me you’ve been making friends.” Yuu climbed into the passenger seat of the fire truck and poked Hawks in the shoulder.

“Of course,” Hawks said. “But I don’t think this friend would be very happy to hear himself described as a friend.”

“That’s not very friendly,” Yuu said.

“It sure isn’t.” Hawks drummed his fingers on the wheel. “We’ll get there eventually.”

“Hey, Yuu, get out of my seat.”

“No, you can sit in the back.”

“I’m in charge of this outing, that means I get the front seat.”

“You’re only in charge because Kugo saw you first, Shinji, get over yourself, and go sit in the back.”

Shinji grumbled but didn’t argue the point any further. Masaki followed him in.

“Right, are we ready to go?” Hawks asked.

“Yes, please get me away from these people,” Shinji grumbled. “I don’t know how they run their organization but I think they’re lucky we’re firefighters and not, say; the police.”

Hawks got them back on the road towards the station, making sure to wave at as many people as possible. He preferred flying to driving, but he liked to see the general excitement the big red truck always got.

Yuu sat half-twisted in her seat so she could talk to the two men behind her. Hawks wasn’t really paying attention as she bickered with Shinji, until he heard the name of their boss thrown around.

“Are we complaining about Enji?” he asked.

“Always,” Yuu said. “But also no.”

“Masaki has been getting the hot gossip,” Shinji said. “Which is weird, since you’re usually first there.”

“I can’t help that I’m his favourite,” Hawks said. “So, what’s up?”

“The cottage that burned down in the mountains last week belongs to our very own Todoroki,” Yuu said. “Which explains why he’s been extra pissy lately.”

Hawks let out a low whistle.

“You guys,” Masaki interjected. “I didn’t mean to tell you, I wasn’t even supposed to know!”

“Don’t worry, we won’t betray you,” Shinji assured him. “But I’d like to meet the person with the balls to burn down the boss’ house. They’ll have hell to pay when they’re caught.”

Hawks considered Dabi.

He didn’t in any way condone arson, professionally or personally. He couldn’t prove that Dabi had been involved in the fire either. But he sure had been at the scene of the crime. So he was firmly in the ‘suspicious’ category. He hadn’t even straight out denied it when Hawks had asked. Very suspicious indeed.

“Hey, Hawks?”

“Yeah.”

“Aren’t you like friends with all of his kids for some reason?”

“More or less.”

“Why not ask them what’s up?” Hawks glanced over at Yuu who smiled brightly back at him.

“Because it’s none of my business?” he tried.

“But aren’t you curious?” Yuu countered.

“Sure, but that seems like cheating.”

“There’s no cheating in gossip, Hawks,” Shinji chimed in.

“Maybe it was one of the kids!” Yuu perked up in her seat. “Teenage rebellion and all that. I’d not put it beyond any child of Todoroki to burn a house down. Especially the little one, he has that vibe.”

“Shouto would not…” Hawks paused, scratched at his chin. “Shouto probably wouldn’t burn his dad’s mountain cottage down.”

“See, not even you can deny it!”

Hawks held up a finger.

“But, it’s far too understated. Shouto would not hesitate to make it obvious he was behind such a thing. Kid’s got style,” he said.

“Guys,” Masaki said again, a bit of desperation creeping into his voice.

“Yes, Masaki dear? Do you have some input on this conversation?” Yuu asked.

“Yes, I’d love it if you stopped having it,” Masaki said.

“Lucky for you,” Hawks began, “we’re back home.”

With the truck parked they all dispersed and Hawks nearly forgot about things such as arson and Dabi until his shift ended. But as he walked home with nothing else to occupy his thoughts it returned.

He wished he had a proper explanation for why he was protecting Dabi. He knew nothing about the man, and he had a case to make for him being involved in arson. Arson involving the property of someone Hawks knew well and on some days could even consider a friend. So why didn’t he? It wasn’t like Dabi was non-descript, and now Hawks even knew where he worked.

Dabi hadn’t seemed very worried about that however. Just annoyed. Surely he must know that it wasn’t great that Hawks had seen him by the cottage. If he had something to hide he wouldn’t have given Hawks his name. Right? Or maybe that was what Dabi wanted Hawks to think.

It was giving Hawks a headache, so he stopped for take-out on his way home. And the fried chicken didn’t solve any problems but it did make him feel much better about life in general.

Chapter Text

Hawks saved a cat the next day, so that was a good day. The day after that would be his last day-shift for a while and he got to do some flying, so that was also a good day. He had most of the next day off, at least that’s what it felt like before he got back into the night-shifts again. He decided to go for a walk.

He went to the park a couple of blocks from his apartment and got ice cream. There was a peace in sitting there in the sun and watching people go about their lives. There were a lot of dogs, so that was extra nice. He did regret not bringing a book or something with him after a bit though.

He was considering if it was worth going back home for one when he saw a familiar dark-clad figure on the path.

It was warm enough that Hawks’ had been forced to take off his jacket, but Dabi wore a knee-length black coat. He also had on a pair of sunglasses and, most importantly, he wasn’t alone.

At his side was a blonde girl, hair in a bun. Her head just about came up to Dabi’s shoulder. She was wearing an over-sized yellow sweater, shorts and rather clunky combat boots. She had one arm hooked into Dabi’s and a drink in the other.

Hawks watched them approach and it that moment he had trouble seeing Dabi as anyone who’d burn a house down.

The girl looked young, could not be more than sixteen, and she was smiling as she talked. Hawks was glad for his own sunglasses as her gaze trailed across him. People watching was one thing, but he was not in the habit of staring at strangers, not if he could help it.

She sipped her drink and tugged on Dabi’s arm, turning to ask him something. Dabi shook his head in response and while Hawks couldn’t see his eyes it was clear in exactly what moment he noticed Hawks.

There was still a chance they might just continue past, and Hawks was curious enough to not want to intervene.

“… so she started crying, and then of course everyone felt soooo sorry for her. It’s not like she had anything to cry about anyway, I just asked her a question!” The girls voice was bright. “I don’t think she wants to play with me anymore now.”

“Good for her,” Dabi said.

“She was so cuuute too, always blushing, and her hair was super soft,” the girl complained.

With only a few steps left before they’d be in front of Hawks the suspense was tangible. He didn’t think anyone could blame him for nearly holding his breath.

Dabi stopped and the girl at his side stumbled.

“Hey, what was that for?”

Dabi ignored her. Hawks smiled at him.

“I should have foreseen this,” Dabi said. “Do you compete with the pigeons for breadcrumbs?”

“Oh, a bird joke! How clever and original.” Hawks gave Dabi a thumbs up.

The blonde girl looked between them and blinked.

“Oh my god, Dabi has a friend!” she gasped. She let go of Dabi’s arm and skipped up to stand in front of Hawks, a bit closer than expected. “Who are you? I like your hair, it looks so fluffy!”

She was leaning in towards him and Hawks found himself trapped.

“Uh,” he said.

“Don’t scare the birdie, kid,” Dabi said. The girl twirled around and sat herself down next to Hawks. Right next to him, leaning into his shoulder.

“He’s cute,” she said. “I’m Toga, what’s your name? You don’t work with Dabi do you?”

“I’m Hawks,” Hawks said. “And no, I don’t.”

“Hawks is a firefighter,” Dabi said and Hawks saw as Toga’s eyes went wide.

“Ohhh,” she said and then broke into giggles. The way Dabi had said firefighter made Hawks feel like there was a joke he was missing. “It’s nice to meet you. Will you be my friend too?”

“Don’t answer that,” Dabi said before Hawks had time to reply. Toga glared at him.

“Don’t be selfish, Dabi,” she said. “You said I should make more friends.”

“I also told you not to talk to strangers,” Dabi said.

“But he’s not a stranger, you know him.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Well, if you don’t want him, he can be my friend and you don’t get to complain.” Toga sneaked her arm around Hawks. “You don’t mind do you, Hawks?”

“Himiko, tone down the crazy,” Dabi said.

“I can’t, it runs in the family,” Toga said.

“I always knew Shigaraki was your real brother.”

“You take that back!” Toga released Hawks and stood up to poke Dabi in the chest.

“If I do, will you be less insane?” Dabi swatted her hand away. “Excuse my sister, Mr. Bird, she’s very sick.”

“Sick of your bullshit,” Toga muttered.

Hawks just nodded.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Toga,” he said.

“Come on, let’s get home,” Dabi said. “Until next time, birdie.”

“See ya!”

Toga turned around several times as they walked away to wave at him. Dabi did not look back once. Hawks smiled to himself as he watched them. A very unlikely pair, and yet seemingly perfectly matched. And completely unexpected. But that had been the theme lately anyway.

 

-

 

Dabi spent his lunch-break listening to Twice trying to convince Spinner that hydras were real. It was the most interesting conversation he’d been almost a part of for days. Twice did make some good arguments, and though Dabi caught him slipping up several times Spinner did not.

Still, it was a relief when Kurogiri came to save him.

“How’s the kiddo?” he asked as they walked.

“She’s doing great, she has an entire new city to terrorize,” Dabi said. “Keeps complaining about not seeing the rest of you, though.”

“Yeah, we should probably try to meet up, like old times.”

“Won’t that be fun. What did you need?”

“It’s more about what Tomura needs,” Kurogiri said. “He needs someone who can talk to people, and apparently you’re our best bet. Which really isn’t reflecting good on any of us, is it.”

“None of you have my natural charm and good looks,” Dabi drawled.

“You’ll get out of doing actual work for a while at least.”

“Perfect, so who do I need to speak to and about what?”

Out of the brigade of idiots Dabi found himself working with he liked Kurogiri the best. Mostly because Kurogiri was rather skilled in idiot-wrangling.

The task that was outlined for Dabi didn’t sound like much fun, but it would make a nice break from the welding. Not that Dabi minded the welding, he really liked it actually. Still, he could do with a break.

When he got back home he cooked dinner while Himiko talked about the people at her school.

“Hey, Dabi?”

“Mhmm.”

“We should go out and do something fun this week-end. I’ve barely been aaaaanywhere since we got here.”

“What do you want to do?”

“Anything! Oh, we can go dancing!”

“No.”

“We can go drinking.”

“Try that again in a few years and maybe.” Dabi put the finished food on the table and sat down opposite Himiko.

“You’re no fun.”

“I’m being perfectly responsible, little sister. Anyway, how about hanging out with all your favourite idiots? We’ll need to find a new spot around here sooner or later, I guess.”

“Oh, yes! That’ll be great!”

“I can’t wait,” Dabi said with no conviction in his voice. But he’d put up with a few hours of bad company if it made Himiko happy. He was pretty sure it would be better for her to make actual friend her own age than to hang out with him and the rag-tag group of workers that made up his social circle. But she’d known them as long as he had, and she was attached to them for some reason.

“We should look for new people to make friends with too,” Himiko said around mouthful of food. “Maybe we can find someone you’ll actually like. Oh, like Hawks!”

“I’ve said this before, we’re not actually friends.”

“Not with that attitude. But he seems nice, so you should be friends.” Himiko rested her chin in her hand and gazed across the table at Dabi. “And he’s so much cuter than the rest of our friends, you can’t miss this opportunity!”

“I don’t understand how your mind works,” Dabi said. “Just eat your food.”

 

-

 

The next time Hawks saw Toga she did not have Dabi with her. It was late afternoon and Hawks was heading in to the station but the sight of the blonde girl gave him pause. Because, while Dabi was nowhere to be seen, Toga wasn’t alone. She seemed to be talking to an older dark-haired man and Hawks’ eyes narrowed as he reached out to touch her arm.

Hawks did not like the smile on the man’s face. Toga however showed no signs of distress and was, in fact, also smiling. Hawks hung back and watched them for a moment, tried to assess the situation. He really had nothing to go on other than a vague feeling of unease.

The man gestured to something and Toga giggled behind a hand and nodded. They moved a bit down the street, the man with a hand against Toga’s back, as if he was guiding her. Then they stepped into an alley and disappeared from Hawks’ line of vision and he sprung into motion to follow them.

He had no plan, just a sour taste in his mouth, as he weaved between people to get to the alleyway. As he came around the corner he skidded to a stop.

The man was slumped back against a wall, one hand pressed to his bleeding nose the other held out palm open before him, a panicked look on his face. Before him stood Toga, and she was still smiling as she twirled a knife in one hand. They both glanced over at Hawks. The man with pleading eyes and Toga with an even wider smile.

“Hawks, hi!” she said and skipped over towards him, somewhere along the way the knife disappeared from her hand.

“Hey, everything alright?” Hawks asked.

“Yuupp,” Toga chirped. “That guy was being awfully rude, but he’s apologized and won’t do it again.” She waved at the bleeding man over her shoulder. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m on my way to work,” Hawks said. He glanced over at them man, who seemed frozen in place, the blood dripping onto his shirt. “Why don’t you let me walk you home, though, Toga.” He’d barely finished speaking before Toga slipped her hand into his.

“You’re so nice, Hawks,” she said.

“Sure.” Hawks gave the man one last dark glare before he let Toga pull him back onto the street. “You sure you’re alright? He didn’t hurt you?”

“No, he’s just some old creep,” Toga said, waving a dismissive hand in the direction of the alley. “You don’t need to worry about me, although it’s very sweet of you.”

“Apparently.” Hawks felt her squeeze his hand a she leaned into his side. “Do you always carry a knife with you?”

“Mhm. But Dabi says I shouldn’t stab people if I don’t have to.”

Hawks interpreted that as Dabi being fully aware that his sister did carry a knife. He wasn’t sure what he thought about any of that.

“That sounds like… good advice,” he settled on. “Does he know you’re out alone?”

Toga laughed.

“Sure,” she said. “He also knows I can take care of myself perfectly fine, better than he can at least.” She leaned her head onto Hawks’ shoulder.

“Let me tell you a secret,” she whispered. “He’s not actually my brother. But he sure acts the part, doesn’t he?”

Hawks had noticed that the two did not in any way resemble each other, but had decided it wasn’t his business to question. It meant he wasn’t very surprised at Toga’s revelation though.

“He does. And isn’t that the important part?”

“I suppose. Do you have any siblings, Hawks?”

“No, I don’t.”

“That’s a shame, I think you’d make a great brother!”

“Oh, thank you.” Hawks couldn’t help but match the smile Toga shot him.

“You don’t actually have to walk me home,” she said. “It’s not very far, and you said you have work.” She pulled them to a stop.

“Are you sure? It’s really not a problem, I was early anyway.”

“I’m sure, you go save people, or whatever it is you do.” Toga let go of Hawks’ hand and gave him a light shove.

“Alright, you stay safe. And don’t stab people.”

“Yeah yeah. Bye, Hawks!”

The rest of the way to the station Hawks mulled over the enigma that was Dabi and Toga. He knew next to nothing about either of them, yet… They were strange, Hawks was used to strange, he didn’t mind strange. Mostly it made him curious.

Curious was a dangerous state for Hawks. Curious made him do stupid things.

 

-

 

Dabi preferred to spend his Saturday nights on a couch watching movies or playing video games. Yet here he was, in a rather shabby bar, watching as Toga cheated at cards against Kurogiri and Twice. For unknown reasons Shigaraki had joined them, although he sat by himself, playing some Gameboy game.

Toga threw her hands into the air as she won, again. Which was to be expected, Dabi felt a little surge of pride, he’d taught her very well.

He emptied the last of his beer and stood up.

“I’m going out for a smoke,” he said. He was acknowledged by a nod from Kurogiri and a wave from Toga, the next game already being dealt out.

Glancing at a clock on his way out told him it was just past midnight. The night air was pleasantly cool, and a nice change to the stuffiness of the bar. He stepped to the side of the entrance, found a nice bare spot of wall to lean against and looked around the street as he fished out a cigarette.

There was the thumping of loud music pouring out from a club across the street, it had its own gathering of people outside of it, definitely looked more popular than the place Kurogiri had chosen for them.

Dabi lit his cigarette and leaned his head back against the rough wall and watched a gang of girls, barely older than Toga, laugh as one of them appeared to try to explain something. There were others, like Dabi, that were out for a smoke, and some that just seemed to stand around.

Then, as if summoned, out stepped a by now familiar blond. As soon as he appeared he was spotted by one of the girls and she waved him over.

Dabi couldn’t hear more than a few words here and there, not that he was trying to listen, but it looked like Hawks knew the group.

He was dressed in a plaid button-up, left open over a t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and jeans. Clothes that fitted better than anything Dabi had seen him in before.

Dabi felt rather safe on his side of the street so it took him by surprise when Hawks turned and nearly immediately locked eyes with him. But maybe he should have seen that coming, what with the name and all. Hawks smiled, a rather pleased smile, and with a few quick words broke away from the girls to amble across the street. This is when Dabi noticed several things.

First was the eyeliner. Second the fact that Hawks seemed fairly drunk.

Dabi put out his half-smoked cigarette.

“You look like you’re in a 90’s boyband,” he said. Hawks laughed and very pointedly looked Dabi over.

“Brave words coming from you, Hot Topic.” He ended that with a pair of finger-guns and a wink.

“I have a feeling you’re a terrible drunk.”

“I’m a fucking delight,” Hawks said. “In all states of drunkendness, or sobererness… That doesn’t seem right, but imma not worry about it.”

“Obviously.”

“Hey, Dabi,” Hawks smile disappeared in an instant. “I met your sister the other day. Did you know that she’s really scary?”

Dabi grinned and nodded.

“She told me about that,” he said.

“She has a knife, Dabi!” Hawks held his arms out. “How old is she even? Whatever, I don’t feel like she should be having a knife, but she also seem real good at it?”

“She’s almost seventeen,” Dabi said. “And I wouldn’t try to take her knives from her if I was you.”

“Knives? Oh god, she has more than one.” Hawks let his arms drop again and shook his head. Then he stepped closer and lowered his voice. “Do you also have knives? Is it a family thing? Or whatever it is you’ve got going on.”

“No, I don’t have any knives on me,” Dabi said. It wasn’t even a lie. “Do you need one? Toga’s in there you can ask her.” He gestured towards the bar. Hawks followed his gesture and his eyes, that sure was a lot of eyeliner, narrowed.

“Why’s she in a bar?” he asked.

“To cheat at cards.”

“… I really can’t tell if you’re being serious right now.”

Dabi crossed his arms over his chest and shrugged.

“That’s your problem, little bird, not mine.”

“Rude,” Hawks said.

“Hawks!” a voice called.

They both turned to see a short woman with long white hair hurrying towards them.

“Bunny!” Hawks called back upon spotting her and stepped forward to catch her in a hug.

“What are you doing out and about, bird boy? Without informing me, even.” The woman stepped back and set her hands on her hips as she stared at Hawks.

“I was kidnapped, Rumi” Hawks said. “By Yuu, to provide my excellent wingman services.”

“Oh, where’s Yuu?” Rumi asked and glanced around.

“She’s busy,” Hawks said and winked. “I’m sure she’ll surface to thank me tomorrow, but for now, I do not even want to know where she is.”

“Good for her,” Rumi said and reached up to pat Hawks’ head. “and well done you. You should have texted me earlier, I haven’t seen you in ages. Damn Todoroki isn’t good at sharing.”

Hawks laughed and swatted at her hand.

“It’s not Enji’s fault,” he said.

Dabi was glad no one’s attention was on him as he listened, he doubted he managed to hide the anger that flared up in his chest at that name.

“It damn sure is,” Rumi countered. “I really don’t see how you stand working for him, any of you. Arrogant bastard.”

“He’s not that bad,” Hawks said, which earned him a poke from Rumi.

“That’s because you’re the favourite,” she said. “No wonder Fuyumi doesn’t like you.”

“Hey, she likes me just fine! I think…”

“Keep telling yourself that. But it would be nice if you could have some free-time to spend with your poor suffering friends, Hawks.”

“I have plenty of free-time. I’m having some right now.” Hawks reached out to bop Rumi’s nose.

“Right,” Rumi laughed. “And if Yuu hadn’t needed you to get laid you’d have been holed up in your apartment eating fast food right now. You’d not have thought ‘maybe I should see what my good friend Rumi is up to’.”

“That’s unfair,” Hawks complained. “And you’re wrong I would definitely have been asleep by now. I’m too old for this.”

“I’m older than you, you’re just lazy,” Rumi said. “You should consider taking a page out of Yuu’s book and get yourself laid, I’m sure it would be good for you.”

“Hey!”

“Unless you’re already working on that and I’m getting in your way.” For the first time since she’d shown up Rumi acknowledged Dabi’s presence, even if it only was to give him an exaggerated wink. “Anyway, I actually have people waiting for me so I gotta bounce. Promise you’ll make some time for me soon.”

“No, you’re terribly rude and I don’t want to associate with you,” Hawks said.

“Love you too, bird boy.” Rumi blew him a kiss before she spun around and half-jogged away.

“I need better friends,” Hawks muttered as he glared after her, before turning back to Dabi. “Sorry about her.”

“I can see why you’re friends,” Dabi said.

“The way you said that makes me think you’re also being rude,” Hawks said. Dabi shrugged.

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

“Oh god, yes.”

“Yeah, me too. Let’s go.” Dabi showed his hands into his pockets and started walking, eyes on the distant sign of the 24hour diner down the street. Hawks caught up with him after a few steps.

“What about Toga? Are you just gonna leave her?” he asked.

“I’ll text her,” Dabi said. “She’s with friends, they’ll keep her entertained, and I’d rather not suffer their company more than I have to anyway.”

“Well, alright then.”

They walked in silence, giving Dabi a moment to reflect on his motives. He wanted to say that he’d suggested food because Hawks knew Todoroki Enji. But it hadn’t really been on his mind at the moment. He’d mostly been hungry. Still, it was as good an excuse as any. Hawks had information that could be useful to Dabi. He’d be a fool to pass up on that.

They settled into the diner and ordered food. Hawks got chicken waffles, Dabi wondered what had gone wrong in his life to be like that. About half the tables were occupied, mostly by other people that seemed in various states of drunkenness.

Dabi discovered that food was a good way to keep Hawks from talking. He filed that information away for later.

“I kind of expected you to be a black coffee kind of person,” Hawks eventually said, once most of his waffles were gone.

“I like tea,” Dabi said and sipped his tea.

“I respect your choice.” Hawks yawned and leaned back in his seat. “It just goes against your aesthetic.”

“Well, no one can be perfect.” Dabi glanced out the window, but mostly saw the reflection of the diner. “Have you been living here for long?”

“Yeah, since I was ten,” Hawks said. “You and Toga just moved here, didn’t you?”

Dabi nodded.

“She told me you’re not actually related,” Hawks continued. “Is it just the two of you?”

“Yeah,” Dabi said. “What about you? Got a big family?” to Dabi’s surprise Hawks laughed.

“Nah, it’s just me,” he said. “Never knew my parents, although science says I must have had them at some point, but you know.” Hawks shrugged with a dry smile.

“Ah, well, having had a family I can’t say you’re missing out on anything.” Dabi downed his tea to not think about why that was information he’d shared at all. “So, firefighting?”

“What about it?”

“How’d you end up there? Also what’s the deal with your boss?”

Hawks leaned forward again, placed his elbows on the table, rested his chin in his hand.

“Those two actually go hand-in-hand,” he said. “I didn’t actually go in for the firefighting to begin with, I, uh, was in the air force. Helicopter pilot and all that, but it didn’t really fit me, I wanted to do something more… helpful. And living here I heard enough about the things Enji did as a firefighter and I thought that was really cool. So I basically annoyed him into employing me as a pilot and then picked up the rest though the years.”

“How noble,” Dabi said. “Your white-haired friend didn’t seem to like him much.”

“It’s…” Hawks bobbed his head from side to side. “People are complicated, and some are harder to like than others. Enji probably isn’t easy to like, and he’s not doing anything to improve that. But I don’t think that should stop me from making the best of the situation anyway.”

“You’re too friendly,” Dabi said. Hawks smiled at him.

“Yeah, I’ve been told. But you can’t deny that it’s effective.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Of course not.” Hawks yawned again and closed his eyes with a sigh. “I’m really starting to miss by bed.”

“Don’t you mean nest?”

“Blanket nest, yes.” Hawks cracked one eyes open. “This bird does not roll with twigs.”

“Well, you can go reunite with your bed anytime. I have to first extract Himiko from the brigade of idiots,” Dabi said.

“I’m sure you’ll survive.” Hawks stretched and dragged a hand though his hair. “Let’s get out of here before I fall asleep on this table.”

Once they were outside Hawks seemed to perk up a bit again, and even hummed to himself as they walked back where they’d come from. He stopped outside of the bar and gazed quizzically up at Dabi.

“What?”

“You’re not smoking,” he said. Dabi stared at him. And he very quickly bounced between options. Landed on what seemed closest to the truth.

“You don’t like it, right,” he said, tried to instil as much nonchalance in his voice as possible. “And I’m not that far gone that I won’t survive an hour or two.”

“Huh,” Hawks said, and looked away. “Well, thanks I guess? For that, and the company. Say hi to Toga from me.”

“Sure,” Dabi said, with a small shrug before he turned and opened the door.

Chapter Text

Hawks whistled to himself as he walked back to his apartment. The night had been a success. He’d even made some unexpected progress on project Befriend Dabi. Sure that had maybe left him with more questions than it had answered, but it was progress nonetheless. He also congratulated himself for making it though that entire conversation without asking about the scars.

In the light of the diner he’d gotten a better look at Dabi. The scars on his face were worst from the chin and down, going down his throat and out over his collarbones. There were also smaller patches, under his right eye and across his left cheekbone. Those Hawks had seen before, they were obvious. But he hadn’t seen the extent of scarring on Dabi’s hands, or how it went up both his forearms.

Hawks had seen a lot of burns, a lot of wounds of all kinds, broken bones and cuts, you name it. He knew that whatever had happened to Dabi had been extensive and the patchiness on his face reminded him of chemical burns more than anything else. Dabi had said domestic, that it hadn’t happened at work.

It was none of his business, he knew that. But he was oh so curious.

Once he finally made it to bed all thoughts had abandoned his mind, and he fell asleep in a few short moments.

 

When Hawks got to the station for his Monday night-shift he was ushered immediately into his helicopter. Once he had his directions he settled in for the flight towards the mountains.

“So, what we got?” he asked.

“Hiker stuck in a crevice,” Masaki informed him.

“Wonderful.”

And just like that he was draw back into work. It was a familiar pattern. Go to work, get home, do as little as possible, sleep, go back to work.

It did occur to him that Rumi had a point; he didn’t have much of a life outside of work. So he sent her a text and arranged for them to meet for lunch the next day.

He didn’t avoid his friends; he loved spending time with them. But most of the time he didn’t have the energy to be around people after work. Rumi deserved better than that. She’d be the first to tell him.

“It’s nice to see you in sunlight,” Rumi greeted him.

“It’s always nice to see me,” Hawks replied.

They opted for the outdoor seating and caught each other up on recent news as they waited for their food. Hawks ended up explaining how he’d come in contact with Dabi.

“You know, not to judge, but doesn’t he seem a bit… shady?” Rumi said.

“Oh, definitely,” Hawks agreed. “But like… he’s also trying really hard to be shady? I think he’s actually pretty chill.”

“If you say so. You’re just so young and impressionable; I don’t want to see you fall into the wrong crowd.”

“Hey, fuck you,” Hawks said. “I’m a proper upstanding citizen.”

“For now.” Rumi smiled at him. “You also have like the worst judgement.”

“I don’t think it’s fair that you’re being so mean to me when I’ve taken the time to spend time with you.”

“I’m just doing what any good friend would do,” Rumi said. She sipped her drink and glanced out across the street. “I’m just trying to protect you from yourself.”

“I’ve got it handled, please and thank you,” Hawks said.

“Hey, isn’t that your lil protégé?”

“Huh?” Hawks followed Rumi’s gaze to where a group of students were gathered. “Oh, yeah, it is.” Hawks cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hey, Fumikage!”

The dark-haired boy snapped his head around and quickly caught Hawks’ wave.

“Don’t scream at high-school students, Hawks,” Rumi calmly said.

“I didn’t scream at him, I called for him, and like a good bird here he comes.”

Fumikage did separate from his friends and cross over the street. He looked about as gloomy as always.

“Hey, shouldn’t you be in school right now?” Hawks asked as soon as he was close enough.

“It’s four o’clock,” Fumikage said. “School has ended for the day.”

“I haven’t heard from you in weeks, I feared you’d died in a dark corner.”

“I have not. But I do appreciate the fact that you thought me dead and did nothing to appraise the validity of that concern.” Fumikage cocked his head to the side. “You could just text me. With words. Not memes and emoji’s. And you might earn a reply.”

“What’s the fun in that?” Hawks asked. “And I did check on you, I asked Shouto if you were alive.” Hawks glanced past Fumikage but didn’t see any white and red hair. “Is he also here?”

“He is not.”

“Hey, Fumi?”

“Yes.”

“You don’t happen to know if there’s a new girl at your school? Should be second year, short and blonde, name’s Toga?”

“Perhaps,” Fumikage said. “Why are you asking?”

“Yes, do tell, Hawks,” Rumi interjected. “Why are you asking after high school girls?”

“Because she’s my new friends little sister and I was curious if she went to the same school as my other little friends,” Hawks said. “So, does she?”

Fumikage nodded.

“I think so. But you should probably ask someone who pays attention. Is she… loud? A bit clingy?”

“Yes.”

“I think I’ve seen someone like that around.”

“Cool, thanks!” Hawks held out a hand for a high-five that Fumikage accepted with a heavy sigh. “You should reply to my memes, Fumi; so I don’t have to worry about your health.”

“I will make no promises,” Fumikage said. “Until we meet again.”

“Delightful kid,” Rumi said once Fumikage had walked away.

“He’s adorable,” Hawks said. “I’m so proud of him.”

“Weird attracts weird,” Rumi muttered.

“Explains why you’re here.”

 

Hawks saw Dabi again at the end of the week, standing in the same place he had on their second meeting. Hawks was on his way home in the early morning and he guessed that Dabi was about to head out to his work.

“Morning, bird.”

“Sure is.” Hawks stopped by Dabi and as soon as he did Dabi discarded his cigarette. “Is this you routine? To hang around alleyways in the early morning?”

“Maybe I was birdwatching,” Dabi said.

“Oh, have you seen any of my brethren around?”

“No.”

“I guess you’re not doing a good job then,” Hawks said.

“I wasn’t, then you showed up.”

“Aw, that’s sweet.” Hawks leaned against the wall next to Dabi. “How’s work? I figure I’d have heard if you exploded anything else.”

“No explosions, or even small fires,” Dabi said. “How about you? Saved any cats this week?”

“No, but I did get a dog down from a roof.”

“The hero we deserve.”

“Bear with me for a moment, this is just a hunch… but you don’t seem very fond of the whole firefighters thing.” Hawks kept his tone light but watched Dabi’s expression carefully.

“It’s nothing personal,” he said after a bit of a pause. “I just can’t stand those that get all high and mighty for doing their job. It’s fine and great if you want to spend your life saving people, but if you only do it for some idea of glory…”

“That’s fair, I suppose. You’d have hated some of the people I met in the air force.”

“Yes, I would.”

“But even if some people’s motives aren’t perfect, isn’t it better that there are people to do the work anyway? Like even if someone’s an asshole about it lives are still being saved.”

Dabi shrugged, and Hawks saw him fiddling with something; his lighter.

“That just means the entire system is fucked up then,” he said. Then he turned those piercing blue eyes to Hawks. “Why do you do it?”

“See, after that it’s hard for me to answer, isn’t it?” Hawks said. “But I told you before; I do it because it feels like I can actually make a difference. Even if it’s just a cat that gets safely down from a tree with a little help from me, or it’s someone life I helped save, I do something.”

Dabi was quiet for a bit, his eyes still focused on Hawks. Then he smiled ever so slightly.

“What a good bird,” he said and before Hawks could reply he reached up a hand and ruffled Hawks’ hair. “See you around.”

Hawks watched him walk down the alleyway.

“Say hi to Toga from me!” he called after him. Dabi just raised a hand in acknowledgment.

With a shake of his head Hawks continued on home.

 

-

 

Dabi had just finished his food when he caught sight of what was playing on the TV in the coffee shop. It was the bright orange flames that attracted his attention, and he saw as the image cut to a reporter. The sound on the TV was muted but the imagery spoke for itself. Something in the city was burning.

Picking up his phone Dabi did a quick goggle search and was assailed by headlines. Massive fire ravages apartment complex. After several hours the fire is still burning.

Dabi dug around in his pockets for his headphones and plugged them in and got a live video feed going. Not the same that was playing in the shop but the content hardly seemed to differ.

It quickly became clear that the fire had started in the early morning but not been noticed until almost an hour later. Since then it had raged through the large apartment complex, where most residents had still been asleep. The fire brigade had arrived on the scene along with paramedics and apparently every other available work-force.

It had taken hours to get the building evacuated, with heavy casualties, and they’d only managed to start getting the fire under control a couple of hours ago. The live footage of the site now showed a blackened and smoking husk, still alive with fire in parts. It also showed the rush of people, the many blinking lights and the sprays of water.

Dabi stared at the firefighters and wondered which one of them was Hawks. It was impossible to tell.

He stayed at his table, lost track of time as he watched the news roll on. Although he never caught sight of Hawks he did see a tall red-haired man that made his insides twist. Still he couldn’t stop watching, even as his battery life drained and the closing time for the coffee shop approached.

At eight the fire was extinguished, the hospitals were full.

At eight-twenty-four Dabi’s phone died. He pulled of his headphones and blinked. His eyes hurt from staring at the screen.

At eight-thirty-seven the bell at the door chimed and Hawks walked in. He ordered something and while he waited sank into the nearest seat, gaze vacant. Instead of calling for him the cashier went out and placed a plate with what looked like a pie and a water bottle in front of him.

Dabi shoved his phone in his pocket, got up and slid into the seat opposite Hawks.

He looked like an absolute mess. His hair was matted down and streaked with ash and sweat. He smelled heavily of smoke. His eyes were bloodshot and unfocused.

“Hey, birdie,” Dabi said, as softly as he could. “Eat your food.”

Hawks blinked and finally his gaze locked onto Dabi.

“Huh?”

“Come on, you look like you’re going to pass out. Eat your food first. It’s why you came here anyway, right?”

“Yeah,” Hawks said, and his voice was rough and hoarse. “No food at home.”

Dabi picked up the water bottle, unscrewed it, and pushed it back towards Hawks.

“When’s the last time you had any food?”

Hawks accepted the water and drained half the bottle.

“Donno, what time’s it?” He blinked rapidly, as if to try and force himself awake. “I had the nightshift.”

Dabi did the math. Hawks’ nightshift seemed to end around five in the morning, so it probably started around eight. Which meant he’d been not only awake but at work for twenty-four hours.

“Eat, Hawks. Collapse after.”

Hawks did look like he was ready to drop at any moment, but he managed to consume the pie, in small pieces, with breaks. Dabi watched him and noticed several things.

Hawks had changed clothes, he was wearing a pair of baggy jeans and a hoodie, but other than that he seemed to have come directly from the fire. There was soot smudged on his face and something along the side of his jaw and neck that Dabi was certain was blood. His hands were a bit shaky.

“Alright, let’s go,” Dabi said as he stood up and removed the plate. The cashier was preparing to close down the shop.

“Hawks, come on, you need to get home.”

Hawks grumbled but pushed to his feet and followed Dabi out.

“Tell me if you’re going to fall.”

“I’m fine.”

“That’s convincing.” Dabi figured a slight breeze would be enough to topple the exhausted Hawks. He made sure to just follow where Hawks was going; at least he seemed present enough to know where he was.

They walked in silence a couple of blocks before Hawks spoke again.

“Why are you here?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why are you… here?” Hawks tried again. “I’m pretty sure I can find my way home without an escort.”

“I sure hope so since I don’t know where we’re going,” Dabi said.

“So, why?”

“I’m not sure,” Dabi admitted. “But I think you could use some help right now.”

Hawks stopped outside on an apartment building with a sigh.

“Are you going to ask?” he said.

“What?”

“What happened.”

“I’ve been watching the news.”

Hawks just stared at the building, swaying slightly for several breaths before he moved again. He tapped in the code and pulled open the door. Dabi followed him in, and Hawks didn’t complain. Without glancing at the stairs Hawks called for the elevator and leaned against the wall as they waited.

“What floor?” Dabi asked.

“Top,” Hawks replied.

“Naturally.”

“I like the view.”

The elevator doors slid open and Hawks did not move. Dabi sighed and tugged on his arm.

“Come on, you’re almost there.” It took some tugging but eventually Hawks half-collapsed in the corner of the elevator. Dabi hit the button for the top-floor and watched as Hawks’ eyes slid closed. He let him be.

With a chime the doors opened again and Dabi had to urge Hawks out in the hallway.

“Come on, little bird, keys.”

Hawks stepped over to the left of the doors and dug around in his pockets until he came up with a keyring. He unlocked the door and tugged it open.

“I’d invite you in, but I don’t think I get a say in this,” he mumbled as he stepped through the door. Dabi didn’t answer but followed and shut the door behind him. He watched as Hawks slid down a wall and tugged at his shoes. After kicking them off his feet he remained there, that distant look back in his eyes. Dabi crouched down next to him and gently nudged his shoulder.

“Birdie, you reek of smoke, you need to shower,” he said.

“That’s a bit funny coming from you,” Hawks said, his voice monotone.

“Yeah yeah, smoking is bad for you. Worry less about me ruining my body and more about yourself right now. Shower.”

“Sleep.”

“Shower first.”

“Noooo.”

“You’ll thank me when you wake up,” Dabi said. He stood up and held a hand down to Hawks. “Come on.”

Hawks sighed but took Dabi’s hand and let him pull him up. He took a moment to steady himself and then headed further into the apartment.

There was a big living-room, furnished with a couch and a tv-set, a couple of bookshelves and a desk. It was separated from the kitchen by a countertop that seems to serve as a table. There was a door leading out onto the balcony, and one door that Dabi assumed was a bedroom. It was the door Hawks went to. He emerged a few second later with a bundle of clothes.

“Don’t break anything,” he said as he passed Dabi and went back towards he hallway where the door to the bathroom was.

With Hawks gone Dabi took a few moments to look around and then walked over to the windows by the balcony. The curtains were open and the view really was quite nice. It wasn’t a super tall building, but it was a couple of floors higher than the one Dabi and Toga lived in. This was very obvious since Dabi could stand here and look down at his own building.

They weren’t next to each other, but only one street apart and Dabi could see the roof of his building across the roof of the one opposite Hawks’. Given how frequently they’ve seen each other in the streets outside he’d have guessed this might be the case.

He could hear the sound of running water from the bathroom as he turned from the window and walked into the kitchen.

It was a mess.

There wasn’t many dishes. There were more empty take-out containers. Dabi wasn’t here to judge, it just happened anyway.

Hawks hadn’t been wrong when he’d said there wasn’t any food in his apartment, though. It was a barren wasteland. With a sigh Dabi sat down at the counter and tried to see if his phone would start. It didn’t.

Hawks’ apartment was messy, but it wasn’t unclean. It was just covered in things. The couch had at least three blankets in it. There was also a rather impressive vinyl music collection and player set-up.

Dabi had almost decided to go check it out when Hawks emerged from the bathroom. He joined Dabi at the counter. With his hair wet it laid almost flat, which was a first. The ash and blood was gone, but the exhaustion remained. He was wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt several sizes too big.

This was relevant to Dabi as the wide neckline showed bruising on Hawks shoulder and collarbone.

“How are you feeling?”

Hawks shrugged.

“About as good as you can expect,” he said. He stared down at his hands for a drawn out moment. “What do you do, when your best isn’t enough?”

His voice was so quiet, his eyes empty, and Dabi could only guess at the thought running through his head.

“You ask for help,” he said.

“And if that doesn’t help?”

“You come to terms with the limitations of possibility.”

Hawks raised his eyes to look at Dabi.

“That fucking sucks,” he said.

“Yes, it does,” Dabi agreed.

“I don’t…” Hawks sighed and closed his eyes. “I hate this part. And it never gets easier, fuck, I wouldn’t want it to, but I don’t want… this.”

“Yet you will get back up from this and do it all over again,” Dabi said. “You know why better than me. You know why it’s worth it.”

For the first time that night Dabi saw a hint of a smile on Hawks’ face as he opened his eyes again.

“You know, you’re working really hard on your bad boy image but you’re quite the softie.”

“You take that back immediately.”

“No,” Hawks said, and his smile spread as his eyes drooped close again. “I kinda like it.”

Dabi stood up.

“Alright, you need to get to bed before you fall off your chair.”

“That’s the best idea you’ve had so far,” Hawks mumbled. “But it’s so far, couch is like right here.”

“Stop thinking about the moment and consider the future,” Dabi said. “Would you rather wake up in your bed or on your couch?”

“Well, if you put it like that.” Hawks pushed himself up using the counter.

Dabi headed towards the door.

“Dabi?”

“Yeah?” Dabi turned to see Hawks leaning a shoulder against a wall.

“Thank you,” he said. Dabi nodded.

“Sure, just remember to lock the door before you pass out.”

“Any more demands before you leave?”

“Get some rest.”

“Got it.”

Dabi walked through the door and closed it behind him. He heard the lock turn as he reached the elevator and smiled.

 

“Where have you been, young man?”

“Shut it, Himiko. Also you have school tomorrow, go to bed.”

She hung over the back of the couch and watched as Dabi took of his shoes and jacket.

“Well, I was watching the news reports and also I tried to call you.”

“My phone’s dead.” Dabi sank down in the couch next to Himiko. “I met Hawks.”

“Is he alright?” Himiko asked, settling in against his side.

“Yeah,” Dabi said. “He’ll be fine.”

“So?”

“So what?”

“What happened?”

Dabi glanced down at her.

“I helped,” he said. “Or maybe I didn’t, I was mostly watching so he didn’t fall asleep before he made it to bed.”

“Right, but?”

“But what?” Dabi frowned at Himiko who rolled her eyes.

“But you’re completely space out,” she said. “What’s with the gloomy look?”

Dabi groaned and leaned his head back to stare at the ceiling. The ceiling offered no help.

“It’s just… He’s so pretty.”

Himiko broke into giggles and punched his arm.

“I’ve been saying that from the start!” She drew her legs up in the couch and twisted so she was facing Dabi. “But you don’t mean that the way I do, right?”

Dabi glared at her.

“Like, when I say pretty it’s in a: I want to look at him and also maybe touch his hair, kind of way. But when you say pretty you mean: so pretty you’d like to kiss him.”

“Among other things,” Dabi muttered.

“Right,” Himiko said. “That does not explain this dark cloud you’re entertaining.” She blinked up at him and Dabi turned back to the ceiling.

“Are you playing stupid or have you not thought this through?” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean the part where this is a bad idea on so many levels it’s almost hilarious.”

“Drama queen.”

“Really, Himiko?”

“Oh, come on,” Himiko said. “So you think he’s pretty, so what? I’d not have thought him your type, what with all the smiling and being kind, but still.”

“Ah yes, thank you for reminding me that he can do so much better.”

“That’s not what I meant.” She poked him in the ribs until he looked at her. “I think it’s a bit too late for you to start getting self-conscious. Who know maybe he’s into this entire scar thing you’ve got going on.”

“You’re terrible at this.”

“And you’re acting like a moody teenager, which should be my role.”

“Yeah, well I never had my chance as an actual teenager, I’m just trying to catch up,” Dabi said.

“I just don’t see what the problem is? Hawks is really nice, I like him.”

“Ah yes, Hawks, the firefighter. And me, with my fake identity,” Dabi drawled. “Hawks the firefighter, who works for and is on friendly terms with my dearly beloved father.”

Himiko was silent for a long moment.

“Okay, so that’s not ideal.”

“No fucking shit.”

There was another long silence.

“I mean, that doesn’t have to be a problem,” Himiko tried.

“Explain,” Dabi demanded.

“Well, I guess that depends on what the ideal outcome would be. But if you’re just interested in getting laid, which I support, it might give me some peace, it doesn’t need to factor in at all.” Himiko was grinning when Dabi met her gaze, a grin that quickly was replaced with a gasp. “Oh gosh, you don’t! You like like like him! You want to go on dates and hold his hand and watch the sunset—”

Dabi could hear her protest through the hand he had over her mouth.

“I will throw you out a window if you don’t shut up,” he said. Himiko pulled his hand away.

“Dabi has a crush,” she said.

“Shut up.”

“What are you going to do about it? The crush, not me shutting up.”

“I’m going to go on with my life and not complicate it unnecessarily,” Dabi said.

“But Daaaabiiii!”

“No. I should never have brought this up at all.” Dabi rose from the couch. “I’m going to sleep.”

“Coward.”

“Brat.”

Chapter Text

Hawks paused for just a moment before he kocked on the door in front of him. He didn’t wait for a reply; that pause was for him, not for anyone else.

“Morning!” he called as he stepped in, which earned him a grunt in response from Enji. “What can I do for you on this fine day?” Hawks sank down in the chair next to Enji’s desk, threw his legs over the armrest, and waited.

Enji finished reading the paper in front of him before he looked up and settled his icy blue eyes on Hawks. There was a furrow between his brows. It was there most of the time. Hawks had once poked it, it had not done any good.

“So?” he said now. “What’s up, my man?”

Enji sighed.

“I’m going to need you on day-shifts for the foreseeable future. Half time as stand-by pilot, the other half as back-up.”

“Right, so who’s doing night-shifts?”

“Whoever I can get on them,” Enji said. “We’re short-staffed. So I’ll probably need you on emergency stand-by as well.”

“We’re always on emergency stand-by,” Hawks pointed out. “Just don’t ask me to run double shifts; because I will legally not be allowed to fly without some sleep.”

“Yes, I am aware of that. You’ll get your off-time. I’ll run the others on double-shift in your stead.”

“Now, that’s hardly fair.”

“Who said it was going to be?” Enji leaned back in his chair. “I’ll get you your new schedule as soon as it’s worked out.”

“Wonderful.” Hawks smiled brightly and swung his feet back to the floor. “Anything else?”

Enji stared at him for a few long seconds and then looked away with a slight grimace.

“Have you been talking to Shouto lately?” he asked. Hawks was a little taken aback. Of course Enji knew Hawks was on friendly terms with the rest of his family, but he almost never brought it up. He avoided speaking of his family at all most of the time.

“Can’t say I have,” Hawks replied. He doubted Enji would count Shouto sending him pictures of wild birds with ‘It You’ captions as talking. “Should I have?”

“No,” Enji said. “Nevermind then. You may leave.”

“Righto, see ya, boss.” Hawks left Enji’s office and reached for his phone before the door was shut behind him.

 

To Littlest Todoroki: Yo, got any idea why your dad just asked me about you?

 

The reply came a few minutes later, despite the early hour.

 

From Littlest Todoroki: The day I know why he does the things he does I’ll be sure to inform you.

From Littlest Todoroki: What did he ask?

To Littlest Todoroki: Just asked if I’d been talking to you. What have you been up to? Mysterious business?

From Littlest Todoroki: Why would I tell you anything? You might just be the middle-hand here.

To Littlest Todoroki:  You wound me, good sir.

To Littlest Todoroki: I ain’t no snitch

From Littlest Todoroki: That’s just what a snitch would say.

To Littlest Todoroki: I’m just curious now. What would he think you hid from him but talked to me about? It’s a Mystery!

From Littlest Todoroki: Why would I tell him anything.

To Littlest Todoroki: Fair. But why would you tell me something?

From Littlest Todoroki: Maybe I’d have a moment of weakness? No offence, but you’re not my first option for most things.

To Littlest Todoroki: Your loss, I give great advice on all topics. Admit there’s at least some stuff you’d rather share with me than, say, Fuyumi.

From Littles Todoroki: I’ll give you that one. Still, that’s a pass on any advice.

To Littlest Todoroki: Fine, any fun lies you want me to tell your dad if he asks again?”

From Littlest Todoroki: Tell him I’m flirting with you and that he should stay out of our business.

To Littlest Todoroki: I need my job to pay rent. I also need my life, for personal reasons, so no.

From Littlest Todoroki: What use are you even.

From Littlest Todoroki: Tell him I’m joining a cult.

To Littlest Todoroki: That I can do.

 

When Hawks got back home he took a nap on his couch, only woke up from hunger, and after having remedied that went back to sleep, but in his bed this time.

He’d had to shift his sleep-schedule around a lot the last month, and now he had to shift it again, which was his main complaint about being put on day-shifts. But he’d manage. And he’d probably get some extra sleep in the process.

The best thing about day-shifts was that Hawks got to drive around with his friends more. He’d usually get paired up with Masaki and it was the two of them that got sent to deal with the dude that got his leg stuck in a bike-rack. It was the kind of task that Hawks would have expect for a night-shift, not for three in the afternoon.

Yet here they were, and there he was; with his leg stuck in a bike-rack.

“You wanna share how this happened?” Hawks asked.

“I’d mostly like to get my leg out of this bike-rack,” the man said.

“Understandable. We’ve got you.”

There were a few people around, some that seemed worried, most that just seemed curious. Hawks was used to that. He and Masaki got to work and soon had the man freed.

“Wanna tell me now?” Hawks tried again.

“I kicked it,” the man said. “It fought back.”

“Well done, my good sir,” Hawks said and patted his shoulder. “Be more careful next time, yeah?”

“Sure.”

Hawks gave him his best encouraging smile and was about to turn and head back to the car when his eyes caught on a dark figure, leaning against a wall, watching.

“Hey, Masaki, I’ll be right back,” Hawks said before he walked over to Dabi. As soon as he started that direction he saw how Dabi extinguished his cigarette and Hawks smiled to himself.

“This wasn’t your doing was it?”

“Nah.”

“Do you have some sort of tracker on me?” Hawks asked.

“No, I just saw this,” Dabi gestured to the scene, “and decided to stick around for a bit and see if it would summon you.”

“And here I am, lucky you.”

“Lucky me indeed.” Dabi looked past Hawks, contemplation on his face. “I’ll note down that it worked and if I ever need to contact you I’ll just crate a small accident.”

Hawks followed Dabi’s gaze over to the bike-rack where Masaki was still talking to the unfortunate man and then back to Dabi’s face.

“Or you could just, I donno, call? Text? Like a human being,” he suggested.

“What’s the fun in that,” Dabi asked, his voice flat.

“Geez, I don’t know,” Hawks said. “But I gotta get back to work.” He held out a hand, palm up, towards Dabi. “Gimme your phone.”

Dabi’s eyes narrowed.

“Why?” he asked.

“Seriously? Just do it.”

“Fine.” Dabi handed his phone over, even unlocked it. Hawks noted the background that was a selfie of Toga and then quickly tapped his number into a new contact before he handed to back to Dabi.

“Call me,” he said, added an exaggerated wink and a wave and then left. He heard Dabi muttering behind him, it sounded rude, he didn’t take it to heart.

“He looks familiar,” Masaki said as they’d gotten back into the car. “Wasn’t he at the construction site? Kind of a… distinct face.”

“Yepp,” Hawks chirped. “We’re friends now.”

“Good for you.” Masaki gave Hawks a tentative smile. “Was he involved in this or just watching?”

“Just watching.”

“Alright.” There was a moment of silence as Masaki seemed to struggle to find his words. “He seems… nice?”

“He is,” Hawks said. “A lot nicer than you’d think. He, ah… he helped me, last week.”

“Ah… yeah, that’s good.”

They both descended into a heavy silence, that particular topic still too fresh. But it did lead Hawks down a familiar road now, one that ended at Dabi. A Dabi that worried. That helped. That was still a stranger, but acted like a friend.

Hawks wasn’t sure why he’d wanted Dabi to have his number. Dabi hadn’t really asked. But Hawks liked the thought that at least one of them had the option to contact the other without relying on chance meetings. Maybe that was the start of a less sporadic friendship. It also meant that it was left up to Dabi to use that option, and Hawks could just sit back and see what happened.

For three days there were no texts from any unknown numbers. But then there was, and all it said was:

 

From (unknown number): Hawks!!!

 

Which didn’t mean much other than whoever was on the other side wasn’t making a mistake. And also that it probably wasn’t Dabi. Not with three-exclamation marks, and his actual name.

 

To (unknown number): Me?

From (unknown number): You!

From (unknown number): This is Toga, btw

To (unknown number): Hi Toga :)

From (unknown number): Hiiii ♥‿♥

From (unknown number): Dabi gave me your number

From (unknown number): Sort of. Like he didn’t, but I had a good advantage and it saved him from having his phone stolen

From (unknown number): But since we’re friends, you don’t mind, do you?

To (unknown number): nope

 

Hawks should have known to expect the unexpected.

 

From Toga: Great <3

From Toga: That’s really all I wanted to know

To Toga: Let me guess. To prove a point to your brother?

From Toga: ≖‿≖

To Toga: You’re welcome

 

Hawks dropped his phone into his lap with a smile. He wondered if this had been part of the plan. A way to offer Hawks a way to reach out, but indirectly. Or maybe he was overthinking this entire thing.

When his phone dinged again he picked it up expecting a continuation from Toga, but it was Yuu, with plans for tomorrow. Thankfully she’d convinced Shinji to come too, so the chances of Hawks being left alone again were a little smaller. Not that he’d mind, if it’d turn out like last time.

 

-

 

“I miss the old bar,” Dabi said with a sigh, glaring at his surroundings. Kurogiri just chuckled and downed the rest of his beer. “Like sure it was seedy as hell, but at least it was clean. This place is gross.”

“Cheap too,” Kurogiri added. “But I agree, we should look for another place.”

“Shitty fucking town.”

“It has its charm.”

There was some tinny music playing from somewhere. The air was thick, warm and uncomfortable to breathe. Dabi regretted coming here once more. It sure hadn’t improved since last time.

“This place sure as fuck doesn’t.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Kurogiri said. “But I thought you’d settled in quite well here. Toga seems happy.”

“Yeah.” Dabi pushed his empty glass away from him. “She does. The school’s good, she seems to have made friends. But then again, it’s hard to tell with her.”

“That’s good. She needs more friends.”

“Friends that aren’t like us, you mean?”

“You know what I mean,” Kurogiri said. “It’s too late for some of us, but not for her.” He tapped his fingers against the table. “Or for you either, you know that right?”

“Fuck off, Kurogiri,” Dabi said.

“Now that attitude… I don’t think there’s any helping that.”

“Good.”

“You could always leave,” Kurogiri continued. “Get a new job, fuck it, move cities again if you want to.”

Dabi crossed his arms over his chest and watched as a very drunk man got into an argument with the bartender.

“Toga likes it here,” he said. Plain and simple.

“It’s a good thing you’re such an asshole or she’d be spoiled rotten,” Kurogiri said.

“Whatever. Let’s get the fuck out of here.”

They left their little table and headed out the door. Dabi has his cigarette lit before the door closed again behind him.

“What a fucking shithole,” he mumbled.

“Hold on a moment,” Kurogiri said as he got his phone out and stared at the display. “Shigaraki, should have known. I better see what he wants.”

Dabi grunted in response and Kurogiri answered the call with a sigh.

It was still rather early, not yet midnight, and the street around them was lively with the Friday crowd. Dabi tuned out Kurogiri’s voice as he scanned their surroundings. He wondered, because how could he not, if Hawks was around. Of course he could ask. It would be easy. But he’d have no explanation, could provide no reason.

“Hey, Dabi,” Kurogiri said as he slid his phone back into his pocket. “I think we should go for some food, I need something deep fried.”

“Lead the way,” Dabi said and dropped his burnt-down cigarette.

They walked down the street to an intersection and turned inwards towards the centre of town.

“This place sure is a lot livelier than the old town,” Kurogiri said.

“Yeah, it’s like twice as large,” Dabi said.

“Hmm, sure is.”

Dabi continued watching the people they passed, most just walking, some standing about in small groups, some alone. He saw a girl crying on a bench, comforted by two friends. A middle-age man was having a loud argument over the phone. And on the other side of the street, a bit further ahead there was a gathering.

As they got closer the tension in that gathering became obvious, and Dabi recognized it. It was the tension that came just before a fight broke out.

He saw three men, their backs to them, one being obviously backed-up by the others, all three large, posturing, shoulders tense, stances aggressive.

“Ah, but some things are very much the same,” Kurogiri said, dryly.

Dabi hummed an agreement, but his gaze was still on the group, trying to make out the opponents.

“Now, that doesn’t seem to be a fair fight,” Kurogiri said at the same time as Dabi came to a stop.

There was short brown-haired man with his hands splayed open in the universal sight of hey-everyone-calm-down. And next to him a woman with long blonde hair that Dabi thought was slightly familiar. She had her hands on her hips and a sour expression. In front of the two, face to face, or rather face to chest, with the leader of the other three, a blond in a tan bomber jacket.

Dabi sighed.

“Fucking unbelievable,” he muttered.

Hawks, sunglasses showed into his hair, for some god-damned reason, was glaring up at the larger man. But he seemed otherwise relaxed, hands hanging at his sides, where his opponent was doing his best to blow himself up, to loom and threaten. It was impossible to make out any words, although Dabi would see them speaking.

“Someone you know?” Kurogiri asked.

“Sort of,” Dabi replied.

“Well, I hope it’s one of the big guys and not the one about to become pulp.”

“Mhm.”

Hawks wasn’t tiny, he was the tallest among his friends even, but that really didn’t help when faced with three such specimens. But even Hawks’ friends seemed calm, more annoyed than anything.

The tall man, dressed in a plain white t-shirt, moved first. He stepped forward and shoved Hawks back. Hawks stumbled, was caught by the blonde woman and steadied, and for some reason he was smiling. He kept smiling as he stepped forward; head held high and raised one hand to beckon the tall man. It was a dumb fucking thing to do. It was the kind of cocky bullshit that got people punched.

It had the intended effect too, as the man surged forward, right hand going for Hawks’ face. Dabi didn’t want to watch, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away. But the impact never came, not from that punch.

With his breath caught in his throat Dabi watched as Hawks ducked, used his right hand to re-direct the punch, throwing the other man off balance. In the same movement, fluid as water, he jabbed his left hand forward into the soft parts of the tall man’s midriff. As the man pitched forward Hawks stepped closer and in a blink the tall man hit the ground on his back.

Stepping back the smile was back on Hawks’ face, and it was vicious and smug and Dabi hated it. Hated it because Hawks looked so very very good in that moment. Dabi had not been prepared, and he sure wasn’t prepared for Hawks to turn and meet his gaze across the street. For a moment that felt like an eternity they stared at each other before Dabi turned away.

“Come on, let’s go,” he said to Kurogiri.

As they walked Dabi reached for his pack of cigarettes, pulled it out of his pocket, stared at it, swore and showed it back into his pocket.

“So, what’s that about?” Kurogiri asked.

“I’m cutting down,” Dabi hissed.

“And the rest?”

“What?”

“Friend of yours getting into fights back there.”

“We’re not friends,” Dabi said.

“Ohh-kay, forget I asked, I don’t want to know.”

“What? Fuck, not like that.” Dabi turned his head so he could glare at Kurogiri more effectually.

“Alright. Good fighter, tho.”

“He’s former air-force,” Dabi said, because that was what he assumed the truth.

“Aw, look at you! Integrating, making new friends!” Kurogiri threw an arm over Dabi’s shoulders.

“I said we’re not friends, didn’t I? He’s just some guy.” Dabi shoved Kurogiri’s arm away. “Besides, who needs friends when I got people like you around.”

“You’re such a sweetheart. Ah, here’s the place.” Kurogiri pointed at a little whole in the wall type place, brightly lit and surprisingly busy.

They got food and seats at a small table and Dabi ignored the look Kurogiri was giving him and focused on his fried chicken. He also hated himself for getting the chicken because it didn’t help him.

Fucking Hawks.

Dabi was sick and tired of finding Hawks everywhere. But this city, this reality, seemed dead-set on crossing their paths. He didn’t like it.

“You gonna eat that or stare at it until it spontaneously combusts?” Kurogiri asked. When he got no answer he sighed. “Not that I’m not used to your bad moods but this is a bit much even for you.”

Dabi ate his food, poignantly ignoring Kurogiri as he did so.

He’d imagined many ways coming back to this town could go wrong for him, almost all of them involving his dear family. None of them had involved very cute pilots that got into fights in the streets and smiled too much. But of course, because Dabi was just cursed, that too connected back to family.

Hawks could be useful. Dabi held onto that. Useful. He could be that. He couldn’t be anything else. Shouldn’t be. Wouldn’t be.

Chapter Text

Hawks fell face first into his bed, wrapped his arm around the closest pillow and sighed. Content at last. He knew he shouldn’t be here, because if he stayed he’d fall asleep within minutes and he needed to eat first. He needed to open his eyes. Needed to move. But he felt good, bed was good.

His phone buzzed. Hawks ignored it.

A minute passed. It buzzed again.

With a muffled groan he reached for his phone, had to roll onto his back to get it out of his pocket, and brought it up to his face before he forced his eyes opened.

After wincing at the light of the display he focused on the notification.

 

From (unknown number): hey come outside

From (unknown number): your lights are on. I know you’re in there bird boy

 

Hawks rubbed at his eyes and pushed himself into a sitting position and stared at his phone.

 

To (unknown number): what?

From (unknown number): just get down here

To (unknown number): yeah that’s like super ominous?

 

It wasn’t that he had a death wish. It was just that he had a hunch. A good enough hunch to get him out of his bed and moving towards the door. There was no further reply as he stood in the elevator.

As he stepped out onto the street he regretted not grabbing his jacket. He looked around and, sure enough, there was a figure sitting on the curb, facing away from him yet unmistakable.

Hawks walked over and sat down next to Dabi who was twirling an unlit cigarette in his fingers.

“Sup’.”

“I can’t believe that worked,” Dabi said, his voice a bit distant.

“I did tell you that if you wanted to summon me you should use a phone,” Hawks pointed out.

“Yeah, you did.”

Hawks watched as Dabi kept rolling the cigarette between his fingers.

“Did you… need something?”

“What did you do that pissed of those three?”

Hawks cocked his head to the side, tried to connect that question to anything.

“You mean the dudebro trio? From last weekend?”

“Yeah.”

“Why do you assume I did something?”

Dabi finally turned to look at Hawks.

“Because you’re a dumbass who doesn’t know when to quit,” he said.

Hawks narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I take offence at that,” he said. “I know exactly when to quit; that wasn’t it. I’m sure you saw that too.”

Dabi watched him for a drawn-out moment before he clicked his tongue and turned away again.

“So, who was responsible then?”

“I’d say it was a team effort,” Hawks said. “Dude was hitting on Yuu, Yuu is not interested. He had a hard time grasping the concept. I offered him an explanation. He didn’t take it super well. I might have offended his fragile masculinity a bit. We left, they followed. I resolved the situation, the end.”

“Your friend doesn’t exactly look like she needs you to defend her honour,” Dabi said.

“She doesn’t, but I punch better.” Hawks yawned and shivered. “What are you doing out here anyway? Besides lurking.”

Dabi didn’t response immediately, but his hands stopped their motion as he gazed across the street.

“Fuck if I know,” he said. “Felt like going outside, needed a distraction and here you are.” He looked down at the cigarette and scowled, then tucked it away behind an ear.

“Well, then,” Hawks started. “I just got back from work and was looking forward to sleeping for twelve hours and you very rudely interrupted that. Not cool, man.”

“I’m not stopping you from leaving,” Dabi said as he glanced over. “You look to be freezing a bit.”

“It’s colder than expected.”

“It’s not very cold.”

“Well, I am tired and that makes me cold.”

“That makes no sense.”

“And hungry.” Hawks glared down at his thin t-shirt. “Will have to solve that eventually.”

“Do you even own food?” Dabi asked.

“Probably? I went grocery shopping like… two days ago? Also hey, what do you mean by that?!”

“I’ve seen your kitchen,” Dabi said, as if that explained anything.

“And?”

“It’s a sad sight.”

“If you’re just going to criticize my poor kitchen I sure ain’t gonna hang around here,” Hawks said, and he stood up. “If you want my company I’ll be inside in the warmth of my perfectly fine kitchen.” He turned towards the door of his building again and as he took those few steps he really didn’t know what response to expect.

“Geez, fucking hold on then.”

Hawks smiled to himself as he unlocked the door and graciously held it open for Dabi. Dabi rolled his eyes at him as he passed.

“What are you smiling at, birdie?”

“You.”

Hawks stepped into the elevator and looked at himself in the mirror, his hair was defying gravity in interesting ways. He patted it into a more normal state. Dabi leaned against a wall, arms crossed and face impassive. Hawks settled in across from him and watched him.

There were dark circles under his eyes, more pronounced than usual. He looked like he hadn’t slept in a few days.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Then stop being creepy, birdbrain.”

“You’ve lost all right to call anything I do creepy.” Hawks covered a yawn with a hand as heard the elevator ding. “I was like half-convinced I was about to get murdered in the street.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have gone out,” Dabi said. “But self-preservation isn’t high on your agenda, is it?”

“Self-what?” Hawks got in through his door and threw his keys to the side as he stepped out of his shoes and headed into the kitchen. “Home sweet home.”

“Have you ever cooked a meal in here?” Dabi looked around the kitchen with contempt. “And no, instant ramen isn’t a meal.”

“You’re making so many assumptions about me today,” Hawks muttered. He opened the door to the pantry, stared at the content, and decided to try the fridge. “I cook, sometimes. I just prefer not to. And I never have the time anyway. What’s the deal with you and food?”

“Food is important,” Dabi said.

“Uh-huh, sure.” Hawks poked at a lone tomato to see if it would poke back. “Luckily for me this city is full of people who let me pay them to make me food.” He turned to face Dabi again. “Cereal is a meal right?”

“You got milk?”

“Nope.”

“Then no. Just, move.” Dabi waved a hand at Hawks who stepped to the side.

Hawks watched as Dabi did what he’d just done; make inventory of the contents of the kitchen. But once he’d done so Dabi had a small selection of stuff gathered on the counter.

“Are you making me food?”

Dabi didn’t answer just sighed and continued his exploration of the space until he seemed satisfied. Hawks was more than happy to take a seat and watch.

“You want any help?”

“I don’t trust you to touch anything.”

“Fair enough, but if I do nothing I’m gonna fall asleep like right here.” Hawks had made the mistake of closing his eyes and he had a hard time convincing them to open back up.

“Then maybe you should do something,” Dabi suggested.

“Do you like cooking?”

“Sure.”

“How did you learn?”

Dabi paused for a moment, his back against Hawks.

“My mother taught me,” he said. “And then I picked it back up when I moved in with Toga.”

Hawks was glad Dabi had turned away from him because he couldn’t hide the grin that spread across his face.

“That’s cool!” he said. “I usually just browse around for things to make on the internet when I need to. There’s very helpful videos.”

“If you say so.” Dabi, with a pot set on the stove, turned around again to face Hawks. “That’ll just take a few minutes in there.”

“Great!” Hawks propped up his head on his hands and settled in to wait. Dabi slowly shook his head at him and then walked out of the kitchen and into the living-area behind Hawks. As he did Hawks turned to watch him, curious to see where he was going. It wasn’t a big surprise when Dabi headed straight for the shelves where Hawks kept his music.

Dabi crouched down and carefully flipped through some of the vinyl.

“There’s… a lot of jazzy stuff here,” he eventually said as he pulled one of them out and held it so Hawks could see. “Didn’t think this was your style.”

“Nina Simone is legit,” Hawks said and hoped off his seat to approach. “There’s many stranger things in there, ya know.” He picked the Nina Simone LP from Dabi’s hands anyway. He turned to face his player and carefully prepared it. “This one has Sinnerman on it, not even you can argue against that one. It’s a jam.”

“… A jam.” Dabi returned his attention to the shelves again.

“What did you expect to find?” Hawks asked as the familiar tones of Sinnerman crept forth.

“Less 50’s more 80’s.”

“80’s is on that shelf,” Hawks pointed, “knock yourself out.”

“Of course it is,” Dabi said quietly.

“Hey, a lot of good music has been made for a really long time; you can’t fault me for appreciating that.”

Dabi glanced up at him with a small smile.

“I’m not,” he said. “I’ve never said it’s a bad thing. Just… a thing.” He straightened up again, glanced at the LP spinning on the player. “I wouldn’t use the word ‘jam’ but it’s not bad.” With that he headed back to the kitchen again.

Hawks set aside the cover to the LP and followed him.

“Food?”

“Yes, food.”

“Hell yeah.”

“Can you do something useful and like get plates and shit? Bowls, do bowls.”

“Alright.”

What Dabi had made was some sort of mess of rice and apparently everything else he could find, along with spices Hawks didn’t know he’d had. It was delicious.

“This is delicious.”

“I know.”

“I’m almost grateful you kept me from falling asleep.” Hawks punctuated that statement by yawning. “Thank you for making sure I don’t starve, I like that in a friend.”

Dabi huffed.

“Sure, just don’t get used to it.” He cocked his head to the side. “Do you want me to leave now so you can sleep?”

“Kinda, yeah.”

“Fair.” Dabi stood up and stretched. “Buy better food.”

“Give me a warning before you come around and maybe I will,” Hawks said.

“What’s the fun in that.”

Hawks was in bed as fast as he could manage after Dabi had left and he felt content in his nest of pillows. The knowledge that he had to get back up again far too soon the only weight on his mind.

 

-

 

Slowly, like a trickle, they settled into an arrangement of sorts. It was a pattern that was entirely unpredictable, yet constant. They’d meet up for food, or they’d argue about music on Hawks’ floor. It was simple and comfortable.

Sometimes one of them would seek the other out and they’d not give any reasons why, and none where asked. They saturated their company with the unspoken. With unfinished sentences under a dark sky.

They got to know each other by talking about all things but themselves.

Dabi would cook if he found anything in Hawks’ kitchen he deemed viable and it seemed an endless source of entertainment to Hawks to see what Dabi would make out of his random assortment. He started incorporating weirder and weirder things into his shopping, things he did not know the name of, just to leave it in his fridge and see what would become of it.

Sometimes Hawks forgot about grocery shopping altogether and after the second time of that Dabi just rolled his eyes and dragged Hawks over to his and Toga’s flat instead. Toga found this absolutely delightful.

She found it less delightful that Hawks could beat her in every video game. But in turn Dabi found this delightful. And so it went.

It was a fine arrangement, Dabi found no problems with it. Except for the glaringly obvious ones but he ignored those. From time to time he could forget about the bigger picture and just enjoy himself.

He even caught himself missing Hawks’ company when his friends convinced him to go out with them. They’d found a new bar, which served better drinks and smelled less, but was equally seedy. Kurogiri had made friends with the bartender and managed to escape their table already. Which just left Dabi to suffer through Twice and Spinners endless circles of stupidity.

When a text made his phone buzz Dabi nearly felt relief; because it was something else and it could even save him.

 

From Weird Chicken: yo I’m bored where u at?

 

“Hey, what’s this place called?”

“Uhh, like Steve’s or something,” Spinner suggested.

“Pretty sure it’s Maurice’s,” Twice said.

 

To Weird Chicken: The place across from the place with shitty pizza

From Weird Chicken: Harry’s?

From Weird Chicken: My rude and awful friends ABONDONED me

To Weird Chicken: You can have mine

From Weird Chicken: fuckn superb, c ya

 

“Is Shigaraki gonna show up after all?”

Dabi looked up when he realized that question might have been directed at him.

“I hope not, why are you asking me?”

Twice and Spinner looked to each other as if Dabi was the idiot in this situation.

“Just figured he might who you talking to, since pretty much everyone else you know is already here,” Twice said.

“And Kurogiri said he might show up later,” Spinner added.

“The maybe Kurogiri would know,” Dabi drawled. “Why don’t you go ask him about it.”

“Ask me about what?”

“If Shigaraki is gonna show up.”

“Don’t think he will.” Kurogiri pulled out a chair and re-joined them, and he’d even brought them drinks. “And why would Dabi know, they’re not a speaking basis right now. Not after the Wednesday Event.”

“Ah, yeah, forgot about that.” Spinner nodded slowly. “Then say hi to Toga from me, you should have just brought her along.”

“I should not have done that,” Dabi said. “And I’m not texting her either.”

“Oh, come on, she used to come everywhere with us,” Spinner complained. “Then you decided to get all protective and now we never see her. Do you not want us to see her? Are we a bad influence now?”

“Yes, on all those points.”

“Next up you’ll stop dyeing your hair and wear a dress-shirt and tie and we’ll be left behind.” Spinner wiped away a mock tear.

“He’s already stopped smoking,” Kurogiri said. “I think we’re to blame, we brought him to the big city and now he’s going to go proper on us.”

“You what?”

“Why?”

“I haven’t stopped,” Dabi grumbled. “And I’ll wear a fucking tie to your funeral.”

“And who were you texting?”

“A friend, geez.”

“I didn’t know you had friends,” Kurogiri said. “Another sign of properification.”

Dabi was considering the merit of telling Hawks to not bother and meet him somewhere else, far from these friends, but as he picked up his phone to enact that plan Hawks walked in.

He gave the space a look-over, flashed a grin at Dabi but then moved towards the bar. Where he proceeded to lean over the counter and high-five the bartender. With that done he turned and headed over to Dabi’s table where Dabi told himself to remember this moment next time he thought he missed Hawks.

“Yo.” The eyeliner was back, it seemed a staple of Hawks’ going-out look. Thankfully there were no sunglasses in sight. Dabi was developing a very complicated relationship with that eyeliner.

“Do you know him?” Dabi asked.

“Yeah, rescued his cat once. Look.” Hawks pulled up the sleeve of his jacket to show his wrist. “Got a scar and everything. It was a sharp cat.”

“Of fucking course.” Dabi.

“Oh, hey, I know you,” Kurogiri said. “I saw you knock out a guy twice your size.”

“He wasn’t that big,” Hawks said. “But hi, I’m Hawks.” Hawks tapped Dabi’s head. “Move over a bit.”

Dabi pushed his chair over as Hawks pulled up a chair from another table. As he did he caught Twice and Spinner’s wide-eyed stares and Kurogiri’s stupid smile.

“That’s Kurogiri,” Dabi said when Hawks was seated. “And Twice and Spinner, but at least those are just nicknames.”

“’Sup,” Hawks said. “Still Hawks.”

“Why did you save the bartenders cat?” Spinner asked, because apparently that was the important part.

“Because she’d gotten herself stuck in a drain, poor thing. And because rescuing cats is like 50% of my job,” Hawks said. “I’m a firefighter. I saw some of you when you made things explode a while back.”

“A firefighter…” Spinner turned to stare at Kurogiri who sadly shook his head.

“It just keeps getting worse, don’t it.”

“Alright, all of you can just fuck off,” Dabi said.

“At least he’s still rude,” Twice said.

“Maybe there’s still hope for him,” Kurogiri said.

Hawks leaned to the side and bumped his shoulder against Dabi’s.

“What did you do?” he asked.

“I didn’t do anything, they’re just like that,” Dabi replied. “I did warn you.”

“Aw, do you talk about us?” Spinner interjected.

“Complain, is the right word,” Dabi said.

“So, Hawks.” Kurogiri leaned back in his chair, dark eyes set on Hawks. “Why Hawks?”

Hawks propped his elbows on the table and rested his chin in his hands.

“I don’t know,” he said, smiling.

“What do you mean you don’t know? Did your parents look at you and go ‘you know what’s cooler than a hawk? Several of them!’ or what?” Twice leaned forward across the table, eyes narrowed.

“Uhm, I don’t think so?” Hawks said. He didn’t seem bothered by the question, so Dabi wondered why he was. “Like I don’t know who my parents are or why they did anything. Hawks was just what the note that was left with me at the orphanage said, so they went with that.”

That was something Dabi hadn’t known. Suspected but it had never been confirmed. Still Hawks looked at ease, a lazy smile on his lips.

“Oh hey, I grew up in an orphanage too!” Spinner exclaimed. He grinned wide at Hawks.

“Ay!”

“Fucking sucks, don’t it?”

“Sure does!” Hawks reached out a hand to Spinner who was all too happy to accept that high-five. Dabi supposed it was a good thing they’d found something to bond over. It was definitely not something he and Hawks had ever talked about. Dabi stayed as far away from the topic of family as he could because there were questions he didn’t want turned back on himself.

Kurogiri, on Dabi’s other side, leaned closer with a conspiratory grin.

“At least he hasn’t got a chip on his shoulder about family,” he said, loud enough to be heard by the other three, on purpose. Dabi flipped him off.

“It’s not nice to tease Dabi about his daddy-issues,” Twice said and Dabi was at that moment incredibly grateful that they at least didn’t know. “It makes him so violent.”

“One would almost think that would make him get along better with Shigaraki, but it’s like, the opposite,” Spinner mused.

“That’s because Tomura’s a terrible fucking brat,” Dabi said, and congratulated himself on keeping his cool. “And you can quote me on that.”

“He’s still our boss, Dabi,” Twice said.

“And? Doesn’t make him less bratty and creepy.”

“Come on now, play nice, kids,” Kurogiri said, sipping his beer. Next to Dabi Hawks pushed his chair back and stood up.

“Imma get something to drink, I’ll be right back.”

As soon as he’d left both Spinner and Twice leaned in over the table.

“Your boyfriend is way too nice for you,” Spinner said.

“And like way too pretty,” Twice added. “Didn’t think that was your type at all.”

Dabi glanced over towards the bar to make sure Hawks was far enough away to not overhear this conversation.

“Not my boyfriend,” he said, then settled a glare on Twice. “And what the hell does that mean?”

“Just that it doesn’t uh… match your aesthetic?” Twice said.

“I don’t think we’ve gotten a good example of what Dabi’s type would be anyway,” Spinner mused. Dabi turned his gaze over to him.

“Have you considered if that is a conversation you actually wish to have?” he asked. Spinner stared at him of a moment then looked away.

“Yeah you’re right, I’d rather not know actually.”

“Clever choice.”

“Know what?” Hawks asked as he slid back into his chair, placing a bottle of coke on the table. There was a straw in it.

“What the fuck are you? Twelve?”

“There’s no age-restriction on straws, Dabi,” Hawks said and held Dabi’s eyes as he lifted up his bottle to drink; out of the straw. “Why do you hate having fun?”

“Says the one drinking coke.”

“Some of us have to work in like… twelve hours.” Hawks grimaced as he said it. “You should not fly hungover. There’s rules about that.”

“Wait, are you saying you’re sober right now?” Spinner asked.

“Yeah?” Hawks replied.

Spinner turned to Dabi and gestured at Hawks.

“Yeah, he’s just like that,” Dabi said. “He gets way worse when he’s drunk, you’d notice.”

“Excuse you, I’m a fucking delightful drunk,” Hawks said.

“Were you drunk when you got into a fight on the streets?” Kurogiri asked. “Or is that also just your normal setting?”

“I might have been a little tipsy, if my vague memory is to go by. I’m really way too old to get into drunk fight.”

“You’re 24,” Dabi said and Hawks turned to him again.

“Yeah, like physically,” he said. “But mentally.”

“Mentally you’re like twelve.”

Hawks narrowed his eyes, eyes that glinted gold in the dim light.

“Do you befriend a lot of twelve year olds?”

“No, and I didn’t befriend you, birdie. You did that.”

“Keep telling yourself that, Hot Topic,” Hawks said with a grin. He reached up and patted Dabi’s head and Dabi swatted his hand away which turned the grin into laughter.

Dabi steadfastly refused to look at his friends after that particular exchange. He’d rather look at Hawks anyway.

He hadn’t anticipated the unease he felt over seeing Hawks around his friends. It made him want to get as far away from the table as possible. And there was nothing stopping him.

Dabi pushed back his chair.

“Right, I’m getting out of here.” He made sure his phone was in his pocket after he’d stood up and then paused. “You comin’, bird boy?”

Hawks tilted his head back and looked up at him.

“Sure,” he said. “You going homewards?” Dabi nodded. “Cool, let’s go.”

With that Dabi headed towards the door.

“Bye, Dabi,” Spinner called after him.

“It was neat meeting y’all, I’m sure I’ll see you around,” Hawks said.

Dabi rather hoped he wouldn’t.

Chapter Text

Once Hawks caught up to Dabi outside of the bar he gently bumped his shoulder.

“Hey, you seem a bit off, everything alright?”

Dabi had his hands in the pockets of his jacket and a set to his mouth that Hawks had learnt meant either annoyance or confusion.

“Sure,” was all the answer Hawks got.

“Was this okay? Me coming here, I mean.”

“Yes, Hawks, it was fine.” Dabi glanced aside at him. “Really.”

“Okay, good.” Hawks didn’t think that was entirely true, but it was clear Dabi did not want to speak about it. That was fine with Hawks too. He could do silence.

It wasn’t a particularly long walk, even in the silence, and then it was time for them to split up. Hawks had gotten used to a certain comfort with Dabi, and now it was missing. Now there was this awkward tension that he wanted desperately to prod at until he understood it.

Dabi had paused and Hawks had stopped with him and now they stood at the corner of Dabi’s building staring at each other in silence.

It was hard to read Dabi’s face sometimes. He looked tired, but he always did. The scars distracted from subtle expressions. Hawks thought he’d gotten pretty good at it. But now he was stumped.

“What are you thinking about?” Hawks asked, because he wanted to know.

Dabi tilted his head to the side and Hawks saw his lips parting as if he was going to speak, but then they pressed into a defiant line. Then he turned around and walked off.

“Oh hey, what’s that about?” Hawks asked his back. Dabi showed no signs of having heard him. “Geez, dude.”

 

Back in his apartment Hawks carefully went over the evening’s events as he got ready for sleep. He didn’t come up with anything that explained Dabi’s weird behaviour. Dabi was a weird kind of person, Hawks knew that. So maybe there was nothing to it, but it didn’t quite seem like nothing.

Hawks wondered if there was ever going to be a day where he understood Dabi or if he’d have to live like this. It was like trying to solve a puzzle upside down, with half the pieces missing. But Hawks wasn’t a quitter.

What he was was tired. Tired enough to fall asleep as soon as he’d arranged himself into bed. Tired enough to wake up cursing his alarm.

He didn’t feel more awake when he walked into the station either. He had his sights set on coffee once he’d gotten changed. He made it halfway to the kitchen when the alarm went off.

The station was either a very quiet sleepy place or it was an explosion of motion. Now it was the latter. Hawks heard the words forest fire and forgot that he was tired.

The world melted away around them, narrowed down to this one point, this one mission. Hawks forgot about everything that wasn’t the helicopter in his hands and what waited for them up ahead.

The plume of smoke was visible from the city. It made navigation easy.

Once they reached the area Hawks could circle the perimeter and see that so far the fire hadn’t spread much. They could work with this. It would be a lot of work,  but it could be so much worse.

Ever since he’d been a child Hawks had appreciated the rush of emergencies, the pressure of time and necessity. Not enjoy, but appreciate. There was simplicity to be found in these moments, even when the stakes where low, even if it was just a game. But he thrived when he had a goal to reach towards. He liked feeling needed, liked playing his part, liked being a part of something.

It was probably why he’d ended up in this line of work in the end.

Moments like this he could disconnect, he could postpone all the things that were of no use to him. They’d come back with a vengeance, and he enjoyed that part less. The aftermath when reality came back into itself.  It was the aftermath that hurt.

 

-

 

“Hey, Dabi, come look at this.”

“Can it wait a moment, I literally just got home?”

“Uh, no? Just look.”

Dabi walked over to where Himiko was sitting on the couch, eyes glued to the TV. She was watching a news broadcast, the screen was showing a burning forest; a voice was telling them about people who had to be evacuated from their homes. It was shot from a distance and mostly showed smoke.

“The situation is under control and the fire is not currently spreading,” the voice said. From the smoke a helicopter emerged and Himiko reached out and tugged at Dabi’s arm.

“See, it’s Hawks!”

Dabi watched the helicopter move through the air. Himiko was probably right; although it was a concept Dabi couldn’t quite wrap his mind around.

“We’re now going to listen to a statement from the fire brigade on the outlook of the situation.”

“Turn it off,” Dabi said.

“Tetchy,” Himiko said.

“How did you know about this?”

“It’s happening literally outside of the city,” Himiko said. “We could see the smoke from school, did you not know?”

“No, I did not.”

 

-

 

When Hawks woke up it was already past noon and he’d slept for almost twelve hours. It didn’t seem like enough. But at least he’d gotten sleep; at least he’d gotten home. The fire had even been put out before he was sent home, that was always a nice bonus. And for now he was free of responsibility. Oh, the advantages of being on pilot-duty!

Untangling himself from a blanket he fumbled for his phone.

 

To *dabs*: hey if I order pizza will you come keep me company?

From *dabs*: Only if you get something with pineapple on it

To *dabs*: deal

To *dabs*: all hail the king of fruits

From *dabs*: Long may he reign

 

Hawks dropped his phone and rubbed at his eyes. This meant he would have to get up and probably put on clothes. But he’d get pizza and company!

He dragged himself up and quickly decided it was a sweatpants kind of day. He also ordered pizza and then somehow ended up back on his bed again. The risk of him falling back asleep was quite high. He’d prepared for the eventuality.

 

To *dabs*: let urself in

To *dabs*: might be sleep

From *dabs*: unbelievable

 

Hawks smiled at his phone and then dropped it down onto his chest and shut his eyes. He doubted he’d actually fall asleep before Dabi got here, but he might surprise himself.

 It wasn’t until he heard movement outside of his door that he remembered how his last meeting with Dabi had ended. And now he hadn’t even left himself enough time to worry about it.

With a sigh he pushed himself over onto his back and watched as an upside-down Dabi appeared in the doorway to his bedroom.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Napping,” Hawks replied.

“Like that?”

“Maybe.” Hawks wondered if Dabi had done anything to his hair or it was the angle that made it look extra fluffy.

“Naturally.” Dabi turned away and headed into the apartment and left Hawks to roll and push himself up from the bed and go after him.

“Did you do something to your hair?” Hawks asked.

“No.”

“Are you sure? It’s very… everywhere.”

From the couch where Dabi had landed himself he glared at Hawks.

“You should take a look in a mirror,” he said. Hawks reached up and touched his own hair. He didn’t need a mirror to know it was a complete mess. Instead he turned to his music.

“What’s the soundtrack for today,” he asked.

“Something from… 1957,” Dabi replied.

“Why are you like that.” Hawks scanned his shelves, found the late part of the 50’s, and zeroed in. “Buddy Holly it is.”

“I regret my earlier decision,” Dabi said.

“Shut up, we’re listening to Buddy Holly now.” Hawks prepared the track. “Could probably get you some Presley if you’d rather.”

“Buddy Holly is fine.”

With the music settled Hawks was considering how successful he’d be at wrestling Dabi of off his couch to make space for himself but had no time to try before his phone rang.

“That would be the food.” Hawk spun towards the door. “I’ll be right back.”

As he left he heard some mutterings from the couch he couldn’t decipher.

When he got back he dumped the pizza on the counter and looked over at Dabi who had an arm thrown across his face and might very well be asleep.

“Hey, got you food,” Hawks said, very loudly.

“Well done,” Dabi mumbled. “Me coming here wasn’t in vain.”

Hawks grabbed some plates and moved those and the pizza to the table by the couch and then he poked at Dabi until he sat up so Hawks could fit next to him.

“Is there pineapple?”

“Of course there is.”

“You should get a TV.”

“I have a laptop. If I need a TV I’ll go over and borrow yours.” Hawks pulled his feet up in the couch.

“Good luck with that, you’d have to fight Himiko for it.”

“Besides, you’re meant to be my company and entertainment, then I don’t need a TV.”

“Right.” Dabi settled back down in the couch with a slice of pizza. “How’s the fire?”

“It was doing well when I left,” Hawks said.

“We saw you in your little helicopter,” Dabi said. “Himiko has now become a fan of the news.”

“Good, very educational, I’m sure.”

“Have you ever watched the news? It’s a shit-show.”

“I’m more busy being on the news.” Hawks winked at Dabi who just raised his eyebrows and returned his attention to the pizza. “What have you been up to while I’ve been doing heroic deeds?”

“Sleeping.”

“Boring.” Hawks dropped his head back and to the side so he could study Dabi. He didn’t look like he’d been sleeping. He looked like he’d been awake for 72 hours. But his hair really was fluffier than usual. It normally looked rather harsh and spiky, but now it looked very soft. Hawks reached out a hand and patted Dabi’s head.

“Hey!”

It was soft. And also-

“Do you dye your hair?” Hawks was going to investigate but Dabi slapped his hand away and turned an icy glare onto him. But he didn’t answer. It was, of course, a rather dumb question. Dabi’s roots were definitely not black. Could be a brown, could be red. “That’s dedication.”

“Do you ever just mind your own business?” Dabi asked, voice completely devoid of any emotion.

“Not if I can help it,” Hawks said with a smile. But he also wasn’t entirely oblivious and knew this was a subject to drop. “I need a new year.”

“What?”

“The music, it’s stopped.”

“Doesn’t that just mean you gotta flip it over?”

“Yes, but I am not feeling our old pal and friend Buddy anymore.” Hawks set down his barely touched pizza and stood up.

“Then choose something you are in the mood for, why are you asking me?”

“To keep things exciting.”

“1963.”

Hawks picked Johnny Cash and switched the music and packed away Buddy Holly where he belonged again.

“Is this what you do all day? Switch from album to album?” Dabi asked.

“Sometimes,” Hawks said. “Until I get tired of getting up so often and then I just sit in silence.”

“You need a hobby.”

“I have a hobby, I collect vinyl.”

“You need a better hobby.”

Hawks went back to the couch and his pizza.

“What do you suggest I do with all my free time then?” he asked.

“Fuck if I know,” Dabi said. “Whatever you want I guess.”

“And if what I want—”

“That isn’t that.”

“I would get a pet, but I’m barely home so it wouldn’t feel fair.” The pizza was really good. “What do you do in your free time then? If my way’s so bad.”

“Cook. Play games with my sister.”

“… right.” Hawks looked around his apartment. “I used to do more things, but work has been a lot lately. So I just wanna rest when I’m free.”

“Have you considered that your work sucks a bit?” Dabi suggested. Hawks nodded.

“Well, it’s work,” he said.

“Sure, but even I have like regular hours,” Dabi said. “And the company I work for isn’t the most concerned with rules.”

“I know,” Hawks said. “So many safety violations.” He cut himself anther slice of pizza. “But we’re kind of expected to come in with a burning passion for doing the most we can. And like, it’s hard to be all: I know people are dying right now, but technically my shift ended 5 minutes ago.”

“Wouldn’t be so hard if you just stopped caring,” Dabi said.

“Don’t think I can do that.”

“Shame.”

“Maybe I should pick up knitting.”

“You can knit yourself more blankets.”

“The perfect hobby.”

 

-

 

Dabi spent most of the day in Hawks’ apartment. Which proved to be a good thing since more than a week then passed without him seeing Hawks again.

There was texting, as it seemed Hawks could not stand to be bored more than a minute at a time. Dabi didn’t mind. Not really.

Kurogiri did mind. But he mostly just shook his head disapprovingly whenever he caught Dabi with his phone out during work-hours. He very cleverly didn’t say anything however.

But this day had been surprisingly quiet, which was why Dabi stopped almost immediately when he felt his phone buzz to check it. If he felt a small tinge of disappointment upon seeing it was from Himiko he wouldn’t acknowledge it to himself.

 

From Knife Baby: hey, guess what  (◉ω◉)

To Knife Baby: no

From Knife Baby: [sent a picture]

 

Dabi saw a red truck, very familiar, and leaning against it an equally familiar figure. With sunglasses in place over his eyes Hawks was in uniform, or at least half of it, and he was smiling, speaking to a pair of teenagers Dabi did not recognize.

 

From Knife Baby: We have visitors  (◉ω◉)

From Knife Baby: [sent a picture]

 

This one was taken from the same place as the other one, the only thing that had changed was that a second firefighter had walked up. A woman with light blonde hair that Dabi knew he’d seen before. Both she and Hawks had discarded their jackets and worse long-sleeved very tight undershirts.

 

From Knife Baby: Want me to say hi from you?

To Knife Baby: Not really

To Knife Baby: did someone set something on fire? It better not be you

From Knife Baby: (¬‿¬ )

From Knife Baby: It’s just some safety demonstration thing for ~educational purposes~

From Knife Baby: Imma go get you a selfie

From Knife Baby: (^_<)〜☆

To Knife Baby: why

From Knife Baby: [sent a picture]

 

It sure was a selfie.

Himiko was in it, vicious smile and all. And with an arm around her shoulder and the other hand thrown up in a peace sign, sunglasses pushed up onto his head, grinning wide; Hawks.

Dabi saved it.

 

From Knife Baby: He says hi

 

Then he set it as Hawks’ contact picture.

 

From Knife Baby: daaaaaabiii

From Knife Baby: u alive?

From Knife Baby: (´。• ᵕ •。`) ♡

To Knife Baby: Are you done?

From Knife Baby: xoxo

 

Dabi regretted a lot of the things he told Himiko. Sure, it always seemed a good idea at the time. And she was really good at listening. The problem was that while she listened she plotted. He wished he could say his life was easier before he’d met her, but… it still ended up being the opposite.

“-bi.”

“Hey, Dabi!”

The very close and very loud shout made Dabi jerk his head up and he nearly dropped his phone. Right in front of him stood Spinner.

“What?”

“It’s four,” Spinner said. “Actually five past, in case you didn’t notice, what with how busy you’ve been.”

From behind Spinner Twice appeared.

“How’s the boy?”

Dabi raised his phone and took a picture of them, which he sent to Himiko.

 

To Knife Baby: Wanna trade?

From Knife Baby: Oh 2 for 1, that’s a real deal

From Knife Baby: but I’ll pass

 

“Dabi, what are you doing?”

“Speaking to Toga.”

“Why did you take a picture of us?”

“Oh, say hi!”

Dabi locked his phone and stood up.

“Right, I’m out of here,” he said. “If I’m unfortunate I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.”

“Always such a pleasure,” Twice said. “You’re a real delight.”

“I’m not forcing you to keep talking to me,” Dabi said over his shoulder as he made his way towards the stairs.

It had never been part of the deal.

They hadn’t set out to become friends. They’d needed each other to further selfish goals. And here they were, somehow, stuck.

Dabi had once planned to leave it all behind, once he’d realized that he’d never get what he really needed. But then there’d been Himiko. And he’d stayed.

That was part of the deal.

Still, it could be worse. It wasn’t the same anymore. If he squinted Dabi could even convince himself they’d stumbled into normality. An illusion that faded quickly, but still. It could be worse. It had been.

His phone buzzed.

 

From Weird Chicken: I’m not sure how to say this but

From Weird Chicken: your sister asks some very worrying questions

To Weird Chicken: She’s learning. To learn you need to ask questions.

From Weird Chicken: I guess that’s fair

From Weird Chicken: U off work?

To Weird Chicken: Yeah, almost home

From Weird Chicken: Got plans?

To weird Chicken: No?

From Weird Chicken: Excellent, see ya in a bit

To Weird Chicken: okay, I guess

 

Dabi waited to see if there was going to be any extrapolation on that. There wasn’t. He supposed he’d find out eventually.

He had a bit of time before Himiko would be home, he spent most of it taking a very hot shower then he started on dinner. It was mostly done when Himiko came bouncing through the door. Dabi didn’t even need to look at her to know just what kind of grin would be on her face.

“Aren’t you lucky you have me,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s luck,” Dabi replied. “It’s really more of a curse.”

“Mhmm, I’m a demon and I’m here to haunt you!” Himiko wrapped her arms around Dabi’s waist and leaned against his back. “What’s for dinner?”

Chapter Text

Hawks knocked on the door to Dabi and Toga’s apartment and got in response a muffled call that it was open. As he walked in he was greeted with a strong smell of garlic. From the couch he saw Toga stick a hand up and wave at him.

“Hi, Hawks!”

“Hi!” He waved back then turned into the kitchen, following the sound of running water and found Dabi rinsing a plate in the sink. He set down the box he carried on the small table. “I’ve brought cupcakes.”

Dabi glanced over his shoulder at Hawks, then to the box.

“Why?”

“I had a craving, and it felt a little sad to eat them by myself. And sharing is nice,” Hawks said. Dabi shrugged and turned back to what he was doing. Hawks felt like he should say something more but he was distracted.

Dabi was barefoot, wearing washed-out jeans and a tank top. Except it was the kind that was more the idea of a shirt than a real shirt. It was loose; the sides open down to his waist. There was a lot of skin on display, and a lot of scarring.

Hawks knew plenty of people with prominent scars, knew of the different ways they handled that. He didn’t know anyone who seemed as blasé about them as Dabi. No one that looked quite so, not comfortable, but secure, in their own skin, daring you to question it.

Hawks also knew what injuries looked like; he was especially familiar with burn in all their forms. And not for the first time as he looked at the extent of darkened rough scar-tissue on Dabi the thought that came to mind was burns. But not fire, no fire was that blotchy. No Hawks would bet on chemicals. Except he wouldn’t. He didn’t even like turning the thoughts over in his own head.

“Have you eaten?”

“Hmm?” Hawks raised his eyes and found Dabi observing him. “Not really.”

“There’s food on the stove,” Dabi said.

“But cupcakes…”

“They’ll stand the wait.”

Hawks smiled, he really couldn’t help it.

“Well, in that case,” he said and Dabi rolled his eyes.

“You know where stuff is,” he said and stepped out of the kitchen. Hawks continued smiling after him. It was sweet, practically adorable.

He did get food though; Dabi’s food was always a good idea. With his plate he joined the other two in front of the TV.

“I heard you say cupcakes,” Toga said. “Where’s the cupcakes, bird-boy?”

“In their box,” Hawks said. “They’ve been put in time-out, it’s Dabi’s fault.”

“You’re such a weakling, Dabi.” Toga put on a very good pout, it was ruined a bit by the fact that she was halfway over Dabi’s lap and hugging a pillow. “Twice warned me, I see he’s right.”

“He warned you? About what?”

“Decency,” Toga hissed. “Disgusting.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“After everything I’ve done for you? Ungrateful bastard.” Toga glared at Dabi from behind her pillow, it was a very good glare.

“You’re nothing but trouble,” Dabi said.

“And you love trouble,” Toga countered. Then she turned the glare off and looked over at Hawks. “So… firefighters.”

“Mhm?”

“Very popular.” Toga sat up. “I’m pretty sure there’s supposed to be calendars, why don’t you have calendars? Or, wait, you do and never told me.” She placed a hand over her heart, a look of shock on her face.

“There are no calendars,” Hawks said. He set his empty plate down on the table. “Pretty sure the boss wouldn’t… approve.”

“Oh, why not? You’re all so adorable, it’d be great.” She shuffled over a bit so she could lean closer to Hawks. “Would he be upset because he’s not pretty enough to be in it?”

Hawks laughed and shook his head.

“Oh no, he’s pretty enough, if you catch him unaware and unfrowning. It’s more the attitude that’s troublesome.”

“What a bore,” Toga huffed.

“Eh.” Hawks shrugged. “Maybe we can stage a revolution.”

“Anyway, cupcakes?”

“Yeah, I’ll go get ‘em.” Hawks picked up his plate and took it out to the kitchen and traded it for the box of cupcakes.

They didn’t last very long. Such was the nature of cupcakes.

After their demise Toga disappeared into her room and Dabi dragged Hawks with him out onto the fire-escape.

“You know, as a professional, I feel like I should at least say something about how we shouldn’t be out here.”

“And now you have, well done.”

Hawks expected Dabi to pull out his cigarettes, as it seemed to be the reason for going outside at all. But he didn’t. He just sat there, leaned against the wall, looking out over the city.

“When did you decide to become a firefighter?”

“When I ran out of other options.”

Dabi turned slightly so he could gaze at Hawks.

“What do you mean?”

Hawks shrugged and turned his own eyes upwards.

“I was kind of raised with certain expectations, a path staked out for me by other people. And I didn’t mind following it, until I didn’t,” he said. “I mean that’s why I went to the air-force instead of like getting an education. It was what I was supposed to do. But as I’ve said, it wasn’t for me. Then the suggestions were law enforcement.” Hawks leaned his elbows on the rail in front of him. “But I don’t think that would have fitted either. This fits.”

“Man, thank fuck you’re not a cop,” Dabi said and Hawks chuckled.

“Oh yeah? Wouldn’t be my friend then?”

“You’re on thin fucking ice as is,” Dabi said.

“I maintain that we do good,” Hawks said. “As much as circumstance may vary at least our goal is rather simple, and it’s to help.”

“If you’re bound by rules and regulations can you ever truly claim that?”

Hawks turned and met bright blue eyes.

“Rules and regulations?”

“Yeah, you’ve still got those, right? Most things do. And rules, law, can never truly be good.”

“What’s that supposed to mean, of course they can? That’s the general idea behind it right? To stop people from doing bad things, and the opposite of bad… is good.”

Dabi stared at him in silence for a drawn out moment.

“You really believe in that?” he finally asked. “That the law protects people?”

“Yeah, I guess I do,” Hawks said. “Clearly you don’t.”

“The law has never done me any good,” Dabi said. “There’s nothing inherently good about controlling people. No matter how hard you try to force bad out you’ll never succeed anyway, especially not by simply telling them not to. Law is just a way for the people with power to maintain power, and they’re not interested in doing good.”

“That’s a rather dim outlook.”

“You can pay money to change the law, Hawks. There are a fuckton of scenarios where helping someone would be breaking the law. It actively stops good from being done.”

Hawks nodded slowly. He wasn’t going to deny anything Dabi was saying. He mostly agreed.

“It’s all fucking bullshit,” Dabi spat. “You want to help people, yeah? And I’m sure you do, helping people and saving lives. But are you just doing the best you can or the best possible?”

There was fire in Dabi’s eyes now, a burning rage.

Hawks did think it over. And it wasn’t the first time.

He liked to think he was doing his best, giving as much as he could. But of course there were limitations. And the vast majority of them came down to lack of fund, lack of personnel. Some to the simple fact that for people to be of help they had to want to be.

“Isn’t that the real problem,” Hawks said. “That the best possible is nearly impossible to attain.”

“Sure, but just because our reality sucks doesn’t mean we can just lie down and give up.”

“Right.” Hawks threw his hands up. “So, what would you like to do?”

The smile he got in response was wicked.

“Whatever the fuck I want.”

 

On his walk home Hawks turned Dabi’s words over in his head. It wasn’t so much the statements themselves, but the vitriol and conviction behind them. It wasn’t the first time Hawks had wondered at Dabi’s past, at what factors had contributed to making him into the person he was. What had planted such a deep rage in him.

Hawks understood anger. He understood carrying the wounds of the past, of both skin and mind. And he wanted to understand Dabi. It would require Dabi to speak to him, though. Really speak, of himself, and Hawks doubted that was going to happen.

So he’d wait, and maybe it would eventually clear up.

Until then he wasn’t sure if he really minded.

 

-

 

The world was conspiring against Dabi.

How else would he end up seeking shelter from sudden rain in the doorway of some random building along with Hawks. A Hawks who kept smiling and sticking his hands out into the rain, despite already being drenched through.

The weather had been lovely and Dabi had just spotted Hawks saying goodbye to a friend outside a café. He’d seen Dabi as well, and waved and Dabi had stood, like an idiot, and waited for him.

Then the sky had opened above them and here they were, and there was Hawks’ hair, dripping down onto his back and shoulder, onto a t-shirt already soaked and clinging to his skin.

It wasn’t like Dabi had anywhere else to look; it was hard to even make out the other side of the street with the heavy rain.

It was a conspiracy.

“I hope we get some thunder too,” Hawks said. He was looking at the rain gathering in the palm of his hand, streaming between his fingers. “The air has felt so heavy lately, we could need it.”

“Hmm,” Dabi said.

“Do you like thunder, Dabi?” Hawks pulled his hand in and turned to face Dabi. Dabi would have preferred it if he’d not.

“I guess,” Dabi said. “Gives me headaches, though.”

“Oh, that’s a shame. I really like them, when I’m on the ground. Less when I’m in the air. But once you’ve seen a thunderstorm from above… that’s cool as hell.” He grinned, with his entire face. “We might be stuck here for a while, unless you wanna make a run for it.”

Dabi weighted the options. Both seemed bad. He really didn’t want to get even wetter than he already was. And they were several blocks from home. On the other side there was Hawks, who didn’t seem very concerned by being soaked through.

“You’d get wetter if you run,” he said, eventually. “Apparently.”

“Ah right, but walking though the rain isn’t as fun. Come on, we’re not gonna get any drier.”

“It could stop,” Dabi suggested. “It started so suddenly, might end as well.”

“You’re not afraid of water are you? Trust me, as a firefighter, water is the best friend one could have!”

“I’m not afraid of the rain, birdie, I just don’t run places.”

Hawks laughed, and in the small space between the rain and the door it was too loud, too close.

“Never too late to start, come on.” With that Hawks darted forward, grasped Dabi’s hand and pulled him out in the rain.

Dabi told himself that the hitch in his breath was due to the pelting rain not the touch.

Hawks pulled him along, not quite running, not quite walking. The pavement under their feet had turned into a shallow river. The rain found its way along Dabi’s neck and down his back and he shivered. Hawks’ hand in his was warm, the grip secure, and Hawks himself was laughing, breathlessly, as they rushed down the street.

The rain did not let up. It drowned out the city, blurred all lines.

In the moment there was just them.

When Hawks finally slowed down and stopped he also let go of Dabi’s hand, but he turned to him, smiling still, water dripping off his chin and plastering his hair to his head.

“Aw, Dabs, you look like a drowned cat.”

Dabi didn’t doubt that. He felt a bit like a drowned cat. There was not a dry spot on him. But with Hawks smiling like that at him, he didn’t mind.

He tried wiping the water out of his eyes, but didn’t succeed.

“I thought birds were more water-resistant than this,” Dabi said.

In response Hawks just vigorously shook his head, sending water in all directions. At Dabi’s affronted look he just laughed.

“Go dry up, Dabi,” he said and pointed at the door they were standing in front of. It was indeed Dabi’s door, he hadn’t even noticed they’d gotten that far. “If I don’t answer your texts after this it’s because my phone died.”

“Oh shit,” Dabi said, instantly reaching for his own phone, safe and secure in his very wet pocket.

“They make them waterproof now! Sometimes,” Hawk said. “Let’s find out. Don’t catch a cold!”

With that he turned and set off again, quickly disappearing into the rain.

Dabi watched him leave, the ghost of Hawks’ touch still warm on his hand, the rest of him feeling cold and numb.

With a sneer he spun and headed for the door. Not caring about the trail he left behind him as he headed up to his apartment.

 

-

 

Weird Chicken: Daaaaabi

Weird Chicken: did your phone survive?

*dabs*: yes

*dabs*: lucky us

Weird Chicken: yeah!

Weird Chicken: I’d have felt a lil bad for dragging you around in the rain if it had ruined your phone tbh

*dabs*: appreciated

*dabs*: just warn me next time

Weird Chicken: Oh?

Weird Chicken: You willing to run around in the rain with me again?

*dabs*:

*dabs*: i guess

Weird Chicken: Neat!

Weird Chicken: I will remember this

*dabs*: sure you will

 

-

 

*dabs*: hey, u free tomorrow night?

Weird Chicken: Yah

*dabs*: cool, I need an excuse to not have to hang out with my boss

*dabs*: you’re my excuse

Weird Chicken: Aww, how sweet

Weird Chicken: What are we doing?

*dabs*: whatever

*dabs*: u choose

Weird Chicken: riiightoo

Weird Chicken: I want sushi

*dabs*: sushi huh

Weird Chicken: No

Weird Chicken: Chicken

Weird Chicken: I want chicken. And Mozzarella sticks.

*dabi*: so you wanna go and get food?

Weird Chicken: yaaaaaahhhh

Weird Chicken: :)

*dabs*: anyone ever told you you’re very food motivated

Weird Chicken: food important??

Weird Chicken: food nice?????

*dabs*: how the fuck do you stay in shape like this

Weird Chicken: There’s a gym at work :)

*dabs*: of course there is

Weird Chicken: And we have a lot of downtime, and there’s a like a schedule you’re supposed to follow

*dabs*: supposed to?

Weird Chicken: There are also couches that are great for naps!

*dabs*: i see

Weird Chicken: I’m also very nap motivated

*dabs*: got that

Weird Chicken: What motivates you then?

*dabs*: spite

Weird Chicken: You didn’t even need to think about that huh

*dabs*: i know what I’m about

Weird Chicken: That’s good!

Weird Chicken: Hey. What’s the soundtrack of today?

*dabs*: backstreet boys

Weird Chicken: hmm. Then I’d have to find my CDs

*dabs*: you don’t have backstreet boys on vinyl? lame

Weird Chicken: sorry :(

Weird Chicken: I’ve got the Beach Boys?

*dabs*: i guess that’ll have to do then

*dabs*: imma go make dinner. C ya

Weird Chicken: see you tomorrow!!

Chapter Text

Dabi left work in a foul mood.

He was glad he’d avoided the plans his co-workers had made but even spending time with Hawks seemed a bother. Still, he wouldn’t cancel. Against his better judgment. No, he went home, took a shower, told Himiko to eat something that wasn’t ice cream, and left again.

It was a grey day, and a little chilly, so he’d grabbed a plain black hoodie he’d owned for so long it was frail and thin.

He sent Hawks a text that he was on his way, so the other could meet him outside his building. On the short walk there Dabi had time to reflect on the various other ways he could be spending his time.

Hawks stepped out of the door just as Dabi reached the entrance and he greeted Dabi with his standard smile.

“Still no opinion on where we’re going?” he asked.

“No,” Dabi said.

“Right, lemme know if you change your mind.” Hawks started down the street towards the heart of the city. Dabi kept to his side.

He felt jittery. He really wanted a smoke. But he’d not even brought any. Because he was an idiot.

Hawks didn’t have his normal jacket on. Maybe he’d realized the leather would be a bit warm. Instead he had a very similar bomber-jacket in black thin material. No pins, do décor. It was almost weird. But he had the eyeliner.

Dabi had never dabbled in that particular scene. He’d gotten his piercings in a vague attempt to reclaim his own face from the scars once. Not that it had worked. But he’d liked them anyway. Enough to get more. But he’d never wanted to call attention to his face, to his eyes in particular.

But Hawks didn’t have that problem. Hawks with his fair skin and blond hair must be very aware of what he was doing with that sharp black. He must be aware because he kept doing it, and it worked. Dabi hated that it worked. It wasn’t supposed to work. Not on him at least.

“I know this place that does some amazing fried chicken, and also a bunch of noodle dishes,” Hawks was saying. “And some other stuff but I haven’t been paying attention because chicken.”

Dabi decided he hated chicken too.

When they arrived Hawks was greeted by the staff with familiarity. He chatted with them easily, asking questions that showed this was far from unordinary. Dabi used the time to decide what to eat. Settling on spicy ramen with beef.

Hawks didn’t order, because apparently he had an usual at this place. The lady chatting with him did turn her attention towards Dabi eventually however.

“And what will your date have?” she asked, the question still directed at Hawks. Dabi sent her a glare. Hawks laughed.

“Yes, dear date, what will you have?” he asked, smile sweet.

“If I’m your date that means you’re paying, right?” Dabi responded. “And I’ll have number seven.”

“Oh, apologies for the assumption,” the lady said. “You two go ahead and find a table, we’ll bring your food out shortly.”

Hawks pushed Dabi towards a small table by the window.

“You seem to know these people pretty well,” Dabi said once they were seated.

“Yeah, I… come here a lot.”

“Why did she assume I was your date? This where you bring your dates, birdie?” Dabi looked around. “Very… romantic.”

“It’s not,” Hawks said. “And I donno? She did it once before, but with Rumi. Which caused a great deal of laughter, from Rumi, and the obligatory ‘nah we gay fam’ explanation. So, all in all an improvement.”

“Oh, really?” Dabi said, raising his eyebrows.

“A significant step in the right direction,” Hawks said. Dabi was saved from replying by the arrival of their food.

It was good food, no denying that.

Hawks spoke of his day in between, and sometimes during, bites. Once he’d run out of things to say he paused and looked at Dabi.

“What about you? Anything fun happen at work? Explosions?”

“No, just a couple small fires,” Dabi said. “And a surprising amount of talking. The big boss is looking into making some drastic changes to the company. Wants to go more into production than construction.”

“What would that mean for you?”

“A more boring job.”

“Why?”

“Less chance of random explosions.”

“Ah.” Hawks seemed to consider this for a moment. “We had a kid that set fire to our teacher’s car once. I never understood why. But I feel like maybe you could shine a light on the situation.”

“Well, I never set fire to a car,” Dabi said. “But I can see where the urge too would come from.”

Across the table Hawks smiled and leaned forward.

“But you must have done something, right? Tell me!”

Dabi picked up his drink and drank slowly, staring at Hawks as he did so. Contemplating.

“Nah,” he eventually said. “I was a very well-behaved student.” He smiled. “Before I dropped out, at least.”

“Oh.” Hawks almost looked disappointed. He straightened up and sighed. “You done?” the latter was accompanied with a nod towards the food on the table. Or more to the empty plates on the table.

“Yeah,” Dabi said. “Let’s go.”

Before the door closed behind them Hawks’ phone rang. Hawks picked it up and frowned at the screen.

 “My boss, I should probably take this. Hold on a moment.” He turned away and stepped to the side as he answered.

Dabi couldn’t hear the voice coming from the other end. He didn’t need to. Knowing was enough. Knowing froze him in place.

“No,” Hawks was saying, “I have no idea.”

Nails dug into skin as Dabi clenched his fists together.

It’s not like he didn’t know. Wasn’t that the point? This connection Hawks provided? So he really had no reason to get angry about it. But he was angry.

With a shake of his head he turned away and started walking down the street.

“I’ll let you know if anything comes up,” Hawks said. “I gotta go, see ya later.” Dabi heard his steps as Hawks caught up. “Hey, wait up!”

Dabi kept walking.

“Something on fire?” he asked.

“No, wasn’t work related,” Hawks said.

“Your boss often call you for personal reasons on Friday evenings?” Dabi couldn’t keep the ice out of his voice, he wasn’t trying very hard.

“Geez, what’s with the tone. Does it bother you?”

“You bother me,” Dabi replied. He refused to look at Hawks. Wished he’d go away.

“Tetchy,” Hawks said. “Where are we going?”

“Home.”

“Boring.”

But he didn’t leave. He stayed, silent, at Dabi’s side down the street.

“I wonder what that’s about.” Hawks gestured across the road where a police car was parked, two uniform-clad people standing on the sidewalk, speaking to a group of teenagers.

“Go asks,” Dabi suggested.

“Nah. But those kids look quite upset.”

“Fucking wonder why,” Dabi drawled. “Thought you liked the police.”

Hawks sent him a sharp look.

“Stop it,” he said. Dabi couldn’t help but laugh at that.

With a wide smile at Hawks he looked across the road.

“Hey, kids! If you kick those fuckers in the balls hard enough they won’t be able to run and catch you!” he called.

“Dabi!”

The two officers turned to look, so did the kids, but Dabi just grabbed Hawks’ arms and pulled him with him at a run down an alleyway.

“Dabi, what the fuck?” Hawks hissed at him. But he let himself be dragged.

They exited that alleyway and crossed a street into a new one. It was barren and empty save from some trash containers at one end. At the other end Dabi stopped and turned to Hawks with a victorious grin.

 

-

 

Panting Hawks put a hand against the rough wall to steady himself.

“Damn, you’ve got some serious issues with authority,” Hawks said. “Was any of that necessary? Are you just trying to prove a point? No need, I already get it.” He straightened up and turned to face Dabi. “I hope it at least improved your shitty mood.”

“Oh, you already get it? Do tell, what it is you get?”

Hawks gestured vaguely in the direction of Dabi.

“The entire thing you have where you hate to be told what to do or how to do it,” he said, then cocked his head to the side. “Ya know, the ask me about my tragic past vibe. The full row on the daddy-issues bingo card. The rules are for—”

With a growl Dabi grabbed Hawks’ jacket and showed him into the wall. Hawks winced as his head snapped against the hard surface.

“You don’t know shit,” Dabi hissed.

“Oh, really? Because it sure looks like I hit a sore spot,” Hawks retorted. He refused to avert his gaze, didn’t fight against Dabi, just stuck his chin up.

“It’s none of your goddamned business. Fucking stay out of it.”

“Sure, I’d love to not deal with your issues,” Hawks said. “Yet, wherever I turn here they are, right in my face.” He raised his eyebrows with a slight smile and with a sneer Dabi stepped back and twisted around. “It’s fine if you don’t tell me shit, but then don’t expect me to magically be able to know what subjects are off limits or not.”

“You’re so fucking annoying.”

“At least I have manners.”

Dabi rounded on him again, rage in his blue eyes. Hawks adjusted his jacket and swept a stray lock of hair out of his face.

“Swearing at me ain’t gonna help, you know that right? You’re not as intimidating as you’d like to think,” Hawks continued. “That said; please find someone else to take your anger out on. I don’t appreciate being the target.” He tried for a level look and thought he saw the anger flicker and change in Dabi’s eyes.

For just the blink of an eye there was doubt, and then Dabi drew himself up to his full height and glared down at Hawks.

“I’m not forcing you to stick around,” he said. Hawks knew a challenge when he saw one, and he knew Dabi well enough by now to also know this was as close as an apology as he would get.

“No, you’re not. But get this; I still enjoy your company enough to not be deterred by your little fits.” Hawks took one small step forward, smiled. “Not everything needs to be black and white, right? Surely you understand that, since I am not forcing you to stick around either and yet, no matter how many times you declare me ‘fucking annoying’ you’re also still here.”

Dabi stared at him for a drawn out moment, then scoffed.

“See, this is the kind of shit that makes me call you fucking annoying,” he said.

“Maybe annoying is what you need,” Hawks said. “If annoying is code for someone to call you out on your bullshit.”

This earned Hawks a smile that was all teeth, and he had to fight the urge to step backwards as Dabi moved closer.

“And what about your bullshit, birdie?” He dropped his voice low, eyes unwavering.

“What of it?” Hawks kept his smile up.

“You’re such a hypocrite. How far have you gotten by just sprouting bullshit to everyone? I bet most people don’t even notice, or care, as long as you’re saying what they want to hear.” Dabi cocked his head to the side. “Stop trying to pull that shit with me.”

“Oh, how the tables have tabled,” Hawks drawled. “Don’t think I don’t notice that you’re deflecting right now.”

“And you’re not?”

“It seems we’re at an impasse.”

“Are we now?”

“Maybe a compromise would be in order,” Hawks suggested. “We meet each other halfway and each leave having gained some and lost some.”

Dabi’s smile widened as he leaned into Hawk’s space.

“Now that’s an interesting idea,” he said.

Hawks raised a hand and tapped Dabi’s chest.

“That means you’ve gotta stop with this,” he said. “It’s weird as hell.”

“Fuck you.”

“You’re really not getting the idea are you? We’re right back--- Hey!”

Dabi grabbed Hawks’ jacket again, and for the second time his back was shoved into a wall. This time he didn’t mind as much. Mostly because he was occupied by the lips that crushed against his, and the hand that slid up to his neck.

It was not a gentle kiss; it was rather not much of a kiss at all. It was a demand, a conquest; that Hawks’ traitorous subconscious had went along with before his mind caught up with him. And even when it did he might have lost himself in the moment for just a little bit.

Dabi’s touch felt scorching against his skin. He took up far more space than one person could. And Hawks was trapped between him and the wall, and he thought he might ignite in the space.

As soon as he had the chance he sank his teeth into Dabi’s lip, hard enough for the intent to be clear. With a hiss Dabi retreated, a hand flying up to his mouth.

“Don’t kiss people without permission,” Hawks said. He tried to keep his voice level, tried to disguise how out of breath he was. The wall behind him was steady; he didn’t want to leave the security it offered.

Dabi stared at him, eyes blazing, and Hawks couldn’t look away, knew he had to. His heart beat as if he’d been running again, his thoughts jumbled and scrambled and he needed to get away.

It took far more than he’d expected to turn away from Dabi. To get his legs to work. To walk out of the alleyway and leave Dabi behind. He made it halfway home before he collapsed down on a bench and buried his face in his hands with a groan.

Dabi had kissed him.

Why the hell had he done that? They’d been arguing, he was pretty sure of that. And Dabi wasn’t… didn’t… he.

He’d kissed him.

It had been a pretty good kiss. For a short bit. It had also been unacceptable. But still…

Hawks stood up, kept going. He needed some time to think and he needed to do it alone.

 

-

 

“You’re a coward.”

“Shut up.”

“No, I’m tired of this!”

A black lump landed on Dabi’s face. It was a sweater. He removed it and glared at Himiko.

“I don’t care what you do, but get out of here I can’t stand the sight of you,” she said.

“I live here,” Dabi said.

“So do I! And you’re terrible company. It’s been days, and if you’re not gonna tell me what your shitty mood is about at least get over it and move the fuck on.” She crossed her arms over her chest, a proper pout on her face.

Dabi dropped the sweater to the floor and sat up on the couch with a groan.

“Will you leave me alone if I do what you want?”

“No, probably not,” Himiko said. “But like go take out your feelings somewhere that isn’t here. You’re glooming up the entire place.”

“Right, fine.” Dabi made it onto his feet and dragged himself towards the door. “I’ll go away.”

“Don’t come back until you’re ready to be fun again!”

Chapter Text

It was Wednesday.

Hawks leaned against the windowsill and gazed down on the front of the station. To the left were the parking spaces. Hawks paid the few cars parked there very little attention. That is, until he paid them a lot of attention because one of the cars exploded.

That’s not good, was his first thought.

The way the entire building burst into motion was a mirror of his following thoughts. Yet he stood frozen by that window; watching the smoke and flames lick at the ruined car.

At least they were well equipped to deal with this, and were quick to react.

Only a few of them actually drove to work, most lived close. The cars tended to be rather spread out, which had proven fortuitous as at least the damage wasn’t spread to many.

It occurred to Hawks that he knew whose car that was. That was Enji’s car.

The owner in question just rushed out towards the scene and even from so far away Hawks could feel the rage radiating of off him.

The car had been sleek and expensive once. Now it was properly done for. The explosion must have happened close to the engine. It had blown the hood off, had shattered all the windows and Hawks suspected that whatever lay underneath that dark smoke wouldn’t be driving down a road again.

The situation was quickly under control so Hawks picked up his phone.

 

To Littlest Todoroki: [image attached]

To Littlest Todoroki: someone blew up ya dad’s car

From Littlest Todoroki: God I wish that were me

To Littlest Todoroki: I was going to ask if he’d been making enemies but I think I know the answer.

To Littlest Todoroki: still. First the cabin, now this. Someone really has it out for ya old man

From Littlest Todoroki: It comes from being a bastard of a person. Not like he doesn’t have another car anyway.

To Littlest Todoroki: wasn’t he gonna go with you to a thing? School thing? I wasn’t really listening

From Littlest Todoroki: Yes, he was. What a shame he won’t be able to make it now. Tell him I’ll get Fuyumi to drive me.

To Littlest Todoroki: will do, have fun, be safe <3

 

Hawks decided to go outside and see how things were going.

He arrived at the same time as the police. Which was impressive since he’d been in the building and they’d been rather far away.

Enji Todoroki was standing with his arms crossed staring at the remnants of his car. Hawks stopped by his side.

“Soooo, that seems a bit weird,” he said. The deep frown on Enji’s face only deepened.

“They’re targeting me,” Enji said. “First my property, now my vehicle. That’s no coincidence.”

“Mhm,” Hawks agreed. “Maybe be a bit careful going forward, ye?”

Enji scoffed.

“They’ll regret picking this fight,” he said.

“I talked to Shouto,” Hawks said. “He said he’ll get his sister to give him a lift.”

At this Enji finally looked to Hawks.

“I guess that is for the best, considering. I have to deal with this situation,” he said.

Hawks looked at the now drenched car. He’d told Dabi about the car of his once teacher that had been burned, hadn’t he. Before they’d left. Before…

Hawks cleared his throat.

“Right, imma go back inside. Lemme know if ya need anything.” Then he fled.

 

-

 

“So… you gonna tell me why you’ve been avoiding Hawks?”

“Who says I’ve been avoiding Hawks?”

“Says the fact that he’s usually here a few times a week, eating our food, yet now he’s strangely absent. And you’re moping. So, what did you do?”

Dabi turned to glare at Himiko, who sat cross-legged on the kitchen counter.

“What does it matter?” he asked.

“I miss him,” Himiko said. “You miss him. So like… fix it.”

“And what if I didn’t do anything?” Dabi asked.

“You didn’t?”

Dabi didn’t respond. He returned to the tea he was brewing.

“See, you know you did something. Just go say sorry and whatever!” Himiko said. “Or!” She jumped down from the counter to pull at Dabi’s arm. “Did you tell him about your crush and he rejected you?”

“No,” Dabi said.

“No to what part?!”

“Ask stupid questions, get stupid answers.” Dabi picked up his mug and moved towards the living room. “But no, I didn’t tell him. Not really.”

“Not really?” Himiko’s voice was steadily rising. “Dabi! What did you do?”

“Look, it’s not that big a deal,” he said. “And it sure as hell doesn’t need your meddling.”

“If it doesn’t need my meddling why are you in this situation now?” Himiko threw herself down into the armchair next to the couch. “Just go talk to him, invite him for dinner and tell him this is making me sad.”

Dabi hated to admit it but she had a point. He should talk to Hawks. It had nearly been a week. But then again. Hawks could talk to him if he wanted to. And he hadn’t. So clearly he didn’t want to.

He’d turned it over in his head a million times already. He always returned to the same point, one simple small thing that wouldn’t leave him alone. The fact that for a moment, before he’d bit him, Hawks had kissed him back. Hawks had kissed him back and even as he’d scolded him the look in his eyes had told a different story altogether.

So maybe… maybe going to talk to Hawks would be a good idea.

His phone informed him it was 19.32. He could go right now. He should. He didn’t want to.

“What are you thinking, Dabi?”

“Not sure.”

“Coward.”

“Brat.”

Dabi leaned back and dragged his hands down his face.

“What do I even say to him?” he asked.

“You d-t-f?”

“I’m going to put up a sign that reminds me to never ask your advice on anything.”

“Well, I could be more helpful if you told me what’s up but noooo. So, that’s what you get.”

“Right.” Dabi stood up, with a lot more conviction than he felt. “If I die it’s on you.”

“Good luck!”

 

The walk over to Hawks’ apartment felt far too short. As he tapped in the code for the front doors he realized he should have thought through what to say. He considered taking the stairs just to give himself some extra time. But Hawks lived on the top floor, and Dabi was tired.

It wasn’t until he had raised his hand to knock that it occurred to him that Hawks might not be home. Wouldn’t that just be perfect? But he knocked. And the door opened.

Hawks was dressed for comfort, his hair just a little damp.

“Oh, hi,” he said. Dabi nearly turned around right then. Then Hawks smiled.

“Can I come in?”

“Mhmm.” Hawks simply turned and headed back inside. Dabi appreciated it because it gave him a moment to recompose himself.

Hawks had returned to his couch where his laptop was settled. As Dabi walked into the room Hawks closed it and set it on the table. Dabi couldn’t make himself sit next to Hawks, like he would have done a week ago, so he sat in the armchair.

“Sooo,” Hawks drawled. “What’s up?”

“Isn’t that a dumb question?” Dabi asked.

“Maybe.”

“I… think we should have a talk,” Dabi managed. His words stilted.

Hawks looked at him for a long moment, then laughed.

 “Yeah, that’s fair,” he said.

Dabi hadn’t been certain of what he wanted out of this before. Hadn’t known what it was he wanted to say to Hawks at all. But as he looked at him now all options but one flew out the window.

He just needed to find the right words for it.

 

-

 

It had surprised Hawks to see Dabi outside of his door. He’d expected a text, maybe a call, if anything. But here Dabi was, in the flesh, in his apartment.

Hawks had spent the last week thinking about him. He’d thought he’d done a good job, but seeing Dabi again after that thinking felt a bit like a bucket of cold water over his head. Water that doused rational thought.

Dabi was… many things. Dabi was interesting. Dabi was unpredictable, surprising. Fascinating. Those were things that had made Hawks want to get to know him. Then came the rest. Things like how Dabi could speak with his eyes, how he seemed intent on staring right through you. The way he used his existence as a challenge to the world in everything he did, in what he said.

Hawks had considered all these things. He had landed firmly, not for the first time, on that he liked their friendship. He liked the simplicity of it. But he wasn’t going to let that blind him to the rest.

The rest… of how darkness washed over Dabi’s face sometimes. Or how his voice would turn cruel and his words sharp.

Hawks believed Dabi to be a good person. A good person with bone-deep issues that he wasn’t ready to be a part of. And he wouldn’t… he wouldn’t accept being made less.

Rational thoughts. He’d spent a lot of time on them.

Still, he found that when he looked at Dabi now he could feel his heartbeat pick up. He couldn’t deny the other obvious facts. Facts such as how Dabi was pretty dang hot. Hawks liked his face. From the scars to the intensity of his eyes to the glimmer of his piercing to the slant of his mouth when he’d smile.

Hawks had known these things for a long time too. He’d not thought as much about them as he’d had after that very mouth had been on his though.

“Let’s talk then,” he said. “Where do we start?”

“With the obvious,” Dabi said.

“You mean the part where you kissed me and then didn’t speak to me for a week?”

“Yes, that part.”

“Cool, I admit I am curious about that part.”

Dabi slouched back in his chair with a sigh.

“You’re really such a bastard,” he said. “I don’t know what I like about you at all.”

“I’m pretty and charming,” Hawks provided.

“I guess there’s that,” Dabi agreed, and Hawks had not expected him to. “I… I didn’t like not talking to you.” With a frustrated growl Dabi rose from the chair and started pacing.

“It’s annoying. You’re annoying, and too loud and you smile too much and you’re just… a lot.”

Hawks had to admit that he wasn’t sure where Dabi was going with this, but he wasn’t impressed by the start. Still he decided to keep quiet. Wait and see.

“I don’t know how to deal with you! And I feel like we shouldn’t get along. But I like having you around.”

“Aw, how sweet.”

Dabi turned away from Hawks with a groan. Hands flying to his hair.

“Could you stop, for just a moment?”

Hawks stretched and also stood up.

“Is that what you’d like me to do?” he asked. “Because I’m afraid I’m just like that, so deal with it or not.”

Dabi spun around, frowning.

“I don’t want you to change,” he said. “I want you to shut up and not distract me for a moment so I can figure out what to say to you.”

“Okay,” Hawks said, a little stunned. “Go ahead.”

They stared at each other for several long second before Dabi looked away again.

“I feel like this should be obvious by now,” he said, “but I want quite a lot more than your friendship.” His voice was low, each word carefully pronounced.

Hawks was glad Dabi wasn’t looking at him. He had to swallow, his mouth gone dry.

“Okay,” he managed. “So what… is it you want?” He stared at Dabi’s hands, clenched into fists as his sides. The tension he held in his shoulders. And then, as Dabi turned, at the crackle in his eyes. The slight twitch at the edge of his mouth.

“I… well, right now I really want to kiss you,” he said, taking two steps closer, right into Hawks’ personal space.

Hawks swallowed again, then nodded. That was an improvement. Not a question, but asking yet the same.

“Please do.”

And he did.

Hands settled around his face, steady and firm, but gentle nonetheless. Far gentler than the kiss itself.

Dabi was warm so close to him. But Hawks still figured he could be closer and pressed into the space between them until there was none, until he could feel the rise and fall of Dabi’s chest against his own. Dabi did not seem to mind, if the way he pressed even closer was any indication. His fingers pushed into Hawks’ hair and Hawks let himself fall into it. Into the touch, the kiss, the claim.

He ran his hands down Dabi’s sides and over his back. He let Dabi lead them, let the burning attention wash over and envelop him.

It was a good kiss. It was a great kiss.

When Dabi broke the kiss it was with a soft gasp against Hawks’ lips. His breath was heavy as he trailed kisses down Hawk’s jaw and neck where he paused, teeth against skin, and Hawks swallowed.

“Dabi?”

“Mhm.”

“Bedroom.”

There was a huff of warm air against his neck as Dabi laughed but he let Hawks shove him in the direction of his bedroom door. Once they got to said door Hawks got distracted again, because Dabi was smirking at him and it only made sense to kiss that smirk. Once Dabi’s wandering hands found their way underneath Hawks’ shirt he remembered his objective again.

The bedroom was dark, only thin strips of light showing at the edge of the curtains. Hawks did not bother taking his hands of off Dabi long enough to turn on any lights. Instead he dragged Dabi with him down on the bed.

“Why the fuck is there so much stuff here,” Dabi hissed.

“Soft,” Hawks replied. “Nest.”

“Yeah yeah, bird, I get it.” Dabi found Hawks’ lips again and Hawks wrapped his arms around Dabi’s neck with a smile.

Dabi kissed with a determined focus and hunger that quite literally stole the breath out of Hawks’ lungs. Still, when he pulled back Hawks nearly grabbed his shirt and pulled him back but paused instead.

“Hey,” he said, and gave a light tug on the shirt in his grip. “Lose this.”

Even in the dark Hawks could feel Dabi’s scowl but he pushed himself up and onto his knees and tugged the shirt over his head and tossed it aside. The light from the living room lent a soft golden glow to Dabi’s right side. Just enough for Hawks to make out the patches of dark scarring on Dabi’s arms, neck and chest.

He pushed himself up to so he could reach out and press his hand against Dabi’s chest, so he could lean in close and press his lips against Dabi’s neck. Once again Dabi threaded his fingers into Hawks’ hair, tilted his head up into a kiss. Hawks let his hands go exploring, mapping out skin and scars.

“Any other piercings I should know about?” he asked once they were both out of breath. Before he got an answer he let himself fall back down on his back.

Dabi slowly leaned his head to the side then looked down and very slowly let his fingers trail over Hawks’ hips up to the edge of his shirt and under it. His hands were burning warm against Hawk’s skin.

“Why don’t you find out,” he said.

Hawks smiled up at him.

“Oh, well then,” he said.

 

-

 

For a few moments as he woke up Dabi was confused. He was warm, in part due to the heavy duvet but mostly due to the body pressed against his back.

The clock on Hawks’ bedside table showed 05.25 but Dabi felt wide awake.

Hawks was not. His breathing was deep and steady. Dabi could not see him, only feel. He felt Hawks’ breath against his shoulder, hair tickling his neck, one heavy arm slung over his waist.

Dabi allowed himself a few minutes of indulgence. But his mouth was dry, and he was too warm, and he needed to move.

Still he tried to be careful as he extracted himself from Hawks and went in search of water.

When Dabi stepped back into the room it was with the intentions of gathering up his clothes and getting the hell out of there. Sadly for him there was a hitch in that plan.

Hawks had rolled over onto his stomach, head buried in the crook of his arm, one leg sticking out from under the duvet, and his back exposed. A thin ray of sunlight peaked through the gap in the curtains and painted a line of gold across his skin.

Dabi stepped quietly up to the bed so he could get a closer look of what had been revealed.

Spread over Hawks’ shoulders and dipping down to disappear under the duvet were wings. Deep red tattoos, beautifully shaded, each feather a small masterpiece. They were a far leap from the embroidered wings on Hawks’ favourite jacket, and Dabi realized he really should have anticipated them being there. But he hadn’t.

Very carefully he sat down at the edge of the bed and trailed one finger along a feather. He pushed the duvet further down so he could see where they ended at the small of Hawks’ back. The colour was rich but faded over enough to be at least a couple of years old.

Dabi traced their shape, mesmerized. He had touched them yesterday without even knowing they were there, like a secret revealed by the morning light.

Hawks was warm and his skin smooth under Dabi’s fingers, and the wings were beautiful. Dabi paused in his exploration, stared at his own arm, at the scarred and darkened skin.

“Don’t stop,” Hawks mumbled, voice muffled. Dabi wondered how long he’d been awake.

“You’re really committed to the bird thing aren’t you,” Dabi said, but it came out far softer than he’d intended. Hawks just hummed in response. “I should go.”

Now Hawks turned his head so he could crack open one golden eye and look at Dabi.

“You don’t have to,” he said.

Dabi flattened his hand against Hawks’ back, between the shoulder blades, where the wings started. He shook his head, lifted his hand and stood up and set about getting dressed. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Hawks move to sit at the edge of the bed and rub at his eyes.

With himself sorted out Dabi turned his back to him and stepped towards the door.

“Dabi.”

He paused, glanced back and saw Hawks stand up and walk over to him. Dabi turned to fully face him.

“Yeah?”

Hawks’ hair was flattened on one side, an absolute mess on the other and his eyes were still heavy with sleep. He reached up one hand and placed it against Dabi’s cheek.

“Don’t be a stranger,” he said. Dabi offered him a small smile.

“Goodbye, pretty bird.”

Chapter Text

Hawks just made it to work on time after having nearly slept though his alarm. Shinji turned and raised his eyebrows at him as he stepped into the locker room.

“You’re looking a bit stressed,” he helpfully pointed out as Hawks threw open his locker to change clothes.

“Overslept,” Hawks replied. He pulled off his jacket and shirt and stuffed them into a little pile at the bottom.

“Geez,” Shinji said next to him. “Did you get into a fight?”

“Hm? No.” Hawks turned to him, confused.

“Uhh…”

Hawks followed Shinji’s gaze and looked down at himself, saw the faint but unmistakable bruises of fingers above his wrist.

“Oh,” he said and adjusted the door of his locker so he could see himself in the small mirror on it. “Shit.”

“Oh,” Shinji echoed, and out of the corner of his eye Hawks could see his eyes go wide before he started laughing. “Not a fight, got it. Congrats. Good for you.”

“Go away. Shut up.”

“No, really, looks like you had fun.”

Hawks turned his attention back to changing clothes.

“Sure did. Now shut up.”

Laughing Shinji headed for the door.

“You better hurry, Todoroki’s holding a meeting.”

He made it with several seconds to spare and took a seat next to Yuu and ignored the thumbs-up Shinji sent him. Across from him Tensei was nursing a cup of coffee and Hawks envied him.

Enji stood at the short end of the table, radiating impatience. When he started going through the upcoming schedule and planned training exercises Hawks drifted off. He’d had no time to stop and think since Dabi had showed up, which might have been for the best.

He’d nearly expected Dabi to have been gone when he woke up, but he’d stayed, for just a little bit. Still, now he felt stuck, more stuck than before.

There remained many things to be said and maybe Hawks would have to force that conversation himself if he wanted it. But there was the chance that it would serve no purpose. That this was it. But Dabi had said he wanted… more. Right?

It was complicated. Hawks hadn’t been looking for complicated. He hadn’t been looking at all! But here it was, and he was in the middle of it and he didn’t think he could back out.

He didn’t want to back out. He wanted… more.

With a blink he forced himself back into the present in time to catch Enji’s icy glare on him. Blue eyes that sent Hawks’ thoughts right back to another pair of very similar blue eyes.

“Anyone got anything else to bring up?” Enji asked and Hawks saw, out of the corner of his eye, how Shinji, on the other side of Yuu, raised a hand. “What?”

“Hawks finally got laid,” Shinji said, voice chipper. Hawks turned his gaze to the ceiling for strength.

“Ayy!” Yuu punched him in the shoulder. “Tell me everything!”

“Anything relevant?” Enji growled.

“I mean, it’s relevant to some people,” Shinji countered.

“Get the fuck to work,” Enji said and turned and left the room.

“He sure sounds like he didn’t get laid,” Shinji muttered.

“Doesn’t sound like you did either,” Hawks said. “Also what the hell?”

“I’m just happy for you,” Shinji said, leaning in over the table to smile at Hawks.

“Never mind that,” Yuu chimed in. “I need to know several things. But first, and most important, why does Shinji know?”

Most of the table had already gotten up and started leaving. As Ryuko passed behind them she petted Hawks’ head but didn’t say anything. Hawks was grateful.

“I know because I was present when he was changing clothes.”

“Why are you looking at me changing clothes?”

“You’re pretty, and also I was talking to you and it’s polite to look at the people you speak too.”

Hawks was still staring at the ceiling.

“Who is it? Someone I know? Someone I’ve met?” Yuu gasped. “A complete stranger?”

“Y’all invasive as hell,” Hawks said. “I need coffee.”

“If I get you coffee will you tell me everything?”

“It’s literally right over there, I can get it myself.” Hawks got up from his chair and set his sights on coffee. “Help me clean the helicopter and I might tell you.”

“Urgh, fine.”

Might.”

“You’re terrible.”

 

-

 

From Knife Baby: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

From Knife Baby:  (¬‿¬ )

From Knife Baby: Hoooooow’s work?

To Knife Baby: fine, thanks for asking

From Knife Baby: Did you have a good morning, dearest brother?

To Knife Baby: it was adequate

From Knife Baby: Couldn’t help but notice you didn’t come home yesterday. Very worrisome. Are you alright?

To Knife Baby: oh, yes, but thank you for the concern

From Knife Baby: So

From Knife Baby: Did it help?

From Knife Baby: The sex that is

To Knife Baby: help what?

From Knife Baby: Your big gay crush on pretty little Hawks

To Knife Baby: then no, help is not the right word

From Knife Baby: My condolences

From Knife Baby: But like was it nice?

To Knife Baby: he’s so dang fucking pretty

To Knife Baby: like what the hell

To Knife Baby: who allowed this

From Knife Baby: (っ´ω`)ノ(╥ω╥)

 

Dabi considered telling Himiko about Hawks’ tattoo for one entire second before he decided to keep that detail for himself. At least for now.

 

To Knife Baby: anyway what do I do now

From Knife Baby: ???

From Knife Baby: ask him to marry you obviously

To Knife Baby: ah yeah of course thanks

To Knife Baby: urgh Shigi is here and he looks grumpy and you should be in school paying attention

To Knife Baby: I’ll see you at home

From Knife Baby: baiiii (´• ω •`) ♡

 

Dabi had picked up his phone more than ten times to text Hawks during work. Each time he’d put it away again, unable to find the words. He was looking forward to seeing Himiko when he got home in part for the distraction she would provide.

What do you want? Hawks had asked and the only answer Dabi found was you.

Of course it wasn’t true. At best it was just a fraction of the truth.

He’d believed it though. In the moment. That it could be as simple as that. It was easy to believe when Hawks was so easy to want. Too easy, it messed with Dabi’s plans.

At home he made dinner for himself and Himiko and they ate it in front of the TV.

“You know… there’s a boy at school that looks a bit like you. Got those blue eyes, or blue eye, only one of them,” Himiko was saying. “He’s really pretty too!” She turned her gaze onto Dabi. “And I know you’ve said you had younger siblings. Oh, and I heard someone call him Todoroki, so there’s that.”

Dabi nodded.

“Shouto,” he said. “Don’t get any dumb ideas, please.”

“Never,” Himiko said. “But you told me to make friends my age, and he’s nearly my age.”

Himiko was the only person Dabi had told about his family since he’d left. And he hadn’t even told her everything.

“Leave him be, Himiko. Trust me; you don’t wanna get involved too much in that.”

Himiko sighed and dropped down onto the couch, throwing her legs up into Dabi’s lap.

“Isn’t it weird? Having your family here and just avoiding them?” She waved a hand in the air. “Like sure, ya dad is a crazy bastard, but don’t you wanna… check-up on your siblings?”

“The way I see it, the less involved I am in their life the better for them,” Dabi said. “Besides, I don’t want to tip of dear old dad to my presence in any way. Not yet. And I already have my hands full with one sister.”

Himiko was silent, unusual. She twirled a lock of her hair around a finger as she stared off into the distance.

“Will you tell Hawks?”

The words hung in the air between them.

Dabi let his head fall back and closed his eyes.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because he’s my way to Enji.”

“Oh, yeah… He is.”

Silence settled over them and they both jumped when the doorbell rang. Himiko bounced up.

“I’ll get it.” She rushed off towards the door with energy Dabi wished he had. “Hawks!” Well shit.

“Hi, Toga.”

Dabi very quickly ran though different scenarios in his head and he very much regretted not having texted Hawks earlier.

Toga came skipping back into the room.

“Daaaaaabi, Hawks is here!”

“Yes, I’m pretty sure half he building knows that, what with the screaming.”

“Psch.”

Following Himiko was indeed Hawks. He wore jeans and an The Eagles t-shirt. Dabi wondered at what point in his life Hawks had decided to just be like that.

“Hey,” Hawks said, with a smile.

“Hi.”

“I’m going out,” Himiko said.

“What?” Dabi said.

“I’m going out,” Himiko repeated.

“Where are you going?”

“Out.”

“Oh really, why the fuck… no nevermind, go be the terror of the neighbourhood you were born to be.”

“Mhmm, have fun. It’s really nice to see you, Hawks, I missed you.” Himiko reached up and patted Hawks’ cheek.

“Then why the fuck are you leaving,” Dabi muttered.

Humming Himiko disappeared towards the door again. Hawks glanced after her then back to Dabi and raised his eyebrows. Dabi just sighed.

“Ignore her,” he said.

“You say that as if it’s easy,” Hawks said.

“I heard that,” Himiko called from the hallway.

“Sound like a you problem,” Dabi called back.

“I love you too, Dabi.” And with that the door was opened and closed and Dabi was alone with Hawks because his sister was a traitor.

“I would ask if you’re busy, but it doesn’t look like it,” Hawks said as he walked further into the room.

“Not very, no,” Dabi replied. He gestured to the empty space on the couch next to him. “Would you like a seat?”

“How gracious, yes, I would.” Hawks sat down and pulled his legs up with him, close but not touching. “I think we should uh… talk.”

“Yeah.” Dabi had not been prepared for this. This being seeing Hawks. But here he was, just as real as always. With his very soft hair and dumb smile. Dabi let himself stare, figured there was no use in not.

“Just to clear some things up,” Hawks said. “Because I like to know what’s up, ya know.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Like, just to make sure were on the same page and all. Because we’re friends, right? We’re gonna stay friends?” Hawks leaned his head to one side and blinked.

“Yeah,” Dabi said. “I’d hope for that.”

“Good,” Hawks said. “And then… it’s not that I’d mind casual sex if that’s what’s on offer, but I’d like to know what to expect. What this,” he gestured between them, “is gonna be.”

“That’s not really for me to decide, is it?” Dabi said. “I mean, you get a say on the matter.”

“Mhm, sure, and I want us to stay friends,” Hawks said, and Dabi felt his heart sink. “No matter the rest. But you said you wanted more than that.”

Dabi didn’t think he’d ever seen Hawks this uncertain.

“I did say that,” Dabi said and Hawks met his gaze.

“Did you get it, is what I’m asking.”

Dabi swallowed and shook his head.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I still stand by what I said yesterday. I’ll be your friend, if that’s what you want. But, Hawks,” slowly, as if to not startle him, Dabi reached out and touched Hawks’ cheek, let his fingers drift down his neck, “I want you.”

“Right, cool cool cool.” Hawks swatted Dabi’s hand away and for a split section Dabi felt ice cold. Then the world crashed around him as Hawks surged forward, hands coming to Dabi’s neck, and he found himself being kissed.

There was no thought involved as Dabi reached for Hawks. There was only a single-minded goal of getting him closer, of touching, of feeling. He was only partially responsible for managing to get Hawks into his lap. Hawks himself seemed to catch on very quickly.

“What happened to permission?” Dabi asked when Hawks broke the kiss.

“Are you saying that wasn’t an invitation?”

“Fair, it definitely was.” Dabi ran his hands down Hawks’ back. “It’s a fucking open invitation.”

Hawks kissed him again, quite thoroughly. But he pulled away again far too soon.

“Wait, you distracted me again,” he said. “What are we doing?”

“Be more specific.”

“Alright. Is the sex gonna be a regular thing and if so on what terms? Are you gonna at least buy me dinner first? Dates? Date me? Like properly? Is this a we thing or a you and me thing?”

Dabi stared at Hawks.

“Huh,” he said. “That’s somehow even less specific.”

Hawks scowled.

“I’ve cooked you dinner so many times, birdie,” Dabi continued.

“Yes, it’s great, you should keep doing that,” Hawks said.

“I will.” Dabi bit his lip. “Listen, I want you around, I want to spend time with you and I want to touch you and I want you to keep kissing me, right now. Can we start with that?”

Hawks smiled, bright and wide.

“Yeah, that sounds perfect.”

Chapter Text

To Crowder of Murds: young padawan!

From Crowder of Murds: Yes, master bird

To Crowder of Murds: Boss has been muttering about internships for the summer again. Fashionably late as always. Can I count on you to come be my wingman?

From Crowder of Murds: Yes, you can

To Crowder of Murds: Superb!

To Crowder of Murds: I think we’re gonna take in four. And that the boss has talked to Shouto. If he agrees we need two more. You got friends right?

From Crowder of Murds: I could ask around and see if anyone is interested

To Crowder of Murds: Great, you know what to do if you find any!

From Crowder of Murds: I do

To Crowder of Murds: you’re the best Fumi!

From Crowder of Murds: Thank you, Hawks

 

Hawks looked up from his phone when he heard Dabi walk in.

“Oh hi, could you get me something to drink?”

“Nice to see you too,” Dabi said and glanced over towards the kitchen area. “Training exercise go well?”

“Mostly,” Hawks said. “Pretty please?”

With a roll of his eyes Dabi headed into the kitchen to get a glass of water and Hawks pushed himself up into a sitting position with a grimace. When Dabi returned he sat down next to Hawks and handed him the glass.

“You look like shit,” he said.

“Thanks.” Hawks drained the glass and set it aside. “Boss seems to think of training as more of a life-and-death scenario than is strictly necessary. It’s all ‘overcome your mortal limitations’ and ‘do it again but better’. And I’m tiiiiiiiired.” Hawks tipped his head back and closed his eyes.

“Poor bird.”

Cracking one eye open Hawks glanced at Dabi.

“How did the meeting go?” he asked.

“Fine, we’ll start the transition next month.”

“Cool. How do you feel about pizza and movies in bed?”

“I could be convinced.”

With a yawn Hawks stood up and started raising his arms to stretch but stopped with a hiss halfway. Next to him Dabi scowled.

“What’s that about?” he asked. Hawks shook his head.

“Nothing,” he said. “I’m a little sore.”

“Huh.” Dabi stood up and poked at Hawks’ side and got another hiss in response. “What did you do?”

“Improvised?”

“Show me.”

“It’s really not that bad.”

“I’ll judge that for myself, birdie.” Dabi caught Hawks’ arm and gently tugged him closer. He lifted up Hawks’ shirt and Hawks saw his eyes narrow and winced. “Hawks.”

“Yeah?”

“What the fuck?”

“Look, I didn’t break anything!” At another glance from Dabi Hawks sighed. “I had it checked because they thought I might have fractured a rib or two or three, but it’s mostly just really bad bruising, I promise.”

“Interesting.” Dabi let go of Hawks’ shirt but kept his grip on his arm. “Training exercise, huh. Does it usually turn out like this?”

“No. Like, they’re never easy, but it was really my fault.” Hawks reached up and bopped Dabi’s nose. “So, pizza and movies?”

“… Yes.”

Hawks didn’t pay much attention to the movie. He was too comfortable cuddled up against Dabi, too tired. There were fingers doing lazy circles in his hair.

The way he and Dabi interacted really hadn’t changed. Apart from things like this, and the kissing… and the rest. But otherwise, not much had changed at all and Hawks loved it. There was the ease he had enjoyed. The simple company. Just with added cuddles. It really was not a bad deal.

It had also made several things about Dabi obvious. Such as the fact that he clearly was not used to any of it. He was a person made of sharp edges and even his affection was aggressive.

Hawks had observed that affection turned towards Himiko and marvelled at it. Because it was fierce and never expressed in words. Dabi cared, he cared a lot, but he didn’t talk about feelings unless he was forced and now that Hawks found himself subject to such affection he had to remind himself what it meant.

It wasn’t the first time in Hawks’ life that he’d wished things could be simpler. But he knew life would catch up to him, far quicker than expected. And then he’d have to think, and consider, and try to figure things out, and he was tired. Right now he just wanted to melt into the warmth and presence of Dabi and not have to think about it. Wasn’t it enough that they liked each other?

Hawks’ phone dinged. Then dinged again, several times. The hand in Hawks’ hair stopped moving.

“You awake, birdie?”

“No.”

“Fair enough.”

There was another ding and Hawks groaned.

“You should have turned the sound off,” Dabi said.

“Gee, thanks for the advice.” Hawks reached blindly for his phone on his bedside table as he sat up and nearly knocked it to the floor. “It’s not easy being popular.”

 

Tokoyami Fumikage has added you to Bird Enthusiasts United

Tokoyami Fumikage has added Todoroki Shouto, Yaoyorozu Momo, Uraraka Ochako to Bird Enthusiasts United

Tokoyami Fumikage: It has been done

Uraraka Ochako: I’m already having second thoughts about this tbh

Yaoyorozu Momo: Is the enthusiasm a requirement?

Todoroki Shouto: no

Tokoyami Fumikage: yes

Yaoyorozu Momo: Ah, I see.

Hawks: good job fumi

Hawks set his nickname to Big Bird.

Big Bird set the nickname for Tokoyami Fumikage to Baby Bird.

Big Bird: welcome kids

Todoroki Shouto: no

Big Bird set the nickname for Todoroki Shouto to Todonoki

Todonoki: Who put you in charge of this again?

Todonoki: Wait, I know, don’t answer

Big Bird: ;)

Big Bird: It’s nice to see you here. I’ll get ya properly sorted, but I’m kind busy right now

Big Bird: Also it’s like late why are you awake, go to bed, you have school or something

Uraraka Ochako: Uhm, it’s half past seven

Uraraka Ochako: also Hi! I’m Ochako!

Big Bird: Oh. Huh. Hi!

 

Hawks looked up from his phone and blinked.

“I’m so tired,” he said.

“No shit.” Dabi sat up next to Hawks and draped an arm over his shoulders. “Is it important?”

“Yes and no. It’s my interns.”

 

Yaoyorozu Momo: Yes, hello. We’ve met, but you might not remember me.

Todonoki: Nah, he remembers. She’s the fancy one

Big Bird: I do! Happy to see you on the team!

Todonoki set the nickname for Yaoyorozu Momo to Yo-Mo

Todonoki set the nickname for Uraraka Ochako to Soaring-Flying

Soaring-flying: Shouto, why?

Todonoki: Uraraka “how do make thing go up???” Ochako

Soaring-flying: aight, fair.

Big Bird: That’s the spirit kids!

 

Dabi leaned his head onto Hawks’ shoulder, his breath hot against Hawks’ neck.

 

Big Bird: keep it up gotta hgjodo

 

Hawks scrambled to catch his phone as it slipped from his grip. Dabi chuckling into his neck.

“You bit me!”

“Only a little.”

 

Baby Bird: Are you alright, Hawks?

Todonoki: whelp, guess he’s dead now

Soaring-flying: … f?

Todonoki: f

 

Before Hawks could reply his phone was deftly lifted from his hands.

“Hey!”

“Mhm?” Dabi pressed his lips against Hawks’ neck again, but just lips this time. “Did you want something?”

“Now that you mention it, uhh no, don’t think so.”

“Great.”

There was a hand on Hawks’ thigh, moving ever so slowly.

“Almost broken ribs, remember,” Hawks said.

“I remember.”

 

-

 

“Hey, Dabi, you coming with us after work today?”

“Maybe.”

“Toga said she’s coming, no matter if you do or not.”

Dabi looked up to glance at Twice.

“Is she now,” he said. Twice shrugged.

“Yeah, she was very firm about it,” he said.

“I guess I’ll come. As long as Tomura isn’t.”

“I don’t know that,” Twice said. “You two gotta sort your shit out.”

Dabi hummed a response and returned to his lunch. He wasn’t about to explain to Twice that the only reason he didn’t want Tomura there was because he’d already made plans with Hawks, and he did not want those two in the same room.

“Dabi, Jin.” They both looked up as Sako approached them. “Where’s Kurogiri?”

“In his office?” Twice suggested. Sako shook his head. “Wherever Shigaraki is?”

“Can’t find him either.” Sako heaved a heavy sigh. “Guess I’ll have to try calling. I hate having to call.”

“Or you could send Spinner to run around and look,” Dabi said. “Isn’t that what he’s here for?”

“I know you’re being rude, but it’s also not a bad idea,” Sako said. “Where’s Spinner?”

Both Dabi and Twice shrugged and Sako groaned and turned away from them.

“I don’t know why I even try,” he said as he walked off.

“I don’t know why he gets annoyed at us, when we’re the only ones actually here,” Twice said. Dabi could only agree.

 

Before they’d left Dabi had warned Toga to keep her mouth shut about him and Hawks. She’d rolled her eyes at him but eventually agreed.

They met up with Hawks on the way and Toga glued herself to Hawks’ side as they walked, telling him about the people at her school. Dabi was happy to follow them in silence.

They looked at ease, comfortable with each other and Dabi bit down on the warmth in his chest at seeing them smile. That was a bit much.

When they got close enough Toga bounded ahead and into the bar, Hawks paused to let Dabi catch up to his side.

“You owe me a movie night,” Hawks said.

“Someone told me socializing is healthy,” Dabi replied.

“They must be crazy.” He flashed Dabi a warm smile.

“Absolutely mental.”

It was not hard to spot their company indoors. Not with Toga and Spinner already engaged in some sort of  very loud greeting ritual.

“I’m getting us beer,” Dabi said after one look at them and went for the bar.

“Hawks! You haven’t met Shiggy, right?”

Dabi froze then spun around and saw Tomura sitting in Kurogiri’s shadow. He looked up at Hawks, who had his back to Dabi. A thin smile creeped over Tomura’s face before his eyes shifted to the side, over Hawks’ shoulder right to Dabi.

Ah, fuck.

Dabi did not hurry. At least he made sure to look like he wasn’t.

“I have not,” Hawks said. “Yo.”

“Who the hell are you?” Tomura asked.

“Uh, Hawks.”

“Yes, and he’s nice and cute and we’re keeping him!” Toga said.

Dabi had so many regrets. He made his way to the table, set down the beer, pulled out a chair and sat down. From across the table Tomura looked at him, still smiling.

“Himiko, let go of Hawks. Hawks, sit the fuck down.”

“Oh shit, Toga, he mad.”

“Oh shit!”

Dabi looked at Hawks, who had a hand over his heart, and Toga, still clinging to his arm, hand over her mouth.

“Please?” he added.

“Well, if you put it like that.” Hawks took the chair next to Dabi, picked up one of the bottles and clinked it against Dabi’s. Toga opted for the empty chair next to Tomura and Dabi was just glad it put more people between him and Hawks.

“Hey, bird man, it’s been a while,” Twice said.

“Well, ya know, life be busy,” Hawks said.

“Fuck, it sure be,” Twice agreed.

“How’s the firefighting going?” Kurogiri asked.

“Pretty good,” Hawks replied. “Things have been calm, which is great news for us.”

Dabi met Tomura’s gaze and matched his smile. This was a game he could play as well.

 

-

 

Hawks lowered his head to the table with a groan, Toga’s laughter ringing around him.

“I know you’re cheating but I can’t figure out how,” he complained.

“You can’t prove anything,” she cooed.

Hawks turned his head to the side and reached out to tug at Dabi’s arm.

“Tell me how she does it, pleeeeaseee.”

“No.”

“Daaaaaaabiiiii.”

“Just git gud, Hawks,” Toga said. “Again?”

“No, spare me.” Hawks pushed himself up and slouched back in his chair instead. “Is this because you can’t win against me at any video game?”

Toga huffed and turned away from him. Hawks grinned at her then let his gaze drift off to the side where Shigaraki sat, eyes on his phone, fingers idly tapping. As if he felt Hawks watching him he looked up.

Shigaraki had been quiet almost the entire evening, only answering when directly spoken to. Hawks had payed enough attention to know that Dabi had not said a single thing to him, speaking as if he wasn’t there if he had to. He’d known the two didn’t always get along but had mostly counted it as Dabi being Dabi.

Meeting Shigaraki’s eye still sent a shiver down Hawks’ spine. His eyes seemed too empty yet so singularly focused. It creeped Hawks out.

“Where did you find a firefighter, Dabi?” Shigaraki asked, eyes still locked on Hawks.

“It’s actually really easy,” Dabi drawled. “Just light a fire and they show up.”

“And you decided to keep one?”

“Figured it might come in handy.”

“Ah, yes. It sure would prevent certain repetitions of past events wouldn’t it?”

Hawks could feel Dabi tensing up next to him, and so did the rest of the table as they all stilled, watching.

When he spoke again Dabi’s voice was low.

“One would think so.”

Shigaraki set an elbow on the table, rested his chin against a hand.

“What do you say, firefighter, care to throw a vote in, since you’re a professional and all.”

“A vote on what?” Hawks asked, he really did not like the smile on Shigaraki’s face.

“Tomura,” Kurogiri warned but it didn’t seem to have any impact. Next to Hawks Dabi was frozen in place.

“How our dear Dabi got such terrible burn,” Shigaraki said, then laughed. “Unless he’s already told you, of course.”

“If you really want to know I can demonstrate it for you,” Dabi said, ice in his voice. Slowly he stood up. “Or you could remember that you need me, and I couldn’t give less of a shit about you, so be very fucking careful about what you say to me.”

For a moment it seemed the world stood still then Shigaraki grinned and leaned back in his chair.

“There’s no need to get aggressive, I’m merely teasing,” he said.

“Burn in hell.” Dabi’s voice was still cold. “Let’s fucking go.” The last part was directed in Hawks’ direction but Dabi was already walking towards the exit.

Hawks glanced around the table, saw Toga roll her eyes as she stood up. Next to her Shigaraki was still smiling, watching Hawks.

“It was nice seeing you, Hawks. I hope we’ll meet again.”

“Yeah, I’m sure we will,” Hawks said as he got to his feet. Toga gripped his hand and tugged at him. “Bye y’all.”

Chapter Text

Big Bird: are yaaaaaaaall ready?

Baby Bird: yes

Todonoki: no

Soaring-flying: yes!

Yo-Mo: Of course!

Big Bird: perf. I’m sure you’ll all do great!

Todonoki: is that a challenge?

Big Bird: Remember that firefighting is about stopping fires not starting them

Todonoki: fight fire with fire

Big Bird: …no

Todonoki: :)

Big Bird: Yo-Mo, can I trust you to keep your eyes on Shouto? Call me if he smiles too much

Yo-Mo: Sure

Big Bird: Then I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow!

Baby Bird: You will.

Soaring-flying: I’m excited!

Todonoki: No, don’t ever look at me

Yo-Mo: we’re ALL excited :)

Big Bird: :)

 

-

 

From Weird Chicken: Intern Season is Upon Us [image attached]

 

Dabi stared at his phone and cursed himself for not being better prepared for moments like this. In his defence he really hadn’t anticipated his morning to start with a picture of his youngest brother. Yet there he was, unmistakably.

Shouto was staring into the camera, face blank. Next to him sat a girl with very long black hair, she was smiling. Dabi noted her presence and then forgot about her again,bBecause seemingly staring at him was a face he hadn’t seen in ten years. Hair split in two colours, eyes the same, one side scared, one not.

It was just the kind of thing that made Dabi wish he’d kept far away from this city. It was just the kind of thing that meant he should stay away from Hawks. But that bird had flown. Still, it meant he had to be careful.

The Shouto in the picture was far from the child Dabi remembered and it brought into focus just how much time had passed.

 

To Weird Chicken: don’t corrupt the young

From Weird Chicken: The young corrupts themselves, don’t blame me

 

Dabi wondered what would happen if he just asked Hawks to say hi to his brother from him. It would be fun, but not worth it. That was too valuable a card.

“Dabi.”

Lowering his phone Dabi turned to Tomura.

“What do you want?”

“Just checking in.” Tomura had his hands in the pockets of his hoodie, shoulders slouched. “Make sure we didn’t scare off that little boyfriend of yours.”

“That shouldn’t have been a we, Shigaraki,” Dabi said. “And don’t overestimate your abilities.”

“He seems nice,” Tomura said.

“Go away.”

“I’m just trying to be a good friend, Dabi.”

“We’re not friends.”

“Harsh, I thought we had something special.”

“What do you want?”

Tomura smiled. Dabi didn’t like it.

“I want to make sure you don’t forget who we are, and what we’re doing here,” he said.

“Try as I might I don’t think that I can,” Dabi said.

“Keep it that way.” With that Tomura turned to walk away again. Dabi stared at his back with rage boiling in his chest. Fucking shitty brat.

“So,” came Spinners voice, “we done denying Hawks is your boyfriend?”

Dabi glanced over at him.

“The fuck?” he said. Spinner just shrugged.

“I mean, you didn’t deny it this time.”

“Take into consideration that I don’t give a single fuck what any of you think or assume, not even to correct you when you’re wrong. Especially Tomura.” Dabi checked the time and very quickly decided that he was not having any more of this today.

He heard Spinner call after him as he left but that was easy to ignore.

What wasn’t as easy to ignore what the restless itch in him; build from annoyance and anger. He used to be better at dealing with it. That’s what it had felt like at least. So either it was getting worse, or he was getting worse at dealing with it.

Maybe it was this city and everything it contained. Maybe he should leave.

Maybe he should never have come back. Maybe then.

Dabi ground his teeth together with a hiss.

No.

He would not leave. He would run. He would not stay away. Not this time, this time he’d win.

 

-

 

“What are you two doing?”

“Contemplating life.”

“On the roof?”

“What’s a roof?”

Hawks scratched at his chin and looked around the roof. It was mostly empty. Except for the two teens that sat next to each other staring off into the distance.

Momo had a cup of tea with her which she sipped at. Shouto was slumped, head leaned into a hand.

“Mind if I join you then?”

“No, please do,” Momo said.

Hawks walked over to sit at Shouto’s other side.

“What part of life are we contemplating?”

“The prisons of social constructs,” Shouto said.

“Ah.” Hawks joined them in staring off into the distance. “Any progress?”

“Not really,” Momo said.

“What if we just… don’t,” Shouto mumbled. “Like we could, if we just make that decision. So why don’t we?”

“The comforts of the known,” Momo said.

“Cowards, all of us.” Shouto sighed. “Will we ever learn.”

“Probably not.” Momo sipped her tea.

“Uh-huh. Is this why you guys are still here?” Hawks asked. “You could have gone home nearly an hour ago.”

“We’ve got nowhere better to be,” Shouto said.

“By that he means that my girlfriend doesn’t get off her work for another hour and Shouto is keeping me company,” Momo said.

“Ah, what does she do?” Hawks asked.

“She’s interning at a radio station,” Momo replied. “She’s been doing it for the last three years or so.”

“Oh, that’s cool!” Hawks turned to grin at her. “I guess that means she’s into music?"

There was a soft smile on Momo’s face.

“Yes, very much,” she said.

“She plays more instruments than one person should,” Shouto added.

“She sound cool,” Hawks said.

“The coolest,” Momo agreed. It was sweet, she looked absolutely smitten.

“Well, I was just gonna check on you. I should go do my job, I think.” Hawks got back to his feet. “See ya later, don’t fall off the roof.” As he turned he patted Shouto’s head.

Back inside the station he headed for the kitchen to get some coffee. There he found Tomoko and Yawara sitting at a table and playing cards. The paramedics looked up and greeted him then returned their focus to their game.

Hawks got his coffee and joined them at the table, supressing a yawn.

“Did Kugo tell you about the updates schedules?” Tomoko asked.

“No?”

“You’re getting more night-shifts again,” Yawara said, his eyes never leaving the cards on the table. “With us.”

“Oh, fun.” Hawks sipped his coffee. “We need to hire more people.”

“Bring that up with Todoroki,” Tomoko said. “He seems to think we don’t need time off of work.”

“Just because he doesn’t have a life outside of here doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t,” Yawara grumbled. “The only reason I ever get to see my friends is because they also work here!”

“Also we live together,” Tomoko added. “But I can’t remember the last time all four were free at the same time.”

“Yeah, it’s not ideal,” Hawks said. “I’ll complain to Enji, more. It hasn’t worked so far but tenacity might win in the end.”

“Thanks, Hawks. We believe in you.” At the exact same time Tomoko and Yawara looked up and gave Hawks a double thumbs-up. Hawks sighed.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’ll do my best.”

It had become worse lately; the dissent that permeated the station. Everyone was tired and overworked. They grumbled among themselves and glared at Enji’s back. It worried Hawks.

He was tired too. He couldn’t remember when he wasn’t tired. You just couldn’t think about it too much. You had to stay rooted in the moment, keep moving towards some vague future where things were easier. But it couldn’t last forever and the kettle was boiling and the pressure was rising.

Hawks wanted to warn Enji before it was too late. He just wasn’t sure how to do that in a way that Enji would accept. He’d have to come up with something.

 

-

 

Dabi kicked off his shoes by the door and headed into the living room where Himiko was lying in the couch with her phone above her face.

“Hey, kid.”

She moved her phone and raised a finger to her lips.

“Shh.”

“What?”

“Keep your voice down,” she hissed. “Hawks’ sleeping.”

Dabi looked around the room.

“Why?” he asked. “And where is he?”

“Your room,” Himiko replied. “And I donno. He showed up like an hour after you left this morning and has been sleeping since then. He looked very tired.”

“Huh.” Dabi glanced back toward the door to his bedroom, firmly closed. “Explains the silence. Imma go check on him.”

“Mhmm.” Himiko raised her phone back up again and Dabi headed towards his bedroom.

He did take care to be quiet as he walked in and closed the door behind him, although he doubted it would have made a difference.

Hawks sure was asleep, hugging a pillow and tangled up in the sheets.

Dabi crossed the room and sat down on the edge of the bed, one hand raised to nudge Hawks. But he paused and then let his hand fall away again.

Hawks looked peaceful, face relaxed and soft. He was also wearing a sleeveless t-shirt that most certainly did not belong to him but to Dabi.

It really wasn’t a fair move. For him to be here, in Dabi’s bed, in Dabi’s clothes.

With a sigh Dabi reached out and touched Hawks’ cheek.

“What am I supposed to do with you?” Dabi lifted his hand and moved it to Hawks’ shoulder and gave him a nudge. “Wake up, for a start at least.”

Hawks did move, but only to curl himself tighter around the pillow. Dabi nudged him again.

“Come on, birdie.” Dabi saw one golden eye crack open. “Morning.”

“Mnghhnhgh.”

“Right.”

Hawks let go of the pillow and pushed himself up into a half-sitting position only so that he could drape himself over Dabi instead; arms wrapped around his waist.

“Mnmm, shhh.”

Dabi stroked Hawks’ hair.

“You alright?” he asked.

“Mhm,” came the answer, muffled against Dabi’s chest. “Time’s it?”

“Bit after four.” Dabi trailed absent fingers down Hawks’ back. “You wanna tell me what happened?”

Hawks was quiet for several long breaths.

“Called to a house fire. There was a man, he started the fire, on purpose, with his girlfriend and their new-born baby inside.” Hawks heaved a heavy sigh and disentangled himself from Dabi to sit up in the bed next to him. There was a frown on his face that Dabi had only seen a few times before. “She woke up to a room filling with smoke and managed to escape through a window with the baby.” There was a twitch at Hawks’ jaw as he clenched his teeth and Dabi was glad his eyes were downcast.

“Kugo and Yuu had to drag him out, he refused to leave, he was just screaming.” Now Hawks raised his eyes to look at Dabi. “He wanted us to leave him in the fire, because he was tired of the baby crying, of his girlfriend making demands. He wanted to burn them, and himself, because… because they got on his nerves.” Hawks’ voice went low and dark, a growl full of a rage that Dabi found eerily familiar.

Dabi met Hawks’ gaze and nodded slowly. The furrow between Hawks’ eyebrows deepened.

“I mean, what the fuck?!”

“Yeah,” Dabi said. “What the fuck indeed.”

“I just… some days aren’t the greatest.”

“That’s a bit of an understatement, I think.” Dabi rose from the bed. “Why don’t you come help me make some dinner.”

“… Alright.”

 

-

 

Yo-Mo: So, we got called to go investigate a “Penguin on the roof of the Plaza Hotel” today.

Soaring-flying: you sure it wasn’t just Tokoyami?

Yo-Mo: Were you on the roof of the Plaza Hotel earlier, Tokoyami?

Baby Bird: No.

Yo-Mo: Yes, I’m sure, Ochako.

Todonoki: it was a vent

Soaring-flying: a penguin shaped vent?

Todonoki: not very. Maybe at the right angle if you squint?

Soaring-flying: interesting.

Yo-Mo: I must admit it was, what’s the word, unexpected.

Baby Bird: Nobody expects a penguin on the roof

Todonoki: A penguin on my roof? It’s more unlikely than you think.

Soaring-flying: “average penguin visits roofs 3 times a year" factoid actualy just statistical error. average penguin visits 0 roofs per year. Roofs Penguin, who lives in a hotel & visits over 10,000 each day, is an outlier adn should not have been counted

Yo-Mo: Thank you all for your contributions.

Big Bird: I leave you kids alone for like 5 min and this is what I come back to

Todonoki: Says the one who spent the entire day making bird puns

Big Bird: Bird puns are like 50% of my personality you can’t hold that against me

Big Bird: and shouldn’t you guys be like… doing things?

Yo-Mo: We’re done with our task.

Todonoki: shouldn’t you be doing your job?

Big Bird: I am doing my job, my job is to herd you little ones

Todonoki: both me and Momo are taller than you

Big Bird: IRRELEVANT you’re little anyway

Big Bird: Come up to the kitchen if ya done, I have cookies

Soaring-flying: aw cookies :(

Baby Bird: Uraraka don’t let strangers tempt you with cookies.

Todonoki: hell yeah strangers with cookies

Big Bird: I’ve known you for FOUR YEARS SHOUTO

Todonoki: new phone who dis?

Big Bird: Yo-Mo you wanna come have cookies? Shouto is no longer invited.

Yo-Mo: I’d love to :)

Soaring-flying: :(((

Big Bird: I’ll get you cookies tomorrow, Ochako

Soaring-flying: :)))

Chapter Text

Going anywhere with Hawks without him running into someone he knew seemed impossible. Dabi had known this. He’d seen this in effect from the very start. It wasn’t really a problem; at worst it was a little boring when Dabi had to wait around.

Sometimes the person that stopped to talk to Hawks was Dabi’s sister.

That was a problem.

They’d simply been walking along, on their way back home, when Fuyumi had come down the sidewalk. It had taken Dabi a moment to understand what he was seeing. It had been ten years since he’d seen his sister, but she was still easily recognizable. Once he’d realized who she was he’d panicked a little, then she’d looked at them and smiled and next to him Hawks had greeted her and he’d gone from a little panic to very much a lot of panic.

Luckily she didn’t really pay attention to him as she stopped and Dabi could just keep walking a bit, drift off to the side and hopefully remain unnoticed. There was a chance Fuyumi might not recognize him, especially at just a quick glance, but Dabi was not willing to risk anything.

That’s how he ended up idling up to a nearby man to ask to borrow his lighter.

Dabi was in that moment very grateful he’d not quite shaken the habit of carrying cigarettes with him.

So, there he stood, next to someone he did not know and did not care to know as an excuse to observe his sister speak with Hawks.

She looked tired; a little frayed around the edges. She also looked older, which was to be expected. Last time Dabi had seen her she’d been a teenager; now she was an adult. She had her white hair in a low ponytail and carried a bag over her shoulder. It occurred to Dabi that he knew nothing about her.

Both she and Hawks seemed serious as they talked, and while Dabi could not make out the words it didn’t seem like the most cheerful conversation.

“You’ve got a mean looking face,” the lighter-providing man said. “The fuck happened to you?”

“Fell down some stairs,” Dabi said.

“Yeah… sure.”

Fuyumi’s shoulders were slumped. Dabi couldn’t quite see her face, but he could see the furrow between Hawks brows. He felt terribly curious.

“I guess she’s kinda pretty,” the man continued and Dabi gritted his teeth. “Not my type.”

“Good,” Dabi said.

Hawks was nodding to whatever Fuyumi was saying.

“You’re not a very talkative type, eh?”

Dabi didn’t deign that with an answer.

“I guess walking up to pretty girls with a face like that might scare them off anyway, huh.” The man laughed like he’d told a great joke. “No offense.”

Hawks and Fuyumi hugged.

“You might be too late for that one, anyway.”

Dabi wondered if murdering a man in the streets would garner attention or not. He flicked his cigarette to the side.

Fuyumi was leaving and Hawks glanced around to locate Dabi before heading towards him.

“Thanks for the light,” Dabi said. He stepped forward to meet Hawks and reached for his hand. While Hawks gave him a slightly confused look he settled his hand in Dabi’s and let Dabi tug him along.

“Sorry about that,” Hawks said. “My boss’ daughter, haven’t seen her in a while.”

“Mhm,” Dabi said. “Do you know your boss’ entire family?”

“Uh, kinda, yeah,” Hawks said. “Although I’ve only met the third kid a couple times, and their mom like… once.”

Dabi stared ahead of him and swallowed.

Hawks had meet Rei. Hawks had meet Natsou. Hawks didn’t know there was a fourth.

Dabi wasn’t sure what he’d expected. He had no idea what lies Enji had told, what he’d claimed happened.

“She seemed a bit upset,” Dabi said. “Your boss’ daughter.”

“Yeah.” Out of the corner of his eye Dabi could see Hawks frown. “She lives outside of the city; she’s here to visit the family. And I guess it’s a bit stressed at the moment, what with the recent fires and everything.”

“Right.”

Dabi squeezed Hawks’ hand and decided to drop the subject. He got a smile as a reward.

“Hey, you don’t have plans for Friday, right?” Hawks asked.

“No.”

“Good, come watch Mad Max with me.”

“Which one?” Dabi asked.

“All three.”

“… meaning?”

“Not the first one.” Hawks paused. “Or maybe that one too. Depends.”

“Alright, if we skip the first one I’m in. It’s boring.”

“It has its merits.”

“Is that why you didn’t include it from the start?”

“Shush.”

Chapter Text

Loud and insistent knocking woke Hawks up, and his need for that sound to stop was what drove him out of bed and to the door. He was not really awake when he fiddled with the lock and it took him three times to even get the door open. When he did he was so overwhelmed by what met him that what little awareness he’d managed to scrape together instantly overloaded and shut off completely.

He blinked and stared.

“Hawks!!!”

“Happy birthday!”

Rumi kissed his cheek before she breezed past him and into his apartment. Following her was Yuu, and Shinji; who took one look at him and then burst out laughing.

The only one who seemed to have any consideration was Masaki who at least apologized for the intrusion. He still just followed the rest and Hawks was left to trail after them while trying to kick-start his brain.

His friends, after inviting themselves, took over his living room. They had bags and boxes with them. Hawks leaned against his kitchen counter for strength.

“Told you he wouldn’t be awake,” Shinji was telling Rumi.

“It’s his birthday,” Rumi countered. “He doesn’t get to make the rules. What kind of best friend would I be if I didn’t wake him up?”

“Happy birthday, Hawks,” Masaki said. “None of this was my idea.”

“Happy bird-day!” Yuu said, and got an elbow in the side from Shinji for her effort.

Hawks blinked again and looked at the four gathered in front of him and then raised his eyes to his bedroom door.

Dabi, leaning against the doorway, raised his eyebrows at him and Hawks just gave a slight shrug. The sudden silence told him that he wasn’t the only one who’d taken notice. He carefully glanced back at the four. They were all staring at Dabi. Hawks joined them.

“So,” Dabi said, eyes locked on Hawks. “Breakfast?”

“Yes, please, thank you,” Hawks said. The thought of coffee made this entire situation seem manageable.

Dabi crossed the room, still not paying attention to the four people there, and walked past Hawks into the kitchen. Hawks looked at his friends, who had all now turned their attention back to him.

“Uh,” he said. “Guys, this is Dabi, he’s…”

“The boyfriend,” Dabi provided, his back turned.

“The boyfriend,” Hawks echoed because his brain has short-circuited again. At least he was leaning on something already.

“Hey, I remember you,” Rumi said. “Have we met?”

Dabi glanced over his shoulder at Rumi.

“Huh, yeah, I guess,” he said.

“You have?” Hawks asked.

“Yes, you were a bit drunk,” Dabi said. “Very chicken-focused.”

“Oh, yeah.” Hawks nodded, even if he didn’t fully remember it, it seemed likely enough.

“Don’t you work at the construction place? That blew some stuff up?” Shinji asked. Dabi just hummed in response.

“Anyway,” Hawks said. “Explain your presence and why you woke me up.”

“Birthday surprise,” Yuu said. “Not like we knew you already had company. Because you tell us nothing.”

“I don’t trust you with any information for reasons, Shinji.” Hawks glared at Shinji, who just shrugged with a grin.

“We’ve made plans,” Rumi said. “It’s gonna be great.” She cocked her head to the side. “You’re welcome to join in… Dabi was it?”

“No, he’s not,” Hawks said.

“Yeah, no,” Dabi said. Hawks turned around to face him.

“Coffee?” he said.

“Make your own damn coffee,” Dabi replied; even though he had already started the coffee. He leaned against the counter opposite Hawks and crossed his arms.

“Don’t be mean,” Hawks said.

“No.”

“It’s my birthday.”

“So I’ve heard.”

Hawks rolled his eyes and turned to face his friends again.

“What are the plans?”

“If we tell you they won’t be a surprise,” Shinji said.

“No one said it was a surprise,” Hawks pointed out.

“Well, it is,” Rumi said. “So, don’t worry your little head about it, it’ll be fun.”

“The more you say that, the more I doubt you. Am I allowed to have breakfast and like get dressed at least?”

“Sure, if you feel like you have to,” Rumi said, with a dismissive wave of her hand. “We’ll wait. Masaki, get us some mood music.”

“No,” Hawks said. “He’s not allowed to touch my music anymore.” He scowled in Masaki’s direction. “Not after last time.”

“To be fair, Yuu scared me. I was her fault,” Masaki said.

“Nevertheless.” Hawks rounded the counter. “No touchy. Dabs, a year.”

“1986.”

Hawks choose Please by Pet Shop Boys.

 

“Sooooo, Hawks, my dear, care to share?”

Hawks tipped his head to the side from where he was lying to glance at Rumi.

“Hmm?”

Yuu twisted a little and threw an arm over Rumi’s shoulders.

“The boyfriend, Hawks,” she said. Rumi nodded.

“I mean, we been knew,” Shinji muttered from Hawks’ other side.

Hawks turned his gaze back up to the clouds and tried to shrug as best he could.

“I’m not sure what to tell y’all, to be honest,” he said. “It’s… Well, it just is.”

“How long have you been together?” Rumi asked.

The clouds were few and drifted lazily against a deep blue background.

“That depends on the definition of that,” Hawks said. “Month and a half-ish?”

“Geez.” Rumi leaned back against Yuu. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because I didn’t know what to say, and like… this thing hasn’t been very well-defined or anything. It’s complicated.” Hawks really hated that phrase, and he didn’t like to have to use it.

“He sounded pretty sure on that definition,” Shinji said.

“Yeah.” Hawks swallowed. That he wasn’t done processing yet, at all. “I just. Don’t know, really.”

“Hawks, boo, everything alright?” Rumi reached out and poked at his arm.

“Mhmm, it’s cool. But I’m still working this out, that’s why I haven’t said much before. Dabi’s cool, I think. Like mostly at least. See, this is what I’m talking about! I really don’t know, but it’s been pretty fun so far so imma just go with it for a bit.”

“You’re a mess, you know that right?” Yuu said. Hawks nodded.

“Aren’t we all,” Shinji muttered.

Hawks sighed. He wished he could find a way to explain. It wasn’t that anything was bothering him, not really. It was just… He didn’t know how long he could live with the myriad of unspoken things that crowded around Dabi.

Everyone had their secrets; that wasn’t a problem, the problem was that Hawks wasn’t sure Dabi was being honest in what he did say. He could accept not knowing things, that wasn’t up to him. But the feeling of being lied to didn’t sit well with him.

If they were going to actually do this, be this, Hawks wanted a bit more certainty.

 

-

 

“Hey, I got a gift for you.”

“Oh?”

“It’s information.”

“I love information!”

Dabi pushed at Himiko to get her to make place for him on the couch.

“It’s Hawks’ birthday,” he said.

“That’s indeed good information,” Himiko said. “And raises some questions. Like, why are you here?”

“He got kidnapped by his friends.”

“Good for him.” Himiko had her phone up, she was typing quite intensely on it. “Did you get him a gift?”

“No, I didn’t even know until this morning.”

“Hmm, you should get him a gift,” Himiko said.

“Right.” Dabi stared at the ceiling. “Since you say that, what would such a gift be?”

“Something nice.”

“Like what?”

“A bouquet of chicken nuggets? I don’t know!”

“Well, neither do I, so imma just not.” Dabi didn’t mind the idea of gifts. He just didn’t like the actual procuring or delivering of gifts. Besides, Hawks hadn’t told him, so it couldn’t be expected either.

He’d made the mistake of telling Himiko when his own birthday was and she always gave him mugs with writing on them. Such as #1 Mom and Worlds Okayest Boss and M U G.

The chicken nuggets weren’t even a bad idea, all things considered.

“Do you want tea?” Dabi asked. “I need tea.”

Chapter Text

It was just after eight when Hawks appeared again. By then Himiko had left and Dabi had taken a nap.

“Heyyy,” Hawks greeted Dabi with before he dropped down onto the couch and nestled into Dabi’s side.

“Hi.”

“I’m tiiiiired.”

Dabi patted Hawks head.

“This time that’s your own fault,” he said. Hawks just grumbled in response.

“Did you have a good time?”

“Yeah, s’was nice.” Hawks arranged himself so he was laying across Dabi’s lap, blinking up at him. “I think, I might be a bit tipsy.”

“Uhuh, you think? What gives you that impression?”

Hawks just raised a hand and patted Dabi’s cheek.

“You’re cute,” he said. “Your eyes are very blue.”

Dabi nodded. Hawks smiled.

“You,” Hawks said, “called yourself my boyfriend.”

“Did I?” Dabi looked down at Hawks and grinned. There was a spark in Hawks’ eyes that betrayed to Dabi that Hawks was far from drunk.

“In front of people!” Hawks said, resting a hand on his heart. “That means no take-backs.”

“Fine,” Dabi said. He put his own hand over Hawks’ and laced their fingers together. “You’re cute too.”

“I know.”

They stayed like that for a long moment, silently watching each other. Dabi was the first to break that silence.

“I grew up in this city,” he said. “Spent the first sixteen years of my life here.”

Hawks blinked and then nodded, didn’t say anything.

“I hadn’t planned on going back here. I didn’t leave under the best circumstances.” Dabi lifted his free hand and dragged his thumb along his jaw. “I got these scars here. I don’t have happy memories of this place, not from then. But I’ve got some from now.”

Dabi sighed.

“What I’m trying to say is that I spent the last ten years remaking myself into a new person, and I am not planning on going back on that.”

Hawks was silent for several breaths.

“Why are you telling me this?” he eventually asked.

“Because you deserve to know,” Dabi said.

“Okay, thanks then, I appreciate it. This is just you telling me there’s no need to pry into your past though, isn’t it?”

“More or less, yes.”

“Fine, I can accept that.” Hawks grinned and pushed himself up into a sitting position, angled towards Dabi. “Who doesn’t love a good mystery.”

“I don’t,” Dabi said.

“Ya bore.” Hawks leaned forward. “You know what’s a travesty?”

“What?”

“It’s my birthday and my very own boyfriend hasn’t kissed me once.”

“Sucks to be you.”

Hawks grabbed the front of Dabi’s shirt and tugged him forward a bit.

“Does it though?” he said before closing the distance.

Hawks’ lips were soft against Dabi’s and Dabi could tell he was smiling. With a small shake of his head Dabi pushed his fingers into Hawks’ hair and tilted his head to make it a proper kiss.

He slowly let his fingers travel down to the nape of Hawks’ neck, pressing slightly into soft skin, just enough to get Hawks closer, always closer.

“Is that better?”

“Mhm, a little.”

 

-

 

Hawks sighed and threw an arm over Fumikage’s shoulders.

“Isn’t that the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Young love, so sweet.”

“Sure, if you say so,” Fumikage said.

They were seated outside of the station and a little bit further away Momo’s girlfriend had arrived to pick her up and now they were standing, hand-in-hand, and talking to Shouto and Ochako.

“Ah, I’m going to miss you kids when I’m stuck doing night-shifts.” Hawks leaned his head onto Fumikage’s. “Promise you’ll tell me everything that happens.”

“I can do that.”

“Geez, look at Momo blushing, adorable.”

“Why are you like this.”

“I had a really good weekend, Fumi.” Hawks straightened up so he could look at Fumikage. “Like spectacularly good, almost so that it makes me nervous.”

Hawks turned his attention back to the four teenagers and sighed again.

“Is everyone in your class this sweet and cute? Oh, Fumi! Are they cute? Anyone extra cute?”

Fumikage met Hawks’ excessive winking with a cold stare.

“My bird bro, my flyest of friends, my avian associate, please share.”

“Well I… uh, don’t really…” Fumikage’s brows knitted together as he stared off into the distance.

“Of course you don’t have to tell me anything,” Hawks added.

“No, it’s fine. I’m just not sure about the uh…” Once again Fumikage frowned, then shook his head. “I’ve been evaluating and examining my stance on issues concerning… that, and I think, so far, that, uhm, well, evidence suggests that it’ll land on the… ace spectrum.”

Hawks blinked and slowly placed a hand on Fumikage’s shoulder.

“That sure was a lot of words, my dude,” he said. “But, neat! That’s sure good to figure out. And thanks for telling me.”

“… yeah.”

“You know, Shinji’s ace, he’s contractually obligated to make puns about it at least once a week, you might have heard. Anyway, I’m sure he’d love to chat on the topic if you ever feel like talking to someone who’s… not me.”

“That might actually be nice. Not that you’re not great, Hawks.”

“Don’t worry, I get it.” Hawks ruffled Fumikage’s hair until he swatted Hawks’ hand away with a glare. “Still, keep me updated, yeah?”

“Fine.”

 

-

 

Weird Chicken: arreeee youuuu awaaaaake

*dabs*: no

Weird Chicken: unfortunate

Weird Chicken: anyway

Weird Chicken: what’s your favourite colour?

*dabs*: what

Weird Chicken: which colour, pigment, do you prefer over other, lesser, pigments?

*dabs*: black. But why?

Weird Chicken: that’s so boring, mine’s red

*dabs*: yeah I know, everyone knows

Weird Chicken: What’s your favourite month?

*dabs*: I don’t have a favourite month, Hawks. It’s almost 4am. Why are you asking me these things?

Weird Chicken: night shifts are so booooring

*dabs*: get a new job

Weird Chicken: no, just entertain me

*dabs*: fine, but no more inane questions

Weird Chicken: alright, what kind of questions do you want then?

*dabs*: preferably none at all?

Weird Chicken: :(

*dabs*: :/

Weird Chicken: :c

*dabs*: :\

Weird Chicken: daaaaaaabi

Weird Chicken: … dabae

*dabs*: no

Weird Chicken: ;)

*dabs*: NO

*dabs*: go back to the dumb questions, my favourite month is October.

Weird Chicken: mine’s May. Whaaaat is your favourite animal? (beware this one has only one right answer)

*dabs*: cat

Weird Chicken: that’s the wrong answer

*dabs*: nah

Weird Chicken: rude and terrible

Weird Chicken: shit gotta go

*dabs*: great, I can sleep

 

-

 

*dabs*: hey, hawks

*dabs*: you back yet?

*dabs*: guess that’s a no

 

-

 

Hawks set the helicopter down and watched his co-workers rush off. The building in front of him was run-down and should be abandoned. It was far away from anything and isolated among trees. Just the kind of space people came to to make dumb mistakes.

As he waited for Tensei to report back on the situation he saw a person exist the building and amble towards the helicopter. He had his hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket and a hood up. When he got up to the helicopter, Hawks pushed the door open to ask what was going on.

No words left Hawks’ lips as the man pulled his hands out of his pockets and levelled a gun towards him.

“Turn it off, then get out. Don’t say a word.”

Hawks clenched his teeth down but did as told.

“You see that car? Walk to it, put your hands against it, then stay very still.” The man kept his distance, kept the gun steady in his hand, and Hawks walked over to the car. It was a van, a shitty one at that.

Just as he placed his hands on its cold exterior a gunshot sounded inside of the building and he felt every muscle in his body lock-up.

An eternity passed before he heard anything else. He risked a glance over a shoulder to see Tomoko and Ryuko holding up Tensei, whose leg was dark with blood. With them were another five men; all armed.

“Get his phone and load them in,” one of the men, skimask over his face, said.

Hawks let his phone be confiscated and helped to get Tensei moved into the back of the van. None of the paramedics said anything but the looks they gave Hawks told him all he needed to know.

As the van rolled away Hawks squeezed Tensei’s hand and tried to quell the panic to make room for more useful emotions.

This wasn’t a good situation. Something needed to be done.

Chapter Text

It seemed to Hawks that they’d gotten themselves involved in a bit of hostage situation. What the purpose of it was hadn’t been shared with them but Hawks’ guess was along the lines of something something money.

Whoever these people were, they were at least semi-competent. They were also heavily armed and had proven more than willing to shoot.

They’d been herded into another abandoned building somewhere in the forest below the mountains. This one was much bigger, it had four floors; they were on the third.

They’d been allowed to tend to Tensei’s leg as well as they could with what they had on them, and the two paramedics had made sure the bleeding was stopped, and the situation was stable, for now. Hawks sat next to Ryuko and tried to come up with a plan.

There were three guards in the room with them, standing at safe distances, and alert, watching. Hawks watched them back.

He was unsure of how long time had passed, or how far away they’d been moved. Judging by the amount of light coming in through the windows he’d say it must be after six. They’d gotten the call at four and they’d arrived twenty minutes later. It could fit.

Now it was a waiting game.

Hawks hated it. He felt useless.

He knew how these things worked, he’d observed some before, from the outside. But negotiations needed to take place, demands needed to be made. Which means someone needed to be informed that hostages were taken. No use in a hostage if no one knows you have them. And as soon as those news where out all the appropriate parties would be informed and they’d start looking for them, subtly.

They’d easily find the helicopter, but then what?

Hawks glanced at Tensei.

He was pale, jaws clenched. The bullet had gone right through his left thigh and he’d lost quite a lot of blood. He needed proper medical care as soon as possible.

The room they were in was big and empty. It had doorways that lead to staircases at both ends of it and a row of door which seemed to lead to bathrooms along one of the walls. There was also what must have been a storage room one, its door was ajar and shelves could be seen on the inside. The floor was concrete; whatever flooring had been there before had been ripped out. All the windows were missing. The building was a shell.

Time passed in oppressive silence.

 

-

 

Dabi left for work on a solid two hours of sleep and two cups of coffee. He spent his walk stubbornly not checking his phone for a reply from Hawks. It’s not that he was worried; it’s just that there should have been a reply and there was none. If Dabi had checked the news for anything that had happened that might require firefighters no one but him needed to know. He hadn’t found anything.

Maybe he was a little worried.

Hawks’ shift should end now.

He glanced at his phone as he walked into the building and frowned. Nothing.

The reasonable thing would be to just get to work and wait. So he started on that.

Twice and Spinner greeted him as he passed them, Dabi didn’t pay them much attention.

He was tired, tired and unfocused and distracted.

When the door slammed open and Sako walked in Dabi flinched.

“Hey, firecracker, is this of interest to you?” Sako held out his phone and Dabi squinted at the screen.

He was going to dismiss it but then his brain actually registered the words he was reading and he stood up fast enough for his vision to go black for a few moments.

“Shit,” he said.

“What is it?” Twice asked, walking up.

“Someone’s having themselves a little hostage drama with some firefighters,” Sako said. Twice looked to Dabi.

“Your firefighter?” he asked.

“Where’s Shigaraki?” Dabi hissed.

“Office,” Sako said. “What you need him for?”

Dabi was already heading towards the door.

“Need to call in a favour.”

 

-

 

Hawks took his jacket off and carefully placed it over Tensei’s legs. As he did so he leaned close to Ryuko.

“I’ll be the distractions, get him in that room.” His words were just a breath of a whisper but as he leaned back he caught Ryuko’s eyes and she gave him a miniscule nod.

Hawks sat back down and resumed his watching of the guards.

Taking any actions would be stupid. It would be dangerous. But Hawks felt time running through his fingers.

Every time one of the masked men entered the room to have a hushed conversation with the others they looked increasingly annoyed. They glares they sent the four on the floor were darker and darker. They seemed stressed and angry. Hawks didn’t like it when armed people were stressed and angry.

In all honesty Hawks was a bit stressed and angry too.

Prime time for mistakes.

He did have a plan. Or parts of one. He had a start, and then he’d have to roll with it.

Step one was removing his shoes.

As he started pulling at the lacing one of the guards perked up.

“Hey, what are you doing?”

Hawks looked up and met his eyes.

“I’m warm,” he said. He set one shoe aside and started on the other, aware of the guards eyes burning into him. “This is a bit of a stressful situation, ya know, and I’m wearing a lot of layers.”

With both shoes off Hawks stood up and made eye-contact with the guard as he reached for his belt buckle. Though the mask he could see the guards eyes narrow.

It wasn’t a lie. Hawks was a bit warm. So he shed his outer layers, under scrutiny, he was fine with that.

With that done he sat back down again.

No one had got shot, so it really had gone as good as it could.

Hawks let a solid chunk of time pass as he sat and fidgeted.

The problem was that there were three guards. Two would have been much better. But there were three.

One of the other masked men stepped in and switched places with one of the three. Once the switch was done Hawks got to his feet again. He stretched his arms and back and legs.

There was one guard by each stairwell, a third in the middle by the windows. Hawks would only get one shot at this. He had to make it count.

“Sit back down,” one of the guards called, voice harsh. Hawks glared at him and hunched down.

He had to time it perfectly.

He put his boots back on.

He waited.

A lot of thoughts had time to run through his mind as he waited. They covered the whole range. From bad jokes he could make at the situation to “oh god I’m going to die with so many regrets”. Mostly he ran through all the many ways things could go very wrong. But Hawks had one thing going for him; he knew his own capabilities.

If he’d believed his plan would fail he’d simply stay put. But he knew he could do something. And that something could help the three next to him, and that was what mattered.

Somewhere outside a car honked. Somewhere far off. But it was enough to make the guard at the windows glance out and that was all Hawks needed.

He went right, in an explosive burst of speed. Crossed the distance to the guard at the doorway, aimed to his side, grabbed his arm and swung hem both around with his momentum. Hawks went through the doorway, the guard slammed into it. Then he was running, throwing himself down the stairs, listening to make sure he was followed.

One level down he entered a hallway and rushed through it. He could hear steps coming in pursuit, at least two of them. He didn’t think they were dumb enough to go all three. But two was enough.

He was outnumbered, and he didn’t know where in this building the other three men were. But he had one hell of an advantage. He was really really fast, and very very motivated.

He passed rooms, some of them still had doors attached but most didn’t. As he turned around a corner a bullet hit the wall behind him. Cursing to himself he hurried on until he found a room with both a window and a door. As he darted in he glanced behind him and saw one of the guards, gun in hand, come into view.

Hawks slid in behind the open door and pressed his back against the wall and listened.

He had to put his hope into the guards assuming he’d rather run than fight.

The guard ran up to the door and then stopped. He’d see the empty room, the windows, and he’d have to make a decision. Hopefully he’d not think Hawks was as dumb as he actually was. Hopefully he’d—

Two steps forward. That was all Hawks needed.

He threw himself against the door, using the wall at his back as support and it slammed into the guard. As the door swung back Hawks slipped around it and tackled him.

As they connected with the wall opposite of the door in the hallway Hawks had only one objective and he needed to accomplish it fast. He grabbed the guard’s arm, the one holding his gun, and then he spun around and yanked, using his own body as leverage to dislocate the guard’s shoulder.

Then Hawks could pull the gun out of his grip without much resistance and as soon as he had it in his hand he took off running again.

He put some distance between himself and the guard before he stopped and ejected the magazine, emptied the chamber, threw the magazine out one window and the gun through another.

Now, there was another guard that had followed and it worried Hawks that he’d lost him. He was glad they’d split up, but now he had no idea where bullets could come flying from. That meant it was time to slow down and pay attention.

He only got a few steps before he heard the guard he’d left behind call something out and then he heard heavy steps coming towards him.

At one end of the hallway he was in Hawks could see stairs. He went the other way; it led into a larger room. There were old chairs and tables strewn about, those could be useful. There was also another door on the other side of the room.

Hawks only had a few second to look around as the steps came closer behind him. He didn’t want to hide behind a table. So he pressed up against the wall next to the door instead and hoped the guard was stressed enough to rush in.

One breath. Two breaths. Through the door he came and Hawks lunged at him.

The closer he was the safer he was. Both Hawks and the guard knew that. Hawks scrambled to get a grip on the man’s gun-arm, and got an elbow in the face for it. It was a wrestling match with high stakes; in that if Hawks made a mistake he’d get shot.

Two shots were fired that Hawks managed to redirect from himself. Gritting his teeth against the painful ringing in his left ear Hawks shoved them into a flipped table and they went tumbling over it.

Hawks was fastest to recover and he grabbed at the man’s wrist and slammed the hand holding the gun into the floor. The guard grunted, but held his grip and heaved himself up and into Hawks, knocking him to the side. Hawks kept his grip too and he turned on the floor and kicked the guard in the face. Amazingly, that made him lose the grip of the gun and as soon as Hawks had his hand on it he rolled away, aimed it at the wall below the windows and fired of six shots before the guard threw himself onto him and the wrestling was back on.

The disadvantage of having one hand busy was made easier by the fact that all Hawks aimed to do was empty the pistol. He got three more off as they rolled around. He also got punched in the face twice and kneed in the ribs once. So that hurt.

The guard grabbed Hawks’ hair and slammed Hawks’ head into the floor. That hurt a lot more, that made dark spots dance before his eyes. He fired twice more; the second was just a click.

He immediately dropped the pistol and got in two good punches that allowed him to get free and roll away on the floor before getting to his feet. The guard mirrored him. He had blood trickling down from a split lip.

Hawks wiped at the blood that ran from his nose and smiled.

Now it was an even fight.

The guard sneered and came at him.

Hawks tried to not think about the many ways his body hurt, the way his head throbbed.

He had the upper-hand, got in more hits, but had to take some too.

The guard swung wide and Hawks ducked in close and twisted around him, went for a kidney-jab and then threw one arm around the guard’s neck. That’s when another person rushed into the room, gun raised.

Hawks turned them and used his hold on the other to place him as a shield between him and the new arrival. For a moment time stood still and Hawks could to reflect over how fucked he was.

Then a lot of things happened all at once.

The guard Hawks held, made a break for it, just as steps echoed outside the room; many of them. And shouts followed. Shouts like: drop the weapon and put your hands up.

The man with the gun turned around and what he saw was apparently enough to get him to follow those orders.

The people that rushed into the room where police, Hawks had never been so happy to see them before. They were also armed, and Hawks made sure to keep his own hands still and visible.

“There’s six of them,” he said. “There’s three hostages one floor up, one of them has been shot.”

Hawks ears were still ringing and he lifted up a hand to press against his still bleeding nose. There was a wall behind him, he leaned against it and decided that whatever happened next was going to be someone else’s problem.

 

Hawks watched as Tensei was carried out. After him came Ryuko and Tomoko. Tomoko was cradling her arm, and there was blood on her face. As they spotted Hawks there was a flash of relief on both their faces and Hawks offered them a weak smile.

Next to him Enji crossed his arms and Hawks glanced at him to see his brows knitted in fury. He hadn’t said much when Hawks had been escorted out to find him waiting. Now he turned to the ambulance crew that had fussed over Hawks and now descended upon the other three.

“Get them out of here,” Enji said. Then he stalked off and Hawks was too tired and in too much pain to care.

They were all alive.

That had to count for something.

Chapter Text

The thing Hawks looked forward to most was being left alone. He wanted to sleep, he was tired, but he had to go through check-ups and it took so very long. Eventually he was put in a bed and told to not move and that they didn’t have to repeat.

Then Yuu showed up before he could fall asleep and it was probably for the best as it reminded him about the rest of the world.

“You don’t happen to know if they found our phones, do ya?” he asked her after reassuring her that he was fine.

“No, but you can borrow mine if you need to,” Yuu said. Hawks sighed.

“That doesn’t help. Do you think I go around memorizing phone numbers?”

“Who are you trying to contact? There are other ways.”

“I feel like I should inform my boyfriend that I’m alive,” Hawks said. “And he doesn’t believe in social media.” Hawks sighed. “Oh, but Toga does! Actually, do lend me your phone.”

“Alright.”

 

-

 

Dabi looked at the building in front of him and the sight of it made him instantly furious. It brought back memories, none of them pleasant. He knew that going in right now would be a risk. But Hawks was in there, and he wanted to see Hawks. So in he went.

He hated hospitals. He hated the atmosphere and the way people moved around in them. He hated this one in particular; for what it represented. He had to go to the front desk to get let in, he hated that a lot too. But he was given directions and off he went.

The room Hawks was in had multiple beds with curtains between them. As he stepped in he saw the blonde that had been at Hawks’ apartment. She spotted him and gave him a wave.

“He’s over there,” she said as they met, gesturing behind her. Dabi nodded.

“Thanks.”

Following her gesture he found Hawks sitting up in bed and yawning.

He wore a light blue t-shirt and there was a bandage over his left cheek, and one over his eyebrow. A bruise was blooming under his right eye. More bruises dotted his arms. When he saw Dabi he smiled.

“Hey.”

“Hi.” Dabi pulled up the chair next to the bed and sat down so he still faced Hawks. Immediately Hawks reached a hand out to him and Dabi took it. “You look like shit.”

“Feel like it too,” Hawks said, slumping down in the bed. “I told you that you didn’t need to come; I’m so tired I won’t be awake much longer.”

“It’s fine, I wanted to see you,” Dabi said. “I’m glad you’re alright.”

Hawks smiled, his eyes sliding shut.

“That’s sweet,” he said, and he gave Dabi’s hand a slight squeeze.

Dabi stared at their hands and sighed. He shuffled a little closer to the bed so he could rest his arms and head next to Hawks’ legs.

“How long are you stuck in here,” Dabi asked, quietly.

“Donno,” Hawks said. “They want to keep me under observation for a bit. Due to the slight concussion and stuff.”

“Is that the worst of it?”

“Mhm, mostly beat to shit, to be honest. I didn’t get shot, so I count it as a win.”

“I’ve heard something said about brining fists to a gun-fight,” Dabi said.

“Well, I kinda think I won this fight, so shut up.”

“Of course you did.”

Dabi saw Hawks lips quirk up in a tiny smile.

“Hawks.”

Hawks opened his eyes and Dabi went cold.

“Enji,” Hawks said.

Dabi couldn’t move if he wanted to. His eyes were locked onto Hawks as his heart raced. He could feel the presence of the person behind him like a looming mountain.

“You did well,” Enji said, and that voice fell like lava over Dabi. “Don’t do it again.”

Hawks smiled a pleased smile.

“I’ll try to avoid it,” he said. “Have you checked in on Ilda?” There was an affirmative grunt from Enji.

“There’s no final verdict yet,” he said. “Apparently it doesn’t look too good.”

“Oh,” Hawks face fell.

“Just get yourself sorted, Hawks,” Enji said. “We need you.”

“Yeah.” Hawks smile was weak this time.

“You did a good job, Hawks,” Enji said, again.

“I know, I know,” Hawks said. “I’m the best and you love me.”

With a huff Enji turned and walked away and Dabi was left feeling like he’d been run over by a train.

He’d known the risk, hadn’t he? Walking into this place, knowing the people who were in it. He’d known the risk; he hadn’t been prepared for a single bit of it. For his father to be so close, to hear his fucking voice again.

Dabi wondered if Hawks could feel his hand shaking.

Hawks, who leaned back again with contemplative look on his face. Hawks who smiled at Enji with actual honesty. Hawks who Enji praised, like that was something he ever did or had done.

Dabi felt sick.

Oh, he’d known that the two knew each other, worked together, had some sort of friendly relationship. He’d known. But he hadn’t known this was it.

He could have turned around, at that very moment, and it would have nearly been worth it. He hadn’t, couldn’t. He wasn’t here for fucking Enji. He had to wait.

“Everyone’s been real nice to me,” Hawks said. “I have a feeling that’s gonna change when I get out of this hospital.”

Dabi swallowed down his rage.

“Why?” he asked.

Hawks gave a small shrug.

“Because I risked everyone’s life by doing something stupid instead of being nice and sitting still like a good hostage.”

“But it worked?”

“Yeah, it did. Doesn’t change much, does it? Other than the fact that now I’m alive to face the consequences.”

Dabi pushed himself up into the chair again and sighed.

“If the end result is a success the way there shouldn’t really matter,” he said.

“Any arguments from me on that would be hypocritical at this moment,” Hawks said. “But I’d like to think it’s not true. The way to success should matter.”

“You’re right,” Dabi said. “That is hypocritical.” He let go of Hawks hand and stood up. “Don’t overthink it, birdie. See you on the outside.”

“Hmm, see you.”

Dabi couldn’t stay. He needed to move. Needed to outrun his own mind. Needed to get as far away from Hawks as he could.

He’d gotten a bit too comfortable with the entire situation; that was his own fault. Now he had his own consequences to deal with.

Chapter Text

Hawks couldn’t sleep.

He’d done a lot of sleeping in the past two days; that might factor into it. He was also starting to worry a bit. About a lot of things.

Sitting up against the headboard of his bed he glared at Dabi.

Dabi had no trouble sleeping, apparently. He had one arm slung over his face, covering his eyes; his chest was rising and falling in even breaths. Hawks knew it was unreasonable to be annoyed about this, it wasn’t Dabi’s fault that Hawks couldn’t sleep.

Except. In some ways it definitely was.

Hawks hated recovering from any injury; he didn’t like being forced to just wait. At least he’d been allowed to go home, that had been nice.

Then there’d been Dabi. And in two days Hawks had realized that he definitely wasn’t imagining things; something was off. Ever since Hawks had gotten out of the hospital something had been different.

Hawks didn’t like it. They’d been doing so great, they’d made such progress. Dabi had seemed to relax, to finally open up a little, and now they were back to square one.

It was like Dabi had retreated into himself again, he was present but he wasn’t quite there. Hawks couldn’t quite shake the thought that he was responsible for it.

Hawks leaned his head back and closed his eyes with a sigh.

He’d asked Rumi to meet him the next day in the hope that she could help him sort some things out. So, he had that to look forward to.

Dabi shifted in his sleep and Hawks opened his eyes again.

He was still here, was the thing. He’d come to see him, had stayed with him. He was here right now, so close. That had to mean something.

 

It was a lovely day and the amount of people out on the streets reflected that. Hawks and Rumi got seats outside of a small café with cold drinks and baked goods.

Rumi had gotten the run-down on what had happened over phone as soon as Hawks had gotten out of the hospital and had had his phone returned to him. They’d found them discarded in the same place as the helicopter had been left.

“How’s the face?” Rumi asked.

“It still hurts,” Hawks answered. “But I have faith that I’ll be back to my handsome self again soon.”

“Of course you will.” Rumi smiled. She had her hair up in a ponytail and wore sunglasses. Hawks envied her as he squinted in the sunlight. He’d tried a pair on, but his nose was still sore and it had hurt more than it was worth.

“Now, what did you need me, your coolest and wisest of friends, for?” Rumi continued.

“Well.” Hawks leaned back and sipped his pink lemonade. “Dabi.”

“Oh,” Rumi said, leaning forward. “Trouble with your boy already?”

“He’s been trouble from the start,” Hawks said. “But I’m… worried.”

“Lay it on me.”

“He’s been strange? Since the whole hostage thing, you know, which was strange sure, but like… I’m not sure I understand it?”

“What’s he doing that’s strange?”

“He’s mostly not doing anything. Or he does, but, he’s gone a bit… cold.” Hawks waved his hand in the air, vaguely. “Like, more than before, and it’s obviously something that happened or changed.”

“After the Wednesday events,” Rumi said and Hawks nodded. “Have you talked to him about it?”

“A little? But that’s the problem; I can’t get him to say much at all.” Hawks bit his lip. “He was worried. He worries a lot, but he tries to pretend he doesn’t. I just hope the entire thing didn’t scare him, because that kind of risk is present in my life all the time and I don’t want that to be a problem for him. Does that make sense?”

Rumi cocked her head to the side.

“You’re worried he’s realized he’s dating an idiot who might get himself killed any day?” she said. “Can’t really blame the guy for that. I worry for you all the time.”

“Sure, but you’ve decided to stay anyway. What if he doesn’t?”

“I mean, you can’t make him, he has to decide on that. But one would think he was aware of the risks involved with dating a firefighter from the start. Honestly, you gotta ask him, Hawks.”

Hawks sighed.

“But that’s so hard, he’s like impossible to have a conversation with!”

“That sure sounds like a wonderful boy you got,” Rumi said.

“Shh, it’s not… We were doing great, I think. He was being sweet and like volunteering information and shit. He did also tell me to not try to pry into his past, and I think I agreed, but I was a little drunk and got side-tracked.”

“Right, I don’t even want to know.”

“And he has the right to not share, I get it. He also very obviously has some issues, you’ve seen him, no one that looks like that comes without issues, but that’s fine too. I just wish he’d…”

“Ah, the scars,” Rumi said. “Do you know anything about those?”

Hawks shook his head.

“He really does not like talking about it,” he said.

“So what do you want?”

“I don’t know! That’s why I’m here talking to you instead of getting it.”

“Fine, fine. But what would you like him to do, to make you less worried?”

“Talk to me?”

Rumi very carefully took off and folded her sunglasses and hung them from the neckline of her tank top.

“You want him to share more,” she said.

“Yeah, I guess.”

“And have you?”

Hawks blinked at her.

“Huh?”

“Have you been sharing? I don’t know him, or anything about him, but I know you, Hawks. I’ve know you for years. And how long did it take for you to share with me? It took you two years and a lot of alcohol for you to tell me about your past. Remember that?”

“Not really, but I was informed afterwards,” Hawks said. “And then I did it properly.”

“Yes, and how much of that does your boy know?”

“Some of the, uh… general bits?”

Rumi nodded.

“I’m not saying you need to tell him, or even that you should. I’m saying that you should understand that some things are hard to share. Seems the two of you got that in common.”

Hawks scowled.

“It’s not the same,” he said. “I would tell him, If I felt like he’d… listen.”

“Maybe it’s the same for him,” Rumi suggested. “Maybe there’s not enough trust between the two of you yet for that.”

“Yeah.” Hawks sighed. “But I want there to be, and I’m not sure he does.”

Rumi reached a hand across the small table and Hawks placed his in it.

“Hawks, you have to talk to him,” she said. “You’re obviously unhappy with parts of this relationship, and if you can’t fix them… If it’s not making you happy, you have to get away from it. You know that.”

Hawks stared at the table and nodded.

“I know that,” he said. “But I also really like him.”

“Yeah, you do,” Rumi said. “So sort it out.”

“How do I do that?”

“There’s a limit even to my wisdom,” Rumi said. “I once heard someone say that boyfriends are dumb and one shouldn’t have them.”

Hawks glared at her.

“Yeah, but I’m a hypocrite,” he said.

“You’re an idiot,” Rumi said. “Peak gay disaster.”

“I don’t think that should be held against me,” Hawks said. “I try my best.”

“And I support you,” Rumi said. “Just be careful, yeah?”

Hawks nodded.

“I will.”

 

-

 

Bird Enthusiasts United

Soaring-flying: Hey, where did Todoroki go?

Yo-Mo: Outside I think?

Soaring-flying: No, I went out to get him and can’t find him

Yo-Mo: Maybe the roof?

Baby Bird: No, he is not here.

Yo-Mo: Why are you on the roof?

Soaring-flying: he likes to feel tall

Baby Bird: Contemplation

Yo-Mo: I’m coming out to you, Ochako!

Todonoki: I thought you did that to everyone years ago

Soaring-flying: Shouto! Where are you?

Todonoki: in a nice dark and quiet room, shh

Yo-Mo: Are you hiding?

Todonoki: maybe

Soaring-flying: Do you want us to come save you?

Todonoki: no, I think I’ll take a nap

Soaring-flying: I just saw your dad walk past, should we distract him?

Todonoki: I’d never ask that of you, save yourselves

Baby Bird: I miss Hawks

Soaring-flying: hard same :(

Big Bird: I’m not dead you guys

Todonoki: Sometimes I can still hear his voice

Big Bird: Why are you hiding, Shouto?

Baby Bird: The world is harsh and cruel, does anyone need more reasons

Soaring-flying: Dad-Todoroki is stalking around looking like this >:[

Todonoki: >:{[

Soaring-flying: yes that’s better. Like that^

Big Bird: Ah.

Big Bird: There’s a storage room next to the gym that can be locked from the inside

Soaring-flying: this is why we need you back, Hawks, you know all the useful things

Todonoki: I already knew that

Todonoki:  there’s a stash of food in here

Big Bird: If you take something you have to go back with a sacrifice. It’s the rules

Big Bird: and I hope I can trust y’all to not speak of this

Baby Bird: Of course

Soaring-flying: sure!

Big Bird: I’ll be back next week, try to avoid disaster until then

Todonoki: Only if disaster avoids us

Yo-Mo: We look forward to your return!

Big Bird: Hell yeah!

Big Bird: And good luck!

 

-

 

Dabi stomped one cigarette out and lit another one. The door behind him opened and shut and Tomura sat down next to him on the stairs.

“I thought you quit,” he said.

“And I told you I hadn’t,” Dabi replied.

They sat in silence. Dabi watched the smoke float up and dissipate above him. Tomura leaned down against his knees.

“It was not a small favour I did you,” he finally said.

“Mhm.”

“I’d say it makes us even.”

Dabi nodded.

“I guess so.”

Tomura straightened up and laughed.

“I hope it was worth it.” Then he stood up and walked back inside.

Dabi flicked his cigarette away and sighed.

“Yeah, so do I.”

He pulled his phone up and stared at the black screen for several long second before he unlocked it.

 

To Weird Chicken: You home?

From Weird Chicken: yah

To Weird Chicken: I’m coming over

From Weird Chicken: yes save me from boredom

To Weird Chicken: told you to get a hobby, didn’t I

From Weird Chicken: :/

To Weird Chicken: see you in a bit

 

The walk wasn’t long, it was familiar and easy. It was always easy to end up at Hawks’ door.

Hawks had healed well, the bruises on his face were fading, and they’d soon be gone entirely. The places where skin had been broken might leave small scars, the kind you had to know where there to see.

Dabi knew Hawks had been lucky. They’d all been lucky. They were all alive.

“What are you doing?”

Hawks looked up at Dabi from where he was lying on the kitchen floor.

“Isn’t it obvious?” he asked.

“Not really,” Dabi said.

“Thinking,” Hawks said. “Everyone knows you think best on your kitchen floor.”

“Right.”

“Come,” Hawks said. “Join me.”

“On the floor.”

“Yes, on the damn floor.”

With a sigh Dabi walked closer to Hawks and sat down.

“Now what?”

Hawks pushed himself up and scooted over to sit opposite Dabi, leaning against the oven.

“That’s most of it,” Hawks said.

“What were you thinking about?” Dabi asked.

“You,” Hawks replied.

“Ah.” Dabi leaned his head back. “How’s that going for you?”

“Not great.” Hawks tilted his head to the side and blinked. “Why are you here?”

“You told me to sit on the floor.”

“Dabi.”

Dabi shrugged.

“Define the question.”

“Here with me.”

“Today? Because I wanted to see you. In general? Because you’re impossible to avoid.”

Hawks sighed. Then closed his eyes.

“You’re such a bastard.”

“Never said otherwise.” Dabi tapped the floor next to him. “Wonder what that says about you.”

Hawks sat still and quiet for a drawn out moment. Then he smiled.

“I’ve been told I’m an idiot,” he said. “Who doesn’t know what’s good for himself.”

“You’re not an idiot,” Dabi said. “You’re just a bit self-destructive.”

Hawks opened his eyes and they were sharp as they buried into Dabi.

“Is that what you think?” he said.

“It’s what I know,” Dabi said. “I just don’t know why.”

“You’re wrong,” Hawks said.

“Am I? Did you think you were gonna survive last Wednesday? Or did it just not matter?”

Hawks was quiet.

“You could call it self-sacrificing, I guess. But I don’t think that’s correct.”

“I’m just doing what I should,” Hawks said.

“According to who?”

“According to me.”

“Really?” Dabi smiled. “You’re doing all of this, for you.”

“What the fuck do you want, Dabi?” Hawks eyes narrowed.

Dabi shrugged.

“I want to prove a point,” he said. “I think you see yourself as a hero. But if you really wanted that why would you try to destroy yourself?”

“I’m not trying to destroy myself,” Hawks said.

“You’re dating me, aren’t you?” Dabi spat. “Not that I mind, I just think you should admit it to yourself.”

Hawks stared at him.

“Then what exactly is it you’re doing?” he asked, voice low.

Dabi leaned forward.

“Nothing that’s good for you.”

Hawks shook his head and stood up. Dabi rose as well and then took a step forward, eliminating what little space had been between them. He raised a hand to Hawks’ face.

“Just admit it, Hawks,” he said, trailing his fingers down Hawks neck. Hawks reached up and grabbed Dabi’s shirt.

“Fuck you,” he hissed.

“If that’s what you want,” Dabi said, grinning, as Hawks yanked him closer and crushed their lips together.

There was nothing gentle in the kiss, or in the hands that held too tight, pressed too hard. It was as much of a fight as the conversation leading up to it had been. It consumed the small part of Dabi that felt guilt over pushing Hawks so far, and that felt disappointment in not having pushed far enough.

 

-

 

The worst thing about returning to work was not seeing Tensei or Tomoko there. It was still uncertain if Tomoko would be able to return, it depended on how well her arm healed. For Tensei it looked worse. Apparently he’d be lucky if he could walk on his leg again.

Hawks had gone to see him, he’d been pretty positive, all things considered, but he knew his firefighting career was over.

The atmosphere at the station was demure; Enji was in an even worse mood than ever before, the stress level was high.

Hawks was happy to see the interns again, but they too had been affected by the mood of the place.

As soon as he had the opportunity Hawks made his way to Enji’s office and invited himself in. Enji glared at him but didn’t stop him from taking a seat.

“So, you got some problems you need to sort out,” Hawks said.

“Hm,” Enji said.

“We need to hire more people,” Hawks said. “You need to be nice enough to the people we have so that they’ll stay.”

“I’m not going to coddle them,” Enji said. “They know what their job is.”

“Sure, and they’re doing it very well, all of them. But if they don’t like being here because of you, they’ll eventually go elsewhere.”

“I’ll tell Kugo to look for new hires,” Enji said.

“And?”

“And tell your co-workers they could use some professionalism.”

Hawks sighed and dragged a hand over his face.

“Right,” he said and stood back up. “Lovely talking to you.”

He went straight to find Shouto.

Shouto and Momo were helping Masaki and Yuu stock-up one of the trucks.

“Hey guys, could I steal the littlest Todoroki for a bit?”

“No,” Shout said.

“Only of you then help us finish this,” Yuu said.

“Deal,” Hawks said. “Shouto, if you would.”

Shouto sighed but followed Hawks outside the garage.

“What do you want?” Shouto asked.

“Insight,” Hawks said. “On your dad.”

“Concerning what?”

“He’s grumpy, like more than usual, and we need him to not be for this place to run. I know he’s been trying to deal with the cottage and car thing, so I was wondering if there’s been more, or if it’s just going bad and that’s why he’s like this.”

Shouto crossed his arms and shrugged.

“There’s not been anything else, that I know of,” he said. “He’s been trying to trace the call about your location, but apparently not getting anywhere, and I know that annoys him.”

“That doesn’t seem very important right now,” Hawks said. “Like it’s weird, and more than a bit suspicious, but it was good for us.”

“Well, that’s all I know. I don’t really try to know more, though.”

Hawks nodded.

“No, I understand that,” he said. “Thank you, anyway. I’ll figure something out.”

“He’s a bastard,” Shouto said. “Nothing’s going to change that.” Those two-coloured eyes were cold as they stared at Hawks.

“Well, something’s gotta change,” Hawks muttered.

“Then find something,” Shouto said. “Something else.”

Hawks looked at Shouto. There was a dark circle under his unscarred eye, tension in his jaw.

“Are you alright, Shouto?” Hawks asked. Shouto shrugged.

“Is anyone around here alright,” he said. Which was a great way to avoid answering.

“Right,” Hawks said. “Let’s just get though the day then.”

Hawks did help them finish re-stocking the truck. It was nice to have a simple task that could be completed. He had very few of those around at the moment.

 

-

 

“I hate libraries,” Himiko grumbled.

“Shh,” Dabi said.

“And that’s exactly why!” She slumped onto the table. “Why did you make me come with you?”

“Your lovely company.” Dabi set another newspaper aside. “You knew where we were going and still came.”

Himiko glanced up at him and groaned.

“And it’s still as boring as every other time,” she said.

“Go find someone to terrorize then,” Dabi said. “Just don’t get thrown out again.”

“Urgh.”

“Or.” Dabi looked at her. “You could help?”

”I thought you were done,” Himiko said. Dabi shrugged.

“Can’t hurt to overdo it,” he said.

“It’s hurting me,” Himiko grumbled. Dabi sighed.

“What do you want to do then?” he asked. Himiko perked up.

“I want to go get ice cream,” she said. “And maybe set something on fire.”

Dabi shuffled together the newspapers he had strewn around him.

“Fine,” he said. “We can do that.”

“Hell yeah!”

Chapter Text

Hawks leaned against the balcony railing and closed his eyes. Drifting out from the door was the voice of Billie Holiday and next to him Dabi stirred his tea, the spoon clinking against the cup.

Silence was their friend. Silence let them have peace. So in silence they stood.

The wind was soft and warm, even this late in the day.

Hawks swayed to the music and breathed in the moment. He was tired after only a week back at work. Exhausted even.

Two days earlier someone had set fire to Enji’s new car; while it was parked outside of his house. He had not taken it well. They had all suffered for it.

Hawks opened his eyes and turned to face Dabi.

“Dance with me,” he said.

“No.”

“Yes.”

Dabi sipped his tea and glanced at Hawks.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I asked you to,” Hawks said. He reached for the cup and Dabi let him take it and set it aside. “Because it would be nice.”

Dabi watched, quietly, as Hawks stepped closer. One hand in Dabi’s hand, the other resting lightly at his ribs. Closer. Hawks saw Dabi roll his eyes before he settled his free hand on Hawks’ shoulder.

It wasn’t so much dancing as it was a slowly swaying embrace. It was perfect. Hawks could rest his head against Dabi’s shoulder and close his eyes. He heard Dabi sigh as he relaxed against Hawks, as they swayed, not so much to the music as to the idea of it.

“I wasn’t a helicopter pilot in the air force,” Hawks said. “I was a fighter pilot.”

Dabi hummed, acknowledging that he heard.

“They started training me at ten,” Hawks continued. “Officially. It was all sorted out and decided for me, a simple track for me to follow. My only decision was to fly, and nothing stood in my way, more the opposite.” Hawks curled his fingers around the fabric of Dabi’s shirt.

“You’re right to question my principles, of course they aren’t mine, but can they ever really be anything but a product of our surroundings? Our upbringing and experiences, the people that influence us, are not things we can escape, they’ll reflect upon the people we become.

“I was brought up to be hero, a fighter. I was taught that that’s where my value lies; in what I can do for others. Even when breaking from the path made for me I never broke from that. I don’t think I can, we’re too far down that road.”

Hawks turned his head and pressed his face against Dabi’s neck.

“So maybe you’re right,” he said. “Maybe destroying myself is the only way I can fight back against those expectations. They made me into this person; to take that away from them would be to undo me.”

The hand on Hawks shoulder moved to his neck.

“There are other ways, birdie.” Dabi said, his voice resonating against Hawks chest. “There are more than one way to undo yourself.” He pulled away, made Hawks look at him.

“I understand the weight of expectations,” he said. “People that look at you and see what they want to see; not what’s actually there. But there’s other ways to escape, to become someone else.”

“I want to be me,” Hawks said.

“You’ll always be you,” Dabi said. “That’s the trick. Be you, don’t ascribe to the version of you others see.”

Hawks put his head back on Dabi’s shoulder.

“Wouldn’t that be nice,” he mumbled.

The music ended. They remained.

 

-

 

It was Sunday. It was raining.

Dabi combed his fingers through Hawks’ hair, paying more attention to the motion of doing so than to what was playing on the screen in Hawks’ lap. He was fairly certain Hawks was asleep.

The rain pattered against the windows of Hawks’ bedroom; as it had all morning, as it would probably keep doing for the rest of the day.

“I want fries,” Hawks said, Dabi’s hands stilled.

“What?”

“Hawks tilted his head back to look up at Dabi.

“Fries,” he said. “I want them, for eating.”

“Do you have fries to make?” Dabi asked. “Because I’m not going outside in this weather.”

“I don’t,” Hawks said, frowning. “Dang.”

“Real unfortunate for you, birdie.”

“What do I have?”

“Why are you asking me?”

“Because you know my kitchen better than me, Dabs.”

“That’s fair.” Dabi thought about it. “But I actually don’t know. You could go find out.”

“Nah.” Hawks tapped his fingers on Dabi’s knee. “If there are no fries, why even bother.”

“That’s the spirit.” Dabi tilted Hawks head up and bent down to kiss his forehead. “I thought you were asleep.”

“I wish,” Hawks said.

“You think too much,” Dabi said.

“There’s a lot to think about.” Hawks closed the laptop and set it aside. Then he extracted himself from Dabi to sit up and turn around and face him.

“Yo,” he said.

“Yo,” Dabi replied. “What are you doing?”

“Don’t worry about it. But while I have your attention.” Hawks leaned his chin into his hands. “We’re going out next Friday, you’re coming with.”

“I am?”

“Yes, it’ll be fun.” Hawks smiled, bright and confident.

“Who are we?” Dabi asked.

“Yuu, Shinji and Rumi,” Hawks replied. “We can get drunk in a corner and laugh at their failed attempts to flirt with people.”

Dabi considered this.

“It’s not the worst idea,” he landed on. “Maybe.”

“You also get to hang out with me,” Hawks added. “Looking very pretty.”

“I thought you were always pretty.”

“Extra pretty. So that’s a yes? Excellent.”

Dabi sighed, but he didn’t think he’d mind. Hawks was right; he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to see Hawks A: drunk, and B: extra pretty.

He didn’t need to tell Hawks that, though, it would just go straight for his ego. Instead he lightly tackled him.

Dabi had learnt that he had to play dirty if he wanted to win any kind of wrestling match with Hawks. It helped if Hawks didn’t mind losing, though, and he often didn’t. This time he very quickly had Dabi pinned, however.

Dabi didn’t mind losing either when it meant having Hawks grin down at him like that.

“Let me go,” Dabi said. Hawks cocked his head to the side.

“Why would I do that?” he asked, and the hands around Dabi’s wrists tightened ever so slightly.

“Let go and find out,” Dabi said. Hawks laughed and bent down to kiss him.

“Alright,” he said and as he moved away he took his hands with him.

Dabi smiled, moved his hands to slide up Hawks’ thighs.

Then Hawks phone started ringing.

Hawks glanced to it, where it was laying on the bedside table. Then he looked back to Dabi.

“Hold that thought,” he said and scrambled over to pick up the call. Dabi saw a frown flash across his face as he looked at the screen before answering.

“Hey, Fu,” he said. “What’s up?”

Dabi closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then moved to sit at the edge of the bed. Next to him Hawks’ face had gone grim.

“Have you tried his friends?” Hawks was asking. “Okay, I’ll see what I can do. No, that’s fine. No. Just lemme know if you hear anything and I’ll be in touch.”

Hawks stood up.

“I’ll do what I can, Fuyumi,” he said and Dabi blinked. “Don’t worry about it, okay? Yes. I’ll text you. Bye.”

Dabi kept his face as neutral as possible as Hawks ended the call and looked to him.

“I’ve gotta deal with this,” he said.

“What is it?” Dabi asked, because it was a fair question. Hawks was already tapping at his phone again.

“Shouto, boss’ son, left after a fight with his dad,” Hawks said. “Fuyumi would love for someone that isn’t my boss to find him first.” Hawks raised his phone to his ear again and Dabi was glad his attention wasn’t on Dabi.

The dread that settled in his stomach was made of ice.

“Hey, Fumi. Who in your class is most likely to know where Shouto is at any given moment? Great, could you get me his number? Thanks, you’re the best, lil bird.”

Dabi watched as Hawks lined up a new call, while also getting clothes out of his wardrobe. A pair of jeans to replace the sweatpants and a fresh shirt to replace the slept-in shirt.

“Hi, I’m Hawks. Yes. Yes. Exactly. Do you know where Shouto is? Do you know where he would go, if say, he’s trying to not be found?... yeah. No, it’s kinda important. Why would he go there? Actually never mind. No, I’ve got it. No, stay right where you are, No. Hey kid. Don’t. I promise, I’ve got it. Yes, I’ll get back to you. Bye.”

Hawks was very good at multitasking. He made changing clothes while holding his phone seem smooth. As he left the room Dabi got up to follow him.

“Where are you going?” Dabi asked, leaning against a wall as Hawks shrugged into his leather jacket.

“The old lab. I’ll see if I can borrow a car from my neighbour. Should be fine, wouldn’t be the first time.”

“How bad is it?”

“I honestly don’t know.” Hawks stopped to look to Dabi. “I’ll update you.”

Dabi nodded. Hawks flashed him a weak smile before he left.

Once the door closed Dabi breathed out. The ice in his guts was burning though him. A familiar burn he hadn’t felt in quite some time.

 

-

 

Hawks tapped his fingers on the wheel and thanked the Sunday traffic for being sparse.

He kept hearing Fuyumi’s voice in his mind, the hint of panic and desperation. He listens to you, Hawks, she’d said. Hawks hoped she was right.

The rain pelted against the windshield of the car, the outside world was blurry.

Fuyumi had been scared. He’d never heard her scared before. Scared for Shouto, scared about what Enji would do.

What would Enji do?

Hawks really didn’t have much information to go off, but if Fuyumi was that worried it didn’t matter, he had to try something.

The old lab had burned down a few years ago; it was really just an empty plot of land with some rubble on it now. But Shouto’s classmate had said it fast and sure enough that Hawks didn’t doubt it was likely. He didn’t need to understand the why’s, he just needed to get there and figure the rest out later.

It wasn’t a long drive, but Hawks heart sank when he arrived and spotted a sleek black car. That meant Enji was already here.

Hawks stepped out into the rain and headed towards the ruined building, unease settled over him.

It was the shouting that led him in the right direction, around the right corner, to find Shouto and Enji. The latter was responsible for the shouting.

Enji held Shouto by the arm.

“Hey!” Hawks called. “Enji, let him go.”

Enji turned cold blue eyes to Hawks. Hawks wasn’t looking at him; he was staring at Shouto, at the flash of fear in his eyes.

“This doesn’t concern you, Hawks,” Enji said.

Hawks stopped a ways away from them.

“Fuyumi called me,” he said. “She’s worried. Now let Shouto go.”

Enji towered over his son, face set in rage unlike anything Hawks had seen before.

“My family’s business is no business of yours and she should not have involved you.”

“No business of mine? For fuck’s sake you’re hurting him!” Hawks took a step forward. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Go back home, Hawks,” Enji growled.

“No.” Hawks glanced between Enji and Shouto. “Whatever this is about, you need to let him go, right away.”

“I will discipline my children as I see fit,” Enji said. “Shouto knows his actions have consequences, even if you don’t.”

“He’s just a kid, and you’re hurting him.” Hawks met Shouto’s eyes.

Enji sneered, started turning, tugging Shouto with him.

“Oh, I wouldn’t do that.”

All three turned as the new voice rang out.

“Dabi,” Hawks started, but Dabi wasn’t paying attention to him, he simply walked past.

“Long time no see, you piece of shit, now let my brother go.”

Hawks started compartmentalizing, very quickly.

Enji stared at Dabi, eyebrows drawn, mouth a tight line.

“You,” he said. “I should have known.”

“Yeah, hi, daddy. Let Shouto go.”

Enji’s hand dropped away from Shouto and it was all Hawks could do to reach out towards him as he darted away to Hawks’ side. There wasn’t any fear in his face anymore, just shock.

“Touya,” he whispered. Hawks heard it; it washed over him, much like the rain, much like the rest of what was happening.

“What do you want, Touya?” Enji asked, voice dark.

“Payback,” Dabi, Touya?, said. “Just like promised.” Dabi stood just a few steps away from Enji, neither seemed aware of the surrounding world. “You didn’t really think I’d stay away, did you? Like you wanted. Simply gone. I wonder, what did you tell them happened? Did you tell them I died? Was there a funeral?” Dabi took one step closer. “Did you grieve for your lost son?”

“What do you think you can achieve by returning here?” Enji was at least half a head taller than Dabi. “Going around burning things? Is that what you’ve become, a petty criminal? I’m sure that’s going to end well.”

Dabi laughed; a cruel joyless laugh.

“Don’t you see? I’m here to ruin you, to take and destroy everything you care about. I will have my revenge for what you did to me, to my family. And you, you can’t touch me. See, I don’t fucking exist. You made sure of that. What are you going to do? Call the cops on your dead son?”

“This is not a fight you’re going to win, Touya,” Enji sneered.

“I’ve spent ten years on this, daddy. You think you can make everything go away if you throw enough money at it? Everything leaves a trace. I wonder what would happen if I just let people know. Shine a little light on the situation, so to say. Do you think you have enough money to silence everyone?”

“As you said, you don’t exist. Who would believe your word against mine?”

“They don’t need to believe me, not really, they just need to look at the facts.”

It was Enji’s turn to step forward, his body tense, aggressive.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Dabi laughed. “Not in front of company.”

Enji’s eyes shifted away from Dabi for the first time since he’s appeared to land on Hawks.

“You really think Hawks would cover for you? You think our little birdie would lie for you?”

Enji’s gaze snapped back to Dabi.

“This isn’t a threat,” Dabi said. “It’s a promise. I will take everything you care about away from you. I will ruin you.” With that he turned. Cold blue eyes finding Hawks. A perfect replica of Enji’s icy stare.

“Get Shouto out of here,” he said.

Hawks had so many things he wished to say. Thoughts that screamed in circles in his mind.

Shouto tugged on his arm. Very lightly.

He reached down to grab Shouto’s hand, turned them and headed for the car.

Compartmentalize. Deal with one thing first. Get away first. Get Shouto safe first.

As soon as the doors closed around them in the car Hawks looked to Shouto.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m not hurt,” Shouto answered.

“Yeah, that’s not the same, is it.” Hawks drew a deep breath and started the car. “You alright with coming to my place?”

“Yeah.”

The drive back to Hawks’ apartment was done in silence. Hawks feared that if he opened his mouth it might just release the string of curses that were running laps in his head.

He had to complete the task first.

Hawks lent Shouto a change of clothes as he was drenched and collapsed down onto his couch and closed his eyes.

“Fucking shit.”

He knew Enji had a temper, knew he was brash and strong-willed. Knew he lacked empathy for others in many situations. He’d never been prepared for him to be cruel.

He knew Shouto and Enji didn’t get along. But he’d thought, he’d wanted to believe, that it was the regular disagreement between parent and teenager. He’d wanted to believe is so bad he had completely ignored any signs of it being otherwise. Now he had to re-evaluate everything.

Oh and Dabi.

Dabi.

Hawks leaned forward and put his face in his hands with a groan.

Dabi was Shouto’s brother.

Dabi was Enji’s son.

Hawks had never once in the years he’d known the Todorokis heard mention of a fourth kid. It seemed indisputable now. No one had argued that point.

Dabi had left this city after getting his scars.

Hawks did not want to think about the implications there. Didn’t want to think about the vicious hatred in Dabi’s voice as he’d spoken to Enji. Didn’t want to think about the things he’d said.

There was a dip in the couch as Shouto sat down next to him and Hawks lifted his head from his hands.

“Hey, how you feelin’?”

Shouto shrugged.

“This isn’t… unusual,” he said. “Well, some parts of it are very unusual.”

“You don’t need to tell me anything, Shouto,” Hawks said. “Just lemme know what I can do to help you right now.”

“I don’t know,” Shouto said.

“That’s fine too. You can stay here for as long as you want, but you should probably talk to your sister.”

Shouto nodded. He had his legs pulled up in the couch and was staring straight ahead.

“My brother,” he said. “Dad did tell us he died. We never talked about it, because he didn’t want anyone to talk about it.”

Hawks breathed in, steadied himself.

“What happened?” he asked. He didn’t want to know, but he needed to understand.

“It… there was a fire,” Shouto said. “But that wasn’t the beginning. I think the beginning was this.” He raised his hand to the left side of his face, the scar over his eye. “My mother… she— she wasn’t well. I don’t think she meant to hurt me, she was scared, she tried to help… after. I don’t remember it very clearly, just how much it hurt, and how afterwards she wasn’t there anymore.”

“How old were you?”

“Six, almost seven. Mom was taken to a hospital, and we weren’t allowed to go see her. I don’t think I could have anyway.” Shouto sighed.

“I didn’t see my siblings much at the time, but I knew, it was impossible to avoid, how dad and Touya fought. And the fire…

“I… I was hiding and I remember being scared and I remember the smoke, and I thought it was my fault and I hid. I honestly don’t know the details, or what actually happened. I just knew Touya tried to get me out and I didn’t want to go. I think something exploded? I think he shielded me from it, because then I just remember screaming and dad… standing there.” Shouto shook his head.

“He was standing there and he looked disappointed. And then Touya never came back again.” Shouto’s voice was level, neutral, but his hands where curled tight, his shoulders tense.

Hawks stared down at his own hands.

He’d now a little about Rei. He’d known she’d been… sick. He’d been told she’d been sick. But she was better now. Enji barely mentioned her.

Enji. There was a version of him that existed in Hawks’ mind and it did not match any of what Shouto was saying.

“You know him,” Shouto said and Hawks looked up. “Touya?”

“Oh.” Hawks nodded. “I guess I do. But not under that name, I know him as Dabi.”

“How did he find us, did he come with you?” Shouto was frowning, thinking.

“Uh, no. He was here when Fuyumi called.” Hawks paused, considered it, and the end line was that he could not stand to lie to this kid, not now. “He’s kinda… we’re…uh, dating?”

Shouto turned to him very slowly.

“I didn’t know any of this!” Hawks said. “I met him earlier this spring. And I didn’t… know.”

Shouto blinked.

“You’re dating my brother,” he said.

“Yeah?” Hawks said. “Your… brother. Dabi. The Todoroki. Oh shit, I’m dating a Todoroki.” Hawks head went back into his hands. “I’m never going to hear the end of that.”

“Could have been worse,” Shouto said with a huff. Hawks glared at him and he shrugged. "At least it’s not my dad.”

“What the fuck, Shouto.”

There was the tiniest hint of a smile at the corner of Shouto’s mouth. Despite it being at his expense Hawks was glad to see it, even if it disappeared quickly.

“He’s not going to down without a fight,” Shouto said. “I don’t know what Touya’s plan is, if he has one. But there’s a reason we’ve… Enji is a very public figure, he’s very well-connected, and he’s rich. You know how it goes. It doesn’t matter that he’s a piece of shit.”

“Well, it should matter,” Hawks said. “I guess it depends on what Dabi has got on him. If there is actually proof of transgressions, that can’t be disputed.” He turned to look at Shouto. “You don’t need to go back to him, alright. Not now, not ever. If it’s not safe, and apparently it’s not, you don’t need to face it.”

Shouto’s face was unreadable, but he nodded.

“What are you going to do?” he asked.

“Haven’t figured that out yet,” Hawks said. “I’d like to talk to Dabi.”

“I need to talk to Fuyumi and Natsou,” Shouto said. “And mom… what do I say to mom?”

“Oh yeah, that’s tricky.” Hawks head hurt. “I… have work tomorrow. Whatever that means right now I think you shouldn’t go. Fuck it, all four of you should probably stay away.”

“Not like I want to be a firefighter anyway,” Shouto muttered.

Hawks leaned back and sighed.

“Good. We’ll sort something out. Depending on what happens next, I guess.” He closed his eyes. “One thing at a time. And I think the first thing on that list is food. How you feel about pizza?”

 

-

 

Dabi walked into Himiko’s room and collapsed on her bed. She swivelled from where she was sitting at her desk.

“Oh, this is gonna be good,” she said. “What happened?”

Dabi stared at the ceiling and sighed.

“Ran into dear dad,” he said. “Sort of.”

“I thought you were with Hawks,” Himiko said.

“I was. He was also there. As was Shouto. Veritable family reunion.”

“How did that go?”

“As expected.” Dabi clenched his jaw. “He went after Shouto, I had to improvise.”

“Well, it was the plan, eventually, wasn’t it?” Himiko asked and Dabi hummed an agreement.

“I didn’t plan for it to go quite like that,” he said. “I didn’t plan for Hawks to be there, for one.”

“How did he take it?”

Dabi closed his eyes.

“I don’t know, didn’t really stay to find out. Sent him off with Shouto.”

The clump of rage that had been lit the moment he’d laid eyes on Enji was still burning. It burned so bright it blocked most other things from view.

“You’re upset,” Himiko said. Dabi raised his head enough to glare at her.

“We’re doing this,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s now or later. He’ll pay.”

“Right, that’s great, fuck him and all. But you’re not exactly jumping with joy. So close to your dream of ten years and you’re sulking on my bed.” Himiko got up from her chair and sat down on the bed next to Dabi. “Is this about Hawks?”

“Hawks served his purpose,” Dabi sneered at her. “He got me this far, even if it wasn’t according to plan.”

“He could still be useful,” Himiko said.

“You think he’s gonna stick around after that? He knows now, Himiko.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing.” Himiko patted Dabi’s head. “He likes you, and he’s sensible.”

“He shouldn’t.”

“Still. And you like him. Isn’t that why you’re upset? Because you lied to him and used him in your revenge plot and you think he’s going to go away and it makes you sad because you’re in loooooove.”

Dabi pushed her off the bed. She giggled at him from the floor.

“So, what’s the next step?” she asked, between giggles.

Dabi pushed himself up and stared down at her.

“We ruin Enji’s career,” he said.

“Oh, exciting!”

Chapter Text

Hawks really had no idea what was waiting for him at the station that morning. He just knew he had to be there for it; whatever it was.

The thought of facing Enji, even just seeing him made his stomach turn. He’d still not sorted his thoughts out, even after a night of not doing much other than think.

Would he simply go on, pretend like nothing? That would possibly be the worst option.

He’d just gotten there when he was informed about a meeting and it made him nervous. Something which Yuu apparently picked up on as she hooked her arm around his.

“You alright, bird boy?”

“Not really,” Hawks said.

“Wanna talk about it?”

“Not really.”

“Fair. So what you think this is about?”

Ah, yes, the meeting. Hawks didn’t even want to speculate so he just shrugged.

Part of him thought he was prepared, that changed the moment Enji stepped into the room.

Seeing him was like getting a bucket of cold water dropped on him. The sight of him colliding violently with all that Hawks had learnt since yesterday.

He looked at Enji now and knew that it all led back to him. The scars on Dabi’s body that he’d become so familiar with. The cold in Shouto’s eyes, his scar. The placating nature of Fuyumi. Rei…

He tore his eyes away and balled his fists up until it hurt, until it distracted him.

“ – I will be taking a leave of absence to sort out personal affairs.”

Hawks snapped his eyes up.

“Sakamata will be in charge, effective immediately.” Enji turned around and left the room in a stunned silence.

Yuu grasped Hawks’ arm. Kugo stood up and cleared his throat.

“You have your schedules, for now you can keep following them,” he said. “Dismissed.”

Hawks was fine with letting Yuu drag him out.

“Hawks, are you alright? You look like you’re in pain?”

“It’s fine,” Hawks said.

“What the hell was that about?” Yuu turned from Hawks to Shinji. Shinji shrugged.

“The exploded car and all that?” he ventured. “And where’s our little interns?”

“They’re not coming in today,” Hawks said.

“Do you know what this is about?” Both Yuu and Shinji looked to him and Hawks nodded.

“I do,” he said. “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you. It’s… not for me to tell, I think.”

“Is this why you look like… that?” Yuu asked, gesturing towards Hawks.

Hawks sighed and dragged a hand over his face.

“It’s a fucking mess, is what it is,” he said. “But right now this is for the best.”

“Geez,” Shinji said. “I don’t even think I want to know.”

“Hmm.” Yuu frowned at Hawks. “Is this going to be a problem in the future, whatever it is? Are you involved?”

“It might? Sort of? Can we just… Get through today and not ask Hawks more questions he can’t answer?” Hawks said.

“Alright,” Yuu said.  Shinji shrugged.

The rest of the day remained calm. There was a lot of odd looks being thrown around and whispered conversation, but that was to be expected.

Enji had left.

That meant that he took Dabi’s threat seriously. Whatever Dabi had on Enji was bad enough for him to retreat now. Hawks didn’t like the implications of that at all. Didn’t like how it was a confirmation from Enji’s side.

He had to talk to Dabi. To Touya Todoroki, eldest son. It was a hard concept for Hawks to wrap his head around. Yet, he had to admit there had been clues, if he had bothered looking. Those eyes…

Dabi had known from the start, hadn’t he? Who Hawks was, and who he worked for. He’d been there to hear Hawks speak about Enji and about Shouto. He’d been there when he’d met Fuyumi!

The calm was for the best, Hawks could not have dealt with anything else. He was barely present.

If anyone other than Yuu and Shinji noticed he was acting weird they didn’t say anything, Hawks appreciated that. He knew that most people at the station usually turned to him whenever the topic was Enji. They must be curious now, but they left him alone.

Get through the day and then go talk to Dabi. That was the plan.

Just. Complete the tasks.

 

-

 

Dabi paced the apartment, hands shoved into his pockets. He should be pleased. But instead he just felt unnerved.

Ten years had passed and he’d turned himself into a different person yet all it took to destroy it was seeing Enji again. Those eyes had landed on Dabi and he’d felt like he was six years old and begging for attention, like he was ten and scared, fifteen and furious.

Maybe, he’d told himself during the last ten years, things had changed. Maybe what he’d left behind was better now. But he’d returned to find Enji gripping Shouto with that familiar anger that had permeated Dabi’s childhood.

He’d remade himself. He’d let Touya die.

He thought he had. He’d been so sure.

Seeing Shouto again had resurrected him. Dabi hated it. Hated that he couldn’t give up the part of him that kept putting itself between Enji and his siblings. He couldn’t afford that right now. He had a job to do.

There was a knock on the door and Dabi stopped. With a muttered curse he went to open the door.

He told himself he shouldn’t be surprised. But he was.

“Hi,” Hawks said. “We need to talk.”

Dabi turned and headed back into the apartment. He didn’t sit down. He stood, arms crossed, and waited for Hawks.

Hawks looked tired. He looked Dabi over and then sat down on the couch with a heavy sigh.

For a moment they remained in silence. Heavy oppressive silence.

“Shouto told me,” Hawks said. “At least some of it, what happened.” Hawks looked up at Dabi, and his eyes were clear and intent. “I know it’s not for me to ask, at least it wasn’t, but if I’m getting involved in something I’d like to understand why.”

“Why are you here, Hawks?” Dabi asked.

“Because I want you to tell me what the fuck is going on.” There was an edge to Hawks voice. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to be a little confused, right now. You see, I just had a lot of information dropped on me about some people I know.” Hawks frowned. “Or don’t know, I guess.”

“What do you want me to say? That yes, that piece of garbage that’s your boss is my dad? That he’s a violent and ruthless asshole that forced a woman to marry him and give him children to carry on his legacy? Except they all failed to measure up and were discarded, one by one.”

Hawks leaned forward, put his face in his hands.

“Fucking hell, Dabi,” he breathed.

“Did my little brother tell you how our mother threw boiling water at him because he reminded her of her husband a bit too much? Did he recount the broken bones and the screaming, or the fact that he wasn’t allowed to see his siblings in case we ruined him too?”

Dabi cocked his head to the side, watched Hawks slumped shoulder.

“Or did you want me to apologize for not telling you?” he asked. Hawks head snapped up, eyes narrow.

“In fact, I came to ask you what you’re going to do now,” he snapped. “I get that you didn’t fucking tell me, it doesn’t make me feel great, but I understand it. Believe it or not, but I’m on your fucking side here.”

They stared at each other until Dabi looked away with a sneer.

“Enji left the station,” Hawks said. “To deal with you. I used to admire him, when I first got here, when I came to work for him, I looked up to him. If you think I still do when I know…” Hawks shook his head. “You’re here for revenge, right? Then let me help you.”

“Why?”

Hawks groaned and slumped back in the couch.

“You know we’re dating, right? You know there’s probably a reason for that? Is it that hard to get that I fucking care about you?”

Dabi stared at him. Yes, he wanted to say.

“I’m not Touya Todoroki,” he said.

“No, you’re Dabi, the fucking asshole,” Hawks muttered.

“I meant what I said. I’m here to ruin Enji.”

“I know,” Hawks said and he looked to Dabi again. “And you burned down his vacation home, and blew up his car. Twice, I think.”

“You’re a firefighter,” Dabi said.

“Yes, and you don’t like that about me,” Hawks said.

“I’m not involving you in this.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re a firefighter. Conflict of interest.”

“Right, and I saw you at a crime-scene and failed to tell anyone about that because I’m a fucking idiot. I think we’re a bit beyond that at this point.”

Dabi sighed.

“How’s Shouto?” he asked.

“As far as I can tell, he’s alright. Which probably means he’s not. Fuyumi’s at my place with him now.”

“Good.”

“You know he’ll want to talk to you, right? He thought you were dead.”

Dabi shrugged.

“He’ll be fine,” he said.

“You’re not going to see him, any of them?”

“Not if I can avoid it,” Dabi said.

“Shouto knows you’re here now,” Hawks said. “He might not give you a choice.”

Dabi met Hawks gaze.

“Does he know you’re here?” he asked. Hawks nodded. “How did you explain that?”

“I told him the truth,” Hawks said.

“Of course you did.” With a sigh Dabi went to sit down on the couch with Hawks.

“I don’t like being lied to,” Hawks said. “Even if I understand the reason behind it. I do want to help you, Dabi. You’re entitled to your anger, your revenge. But I will ask for some honesty.”

Dabi stared at Hawks. It occurred to him that Hawks trusted him far too much. Too much for his own good.

“Honesty,” he said. Hawks nodded.

You should leave, Dabi wanted to say. But he didn’t. He reached out to touch Hawks’ face instead.

Dabi knew what he should say, what he should do.  Selfishness won out. He could keep Hawks.

Hawks would be useful, was the excuse he gave himself for that.

“Fine.”

Hawks smiled, a tired smile but a smile nonetheless.

“Good. So what’s your plan?”

“I’ve got some very fun documents,” Dabi said. “Did you know that bribing hospital staff still leaves weird paper trails? If he was smart enough to get away from the station he’s preparing for exposure. He’ll get it.”

“You know statements would help you,” Hawks said. “From the rest of your family.”

Dabi shook his head.

“No one cares about a rich dude abusing his family,” he said.

“Some people care,” Hawks said. “Maybe not the people who can do anything, but the people that have seen Enji as a city-hero will care. They won’t like it, but they will care. Enji isn’t good at making friends, he’s not even well-liked, he’s just respected for the work that he do. If you can undermine that respect…”

Dabi had to admit it wasn’t a bad idea.

“I’m not here to tell a sob-story,” he said. “The others can do what they want with the opportunity. I’d like to keep away from the public.”

“You’re doing this anonymously?”

“Yes. I can invoke the name Touya Todoroki, but he’s proclaimed dead. I have copies of enough business transactions to get the ball rolling. My goal isn’t to do the work myself. I’m just getting an investigation started. In things such as the death of Enji’s son. The long list of bribes that cover up his history.”

“The name can’t hurt. It will get people talking.” Hawks yawned.

“Did you sleep?” Dabi asked.

“Not really.”

“Hmm.” Dabi reached out a hand to Hawks. “Come here.”

Hawks glanced at his hand then at Dabi’s face, held his gaze for a moment, enough to make Dabi doubt. Then he took the offered hand and let Dabi tug him closer.

With Hawks against him Dabi breathed out and closed his eyes.

He knew Hawks deserved better than this, than any of it. Still… Dabi didn’t want him to leave.

 

-

 

Shouto left with Fuyumi and Hawks was left with his thoughts.

He’d wanted easy. He’d wanted simple. What he got, what he always somehow ended up with was Todorokis. And one thing was abundantly clear; nothing about the Todorokis was easy or simple.

Hawks collapsed into bed with a groan, wishing he could have just walked away from the entire thing. Part of him had considered it, before he got to Dabi. He should have known it wouldn’t go like that.

Fucking Dabi. And his ability to ruin all of Hawks’ plans.

Chapter Text

Bird Enthusiasts United

Soaring-flying: hey, hawks

Soaring-flying: haaaawks

Soaring-flying: Ca-caw?

Big Bird: is this important, I’m busy

Todonoki: oh, what are you doing?

Soaring-flying: it’s not very important

Soaring-flying: did he leave again?

Todonoki: it’s for the best.

Big Bird: I’m winning at Mario Cart. It’s important.

Soaring-flying: well, answer when you’re done with that then

Soaring-flying: I’m applying for a part-time job, and I need references. You can be my reference, right?

Todonoki: Say hi to your boyfriend from us

Soaring-flying: (do we know Hawks’ boyfriend?)

Todonoki: :)

Big Bird: uh. He said ‘no’

Big Bird: And of course I can, Ochako! You can get Kugo to do it if u want it a bit higher ranking tho

Todonoki: coward

Soaring-flying: yeah but he’s scary, I think you’d do great, Hawks!

Big Bird: He’s really not. But alright! I Shall Do This!

Big Bird: Be nice, Shouto

Todonoki: no?

Big Bird: Fair.

Soaring-flying: Thank you Hawks!!!

Big Bird: no prob

 

-

 

Dabi was right. The information he dropped spread like wildfire through the city. Opinions were varied, the legitimacy of the entire ordeal was questioned, but it didn’t matter because it was being talked about and thought about.

As far as Hawks could tell Dabi had simply sent copies of news articles and paperwork to a select few news outlets and reporters. Some of the stuff was readily available for anyone who’d go looking and could be verified. Some, like paperwork from the hospital, Hawks had no idea how Dabi had gotten his hands on.

He had put his name on there in the end. Touya Todoroki. Just to stir things up more. It was effective.

Hawks scrolled through news and blogs and Enji was everywhere. The discussions were… heated.

Three days of this had passed. From Enji himself nothing was heard, he was hidden behind a wall of lawyers, no one could reach him. It didn’t make him look good.

They would try to get to the rest of the family, they’d tried already. Hawks wondered what they’d do. Would Shouto and Fuyumi and Rei say anything? Did Natsou know yet? Had Shouto told them that the name was for real?

Hawks locked his phone and dropped it into his lap with a sigh. He glanced to the side at Dabi, half-asleep on the couch.

Hawks knew Dabi wanted to distance himself from his past, from his family, but Hawks couldn’t look at him and not think about it now. He tried not to, and failed. He couldn’t just ignore or forget that Dabi was a Todoroki. Especially not with so many reminders.

Dabi opened his eyes and glared at Hawks.

“What?” Hawks asked. He hadn’t done anything to deserve that glare.

“Stop doing that,” Dabi said.

“Do what?”

“You’re fidgeting.”

“Oh.” Hawks frowned. “Sorry?”

“What are you thinking about?” Dabi asked. Hawks was saved from answering by Dabi’s phone ringing.

Dabi looked at his phone with disgust before he answered.

Hawks slumped back in the couch and watched. Dabi’s hair was a mess. He wore a sweater with holes in it, Hawks wasn’t sure if they were supposed to be there or not. He looked tired, or angry; it was hard to tell.

It seemed Dabi’s mood swung wildly between vicious glee, apathy, and anger these days. Most of the times Hawks could tell it weren’t directed at him, sometimes… Well, sometimes Dabi looked at him and his eyes would go hard and icy and Hawks did not care for it at all.

Yet, sometimes the opposite was true as well.

Dabi lowered his phone and glanced to Hawks.

“Apparently I’ve been asked after at work,” he said. “I must be popular.”

“Enji?” Hawks asked.

“Probably, it would benefit him if he could track me down, wouldn’t it.” Dabi smiled and tapped a finger against his phone. “Guess that’s a sign to get to step two then, we can’t have him getting bold.”

“What’s stage two?”

Dabi stood up and slid his phone into a pocket of his jeans.

“You wanna go on a little trip?” he asked, smiling.

“… Sure, why not.”

 

-

 

“So, what’s in those?” Hawks gestured to the folders Dabi had showed into a bag.

“More paperwork mostly. Medical records for the entire family, that sort of thing.”

“How did you get those?” Hawks asked.

“Through some helpful connections,” Dabi said. “You don’t want to know the details. There are also prints of complaints, charges that were filed and then dropped and disappeared.”

Hawks nodded and looked past Dabi and out the bus window.

“And where are we going?”

“A little bit of everywhere,” Dabi said. “Call it a post-box tour.”

“Ahh.”

“Let’s start here.”

When they’d gotten out of the bus Dabi shouldered the bag and reached for Hawks’ hand.

“Will it be enough?” Hawks asked.

“Maybe.” Dabi figured it was impossible to know. It depended on what people did with the information he’d provided them.

“What will you do if they find out who you are?”

“Donno.”

Dabi had prepared for this; he’d scouted out locations of post-boxes around the city, all to spread out the tracks. The folders were all identical apart from the addresses on them.

It was probably a bad idea to take Hawks along, they were far more likely to be recognized and remembered by anyone when he was around. But his hand felt nice in Dabi’s.

“If they find you they’ll find Toga,” Hawks said.

“Yes, I know, so let’s make sure they don’t find me.” Dabi didn’t mention that they’d find Hawks as well.

“Right.”

Dabi saw parts of the city he’d never seen before as they went. The folders were delivered, one by one, and dusk fell. It didn’t get dark, not at this time of summer, but it went dim before they got back to Dabi’s apartment.

“I’m guessing we’ll have to wait a day or so before this takes effect,” Hawks said and yawned.

Himiko had gotten back when they’d been gone and now yelled a greeting at them from the couch.

“Isn’t it nice,” Dabi said. “We can just sit back and wait and watch.” He headed into the kitchen; he wanted tea. Hawks followed him.

“Enji’s been laying low, that won’t last. This will probably force his hand. If he figured out where you work…”

“Except he tried that and was told I didn’t work there,” Dabi said.

“Oh.”

“Are you nervous, birdie?”

“Aren’t you? You probably should be.”

“It’ll be fine, I have backup plans.”

Hawks sighed and Dabi turned around to look at him.

“You can leave,” he said.

“We’ve been over that,” Hawks said.

It was Dabi’s turn to sigh.

“Have you talked to Shouto?” he asked. Hawks quirked an eyebrow up at him.

“Oh, I thought you didn’t care about that,” he said.

“I don’t, but it would be nice to know what was happening on their side.”

“He’s been contacted for a statement,” Hawks said. “People have questions, they’ll look for answers anywhere, and since neither you or Enji is saying anything…”

“You think I should?”

Hawks shrugged.

“I think there are more efficient ways to go about this,” he said. “But I don’t think you’re very likely to change your plan, so.”

“Clever bird.” Dabi turned back to his tea. “Just let this play out for now, and don’t worry your pretty little head too much about it.”

“You’re the worst.”

“That one’s getting old.”

“Oh, shut up.”

“Nah.”

Hawks huffed and Dabi glanced over a shoulder to see him leave the room.

“Imma hang out with Himiko,” he said. “She’s the nice one.”

From the other room Himiko laughed.

Dabi shook his head, smiled and picked up his tea to go join them