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Close Quarters

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The student dormitories were ostensibly the only solution to the situation that faced them after the Kamino Ward incident. Shouta knew this, even without the press conference and the endless staff meetings and the addendum to his UA employment contract.

He also knew that living with each other at this age, under strict supervision, would give his students a jump start on basic life-management skills like food shopping and cooking, finances, and conflict resolution. Cooperation on the domestic front, as well, and his was a good batch of kids: he highly doubted anything that transpired in a dorm environment would lead to lasting grudges, much less interfere with their teamwork as heroes.

Shouta firmly agreed with with the dorms in the sense that he agreed with all of this, and simply hoped that the few usual suspects could get the “independent adult” aspect of their life down before they hit it big and everyone was scrambling to wipe their noses for them. Shouta had seen it happen again and again with popular pros: the damage was severe and lasting, if All Might's ongoing struggle with simple paperwork was any indication. Any kind of inoculation against the lavish helplessness of fame was good in his books, as long as there was someone around to keep an eye on all of them.

The supervision, however, was the issue.

The teacher dormitories were equally mandatory and, while he could and had literally set up shop anywhere to sleep, Shouta was still unsure as to how he felt about the reality of adult dorm life. Everyone from Snipe to 13 to Ectoplasm living on the same hallway seemed … odd. He could usually count on Vlad to stay on task, but it was probably the looming expectation of constant socializing that gave him the most pause.

Mic and Midnight were horribly thrilled, of course. The soundproofing on Mic's room had been completed to perfection by Cementoss and both of them wouldn't shut up about sleepovers and movie nights, but Shouta only hoped that their (sincere, renewed, militant) focus on the children and their safety would keep them from any drama or silly business.

In a lot of ways, they were worse than the students ... but Shouta's perfectly valid concerns about late night drinking and tasteless pranks dissolved when he rounded the corner of his new home and saw familiar shiny dress shoes, goofy patterned socks and the boneless sprawl of a man who had lost consciousness well before impact.

Shouta gripped his takeout bag tightly, sucking in a breath. Yagi's mile-long frame was crumpled on the floor at the edge of the teacher's common room, like he had been heading for his apartment but met with something else. There was a dark puddle beneath his face, drenched carpet glinting in the fluorescent lighting. Blood, and smeared on his chin as well.

Shouta grit his teeth, letting his lunch and afternoon plans fall to the ground. He hurried over and fell to one knee beside the motionless hero, cautiously rolling him onto his side. Yagi's jaw was slack and a finger to his throat revealed an erratic, lagging pulse, but his airway was clear. He was breathing: Shouta could hear it rattling in his chest. A bad good sign.

A bad good sign, kind of like the good bad dorms. Because with close living quarters came a blurring of barriers and privacy that Shouta just wasn't comfortable with, especially concerning the complicated man in front of him.

He wanted to be told these kinds of painful personal things, if at all, not gather the results in his arms like abandoned luggage.

“Fuck me,” Shouta muttered under his breath as he stood upright and Yagi's full weight fell against his chest, long limbs hanging scarecrow from the bridal-style carry. “What are your bones made of, granite?”

He didn't know he was lugging 225 kilograms of retired hero – a number the man himself was hesitant to admit to, thinking only of the weight he'd lost over time – until Yagi regained consciousness just inside his apartment and kicked out in a panic, choking and grabbing for the doorframe.

The struggle nearly brought them both to the floor and Shouta couldn't stop cursing long enough to say a word, or find a way to wrangle the man's long limbs without dropping him on his ass. Yagi succeeded in lurching free and then, one socked foot on the floor and nails dug into the doorframe, he shuddered and froze and made a muffled, swooping, precarious sound deep in his throat that every human knew, programmed into their spine as 'move now, or else'.

Hearing it, Shouta practically flung him into the nearby bathroom by his suit jacket, just in time for Yagi to fall upon the toilet and proceed to hurl. A lot.

Exhaling in a rush, Shouta leaned back against the apartment door to shut it and sagged there for a minute, inspecting his hands and the brown-red lines in his palms to the sound of the Symbol of Peace getting violently sick in his shoebox dorm bathroom.

Fuck. So much for making good memories in the new suites.

First and worst weekend ever. And they were alone, of course.

Shouta waited until the painful-sounding purges slowed from constant to occasional before he approached, leaning against the doorway. He tried not to breathe through his nose.

“What do you need?” he asked, unable to rise above an exhausted grumble.

On his knees and clutching the rim of the toilet with white hands, Yagi's only answer was a shake of his head. The minimal movement seemed to trigger another spasm, leaving the rail thin older hero whining and gulping as he struggled to push something out or keep something in, remaining shoe squeaking across the floor.

Migraine? Concussion? Shouta's mind raced. Sensitivity to movement was a sign of many things, none good.

Concern deepening, Shouta knelt down onto the cold hard tile and reached for the messy fronds of the older hero's bangs, gathering them away from the splash zone while Yagi single-mindedly gasped for air. Damp heat radiated from Yagi's scalp, even through the thick tangle of his mane. Not good.

“You just have to let it ... run its course,” the older hero managed after a moment, his usually baritone voice like wet gravel rolling in a bucket. He spat, groaned, and spat again, all of it tinged pink. “This is tougher without a stomach.”

“Without a stomach?” Shouta repeated before he could stop himself, strict. Yagi just gurgled and half-shrugged, wobbling where he knelt as he attempted to shuck his oversized suit jacket. Shouta quickly intervened to relieve him of it, taking note of the stark sweat stain down the center of All Might's bent back.

“Ah, you didn't know. Not something we covered in faculty introductions, I suppose,” he said with a bit of humor before stiffening again and hauling up to his knees for another purge. Shouta dutifully held his hair and watched, any remaining reluctance thoroughly sidelined by disbelief as Yagi hacked and coughed, every desperate dragging breath echoing in the toilet bowl.

“You can leave,” he croaked after the next battery of heaves. Just the effort made him cough up a thin string of blood and curse. He was shaking. Visibly.

“Like hell.” Shouta fished a hairtie from his belt as he said it and gathered All Might's plume of hair into a top knot to keep his bangs away from his face, smoothing the mess down before fetching a glass of fresh, cool water.

“Swish and spit,” he ordered, lifting and cupping the man's clammy hands around the glass as he resumed his post on the bathroom floor. Dredging his face from the bowl, Yagi grimaced as he took it. It wasn't an expression the younger hero could ever remember seeing on him. Almost like contempt.

“Sorry,” Shouta said gruffly, realizing the sheer idiocy of giving him directions. Sure, this was his first time seeing it, but far from Yagi's first time experiencing something like this. That was incredibly clear.

“I'm –”

“In automatic, yes. I know,” Yagi finished, gulping in air between little sips. He sounded less aggravated than pained and again Shouta's conscience twinged at the reality of his coworker's daily life, as well as his grace at having his home invaded. Yagi took a moment to rest his shining forehead on the side of the toilet and gestured vaguely. “The, ah … the children.”

Those two words seemed to explain everything: their entire compulsive caring, how they made sure every little detail was spelled out if just to soothe their own anxiety as instructors and guardians. But Yagi still looked ashamed to be on the receiving end of the attention, automatic or not.

Shouta could see a vein ticking frantically in the retired hero's damp temple. He could only imagine how hard his heart was pounding, after puking so much. He couldn't seem to catch his breath, either.

“Still, don't rush it,” Shouta said at last, sitting back against the wall to wait as long as it took.

Yagi knew his body better than anyone – but it was an entirely different thing, knowing and respecting. Or knowing and loving. The relationship All Might had with his body, this body, was combative at best.

They sat, and sat some more until it was very clear Yagi's body had no more to offer, despite multiple tries. The bedraggled older hero pulled away from the bowl with deep, bracing, experimental breaths, then finally slumped against the wall beside him, panting.

The rancid, sour smell of sick thickened the air and Shouta knew he was breathing a little shallowly because of it. He was light-headed. He'd been hungry before, as the discarded takeout bag in the common room would attest, but now he was just in survival mode, stomach blitzed into non-existence by adrenaline and that heavy, miserable stench.

Stomach, he thought, aghast all over again. Yagi didn't have a fucking stomach? How did someone walk around like that, without one of the standard issue human parts?

In the quiet, he checked Yagi over. His neck was very long already, because he was an inconveniently long man, but the tendons and bulge of Yagi's adams apple made him look wrung dry by all the vomiting, strained and pained. His hands looked the same, skin rippling with veins and clinging to his bones.

Dehydrated. Very. Possibly hypoglycemic, if the shaking was anything to go by.

As he thought this, Shouta wet a towel with a burst from the faucet and reached over to wipe Yagi's chin free of vomit and spit and blood. The second the older hero felt the touch of the cloth, he flinched away, raising a hand to hide his face.

“Please,” he huffed, swallowing noisily, and with difficulty. “It's n-not decent ...”

“It's human, and it's bodies. You think I haven't kicked a villain in the gut and ended up with boots full of puke?” Shouta asked, a little incredulous at the sudden squeamishness. The reigning rumor, after all, was that he regularly slept in dumpsters. Yagi just shook his head, freed wisps of his ratty bangs wagging forlornly.

“All the worse, then.”

“All the more important,” Shouta corrected him curtly, raising his head with a hand and meeting Yagi's exhausted gaze as he passed the cool cloth over his chin gently but surely. “Villains are one thing, and work is another. You're actually someone I'm interested in seeing comfortable. So sit.”

He wouldn't let Yagi see himself as either a villain or an on-the-job obligation for these bouts of sickness, if he had anything to do with it.

Let me help, Shouta tried to say with his dry eyes and his scarred hands and his steady touch. Unafraid. Patient and without judgement, the way he would treat a student in the same situation.

Thankfully, something about it quieted him. Eyes closing, Yagi's shoulders fell and he accepted the small comfort of being a little cleaner, a little cooler. His breath slowed and his dewy forehead smoothed just a little.

Then, with a complacent patient, Shouta started carding through his tamed hair, wetting his hands and working through the side the older hero had fallen on – the side smeared with fresh blood, bright red on his yellow hair. He trailed his fingertips carefully under the hair tie and over Yagi's damp scalp, searching for breaks or ridges or sticky wounds but found none.

Meanwhile, Yagi moaned reedily in relief, leaning into the distracting sensation. It wasn't a sound Shouta had ever heard from him, to be sure, but this was a day for new things. The more he touched and explored, tension dribbled out of the sick hero's thin, brittle frame and left him exhausted.

Demolished not by the sickness itself, but from a little bit of kindness and permission to stop fighting. Shouta would take it from here, to be sure.

“Okay. Looks like all the blood was from your coughing, not hitting your head, but we still can't rule out a concussion,” Shouta explained with a tense sigh after he stood and washed his hands. He hated having to use his minimal first aid knowledge. He always felt like he was forgetting something, maybe because he only had the utmost of respect for the work of heroes like Recovery Girl.

That, and he had nothing resembling a bedside manner. He'd never find that in a kit, to be sure.

Yagi roused and looked up at him from the floor in vague surprise, like he was of the belief that his habit of hacking up blood on a daily basis was a secret kept in check by dirty handkerchiefs and poor excuses. Shouta snorted, toweling his hands dry and shaking his hair loose to tie it up again, cleaner, in the spotless new mirror. Again, Yagi watched him in the reflection, pinched expression somewhere between doleful and dubious.

“If you think we don't watch you like a hawk, you're more oblivious than I thought,” Shouta muttered in the most half-hearted of irritations, reaching over to kick the flush button on the toilet and move things along.

In the next ten minutes, Shouta managed to get Yagi up from the bathroom floor and limped him to the bed, which was about the size of his entire bedroom. A shower sounded ideal, but he also knew a guaranteed fall risk when he saw one. First thing tomorrow, then.

Next, he allowed Yagi to undress himself but immediately took the soiled clothes off his hands, tossing them in the bathroom with the jacket and closing the door after. That would be for the bots later. They had a sterilization protocol and Shouta was happy to leave them to it.

Whenever they were brought over and hooked up to the security system, that was, which was whenever Powerloader came back from duty to do so. Again, first weekend in. Convenient.

“Maybe you do this for Present Mic and Midnight,” Yagi said when he returned, struggling forward out of the snowbank of pillows lining his bed. He was sitting up in bed but almost panting with the effort of being upright, white t-shirt welded to his chest with grimy perspiration. “A-after seeing you at the bar, last week, surely ...”

The retired hero trailed off with a dismal croak, long fingers worrying at his sheets. Shouta blinked at the non-sequitur, but quickly made sense of Yagi's foggy, almost desperate gaze: he wanted some kind of response to normalize a fairly abnormal scenario.

Well, hell. It wasn't untrue. Both of his personal tormentors had such long hair, and huge egos, and he'd been on holding duty more than once. Especially after Nemuri got that bartender's handbook for her birthday, which she then proceeded to ignore and made up even more heinous concoctions to force on them.

“Maybe,” Shouta replied, and went to get his phone.

When he came back, Yagi was taking deep, difficult breaths from a plastic mask connected to a long ribbed tube. Respirator, or nebulizer or whatever. The moment Shouta met his eyes, the other hero looked away with a visible shudder.

“Recovery Girl can't make it until tomorrow morning,” Shouta said, lifting his phone in explanation before pocketing it. “She's stuck in Toyama with the others.”

There was heavy flooding in Toyama prefecture on Thursday evening, fallout of a battle and a dam and a villain's Quirk. Before heavy escalated to torrential, the staff thought it would be a good opportunity for natural disaster training for the students in the area and plunged in. Bad idea.

Yagi had insisted on coming along when the news broke initially and had to be air-lifted back to campus. Shouta returned as well, to help look after the rest of the students and get some sleep. And, apparently, make sure Yagi didn't fucking die while unattended.

The simple look he gave the meddlesome old coot was apparently enough, because Yagi's downy brows furrowed. He let the nebulizer mask drop from his face, fisting the sheets and eyeing him.

“It still means something, to have a symbol there,” he rasped at length, stubborn.

“Does it mean something to them, or to you?” Shouta demanded, almost throwing his personal first-aid kit onto the bedside table like a threat. He'd snagged it from his own room during the call to avoid asking where Yagi kept his sickness things, which he suspected was literally everywhere.

“You are capable of selfishness, even if you dress it in altruism. Put your mask back on and don't talk. You sound like a cat scratching post.”

Thoroughly chastised, Yagi shut his eyes and complied, going still. He was being too harsh, he knew, but Shouta was tired and the degree of disaster sitting in bed had shaken him. Some people just had to be yelled at, apparently.

“Have you eaten?” he continued, then thought stupidly, though he'd seen his coworker pick at tiny homemade bento boxes many a time: can you eat, without a stomach?

“I shouldn't,” Yagi mumbled reluctantly, then rubbed at his eyes with a wince. “That is, I should keep to something simple. Broth.”

“Where can I find it?”

“It's in the kitchen. Top cabinet, red can.”

There was that completely humiliated look again. Like, if he had legs, Yagi should be walking there himself when his insides were clearly intent on fucking him over.

Biting back all manner of reprimand, Shouta retrieved the broth and fixed it up in a mug and sat on the edge of the enormous bed while Yagi sipped at it sedately. He looked over every so often as he texted the staff on the situation, to leave no misunderstanding that he had expectations and the older hero would meet them, sip by sip.

And Yagi tried. It hurt, to see how drinking something was an effort, but the poor man pressed on, pausing frequently to close his eyes and breathe thickly.

When it became clear he'd had his fill and put down a few glucose tablets for good measure, Shouta took the mug away, wondering with his own level of exhaustion if he should attempt to recover his takeout from the floor in the common room or if he should just have sleep for dinner.

And that was another issue. Sleep.

“You really should be wearing a mask or something of the sort,” Yagi said as Shouta dug through his first aid kit, reluctantly lowering his hand from over his mouth to accept the thermometer then mumbling around it. “I don't know what I have. I don't want you to get sick.”

Shouta shrugged. The little stick beeped a second later and he grimaced. Almost 40 degrees. Goddamn. No wonder he looked like death baked over.

“There aren't any masks available, I won't spend the rest of my night breathing through a towel when I've already touched your blood and Recovery Girl will be here in the morning,” he droned, sterilizing the thermometer and tossing everything back in the kit. “Nothing you have will kill me overnight. There's no point.”

Yagi nodded silently, withstood his battery of questions about medication and pain management, swallowed the appropriate drugs to hopefully bring down his fever, then drew back with a spooked look when Shouta abruptly threw the heavy comforter aside with a sigh of effort and climbed into bed.

Um.”

“You're sick, I'm not leaving you alone and I won't sleep on the floor. It's logical,” Shouta grumbled, feeling like he was doing nothing but explaining his thought processes, which made him feel a little crazy. Not to mention his sleeping bag was soaked through to the stuffing and he didn't know if it was recoverable and that was a whole other headache. Maybe even a heartache. He'd had the stupid thing since he graduated.

He tried not to glare as he looked over his shoulder.

“Do you object?”

“N-no! It's … the bed, my bed, it's more than big enough for the two of us, technically ...”

And what about un-technically? The thought surfaced immediately, small and almost sniveling.

Would you ever think about me being here, with you, for any reason other than a disaster? How we would fit if there wasn't a need?

It's just fucking logical, Shouta scolded himself the next second, shutting down those needy thoughts and turning over, away from his coworker. Why was he pissed that Yagi was agreeing with him?

Maybe because there had been a package of soup in the takeout bag, now wrecked. Another job for the bots. He didn't like soup, personally, but knew Yagi did.

At the beginning of the year he thought he didn't like Yagi, and he was wrong. He'd been wrong for quite some time.

Yagi had also been talking for quite some time. Babbling earnestly, in between light stuttering coughs. Shouta would worry, but he knew the tune just from the tone: it was Yagi's classic, his constant monologue of please excuse me for existing.

“ –time it's happened but you're being … very kind, and I apologize for, well, all of this – when you returned with me you were never intended to –”

“Quit,” Shouta muttered, focusing intently on the rapturously soft pillow underneath his stubbly cheek instead of the discomfort in his brain and insides. “You're exhausting, apologizing for yourself all the time.”

That earned him some silence, and he settled into it with relief. But the cost was higher than he'd expected.

“Do I really exhaust you, Aizawa-kun?”

Yagi said it so quietly, voice so reedy from exhaustion and bile, that Shouta wondered if he was truly meant to hear it. Maybe the older hero waited to speak until he thought he was already asleep. The sadness in the question was palpable, and entirely unexpected.

And the short answer was yes.

Yes, he was exhausting. Keeping up with his lagging learning curve in grading and lesson planning was robbing Shouta of sleep, and even though the number one hero's days of lumbering around in full costume and shouting in the school halls was over, Shouta was retroactively recovering from that chaotic period, too.

Mostly, Yagi was exhausting because he refused to let people help him when he needed it most, or at all. He was his own greatest enemy. A supervillain of epic proportions when there was no All Might anymore to counter his reign.

Just Yagi Toshinori, hunched in his enormous bed, coughing quietly into his hand.

“You would be less exhausting if you admitted that you can't do this alone, or on the fringes, or in the dark where nobody can see,” Shouta muttered at last, glaring at the darkened wall of the dorm bedroom. “I respect your privacy. Or I tried to, until today, but this isn't something you can or should hide. Any one of us will be there to help you back to your room if you need it.”

Yagi made a noise that could have been acceptance, or just something to fill the uncomfortable void that opened when truth cut habit down the middle. Huddled under the fancy comforter, Shouta's skin itched as he tried to leave it at that and failed, all of the flawed micro-interactions he'd seen over the past semester boiling up at once.

He had nothing to lose – or so he told himself – and a deep desire to shatter the obliviousness of the man everyone loved too much to see sense, or to risk their own relationship with him.

“You have to understand the power imbalance at play, as well. Many of us feel as though we have no right to ask after you, considering who you are. How long we've known you. For fear of insult, that respect leaves us to watching and waiting, and trusting you to know your own limits. Which you don't. Which leaves us here.”

“To think, it used to be my best trait,” Yagi said with a wheezing chuckle, profoundly sad.

Shouta disagreed: All Might's best trait was his strength of will and the easy confidence that could slice through the darkest, most complicated moment and give hope. Few had that kind of power. Despite the threat of simplification of the nature of crime, Shouta could respect it now.

“Help is here. You just have to ask. That's all,” he said quietly, bunching his pillow beneath his cheek and sighing out all the bottled stress he could. Shouta could only hope the hero next to him was lucid enough to remember this tomorrow, or the next time he felt something coming on and tried to weather it alone in his apartment.

You've done so much. Too much, and we can see that now. It's our turn to support you.

Please, let us repay you.

“You can spread out,” Yagi said after a few minutes, light and nervous and dodging everything he'd just said, of course. Shouta tried his best not to groan. He practically heard Yagi drumming his fingers and cringing.

“I … I know we're not the closest, but … I really would like to know you better. In better circumstances, obviously. I would like to know you outside of this, and I'm sure you would, too – ah, not that you'd like to know me, at all, but that … this is a mess and you really didn't have to–”

“Hey. Flirt with me in the morning, idiot.”

It was out of Shouta's mouth before he could even understand the words, and from the pained gasp behind him, Yagi was just as surprised as he was.

God, he was just so tired.

“Flirt?!” Yagi blurted out, absolutely horrified. Shouta mentally shrugged, because, well, there it was. “I, Aizawa-kun–“

“You would never?” Shouta finished for him, dry, lazily rolling over onto his back only for a whole new round of sputtering. He was ready to get an answer and call it quits on this whole crush thing, but Yagi didn't immediately shove him out of bed.

If anything, attempted eye-contact was apparently too much for his gentle constitution and resulted in the older hero holding the sheets to his mouth like a scandalized maiden, trying not to hyperventilate.

“I would! I absolutely would, I've been meaning to but …”

But the circumstances were less than ideal. Obviously.

Stuttering to a halt, Yagi seemed to realize the fog of the fever and the painkillers were making him embarrassingly honest – enough so that Shouta felt a flustered heat on his own cheeks and the extreme need to look away, but he wouldn't look away from something he'd started. This was also the last fucking thing he'd expected from a surly shot in the dark.

The retired hero vibrated in severe distress for an instant, then sighed, golden head falling forward.

“Ah. You're so difficult.”

It could have been fond, the way he said it. Shouta wanted it to be, and for the first time since he'd caught himself staring at Yagi smiling to himself in the staffroom, his heart throbbed with hope.

“Only half as difficult as you,” he murmured, haltingly excavating himself from the comforter to reach over and gently tug the hair tie free from Yagi's hair, palming and smoothing the yellow mess back and briefly checking his temperature. He was overwhelmed with a strange, compulsive, warm need to touch the older hero and reassure him even as he grumbled.

“So imagine what kind of stress you're putting me through, huh.”

Accepting the touches, Yagi looked surprised but pleased. And completely wrecked and also an inch from death.

Shouta was, in fact, putting the moves on a completely helpless and miserable man, and here he called himself a hero. Yeah, time for bed.

“I will try to be better,” Yagi said solemnly when they settled back down, studying his clasped hands, then, at Shouta's sharp look over the rise of the blanket between them, amended: “A-at asking for help, and ...”

Tugging at his freed bangs, Yagi relaxed into his nest of pillows and gave a small smile. The first real one since he woke up.

“I will try to flirt with you again when I'm not fresh from the bathroom floor.”

“Makes no difference to me.” Shouta yawned, shutting down at alarming speeds. “If you need me, shake my shoulder or tap my back. Don't touch my face and don't suffer in silence. If I wake up in a preventable puddle of blood or puke or anything because of you, I'll give you detention.”

“Detention?” Yagi repeated lightly, laugh muffled by the return of the nebulizer mask.

“Detention duty,” Shouta clarified menacingly, realizing he'd slipped, but it was actually a far worse fate. Yagi made a contrite sound and settled into the chilly darkness, long limbs shifting beneath the sheets.

“Thank you, Aizawa-kun. For staying with me.”

Shouta nodded, burnt out but satisfied. Staying with Yagi was something he wanted to do – now, and later. He drifted off to sleep to the hushed, rhythmic tide of the nebulizer. It was a very nice bed, and thankfully this wasn't the last time he would experience it.

There was only one midnight emergency, help arrived with the sunrise and, true to promise, the first thing out of Yagi's mouth after waking up from Recovery Girl's kiss-coma the next afternoon was … something.

“A-are you my cardiologist?” Yagi stared up at him with hazy eyes, expression inscrutable through the fogged nebulizer mask.

Standing bedside, Shouta glanced over at Miss Chiyo with some alarm – were they expecting specialists? Had the situation worsened without his knowledge? – but the ancient healer looked just as confused as he was. Then, fighting free of five layers of blankets tucked under his chin, Yagi reached out and fumbled for Shouta's hand. He nearly jumped as Yagi grabbed him, grunting in surprise as long hot fingers tangled with his.

“Because you … because my heart is fixed now,” he wheezed, gazing up at him in the most adoring, drugged manner he'd ever seen. Shouta had to bark out a laugh and gently pry Yagi's hand off, incapable of any kind of response.

After some basic tests and their matriarch's satisfaction with Yagi's progress, Shouta bowed low so that Recovery Girl could give him his own healing smooch, biting his cheek and keeping his eyes on the floor when she patted his arm with a knowing look. When she bustled out the door, incredibly smug and very intent on collecting her winnings from the staff betting pool, Shouta fell into the chair next to Yagi's bed and exhaled, feeling the dizzying waves of Recovery Girl's Quirk drag him down into forced rest. Thank god.

Yagi stirred at the noise and groaned, turning as if to find him. Shouta found him first, stilling the older hero with a hand to his arm.

“Go back to sleep,” he chided softly, stifling a chuckle as he remembered just five minutes ago. What the fuck. It seemed both of them had impatience as a defining trait. Maybe bad timing, too.

“Will you ...” Yagi croaked, nervous. He was already fading away, stripped to nothing but honesty by exhaustion and medication. Shouta squeezed his arm lightly and began to let his fingers trail back and forth over Yagi's cooling skin, feeling himself smile as if from a very long distance away.

The rest of it was all disbelief and, under it, thundering gratefulness that a hero was finally allowing himself to be saved.

“Yeah. I'll be here when you wake up.”

He'd had his reservations about the whole situation, to be sure. Dorms were a risky social experiment for professionals of their age and workload, and there was a lot that could go wrong … but if the highly unprofessional snapshots Nemuri and Hizashi took of the two of them devoutly wrapped around each other in Yagi's enormous bed were anything to go by, at least close quarters were no longer an issue.