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Homecoming

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All said, it's a simple plan. Go in, get things unpacked, and leave before Yagi was due to be released from the hospital. Simple. Nothing to worry about. Besides, what was the worst that could happen? Aizawa had settled on the plan only hours after the Kamino Ward incident. The fact that his co-worker was still unpacked had been only passing knowledge. However, thanks to an off-handed remark from Hizashi, it had stuck with all the tenacity of old gum under a desk. Yagi had gone above and beyond all those years as a hero and, while he still didn't approve of his methodology, Aizawa still wanted to do something for him to ease his retirement. What better way than to get things settled into place so that he could actually feel like he was coming home?

"I'm an idiot," he chides himself as the minutes tick by waiting outside of the other teacher's dorm. It isn't as though anyone is going to attack him. Still, he can't help but feel a bit guilty at the thought that Yagi might interpret his intention to help as someone prying into his personal life. As much as he'd tried to convince literally anyone else on staff to help him with the project he'd been met with a general chorus of rejections. Nearly everyone had cited that he and Yagi were the closest on staff and that they would feel out of place. Snorting at the falsehood of that conception, he musters the courage to finally turn the knob and slip inside with only the whisper of a lightly weighted plastic bag to announce his entrance.

It's immediately clear that this will not take long. Nearly everything in the dorm room is UA issued with the exception of a small collection of totes spread across the rooms. It seems that Yagi had at least gotten as far as the intention to unpack things, at least. Sighing, Aizawa steps lightly across the living room to the small kitchenette that has been included in all of the staff rooms. It's a matter of seconds to locate the cupboard where Yagi normally keeps his tea and add the couple of boxes that he'd picked up to the small collection. He can't help but note that all but one is some variety of chamomile. His nerves fire unhappily insisting that he is prying and definitely crossing some sort of privacy line. In that moment, Aizawa decides that he will get this done as quickly as possible and swear his colleagues to secrecy once he's done.

Trying his damnedest not to look too closely at anything, Aizawa hustles plates, bowls, cutlery, and a trio of brightly colored mugs into their respective cabinets and drawers. How can he stand anything so bright in the morning? he wonders to himself before quickly forcing himself to forget that two of the mugs were yellow and one was orange. Oh yes, this would go down as the last time he tried to do something helpful. Feeling more than seeing that the kitchen tote is empty, Aizawa moves to the living room slapping irritably at his vibrating phone. Whoever it is can wait until he's done with this and back in the safety of his own dorm.

He works on ignoring that the blanket that he drapes over the back of the couch is plush and a gentle light blue. Not light enough to be pastel, but close. He definitely doesn't think about how cozy Yagi must look on the grey UA couch with this soft blue blanket leaned into the white accent pillows he sets on either end of the couch. Despite that particular failure, Aizawa succeeds in getting a surprising number of books settled onto the bookshelf without looking at a single title. By the time he is done with the living room he not only feels like some sort of stalker, but an exhausted one at that.

Starting toward the last tote in the bedroom, he freezes halfway down the short hallway. There is something infinitely worse about the thought of touching anything in Yagi's bedroom. His desire to help is almost immediately overpowered by how self-conscious he feels as Aizawa reasons that surely unpacking the kitchen and living room is more than enough and that he does not want to intrude on anything that could be more private than a coffee mug or the snowflake patterned tea kettle that had rested on the stove top. Yes, he decides, it is definitely time to go.

A soft click causes Aizawa to flinch as he registers the sound of the door opening. His stomach immediately unclenches at the thought that Hizashi might have come to help him after his radio show after all. That must be what the call earlier was about, he reasons.

"I thought you said you couldn't make it 'Zashi," Aizawa throws over his shoulder as he turns to meet his friend. Unfortunately, since he exists, and the universe has the need to show that it hates him, he isn't met by the exuberant greeting he's expecting. Brows furrowing in concern at the short but dominant silence, Aizawa quickly rounds the corner to be met by a significantly taller blonde than he'd been anticipating.

"Fuck," he says before he can think better of it as the floor resolutely refuses to give him an exit. Yagi looks...not all the way angry? He's really not sure what the looks he's met with means, but Aizawa can't help but feel trapped under the older man's intense gaze. Uncomfortably aware that his only social acceptable exit is being blocked, he successfully represses the desire to flee the awkward situation. He can feel the heat of embarrassment searing along his face and up his neck.

"Welcome home?" he asks more than says, as Yagi's eyes continue to pin him to his spot leaning around the corner. Aizawa's mouth goes dry as Yagi's expression slowly changes from...whatever the last look was to surprise.

"I wasn't expecting anyone here," Yagi deadpans.

"No shit. You're supposed to be at the hospital," Aizawa retorts reflexively. He has to get out of here before he says something even stupider. Sighing heavily he continues, "I, uh, we thought that it might be...nice? For you to have...things....settled when you got back," he supplies lamely. He is surprised by how much he feels like a student caught out after curfew in this moment.

"I see," Yagi acknowledges with a nod and his gaze turns thoughtful. "Would you like some tea?"

He can't help tilting his head at the question. "You do realize you just got home from the hospital, right? You should be resting not trying to entertain."

At that, Yagi bursts out laughing, and Aizawa can't help but notice that it's the first time he's really heard more than a chuckle from the man. It's full and bright and heavy and it reminds him of a church bell.

"I don't-" he starts, but Yagi puts a hand up to stop him from continuing as laughter continues to wrack his thin frame.

When he finally stops laughing he shakes his head wiping at his eyes. When he looks at Aizawa again his expression is light. "So you break into my dorm to help out, and then complain when I try to thank you?" Yagi teases.

It takes longer than it should for the words to register. "I...but...you should," he flusters before pinching irritably at the bridge of his nose and taking a deep breath. "Sit down and I'll make some tea for you," Aizawa all but orders which starts Yagi laughing again.

In the end, Aizawa ends up making them both a mug. It gives him something to ground himself with as he perches on the other end of the older teacher's couch awkwardly. The two of them have never been close, but he has to admit that they aren't solely acquaintances any longer. Especially now that he's been caught doing something that a casual acquaintance would not do.

"I didn't expect to see you here," Yagi echoes the statement from only minutes earlier. The tall man bows his head slightly and fixes his gaze to his mug. "I have to admit that I was pretty sure that you hated me." It's said softly, almost shyly.

Aizawa can't help the flush of embarrassment he feels as every gruff, short, or downright rude thing he's ever said to Yagi replays in his mind in roughly half a second. He hates when Hizashi is right. He really has been tougher on the other man than he's meant to be.

"I...can see why you'd think that," he admits without looking in Yagi's direction. Steeling himself for entirely too much openness, Shouta fixes his gaze to the wall across from him and focuses on pretending that he's alone before he starts speaking. "I'm...I've been an asshole. Sometimes I'm a bit...harsher? than I mean to be...especially with people that I want to get to know. I don't know why, but it's always been a problem. Nemuri saw through it and Hizashi was pretty sure I was joking the whole time or I'm not sure we'd have ever gotten to be friends in the first place. I don't hate you. I'm...I'd like to get to know you better, maybe get to be friends. If I haven't completely fucked that up, that is." He trails off as he lets the words hang in the air. Shouta forces his mind to be silent before he can start thinking of all of the ways he's about to be kicked out of Yagi's space. It would serve him right for making someone as kind as him think he was disliked for over a year.

Whispering fabric and a soft creaking of the couch tells him that Yagi is shifting in his seat. Shouta keeps his eyes fixed on the wall. He's honestly not sure if he would prefer to be kicked out right now or not. When Yagi doesn't say anything after several moments Shouta slowly begins to get more and more tense. It's not that he's ever disliked silence, but usually someone would have said something by now, right?

Finally, Yagi takes a breath and speaks. "I appreciate your honesty. I would like that." The words are simple, with no animosity that Shouta can detect, but he can't help but notice that proverbial ball is back in his court. He reasons that he'll have to dig deep and come up with some sort of topic of conversation if he wants to actually follow through with the previous statement that he wants to be friends.

"Maybe I can help you unpack or something while you're healing up?" he offers lamely as he forces himself to meet Yagi's gaze.

The older man's kind eyes somehow soften even more as Shouta's offer seems to settle. Yagi looks away from Shouta and gestures at his bookshelf with his casted arm. "You mean something like you not putting away books like you're drunk?" Yagi says with a smirk. It's the first time he's actually tried to joke with Shouta and the fact that Yagi seems to have accepted his apology/invitation to be friends is not lost on him.

He smirks in response to the ribbing. "Well, so much of your teaching style is backwards, I only thought it'd make sense," he snipes back before getting up to straighten the mess he's made. Honestly, the upside down titles he can understand, but how he'd put books away backwards is a bit excessive. Was he really that stressed out?

The two spend the next few hours in easy conversation testing the flow of conversation now that Yagi knows that Shouta wasn't being intentionally mean when he's talking to him. It's not exactly comfortable, but as they go it begins to feel like something close to it.

"You're more than welcome to come back tomorrow. The weekend isn't over, and I wouldn't turn down a bit of help if you're not busy," Yagi says as Aizawa pulls his boots on.

The underground hero can't help but feel a bit suspicious of the phrasing. Yagi never asks for help. Still, it would be nice to know that he isn't sitting around alone all day. Plus, it would be nice to get to be around the man more now that some of the tension is gone. It's a good start and he doesn't want to waste it. "Sure, I'll bring over the papers I need to grade. Let me know if you want anything. I remember how irritating those thing are," he answers inclining his head toward Yagi's cast. It's the older man's dominant arm if he recalls correctly.

"Sounds good, I'll see you then Aizawa!" Yagi affirms with a sunny smile.

On the short walk back to his dorm Aizawa slips his phone from his pocket to see a missed call from Hizashi and several texts back to back.

H: Dude you need to answer. 1:10p

H: I just saw Yagi coming back. 1:10p />

H: Sho, you're totally gonna get busted. 1:10p

H: Good luck man. I'll send flowers to your funeral. 1:20p

He shakes his head at his friend before typing up a quick reply. 4:12p

S: I'm fine. We talked. I'm going back over tomorrow.

Even as he hits send Aizawa can't help but read the words over again thinking about the way his heart had knocked painfully against his ribs at the smile he'd gotten on his way out.

S: I'm going to die. 4:13p