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Saturday night, Hizashi accidentally gets smashed at Kayama’s apartment.

It’s hardly even a party. It’s just Hizashi and Kayama and Tensei drinking, because Shouta has patrol tomorrow and he’s being responsible. A few people have already gone home--notably, Ms. Joke, whose name Hizashi has forgotten so many times it would be embarrassing to ask again (she doesn’t enunciate very well, either, so Hizashi never quite grasps it). They’re loosely grouped in Kayama’s living room, and Hizashi’s a little bit drunk.

Maybe a lot bit drunk. 

He’s going to regret this in the morning. Alcohol isn’t good for him, in more ways than one. But he’s about to have a jam-packed week, and he feels like he deserves it. He’s half on his husband’s lap and giggly and tipsy, and he’s in the perfect mood for deciding to worry about consequences later. 

“True or false,” Kayama says, from where she’s lying flat on the ground. “Recovery Girl is a MILF.”

“True,” Tensei says immediately, raising his glass. 

“What, NO,” Hizashi says, and the word rattles the room around them and Kayama hisses at him as a few books on the bookshelf tip over. “Shit, sorry, but she is not a MILF .”

“Fair point. I suppose we can’t be sure she’s a mom,” Tensei concedes. 

Kayama says, wiggling her eyebrows, “She could be my mom if she wanted.”

Kayama ,” Hizashi admonishes, horrified. Shouta laughs, slight enough that Hizashi only feels it. “She’s a coworker.

“Not for me,” Tensei says. “You think she’s into doctor stuff?”

“I’m begging you to stop,” Hizashi says. He wobbles a little bit, and Shouta pulls him closer into his lap so he doesn’t fall off the couch. “Recovery Girl is a respected professional in her field.”

“You literally used to run a Twitter account about All Might’s thighs. You’ve become quite the prude in your married days,” Kayama says sleepily. She looks like she’s about to pass out--she’s always been a lightweight. 

Hizashi says, in a low tone, “Not when it comes to Shouta,” and Kayama gags and Tensei snorts sake up his nose and Shouta gently, lovingly, shoves Hizashi off his lap onto the floor. “ Babe!” Hizashi yelps, and the (thankfully empty) glass he’s holding shatters in his hand. He hadn’t even thought he was being that loud , but apparently--yikes.

“Oops,” Shouta says, no hint of remorse in his voice.

“Control your fucking quirk or I’m kicking you out,” Kayama says. Tensei’s rubbing his ears and wincing. 

Hizashi picks glass shards off the floor, his fingers too big and clumsy all of a sudden. “You’re not my dad leave me alone,” he mumbles to Kayama, trying to focus on cleanup. “Serves you nasties right for being...nasty.”

“Wow why don’t you look at your own glass house before throwing rocks--” Kayama starts.

“Let’s head home before we break anything else,” he hears Shouta say, intervening before Hizashi and Kayama can get into a fight, and a soft hand cards through Hizashi’s hair. “Stop touching the glass with your bare hands, sweetheart. Where’s a broom?”

“Closet,” Kayama says, not budging an inch from her spot on the floor except to roll her head to one side to look at Tensei. “You can crash here if you like, Tensei.”

“I do like,” Tensei agrees, and crawls up onto the armchair with express intent to fall asleep immediately. “I do not wanna take the train tonight.”

Shouta gets up and returns with a broom, and nudges Hizashi out of the way to sweep the glass into a pile. Before HIzashi knows it, he’s being bundled back into his coat and shepherded out the door. 

“Goodnight,” Kayama says. Tensei grunts a similar thing from his spot on the couch.

“Goodnight, listeners!” Hizashi says, his face feeling warm and a headache already creeping up on him. “Drink some water before you fall asleep, probably.”

You drink water,” Tensei says irritably, because getting up to drink water would mean...well, getting up.

“Bye Shouta!” Kayama says. 

“Bye,” Shouta says. He looks amused and soft and he accepts a sloppy cheek kiss from Hizashi. At this angle, Hizashi can’t see Shouta’s mouth very clearly, so he just hears a buzz of Shouta saying something like, “Hope you-------------and-----------------.”

“Fuck off,” Tensei says, laughing, and Hizashi’s sorry he missed Shouta’s comment.

They step out into cold night air and the door shuts behind them. Hizashi leans into Shouta’s side for the walk home, and purposefully ignores that the alcohol has been increasing the ringing in his ears for several hours now.

 

Sunday morning, Hizashi regrets his general life decisions.

When Shouta gets home with food for lunch around one in the afternoon, he finds a barely-awake Hizashi clutching a mug of coffee, slouched over the dinner table. Shouta says something that Hizashi can’t quite hear, and Hizashi grunts in false acknowledgement.

Hizashi’s ears have been ringing since his quirk manifested at age four and he’d blown out his own eardrums in a scream that was part of, in his opinion, a very rock-and-roll temper tantrum. By the time he’d gotten to his third year of school and a concerned teacher had asked, “Doesn’t your quirk hurt your ears?” and slapped a pair of noise-cancelling headphones on him, Hizashi was already looking at moderate hearing loss--and the ringing only got louder as his hearing worsened. 

Some days, he can ignore it completely. Even on medium-bad days, he can handle it. But today, the alcohol he’s still sweating out has worsened it, and his stress level is pushing it to an untenable point. 

It’s really bad today, and his husband (his beautiful, amazing, supportive, hearing husband) always forgets not to talk with his mouth full when they eat together.

Hizashi would point this out (they’ve talked about this before) but--he’s so hungover right now that he can’t guarantee he won’t snap. And it’d be making a big deal out of something that doesn’t need to be a big deal. Shouta’s already gone above-and-beyond what Hizashi would expect--Shouta’s learned a lot of sign language, and he’s altered the way he talks to make it easier to read his lips, and he’s the best --and Hizashi doesn’t want to ask too much.

Either way, they don’t talk a lot during lunch. Hizashi has pulled his stack of grading towards him to try and power through it, and Shouta isn’t much of a talker after patrol.

Shouta says as he gets up to go take a nap, “Could-----need to-----before I----okay?”

Hizashi wants to scream, but unfortunately, his own damn screaming is what’s gotten him into this mess. So he blinks frustrated tears away, and he asks, taking a wild shot in the dark, “Could you write me a note so I remember to do that?”

Shouta nods, and then he’s gone back into the kitchen

Hizashi is supposed to be grading essays, but he’s been staring at the front page of somebody’s incorrectly-formatted paper for half an hour now. He can’t think. He can’t think about anything that isn’t the high-pitched buzz in his ears that’s setting his teeth on edge, and the dull ache of his hangover that feels like his brain is being scrubbed on a dry washing board.

Shouta’s hand rests heavy on his shoulder, and Hizashi jumps out of his skin. 

“Sorry. What was that?” Hizashi asks, tearing his eyes away from the tabletop too slow to catch the response.

Shouta makes a humming noise, which is probably a full sentence that Hizashi can’t make out right now. His lips are moving too fast. Shouta hands over a Post-It note, which says, grocery shopping .

“I would love nothing more than to do that tomorrow after school,” Hizashi says, in his carefully crafted bright radio tone. “Have a good nap, darling.”

Shouta kisses the top of his head. He rumbles something else. It’s “See-----------switch-----night.”

Hizashi’s throat is closing up. Desperately, he looks for context clues. Judging by the texts that Shouta’s been sending for a while, Shouta’s probably picked up a double patrol shift tonight. Hizashi wants to ask Shouta to stay in and keep him company this evening, but he can’t do that every single time that he’s feeling clingy--Shouta would work maybe one day a month. (Plus, Hizashi can’t even be sure that’s what Shouta’s said.)  

“Okay. I love you. Sleep well,” is the response that Hizashi gives, after all of that deduction.

Shouta leaves, and the bedroom door closes behind him. Hizashi counts to a hundred and then back down to one to keep himself from screaming in frustration at himself.

He makes some headway through the essays after he cries a little bit, and does some stretching to try and get his heart rate back down. Then, eighteen papers later, he’s back where he was a few hours ago. 

And now it’s six thirty in the evening and he’s crashing from his coffee. He makes himself another cup, and starts on dinner for himself and Shouta.

 

“Well, look what the cat dragged in,” Nedzu says jovially, loud enough for Hizashi to hear just fine, as Hizashi and Shouta shuffle themselves into the teachers’ lounge Monday morning. 

“Ha,” Shouta says, in a much lower tone, one that’s much harder for Hizashi to understand. “We--------------you know-----.”

“Ah, I remember my twenties,” Nedzu says, smugly sipping from a mug. Hizashi isn’t sure how old Nedzu is, and he isn’t sure if it would be rude to ask. “Still, you------late.”

“Won’t happen again!” Hizashi reassures. He hones in on Nedzu’s mug. “Is the coffee machine still broken?” He feels like death warmed over. He hadn’t been able to sleep the previous night, and he doesn’t remember a second of his radio shift this morning. He’s surviving on caffeine alone and his heart is skipping beats to prove it. 

“------------------.” Nedzu says, snout still in his cup. “Could I----------------tea?”

Hizashi stares. His brain is moving far too slowly for him to even guess what Nedzu’s saying.

“That’s alright,” Shouta says, a beautiful knight in black tracksuit armor. “We should go to class.”

Hizashi nods, and smiles. He wonders how long he’s going to be able to pull this shit off without anyone noticing.

 

“I just remembered that the kitchen sink knob finally broke off this morning,” Shouta states as soon as he sees Hizashi enter the teachers’ office during lunch. They’d had a running feud with the kitchen sink for the past few months, and apparently today is the day that the sink wants to escalate things.

“Oh, we should deal with that,” Hizashi says.

Shouta looks disgruntled, and also very lost. “Are we supposed to tell the landlord?”

Ken doesn’t glance away from his computer, but he says, “I could help you guys replace it. Do you think------landlord------------?”

“Are you gonna try to fix it with cement or something?” Hizashi asks.

Ken turns his head and just blinks at Hizashi until Hizashi feels kind of stupid. “No,” Ken says slowly, “I could use my basic knowledge of tools to-------------------.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Hizashi asks. “Why would I know how to do that?”

“I felt like as an adult you would----------,” Ken says. Hizashi trusts Ken as someone who is humble and kind, but deep down Hizashi suspects that Ken loves saying shit like that, because he’s three years younger than Hizashi and Shouta and he’s just so perfect

Kayama chooses that moment to wander in, looking altogether too content and well-adjusted for someone in her current life situation, and Ken asks her, “Hey Kayama. Do you think you could fix-----------on the Aizawa-Yamada household’s sink?”

“Hell yeah,” Kayama says, perfectly confident. “I actually just installed new kitchen cabinets. So, uh, I’m kind of crushing it right now.”

“Wait, really?” Hizashi asks. “Like, by yourself?”

“Yeah,” Kayama says, and preens. “I guess you could say I’m a home improvement god .”

Shouta says, “The broken leg on your coffee table is propped up by a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey .”

“Okay, bastard,” Kayama says, glaring, mood shifting immediately, “it’s actually Fifty Shades Darker, if you’re gonna be like that.”

 

After lunch, Hizashi gets called in to help with the first years’ rescue training. And then Hivemind gets one look at him and shakes her head and says, “Actually, could you go get Aizawa?”

Hizashi pouts. He looks to where the kids are waiting for the trolley to take them to USJ. “What! I’m totally ready to fight some kids right now.”

“I need someone who’s more rescue-oriented,” Hivemind says. Hizashi wonders if she’s used her quirk on him without him knowing, and knows that Hizashi’s brain is a mess right now.

“My rescue skills are on point,” Hizashi says, sulking. But she’s right in saying that it hadn’t been his strongest suit in high school.

“You look like you haven’t slept in a month,” Hivemind says, and shakes her head, muttering, “Damn teenagers.”

“My hu--Shout-- Aizawa ’s my same age, you bigot,” Hizashi says, and while she does laugh at that, she isn’t moved. “Fine. I’ll tell him to meet you there.”

“Take it easy, kid,” Hivemind says. “You still have lots of career to go.”

Hizashi rubs his eyes, and tries to ignore the bone-deep exhaustion he’s feeling. “I’m aware. Thanks, grandma.”

She’s definitely used her quirk on him, because she snaps her fingers and his brain spasms, experiences just a split second of absolute pain as she takes over his mind. He shrieks, and she releases control and says, wincing, “That wouldn’t have worked------------------overextended. Feel lucky that I won’t tell ‘your Shouta’ about that.”

“Good HEAVENS,” Hizashi gasps, massaging at his temples and trying to blink away the new spots in his vision. The pain is completely gone, because it wasn’t his to begin with, but he’s still reeling. The students are gawking at him, whispering, probably having just seen Hivemind’s quirk work in person for the first time. “I’m filing a complaint with HR.”

“I am HR,” Hivemind says, which is more intimidating than it has any right to be. The trolley screeches into view, and she pats Hizashi’s shoulder. “See you around, Mic. You--------------nap.”

You take a nap, octogenarian,” Hizashi mumbles, but then he backs away and takes off before she can mess with his brain again.

 

“Have you eaten?” is the first thing Hizashi says when he gets home from (a long, tiring, boring, uneventful) patrol shift. He’s getting to his breaking point, tinnitus-wise, and he’s ready to crash for the night, but he finds Shouta in his spot on the couch looking a little worse-for-wear, so crashing is going to have to wait until he’s sure Shouta’s okay.

The sound of the front door snapping shut must have just woken Shouta up from a nap because he blinks blearily at Hizashi, disoriented. “What did you say to me?”

“I asked if you’ve eaten today, my dear,” Hizashi says patiently. “I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t eat lunch, so let me cook for you!”

“I did too have lunch,” Shouta grouches. 

“Applesauce pouches are not lunch . It’s only one food group.”

“It’s at least two.” Shouta scowls and curls up on the couch again, shoving his face into a pillow. Hizashi’s relatively sure that Shouta’s current food issues are a byproduct of being preoccupied with his to-do list, and not indicative of a relapse into...previous food issues, but Hizashi’s worried anyway. “I didn’t-------------. --------,” Shouta says.

“Haha,” Hizashi says weakly, not even trying with that one. “Well, I’m making ramen. So. You want egg and ham in yours?”

“Yes.” Shouta says. Or at least, that’s what Hizashi hopes he’s said, because he didn’t really make it out and also Shouta needs more protein.

Hizashi goes to the bedroom to change into his pajamas, and then goes back to the kitchen to take some painkillers for his headache, and then he starts dinner. They have some instant ramen packets, because he’d seen how cheap they were to buy in bulk and had gone a little crazy, and he puts some eggs and hot water on to boil before sitting on the kitchen floor to wait, head on his knees. The kitchen sink knob is still broken off, so he has to stick his finger into the cavity and wiggle around to get hot water. It’s all very exciting.

Shouta wanders into the kitchen, stretching, sleepy, and sinks to the floor next to Hizashi. He rests his head on Hizashi’s shoulder, and the two of them stare at the stove as they wait for the water to boil.

“My first act after wooing, seducing, and marrying number one pro hero All Might will be getting rid of Mondays entirely,” Hizashi finally sighs.

Shouta snorts. “Are you gonna divorce me first? Or----------after---------?”

“I’m gonna marry both of you. I would never leave you for him.” Hizashi pauses. “Probably.”

Shouta says, “He’d never marry someone who runs an Instagram account about his ass.”

“That’s ran , past-tense!” Hizashi corrects. “He’d never have to know!”

“As if I wouldn’t----------------------,” Shouta says, “to sabotage your marriage to him.”

“You play dirty,” Hizashi says.

“I get results.”

They sit in quiet for a little while longer, after Hizashi is unable to think of a way to outsmart his husband and slide into All Might’s DMs. 

Shouta eventually pokes Hizashi in the ribs. “Did you take something------your headache?”

Hizashi’s face flushes, and he turns his head to look at Shouta directly. “Yeah. How the hell did you know I had a headache?”

Shouta hums at him. “I can always tell.”

The kettle whistles, and Hizashi gets up off the floor to fix up dinner. He bustles around, cutting the boiled eggs into thick slices and pouring boiling water over the dried noodles and generally being proud of himself for putting together a meal that isn’t a protein shake.

He misses something Shouta’s said. He misses it more than once, because Hizashi feels Shouta tap him on the shoulder and finally clues in that the humming noise for the last few seconds had been Shouta talking to him. Fuck.

“Oh--sorry, what?” Hizashi asks, and turns to face Shouta.

“I asked if you want juice to drink with dinner,” Shouta says. He squints at Hizashi. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah! I just drank my dumb bitch coffee blend this morning,” Hizashi says, with a self-deprecating laugh. “I’d love some juice. If it’s not boxed.”

“Juice boxes keep me from spilling my juice,” Shouta says, but he refuses to drop the previous subject. “Are your ears ringing today?”

“Kind of,” Hizashi hedges. He doesn’t want to give Shouta another thing to worry about. And if he says, my ears are always ringing louder and louder and louder and I’m in hell, Shouta will definitely worry.

“You should’ve said something,” Shouta says, “I literally talked with my face in a pillow like an asshole.”

“You’re not an asshole,” Hizashi says. “It’s not that bad, seriously. Time to eat. You have to leave soon.”

Shouta sits down at the table, understanding that he’s supposed to let the conversation end. Still, he doesn’t talk with his mouth full once during the meal, and while it’s common courtesy, Hizashi appreciates the gesture.

 

“Get up, you dumb motherfucker,” Hizashi tells himself. “Up and at ‘em.”

It’s four in the morning, and he needs to get ready to go to the radio station. Shouta’s not home yet, but the bed is still comfy without him and Hizashi would do anything to roll over and sleep for three more hours. Four hours of sleep isn’t enough to keep him functioning anymore.

A few minutes later, his alarm goes off again. Unlike a traditional alarm clock, which carries the risk of Hizashi not being able to hear it some mornings, his clock is attached to a thin vibrating pad that goes under the sheets and basically shakes him awake. It’s not pleasant, but it’s better than the alternative--a piercing shriek of an alarm that would wake up the neighbors above and below their apartment every morning.

“I’ll kick your ass,” Hizashi threatens (to himself), when he’s still no closer to moving after snoozing the alarm a second time. “Okay. Three-two-one.”

He hauls himself out of bed and staggers into the shower, shivering when his bare feet hit the uncarpeted floor and then shivering harder when he’s forced to get under a cold stream of water. Apparently, the water heater in the basement of their building is broken again. 

Shouta knocks on the bathroom door, an indeterminable amount of time later. “You’re late, -------------------?”

“One second,” Hizashi says, and turns off the water and stumbles out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. He stares in the mirror at the dark circles under his eyes, and wonders if he has enough time to do some makeup. Looking closer, he realizes with horror that he’s breaking out across his chin and forehead--most likely the result of how poorly he’s been treating himself this week. 

“------------,” Shouta says.

Hizashi steps over and slides the bathroom door open. “What?”

“I said , I can make you breakfast,” Shouta says. He smiles tiredly at Hizashi’s bedraggled, soaking-wet appearance. There’s a mess of band-aids littered across Shouta’s face and arms, and he looks about ready to crash into bed until he has to get up for school. “Get dressed.”

“You don’t need to make anything,” Hizashi tries to tell him.

Shouta kisses Hizashi’s cheek, then recoils noticeably. “Why are you so cold?”

“The hot water is broken again,” Hizashi whines. He lunges forward to press his cold hands to Shouta’s warm neck, but Shouta dodges out of the way and runs back out of the bedroom to avoid him, leaving a cackling Hizashi in his wake.

 

He wanders through the halls up to Shouta’s classroom as soon as it’s time for lunch. Hizashi usually waits for Shouta in the teachers’ office, but Hizashi’s feeling kind of restless and jumpy from the fatal dose of coffee he’d slammed this morning (six shots of espresso, baby!) and he wants to find Shouta as soon as possible.

Shouta’s stayed behind with a student, who Hizashi finally recognizes as Ueda-Who-Never-Raises-Her-Hand. (Hizashi’s still putting names to faces, and so his students all have a general trait or geographic location in the classroom that he associates with them to try and get more connected with them. It’s only kind of working.)

“I’d ask Present Mic or Uprise,” Shouta says, and he looks up and sees Hizashi in the doorway. His face doesn’t split into a wide smile, but Hizashi’s heart still swells up at the adoring look that Shouta sends his way (though to Ueda, she probably couldn’t tell the difference). “Speak of the devil.”

Ueda ducks her head, sheepish, and then says, “Hi, Present Mic-sensei. Uh. I just got an-----------------------, -----------I had to move out of my house suddenly? And I was trying to ask Aizawa-sensei how to get renter’s insurance.”

Hizashi doesn’t comment on the moving-out thing, because Ueda looks kind of cagey. He takes a brief moment to be proud of her for sensing that Shouta’s one of the teachers with the most experience with getting kicked out of a home, and then Hizashi switches to being obnoxious. “Oh--you should’ve come to me first! Eraserhead has no idea how to do that!”

Shouta scowls at him. “Shut up.”

Hizashi beams at Ueda, his hurry to eat lunch with Shouta forgotten. “You know, don’t feel bad. Eraserhead didn’t pay his taxes until we became roommates! And I don’t think he knew what insurance was until I asked him if he had it. Quite alright! If you want to come to the teachers’ office after school, I can help choose a few options.”

“I didn’t need insurance,” Shouta says. He’s kind of sulking. “I wasn’t planning on burning my house down or anything.”

“But tax evasion is a federal crime,” Ueda says. She looks faint.

“It worked out fine,” Shouta says.

“Snitches get stitches!” Hizashi trills. 

Ueda looks between Hizashi and Shouta. “I thought like, teachers at UA were…”

“We’re professional heroes,” Shouta says, his glare deepening. “If you doubt our credentials--”

“I don’t!” Ueda hurries to say, terrified. “Anyway, I’ll see you after school, Present Mic-sensei. I need to go eat lunch.”

“Yes,” Shouta says. Ueda flees, brushing past Hizashi on her way out.

“You didn’t need to scare her,” Hizashi says, amused, after she’s out of earshot. “It is kind of funny that you’re a homeroom teacher for young impressionable minds.”

“Get off your damn high horse. You asked me last week if boiling cookie dough in water would take the salmonella out,” Shouta huffs, but he still allows Hizashi to fold him into a hug.

 

Hizashi has a free period that afternoon, and he’s still restless. He needs to fight some teenagers, after his last period of 2-B kids who had been so chatty (he loves talking with them but they never stop talking ), so he books it across the school to intercept Hivemind on her way to do hero training. He slips on the tile and executes a very smooth somersault to cover for it, popping back to his feet in front of her.

“Absolutely not,” Hivemind says before he can even ask. She steps around him.

“WHAT! Ugh, please?” Hizashi says. He jogs to catch up with her again. “You’re just doing one-on-one fight rotations and you have an odd number today!” Sugita had called in sick, and Hizashi tried not to be too worried about her (he knew Shouta had that particular worrying covered). “I haven’t had a chance to spar with any of them! They’re so cute and impressionable, it makes me wanna just punch ‘em, you know?”

“In my eyes, you’re the exact same age as them,” Hivemind says.

“Rude!” Hizashi gasps. “Anyway, you let Eraserhead fight them!”

“Aizawa doesn’t distract my students with native advertising for his radio show.”

That’s actually not a bad point. Hizashi still refuses to give up. “I won’t do that this time! I think I could help provide a…unique fighting experience. They haven’t fought someone pro with an offensive-type quirk yet, right?” They’ve reached the training dome, and Hizashi holds the door for Hivemind, who thanks him coolly and keeps walking, forcing him to run after her again. “They’re still babies but they’ll need to do it eventually!”

Fine ,” Hivemind snaps, rounding on him. “You------------------------.”

“YES!” Hizashi says, too loud, and the gathered students all look over to him. He waves, not even a little sheepish. “ Thank you!”

“Don’t go easy on them, but…” Hivemind and Hizashi both look out at the gathered first-years, whose baby faces look particularly...baby-like when they’re in their little gym uniforms. “I mean, just don’t deafen them for life.”
“You got it!” Hizashi says, and gives a double thumbs-up. He looks back at the students and shouts, “ Are you READY??? ” and gets no response whatsoever. Tough crowd.

 

“We weren’t this...beginner-level when we started, right?” Hizashi asks in a stage-whisper as he and Hivemind are the last people out of the dome. Hizashi’s barely injured--he just has a few burns and scrapes--which is almost unheard of after no less than ten encounters with various superpowered children.

“Your class was worse,” Hivemind says. 

Hizashi laughs. “No, but seriously. Are they...like, okay?”

Hivemind grimaces, and looks down at her clipboard. “I think-----------------------long way to go. I was talking with Aizawa--------------. -------------------full professor-----------would have expelled about eight of them already.”

“Sheesh,” Hizashi says. “Makes me worried for internship season.”

What it really makes him worried about is having a bunch of these kids’ fighting televised during the sports festival, which would essentially paint glowing targets on their backs for villains looking for an easy victim. Hizashi’s already had nightmares about things happening to his students on his watch, and Shouta’s the same way--and now those fears are only going to get worse. 

But the festival is months away. “Well, we’ll just have to whip them into shape!” Hizashi declares, and pumps his fist into the air. “We can do it!”

“You’re their English teacher ,” Hivemind says. 

“You’re trying really hard to hurt my feelings, but it won’t work!” Hizashi says, pointing at her determinedly. “I know you care somewhere deep down in there; because I saw you cry at my graduation!”

“Those were tears of joy,” Hivemind says. She heads for the door, and shuts the lights off behind her, leaving Hizashi in pitch black darkness. Her voice echoes back to him, bouncing off his cries of protest, but she says something along the lines of, “See you later, kid.”

 

Hizashi’s patrol Tuesday evening is sloppy, to put it nicely.

He doesn’t die. And nobody else dies. But that doesn’t mean he does a very good job.

“Could you focus for just like two seconds?” Ms. Joke asks, exhausted. She’s had a long day, too--she works just as many jobs as Hizashi does. “I said the police mentioned a spotting of that serial burglar at a house near here, so we need---------------. Got it?”

“Got it,” Hizashi says, holding up one hand in an American “rock on” gesture. The burglar’s been on their radar for a few days now, ever since he put someone in the hospital during his escape from a home and he’d been upgraded to someone that heroes had to worry about. “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize,” she says, “it’s been a really long week.”

“It’s Tuesday,” Hizashi says.

“Is it really?” Joke asks. “God.”

They find the burglar soon after that, because they literally watch him break and then climb through a back window of an expensive-looking home. Not the most subtle entrance, at eight in the evening on a Tuesday. But still, they’re here before the police, and it’s a quiet night. The home is dark, and it’s their job to apprehend this guy.

“After you,” Joke says. 

“Such a gentleman,” Hizashi says graciously, and heaves himself through the small window into the house, twisting awkwardly to fit his speakers through the gap.

The house is quiet, the only thing Hizashi hears is buzzing in his ears. It seems like it’s empty as he creeps down the hallway, Joke going in the opposite direction towards the stairs, but then he senses something, too late, and receives a heavy blow to the side of his head with a paperweight. He staggers, and turns, and realizes the burglar must have some kind of silencing quirk, because Hizashi doesn’t hear a thing as the burglar clocks him directly in the face, shattering his sunglasses.

(If he’d been thinking, Hizashi wouldn’t have been snuck up on like this. But that’s something for Hizashi to beat himself up about later.)

The burglar is big. He’s bigger than most burglars Hizashi’s encountered; almost a foot taller and built like a real beefy boy. Hizashi’s about to start some one-sided banter when he realizes with horror that part of Beef’s silhouette is a tiny kid held in front of him like a human shield. Fucking coward .

The kid is terrified. She’s shaking and crying and her wrist is swollen and purple and Hizashi sees red. (He sees the kids from an incident a few months ago that he still has nightmares about. He sees sixteen-year-old Shouta in the locker room at school, eyes distant and hands unsteady.)

“Just let me----------------------,” Beef says, hard to hear in the dark hallway. The two strikes to Hizashi’s head have worsened his tinnitus to an almost untenable point, but Hizashi locks his knees and stays on his feet. “----doesn’t----------.”

“Let go of her,” Hizashi says. He says it a little too loud, so Joke can hopefully hear it from downstairs.

Beef doesn’t appear to have a weapon, because he’s not holding it on the girl. Joke appears back at the top of the stairs, but Hizashi is too anxious to get the kid out of Beef’s hands that he just tells the little girl, “ Cover your ears .”

“What shit are you pulling,” Beef says, and raises one of his own hands to shield one ear. The little girl has immediately slammed both hands to either side of her head, and Joke is similarly braced. Hizashi wishes he could give the kid his headphones, but he’ll settle for a less violent noise attack until he can ensure her safety.

HEY ,” Hizashi barks, at only about ten percent of his potential volume, and Beef winces as the force of the noise rattles through the building. He’s rattled enough that the kid breaks free and meets Hizashi halfway. 

Beef snarls, “You couldn’t--------could you?” which would probably be much more threatening if Hizashi could hear him.

Joke sprints down the hallway, and engages Beef in combat so that Hizashi can focus on the child that’s looking to him for comfort.

“Are hurt, little listener?” Hizashi asks in a lower voice, crouching in order to examine her wrist. It looks sprained, but she shakes her head and latches onto his neck and buries her face in his shoulder. 

“You’re very brave,” Hizashi tells her brightly, and pats her back. He quickly slips off his headphones and puts them onto her much smaller head, and then straightens his legs and hoists her up so he’s carrying her on his hip. 

She’s sobbing into Hizashi’s shoulder now, but he can’t focus on that yet, and he skirts the edge of the fight to run down the stairs. Beef, while doubled over in laughter, is still managing to hold his own in combat, but Hizashi needs to get the kid out before helping Joke.

And then, thankfully , Hizashi sees the flash of police lights through the front window as he hits the bottom of the stairs.

Beef must see them too, because makes a break for it. As he shoves past Hizashi, Hizashi shouts, “ HOLD ON, BUDDY ,” and the noise of it ripples through the air, knocking down a few framed paintings and rattling the light fixtures and doing further damage to Hizashi’s ears and sending the burglar to the ground, clutching his head.

The kid, in Hizashi’s arms, flinches.

It all goes fast after that. Hizashi’s pulled aside by someone with a medical quirk to pull shards of his sunglasses out of his skin, and then someone else uses a towel to wipe blood out of his head wound, and someone else pries the kid’s injured wrist away from her stomach to bandage it. The kid clutches to Hizashi with her good arm the whole time, but soon, her parents screech up to the scene and she runs to latch onto them instead. 

Hizashi feels alone, as his one anchor to the situation has disappeared (and he hasn’t even gotten a chance to talk to her and make sure she’s okay after all that).

Something about the sudden appearance (and then departure) of a terrified kid, and the realization that Hizashi’s a fucking idiot who didn’t check rooms carefully as he progressed through an active arrest, and the stitches that someone starts sewing into his cheek mean that he becomes overwhelmed pretty quickly.

Joke taps his knee. He looks up at her, dazed. She says something, and he stares blankly at her, because there’s no way in hell he’s capable of guessing what she’s saying right now.

YOU INJURED? Hizashi asks. She looks at him, mirroring the blank look that he’d given her, and then gets back to her feet and leaves.

Joke has ignored his feeble attempts at signing, and Hizashi can’t hear a fucking thing that anyone’s saying, so there’s no point in trying to communicate--and so he shuts down. He just listens to sirens and the ringing in his head and the noise of his heart beating too fast from all the caffeine he’d needed to come out on patrol.

An amount of time must pass after that, because suddenly Shouta’s there--likely summoned by Hizashi’s patrol partner (it’s kind of a relief, knowing that Joke hadn’t just abandoned him completely). Something about seeing his husband, openly upset and rushing to get his arms around Hizashi, snaps Hizashi out of his funk in an instant. 

Whether or not Hizashi’s change in mood is an act is up for debate. 

Hizashi focuses on Shouta’s worried eyes, straightens his posture, and says brightly, “Aw, did you miss me? I was just about to head home, and pick up some food too!”

Shouta says, concerned, WHAT HAPPENED?

Hizashi will need to do a lot of sweet-talking to convince Shouta that he’s all good.

“Just a little burglary. Everyone’s safe.” Hizashi needs to keep reminding himself that. “I thought you were headed out on patrol soon. Did you sleep?”

A LITTLE BIT. Shouta isn’t fooled in the slightest by Hizashi’s nonchalance. He crouches and puts his hands on Hizashi’s shoulders, and slowly moves them down Hizashi’s arms, trying to comfort him for a few minutes. Hizashi must be shaking.

“Did--” Hizashi swallows. His throat is dry. “Did the burglar have a quirk?”

“What?” Shouta asks, and Hizashi repeats the question. Shouta looks to Hizashi’s left, and his mouth forms the question to whoever’s standing there, and then Shouta looks back to Hizashi. PHYSICAL QUIRK. STRONG, Shouta signs.

Beef hadn’t had a silencing quirk after all. Hizashi’s hearing is well and truly fucked, and it’s now officially infringing on his hero work. He needs to tell someone .

“Honey,” Shouta says, putting his hands back onto Hizashi’s shoulders.

“Hey,” Hizashi says, dragging himself back to the present by force.

YOU-ME GO HOME.

“I need to--” Hizashi tries, but Shouta shakes his head.

TIME-TO SLEEP. Shouta says, at the same time he’s saying something like, “I’ll----to-----home safe---------patrol” to whoever’s standing to the left of Hizashi.

Hizashi wipes at his face, skimming over the stitches, and his palm comes away wet with tears, but thankfully no blood. Shouta gently guides him to his feet. Hizashi forgets to thank Joke for her help as they walk past her, heading home. 

 

YOU ALRIGHT? Shouta signs, face still etched with worry, even though he’s just fed Hizashi and tucked him into bed and made himself half an hour late for patrol because he’d sat with Hizashi while Hizashi sobbed his eyes out and ranted about being a failure at his job for way too long.

YOU LATE. Hizashi laughs, a falsely cheery noise. GO TO WORK.

Shouta doesn’t smile. I CAN STAY.

IT’S OKAY. Hizashi pushes at Shouta, urging him to get out the door. PROMISE. BE SAFE.

I LOVE YOU, Shouta says. He doesn’t look too happy about leaving, but he kisses Hizashi’s forehead and hurries out the door after that. As much as they’d both love for him to make a grand gesture of affection and stay in to make sure Hizashi doesn’t break down again, they need rent money.

He waits until he’s sure that Shouta’s out of earshot. And then he sneakily slides out of bed and returns to his waiting stack of things to grade.

 

“go back to bed,” is the text that Hizashi gets exactly five minutes later. Shouta knows him dangerously well.

 

Shouta meets him at the radio station so that they can take the train to school together. Hizashi spots him through the recording booth window, bundled in an enormous scarf and holding two cups of what’s hopefully coffee, and Hizashi gets so excited to see him that he waves and smacks his hand into the microphone, almost knocking it to the floor.

“Oh no, no no no,” he says, overly theatrical, and catches the microphone before it can hit the ground. “It’s a bloodbath, oh God.”

His guest, a delightful eighteen-year-old pro fresh out of UA whose hero name is Citrine, laughs, leaning back from her microphone. “Oh, Present Mic’s seen someone he recognizes and has attempted to destroy the studio.”

“I’m so sorry to interrupt,” Hizashi says, re-tightening the microphone stand so that it won’t be as wobbly. “That’s my beloved, give me just a second.” 

Citrine had walked in with a woman who’d been introduced as Citrine’s girlfriend, so he trusts Citrine not to expose Hizashi’s secrets in a pre-recorded radio interview. 

YOU GIVE-ME COFFEE? Hizashi asks. Shouta holds up one of the cups.

Hizashi yanks off his headphones and runs towards the studio door. 

“A coffee exchange is being facilitated,” Citrine narrates as Hizashi opens booth door, and Shouta hands him a cup down and allows Hizashi give him a too-loud smooch on the cheek before Shouta turns and retreats back to the lobby. “This is very sweet. How long-------been together?”

“I love you!” Hizashi calls after Shouta, and then returns to his microphone. “Oh, my,” Hizashi says to Citrine after an obnoxious slurp of coffee, “really good question. Maybe you can interview me on your show someday! But let’s get back to your story.”

“Alright, keep your secrets,” Citrine says, and then recovers her train of thought and goes back to talking about her debut. Hizashi is just about ready to offer her a job at the studio, because of her professionalism, and how put-together she is (only a few months out of high school and she’s doing amazing ). 

After the interview is over, and Hizashi’s putting away the extra microphone and saving audio files, Shouta comes back into the studio. 

“We’re gonna be late,” Shouta says, interrupting the chatter between Hizashi and Citrine.

“Oh--” Hizashi glances at the clock. “Oops. It was so good to have you on the show, kiddo, but I gotta run to my next job with this hunk.”

Citrine’s smile scrunches her face up as she extends a hand to Shouta. “I’m Citrine. It’s nice to meet you. Yamada said you’re his…’beloved’?”

Shouta sighs, but he doesn’t quite pull off the “annoyed” look as he shakes her hand. “Aizawa. We’re...partners. I understand your confusion.” He eyes Hizashi. “Are you gonna cut the part where you punched over a microphone and revealed our marriage on air?”

Hizashi shrugs demurely. “I don’t know, I think it added a certain charm.”

“Are you an underground hero?” Citrine asks Shouta. “I mean, you work with Present Mic--------------------------?”

“Yeah. We teach at UA,” Hizashi says, speaking for Shouta. Shouta glances to the clock again, and Hizashi gets the hint. “We should leave soon. I really wanna keep talking with you because you’re the coolest but--”

“I get it!” Citrine assures him. She picks up her coat from the back of her chair. Then she hesitates, like she wants to ask something else. “Just one more thing?”

Shouta hardly conceals his sigh of annoyance, and he signs, MEET YOU OUTSIDE before escaping from the studio. He gets antsy about train schedules.

“Don’t mind him, he’s just grumpy all the time. What’s up?” Hizashi asks Citrine.

“I--sorry, just--is he Deaf?” Citrine asks.

Hizashi stops moving, and blinks at her. “Sorry?”

“Sorry,” she says again, flustered, “I didn’t mean to presume anything. But you were signing with him? I’m just asking because my sister is Deaf and she got pressured to drop out of UA--------------------------Deaf UA teacher and pro hero-------------maybe-------------------want to sign up for some classes------------community college?”

“Woah,” Hizashi says. This is a conversation much too long for the three minutes he has before Shouta kicks the studio door in and drags Hizashi to the train station. “Woah. Okay. Aizawa’s not Deaf, I am.”

“Oh.” Citrine’s face, already bright red, gets even redder. “I’m sorry! I just assumed--”

“It’s okay,” Hizashi says. He wants to reach out and calm her down, but he doesn’t think they’re at the touchy-feely stage of friendship yet, so he just mimes taking some deep breaths until she heeds his advice. “I haven’t--told anybody, really. I have to run right now, but I’d love to talk with her sometime about this.”

“Would you?” Citrine asks, relieved. “She would make such a great hero but she said some of her teachers told her she wouldn’t make it in the hero world, and I want to help her.”

Hizashi isn't exactly the pinnacle of Deaf achievement. He doesn’t think it would be helpful to Citrine’s sister to say haha, actually I’ve just avoided announcing anything because there aren’t any Deaf pro heroes and my agency contract actually has a clause for disabilities that says if I file for disability status then my hours will be reduced. I know that doesn’t help you if you can’t pass as hearing but that’s just my advice, sweetie . That isn’t going to be inspirational for anyone

“Just--email me, and I’ll get coffee with you guys or something!” Hizashi says. He tries not to look too embarrassed as he says, “And please don’t spread that news around.”

“About your husband or about your hearing?” Citrine asks. She gives him a thumbs-up. “I won’t say a word. You just gotta get me on your show again when I release my album in a few months.”

“I feel like this is blackmail, almost,” Hizashi says. 

“Maybe it is!” Citrine says. She smiles.

 

It’s not until they’re two blocks from the studio and Hizashi has finished replaying Citrine’s conversation in his head, feeling very proud of her for her accomplishments and also for her initiative looking out for her sister, that a thought occurs to Hizashi.

“Shit, I think I want kids ,” he says. 

Shouta chokes on his drink so hard that coffee shoots out of his nose. He splutters and wipes his face and says, “Like, right now?”

Hizashi says, “This instant, yeah. NO, silly, I mean like in general. In the distant future.”

“Okay,” Shouta says, much calmer. He shakes his hand and drips of coffee fly off of it. “Could we start with a cat first?”

“Deal,” Hizashi says. “We can name her All Meow-t.”

“That name sucks shit.”

Hizashi smiles and links elbows with Shouta as they reach the train platform. “Yes. Yes it does.”

 

His classes always think it’s cool when Hizashi turns up to class with battle wounds. He’s only six or seven years older than them, on average, and he remembers being in their position--in awe of the pro hero that was teaching them, and speculating what he’d been up to on patrol that had left him injured like this.

Hizashi doesn’t want to get a big head, because he’s sure he’s not idolized in the same way he’d idolized teachers like Hivemind and Uprise and Ectoplasm when he was a first- and second-year student. But it’s still funny, and kind of flattering, when he hears one or two students whispering about what heroic antics he could have gotten up to at work last night.

And he can’t even pretend that he’s not soothed that he has this group of kids in his care for an hour, and he can keep them safe during that time. Hizashi’s not going to lie and say that he’s not still shaken by the patrol incident, when his negligence could have-should have led to a much worse outcome for that little girl. 

If he doesn’t get his shit together, it could happen again.

Sugita-in-the-Front-Row raises her hand during a time in class when people are supposed to be discussing the homework assignment in small groups. (Hizashi sees that some of them are taking this time to copy down answers, but he’s not in the mood to shout at them.) Sugita had been one of the students who’d noticed Hizashi’s less-than-picture-perfect appearance upon entering class. She notices a lot of things. 

“What can I help you with?” Hizashi asks, pointing at her.

“I had a question,” she says. 

“Shoot!”

She glances to her friend on her left (Tano-Who-Sits-With-Sugita), who looks equally invested in the conversation, despite not contributing verbally. Sugita asks, “You still do hero work, after school, right?” 

“Most nights a week,” Hizashi confirms.

“But you also do your radio show,” Sugita says.

“Every morning at five AM!” Hizashi agrees, beaming. 

“How do you do that?” Tano-Who-Sits-With-Sugita butts in, sounding frustrated. “I can hardly help with my parents’ shop anymore, and I just do school.”

They’re only first-year students, still bright-eyed and overwhelmed from the UA courseload. Hizashi is hesitant to scare them with the grim news that they’re going to have to do a lot at once, for the rest of their hero career. Hero work, until you get high up in the rankings, doesn’t pay an awful lot. Even teaching at UA isn’t a great salary so far, because Hizashi and Shouta are both still on trial basis.

“That’s easy! I made a lot of time in my schedule by deciding not to sleep!” Hizashi says. He smiles, like it’s a joke, while Tano and Sugita laugh.

 

Shouta comes back from patrol late. He picks up Hizashi from the couch and moves him into the bed again, after which he sneaks under the covers and wakes Hizashi up more with ice cold feet against Hizashi’s ankles.

“I love you. But what the fuck,” Hizashi mumbles, pulling his knees into his chest so that Shouta can’t touch any more icy body parts to them.

“What the fuck,” Shouta says back. 

Hizashi turns over, and blinks sleepy eyes at Shouta, in the dim light from the living room that they’d forgotten to turn off. “Was work okay?”

Shouta asks, “Was work okay?” He looks frustrated, and finally just holds up a hand and spells, P-A-R-R-O-T-H-E-A-D.

“Jimmy Buffett used his quirk on you?” Hizashi asks.

Shouta says, “Jimmy Buffet used--” and cuts himself off and then signs, annoyed, WHO J-I-M-M-Y B-U-F-F-E-T-T?

“What the hell, I literally played him on my station last week,” Hizashi says. “How could you possibly--! Never mind. It’s way too early for this."

“It’s way too early for this,” Shouta parrots back to him, and then burrows down under the covers.

Hizashi sighs, then turns over and goes back to sleep within seconds. 

 

Shouta takes a day off of school, because he won’t be able to do much teaching with the parroting quirk still keeping him from saying any sentences of his own. Hizashi calls in a sub to the radio show just to be with Shouta for the morning, but he still has to go teach. He’s ready to run out the door, but stops when he sees Shouta on the couch alone, watching a nature documentary, looking rather forlorn.

They’ve worked out a system, because Hizashi had quickly gotten tired of hearing Shouta simply sarcastically repeat everything he said. Hizashi runs through several hypothetical responses to his questions, and Shouta only echoes the one he agrees with. It’s slow, and it wouldn’t work in a classroom, but it’s keeping Hizashi from going insane whenever they’re both running around the apartment and they can’t sign to each other.

“Do you need anything before I leave?” Hizashi asks as he shoves his packed lunch into his bag. “Food? Kisses? Eye drops?”

“Eye drops?” Shouta mutters. It seems like patrol was rough on him last night, weird quirk effects aside, but Hizashi doesn’t think Shouta will want to talk about it. It’s the least that Hizashi can do to go and grab a bottle of eye drops from the kitchen counter and toss them over to his husband.

“Are you sure you’ll be okay? I can take today off, too,” Hizashi offers. He waits for an answer, but he doesn’t get one, and he says, “Oh, right. Uh. ‘That sounds great’?”

Shouta glares at him.

“‘I would love that, because I love spending time with my husband and I haven’t seen him in a few days’?” Hizashi offers up, fluttering his eyelashes as he yanks his coat on.

Shouta stares through him, stone-faced.

“This is unbelievable,” Hizashi huffs, and then tries another response. “‘No, I’m good, but I promise to take care of myself because you love me’?”

“No, I’m good, but I promise to take care of myself because you love me,” Shouta repeats, enunciating clearly, and his mouth finally curls up into a smile.

Hizashi stops for just a moment, smiling fondly back at Shouta, and Shouta signs, YOU OKAY AT SCHOOL?

YES, Hizashi insists. I LOVE YOU.

He leaves, carrying warmth with him out into the freezing-cold morning.

 

No ,” Hizashi says, and pivots on his heel sharply to pace across the living room floor again. Shouta’s grading papers at the dining table, occasionally giving Hizashi a supportive grimace as Hizashi makes another round across the room. 

They’d been in the middle of a rare quiet evening together when Hizashi’s mom had called, ruining Hizashi’s hopes for just one freaking quiet evening with his husband. He’s twenty-four fucking years old and he’s still anxious about talking to his mom on the phone, which he doesn’t want Shouta to see, but Shouta’s presence is also the only thing keeping him stable right now. 

“I’ve been busy this week. I called as soon as I could!” he insists.

“Okay,” his mom says, but she doesn’t sound like she believes him. “Not so shrill, Hizashi. I don’t know how your roommate puts up with you, considering---------------------.”

The volume on the phone is turned way up, and Hizashi winces because he knows that even if his mom is inaudible to him , Shouta’s heard all of that. Shouta frowns, and signs RUDE ASS, and Hizashi grins weakly at him.

“Sorry,” Hizashi says, for the eighth time today, turning away from Shouta again. “How was your week?”

“Oh, long. Kind of lonely. Your sister’s out of town again, it’s strange not having her around.”

Hizashi shouldn’t take this personally, because he knows that his mom isn’t saying it to make him feel bad. But she doesn’t miss him, really, and she’s still kind of annoyed that Hizashi hadn’t asked her for permission before moving out and sharing an apartment with Shouta. Hizashi’s mom really doesn’t like Shouta. (She dislikes Shouta almost as much as she dislikes Hizashi.) 

She talks for a while. Hizashi catches every fourth word and paces around his living room. He knows that she’s usually in a better mood after ranting for a while, and Hizashi’s embarassingly desperate to do anything to be more likeable in her eyes, even if he’s kind of freaking out.

“I had All Might on my show last week,” Hizashi tries when she’s taken a pause. 

She laughs, and Hizashi tells himself that it’s a laugh of recognition and not anything else. “Oh, I saw! I tried listening----------------but, you know, your voice-----------------------.”

You know I can’t listen to your god-awful obnoxious voice for longer than five minutes at a time , is what she probably said. Hizashi slumps, but he doesn’t let his voice do the same. “Haha. Yeah, I know. Thanks for trying, anyway.”

Shouta shoots him another look, full of concern, and Hizashi gives a sarcastic thumbs-up to show how great he feels right now.

“Of course,” his mom says.“Well, it was---------. -------have to go. Hope things are alright at school.”

“They’re fine,” Hizashi says. “Thanks. Okay. I love you bye.”

Shouta opens his arms, and Hizashi drops his phone on the table and falls into the hug without any hesitation at all.

“That sucked,” Hizashi says, his voice embarrassingly shaky. It’s an improvement to how he was in high school, when he would stop talking for days after his mom jabbed at his voice, but he still feels stupid. He wonders how to ask Shouta what his mom said about him without Shouta knowing that Hizashi’s mostly been guessing at what Shouta’s been saying all week (and he wonders how long he can complain about his mom before he’s just being rude to Shouta, who hasn’t talked to his mom in years).

“Yeah,” Shouta agrees, and rubs his hand up and down Hizashi’s back. It’s the first thing he’s said all day that’s not a direct echo of Hizashi’s words, but Hizashi is too out-of-it to even celebrate that a little bit.

 

Considering how focused both Shouta and Hizashi get on their work, it’s a one-in-a-hundred chance that both of them manage to get distracted. Maybe a one-in-ten, tonight, because both of them need a break, and it’s the one night of the school week that neither of them have to patrol in the evening. 

Either way--one minute, Hizashi’s hell-bent on getting through at least fourteen quizzes, and the next, he’s reached the end of his rope and he scoots over to where Shouta’s sitting on the couch next to him.

“Could you--” Hizashi says, annoyed, and when Shouta doesn’t move, Hizashi just stands up and straddles Shouta’s lap, effectively cutting Shouta off in the middle of a sentence he’s writing. 

“I’m in the middle of work right now,” Shouta says, but he leans back on the couch to make more room for Hizashi on top of him. There’s a soft smile on his face, like he’s relieved for a change of pace but he thinks he’s being more responsible by not saying that out loud.

“Nedzu keeps saying stuff about work-family balance,” Hizashi says, “so I’m doing that.”

“Please don’t talk about our boss while you’re sitting on my lap,” Shouta says. 

“I’m explaining myself ,” Hizashi says, rolling his eyes. He smooths some of Shouta’s hair out of his face, and takes a moment to stare at him. There are little grey hairs on either side of Shouta’s head. Shouta hasn’t seemed to notice yet (at least, he hasn’t had a vocal breakdown like Hizashi had when Hizashi noticed his own new grey hairs), but Hizashi thinks they look very distinguished. 

Shouta holds his gaze, patient, his hands resting lightly on Hizashi’s waist. He’s not much of a talker. (Which is good, because, increasingly, Hizashi isn’t that great of a listener.)

“This sweater is cute,” Hizashi says, as he leans forward and wraps both arms loosely around Shouta’s neck.

“Thanks,” Shouta says. He leans around Hizashi to toss his pen back onto the coffee table, then returns to his original position, pulling Hizashi in even more. “It’s yours.”

They’re very close now. It’s no longer a question of are we going to get back to work soon , and now more a question of how long before one of us caves .

“Come here often?” Hizashi asks casually, as if Shouta’s hands aren’t already up under the hem of his shirt. As if Hizashi’s version of “casual” isn’t breathless and flustered.

“I live here, honey,” Shouta says flatly, and while Hizashi breaks into giggling, Shouta loses his patience and tries to shut Hizashi up with a kiss. 

That does, in fact, succeed in shutting Hizashi up. He melts against Shouta, and pulls back (a minute? Two hours?) later, dazed and flushed and happy, and is opening his mouth to say something (probably witty and fun to make Shouta laugh) when Hizashi’s damn phone rings.

“Fuck me,” Shouta breathes, but not in a fun way. “If that’s your agency and they’re trying to get you to cover Aquathot’s shift or whoever--”

Aquathot?” Hizashi shrieks.

“Shut up,” Shouta says, blushing. “Is that not your coworker’s name I met that one time?”

Are you talking about Aquanome? ” Hizashi asks, feeling faint, but he’s unable to pursue this important conversation because his phone is still ringing. Hizashi leans across the couch to find his phone, and finds that the caller ID is, in fact, from his agency. “I’m sorry,” Hizashi says, and grimaces, and answers the call. “Present Mic!” he chirps.

“Hello, it’s Akiyama. This is last minute, but can you cover Aquanome’s shift tonight?” 

Akiyama is such a nice intern. She really doesn’t deserve the look of absolute rage that’s crossing Shouta’s face right now, and she doesn’t deserve Hizashi’s muffled laughter.

“Don’t take it,” Shouta mouths, comically outraged. He makes a grab for Hizashi’s phone, and Hizashi snickers and twists out of the way. It’s probably the first time in recorded history that Shouta’s actually endorsed declining a shift without medical reason.

“Oh, such a bummer, I can’t,” Hizashi says, trying his hardest to sound like a sincere adult having a conversation while Shouta presses appreciative kisses down his neck. “I’m sorry, if you’d called just fifteen minutes ago--”

“It’s no problem,” Akiyama says. She sounds curious as to what exactly is going on on Hizashi’s end, but she’s much too polite to ask. “Sorry to interrupt your evening.”

“No worries! Good luck finding someone,” Hizashi says, as if that’s any encouragement at all. “Have a good night.”

He hangs up, and tosses his phone to the side. Hizashi hovers just out of Shouta’s reach, just enough that Shouta gets frustrated, and says casually, “I wonder why Aquathot called in sick.”

Shouta tries to snarl, “Shut up,” but he’s laughing and it kind of ruins his threatening persona.

 

Hizashi wakes up because Shouta’s arm around his waist suddenly tightens to a death grip. He has a split-second wakeup thought of I’m being wrestled with but then he comes back to himself and twists to look at his husband and finds that Shouta’s having a nightmare.

Their schedules rarely allow them to sleep at the same time, so neither of them have been privy to each others’ nightmares for a few weeks--and while Hizashi can’t say he’s missed it, it at least means he’s here to help. Shouta’s face is shiny with sweat in the dim light from the window, and he’s mumbling, and he’s breathing too fast, and he looks terrified.

“Hey--sweetheart,” Hizashi says. He searches for a way to wake Shouta up without getting headbutted. When he shifts a little too far and it seems like he might break free of Shouta’s hold, Shouta gasps and tightens his grip and says some gibberish in a low, urgent tone.

“Shouta,” Hizashi says, firm, and peels one of Shouta’s hands off of him. That’s enough for Shouta to blink his eyes open--and he pitches forward, and Hizashi only avoids smacking their foreheads together out of sheer muscle memory. 

“Shit,” Shouta says hoarsely, once his eyes have refocused. He shrinks away from Hizashi, realizing what’s going on. “I’m sorry. You have work soon.”

“Not this morning, it’s fine,” Hizashi says, and wipes tears off of Shouta’s face. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Later,” Shouta says. His breath hitches, and despite the fact that Hizashi loves and respects him as an equal, post-nightmare Shouta looks so small and young and scared that Hizashi’s about to go full hero-mode. “I could--I could move to the couch if, if you need to sleep.”

“Babe, I have never once wanted that. I’ll follow you out to the couch if you try any shit like that.”

Shouta’s laugh is small and choked-off, but at least it’s a laugh. “Could you--”

“Yeah.” Hizashi pulls Shouta into his chest. There’s not really anything he can do besides remind Shouta he’s not alone. 

It usually takes Shouta a long time to fall asleep, but he calms down pretty quickly this morning, falling back asleep with his face tucked into the crook of Hizashi’s neck. He’s drooling a little bit by the time Hizashi’s alarm goes off to get ready for school. Hizashi silences his alarm to let Shouta rest just a little while longer.

 

DINNER TONIGHT? Shouta asks, signing rapidly when Nedzu’s back is turned to him. They’re sitting through a staff meeting (it’s really just a New staff meeting, for people like Shouta and Hizashi and Kayama who are still on a trial basis of employment), and Shouta must be able to see that Hizashi’s dangerously close to nodding off. 

Hizashi waits for Nedzu to turn his back to them to write on the board, and then says, I WORK TONIGHT. 

Shouta almost pouts. CANCEL.

NO. Hizashi smiles. TOMORROW?

Ken elbows Hizashi sharply as Nedzu turns back to them, clearly having asked a question. Hizashi’s gaze snaps to the board, scanning through the notes on campus security, but there’s no helpful clues. Hizashi panics, and then panics further when Nedzu notices his panic and specifically asks, “Yamada? Thoughts?”

“Haha. Could you repeat the question?” Hizashi asks. 

“Do you think that the gate system now ------------------ and allows ----------?” Nedzu asks. 

Hizashi goes for a delicate, “Yes.”

“Excellent,” Nedzu says flatly. Shit, Hizashi answered wrong. “Sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt something. Do we need to take a small break so you can finish your conversation?”

“No,” Hizashi says. His face is hot. “I apologize.”

It’s not a good look, professionally speaking. Especially because he and Shouta had been borderline-late this morning, having slept through their alarms together.

“I’d appreciate if you’d try and listen better,” Nedzu says. He didn’t mean it in that way (nobody even knows it's a problem outside of Shouta and Kayama and his mom), but Hizashi curls into himself and nods and avoids Shouta’s eyes for the rest of the meeting. 

 

“---------------------,” Hivemind says.

Hizashi blinks at her. He’s been zoning out for the better part of his planning period, so his former mentor’s appearance next to his desk is jarring. “I’m sorry?”

She points to a to-go cup that’s been placed next to his keyboard. “I said I got you coffee.”

“Thanks,” Hizashi says. He stares at the cup for too long, and she doesn’t say anything else, but she keeps hovering. Eventually, he snaps his gaze back to her and tries to put his normal smile back on his face. “It says three shots on the side! I thought you didn’t endorse that amount of caffeine consumption.”

“I don’t,” she says. She shifts awkwardly on her feet. Talking to Hizashi in a way that isn’t either insulting, confrontational, or condescending has always been hard for her. “Don’t get used to this. Nedzu just said----------------. And he’s right-------------------you need some support.”

“That’s very considerate but I don’t--”

She holds up her hand threateningly, like she’s about to snap her fingers and take over his mind, and Hizashi hurriedly shuts his mouth. “I’m not finished--------. ------go with you to Recovery Girl if you need. You need to talk to her about your hearing.”

“Oh, shit,” Hizashi says, and tries not to instinctively bolt for an exit. 

“Yes, oh shit,” Hivemind says, face lined with displeasure. “I should’ve said something------------------. It’s not-------------just avoid forever, especially in your line of work.”

“Yeah, they aren’t a big fan of it over at the radio station,” Hizashi says, being deliberately obtuse.

“Kid, if I weren’t your coworker I’d smack you in the face.” Hivemind pinches the bridge of her nose, and takes some deep calming breaths before attempting the conversation from a different angle. “Does anyone else know you’re going through this?”

“Shouta--I mean, Eraserhead, um, kind of knows?”

“You haven’t told your husband that this is getting worse?” 

“Not in so many words,” Hizashi says, wincing.

Hivemind sighs, and then nudges the coffee towards Hizashi while she thinks about her next words. She’s probably frustrated, having hoped that she could stop pseudo-parenting Hizashi after Hizashi graduated from UA. “Are you free to go see Chiyo right now?”

“Ooh, first-name basis?” Hizashi asks, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Get up,” Hivemind demands. When he doesn’t move, she grabs his arm and drags him out into the hall with an iron fist. He barely manages to grab his coffee on the way out.

 

“The school has assistance for its employees that would help you pay---------------------, like hearing aids,” Shuuzenji tells him, eyebrows furrowed. “Did nobody tell you about that?”

Hizashi squints at her, not sure what the correct answer is. If he’s being viscerally honest, he hadn’t understood the medical packet he’d gotten, and he’d just figured that it only applied to full-tenure-track employees, but that’s not the only reason he’d kept his mouth shut.

Hizashi scratches his neck. “I really didn’t want to get fired if anyone found out. And I. Uh. Need the money.”

Shuuzenji, visibly stressed, places some sticky candies in Hizashi’s hand. “I’m sorry you thought that. I know that UA has historically been-----------------------communicating about that kind of thing. But-----------------here to help now.” 

“A teacher in first year told me that I’d automatically get taken off unofficial hiring lists if I applied for disability status,” Hizashi elaborates, “and that I'd get kicked out of UA if it became too much of a hindrance? So I didn’t think I should say anything.”

“Who told you that?” Hivemind demands.

Hizashi keeps his mouth shut and shakes his head. Snitches get stitches, after all.

Shuuzenji and Hivemind share a look. Hivemind’s seething. 

“Do you need to take a walk, Ichiko?” Shuuzenji asks.

Hivemind nods tersely, and leaves the room. 

Hizashi feels... bad, is the only word for it. He’s failed at coping with his hearing by himself, and everyone around him has found out that he’s struggling-- UA has found out that he’s struggling.  

He stares at the white-tiled floor until Shuuzenji bonks him on the head with a closed fist. 

“Ow!” Hizashi complains, and looks up at her. “What?”

“None of that!” Shuuzenji says. “You’re not feeling well--I can see that. And you--------no stamina---------can’t help with much. But, I can give you the information to start looking at hearing aid options, and we’ll make this work. Alright?”

“I have to--” Hizashi feels so stupid, being worried about this, but the disability clause in his agency contract has been looming over him like a dark cloud. “I have to apply for disability to get help paying for those.”

“I can ask the support program if they know of something more...hero-oriented,” Shuuzenji says. She pats his arm. “I’m sorry you’ve been afraid of consequences for speaking up. I’ve known that something was going on---------first visit here, and I never said a thing.”

“It’s fine.” Hizashi glances to the door. “If Hivemind doesn’t murder me, it’ll be fine.”

“She’s more likely to murder retired pro hero Slingshot for traumatizing young children,” Shuuzenji says.

“How the hell did you--”

“I never liked him,” Shuuzenji says primly. She puts some more gummy bears in his hand. “Have a good day, sweetie.”

 

Shouta comes home early from his patrol that night, at a crisp four-o’clock in the morning, probably because he’s worried about Hizashi after today. Hizashi’s dropped one too many clues about his current state, and now basically everyone is aware that he’s dropping the ball. He’s dropped many balls this week.

Shouta finds Hizashi on his back on the floor in their shitty one-bedroom apartment, half-cup of coffee cooling beside him, eyes still glassy with tears, trying to convince himself to take a shower before he needs to leave for work. He’d gotten home late after his nonstop-music Friday night show, and he needs to go back for the Saturday morning show soon, but he can’t seem to get up off the floor.

“--------at all?” Shouta asks, crouching next to Hizashi, smoothing Hizashi’s limp hair with his hand.

Hizashi takes a wild guess as to what Shouta’s question was, and says, in his best bright radio voice, “No, I couldn’t sleep, but it’s alright! How was patrol, sweetheart?”

“Fine,” Shouta says, but his hair is kind of hanging in his face. “What’s -----? -----want to--------t?”

Hizashi needs to say something. Hivemind had been right--it’s unfair for him to keep Shouta in the dark about this.

But, Hizashi’s tired. So his normal, compassionate, patient explanation gets superseded by, “I can’t hear shit, babe.”

Then he hurries to sit up, feeling fragile and under-rested and over-caffeinated. “I’m sorry--I don’t mean to take it out on you, I’m just. Can you please get your hair out of your face or something because I can’t hear whatever you’re saying.” 

OKAY, Shouta signs, which is even better than tying his hair back. He looks very fucking worried. EARS?

Hizashi nods. “I’m sorry, it’s really fine,” he says, and tries to laugh it off, like it’s an issue that will be fixed by the time he gets to work. 

NOT HAVE-TO BE OKAY, Shouta signs, insistent. SORRY. SORRY ME-YOU GET IN TROUBLE WITH N-E-D-Z-U. 

YOU-NOT WORRY-YOU, Hizashi says. He wrings his hands together for a second, then cautiously signs, VERY BAD RECENTLY. I NEED-TO TALK-TO DOCTOR. After that, his hands get too shaky to sign properly, so he gives up and puts his head down, pushing his knuckles into his ears as hard as he can in a nonsensical attempt to fix the ringing by force. “I need to get ready for work,” he mumbles.

Shouta gently pulls his hands away from his ears before he can hurt himself. He keeps a hold of Hizashi’s hands, which would normally be kind of rude, because it keeps both of them from signing, but they don’t need to talk right now. He coaxes Hizashi up to his feet, and leads him to the bedroom, and sits Hizashi down on the bed.

“I need to get ready for work,” Hizashi says again, even though the dark quiet of the bedroom is already soothing his nerves and he would much rather stay here. Shouta appears back in his line of vision to shake his head.

It’s Saturday morning, so Hizashi can probably make it through a show at the studio and then ask Kayama to cover his patrol (she’s reduced her hours significantly lately in favor of teaching, so she’ll probably leap at the extra shift). Hizashi takes some deep breaths and wills himself to get up. He can get through a few hours. Hizashi can do three hours of anything .

HOW LONG, Shouta asks slowly, trying to remember the right signs. HOW LONG VERY BAD.

A WEEK? Hizashi estimates. TWO?

Shouta frowns. He looks distraught, his eyebrows pinched together. Hizashi doesn’t know what to say, so neither of them continue the conversation.

Shouta clearly isn’t pleased with the fact that Hizashi forces himself to get out the door on time. But then again, Shouta doesn’t have a leg to stand on in the self-care argument, so he lets Hizashi go, and presses a to-go mug of hot tea into Hizashi’s hand on the way out, and kisses his temple and signs something supportive that Hizashi’s too out-of-it to catch.

“I’ll text Kayama,” Hizashi says, voice wobbly, shoving his feet into still-tied shoes. “For my shift.”

Shouta nods, and kisses Hizashi’s face again because he looks like he doesn’t know what else to do. Hizashi knows that feeling well.

 

Kayama is an angel sent from the gods, and she excitedly covers Hizashi’s shift--and Shouta has never cared enough to ask what exactly Kayama’s relationship with Ms. Joke is, but Hizashi’s been dying to know for months. Every time he texts Kayama to ask for details, she just sends a lot of winky emojis back. Like, a lot of them. Which isn’t really an answer.

Either he’s worn her down over time, or she’s just worried about him so she wants to let him have a victory, or she’s just feeling crazy because she’s been woken up so early in the morning. Regardless, he gets more than emojis today.

“SO excited to work with miz daddy jokes today,” Kayama texts him as soon as the shift transfer is confirmed.

“NEMURI KAYAMA DID YOU FUCK MY PATROL PARTNER” Hizashi demands over text, finally abandoning all pretenses. He’s jittery and anxious and he’s trying to test mic levels in the studio without being able to hear his own voice in his headphones, but this current issue takes precedent. 

Kayama says, “lmao,” and sends a sleepy-eyed morning-after mirror selfie, clearly taken mere minutes ago, that shows off deep fingernail-made scratches up and down Kayama’s exposed back. “IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED.”

“YOU COULD HAVE JUST SAID YES!!!!!!” Hizashi sends, horrified, and then firmly puts his phone down so that he can start recording his show. 

It’s five in the morning. He needs a drink. 

 

After he’s done at the radio station, Hizashi is free to stumble home. He’s in civilian clothing, and his hair is pulled back in a bun instead of gelled up in a violent column, but he still gets some glances on the train. That comes with the now-somewhat-recognizable stitches in his face, and the signature glasses he has pushed up on the top of his head. 

He’s half-asleep when he gets a text, his phone vibrating in his pocket. He thinks it’s going to be Kayama taunting him again about the trauma she’s inflicted on him today, but the text is instead from Shouta. 

It just reads, “migraine,” and Hizashi’s heart sinks. He supposes it’s not a surprise that he and Shouta are both kind of breaking down right now, considering the stress they’re under, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

“Shit babe :ccccccccccc,” Hizashi texts back. “Need me to pick up something?”

Shouta sends “no just get home now.” And then three knife emojis.

“Get off your phone it’s hurting your eyes,” Hizashi texts him. Shouta doesn’t respond after that.

 

He comes home to a dark apartment. There’s a fan running in the living room, and the bedroom door is cracked open. Hizashi drops his bag and peels off his coat and kicks off his shoes.

“Hey,” Shouta croaks from the bedroom.

“Shh,” Hizashi chides. “You should be resting.”

“What does--------look like I’m doing,” Shouta snaps.

Hizashi huffs an almost-silent laugh. He goes to the kitchen, and then enters the bedroom with some tea, painkillers, and some granola bars that usually don’t upset Shouta’s stomach too much. He sets them on the nightstand. “These are here for you,” he says in the lowest tone he can manage. (He’s always too loud, but he’s trying his best.) “I’m gonna grade some papers in the living room.”

Hizashi’s about to crash from his last cup of coffee, and he needs to get a headstart on his work. That’s his plan, anyway, until Shouta frowns and asks, “You’re leaving?”

“I’ll be literally five meters away,” Hizashi says.

Shouta’s frown only gets deeper. “When--------------you slept?”

Hizashi shoots finger guns at him. “That’s such an interesting and valuable question, and I’d be so happy to answer it.”

“Get in bed,” Shouta says. “I want-------take a nap with me.”

Hizashi can’t say no to that. He slips under the covers and wiggles around and is, despite his massive anxiety about falling behind, very relieved that Shouta has asked for his company.

“How was work,” Shouta mumbles. His eyes are shut tight, like they’re too dry, but when Hizashi shifts to go find eye drops, Shouta reaches out and latches onto him with octopus arms to hold him down. “I said how was work.”

“It was fine. Kayama’s an angel,” Hizashi whispers, “I could not have patrolled today.”

“Mmm. Same.” Now that Shouta’s certain that Hizashi isn’t abandoning him, Shouta moves into his favorite spot--half-covering Hizashi’s body with his own, his head pillowed on Hizashi’s chest. 

“How’s the pain?” Hizashi asks, slowly combing his hands through Shouta’s hair and loosening it from the bun it’s in.

Shouta snorts. “It sucks.”

“Rate it, asshole.”

Shouta holds up four fingers.

“So like, really seven.”

Whatever . You----------.” Shouta softens his tone with a gentle kiss to Hizashi’s collarbone--the closest thing he can reach. “How’s------ears?”

“Not the worst they’ve been,” Hizashi says, trying to be positive. “I met with Recovery Girl about it yesterday.”

“Bad right now?” Shouta asks, sitting up a little bit so Hizashi can see his face.

Hizashi eases him back down to his chest, and resumes patting his hair. “I can tell you about it later. Go to sleep before I get Kayama to tranq you.”

“She can fucking try,” he thinks he hears Shouta say. “I’ll kick her ass.”

“Alright,” Hizashi says, rolling his eyes. “Sleep well.”

“I will .”

 

Hizashi blinks open tired eyes to find Shouta’s taken the glasses off his nose and is sitting quietly, watching Hizashi.

“Good morning,” Hizashi murmurs. He stretches against an awful crick in his neck, and squints across the room to see the clock. “Shit, is it nine in the evening ?”

Shouta lies down and curls back into Hizashi’s side, not answering.

“Pain?” Hizashi prompts. 

“Hmm. One. The tea-----------.”

“Did you drink it cold?”

Shouta doesn’t answer that. They lie in quiet for a little while longer. Hizashi feels weirdly achy and kind of sweaty from taking such a long nap, but being here in the quiet with Shouta is still heaven on earth. 

“I did some of your grading,” Shouta says.

What ,” Hizashi demands, twisting to make eye contact. “You didn’t--you were supposed to be resting, you didn’t need to--”

“I felt better---------, and you-------sleep to help your ears,” Shouta says, and he’s right. Post-Nap-Hizashi’s tinnitus is much quieter, and even if his hearing isn’t going to win any awards, the reduced noise in his ears is a welcome change. “You’re not taking care of yourself. I wanted to------------------help you.”

Hizashi tries not to get emotional. “That’s.”

“Do you wanna tell me why you didn’t-------------this week?” Shouta asks.

“What?” Hizashi asks.

WHY YOU NOT TELL ME YOU-DEAF THIS WEEK, Shouta signs. He has a look on his face like he’s guilty, blaming himself for forgetting to sign with Hizashi more.

I DEAF EVERY WEEK, Hizashi says. 

Shouta puts his face in his hands, and then emerges again with half of a smile, like he should have expected that answer. He’s been worried about Hizashi; that’s clear as the smile fades as fast as it had arrived. ANSWER.

Hizashi shrugs. NOT IMPORTANT.

“Hizashi,” Shouta says out loud, exasperated.

What ?” Hizashi says, a little too loudly--he sees Shouta’s hair blow back from his face. “I didn’t want to worry you, because both of us are going crazy right now and it’s really not the most important thing going on.”

YOU NEED-TO TELL ME WHEN YOU CAN’T HEAR ME, Shouta says. I’M YOUR HUSBAND. YOU IMPORTANT.

“I guess,” Hizashi concedes.

Shouta isn’t done. YOU-ME PARTNERS. I TELL-YOU THINGS TOO.

OKAY, Hizashi says. TELL-ME.

Shouta scowls in frustration and pauses, thinking about what to say (or maybe just how to say it).

I WANT-TO GET A CAT, Shouta finally says.

Hizashi’s face splits into a grin, which Shouta reciprocates. AGREE. YES.

HELL YES, Shouta says.

FUCK YES, Hizashi says, but refuses to get distracted. TELL-ME HOW YOU DOING.

Shouta sinks further into the mattress, suddenly not looking too happy. It’s his look when he’s thinking how-else-can-I-deflect, but he eventually sighs and reluctantly signs, A LOT OF FLASHBACK THIS WEEK.

“Oh,” Hizashi says, face falling. BEFORE, AFTER NIGHTMARE, WHICH?

BOTH. Shouta shrugs. YOU-DON’T WORRY-YOU.

“That’s my line,” Hizashi says.

OKAY NOW, Shouta insists. He, trying to improve Hizashi’s look of dismay, says, CAT WILL HELP.

CAT WILL HELP, Hizashi agrees begrudgingly. Actually, back when Shuuzenji had first brought up the subject of PTSD with Aizawa, she’d encouraged him to get a pet, but they just haven’t gotten around to it yet. CAT NAMED A-Q-U-A-T-H-O-T.

YOU ARE WORST PERSON I KNOW, Shouta says. But he smiles wide, in his brief, rare, unguarded way. 

They go back to lying there silently again. Hizashi should really get up and make dinner for the two of them--he should really call Ken and ask how to fix the knob on the sink--he should really write the questions for the upcoming midterm exams--he should really talk to Shouta about how he’s going to let Shuuzenji help him get hearing aids.

STOP THINKING VERY LOUD, Shouta signs, not even needing to open his eyes to know why Hizashi’s still putting off waves of nervous energy. NO WORK UNTIL TOMORROW. 

...Or maybe Hizashi could just lie here for now, and let the end of the week come to him. His list of things will still be there in the morning.