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making a home in scarred hands and a lilting voice

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notascalie has entered the stream

notascalie: dude

notascalie: why u so pale

uwu: he’s secretly a vampire!

QuiteUnfortunateMishapths: The only vampire here is you, Toga

uwu: shhhh, no one’s supposed to know that big sis!

zenithzen: scalie has a point though, Shigaraki’s face is really pale. Is he good?

notascalie: can u read my full name please...

uwu: that’s just the lighting from the screen since the lights are off!

QuiteUnfortunateMishapths: He should turn the lights on

uwu: Shiggyyy, are you taking care of yourself??? Big sis Magne will come find you if you don’t :3c





 



Sunsets always look a little too real in video games. That’s what makes them so artificial.

The colours are too vibrant, light too bright...Tomura has only ever caught sunsets hidden behind tall city buildings, through the shadows of leaves on trees in empty parks as he walks home with a bag of groceries from the family store down the street from his apartment.

It’s the only time he goes outside, other than going out to his balcony to hang his clothes to dry. Does that even count?

“Shiggyyyyy.” A voice crackles to life from his phone. “Did you fall asleep?”

“Right here.” He shuts the sliding door to his balcony and wanders back to his room. He sits, knees drawn up in his chair as he connects to the chat on his computer. He forces his hands to still on his knees, watching his friend’s icons light up as they speak.

His last stream ended hours ago but his friends are still awake, talking quietly in voice chat as the night passes. If Tomura stays awake long enough, he might catch the sunrise.

“Dude, have you been getting any sleep?” Iguchi’s voice rings through, a tinge of worry laced in his question.

“Have you been eating?” Magne asks.

Tomura sighs, picking at his hands. “I’m fine.”

“This is why I said you need a roommate or something to help take care of you,” Toga says. “Like me!”

“Or me,” Magne says.

“I’d offer myself up, but I’ve never been that good at babysitting, so.”

“I’m doing fine, you guys.”

Kurogiri and Sako left Tomura to his own devices as soon as he left for college.

“Call us if you need to,” Kurogiri said, and gave Tomura one of Sako’s golden coins. Because who needs a phone number when you can just flip a coin and summon your chill, immortal dads.

“Have you been taking care of Lulu?” Toga asks.

Tomura rolls his eyes.

The cat his other father gave him is a beautiful, silver-furred feline with inquisitive green eyes (“For the company!” Sako said).

And she hates Tomura’s guts.

He’s tried everything; from feeding her the most high class cat food he could find, to buying the fluffiest bed for her to sleep on…

But no, Lulu hates Tomura, and that is a fact that will never change.

Right now, Lulu’s spread over his bed, because she knows Tomura hates sleeping with all the shed fur on his blanket, which forces him to change it every two weeks.

“She’s fine,” Tomura says.

“Alright,” Toga says, after deciding that Tomura’s not lying (he sent a picture of the cat this morning, how is he going to lie about that). “I’m gonna go sleep now. Good night!”

The others chime in with their own farewells. Toga’s icon disappears from his screen.

Magne sighs heavily into her mic. “Alright, I’m gonna go to bed as well. And so should you two.”

Iguchi mumbles an agreement.

“And Shigaraki, think about what Toga said.” Her voice softens. “There’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of help around.”

“Right,” he mumbles, and watches as her icon disappears, too, leaving him with Iguchi.

“...Soooo....” Iguchi says, after a beat of silence. “Wanna watch some, uh... Anthem of the Heart ?”

Bless Iguchi for being the only person not forcing Tomura to do anything.





 



Tomura has a natural talent for magic. His magic is overpowering. When he was little, his magic spilled over, like too much water in a too-full cup, and that is where the tragedy begins.

It took a push too far, stress piled higher and higher until five-year-old Tomura covered his ears, closed his eyes and screamed.

The stress from his father, the expectations placed on him, took the form of his magic, rippling outward to destroy.

When Tomura came to, his world had turned to ash.

That’s when he came.

To this day, Tomura doesn’t know his name. He never learned it.

But he was the only one who offered Tomura an open hand, a kind smile.

Because the truth was Tomura was a Pandora’s box with unlimited potential.

Life was bad for Tomura, but he didn’t realize it then. All he knew was Sensei, the man who fed him, gave him books to read, took care of him when everyone else turned a blind eye to the rumpled child wandering the streets.

When Kurogiri rescued Tomura, Tomura knew the language of the dark below better than Japanese, had learned how to communicate with the things that lay beyond the shadows, beyond the veil. Tomura could raise the dead with a drop of blood and a single word, could bind and control them with thoughts alone. Kurogiri took one look at the ten-year-old whose childhood had been stolen, snuffed out before its full bloom, and Kurogiriー

Kurogiri saved him anyway.





 



Tomura wakes to Lulu hissing, claws extended, inches from his face. He rolls over to dodge it.

This is why he tries to keep the cat out of his room when he sleeps.

It was around 4am when Iguchi and Tomura had finished the movie and Iguchi had finally gone to bed. Tomura can’t remember when he fell asleep, but when he opens his phone, it says 10:43am.

He can’t remember the last time he showered. Or cleaned the dishes, or did the laundry. But he fed Lulu last night, so she won’t be bothering him until later.

One of his clients’ work is due today. Not much time for anything.

Tomura boots up the computer beside his bed, and gets to work.





 



Maybe Toga was right, Tomura thinks, staring at the piles of plates stacked into one side of the sink. I need a roommate.

Better yet, a maid who could drop by everyday. Tomura doesn’t have an extra room for a roommate, which is why he always thought it was a stupid idea.

It is these thoughts that lead Tomura to going back to his room, digging through the unboxed things tucked under his bed (some things are better left where they belong: in the shadows), and pulling out a worn, untitled notebook.

Yes, he decides, once he finds the page he was thinking of. This should do just fine.





 



Ten minutes after the eleventh hour, and Tomura thinks he’s made the worst decision in his life.

This is why he doesn’t like using magic. It’s not predictable. You ask for one thing, and receive another.

The demon smirks at him from where it’s trapped in the pentagon surrounded by candles, thankfully, because Tomura has no idea what he just summoned.

Unfortunately, he can still hear it.

“You know, I didn’t expect a Blood Pact from someone so young,” it says and smiles, all teeth.

Do the Ghostbusters have a distant, lesser known company called the Demonbusters? Because Tomura definitely needs to give them a call.

“Whatーwhat are you,” Tomura says, which would sound much fiercer if it came from him when he wasn’t curled up on the couch in his living room with a makeshift cross held in front of him because he’s stupid, stupid, and didn’t think to have one on hand so this one’s cut from paper.

(Would printing a picture of the cross and taping it on his bedroom door work as protection?)

The demon raises an eyebrow. “Were you expecting an angel or something?”

“You were supposed to be smaller. ...Lesser.”

Lesser demons have wings, tails or horn visible because their magic isn’t strong enough to hide it. They also look more like what you expect demons to look like.

But this demon doesn’t have anything visible that gives it away. It looks more human, though some parts of it are scarred (burned?), skin purple and held together by staples.

And the eyes. Tomura shivers. The eyes definitely aren’t human. They glow with blue hellfire.

“Well, congrats, you hit the jackpot,” the demon says. Yeah, that smile isn’t human, either. “What am I here for? Got an enemy you need to avenge? A building I gotta set on fire? Did something a celebrity say piss you off? I hope it’s not Anne Hathaway, girl’s been living for over four centuries now and I don’t really wanna bother herー”

“What?” Anne Hathaway’s immortal? Tomura stores that away for later. “No.”

The demon frowns. “No? Usually people summon me for war and shit. You sure?”

How did Tomura even fuck up so bad?

He looks at his notebook, depicting the pentagram and the symbols needed. He paces around the circle, comparing. The demon watches him closely, saying nothing.

“Nothing’s wrong,” Tomura mutters after fully walking around the circle. “I did the symbols and the shapes right...”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean shit when the original’s already wrong.” Tomura stares at the demon, uncomprehending. It points at a spot in his notebook. “There.”

He blinks. Lifts his finger where the demon was pointing.

There’s a smudge.

It’s not obvious, but the symbol that was originally supposed to be a circle with a dot inside turned into a fully coloured circle.

The demon starts to laugh beside him. “Oh, man, this is funny. You weren’t even trying to summon me.”

“Shut up,” Tomura snarls, throwing the notebook to the couch.

“Do you know how many people would kill to be able to summon me? But youーyou just did it by accident.”

“Are you done,” Tomura says, after a few seconds more of the demon laughing.

The demon wipes away tears. “Yeah, I’m good. Anyway, what did you summon me for?”

Tomura considers it.

On one hand, he has no idea what this demon’s fully capable of. It’s clearly a powerful being, and Tomura should banish it back to hell as soon as possible.

On the other hand...

The Blood Pact is proof of their pact, circling around Tomura and the demon’s wrist. The Pact should release its hold after a month, but until then, the demon will have to follow Tomura’s orders, whether it wants to or not.

And his life is now shared with the demon. If the demon dies, so does Tomura, and vice versa.

“Can you clean?”

It shrugs. “Sure.”

Really, what other option does Tomura have?

It should be fine. They’re bound to each other through the Pact, and while it works, Tomura will be safe.

“What should I call you?”

The demon smiles.

“Dabi.”





 



Tomura lays out the ground rules as quickly as possible. He doesn’t want the demon thinking it can do whatever it wants, and Tomura might as well take advantage of the fact that is has no choice but to follow his orders.

“You have to do all the chores, and you’re sleeping in the living room.” Tomura pauses. “And you have to get a job, because I can’t feed all three of us on my salary alone.”

Dabi sucks in a breath, taking in the apartment. “Harsh, but I’ll take it. What do you mean, ‘three of us’?”

A small meow answers before Tomura can.

“That’s Lulu,” he says. “Be careful, she bites strangersー” His jaw drops.

Before his eyes, Dabi cradles Lulu in his arms. The traitor purrs , the sound akin to that of a lawnmower, nuzzling into Dabi’s neck.

Of fucking course they would get along. They’re both demons in their own right.

“We don’t see cats in hell a lot,” Dabi says. “Cerberus has a tendency to drive them away.”

Lulu wraps a tail around Dabi’s wrist. The demon continues stroking her as she purrs the loudest Tomura’s ever heard her.

“Whatever,” Tomura mutters. “Did you get all that?”

Dabi hums. “Chores, living room, get a job. Is that it?”

That night, Tomura slaps a printed picture of Jesus on the cross on his bedroom door, above his gaming poster.

He doesn’t think it works, because Lulu manages to get into his room that night to roll all over the bed just fine.





 



Tomura forgets there’s a demon living in his apartment the next few days.

He’s swamped with work, and he alternates between working, streaming a game, or catching naps in between.

“Hey, mopheadーwoah. You look like shit.”

Tomura slowly turns around and looks up from his computer, neck cracking at the movement.

Dabi leans on the door, eyes narrowed as he takes him in. “I thought maybe you were fasting, since that’s something humans do sometimes,” he says.

Tomura tries to speak, but the only thing that comes out is a weird, raspy sound that registers more as noise than voice.

Dabi chuckles. “You sound like my old man before he has coffee.” He disappears, only to return with a glass of water that he gives to Tomura.

“I didn’t know demons had family,” Tomura says, after taking a sip of cold water.

“What, did you think demons are formed from negative emotions? ...Well, there are some demons that come from that, I guess. Not me.”

The demon has been quiet the past few days since he arrived. It’s surprising. “What have you been doing?”

Dabi shrugs. “Cleaning the house, buying groceriesー” With what money? Tomura thinks “ーwandering around outside. Got a job. What have you been doing all week?”

“Coding.”

“Yeah, I was not around when computers became a thing. What exactly is your job?”

“Freelancer. Clients hire me to make apps and websites. Stuff.”

“Hm. Very interesting,” the demon says. Tomura’s pretty sure he has no idea what Tomura just said to him.

“How did you even get a job so fast?”

Dabi flashes him a grin. “I have my ways.”

Whatever. Tomura will figure it out sooner or later.





 



Dabi knocks on his door later that night.

Tomura startles at the sound, muted under sounds of spells being casted in his headphones. “Gimme a few minutes,” he yells, mashing the keys harder like that will help him beat the boss faster.

He places his headphones down as soon as he clears the dungeon, ignoring the chat congratulating him.

He opens his door an inch to find Dabi standing with a bowl of noodles. It’s not the cheap microwavable noodles he usually eats, and his stomach growls at the smell.

“What do you do that keeps you in your room all the time?” Dabi peers further into the room, eyes landing on the computer, the chat filling with messages even with Tomura gone, Tomura’s in-game character standing in a clearing filled with other players in a town.

“Streaming,” Tomura says, eyeing the food. “Is that for me?”

Dabi snorts. “I wouldn’t knock on your door if it wasn’t.”

“Oh.” It’s...unexpectedly kind of the demon to do this. Tomura’s heart unwillingly warms up. Dabi wasn’t ordered to do this - he went out of his way. “Thanks.”

Dabi shrugs. “If you die, I die. I don’t have a choice.”

Tomura returns to his chair with a bowl of warm noodles in his hands. He looks over the chat as he picks up his chopsticks.



uwu: SHIGGYYY!!!! WHERE DID YOU GO?????????

Shigaraki: Got some food

uwu: THERE WAS SOMEONE AT THE DOOR RIGHT????? WE HEARD YOU :3

uwu: DID YOU FINALLY GET A ROOMMATE?????



Tomura mutes his sound to eat. He can deal with that later.





 



“Shiggyyyyy...” Toga’s whiny voice blares through his room. “Why didn’t you tell us you got a roommate...”

“Shigaraki got a roommate?!” Bubaigawara’s voice is loud through the speakers. It’s one of the few times he’s not busy with work to have time to speak with them all night.

“I forgot, sorry.” In the wake of having a demon in his apartment, he forgot to tell his friends about his “roommate,” which his friends care about.

“Is he nice?” Magne asks, over Toga shrieking, “Is he CUTE?”

Tomura thinks for a bit. “He’s alright,” he decides. “I thought he would be worse, but he’s not that bad.”

“Oh, good,” a voice says from behind him. “God forbid I make you suffer having to clean the dishes .”

“Who was that?!” Toga screams. “Shiggy, is that your roommate?”

“Yes, I am...Shiggy’s...” Dabi snickers. Tomura glares. “Roommate.”

“What’s your favourite colour?”

“My favourite colour...I don’t know. Pink?”

“What are you doing here,” Tomura mutters.

Dabi looks at him in amusement. “I was wondering when you were going to sleep. You’ve been really loud all night.”

“It’s a miracle,” Magne says. “A person within reach of Shigaraki who actually cares for his well-being.”

“I thought those kinds of people didn’t exist,” Iguchi mutters.

“Cryptids?” Bubaigawara says.

“Take care of Shiggy, roommate!” Toga says.

“Good night, Shigaraki,” Magne says.

“‘Night.” Tomura leaves the call. He turns to Dabi. “Happy?”

The demon looks pleased with himself.

“Oh, right.” Dabi stops just outside the door. Tomura slides into bed, looking up. “I won’t be here starting tomorrow ‘cause of work, but you can check the fridge for food.”

“Okay.”

“Sleep tight, mophead.”

Tomura frowns at the nickname. “Okay.”

“Also, you should take a shower soonー”

“Can you just leave?”





 



a knife!: waaaaaiit Shiggy we didn’t get his name!!! :(

Spinner: ffs ofc we forgot to ask





 



Tomura burrows his head deeper into the blankets. With bleary eyes he turns on his phone, seeing the messages sent while he was asleep. There’s a few from his friends, asking about Dabi until they switch to a different topic. A person mentions Tomura in another server about his stream last night. Another person has tagged Tomura in a video, a compilation of one of his streams, his reactions while playing a game.

Don’t get Tomura wrong, he’s happy there are people that actually enjoy watching him stream, but he cringes internally at the sight of his own face on the screen as he’s scared shitless playing Silent Hill.

There’s a reason he doesn’t stream with the camera on all the time.

Lulu’s pacing around the living room by the time he brings himself to leave his room, the cat crawling under the yellow quilt blanket Dabi sleeps with on the couch.

There’s food like Dabi said - a stack of pancakes in the oven, lunch in the fridge.

Are demons usually this nice? Tomura thinks as he settles down in the kitchen.

His living room’s been scrubbed clean of the pentagram in the floor several nights before. Actually, his whole apartment is spotless, except for his room. Did Dabi clean everything ?

Now he feels a little sorry for Dabi. And impressed. Dabi didn’t seem like the kind of demon that would take orders so naturally, or go above and beyond.

Maybe he was cleaning out of boredom? Tomura wrinkles his nose at the thought of the demon’s creepy smile. No, he doesn’t seem like he would do that.

Tomura cleans the plates and tries to figure out where his laundry basket went (he finds it near the entrance, clothes folded neatly). He spends the afternoon exploring the apartment like the day he moved in, because now that he’s fully awake he realizes there’s been some subtle and not-so-subtle changes.

All the furniture has been moved three centimetres to the left. What the fuck? And Dabi reorganized all the cutlery in the kitchen, and Tomura can’t find his microwave.

His shower curtain’s replaced by a newer shower curtain that wasn’t there the last time he went to the washroom. This would be fine - Tomura’s needed a new one for a while now - if the new curtain wasn’t a blue sheet with yellow rubber duckies on it.

Tomura needs to ward his room after seeing all of the weird changes. Obviously the printed out Jesus-on-a-cross didn’t work, and he rips it down to throw it into his newly emptied recycling bin.

He doesn’t have any holy water. Salt? Salt works, right?

...He needs to go outside and buy some.

Tomura stays in the kitchen, seething, playing Pokemon, the sound of the game filling the apartment.

It’s late in the afternoon when he hears key jingle, fitting into a lock.

“I’m home,” he hears Dabi cals, and Tomura rushes to the entrance.

“Where the fuck is my microwave?”

Dabi looks up from taking off his shoes. He’s wearing a red flannel shirt with ripped black jeans.

“Good afternoon to you, too, mophead.”

“Answer the question. And why does Lulu have a new cat tower?” Tomura gestures to the grand thing, with its own spot in the corner of the living room.

Dabi shrugs. “Felt like it.” He walks past Tomura to open the fridge. “Why would you need a microwave, anyway?”

Tomura stares. “To heat up food, dumbass.”

Dabi cocks a brow, lighting a blue fire in his hand. Tomura crosses his arms.

“It’s not the same.”

“Your loss.” He snaps his fingers.

Tomura barely manages to catch the microwave that pops into existence in front of him.

“You should try making your orders more exact next time.”

Never mind. Tomura hates this guy.





 



“How’s your new roommate, Shigaraki?”

Tomura twitches at the mention of him. “I hate him.”

Magne sighs. “Already?” she says, as Toga lets out a dramatic gasp.

“Did he hurt you, Shiggy? Are you okay?”

“No, I’m fine. He just...” Tomura trails off. “I forgot to tell you.”

“Tell us what?

Peeking over his shoulder to make sure the door’s still closed, Tomura quietly recalls the events of the night a few days ago.

“I’ve never met a demon before,” Toga says thoughtfully. “I think.”

“Yeah, that’s what happens when you sleep for six centuries,” Iguchi says drily.

“Rude!”

“Hold on,” Magne says. “Shigaraki, you summoned a demon.”

“Yes.”

“In your apartment.”

“...I wanted someone to clean the dishes, but I didn’t wanna pay anyone.”

“That’s cool, but that’s not what I meant when I said to get a roommate,” Toga says. “I meant a regular human. Like Twice!”

“Twice is not human,” Iguchi mutters. “Isn’t he the reincarnation of some dead god?”

“Same difference.”

“I’ll be fine,” Tomura says. “Blood Pacts only last for a month, anyway.”

Magne sounds concerned. “Still. Watch out for yourself, okay?”

“You could always call your dads,” Iguchi suggests.

Tomura immediately shakes his head. “No, they’re out. Travelling. I don’t wanna bother them.” They looked so excited, about to set out for the world. They were going to backpack across Europe first (and maybe even one of the gates of hell, but that’s if Sako manages to convince Kurogiri).

Tomura ends the call before 1am. He steps outside to use the washroom. As he’s about to return to his room, he stops.

Curiosity makes him creep down the hallway, peeking around the corner to get a glimpse of the couch.

Blue eyes stare back at him over the couch, glowing like embers in the darkness and freezing him in place.

“You should be more quiet,” Dabi drawls. “Never know who...or what...could be listening.”

Tomura doesn’t scare easily. He once had to run from a girl with bleeding eyes that chased him down dark hallways with horrible lighting, he’s not scared of this. Granted, that was a video game.

(The smell of rot, a voice from a distance. I’m so proud of you, Tomura, the mans says, as he continues to raise an undead army.)

The words laced in red around his wrist beats with a heart of its own, reminding Tomura of the Pact. he wants to scratch away at it, but he doesn’t.

Dabi’s eyes follow Tomura’s hand, that moves to cover the Pact that links them together.

As long as Tomura has this, the demon can’t kill him.







 

Tomura spends the next few days looking over his shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. He waits for Dabi to somehow break the Pact, or possess him, or poison his food and have them both die miserable deaths.

He doesn’t do any of that.

Dabi forces Tomura to go to bed earlier (“I can’t sleep with you being so loud.” “We’re in entirely different rooms but okay”), doesn’t stop Lulu from going into Tomura’s room and wreaking her natural havoc, and won’t stop smiling at Tomura.

It’s fucking creepy.

“What kind of name is Lulu, anyway?” Dabi says one night, stroking said cat’s back, eliciting a purr.

“My dad named her that. I just didn’t bother changing it.”

Dabi hums, continuing to stare at Tomura as he plays on his Switch (a gift from Kurogiri last Christmas).

“What?”

“I didn’t know if you had any family, since you lived alone and no one has visited yet.”

“My dads are travelling.”

“Really? And they just left their son to live in an apartment?”

Tomura shrugs. “They left when I started college.”

“Huh. And you’ve, what, just been living here since you graduated?”

Since before then, but Tomura nods anyway.

“Do you have any friends?”

From anyone else, this would have sounded rude, like they were mocking Tomura, but Dabi asks like it’s a genuine question.

“You’ve heard them.”

“I mean, people you go out to see, mophead. Physically. Seriously?” Dabi says, when Tomura stays silent.

He didn’t get a chance to make friends when he was little. By the time he was rescued by Kurogiri and entered school, he was struggling to catch up in Japanese and the school curriculum. He didn’t have time to make friends.

And his classmates always thought he was a little creepy, always slouching in shadows alone and scratching his neck and hiding away at lunch.

There’s a reason why Tomura has more friends online than in real life.





 



Tomura wakes up around 8am, earlier than usual, but just as tired. He spends the first two hours checking his email and watching youtube videos, and the next working.

It’s nearing lunch when something strange happens.

“Yo, mophead. I forgot my lunch.”

Tomura looks around. Dabi’s nowhere in sight. “What?”

“Turn around.”

He does, and his heart almost jumps out of his throat.

Lulu perches on the kitchen counter, eyes glowing a recognizable blue, mouth open. Dabi’s laughter sounds through her.

“Can’t you get a phone?” Tomura snarls.

“This creeps you out more, doesn’t it?” Tomura can imagine him smirking. Asshole.

“What do you want?”

“I forgot my lunch.”

“So?”

So , come drop it off for me.”

Tomura wrinkles his nose. “No.”

“What, too scared to go outside?”

He rolls his eyes. Like that’s going to work on him. “No, I just don’t wanna see your ugly face.”

“Ouch. But seriously, I need food.”

“You’re not gonna starve from missing one meal” is what Tomura says, but he’s already opening the fridge to find Dabi’s supposed lunch, in a container. “Will you stop being a bother a possessing my cat if I bring your lunch?”

He can hear Dabi’s smile in his voice. “No promises.” Lulu’s eyes return to normal. She blinks, then jumps off the kitchen counter.

A few minutes later, Tomura’s phone lights up with a location pin from someone in his contact named “Dabs”. When did Dabi get a phone? Better yet, how did he put his contact in Tomura’s phone?

Magic, the sarcastic voice in Tomura’s head answers. He rolls his eyes and pockets his keys, checking the address dropped.

He’ll only need to take one bus to get there.





 



Tomura didn’t have time to wonder about what Dabi’s job was, and he lost a bit of interest after he found the state his apartment was in (chaos in a minor level, was the best way to put it).

A part of him thinks this might be a joke, that Dabi sent him the wrong address on purpose just to mess with him, but...

“A flower shop?”

He catches a glimpse of a raven-haired man moving inside, past the glass window and potted plants.

Nope. No way. There’s plenty of people that have black hair.

He goes inside anyway.

A cheery bell rings above him, announcing his arrival.

“Welcome!” A boy who looks a few years younger - maybe in college? - bustles toward Tomura. “Would you like any help...oh. You’re Dabi’s, uh, roommate. He’s in the back.”

The store is overflowing with flowers and plants, of all sizes and shades. Hanging from pots above or in rows on shelves. Tomura touches the petal of a daffodil, its petals soft and lush.

The pollen makes him want to scratch at his neck, his eyes, so he shoved his hands inside the pocket of his hoodie.

He finds Dabi in the back with the plants that aren’t shown in the front of the store. Dabi doesn’t seem to notice him, and Tomura takes the opportunity to observe him.

While at first thought Dabi working in a flower shop seemed outlandish, it fits him just fine. The sleeves of his white blouse are rolled up, a blue apron on top of it, showing the flower shop’s logo. Dabi’s quiet, lost in his own world as he hums quietly to himself, watering a dandelion. The faint light coming from the windows paints him in a soft light, surrounded by the flowers.

“Is that Taylor Swift?”

Dabi stops humming, turns to him. “Oh, hey. Lunch.”

“Why would a demon know Taylor Swift?”

“People have weird ideas for torture.” Dabi peers into the bag Tomura brought with him. “Are you staying here?”

The questions throws Tomura off guard. Is he staying? Why would he stay?

“It’s the first time I’ve seen you outside since you summoned me.” Dabi smiles, placing a hand over his heart as he wipes away an invisible tear. “All for ‘lil old me. I’m honoured.”

“Gross,” Tomura mutters, but follows Dabi to the staffroom anyway.

He ends up playing on his Switch while Dabi eats, watching Tomura play quietly. Dabi’s co-worker appears near the end, only to announce that it’s Dabi’s turn to manage the front.

Tomura returns home, and that’s the end of that.





 

 



“Do you ever use magic for anything?”

Dabi lounges on the couch petting Lulu, who rests, docile, on his chest. It’s a quiet afternoon. Golden light shines through the drapes, turning the living room golden.

“The last time I used magic, I accidentally summoned a demon into my apartment.” Tomura rolls his eyes.

“But you were trying to summon a demon.”

“Not you.”

“How about before that, then?”

Rotting hands reaching, dark figures standing in the night, shuffling forward like a wave in slow motion, the smell of death and rotー

“Nine,” Tomura rasps. “I think I was nine when I last...did anything.”

Dabi regards him again. Tomura ignores him from his chair, continuing to play his game. Dabi won’t get any answers from him.

Dabi opens his mouth, and Tomura braces for another question, but instead he says, “That’s why you do coding, isn’t it?”

“Huh?”

“You don’t like remembering that you can use magic. So you distance yourself from it by playing video games and learning how to code, since technology is the farthest you can get from magic.”

That’s not...entirely wrong? He enjoys playing video games, but perhaps sticking to them so insistently was a subconscious decision on his part.

How much of his life revolves around the fact that he can use magic?

Dabi sighs. “I don’t get it.”

“What?”

“What’s fun about watching someone play games?”

It takes a moment for him to realize Dabi means his streams.

“Some people don’t have time to try out any games. I don’t know, I made friends by playing games. And people like watching me stream.” Tomura shrugs.

“Are games fun?” Dabi asks. “I’ve never played any.”

“You’ve never played anyーgames?”

“That’s what I just said, mophead.”

Tomura eyes the television in front of them. He saves his game at a temporary checkpoint and turns it off.

Dabi watches him turn on the television and grab two controllers. “What are you doing?”

Tomura throws one of the controllers at him. “Playing Mario Kart.”





 



“Wow, you’re bad at this.”

“I’m a beginner, I don’t know what you expected.”

“You bounced off a mushroom and dove into the waterfall.”

“Isn’t that the point of the game?”

“...Let’s try Smash.”





 



“...How are you even worse at this.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault you didn’t tell me which controls did what.”

“You don’t need that many brain cells to realize pressing left will make you go left. What are youー...you’re doing this on purpose.”

“Why would I jump off a cliff on purpose, mophead? I thought this pink thing could float.”

“...You weren’t pressing the right button to make Kirby float.”





 



Tomura vaguely remembers falling asleep in the living room, laughing at Dabi’s attempt to play Smash against level 9 CPUs, but when he wakes the next morning he’s in his bed.





 



It’s the weekend. The night before Tomura spent it streaming until it was 2am.

So why the fuck is Dabi in his room at not even 8am?

“Get up, mophead?”

Tomura throws his pillows at him and burrows further underneath his covers. “Fuck off.”

He hears Dabi sigh. “Don’t make me do this.”

Do what?

Dabi can’t harm him without injuring himself in the process.

Tomura’s bed creaks as Dabi settles on one side. Tomura tenses.

Dabi tugs at the blanket. “Shigaraki.”

“Go away.” It’s too early for this.

“Fine. We’ll do this the hard way.”

Dabi tugs at the blankets hard, exposing Tomura to his bright bedroom light and the cold.

He immediately shields his eyes, but Dabi attacks, hands moving down his sides to...tickle him?

“Wait,” Tomura says, but it’s too late.

By the time Dabi’s finished with him, Tomura can barely breathe. His sides hurt, and he forces himself to inhale.

“Asshole,” he grumbles.

Dabi flashes him a smile. “Worked, didn’t it?”

There’s no way Tomura can sleep now.

He sits up. “What do you want?”

“Get changed. We’re taking the train.”





 

 



“Where are we going?”

“Secret.” Tomura wants to punch his face in.

Instead, he pulls out his Switch and settles into his seat, booting up the last game he was playing.

Beside him, Dabi pulls out his phone, plugging in earbuds. Tomura can see him scrolling through memes.

Tomura goes into his friend’s group chat.



Shigaraki: I’m getting kidnapped

Spinner: at 8am??? thats some dedication for the kidnappers

Magne: Where are you Shigaraki

a knife!: nooooo Shiggy :(((

Shigaraki: I’m lying

Shigaraki: But my roommate dragged me outside and we’re taking the train. He won’t tell me where we’re going

Magne: You mean Dabi? The demon?

Spinner: that sounds like a bad joke...Dabi the demon

a knife!: ooooh! maybe he’s gonna sacrifice you in a ritual!

Shigaraki: You say that like it’s a good thing

a knife!: depends on what the ritual’s for :3

Spinner: ok press f to pay respects

condiment: f

a knife!: Mustard!!!! what are you doing up so early!!!

condiment: dying

Spinner: mood



Tomura pockets his phone.

The scenery passes by them, until the terminal disappears as the train travels above the city streets. Pedestrians wait on sidewalks as cars go by.

They pass cities and make stops at terminals. At some point, the city life and buildings disappear, bleeding into untouched forests springing to life.

Dabi falls asleep on Tomura’s shoulder.

He doesn’t notice this at first, too engrossed in his game, but after reaching a save point, he realizes the warm spot on his shoulder is actually Dabi’s head.

How long has he been asleep? Five, ten minutes? Maybe more, a voice in his head whispers.

He wonders if all of Dabi’s body is as warm as this. It feels like it. With Dabi pressed on one side, that side of his body feels like it’s being warmed under a kotatsu. Tomura wants to melt in the warmth.

He blinks and sits up straighter. No, no melting.

This is the warmest Tomura has felt in his entire life.

He’s not sure if it’s a side effect from his magic, but he’s always run colder than most humans.

Dabi being this close to him keeps him awake and alert for the rest of the whole rise. He continues playing his game to ignore the beating of his heart.

Tomura knows the moment when Dabi’s breathing pattern changes and he wakes up.

He stirs slowly, and Tomura tries to focus on the sound of train tracks rattling beneath them and not the rush of his heartbeat in his eyes.

When Dabi sits up, he takes the warmth with him. Tomura doesn’t show any sign of sadness at the loss, but Dabi still smiles at him knowingly.

Tomura looks back down at his game quickly.

He wishes this trip would be over sooner.





 



“Really? The beach?”

“You said you don’t go out a lot.”

“There’s no one here.”

Dabi sweeps an arm over the beach. The sun is nowhere to be seen, only clouds and seagulls crying overhead. “That’s the point.”

Tomura tugs the sweater he’s wearing on top of his hoodie tighter around himself. “It’s cold.” Are they gonna be here all day?

He voices this question to Dabi, who smiles. “Only if you want.”

“I didn’t want to come here in the first place,” Tomura grumbles, but he follows Dabi to trail along the beach.

Dabi takes off his shoes, throws them a few feet away. He pulls up his jeans as far as they’ll go (not that far), and wades into the water.

“C’mon,” he calls, extending a hand.

Tomura hesitates. He thinks of the biting cold, how wet and miserable he’ll feel when they take the train back home, how his wet clothes will dry on his body and how they’ll be rumpled by the time they get back to his apartment.

He looks at Dabi’s hand, and thinks of how warm it will feel.

Tomura mirrors Dabi moments before, taking off his shoes, putting his socks inside his shoes, rolling up his sweatpants.

Dabi’s hand is scarred and rough. Staples attach his burnt skin to his healthy skin, and Tomura rubs a finger over them, trying to get used to the feel of it in his hand.

And his hand is warm.

Dabi smiles, and this time Tomura feels like he missed a step going down the stairs.

The  cold ocean pulls at his legs, and with each wave, Tomura feels himself wobble back and forth.

(There’s a reason why so many ships are lost at sea.)

Dabi splashes water at Tomura without warning. “Can you swim, mophead?”

Tomura glares. “Enough to save my life, if I need to, I guessー”

“Good.” Dabi releases his hand to splash more water on him.

“I didn’t bring spare clothesー” Splash. “ーDabiー” Splash.

Annoying demons and their annoying warm hands and annoying smilesー

Tomura rolls up his sleeves. “I’m gonna kill you.”

Dabi smirks. “Come at me.”





 

 



“My clothes are wet,” Tomura grumbles.

He stands, shivering at the sidewalk beside the beach, holding his shoes in his hands. His feet are planted firmly on the cement, feeling the warmth of the ground warming him up a little.

Dabi finally runs up to him, kicking up sand like a child. He’s even more soaked than Tomura, since Tomura managed to head dunk him into the water, but he’s not shivering at all.

“Was it fun?” he asks, dropping his shoes on the sidewalk.

“No. I’m cold and hungryー oh ,” Tomura says, because Dabi has his hands hovering inches away from Tomura body, acting as a blow dryer, drying his clothes.

Without thinking, Tomura grabs his hand and presses it to a cold cheek. He sighs into the warmth.

Dabi raises a brow. “Cold?”

“I told you that already,” Tomura says.

“You’re gonna have to let go if you want me to finish drying the rest of your body.”

Unwillingly, Tomura relinquishes his hold on Dabi’s hand. An action he doesn’t regret much when Dabi dries the rest of his clothes.

“Didn’t know you were that attached to me, mophead.”

“It’s cold,” he mumbles.

“But you don’t deny that you’re attached to me?”

“Shut up.”





 



They’re back by 4pm.

They had both fallen asleep on the ride back, but Tomura woke up to Dabi’s smug face when Tomura pulled away from the shoulder he was leaning on, which immediately made him want to stab Dabi. But unlike Toga, he doesn’t have knives on hand, which is unfortunate for him (and fortunate for Dabi).

“Don’t take me anywhere cold again,” Tomura says, slamming shut the door to his room.



Shigaraki: I’m alive and I hate it

a knife!: Shiggyy!!! uwu

Magne: What happened??

Shigaraki: It was cold

Shigaraki: He took me to the beach for no reason

Spinner: lmao huh

a knife!: really????

condiment: sounds sus. kill him

Shigaraki: We’re in a Blood Pact

condiment: kill him but only a little

Magne: Was it..fun??

Shigaraki: I mean,

a knife!: kdsfskfkds you can tell Shiggy had a good time when he doesnt say no right away

Shigaraki: No

a knife!: Tomura!! what if it was a date??? :3

Shigaraki: Are you fucking kidding me

Shigaraki: No

condiment: sounds like ur in denial

Spinner: according to every shoujo manga ive read, ever, that was a date

Shigaraki: No

Shigaraki: No

Shigaraki: I don’t have to read this I’m going

a knife!: you can’t live in denial forever, Shiggy!

condiment: technically he can

Magne: Am I the only one worried that this is a demon we’re talking about

a knife!: i’m literally a vampire and ur related to Medusa

a knife!: if anything, big sis, you’re more likely to unintentionally harm Shiggy if you ever saw each other since you have no control over your powers and can accidentally freeze him

Magne: Y

Magne: You’re Right



Dabi gives Tomura a shell with spiky swirls on one end that looks like a crown from the beach, claiming the sounds inside were ocean waves but sounded more like the wails of souls lost at sea to Tomura.

He keeps it near his computer, beside the golden coin Kurogiri gave him.





 

 



It’s Thursday when Dabi bothers Tomura again.

By this point, the two have an unspoken schedule between them: Dabi prepares food and leaves in the morning for work, and Tomura cleans the dishes at night if he feels like it. At the end of the week, Dabi will go to the laundromat just downstairs to wash the laundry and sometimes Tomura will accompany him, watching the clothes spin in a whirl of colour as Dabi alternates between singing softly, looking at Tomura, or scrolling through his phone.

Was that thing at the beach really a date? He’s not sure if he wants to know. If it’s a no, then Dabi will tease him relentlessly for asking. On the other hand...

What if it was a date? What does that mean, for them? Tomura trails a finger over the red words around his wrist.

Does Tomura like Dabi, or is this growing affection from finally having a friend he can see and talk to in person?

Are they friends? Not really, not completely. As long as Dabi’s bound to him by the Blood Pact, Tomura can’t say anything about them being genuine friends. Maybe Dabi secretly hates Tomura and this is all an act.

He remembers Dabi, asleep on his shoulder on the train. Or maybe Tomura’s just trying to convince himself to push him away.

And what if Tomura likes Dabi? He’s certainly been feeling...an attraction, thought even admitting that much makes him want to gag.

It’s late in the afternoon when a message pops up from Dabi. It’s a location, accompanied with a winky face.

Tomura groans. He knows if he doesn’t accept, Dabi’s going to possess Lulu and creep him out and keep harping on him until he goes, so he gets ready to leave. Curious, he clicks on the location, frowning at the place that pops up.

This better not be what I think this is...





 

 



It is not what Tomura expected.

It’s somehow worse.

Neon. Neon everywhere. There’s a disco ball spinning, throwing lights everywhere. The floor is that kind of design on bus seats, you know, like a kid designed them, all neon shapes and squiggly lines on black carpet. Music from the ‘80s blares on speakers.

Just to hammer the nail in the coffin that, no, Dabi wasn’t joking, the demon himself comes speeding to a stop inside the rink and waves at him.

Tomura turns to leave.

“Hey, hey! Mophead, wait up!”

Dabi catches up to him. The neon pink rollerblades on his feet make Tomura snort.

“Why are we in a rollerblading rink?”

Dabi hooks an arm over his shoulder, the action awkward because of the extra height boost. “You said no beach.”

“This place is a neon monstrosity.”

“C’mon, just give it a chance. When’s the last time you did anything other than sit in front of a computer all day?”

Tomura rolls his eyes. “I can’t rollerblade.”

Dabi gasps in mock surprise. “But you know how to swim? What’s wrong with you?”

“Dying while wearing rollerblades wasn’t very high on the list when Kurogiri took me in.”

“Oh, he has no idea,” Dabi mutters. “Go and get your rollerblades at the counter. We’re staying for three hours.”

“One.”

“Two, then.” He skates away before Tomura can protest.

The rink is practically empty at this time of day, with only a family and a pair of college students milling about in the rink.

Tomura finishes lacing up his neon green rollerblades with glow-in-the-dark pink shoelaces (gross) and stands up. Dabi waits at the entrance.

“Ready?” he asks, and just like at the beach, offers his hand.

And bad mistakes...I’ve made a few... Queen blares from the speakers.

Tomura takes his hand.

I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through...

“One foot in front of the other,” Dabi says, when Tomura stumbles through his first few attempts. “It’s like ice skating, but you don’t have to worry about balance as much.”

“I’ve never done any skating.”

Dabi sighs. “Of course you didn’t.”

“I don’t like feeling cold.”

“Even if that means you get to hold my hand?”

Tomura looks down to concentrate on his rollerblades. Definitely not to hide the blush that was threatening to rise, or to escape Dabi’s teasing smile.

He gets used to rollerblading after two rounds around the rink, but Dabi doesn’t let go of his hand, only stays by his side, singing along to the songs that play overhead.

Neon lights whirl on Dabi’s face in the dim lighting of the venue, creating a face blindness of sorts; Tomura catches glimpses of his eyes, his hair, his mouth, the staples on his face reflecting the neon light.

Dabi spins them around, carefree and laughing, leaving Tomura no choice but to follow.

How did Tomura manage to get caught up in him?

By the time their two hours is up, Tomura’s struggling to hide a smile as Dabi strikes awkward poses.

They eat pizza outside for dinner.

Now, slouching to brace the incoming wind, Tomura stares at the thing Dabi brings out of the shadows. “We’re going home on that?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t have a license or a car.”

“Since when did you care about having a license?” Tomura mutters.

“I don’t. But I get motion sickness on transportation a lot.”

“You’re shitting me.” Was that why Dabi was sleeping on the train?

“Not unless I’m in a car, no.”

“You’re a demon, and you get motion sickness ?”

“If you don’t get on I’m leaving, and you’ll waste money taking the bus home.”

“You know me too well,” Tomura mutters.

“You summoned me to clean your dishes, mophead, what did you expect.”

Tomura rolls his eyes, taking a seat on the back of the bicycle.

There’s a moment where he hesitates, staring at Dabi’s back. Should he hold him by the shoulders, his hips, or...should he just awkwardly hold on to his seat?

How do they do this in the movies Iguchi watches?

“I can hear you thinking, and I don’t care,” Dabi says.

“Give me a second,” Tomura mutters, steeling himself.

Slowly, he brings his arms up, wrapping around Dabi’s middle. He can feel Dabi’s stomach expand as he breathes.

“See?” Dabi says. “Not so bad.”

They ride down streets as the sun begins to set. The cold bites at Tomura’s legs as wing whooshes past them, but the front of his entire upper body is warm, and he lays his head on Dabi’s back to revel in it.

The setting sun glances off building windows and finds a home in Dabi’s hair, painting it scarlet.

The next street they enter has a river on the right. The water looks like a wave of fire in the dying light.

“Have you ever watched The Girl Who Leapt Through Time ?” Tomura asks.

“Nope.”

Time waits for no one.

No, Tomura thinks, laying his head back on Dabi’s back. No, it really doesn’t.

“Hey, Dabi?”

“Yeah?”

“Why do you keep dragging me outside?”

He can hear Dabi’s smile in his voice. “If you never wanted me to do anything, you would have ordered me not to.”





 



Shigaraki: No stream today, I went out and I’m tired

uwu: @Shigaraki im so proud of you......

QuiteUnfortunateMishapths: fjkdsfkskfdsk

uwu: Magne’s crying rn lol

notascalie: you got a life, congratulations

uwu: dont be salty now





 

 



It’s past midnight, and Tomura can’t sleep.

He tosses and turns and forces his eyes shut, but sleep is cruel, and it has deserted Tomura tonight. It rained tonight, pitter-pattered and left him glad he was buried under a blanket tonight instead of out in the cold.

But sleep won’t come, and Tomura doesn’t want to face his demons tonight.

He leaves his room, intending to get a glass of water, only to pause when he feels the wind shake the blanket curled tight around his shoulders, hears a voice singing in the distance.

“All of this turbulence wasn’t forecasted, apologies on the intercom...”

Dabi continues singing, voice raspy and deep. Combined with the song, the sound tugs Tomura forward, enough for him to turn the corner.

Dabi’s standing outside on the balcony, his back to Tomura. Rain drips steadily from the roof.

Tomura shuffles forward as quietly as possible. He knows Dabi has heard him already, knew the moment the other man had left his room, but something about this feels so personal that Tomura doesn’t want to disturb it any more than he already is.

It feels like this is the most sincere Dabi has ever been, and he’s intruding on the moment.

The song ends with Dabi trailing off, the notes fading into the night. When he turns to Tomura, his face is unreadable.

“I can’t sleep,” Tomura mutters, pulling the blanket tighter around himself as he steps outside gingerly, mindful of any small puddles as he stands beside Dabi.

Dabi says nothing, flickering a fire on and off on the tip of his finger, leaning on the railing. He looks deep in thought, contemplating.

It is past midnight, and none of this feels real. This feels like something Tomura would dream up, and a part of him wants to scream, just to see if that will wake him up.

“I had a sister,” Tomura says, and stops. Why did he say that?

Beside him, Dabi looks up at the sky, saying nothing.

Tomura doesn’t owe Dabi anything. He doesn’t need to explain what happened when he was five, doesn’t need to explain why he doesn’t like using his magic often. Dabi doesn’t expect him to.

Tomura wants to explain anyway. Some of it, at least.

“My sister, Hana, was the one with an affinity to light magic,” Tomura says with a shaky voice. He coughs. “I was the one who could use dark magic easier.

“My dad didn’t like magic at all. The magic in the family skipped him when he was born, but that’s not why he hated it. I don’t think that was the reason.

“My sister found it one day, in our father’s study. She said it was a picture of our grandma on our dad’s side, who we never met. Except she didn’t look...human.” When he looks up, Dabi’s staring back at him, twin flames in his eyes. “She had wings...four of them. And a halo.”

“That...explains something I’ve been thinking about,” Dabi finally says.

“What do you mean?”

“Uh, well, something, when I look at you...shit, lemme just show you.” Dabi pulls out his phone and aims it at Tomura. He tenses, but resists the urge to slap the phone out of Dabi’s hands as he takes a picture. “Here.”

His face frowns back at him from the screen. The lighting is shit, with only the small lamp from inside the living room providing any source of light. He looks tired and uncomfortable, hands tightly gripping the blanket.

There’s something hovering over his head, so thin it’s almost invisible, tracing a circle over his head.

“It’s a halo,” Tomura says, not quite believing it.

Dabi shrugs. “It’s kinda hard to see unless it’s at the right angle, but...yeah.”

Tomura realizes something. “Is this why you kept staring at me for so long?”

“I guess. But you’re also pretty cute, so there’s that.” Dabi blinks. “Did I say that out loud?”

“Yes.” Is he blushing? That’s definitely red on his cheeks, it’s hard to tell with the staples.

“What are you doing up, mophead?”

Tomura rolls his eyes. Way to be subtle, Dabi. “I couldn’t sleep.”

He smiles. “Wanna play some Mario Kart, then?”





 



“How are you still bad at this?”

“Hey, tenth place is an improvement for me.”





 



Tomura wakes to a crick in his neck, a rising sun, and someone singing along to “Angel, Please.”

The crick in his neck, he discovers as he sits up, is from falling asleep on the couch. Dabi’s blanket is layered over his first blanket.

Sunshine seeps through the drapes.

Tomura turns in time to see Dabi flip over a pancake, singing, “Oh angel, please...please stay with me.”

There’s something about seeing Dabi in the early morning light of purples and pinks making breakfast, Lulu curled around his ankle, that makes Tomura’s heart hurt.

“Looks like Sleeping Beauty’s finally up,” Dabi says. “And with a new hairstyle.”

Tomura blinks. Dabi gestures to his hair with a smirk.

He rushes to the washroom, ignoring Dabi’s snickering. He flicks on the lights and blinks.

His hair is bright. Neon green. His front bangs have been pulled to the top of his head with a hair tie.

“Dabi!” He storms out of the washroom to find Dabi on the ground, wheezing.

“It’s to match theーthe rollerblades,” he gasps.

Tomura grabs the front of his shirt. “Fix it. Now.”

Dabi smiles back at him lazily and snaps his fingers. “There. Happy?”

“No,” Tomura says, after checking in the mirror that his hair is back to normal. He pulls out the hair tie, his bangs falling back on his face again.

“Would you forgive me if I said the pancakes had chocolate chips in them?”

Tomura takes his seat at the table, staring at the small plate of stacked pancakes. Dabi sets a plate in front of him, with a fork and knife.

“No,” Tomura says.

He grabs the pancakes anyway.





 



Tomura’s in deep shit.

He can’t remember when he started harbouring these feelings for Dabi. can’t remember when he started holding the memories of all his smiles, the sound of his laugh, the feel of his hand in his own.

Tomura’s never had to guard his heart. Other people usually never give him the chance for him to learn how, so he never did.

There’s nothing he can do about these feelings. Confessing won’t change things.

Because as soon as the month is over, the Blood Pact is over, and Dabi will leave him.





 



“This one’s my favourite play, and this is my favourite book.” Dabi stacks more books in Tomura’s already full arms, his arms starting to shake with the weight.

“Why are we doing this?” Tomura asks for the fifth time today, in the muted shuffling of the library.

Dabi raises a brow. “Because I quit my job and have today off so we can binge movies?”

Dabi leaves tonight.

It’s a topic the two have been dancing around, never voicing it directly.

Tomura doesn’t know when the disappearance of the Blood Pact started to feel less like a thing that would eventually come to pass and more like a noose tightening around his neck.

“We have Netflix,” Tomura points out. “And we’re not even getting movies. What’s...” He peers at the books Dabi placed on him. “Your favourite play is Macbeth ?”

“Lady Macbeth’s a badass, and that’s all I can remember from when I last watched it.”

“And your favourite book is for middle schoolers.”

“I’m illiterate.”

“Right,” Tomura says dryly, hefting the books up to keep them from slipping from his sweaty hands. “What’s it about?”

“Time travelling, I guess. I only like it because I met a time traveller once. Or, I think I did? Maybe that’s the wrong definition...” Dabi mutters, pulling out another book from the shelf.

“How did you meet a time traveller?”

“Uh, it was a few...centuries ago, I think? They kinda just fizzled into existence beside me. Kinda looked like a flashing T.V. screen, now that I think about it. Anyway, they turned to me and said, ‘Whoops. Wrong universe. See you in Hogwarts’ and then just popped out. Weird, right?”

Tomura doesn’t want to think about what the time traveller (dimension traveller?) was implying when they said that.

Instead he says, “Once, I saw this girl on the phone, complaining about how it was going to rain when it was her friend’s birthday. She snapped her fingers, and all the clouds disappeared. When she saw me looking, she just shushed me and ran off.”

Dabi whistles lowly. “Wish I could change the weather.”

“Can youーyou mean you can’t?
“I mean, I guess I can? But it takes a lot of effort, and people usually only summon me to kill people and stuff, so I never had the chance to try.”

“How about trying it now?”

Dabi looks out the window to the clear blue sky. “Eh, don’t feel like it.”

Tomura rolls his eyes. “I have some friends that are a little magical as well.”

“Oh?”

“You’ve spoken to them once. Magne’s related to Medusa, so she has to wear sunglasses all the time, and Bubaigawara’s supposed to be the reincarnation of a lost god.”

“Do you know which one?”

“He never said, so I think he wants to keep it secret. And my other friend Toga’s a vampire, and Iguchiー”

“Toga?” Dabi sputters, fumbling with the book. “Toga Himiko?”

Tomura frowns. “Do you...know her?”

“Do I knowー who did you think was killing people in London in 1888?”

“Whatーhow was I supposed to know that! The last time she mentioned anything about her past she said she was asleep for four centuries!”

“Obviously she was lying! Have there been any murders recently? Has she said anything?”

“Uhーno. Actually, I think she moved on from drinking blood to eating raw cookie dough to survive.”

“...Are you serious.”

Tomura shrugs. “I don’t know, but I’ll be on the lookout for people getting stabbed in alleyways making the news.”

Dabi runs a hand over his face. “Whatever. How do you go from drinking blood to surviving on cookie dough, anyway?” he mutters. “And she’s your friend?”

“You’ve talked to her before, and she’s...nice.” Tomura shrugs. “My last friend is Iguchi. He’s half lizard.”

“Your friend group is a mess.”

“I’m aware.”





 



Tomura sets down his bag of groceries - mostly popcorn and soda - in front of the couch. “Which movie are we starting with?”

Dabi flops down onto the couch. “Can you open Netflix?”

“This is exactly what I said,” Tomura grumbles, but complies.

“We’re gonna watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time first, and we need Netflix because after we’re watching Brooklyn 99 since I never got to see it while I was downstairs.”

“You mean...in hell?”

“A large basement.”

“...I’m gonna go change.”





 



Light flickers from the screen, barely visible to Tomura, whose eyes are half-closed. Leaning on his shoulder, Dabi laughs at something Captain holt says, shoving more popcorn into his mouth.

Tomura yawns. It’s not even midnight, but being enveloped in warmth - the blanket, Dabi - makes him sleepy. Even Lulu is quiet, curled up on the other side of Dabi.

“Is it eleven yet?” he asks.

Dabi checks his phone. His face is uncharacteristically serious, and Tomura doesn’t like it. “Ten minutes.”

He could do it now. Just confess, lay it all out in the open the feelings he’s been hiding, and never think about it again.

Because Dabi will leave, and he won’t come back.

Shame swallows him up, makes his voice catch in his throat. He’s scared. Scared of Dabi leaving him, scared that he’ll laugh at Tomura’s confession, scared that he’ll sneer at his face and push him away and never want to see him again.

Tomura shivers despite the warmth.

“Are you okay?” Dabi asks, voice soft, the first Tomura has ever heard him speak in such a soft tone.

“Iー” I don’t want you to leave. “I’m fine.”

Slowly, Dabi reaches out to put a hand on his arm, warming him up.

“Are you glad that you finally get to leave?” Tomura says, surprising himself with the words. “I bet you’re glad you can finally get away from me.”

Dabi frowns, the staples tugging at his face. Maybe that’s why he smiles all the time. “What are you talking about?”

“Aren’t you happy that you can finally leave?” What is he saying? This isn’t what he wants to say. “Glad you don’t have to keep coming to this shithole of an apartment and take care of me?”

“You’re lying.” Dabi’s brows are furrowed in confusion. “Shigaraki, why are youー”

“I’m glad, too.” Dabi freezes. Tomura smiles at him serenely. “I don’t have to see your ugly face in my apartment. Don’t have to listen to you singing and waking me up in the middle of the night, don’t have to wake up to find my hair dyed an entirely different colourー”

Dabi recoils. Beside him, Lulu stirs. “You’re lying,” he says, and Tomura’s heart breaks, because he realizes now that he’s never seen Dabi sad. He feels like he’s kicked a stray puppy.

He did that.

“I’m not,” Tomura rasps, and why is he still smiling? “Did you really think I liked you?”

Dabi’s face hardens. “You’re lying,” he declares, sounding as sure as he does about the sun rising every morning. “You’re a little shit that can’t process feeling so you’re trying to push me away to cope. I get it.”

“I’m not lying,” Tomura says. “I really hateー”

Dabi covers his ears. “Nope. Not dealing with this.” He starts singing loudly over Tomura’s rising voice.

“Even now, you still act like a child. Did you hear me? I said I hateー” Dabi snaps his fingers, and that’s all Tomura remembers.





 

 



Tomura wakes to find Dabi gone. It’s like he was never there.

Except he’s there, in the blanket Lulu curls up in, in the rubber ducky shower curtains.

He’s calm. He accepted this outcome the moment he opened his mouth and spit poison, the moment he realized his feelings. This is the best outcome for both of them.

His wrist is clean, the red of the Blood Contract faded, turned to ash and floating off his skin so it looks like it was never there.

The tears don’t come until long after he’s crawled into bed. He chokes, holds back his sobs behind a hand.

He doesn’t deserve even this.





 



zenithzen: is it just me or did Shigaraki seem a little...off in his stream today?

CupcakeQueenSupreme: I noticed as well. Maybe his cat passed away?

zenithzen: i feel like he wouldve said smth if tht was it tho :/

CupcakeQueenSupreme: True

Narurururu: It’s probably a personal matter if he won’t tell us. We’ll have to hope his mood changes

CupcakeQueenSupreme: I hope he feels better soon then :((

zenithzen: <3<3<3

QuiteUnfortunateMishapths: @Shigaraki answer your messages. We need to talk.





 

 



Summer sweeps over Japan, bringing with it sweltering heat and a million complaints everyday, as people turn up the AC and fan themselves, searching for shade to cool off under.

Tomura’s apartment has never felt so empty.

It never felt empty before, when it was just him and Lulu.

Lulu’s hatred for him is stronger than ever. She hisses when he tries to approach her, and rarely leaves Dabi’s blanket to eat.

(He deserves this hate, is what he thinks.)

Dabi’s blanket stays on the couch.

He never thought a day would come when he talks to himself in a room and finds himself longing for something more, for someone.

This is all your fault, a voice whispers in his head, echoing, repeating.





 



Shigaraki: Sorry I’ve been absent lately

a knife!: Tomura, are you ok?

Shigaraki: I’m fine

Magne: Come to think of it, your Blood Pact is up, isn’t it? I think a month has passed

Shigaraki: Yeah

a knife!: Dabi’s gone?? :(((( but i never got to meet himm

Spinner: rip

Magne: Do you want to talk about it, Shigaraki?

Shigaraki: Thanks, but I’m fine

a knife!: we’re always here for you Shiggy <3

Spinner: yeah dude, if you wanna talk you can. ur not a bother

Shigaraki: Thanks





 



There’s a flower bush growing on Tomura’s balcony.

He doesn’t know how long it’s been there until he notices it - the last time he was out on the balcony was when...

(A voice singing, And while its dreams played music in the night... ; blue eyes gazing back at him with an emotion he didn’t want to read, didn’t believe to be true.)

The flowers are strange. Their petals are odd, a mixture of pink and red swirling together. The pot is labelled with sloppy writing that simply says, “Camellias.”

Tomura does not think about how familiar the writing is, how he’s seen it peppered around his apartment; on food containers, in front of the mirror as reminders to buy shampoo, a grocery list half-finished and forgotten on a post-it note.

He does not search up the meaning of these camellias.

(Pink camellias mean longing and devotion to someone you miss, while red camellias express love and deep passion.)

But he continues watering them.





 



Tomura tries to adjust to living alone again.

He goes to the laundromat to hear the whirring of the machine as he waits, mind carefully blank. He forces himself through his chores alone, tries not to think of the voice and presence that accompanied him when he did this. He goes back to eating microwaved noodles and toast.

His life is fine. It’s not the best - he’s not waking up in a king-sized bed, the business leader of a million-dollar company - but he’s stable.

So why does he feel like this isn’t enough anymore?





 



Kurogiri and Sako come see him in August.

(It’s already been that long?)

“I didn’t call you,” Tomura says.

“Who said we didn’t want to see the light of our lives?” Sako says. “Aw, Lulu, I missed you, too.”

Kurogiri gives Tomura a hug. It’s awkward - they never showed their affection for one another like this, not often, but Tomura appreciates him for trying.

Sako’s already waltzing in, taking in the apartment and picking it apart. “Tomura, sweetie, I told you to paint the walls in the kitchen! Why is it still plain and white? A nice touch on the curtains, though!” His voice echoes as he enters the bathroom. “Did you choose this yourself?”

“Why are you here?” Tomura says, uncomfortable.

Kurogiri takes in the state of him; his rumpled pyjamas, oily hair, the bags under his eyes. “Why don’t you sit down, and I’ll make some tea.”

Tomura watches Kurogiri bustle around the kitchen. It’s been a while since they last saw each other, but Kurogiri looks the same. The perks of being an immortal: slow aging. Or, maybe that’s a disadvantage. The thought of aging in slow motion is not a pleasant thought.

Kurogiri gives him a letter along with the tea. “This came to us a month ago. When I read it, I decided we needed to pay you a visit.”

Tomura takes out the letter, and finds familiar, lopsided handwriting.



To Mr. Shigaraki (is that your last name? I don’t know),

My name is Dabi. Your son summoned me one night, and I’ve been living as his roommate/servant, taking care of the house.

I’m a demon, but don’t worry, I won’t be killing your son. I think he’s more likely to kill me than I am to kill him. Did you know he made a Blood Pact to summon me?

As you may (or may not) know, a Blood Pact ends after one month. When that happens, the mophead will be alone again. Will you stop by to make sure he’s okay, at least until I return?

I think I can come back. I need permission first, so I’m not sure, and I don’t know how long it will take.

Dabi



Tomura returns the letter, a bitter feeling filling his throat, clouding his eyes. He holds it back.

“He’s not coming back,” Tomura says quietly. “I said I hated him.”

Kurogiri observes him. “I see,” he finally says, and puts the letter back in his bag.

Tomura’s parents stay the next few days, checking in to a nearby hotel and coming by everyday to keep him company. A week passes of them doting on Tomura like he’s twelve again, and while he’s embarrassed, he doesn’t mind as much as he should.

The day they leave, Sako turns to him, fixing his feathered hat. “You’ve been watering those flowers out on your balcony, haven’t you?”

Tomura frowns. “Yes.”

“That’s good.” When Sako hugs, he holds the other person tight, like he’s trying to rub all his good luck on the other person. “Take care of yourself, okay? You have your whole life ahead of you.”





 

 



Tomura misses him.

He misses Dabi’s singing filling the silence Tomura left in conversations, misses his dumb pranks, misses the sight of him dancing with Lulu and making Tomura laugh about stupid things he did or voiced out loud.

Tomura’s never felt so cold.





 



When Tomura was back in college, there was a boy in high school working at the grocery store. From what Tomura can remember, he had ashy blond hair and a perpetual angry face, worse than Tomura’s at times. He was always muttering, complaining when he thought no one could hear; he suffered from constant headaches.

One night, while bagging Tomura’s groceries, the boy’s face scrunched up, and he glared at Tomura.

“You,” he growled, which immediately made Tomura wonder if he did something to offend him. “Your lover...” This made him lift an eyebrow questioningly. He didn’t have anyone.

“Yes?” he said anyway, to humour the boy and figure out what he wanted.

“Your lover looks like a burnt chicken nugget,” he spat out, thrusting the bag of groceries into Tomura’s arms. “Have a fucking day.”

A week later when he stopped by again, the boy was gone.

When he asked one of the other cashiders, a girl who made origami when no was in her lane, she smiled.

“You mean Bakugou? Guy who always looks pissed, says weird stuff?” Tomura nodded. “He quit, joined a band. Apparently he’s their drummer?” She shrugged, and returned to her paper crane.

Tomura had shoved the memory aside years ago, deemed it unimportant.

But now he wonders if Bakugou had known something back then, long ago. What did he know? How did he know?





 

 



Tomura reads Dabi’s favourite book.

By the end of it, he only has more questions for himself.

That man travelled back in time to save one person and sacrificed himself. He was homeless, and had no one to talk to. He could have done whatever he wanted once he successfully travelled back in time, but instead he went through with his plan, practicing everyday until the day he had to save that person.

Tomura wonders what he would tell himself if he ever went back in time.

It’s a stupid thing to wonder about, he decides.

Nothing good comes from wondering.





 



It is winter. Snow has already fallen on the ground, made its home on pavement roads and on sagging roofs.

And Tomura’s heater is broken, with the worst timing possible.

He shuffles through the apartment miserably with two blankets wrapped around him at all times, conserving his warmth.

“Called weeks ago, and they still aren’t here,” Tomura mutters, slamming down his cup of heated noodles, liquid splashing out of the paper cup.

On cue, Tomura’s doorbell rings. “Heard the heater broke, is this the right apartment?”

Tomura sighs in relief. “Yeah, hold on, just need toー” He swings open to door, cup on noodles balanced in one hand.

He stills.

Dabi smiles back at him. He looks the same as he did when Tomura last saw him, the light from the hallway painting him in harsh light.

The sight of his smile - so familiar, soft - spurs him.

“What are you doing here,” Tomura says flatly. “I told you I hated you.”

He scoffs. “Obviously, I’m here to make an offer. And to see Lulu.”

At the sound of her name Lulu meows, appearing. At the sight of Dabi, she sprints toward him, colliding with his ankles to wrap around it and purr softly.

Tomura leans on the door, watching Dabi scoop up Lulu. “Yeah?” he says, too calmly for the drumbeat of his heart. “What is it?”

“Well, if you’re looking for a personal heater, you’re looking right at one.” Dabi gestures to himself with a smirk. “Behold, your own personal heater that you can take anywhere with you. And can also clean the dishes and do the laundry and all that. All for the price of allowing him to live inside your apartment.”

“I...” Tomura picks at the dirt inside his nail, resisting the urge to scratch at his neck. “Why are you here, Dabi?”

Dabi’s smile drops. “You haven’t realized yet?”

“Realized what?”

“That IーIloveyou.” Dabi mutters the last part quickly. He looks down, avoiding Tomura’s eyes and stroking Lulu.

Tomura wonders if he’s lost his hearing from Toga screaming her head off in voice chat last night. “What?”

“I love you.”

The words make their way through Tomura’s ears, filters into his brain, but even then he can’t understand it. No one has said that to him before, in a romantic context.

“You’re lying,” he says, because this is the only way he can make sense of what Dabi’s said.

“I’m not lying.”

“No, you’re lying. There’s no way anyone can - no way you can - love me.”

Dabi frowns. “Why is it so hard for you to accept that you’re a good person who can be loved by others?”

Tomura focuses on the cup of noodles in his hands, the heat only mild now. “You just want to use me.”

“Shouldn’t I be the one saying that, considering how we met?” Dabi sighs. “I can’t explain love, mophead. All I can say is that I like hearing you laugh, I think you’re cute when you ramble about stuff from your games, even if I have no idea what it’s about. I love that you hate going out, but you’ll go out with me anyways just because I said so. I loveーyou.”

Tomura feels lost. Untethered, flying blind in a storm. What Dabi says isn’t anything special. But the fact that he notices and cares is enough.

It’s more than enough.

“I’m sorry for saying I hated you,” Tomura whispers. “I was lying.”

“Yeah, I knowー...are you crying?” Dabi places Lulu on the ground, only to reach out and brush Tomura’s bangs out of his face. Tomura feels something wet and warm dripping down his face. “Hey, it’s okay. I’m notー”

Tomura grabs Dabi’s shirt and pulls his forward.

Their teeth click together first, and they both flinch at the pain. Then Dabi moves, placing a warm hand on Tomura’s chin to tilt his face up, the other running through his hair.

Their lips slot together, and Tomura forget how to breathe.

Kissing Dabi isーstrange. There’s a staple that feels cold and alien on his lips, but the rest of Dabi is warm. It should feel uncomfortable. But Tomura just sighs into the kiss, thinking, finally.

It’s not anything special. But it’s Tomura’s first and it’s with Dabi, the one who turned out to love Tomura back, and it leaves him fizzy, like bubbly soda.

“How long are you staying?” he asks, splitting apart to breathe, his hands curled into Dabi’s hair.

Dabi’s eyes are glittering. He has the goofiest grin on his face, and it pulls at his staples and makes Tomura’s heart grow fond. “Forever.”

“Youーyou don’t need to go back?”

Dabi kisses the tear tracks on Tomura’s face, the scars on his lips and under his eyes. “Asked my old man if I could go upstairs and he said, ‘Whatever, L-O-L. Talk to my secretary.’ That’s the only reason I took so long - there was a lot of paperwork.”

“Your dad said ‘L-O-L’ out loud?”

“Torturing people changes a person,” Dabi says seriously. He looks down. “You spilled your noodles.”

Tomura follows his gaze to confirm that, yes, he dropped his noodles on the ground in his haste. His blankets are also pillowed on the ground behind him. “Sorry,” he mutters. “I think I stained your pants.”

Dabi kisses his cheek. “How about I make dinner and we play games after?”

Tomura smiles.





 



The light from the television screen fills the living room, paused on an abandoned game of Wii tennis. A song plays from Dabi’s phone.

Slowly, they rock in place, holding each other close. Dabi’s breath ghosts over Tomura’s shoulder, singing quietly next to Tomura’s ear. Tomura closes his eyes, resting his head on Dabi’s shoulder.

It’s the first time in a long time that Tomura feels that he is well and truly home.

After the insects have made their claim.

“After the foxes have known our taste,” Dabi sings.

After the raven has had its say, Tomura mouths over Dabi’s skin.

I’d be home with you.

I’d be home with you.



“What if we danced to the Wii theme music?”

“No.”

“Oh, so you can slow dance to Hozier singing about rotting bodies but you can’t stand a classic, okay.”

“I’m not dancing to Wii music!”

“How about the Kahoot loading music, then.”

“Will you shut up?”

“Make me, mophead.”

“Fine.”

“...When I said ‘make me’, I meant ‘let’s make out’ not ‘throw the remote at me’.”



In the corner a potted camellia bush stands, brought in to be protected from the winter storm.