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The Cat Goal

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Much to Shouta’s displeasure, they don’t get a cat in their first apartment.

 

Oboro advocates for it, but when Hizashi presents them with the price ranges of pet-friendly apartments (each with a separate fee and deposit required in addition to higher rent) versus those that don’t allow pets, he wilts. They’re fresh out of high school and barely scraping together enough to file the paperwork for their own agency, much less more than the most modest of one-bedroom apartments. It doesn’t make any logical, rational, or financial sense at the moment, but if anything that makes Shouta mope all the more aggressively.

 

“Aren’t you going to eat?” Hizashi prompts, nudging his boyfriend a little. They’re eating takeout the Yamada moms dropped off, surrounded by boxes, and taking a break now that all of their combined possessions are inside the apartment. They still need to unpack at least a little and actually set up the bed, bare minimum, and for that they need energy. Shouta, for once, is just staring glumly at his omurice.

 

“Yes.”

 

Shouta doesn’t move. Anyone else would figure oh, that’s just how Eraserhead is, shrug, and move on, and he would probably die of malnutrition because he wouldn’t feel like eating because he’s sad. With long years of practice, Oboro and Hizashi see right through it.

 

“I know you’re upset,” Oboro says for at least the fifth time, but he’s still patient and upbeat. “I want a cat, too, and so does Hizashi. He’s just looking at the big picture instead of the cute and fuzzy little one, which is good because that’s another example of us balancing each other out, right?”

 

“I understand. It’s illogical.”

 

“But you still want it,” Hizashi finishes with a nod, exchanging a look with Oboro. “And babe, I know how much you want to bring in the strays I know you think I don’t see you guys feeding in the alleys literally everywhere we go, but we just can’t swing it at the moment. That doesn’t mean it’s off the table forever, though. A cat would be good for you, it would make you very happy, and we definitely want to make you happy because we love you.”

 

“It’s fine.” Shouta mutters, sliding down in his chair and refusing to look at either of them.

 

“It’s not. It’s important to you. So, we’ll set a goal, alright?” Hizashi says, dragging out one of the smaller whiteboards he’d brought along from his moms’ house. He rummages in one of the still-unpacked boxes and eventually produces a marker. “So, to comfortably keep up on rent and utilities--” he begins scribbling as he talks, “--which is looking to be about this much, and provide everything I know you guys will want to spoil a cat with, as well as actually maybe eating once in a while, we’d need to be consistently bringing in a decent sum every month. If I’m remembering those pet-friendly apartment listings correctly, it’d be somewhere around here.” He finishes with a flourish, then sets the whiteboard up so his boyfriends can see.

 

“... that’s a lot,” Oboro admits.

 

“But not impossible,” Shouta says slowly, studying the chart.

 

“Yep! It might take a couple years, but between the three of us, and in our brand new, slightly dilapidated but fairly-priced apartment, we’ll hit that goal! And this will be a clear way for us to keep track of bills and stuff as well as being a motivator, yeah? We’ll hang it on the fridge so it’s easy to see,” Hizashi explains. Shouta nods.

 

“Sounds fair.”

 

“Awesome. So will you please stop being a super sad Shouchan and eat so your boyfriends don’t have to see you waste away as well as have to unpack all this junk?” Hizashi bats his eyelashes, which makes the other two laugh.

 

“I should make you unpack your own stuff, you brought the most,” Shouta retorts, but he does pick up his chopsticks.

 

---

 

And it’s good. They’re productive, mostly-responsible heroes by day, spend every evening together, and meet up with friends on the weekends. The Cat Goal edges up, bit by bit, as they take on regular cases and suss out more villainous plots. It’s easy. It’s ideal.

 

For about six months, anyway.

 

Then Hizashi is attacked leaving home by a villain that goes right for his throat , and the first thing he says (well, croaks) after waking up is “Sorry, the bills might set our cat goal back for a few months.”

 

Shouta barks out a laugh that might be a sob. Hizashi hasn’t heard that since Oboro’s accident, and it hurts almost as much as the stitching around his throat. “I’d rather have you than any cat, idiot.”

 

“Damn, these are some good pain meds,” Hizashi says in awe, trying for a playful tone. “I couldn’t have just heard what I thought I heard, Oboro.”

 

“He likes you more than cats? You’re stuck with him now,” Oboro nods, and Shouta huffs before hooking an arm around Oboro and flinging the other around Hizashi’s shoulders. He’s mindful of the bandages still wrapped around Hizashi’s tender throat, but that means they’re all still pulled into a sort of ungainly pile anyway.

 

“You’re both more important than cats,” Shouta says firmly against Oboro’s ear, then turns his head to direct the next part at Hizashi. “And we’re going to Support to change your costume before you go on patrol again.”

 

“But that’s--” expensive, Hizashi wants to say, and they all know it. Even if UA gives steep discounts to alumni, that’s a little chunk of change plus when he’s not working, that’s less money coming in. The station has been talking about giving him more than just a half-hour, mid-afternoon spot, but that’ll be put on hold while he recovers and be another hit to the bank account.

 

“Don’t be illogical,” Shouta says sharply, and his tone brooks no argument. Oboro nods in firm agreement. Hizashi is outnumbered.

 

“My aesthetic ,” Hizashi sighs mournfully, but he doesn’t actually get a say because he’d been the last to leave for patrol so neither Shouta nor Oboro were anywhere near home when the attack happened, and Shouta has had to subject himself to hospital coffee for almost two days straight while panicking over his boyfriends’ ‘will he/won’t he pull through,’ status. Oboro, who had been the last subject of this panic and had the jagged scars over one eye and part of his temple to show for it, hadn’t been much better.

 

“You’ll live,” Oboro says, and yeah. That’s what’s important.

 

The outside of their apartment building is in shambles after the fight, the building manager has been pretty clear on the likelihood of their lease being renewed, and frankly none of them actually feel safe knowing that at least one person has been able to track them home.

 

So they move.

 

Hizashi spends hours during his recovery scrolling through apartment listings, and finally finds one that’s a little bit cheaper, has a bigger kitchen and proper genkan, and the only downside is that it’s a twenty-minute train ride from the station and about the same travel time to the grounds they’ve carved out to patrol. It’s a delay to their response times and they’ll probably end up missing some jobs because of it, but they’ll be safer .

 

Oboro is on board, but when Shouta realizes they’ll all have to leave earlier to account for traveling he demands a proper, full-size coffee maker. Not the tiny bachelor one they’ve been making do with since moving in together.

 

It also makes sense to set up an actual office, with a changing/locker room for their costumes (at least for the next several months) though even Hizashi has to wince at the after-dinner sitdown where they go over prospective rentals and redo their entire budget to make it work. Combined with the sudden moving expenses it’s a solid blow to the cat goal, but Shouta just shrugs when Hizashi apologetically adjusts the whiteboard.

 

“It’s fine. We’ll get there eventually.”

 

Second Version

---

 

“So Nezu emailed me today,” Hizashi announces during one of the nights where it’s his turn to be the middle spoon. They’re already in bed, with both of Hizashi’s legs trapped under his boyfriends’, Shouta’s arm thrown over his chest and already half-asleep, and Oboro linking one hand with Shouta’s and using the other to play with Hizashi’s long hair.

 

“Can he give you detention if you’ve already graduated?”

 

“Probably,” Shouta mumbles against Hizashi’s shoulder.

 

“Anyone else, no. Nezu? Yeah. But! That’s not why he reached out!” Hizashi grins. “He gave me a job offer. Out of the blue! Sarutobi-sensei is retiring and they’ve got an opening as the head of the English department!”

 

“Isn’t that skipping a level or two?” Oboro pauses his movements, but that makes Hizashi’s gestures only pick up.

 

“My scores were hella good , he mentioned that I used to tutor the first and second years with ‘noted success,’ and hey, I managed to get you guys passing grades!” He pokes them both, and Shouta grumbles as his almost-sleep is disturbed again. “Sorry, babe. But yeah, I’d be the head and teach first year hero students regularly, and probably rotate through the rest of the years and departments to kind of get a feel of where everyone is at. The first term is just shadowing Sarutobi, then he’s off to do whatever old people do after retirement, I guess. So I wouldn’t be totally thrown in with no training whatsoever.”

 

“Don’t you need a teaching license?” Oboro wonders. “What about the other people already teaching? Wouldn’t it make more sense to fill it internally?” Hizashi winces.

 

“I asked about that, and Nezu said the, uh, ‘previous administration was more focused on filling the roster with celebrities versus teachers,’ which was pretty blunt, but he did follow it up with saying that he believes I have what it takes to be a teacher! UA is gonna make everyone get one, even current employees. I just need to work on the license stuff over the summer terms, but as long as I’m actively working on it and the actual teaching is working out, we’re cool.” He wiggles with excitement, shaking the bed a little. “Just think, yo! I’ll be making bank teaching all these young minds to navigate their first international interviews! If All Might has a kid and sends them there, I could even teach them!”

 

“So, hold up, you’re going to get a teaching license,” Oboro abandons his work on Hizashi’s hair entirely and sits up a little, prompting another grumpy mumble from Shouta as he ticks off on his fingers, “and you’re going to be learning a new job, and teaching, and your newly extended middle of the night radio show, and patrolling?”

 

“... yes?” Hizashi hazards.

 

“No.” Shouta mutters.

 

“No,” Oboro agrees. “Something has gotta go. At least until you’ve got the licensing stuff done, ‘cause you’re gonna be studying and making others study. Passing along the pain, as it were, dang.”

 

“No more patrols,” Shouta says, and shifts a little so he’s no longer muffled by Hizashi’s shoulder. “Oboro wanted to get some interns or sidekicks anyway, we’ll have them help cover your area.” Hizashi sighs, and almost reaches up to cover the thick scarring across his throat, though long-since healed and now usually hidden by his speaker. The scars he and Oboro sport from their worst near-death experiences (so far; their careers are young and the statistics for heroes are not great) haven’t affected Shouta’s perceptions, he insists, but then there’s moments like this where he tries to nudge them out of what he considers ‘extra’ dangers. Hizashi hasn’t found a way to bring it up yet (he’s a trained hero too, it’s part of the job, he can take care of himself even if the concern from his normally mostly stoic boyfriend is very sweet it’s also exasperating), but Oboro’s noticed it, too. Maybe when it’s Shouta’s turn to be the middle spoon and he can’t physically escape.

 

“Fine,” Hizashi agrees reluctantly. “I’ll scale it back a little, but you guys call me in when you need it or I’ll personally come up to the hospital to cry on you and then kick your ass because you didn’t bring me. And we’ll go back to normal once things settle down. It’s not like it’s gonna be a permanent change or anything.”

 

Third Version

---

 

It becomes a permanent change, as before Hizashi quite realizes it he’s swamped with work from his other two jobs and there’s large intervals between Shouta or Oboro asking for help on the streets. He’s glad to assist when they’re all working on various paperwork around the kotatsu in the evening and he needs a break from the absolutely atrocious work that the first years have the gall to submit, though.

 

It feels like he’s in a circus, sometimes, juggling tasks and running from one job to the other before collapsing into bed at weird hours. The commute is a real pain, too-- he’s not exactly All Might with his Mighty Jump, so Hizashi has to ride the train like everyone else in full costume every day to the school or the station. It’s not even the same train his boyfriends take, to add just that little bit of salt in the wound and kill any chance of him actually seeing them during work hours. It’ll pay off, but ugh.

 

Nezu’s shuffling of the teaching roster turns up Nemuri shortly after Hizashi starts, which is at least a major plus at one of his jobs. And she gets to take over Art History and gush over the meanings of old paintings and sculptures with the same enthusiasm she usually reserved for things related to her Midnight persona.

 

“Ooooh, is that a text from one of the booooooyfriends?” She teases at the start of lunch break one day, when Hizashi’s phone pings. A split second later, her phone beeps as well, and they pause to check the notification.

 

“Nope, it’s Tensei. He’s gonna be a little late on Saturday night, but he’s still coming,”

 

“Boo, there’s nothing naughty about a group chat!” Nemuri pouts.

 

“Do you even read what you put in there?” Hizashi laughs, standing and stretching. “Shouta is the most safe-for-work in the whole chat, and he only sends cat memes or one word answers. C’mon, let’s see what Lunch Rush has today, I didn’t have time to pack a lunch this morning.”

 

“Oh? No homemade lunch with a love note on top?” She teases, leading the way to the cafeteria. Hizashi pauses mid-step and squints at her.

 

“Shouta doesn’t do anything more complicated than a jelly pouch, and Oboro tried to put dish soap in my cast-iron pans. When it’s their turn to cook that really means they have to go and pick up the take-out order.” He says flatly. “And honestly, we barely see each other because we’re always going to or from one of our jobs right now. I see them for maybe an hour or two after dinner, but lately Shouta’s been taking some cases at night so even he’s not always home when I am. It sucks.”

 

Nemuri winces. “Damn. Sounds like you need to move closer. Or get a flying quirk.”

 

“We couldn’t afford to find an apartment in Musutafu, unless-- why, Midnight, are you offering to be my sugar mama?” He replies with a grin, and throws in some finger guns for good measure. “‘Cause Present Mic is off the market, thank you very much, though I’m flattered.

 

“Ah, shut up, you dork. You’re always gonna be my adorable little dorky kohai!” She squeals, reaching up to ruffle his hair and laughing when he yelps and dodges. They play-fight all the way to the cafeteria, politely halt it when chatting with Lunch Rush, and elect to bring it back to the teacher’s lounge versus spend their free hour around the students, bless their enthusiastic and dumbass little hearts. Hizashi’s pretty sure at their worst the Idiot Trio were never outright hooligans.

 

He’s about to bring it up and reignite the playful banter with Nemuri when they sit down and she has a dawning look of realization. It’s usually the exact same look that precedes some very hooligan-ish shenanigans and sheepishly supplying his hero license to unimpressed police officers.

 

“I don’t like that face. What’re you scheming? We’re already banned from two karaoke bars, don’t make that list shorter, yo.”

 

“Oh, don’t worry about it, Hizashi,” Nemuri waves him off arily with a devious smirk. She shoots off a text and makes a show of putting it in her pocket before digging into her lunch. “Just trust your senpai for once.”

 

“Yeah, ‘cause that’s never backfired horribly,” Hizashi mutters, and dodges her outraged swipe.

 

-----

 

“So. I did a thing.”

 

Hizashi just walked in the door. He served up four hours of truly tasty jams late Friday night while all of his listeners were out partying and buoyed by Present Mic’s nonstop energy. Yamada Hizashi is sleepy and just wants a cuddle.

 

Instead he’s squinting at Oboro, why is Oboro even awake at this time, and is trying to both give his boyfriend a severe look and take off these damn complicated platform boots at the same time. “A thing? What kind of thing? An ‘I made another scorch mark in your sink,’ kind of thing? Decided to dye your hair kind of thing? Help a guy out.”

 

“Ah, a little bit bigger than that. But wait until Shouta gets here,” Oboro says, like that’s going to calm Hizashi down at all. He looks more excited than he was for their graduation ceremony, and has a giant grin on his face that both melts Hizashi’s heart and makes him extra suspicious.

 

“Shouta’s actually going to be home?” Oboro might be announcing that he’s destroyed their entire kitchen, because he sure is herding Hizashi away from the kitchen and into the bedroom, but at least Hizashi’s going to get a chance to see both his boyfriends at the same time and that’s pretty damn wonderful.

 

“Yup! He’s been working cases and making some good contacts at night, but I asked if he could call it a little early,” Oboro looks entirely too pleased with himself. “I’ll tell you guys at the same time, but first! Time to put Mic away and get my even more gorgeous boyfriend all comfy while we wait!”

 

Hizashi has to hand it to Oboro, he’s damn good at flattery, and the wandering hands as he helps Hizashi change out of the absolutely-necessary leather and into some pajama pants is a much better distraction. They finally have only the gel left to brush out of his hair, with Oboro armed with the brush and comb and sitting on the bed, and Hizashi’s considering if he’s too tired to take it a little further once they’re finished when the front door shuts, followed by Shouta coming into the bedroom.

 

“Hey there, stranger,” Hizashi purrs, giving Shouta his best come hither eyes and wiggling in place in his spot on the floor. Shouta gives in immediately with a small but heartwarming smile, kissing first Hizashi then Oboro thoroughly.

 

“Hey,” he murmurs, and Hizashi twists back to see him nudging Oboro over and taking the brush. “I’ve got it.” And he gets to work, working the gel out patiently and gently and turning Hizashi into a melted puddle of bliss, hands only stuttering when Oboro slots himself behind Shouta and presses kisses against the back of his neck. It’s sweet. It’s peaceful. It’s entirely domestic, and Shouta lets them indulge for almost ten minutes before he breaks the comfortable silence. “What’s your big announcement, Oboro?”

 

“Oh! Yeah!” Oboro scrambles off the bed and stands in front of them with a huge smile. “First off, happy anniversary!”

 

Hizashi goes from half-asleep to wide awake in a second, but his brain-to-mouth filter is still snoozing. “Oh shit, you’re right. Oh my god. Happy anniversary, I can’t believe I forgot, this is the ten year one which is a milestone, I’ll try to work something out so I can take you guys someplace nice or something--”

 

Shouta, still behind him, silences Hizashi with a hand over his eyes, but he can still hear the fondness in his voice. “‘Zashi. It’s fine, we’re all busy. Happy anniversary.” Hizashi feels rather than sees him shift his attention to Oboro. “Are you telling us because you made a plan?”

 

“Well, more like a plan for the next 25 years!” Oboro’s grin, if possible, gets a little wider.

 

“What?”

 

“I bought us a penthouse!”

 

“YOU WHAT--” Hizashi yanks Shouta’s hand up and gapes at their boyfriend, quirk slipping briefly. “You did NOT that is a HUGE fucking decision we have to work out together you can’t just go out and buy a motherfucking penthouse --”

 

“Where did you even get the money?” Shouta is a helluva lot calmer than Hizashi, who is getting to his feet so he can properly shake some sense into Oboro. Or have a panic attack. One of the two.

 

“Nemuri helped!” Oboro, bless his heart, is still beaming.

 

“Helped you find a sugar mama or something? Working the corner? Selling your kidneys?!” Hizashi puts both hands on Oboro’s shoulders, trying (probably in vain) to explain the severity of the situation. “Babe. Sweetheart. Love. A penthouse is fucking expensive.

 

“It is! But it’s way more expensive to rent. Turns out, monthly payments on a mortgage are way easier to swing. And we actually own it! I mean, assuming we pay every month, but hey! There’s our retirement plan taken care of and everything!” 

 

“Oboro,” Hizashi says slowly and carefully, “why are you like this. You didn’t seriously sign a major financial contract without talking to us, did you?”

 

“Hear me out,” Oboro says, which means he absolutely did, oh my god. He ushers Hizashi back to the bed and sits between him and Shouta. “It’s in Musutafu, like three blocks away from UA, then in the other direction just a few more blocks to your radio station, so we’ll all save on travel and our response times will be way up and make more money. Nemuri found it ‘cos she used to date the property manager. And she convinced them to give us a really great deal, like super good, on renting one of the smaller buildings nearby so we could move the agency closer, too! We’re talking about free utilities and half the current agency’s rent, ‘Zashi.”

 

“That’s not bad,” Shouta says thoughtfully, because he is a traitor who is easily swayed. Oboro jumps back up and grins.

 

“You’re gonna love this, Shou,” he promises, dashing out of the room. He comes right back with the whiteboard from the fridge. “I’ve been watching the bills and did the math, and as of next month, here’s what our finances look like! Guess what that means?”

 

Final Version

 

Shouta’s eyes light up. Oboro sets down the whiteboard to give him a delighted kiss. “Hell yeah! We’re getting a cat!”

 

“Oboro, love,” Hizashi puts his head in his hands. “Why.”

 

“‘Cause I missed you, Sunshine,” and his hands are gently pulled away from his face so Oboro can give him a kiss and his very best, very effective puppy eyes, damn him. “I missed you and Shou so, so much, and this would make our lives a lot easier, right? I don’t want to be married to guys I see maybe six hours in a week, and almost never at the same time.”

 

“Married?” Hizashi squeaks out. Shouta starts and stares at Oboro with wide eyes.

 

Oboro pauses and leans back, rubbing the back of his neck and cheeks going just a little pink. “Well, I mean, we’ve kinda gotta spend money on moving and stuff, so no budget for rings just yet, but I was kinda thinking that was in the works? If you guys were up for it.”

 

Hizashi wants to throw up. Or cry. Or scream. These are too many feelings , too many bombshells for three am. Before he can do any of those things and possibly lose them their deposit (shit, that’s something they’re going to be getting back real soon, isn’t it), Shouta pulls Oboro back onto the bed roughly, making him stumble and land on his back on the bed with an oof. That seems to suit Shouta just fine, because he leans over Oboro and kisses him long and slow. Through the dark curtain of his hair, Hizashi gets to see Shouta nip at Oboro’s lips as it ends and he murmurs, “Yes.”

 

“I expect a proper proposal that’s not in the middle of the night,” Hizashi informs Oboro, before giving him a brief but messy kiss then turning to give Shouta the same treatment, even if the grin he just can’t hold back makes it a little difficult. They take a second to catch their breath, all three pink and panting, and Hizashi takes the opportunity to point seriously at Oboro. “But! If we’re irrevocably tying our finances together, please no more surprise mortgages. We gotta talk about it if we’re going to buy anything more expensive than a coffee or lunch, alright? I’m serious.”

 

“Fine,” Shouta agrees with a yawn. He sits up long enough to shuffle off his hero uniform before sliding back and between them with a yawn. “Now go to sleep.”

 

“You’re not the one I’m worried about,” Hizashi says, but it is after three am and he’s very, very tired and wants to cuddle shirtless with his favorite men in the world, so he lets himself be pulled down and close.

 

“I promise, ‘Zashi,” Oboro says, standing and hitting the light before getting in on Shouta’s other side and reaching a hand over to Hizashi, fumbling in the dark until he finds his hand and links their fingers together. “And Shouta has to promise to wear a suit to the wedding.”

 

“Hate suits. Gonna have t’ convince me,” Shouta slurs, already half-asleep now that they’re all cozy and warm and pressed together. Hizashi is well on his way to dreamland as well, but he makes sure the smirk is clear in his voice as he replies.

 

“Sounds like fun.”