It started in the morning.
Nothing weird had happened on their weekly outing to the grocery store, it was as domestic and sweet as it always was. Reminding Hitoshi of all the reasons why he loved this house and this family. And then as soon as the groceries were put away then they'd all go and have an equally nice afternoon together.
And Hitoshi was going to help them get there faster, by getting the last of the grocery bags! Or well he was going to until suddenly his leg knocked into a bicycle wheel and he was pitching forward and - oh he was falling
Right in front of his hero, role model, and foster-dad: Aizawa.
Hitoshi wished he had a quirk that allowed him to sink into the floor and disappear.
Yamada helped Hitoshi back up, fretting over him and checking if he had gotten hurt anywhere. (Hitoshi was fine aside from Hitoshi’s bruised confidence, not that he'd tell Yamada about that). Aizawa had the nerve to praise Hitoshi for putting his hands out to catch his fall. (Hitoshi wanted to scream just a little bit, the Eraserhead was complimenting him even though he saw him fall in the first place).
Hitoshi hoped that aside from some long nights reliving the entire embarrassing moment that would be the end of this. He could live with that. Hopefully.
“Did you go for a ride this morning Zashi? I haven’t taken this out in a while,” Aizawa murmured as he rearranged the offending bicycle that Hitoshi had tripped over to not stick out so much from the wall.
“Ah, I was thinking we could all go for a ride together today! Hitoshi can use your old bike, what do you say Toshi?”
“Uhh I don’t know how to ride a bike.”
The next thing Hitoshi knew they were on the street outside their house, Aizawa was strapping elbow pads onto him, (“Just to be safe,” he reasoned), while Yamada was pumping air into the tires of Aizawa’s old bicycle. (“This was Sho’s back when he was in high school and short, it’ll work great for you,” Yamada whispered).
Hitoshi tried to pinch himself a few times to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating. It didn’t change anything. He was still standing in front of a very intimidating and well-kept bicycle.
“Alrighty, Toshi! First thing first you gotta hop onto your new ride!” Yamada said cheerfully.
Yamada held onto the handlebars of the bicycle, keeping it steady, while Aizawa hovered behind Hitoshi as he mounted the bicycle.
“Try reaching for the pedals,” Aizawa suggested so Hitoshi awkwardly set both of his feet onto the bike pedals. Hitoshi winced and gripped onto the handlebars as the bike shifted a bit at his movement but Yamada still had a steady grip on the bike.
“Hey it’s okay,” Yamada suddenly said, making Hitoshi look up to meet his eyes. “We’re gonna take it one step at a time and before you know it you’re gonna be zooming away on this thing okay?” Yamada smiled softly.
“Okay,” Hitoshi nodded, loosening his grip on the handlebars. This was going to be fine, easy really, everyone knew how to ride a bike.
“Alrighty! First thing first, do you see this little lever right here?” Yamada asked, pointing to the said lever, “this is your brake and you can push it anytime you need to stop or slow down orrrrr you can just put your feet on the ground okay? And if you ever EVER feel unsafe just jump off! Got that?”
Did - did Yamada just tell Hitoshi to jump off the bike if he got scared? More importantly, Hitoshi didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle let alone jump off of one. Should he practice that first?
“Don’t worry we’ll be helping you control the bike until you get used to it,” Aizawa assured him and Hitoshi nodded along. Eraserhead was here, so nothing too bad could happen right? Yup, yeah this was totally going to be fine!
“Alrighty, so just start peddling! Nice and slow,” Yamada said and Hitoshi felt grossly underinformed. Yamada let go of the handlebars and Hitoshi didn’t immediately topple over like a bowling pin. So that was a good start. Aizawa put his hands on Hitoshi’s back and they were off!
Hitoshi held the handlebar tight enough that his knuckles were turning white as he slowly urged the bike forward. He was petrified of the bike suddenly veering off into the side and he felt that if it weren’t for Aizawa holding onto him he’d be toppling over already.
Yet, despite all his worries, Yamada and even Aizawa praised him as if he were piloting a rocket ship out into space or something.
“You’re doing great buddy! Look at you, you're practically gliding already!”
“You’re keeping up a steady pace, take your time, you’re doing good,”
“Look at that turn! You’re a natural Toshi!”
“There you go, you’re practically balancing on your own.”
“WOO Toshi, look at that speed!”
“Alright, you got this,”
And suddenly Hitoshi was riding a bike all on his own. Hitoshi was flying .
Distantly behind him, Hitoshi heard Yamada and Aizawa’s excited yelling. Yet, he was too far up in the clouds to hear them. Hitoshi felt free.
Hitoshi had never had a bicycle before. He had seen other kids ride bikes in the neighborhood. When he was young, it felt like everyone else knew how to ride a bike. Like everyone else had parents to teach them to ride a bike.
Everyone except the orphan Shinsou Hitoshi with the villain quirk.
Hitoshi hadn’t realized just how much fun he had been missing out on. It was just a part of his life, a part of being Shinsou Hitoshi.
“ HITOSHI SLOW DOWN! SLOW DOWN!”
And suddenly Hitoshi was going too fast, too fast, he wasn’t flying anymore, he was hurtling down the street with no way of stopping! Hitoshi stopped pedaling but the bike didn’t slow down and someone’s garden bush was getting awfully close and Hitoshi squeezed the brake and finally, the bike stopped.
But Hitoshi didn’t.
Hitoshi pitched forward some poor bush taking the brunt of his fall.
Hitoshi blinked a few times as the last few seconds playing in repeat in his head.
“HITOSHI! HITOSHI OH SHIT!”
Hitoshi shakily tried to push himself upwards with his elbows.
“OH my gosh, Hitoshi are you alright?” Yamada heaved and suddenly Hitoshi was being pulled out of the bush and Aizawa was making him follow his finger with his eyes and they were apologizing for not sticking closer to him and they were just taking care of Hitoshi. They were just caring about him.
Like parents were supposed to.
And suddenly it was too much .
“I’m fine!” Hitoshi grumbled as he yanked his wrist away from Aizawa’s careful inspections. “I’m done, this was dumb,” Hitoshi snapped out. He let out a breath, clenching and unclenching his fists.
“Hitoshi?” Aizawa said softly and Hitoshi whipped his head to look at his parents - No his foster parents’ faces. Aizawa’s eyebrows were furrowed together as if Hitoshi was a difficult math problem that he couldn’t figure out whereas Yamada's eyes were wide and his eyebrows were so high up they were nearly touching his hairline. They looked confused and..they looked hurt.
Hitoshi couldn’t stand it any longer so he turned away and started trudging back to the house.
He didn’t care if Yamada and Aizawa were following him. He didn’t care that he snapped at them. He didn’t care that he broke one of their only rules about being rude. Hitoshi just wanted to go back to his room and lay down on his purple rug for the next decade.
And so what if they decided that they had enough of orphan Shinsou Hitoshi, with his problem quirk? Hitoshi was a hassle and such a dangerous kid even though he hadn’t had a quirk accident in two years! He had been through this enough times that he had gotten used to it.
Hitoshi slammed the front door behind him.
This house was too weird for Hitoshi anyway! Nothing about it made any sense! Nothing that Aizawa and Yamada did ever made any sense!
Hitoshi kicked off his shoes, not bothering to actually put them away and Hitoshi suddenly remembered that he had been forced to put on stupid protective gear just to ride a lame bicycle. In a sudden rush of fury, Hitoshi hurled off the knee pads and elbow pads and threw his helmet onto the floor of the genkan.
Yamada and Aizawa were too freaking nice and always treated Hitoshi like...like...like they actually liked him. Like they cared about him.
Like Hitoshi always dreamt that his parents would treat him if they were still alive.
Hitoshi suddenly felt empty, but not in the way that made him feel weightless like he could just float away. Hitoshi felt as if all his limbs suddenly turned into lead and he could barely move. Hitoshi looked down at his bedroom floor and bit down on his bottom lip.
It would be dumb to cry. It would be so dumb to cry. Hitoshi had become such a crybaby in the short amount of time he’s been here. Hitoshi felt himself crumple to the floor pulling his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around them.
Hitoshi was terrible. Was terrible because he yelled at two of the people he loved most in the world. All because of what? Because they cared too much about him? Maybe there really was something wrong with Hitoshi. Something that made him unfit to be in a family for too long. The thought made Hitoshi’s chest ache something terrible.
Hitoshi wasn’t sure for how long he sat crouched down in his room until he heard a soft knock on his door. Hitoshi’s head shot upwards and he realized too late that he hadn’t bothered to properly shut his door. In the space between the door and the wall, he could just make out just part of Yamada's worried face.
“Hey Toshi, can we come in?” Yamada asked almost hesitantly. Hitoshi could hardly remember a time when Yamada sounded so unconfident and his chest tightened uncomfortably when he realized that he was the reason why.
Hitoshi nodded his head before turning his head to the side, resting it on his knees. He heard Yamada and Aizawa slowly make their way into his room. Hitoshi determinedly didn’t turn his head towards them and didn't see where they sat.
How could Hitoshi even look at them? After everything they had done for him, he had acted that way. Hitoshi could barely stand himself.
“Hitoshi, honey, do you want to look at us?”
Hitoshi stiffened for a moment, not expecting Yamada’s question.
“We’d appreciate it if you raised your head kid,” Aizawa spoke quietly as he often did when Hitoshi was upset.
Slowly, Hitoshi raised his head, struggling to raise his gaze to look at Yamada and Aizawa.
They didn’t look mad. That made Hitoshi feel slightly better, sort of. Still, they looked upset and that had Hitoshi’s stomach doing somersaults.
“Hitoshi,” Yamada started before pausing. It put Hitoshi even more on edge.
“You’re not in trouble. You don’t need to look so nervous” Aizawa interjected before Yamada could finish his thought. Hitoshi’s eyes snapped towards the other man.
Aizawa was an intense guy. Hitoshi could admit that, despite how much he liked Aizawa. When he was Eraserhead, Hitoshi thought it was super cool. And when he wasn’t Eraserhead well, it took Hitoshi a moment to get used to. Aizawa wasn’t really mean as Hitoshi had initially thought. His face was just stern that way, probably from years as an underground hero. Hitoshi didn’t mind it much anymore. (He had seen the man willingly and enthusiastically buy merch of his own husband! And well how scary could someone like that really be?).
But, right now, Aizawa was looking at Hitoshi with such a gentle expression that Hitoshi almost thought he was imagining it.
“Oh right of course Hitoshi, you’re not in trouble! We just well - we’re worried about you honey. You don’t usually get so frustrated like that so we want to know what’s wrong,”
Hitoshi let the words wash over him. They were nice and left him feeling so warm yet also so so so overwhelming at the same time.
Hitoshi opened his mouth yet as he looked at Aizawa and Yamada’s expectant faces his throat felt tight and scratchy and he couldn't speak and he could barely breathe.
Something changed in Yamada’s expression then and before Hitoshi could work himself up over it Yamada spoke again.
“Hey, hey honey, it’s okay. We don’t need to talk about it right now yeah? I - we didn’t mean to overwhelm you, Toshi. It’s okay,” Yamada slowly reached out his hand, placing it gently on the floor in front of Hitoshi.
He had learned. Yamada had learned to reach out to Hitoshi in a way that didn’t make him freeze up instantly. Yamada was so kind and Hitoshi couldn’t remember how he had felt unnerved by him beforehand.
Hitoshi put his hand over Yamada’s, clutching onto it tightly. Yamada slowly shifted closer and closer until he was at Hitoshi’s side. Hitoshi stilled and stiffened. Yamada didn’t make any more moves towards Hitoshi but kept holding onto his hand tightly.
“It’s...hard to express yourself sometimes,” Aizawa said softly. Hitoshi looked over at him curiously. Aizawa smiled at him softly as he leaned towards him, “And I know you haven’t told us what bothered you, but that’s okay. I know you will when you're ready to and that's enough kiddo,” Aizawa shifted closer to Hitoshi, coming to sit on his other side.
And oh it was so hard because Hitoshi wanted to bask in their careful and kind attention yet at the same time it sort of made him want to barf.
“We can just sit like this for now, yeah?” Yamada said happily yet his voice was still soft and quiet. Hitoshi nodded along fervently. He felt raw and exposed. Like every little thing would rattle him like a hurricane.
So they just sat together. With Aizawa on one side and Yamada on the other. Hitoshi wasn’t sure if this was how things were supposed to be. He had basically just thrown a tantrum at them and yet they didn’t seem mad. Not at all.
Yamada nudged Hitoshi’s shoulder with his own, looking at Hitoshi with a soft smile that could light up a thousand suns. Hitoshi threw himself into Yamada’s chest, relishing in the easy way that Yamada caught him. Nearly combusting at the feeling of Aizawa wrapping a gentle arm around Hitoshi as well.
Hitoshi burrowed his head into the space between Yamada’s shoulder and Aizawa’s arm. Where his anxious thoughts couldn’t get him. Where his classmates and teachers' whispers couldn’t touch him. Where his quirk didn’t matter. Where Shinsou Hitoshi was just a kid hugging his parents.
Later, maybe today or tomorrow or sometime next week Hitoshi would tell them about what happened. Explain it to them the best he could because he knew that they would get it no matter what. Then Hitoshi would climb back on the bicycle again. Yamada and Aizawa would teach him once more.
And one day, Hitoshi would be able to properly ride on a bicycle all on his own.
Hitoshi at family karaoke night: You are my dads, you’re my dads boogie woogie oogie oogie
Yamada crying: That’s my son right there!
Aizawa: That is also my son
Hitoshi riding a bike on his own
Yamada: YAHHH That was legitness
Aizawa: Yeah it was (ha)
Hitoshi: *falling over furniture*
Aizawa grabbing his capture weapon: Don’t worry I’ll catch you!
Yamada: Sweetie it’s saturday morning, you’re grabbing your turtleneck