Hitoshi didn’t really do birthdays.
He didn’t necessarily dislike birthdays - no - if someone wanted to celebrate and throw a big whole fuss about it then good for them. It was more like Hitoshi didn’t really understand what the big deal was about it. When he was younger a lot of his classmates used to excitedly talk about their birthdays months before the actual day was set to arrive. Now that he and his classmates were older, most kids had the restraint to wait to start talking about it until the week beforehand.
Still, Hitoshi was never one to talk about his birthday. It just wasn’t part of his lifestyle. He knew the date of course and maybe he’d feel a little bit nostalgic about being a year older and get himself something to eat. But that was about it. His former foster parents sure as hell weren’t going to waste money and buy him a gift. Let alone throw him a birthday party. And most of his foster siblings were too weirded out or scared by him to try and celebrate with him as they did with each other.
For Hitoshi, birthdays had always been a quiet private affair. And that was fine by him. All the hype surrounding birthdays was like his English homework.
So two weeks before Hitoshi’s birthday he barely even registering that his birthday is coming up. And he’s completely surprised that Yamada and Aizawa are the ones bringing it up.
“We’re not doing nothing for your birthday Hitoshi,” Aizawa said a bit harshly if Hitoshi was being honest. But it was Saturday morning so maybe Aizawa was still tired?
“But we don’t have to throw a big party either since that’s not what you want! Throwing that idea out!” Yamada interjected, pretending to actually throw an idea out. “Maybe we could go somewhere fun like a theme park or a concert or uh a zoo! Eh, what do you think, Hitoshi?”
Hitoshi frowned as he mulled it over. He took another bite of his breakfast as he thought. While theme parks sounded...fun he had never been to one and he wasn’t sure if he would even like it. Roller Coasters always looked pretty scary online. Honestly, Hitoshi wasn’t sure why his foster parents were making such a big deal. He was fine with his quiet birthdays.
In more recent years, Hitoshi had begun the tradition of planning an outing for himself on his birthdays. It wasn’t much really. Instead of going straight home, Hitoshi would go to a convenience store.
He’d look around for a while, at all the snacks and candy. Sometimes the drinks if there was a new flavored tea but he never got a drink. With the precious money he had saved up he would pick a snack out.
Last year it was a bag of lemon-flavored ships. The year before that it was a bag of sour gummy worms. And the year before that well he was still in the group home and didn’t have a chance to go to any convenience store.
It was nice to treat himself. Even if it wasn’t a birthday cake, Hitoshi thought his snacks were pretty good. And he wouldn’t savor them like he did whenever he bought a snack on any other day. Making chips last three days and candy last a week. No - Hitoshi would allow himself to finish the whole bag before he ever made it home. It was his birthday after all and he deserved a treat.
Even if nobody else thought so.
Just Hitoshi and some cheap tasty food and the knowledge of being one year older. It was fine.
Though this year was his first birthday with Aizawa and Yamada. His first birthday with people he liked and who he was pretty sure liked him.
“For my birthday,” Hitoshi began, Aizawa and Yamada leaned closer to him, “can we have sesame udon for dinner?”
Yamada was practically pouting at Hitoshi but nevertheless affirmed that of course, they would be having sesame udon.
Hitoshi considered this was a win and went back to eating his breakfast with renewed vigor. He didn’t expect Aizawa of all people to be one of those birthday-obsessed people. (Yamada was so sort of expected, he was enthusiastic over everything).
“So…” Hitoshi trailed off waiting until he had both Aizawa and Yamada’s attention, “What do you guys do for your birthday…?”
Yamada and Aizawa shared a smile.
“Hmm well, last year for my birthday we went to a music festival with our friends!” Yamada holds his chin as he thinks back to last year.
“For mine, we went to dinner with Hizashi’s parents,” Aizawa shrugged, seeming to recall the event easily.
“Ahh, we went to brunch with my parents for my birthday too! And Shouta stop trying to sound mature! Remember we threw you a party in the teacher’s lounge!”
“I’m still trying to forget that ever happened. There was glitter in my hair for months.” Aizawa glared, bringing a hand up to touch his hair self-consciously.
“I told Power Loader not to bring glitter cannons! It was supposed to be confetti I promise!"
Aizawa's expression softened slightly as he looked at Yamada and Hitoshi looked away before he was forced to witness them being gross and in love. He really liked that they liked each other but also ew.
"OOH I GOT AN IDEA!" Yamada suddenly screeched, swiveling his full attention towards Hitoshi. “How about we have a party but it’ll be a small party! Just us and my parents! I swear they’re super nice and they've been die-ying to meet you! What do you think Hitoshi? Plus my mom makes a great Sesame Udon!”
“Uh…” Hitoshi hesitated reaching a hand out to rub the back of his neck nervously. On the one hand, good food was always a win. On the other - more stronger - hand though, Hitoshi would have to meet new people. Even if they were Yamada’s family they were still strangers.
Hitoshi glanced towards Aizawa for guidance. The man gave Hitoshi an encouraging look.
“Okay, that sounds nice,”
“Hizashi please, we haven’t soundproofed the kitchen yet,”
For the first time in his life, Hitoshi woke up for his birthday in a fit of nerves and just a tiny bit of excitement.
It was mostly nerves though.
Hitoshi sat up in his bed for a moment absentmindedly petting the toy cat that Yamada and Aizawa had given him just a few months ago. Its fur was still as soft and nice to pet as when it was first given to Hitoshi.
Today would probably end up being a very different birthday than any of the other birthdays he had before. Hitoshi didn’t know what to think about it all.
Hitoshi slowly got out of bed even slower, got himself dressed and ready for the day. Birthday or not he still had school today. Hitoshi made his way down the stairs towards their kitchen before stopping.
There’s a banner - a fucking birthday banner - hanging over the entrance to the kitchen and dining room.
“AHH HITOSHI! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Yamada shouts. Before Hitoshi can blink Yamada has abandoned the food at the stove and has tackled Hitoshi into a bear hug.
“Ah I can’t believe it, you're already 13! A whole teenager - did you get taller? I think you did ah it’s only a matter of time before you outgrow me!
"...this feels like a movie"
"Eh Toshi, what do you mean?"
"Nothing, it's uh this is really nice thank you," Hitoshi murmured, hiding his face in Yamada’s sleeve. Yamada doesn’t say anything and just holds onto him a little tighter.
Hitoshi tried not to compare his life to the average person.
Because he wasn’t average and it was so glaringly obvious when he did compare.
Like the average person had been to a party before, probably dozens of parties. They knew how to act around grandparents or something like that.
Hitoshi didn’t know shit about either.
He’d had older foster parents before. Not old enough that they asked Hitoshi to call them grandma or grandpa or something. Old in that they were bitter with the world and especially with Hitoshi.
And to make matters worse, Hitoshi couldn’t remember the last time he had been to a party. He must have been young. Young enough that his quirk hadn’t developed yet. So, the memory was fuzzy and hazy and Hitoshi only remembered running around and there being balloons everywhere.
As they drove into a more residential neighborhood, Hitoshi started to squirm in his seat. It was silly because these were Yamada’s moms. They had to be nice because Yamada was one of the nicest people Hitoshi ever met. Yet, his heart didn’t stop the pounding in his chest. Which was pretty lame considering this party consisted of just five people.
And they were pulling up to the house too soon. Stiffly, Hitoshi stepped out of the car and he looked out onto the street where Yamada grew up. It was a nice street with pretty houses and Hitoshi was glad his foster father grew up somewhere so nice.
“It’s okay to be nervous.”
Hitoshi nearly jumped at Aizawa’s voice before he caught himself. He hadn’t noticed his foster-father standing next to him.
“I’m not nervous…” Hitoshi protests but even he can’t believe himself.
“How do pickles celebrate their birthdays?”
“They relish the moment.”
Hitoshi snorts unable to stop himself before scowling at Aizawa, “that was actually terrible”
“I know that,” Aizawa says in a gently yet teasing tone, “Yamada told it to you in the car and you barely even heard him. You’re nervous.”
Hitoshi’s eyes widen worriedly, “I didn’t mean to ignore Yamada I need to go apologize-“
"Hey," Aizawa says firmly, cutting Hitoshi off. "It’s okay. Yamada understands you’re nervous and so do I, it’s okay to be nervous alright?”
Hitoshi nods hesitantly, still feeling bad over accidentally ignoring Yamada. Even if that joke made him want to gag.
“They’re really good people, I promise...They’re some of the greatest people I’ve ever met,” Aizawa admits softly.
The praise eases Hitoshi’s nerves just a bit but not really. He had sort of expected Yamada’s parents to be some versions of great. They raised Yamada after all.
“What…I uh I've never been to a party before, I don’t really know what to do...”
“Not even for-”
“No, I uh no…”
Aizawa sucked in a sharp breath of air. Hitoshi’s ears burned with embarrassment and a small part of him regretted sharing this small piece of information with Aizawa. He didn’t want Aizawa to look at him like...like a weirdo or pitiful.
“Do you want to hear something?”
“Huh?” Hitoshi looked up in confusion at Aizawa.
“When I turned sixteen, Yamada threw me a birthday party here at his house. It was...the first time I celebrated like that,”
Hitoshi looked up at Aizawa with wide eyes.
“I wish things would have been different for you but I think it’s...we have this in common so… it’ll be okay. It was for me.” Aizawa said the last part gently ruffling a hand through Hitoshi’s hair. Hitoshi’s mind was reeling from the intimate information he had been given yet he nodded shakily.
“If it gets too overwhelming at any point tell me okay? We’ll leave,”
“Okay, that sounds fair,” Hitoshi murmurs and together they begin making their way towards the house where Yamada had already ran inside.
Having grandmothers is actually pretty fun.
They have bigger smiles than your sun-ray of a foster father and they also smell like fruit. They shove more food on your plate than you can eat but at least they also give extra cake. They may compliment you too much but they also tease your parents in a way that makes them look like children,
Gran was short with shorter blonde hair and she wore suits like she was from some old movie. She made her wife, Obaasan, giggle loudly and go red in the face. Obaasan was a tall woman with teal hair that fell in waves down her back. Obaasan wasn’t as loud as Gran was, but she was funny and changed the color of Aizawa’s hair to an electric green (with her color-changing quirk).
Hitoshi held his breath when he noticed, his eyes going wide. Aizawa noticed his expression almost immediately opened his mouth to ask a question when Yamada suddenly screeched.
“MOM - I can’t believe you! ARSK I AH-” Yamada choked, suddenly breaking out into fits of loud laughter. Gran was hitting Yamada’s shoulders, her face turning red as she chortled into her fist.
Aizawa sighed and glanced back at Hitoshi. “What color is it this time?”
“Green” Hitoshi wheezed out, not meeting Aizawa’s gaze. His eyebrows were still black...
Grandmothers are nice, Hitoshi decided, breathing a little easier.
“Hitoshi, why don’t you come and meet the neighbors! Come on, they're super nice!” Yamada says, stepping back into the living room. Hitoshi was seated in between both of his grandmothers.
“I don’t really have to...”
“C’mon Toshi, I swear you won’t regret it!”
Hitoshi felt a small reassuring hand on his shoulder.
“Alright,” Hitoshi agreed regretfully, getting out of his seat to follow Yamada out the house with Aizawa following them as well.
Yamada led them to the house just next to his parents. Except instead of going through the front door, Yamada led them to the side of the house towards the neighbor’s backyard. Hitoshi looked back at Aizawa, he gave Hitoshi a small smile and nodded his head towards Yamada. Hitoshi frowned as Yamada led them to a small shed in the backyard where Hitoshi didn’t see any neighbors at all.
“Alright, we all gotta be quiet okay? We don’t want to startle them,” Yamada whispered quieter than Hitoshi had ever heard him. Before Hitoshi could make a face or ask for a question, Yamada opened up the door to the shed.
Hitoshi’s eyes widened as he slowly walked inside, eyes fixed at the far corner of the shed. Where there was a collection of towels and blankets put together to make a makeshift bed for a cat and her litter of kittens.
Hitoshi whipped his head around to look at Aizawa, to double-check what he was seeing, to find Aizawa grinning happily.
“You can get closer,” Aizawa reassured and Hitoshi heard Yamada chuckle softly behind him.
Hitoshi didn’t hesitate and carefully made his way closer to the cat and kittens. The mother looked at Hitoshi curiously but didn’t move from her spot. There were three kittens and Hitoshi’s heart clenched as they all awkwardly wandered around and played together. Before he could think better of it Hitoshi was crouching down in front of the cats with an outstretched hand.
“Aww look he likes you!” Yamada squealed excitedly as a fully black-furred kitten came towards Hitoshi and started to sniff his hand. Hitoshi glanced back at his foster parents, finding them comfortably wrapped in each other’s arms.
“He probably just smells the food from earlier,” Hitoshi shrugs off trying to keep his voice steady.
He was dying, Hitoshi was dying, this kitten was so cute. What Hitoshi would do to pick it up.
Hitoshi heard a huff from Aizawa, the man didn’t buy his words for a second.
The kitten had the audacity to nuzzle its soft furry head against Hitoshi’s hand and Hitoshi felt his heart squeeze at the adorable gesture. Gently and a little awkwardly Hitoshi petted the kitten's head running his fingers through its soft fur.
This was it, Hitoshi was floating. Life was freaking fantastic.
“Is that the one then?” Aizawa asked a moment later, his voice soft.
“Huh?” Hitoshi said stopping his petting. The kitten rubbed its head against Hitoshi’s outstretched hand again, demanding his attention. Hitoshi quickly obliged.
“Hitoshi,” Yamada began and Hitoshi could tell how hard Yamada was trying to stay quiet. “This is your birthday present! Mom told me about it and I called the neighbors and you get to take one of the kittens home!”
Hitoshi back snapped upward and turned to look at his foster parents. They were both smiling warmly at him.
“Really?” Hitoshi asked, too excited to care that it was a question.
“Yeah, really,” Yamada echoed with a wide grin. “We’ll help you take care of them of course but the cat’s your responsibility - think you can handle it?”
Hitoshi nodded so hard that he got dizzy afterward. Looking down at the kitten who had come up to him with excitement and joy buzzing through him, Hitoshi eagerly picked up the kitten and cradled him to his chest.
The adorable shit just curled up against Hitoshi and OH he wanted to melt! Hitoshi scrunched up his face in the absolute joy and cuteness that radiated from his new pet. His new pet.
Hitoshi heard his foster parents chuckling lightly and as Hitoshi looked at them he felt that warm feeling spread throughout his chest again.
“Thank you,” Hitoshi said quietly, suddenly feeling shy. But, his parents were there pulling him close and welcoming the new member of their family.
Maybe birthdays were… Maybe the fuss about birthdays was...sort of nice.