Actions

Work Header

To Drink A Thousand Needles

Chapter Text

“Relax. I’m not your enemy, Touya.” Hawks says, smiling widely.

Dabi’s eyes narrow slightly, but other than that, he doesn’t move from his position, and the flames from his hand still crackle near Hawk’s face.

“I came here to offer my help.” Hawks states, his hands still raised in the air. “I’ve been waiting to offer it for a long time, now. Ever since I found you again.”

Dabi stares at him for a couple seconds, his face expressionless, then he suddenly lowers his hand and his flames disappear. “...Get out of here now. Before I change my mind and burn off those wings off of you.”

“I can give you information.” Hawks continues, as if Dabi hadn’t spoken. “I can be a source for the league from within the heroes.”

“And I said to get out of here now.” Dabi hisses through gritted teeth, his hand twitching.

Hawks laughs, the sound echoing slightly across the abandoned walls. “I don’t think this is something you want to pass up on, Dabi. I can give your leader access to a lot of info he wants, and trust me, there are a lot of other things I think he should know.”

“...And how do I know that you’re not fucking with us?” Dabi finally asks, his hand still twitching slightly.

“You don’t.” Hawks admits, shrugging. “But if you have even the tiniest bit of evidence, then you can go ahead and kill me. If it’s you, I don’t mind.” He adds, smiling widely.

Dabi scoffs. “The number three hero wants to become a traitor? You can’t possibly expect me or anyone else in the league to believe that.”

“Well, that was the only reason I became one.” Hawks says, tilting his head. “Now that I’ve become one of the top heroes, I think it’s the right time for me to reach out. And just between you and me, there’s another top hero who both you and I have a bone to pick with.”

Dabi says nothing, his eyes glinting above dark purple skin.

“You know I’m talking about.” Hawks says quietly. “Let me help you bring him down.”

Dabi remains silent, then he lets out a cold chuckle, raising his arm again. “Whoever put you up to this must have thought they were really clever. Sending in my old childhood friend to befriend the League of Villains. Because there’s no way I wouldn’t trust him.”

Hawks sighs. “I thought you would be smarter than this, Dabi. First of all, if my superiors really knew about your past, the whole country would know about it as well. That includes Endeavor, and he wouldn’t be very quiet about his kin being a villain.”

Dabi just snorts, but Hawks plows on. “Secondly, if my superiors really knew about our past together, they would be a bit more cautious about me getting close to the abuser of my childhood friend. Not to mention my association with said childhood friend might also cast doubts on my trustworthiness as a hero, and that wouldn’t make me a very useful traitor. So no, no one knows about what happened between us back then, and I prefer you and I keep it that way.”

Dabi’s still not convinced. “You really expecting me to believe that you went through all the trouble of becoming the best of the heroes just to betray them? For a childhood friend who doesn’t exist anymore?”

“It’s not just about you and your family anymore,” Hawks begins, meeting Dabi’s scarred gaze evenly. “It’s about the impact Endeavor is having on other heroes, and I don’t think you’re aware of just how bad it is.”

Dabi’s expression doesn’t change, but his arm lowers slowly. “What do you mean?”

“Quirk marriages were a thing before Endeavor got married, but unfortunately, he’s made it more popular.” Hawks explains, watching Dabi carefully. “There’s a lot of heroes who are now doing the same thing, and that means there’s now a lot of families like yours. And they’re all getting away with it, just like Endeavor is right now.”

“...You don’t know that.”

Hawks shakes his head. “I actually do. You see a lot of things going on in the background when you’re a pro hero, things you’re supposed to turn a blind eye to, and this is just one of them. I don’t think you want other families to suffer through the things yours went through. But this will keep going on, unless Endeavor’s brought down and made an example of.”

Dabi says nothing, and Hawks takes advantage of his silence.

“Use me, Touya. Let me help you. We can bring him down together.” He whispers, taking a step closer to Dabi.

“...You didn’t live with him.” Dabi says, but he makes no move to attack. “You didn’t experience the hell he put us through. He wasn’t attacking your siblings or your mother. You don’t know what it was like, what he’s really like.”

“I don’t need to.” Hawks answers quietly. “I saw what he did to you, every single day. I saw how much you suffered because of him. The reason you’re like this now is all because of him. That was enough to make me hate him.”

Dabi’s piercings stretch as he sneers at Hawks. “It was enough for you to hate him all these years?”

Hawks shrugs. “Well, with his attitude, he doesn’t exactly make it difficult. The way he talks about his youngest son is pretty sickening to hear.”

Dabi’s eyes narrow again at Hawks’ words, but he just shrugs slightly. “Fine then.” He shoves his hands in his pockets, still leering at Hawks. “If you want to become a traitor to the heroes that badly, I won’t stop you.”

Hawks smiles widely. “I already am.”

“As soon as I find out what you’re really up to, hero, you’re as good as dead.”

“I’m really looking forward to working with you too, Dabi.”

--

“You know,” Hawks begins, twirling a razor-sharp feather, “I was really hoping we would cooperate better than this.”

Dabi doesn’t move from his slouch against the alley wall, his eyes flicking over Hawks’ feather lazily. “...Funny. I thought you said you only had weak feathers left.”

“And I thought you said the Nomu was supposed to be at an abandoned factory.” Hawks snorts, stopping his twirling. “Instead you dropped it in the middle of the fucking city. Not to mention that it was on a whole different level than the ones we were discussing. Just simple mistakes anyone can make, I suppose.”

Dabi shrugs. “And last time I checked, you said you would be with a ‘random strong guy’, which isn’t exactly the same thing as the number one hero, now is it? Interesting that you chose to withhold that particular detail from me. Besides, the League wanted to test you as well.”

Hawks sighs, not lowering his feather. “Number one hero or not, that thing sure did a number on him. Don’t know why you’re complaining when you got to see Endeavor all beaten up.”

“Beaten up, but not dead. And no other casualties.” Dabi muses quietly, his eyes smouldering at Hawks. “All thanks to you.”

“In case you’ve forgotten, I’m currently pretending to be the number two hero, and I have an image to uphold.” Hawks hisses through a wide smile. “The better hero I am, the better traitor I am. If I didn’t protect Endeavor or the citizens, people may start to distrust me, and that’ll compromise the info you’re currently getting.”

“Sure, and you’re doing a very good job of pretending to be a hero.” Dabi narrows his eyes, the motion stretching his stitches. “Maybe too good of a job.”

Hawks just laughs, blood dripping from what’s left of his wings. “Come on, be honest with me for once. You wouldn’t have wanted that Nomu to kill Endeavor. Especially without any dirt revealed on him. You would’ve wanted both of those jobs for yourself.”

Dabi is silent for a bit, then he pushes himself off the wall, taking a step towards Hawks. “Whatever. So we may have lied to each other-”

“You lied.” Hawks corrects. “I just didn’t go out of my way to let you know certain details changed on my end.”

Dabi glowers at him. “Fine. So we may have failed to ‘go out of our way to let each other know certain details changed on our end’. Let’s be more honest with each other in the future then, all right? Especially when it concerns Endeavor.”

“Fine.” Hawks quips back, his feather floating back to his wings as he draws near Dabi. “Everything I do, Dabi, I do for-”

“The League.” Dabi interrupts, sounding bored as he passes Hawks. “Yes, I’m aware.”

Hawks stops in his tracks, turning around to grin sharply at Dabi. “Just between us, I was actually going to say it’s for you. But you can tell the League I said it was for them.”

Dabi pauses, his back still facing Hawks. “...You’re not.”

“Not what?”

Dabi suddenly whirls around, stalking towards Hawks, his eyes glinting dangerously and Hawks’ feather whips back into his hand. “You’re not doing all of this because you’re still in love with me after all of these years. You can’t seriously tell me that bullshit.”

“Huh?” Hawks blinks at Dabi before lowering his arm. “Oh, well, yeah, of course I’m not. Still in love with you, that is. I thought that was obvious. It’d be a tad unrealistic if I actually was.”

“...What?” Dabi says blankly, and the expression on his face would have been comical if if it weren’t for his scars, but Hawks still manages to find it hilarious.

“What? You didn’t really think I was still in love with you, did I?” Hawks guffaws loudly. “I was like, eleven, if you remember. The prime age of adolescent emotional stupidity.”

“Of course I didn’t think you were still in love with me, you idiot.” Dabi hisses, straightening his posture. “I just didn’t expect you to admit it so easily.”

“Why not?” Hawks asks, tilting his head. “If I actually was, that’d a bit concerning. Or creepy. Or both. I mean, we’re talking about eleven year old me being in love with thirteen year old you. Obviously, you’re not the same person you were eleven years ago, and neither am I. So it only makes sense for us to not like each other anymore. In fact, I don’t even know if it would even count as liking at this point, maybe more like obsess-”

Dabi waves a scarred hand at Hawks irritably, trying to cut him off. “So you’re trying to tell me that you’re doing all of this for your childhood friend who you aren’t even in love with anymore? How exactly do you expect me to believe any of this bullshit?”

Hawks gives a flippant shrug. “My eleven year old feelings for you are one thing. Me wanting revenge for the physical and emotional damage Endeavor has done is another. Doesn’t that make sense?”

“...Nothing about you makes fucking sense.” Dabi mutters, but his posture is more relaxed again, and Hawks’ feather flutters back to his wings.

“Well, glad we made those clarifications.” Hawks says cheerfully. “Besides, it’s not like we were actually in love with each other back then. We were just kids. As long as it was someone who wasn’t a part of your family, you would have been fine with any other kid. And as long as it was someone who didn’t bully me, I would have been fine with any other kid, too.”

He smiles widely at Dabi when the villain doesn’t respond. “Wouldn’t you agree with me?”

“...Right.” Dabi says shortly, turning around to slink further down the alley. “Well then. I’ll contact you later, hero.”

He raises a lazy hand in farewell towards Hawks, and by the time Hawks has turned the opposite way, he’s already alone in the alley.

--

Hawks visits Endeavor in the hospital, puts on a cheerful face, and cracks a few jokes before Recovery girl comes in the room, and Hawks takes his leave as she begins lecturing the number one hero.

He’s walking outside Endeavor’s room, temporarily lost in thought, and promptly crashes headfirst into another solid body.

“Woah!” Hawks pulls himself away, an apology halfway through his throat when he instantly recognizes the red and white haired boy in front of him. “...Oh.”

Todoroki Shouto shuffles apologetically in front of him. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be in the way.”

Hawks waves a gloved hand nonchalantly. “Ah, don’t worry about it. I wasn’t exactly paying attention. Todoroki Shouto-kun, right?” He extends his hand towards Todoroki. “Hawks. I think my intern, Tokoyami, is your classmate at U.A., right?”

“...Yes.” Todoroki relaxes slightly and shakes Hawks’ hand. “He mentioned you after the internships.”

Hawks smiles genuinely at the thought of his intern. “How’s he doing?”

“He’s doing well.” Todoroki bites his lip and glances in the direction of Endeavor’s room. “Erm… if you wouldn’t mind me asking…”

“He’s fine.” Hawks answers softly. “It’ll take him a bit, but he’ll make a full recovery.”

“...I see. Thank you.” Todoroki says quietly, giving a curt bow before abruptly turning around. “Then, please excuse me.”

He’s striding down the corridor pretty quickly, and Hawks should really just let him leave, but he can see Todoroki’s hands are shaking slightly, and he finds himself opening his mouth.

“Hey, Todoroki-kun?” Hawks calls after him, and Todoroki pauses, cautiously glancing back at him.

Hawks gives him his best wide smile. “Do you drink coffee or tea?”

Ten minutes later, several floors away from Endeavor’s room, he’s pressing a warm can of green tea into Todoroki’s hand, forcing himself to smile when he sees Todoroki’s blue eye flicker up to him.

“By the way,” Hawks asked casually, making sure to sit to the right of Todoroki, “I’m surprised that the guys at U.A. actually let you come. I thought you guys were supposed to be at the school at all times.”

“We are.” Todoroki murmurs, cupping his hands around his can.

“Huh?”

“We are supposed to be at the school at all times. I broke out.”

“...Oh.” Hawks blinks, holding back a smile. “I see.”

Todoroki glances at him cautiously. “...You’re not going to lecture me?”

“...Well, coming here without any supervision is pretty stupid, especially right after that Nomu attack. But…” Hawks shrugs. “It’s not like I really listened to anything adults told me when I was your age. Would be like the pot calling the kettle black.”

“Hmm…” Todoroki takes a small sip from his can, and Hawks opens a can of coffee for himself, idly wondering if there would be a group of U.A. teachers soon storming the building.

“...You didn’t find it weird?” Todoroki asks him again, still eyeing Hawks warily.

“Hm? What?”

“That…” Todoroki glances back down to his tea. “That I broke out of the dorms and came all this way and… I didn’t even see him?”

Hawks takes a sip of his coffee. “...Not really. Sometimes parental relationships can be complicated. I know that firsthand.” He adds, smiling at Todoroki reassuringly.

“...I do not… have the best relationship with my father.” Todoroki admits quietly. “In fact… I think I really do hate him.”

“I see.” Hawks sips his coffee again.

“...You don’t seem very surprised.” Todoroki remarks, watching Hawks carefully.

Hawks shrugs. “Well, Endeavor-san might be a great hero and all, but he doesn’t exactly strike me as a good parental figure.”

“...I really do hate him.” Todoroki repeats, frowning at his tea. “I really do hate him, but… in the end, I really didn’t want him to die.” He glances back at Hawks. “So, thank you, Hawks-san. For saving him.”

Hawks braces himself against the gaze of Todoroki’s scarred left eye. “No need to thank me. If anything, I should be apologizing to you. This all happened because of me in the first place.”

“...Hawks-san, do you mind if I ask you something personal?” Todoroki questions.

“Go right ahead.”

“What… what happened with you and your father?”

Hawks just smiles. “Well, if I was lucky, he pretended that I didn’t exist, and if I was unlucky, he acted like I was the cause of all of his problems. All in all, a pretty typical shitty relationship. Don’t think it was as bad as yours, though.”

Todoroki just blinks at him. “...Do you still talk with him?”

“Nah.” Hawks shakes his head. “Both my parents gave up child rights over me when I was twelve. Legally, they’re no longer my parents, and I’m no longer their son. I don’t know anything about them now, and vice versa. And honestly, I think that’s the best for all of us.”

“...I see.” Todoroki takes another sip of his tea. “My father… apparently he’s trying to turn a new leaf. I’m not sure what I should really do, about that. My mother and sister want to forgive him, and my brother insists that we’re all better without him in our lives. What… what do you think I should do, Hawks-san?”

Hawks does not think about what Todoroki’s eldest brother would do. “...well, not that I’m not happy to give you advice, Todoroki-kun, but it’s not my decision to make. And it isn’t your family’s, either. It’s really up to you. There’s no right or wrong decision. You feel like you can’t forgive him right now, then you can’t forgive him right now. If you feel like you can’t forgive him forever, then you can’t forgive him forever.”

Todoroki sighs. “I don’t think I can forgive him. It’s not just me, it’s also about my mom.”

“Then don’t forgive him right now.” Hawks states bluntly, draining the last few drops of his coffee before tossing it in the trash. “You don’t have to forgive him forever unless you want to. For me, it was about wanting to reconnect with my parents. I never felt like I wanted to, so I never did.”

“...Endeavor really is a great hero.” Todoroki comments, standing up. “As a person, I really can’t forgive him, but… I want to see what he’ll do from now on. What kind of person he’ll be.”

Hawks smiles, getting up with Todoroki. “Then that’s fine.”

“...Thank you.” Todoroki glances to the ground awkwardly. “For listening to me.”

Hawks pauses. “Hey, would you give me your phone for a second?”

Todoroki stares at him curiously, but he obediently takes out his phone and unlocks it, handing it to Hawks.

Hawks types his number in and gives the phone back to Todoroki. “My number. In case you ever need to call me. I can’t promise I’d be much help, but I can listen. Oh, but, you really should let your school know where you are, before they send half of the heroes on call to look for you.”

Todoroki shakes his head. “It’s fine. I texted my teacher earlier. He’ll be coming to pick me up soon.”

“That’s a relief to hear.” Hawks mutters as they step out into the hospital lot. Sure enough, there’s Eraserhead in the parking lot, leaning out of a van, along with what looks like the entire U.A. freshman class.

Todoroki looks as surprised as Hawks when he spots his peers. “Everyone? What are you all doing here?”

“There he is!! Todoroki-kun!!” Half of the students spill out of the car, gathering around Todoroki and chittering like a flock of birds, and Hawks is impressed at just how many of them have managed to stay squeezed in the vehicle.

“We went to check on you, and you were gone!!”

“We were so worried about you, Todoroki-san!!”

“Please never do that again, Todoroki-kun!”

“Wait, is that the number two hero Hawks over there?? What were you doing with him?”

“Todoroki-kun.” A green-haired boy hesitantly places his hand on Todoroki’s arm, his eyes large and worried. “Are you okay?”

Todoroki stares at him for a couple seconds, and then his face relaxes into a smile for the first time, and he places his hand over his classmate’s briefly. “Yeah. I’m all right. Thank you, Midoriya.”

Hawks walks up to the driver’s side. “Yo, Aizawa-san!” He chirps cheerfully, giving the teacher a salute. “Nice soccer-mom van.”

“Hawks.” Aizawa states curtly before turning to the crowd of students. “All of you, get inside now. It’s three in the morning and we’re still going to have class as usual. Except for you, Todoroki, you’ll be scrubbing the toilets for the next few days.”

“I understand.”

The students obediently squash themselves back into the van, but Todoroki turns back to Hawks before squeezing himself in. “Thank you again, Hawks-san.”

“Don’t mention it.” Hawks says easily, giving them all a wave as the van passes him. He’s not thinking about Todoroki’s left side. He’s not thinking about how Todoroki looks a lot like his eldest brother when he smiles.

--

He’s still thinking about Todoroki Shouto, however, after he and Dabi are finished going over some files Hawks has brought over.

His phone starts buzzing, and Hawks slides it out of his pocket, only to press the ignore button.

“...Can’t you turn the damn thing off?” Dabi grumbles as he clicks the mouse on his laptop. “That’s like the fifth fucking time it’s gone off.”

“I can’t.” Hawks mutters as he blocks the number. “It’s my emergency line, not my personal cell. It’ll be suspicious if they ever call me in for back-up and it’s turned off.”

Dabi raises an eyebrow at him. “And it’s okay for you to be ignoring all of their calls?”

“That was just spam.” Hawks says, spinning his USB in his pocket.

“...You do realize you can block calls right? Or change your phone number?”

Hawks has. He’s blocked every single call and has changed the phone number multiple times. “The ideas crossed my mind. I’ve just been a bit busy lately, what with betraying the hero association to the League of Villains and all.”

“I don’t want to hear that from you when you’ve just visited Endeavor at the hospital.”

“Well, yeah, I have to kind of pretend that we’re comrades, something you like to conveniently forget about.”

“Whatever.” Dabi mutters, and Hawks is about to leave when Dabi speaks again.

“I heard Todoroki Shouto broke out of the U.A. dorms to see him.”

“...Yeah, he did.” Hawks says slowly.

“Hm.” Dabi doesn’t look up from his computer.

Hawks scanning Dabi warily before he speaks again. “I ran into him at the hospital. He actually didn’t see Endeavor, he just wanted to know his status.”

Dabi just keeps clicking away at his keyboard as if he didn’t care. “That’s good for you.”

“...He seems to be doing pretty well.” Hawks continues, knowing that he should probably just leave. “He’s been talking with his mom and his brother and his sister a lot, and it looks like he has plenty of friends who care about him, at U.A.”

“Okay.” Dabi closes his laptop. “I didn’t ask you tell me all of that.”

“You didn’t.” Hawks agrees shortly, keeping a close eye on Dabi’s hands. “But you wanted me to tell you.”

“I did not.”

“You wouldn’t have mentioned it if you didn’t want to know how he was doing.” Hawks states, rolling his eyes. “Then again, that’s the kind of brother you are.”

“Was.” Dabi corrects, his back turned on Hawks. “I’m not his brother anymore, if you haven’t fucking noticed.”

“...No.” Hawks says quietly. “You still are.”

“...Excuse me?” Dabi asks icily, finally turning around to stare at Hawks, and Hawks needs to really shut up and leave but he’s stressed and tired and angry and he keeps getting calls from people he never wants to see again, so he keeps going.

“I said no, you’re still his brother.” Hawks repeats, stubbornly standing his ground. “You know what struck me as really funny? Why Shigaraki Touma didn’t try to recruit Todoroki Shouto as a potential villain.”

Dabi frowns. “There’s nothing funny about it-”

“No,” Hawks interrupts obnoxiously, “There is. I mean, he’s probably one of the most powerful students at U.A., and he has a shitty abusive father who’s also a hero, why not try to turn him against all of the heroes? It sounds a lot to me like another certain villain’s background-”

“Shigaraki didn’t target Todoroki Shouto because he wasn’t interested.” Dabi growls, the piercings above his jawline stretching. “He wanted Bakugou because of his aggressive attitude and his antagonistic relationship with the Midoriya brat, neither of which Todoroki Shouto had.”

Hawks snorts in disbelief. “Yeah, sure, and as soon as Shigaraki said that he was targeting the Bakugou kid instead of your brother, I bet you let out a deep breath that you were holding, didn’t you?”

Dabi’s eyes flash at Hawks dangerously. “Shut up.”

“See, you’re saying ‘shut up’,” Hawks says loudly instead of shutting up. “You know what that means? That means I’m right.”

Dabi stands up, stalking towards Hawks. “I said shut up.”

“You can sneer at his face and say ‘How pathetic’ to him all day,” Hawks continues, his voice getting louder, “But if it came down to it, you wouldn’t be able to actually harm him, would you?? You wouldn’t be able to hurt a hair on your baby brother’s head-”

“You need to fucking leave now!” Dabi spits out, using his height to tower over Hawks, and Hawks just sneers.

“Don’t pretend to me that you don’t give a shit about your family-”

“YOU listen to me!” Dabi hisses, grabbing a fistful of Hawks’ feathers in a dangerously heated hand and pulling hard. “You do not-” He suddenly freezes, his eyes wide.

“...What?” Hawks asks, half-expecting to see the heroes association closing in on them from Dabi’s expression. “What’s going on?”

Dabi’s eyes just dart from Hawks’ face to the feathers that he’s holding in his hand, his mouth still half open, and there’s something in his face that Hawks has never seen before, almost like hesitancy, almost like he feels bad-

“Hawks? That didn’t hurt, did it?”

“Hah!!” Hawks laughs, an ugly sound escaping him, but he doesn’t care, Dabi the villain, the man who has burned people alive, is actually feeling bad for pulling a few of Hawks’ feathers. “Oh man. You have got to be kidding me.”

Dabi’s mouth tightens into a thin line, pale and dark purple skin merging together, and the heat against Hawks’ feathers disappears.

“What’s wrong, Touya?” Hawks whispers challengingly, leaning up into Dabi’s face. “You afraid of hurting me? Don’t worry, I’m a big boy now, I can take it.”

Dabi just glares at Hawks before abruptly letting go of his feathers, turning away. “Get the fuck out of here. Before I burn both you and your wings to the ground.”

“Big words from a man who couldn’t even pull out a few of my feathers!” Hawks hisses as he moves to leave, flipping Dabi the bird on his way out.

It’s only when he’s put a few buildings between Dabi and himself does Hawks let himself start shaking.

--

Hawks spends the rest of the night wondering if he really blew it, if Dabi would cut off all contact with him now, only to see a message from Dabi the next day, as if nothing happened.

He’s just texting Dabi back when there’s chittering from his manager outside and a hesitant knock on his office door, and Hawks opens it warily, expecting the worse, but instead of the worse, it’s the unexpected.

Todoroki Rei is standing outside his office, clasping a large paper bag, and Hawks hastily opens the door for her.

“T-Todoroki-san?” He stammers awkwardly, catching a glimpse of his manager flitting nervously behind them.

She smiles gently at him and Hawks forces himself to smile back, to not think about the shape of her eyes.

“Hawks-san.” Her voice is quiet but carries clearly through his office. “I believe this is the first time we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I do apologize for the intrusion.”

“Oh, not at all, don’t worry about it!” Hawks says quickly, rubbing the back of his neck. “Please, ah, make yourself at home. I can grab some tea for you-”

“Thank you.” Rei inclines her head respectfully, her bangs shifting with the movement. “I’m afraid I have to decline. My daughter is waiting for me outside. But…” She extends the paper bag carefully towards Hawks. “I wanted to give this to you. As a belated thank you. For what you did.”

“O-oh!” Hawks takes the bag from her, trying his best not to fumble. “There’s-there’s no need to thank me, in fact, I should be apologizing to you and your family-”

Rei shakes her head slowly, still smiling. “My son, Shouto, wrote to me the other week. He mentioned you helped him with some advice.”

“Ah.” Hawks blinks. “Oh, well, I didn’t really do that much, I just, you know, lent an ear and all.”

“Still, I believe it helped put his mind at ease.” Rei remarks, glancing to the side. “I must thank you for that.”

“Ah… well... “ Hawks tries his best to return her smile. “You’re welcome. Always happy to help out. Him and his classmates being the next generation of heroes and all.”

Rei glances back to him, nodding her head again. “Then, please excuse me.”

After she leaves, both Hawks and his manager exchange bemused looks.

“...Just what kind of advice did you give her kid?”

Hawks shrugs. “Don’t think it was special enough for her to get me a whole box of manju.” He remarks, pulling the box out of the bag. “Hey, do you want some?”

--

Dabi still isn’t willing to let Hawks meet Shigaraki, but for some reason, he lets Hawks meet some of the other villains, and Hawks isn’t quite sure what to make of the gesture.

“Hey, hey!” Touga pops up in front of him, her jacket sleeves dangling past her fingers. “So it’s really true that you’re helping us, Number Two-san??”

“I don’t trust him.” Twice remarks, eyeing Hawks from a distance before suddenly rushing up and grabbing Hawks’ hands, shaking them vigorously. “But I believe him!! Welcome, Number Two-san!!”

Hawks is strongly reminded of the times he visited local preschool classes, and he vaguely wonders how Dabi is able to tolerate these two without setting the room on fire.

“Hey, Number Two-san!” Touga chirps, tilting her head. “How come you want to be a villain so badly? I want to know!”

“I am curious as well.” Kurogiri adds as he sets another glassware down. “As to why a man so widely regarded in the hero community would chose to sympathize with our cause.”

All eyes in the room are suddenly on Hawks, except for Dabi, who’s sipping a can of what’s most likely alcohol in the corner.

“The reason why I want to help of the League of Villains?” Hawks asks, smiling widely at all of them. “Well, a long time ago, I had a friend.”

“Did he die?” Twice interrupts eagerly. Touga promptly slaps him, and Hawks’ smile just grows wider.

“It’s a common story, you know.” Hawks says as he leans against the back of his chair. “Bullied lonely kid meets another bullied kid. They become each other’s first and best friend. Then bullied kid #1 finds out bullied kid #2’s abuser is actually a hero. So then bullied kid #1 decides that hero society needs to be destroyed.”

“...I see.” Kurogiri remarks, staring at Hawks from across the counter. “That’s impressive resolve, for you to have adopted such a mindset at a young age. And even as you went through the training and became a hero, there was nothing that swayed you from it?”

Hawks shakes his head. “If anything, it only made it stronger. Once you become a pro, they stop hiding most of the shady stuff from you and you see it happening everywhere.”

“Ah, but what happened to your friend?” Twice suddenly asks, popping up next to Hawks. “You did all of this to help him, right? He must be really grateful.”

“No.” Hawks smiles again at Twice. “He died.”

“Wait, seriously?? He really died??”

“Regrettable.” Kurogiri says respectfully.

From his corner, Dabi throws a crushed can into the trash.

--

“...You’re full of shit, you know that?” Dabi mutters as he and Hawks walk away from the bar. It’s one of the first things he’s said to Hawk all evening.

“Why?” Hawks laughs, pushing a hand through his bangs to pull them back. “Mad that I killed you off in my story?”

“I like how you go around saying you want to get revenge on the ‘abuser of your childhood friend’ when you burned half your wings off trying to save said abuser.”

Hawks rolls his eyes. “You are never going to let that go, are you?” He and Dabi pause near an abandoned building, this is where they’ll part ways. “I’ll have you know that thanks to that incident, I now have something pretty important. Endeavor’s trust.”

Dabi snorts. “As if that piece of shit would trust anyone but himself-”

Hawks’ cell phone suddenly rings, making both of them pause.

“More important hero work again?” Dabi remarks dryly as Hawks hastily blocks the call.

“It’s whatever.” Hawks mutters. Maybe he needs to change his number again. He glances up to Dabi, who’s still staring at Hawks. “Anyway, as you were saying-”

“Do you have a stalker?” Dabi interrupts callously.

“What?” Hawks blinks at him in confusion. “No?”

Dabi tilts his head slightly, his eyes flickering over Hawks’ face. “...You’ve been getting a lot of spam calls, recently.”

Hawks forces himself to relax, forces himself to smile widely. “Maybe. It’s no big deal. Nothing I can’t handle.”

“Then why have you been getting them constantly for the past week?” Dabi questions, reaching out towards Hawks’ phone, and Hawks tucks his phone away a bit too quickly.

“...What can I say, I’m a popular man.” Hawks jokes, feeling Dabi’s eyes burning holes in him. “Anyway, weren’t you going to leave soon?”

Dabi doesn’t move. “...Is it... your parents?” He asks quietly, almost softly, and Hawks’ hands tighten in his pockets.

“What? No.” Hawks laughs before turning around. “I don’t even know what my parents are even up to. In fact, legally, they’re not even my parents anymore-”

“Let me correct myself.” Dabi hisses, seizing Hawks’ shoulder with a scarred hand, keeping him in place. “Is it the pieces of shit that claim to be your parents?”

Hawks grits his teeth, looking pointedly away from Dabi. “I said it’s nothing I can’t handle.” He manages to shake Dabi’s hand off, and before Dabi can say anything else, Hawks spreads his wings and takes off.

--

It’s been three days since Dabi’s confronted him about his phone calls, and the calls have stopped completely.

Hawks isn’t relieved at all, if anything, he’s mortified at the thought that Dabi may have actually murdered someone for him, and as the hours pass, he begins to feel more and more angry.

By the time he corners Dabi in an alleyway, Hawks is seething.

“What the hell did you do?” Hawks demands, clutching a fistful of Dabi’s black coat.

Dabi just tilts his head to the side, his scarred face leering. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, hero. I didn’t do anything.”

Hawks wants to punch him. “Then what the hell did you make your subordinates do??”

Dabi grins, his teeth starkly white against the purple flesh of his lower lip. “Why does it matter? No one’s going to be calling your damn phone again.”

“...Tell me you didn’t kill them.” Hawks says quietly, tightening his grip on Dabi’s coat. “They’re pieces of shit that aren’t even worth killing, please tell me you didn’t kill them.”

Dabi sighs. “I don’t know why you’re making such a big deal out of this. Did you ever think about how said pieces of shit were able to get their hands on your number?”

“Huh?”

Dabi just rolls his eyes at Hawks. “One of your old ‘caretakers’ from the government was slipping them your numbers. Turns out he did quite a bit of hacking and bribing to get to them, which has been exposed, and so he’s been officially arrested as of 2 days ago.”

“...Oh…” Hawks says slowly, letting go of Dabi’s coat.

“Yup.” Dabi straightens the collar of his coat, grinning again at Hawks. “So now everything’s solved. And no one even got killed. You should be proud of me, hero.”

“...I’m not going to thank you.” Hawks mutters, turning his head to the side. Part of him is relieved that Dabi’s ‘help’ hasn’t killed anyone, but another part of him is angry that Dabi helped him in the first place. “It wasn’t any of your business.”

Dabi lets out a derisive chuckle. “Yeah, like you were going to actually do anything about it. Letting them blow up your phone for weeks on end.”

“Well, you still shouldn’t have done it.” Hawks says, trying to keep his tone steady. “Don’t go around doing stuff like this when you actually don’t give a shit about me, Dabi.”

“Now, don’t be such a fucking hypocrite.” Dabi hisses softly, flexing his fingers and taking a step closer to Hawks. “What’s wrong with me wanting to take revenge on the abusers of my dear childhood friend?”

“There’s plenty wrong!” Hawks snaps, his temper starting to get the better of him again. “Everyone already knows that my parents are fucking scum, and they already got what they deserved. Besides, it’s not like what happened with my parents and I was that big of a deal-”

“Not that big of a deal?” Dabi repeats in disbelief, before letting out a harsh laugh. “Bullshit. You hated your parents so much that you didn’t want to even be called by the name they gave you!”

“They never came close to killing me!” Hawks shouts back, clenching his fists.

“So what??” Dabi demands, the patches of burned skin under his eyes making them seem even wilder. “Is that supposed to excuse them from what they fucking did to you?”

“That-”

“Hey! What’s going on here?”

There’s suddenly footsteps near them, along with the unmistakable sounds of police radio chatter. Both Hawks and Dabi freeze, and oh god, Hawks was so angry that he’s fucked up, he’s fucked up, he’s really fucked up now-

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Hawks hisses, his eyes darting around wildly. “What the fuck do we do??” They’re trapped in the alley, and Hawks is pretty sure neither of them can get away without using their quirks and exposing themselves.

“We can just pretend that we’ve been fighting.” Dabi mutters, flicking his hand and conjuring a fistful of blue flames. “It wouldn’t exactly be untrue.”

Hawks just glares at him in exasperation. “If we were really fighting, half of these buildings would’ve been destroyed by now! The police aren’t idiots!”

“Could’ve fooled me.” Dabi says under his breath, still wielding his flames. “I’ll just kill them then. Easy solution.”

“What- Dabi!” Hawks hisses, instinctively grabbing Dabi’s forearm. “What happened to not killing people for once??”

“You’re sticking to your stupid morals at a time like this?” Dabi hisses back, as the radio chatter gets louder.

Hawks doesn’t let go of Dabi’s arm. “There’s got to be another way.” He insists, and Dabi glowers at him before abruptly extinguishing his flames.

“Fine. I know another way.” Dabi yanks his coat off, throwing it to the ground, and Hawks barely has time to process the muscles of Dabi’s shoulders underneath his white undershirt when Dabi’s suddenly pulling at Hawks’ jacket and yanking his gloves and visor off.

“What-what are you doing?” Hawks yelps as Dabi roughly grabs at his hair, causing Hawks’ bangs to flop back onto his forehead.

“Take your feathers off.” Dabi whispers, his words hot against Hawks’ face, and half of Hawks’ brain goes out of the window.

“Wh-what-”

“Just hurry and take them off.”

Hawks really shouldn’t listen to anything Dabi says, but he can see the policemen’s flashlights approaching them, so he does as Dabi says, letting his feathers fall into a haphazard pile near Dabi’s coat.

Dabi immediately tears Hawks’ jacket off, his nails scratching at Hawks’ bare arms, and he’s suddenly crowding Hawks against the alley wall, his face inches away from Hawks’, and-

“Dabi-”

“Shut up.” Dabi says, tilting Hawks’ chin up.

“But-”

“Just shut up.” Dabi says again, and then he’s bending down, his hot mouth pressing hard against Hawks’, and the rest of Hawks’ brain promptly flies out of the window.

Dabi kisses him roughly, his scarred skin scraping against Hawks’ lips, forcing his hot tongue deep into Hawks’ mouth, and all Hawks can do is moan around Dabi’s tongue and grasp desperately at Dabi’s shirt.

He feels Dabi’s hands slide down his back and towards his waist, and suddenly Dabi grabs him and hoists him up against the wall, his fingers digging into Hawks’ thighs, his mouth still devouring Hawks’, and everything is so hot and fast and good-

A flashlight shines on them, and Dabi pulls away to conceal his face into Hawks’ neck, biting and sucking the skin there, and Hawks has to dig his teeth into his lip to keep quiet.

“Hey, what’s going on her- oh.” The officer’s eyes widen at the sight of them.

With Dabi’s face buried in Hawk’s neck and Hawks’ wings gone, all the officer sees is a black-haired man in a white shirt holding up a blond man against a wall, with Hawks’ legs wrapped around Dabi’s waist, and he hastily turns around.

“Never mind. Just another couple that can’t keep it in their fucking pants…”

Dabi keeps sucking at Hawks’ neck even after the officers’ footsteps fade away, his hands greedily squeezing Hawks’ thighs and tugging at Hawks’ shirt.

“D-Dabi.” Hawks manages to gasp out, clutching a handful of Dabi’s hair. “Dabi, they’re gone.”

Dabi just sucks harder at Hawks’ neck, keeping Hawks pressed firmly against the wall, and Hawks is sorely tempted to just throw his head back against the wall and let Dabi keep marking his neck, his stitches rubbing against Hawks’ skin-

Hawks swallows before he tries again. “Dabi. Dabi, the police, they’re gone. Stop it already.”

His protests are feeble at best, and he’s almost surprised when Dabi actually pulls away and looks back at Hawks.

Dabi is breathing hard, his mouth red and his hair tousled from Hawks’ hands, the skin above his scars tinged pink, and small puffs of steam are rising from him.

For one terrifying, exhilarating moment, he looks like he’ll just kiss Hawks again, and Hawks wouldn’t resist, in fact, he’d meet Dabi halfway, he’d lick into Dabi’s smoky mouth and he’d let him suck on Hawks’ tongue-

“Okay.” Dabi suddenly breathes out, his voice deeper than usual, and then he’s lowering Hawks back onto the ground.

Hawks shakily unwraps his legs from around Dabi’s waist, feeling all the heat from Dabi’s body abruptly leave him as he steps away.

They stare at each other for a couple seconds, Dabi still standing in front of him, and Hawks should really shove him out of the way and gather his fallen clothes, but he doesn’t. He just keeps staring at Dabi’s red mouth and messy hair, watches more clouds of steam rise off of him, and then it hits him.

“You could have made a fire...” Hawks mutters quietly, as he begins to gather his feathers back to his wings.

Dabi blinks at him slowly. “Huh?”

“You could have made a fire.” Hawks repeats, shaking his feathers. “If you made an explosive one, with enough smoke, we could have probably gotten away without them spotting us. They’d probably figure out later that it was you, but they wouldn’t have known that I was with you.”

“That…that would have been an option.” Dabi agrees haltingly, running a scarred hand through his hair.

“Yeah, it would have… We-we could have done that, instead of… you know…” Hawks swallows and awkwardly gestures with his hand. “You know… that thing that... that we just did.”

“You mean making out?” Dabi asks, and Hawks groans.

“Oh god, don’t say it.”

Dabi gives a weird half-shrug. “Well, that’s what we just did.”

“Aaaaaaah.” Hawks buries his face in his hands, his feathers ruffling around him. “Oh my god, oh my god. We just made out. Ohhhh god-”

Dabi’s hand latches onto Hawks’ wrist all of a sudden, and Hawks jumps, his head whipping up.

“What?? What’s your problem?”

“I thought you were going to fly... never mind.” Dabi says shortly, swallowing and letting go of Hawks.

Hawks grits his teeth. He doesn’t think about what Dabi might have been reminded of. “I… I need to go.”

“...Yeah.” Dabi mumbles. He bends down, picking up Hawks’ discarded jacket and gloves instead of his own coat, almost hesitantly holding them out to Hawks, and Hawks has never wanted to stab him as much as he does now.

He settles for just snatching his things from Dabi’s hands, looked pointedly at the sky as he shoves on his gloves and jacket.

He’s cramming his visor back on his face, forcing his hands to be steady, when Dabi clears his throat, and Hawks finally glances back at him.

Dabi’s still staring at him, holding his coat under one arm. “...Look, Hawks…” He sighs and glances to the side, rubbing the back of his neck. "What I did just now, I… I shouldn’t have done it. There were better options I could have gone for instead.”

He’s uneasy, awkward, not the impassive, merciless villain Hawks has tattooed in his brain, and Hawks hates this fumbling, apologetic awkwardness, he hates how it makes Dabi seem so ordinary, so normal.

“It’s fine.” Hawks states thickly. “Either way, it got the cops to leave us alone. That’s all that matters.”

Dabi bites his lip, a strange expression twisting his face. “I… I still shouldn’t have done it.” He mutters, and Hawks wants to scream, he wants to shake this apologetic Dabi by the shoulders and throttle him, because Dabi’s a villain and villains aren’t sorry for anything that they do.

“I said that it’s fine. It’s not a big deal.” Hawks repeats, zipping up his jacket, covering the hickey Dabi’s left on his neck. “Besides, it’s not… it’s not like it’s the first time we’ve kissed.”

And Dabi should really call him an idiot, Hawks deserves it, the heated exchange they just had couldn’t be further from the gentle pecks they exchanged over a decade ago.

But Dabi doesn’t call him out on his stupidity, he just stares at Hawks, still biting what’s left of his bottom lip, and then he nods. “Yeah. I guess you’re right.”

Hawks gives Dabi a tight smile before he turns and leaves. He doesn’t think about Dabi’s tongue in his mouth, he doesn’t think about Dabi’s fingers digging into his thighs.

--

Hawks is halfway through his fifth beer when he realizes that it probably can’t get any worse than this, and he’s minimally comforted by the thought until his phone rings, his personal one, and it gets worse.

Hawks is ready to chuck it off his balcony when he recognizes the ID, but with the current situation, there’s the smallest chance that it could be an emergency, that it could be something seriously wrong, so he answers it, trying to keep his voice as steady as possible.

“Todoroki-kun?”

“Um.” Todoroki Shouto says on the other end. “Good evening, Hawks-san.”

It certainly doesn’t sound like he’s in dire danger, but Hawks asks anyway. “You okay? Everything all right?”

“I-I’m fine. Everything is fine.” Todoroki sounds fumbling, apologetic, awkward.

Hawks tells himself that Todoroki’s allowed to sound like that, he’s still a teenager, just a kid.

“I… I know you’re busy, but… I think I need some advice.” Todoroki continues, and Hawks is not sober enough for this.

“Oh. Okay, sure, sure.” He muffles a burp as he leans back against his couch. “Just a disclaimer, though, I’m like a tiny bit buzzed so I probably won’t give out the best advice. But if you’re cool with that, I’m cool with it too, yeah?”

“...Okay…” Todoroki replies after a pause. “I… I think this may be weird, but…”

Hawks braces himself for more talk about Endeavor and the rest of Todoroki’s family, but it doesn’t come.

“Hawks-san, have you ever had a crush before?”

Hawks almost drops his beer can. “...What?”

“I… I don’t know.” Todoroki mumbles almost sheepishly, and Hawks is not drunk enough for this, dammit. “I think I… I might have a crush on someone, but they’re also one of my first friends and I’ve never had a crush on someone before so... I was wondering if you knew what it’s like.”

Hawks places his beer can on his table, trying to keep his voice calm. “Okay… Are-are you sure there’s not a better person to talk about this with? Like… your friends? Or your siblings? Or even your teachers-”

“But… you said I could call you if I needed to.” Todoroki says in a very quiet voice that makes Hawks want to slam his forehead against the edge of his coffee table.

He settles for pinching the bridge of his nose. “Sorry. That… that came out wrong. I just meant that I probably won’t give you good advice. But you can talk to me if you want to, okay?”

Todoroki sighs. “Okay. I’m sorry, Hawks-san. I’m just worried that my friends and my siblings, well, they’ll know who I’m talking about, and they’ll be really embarrassing, and then they’ll probably just tell me what I want to hear, and… I just had a feeling that you probably wouldn’t?”

“...Fair enough.” Hawks mutters, picking up his can again. “Well, I don’t know if this is what you want to hear or not, Todoroki-kun, but I think you probably have a crush on your friend.”

“Wha-” Todoroki splutters on the other end. “But I didn’t even say anything about them!”

“The fact that you’re questioning whether you have a crush on them means you most likely do.” Hawks says dryly before draining the rest of his beer.

“But… but they’re my first friend. And-and also my closest friend.” Todoroki protests, sounding flustered. “I’ve actually never had any friends, until I met them. And I’ve never had a crush as well, so... I might just be confusing my feelings.”

“What makes you think that you might have a crush on them in the first place?” Hawks asks, standing up and making his way back to his fridge. “Even if they’re your best friend, you have a lot of other friends besides them, right? What makes them special?”

“I… I don’t know. They’re… they’re just really kind. And thoughtful. And amazing. I… I have many flaws, and I’m not an easy person to get along with. But they always see the best in me, they always know how I’m feeling, and they always try to cheer me up when I’m not feeling the best and…” Todoroki falters.

“...And?” Hawks asks warily, holding his fridge door as his feathers bring up another beer can.

“...Their smile… it’s really nice. It makes me feel warm.” Todoroki says very quietly, and Hawks is not reminded of a boy with red hair and wide blue eyes with pink cheeks.

“Yup, you definitely like them.” He says bluntly, closing his fridge door with a slam.

“But… but I shouldn’t! We’re friends!” Todoroki protests, a note of panic in his voice, and Hawks doesn’t wonder if his left side also releases steam when he’s embarrassed.

“What’s so bad about it?” Hawks opens his sixth beer, swearing quietly when some of the foam flicks onto his feathers. “They sound like a pretty good person. There’s nothing wrong with liking a good person, you know.”

There really, really, isn’t.

“But… but they’re a boy, Hawks-san.” Todoroki mutters, now sounding miserable, and Hawks cannot fucking deal with this right now.

“Okay…” He says slowly, taking a deep breath. “There’s nothing wrong with that, you know. People can’t help who they fall for.”

They really, really can’t.

“...It’s not normal, though.” Todoroki says, still sounding just as miserable.

“Doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing.” Hawks says, trying his best to sound encouraging with a mouthful of beer. “It’s more common than you’d think.”

“You really think so, Hawks-san?”

“Yeah. I mean, if it helps, my first crush was a guy too.” Hawks says without thinking, and immediately, he wants to hit his forehead against the table again.

“Really, Hawks-san?” For once, Todoroki sounds curious, intrigued, and it’s the last fucking thing Hawks needs right now. “What kind of person was he?”

“It-It doesn’t matter.” Hawks says, instinctively clapping a hand over the mark that’s still on his neck. “It was a long time ago. A super long time ago. I don’t even really remember, to be honest.”

“Oh.”

“A-anyway, back to your crush, don’t worry about it too much, okay?”

Todoroki sighs. “But-but how do I treat him from now on?”

“Just be nice to him?” Hawks suggests, already halfway through his sixth beer. “Being nice is good. Really good. It’s a good thing. Oh man. Sorry, I’m sounding pretty stupid.”

“It’s okay, Hawks-san.”

“This-this is why you don’t drink alcohol, okay, Todoroki-kun? It makes you say stupid things that are stupid. Oh god.” Hawks burps, trying to focus on the patterns of the coffee table. “Don’t tell your teacher that I talked to you while drunk. He’ll kill me.”

“I won’t, Hawks-san.” Todoroki replies seriously, and Hawks should just really end the call before he makes more of a mess out of himself.

“The main point is, don’t worry about having a crush. Just-just be nice to him. Help him out. Show him that you care for him. And-and if something happens, you can call me about it. Preferably when I’m not drunk off my ass.”

“You really think it’ll be all right, Hawks-san?” Todoroki asks again, and he sounds shy and embarrassed and his voice is almost exactly his oldest brother’s-

Hawks slams down his can with more force than necessary, the mark on his neck throbbing. “Yes, it’ll be fine. As long as you don’t fucking leave him behind and then make out with him eleven years later like nothing ever fucking happened-”

“What?”

“Fuck, fuck, fuck. I-I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. I’m drunk.”

“...Hawks-san, are you okay?” Todoroki asks, sounding slightly concerned.

“Never been better.” Hawks murmurs, letting his head fall on his table.

“Okay, well… I should probably go soon. It’s past the dorm curfew.”

“Okay.” Hawks rubs his neck slowly. “Hey, Todoroki-kun? Listen, you’re… you’re a good kid. You’re an amazing kid. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy you like also likes you back, you know. And if he doesn’t, well, you can just call me again and I’ll tell you how stupid he is.”

Todoroki is quiet for a while before he speaks again. “Thanks, Hawks-san.”

“Anytime.” Hawks ends the call and throws the phone across the couch, closing his eyes and trying to not think about Dabi’s mouth on his neck.

His phone rings again, and Hawks picks it up, not bothering to open his eyes. “You know what, Todoroki-kun, forget it, forget all that I said. You don’t have a crush, okay? You don’t have a crush and you don’t want to get a crush, they’re bad, bad things okay? That doki-doki shit, just harden your heart, just stamp it out-”

“Jesus fucking christ.” Dabi says. “How shitfaced are you right now?”

“...What the fuck.” Hawks blinks and checks his phone screen, only to see Dabi’s contact staring back at him. “Fuck. You… you are not Todoroki-kun. Fuck.”

“Who were you talking to? Shouto?” Dabi demands, and Hawks almost wants to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. “Why the hell were you talking to him?”

“Why the hell are you calling me?” Hawks asks blearily. Dabi never calls him.

“I…” Dabi sighs. “Forget it. I’ll tell you tomorrow when you’re not so fucking shitfaced, so you’ll actually remember it.”

“Oh, fuck you.” Hawks says lazily. “I’m drunk, not in the last stages of dementia.”

“Just go to sleep, you idiot-”

Hawks’ hand tightens on his neck. “If you’re going to call me, you can at least tell me what the hell’s going on.”

“...There’s going to be another Nomu attack.” Dabi says shortly. “Next week. At the edge of the city.”

“Hip-fucking-hurray.”

He can almost hear Dabi roll his eyes. “Don’t come with back up this time. You’ll be able to handle this one fine alone.”

“What? Why? Is this actually a plot to murder me?” Hawks can hear himself slurring on the last word. “Because if it is, I’ll save you the trouble, you can just come to my apartment right now.”

“Go to sleep, you fucking idiot.” Dabi tells him before hanging up, and as Hawks is falling asleep, he wonders why Dabi bothered calling in the first place.

--

It’s actually a plot to murder Hawks. They’ve found out about Hawks being a double agent and this is their plot to murder him. It’s the only conclusion Hawks can come to while he’s neck to neck with the winged Nomu, because this one is strong, way too strong like the one he faced with Endeavor, and number two hero or not, Hawks doesn’t know if he can destroy it.

He finally does, but it’s in the middle of the sky because the damn thing kept pushing Hawks further and further up, and he doesn’t have enough feathers left, so when the Nomu falls, Hawks falls with it.

He’s called for back up as soon as he realized what he was dealing with, but they won’t arrive in time, Hawks thinks as his body’s descent begins to pick up speed, and he forces his eyes to open against the ground rushing up to meet him, if he can somehow control his fall-

“HAWKS!” There’s a distant shout beneath him, and that’s weird, Hawks thinks, that’s weird, it seems a bit too soon for someone to come to his rescue-

A scarred hand suddenly flashes in front of his face and snatches the middle of his shirt, jerking Hawks’ falling body to a halt, and he’s stopped, hanging by the grip on his shirt.

Hawks slowly brings his head up to lock eyes with Dabi, holding his shirt with one hand and hanging off of a railing with other.

Dabi’s panting slightly, sweat running down his face, his blue eyes wide and his stitches stretched, and even with all of his scarred skin and stitches and piercings, the current panicked expression on his face makes him look so much younger, makes him look so much like he did back when he was-

“...Touya.” Hawks whispers, the name falling past his lips before he could stop himself, but Dabi doesn’t say anything, he just hoists Hawks up, over the railing and onto the balcony of one of the empty buildings.

Hawks collapses against the floor, his mind still reeling from the adrenaline as Dabi hoists himself over the railing, still looking at Hawks with that wide-eyed expression, and Hawks needs to say something, he needs to say something before he calls Dabi by his former name again.

“You… you were lucky.” He finally croaks out as Dabi squats down by his body. “You were lucky that there were no cameras or witnesses around to see that.”

Dabi blinks and lets out a snort, and he looks more like Dabi again, much to Hawks’ relief. “You were lucky that I caught you.”

There’s bright blue flickering at the corner of Hawks’ vision, and he makes the effort to turn his head downward to see the remnants of Dabi’s flames dancing on the side of the building, which means Dabi probably blasted himself up the building with his fire to get to Hawks in time. Hawks tries his best to ignore this.

“Well, if you had been honest with me for once, neither of us would’ve needed any damn luck.” He hisses softly at Dabi, but Dabi just shakes his head, his eyes wide and panicked again.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this strong, Hawks.”

“...What?” Hawks says, feeling his adrenaline slowly dissolving into dread.

“The nomu. It wasn’t supposed to be this strong.” Dabi repeats, his hand near Hawks’ side clenching into a fist. “It wasn’t supposed to be this one.”

“Then-” Hawks coughs as he forces himself to sit up, his cracked visor falling off his face. “Then why the fuck was it so strong?”

“...I don’t know.” Dabi says through gritted teeth, a bubble of blood appearing on the side of his face.

For some reason, Hawks wants to wipe that drop of blood away, and he’s already lifting up his gloved hand, but Dabi suddenly whirls around and punches the nearest wall, the resulting impact shaking the entire building, and Hawks has to grab onto the nearest pillar for support.

“Goddammit, Dabi.” Hawks swears as he struggles to keep himself upright. “Can’t you wait for me to get out of this building before you start tearing it down?”

Dabi ignores him, the crushed wall steaming smoke beside him. “I’ll find out whoever’s fucked this up.” He growls, smoke starting to rise from his fingers. “And I’ll have their fucking head.”

Dabi isn’t angry because Hawks was in danger, Hawks tells himself. He’s only angry because he was misinformed.

“Fine, you go do that.” Hawks huffs out, leaning against his pillar. “I’ll just wait for the other heroes to come here and call me a fucking idiot for trying to take that Nomu on alone. Can’t really blame them, since I thought you’d actually tell me the truth for once.”

Dabi pauses and glances back at Hawks, and Hawks just closes his eyes to avoid Dabi’s gaze.

“...Hawks…” Dabi says as he takes a step towards Hawks, but Hawks keeps his eyes closed.

“You should leave. The other heroes, they’ll be coming soon. You can’t be seen here with me.”

He doesn’t hear Dabi move, though, so Hawks opens one eye irritably. “Dabi? You really need to go. Miruko’s still pissed you gave her the slip last time, she won’t be exactly friendly if she sees you here-”

“Hawks.” Dabi repeats, his wide blue eyes locking onto Hawks’ again, “I really didn’t know.”

Dabi’s now said his name more in these ten minutes that he has in the past two months, but Hawks refuses to dwell on it. “...Okay.”

Dabi still doesn’t leave though, instead, he takes another step towards Hawks, his gaze unwavering. “Hawks, I swear. I didn’t know.”

Hawks should really just tell him to fuck off and leave, why should he believe Dabi, when Dabi’s threatened to kill Hawks multiple times and still doesn’t trust him an inch, what does it matter to Dabi, whether Hawks believes him or not.

“...I believe you.” Hawks says quietly, not breaking eye-contact with Dabi as he says it. “...I don’t want to, because it’s really, really not comforting to think that the League of Villains could be withholding info from you, but I do. Okay?”

Dabi’s mouth thins but he nods slowly. “Okay.”

“Let me know. When you find out what the fuck happened.” Hawks adds faintly, and Dabi nods again.

“I will.” He finally turns around, giving Hawks one last look before he slips away.

--

Miruko gives him a good earful and then some when she and the other heroes arrive, Hawks has expected that, but he didn’t expect Endeavor to show up to his hospital room and give Hawks a fiery lecture of the importance of depending on others.

“I told you before.” Endeavor says after he’s somewhat calmed down, his eyebrows furrowed more than usual. “I told you before that you could come to me for help.”

“...I didn’t want to push my luck.” Hawks jokes feebly. “Sorry, Endeavor-san. And thanks.”

“Thanks for what?” Endeavor demands, his nostrils flaring. “Thanks to both your stubbornness and stupidity, I did nothing!”

“For worrying about me.” Hawks states, giving Endeavor a wide smile and bracing himself for another twenty minutes of yelling.

Endeavor doesn’t yell again, however. He just sighs at Hawks before clapping his hand on Hawks’ shoulder and giving it a rough squeeze.

Hawks’ smile almost waivers, because it’s an almost fatherly gesture that he’s never experienced before, not from his trainers and certainly not from his own father.

“You are not alone. Please remember that.” Endeavor says gruffly before letting go of Hawks’ shoulder, and for a second, it’s easy to imagine that in another world, he’d still be Hawks’ idol, that Hawks would genuinely admire him as a fellow hero, that he could maybe even be a father figure to Hawks.

But Hawks thinks of the bruised and burned red-haired boy who used to cry in his hair, and his smiles widens. “I will, Endeavor-san. I promise.”

“Good.” Endeavor huffs, crossing his arms, and it looks like he’s about to say something else when a nurse rushes in and urgently whispers into his ear, and Endeavor’s eyes widen. “...What?” He glances at Hawks, looking startled, before looking back to the nurse. “Why would she… very well then.”

Hawks stares at both of them, thoroughly confused, as Endeavor rises up, giving a nod to Hawks.

“Make sure you rest.” He says before striding out of the room, his huge frame disappearing down the hallway, and Hawks is about to ask the nurse what’s going on when he hears frantic footsteps at the opposite end of the corridor.

Todoroki Rei bursts into his room, mere seconds after Endeavor’s exited it. She’s panting and leaning against the doorframe, gazing at Hawks with wide, panicked eyes that are all too familiar.

“To-Todoroki-san?”

Rei takes a deep breath, slowing her panting and tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. “H-Hawks-san. Please forgive my intrusion. I heard you were injured.”

“Ah, yeah.” Hawks gives a sheepish laugh. “I’ll be completely fine in a couple days, though.”

The nurse eyes both of them worriedly, but a call button sounds several rooms away, and she quickly exits, closing the door behind her.

“The…” Rei swallows as she takes a hesitant step towards his bed, eyeing his bandaged wounds. “The villain, Dabi, he did this to you, Hawks-san?”

“Ah, no, no.” Hawks says hastily. “It was one of those Nomu guys. He only showed up to retrieve the Nomu’s corpse. Pretty embarrassing, to have been hospitalized from just a Nomu-”

“Thank god.” Rei whispers, suddenly burying her face in her hands, and Hawks is slightly confused and alarmed at her reaction.

“Todoroki-san?”

“...I don’t know if I could have forgiven myself.” Rei murmurs into her hands. “If… if he had hurt you like this...”

Hawks’ entire world stops. “...Who… who are you talking about-”

“No, I couldn’t have forgiven myself.” Rei says slowly, lifting her face to look at Hawks. “If my Touya had hurt you like this...”

“...Wha…” Hawks is completely frozen, unable to say anything, and for a second, he wildly thinks that maybe he could deny it, maybe he could pull it off-

Then his heart monitor traitorously triples its beeping, sounding obnoxiously loud in the silence of his room, and Rei just smiles sadly at him.

“When… when did you know?” Hawks croaks, the little feathers he has left beginning to tremble.

“As soon as I saw him.” Rei says simply, still smiling as tears form in her eyes. “It was the same for you, wasn’t it? Hawks-kun.”

Hawks’ world stops again, his heart monitor still going crazy.

“...How?” He breathes out, his entire body trembling now.

Rei steps closer to his bed, tears starting to trail down her face. “I still remember.” She whispers, gingerly laying a cool hand on top of Hawks’. “That day, Touya ran away, injured and crying. And then, he returned, all bandaged up and smiling… smiling more than I’d ever seen him.”

Hawks’ hand is shaking under Rei’s, and he slowly covers his face with his other hand.

“I asked him who had bandaged him, if he had gone to a clinic or a hospital,” Rei continues, her hand tightening over Hawks’, “And he told me, with a huge smile that I’d never seen before, that he had made a friend. A boy with beautiful red wings. And… and like the coward that I was, I thought to myself, thank god. Thank god, if Touya’s friend is there for him, maybe he’ll be alright, after all.”

Hawks clenches his jaw and presses his hand harder over his face, tears starting to drip down his chin.

“And then, when Shouto told me about how you helped him, I realized it. It was you.” Rei says, smiling at Hawks through her tears. “It was you, who cared for Touya, who treated his wounds and comforted him when I failed to. It was you who loved him.”

“I…” Hawks took a deep shuddering breath against his hand. “I couldn’t save him.”

Rei shakes her head as she slowly brings her hand to Hawk’s head, gently stroking his hair. “No, I am the one to blame. If I had not been so afraid… if I had not been so weak… none of this would’ve happened. If I had been stronger, none of you would have had to suffer so much… Touya… Shouto… and you, Hawks-kun.”

Hawks feels himself crying harder into his hand. “I… I’ve fought with Touya, you know.”

“I know.” Rei murmurs soothingly, her fingers gentle in his hair.

“I... I’ve lied to him. I…” Hawks desperately tries to get his sobbing under control. “I’m going to have to kill him. I’m going to have to kill Touya. Why… why are you being kind to me? I’m-I’m Touya’s enemy, you know!”

Rei gently pulls his hand away from his tear-stained face. “Touya… is a villain now. And you are a hero, Hawks-kun. You must do what you must to protect people. To protect yourself. It… it is cruel. If there were any way for me to take your place… I am responsible for Touya becoming a villain, for the destruction that he has caused. I should be the one to stop him.”

Hawks grabs at her cool hand desperately. “I… I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I can kill him.”

Rei just smiles at him again. “I don’t expect you to forgive me. For what happened to you and Touya. But, Hawks-kun, whatever decision you make, I will be there for you. If you cannot kill him, I will be there to carry the blame for you. If you kill him, I will be there to shoulder the burden with you. But I must ask you this.” She clasps his hand back firmly. “No matter what, Hawks-kun, you must live. You must not let him kill you. You cannot let him destroy you and himself more than he already has.”

Hawks just sobs harder at her words, and Rei hugs him closely, still stroking his head, letting him cry into her beautiful hair, and as Hawks shakily brings his arms around her back, he wonders if this is what a mother’s embrace feels like.

--

A couple days later, on the last day of Hawks’ hospital stay, Todoroki Shouto comes to visit him, this time, with his school’s permission, accompanied by Tokoyami and several other classmates.

Hawks puts on a wide smile and friendly air for all of them, and as they’re leaving, he beckons Todoroki closer.

“Hey, it’s the green-haired kid, isn’t it?” Hawks whispers in his ear, out of shot of his classmates. “He’s pretty cute. Go for it.”

Todoroki immediately jerks away from him, his face bright pink, a small puff of steam escaping from the left side of his head, and even though it makes part of Hawks ache, he still laughs brightly.

“Todoroki-kun? What’s the matter? What did Hawks-san say?”

“N-nothing, Midoriya. Let’s go.” Todoroki mutteres, turning back to give Hawks a quick bow before he leaves, and as Hawks gives him an obnoxious grin and a thumbs up, he wonders if this is how being an older sibling is like.

His phone buzzes besides him with a text, interrupting his thoughts, and as he reads its contents, his smiles fades.

Several hours later, he’s snuck behind an unfamiliar dark building, and Dabi is slouching against the wall, his hands in his coat pockets.

“...They really let you out of the hospital this early?” Dabi asks, his eyes flicking to Hawks’ wings, still far from their usual length.

“Yeah. I’m fine.” Hawks mutters, instinctively flexing his wings. “Anyway, you finally found out what happened with that nomu?”

Dabi doesn’t answer him right away. “...It won’t ever happen again.” He says, glancing to the side.

“Okay, but why did it happen in the first place?” Hawks questions, quirking an eyebrow.

“It won’t happen again.” Dabi repeats. “That’s all you need to know, okay?”

“If the League of Villains isn’t trusting you anymore, then I’m pretty sure it’s something I need to fucking know.” Hawks says sharply, his feathers rustling.

“My allegiance to the League isn’t something questioned.” Dabi says, still not meeting Hawks’ gaze.

“Really?” Hawks scoffs, leaning against the wall opposite of Dabi. “I need you to be honest with me here, Dabi. Do they know? Do they know about your past, about what happened between us?”

Dabi’s eyes finally flicker back to him. “...They know nothing about that.”

“Are you sure?” Hawks shoots back. “Because I’ve been thinking a lot while I’ve been confined to the hospital, and nothing about that nomu incident makes sense. If they were really testing the Nomu’s abilities, they would have let it loose in the city where it could’ve actually wreaked havoc. And I don’t think they were really testing me either. What would they have been testing, my ability? They have all my information on file, they’ve seen how I fought that Nomu with Endeavor. Why waste a Nomu on something they already know? And, most importantly, why they keep you in the dark?”

Dabi just stares back at him, but his jaw is clenched.

“...They weren’t testing me or the Nomu.” Hawks says quietly. “They were testing you, weren’t they? They wanted to put me in a tight spot and see if you would save me.”

Dabi clenches his jaw tighter, beads of blood appearing between his stitches, and Hawks knows that he’s right.

“Are you sure they don’t know? About you being Touya, about us being childhood friends?”

“...They don’t know, Hawks.” Dabi answers softly, leaning his head against the alley wall. “They really don’t know.”

“Then why-”

Dabi sighs, looking away from Hawks. “They… they found out about us making out.”

“...What? How-”

“Doesn’t matter. It won’t happen again, Hawks.” Dabi says, straightening himself and taking a step towards Hawks. “I made sure of that.”

Hawks stares at Dabi before an almost hysterical laugh escapes him. “Oh my god. Oh god. That’s great. That’s absolutely perfect. So now the League of Villains thinks we’re fuck buddies!”

Dabi bites his lip and raises his arm. “Hawks-”

“Oh no, wait!” Hawks interrupts obnoxiously, glowering at Dabi. “We’re not even buddies, are we? The only reason you saved me was because I’m a useful traitor, right? So you told all of them that I was just-just your sex toy or something! Great! That’s-that’s great-”

“Hawks!” Dabi says, grabbing Hawks’ shoulders, his brow uncharacteristically furrowed. “I didn’t tell them that.”

“...It doesn’t matter.” Hawks mumbles, trying to not think about how close Dabi is. “You’ve got to tell them that the League matters more than me. That’s how both you and I stay alive. I… I’m just being stupid. Painkillers probably aren’t out of my system yet.”

“No, you should be upset.” Dabi mumbles. “What happened… it was all my fault.”

Hawks doesn’t know if he can handle an apologetic Dabi again, so he pushes Dabi away and starts to head towards the exit, that’s all he can do with Dabi, really, just run away-

And then his vision gets dark and the world goes silent.

--

Hawks feels warm. He blinks his eyes open briefly before closing them again. Then he opens them again, suddenly feeling very awake.

“What the hell?”

Dabi’s carrying him on his back, holding Hawks up by his knees, and Hawks grasps at Dabi’s shoulders blearily. “What-what are you doing?”

“Oh.” Dabi turns his head, his hair brushing Hawks’ cheek. “You’re alive. Good.”

Hawks groans, letting his head fall against Dabi’s shoulder. “Goddammit. How long was I out for?”

“Not too long. I’m guessing they should’ve probably kept you longer in the hospital, though.”

“Sorry about that.” Hawks mutters. “You can let me down now. I’ll get home myself.”

Dabi’s hands just tighten around his legs. “Nope.”

“What do you mean, ‘nope’??”

“I mean that I can’t trust you to fall flat on your face again the minute I let you down.” Dabi says, turning around to glance at Hawks again.

“It’s probably just because I haven’t gotten enough sleep.” Hawks protests, trying to wiggle his legs out of Dabi’s grasp. “Besides, I’ll still have a week before they’ll let me return to active hero duty. Just let me down, I’ll be fine.”

“Just shut up for once, will you?” Dabi complains, his grip on Hawks’ tightening further. “Jeez. I always knew you were going to be this kind of hero.”

“What-what kind of hero?” Hawks asks, pausing his wiggling.

“The kind of hero that doesn’t take care of their own goddamn selves.” Dabi answers, not turning around.

“...Well…” Hawks scrambles for a reply to that. “Well… this was all your fault, anyway.” It’s a low blow, and it’s not entirely true either, but Dabi still glances back at him with a grin.

“Yep. That’s why I’m taking you to my place.”

“...Huh?”

“Hmmm?”

“Wait, wait!!” Hawks pushes himself off of Dabi’s back desperately, trying to free his legs. “No, no, no!! That’s a bad fucking idea and you know it!!”

“Will you just cut it out already?” Dabi grumbles, struggling to keep Hawks on his back.

“What the fuck, Dabi?? I almost got killed and you almost lost the League’s trust because they think we’re too involved with each other! Don’t you think it’s a good idea for us to stay the fuck away from each other?”

“The League won’t find out about it, Hawks.” Dabi shifts his weight to one arm, digging around in his coat. “Besides, we’re almost here, so quiet down a bit, will you?”

Hawks has half a mind to claw Dabi’s eyes out, but he’s not willing to make a scene and attract unwanted attention again, so he grits his teeth and digs his nails into Dabi’s shoulders.

Dabi’s apartment is surprisingly normal, simple, and might have been any other ordinary apartment apart from the slight smell of smoke. “Not exactly what I’d call a villain’s lair…” Hawks mutters as Dabi carries him inside.

“Shut up.” Dabi drawls before suddenly launching Hawks onto the single bed as if he were a sack of potatoes, and Hawks squawks indignantly as he lands face-first into the mattress.

“What the fuck?” He glares up at Dabi. “That was the most unsexiest way to throw me onto your bed!”

“Why do you want it to be sexy?” Dabi asks, smirking slightly, and Hawks settles for taking off his jacket, balling it up before flinging it at Dabi.

Dabi manages to catch Hawks’ jacket just before it hits him in the face, and he’s scowling at Hawks until Hawks starts to take off his pants, and suddenly, Dabi goes very quiet and still, clutching Hawks’ jacket tightly.

Hawks sticks his tongue out before throwing his jeans at Dabi, but Dabi just lets them flop onto his head, his eyes straying to the edge of Hawks’ boxer shorts. Hawks does his best to ignore this.

He yanks the covers off of Dabi’s bed and slides underneath them, refusing to think about how often Dabi lies in this bed, and Dabi finally turns away, hanging Hawks’ clothes on a chair and grumbling to himself.

Dabi ends up just sitting in his chair, typing away on his laptop, and Hawks watches him for a good ten minutes before Dabi glances at him with an exasperated expression.

“Just go to sleep already, will you?”

“...I could’ve been just sleeping with my eyes open, you know.” Hawks grumbles, and Dabi rolls his eyes.

“Hawks. I swear I won’t do anything to you, okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, I know you won’t.” Hawks pulls the covers more tightly around him. “Me being such a useful information source and all-”

“I won’t do anything to you that you don’t want me to, Hawks.” Dabi interrupts, his voice soft and his gaze intense, and Hawks bites his lip.

“...I know you won’t. That’s-that’s not why I can’t sleep.”

“What is it, then?” Dabi asks, raising an eyebrow.

“I don’t know, Dabi.” Hawks mutters irritably, looking at the ceiling. “It’s been a stressful week. Month. Year. Stressful life, actually, so sometimes, I just have trouble sleeping.”

Dabi turns around so he’s completely facing Hawks. “Well, what do you want me to do about it? You want me to sleep with you?"

“...Yeah.” Hawks says, hating how quiet and insecure his voice sounds in Dabi’s apartment.

“Huh?” Dabi blinks at him, looking as if he’s been hit over the head, and Hawks allows himself a small smile.

“Sleep with me. Your bed. We can share it. You really weren’t planning on sleeping in that chair, were you?”

“...I could sleep on the floor.” Dabi mumbles, his eyes glued to the ground, and Hawks rolls his eyes.

“You live in a fucking 1k, there’s not even enough floor for you.”

“Well, unlike a certain idiot, I know how to take care of myself-”

“Just come over here already!” Hawks snaps, sitting up in Dabi’s bed, and Dabi suddenly goes very quiet and very still.

“...Dabi?” Hawks asks hesitantly, and Dabi closes his eyes and sighs.

“Okay.” Dabi whispers, standing up and takes his coat off.

He approaches Hawks slowly, hesitantly, as if he expects Hawks to take back his words any second, but Hawks doesn’t.

When Dabi reaches the bedside, Hawks scoots over to give him room. For a few seconds, Dabi just stands by the bed, not moving, then he finally pushes the covers back and slides down next to Hawks, watching him carefully.

“...Hey.” Hawks whispers, and Dabi’s eyes immediately flick to him.

“What?”

Hawks closes his eyes, he thinks about how no one can see them, not in the safety of Dabi’s apartment. “...Can you hug me?”

He waits for Dabi to say no, to call Hawks an idiot, but he doesn’t.

“Sure.” Dabi rasps, slowly shifting closer to Hawks.

They don’t fit together as well as they did when they were children, Dabi’s rougher, leaner, and much longer than Hawks now, Hawks has to fold up his wings and arms and slide down to Dabi’s chest so that he won’t knee Dabi in the stomach, and Dabi drapes his arm awkwardly across Hawks’ back, folding the other one over his head.

But he can still feel Dabi’s pulse thumping rapidly under his fingers, and it’s still oddly comforting, and Hawks falls asleep within seconds.

--

Hawks wakes up slowly, despite it being a cold morning. He’s enveloped in something very warm and very comfortable. Hawks is confused for a second, then the body next to him shifts slightly, and he remembers. That’s right, Touya is here, Touya is next to him.

“Touya?” He whispers groggily. There’s no answer right away, Touya’s probably still sleeping, so Hawks buries his head back into the crook of Touya’s rough neck, re-wrapping his wings around them.

Then he feels a gentle brush of fingers in his hair. “...Yeah, Hawks?” Touya’s voice sounds raspier than usual. Hawks doesn’t mind it, instead, he feels a wave of relief crash over him.

“Touya… I had a bad dream.”

“What happened in your dream, Hawks?” Touya asks him.

Hawks opens his eyes slowly. “We… we were…” He sees the deep purple scarring of Touya’s collarbones, and suddenly, reality hits him like a ton of bricks, and he freezes.

“What happened in it, Hawks?” Dabi asks him again, shifting back slightly so he can glance back down at Hawks’ face.

“We…” Hawks swallows roughly as he meets Dabi’s gaze. “We were children again.”

Dabi still strokes Hawks’ hair, his fingers gentle and all too familiar. “What was so bad about it?” He asks, his voice still raspy but soft.

“I… I don’t remember.” Hawks murmurs back, feeling himself slowly relax in Dabi’s arms, his bare legs brushing against Dabi’s jeans.

The corners of Dabi’s mouth twitch up slightly, and Hawks feels himself smile back. He bring his hand up to Dabi’s face slowly, tentatively, but Dabi doesn’t move, he just keeps stroking Hawks’ hair and his feathers.

Hawks holds his breath as he carefully traces the lines of piercings across Dabi’s cheeks, the rows of stitches underneath Dabi’s eyes, and Dabi just closes his eyes against Hawks’ touch.

He shuffles a bit closer to Dabi and bends his head, shakily pressing his lips to Dabi’s jaw, to the patches of purple skin under his eyes, and Dabi lets out a quiet sigh, his hand sliding down to Hawks’ cheek.

Hawks pulls back slightly so he can see Dabi’s face again, but Dabi gently tugs him back and leans his face close, his mouth closing in on Hawks’-

Dabi’s phone buzzes quietly beside them, and Hawks jolts back to his senses, hastily letting go of Dabi’s face and sitting up.

He feels Dabi’s stare on him for a few seconds before he also shifts to sit up, grabbing his phone.

“What is it?” Dabi asks, as if his hand wasn’t still in Hawks’ feathers. “...Okay.”

Hawks swallows thickly before untangling himself from Dabi, the bed creaking as he moves.

“I got it.” Dabi says and hangs up.

“...What was it?” Hawks asks stiffly as he pulls his pants back on.

“Shigaraki wants a meeting soon.” Dabi murmurs, running a hand through his hair. Hawks doesn’t wonder if he’ll be able to spot bright red roots against the black. “He’s starting to get more agitated about the Midoriya kid.”

“I see.” Hawks stands up from the bed. “I… I should go.” He reaches for his jacket, praying that Dabi will just be silent and let him leave, that he won’t make this any harder than it is.

Instead, Dabi’s fingers hesitantly grab the corner of his shirt, and Hawks bites his lip, inhaling deeply before he turns around to face Dabi again.

“What?”

“...I thought you have the day off today.” Dabi says slowly, not letting go of Hawks’ shirt.

It’s all he says, it’s all he really needs to say. Hawks knows what Dabi’s actually saying, he knows that Dabi’s actually asking him to stay.

Hawks closes his eyes and sighs. “I should still go.” Dabi’s grip on his shirt is light, but it’s still difficult for Hawks to shake it off, and he doesn’t watch Dabi’s scarred arm fall back slowly.

His wings are still small enough to tuck them underneath his jacket, and Hawks straightens out his jacket collar, patting his bangs down so he’s less recognizable. The last thing he needs is for someone to spot him leaving Dabi’s apartment, heroes or villains.

He’s already at the entryway when Dabi stands up. “Hawks-”

Hawks finally snaps and he whirls on him angrily. “You know the dream I had this morning, about back when we were children? You know why it was bad?”

Dabi just looks at him in a mixture of confusion and wariness.

Hawks smiles bitterly. “In the end, you didn’t come for me. When you woke up from your coma, you didn’t come for me.”

Dabi’s eyes close and his mouth twists painfully. “Hawks-”

“You promised me how many times!” Hawks shouts, feeling pathetic. “You promised me that we’d run away together! And I told you that I’d wait for you forever, didn’t I?”

“Hawks.” Dabi repeats, a drop of blood sliding down from the stitches by his jaw. “Hawks, you know why I couldn’t take you with me. You wanted to become a hero. I was going to become a villain. I couldn’t drag you down with me.”

An ugly laugh escapes Hawks, and he hates how it sounds. “Well, isn’t that fucking ironic.” He gestures towards himself wildly. “As if I’m any better than a villain now!”

Dabi grits his teeth as he stomps over to Hawks. “I… I was supposed to come for you with… with this face??” He hisses, as if Hawks hadn’t been tenderly kissing his burned skin minutes ago.

“...It’s true most children are shallow.” Hawks says, staring up at Dabi with an unwavering glare.

Dabi opens his mouth, but Hawks suddenly surges up and seizes Dabi’s face between his hands, pressing his fingers roughly into stitches and piercings and scarred skin. “I guess, in the end, you thought that I wasn’t any different from most children.”

Dabi’s eyes widen, and Hawks stands on his tiptoes to kiss him briefly on the lips.

“Goodbye, Touya.” He whispers before he leaves, and this time, Dabi doesn’t stop him.

--

Hawks isn’t supposed to be here. He doesn’t know where he’s supposed to be, but he knows it isn’t this place.

But he still passes the old, broken vending machines and heads up the concrete stairs, now aging and broken with tree roots bulging beneath them.

Hawks has barely sat on the top stair when his phone starts ringing, and Hawks is almost grateful for the distraction.

He notices it’s Todoroki Shouto again, so he puts on his best smile before answering the call. “Todoroki-kun, what’s up-”

“Hawks-san!!” Todoroki shouts, sounding more alarmed than Hawks has ever heard him. “Dabi, the villain, I think he’s done something to my mother!”

“Wh-what??” Hawks squawks, immediately scrambling up. “What do you mean? What happened? Where are you? Are you okay?”

“I-I was visiting my mother, and-and I saw him!! I saw him go out of the window!! I know it was him!!”

Hawks swears violently, clutching his phone. “Where-where’s your mom? Is she okay?”

“I-I don’t think Dabi harmed her at all, but she… she’s saying strange things right now! About my oldest brother, Touya, and Dabi...”

Hawks clutches his phone tighter. “Have you notified the police or your teachers? Are they on their way?”

“My teacher’s here now, he’s called for back-up and he told me to stay with my mom, but… but what’s she saying, I know it isn’t true! It can’t be true!” Todoroki’s voice starts to go higher. “My oldest brother, he’s dead! That villain, Dabi, he must have done something to my mom, he must have tricked her somehow!”

Hawks' mind races for something to tell Todoroki, something to calm Todoroki down that isn’t a lie, but suddenly, in front of him, there’s a familiar figure at the bottom of the stairs, and Hawks goes very still.

“My mom, she’s insisting that you know too, that you know the truth!” Todoroki continues, oblivious. “But she’s can’t be telling the truth! She’s telling nonsense, right, Hawks-san?”

Dabi starts to walk up the stairs, his eyes locking onto Hawks’.

“Hawks-san?”

Hawks slowly lowers his phone as Dabi approaches him, and Todoroki’s frantic voice rings out between them.

“Hawks-san? Hawks-san, are you there?”

Dabi stops a few steps away from Hawks, then reaches over and takes Hawks’ phone.

“Hawks-san-”

Dabi just hangs up on Todoroki, turning Hawks’ phone off.

“...What the fuck did you do?” Hawks whispers as Dabi climbs up the last few stairs to sit next to him.

Dabi tosses Hawks’ phone back to him. “I just went to see my mom.”

“Why-” Hawks swallows roughly, “Why’d you do it? Do you have any idea how fucking distressed your brother is right now? And your mom-”

“It’s happening tomorrow, Hawks.” Dabi says simply, pulling out a bottle from his coat. “The showdown between the heroes and the League of Villains. It’s happening tomorrow.”

“Doesn’t mean you get to go around driving your family crazy-”

“We’re all going to die tomorrow.” Dabi states bluntly, taking a swing from the bottle. “Right now, whatever we do doesn’t matter. Nothing matters right now, Hawks.”

He offers the bottle to Hawks, and Hawks scowls deeply before yanking it out of Dabi’s hand and taking a vengeful gulp of the fiery contents.

“You have no idea how fucking pissed I was.” Dabi mutters as Hawks passes the bottle back. “So pissed that they had to choose you, out of all heroes, out of all people, to be a fucking double agent.”

Hawks just smiles widely, the taste of the whiskey still stinging his throat. “Hah. As expected of you, you actually knew all along. Then again, I guess I’d be actually disappointed if you didn’t.”

Dabi frowns at him. “You know, I’ve always hated that smile of yours. That fucking wide smile you’d always give me when you’d catch me looking at your bruises, when you’d have to talk about anything related to your parents or your bullies. I hated it so much.”

He pauses to sip from his bottle. “Whenever I’d see that smile, I’d want to take you somewhere far away from here, somewhere where your shitty parents and bullies couldn’t touch you.”

Hawks just tilts his head, still smiling widely. “Well, both my parents and bullies are gone. What does seeing it make you want to do now?”

Dabi takes another gulp of whiskey, wiping his mouth before he leans over to kiss Hawks, and Hawks meets him halfway.

It’s much gentler this time, closer to their childhood pecks, but there’s still a firmness and insistence in the way Dabi kisses him now, and Hawks lets himself close his eyes, lets himself tangle his hands in Dabi’s hair.

“It was so frustrating.” Dabi growls as he pulls back, pushing Hawks’ bangs out of his eyes. “Would’ve been better if you just cried at all the shitty things in your life, like I did.”

Hawks just licks his lips and kisses Dabi again, tilting his head and opening his mouth, and Dabi kisses him back deeply, wrapping his arms around Hawks’ waist, pulling him closer until Hawks is practically on his lap.

“You only cried for me.” Dabi whispers breathlessly before ducking down to nip harshly at Hawks’ neck. “The only times you ever cried was when I was hurting. So fucking weird.”

Hawks tilts his head back, inhaling sharply as Dabi’s hands pull at his jacket. His feathers tug at Dabi’s coat, and Dabi quickly shrugs it off, tossing it to the side as Hawks tears off his own jacket.

“That’s why it had to be you, Hawks.” Dabi murmurs between kisses, pulling Hawks flush against his chest. “It couldn’t have just been any other kid. It had to be you.”

Hawks just kisses him harder, his nails digging into the scarred flesh of Dabi’s shoulders.

Dabi’s hands slip under Hawks’ shirt, large and warm against Hawks’ bare back, and Hawks flares his wings, his fingers scrabbling at Dabi’s stitched chest.

They keep kissing as Dabi slowly lowers Hawks onto the ground, and Hawks’ legs wrap around his waist again.

“Touya…” Hawks murmurs, kissing up Dabi’s jawline, “Touya, do you want to do it?”

Dabi goes completely rigid against him, and small clouds of steam rise from his head.

Hawks chuckles against Dabi’s ear, flicking Dabi’s piercings with his tongue. “You can do it if you want to, Touya.”

“...We don’t have to.” Dabi mutters, one of his hands going to stroke Hawks’ hair. “This-this is enough, Hawks. More than enough.”

Hawks moves to take Dabi’s face in his hands again, smiling when he sees the bits of pale skin left on Dabi’s cheeks turn pink.

“But Touya, I want you to do it.” He breathes softly, and Dabi’s hands start trembling on his torso.

“...Okay. Okay, Hawks.” Dabi whispers hoarsely, and he lifts Hawks back up in his lap, kicking their fallen clothes into a messy pile and lowering Hawks onto it, his hands still shaking as he helps Hawks take off his pants.

--

When Hawks wakes up, he’s not alone. He’s leaning against the reassuring warmth of Dabi’s bare shoulder, Dabi’s gentle, familiar fingers in his hair and his black coat draped over Hawks’ body.

“Touya?” He murmurs groggily, and Dabi answers him with a small smile, leaning over to kiss Hawks’ forehead.

Hawks smiles back, grasping Dabi’s hand tightly and intertwining their fingers, and Dabi kisses the top of his head, and when he’s like this with Dabi, Hawks can’t really think of anything else.

But then Dabi sighs quietly into his hair. “I have to go soon, Hawks.”

Hawks bites his lip, his grip on Dabi’s hand tightening, but when Dabi moves to stands up, Hawks lets him go reluctantly.

“Check my coat pocket.” Dabi tells him as he pulls his wrinkled shirt back on. “The right one.”

Hawks does as he's told, and he finds a small USB hidden in the folds of Dabi’s coat.

“You’ll want to get that to the heroes as soon as you can.” Dabi explains, kneeling near Hawks. “It’s all the info your superiors could ever want.”

Hawks just looks blankly at the USB, and Dabi reaches over, pressing the USB in the center of Hawks’ palm and closing Hawks’ fingers over it.

“Promise me you’ll stay safe, okay?” Dabi murmurs, still holding Hawks’ hand, and a week ago, Hawks would have bitterly laughed about the irony of the situation, a villain telling a hero to stay safe before they would both have to head into battle.

But Hawks just nods slowly, and without thinking, he lifts up his pinky and extends it towards Dabi, and maybe Dabi isn’t thinking either, because he just links their pinkies together, as if the last eleven years didn’t happen.

Dabi bends down to give Hawks one last kiss, his lips lingering on Hawks before he turns away, starting to head down the stairs.

Dabi’s probably only gone down five steps when Hawks’ resolve breaks.

“Touya!” He calls out desperately, rushing down the stairs, and Dabi whips around immediately.

“Touya.” Hawks repeats as soon as he catches up to Dabi, Dabi’s coat still hanging from his shoulders. “Touya, let’s just… let’s just-” Run away right now, they should just run away together right now, with the incoming chaos, who would miss them, who would bother looking for them-

Dabi just watches him silently, and Hawks swallows before taking Dabi’s coat off and flinging it back around Dabi’s shoulders.

“Let’s just… let’s just do our best.” Hawks manages to choke out, smiling as his eyes start to well up, and suddenly, Dabi’s sweeping Hawks up into his arms, squeezing him tightly and burying his face in the crook of Hawks’ neck.

“You know that I would.” Dabi says, his voice partly muffled. “If you asked me to run away with you right now, you know that I’d do it in a heartbeat if I could, Hawks.”

Hawks just squeezes Dabi back, unable to say anything.

Dabi’s grip tightens briefly before he lets go, and he bends down so they’re face to face. “Hawks. That time when we confessed to each other. Remember our promise to each other back then.”

And then, suddenly, he’s gone, and Hawks is alone again on the concrete staircase.

--

Hawks manages to find Dabi minutes after Endeavor’s been taken down, but Todoroki Shouto still beats him to it.

“Todoroki-kun!” He shouts hoarsely as Todoroki’s flames spiral higher, and Todoroki’s wrecked gaze meets his.

“I can take him, Hawks-san!”

“Todoroki-kun.” Hawks takes a deep breath. “I need to you to leave. Go help your classmates-”

“No, I can take him! My quirk-”

“Go help your classmates.” Hawks interrupts sharply. “They need your help-”

“I don’t care if he’s really my brother, I’ll take him down!” Todoroki screams, sending a wave of ice out. “He-he’s a villain, he brought down Endeavor, I have to fight him, I-I have to kill him-”

“No, Shouto-kun.” Hawks finally says, putting a gloved hand on Todoroki’s flaming shoulder, and Todoroki whips his head back, startled, temporarily extinguishing his flames. “You don’t have to, Shouto-kun. You don’t have to fight your own brother.”

“Don’t-” Todoroki clenches his teeth together. “Don’t treat me like a child! I-”

“I’m not telling you to leave because you’re a child.” Hawks says, looking Todoroki squarely in the eye. “I’m telling you to leave because you’re a hero, and there are people who need you.”

Todoroki inhales shakily, his mismatched eyes darting between Hawks and Dabi. “But… but my quirk-”

“Just go.” Hawks says quietly. “Leave now, while you still can.”

Todoroki bites his lip, glancing at Hawks’ severely shortened wings. “But, Hawks-san-”

“Go.” Hawks squeezes Todoroki’s shoulder before letting go. “That’s an order, okay?”

Todoroki gives one last look at Dabi before he finally obeys, shooting off in the other direction with a wave of ice, and he’s just disappeared from Hawks’ vision before Dabi’s suddenly charging at Hawks’, sending out a wall of flame, and Hawks barely manages to dodge in time.

“I knew it!” Dabi yells, a manic laugh ripping out of his throat. “I’d knew you’d do that, Hawks! I knew you would!”

Dabi’s bleeding all over the place from both old and new burns on his body, but with Hawks’ current state, all he can do is just dodge his attacks, Dabi driving him further and further away from the chaos erupting around them.

It’s only when Dabi pauses for a second, hacking up blood, is Hawks able to actually fight back, driving his fist into Dabi’s stomach, using the little feathers he has left to pin Dabi’s arms to the ground, holding his last lethal feather towards Dabi’s throat.

Dabi’s manic grin just goes wider, blood from his stitches leaking down his cheeks, and he laughs again. “That’s it, Hawks! That’s it! I always knew, I always knew I could count on you!”

His voice echoes slightly, and Hawks suddenly realizes that Dabi has managed to somehow blast him miles away from the commotion, he can only hear distant sounds of the battle and his own labored breathing.

“What-what the hell are you playing at?” Hawks wheezes, pressing his feather closer to Dabi’s throat, but Dabi just presses up against his feather, just smiles more when the edge brings drops of blood against his scarred skin.

“Come on, Hawks.” He whispers. “You know you remember our promise back then. You know what you have to do.”

Hawks remembers.

“If I ever stop liking you, Hawks, or hurt you, or do anything bad to you, you-you can kill me or something!”

“Fine. I promise I’ll always like you too, Touya. So-so, you better not stop liking me, or I really will kill you, stupid Touya.”

Hawks remembers, but he shakes his head slowly. “No.”

“Hawks.” Dabi says beneath him, the craziness in his eyes starting to disappear.

“No!” Hawks shouts hoarsely, his feathers beginning to tremble. “No. No, Touya. No, no, no-”

“Hawks, look at me.” Dabi says softly, but Hawks just shakes his head harder, clenching his eyes shut.

“No, Touya, no!” His feathers have stopped pinning down Dabi’s arms, but all Dabi does is put his bloodied hand over Hawks’.

“Hawks, you know already. You know already that there’s no saving me.” Dabi rasps, holding Hawks’ feather to his throat. “There’s no way I can atone for what I did. For what I did to so many. For what I did to my family. And for what I did to you.”

Hawks still keeps shaking his head, clenching his jaw as tears start to mingle with the blood on his face.

“It’s all over now. For me, anyway.” Dabi adds as the sounds of a distant battle rage on. “Endeavor can’t hurt my family anymore. And with him gone, with you, Hawks, as the number one hero-” His thumb rubs over Hawks’ hand almost soothingly. “No one can hurt you anymore. No one can use you anymore, whether they’re the government or heroes.”

Hawks bites his lip so hard that he tastes blood, tears still dripping down his face.

“You’re free. You don’t have to pretend to be a villain anymore.” Dabi continues, lifting another battered hand to cradle Hawks’ cheek. “I already know that you’ll be the greatest hero ever. Kids like me, and kids like you, I know you’ll save them both. You’ll make sure no kids have to go through what we did.”

“I-I can’t.” Hawks croaks out, his hand shaking against Dabi’s neck. “I can’t, Touya. You know I can’t-”

“You can take as long as you like.” Dabi whispers soothingly, caressing Hawks’ cheek. “You can cry as much as you want. It’s just us now. You don’t have to hide anything here. But you need to do it, Hawks. You need to kill me, before I destroy myself any more than I already have.”

“Touya-”

“I was happy, Hawks.” Dabi says, smiling up at Hawks’ tortured face. “I was really happy. When you found me again, when you slept with me like we did when we were kids, when you let me make love to you in that place. You made me so happy, more happier than I deserved to be. It’s more than enough, Hawks.”

Hawks slowly brings his other hand to the side of Dabi’s face, and Dabi closes his eyes at his touch.

“My mom told me everything, you know. She told me how you helped out Shouto, how you opened up to her. I know that she’ll be there for you, for afterward. I know that you’ll be good to them, I know that you’ll help each other heal.”

Hawks shakes his head again. “You can’t ask me to do this, Touya.”

Dabi grips his cheek harder. “You know me, Hawks. You know better than anyone just how tainted I’ve become. With this, both of us will be free. This is how you’ll save me, Hawks.”

Hawks is still crying, but this time, he doesn’t shake his head.

“Hawks, please.” Dabi says. “I’ve been saved by you so many times since we were children. Please. Please just save me one last time.”

Hawks just stares back at him, his hands still trembling.

Dabi’s hand tightens on his, and he slowly lowers Hawks’ hand until Hawks’ feather is pointing towards Dabi’s chest. “If… if it’s that hard, Hawks, we can both do it. We can do it together. You just need to keep holding my hand, okay?”

Hawks takes a deep, shuddering breath. Then he looks at Dabi, he looks at the bloodied and bruised man he’s loved for the past eleven years.

“...Okay.” He whispers softly, quietly, barely audible even with their distance from the commotion. “Okay, Touya. If this is what’ll save you. I’ll do it.”

Dabi’s shoulders sag in relief, and his thumb strokes over Hawks’ hand again. “Yes, Hawks.”

“You promise- you promise we’ll do it together?” Hawks chokes out, and Dabi nods, his pinky briefly touching Hawks’, one last pinky promise, before he raises both of their hands, Hawks’ feather above his heart.

“I…” Hawks clenches his eyes shut again, and then opens them, he wants to see all of Dabi, all of Touya, right now. “I love you, Touya.”

Touya smiles faintly back at him. “You know I love you, too.” Then he closes his eyes.

Hawks keeps his wide open, feeling his tears still trickling down. “You’re such an idiot, you know, Touya.” He murmurs, as his feather stabs through wounded flesh, and Touya’s body goes rigid underneath him.

Somewhere, far away from them, the battle between the One for All and the All for one is taking place.

Hawks couldn’t care less about it.

“Wh… H… Hawks-” Touya chokes out, staring up into Hawks’ eyes, Hawks feels his tears drip down onto Touya’s scarred, rapidly paling face. He doesn’t move his other hand away from Touya’s cheek.

“HAWKS!!!” Touya suddenly screams, surging up, his horrified eyes fixed on the feather that’s sticking straight out of Hawks’ abdomen, instead of Touya’s chest.

Hawks laughs weakly as he begins to sway. “You thought I’d really do it, didn’t you? Stupid Touya. As if I’d actually be able to kill you.”

“Hawks!” Touya’s hands clamp onto him desperately. “Don’t speak! I’ll take you to the medics-”

“Calm down, you idiot..” Hawks wheezes, managing to wave a hand casually at Touya’s wrecked face. “It’s not that deep. I didn’t hit any of my organs. At-at least I think I didn’t-”

“Shut up!” Touya snaps, holding onto Hawks tighter, tears squeezing past his bloodied patches. “Just shut up! Why’d you do it, you fucking idiot-”

“Because-” Hawks huffs before gripping the feather with his hand, fixing Touya with a threatening stare. “I need you to listen to me.”

“You fucking stabbed yourself because you wanted me to listen??” Touya demands, spraying Hawks with a few flecks of bloody spit, and Hawks just laughs again.

“I stabbed myself because I can’t kill you, Touya.” Hawks simply says, smiling his real smile. “I can’t. I couldn’t ever kill you, even if you were the worst person in the world.”

Touya clenches his pierced jaw in frustration. “Then you’re a fucking idiot!”

“That’s true.” Hawks agrees mildly. “But I’ve known something for a while. Touya, you and I, we can’t kill each other. No matter what we’ve done, no matter what’s at stake, we can’t bring ourselves to kill each other.”

Touya just presses his hand desperately against the blood leaking around Hawks’ side.

“Not only that,” Hawks continues, holding onto Touya’s gaze, “no matter what, we won’t let each other die. We’d rather die ourselves than let each other die. Why is that, Touya?”

Touya just clenches his jaw tighter, shaking his head.

“Answer me, Touya.” Hawks hisses, tightening his hold around the feather impaled in himself. “Why can’t we bear to let each other die?”

“B-because…” Touya grits his teeth, as if the words were causing him pain. “Because we love each other.”

“Because we love each other?” Hawks repeats hoarsely, reaching up to touch Touya’s cheek. “Is that all it really is?”

Touya nods shakily, pressing his hand harder around Hawks’ bleeding.

“Is that really all?” Hawks demands, his fingers digging into Touya’s scarred cheek. “Are we really such weak-willed people, Touya? No, you’re wrong! We don’t just love each other, we want to always be together! We want it so much that we’d rather die than be alone by ourselves again!!”

“Hawks-” Touya’s voice breaks, and his tears start to drip down on Hawks. “Hawks, I can’t-”

“In the end, we both didn’t change, Touya!” Hawks yells back at him, struggling to keep his voice strong. “We still both desperately want that same future together like we did when we were children! We couldn’t get it back then, because of all the shitty adults around us. But now, we’re the shitty adults! You said yourself that you’d run away with me if you could! What’s stopping us from doing that? What’s holding us back from our future together now?”

“Everything, Hawks!” Touya protests, his eyes widening helplessly. “The villains, the heroes, my family, Hawks, it’s everything-”

Hawks shakes his head stubbornly. “I’m not a hero, not after what I did for you. And you’re no longer a villain, not after what you did for me. And Endeavor can’t hurt your family any more, you said it yourself. No, Touya, what’s holding us back is our own selves!”

Touya leans over to press his face into Hawks’ hair, and Hawks feels wet drops slide through his roots. “Hawks, Hawks, I can’t. There’s no forgiving me for what I’ve done. I’ve killed people, I’ve tortured people, I’ve-I’ve hurt so many-”

“And I helped you do that!” Hawks protests, moving his head so he can look at Touya’s face. “I gave you all the information to do that and I stood back and watched as you did it! I’m no better than you!”

“That-that was your job-”

Hawks shakes his head. “A true hero, a real hero would’ve refused it. But me, I stood by that same ‘greater good’ bullshit that tortured you and your family! And not for the right reasons, either! Bringing down the League of Villains, bringing down Endeavor, those were just bonuses. I really just wanted to see you again, Touya. That was the only reason why I let people get killed. There’s no forgiving me for what I’ve done either.”

Touya stares down at him, speechless, and Hawks reaches to stroke his dark hair.

“But I won’t beg you to kill me, Touya. Because I know just how much that’ll hurt you. You know that too now, don’t you? Don’t say that it’s already over. We can’t ever atone for what we’ve done, but we can still do good in this world. Those kids suffering like you and me, we can save them together. So live on with me, Touya.”

“It’s-” Touya swallows roughly. “Hawks, it’s not just that! It’s you, I’ve hurt you so much. I didn’t take care of you, I wasn’t good to you!”

Hawks smiles, still stroking Touya’s hair. “Yeah.”

“I-I lied to you! I hurt you! I made you cry!”

“Yeah.”

“Even if you still love me...” Touya inhales shakily, leaning to press his forehead against Hawks. “Even if you still love me, you shouldn’t ever forgive me for that!”

“Yeah.” Hawks repeats faintly, tilting his head up, so that Touya’s dark hair meshes with his bloody bangs. “But I know you, Touya. You’re the gentlest and kindest person I know. So, I know, that even if you hurt me, even if you hurt others, you were actually suffering more than anyone. That’s why I’ll forgive you.”

“Ah…” Touya’s face crumples, more blood leaking out of his stitches, but he doesn’t move. “Ah, Hawks, Hawks…”

“I’ll accept you, Touya.” Hawks tells him, his hand tightening on Touya’s cheek. “No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’ve become, I’ll always want you with me, Touya. So don’t leave me behind again. Don’t leave me alone again. Just stay with me.”

Touya squeezes his eyes shut, burying his face in Hawks’ hair. “Hawks…”

“It’s okay, Touya.” Hawks says, rubbing Touya’s shoulder soothingly. “It’s okay.”

Touya’s hands fall from Hawks’ stomach, and Hawks glances down to see that most his bleeding has slowed, he’s lost his leverage.

He gently pulls Touya back, looking at those teary and scarred blue eyes he’s grown to love so much. “Touya. Let’s run away together right now. We can still do it. Even if we’re both fucked up, even if we’ve hurt each other and so many others, we can still do it. Let’s be happy together, Touya.”

“...Can we really do that?” Touya chokes out, gripping the torn edges of Hawks’ jacket. “Can you really love someone like me? Can you really still find happiness with someone like me, Hawks?”

“Of course I can.” Hawks whispers back, caressing the piercings along Touya’s jaw. “I already have, stupid Touya.”

Touya is silent for a while, gazing at Hawks, and Hawks is genuinely terrified that even after all of this, after everything, he’ll just shake his head again.

But then Touya smiles, and his blue eyes crinkle at their bloodied corners, and despite his bloody and disfigured face, he looks exactly as he did the day Hawks first met him. “Okay. Okay, Hawks. Let’s run away together.”

--

A little less than a year later, they’re standing in front of a familiar set of aging and cracked concrete stairs, which are now roped off with construction tape.

“I can’t believe it.” Hawks moans, burying his face in his hands. “They’re destroying all of it??”

“Looks like it.” Touya remarks, not looking up from his phone.

“But they can’t, Touya!” Hawks protests, seizing Touya’s sleeve desperately.

Touya just rolls his eyes as he taps out a text. “It's about time they build something new here. You can’t even walk over those stairs anymore.”

Hawks bristles indignantly. “This place is special though!! Why aren’t you upset by this?? Get off of your damn phone, this is important!”

“I’m texting Mom right now, dumbass. She wants to have dinner together next week. You have Wednesday evening off, right?”

Hawks blinks, his distress momentarily forgotten. “Ah, I do, but let’s do it on Friday instead. Shouto-kun also has that evening off, so he can come too-”

“Yeah, how about no to that.” Touya says flatly. “I’d like to have dinner without my baby brother chasing me around the table, trying to arrest me.”

“Aww, poor you.” Hawks teases, patting Touya’s shoulder soothingly. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you from your scary baby broth- wait, wait, wait! We’re forgetting about this! The stairs! They’re going to wreck the stairs, Touya!”

Touya raises an eyebrow at him. “I thought we already established that.”

“Aren’t you at least a little bit sad?” Hawks demands, gesturing wildly towards the construction tape. “This is where like everything happened with us! I wanted to be able to take my kid here and be like ‘hey, this is where your daddy and I first met and where we first kissed and where we first fuc-’”

“Oh shut up.” Touya mutters, not looking up from his phone.

Instead of getting more annoyed, Hawks just grabs Touya’s arm and goes on his tiptoes, grinning up at him challengingly. “Make me.”

Touya rolls his eyes again, but he does the usual double-take around them before pulling down his mask, giving Hawks a quick, firm kiss.

“You know, Hawks…” Touya drawls suggestively, his arms locking around Hawks’ waist, “If you really want to, we could fuck here again. Send the place off with a bang.”

Hawks snorts, pushing Touya’s mask back on him. “You’re horrible.”

“Mmhmm.” Touya agrees, pulling his mask down again to kiss Hawks’ cheek.

“But you’re really not upset at all?” Hawks persists as Touya nuzzles his neck. “Don’t you feel just a little attached to this place?”

Touya sighs, bending up from Hawks’ neck to glance back at the stairs. “Well, I guess this place does have a lot of good memories. But at the same time, this was the same place where I would always have to leave you, and then we’d have to go back to our shitty lives. I really didn’t like that.”

“Huh.” Hawks strokes Touya’s hair thoughtfully. “I guess I never thought about it like that.”

“Yeah. And besides.” Touya turns back to Hawks, smiling over his mask. “Now we have an even better place where I never have to leave you, where I can always see you. And that makes me a lot more happier. Aren’t you happier there, too, Hawks?”

“Of course I am.” Hawks goes back on his tiptoes to kiss Touya’s cheek. “You know I couldn’t be happier.”

“Yeah?” Touya says almost casually, but there’s a familiar flicker of doubt in his gaze, so Hawks takes Touya’s face between his hands, wrapping his wings around them.

“Yeah.” Hawks murmurs, pressing their foreheads together. “A place with a big window and you, Touya. That’s all I ever wanted, really. Not to mention that I’ve also been practically adopted by your mom and your siblings. So yeah, I really couldn’t be any happier.”

Touya relaxes slightly against him, his smile smaller but softer. “Even with my youngest sibling trying to freeze my eyebrows off when you’re not looking?” He asks teasingly, and Hawks knows he’s won.

“A man can’t ask for too much, Touya.”

Touya tugs his mask on again, still smiling. “Come on, Hawks.” He says softly, holding his hand out, his burned skin barely visible over his sleeve. “Let’s go home.”

Hawks takes Touya’s hand, feeling the now familiar stitches and scarred skin against his fingers. “Okay, Touya.”

He and Touya walk quietly for a few seconds. Then suddenly, as if they were children again, they break into a run, their clothes flapping wildly behind them, Hawks laughing out loud and Touya laughing with him, swinging their joined hands together as they head home.