Aizawa was never much for the holidays.
There was a lot of reasoning behind why. He understood the importance of them and usually wound up begrudgingly having a good time during them, but he didn’t quite get the excitement in the few weeks leading up to them. It wasn’t that he didn’t like them, it was more just that he wasn’t used to them. He hadn’t celebrated as a child and now, the winter holidays usually meant a lot of work, since they were centered around the end of a semester and thus, meant a bunch of grading and evaluations would be involved. Coupled with the fact that underground heroes typically had a lot of cases come up over the holidays… it was just a recipe for a very overworked Aizawa.
Though, he supposed he wouldn’t have to worry about that last part as much. He’d been focusing on his duties as a teacher more than his duties as a hero. There were plenty of underground heroes who could take care of those cases. There was only one 1-A homeroom teacher to take care of the kids over their break. That was his priority and as with all his jobs, Aizawa took it very seriously.
Aizawa had taken responsibility as dorm parent over the holidays. He wasn’t regretting it, since he wasn’t alone in his apartment in the dorms, but some of the kids seemed a little unhappy about being made to stay over the break.
It almost made Aizawa feel a little guilty. Even if he wasn’t much for holidays, over the past few years, he’d come to realize that the holidays were a time for family and to spend time with family. There was definitely a little guilt surrounding the fact that he was depriving the kids of that. But they were safer here, and with everything else that had happened this year, this was the only way Aizawa could ensure the kids’ safety over the break.
He didn’t know what he was expecting—maybe a quiet holiday? It wasn’t like the kids weren’t allowed to go out or anything. They could go on daytrips with their families or, if Aizawa was feeling particularly nice, parents could sign a bunch of paperwork and take their kid overnight.
He didn’t really know what he was expecting, but it probably wasn’t this.
The second Aizawa walked through the door, he nearly dropped the paper grocery bag in his hands, instincts kicking in immediately, his voice ringing loud and clear through the wide open common room of the dorms.
“Get down from there!”
These kids apparently had not even the smallest idea of safety, because he’d walked in on Uraraka using her quirk on Asui, levitating her towards the high ceilings of the dorms, where the frog-like girl had been stringing—Aizawa squinted at it, trying to identify it—tinsel along the walls and rafters. While Uraraka had developed decent control of her quirk, she could easily make things go up, though getting them down was another story entirely.
Uraraka turned to look at him, unperturbed by his shouted order, a wide grin on her face, chirping his name, “Aizawa-sensei! We were decorating the dorms for—Hey!”
Without giving it much thought, he rushed forward, activating his quirk enough that he could expand the bands of his scarf, sending one end of the capture weapon enough to wrap around Asui’s body, making the girl let out a croak of surprise before he started to pull her down, going against the resistance of Uraraka’s quirk.
“How did you plan on getting her down?” Aizawa snapped, not looking at the other girl until he had Asui nearly at the ground. Only then did he turn to her and focus on her, his eyes burning with the use of Erasure, and the resistance against his scarf stopped, Asui’s feet hitting the ground a moment later. He blinked, the bands of his weapon falling from the small girl, and rubbed at his eyes, still just barely clutching hi bag of groceries against his side.
“I thought I could maybe catch her?” He heard Uraraka say, and he opened his itching, constantly burning eyes to find her glancing away from him, rubbing her arm in nervousness. “It’d be different if we had a ladder, y’know.”
“If you think I’m letting any of you have a ladder or anything similar after that, then I obviously need to send you to some sort of common sense course,” He sighed, setting his bag down before digging through it to find the unopened package of the medication he was prescribed for his eyes. “You could’ve missed. You could’ve hurt her. Don’t do it again.”
He squeezed a couple of drops into his eyes, tilting his head up and soon enough, the burning stopped. He regretted looking back at the two girls, though, because their expressions could only be described as disappointed. He frowned at the two of them, wondering why he suddenly felt a little bad in being so strict, and glancing around the room answered why they looked to dejected.
He hadn’t seen it upon coming in, since the first thing he’d seen was one of his students precariously making another student float, but the entire common room was decorated. It looked almost completely different. There were tinsel and garlands strung from just about every surface available, ornaments hung from hooks, decorations and fake snow on the windows. Somehow, in the time he’d been out taking care of errands and spending time with the two people he did count as family, they’d even dragged some sort of fake holiday tree in here and decorated that, too. He’d only been out a couple hours, and the entire place looked different.
And to make matters worse, ten other kids stared at him, all with various things and decoration in their hands, all with the look in their wide eyes as if they’d been caught breaking the rules red handed.
“Sensei,” It was Asui that drew Aizawa back to the two girls in front of them. “Are you angry?”
Always to the point. He appreciated that about her. It was easier to answer a question than figure out what twelve students who all looked like a deer in headlights wanted.
Stooping over, he picked up his groceries again, preparing to go back to his apartment and sort things out before the other two came home. He frowned at them, though, raising an eyebrow at Asui as he spoke, keeping his voice low, though he knew every student in the common room could hear him, “I’m not such a horribly strict teacher that I’m going to ban you from decorating. But if any of you do something as unsafe as that, I won’t hesitate to write you up and discipline you.”
Instantly the mood lifted, most of the students returning to what they’d been doing. Satisfied, Aizawa took his leave, disappearing into the hallway that led to his apartment, breathing a sigh of relief when he locked the door behind him.
That wasn’t the end of it and honestly, after seeing the state of the common room, Aizawa didn’t expect it to be.
“Sensei, why do you hate the holidays?”
The question took him by surprise. Aizawa had been dozing off on the couch in his apartment, fighting to keep awake so he could get through some of the written exams he was grading. Hizashi was somewhere in the kitchen, fixing what Aizawa hoped was dinner, from the state of his growling stomach. Curled into a tight ball on the other end of the couch, a book in his hands, was Shinsou Hitoshi, Aizawa’s newly adopted son of a couple months.
Aizawa yawned, trying to force the tiredness from his body enough to stay awake for dinner. The cold weather made him sleepier, as well as being at home in the apartment, and he was fighting to stay awake. He shuffled his papers, giving his eyes a rub, and looked at Shinsou, “I don’t hate them.”
Apparently, he hadn’t spoken quietly enough, because Hizashi popped his head out of the kitchen, grinning from ear to ear, “Shouta’s just a grump who doesn’t get excited for the holidays.”
“Hush,” Aizawa snapped at him, glancing back at Shinsou. “I’ve never understood the excitement.”
Shinsou stared at him for a long moment, “...Makes sense.”
Aizawa was fine going back to his work, but there was something stopping him—that something being the fact that Shinsou was still staring at him, eyes tired, his gaze seeming to stare right through him. After all the people that had told him that Shinsou made a lot of expressions like him, due to the boy picking them up from him after years of following him as a hero and a few months of being part of Aizawa’s family, Aizawa found himself wondering if this was what he looked like when he stared students down. That might explain why it seemed to make them so intimidated.
“You look like you’re planning something,” Aizawa commented, studying the kid across from him. “Should I be worried?”
“Probably not,” Shinsou dropped his gaze, looking back down at the book he’d been reading.
Aizawa continued to study him, though, wondering what the kid was up to.
He assumed he probably wouldn’t have to wait too long to find out.
A couple days later, snow fell. It was three days after the decorating debacle and two after Shinsou had raised Aizawa’s suspicions. Aizawa couldn’t sleep that night, instead alternating between watching the snow fall from the master bedroom to trying to work in the kitchen-living room area. Shinsou was asleep in the apartment’s second bedroom. It was one of the few times Aizawa found himself homesick, missing the house he’d lived in before he’d had to move to the dorms. While the apartment had both a separate entrance and an interconnected entrance, it was definitely connected to the dorms, to the point where on this particular night, Aizawa found himself opening the door that cut him off from the rest of the dorm and pacing the floor of the common area for a few minutes.
He’d done his rounds earlier that night and had made sure the kids all got in before curfew. Jirou happened to be on an approved overnight stay with her parents. Everyone else was exactly where they should be, but that didn’t stop Aizawa from worrying. Nothing stopped him from worrying. That was part of the reason he lived here now.
It was better—a lot better—that Aizawa had his family and that the kids seemed to understand the curfew rules in place. He would say that they mostly understood the rules in place for their safety as well, if it hadn’t been for that one incident earlier this week, but he could overlook that.
The common room had somehow just gotten more decorated over the past few days, until it was definitely unrecognizable from the room it had been a week before. All the kids seemed excited about the holidays in a way Aizawa had never quite experienced. Even Shinsou expressed excitement over it in his own quiet, occasionally dry way. That was a little more understandable, though, given that it was the kid’s first winter having a real family. Aizawa supposed that was reason that he could allow himself to look forward to the holidays, as well.
He watched the snow for a while, looking outside the large picture windows of the dorm, watching it collect on the ground at a rapid rate. He eventually decided to sit by the windows and watch the snowstorm, holding a cup of tea in his hands, sleepiness creeping up on him and pushing out his rare insomnia. He waited a few hours, just watching, before he closed up the blinds again, washed the dishes he’d used, and made his way back to the apartment.
He could still see the snow falling from his bedroom window when he crawled back into bed.
A tired, half-asleep voice greeted him as what looked like a mass of blonde hair rolled over as Aizawa pulled the blankets over himself, “Everything okay, Shouta?”
“Mm, everything’s fine. There’s a snowstorm outside. Couldn’t sleep,” With a small smile, he brushed the blonde hair from Hizashi’s face, finding the other man barely awake. He slid down into the bed, covering himself with the nest of blankets and quilts they slept with, Hizashi moving over to press his chest against Aizawa’s back, slinging an arm over him. Aizawa paused, thinking, and then murmured out a few words that he wondered if he’d quickly regret, “Hey, I want to put up a tree this year.”
“A tree…?” Came Hizashi’s hardly awake voice.
“A Christmas tree. For Hitoshi.”
“Sounds good,” Hizashi mumbled, pressing his face into Aizawa’s hair. “Go to sleep, Shouta.”
Aizawa knew when to listen to him and he let his dry eyes fall shut, taking one last glance at the falling snow outside. He listened to Hizashi’s breathing, the rest of the world comfortably silent, and suddenly, Aizawa didn’t feel as homesick anymore.
He was slowly starting to make a home out of this place and maybe even a second family out of the students here.
“So,” Shinsou started out, looking at his newly fellow students as they gathered around the dining table in the dorms. Seven of them were here, Momo at the head of the table with a stack of papers and a plan to execute drawn out. Jirou stood beside her, like some sort of bodyguard. Kaminari had been banished to being the lookout. Gathered around them were Midoriya, looking sufficiently nervous, Kirishima and Mina, who they kept having to remind to talk quietly, Iida, and a slightly-unwilling Todoroki, who seemed to just be here because Midoriya wanted him here. Shinsou was there, too, though he’d come intentionally late and stood a small distance from the rest of them, “When are you going to ask him?”
“We’re still looking for the right time!” Midoriya piped up with a small smile. The others murmured in agreement and Shinsou looked from one end of the table to the other. It was entertaining, actually, how seriously they were taking this. Like it was some sort of battle plan and not a plan for a holiday party they wanted to throw. He was a little impressed by their dedication, though. And by how much Aizawa had intimidated them. Though, Shinsou couldn’t say much about that, given that he’d been pretty terrified of Aizawa until he’d gotten to know him better, but that was more because he was seeing his childhood hero in the flesh.
“You know, Shinsou-san, Aizawa-sensei isn’t the most open person!” Mina chirped, giving him a full poiut, pink nose twitching upwards and lips stuck out. “If we catch him at a bad time, he might expel all of us!”
“For asking to throw a Christmas party?” Shinsou raised an eyebrow at her, shaking his head slightly in the direction of the group at the table. “I think you’re all a little too scared of him. The guy’s a giant softie. Just get it over with and ask before he starts drilling me about what’s up. He’s already starting to get suspicious.”
“—You’d lie for us, right?!” Kaminari sounded appropriately scared, and his words caused a murmur of uneasiness between the seven.
Shinsou grinned, “Probably not. Better do it soon.”
“Come on, Shinsou-san! Don’t be so mean!” Midoriya was the one to chide him, but Iida, sitting across from him at the table, came to Shinsou’s defense with his usual amusingly serious voice.
“No, it’s immoral to make Shinsou-san lie for us! We should look over the plans again to make sure none of Aizawa-sensei’s rules are violated and then present our proposal to him.”
“‘Proposal’?” Shinsou didn’t drop his smirk, turning his attention to the usually-serious class president. “I can’t believe I used to be so jealous of you all. It’s a goddamn holiday party.”
“Language!” Iida scolded him, for what felt like the fifth time that day alone.
“Well,” Jirou was giving him a glare that could rival even Aizawa’s, and Shinsou knew what was going to come out of her mouth before she even said it. “Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard if Shinsou just agreed to ask him for us! It’s not like you’re his favorite student or anything.”
“Come on, Aizawa doesn’t play favorites.”
He was met with stares all around the table, and it took Shinsou a full moment to realize his mistake, looking away from them as he muttered a correction, “...Aizawa-sensei.”
It was usually pretty amusing to see everyone else try to figure out his relationship with Aizawa. It wasn’t so amusing, though, when he accidentally let things slip. As far as everyone else knew, Shinsou was being trained by Aizawa. They obviously suspected that Aizawa had taken him in, though none of them had the guts to ask Shinsou about it, let alone Aizawa, and many of them seemed to be at least partially aware that he lived with Aizawa. None of them, however, knew that Aizawa had adopted him and when class let out, Aizawa became his parent, rather than his teacher. They were all also blissfully unaware of Yamada.
“Anyways,” Shinsou looked back at the rest of them. “I’m not doing that. You all can ask him on your own. I’m not involved in planning this thing.”
“He’s gonna say no!” Mina cried, voice reaching a much louder volume than before. Kirishima instantly hushed her and she fell silent, pouting and crossing her arms at him.
“Let’s all calm down,” That was the ever-even voice of Momo, and Shinsou was almost relieved to hear her. Between the ridiculousness that was the rest of the students, Momo did seem to be a voice of reason in situations like this. She steepled her fingers, frowning in thought, “Shinsou-san is right. I don’t think Sensei is as strict as we make him out to be. However…I do think he might be opposed to the idea, at least at first.”
“So we should keep asking him,” Midoriya suggested without even taking a moment to think about it. Shinsou snorted in laughter. He’d experienced Midoriya’s persistence, as well as overhearing Aizawa talk to Yamada about how terribly persevering the kid could be. Of course Midoriya’s first reaction would be to keep asking and pestering Aizawa until he gave in to what he wanted out of sheer irritation.
“Do you really want Sensei to be mad at you for asking over and over?” Shinsou smirked at Midoriya, who fell silent. “Yeah, not a good idea. Try again.”
Part of him was aware that he was only here because he was the Aizawa expert in the class. They’d wanted him to be part of planning, but Shinsou wasn’t into that. He was, however, willing to do this, mostly because he thought that the way they were taking this and taking Aizawa so seriously was funny.
The group was silent. Completely silent as the seven of them thought. Shinsou was expecting Midoriya to suggest another wild idea or for Kirishima to come up with something or even for Iida to offer some sort of rule-abiding solution. But it was Todoroki who spoke up instead, voice quiet and unaffected.
“Why don’t you make it appealing to him, too? Invite someone he likes.”
There was a long moment of silence where every student stared at the mismatched boy.
“That’s… a good idea,” Momo commented, writing something down on the papers in front of her. “Obviously, we appreciate Aizawa-sensei a lot and part of the purpose of this party is to show that and make him have fun, so inviting someone he likes would make sense.”
“...Who does Sensei like…?” Jirou wondered out loud, the glare falling from her face. “Does he have a wife? A girlfriend?”
Shinsou had to force himself not to laugh at that.
“Oh!” Midoriya’s voice rang out, high-pitched with excitement. “There was that other teacher from the licensing exam! Ms. Joke! I think he likes her!”
And then, the terrible, no good, very bad idea was born, and it was suggested by none other than Kirishima.
“Y’know,” The boy drew the attention of everyone in the room. “Sensei could really use a partner. I kinda feel bad for him. He’s always here and hanging out with the other teachers. It’s like he doesn’t have a life.”
Momo put down her pen, giving Kirishima a hard look, “Are you suggesting that we try to set Aizawa-sensei up with Ms. Joke?”
Now, Shinsou really couldn’t hold his laughter. He let out a giggle, trying to contain himself, and then all eyes were on him.
In the end, it was really his fault for encouraging the terrible, no good, very bad idea. He wouldn’t deny that.
“That won’t work,” Shinsou forced himself to stop laughing, but the smirk stayed on his face. “Sensei isn’t… He doesn’t like women.”
Silence. It was a chore to not give away more than that, but Shinsou had a lot of self-restraint. He could hold back. For now, at least. Shinsou had learned over the years that he could get his way and influence people if he just honed his language skills. He didn’t need his quirk to suggest things to people, and part of him was aware that that was what he was doing now.
Shinsou raised an eyebrow at Kirishima, “That is the logical conclusion to draw from that, yeah.”
Kirishima shot him a sulking glare, “You talk like Aizawa-sensei sometimes.”
“Anyways,” Shinsou turned his attention back to the rest of the group, fixing them with a stare that was more of a challenge than anything. “You’re all probably on the right track. But if you want to get him together with someone, Ms. Joke isn’t going to work. You’re going to have to think of someone else.”
“Are we really trying to set our teacher up with someone?” Momo asked the group.
“That doesn’t sound right…” Iida trailed off.
“Come on,” Shinsou grinned. “You did say that Sensei doesn’t seem to have a life. What’s a little fun in trying to get him together with someone?”
“All Might!” Midoriya suggested suddenly before either class representative could react to Shinsou’s words. His suggestion surprised no one, Shinsou especially, and it was instantly shot down by the quiet half-and-half boy.
“Sensei and All Might don’t get along well.”
The students fell into silence again. The answer was right there, and Shinsou was biting his bottom lip trying not to give them all the answer. It was so obvious. Shinsou hadn’t even been in his class long and there were only two people Aizawa was obvious about being friends with to his class—Kayama and Yamada. Kayama was already out of the picture, so that left the only right answer there was, and it was killing Shinsou to just not give it away.
“...Present Mic…?” Jirou was the one who finally murmured it, and Shinsou wanted to point and shout at her that she’d got it.
“He seems a little—loud for Sensei,” Midoriya didn’t seem convinced, frowning and pressing a finger to his lips as he looked to be thinking.
“You just suggested All Might,” Jirou shot Midoriya another one of her trademark glares. “Present Mic and Aizawa-sensei are already friends, right? I always see them go to lunch together and Mic-sensei is always hanging around the dorms and talking to Aizawa-sensei. And Mic-sensei told me once that they’ve known each other since high school. He’s the best choice, right? Sensei obviously already likes him as a friend. How hard can it be to get them together?”
“There you go,” Shinsou murmured, giving them all a fond look as if he was a teacher watching his students figure something out for themselves. “I’m sure Aizawa-sensei would love it if you invited Present Mic. They do seem to be pretty good friends. I bet you all can figure out a way to get them together.”
With that, he took his leave, turning away from his now fellow students and walking out of the dining room, brushing past Kaminari with a smirk on his face.
“You seem awfully pleased with yourself,” Aizawa commented later that night while Shinsou helped Yamada with dinner. Aizawa was—well, he’d definitely tried to help them with what they were making, but when Aizawa had thrown an entire stick of butter into the pot without even looking at what the recipe called for, Yamada had banned him from touching foodstuffs and Aizawa had been demoted to supervising. Which really meant that he was hanging out with them in the kitchen, leaning on the counters with his arms crossed.
“Me?” Shinsou guessed, trying to fight down the smile on his face. “No, not at all. You’re so suspicious of me, Sensei.”
“Not suspicious. Just observant.”
“What a grump,” Yamada leaned over, whispering it to him as if Aizawa wasn’t a few feet away from them. Shinsou laughed and Yamada broke out into loud laughter, as well, Aizawa giving them both a sour look as he watched them. Yamada continued stirring the pot of vegetables he was boiling, and Shinsou caught him glancing back at Aizawa, smiling wide, “Shouta, I found a fake tree that we can probably fit in here. I’ll buy it tomorrow!”
“A tree…?” Shinsou repeated, smirk falling off of his face, overtaken by curiosity instead. He hadn’t expected them to do anything for the holidays, since Aizawa was so unexcited about it and both teachers had a lot of work to do. Shinsou didn’t mind—while he was curious about celebrating, he’d never really done so, either. Just having a family was enough for the holidays and he really didn’t care about much else. Anything more was just a bonus that he didn’t expect.
“A Christmas tree,” Aizawa clarified, as if Shinsou had legitimately not known what they were talking about.
“Yeah, I know,” Shinsou stopped cutting the vegetables he’d been working on, instead looking at Aizawa. “I thought you were…unenthusiastic about the holidays.”
“Doesn’t mean I don’t like them.”
He stared at Shinsou and Shinsou held his gaze, the smile finding its way back onto his face. He turned back around to hide it, going back to cutting vegetables, “Sure, Sensei.”
Yamada laughed again, and Shinsou couldn’t help but to follow suit.
It wasn’t until the next day that the class worked up the courage to ask Aizawa.
There was another bout of trying to get Shinsou to do it, with most of the class agreeing that Aizawa would be least likely to snap at Shinsou. Shinsou held his ground, though, refusing to do the class’s dirty work. It was then decided that the best people to do it would be the class’s representatives, Momo and Iida, since they were trying to frame this entire event as a class thing, as they were trying to use the small budget they got from the student council. It was a bonding experience, they said, a way to form better connections with their classmates, people who would eventually be their allies, and a way to relax after exams.
Shinsou did, however, decide to watch. He tried to be inconspicuous about it, sitting on the couch in the common room while Aizawa seated on the floor. It wasn’t odd for him to be around Aizawa, so neither Aizawa nor the class anxiously watching from around the corner suspected much. The class representatives hardly even acknowledged him, too involved in trying to make Aizawa not snap at them, and Shinsou wound up with a front row seat to the show.
“You want to have a holiday party…?”
Aizawa stared at the stack of papers in front of him, neatly titled with a cover page and everything. He had to admit, he was a little impressed at their dedication to bring an entire proposal to him. Usually, he’d be a little irritated at being bothered by something so minor, but the formally laid out proposal for this event had taken him off-guard and Aizawa couldn’t help himself, leaning back from where he’d been working on his laptop, starting to flip through the laid out pages, their proposal and plan neatly typed out.
“Yes, sir,” An enthusiastic reply from Iida. Aizawa gave him a glance, finding the that the class president was near-shaking. Yaoyorozu didn’t look much better, her hands wound tightly together, and her eyes just barely meeting his. He looked back down at their plan, continuing to flip through the pages, finding shopping lists and budget plans and even a laid out schedule for the party itself. A lot of thought had clearly gone into this and Aizawa was fairly surprised at the way they’d dedicated themselves so much to a single cause.
From the looks of it, every student was in on it, too. There was even a page where they’d all signed their support and promises to clean everything up and make sure everything ran smoothly. At the end of the list was Shinsou’s name in tiny characters, as if he’d signed it as an afterthought. Aizawa was tempted to look back at the kid on the couch and ask him if he’d been in on this, but he’d save that for later.
“This is certainly well thought out,” He told them, still looking through their plan. He stopped on a certain page, a page with a header denoting it as the people invited to the party, and looked over the list. Everything was ordinary, the list consisting of the twenty 1-A kids and himself, but there was a name tacked on at the very end that made Aizawa raise an eyebrow at the kids, “...You want to invite Present Mic to it? And… no other teachers?”
If they were going to invite Hizashi, Aizawa thought he’d at least also see Yagi on this list. He was sure the man was spending time with whatever family he had, but the kids seemed to be far more familiar with Yagi than they were Hizashi. That didn’t mean that they didn’t like Hizashi, but if they were going to invite Hizashi, he’d thought he’d see Yagi being invited, as well. Maybe it was a typo.
“You’re invited, Sensei,” Iida helpfully informed him.
Aizawa fixed him with a stare, “I meant other teachers. I’d be supervising this.”
“Sensei, we thought it might be nice if you had someone at the party that you were friends with,” Yaoyorozu offered, her voice sounding far more nervous than it usually did. “We’d like for you to enjoy this, too.”
“Oh, you think I’ll enjoy it more if Mic is there?” His lips pulled into a smirk and Aizawa flipped to the last page, giving their budgeting a last look over and quickly making sure that everything worked out correctly. Interesting. They wanted Hizashi around because they’d apparently figured out that Aizawa was at least friends with him. This would be entertaining and the kids had clearly thought this out. It was winter break and honestly, Aizawa wasn’t a terrible enough person to load them with a bunch of work during the break. If the kids wanted to have a holiday party, he’d let them. He dug out a pen from his pile of grading and paperwork, signing his name on the last page where a supervisor’s signature was required, holding it out to them.
“Make me a copy of this and let me know what you need,” He instructed them. Neither of them reached out to take the thick proposal from him, both Yaoyorozu and Iida staring at him with wide eyes and shocked faces.
“You’re… alright with this?” Yaoyorozu finally asked, her voice sounding dangerously close to a shocked squeak.
He narrowed his eyes at them, “Do you two think that I’m such a mean person that I’m going to ban you all from celebrating the holidays?”
Neither of them answered him, but Yaoyorozu reached out and took the plan from him with a shaking hand, averting her eyes from him as she spoke, “Thank you, Sensei. I’ll make you a copy right away.”
There was a yelp that echoed through the room and Aizawa leaned to the side, hearing a flurry of voices shushing the excited voice, eyes falling on a bunch of faces peeking at him from around one of the corners of the hallway. Of course. He should’ve expected that the rest of the students would be in hiding somewhere closeby. Unsurprisingly, every one of them hid back in the hallway where he couldn’t see them and Yaoyorozu and Iida didn’t say another word, their faces red as they started to make their way back to their hidden classmates.
“I told you he wasn’t such a hard-ass,” Shinsou called out to the two class representatives, drawing Aizawa’s attention and making Iida stop.
Iida beat Aizawa to scolding him, though, “Language!”
Shinsou stuck his tongue out at the class president, grinning the same toothy grin that Aizawa knew he’d picked up from him at some point. Yaoyorozu called out to Iida before he could scold Shinsou again and Iida ran after her, the two of them disappearing into the hallway with an unintelligible murmur from their classmates, leaving Aizawa with Shinsou.
Aizawa leaned back on the couch, resting his arm on the cushions and his cheek on his hand, looking at Shinsou, “So you knew about this.”
“Telling you wouldn’t be any fun,” Shinsou’s grin didn’t falter. “They were so nervous about telling you. They thought you were going to expel them or something.”
“And this thing with Hizashi…”
He could swear he saw Shinsou’s smirk widen, but he didn’t say anything about it, “Oh, they just want to make sure you have fun. Don’t worry, Sensei.”
“Somehow, I feel like the entire class is planning something. And like you have something to do with it.”
Shinsou gave him a pout, and Aizawa just raised an eyebrow at him as Shinsou opened his book again to resume reading, “Jeez, so suspicious of me. I’m not planning anything. It’s all them.”
Aizawa continued to fix him with a long look, but Shinsou didn’t look back at him, appearing to busy himself with his reading. Finally, Aizawa gave it up, pulling his floor desk back over his lap so he could get back to work, “Sure.”
“A party, huh?”
Hizashi stood on the tips of his toes, wrapping a string of multicolored lights around the newly set up tree in their living room. Shinsou sat on the floor, poking hooks through the small openings in the ornaments Hizashi had bought, and Hizashi smiled down at him, watching how the violet-haired kid focused hard on the task at hand, sticking his tongue out a little as he worked, setting each ornament down on the floor gently when he was done with it.
“Yeah,” Shinsou murmured, setting another bulb down on the ground and picking up a glitter-covered star, bending another hook to poke through the hole at the top of the star. “Aizawa-sensei’s out getting some stuff for it right now. All the other kids thought he’d say no. I knew he wouldn’t, though.”
“Good thinking,” Hizashi complimented, leaning up on the tips of his toes again, bracing his arms around the fake tree to wrap the string of lights around the back of it. He’d taken Shinsou with him to pick up the tree and they’d picked out the multicolored lights and a bunch of ornaments. Hizashi usually put up a small tree at the house he’d lived in with Aizawa for a few years before moving to the dorms, but he didn’t usually go all-out decorating it like this. Nevertheless, he was enjoying this. A lot.
“They were pretty convinced that Sensei was going to—I don’t know, write them up or something? It was funny,” Accompanying his words, Shinsou laughed and Hizashi let out a titter at his words. Those kids really thought Aizawa was some fun-hating teacher. He glanced down, noticing Shinsou looking up at him with violet eyes, his head turned at him, as if he wanted to ask something. The kid didn’t hesitate, “They want you to come, too. They said something about wanting Aizawa to have fun, too, so—uh, they decided to invite one of his ‘friends’.”
Hizashi’s lips lifted into a wicked smile, “Friend? Maybe Shouta needs to teach his students some observational skills, yeah? I mean, it’s not that hard to tell, is it?”
Shinsou pursed his lips, still looking up at Hizashi, “I could tell that something was between you before Sensei introduced me to you. But, uh, I did see more of him than his class, even then. I don’t know—maybe they just don’t know him well enough?”
Hizashi frowned, “Makes sense. Hey, you can start putting those on the tree if you want.”
Shinsou didn’t seem to be able to contain his excitement, because a wide grin broke out on his face and he scrambled to gather the ornaments he’d been working on, scooping them into his arms and his sweatshirt and standing up. The kid was tall, only a little shorter than Hizashi, though he was thin. Pretty soon—probably whenever the kid’s body started to realize he was finally getting proper nutrition—he assumed Shinsou would grow to be taller than both he and Aizawa.
“Start here,” Hizashi stepped away from the tree, the lights half strung on them, pointing at the section he’d already done. He’d be able to work down as Hizashi did. At least, if the kid had a growth spurt by next year, he could be the one to string the lights so Hizashi didn’t have to struggle with standing on the tips of his toes. Shinsou didn’t hesitate, immediately picking a cat-shaped ornament out of the mass of ornaments he was holding by pulling his sweatshirt up slightly, sticking it right in the center of the front of the tree. Hizashi laughed at his pick, “Shouta’s probably gonna like that one the best. What do you think we should stick on top?”
Truth be told, Hizashi had forgotten to buy a tree topper. He was kind of regretting not making a shopping list. They’d picked up some groceries, too, but the majority of their trip had been buying decorations. Hizashi actually loved decorating, as he was finding out—he’d just never had a lot of time to do it in the past, nor a lot of reason.
Shinsou stood back a step after hanging another couple ornaments, standing next to Hizashi as he stared at their tall tree, “We could steal Sensei’s goggles and string them up there.”
That got another laugh out of Hizashi, “I don’t think Shouta would find that as funny as we do.”
Shinsou hummed, “You’re right.”
There was silence. And then Shinsou blurted out another answer.
Hizashi could hardly contain his amusement enough to scold Shinsou, “Hitoshi!”
“No, no,” Shinsou quieted his voice, looking up at the top of their tree. “No, I mean that little cat toy that you guys gave me when I was in the hospital right before you adopted me. The little stuffed one. We should put it on top the tree. It’d fit, wouldn’t it?”
“Oh,” Hizashi’s amusement settled into a thin smile and he looked down at the boy, seeing the way Shinsou was gazing at the tree with glittering eyes. It was only a few months ago that Hizashi had been so used to seeing exhaustion and numbness in the kid’s expression, only a few months ago that the kid had barely said a word to him and constantly looked at him like Hizashi was going to kick him to the curb. It was good to see how much Shinsou had become at ease here. “Well, sure, but don’t you sleep with that cat? Won’t you miss it?”
He didn’t miss the way a red blush immediately spread across Shinsou’s face and he turned
his head up at Hizashi, frowning and pouting in the exact same way Aizawa did, with his bottom lip stuck out and his eyes narrowed, eyes hardly meeting his, “I’ll be fine.”
Hizashi reached a hand out, patting Shinsou’s wild purple hair, grinning wider, “Sure. Go get it.”
Shinsou nearly ran from him, darting into his room, and all Hizashi could do was laugh at how utterly embarrassed a couple of words had made him. Shinsou returned soon enough, though, holding onto the small cat plush that Aizawa and Hizashi had bought him while the kid had been in the hospital directly before adopting him. He had other stuffed animals—mostly because Hizashi had loved them as a kid and had bought Shinsou a couple of cat ones, since he’d assumed (correctly, as he found out) that he’d like them too—but Shinsou seemed the most attached to this one. Hizashi was cautious with it as he brought out the small step stool in the closet and put the plush toy on the top of the tree, securing it with a bread tie as Shinsou watched his every move carefully.
“It looks nice,” Shinsou murmured afterwards, still clutching a mass of ornaments in his sweatshirt, as Hizashi resumed his task of wrapping the string of rainbow lights around the tree.
Hizashi glanced up, “Yeah, I think so, too. I can tell you right now that Shouta’s gonna love it.”
Shinsou didn’t respond, hanging more of the ornaments on the tree, covering the area that Hizashi had already gotten to, but there was no way Hizashi could ignore the gentle smile on his face.
They finished the tree by the time Aizawa came back and Hizashi was in the middle of teaching Shinsou a card game when he heard Aizawa’s yell from outside the apartment, asking him to come help him with bags. Hizashi sighed, getting up and throwing a coat and shoes on before making his way to the apartment’s back door, finding Aizawa unloading a bunch of bags from the car he’d taken out. Hizashi sighed, shaking his head, but helped Aizawa bring him in as Aizawa tipped the person who’s driven him. Before he could stop him, Shinsou was running out in the snow, too, without a coat on, helping with the many bags, and with the three of them all working together, it was easy enough to get everything inside.
Which then left the three of them standing inside their open living-kitchen room, in midst of a plethora of grocery bags. Aizawa wasn’t at all perturbed, and the tree had drawn his attention, but both Hizashi and Shinsou stared at the sea of groceries around them.
“Shouta, what’s all this?” Hizashi finally asked, glancing at Aizawa to find him inspecting the tree with what looked like good-natured curiosity. Aizawa gave him a look, raising an eyebrow, and Hizashi just shook his head again, “Didn’t I text you that I picked up groceries today?”
“This is for the kids,” Aizawa told him simply, going back to looking up at the tree. “This looks nice. Good job.”
Hizashi wasn’t about to leave it, though, “Hold on—you’re not in charge of refilling the supplies here.”
“I’m in charge of everything here.”
“Oh my god—” It was Shinsou who spoke up and Hizashi turned to see him going through one of the bags, crouched on the floor with a bag open at his feet. Hizashi glanced down further, finding that the bag was full of what looked like holiday-themed foodstuffs, particularly a bunch of pastries. “Sensei, is this for the class’s holiday party? Didn’t they have a budget or something?”
They had Aizawa’s attention now, and he frowned at the two of them, as if they’d ruined his plans, “It’s fine. I only made a few changes and additions to their shopping lists. I won’t have to go out again, since I did it all in one trip.”
“Yeah, I see that,” Hizashi grinned, stepping over the plastic bags to wrap an arm around Aizawa’s waist, pulling the grumpy looking man against his side, leaning in to murmur in his ear, “I think someone’s getting a little more involved in this than they want to let on.”
Aizawa angled his face away from him, pulling almost the same fake-pout that Hizashi had seen on Shinsou’s face earlier, “That’s ridiculous. I’m just trying to make sure everything goes smoothly.”
Hizashi pulled him closer, until Aizawa was flush up against him and he could see the red tinging his pale cheeks, “Sure, Shouta. I definitely believe that.”
There was a beat of silence between the three of them, and Shinsou broke it by speaking up again.
“Let’s take a picture.”
“Oh!” Hizashi pulled away from Aizawa enough to look at the kid, finding that Shinsou already had his phone out, though he wouldn’t quite meet Hizashi’s eyes. It made sense that he’d still be nervous about things like this. But Hizashi was ecstatic at the suggestion. He loved photos. “Great idea! Let’s do it in front of the tree!”
Aizawa gave him a clearly faked groan as he started to yank him towards the front of the tree, but he didn’t fight or pull away. For good measure, though, Hizashi pinched his cheek, Aizawa sulking at him, “Come on, grumpy, all you gotta do is smile for five seconds. Don’t you want a nice picture with our son?”
He couldn’t miss the way Shinsou stopped at that, and the way he seemed to beam at his words.
“Come here, Hitoshi!” Hizashi was grinning from ear to ear, his previous question having shut up Aizawa’s complaining. Shinsou was standing a small distance from them, still in the sea of bags. Hizashi’s beckoning, though, got him to take a tentative step towards them, and then another, until Hizashi motioned to the spot between he and Aizawa in front of them, and Shinsou scrambled to stand there.
Hizashi didn’t waste any time, putting a hand on Shinsou’s shoulder and guiding him back a little so he was against them. Shinsou let out a yelp as Hizashi did so, bumping into them, but cut himself off, keeping his head forward as his cheeks turned a darker red that Aizawa’s had been a few moments before. Hizashi wrapped his arm tighter around Aizawa’s waist and Aizawa put his hand on Shinsou’s other shoulder.
“I’ll take the photo!” Hizashi offered, leaning down to Shinsou. Shinsou was shaking a little as he handed Hizashi his phone, already with the camera pulled up. He angled it, looking at the three of them in the frame. Shinsou was beat red, though managing a small smile. Aizawa’s hand was on his shoulder, and even Aizawa’s smile looked surprisingly nice and natural. The kid was a good height for this, since he and Hizashi could still be behind him without getting covered by the kid’s wild purple hair. Behind them was the tree, glittering bright with the multicolored lights, garland, and all the ornaments Shinsou had put on it.
“Smile!” Hizashi sang, giving the camera a wide grin before pressing the shutter button a few times, preserving this moment with the three of them forever.
“Mic-sensei has been around the dorms a lot lately.”
Shinsou looked up at Uraraka from his phone, where he’d been staring at the photos Yamada had taken of the three of them the previous night. A bunch of members of the party planning committee sat on the floor of the common room in a circle where they’d gathered coincidentally right by where Shinsou had spread himself out on the couch. At Uraraka’s words, they all looked at him expectantly, as if wanting advice from him. The common room fell eerily silent, the only noise being from the low murmur of Aizawa and Yamada in the kitchen in the next room over.
“Yeah, he has,” Shinsou ducked his head, looking at the picture again, leaving it at that. He hadn’t really stopped looking at it since last night. It was kind of pathetic, he thought, but he really liked the picture and part of him wondered if he could convince them to take more with him. He didn’t say anything more, staring at the way Aizawa had his hand on his shoulder, the way Yamada had pulled him in close to them.
“Do you…have any suggestions on how we could get him and Mic-sensei to, y’know, date?” Uraraka continued on, not seeming worried at all by Shinsou’s lack of a response. A glance up over his phone told him that the circle of students were giving him perplexed gazes, reminding him that they saw him as some sort of Aizawa expert. Which explained why they’d gathered right where he was spread out on the couch. Leaning up, he looked over his shoulder at the entryway to the kitchen. He could hear the two adults talking, the teasing tone belonging to Yamada and the lower tone belonging to Aizawa. He couldn’t see them from here, but clearly neither of them were paying the students much mind.
Shinsou was a little interested now, even if he wanted to go back to looking at the photo on his phone. He could spare a few moments to amuse himself by listening to whatever the other students wanted. He sat up, putting his phone down finally, “You need to get them to spend more time together. Don’t let them leave the dorms, because they’ll just go off and do their own stuff. Keep them together and keep them here. Don’t even let Aizawa-sensei go back home.”
Maybe he was being a little bit of an asshole, but this was entertaining and he wanted to see how Aizawa would react to being forced to stay in the dorms.
“Oh,” He added. “And try to find out more about them. What they both like.”
That spurred its own conversation.
“Mic-sensei likes radio and music,” Jirou offered, the rest of the group turning to her. She stared at the doorway to the kitchen, as well, keeping her voice low presumably so that the teachers wouldn’t hear her. “We could find out what kind of music Aizawa-sensei likes, make him a mixtape, and say it’s from Mic-sensei.”
“That sounds immoral,” Iida frowned at the girl and Jirou shot him a glare. The class president paused, but quickly spoke up again, “Couples dance together sometimes. There’s the possibility that if we could make them do that, they might develop feelings for each other.”
“I thought you were opposed to this entire plan,” Shinsou had to force himself not to startle at Mina’s voice. Even after a few months, he was still fairly sensitive to loud noises. He was just lucky that Yamada typically had good control over his volume and wasn’t nearly as loud as he was in public. Mina continued on, not giving anyone time to shush her, “I like it! Sounds romantic!”
“Keep your voice down, please,” Momo prodded, and Mina shut her mouth, ducking her head and giving the other girl a murmured apology. “That may be a good idea, though. We can take Shinsou-san’s idea and try to keep them here together and Jirou did say that Mic-sensei likes music. Maybe we can get them to dance together somehow. After all, touching like that is rather…intimate.”
Shinsou couldn’t even begin to keep the amusement out of his voice, “Yeah, sounds like a good idea.”
Seeing Aizawa dance sounded hilarious, and Shinsou wasn’t going to pass up the chance to watch that.
“There is supposed to be a snowstorm tonight,” Todoroki’s voice was quiet and stoic, and it was his first time speaking in the group today. He sat next to Midoriya, looking generally uninterested with the proceedings happening in front of him, though his comment was something no one had brought up until now.
“We can use this chance to get Mic-sensei to stay in the dorms with Aizawa-sensei,” Uraraka sounded pleased with herself, and she smiled wide at Todoroki. “Staying the night with someone is very romantic.”
“What does Sensei’s apartment even look like…?” Midoriya wondered out loud, pressing a finger to his lips. “What kind of place does a hero like him live in? Sensei seems like the type to live in one room, with his traditional, bland aesthetic. Maybe there’s not much in there…He’s very practical, so maybe just his sleeping bag and a bunch of those jelly packets and a cat calender or something…”
Midoriya continued to mumble, while about half the group turned their eyes on Shinsou again, who looked up at them from over his phone.
“Don’t play dumb, Shinsou,” Jirou gave him a dirty glare, her voice serious, despite what she was asking. She didn’t elaborate on what Shinsou was playing dumb about, confirming his thoughts that half the class at least suspected that he lived with Aizawa and not in his own dorm room. “Is Sensei’s place even big enough for Present Mic to stay with him?”
“Oh, sure,” Shinsou smirked, shrugging his shoulders. He wasn’t about to deny what she seemed to know. He wasn’t even actively hiding it. It was just fun to watch them figure it out and Aizawa had already told him that he didn’t care if the class knew that he’d adopted Shinsou. “Mic would be fine there.”
Jirou was satisfied enough with that answer, “Alright, let’s do that, then. If it snows tonight, Mic-sensei isn’t allowed to leave. And we’re going to try to make them dance together.”
With that, Shinsou let himself go back to staring at the photo on his phone.
Quietly, just as the group was beginning to disperse, he heard a mumbled comment from Iida, “I can’t believe I’m participating in a plan to set my teacher up with someone.”
Shinsou waited until they’d all scattered and then, without letting himself think much about it, he tapped the photo, scrolling down to the option, and set it as his background. He looked at it, at the way he was right up against Yamada and Aizawa, at Aizawa’s hand on his shoulder, at the way they all—including Shinsou himself—looked genuinely happy, at the glittering tree behind them. They looked like a family. They were a family.
He was definitely going to try to get them to take more photos with him.
Night was falling outside by the time Aizawa made his way back out into the common room, Hizashi following closely behind him. Usually during this time of year, Hizashi signed up to do multiple fundraisers for his radio station and charity work, but this year had taken time off to spend the holidays with his family—Aizawa and their new son, who Hizashi just wanted to enjoy the holidays. That meant he was spending a lot of time in the dorms with Aizawa and around the kids.
“Oi, Eraser, looks like it’s gonna storm,” Hizashi usually tried to be a little more formal with Aizawa in public and not call him by his given name. Calling him by his family name felt too informal, so Hizashi usually settled for the name he’d given to Aizawa in high school. He stood by the wide picture windows, looking out at the falling dark outside and the way clumps of snow were beginning to fall from the sky. The common room was pretty filled up, with an odd amount of kids loitering around, most of them watching him, making Hizashi wonder if he’d been too loud.
“Storm?” Aizawa raised his head from where he’d been working in his usual spot, sitting on the floor with his back against the couch, a lap desk filled with papers and his computer. Aizawa was still getting through a bunch of grading, as was Hizashi, and he was doing everything he could to finish it quickly so the students could have their grades. Shinsou, unsurprisingly, was stretched out on the couch behind him. Hizashi was beginning to learn that if Shinsou wasn’t with him, he could usually be found somewhere around Aizawa.
“Yeah, snowstorm,” Hizashi checked his phone, navigating to the weather, his worries being confirmed the moment he saw the icon indicating that a blizzard was well on its way to being over their part of the city, where it was going to stay for a few hours. While they didn’t live in a house anymore, it was still Hizashi’s job to shovel the snow from the small area Aizawa had behind the apartment, if only so that Hizashi would be able to get his car out in case of an emergency or if Aizawa or Shinsou or even Hizashi himself wanted to go somewhere in the morning. He wasn’t looking forward to having to clear a mass of snow from the pavement.
“What a hassle,” Aizawa sighed, frowning. “I’ll cut curfew early today and send a notification out so that no one gets stuck in the snow.”
“Good idea,” Hizashi told him, noticing that most of the students in the room were still looking at them.
Most were gathered in either pairs or groups, and Shinsou was the only one who looked disinterested in what was going on, the kid buried in the same book series he’d been plowing through for the last week. Asui and Uraraka were closest to him, the two girls huddled under a blanket together, Asui leaning on Uraraka’s shoulder with sleepy eyes, though the other girl was staring straight at him. Iida, Midoriya, and Todoroki were gathered in what looked like a nest of blankets and pillows, Iida making no secret of glancing between he and Aizawa, Midoriya slyly trying to hide behind a textbook, and Todoroki looking half asleep curled up with one of the pillows. Momo and Jirou were sitting together in a pair of chairs at the long table in the room and on the opposite side of said table, Kirishima stared with interest at Hizashi and even Bakugou was leaning back in his chair, his scowl only slightly unsettling.
“Maybe I should get going…?” Hizashi eased out, a bit disturbed by having all the attention on him at a time when he didn’t necessarily want to have all the attention on him. ‘Get going’ consisted of Hizashi ‘leaving’ the dorms through the front door and making the trek around the side of the building and getting into the apartment through the back door. It’d be difficult to do once the snow fell, and Hizashi didn’t really want to put up with having to walk through mounds of snow just to get around back later, so it was best to do it now. He assumed that Shinsou would either ‘leave’ as well, or slink off to the apartment without getting caught by another kid and keep him company.
“That might be best,” Aizawa hummed, looking back down at his computer. “Stay safe, Mic.”
“Yeah, will do—”
“No!” The near-shouted reply came from Iida, from where he still sat in the nest with his other two friends. Hizashi nearly jumped. Aizawa looked a little startled. Shinsou did jump, cursing under his breath and glaring hard at the other boy, looking like a shocked cat. Iida didn’t appear to even notice, though, because he carried right on, “You leaving would be extremely dangerous, Sensei! The storm already started and with the storm from a few days ago, the streets will be icy and dangerous.”
Hizashi’s expression fell and he let himself frown at the student, “I appreciate the concern, but I’ll be fine. I don’t live far from here.”
Not far at all, he added in his head.
“Maybe give us all a warning before you start yelling next time, Glasses,” Shinsou sounded sour still at the shout, but he only scowled at Iida for a moment more before burying his head back into his book.
“He’s right. Going out wouldn’t be a good idea,” The words were croaked by Asui, who’d found enough awakeness to raise her head from Uraraka’s shoulder and glance at him with her large, frog-like eyes. She was blunt, as always, and Hizashi was starting to suspect that she was taking after Aizawa, too. “Just stay here, Sensei.”
“Where will I stay?” He frowned again, though it was more for show than anything now. “That couch can’t be very comfortable.”
Hizashi caught Shinsou reaching out and batting at Aizawa’s shoulder, as if to get his attention, but no one else seemed to notice at all. Aizawa sighed, glancing up at him, meeting his eyes. There was a certain playfulness there, one that Hizashi could recognize, but no one else was quite used to, yet. Aizawa was playing his game, and that nearly brought a smile to Hizashi’s face.
“Oh, Eraser, you wouldn’t let your very best friend sleep on that couch, would you?”
“Maybe my ‘very best friend’ needs to learn how to ask for something instead of trying to get me to pity him,” Aizawa replied in an annoyed voice.
“Ah, so mean. Come on, be nice to me for once.”
There was a murmuring that went around the room, and Hizashi grinned wide at the sound of it. It was easy to put on a show for these kids and act like Aizawa was the meanest person in the world. The kids were falling for it, too, even though Hizashi was sure most of them knew how soft Aizawa really was.
“Sensei, Present Mic really needs a place to stay,” Midoriya spoke up this time, sounding concerned and nervous at the same time. “Wouldn’t it be logical to let him stay with you…?”
Aizawa glanced from his student to Hizashi again, studying him for a long time before finally speaking, his words coming out with a slight smirk, “Maybe if he gets down on one knee and asks me.”
He supposed that wasn’t unreasonable, especially since Hizashi had already been in that position another time. Immediately, he dropped down on one knee, spreading his arms wide in dramatics before clasping them together in a pleading stance, voice taking on a mock-begging tone, “Please, Eraser, if you would be so kind to let me stay in your apartment tonight. Maybe I could treat you to some of my fine singing or my cooking or maybe even take you in the be—”
“That’s enough,” Aizawa snapped before Hizashi could go any further. “Fine, you can stay with me tonight.”
He could swear he heard at least one quiet cheer of victory from their audience. He gave Aizawa another wide grin before standing, bowing to his listeners, and taking a seat next to Aizawa.
“You’re an idiot,” Aizawa whispered to him as the activity in the rest of the room resumed. “Could’ve just snuck away at some point. Or said no, like any other adult would’ve.”
“Yeah, but this was way more fun,” Hizashi whispered back to him, checking to make sure no one was watching before sneaking an arm around Aizawa’s back. “Besides, I wasn’t the one who told me to get down on one knee. That was all you, babe.”
“You started it,” Aizawa didn’t even give him a glance, spurring Hizashi to make another glance around the room before leaning in and pressing his lips against Aizawa’s scruffy, unshaven cheek. Aizawa let him for about a second, before he put his hand against Hizashi’s face and slowly pushed him away, Hizashi making a fake dejected sound as he did so. “Cut it out before someone sees us.”
Hizashi didn’t get a chance to reply, because the next thing he knew, his phone was lighting up with a notification. A message from Shinsou, the same kid that sat behind them on the couch, reading his book. Squinting at it, Hizashi opened it, finding a photo of himself down on one knee with Aizawa in front of him, his arms spread wide in theatrics and a smirk on the watching Aizawa’s face.
He leaned back, tapping Shinsou on the leg before whispering, “Nice photo, kid.”
The rest of the plan didn’t go into effect until later and at least the kids were subtle about it this time.
The common room emptied out a little, and then filled back up, most of the kids doing their own thing. Hizashi heard a lot of talk of the holiday party and a few kids took to fixing up the decorations and adding more still. At one point, Yaoyorozu turned on music from the radio—Hizashi’s station, he noted—and the rest of the kids did their own thing. Snow fell heavily outside and occasionally, Hizashi would slip his arm around Aizawa’s waist or inconspicuously rest it on the couch behind his shoulders. He helped him with grading, making occasional comments and writing things down for him, and together they got through more than Aizawa would alone, despite being out in the common room with a bunch of nosy teenagers.
Shinsou remained interested in his book, only getting up when Hizashi prodded him to take a break and at least stretch, and after the kid grabbed water from the kitchen, he was right back into it. Hizashi was content here, even finding himself singing along with the radio on occasion. It got later and later, the common room beginning to filter out again, until it was just the three of them, Iida, Midoriya, Jirou, and Momo, the rest of the students either having gone to bed or to hang out in their rooms together. Hizashi was about to call it a night so he could make something for dinner in the apartment, when he heard a frustrated comment from Jirou.
“Man, I really wish I could dance better.”
Hizashi looked up from where he’d been helping Aizawa finish up a bit of grading, finding the girl standing, looking embarrassed, in front of the radio, Yaoyorozu seated across from her, holding a hand to her mouth, giggling. Jirou was beat-red, standing rigid with her hands in fists, and it occurred to Hizashi that Jirou had probably just made a fool of herself trying to dance in front of Yaoyorozu.
“Maybe you should stick to playing instruments, Kyouka.”
“Don’t make fun of me!” Somehow, Jirou just got redder and she whipped her head away from Yaoyorozu, staring straight at Hizashi, who felt like he’d just been caught red-handed listening in to their conversation. She scowled at him, voice raising to louder volumes, “Hey! What the hell do you think is so funny?”
She’d caught Aizawa’s attention, too, because he was watching, as well, scolding her with a firm voice, “Jirou, be more respectful.”
“No, no, it’s fine,” Hizashi stood from his spot next to Aizawa, drawing the other man’s attention to him. He offered a smile to Jirou, “No need to get so frustrated over it. It’s easy.”
“Yeah?” She crossed her arms, cocking an eyebrow at him. “If it’s so easy, then you do it.”
Across from her, Yaoyorozu hummed, sounding like she had an objection. She hesitated and then quietly pointed out what Hizashi had missed, “Mic-sensei, you don’t have a partner. Kyouka-chan was trying to dance with me, but she wasn’t following the beat and kept stepping on my toes. You can’t teach her if you don’t have a partner.”
That made more sense, he supposed, and it was a little adorable to think of the two girls trying to dance together, though he hadn’t expected Jirou to be so offbeat. While it wasn’t nearly at the level Aizawa had with Shinsou, Hizashi had done a couple training sessions with her, due to their similar quirks. She did seem rather attached to Yaoyorozu, and Hizashi wasn’t at all surprised to learn that they were…close.
Honestly, if he could put money on a bet of whether or not they were dating, he would in a heartbeat.
“A partner, huh?” Hizashi frowned, pretending to think, before he dropped his gaze to Aizawa. “Hey Era—”
“Come on!” Hizashi prodded, giving him a jab in the thigh with his sock-covered foot. He frowned harder, faking hurt and disappointment, even though Aizawa hadn’t looked at him yet. “Don’t be a spoilsport!”
“No way,” Aizawa finally glanced at him, immediately narrowing his eyes at Hizashi’s mock-hurt expression, glaring up at him from where he sat on the floor. He remained like that for a moment, as if after all these years, Aizawa glaring at him would make him stop acting so sad. It wouldn’t. Hizashi had grown an immunity to his glaring before high school had even ended. Aizawa sighed, “I’m not doing it.”
“It’s not like you haven’t before,” Hizashi’s voice took on a singing tone, his tactics growing dirtier. “You danced with me at the last wedding we went to, and the one before that, and our—”
“I was drunk most of those times,” Aizawa cut him off before Hizashi could give away even more. There was another long pause, like Aizawa thought that that would get Hizashi to shut up, but after a long time holding Hizashi’s gaze, Aizawa relented, “Fine, but only if it gets you to shut up.”
Hizashi grinned, glancing at the two girls, who were staring at them with wide eyes and shocked faces. He didn’t get a chance to question why they looked so surprised, though, because Aizawa was already struggling to get up. Hizashi offered his hand to him, Aizawa taking it without hesitation as Hizashi pulled him to his feet.
The radio, at some point, had been turned to a more classical station and was playing instrumental, upbeat music, music that could be easily danced to with a partner. Hizashi happily dragged Aizawa over towards the radio, never letting go of his wrist, barely listening to Aizawa’s groaning and complaining.
“Wait, you two have gone to weddings together…?” The question came from Midoriya, who’d been quiet until now, Iida at his side. Hizashi stopped, finally releasing Aizawa’s wrist, realizing what he’d said earlier. With every new class, they played this game, until they inevitably figured it out, usually sooner rather than later.
“We’ve been at the same weddings,” Aizawa’s gruff voice quickly covered for him. “Our associates are mostly the same. We end up in the same place a lot of the time.”
“Not always by coincidence,” Hizashi said it under his breath, earning another glare from Aizawa. He dropped the topic, not wanting to embarrass Aizawa any more than he had to. He clapped his hands together and spread them, offering himself to Aizawa and waiting for him to fall into stance with him, “Come on, Eraser. Be my partner.”
“I can’t believe you,” Aizawa mumbled, breathing another heavy sigh before stepping forward, taking Hizashi’s raised hand with ease, wrapping his other arm around his neck. Hizashi grinned at the kids in the room, all watching them with wide, huge eyes, before resting his arm around Aizawa’s waist and pulling him in so that he was flush with him, Aizawa’s chest touching his.
Hizashi had to resist the urge to gaze at Aizawa or press a kiss against his lips, holding back for the sole reason that there were kids in the room, kids who still hadn’t quite discovered things about them yet.
“This is a closed stance,” Hizashi forced himself to put on his teaching voice, looking at Yaoyorozu and Jirou the best he could while he was holding Aizawa against him. Aizawa was warm and Hizashi squeezed him against him, pressing him close, hoping that the kids he was trying to teach wouldn’t notice that Hizashi was holding Aizawa a lot closer than necessary. “It’s used in most waltzes and traditional dances. It works with pretty much any type of orchestral music, as long as you have a partner.”
He looked back at Aizawa, Aizawa close enough that Hizashi had to actively avoid brushing his face against his. He could feel every breath Aizawa took and he could count the steady heartbeat against his that was just barely out of sync with his own. His stomach fluttered, and Hizashi felt his face heat up a little. Fifteen years and Aizawa was still doing this to him.
“Ready, Eraser?” His voice was softer now, more so than he meant it to be. He cleared his throat loudly, forcing volume and excitement into his voice as he glanced back at Yaoyorozu and Jirou. “Watch carefully, listeners!”
He took a deep breath, drumming his fingers lightly on the small of Aizawa’s back and then carefully, he started to lead, first by moving his feet to the left, Aizawa following a half-second after. They stepped like that, Aizawa moving easily with him, as Hizashi started to turn them. It was natural—they’d danced before, usually at events but sometimes just when Hizashi managed to convince him to dance with him at home. Contrary to what people expected, Aizawa was fairly graceful and could follow a rhythm. He wasn’t a bad dance partner, and that was evident from the way he moved with Hizashi, pressed against his chest, resting am arm on his shoulders as their pace sped into a normal one.
Hizashi had almost forgotten that the two girls—and by extension, also Midoriya and Iida—were in the room with them until Jirou spoke up again, voice suspiciously interested, “Mic-sensei, teach us a spin!”
Hizashi had to tear his eyes away from Aizawa’s, looking over his shoulder to see both Yaoyorozu looking pleased with themselves. He gave them a questioning stare, but glanced back at Aizawa, still moving with him to the upbeat orchestral music playing through the radio.
“Sure,” Aizawa said, sounding far less annoyed now. Hizashi gave his hand a squeeze and he noticed the way Aizawa’s fingers had slipped below the collar of his shirt, fingertips resting on Hizashi’s hot skin. He took Aizawa into another turn, breathing in time with him, keeping his eyes on him rather than the rest of the room.
Slowly, Hizashi led into a spin, raising his and Aizawa’s arms upwards and loosening his grip on Aizawa’s waist enough to allow him to separate from Hizashi. Aizawa did, keeping on his toes, and Hizashi took a step back, as well, keeping their arms high as Aizawa stepped into the spin, taking it on the tips of his toes. Hizashi caught him at the end of it, swooping back in close to him, laying his arm at the small of Aizawa’s back. Quietly, he heard the girls make sounds of happiness, claps erupting from the room.
It was time. Regrettably, Hizashi pulled his arm against Aizawa tighter, signaling to him what he wanted, and almost automatically, Aizawa bent backwards at the waist, letting Hizashi guide him as he dipped him, tipping his head of messy black hair back to look at the girls as Hizashi held him up.
“Was that enough instruction?” Aizawa asked them, looking at them upside down. Hizashi had to stifle his laughter, giving Aizawa a pull to get him back on his feet, keeping his arm on his back to steady him even as he stood up again. There was another round of applause for them and Hizashi realized that even the boys and Shinsou were clapping.
He bowed to them, grinning.
“Now it’s your turn!” He chided, motioning to Yaoyorozu and Jirou. The two of them looked at each other in an expression that could only be described as pure panic, but neither of them argued, Hizashi opting to spend the next half hour trying to somehow teaching a blushing Jirou how to not step on a very flustered Yaoyorozu’s feet.
Shinsou noticed something was off the moment he followed Yamada into the apartment.
He didn’t say anything about it immediately, though, even though it was right there. He did his best to carry on a normal conversation and help Yamada in the kitchen, but it was exceedingly difficult when he could see it, right there, every time he looked up. It wasn’t until Yamada had put dinner in the oven and was rinsing dishes that Shinsou finally found the confidence to make his way over to the tree they’d put up and crouch down, hands shaking as he inspected the couple boxes that had been put under there. The boxes were wrapped with colorful, loud paper, with bows and ribbons attached, and Shinsou felt his heart nearly stop when he read his name on a couple of the boxes.
In fact, he was so involved with looking at the wrapped boxes under the tree, that he didn’t hear Yamada’s footsteps until it was too late.
“Ah, you found the stuff that Shouta and I put out!”
Shinsou nearly jumped out of his skin, still crouched down by the tree, turning to look at Yamada as he felt like he’d just been caught doing something he shouldn’t. He couldn’t breathe, heart beating wildly in his chest.
Yamada’s face fell slightly as he seemed to realize something, “Right, you’ve never been able to celebrate the holidays.”
Shinsou tried clearing his throat, but his voice still came out weak, “No.”
“Hey, try not to worry about it. We want you to have fun over the break,” Shinsou watched, unmoving, as Yamada got down to his height as he spoke. “You’re part of our family, now. I know this is probably hard to get used to, but try not to worry too much about it.”
“Yeah,” Shinsou looked away from him. “I’ll try.”
Yamada smiled at him, but left him to his own devices, nearly jumping and running back to the kitchen as the timer from the oven dinged. Shinsou watched him go, watched him move around the kitchen, and finally, when he was sure Yamada wasn’t watching him, he sat on the floor, silently picking up one of the boxes with his name on it. It still felt too weird, though, and he set it back down, hesitating a moment before pulling out his phone, looking through the photos he’d taken today of Aizawa and Yamada dancing together.
They were nice photos, and not just because the entire class was going to lose their minds over what had happened tonight. In his lifetime, with being passed from house to house in foster care, he’d never quite had parents who actually liked each other, let alone had what Aizawa and Yamada had between them. He liked seeing them together, and it was easy to tell that they’d been together for a long time. Which was why it was so funny that the other students were so oblivious. He looked at the photos more before attaching them in a message to Yamada and Aizawa, before following Yamada into the kitchen to help with dinner.
Another sleepless night, and it just so happened to be during another snowstorm.
Hizashi was fast asleep beside him, and as Aizawa sat, restless and tired, in the bed, he felt almost envious of the other man. Hizashi rarely had trouble sleeping, though he typically had a tendency to stay up for days on end due to his multiple jobs. He’d taken time off from radio and hero work, though, and he still slept like a baby every goddamn night. Aizawa, on the other hand, walked a thin line between narcolepsy and insomnia, having days where it was impossible to stay awake and nights where it was impossible to sleep. He was aware that it was in part due to his years of working at night as a hero, but he’d taken time off from his hero duties, as well, partially to focus on family and partially to focus on his teaching duties, and he still couldn’t sleep through the nights.
After hours of trying to sleep, around when the clock hit two in the morning, Aizawa finally got up, reasoning that being up and about usually helped him fall asleep later. He could check on things and pace the floor until he felt tired enough to go back to bed with Hizashi. He made sure to stay quiet, creeping out of the master bedroom and into the open living room, his eyes immediately falling on the door to the second bedroom.
Shinsou always kept his door open. So did Aizawa and Hizashi. He’d made sure that Shinsou was well aware that he was allowed as much privacy as he wanted and could close his door or lock it whenever he wanted, but the kid always slept with it half-open, and Aizawa had developed a habit, after adopting him, of doing the same. Shinsou was rather attached to them both, and though he’d initially been a bit wary of Hizashi, he’d warmed up to him a lot. Aizawa also knew that Shinsou often had trouble sleeping, and he assumed part of the reason he always left his room open was because it was far less intimidating to have some sort of connection to Aizawa and Hizashi in the nights.
Aizawa had developed another habit of checking on him in the nights where he couldn’t sleep.
He noticed something was out of place when he approached the room—namely, the silence. Shinsou snored a little, and it was oddly silent. Confirming his suspicions, when Aizawa glanced into the door through the half-open doorway, Shinsou was neither asleep in his bed or anywhere in the room
His first reaction was panic. Aizawa was a hero, and an underground hero at that. His mind went places when something was off and when someone was missing. His second reaction was to try to shove down that panic and calm himself down. It wasn’t like this hadn’t happened before.
He checked the couch next, finding nothing, and then the kitchen, and then he even glanced outside to the small area outside the apartment, Shinsou still missing. It did nothing to help the growing hole in Aizawa’s chest and he threw the door that connected the apartment to the dorm open a little hard and swore under his breath, hoping that it hadn’t woken anyone up. He was out in the common room in an instant, though, and his panic was immediately calmed by the lump of blankets and purple hair that he found curled up on the couch, in the same place he’d been earlier.
Aizawa stood still, willing his heartbeat to stop racing, looking down at the kid fast asleep in the common room. Shinsou was half-buried under a bunch of blankets, his book still open on the couch, the mass of blankets moving rhythmically with his breath. He was fine and unhurt. Something was wrong, he knew, because Shinsou had gone to sleep in his room before Aizawa had and the kid was like him—he only got up and moved around at night if he couldn’t sleep, usually because something was bothering him
—Shinsou looked at peace now, sleeping soundlessly. Aizawa didn’t want to wake him up, but he wanted the kid to get enough sleep and he wouldn’t be able to do that sleeping in the common room. There were nineteen other kids who could easily wake him up and interrupt his sleep, and he knew that Shinsou was likely to be embarrassed if another student caught him out here.
The decision he made was rational and, in Aizawa’s mind, logical.
He made his way over to the front of the couch, first picking up Shinsou’s book, sliding his bookmark between the pages before closing it up, tucking it under his arm. He noticed that Shinsou had turned on the bright lights of the common room, something that added to Aizawa’s suspicions that there was a reason Shinsou hadn’t been sleeping well and had ended up out here. With a short pause, he leaned down, carefully picking the blankets off of the boy. With a deep breath, he slid an arm under Shinsou’s legs, wrapping the other around his back, being cautious not to drop his book, and easily lifted him into his arms.
This wasn’t the first time he’d done this. Shinsou often fell asleep on the couch in the apartment and if Aizawa got up in the night, he’d usually try to move the boy to his room if he thought he could do it without waking him. Even now, he felt Shinsou stirring in his arms, resting his head on Aizawa’s shoulder and stiffening in his hold, making a mumbled noise that was probably some sort of unintelligible question.
“Just me,” Aizawa murmured quietly. Shinsou immediately relaxed, and Aizawa gave his side a nudge. “Put your arms around my neck. I’m just taking you to your room.”
Sleepily, Shinsou did as Aizawa told him, looping his arms around Aizawa’s neck, giving him a little more support. Shinsou leaned his head on him again, this time pressing more into Aizawa’s chest, and after a long moment of just holding him, Aizawa finally started making his way back to the apartment.
It always surprised him a little when he felt how light Shinsou was. The kid was tall and eventually, he’d get taller than Aizawa, but he was like a stick—tall and thin. He’d put on some weight from living with them and training with Aizawa, but he was still easy to carry around. Even now, he felt like feathers in Aizawa’s arms, and getting him the short distance to the apartment was as easy as carrying groceries in.
Getting the door unlocked was a bit of a challenge, but Aizawa managed, letting it fall shut behind him, locking automatically. Shinsou didn’t stir at all, and Aizawa assumed he was fast asleep with his head on his chest, his breathing even and his eyes shut. Bringing him to his room was even easier, though Aizawa hesitated before setting him down on the bed, Shinsou waking up a little as he did.
He watched him half open his violet eyes, turning his head to look blearily up at him as Aizawa pulled the blankets over him. He didn’t leave immediately after, though, continuing to look down at the still half asleep kid, until Shinsou’s quiet, hoarse voice broke the silence.
“Stay? Just until I’m alseep…”
“Nightmares?” Aizawa guessed.
Shinsou just nodded, eyes falling shut again. Aizawa didn’t answer, instead sitting on the foot of the bed, resting his back against the wall the bed was pushed up against. He tipped his head back, letting his own eyes fall shut. He heard Shinsou shift in the bed, probably rolling over, and Aizawa let out a breath of contentedness. It was no surprise that Shinsou suffered from nightmares, after his history, and Aizawa knew from experience that the best he could do was just be there for him.
So he stayed, eventually nodding off sitting upright on Shinsou’s bed, only waking up in the morning when the sunlight was already filtering brightly through the blinds in Shinsou’s room, and it was then that Aizawa finally allowed himself to tiptoe out of the room and back into his own, quickly falling back asleep next to Hizashi.
Shinsou was still tired when he finally found his way out of the apartment the next day.
It was midday when he came across the party planning circle of 1-A, and Shinsou only stumbled across them because he’d been wanting to go for a walk to wake himself up and they were sitting in the middle of the common room again, gathered in a circle, and they all turned to Shinsou with huge, expectant eyes the moment they saw him, like some sort of pack of way too curious wolves.
“...You have pictures, right?” Never one to beat around the bush, Jirou was the one to come forward and ask him. “No one believes us about last night.”
“It’s not that we don’t believe you,” Mina interjected. “It’s just that it’s…hard to picture it happening the way Jirou-chan describes! The way these guys describe it, it sounds like Sensei was letting Mic-sensei hold him, kinda like a couple.”
Shinsou rubbed at his tired eyes, sleep still dragging at him, making it hard to concentrate on what she was saying. He yawned, taking his time in responding, and finally formed his words, “No, they’re right. Besides, I thought you guys were trying to get them together.”
“These idiots think we’re exaggerating to make it sound more romantic than it was,” Jirou huffed, glaring at Mina before looking back at him. “Do you have the photos or not?”
“Sure, sure,” Shinsou didn’t hesitate, unlocking his phone. What he didn’t expect, though, was the way all the kids rushed to gather around him, forcing Shinsou to panic and fumble to pull up his gallery, holding his breath and hoping that none of the other students saw his background. It wasn’t that Shinsou was supposed to hide who he’d been adopted with. Aizawa didn’t care if he told anyone. It was Shinsou’s personal decision, and he wanted to keep his new family all to himself for a little bit longer. No one commented on his background photo, though, and Shinsou navigated to where his phone had saved the photos from last night, pulling up the ones of Aizawa and Yamada dancing together.
Around him were more than half the students in the class, and there was an amusing collective gasp at the sight of Aizawa and Yamada pressed close together, clearly in an intimate dancing stance and way closer than they were required to be for said stance. Yamada was staring at Aizawa, a gentle smile on his face, eyes half-closed, and Aizawa was in a similar state, his fingers splayed under Yamada’s shirt collar, his other hand intertwined with Yamada’s. It almost looked as if they were about to kiss, holding each other close.
For good measure, Shinsou flipped through a few more of the photos, including the one he’d gotten of Aizawa spinning and Yamada dipping him. The other students were speechless, crowded close around him, barely giving Shinsou enough air to breathe.
“I told you so!” Jirou shouted suddenly, turning to stare at the rest of her fellow students, most of whom were still looking at the photos.
“Jeez, sorry,” Kirishima commented, sheepishly glancing up at her. “I guess it’s just hard to think that Sensei would let Present Mic dance with him like this.”
“They’re fucking gross old men—what do you expect?”
That voice got Shinsou’s attention and he looked over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow at the presence of a certain very negative, explosive student looking over his shoulder. Bakugou immediately ducked his head away, scowling openly, acting as if he hadn’t just been looking over Shinsou’s shoulder to see the photos, as well. Shinsou wasn’t about to let it go, though. He wasn’t afraid of Bakugou in the least, “I thought you’d be the last person to participate in this stuff.”
Now, that scowl was turned on him and Shinsou didn’t back down, holding Bakugou’s gaze with black, tired eyes. Bakugou just seemed to get angrier, somehow, until Shinsou was wondering if the kid would just explode on him. It was no secret that Bakugou wasn’t a fan of him, and Shinsou assumed that this was just the way the kid was until he started to warm up to people.
“I’m not interested in it,” Bakugou snapped, though he made no move to step away. “You’re all morons trying to set Aizawa up like this and you’re wasting your goddamn time. And you—you’re behind all this, aren’t you? Playing the rest of these kids just so you can get a few laughs. You’re the biggest moron of them all.”
“Bakugou,” Shinsou put on his best Aizawa-voice, cocking a smirk. “Do you have something you’d like to share with the class?”
Part of him thought that would light Bakugou’s actual fuse, but instead, the kid just groaned at him, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans, stalking off like some sort of offended child.
“What a spoilsport,” Mina sang, her voice high and loud as she called the insult after him. Bakugou didn’t look back at her, stalking off to the hallway where his room was with a sour expression.
“Hey, Shinsou, what’s this picture?”
At Kirishima’s question, Shinsou looked back at his phone, finding he’d swiped by accident to the photos of Yamada down on one knee, dramatically begging Aizawa to let him stay in his apartment in front of the other kids. He was about to explain when Kirishima’s finger, hovering over the screen of his phone, happened to hit the screen, making his gallery switch to another photo—the photo of him, Aizawa, and Yamada in front of their tree in the apartment.
It took Shinsou a full second to realize what had happened, staring down at his phone with half the class gathered around him.
Shinsou jumped at Midoriya’s voice. The picture had only been up for a second, but the silence in the room was deafening as Shinsou scrambled to turn the display on his phone off, pulling away from the cluster of students and pulling his winter jacket on, making it to the dorm’s front door faster than he ever had before, words coming out in a flurry, “I’m leaving!”
Silence, and then, right before Shinsou slammed the front door behind him, he heard an innocent question from Mina again, “...So, are we still trying to get Sensei and Present Mic together, or are they already dating…?”
It was afternoon when he’d woken up and the grey of the winter day hung above Shinsou as he made his way down multiple streets. The district was crowded, with families and couples pressed around window displays, cooing over various items and pastries and winter-themed set-ups. Almost no one was alone, everyone either with a partner or with their family, and Shinsou was reminded of another time when he’d walked down a similar street in a similar district a year before.
Or—times was more accurate. This was far from the first time that Shinsou had intentionally walked down a busy commercial street in the middle of the holiday season. This time was different, though. A lot different. For the first time, he wasn’t jealous of the kids that ran between their parents’ legs, pointing and pleading and talking in high, excited voices. He wasn’t jealous of the families gathered around displays together. And he wasn’t jealous of the people who had someone else, someone they’d be spending the holidays with.
Shinsou Hitoshi had spent most of his life in foster care and he had a family for the first time in his life. A family who liked him, who did things with him, who genuinely enjoyed having him around. A family who wanted him.
For the first time, Shinsou wasn’t here to people watch, though he did take a moment to lean on one of the storefronts and take in what was going on around him. He found his mind drifting, though, as he watched the families, thinking back to his own just a few blocks away.
Shinsou had a bit of a problem with nightmares. He’d dealt with it alone his entire life, so he was hesitant to ask for help with it now. He’d discovered things that worked for him, those things usually being going into a brightly lit area and distracting himself until he tired himself out and fell asleep. That had been what he was doing last night—coping with it in the only way he actually knew how to. But Aizawa had found him asleep on the couch in the common room and he hadn’t hesitated in carrying Shinsou back to his room, nor had he hesitated when Shinsou had asked him to stay.
He hadn’t expected Aizawa to be there when he woke up from another dream, but he had been, sitting on the end of his bed, head leaned back against the wall, fast asleep. Shinsou hadn’t needed to get up and move around again, even though he woke up three more times, because Aizawa had stayed with him.
That was just one thing. One thing out of many.
There were so many things that both Aizawa and Yamada had done for him over the past few months. Too many things to count. Shinsou had found a family in the two of them, and it was because of them that Shinsou no longer found himself looking with jealousy at the little kids and their parents or the families that passed him by.
With a final look out at the sea of people, Shinsou ducked his head into a shop.
He visited about ten more shops, never quite finding what he was looking for. He really wasn’t sure what he was looking for. He’d never had to do this before, and he was at a complete loss for what he was even looking for. He’d figured that if he’d went to enough shops, he’d find something that stuck out to him, but there was nothing. Not yet.
At eleven shops, Shinsou finally got frustrated enough to shuffle to the back of the cafe he’d gone into to grab something to eat and pulled out his phone, scrolling through his contacts until he found the one he wanted, not letting himself hesitate before he sent the call.
She picked up almost immediately.
“...Shinsou-san? Is everything alright?” Momo sounded undoubtedly concerned on the other end, her voice low, as if she was trying to keep her conversation with him quiet.
“Everything’s fine,” He told her quickly, drawing his bottom lip between his teeth. “I helped you with Aizawa. Now I need help with something.”
Forming things as a deal was really the only way he knew how to ask for help. In his previous homes, in order to get a favor, he had to do something for someone else.
“Oh, sure. But, Shinsou-san, you can ask me for help anytime,” There was no pause in her response, her voice lifting up slightly as she realized that nothing was wrong. “What can I do for you?”
Shinsou tried to think of a way to form his thoughts without sounding like a total idiot. She had parents. So she had to know this. He took a breath, “What the hell do I buy my parents for the holidays? I haven’t been with them for long. Long story short—I was in foster care, now I’m not—and I’ve never had to do this before, but I want to get them something.”
He shut himself up, stopping himself from rambling any more, and waited for a response. He could hear voices in the background of the other line and he realized that Momo was most likely still in the common room with the other students, trying to figure out some sort of plan on how to get Aizawa and Yamada together. He felt even more embarrassed about calling her now, and half of him just wanted to hang up the phone and deal with it himself.
“Well, I always get my parents something sentimental,” Momo told him, voice strong and confident, in contrast to Shinsou’s nerves. “We have a lot of things, so something sentimental is always nice. You know, something that shows that you care about them and the time they spend with you. Maybe something that reminds you of a specific memory of them, or something that you make, or like a framed photo or something similar.”
Shinsou was silent for a moment and then, quietly, he murmured into his phone, “Thanks. I’ll talk to you when I get back more about party stuff.”
It was his way of offering his thanks and he meant it as closing words, but Momo had other plans.
She giggled on the other line, and Shinsou felt himself go red as he realized that she definitely knew, “I’m sure Aizawa-sensei will like whatever you get him.”
Later that night, Shinsou did his best to sneak out of his room while Aizawa and Yamada were making dinner, but that was a hard thing to do when the living room and kitchen were connected and open and unsurprisingly, Aizawa caught him almost immediately, Shinsou stopping dead in his tracks with a bunch of clumsily wrapped gifts in his arms, and it was one of the rare times that he heard Aizawa actually laugh.
“Is that why you’ve been in your room for so long?”
“You weren’t supposed to see!” It came out more forceful than he meant it, and he averted his eyes from Aizawa, hearing him give another small, soft laugh. His face was red hot and he could tell that he was probably flushed from the embarrassment of being caught and having Aizawa and Yamada see his work before it could be shoved under the tree with the rest of the stuff. He didn’t say anything more, instead creeping forward, feeling Aizawa’s eyes still on him, and crouched down, pushing the badly wrapped packages under the tree. They looked sloppy in comparison to Yamada’s wrapping, and Shinsou felt inclined to apologize the moment he heard Aizawa’s footsteps approaching him. “Sorry. I had no idea how to wrap stuff. I tried looking it up on my computer, but it’s a lot harder than watching someone do it.”
He glanced up, seeing Aizawa leaning on the arm of the couch, giving him the slight, private smile that Shinsou had a tendency to hang on to, “I’m impressed. It’s a lot better than I can do.”
“Well, you’d do a lot better if you let me teach you,” Yamada chided from the kitchen, making Shinsou painfully aware that he’d seen him, too.
“It’s a hassle to learn, especially from you,” Aizawa teased him, raising his head to look at Yamada. Shinsou felt his body start to unwind and relax again, and it helped a lot when Aizawa paused before going back into the kitchen, patting putting his hand on Shinsou’s head and giving him a pat before resuming helping his partner in the kitchen. Shinsou breathed out, smiling to himself, and moved so that he could sit against the couch, near the tree, listening to Aizawa and Yamada’s lighthearted talk in the kitchen.
He didn’t do much, just listening and watching them from his place in the living room, his body warm, all the tension from before having drained out of it.
At one point, his phone went off, but Shinsou didn’t check it until after he’d eaten dinner with Yamada and Aizawa, and even then, Shinsou didn’t even respond to the text, simply raising a curious eyebrow at it before he tucked it back into his sweatshirt and joined Aizawa and Yamada for a board game.
Ashido Mina: I got the mistletoe to put up for the party!!!!
The seeds of realization had already been planted, mostly because of the dancing incident and the way Shinsou wasn’t really denying that Aizawa and Hizashi may already be together. What really kicked off 1-A’s realization that their homeroom teacher wasn’t actually married to his work and had a real family, though, was a completely different event that didn’t initially involve Hizashi.
In fact, it very pointedly did not involve him, because if Hizashi had been around at the time of said event, he would’ve definitely told Aizawa to not do what he did. Which was why Aizawa took Hizashi sleeping in as his chance, leaving the man fast asleep in their bed and quietly leaving the apartment. It was still early in the morning, bright light shining through the common room’s windows, the room itself empty. He made sure no kids lurked around before walking the rest of the way to the kitchen, determined to try to do something for the kids. It was logical that if he wanted to do something for them, he’d show them that he did care about them by doing something for their party, the event being slated to happen tonight. He’d had this idea in his head for a few days now, and Hizashi deciding to sleep in gave him a good chance at making it work.
There were a lot of things Aizawa could do. He could usually figure things out pretty easily. That was because things usually followed logic and reasoning and Aizawa could understand things using that.
But, for some reason, he just couldn’t figure anything out having to do with cooking or baking.
On a fundamental level, he understood. It was simple, numbers and chemistry. But on a level that actually required doing it? That was where Aizawa stopped being able to figure things out. Food just never wanted to cooperate with him. It was finicky and horrible and for years, he’d been determined to try to figure it out, and for years, he’d failed, to the point where Hizashi shooed him out of the kitchen half the time when Aizawa tried to help him with whatever he happened to be making. His bad cooking skills had become notorious in their household and even Shinsou was beginning to realize that Aizawa failed miserably every time he made any sort of an attempt to make anything slightly complicated.
And that was probably part of the reason he’d decided to do this, to try to prove to himself, and his newfound family, that he could.
Somewhere in the middle of it, Shinsou woke up and came into the common room, appearing in the doorway of the kitchen a few moments later, looking at him with drowsy eyes before voicing his curiosity, “What are you doing…?”
Aizawa looked down at himself, realizing that he was covered in flour, baking soda, eggs, and various other things. He was starting to regret not having borrowed Hizashi’s apron, because his sweater and pants were covered in various food ingredients. He looked like a mess, and he was only halfway done.
“Baking,” He said, leaving it at that before picking another egg out of the carton and banging it against the counter, trying to be softer this time so as not to get egg all over himself and the kitchen. He succeeded, and cracked it the rest of the way over the bowl of messy ingredients, leaning in to pick the eggshells out of the mixture.
“Yeah, I see. You…want some help?”
“No,” Aizawa responded immediately, glancing back at his kid. Shinsou still looked half asleep, holding a blanket around his shoulders, and it occurred to him that Shinsou had probably specifically come looking for him. His gaze softened a little, “Go sleep on the couch. I’ll be fine.”
Shinsou just nodded and trotted off in the direction of the common room.
Aizawa really regretted saying no to help when the fire alarms were blaring a half hour later.
He didn’t quite know how it happened. He’d wanted to finish up quickly, had maybe turned the heat on a little high and also misjudged the amount of batter he had and used too small of a pan. And then he’d maybe turned his back to start cleaning up and a bag of flour might’ve backfired in his face and may have gotten into his eyes. Aizawa was in the process of trying to wash the flour from his already dry eyes, the powder all over his face, hair, and clothes, when the fire alarm went off, blaring in his ears.
The reaction was immediate, both from him and the others.
Aizawa turned, seeing what was definitely a small flame in the oven, smoke flooding from it. Shinsou dashed into the kitchen, and in a second, there were three more kids there—Midoriya, Jirou, and Iida, all yelling as Aizawa searched the room for something to put out the fire, eyes stinging from the flour still in them, unil he just gave up, shouting in a firm voice at the kids, “Go get Hizashi!”
Shinsou was the only one who darted off, the rest of them giving him a confused look as Aizawa rushed to turn the appliance off, just as Shinsou came back with Hizashi in tow.
“Jesus, Shouta,” Hizashi was shaking his head, seeming far more calm than the kids in the room. “Just let it burn itself out.”
That had been the plan. Aizawa knew how to deal with fires. He knew better than to open the oven, since that would give fuel to the fire. It’d just been a small spark and flame, but it’d produced a lot of smoke, and it was doing a far better job of stinking up the place than it was doing any actual damage. The flame had already mostly petered out, and Aizawa could see now that the cause had been batter from the pan dripping to the bottom and causing the spark. He’d have to clean out the oven after it cooled, but besides that, the only damage was the smell and whatever damage the blaring alarms were doing to his hearing.
He turned back to Hizashi and the kids, seeing that Hizashi was the only one of them trying to fan the smoke away, yelling over the fire alarms to get to him, “Go turn the fire alarm off!”
He threw his keys to Hizashi, the other man catching them and disappearing around the corner. Aizawa rubbed at the bridge of his nose, looking at the four kids, three of which looked completely dumbfounded, and pointed at the windows in the common room and the kitchen, “Go open the windows before I have to wake everyone up and evacuate because of the smell.”
All four of them scampered off, Aizawa hearing them murmur to themselves, and a minute later, the alarm turned off with a final shriek, and Hizashi was back at his side soon afterwards.
“You are covered in flour.”
“I’m well aware,” Aizawa did his best to give him a sour look, but wound up instead groaning in pain at the burning in his eyes, squeezing them shut tight and rubbing at them. “I was trying to bake for the kids.”
He heard Hizashi approach him, feeling his hand at the small of his back, Hizashi close to him, “This is why I don’t let you bake at home.”
He was barely able to blink his eyes open to see that Midoriya had returned to the kitchen and was watching them with his huge green doe eyes. Aizawa decided that right now, he didn’t care what he or the other kids saw or heard. He was still on edge from the alarm and the notion that he’d set the oven on fire. Him, the adult, the homeroom teacher. Not even either of the kids with fire based or related quirks.
“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Hizashi told him, pressing at his back with his hand, Aizawa getting the hint and moving where Hizashi urged him. It turned out that that was towards the sink and Aizawa chose to ignore the sounds of the other students making their way to the kitchen to investigate the alarm in favor of letting Hizashi help him. He heard water running, his eyes closed tightly in an attempt to make the burning stop, and he only spoke up to warn Hizashi.
“Take your ring off before you lose it down the drain,” He tried to be quiet, his voice gruff, but no doubt someone had heard him.
“I would never lose it,” He could just hear the playful pout in Hizashi’s voice, but the sound that followed was him taking off his wedding ring and setting it down on the counter before resuming. There was hardly any warning, besides the sound and feeling of Hizashi moving in closer to him, before the other man was wiping a wet, warm cloth onto Aizawa’s face, making him cough with the surprise at it. Hizashi was as gentle as he could be, but was still rubbing the four from his skin and out of his scruffy facial hair, until Aizawa’s face felt red and raw. Though, to be fair, Hizashi had rubbed the cloth at his eyes first, and the burning had gone down significantly.
It allowed Aizawa enough leeway to open his eyes, lean over the sink, and splash water into his eyes, washing out the rest of the flour from them. Only then did he let himself sigh in relief, looking down to see that his dark sweater was almost completely white. Beside him, Hizashi started laughing, the sound filling the room as the smoke started to filter out through the now open windows. He kept his hand on Aizawa’s lower back, doing nothing to hide his show of affection, and even Aizawa found it in himself to crack a smile at the situation.
By now, a small crowd had formed, the kids talking amongst each other, telling each other what had happened and the reasoning behind the fire alarms and the mess in the kitchen. There were giggles, more talking, some of the still tired kids slinking off back to their rooms, leaving a few of them still lingering around the kitchen, trying to act like they were murmuring together when Aizawa kept catching them looking at he and Hizashi. Shinsou was still around, too, keeping back from the mess.
“I’ll call Nemuri,” Hizashi told him, making no move to pull away from him. “She can come supervise while we go pick up some of…whatever you were trying to make.”
“Sounds good,” Aizawa commented, making eye contact with Shinsou. He nodded, figuring the kid was trying to nonverbally ask him if he could come with them. He turned back to Hizashi, motioning at the state of the rest of the kitchen, “We should probably clean up beforehand.”
An emergency meeting was called for right after Shinsou got back from shopping with Aizawa and Yamada. Shinsou was hesitant to join it, debating on instead spending time with Yamada, since Aizawa was at the school, taking care of incident paperwork, but his curiosity got the better of him, and Shinsou found himself leaving the apartment to join the kids who’d already gathered in the dining hall, catching them in the middle of a conversation, as they’d started without him. Kaminari easily let him through, flashing an electric, oblivious smile at him as Shinsou brushed past him.
“—You saw! Everyone saw! Present Mic was wearing a wedding ring! Even Sensei said something about it!” Hagakure, the invisible girl, had joined this particular meeting and was busy ranting, her voice raised, as if she was trying to get the others to listen to her, though all Shinsou could see were the arms of her jacket waving wildly around.
“Yeah, well, maybe Aizawa-sensei and Present Mic are star-crossed lovers!” Oh. Now Shinsou saw what was going on. Hagakure and Mina were arguing across the table at each other. The rest of the class seemed to just be watching, murmuring to each other occasionally, sometimes in agreement with one of the girls, other times laughing at what one of them had to say. It sounded like Mina was getting more of the laughs, but that didn’t slow her down in the least as she stood from her seat, leaning over the table to talk at the invisible girl, “Think about it! There’s clearly something between them! Mic-sensei was staying in Aizawa-sensei’s apartment, they’re on first name basises with each other, and it sounded like Mic-sensei stays with him a lot! And remember the way they were touching each other! Mic-sensei was practically holding Aizawa-sensei this morning! They’re definitely star-crossed lovers—Mic-sensei is clearly unhappy in his marriage, or maybe his other husband died or something, and he hasn’t come to terms with his feelings for Aizawa-sensei yet!”
“Hold on,” Midoriya had his nose buried in some notebook and when Shinsou leaned to the side, he could see a bunch of scribbling, words filling the pages, and what looked to be some kind of drawing of Present Mic, with the stupid hair and all. “I don’t have anything in my notes about him being married and I listened to his radio show all the time! He’s always on radio or TV—surely he mentioned it somewhere? Let me try to look it up—”
The class fell into silence while Midoriya typed away at his phone, until Shinsou finally cleared his throat, and at least ten heads turned to look at him, looking shocked that he was even there.
“So…you all think that Mic-sensei is married to…someone…?” He chose his words carefully, wanting to still draw this entire game out a little longer and not give away the answers yet. It was far too entertaining to see the class trying to figure out how to set their homeroom teacher up with their English teacher, and Shinsou wasn’t willing to give up the game until either Aizawa or Yamada figured out what the kids had been doing this entire time.
“He has to be,” Kirishima was here again, sitting on the same side of the table as Mina, arms crossed over his chest and looking disappointed in the state of the situation as a whole. “Otherwise, why would he wear a wedding ring? We’ve been trying to figure out who he’s married to. It can’t be Aizawa-sensei, since he doesn’t wear a ring, so it’s gotta be someone else…”
Before the class could start murmuring again, Shinsou interrupted them, “Are you sure?”
“Married people both wear rings, Shinsou-san,” Momo finally spoke up, having been staring down at her notes this entire time, talking as if he had no idea about the customs of married people. He had to fight to keep a neutral expression and not shoot her some horrible, dirty look. “Aizawa-sensei doesn’t wear a ring. None of us have ever seen him wear a wedding ring.”
“That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one,” Shinsou frowned, regretting his decision to come to this meeting. Hearing them bicker like this wasn’t as fun as he thought it’d be. He wanted to go back to the apartment and hang out more with Yamada before the party was supposed to start. “It just means he doesn’t wear it on his hand. Aizawa-sensei likes logic and he works with his hands a lot more than Present Mic does. Maybe he just doesn’t wear a ring on his hand. Or… Maybe that’s some sort of other ring on Mic-sensei’s hand. I have no idea.”
He was willing to leave it at that, faking glancing down at his phone, acting like he’d suddenly gotten a message, “Anyways, I have to go. Have fun figuring out if they’re married or not.”
He turned to leave, getting out the doorway before he heard Kirishima mutter to the other students, “Why do I get the feeling that that kid knows more than us?”
Finally, the night of the party arrived.
Aizawa finished the paperwork for the incident at the dorms, frustrated at himself still for setting the oven on fire. He wasn’t in the best of moods when he went back to the dorm, but to his chagrin, the kids’ excitement got to him and his sour mood didn’t last long.
Preparations were in full swing. Hizashi and Aizawa had cleaned out the oven Aizawa had been using and the kids had dared to use it again, this time without incident. Walking in, he was met with the smell of the kids successfully baking things for their party and with the sight of everything in the common room decorated. He hadn’t thought that they were holding back before, but now everything was covered in ornaments, garland, and strings of lights. It looked like the holiday section of a department store had exploded in his dorm, though, to their credit, it actually looked fairly nice.
Excitement buzzed in the entire room. Aizawa knew that the kids had planned out the entire evening, even going as far as to use their student council budget to order a bunch of food to the dorms. Aizawa would usually protest that, given that it was a bunch of fast, terrible food, but he’d vowed to keep his mouth shut and let the kids have fun tonight. He could feel their mood starting to affect him, every kid out here and participating, even Bakugou looking sour as he strung lights across the mantle with Kirishima.
Aizawa didn’t say anything as he passed them, but he couldn’t help the way his bad mood evened out with the attitude of the rest of the students. He dropped his things off in the apartment, finding it empty, threw on the deep red sweater Hizashi had put out for him, wrapped himself in an appropriately festive colored green scarf, and abandoned his work for the night, going back out into the dorms.
Tracking down Hizashi was pretty easy, and Aizawa quickly discovered both him and Shinsou helping the baking students in the kitchen, and Aizawa slunk in without being noticed, leaning against the counters and watching.
“Oh, no,” Hizashi spotted him as soon as he turned around, though, grinning at Aizawa and scolding him with a teasing tone. “You don’t get to help after what you did earlier.”
“I thought I was the mean one,” Aizawa didn’t argue, though, still too frustrated by earlier to try to help out again. The kids had enough help, anyways—Hizashi was good at cooking, though whether that was because he had to make up for Aizawa’s lack of ability or just because he was naturally good at it, he didn’t know. Regardless, he stood back, Hizashi and Shinsou helping Satou, Asui, and Uraraka, figuring that the five of them had more than enough help.
Hizashi apparently thought so, too, because he brushed his hands off and came to stand by Aizawa, leaning in close to murmur into his ear, “You look nice. Festive.”
Aizawa looked Hizashi over, seeing that under his apron, Hizashi was wearing some busy, ugly sweater with what looked like small holiday lights attached to it, and gave him a snort of laughter, “Where did you get that?”
“Shinsou helped me pick it out! It’s cute!”
“Yeah, well, it’s supposed to be,” Hizashi pulled away from him grinning from ear to ear. “Hang on, I have something for you, too!”
Aizawa rolled his eyes, watching as Hizashi rushed out of the kitchen, coming back seconds later with a headband with some sort of…antlers attached. He didn’t have a lot of time to react, because Hizashi was pushing his black hair back at little, shoving the headband behind his ears. A moment later, he heard the click of Hizashi hitting some button on them and then he stepped away, pulling out his phone and turning on the camera to show Aizawa what he looked like.
To make things worse, some sort of song started playing from the contraption Hizashi had just put on his head, the notes loud and attracting the attention of the others in the room.
Aizawa stared at himself in the screen of Hizashi’s phone, watching the multicolored lights on the antlers light up and flash to the music coming from the headband. He raised his eyes to Hizashi, giving him a blank expression, “Very funny.”
“It’s cute!” He glanced at Uraraka, finding the girl giggling, covering her mouth as she looked at him. Asui hung behind her a little, looking at him with interested eyes. “It’s fitting, Sensei!”
Moments later, the song playing from the antlers petered out, and the kids resumed their baking, Aizawa never taking the headband off. He even let Shinsou take a picture of him and Hizashi and let Hizashi hit the button again to make the antlers light up for the photo.
Things went quickly after that. Aizawa helped as much as he could. The party started at five, with Yaoyorozu and Iida giving a speech to their fellow classmates, Aizawa and Hizashi standing back and away from the group, joining in on the applause when the two of them had finished speaking. There was even a dedication to him thrown into their speeches, where they thanked him for everything he’d done for them this year. Aizawa had tried to wave it off, telling them that it was his job to protect them, but he wasn’t about to deny that it had warmed his heart a little.
The games started after that. Jirou turned on music and a bunch of the students played a few games together, a couple board games and a couple other verbal games, others loitering around, talking to each other or eating the multitude of pastries and sweets. Aizawa found himself relaxing, watching and supervising the kids. They even succeeded in getting him to join in one of their trivia games, though he was kicked out in the first round because Hizashi kept feeding him answers. They allowed him back in during the next round of the game, though Aizawa had to make Hizashi promise to keep his loud mouth shut.
He fared well in the trivia game even without his help, though he wasn’t great at the popular culture categories. Food arrived eventually, and Aizawa paid for it out of the student council budget. Surprisingly, there were no fights or arguments during the evening, everyone in high spirits and good nature. Bakugou and Midoriya stayed away from each other, no one used their quirks and caused some sort of disaster, and even Shinsou joined his new classmates in the festivities.
Many of them seemed wrapped up in their own things, whether that was telling stories to each other, playing games, or eating food, and Aizawa was put at ease by watching his students.
“Softie,” He heard Hizashi comment at one point, coming back from getting them both food and handing Aizawa a plate full of pastries that he liked. He’d already eaten enough of the greasy fast food to nearly make himself sick, but Hizashi knew him too well. Hizashi took his spot on the couch next to him, where he’d been talking with Aizawa or interacting with the kids for the past hour or so.
“I’m not that soft,” Aizawa said, leaning back on the couch, watching Shinsou, Midoriya, Iida, Todoroki, Uraraka, and Asui all playing some detective board game together. He was tempted to join in if they played another game of it, since the logic of it looked interesting, but for now, he was content just watching them and the other kids interact.
“You are, though,” Hizashi nudged him in the side. “Look at you. You’re so happy right now, just watching all your students having fun and being kids.”
“They won’t be kids for a lot longer. A few years. They should be able to enjoy it while they have it,” It was a weak defense, if it could even be counted as a defense, but he didn’t have much of an argument against Hizashi. As much as he hated to admit it, he was right. Aizawa had undeniably gotten more soft around the edges than usual for this class. “They deserve to be happy. And safe.”
He glanced around the room, not trying to hide his fondness for once. No one was left out, all of his students doing something with someone else. It was refreshing to see them like this—acting like kids and not like the mature adults they usually tried to be. They deserved times like these.
He continued watching them, starting to grow a little sleepy even though the event was only half over. Hizashi started talking again and Aizawa fell back into conversation with him, Shinsou eventually asking if Aizawa wanted to join their detective game, which Hizashi then also wanted to join and soon enough, he and Hizashi sat in a circle with the six kids, trying to figure out some kind of murder mystery right alongside them.
It was when they were almost done with the game that Aizawa heard his name being called.
“Aizawa-sensei—” He glanced up, Hizashi following his gaze, seeing Ashido and Hagakure crouched by the television and electronics near the windows, Mina looking clearly perplexed. “I can’t figure this out. We’re planning on watching a movie later, but I don’t know how to set this up. Can you and Mic-sensei help us?”
Shinsou rolled his eyes, “I guess we can put the game on pause while you guys go help them out.”
“You’re probably more help than I am,” Aizawa muttered, elbowing Hizashi in the side, moving to get up with Hizashi following right behind him. He made his way many decorations and strung out board games and other kids, until he crouched down next to Ashido, looking over the various electronics that Aizawa didn’t even understand. “What’s the problem?”
That was when Ashido burst into a flurry of giggles, Hagakure doing the same as they both backed away from him, leaving a confused and slightly irritated Aizawa staring at them. Hizashi and gotten down next to him, and Aizawa continued to stare at the two girls until Hizashi nudged him in the side, raising an eyebrow at him and pointing upwards, where Aizawa saw a suspiciously mistletoe-looking decoration hanging on the window above him.
“Shouta…” Hizashi started out, standing up and offering a hand to Aizawa, who took it and let Hizashi pull him up. “I think your students have been trying to get us together for the past few days.”
“This is the stupidest plan ever!” Drawing his attention away from Hizashi, Aizawa followed the frustrated yell to Jirou, who’d been standing with Yaoyorozu. She looked infuriated, scowling at the other two girls from across the room. “Did you two really think they wouldn’t figure it out? Come on.”
Yaoyorozu put her hand on Jirou’s arm, but didn’t argue or protest.
Aizawa turned back to Hizashi, “Have they?”
“Yeah,” Hizashi gave him a laugh, green eyes shining at him as he spoke. “I finally figured it out. This, the dancing stuff, getting me to stay in your apartment. They’ve been shoving us together at any chance they get, Shouta. I honestly thought they figured it out after this morning.”
“I did, too,” Aizawa looked around the room, the shocked stares of nineteen kids and a very unimpressed Shinsou meeting his eyes. Half of them wouldn’t even look at him, clearly too embarrassed.
“Yeah, but Mic-sensei is married,” It was Iida who spoke up, from where he still sat with the kids that Aizawa and Hizashi had been playing a board game with. “He was wearing a wedding ring this morning. It’d be immoral to try to get him to date Aizawa-sensei.”
Beside him, Hizashi started laughing again, but he stepped closer to Aizawa, wrapping an arm around his waist, and Aizawa let himself be pulled against his hip, only raising an eyebrow at the class president, “Oh, and who do you think Mic-sensei is married to?”
He really should’ve expected an answer like that from Kaminari. Aizawa shared a look with Hizashi, before sighing, his own hands digging under his scarf, drawing out the chain he always wore around his neck, holding it out so that the class could see it and the rings that hung around it.
Between his laughter, Hizashi found it in himself to explain, “Shouta doesn’t wear his rings on his hands. He’s too afraid that he’d lose them.”
“It’s more logical for me to do this,” Aizawa added on, tucking the chain beneath his sweater again. He turned his gaze back to Ashido and Hagakure again, giving them a hard look, “Are you two satisfied, or did you want to dig more into my personal life?”
Any student with a proper amount of common sense would’ve slunk off under his harsh gaze, but Ashido just gave a loud sound of happiness, throwing her arms into the air and shrieking a single word, “Kiss!”
Aizawa opened his mouth to argue and scold her, but Hizashi leaned into him, taking Aizawa’s face between his hands, Aizawa’s eyes going wide as Hizashi pressed his lips against his, feeling his face heat up at the embarrassment of this happening in front of his students. Hizashi didn’t even give him a chance to push him away, though, pulling from him after a short moment, the room erupting into cheers as, red-faced, Aizawa barked at them to get back to what they were doing.
The party closed up after midnight. The kids cleaned up and all sat or laid down to watch some movie. Aizawa, admittedly, dozed off during it, and was only awaken by Hizashi shaking him gently, pointing to Shinsou on the floor, curled up with a few blankets, near his classmates, also fast asleep. The movie was nearly over, but Aizawa got the hint, looking over how most of the class had dozed off, leaving only a few of them drowsily trying to stay awake. Aizawa yawned, figuring that he could easily wake Shinsou up and take the kid back to the apartment without much trouble, Hizashi telling him that he’d look after the kids and get them all to their rooms when the movie was over.
He moved to Shinsou, crouching down to shake the kid awake, watching as Shinsou opened his bleary eyes at him, looking like he was about to fall right back asleep.
“Time for bed,” Aizawa told him, but Shinsou didn’t move, only rolling over a little, clutching a blanket tighter against himself, making it clear that he didn’t want to make the trip back to the apartment, despite the fact that the journey wasn’t long at all. Aizawa stayed still, trying to decide whether to prod Shinsou again, leave him here and have Hizashi wake him up when the movie was finished, or just do what he usually did and carry him. His mind was made up for him, though, when Shinsou reached his arms out to him, closing his eyes again.
“You’re clearly taking after me in terms of laziness,” Aizawa commented dryly, though he made quick work of leaning in, allowing Shinsou to wrap his arms around his scarf-covered neck, fitting an arm under his legs, the other around his back, making sure to tuck the blanket under him as he lifted Shinsou. He did his best to make sure that none of the other students saw him, something that was a lot easier than it should’ve been, given that half the kids had worn themselves out and were asleep sprawled out together on the floor.
Getting Shinsou to the apartment was easy, as was taking the kid to his room. He pulled back the covers before setting Shinsou down on his bed, pulling the blankets back over him as Shinsou looked up at him with tired, half-asleep eyes.
“You know,” Aizawa smiled down at him, resting a hand in Shinsou’s wild hair. “You really could’ve just told them that Hizashi and I are married.”
“Wasn’t as fun,” Shinsou mumbled back at him, lips twitching upwards as he returned Aizawa’s smile.
“That’s what I thought,” Aizawa breathed his own yawn, turning to start heading out of the room, only looking back when he heard Shinsou mumble more to him.
It was rare that Shinsou was able to refer to him with even just his family name. The kid had a hard time not calling him ‘Sensei’. Aizawa didn’t really mind, but it always struck something in him to hear it. He hesitated in Shinsou’s doorway, watching as the kid closed his eyes and started to doze off, “Get some sleep. Hizashi will wake you up in the morning.”
He left him like that, not knowing if Shinsou even realized what the morning was. He left Shinsou’s door open, as well as his own, only giving his pile of grading a single look before deciding to leave it alone for the night and get some sleep. He fell asleep, in his own bed, waking up once Hizashi came in and crawled in beside him, dozing off again quickly when Hizashi pressed against him, kissing him on the head before laying down.
Aizawa had never been much for the holidays.
Whether it was because of his upbringing, the weather, his non-understanding of how they worked, or the workload he usually took on during this time of the year, he’d just never gotten into them. He didn’t understand the excitement for them.
Or, at least, he hadn’t.
Maybe he was starting to now.
Aizawa had never been much for the holidays.
But this? This he could deal with.
Shinsou woke up the next morning to Yamada’s loud voice.
At first, he had no idea why Yamada was in his room, much less why he was being so loud. His first reaction was panic, and he wondered if the fire alarms were going off again or something, before he came to enough to realize that Yamada was excited. Shinsou started to wake up more, and then a second realization hit him like a brick wall—it was goddamn Christmas day. It was Christmas day and his parents were trying to get him up and as Shinsou sat up in bed, finally calming Yamada’s loud voice, he stared blearily at him, Yamada grinning at him, still dressed in his pajamas, Aizawa-sensei leaning in his doorway with a cup of coffee in his hand.
“I tried to hold him off until at least mid-morning,” Aizawa told him, looking at him from the doorway, also still dressed in pajamas, though Shinsou noted that he was wearing the antlers from yesterday on his head. “He couldn’t wait any longer than that, though. Sorry.”
“No one gets to sleep in on holidays,” Yamada was pouting, looking appropriately sad and hurt by Aizawa’s words.
“Holidays are for sleeping in, Hizashi.”
“Don’t listen to him!” The pout cleared up almost immediately, and Yamada was back to being his usual excited self. “Come on, Hitoshi! You have to open presents and then eat breakfast and then we’re all gonna go out and—”
“You are definitely more excited about this than he is,” Aizawa took a long drink of his coffee, his tone teasing.
“No, I’m excited,” Shinsou told him, a little dumbfounded at how excited Yamada was getting over all this. He thought only little kids got this excited over this stuff. It wasn’t that he wasn’t curious what was in those boxes or that he didn’t want to spend time with Aizawa and Yamada, because he did, more than anything, and he was curious, it was just that expressing it was still a little…new. “Sorry, I’m just not used to it yet.”
“That’s to be expected,” Aizawa gave him an understanding look and then turned to Yamada again. “Come on, Hizashi. Leave the kid alone. He’ll come out when he’s ready.”
Accompanying his words, Aizawa reached out, grabbing the back of Yamada’s shirt and pulling until Yamada made a disappointed whining noise and relented, letting Aizawa pull him out of the room. Shinsou watched, letting himself smile a little. He knew, by now, that Yamada’s theatrics were all for show and that he was sulking about being pulled out of the room only to amuse Shinsou, and it was undeniably working. Shinsou was left alone in his room, the morning light filtering through the blinds on his window as he listened to the low conversation out in the main room. Within minutes, the smell of breakfast being started wafted into his room.
Shinsou sat up in his bed, hugging his multitude of blankets around him. It was new, all this and celebrating the holidays, but he’d learned that these two let him take things slow. Aizawa had meant it when he’d told Yamada that Shinsou would come out when he was ready, and Shinsou knew that he was allowed to take his time. Years in foster care had conditioned him to try to read between the lines of everything and look for hidden meaning, for things that hinted at someone wanting something from him, and it was just now that that conditioning was beginning to loosen its hold on him.
It was so different here. He had a room to himself, a warm house to come back to, people to talk to, plenty of food to eat—and above all, he finally, for the first time in his life, felt like he was part of a family. That was all he’d ever wanted, and now that he had it, Shinsou was happy. He was still learning, but that was alright, and Aizawa and Yamada gave him all the time and room he needed.
With that, Shinsou finally got out of bed, stretching his arms above his head and yawning, digging a sweater out of his dresser to throw on in an attempt to combat the slightly cold apartment, and then, without thinking twice, he left his room.
Yamada was quick to greet him as soon as he did, rushing out into the living room, grinning from ear to ear and seemingly bouncing with excitement. Aizawa followed behind him, looking a little more tired, as if Yamada had gotten him up too early. He yawned, sitting on the couch in the living room, Hizashi immediately beckoning Shinsou over to the tree with the boxes shoved under it. Shinsou paused, but approached Yamada, sitting on the floor when the man patted the carpet next to him, basically throwing a box into his lap as soon as he did.
“Hizashi, take it slow,” Aizawa warned, sitting above Shinsou on the couch. “Don’t scare him.”
“I’m just excited,” Yamada said, though some of the excitement dropped out of his voice. He pointed at the box in Shinsou’s lap. “That one’s from Shouta. I just wrapped it. If I hadn’t, he would’ve just given it to you in a plastic bag or something.”
“I’m not good at wrapping.”
Yamada stuck his tongue out at Aizawa, “I know.”
Shinsou stared down at his lap, at the box wrapped in bright paper and adorned with ribbons and a disturbing amount of glitter. Yamada really hadn’t held back on wrapping it, and the box looked so nice that Shinsou didn’t even want to tear the paper off. He didn’t want to ruin it, but Yamada and Aizawa were both looking at him and Yamada in particular was fixing him with an expectant gaze, so Shinsou silently felt around the box until he found a seam in the paper, carefully tearing it around the ribbon, trying to preserve the bow Yamada had made. Under the colorful paper was a plain box, and Shinsou curiously opened it to find what looked like a digital tablet inside.
“It’s a reading tablet,” Aizawa quickly explained from above him. “You’ve taken an interest in reading lately. I thought it might be easier to take that around with you instead of having to go to the library every time you want to read something new. There’s a lot of books on there we thought you might like.”
“I…didn’t think you noticed,” He twisted around to look up at Aizawa, holding the box in his hands. He had taken more of an interest in reading recently, since he could take books home now without having to worry about them getting stolen or destroyed. Yamada had been the one to accidentally introduce him to it, since he’d asked Shinsou if he’d read some popular series, picking the first books up from the library when Shinsou said he hadn’t. This meant a lot to him, not just because it would make Shinsou’s life a lot easier, but because it meant that Aizawa had actually paid attention to him and noticed something that would make things easier.
“I don’t ignore the things you do,” Aizawa told him softly, reaching down and patting Shinsou’s head in the way that made him feel warm inside. It was Aizawa’s way of showing affection, and Shinsou felt pleasantly warm every time he did it.
“Thank you,” Shinsou told him quietly, continuing to hold Aizawa’s gaze until an excited exclamation from Yamada drew his attention away.
“Mine next!” Yamada was pushing a larger box at him a moment later, Shinsou tearing his gaze from Aizawa.
“Okay,” It felt a little easier this time, even when he was being watched by both Aizawa and Yamada. He did the same thing, tearing around the ribbon tied on top of the box, accidentally dumping a bunch of the silver glitter onto the carpet in the process. Yamada only laughed, though, urging Shinsou on until he go all the paper off, exposing another plain box. This one was a lot bigger and heavier than the previous one, and when Shinsou opened it, he discovered why.
He remembered, offhandedly, Yamada asking him what his favorite colors were.That had been months ago, but he knew why now, because inside the box was a heavy knitted lavender and yellow blanket, with a cat pattern knit into it. He reached out, taking the edge of it between his fingers, the yarn Yamada had used for it soft and nice-feeling to the touch. It was the type of blanket he liked, too—heavy and huge, large enough to wrap around him multiple times. He smiled to himself, starting to pull it out of the box and into his lap and almost instantly Yamada helped him, Shinsou discovering a knitted scarf at the bottom of the box, brown and long, with a paw print pattern on the end of it.
“This must have taken a long time,” He pulled the blanket around his shoulders, the material soft against his skin, and he sighed under the weight of it. Yamada was beaming at him, clearly pleased that Shinsou had liked his gift, and Shinsou was determined to not take the blanket off unless he absolutely had to. He saw what Yaoyorozu meant about handmade and sentimental things, gifts that showed people cared and paid attention. It was a lot easier to understand now. He breathed out, smiling again, “Thank you. I didn’t know you were making this for me.”
Yamada could clearly barely contain his excitement, “Oh, well, I tried to hide it! There were a couple times I thought you caught me, but I’m happy you didn’t. Aw, look, you’re so cute with that wrapped around you. Let me take a photo. Shouta, you too!”
“Come up here,” Aizawa patted the spot on the couch next to him, and Shinsou didn’t hesitate in sitting close to him, dragging the blanket with him so that it was draped over his shoulders and partially over Aizawa’s lap. He leaned in close, and Aizawa didn’t push him away, instead glancing at him before wrapping an arm around his shoulders. Yamada stood in front of them, getting ready to take the picture, when Shinsou thought better and spoke up.
“Wait, no. You, too, Yamada,” He was a little embarrassed to say it, but Yamada seemed to understand, grinning as he flopped down on the couch on Shinsou’s other side, holding the camera up and leaning in close so that he brushed against Shinsou’s other arm, giving a yell before taking the picture.
They waited until later for Aizawa and Yamada to open Shinsou’s gifts. He made it clear that he’d already had enough embarrassment for now and was feeling a little overwhelmed, and the other two were fine with waiting. He opened the last few boxes under the tree, finding with amusement that Aizawa had given him a winter hat with cat ears and they’d given him a game for his handheld that Shinsou remembered talking about months ago, but had never gotten around to buying. He was happy, warm inside, but it was a lot, and Shinsou really just wanted some time to relax before anything else.
They lounged around the house for a while, Yamada making them a huge breakfast, Aizawa falling asleep on the couch soon after and Shinsou starting a new book on the tablet he’d given him, Yamada’s blanket draped over him. He’d dozed off at some point, too, waking up to read a few pages every now and then, listening to the radio show Yamada put on and sitting in the comfortable quiet with his newfound parents.
When mid-afternoon rolled around, Yamada got them up, Aizawa protesting and complaining, and drove the three of them into the heart of the district the school was in. They walked the streets a little, until Aizawa complained to Yamada about being tired, and then ducked into a restaurant, meeting Kayama Nemuri and Fukukado Emi for dinner before returning back home. Most of the other students, he knew, were also spending the day with their families, and Shinsou, for once, didn’t feel jealous. He had his own parents to spend time with, even if it was his first holiday doing so.
Being home again was nice, though, and Shinsou found himself able to relax and enjoy the time spent in the apartment. He read more, talked with Aizawa and Yamada, and finally, when his nerves finally calmed themselves, Shinsou found the confidence to drop his badly wrapped gifts into Yamada and Aizawa’s laps and stare at them, unable to say anything, biting his bottom lip, until Yamada took initiative and started tearing the shabby wrapping job from his.
“It’s, uh, a mix of a bunch of music,” Clearly, that’s what it was, but Shinsou felt the need to fill the silence with words. He’d bought a bunch of blank discs, knowing that Yamada still liked to use now-archaic music formats, and had figured out a way to make Yamada a few albums worth of music. He’d even gone as far to make covers for them, trying to sort the music by mood. “That day when you took me into the studio a month ago—you showed me a bunch of music that you liked. I put some of that on there and I tried to find stuff similar to it. Stuff that, you know, kind of reminded me of you.”
Just when he felt like he was talking himself into a corner, Yamada reached out, wrapping his arms tightly around Shinsou, making him squeak with surprise as he hugged him tightly. Usually, Shinsou was the one who’d ask if he wanted to be hugged, mostly because both of them seemed to be aware that Shinsou was easily startled due to past experiences, but this was fine, and even though he felt like Yamada was somehow trying to squeeze the breath from his lungs, he was able to hug him back.
“Hizashi, don’t suffocate him,” Aizawa scolded gently, just as Shinsou was about to tell Yamada that he couldn’t breathe. Following his words, Yamada let up enough to let Shinsou breathe.
“You—you actually like it?” He’d kind of felt like his gift was stupid and inane, like he should’ve actually gotten something real for Yamada and not just made him a bunch of mixes of songs that reminded him of him, so this reaction was…unexpected.
Yamada pulled away from him, still holding him by the shoulders, “I love it! I’m gonna play these on my radio show.”
Shinsou had to look away from him, face heating up, “Please don’t. I’ll die of embarrassment.”
“Good music taste is nothing to be embarrassed of,” Yamada let go of him, sitting back and looking through the cases that Shinsou had made for him.
That left Aizawa, and he was already unwrapping it, having searched out the seam in the lumpy, soft package by the time Shinsou was able to look at him. He looked focused on undoing Shinsou’s wrapping, and when he finally had it all off the object, holding the thing between his hands, he didn’t even hesitate, and seemed to know immediately what it was.
“This looks like the one I gave you while you were in the hospital.”
It was a small cat plush, grey striped and soft, and Aizawa was right—it was a copy of the one he’d given Shinsou in the hospital, the one that currently adorned the top of their holiday tree. Shinsou rubbed the back of his neck, voice quiet as he tried to explain the meaning behind his gift, “The one you gave me helps me sleep. And you have sleeping problems, so I thought…”
He trailed off, daring to glance back at Aizawa, finding him fixing Shinsou with a small, private smile, the one that Shinsou hardly ever saw him give to anyone else. It was a relief, at least, that Aizawa didn’t think it was stupid and actually seemed to get the meaning behind it.
“It might cure my insomnia,” Aizawa commented.
“I hope so! You get up so much, Shouta, it can’t be good for you.”
Shinsou laughed at that, the tension washing off of him in waves, “Sorry, I didn’t really know what to get you guys. I called Yaoyorozu and she said sentimental things were good, so that’s what I went for.”
“Kid, it’s perfect!” As always, Yamada was loud and excited, but Shinsou was starting to get used to that.
“Hey, come here,” Aizawa beckoned him forward, indirectly asking permission, and Shinsou immediately climbed onto the couch between them, letting Aizawa wrap his arms around him. It was rare that Aizawa ever initiated affection like this, instead seeming to prefer that Shinsou come to him. He was a bit weird with physical affection, always being alright with it when Shinsou wanted it, but never initiating it himself, and Shinsou let his guard completely down, burying his face in Aizawa’s sweater, taking a shaky breath.
“You know we love you, kid,” Yamada continued, and Shinsou felt his hand at his back, patting him slightly. “We’re happy to have you in our family.”
“I like being here,” Shinsou responded, voice shaking, being honest with both himself and Aizawa and Yamada. “Thank you for taking me in.”
Aizawa had never been much for holidays, and maybe Shinsou hadn’t either, mostly because he’d never celebrated holidays before. But things changed, and Shinsou was more than happy to let them change, and even if he was still learning and experiencing things he hadn’t before, he was confident in saying that he was happy with his new family, and that this was all he’d ever wanted.