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Stab My Back

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Shinso had just finished hanging a posted of a peppermint-colored cat on his wall when there was a knock on his door. He opened it, blinking in surprise. “Mr. Aizawa! I was expecting Shoto.”

“That’s exactly what I want to talk to you about,” Aizawa said, looking at peppermint cat and not at Shinso. “—may I come in?”

...what an oddly frightening way to start a conversation!

 


 

“Of course. Sir. Just…” Shinso gestured helplessly around the mass of boxes more or less swallowing the room next to Midoriya’s. “I haven’t had a chance to fully unpack yet, even though I think Shoto’s already pulled out the floor in his room and remodeled everything—”

“So that’s what all that banging was when I was trying to take a nap,” Aizawa said thoughtfully, sounding much calmer than he felt.

‘Speaking of banging,’ he imagined himself saying, and screamed internally.

But no! He couldn’t crumble under the pressure! His pupil needed him to pass on some sage advice.

“Yeah. On the one hand, I’m impressed, but on the other hand, worried about how I’ll ever impress him …”

“About that,” Aiawa said at long last, and Shinso looked wary.

“...did Endeavor talk to the school again like he did about the training camp?” Shinso’s eyes narrowed, and at his sides his hands drew into fists. 

While Aizawa understood his pupil’s feelings towards the Number One Hero, he couldn’t encourage them. “No,” Aizawa said at once, because although Endeavor had thrown a prissy little batch fit about the fact that the school wasn’t going to place his child in a separate dorm from his boyfriend, this conversation hadn’t been a result of that. All Aizawa had done for Endeavor was pointed out dryly that moving Todoroki out of the 1-A dorm was both a punishment and an impediment to his studies.

Endeavor hadn’t backed down easily at that, but since refusing UA’s request to house his son had never really been in question because of his ambitions, Aizawa had napped upright through a large portion of the raging that followed.

So he was here not on Endeavor’s behalf, but as a mentor and teacher.

I wanted to ask you why you thought that there was no real discussion about rules when you moved in here, versus when class 1-A attended the training camp.”

Shinso frowned, but it wasn’t an emotional response. He was considering Aizawa’s words logically. “...because they’ve already been established?”

Wrong or not, Aizawa still felt proud. Endeavor especially seemed to be a berserk button for Shinso, which the boy would need to learn to suppress on his way to becoming a hero. Even if Endeavor had proved to be a particularly nasty case who might face actual consequences, often the heroes one worked with were less tolerable than the villains, because they kept coming back every week. “It’s because there aren’t any—at least, not that kind.” Aizawa looked at peppermint cat again as he said ‘ that ’. “The training camp was a school-sanctioned event. A field trip, more or less. The dorms’ connection to the school is more tenuous.

“In order to build them so fast, our principal couldn’t rely on taxpayer money. Probably knew he couldn’t rely on funding anyway, because they’re still furious he slipped a decimal point between the ‘1’ and ‘0’ on how many years the Giant Robot Budget was meant to be stretched across. How he raised so much money in such a short time is both concerning and not important—”

And probably involves an infuriatingly sunny ex-hero with a blood-coughing problem…

“—but the bottom line is, private housing, even on school property, can’t regulate its residents to that level. It’s an unfortunate loophole, in my opinion, that would open up far too much potential for underage drinking on top of everything else, but I know that even an actual series of rules wouldn’t be enough to keep some individuals from breaking them.”

Shinso opened his mouth.

“Yes, I mean Bakugo and Kirishima. Now—I won’t be having this talk with them, but I’ve asked All Might to do it (Bakugo respects him more, that little shot ), and I will be talking to Oijiro and Hagakure as soon as we’re done. You and Todoroki aren’t being singled out, either because of who his father is or because you’re both young men.”

He hoped, coming from him, that might ring true...even if his confession to Shinso that he was in a ‘something’ at the moment hadn’t specified a male something. “I’m asking all of the couples in this building to manage their relationships logically. I can’t tell you what not to do, but I can tell you, as an adult, that this move is going to change things for everyone. It’s going to give you opportunities you didn’t have before...along with challenges. It will be harder to get space when you’re angry or overwhelmed, and to draw boundaries. Most of you have known each other only a few months, and have been dating for less than that. To give your relationship the best chance to survive, you need to acknowledge that newness and proceed with caution.”

Aizawa dragged his fingers through his hair, grimacing. “For everyone’s sake as well as yours. If even one couple breaks up the next year at the very least is going to be miserable for everyone. With that in mind...this isn’t just about you and Todoroki.”

“Meaning ‘don’t monopolize the common area to make out and make everyone afraid to use the showers on the first floor’?” Shinso asked.

Aizawa cracked a smile. “Precisely. In all honesty, Shinso, I may be worried about you the least. You’ve been trying very hard to maintain my trust, and I appreciate that.”

Some greater emotion flickered behind the boy’s eyes, but he didn’t make a scene over it. “Thank you, sir. —have you talked to Sh—Todoroki about this yet?”

Aizawa forced himself not to make a face. “I started with the easiest talk and plan to work my way up. Your boyfriend will be after Oijiro and Hagakure...I’m sure his father has given enough lectures on the subject to make any sort of talk about sex with him uncomfortable for all involved.”

“We didn’t really talk about sex ,” Shinso said as he got up, probably tempted enough by curiosity to press Aizawa a little.

“Sex is overrated,” Aizawa said dismissively, “I survived over three decades just fine without it.”

 




“I’m surprised you didn’t take UA up on their offer for staff housing,” All Might ventured, and Aizawa lifted his cheek off the man’s bare chest in order to look at him.

“My ‘housing’ is perfectly fine.” Even if he was currently in All Might’s, and had been most nights that week.

It was a logical choice. All Might lived closer to campus, and Aizawa had grown more comfortable staying over in the fledgling days of their relationship helping All Might shower with a cast and slowly come to terms with his retirement. He could complete his morning routine anywhere—he didn’t have one. When All Might slept over at his place, there was a scramble to get a change of clothes, the horrific dawning realization that Aizawa didn’t own any hair gel (he’d borrowed Mic’s for the press conference), and a million other things that made life harder for All Might. So, when the question of whose bed they’d be sleeping in that night came up, Aizawa was quick to cut through All Might’s polite stammering and get to the point. He was fine, really, no matter where he slept; some nights he even prefered his solitude. But when they were together, he didn’t ‘need’ anything. Just All Might.

Who had, naturally, turned into an incoherent blushing mess at that dry comment.  Most of the time, Aizawa couldn’t understand the charm All Might seemed to find in him.

But...when it felt like this to be held, he was perfectly fine letting All Might continue to believe he was someone charming and sexy and desirable.

It was only logical to want to be happy.

“You’ve been worried about the children, and since you’re not particularly concerned about where you’re living…”

Ah, he wanted to know why Aizawa had turned down Nezu’s offer to move into a faculty dorm on campus. Aizawa would have preferred if he’d just asked, plain and simple, but maybe one day he could convince All Might to speak plainly with him.

But...maybe it was as hard for his lover to speak plainly as it was for him to dress his words up in optimism and smarm and pointless banter. That would mean they were on equal footing.

“I worry about the students,” he confirmed, pretending as through the fingers pulling lightly through his hair (removing the tangles he’d felt earlier while talking to Shinso) weren’t distracting him. “But I can’t watch them while I’m asleep. Ultimately, that’s what my home is: where I sleep. If they need me, I can always put in more hours.” A pause. The fingers didn’t still. “—besides. I like my privacy. Our privacy.”

Could they be doing this in a dorm for teachers? ...probably. Everyone was so grateful to All Might, and concerned for him, and in a pinch he supposed the staff would rally around them. So it was Aizawa who would be made uncomfortable by all those eyes on them—on him —and he hoped he’d conveyed a fraction of the pressure that would cause to Shinso.

The students would also have eyes on them , and unlike an underground hero and a retiree, what they did now would follow them throughout their entire careers.

“I understand—but I want you to know, I’m nothing but honored to be with you. Our age gap and genders are no one’s business but our own…”

All Might was saying his useless-but-pretty things, and Aizawa let him. But when he was done, he propped himself up further on All Might’s chest.

(Mindful... always mindful...of the scars.)

“How did talking to Bakugo and Kirishima go?”

“I— well ,”

“Toshi,” Aizawa groaned, dropping his face back to All Might’s skin, and therefore hiding the entirely undue amount of disappointment he felt. More important than any broken promises were the possible ramifications for both Bakugo and Kirishima, along with their classmates who would be subjected to the nuclear fallout of that relationship. “I asked you to help me for a reason! Tomorrow, I need to—”

“No, no, I did speak with them!” All Might said quickly. “—I just don’t feel like it went very well…”

Aizawa lifted his head again. “Oh, is that all?” He rolled off of All Might and scooted higher on the bed so that their faces were level, his propped on his hand.

“I’d been hoping to be able to bring you a favorable report—you’re not disappointed?”

“Of course not,” Aizawa scoffed. “It was inevitable that they’d present the biggest challenge. I asked you to do it to get the best possible results, not perfect ones. Tell me what happened.”

All Might fussed with the sheet where Aizawa had been as he gathered his thoughts. “I spoke to young Kirishima first. I don’t think I got through to him. He kept repeating that he and Bakugo have had a discussion about their boundaries, and they were fine.”

When All Might reached up to rub his forehead, he looked gaunt and tired. “In other situations—other lessons—the students have wanted to learn something from me. I’m not sure...how to convince them that I have something valuable to teach when they don’t already believe that.”

Did your book talk about that? Aizawa wondered, glancing at An Idiot’s Guide to Teaching on the table next to the bed. But he didn’t interrupt. “So Kirishima thinks they have things under control. What did Bakugo say?”

“He was...hostile.”

“Predictable.”

“Yes, I was ready for that!” All Might smiled that stupid sunny smile that Aizawa stupidly loved. “I told him that no one had to know that he’d taken my advice, and that it wasn’t even really advice, per se. Just an observation from further down the road.”

Further down the road, hm? Even if they were young and hot-headed, it was obvious to anyone what Kirishima and Bakugo were. They were young and stupidly in love. Some part of Aizawa did think that might have been nice, to find someone he worked well alongside much earlier. But at their age, he had had no idea that he’d be teaching at UA first and working as a hero second. If he’d envisioned a partner, it would not have been an older retiree who was now Quirkless.

Which just went on to prove that teenagers were idiots and he really did think that he and All Might had perspective that their students would benefit from. Not enough to tell them who he was dating, but perhaps he’d feel settled enough into all of this to tell them that he was seeing someone seriously.

“...what is it?” All Might asked, alerting Aizawa to the fact that he was smiling.

I’m just thinking how lucky I am, to not have to be madly in love from the start. That you’re confident and content that it’s inevitable.

“—it sounds like the sort of thing he’d listen to,” Aizawa said evasively. He’d bring... other things up as it became appropriate. “And I doubt that book came prepared to handle Bakugo. You’re doing just fine without it.”

‘Just fine’ was damnably faint praise, but All Might beamed all the same. “I should go grade papers while I’m on a roll, then—get my evening cleared so I can watch the sunset from my roof.”

Former top heroes and their stupid penthouse apartments…

Not that All Might made a big show out of his residual wealth. He nudged Aizawa as he climbed out of the bed. “Coming?”

“I’m going to sleep ,” Aizawa grumbled, rolling into the sheets to try to approximate the sleeping bag he was approximately one ‘I love you’ away from bringing along to All Might’s bed and forgoing politeness. He was already losing so much sleep from... this , between getting poked in the night by a scrawny elbow or keeping each other up late far more sweetly.

There were few things Aizawa hated more than sleep deprivation, but when he opened his eyes a crack and saw the disappointed slope of All Might’s shoulders in the doorway, he grunted, “Wake me up for the sunset.”