Dabi has left him waiting again and fuck it’s cold this time.
Hoping to ward off the sharp stiff chill he breathes a bit of life into his palms. Their meetings have always been like this, at some unrecognizable place between dusk and dawn, but the last few weeks-- as they’ve entered the deep-end of winter-- it’s become unbearable and he’s good with the cold, his body is fucking adapted for high altitude flights. Another bitter chill slides past his cheek and he digs deeper into his coat, fuck its gruesome.
Usually his forays in the dark are not so bad, he’d already be awake just off patrol and warm with adrenaline, but today was a hard-won battle with his comforter after three days of not seeing it and nothing about this mission seems all that worth it anymore.
Frustration rises with each visible breathe, his chest constricting as he tries to tamper down the feeling. Each pulse of cold whipping away the nudging voice at the back of his head reminding him that this is a mission. How he acts now is important.
He moves to pace back to the other end of the abandoned factory, but the metal door screeches open, Dabi’s smirk mean in its place.
“Eat it, shitty bird.”
He fucking hates this guy, but holds back the sharpness edging up his throat with a deep breath. “Are you really the only contact available?”
Dabi gives him a look, “Hold on, let me ask fucking HR.” Right, stupid question, but fuck that doesn't make it any better and however irrational it is, his knuckles ache for rough contact.
“Fuck you.” He takes a slim folder from his jacket, “This is what you asked for. Any news on my position in the league?”
“What? No flirting today?”
He takes a few steps forward, holding out the folder for Dabi. He doesn’t move, so Hawks lets it flop to the concrete below, “I’ll take that as a no. I’m leaving.”
He imagines if Dabi could give a shocked look around all the scarring he would, but he can’t and Hawks just has to take pleasure in the surprised curl of his lips. Anger momentarily abated, he turns with the feeling of sweet justification.
And of course, he only gets a few steps away, before, “What the fuck is wrong with you today.”
That almost-nice feeling burns away and is head whips back almost on its own accord, “You made me wait 30 fucking minutes and it’s fucking freezing.”
Dabi shrugs, but there’s nothing nonchalant about the pull of his face, he’s all sharp corners oozing confidence. “It’s cold? I didn’t notice.” And as if to prove his point he snaps his fingers, summoning a small flick of blue.
Hawk’s teeth clack audibly, “You’re a bastard.”
“And you might be the last person in the world to realize that.”
He scoffs, “Is it so hard to send a quick text. Just a: ‘Oh, I’m an asshole. On my way though!’” He mimics Dabi’s low cadence, adding a mean doopy inflection. He winces right after saying it, so much for his facade. But fuck, he’s tired of this game.
“That’s not very fun.” And Dabi does it again, that grim smug look pulls taught across his face.
The next few seconds go by in a woosh of cold air, the feel of hard concrete thudding against his knees, a feather sharp in hand.
And Dabi looking up at him, fucking smiling, “I knew you had it in you.”
Whatever self control Hawks has left is gone in the next moment, and all he wants is flesh against his blade, and bone to his knuckle. The taste of iron in his mouth. And he takes what he wants. It’s fucking exhilerating.
He throws a few good hits before Dabi rolls them, slamming Hawks hard enough to the floor that he grunts. Knuckles land angrily on his abdomen, and then another to the cheek. Once, twice. Until Hawks presses his wings down with all his force, bodily propelling Dabi’s weight off. He dizzily stumbles to where he landed, and collapses on him, using all his weight to hold him down. Fist raised square to that smug look, he leans back gathering all his power... and there’s something hard pressing back.
His snap reaction fueled by adreneline is, oddly enough, triumph. Like this means he's won some sort of sick game he didn’t know he was playing. And then, of course, in the next moment he’s flushed, becuase what was that noise that just came out of his own mouth? A whimper? How fucking long has it been since he’s had this sort of attention?
He wants to rip the pleased look right off Dabi’s face. He even moves to pull away, but goes right back in when Dabi presses warm hands against his lower back. And he whines again when one reaches under his jacket, to where skin meets tight spandex just below his wings. And achingly slow fingers slide along his spine.
Fuck! He bites down on his lip, maybe too hard, to keep another noise at bay. Warmth trails down his chin, the taste of iron against his lips and he concentrates on that, desperate for the moment to pass. Because honestly, “What the fuck, Dabi?”
Dabi just rolls his eyes, “Don’t make it a thing, bird brain.”
The hands move away, and he’s cold again. Chilly pre-dawn peaks through the shattered windows, hits his back and there is no warmth, but it still pushes against the dark, landing in muted waves across Dabi's face, oscillating across each glinting staple. And the light doesn't dull the dark purple, doesn't hide a single sharp line from Hawks. He could leave now. He should leave, walk away while he still can. But caught in soft grainy light nothing feels out of reach, not the desperation in Dabi's eyes, not the beginning ache of bruises flushed from the base of his wings to his belly. There's only now, a body pressed against his, and an unforgiving urge.
The hand now at his hip feels so good, and it has been for-fucking ever since he’s gotten laid.
“Fuck it.” And he dives in.
“Do you even own a watch?” Hawks sighs.
“Any news for me?”
He sighs, “Back to one syllable answers, huh? We fuck a few times and you’re scared off?” The dull glow of the streetlight just touches Dabi’s boots, he steps back when Hawks moves towards him, but enough light glints off his face that Hawks sees it, the way his face bleeds at the edges, staples misplaced. He lifts a hand, Dabi moves even further away, “What happened?"
And he leaves. Without explanation, without the information Hawks had agonized over for days.
It’s fucking annoying, but even worse it leaves him restless. The night sky just a blur as he gusts back to a too-big apartment.
The next meeting Dabi is prompt, maybe suspiciously so, and all they do is fuck. The storage unit creaking angrily below.
“I looked you up.”
Hawks glances over from his spot sprawled out on the grim motel bed. “And?”
Hawks can’t help the smirk, he’d spent a long time wiping the books clean and it hadn't been easy. “Good.”
This is usually where people ask his real name, but Dabi just tugs a feather, “I guess Hawks fits.”
Hawks blinks, and then smiles, its the one that's small and shy and makes him feel weak, Dabi frowns in response-- it’s a more concerned look than he should be allowed. The look heats his face with what he's sure is an unattractive flush, he tries covering it with a laugh, but doubts his success.
“You would think that, you’re so simple.”
Dabi’s expressing shifts to a more familiar frown, “Fuck off, I’m not the one with a bird brain.”
“But you couldn’t come up with anything better than Dabi?”
“Dabi is a great fucking name.”
“Yeah, so mysterious.”
Dabi rolls over him, his body taught and imposing above-- chest pale and still glinting with post-sex sweat-- and he says, in his most annoying tone, “Put your fucking tail feathers away chicken, I'm gonna make you burn." And maybe it's meant to be sexy, or intimidating, or some weird combination of the two, that kind of sexy-wretch look Dabi's always so hellbent on projecting, but to Hawks, it's fucking playful. Like Dabi's some cat chasing a string. Or would it be a bird, he wonders. The thought makes him laugh.
“Wow, what a turn on.” He says between a chuckle and piggish snort, “Give it to me good, Mr. Man.”
Dabi looks down at him, the smirk that used to annoy the shit out of him in place and now edging closer to endearing. “You’re so fucking weird.”
And maybe Dabi isn’t thinking, or maybe he’s thinking too much, because for the first time since they started doing this he leans down for a kiss.
It’s as calloused and chapped as Hawks imagined. It’s also too perfect. He fucking hates that.
And when Dabi pulls away-- something confused cuts across the staples and burnt skin, like he hadn’t known what he was doing-- Hawks chases him for another.
Fuck it, right?
“What time is it?”
“Don’t worry about it chicken wing.”
A calloused arm moves over his waist, it’s too warm, and really it’s all he should be worried about, becuase this shouldn’t be normal. Dabi shouldn’t be in his apartment much less his bed, pressed against him chest to chest, his fingers rubbing in that delicate space between wings. He smells like ash, and it's comforting like a freshly blown out match. It should remind him of a crematorium.
Yet Hawks can’t even bring himself to lift his head from the pillow.
“Stop thinking, idiot.” He says it soft, his voice barely a rasp, like Hawks might break if he talks to loud. Like Hawks wasn't built for war.
There are so many responses he should have. Most involve yelling and call for blood because how can Dabi be so fucking gentle with Hawks now, and murder someone tomorrow. And how fucking dare he make Hawks feel like this. The man is sewn together contradictions and Hawks should rip him open, expose all the raw gashes for what he knows they are: a self-implosion hiding behind anger. And it’s unforgivable really, the lengths this man has gone through to pretend.
But, maybe Hawks is a fucking mess too, because all he can manage is, “Not an idiot.”
They're back to their roots, huddled in the corner of some abandoned factory, but really it's unlike any time before. It is night, because that's one constant they can't quite shake, but it's also edging on summer, almost too warm for his jacket. He still presses closer to Dabi's chest and nods.
Dabi flicks his wrist and blue flames spring along his palm. He looks up, and Dabi's staring at the fire, each flicker impossibly blue against his eyes. His brow is creased in that minuscule way it gets, the way that months ago he wouldn't have noticed. Dabi gets lost in his head like this sometimes; Hawks still isn't exactly sure where he goes. Isn't sure he wants to know either, he's bore witness to many nightmares and their accompanying tremors.
He presses a finger to the crease between eyebrows and waits until Dabi looks down at him to says, "Thanks, you big burnt asshole."
Dabi laughs in that way he only does when he's caught off guard, all opened mouth and closed eyes. Hawk's has to look away, eyes drawn down to the still flickering blue light. Objectively it's beautiful, dancing melodiously across a palm, some twists accompanied by a bubbling crackle. He stares into its depths, a moth distracted from the very real moon above. The electric blue is quickly becoming too much for him to fly away from and he wonders how long it'll be until this false light swallows him whole.
Hawks lifts a hand lazily, hopping down from a window, “I learnt from the best.”
“You weren’t at your apartment yesterday.”
“I told you not to go there anymore.”
Dabi grabs his hand, twisting him around until his wings are pressed flush to the factory wall. “You’re avoiding me.”
“I’m here now, aren’t I?”
“This is league business. I meant me, you're avoiding me .”
He makes it a point to lift his head, tries not to startle at the brightness in the blue of Dabi’s eye, he doesn't think he's ever met someone with such a beautiful color. He shakes his head, “You are League business.”
“That’s not what it sounded like in your bed last week. Remember when you were under me, screaming--.”
“Shut up.” Fuck, he hates this guy, “I can’t do this anymore, OK?”
He should excpect the way Dabi leans in all long and lanky bent over him, he wishes he didn’t like it so much. His breath cuts hot through the air. “But you want to, right?”
He does, he really does. But he can’t. He jerks his head side to side.
Dabi pushes away to lean against the opposite container, his expression giving away nothing but hard-edged self-confidence, “Don’t lie, you’re hard.”
“A biological reaction, asshole. I don’t want you”
“Tell that to your face.” He pulls out a cigarette and Hawks is sure it’s to annoy him, he’s made it clear he hates the smell. Dabi lights it with an extra annoying flick of his finger, “Go then, I won’t stop you, hero.”
“But, the information-.”
“You should give up now idiot, you’re not cut out for this.”
“All these months, and that’s it? Because I won’t fuck you anymore?”
Dabi look up at him, his eyes cutting in a way Hawks hadn’t seen for a long time, “I’m doing you a favor, go squawk somewhere else.” And he knows Dabi well enough now to know when there’s no moving him, so he does.
Dabi doesn't take any of his calls after that.
Months pass, the committee tell him to redirect his plan and try another path of entry, he pursues it, and then another and another. It’s draining. And all the while, he’d forgotten what a lonely life he had before. What an empty apartment. How boring food tastes. And he works, and works, the crime is getting worse, more frequent and always more brutal.
A robbery gone bad, two dead. A double murder-suicide. An attack at a civilian day-care . Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. It goes on and on. And no noticeable connections to the League. It seems the world is getting darker even without their help.
Thursday and he can only watch as a building collapses in one of the more run-down neighborhoods. There's the rumble of collapsing stone and screams, and then only the never ending blare of sirens. He’d only saved two children. They’re orphans now.
He thinks he’s breaking.
And somehow when he gets home Dabi is waiting in his apartment, sitting on his couch like he never left.
“Saw the news.” He says, as if that’s an explanation. Maybe it is, Hawks hasn’t seen his own reflection in days, and for awhile now Dabi has been able to read him in a way he’d thought he’d trained away years ago.
He doesn’t think about that. Doesn’t think about how nice it is to have the lights already on, and warmth, another voice. He collapses against Dabi, leaning over him, like he had all that time ago in that dingy warehouse. He’s not hard now, but still Hawks says,
“You were right.” He whispers into Dabi’s bare shoulder hours later, “Something needs to change.” He’s almost not lying.
And maybe that’s what leads to the response, “It’s time you met Shigaraki.”
He curls against Dabi and desperately holds back a sob. It’s too late for that now.
"What are you doing?"
He lowers the phone slowly. And hangs up mid-ring. "Just making a call."
"Don't fucking lie." Dabi says it with the sharp edge of a threat. The tone is like an alarm bell, because Dabi's been inching closer to the truth ever since Shigaraki took one look at Hawks and decided he hated him. The idea of it hurt at first, that he could lose whatever loyalty Dabi had for him so fast. That maybe all the late nights really were just easy fucks. Then he'd caught sight of the staples torn along his arms, the skin and burns gaping and picked-over, and Hawks understood how much more it hurt Dabi to be split apart. Caught in the rotting place between truth and fooling yourself. It's all Hawks's fault, but he hasn't allowed himself to feel guilty, not even when wrapped in those too warm arms. He's far to culpable to drag himself out of that particular pit of self-loathing.
He covers up any visible anxieties with a short laugh, "I'm not."
"Who do you have to call? Everyone that works for you is asleep."
The implication stings, but no more than sharp fear of his fuck up. Because surely that's what this is, Dabi knows him, knows his socialization (or lack of), his patterns, each of his strange habits. And he knows Dabi too, can tell he's acting more suspicious than those rose-colored glasses can blur, it's all in the sharp tilt of blue eyes. He should've waited, he even knew that in the moment, but he'd learned they had a kid hostage and the thought had gnawed at him until he relented. A moment of kind weakness maybe, but foolish nonetheless.
Dabi slides the phone from his hand, redialing the last number called, and for a strange misbalanced moment Hawks is indignant like they are in anything close to a normal relationship, like privacy was a right. But then his contact answers on the second ring and whatever prideful thing had dazed him focuses starkly, because he should never forget what Dabi is meant to be to him, and what he, at the very core of things, is to Dabi-- just a goddamn tool.
"Hawks?" He hears faintly as Dabi lifts the phone away, and turns on the speaker. It's Ok, casual enough liked they'd practiced, but this is also the new recruit, he can tell by the soft inflection. Dabi lets out a long shuttering breathe and then after another pause that oh so green voice whispers, "Are you OK? Need back-up?"
It's damning. The phone snaps shut as quick as his time with the league.
And Dabi laughs, cruel and tight, and nothing like Hawks has seen from him the past few months. "Well played."
"With you I-." He tries, despite everything.
Dabi sneers, cutting him off, "Are you going to say I'm different? That you don't fuck all your targets?" He sounds sure of himself, like he'd known all along. Like his voice hadn't trembled at the end.
And Hawks knows there's nothing left to do but stare into empty blue eyes.
A season before -
“I hate you.”
He smirks, and Hawks doesn’t hate it, not even a little.