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Ill-timed

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Shou had no concept of time.

It made sense really, he had grown up without an education or a schedule to maintain, the biggest problem he had pertaining to his father. However, Ritsu would have thought he’d have the sense to understand that Ritsu didn’t want to be bothered at school.

His pencil bubbled in another answer on his score document, the scratching of the graphite echoing in the silent test room. Ritsu had studied hard for this math test, and so far he felt he was completing it rather well. He only had a few more questions to go before-

*thunk*

Ritsu’s pencil stalled at the gentle knock. He shifted his head up slightly to observe the room, but it seemed as if none of the other students had heard the interruption. Ritsu looked back down at his test, adjusting his pencil in his hand. He bubbled in a few more problems, almost to the last equation-

*THUNK*

Ritsu’s head shot up at the sound, along with a majority of his class. He expected to see a bird tapping on the window, a student tapping on their desk, maybe the teacher explaining that he had dropped something on the floor and that he was sorry for the disturbance- what he would’ve given to see anything but Shou crouching against the third story window, balancing himself on the window edge as he waved for Ritsu’s attention. Ritsu watched in horror as his classmates gawked and hollered at the boy sitting three stories above the ground like it was nothing. His face turned scarlet with anger and embarrassment as Shou tapped on the window like a woodpecker.

“Hey! Hey look Ritsu, I came to visit you at school!” The other students turned to look open mouthed at Ritsu. “Do you know him Kageyama? Did you tell him to climb up the school? Do you know if he’s gonna jump?” Ritsu opened his mouth and sputtered before being cut off by the teacher’s yell. “YOUNG MAN, GET OFF OF THAT LEDGE  THIS INSTANT! ” Ritsu realized in a split second what was about to happen and reached out to pull people away from the window. “No, wait-!” he started, but it was too late.

 

“Ok,” Shou said smugly, before pushing himself off the window, holding his arms out in a freefall and evoking a scream from Ritsu’s entire class. Ritsu couldn’t bear to watch his teacher go into hysteria as Shou floated beside the school window, his peals of laughter echoing in Ritsu’s ears. Apparently, Shou thought that Ritsu’s fourth period was the perfect time to be a little shit. As always, Ritsu though with a grimace as the teacher struggled to lift a fainted student while Shou gawked along with the rest of the students.

 

Shou apparently didn’t understand “not now,” either.

Ritsu swatted at his face as he wrote in another answer on his homework. “Shouldn’t you be getting ready to go to school on your own as well?”

“Nah, Serizawa’s my caretaker now, he wouldn’t put me through that hell.” Shou was sidled comfortably on Ritsu’s bed, having crawled through the window while Ritsu was doing his studies. Despite Ritsu’s insistence on “not now Shou, I’m busy,” Shou refused to leave, and found much enjoyment from pestering Ritsu instead of letting him focus.

“He’s required to make you go to school by law, you know, so you have to go whether you or Serizawa like it or not.” Shou sighed in exasperation and buried his face in Ritsu’s covers. “Man, guess that’s the downside of having Serizawa as my dad now, he actually follows the rules and stuff.” Shou twiddled his thumbs for a second before growing a devious grin on his face, much to the chagrin of Ritsu. “What if we went to the same school, huh Ritsu? I could jump off the window for your class again.”

“Leave me alone, Shou.” Ritsu tried not to let himself smile at the sound of Shou’s hearty chuckles into the bedding. Shou uncovered himself from the bedsheets to give Ritsu a wiggle of his eyebrows. “Come on, you know you love me.” Ritsu nearly snapped his pencil in half. “If I loved you, I would be asking you to come over instead of constantly telling you to leave.” Shou sat in silence for a second before looking at Ritsu with curious eyes. “So... do you wanna invite me over anytime soon?” Ritsu psychically threw a pillow at Shou’s head.

 

Shou definitely chooses the wrong time to bring up certain topics.

Case in point: talking about Claw while attending the Kageyama family dinner, bringing insufferable amounts of pain to Ritsu.

“So, your father was… a terrorist?” Shou happily shoved another spoonful of rice in his mouth, joining the other three spoonfuls he refused to chew before responding to Mrs. Kageyama. He hadn’t been invited to dinner, even though Ritsu said he was so he could explain why there was a boy mysteriously in the Kageyama household. What had really happened was that Shou had slid through Ritsu’s window before announcing that he was hungry, implying that Ritsu would be the one feeding him.  “Oh yeah, he sucked ass.” Ritsu glared across the table with the fire of one thousand suns. “Butt I mean, he sucked major butt.” Ritsu prepared to bash his head into the table as his mother slowly and worriedly nodded along. His brother of course, his dear sweet brother, wasn’t helping anything either. “Shou beat up Ritsu one time, but it’s ok now because he said sorry.”

“I sure did! Wait, maybe I did… I don’t actually remember if I apologized. Let’s just say the apology status is left undetermined.” Mrs. Kageyama shot a sideways glance at her husband, who awkwardly tried to recover the conversation. “Of course, that’s… yes, I believe- uh, what was your name again?” Shou shoved another spoonful of food down his throat before grinning at Ritsu. “I’m Shou! Ritsu’s best, best friend!

The rice headed towards Shou’s mouth fell on the table as Ritsu bent every piece of silverware in the house.

It got unbearable, the sheer determination shou had in order to bother Ritsu at the worst possible times.  He launched himself off the school building again (6 times to be exact), he crawled through Ritsu’s window while both of them were supposed to be studying, he even waltzed into the aquarium Ritsu’s class was visiting on a field trip just so he could pull Ritsu aside and watch the otters for what seemed like a lifetime (which got Ritsu punished, of course). Sometimes he wouldn’t even intrude on Ritsu’s life, just pull Ritsu into his own endeavors. He’s pulled Ritsu aside from an errand run more times than Ritsu can count just to show him a strange animal or rock he found; one time he even dragged Ritsu to his house so he could have dinner with him and Serizawa (who was very worn out, most likely from Shou).

The worst part was that Ritsu began to not mind.

Sure, Shou brought up inappropriate stories at the completely wrong time, but it was comforting to hear Shou giggle through a funny anecdote while Ritsu did his homework. Ritsu always smiled a bit when Shou dragged him by his hoodie sleeve, prattling on about a snail with a cool shell he found, which Ritsu noticed always made his aura swell. He definitely laughed when Shou jumped down the stairs of his and Serizawa’s shared apartment, effectively landing on the wrong foot and falling on his ass before crying for Serizawa, who made Ritsu laugh even more when he threatened throw Shou down the stairs again if he didn’t stop making a racket. Ritsu even got to experience a quieter Shou once; one who grabbed him by his hand, effectively steering him away from heading home after school, just so he could watch the sunset. It was annoying, sure, the yelling he received from both his teachers and parents, but seeing Shou when he didn’t realize he needed it was refreshing to him.

Which is why he was left empty when Shou’s visits suddenly stopped.

Ritsu was sitting in class, reading a chapter aloud from a textbook in front of the class when-

*thunk*

Ritsu dropped his textbook at the sound, turning with the rest of the class so he could see the blinding red hair floating in the wind outside the windowpanes- and locked eyes with a small bird, tapping on the glass from outside. “Kageyama, please continue immediately. There is no reason to be this baffled by a bird.” Ritsu picked up his book from the floor, almost wanting to tell the teacher that it wasn’t the bird that startled him. The rest of the class was spent glancing out the window, hoping to see a flash of red hair or the green of Shou’s bomber jacket.

Shou didn’t appear on Ritsu’s walks either, leaving Ritsu startlingly alone as he went to go pick up groceries. Sometimes he’d see a funny snail or a leaf on the road and stand there to look at it, as if waiting for shou to suddenly appear and start blabbering to Ritsu about its nature. The streets remained silent. Ritsu even finished his homework quicker than usual, leaning back in his chair and waiting for his windowsill to creak as it was lifted to let an uninvited guest in; and Ritsu sat waiting until the sun began to creep behind the hills and his curtains were left untouched, swaying gently and mocking him. He silently chewed his dinner, staring at the empty chair at the end of the dining table, wondering if it would be filled tonight. Tomorrow night. Next week, maybe. He had gone almost a month without seeing Shou, getting even more shaken at every small knock on a window or the ghost of an aura passing him on his way to school. He had even decided to call shou, his finger hovering over the dial button for a few minutes before he pressed the call button, blinking up towards the ceiling as the voicemail recording played in his ear for the fifth time that night. Ritsu lay in his bed, knowing he should go to sleep, but he lied awake anyway wondering if he should just drop the subject-

The sound of the window sliding up on its hinges made Ritsu’s thoughts and body freeze. He heard gentle footsteps into his room, and felt his duvet move as another body joined him under the sheets. Ritsu lay as still as a statue, listening to Shou’s quiet breaths in his room.

“Did you miss me, Dorkus?” Ritsu’s eyes stayed locked on the ceiling. “I think the eighty thousand calls to my phone explain enough-”

“Where were you.” It was more of an order than a question, and Shou felt it in the way Ritsu’s voice wavered slightly. The room was silent, save for Ritsu’s steady breathing and Shou’s fidgeting under the blanket.

“I saw a cool bug on Monday. On the way to the store. Made Serizawa mad because I stopped to feed it a leaf and forgot to get groceries.” Ristu blinked as Shou shuffled beside him. He was avoiding the question Ritsu had asked, but Ritsu let him continue anyway. There’s only so much you can do to a person after missing them for what felt like an eternity. “Got in trouble with Serizawa a lot, actually. Not like, in big trouble most of the time, but I got grounded for a bit because Reigen came over and I put a bug on his shoulder.” Shou let out a quiet snicker, and Ritsu felt the vibrations beside him.

“Did you know Serizawa and Reigen are dating now? I walked in on ‘em kissing in the living room once; it was gross, dude. I think Tome saw them kissing in the office too.” Ritsu smiled as Shou faked a gag. “Imagine having two dads Ritsu. That’s too much work.” Ritsu turned to face Shou with a grin on his face.  “Yeah, it is a lot of work to put on Reigen, huh.” Shou elbowed him in the side as Ritsu let out a breathy chuckle, Shou joining in as Ritsu’s eyes crinkled in laughter.

The room grew silent again as their laughter died down, and time seem to stop as the moonlight painted colors on Ritsu’s floor through the window. Suddenly, the room was suffocating with Shou’s aura. Ritsu had to press closer to the wall away from Shou due to the sheer amount of pressure inhabiting the room. Shou began to speak, a whisper barely audible to Ritsu even though he was laying right next to him.

“I saw my parents again.”

Ritsu could feel his eyes widen at the statement. He pressed himself closer to Shou, struggling against the aura Shou exuded. “Oh?”

“Yeah,” breathed Shou, “I… I don’t know anymore.” Ritsu lightly brushed his fingers against Shou’s, like he was coaxing a small animal. “Don’t know what?”

“How I feel about them anymore. My dad sucks ass still. We knew that.” Ritsu couldn’t help but let out a small huff at the memory of Shou attending his family’s dinner. “My mom though, she… she left me at such a young age, and I thought it was because my dad was keeping me from her or something, and she couldn’t take me. But she-” Shou’s voice shook, ever so slightly, and he desperately tried to cover it up as Ritsu began to lace their fingers together. “She left without me because she was afraid, and she didn’t want to deal with that fear. Before she found out I had powers, she was so insistent on helping me live a gentle life, but as soon as I started showing signs of psychic powers she just went ‘Oh, he’s just like his father now! There’s no hope for him now, oh no, I can’t bear to watch my fucked up son like this,’ and then just fucking- dipped, I guess. God, this is why Serizawa stayed locked up for so long, huh. These powers suck.” Ritsu ran his thumb over Shou’s, his words barely a whisper over Shou’s suffocating aura.

“Your powers- You don’t suck, Shou. Your mom is the one who decided that she didn’t want to help lead you down the right path, and your powers aren’t what lead you down this one.” He paused, shortly, as Shou’s aura flickered for a second. “Your dad led you down this path, and your dad sucks ass.” Shou’s aura stiffened, and then died down as he began to shake with laughter. Ritsu knew that his family might awake from the noise, but he started to laugh too, harder than Shou. Both boys were howling with laughter by the time Shou’s aura disappeared, and Shou let his wheezes die down as well before turning to face Ritsu. “Thanks dude, you make me feel- a lot better. Ritsu squeezed his hand, smiling at up at Shou with tired eyes.

“You’re welcome Shou,” he started, but quickly switched tones to a more serious tone before locking eyes with Shou, “But you have to promise that you don’t just disappear without telling me. You-”

“Did I scare you?” Although Shou looked at him with a cheesy grin, there was a tired apology in his eyes. Ritsu almost didn’t want to answer, burying himself farther towards Shou and whispering into the fabric of his jacket. “Yes. A little bit, yes. I think I was too busy missing you though.” Shou’s body stiffened slightly, but he pulled Ritsu a little closer.

Maybe Ritsu lost his concept of time too, because it felt as if he’d been laying with Shou for an eternity as the sunlight began to filter through his room.

 

“I saw Serizawa and Reigen doing the same thing we did last week.”

“What, bending every lamp in the park on accident because they couldn’t stop laughing at their own burps?” Ritsu kicked his legs gently on the swing as shou let out a bark of laughter beside him, swinging higher in the air than Ritsu was. Shou had once again pulled Ritsu aside, not listening to Ritsu explaining that he should be picking up groceries anyway. Ritsu in all honesty didn’t mind, the explanations were halfhearted anyway. “It was so funny though! Especially when that one lady’s dog went fuckin ham . Anyway, no it wasn’t that.” Shou scraped his feet against the concrete to slow down and look at Ritsu. “I went into their bedroom and at first I thought they were banging or something-”

“SHOU! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR DADS HAVING SEX!!” Ritsu’s ears went bright red as Shou laughed and scrambled for words. “NO! No, they weren’t having sex I swear-” Shou squeezed out through his laughs, “they were just laying there and… talking. And it was funny watching Reigen try to hug Seri since he’s like, Super short compared to him. Anyway, it just reminded me of when I visited your house-”

“Broke in.”

“Yeah, that, and we talked about my parents.” Ritsu blinked in thought, his swing gently swaying in the wind. “It just seemed so… I dunno, it felt safe. Just, being there y’know?” Ritsu nodded, remembering how nice it felt to lay awake until dawn with Shou.

“Why do you bring it up?”

“Well, I thought it meant we were in love or some shit.” Ritsu nearly fell off the swing, sputtering as he struggled to regain his balance. “What- Why would you think that?!”

Shou kicked at the ground, turning his head away from Ritsu. “I dunno! I mean Serizawa and Reigen did it, and they’re in love, so I figured that maybe it means that we love each other too.” Ritsu wanted to die at that very instant. “I-I mean-Girls will hold hands with each other all the time, right? That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in love either-and-why were you even in your dad’s room anyway?” Shou turned towards Ritsu with a blank expression plastered on his face. “I had a nightmare, and Serizawa said I could sleep in his room if I ever needed to. And dude, if you were really that grossed out about it, you could’ve just said so.” Ritsu tried to force down the heat occupying his face as he faced Shou. “I’m not grossed out,” he muttered, refusing to look Shou in the eye, “I’m really not.”

The swings creaked in the wind as the two boys sat in the empty park, the shadows of twisted lampposts making patterns across both of their faces.

“Are you… In love with me?” Every one of Ritsu’s muscles tensed as Shou sat silently beside him. “... Maybe, I think.” Ritsu spared a glance up at Shou, surprised to see a faint red glow across his cheeks. “Did I choose the wrong time to ask?” Shou snorted.

“Nah, I don’t think so. Though, I’m not very good with time, am I?” Ritsu huffed out a laugh at that, looking Shou fully in the eyes. Shou grinned back at him before leaning forward and planting a wet kiss on Ritsu’s cheek, making him lightly laugh again. “See you at school, Ritsu. I’ll see if I can jump from the fourth story windows for your class.” Then he was gone, his aura building up with a flourish before disappearing, taking Shou with it. Ritsu sighed happily as he rocked gently on his swing, listening to the other one creak as if someone had been sitting on it a second before.

 

Shou had no concept of time,

Which was good, because the amount of time Ritsu had loved Shou was embarrassing.