Aizawa Shouta was used to being woken up in a variety of ways. Whether it was his phone’s alarms or alerts, Hizashi dropping something in the kitchen, students shaking him awake from naps, or cats trying to crush the breath out of his chest at 4:30 AM, he was pretty good at getting up, dealing with whatever the problem was, and getting back to sleep.
That morning wasn’t typical, however.
It had been nearly three weeks of stress, paperwork, and enough migraines to last him a lifetime that brought him to that morning. Filing abandonment and child abuse charges against Mitsuki and Masaru Bakugou had been one thing, but trying to wrestle custody of Katsuki himself seemed to be the federal version of running a marathon.
Finally, the night before, he and Hizashi had managed to file all of Katsuki’s papers as well as win Hitoshi from his foster family for another week. They had all gone home from the dorm for the weekend and Shouta had reached a point of exhaustion that could only be resolved by a full night of sleep.
Being woken up from that sleep should have been frustrating, or at least unpleasant, but…
There was laughter coming from somewhere close by, probably the kitchen. It wasn’t Hizashi’s familiar, booming laugh; it was quieter and more shy, in a way.
“I swear, dead-eyes, I’ll throw you out of the fucking window.”
The laugh just got louder. “You’d have to catch me first, idiot.”
There were a few thuds, one of them just loud enough to jolt Shouta, waking him up even more.
“Get back here so I can fucking kill you!”
Katsuki was using the tone of voice he used when he was holding back a smile or laughter. It was still angry on the surface, but light and warm around the edges in a way that the boy couldn’t quite mask. Shouta’s slowly moving consciousness identified the laughter as Hitoshi’s.
Shouta had never heard him laugh that loudly before.
The hero stood up slowly, rubbing at his scarred elbow as it ached. He was curious and apprehensive in equal proportions to see what was happening in the kitchen. Knowing how hazardous that the dorm kitchens got in the morning with the ‘Bakusquad’ cooking, it was probably a good idea to intervene.
As Shouta walked down the hallway and got closer to the kitchen, Hitoshi’s laughter had morphed into helpless giggling interjected with the occasional snort. It was contagious to the point of forcing a tiny smile on to Shouta’s face. He turned into the kitchen into the sunlight streaming from the east-facing kitchen window.
He was, of course, immediately met with two armfuls of Shinsou Hitoshi. The kid had slid on the kitchen tile while, apparently, running away from Katsuki.
“Tell dead-eyes to stop stealing my ingredients!” Katsuki whining at his teacher only made the giggly mess in Shouta’s arms laugh harder, leaning more on him with every passing second. The hero glanced around and saw a few bowls of blueberries and fruit as well as a glass bowl full of what smelled like pancake batter. If he was being honest, and he always was, Shouta would probably have stolen a few pieces of fruit too.
“Hitoshi,” he kept his voice as steady as possible, “you can do whatever makes you the happiest.”
“Fuckin’ traitor!” Katsuki was smiling too, now, but was still coming at them brandishing a spatula with mock destructive intent.
“Tactical retreat!” Hitoshi shoved Shouta backwards into the hallway and dragging him into the living room.
“Cowards, face me!”
Hizashi looked up at them from where he was perched on the couch as they stumbled into the living room. He was holding their oldest cat and clipping her claws, so he couldn’t save them from Katsuki’s war path. “Oh, are the waffles done?”
“No, the kids are fighting.”
“You’re going down too, old man!”
“Me and the kids are fighting.”
Hizashi made an exaggerated noise of understanding and hid his smile as best he could. Hitoshi was dragging him behind the couch to get it between them and Katsuki, who was standing in the entryway of the living room like an angel of death who had been caught in the middle of cooking breakfast. He narrowed his eyes at them and pointed his spatula menacingly.
“Consider this a warning. If you idiots make me burn my waffles I’ll end you all.”
He stalked back to the kitchen, ignoring Hitoshi’s snorting laughter where he hid it in Shouta’s pajama shirt. He let Hitoshi linger against him for a few more moments before going to sit next to Hizashi and help him with the cat. Behind him, he could hear Hitoshi sneaking back into the kitchen, met with a grumble from the resident grumpy chef.
Shouta could have listened in to their conversation as it was loud enough to hear clearly from the living room, but he focused on Hizashi and the cat instead. The old girl wasn’t the friendliest and she despised getting her claws trimmed, but she seemed relatively calm as the hero tended to her. Even though Hizashi didn’t really appear to need his help, Shouta still sat close to distract the sulking cat.
“I’ve never heard Hitoshi laugh that much.” Hizashi’s voice almost sounded awe-struck, with a healthy dose of tenderness.
Shouta just hummed, not feeling it necessary to respond verbally. It had been a long few weeks, but even the nightmare teacher of class 1-A couldn’t help but feel warm in the early-morning light.