Dabi should have seen this coming.
He knew it was going to snow, he should have fought harder against being sent on the stakeout mission. Especially a stakeout mission with Hawks, of all people.
If it had gone as planned, they would have only spent twenty-four hours together. Dabi could handle twenty-four hours.
Things rarely went as planned when Dabi was involved, however.
The stakeout started fine. The only person who really had to be there was Hawks, but Dabi had been sent to make sure the hero did what he was instructed, nothing more and nothing less. Shigaraki was still having difficulty trusting the hero, and Dabi couldn’t blame him. Dabi may have known the hero for months, but he still couldn’t be sure of Hawks’ true allegiances.
Hawks did his job for a few hours, but in the early afternoon of December 29th, the snow came.
The snow was heavy, heavier than Dabi expected. Dabi couldn’t see a foot in front of his face and even Hawks, with his quirk-enhanced vision, couldn’t see the property they were supposed to be watching just a couple doors down.
Dabi wanted to yell when the hero entered their temporary base, shaking snow out of his hair, but he knew recon in these weather conditions was almost impossible without proper equipment. Equipment that the PLF hadn’t thought necessary to supply them with.
“It’s really coming down out there,” Hawks said, brushing more snow off his shoulders before he removed his jacket.
In the early days, Hawks never would have removed any part of his hero costume in front of Dabi, even for the most basic of meetings. He always had a guard up around the patchwork villain, and for good reason.
Recently, however, Dabi had begun to notice a change in the hero. He was more open, less wary, less on guard. Dabi wasn’t sure if he should take offense to that or not, but one thing he did know was, it made his heart flutter with things he never wanted to admit.
Dabi forced himself to abandon his thoughts, focusing on the man in front of him. “Yeah, no shit, Birdie.”
Hawks levelled him with an unimpressed stare. “I can’t see out there. If I can’t see I can’t fly. We’re stuck here until the snow stops, genius.”
Oh. That changed things. Well… “Fuck.”
Hawks snorted, saying nothing, but gave the general aura of agreeing with Dabi. Fuck.
Dabi sighed, eyeing the single bed in their current base-turned-prison. “I call the bed first.”
Hawks’ eyebrows shot up. “What?”
Dabi kicked his shoes off, laying on top of the blanket. “I’m not sharing a bed with you, Bird Brain. I’ll wake up by sunset. You can sleep then.”
Hawks rolled his eyes exaggeratedly, but Dabi pretended not to notice, trying to get comfortable on the rock-hard mattress.
Dabi hadn’t realized how tired he was until he actually closed his eyes, and less than five minutes later, he was asleep.
When Dabi came to, he was immediately aware of two things.
One, the sun had set. He and Hawks’ temporary shelter was nearly pitch-black, with Dabi only able to make out vague shapes of furniture in front of him.
Two, there was a pair of arms wrapped around his waist.
The arms weren’t wrapped particularly tightly, so Dabi’s consciousness didn’t recognize it as a threat. It wasn’t until he tried to sit up, in fact, that his sleep-addled brain caught up with what was happening, throwing the arms off his body like they burned.
The commotion served to wake Hawks, who tumbled off the small bed with a yelp.
“What the Hell?” The hero yelled, standing up and fluttering his wings.
Dabi stood up from the bed, finally, running a hand through his tangled hair. “I should be the one saying that, Bird Brain! What were you doing, wrapped around me like a fucking koala?”
It was far too dark for Dabi to see the features of the hero in front of him. Hawks was silent a moment, facing down. Dabi wondered if Hawks was able to see in this darkness, if the hero could see the villain’s face. He kept his expression carefully neutral, just in case.
“I was cold.” Hawks finally muttered in reply.
Dabi should have thought of that, really. He didn’t feel temperature, but he could see his own breath in the air, and that meant it was cold.
He lit a fire in his hand, squinting at the sudden light that flooded the small room. Directly across from the bed was a fireplace and Dabi made his way towards it, crouching down and reaching out to the already charred log sitting inside.
When he turned around, extinguishing the flames on his hand and pulling it out of the fireplace, Hawks was already behind him, holding his hands out to the fire.
“Thanks,” The man breathed, not making eye contact with Dabi.
Dabi snorted. “You could have just woken me up, Bird Brain.”
“Oh. Right,” Hawks mumbled.
Dabi pretended not to notice the flush crawling up Hawks’ cheeks. It was probably just from the heat. Or because he was embarrassed over being a dumbass. That was all. Dabi shouldn’t entertain his own wishful thinking.
Their hideout wasn’t large. In fact, the small cabin was just a single room. The only door that didn’t go outside led to a run down bathroom, where the toilet was stained and the mirror was cracked.
Dabi looked toward the single square window in their cabin, above the kitchen sink. He didn’t know what time it was, the darkness that filled the cabin had him assuming it was the middle of the night, but in the middle of winter, it could easily be just six p.m.
The window didn’t give Dabi the answer he wanted, however, as all he could see was the reflection of fire against the stark white of snow. That was odd, he thought, usually even in the most severe of blizzards, the sky would turn dark behind the snow.
Dabi felt his stomach turn to ice, as realization hit, and he made his way towards the front door.
“Hey!” Hawks protested, watching Dabi with his brows furrowed. “What are you doing? Don’t let the cold air in again!”
Dabi ignored the winged hero behind him, opening the front door.
All he could see was white. Bright white, reflecting the slightest orange from the flames that had cooled slightly since he lit them. The snow in front of him was packed so solid, he could see the pattern of the door imprinted.
Dabi didn’t react as Hawks moved to stand beside him, staring at the snow, mouth open wide with awe.
Dabi pressed a hand to the snow, igniting his quirk and watching the snow boil around his hand. He pushed his arm straight through the pile, pushing until his elbow, but the snow didn’t end. He pulled his arm back through the hole he made, shaking water off the scarred skin. He could admit that wasn’t his best idea. He tried not to get his scarred skin very wet. He ignored the sting on his arm as he turned to face Hawks.
“We’re stuck here.”
Hawks looked at the snow, and then back at Dabi. He said nothing. His face didn’t reveal his emotions. Dabi kept his face neutral in response.
Hawks turned, examining their small cabin.
Dabi already knew what the hero would see. A kitchen with a fridge that didn’t work, a sink with pipes that had probably frozen, a circular table and two flimsy chairs, a couple small cabinets that Dabi knew the PLF kept stocked with non-perishables. Almost as if they knew something like this might happen.
There was a closet beside the door that held a spare coat, but Hawks had his hero costume, and Dabi didn’t feel temperature, so that was useless to them.
A large pile of spare firewood waited for them on a stand beside the fireplace. They were only supposed to be there for twenty-four hours, certainly by hour thirty-five, someone in the League would notice they were gone, and come to rescue them. They had enough firewood to last, Dabi thought.
With a sigh, Hawks finally spoke. “It’s not the worst place to be snowed in. At least there’s a fireplace.”
Dabi nodded in reply, not in the mood to talk. He hadn’t wanted to be there in the first place. He especially didn’t want to have to rely on the League to rescue him. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust them - even without Shigaraki, they were competent enough, and secretly, Dabi had come to think of them as family.
No, the problem didn’t lie in trust.
It was weakness. No matter how much he tried, Dabi couldn’t unlearn his hatred of being weak. Needing saving. He didn’t want to be saved. He shouldn’t need to be saved. He should be able to get himself out. He shouldn’t have come in the first place.
Dabi tried to shake his thoughts away. It didn’t matter anymore. He was there, he was stuck, he needed the League to come get him. And Hawks.
Oh, God, Dabi was stuck in a cabin for who knows how long with his crush.
He was going to die. He couldn’t do this.
Taking a seat at the shitty kitchen table, Dabi buried his face in his hands. He heard, rather than saw, Hawks pull out the chair across from him, and after a bit of shuffling, Dabi looked through his fingers to see Hawks sitting at the table with him, bundled in the blanket he apparently stole off the bed, facing the fire but far enough he couldn’t possibly be feeling the heat properly anymore.
Dabi huffed out an irritated sigh. If Hawks was cold, he should just sit in front of the fire, like a normal person.
He had to hold back a chuckle at the thought. As if Hawks was capable of behaving normally.
Since when had Dabi needed to hold back a chuckle? Oh god, he was already getting cabin fever.
“Y’know,” Hawks’ voice jolted Dabi out of his thoughts. “When I was really young, my mother told me that she used to visit her grandmother’s house in the winter, and the snow would reach the roof, and she and her siblings would toboggan down from the roof!” Hawks had a nostalgic smile on his face as he spoke, still facing the fire. It was starting to die, Dabi needed to add another log to it sometime soon.
“I always thought she was exaggerating,” Hawks continued. “But I had never been up where she grew up. I think she grew up around here, though, so maybe she was telling the truth!”
Dabi chose not to reply to the hero, instead standing to add a log to the flickering fire. It probably could have waited another twenty minutes or so, but Dabi needed something to do.
“I thought that would be so fun. Her story, I mean. I always wanted to try it, when I was little. Even after I stopped living with her, I thought about it every time it snowed. I was young, and I hoped that one day, by some miracle, it would snow high enough for me to toboggan from the roof. It never did, of course. And now it has, but we’re stuck in here, and even if we weren’t, we don’t have toboggans. I think I’m too old, now, anyway. That’s a shame.”
Dabi flopped on the now blanket-free bed, covering his eyes with his arms. He didn’t know that Hawks could talk so much. Or why Hawks chose to talk so much.
“Even if it did snow that much, after I stopped living with her, I wouldn’t have been able to go tobogganing. I don’t think I ever got to again, after everything. With the Commission. Did I ever tell you about that? The Hero Commission?”
Dabi didn’t reply, although he did turn his head to look at Hawks, who was already looking in his direction. Hawks seemed to take Dabi’s silent eye-contact as a cue to continue talking.
“Well, I guess that’s a no. They got me when I was a kid. Trained me basically my whole life. Wanted me to be the number one hero. They didn’t care whether or not I had a childhood. They just wanted me to be strong.”
Okay, wow. That hit a little too close to home. Dabi turned his head back up to the ceiling, trying to forget his own childhood. He didn’t want to think about that. Not in the presence of a hero.
“That’s part of why I wanted to join the League, in the beginning. Why I’m still here. I know...a lot. Did you know Endeavor has kids? Like, multiple? More than the kid in UA? Apparently, his wif-”
“Do you ever shut the fuck up, Birdie?” Dabi didn’t mean to get emotional. He didn’t want to yell at Hawks. He really didn’t. But...talking about Endeavor. Talking about Endeavor’s kids, and Endeavor’s wife...Dabi couldn’t do it. He couldn’t take it.
He didn’t look at Hawks. He didn’t want to see the expression on Hawks’ face, didn’t want to see anger, or God forbid - hurt - on the face of the only hero he’s ever trusted. The only hero he’s ever truly liked.
It was silent for a few minutes, before Hawks spoke again. “When did I come inside? Do you remember?”
Dabi racked his brain. “I dunno, around four-ish? It was starting to get dark outside.”
There was a quiet rustling, the blanket and Hawks’ sleeves, and Dabi looked over once again to see Hawks staring down at his watch. “It’s two, now.”
“In the morning?”
Hawks shrugged. “I dunno. Probably, I guess. When will our twenty-four hours be up?”
“They’re expecting us back at noon. But they probably won’t think something’s weird until at least three. If they even fucking notice, those morons. Doubt they’ll come searching until the next day, though.”
Hawks furrowed his eyebrows. “Why would they wait until tomorrow?”
Dabi snorted. “Because they’re idiots. They’re not going to think to check the weather, they’re just going to assume we got caught. Either by heroes or by the group we were supposed to be watching. They’ll wait until they think it’s safe to try and find us without getting caught themselves. Selfish fuckers.”
Hawks pointed a finger at him, challenging. “You would do the same, don’t deny it.”
“Guilty as charged.” Dabi tried to shrug, but given that he was still lying on the bed, it didn’t come off as nonchalant as he wanted it to. He hoped Hawks wasn’t watching.
Dabi was over it. All of it. He wanted out of the cabin - it felt more like a prison.
Hawks wouldn’t stop talking. Dabi wasn’t replying, but that didn’t stop him. The hero just kept on talking and talking. He replied to himself sometimes, if he asked a question and Dabi ignored him.
The worst thing about their situation was that, despite how objectively annoying Hawks was becoming, Dabi could only see him as endearing. When the hero wanted so badly to fill the silence that he replied to his own questions, it filled Dabi’s heart with something he didn’t want to try to identify.
By all means, Dabi should have hated Hawks by that point. If it were anyone else, he probably would hate them. Dabi hated how soft Hawks made him, even if the hero didn’t know he was doing it. Even if nobody else knew that Dabi was becoming soft, deep in the hidden corners of his mind, he hated that it was happening.
Dabi knew that cabin fever made most people irritable, angry, annoyed. Dabi was already like that, by default, with or without a cabin. He thought, maybe, that cabin fever did the opposite to him. He couldn’t stop thinking about the things he liked about Hawks.
The way the man looked, the way he talked, the way he moved. The fact that Hawks always had another story to tell, another experience, another anecdote.
Being in the cabin was driving Dabi crazy.
Hawks’ watch, which he had taken off and rested on the table hours earlier, told them it had just hit noon. Their twenty four hours was finally up. Dabi snacked on a can of mandarins. Hawks was asleep, curled up under the blanket like a kitten.
He looked peaceful. His face was softened in his nap, his hair a mess.
Dabi thought the hero looked...cute, like that. He hated to use the word, but he couldn’t think of an alternative. Hawks was cute.
Dabi looked away.
Being stuck in a tiny cabin with Hawks shouldn’t have been making Dabi like the hero more. He huffed out a sigh, looking at the window above the kitchen sink even though he knew all he would be met with was a pane of white. Not being able to see the sunlight didn’t bother Dabi much, although it did make it hard to gauge time passing.
The sound of blankets rustling brought Dabi’s attention back to where Hawks lay on the bed. The hero sat up, blanket pooling in his lap, rubbing his eyes roughly. Dabi watched as he stretched his wings out, yawned, opened his eyes, and jumped back at the sight of Dabi watching him.
“You scared me, Dabi!” He exclaimed, clutching the blanket against his chest, above his heart.
Dabi snorted. “I don’t know what you expected, Birdie. There’s only one room in this damn cabin.”
“Make some noise then! Don’t just watch me like some creep!” Hawks didn’t move to get off the bed, apparently relishing in the warmth and comfort it provided. Not that it provided much of either, of course, but they both knew it was better than the chair Dabi was currently perched on.
Hawks shivered, pulling the blanket around his shoulders once again. Dabi hadn’t been taking care of the fire whilst the man slept, had honestly forgotten about the temperature altogether, but watching Hawks shiver caused him to cast a glance at their fireplace. The fire was low, flickering and barely there. Whoops.
The chair groaned when Dabi stood up, but he ignored it as he walked over to the pile of firewood. He used his quirk to light a new log, before throwing it in the fireplace and allowing his blue flames to mix with the orange of the current log.
He watched his flames slowly cool, turning orange, until Hawks interrupted. “How do you always forget to add to that? Not bothered by the cold?”
Dabi turned to look at the hero, contemplating his words. He decided the truth wouldn’t hurt, really. He could trust Hawks with that much, at least. (Privately, he thought he could trust Hawks with a lot more than that. He ignored his thoughts.)
“I can’t feel temperature. Can’t feel much of anything, really.” He held out his arms, showing off the scars that Hawks was already staring at. “Don’t have much left for nerve endings.”
Hawks didn’t reply, instead gazing at the blanket in his lap. His eyebrows furrowed in thought.
Dabi sat on the bed, opposite side from Hawks, but close, still. The bed was too small to not be close. If it were anyone else, Dabi would think it was too close.
Nothing felt too close when it was Hawks.
Oh, God, this cabin was doing weird things to his head.
Hawks’ voice pulled him out of his thoughts.
“What happened to you?”
His voice was soft, curious, sad.
Dabi hated it. He didn’t want pity. He didn’t want to talk about it.
He couldn’t say no to Hawks.
“My dad is a terrible person.”
Hawks looked him in the eyes, a look full of pity, sadness, everything Dabi never wanted to see.
It didn’t bother him, though. He pushed the thought aside.
Dabi shook his head.
“I don’t want to talk about it. I’m going to kill him. I don’t need pity.”
Hawks nodded. “We won’t talk about it, then.”
And true to his word, he didn’t bring it up again.
He and Hawks dined on cold canned pasta at seven. Hawks ate his along with a can of tuna, and Dabi called him disgusting.
He threw another log into the fireplace and crawled on top of the bed.
“Don’t wake me up unless our rescue team comes early.”
Hawks didn’t have much to do. He searched the cabin, top to bottom, every nook and cranny, but there was nothing. Not even a jigsaw puzzle.
He slumped in the chair he had dragged in front of the fire. It was starting to die, and he moved to add a log, but was interrupted by a quiet, pained moan coming from where Dabi slept.
Hawks turned on his heel, and was surprised to see Dabi stock-still in his sleep. One thing he had learned in sharing the bed with Dabi, even just once, was that the villain kicked in his sleep. A lot. Seeing the man still as a log, Hawks knew something was wrong.
He approached the sleeping body, keeping his footsteps as quiet as he could manage on the creaky floors. Dabi’s mouth was moving, Hawks could hear the faintest sound of the man whispering, but he couldn’t make out what was being said. The closer he got, the more overwhelmingly hot it became. The heat was clearly coming from Dabi, although the man was not creating actual flame.
Hawks didn’t know Dabi was capable of only creating heat - he had noticed, while he was learning more about the villain in the beginning, when he was still following the commission’s orders, that Dabi had some trouble controlling his quirk. He didn’t know if Dabi even knew he was capable of simply creating heat. It seemed like the more effort Dabi put into trying to control his quirk, the less control he had over it.
When Hawks was close enough to hear the quiet mumbling coming from Dabi, the heat was coming off the man in waves. It felt like being in a sauna. Hawks ignored it, caring more about hearing what Dabi was mumbling about.
“Leave him alone,” Dabi whined. Hawks was taken aback by the emotion in the man’s voice. In all the time he’s spent with Dabi, the only time the villain had not spoken monotonously was when he was making fun of Hawks.
Now, though, Dabi sounded angry. There was fear, too, buried deep within the anger. Whoever Dabi was protecting in his nightmare clearly mattered a lot to him. Hawks couldn’t help but to be curious.
“Dad, please,” Dabi had resorted to pleading. The tone hurt Hawks’ heart. “Leave Shou alone. Please. I’ll go instead.”
Hawks didn’t know who Shou was. A friend? That wouldn’t make a lot of sense, though. Why would Dabi’s father be bothering his friend? Why would he go in his friend's place?
A brother, then? Dabi mentioned before that his father was a bad person. Maybe this was what he meant.
Hawks watched as Dabi’s face twisted in pain. The villain whimpered in his sleep, muttered about being better. Apologized. “I’ll be better. I’ll be better. Next time, father. I promise.”
Hawks didn’t know what to do. Dabi was in pain, that much was clear. Even if it was just in his dream, it was hurting him. His body was creating more and more heat, to the point Hawks was worried the bed may burst into flame.
He took a deep breath. He wasn’t sure if his plan was going to help, but it couldn’t hurt to try.
Hawks crawled into the bed with Dabi. The heat was overwhelming; any time he bothered to wipe the sweat from his brow, it would appear again in just a second. He ignored it, ignored the heat that almost felt like burning, and he wrapped his arms around Dabi’s sleeping body.
The man was shaking in his sleep, just slightly, but enough that Hawks felt a pang of pity in his heart. He tightened his grip, not enough to hurt, but enough that he believed Dabi’s sleeping mind would still feel it.
Dabi’s whimpering and muttering quieted. Hawks hadn’t even realized the man had still been muttering the entire time, promising to be better over and over again. He tried not to be bothered by it, instead relishing in the fact that his plan had worked. Dabi seemed to be calming down. The heat was still intense, but it was slowly cooling. Hawks no longer felt like his skin was being burnt just from pressing against the other man.
He didn’t know how long he laid, wrapped around Dabi like his life depended on it. It almost did, in a way. Watching Dabi experience that nightmare had felt like heartbreak, to Hawks. He never wanted to see it again.
Eventually, the heat emanating from Dabi’s body cooled to the perfect sleeping temperature, and Hawks fell to a light sleep.
Dabi should have been used to waking up with Hawks’ arms wrapped around his torso.
Sure, this was only the second time, but if their day and a half spent together in the cabin had taught Dabi anything, it was that Hawks ran cold. The hero wanted to be warm, and he wasn’t afraid to resort to cuddling to get his warmth.
Still, Dabi hadn’t expected the arms around his waist when he woke up, and the commotion once again resulted in Hawks sprawled on the floor, Dabi standing on the other side of the bed in bewilderment.
“I thought I said you could wake me up if you were cold, Bird Brain?”
Hawks huffed, standing up and wrapping the blanket around his shoulders. “Yeah, you did, but then you told me not to wake you up unless the PLF was here.”
And, right. He did say that. Dabi shook his head, looking at the fireplace. The fire had died completely overnight, leaving Dabi to wonder how long he had been asleep.
He lit a new log, threw it in the fireplace, and walked over to check the time on Hawks’ watch, that still sat in the middle of the kitchen table. 8:00. He managed to sleep for thirteen hours. That was a new personal record.
He sat down with a can of fruit salad for breakfast, stabbing at pieces of pineapple and cherry in too-sweet juice.
The sound of the bed creaking behind him alerted Dabi to Hawks’ movement, and in a moment the hero was standing beside him, checking the time on his watch. He was close enough that Dabi could smell him. Somehow, despite being trapped inside a cabin for over a day without taking a shower, Hawks still managed to smell good.
Like, really good.
Dabi tried to stop thinking about it.
Hawks walked to the kitchen cabinet, grabbed a can of ravioli, and sat in the other rickety chair across the table from Dabi.
Dabi couldn’t smell the hero anymore, which was a good thing, but now he could see Hawks, in all his sleep-ruffled glory. Hair a mess, clothing wrinkled, eyes tired - Dabi thought he looked incredible.
Dabi didn’t realize how long he had been staring until Hawks spoke.
“Is there something on my face?” The winged man asked self consciously.
Dabi startled. Hawks was rubbing at his face, trying to get the non-existent food off his skin. “You had sauce on your chin. You got it.”
Hawks furrowed his eyebrows. “Hmm, I didn’t feel anything. Weird!”
Dabi felt called out. He chose not to reply. He didn’t think that was out of character for him, ignoring the hero. He couldn’t remember anymore. He had been in their cabin too long, he didn’t remember what was normal anymore.
Hawks didn’t comment, so Dabi assumed he was safe. They sat in silence, munching on their food. Dabi didn’t really care for his fruit salad. He didn’t complain.
“It’s almost New Years.”
It was hard to pretend to be nonchalant when Dabi jumped every time Hawks spoke. He was pretty sure his aloof I-don’t-care persona had been forgotten in the eyes of the hero, at this point.
Every minute, Hawks was getting closer to meeting the real him - the old him, who he kept buried under layer after layer of nonchalance. Dabi found that he didn’t mind too much, despite what he expected. He thought, before, that he didn’t want anyone to know the real him, but seeing Hawks wriggle his way under his carefully wrapped layers made Dabi happy, in a way.
Someone who cared enough to ask, cared enough to accept “no” as an answer, someone who didn’t push for an explanation.
Hawks made Dabi happy.
He remembered he still had to reply to Hawks. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if he didn’t - Hawks wouldn’t even be surprised, he thought. But, surprising himself with the thought, he wanted to reply.
“You’re right, Birdie.”
Hawks hummed. “Do you think the PLF will be back to get us before the clock strikes?”
Dabi let out a chuckle. “Why? You got a New Years kiss waiting for you at home?”
He refused to think of the flush that covered Hawks’ cheeks at his question as ‘cute’. He absolutely refused, he wouldn’t allow the thought to enter his mind, Oh God, it was already there. Hawks’ blush was so cute.
“No!” Hawks squawked, waving his hands frantically. “Nothing like that!”
Dabi squinted at the hero. “You seem pretty defensive, Birdie. Got something you want to tell me? It’s that bunny, isn’t it?”
He was just teasing, really. Just being annoying to be annoying. There wasn’t much else to do in the cabin.
Hawks didn’t seem to realize that. He shook his head vehemently. “Oh, God. No, I don’t like Rumi that way. I mean - don’t get me wrong, she’s great. She’s my best friend. But, I’m gay? I thought you knew? I don’t exactly keep it a secret from my friends. Media, sure, but…”
The hero trailed off at the mildly bewildered expression on Dabi’s face.
Hawks nodded, confused. Dabi tried to ignore the flutter of hope in his stomach at the confirmation.
“Why are you telling me, if you only tell your friends?”
He knew the obvious answer to his question - Hawks considered him a friend. But, that didn’t make any sense. He may like Hawks, but it didn’t go the other way around. It couldn’t. He was only an in for Hawks, a way for the hero to join the League, join the Paranormal Liberation Front, get his revenge on the heroes who did him so much wrong.
Hawks couldn’t possibly like Dabi, couldn’t see him as a friend, definitely couldn’t like him the way Dabi wanted him to.
Hawks always managed to surprise him, though.
“Because you’re my friend, obviously. Did you think I hated you or something?”
Dabi shrugged. “It’s not like I’m easy to like.” Whoops. That was a little more honest than he wanted to be.
“And somehow, I still do!” Hawks replied with an easy smile. Dabi looked back with a frown. The smile on the hero’s face fell, only a little, but enough for Dabi to notice.
“Really, Dabi,” Hawks began again. “You’re not as hard to be around as you seem to think. Sure, maybe at first, it felt like a lot.” Hawks let out a small chuckle, remembering their first meeting. Dabi gazed at the floor, unable to face the hero anymore. “But, pretty quickly, I got used to it. Got used to you. You’re not the horrible, mean, unlikeable person you see yourself as. You’re just someone who...hides, I think. You put up a front, but once someone realizes that, it’s easy to like you. And I do. Like you, that is.”
Dabi couldn’t tear his gaze away from the floor. He didn’t see the flush covering Hawks’ cheeks, didn’t understand the winged man’s confession for what it truly was.
Hawks stood for a moment, watching the villain, before he sighed, standing from where he still sat at the table, and walked back to the bed.
He didn’t lay down, choosing to instead push the bed closer to the fireplace. He threw another log in the fire, sat on the bed, and wrapped the blanket around his shoulders.
Dabi didn’t react, Hawks wasn’t sure if Dabi had even heard him moving the bed, despite the annoying scraping sound it had caused.
Dabi had a habit of getting lost in thought, only to speak again thirty minutes later as if no time had passed at all. Hawks didn’t know if Dabi was aware he even did it - the villain never did it in the presence of other League members, and certainly not non-League PLF members.
Hawks had resigned himself to not getting a response from Dabi, making to grab a pillow and nestle into the bed in front of the fire, when he heard Dabi’s voice, barely above a whisper.
“You’re my friend too, Birdie.”
They didn’t speak much after that. Dabi was lost in his thoughts.
The fire died, Hawks shivered as he brought a log for Dabi to light. Dabi spoke no words as he lit the log. He watched Hawks leave. He thought about the hero.
Hawks said that he liked him. Dabi heard it, he pushed it aside at first, because he was more focused on Hawks calling him a friend.
But, Hawks said he liked him.
Hawks fell asleep again. Dabi remembered that when Hawks was rambling about anything and everything, he said that he didn’t sleep well. The Hero Commission worked him to the bone. Dabi believed it when Hawks said it, and seeing how much time the hero spent asleep in their cabin only drove the point home.
He admired Hawks for working so hard, even if he didn’t really want to. Even if it was for something Dabi was fundamentally against. Hawks was inspiring.
What did Hawks mean when he said he liked him? Just platonically, right?
Dabi shook his head. He couldn’t allow himself to go down that path. Wishful thinking never got him anything but disappointment thus far in life.
He stood up from the table, glancing at the window out of habit. To his surprise, Dabi saw something other than dim firelight reflecting on pale snow.
He saw blue. Sky blue.
He walked to the front door cautiously. Was his mind playing tricks on him? Had the snow really melted?
Opening the door, Dabi was hit with a wave of disappointment. The snow had melted a bit, sure, but it still came to his waist. Too high to walk through. To top it all off, it was still coming down in blankets, so there was no chance of Hawks flying them out of the cabin, either.
He huffed out an annoyed breath. His earlier thought had just been proven correct - wishful thinking never got him anything but disappointment.
Dabi grabbed a can of pasta as he walked the few feet back to the table. Their stock of food was getting severely low. Their rescue team had better come soon. Dabi thought if he was still stuck in the cabin the next day, he was going to burn it to the ground, snow be damned.
He ate the cold pasta in irritated silence. The situation was starting to piss him off.
Wiping some sauce off the corner of his mouth, Dabi reached for Hawks’ watch. The face told him it was 3.
He spent longer than he had expected lost in his thoughts. Letting out an annoyed huff at himself, Dabi finished his food.
He had nothing to do.
He thought about Hawks.
By the time Hawks woke up, Dabi thought he might be in love with him.
He couldn’t stand to look at the hero, too embarrassed by his own thoughts. How could be in love with Hawks? They weren’t together.
He couldn’t shake the thought, though. Maybe he had been in love with Hawks for a while, without realizing. The more he allowed himself to think, the more he realized his feelings hadn’t just sprung up overnight.
He wasn’t sure how long he had been in love with Hawks, but he knew the cabin wasn’t the cause of it. The cabin just gave him the chance to realize it.
What did Hawks mean when he said he liked Dabi?
Hawks groaned from where he sat on the bed. Dabi looked at the source of the sound without thinking, and saw the hero rubbing at his eyes sleepily.
His heart did something funny, and Dabi looked away again.
“What time is it?” Hawks’ voice was hoarse and deep from sleep. Dabi refused to think about it, mechanically moving to grab the watch from where he had unceremoniously thrown it hours before.
“Uh...Nine, I guess.” Later than he thought.
“Ahh.” Dabi saw Hawks nod in his peripheral vision. “A successful nap.”
“You call that a nap?” Dabi snorted in response. Hawks looked at him indignantly. Dabi forgot to be embarrassed, already too invested in their newest pseudo-argument.
“Coming from the guy who slept thirteen hours? Hilarious.”
Dabi raised an eyebrow. “You say that like I didn’t wake up with you wrapped around me like a fuckin’ koala.”
Hawks shook his head. “Yes, maybe, but I didn’t sleep the entire time! That was just you!”
“What did you do then? Watch me sleep?”
Hawks’ face coloured at the question, which he didn’t answer. Dabi opened his mouth to prod him for an answer, but the hero spoke before he got a chance.
“What about you, then? What did you do for the past 6 hours?”
Dabi turned away, looking out the window once again. He felt heat rising on his own face and prayed Hawks wasn’t watching. Or, at least, wouldn’t comment.
“The snow melted a bit,” He said as a half-answer. “Not enough to leave, but I took a look anyway. I’m about ready to burn this fucking cabin to the ground.”
Hawks snorted. “C’mon, Dabs. I know you can’t get enough of me.”
He was joking, Dabi could tell from his tone, but he couldn’t find it in him to deny the man’s claims. They instead fell into silence.
“What’s left in the cabinet?” Hawks asked, standing up and walking to the kitchen as he did.
“Fish, mostly,” Dabi replied with a wrinkled nose.
Hawks opened the cabinet door, sighing as he pushed aside can after can of tuna. “I’m not that hungry, I guess.”
He grabbed two bottles of room-temperature water, placing one in front of Dabi and sitting across from the patchwork man.
Dabi, for once, wasn’t content to sit in silence. He wanted to talk to Hawks - he was desperate, almost, for the attention of the other man.
Realizing he was in love with Hawks was doing weird things to Dabi’s mind. He didn’t think he liked it very much, but he certainly didn’t hate it, either.
“Do you remember when you told me that story about your mother?”
Hawks looked at him, eyebrows raised. “Yes. I didn’t think you were listening.”
Dabi snorted. “Didn’t have much of a choice, did I? Not like there’s much else to do, locked in here.”
Hawks nodded, accepting his excuse. “I remember. Why?”
“My mom had an ice quirk. She grew up really far north, she had a lot of stories like that, too.”
Hawks didn’t speak for a moment, searching Dabi’s face. Dabi didn’t hide his expression, for once. He missed his mother. He knew Hawks could tell. The hero didn’t mention it. “What was her name?”
He felt nervousness build in the pit of his stomach. “Rei.”
Saying the name hurt, more than expected it to. Hawks looked down to where Dabi rung his hands nervously.
“Huh. Interesting. That’s Endeavor’s wife’s name.”
Dabi felt his heart drop. He took a deep breath. Nodded. “Yeah.”
Hawks looked him deep in the eyes. Dabi could tell that Hawks wasn’t hiding his emotions, either. Pity and sadness was written all over his features, and deep, deep in his eyes, Dabi could see a hint of anger. He didn’t know who - or what - the anger was directed at. He hoped it wasn’t him.
Hawks spoke, not breaking eye contact. “Did you know Endeavor has kids? Like, other than just Shouto?”
He nodded. “I know.”
“You’ve heard of Fuyumi?”
A silent nod.
Again, a nod.
Hawks paused. Breathed.
“Have you heard of Touya?”
Dabi couldn’t do that. He couldn’t handle that conversation.
He broke eye contact. Nodded. Pushed his chair back.
“I can’t talk about this.”
He walked over to the bed. Layed down, facing away from Hawks. The pillow still smelled like the other man.
“You told me your dad is a terrible person.”
He rolled over, looking at Hawks.
“He is. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Hawks nodded. “I’m sorry. Thank you.”
They didn’t talk for a while after that, but Dabi knew. Hawks figured out who he is.
He found that he wasn’t upset about it. He trusted Hawks. He loved Hawks.
Hawks told him about his childhood. Hawks deserved to know who he was. Dabi wasn’t going to confirm anything, but he knew.
It was 10:45 when Hawks spoke again.
“My name is Keigo.”
Dabi looked at him, eyebrows raised.
Hawks nodded. “Yeah. I don’t tell a lot of people...not even Rumi knows, to be honest. But...I tell people who I like. And, like I said, I like you. So...yeah. Keigo.”
Dabi took a moment to process what the hero said.
“When you say,” He began, heart jumping into his throat. “When you say that you like me, what do you...mean?”
He hated asking, felt nervousness and embarrassment and shame all rolled into one.
Hawks’ face coloured. “I like you. I like to be around you...more than normal friends.” Hawks kicked lightly at the ground, staring down at Dabi’s shoes. Dabi watched him.
“I like you too,” He replied, finally, after watching Hawks. “More than normal friends.”
He peeked at the watch. 11:30.
“It’s almost New Years.”
Hawks nodded. “Our rescue team isn’t here yet.”
Dabi nodded. “They’re not.”
Hawks took a step closer, and then another.
“Remember when you asked if I had a New Years kiss waiting at home?”
Dabi looked at the hero in front of him, so close it was almost suffocating, but in the best way possible.
“I remember, Pretty Bird.”
Dabi didn’t know it was possible, but Hawks stepped closer still, resting his hands on Dabi’s shoulders.
“Would you like to be it?”
Dabi let out a quiet laugh.
It wasn’t quite midnight, when they shared their first kiss, but they didn’t care.
They flew apart at 11:55, startled by the sound of the front door of the cabin slamming open.
“Ooooh!” Toga’s voice cood from the doorway. “So cute!”
Dabi ignored her. “Took you guys long enough, shit.”
“We didn’t want to interrupt.” Spinner replied with a wink.
Dabi saw Hawks’ face colour. He grabbed the hero’s hand, pulling him forward and out the door, on to the path Toga and Spinner had shovelled in the snow. “Let’s just get out of here. If I never see another cabin it will still be too soon.”
“Yeah, alright, lovebirds.” Spinner pushed past Dabi, stepping into the van and starting the engine. Dabi pulled Hawks in through the back double doors, never letting go of his hand, ignoring the cooing still coming from Toga.
Hawks took a look at the clock on the radio up front. He tapped Dabi’s shoulder, nodded at the time with a smile.
“Happy New Year,” He whispered.
Dabi made to reply, but before he could even open his mouth, Hawks was pressing a soft kiss to the still-healthy skin on his cheek.
“Happy New Year to you too, Birdie.”
He pressed his lips to Hawks’ cheek.
He was thankful for the darkness of midnight, so that Hawks couldn’t see the flush on his cheeks.
Dabi had a feeling this year would be better. This time, he thought, wishful thinking would get him somewhere good.