Dabi likes to think of himself as a pretty laid back guy. Even when things piss him off, he doesn’t let it show. He keeps his feelings to himself. He doesn’t let things get to him. It’s a good quality to have, as a professional photographer. Dabi doesn’t like to stereotype, but it’s a known fact within (and, honestly, outside of) the industry, that models can be difficult to handle sometimes. They’re hot shit, and they know it, and while most models have a good head on their shoulders, a nice personality to complete their nice looks, there’s always going to be a few bad apples.
Dabi doesn’t let the bad apples phase him, and because of that, his reputation in the industry is a good one. On top of being generally very easy to work with, Dabi has skills. He knows how to frame a shot, how to show off all the right angles of a model, while still showcasing the product they’re trying to sell. He hasn’t been in the industry very long, but he’s highly sought after, especially for the more notoriously difficult models, and so far it has only ever worked in his favour.
That changes, however, when Dabi opens his email at 10:35 on Monday morning.
There are only a couple messages in his inbox, with any business inquiries going through his agent first. Dabi makes work of deleting the couple advertisement messages, before opening an email from his agent, with the subject line “New job - ALREADY ACCEPTED, no take backs”
It strikes Dabi as odd, before he even opens the full message. His agent never accepts a job without asking Dabi’s opinion first.
Reading the message, Dabi’s stomach drops.
Hello, Mr. Okuta
My name is Nakamura Ren. I am messaging on behalf of Icarus Fashion Co.
We are currently in search of a photographer for our upcoming summer clothing launch, and your client, Dabi, comes with high praise.
We already have the model Hawks signed on to the project, along with our in house styling team, we are hoping Dabi will be available in one week to complete our team for this project.
We do understand this is short notice, and because of that, we will offer you double the typical commission.
Icarus Fashion Co. thanks you for your consideration, and we hope to hear from you soon.
you see that dabi? double commission. it's a no brainer.
Dabi has heard of Hawks.
Everyone has heard of Hawks - he is objectively gorgeous. Hawks is also outspoken about mutation quirks. His wings are not easy to hide, he had been bullied about them as a kid, but he has learned to love them, and now many believe they only add to his surreal beauty. Hawks is well known outside of the industry, and is followed by hordes of fans.
Inside the industry, however, it’s a different story.
Hawks is infamous for being difficult. Every photographer who has worked with Hawks has had nothing but complaints. Dabi has heard the word prissy used to describe him more than once. However, every shoot he does ends with incredible shots. Dabi has never seen a release from Hawks that was less than mind-blowing. Needless to say, dealing with Hawks is worth it in the end.
Knowing that doesn’t mean Dabi can’t dread it, though.
The week passes by quickly. Dabi receives a short brief of the collection and location details from Icarus Fashion, and the pit in his stomach only grows.
Dabi shows up at the address he was given for the shoot - a studio, because Icarus Fashion doesn’t want to risk their collection being leaked early. Dabi highly prefers location shoots, but he thinks about the money and doesn’t allow himself to feel irritated.
He’s setting up his lights, when Hawks enters the studio.
Hawks is beautiful. He is wearing simple clothing, no makeup to speak of yet on his face, carrying a half-finished iced coffee, and he is still so beautiful.
Dabi can’t force himself to draw his attention away. He really should - any second now, Hawks is going to notice his staring, and that doesn’t do anyone any type of good. He may be a well-known photographer, but he still has his scars. Dabi is not easy to look at. He isn’t someone people want to catch staring, to say the least.
Hawks notices. Dabi is expecting a glare, maybe a look of disgust to cross Hawks’ face.
Neither come, however. Instead, before Dabi is able to drag his gaze away, Hawks shoots him a wink.
Dabi doesn’t know how to feel about that. He thinks, if his cheeks weren’t already covered in scarring, he would be blushing a bright red.
He turns his attention back to his lights.
It’s only half an hour later when Hawks walks on set. The background is a pale blue-grey and the decor is minimalist, something that won’t take away from the clothing.
With makeup, Hawks is almost unreal. The artist has drawn fake freckles on his nose and cheeks, and used a golden highlighter that shows off his cheekbones in all the right ways. Dabi busies himself with his camera settings to stop himself from staring once again.
He’s fiddling with buttons when someone clears their throat in front of him. Dabi looks up, and comes face-to-face with Hawks.
He takes a startled step back, and Hawks extends a hand, relaxed smile on his face.
“Nice to meet you,” Hawks says, and his voice is somehow both exactly what Dabi expected and a surprise at the same time. “I’m Hawks.”
Dabi accepts the handshake, allowing a polite smile of his own. “Dabi. Nice to meet you too, I’ve heard lots.”
Hawks laughs. “Oh, I know. Hope I can change your mind!”
Before Dabi can reply, Hawks turns around at the call of his name from a makeup artist holding lip stain.
Dabi can’t quite hide his confusion. Hawks knows? He knows about his reputation? And, what, he doesn’t care to change his actions?
Dabi shakes his head. It doesn’t matter. He’s here to do a job, and he’s going to do it. He’s dealt with difficult models before, he can deal with Hawks.
Hawks returns to set, his lips coated red to match his wings, and Dabi gets to work.
By the end of the shoot, they have gone through all of Hawks’ portion of the collection, and Dabi is more confused than he was when they began.
The photos are stunning. Hawks managed to suit every single item he put on. Even the clothes that, frankly, looked ugly on their hangers, managed to look amazing on Hawks.
That’s not what confuses Dabi, though. That, he had been expecting.
No, Dabi is confused by Hawks.
Working with Hawks was a breeze. He did anything Dabi asked, including a couple of the more outlandish poses that most models would refuse, or at least argue against.
He climbed props, turned around, squatted and jumped, extended and pulled in his wings.
He didn’t comment when Dabi climbed props, or came up close, or squatted down.
Hawks even gave a few suggestions of his own.
Dabi is used to models who only do what he asks, or who do whatever they want regardless of what he says. Hawks is neither. He listens, gives his input on the technical things, and keeps quiet on anything else.
Dabi didn’t hear Hawks complain about a single thing during their shoot. It ran late, even the Icarus staff were complaining at the end, but Hawks didn’t stop until Dabi was satisfied.
The shoot has been finished for two hours now, and Dabi can’t stop thinking about Hawks.
Dabi sends the previews off to Hawks’ agent after he’s finished choosing the final shots, at the same time he sends them to Icarus. It’s only been two days since the shoot finished, but Dabi doesn’t like to prolong work any more than he has to. He wants to get his portion of the work off to the editor as soon as he can, if nothing else then so that he can stop thinking about it.
Once the emails are sent, Dabi closes his laptop and turns to his closet with a sigh.
He’s going out tonight, that much he knows for sure. He always goes out after a successful shoot - it’s tradition. He will go to his favourite quirk-friendly club and he will sit in the corner by himself, because even in the most quirk friendly places, Dabi’s scars draw stares.
He’s not allowed to use his quirk in the club, quirks that could cause harm or damage are banned and for good reason. Dabi doesn’t even want to use his quirk, really. He has the scars for a reason, and he’s not exactly keen on creating new ones.
Still, he wishes people could understand. He’s not- they shouldn’t be afraid of him. He’s not going to hurt anyone, he’s not dangerous. He’s just...unlucky.
Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Dabi pulls on a fishnet shirt, a cropped hoodie, and a pair of ripped up black jeans. The jeans are more hole than they are denim, but Dabi doesn’t care.
He shoves on a pair of boots, covers his eyes in Kohl, and exits his apartment without looking back.
Dabi’s habit of getting overdressed just to sit in a shadowy corner is part of his tradition. Seeing Spinner - the waiter usually assigned to his booth - is also part of the tradition. Dabi thinks of Spinner as a friend, even though they only ever talk when Dabi visits the club, and they have never exchanged numbers. Spinner probably doesn’t consider Dabi his friend, but Dabi doesn’t mind. He doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’ll take what he can get.
Spinner doesn’t judge Dabi for his scars, because Spinner has a gecko quirk, and he knows all about being seen as an outsider for something you were born with. It’s the reason he works at the club in the first place. It’s more than Dabi can ask for in a friend, and Spinner knowing what Dabi’s favourite drink is without him even having to say anything anymore is just a bonus.
Everything is going according to plan, no variation to the norm. Dabi is watching quietly, seeing all different people with all different mutation quirks as they dance and have fun with their friends.
A man with a giraffe quirk flirts with a woman with a tank full of water over her head.
Two girls - sisters, probably - with cat-like faces dance and laugh, spilling their drinks without a care in the world.
The door opens, and Dabi drags his attention to the newcomer.
Big, red wings. Messy, blond hair. A plain white t-shirt that fits in all the right ways.
Dabi stares at Hawks from his shadowy corner. People talk, but Hawks doesn’t pay them any mind. He pushes through the crowd like it’s nothing, until he’s standing in front of the bar and struggling to yell his order over the heavy bass.
Dabi watches Hawks, and to his surprise, Hawks notices him, too.
He wants to look away, he really does, but the alcohol in his system is slowing him down just enough that he’s been caught staring, and if he’s already been caught then what’s the point in looking away, really?
He expects Hawks to ignore him, maybe wave if he’s lucky.
Dabi should know, by now, to never expect anything when it comes to Hawks. He’s never been right before, he shouldn’t expect it to start now.
And yet, despite that, Dabi is surprised when Hawks makes his way over to Dabi’s booth.
Hawks slides into the seat across from Dabi, award-winning smile on his face. Dabi watches him do it, taking a tentative sip from his drink as Hawks tries to get comfortable on the hard wooden bench.
“Dabi!” Hawks shouts, voice loud even over the booming music. “Crazy running into you here!” He raises his drink in an attempt at cheers, which Dabi obliges. Hawks clinks their glasses excitedly, and a little bit of his drink spills into Dabi’s. Hawks doesn’t seem to notice, taking a large sip, and Dabi shrugs, downing the last of the liquid in his own glass.
“So!” Hawks says, voice losing none of its excitement. Dabi wonders if Hawks pre-gamed before he arrived. Maybe Dabi should take a page out of his book. “What brings you to a club like this? Got a super cool quirk you’ve been hiding from me?”
Dabi barks out a laugh. “You say that like you have any reason to know my quirk.” The words come out a little more harsh than he meant to. He doesn’t have a problem with Hawks, really, he just gets defensive when he drinks. It’s a character flaw he’s willing to admit to.
Hawks doesn’t seem to let Dabi get to him, though, smile not dimming. “You got me there, Dabs! I’ll drink to that!” He punctuates the sentiment with a long sip from his quickly dwindling drink.
“Seems like you’ll drink to anything, Hawks.” Dabi doesn’t comment on the nickname. He’s never been given a nickname before. Of course, Dabi isn’t his real name, but since he chose it for himself he doesn’t think it counts. It was only going to be his professional name, at first, but after a while he started to like it more than his given name, and before he knew it he was Dabi and nothing else.
“Call me Keigo! I’m only Hawks when I’m working, c’mon Dabi, you know how it is! Why is your drink empty? We need to get you a refill, like, yesterday!”
Dabi isn’t quite drunk enough to keep up with Keigo, not yet, and before he knows what’s happening, Keigo is waving Spinner over and ordering a refill for himself and two for Dabi.
Keigo nods, satisfied, and takes another sip of his drink. He stares into the crowd for only a moment before he’s looking at Dabi once again, eyes wide. “Dabi!”
Dabi raises his eyebrows, saying nothing and waiting for Keigo to continue his thought.
“I saw the previews you sent to my agent!”
Keigo is excited, leaning forward with a wide smile. Dabi works hard to hold back laughter. “Is that right? What did you think?”
“Oh my God,” Keigo whines, dragging a hand down his face. Glitter streaks down his cheek from his eyelid, looking almost like a glittery tear stain, but somehow it works on him. Keigo stares at the glitter on his fingers as he continues, “It was so good. Dabi.” He pulls his eyes away from his fingers, looking up to Dabi. “That photoshoot was so good. You’re so talented. Dabi!” He moves quickly, grasping Dabi’s hands in his own. Dabi thinks about glitter smearing on scars, but he says nothing. “I’ve never had that much fun on set!”
Hawks’ eyes are excited, but beneath the excitement, beneath the drunkenness, Dabi sees honesty.
Dabi allows a true smile to cross his face. “I had a lot of fun, too, Keigo. You have some real talent. You could make a potato sack look like Gucci.”
Keigo throws his head back in laughter, pulling his hands away from Dabi’s. Dabi finds he misses the warmth, and he pulls his own hands into his sleeves.
Spinner returns with their drinks, shooting Dabi a confused look about the model sharing his table. Right. He never told Spinner what he does for a living. He’ll have to make that up to him, one of these days.
Right now, though, Keigo is focused on the drinks, ushering Dabi to hurry and drink his first so the second doesn’t get warm. Dabi laughs, tries to explain the concept of ice cubes to Keigo, but he’s having none of it. “It’ll melt,” he insists, “and then your drink is watered down! We don’t want that!”
Dabi can’t argue against that logic, and he downs the first drink like there’s no tomorrow.
In Keigo’s company, it feels like maybe there isn’t.
A few drinks later, Dabi feels like he’s floating, and Keigo is trying to convince him to dance.
“No,” He argues. “No, I don’t dance.” He shakes his head once, twice, and then stops because he’s feeling dizzy. “I sit in my corner in the dark so people don’t have to see my face.” Dabi nods, reaching for his glass to take a sip only to find it empty. He frowns down at it. How many has he had again? He should probably stop.
“What?” Keigo protests, voice loud. He pushes his half full drink to Dabi, and Dabi only contemplates for a moment before taking a sip. It’s a Long Island Iced Tea, not his favourite, but he’s too drunk to care anymore. “Dabi, are you serious? You hide back here all night?”
Dabi nods, shrugging. “Can’t do much else with a mug like this.” He gestures vaguely in the direction of his face.
“No!” Keigo all but shrieks, drawing the attention of nearby dancers. One glare from Dabi is all it takes for them to go back to minding their own business. “Dabi! You’re so hot! You can’t hide back here!”
Dabi laughs, shaking his head. “That’s a good one, Keigo.” Keigo opens his mouth to protest again, but Dabi waves his words away. “I should get going. I’m too drunk for my own good, I’m going to start getting mean.”
“Wait!” Keigo says, stopping Dabi from standing up. Dabi looks at him, one eyebrow raised as Keigo digs in his pockets. “Give me your number before you go, okay?”
Dabi nods, adding his number into Hawks’ phone and he tries not to lose his shit over that fact as he stands up once again.
Dabi knows he’s too drunk when he gives Keigo a two-finger salute and says, “I’ll see you around, Pretty Bird.”
Dabi regrets drinking so much when he wakes up and the dim light coming from his bedside clock is bright enough to hurt his eyes.
He moves to pick up his phone from where it sits, thankfully plugged in, beside the clock, and groans when he turns on the screen to see the brightness has been left on full.
And then Dabi looks, confused, at a series of text messages from an unknown number that apparently began at 1:26 that morning.
‘heyyyyyy dabs its kigeo!’
‘dabi!!! are u asleepe? txt me back!’
‘i wanna work with u again! dabi im gonna tell my agent to let us work together agaon okay?’
‘i rhink u r asleep so i texted mt agent anyway but i think shes asleep too. losers! who needs sleep? theres dancing tondo!’
Right. Hawks- Keigo joined him last night. That’s why he’s so hungover.
Dabi saves Keigo’s number in his phone before opening his email app. He rolls over in his bed, not yet willing to get up and actually do anything.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a message in Dabi’s inbox from Giran, forwarding a job offer from Hawks’ agent for another fashion company, this one called Sol Inc.
Giran has not yet accepted the offer. There’s no alluring promise for this one, no reason for Giran to accept on Dabi’s behalf, and yet still Dabi accepts the offer without even reading the message.
He’s comfortable enough with himself to admit that he wants to work with Hawks again, too.
Dabi talks with Keigo often.
He’s fun to talk to; he calls Dabi ‘Dabs’ constantly, and it makes Dabi’s heart flutter wildly, as if he were back in high school.
Sometimes Dabi feels like maybe, possibly, Keigo is flirting with him. But then, he shakes himself out of those thoughts. Because Hawks is a model, and while it’s true that Hawks called him hot, he was also drunk when he said it, and Dabi can’t possibly allow himself to believe that’s what Hawks truly thinks of him. It wouldn’t make any sense for it to be true. Dabi knows what he looks like, and he is the one behind the camera for a reason.
Still, he feels a weird sense of disappointment at the knowledge. He doesn’t know where it comes from, the disappointment, but he doesn’t like it very much.
Keigo is his friend, and that is far more than he could ever ask for.
A week later, Dabi is on set for the shoot with Sol Inc.
It’s a location shoot, this time, and Dabi is excited for it. They’re on a private beach, somewhere that they’re unlikely to be spotted by the public. A small styling trailer sits parked out of the way on a patch of grass.
Hawks was ushered into the trailer as soon as he arrived, no time even for greetings, and he has not yet emerged from the white double doors.
Dabi busies himself with planning the shoot. They don’t have as much time as they did with Icarus, only as long as the sun stays out. Looking to the sky, Dabi doesn’t see too many clouds, and for that he counts his blessings.
The beach itself is gorgeous, too. The sand is white and there are no rocks to mar the area. The water is a clear blue, with mountains far in the distance.
As for the clothes Hawks will be wearing, they suit the location well. Not specifically beach-wear, per se, but not unheard of to wear on a beach trip, either. Bright colours, short cuts, a couple bold patterns.
Dabi sticks out like a sore thumb in his black-on-black attire, but he doesn’t let it bother him. It’s nothing he’s not used to. If nothing else, he doesn’t have to worry about being stepped on whilst crouching down for the perfect shot.
Voices emerge from the styling trailer, and Dabi finds his attention drawn to them.
Dabi doesn’t have the words to describe how Hawks looks. The man is absolutely glowing, quite literally, as it appears the makeup staff have put body glitter on his collarbones and arms. Gloss covers his lips, and if Dabi searches hard enough, he thinks he can see golden flakes in the gloss that match Hawks’ eyes.
Dabi crouches to fiddle with his lighting, minimal simply to reduce shadows from the sun, and manages not to jump out of his skin at a tap on his shoulder.
“Hey,” Hawks says quietly. It’s quite the difference from the last time Dabi talked to him in person, and he has to hold back a snicker at the memory.
Dabi nods in return. “Hey.”
Hawks is dressed in a black mesh t-shirt, frayed blue jeans, and a white denim jacket hanging off his elbows. He has rings on his fingers, and he fiddles with them as he talks. “Thanks for taking this job. I was really drunk when I asked, I sort of thought you would decline. I tend to be a little…forward, when I drink.”
Dabi waves a hand, standing up to his full height to face Hawks properly. “Don’t worry about it, Hawks. I like working with you.”
Hawks’ face lights up at that, as if Dabi hadn’t already said it, and Dabi wonders if maybe he forgot. Maybe he just didn’t expect Dabi to repeat it while sober. It doesn’t really matter, Dabi figures, all that matters is he likes the way the genuine smile looks on Hawks’ face.
Hawks doesn’t seem like he’s going to reply to that, so Dabi shoots him a smile. “You ready to get started, Birdie? We don’t have all day here.”
Hawks shoves his shoulder with a light laugh. “Alright, alright. You’re the boss.”
The Sol collection is smaller than the Icarus Fashion collection was, and they manage to finish the shoot before sunset. Hawks disappears into the styling trailer to change back into his own clothes, and Dabi works on packing up his camera and lights. The shoot was a lot of fun, not that Dabi had been expecting anything else, and once again he’s leaving feeling satisfied with his photos. Hawks just makes it so easy, so stress-free. Working with Hawks feels as natural as breathing.
Dabi finishes packing his things and begins to load his car when Hawks emerges from the styling trailer, bare faced and wearing the clothes he arrived in. He watches Hawks walk backwards towards his car, waving a quick goodbye to the Sol staff as he does. Once Hawks is off the grass and walking on pavement, he turns around and greets Dabi with another wave. Dabi waves back, having finished packing his stuff and simply watching from beside his driver-side door.
Hawks approaches easily. “Wanna get dinner?”
Dabi shrugs. “Sure. You lead the way, I’ll follow.”
Hawks nods, turning around and walking to the black car parked directly beside Dabi’s own. Dabi gets in his car, prepared to follow Hawks to whatever restaurant he chooses. Dabi’s pretty hungry, he doesn’t care to be picky.
They end up at a burger joint. Dabi orders the biggest, greasiest burger on the menu, and snacks on fries while he waits for it to arrive. He gags as he watches Hawks dip his own fries into a vanilla milkshake, the sight of which makes Hawks giggle.
“You gotta try it, Dabs! It’ll change your life, I swear.”
Dabi scrunches his face up, shaking his head. “No thanks, Birdie. I’d rather not put my tastebuds through that.”
Hawks shrugs. “Whatever! Your loss, not mine!”
“Yeah, alright Hawks. I’ll take your word on it.”
“Hey!” Hawks pokes a finger to Dabi’s chest. “What did I say? I’m Keigo outside of work!”
Raising both hands in surrender, Dabi nods. “Sorry, sorry. My bad.”
“That’s what I thought,” Keigo says, withdrawing his finger from Dabi’s chest as he watches their server approach with their food.
Their food is eaten mostly in silence, only a couple words being exchanged until the burgers are finished. It’s not until they’re waiting on sundaes that Dabi asks the thing that’s been weighing on his mind all day.
“You said you know about your reputation, right?”
Keigo looks at him as if he knows where this conversation is headed, nodding slowly. “I know.”
Dabi considers his words carefully before speaking. “Do you know...where it came from? Because it doesn’t make any sense to me. Working with you was a blast, both times. You were nothing like what I heard, nothing like what I expected.”
“It’s not a very nice story,” Keigo warns. “I can tell you, if you like, but it’s not very happy.”
Dabi searches Keigo’s face. “Only if you’re comfortable.”
Keigo nods, opening his mouth to speak, before glancing over Dabi’s shoulder and shutting his mouth quickly. Dabi looks behind him to see their server returning once again, two bowls of ice cream in her hands.
They wait in silence as the server places the sundaes in front of them, strawberry for Keigo and hot fudge for Dabi. They thank her before she leaves, and Keigo takes a small bite of ice cream before attempting to explain once again.
It’s worse than Dabi was expecting.
Keigo speaks in hushed whispers, leaning forward in hopes of preventing anyone else from hearing the names he mutters. They’re big names in the photography world, they frighten Dabi, and he’s never even met them.
“I was a no name, when I met the first one,” Keigo says, voice still quiet. He’s not whispering, not leaning forward the way he had been as he told Dabi the names, but his voice is soft enough to barely be heard over the chatter in the restaurant. “He kept- He wanted me to do all these different things, and it was so uncomfortable, but I was nobody and he’s huge, so I just did it. It was probably my worst shoot. It was so popular, and I guess I can understand why, but every time I see those pictures I just think of how much I hated it. I feel like it’s visible on my face, but maybe it’s just because I already know. It doesn’t matter.” Keigo takes a deep breath, and Dabi doesn’t dare interrupt, even if all he wants to do is tell Keigo that it does matter, he should never feel uncomfortable, of course it matters. He thinks Keigo knows that, now, Dabi doesn’t need to interrupt, doesn’t need to say it.
“What matters is that, after the shoot ended, he tried to fuck me.” Dabi feels his stomach drop at Keigo’s words. The calm in Keigo’s voice doesn’t match the anger in his eyes as he attacks his quickly melting strawberry sundae.
“I didn’t want to, obviously. I refused, but he kept asking, again, and again, and again and again. He wouldn’t let it go. I said no, I left, and he paid my old agent for my number and he asked me again. I refused, I blocked his number, and I guess he didn’t quite like that. Next shoot I went to, the photographer told me he’s heard all about me, and he doesn’t stand for models with an attitude, so I had better not try and pull that shit on him.”
Dabi doesn’t know what to say, doesn’t even know where to start, but Keigo isn’t finished.
“By the time I met the second one, I already had the reputation, obviously. I don’t know what the fuck was going through her head, but apparently she thought he could screw the attitude right out of me, because that’s what she tried to do.” Keigo shakes his head, lets out a humourless chuckle. “I turned her down, too, of course. She told me not to be shy, older women know what they’re doing, she can treat me right.” Keigo scoffs.
“God, I can still hear her fucking voice in my head. I told her I’m gay and she told me I don’t have to lie to her. She’s been in the industry for twelve years, she knows a gay man when she sees one, and apparently I don’t fit the bill. I guess I’m doing something wrong.”
Keigo takes a shaky breath before continuing. “She was even more insistent than him. She would not leave me alone. She said it before the shoot even started, and she kept asking while the shoot happened. Ruined so many photos with it, but she didn’t care. She had all the time in the world to call me handsome, to tell me all the different things she wanted to do to me. It was disgusting. When I finally got out of there, she got my number off my agent, too. I blocked her, and I couldn’t even pretend to be surprised when the rumours got worse.
“I don’t know how to stop them, I just do my best to prove them wrong. So many people can’t see past what they’ve been told, though, so it’s not really working in my favour.”
Keigo scoops up the final bite of his sundae, staring at the empty cup and saying nothing.
Dabi tries to swallow down the lump that has formed in his throat, but he’s not very successful. His eyes search Keigo’s face.
“God,” Dabi says. “Keigo. I am so, so sorry. Nobody deserves to go through that.”
“You’re right,” Keigo agrees, voice emotionless. “Nobody does. It almost ruined my career. I constantly wonder how I got where I did. I still haven’t quite figured it out.”
Dabi is, in a single word, pissed. He’s seeing red. How many people have lost their careers, ruined their lives, gone through so much shit that nobody should ever have to experience, just because of entitled people like the ones Keigo met?
“That’s fucked up,” Dabi says, voice low.
Keigo nods. “Yeah.”
“Something needs to change. That never should have happened”
Keigo drags his gaze up to Dabi. His eyes are sad. “You’re right, Dabi. But we can’t change the past. All we can do is make sure we’re better. Right?”
Dabi wants to argue. He wants to argue, wants to change something, but Keigo is right. Dabi doesn’t have a platform, and as much as he wants them to, Dabi knows a lot of photographers aren’t going to believe Keigo. The reputation those high-ups gave him has made sure of that.
Dabi wants to argue, but he can’t. Superheroes aren’t real, there’s nobody to fight their battles for them, and they don’t have the power to fight for themselves. Dabi doesn’t know how to feel about that.
Dabi does a few more shoots in the following weeks with other models, and they seem to drag on. Of course, Dabi hasn’t been expecting any of them to compare to Hawks. Even before meeting Hawks, he never would’ve expected these other models to compare to him.
Still, it’s shocking to him, the difference he feels.
Outside of work, he sees Keigo every weekend. They go for brunch, or dinner, and every single time, Dabi finds that he doesn’t want it to end. He doesn’t want Keigo to leave. He tells Keigo about the other models, how they’re so different, so much less fun, and Keigo repeats the sentiment about other photographers. The way the two of them work together is something neither of them have felt before. They love their respective jobs, but when they’re together, it’s different. It’s even better than it ever has been.
On top of that, they text all the time, and Dabi feels excitement course through his veins with every message he receives from Keigo.
Dabi’s got it bad for Keigo, and the realization surprises him. It really shouldn’t, he thinks, he absolutely should have seen this coming.
Somehow, with Keigo, he’s still always wrong.
Dabi doesn’t know how to flirt to save his life, but the desperately-crushing part of his brain tells him that Keigo is definitely flirting with him.
The logical part of his brain tells him he’s being delusional, Keigo is just a friend, don’t make things harder. Being Keigo’s friend is already better than anything, Dabi shouldn’t go fucking it up by admitting his feelings. He can keep them bottled up, it’s not like it’s hard.
(Secretly, sometimes, when it’s late at night and he’s too tired to listen to the logical part of his brain, Dabi reads his conversations with Keigo and feels his heart pound.)
When Dabi checks his email before dinner on Thursday, there’s only one message, and it’s from Giran.
It’s another message forwarded from Hawks’ agent, and Dabi is surprised he hasn’t heard the offer from Keigo himself.
Hello again, Mr. Okuta
Hawks is preparing a special release for his fans, to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of his official fan club.
The theme of this photoshoot will be “Amore.” Hawks is hoping to capture the beauty and romance of Renaissance-era art.
For this shoot, Hawks has specifically requested Dabi as photographer. We understand Dabi is well sought-after, and we are willing to work with your schedule. Hawks does not wish to do this shoot with anyone else.
That being said, there is only about three weeks until the anniversary, and so we are on something of a tight schedule.
If, by chance, Dabi has an open space in his schedule in the next week and a half, that would be ideal. You would be handsomely compensated for your work, of course.
Hope to hear back soon,
Ms. Hikiishi Kenji
so what do u think dabi? u like this hawks guy right? lemme know
Dabi sends a confirmation to Giran as soon as he finishes reading the email, and includes the first open date in his schedule, Tuesday, as an option for the shoot.
He receives a reply only half an hour later. Hawks’ agent has confirmed the date will work, and extends her thanks for their hurried response.
Dabi shoots a cheeky text Keigo’s way, and then jots down a few quick ideas as they come to his head.
It’s not a brand shoot, it’s not for marketing, so Dabi and Hawks both will have more freedom in their work. Dabi can already feel excitement building at the possibilities. Tuesday can’t come quick enough.
Dabi meets Keigo for dinner on Saturday, as usual, and he tries not to let his excitement for the upcoming project show too obviously.
When Keigo leaves with a wink and a promise to see him on Tuesday, Dabi can’t hold back his smile.
Tuesday arrives and Dabi finds himself in a wide open field.
Later, when they’ve finished the first outside portion of the shoot, they will head inside to a studio, until the sun sets and the stars shine and they can do the final third of the planned shoot.
It’s going to be a long day, but it’s also the most artistic freedom Dabi has had in a while, and being able to share it with Hawks is just the cherry on top.
The theme is another thing he’s looking forward to. It’s romantic, beautiful, traditional in a way that isn’t the slightest bit stuffy. It suits Hawks perfectly.
Hawks only has the bare minimum staff at his shoot; one stylist, one makeup artist, and one intern to help as needed. He hasn’t bothered to bring a trailer to change clothes or get his makeup done in while they location shoot, content to change behind a quickly put together stand with three sheets hanging to stop anyone peeking in.
Dabi, once again, has only set up minimal lighting for the daytime portion of their outdoor shoot. He’s adjusting the brightness when Hawks stands in front of him.
Hawks’ cheeks are rosy with blush, and his lips are painted a soft matte pink. Highlighter sparkles on his collarbones and the tip of his nose, and his eyelids shimmer smokey rose gold. His hair is wild, in the windswept way it always is.
He looks ethereal.
“Hey,” Hawks whispers. A soft breeze brushes through his hair.
“Hi,” Dabi replies, his voice matching Hawks’ volume naturally. “You ready to get started?”
“Yeah,” Hawks says with a nod. “Thanks for doing this. I really didn’t want to do it with anyone else.”
Dabi shakes his head. “It’s not a problem, Hawks. Thank you for requesting me in the first place! I’m really looking forward to this one. I love the theme.”
Hawks ducks his head. Is he shy? Dabi can’t understand why.
“Yeah,” He says softly. “Me too.”
The first portion of the shoot goes well. Hawks isn’t afraid to get his clothes dirty, sitting in the grass and spreading his wings, leaning against rocks, laying on his stomach.
He practically glows under the sun, exuding an aura Dabi can’t even hope to describe. He takes as many photos as he can, hoping to anyone who will listen that he can manage to capture even an ounce of Hawks’ beauty on film.
Once they’ve got everything they can until the sun sets, they take down their supplies, and begin the journey to the studio.
It’s not far, only about thirty minutes by car, but by the time they arrive Dabi is almost shaking with anticipation. He’s so happy with what they’ve gotten so far, he can’t wait to see what else they can achieve.
The studio is set up with a plain deep red background. There are boxes the same colour as the background for Hawks to sit on, but not much else otherwise. The shoot is about Hawks.
Dabi works on setting up his lights while Hawks goes in for makeup touch-ups and an outfit change.
When Hawks returns, his makeup hasn’t changed much. His eyeshadow is darker, brown rather than rose gold, and the highlighter on his nose is softer. His lips are still pale pink, however, and his cheeks still rosy. He wears a white button up shirt, but only a couple buttons at the bottom have been done up, and the fabric is so thin he may as well not be wearing a shirt in the first place. His pants are black, plain, form fitting. His feet are bare.
Hawks walks on set, taking a moment to take in the set-up before he sits on one of the boxes.
“Let’s do this,” He says, an easy grin on his face.
Dabi returns his grin. “Alright, Pretty Bird. Let’s.”
The shoot is going well, so far.
It’s going well, there’s not a problem.
And yet, Dabi feels like something is missing.
He’s standing on a ladder, not particularly high, but high enough that his knees are level with Hawks’ head.
“Hawks,” He says, lowering the camera for a moment.
Hawks looks at him, eyebrows raised. “Yeah?”
Dabi thinks about his words. “I’m...I’m going to ask you to do a couple things I’ve never done before, okay? If it gets uncomfortable, let me know, we’ll stop right away. Is that good with you?”
Hawks searches Dabi’s face and, eventually, he nods. “Sounds good.”
So Dabi does. He can get away with more, because he doesn’t have to think about advertisement regulations.
Hawks leans back, wings spread their fullest, eyes closed and his expression soft. He looks vulnerable, almost like prey. He looks like a real, living angel. Dabi takes a photo from his perch on the ladder, and then climbs down and takes another.
He instructs and Hawks listens, sitting up and wrapping his wings around his body. His knees are tucked into his chest, and his ankles poke out beneath his wings. Dabi takes a photo.
Hawks reaches. Dabi takes a photo.
Hawks stands, unbuttons the couple buttons that were fastened at the bottom and allows his shirt to sag. Dabi takes a photo.
Hawks re-buttons his shirt, buttoning further than it was before. He stops halfway up, tugs at the fabric. Dabi takes a photo.
In the end, Hawks doesn’t need to stop Dabi. Hawks quickly adapts to the mood Dabi is aiming for, and comes up with his own poses to match it. Dabi doesn’t need to instruct him, after that. Hawks just gets it.
Dabi doesn’t even need to check the photos to know they’re the best he’s ever taken. He just knows. There is no way the intensity Dabi felt, the beauty he saw during this portion of the shoot didn’t translate into his photos.
They pack up their supplies, eat a small meal, and make their way back outside for the final portion of the shoot.
The moon is full, stars shining in the sky when they arrive at the field they occupied earlier.
Dabi makes work of setting up his lights, and almost misses Hawks joining him in the grass.
The rosy blush from earlier has been replaced with an orange tinted coral, this time built up around the tip of his nose as well as on his cheeks. Black eyeliner blends into black glitter on his eyelids, and his lips are covered with a shiny coral gloss to match the blush.
Dabi has to force his gaze away to stop himself from staring. He makes sure his camera is on all the proper settings for night shooting, and then looks at Hawks with a grin.
Hawks nods once. “Ready.”
Hawks takes a step back, and they begin.
They don’t plan on staying out long. It’s getting late, Dabi can’t in good conscience keep Hawks’ staff much longer than he already has.
“I think with just a couple more shots, we should be finished,” He tells Hawks.
Hawks replies with a simple thumbs up, and Dabi crouches down to shut off a few of his lights. Hawks watches him curiously, and when Dabi looks back up at him, he sees the moonlight reflecting off Hawks’ hair like a halo. Dabi takes a single step forward, so he is in front of the lights he’s left on, and raises his camera.
“Don’t move,” He whispers.
Hawks softens his features, camera ready in just a second, and Dabi takes the photo.
It’s so dark, the hard work of Hawks’ makeup artist is hardly visible in the photo.
And yet, Hawks’ eyes almost seem to glow, and his wings are large and shadowy behind him. Combined with the halo of moonlight above Hawks’ head, Dabi thinks it might be his favourite photo he’s ever taken.
Dabi ends up at Keigo’s place that night.
Keigo asked if he wanted dinner, once the shoot was finished and everything had been taken down. Dabi reminded him with a laugh that everything was closed by now, and so Keigo had offered to cook for him, instead. Dabi, never one to pass up a home cooked meal, (and, honestly, not wanting to lose Keigo’s company just yet), agreed easily and followed Keigo’s car to his home.
Keigo is stirring pasta sauce and sipping at a glass of white wine, when Dabi speaks.
“I have to say, Keigo, I think that might be the most fun I’ve ever had at a shoot. I haven’t been able to work without thinking about regulations in a long time.”
Keigo looks at him, a soft smile on his face. “I agree, Dabi. It was really good. I can already tell the pictures are going to turn out great.”
“Of course,” Dabi says, tipping his own wine glass in Keigo’s direction. “No picture can turn out any less than great when you’re the subject.”
Keigo lets out an honest-to-God giggle at Dabi’s lame flirtation. It’s one of the cutest sounds Dabi has ever heard.
Keigo shakes his head, turning the stovetop off and grabbing a once-boiling pot of spaghetti, carrying it over to the sink to strain.
“Honestly, Dabi,” He says, his voice suddenly serious. He sets the pot, still hot, on a pot-holder, and turns to face Dabi fully. “You’re really great, you know that? I mean, you take incredible photos, I’m sure you know that by now. But, like...I’ve never been so comfortable at a shoot before. I’ve never had someone ask me if it’s okay to do something. Most photographers just assume I’m not going to do anything, or try to force me to do whatever they want until I’m forced to walk off set. I...you’re the first to make me feel truly respected, Dabi.”
Dabi doesn’t know what to say to that. He- of course he respects Keigo, of course he’s going to ask his permission. The fact that people before haven’t pisses him off more than anything.
“You’re just a really incredible person, Dabi.” Keigo picks up the colander full of spaghetti, dumping it into his pot of sauce as he continues, “You really get me, you know? I don’t think I’ve ever been bored, when I’m around you. All the time, when I’m on other sets with other photographers, I’m wishing you were there. Even just to talk to me.”
Dabi isn’t sure why Keigo is saying all this, where it’s all coming from. Or where it’s all going. The logical part of his brain is screaming at him, now.
Wrong, he was wrong before, Keigo is into him, he’s clearly saying he likes Dabi back, Dabi should confess now.
The anxious part of his brain is telling him not to listen, though. And, even if the logical part of his brain is louder, the anxious part is stronger, and it wins out.
Until Keigo finishes speaking, that is.
“I really like you, Dabi. That’s what I’m trying to get at here.”
Dabi looks at Keigo, watches as he serves spaghetti on two plates, his back to Dabi.
“I really like you too, Keigo,” Dabi replies softly.
The serving spoon clatters where Keigo drops it, whipping around. “You do?”
Dabi nods, smiling nervously. “I do.”
Keigo stares, eyes searching Dabi’s entire face.
For the first time since he got his scars, Dabi doesn’t feel self-conscious under someone’s stare.
Keigo stalks forward, plates forgotten behind him.
“I- Dabi. Could I kiss you?”
Dabi can only nod, and when Keigo leans in, Dabi meets him halfway.
Keigo’s kiss tastes like white wine, sweet and only slightly bitter.
Dabi has to admit, it’s kind of perfect.