“Hey, Hitoshi, my buddy, my pal, my favorite living roommate of all time?”
“What’s up, Klaus?”
Deep breath. “....I can see ghosts.”
A nod. “Yeah, I kinda figured.”
Klaus, who’s spent the entire day trying to work himself up to admitting this, chokes on thin air. It takes him a second to find words. “‘I kinda figured?’ Are you serious? I tell you one of my deepest, darkest secrets, and all you say is I kinda figured? ”
Hitoshi rolls his eyes, drying off the chipped coffee mug he’d just washed. “What, are you trying to tell me you’ve been hiding it?”
Klaus opens his mouth to protest.
Then he thinks about it and shuts it.
Then opens it.
Then hesitates again.
Ben snickers from his perch on the counter.
“Shut up, Ben,” Klaus mutters automatically.
Hitoshi points at him.
Klaus blinks at the finger, not sure why it’s directed at him. Then, “ Oh. Shit.”
“Yeah,” Hitoshi says, a smirk twitching at his lips. “Shit.”
Klaus groans as he slumps over the counter. “I hate you.” He hadn’t realized until just now that he’d gotten comfortable enough with Hitoshi to just...do that in front of him. To tell Ben to shut up without hesitation or fear of mockery. He doesn’t even know how long he’s been doing it, when he tries to think back over the recent events.
It’s been just over six months since he’d actually become friends with Hitoshi by way of dropping a flowerpot on the head of a random goon pointing a gun at said insomniac, and they’ve been spending a lot of time together. It’s longer than any of Klaus’s previous relationships, that’s for sure, even though he’s pretty sure that’s not what this is.
Not that he’d be opposed, because Hitoshi’s definitely not unattractive, but he’s also shown exactly no sign of attraction—either to him or to anyone else, men or women, and he’s starting to suspect Hitoshi just isn’t attracted like that at all, which, hey, far be it from him to comment on someone’s sexual life or lack thereof—and Klaus doesn’t want to risk alienating the only non-family friend he’s had in, like, ever by trying to push something he doesn’t actually want to push for.
No relationship here except friendship. And that’s the farthest from a bad thing, honestly, because sometimes having no expectations is just a relief. Or, wait, does cuddling count as a relationship? They kind of do that a lot, but not as a precursor to anything else. Klaus is just naturally clingy and Hitoshi is basically a cat in human form, especially in the sense of can-and-will-fall-asleep-anywhere-including-on-top-of-people (when he actually sleeps, that is, which is rare enough that Klaus never tries to wake him up when he sees it happen), and they’re probably both a little touch-starved but it’s not romantic or sexual and-
No. Wait. He’s off topic.
What was he thinking about again?
Oh, right. Hitoshi. So, six-ish months since making friends with Hitoshi. About the last five months of that has been spent living with Hitoshi in the tiny apartment he’s renting, which is really weird since Klaus hasn’t had a stable place to live since the Academy, but again, it’s not a bad thing. Klaus isn’t really contributing anything to the rent yet, but there’s definitely a yet there. He’s working on it, okay. And not just because of Ben’s persistent guilting attempts. It’s just hard for him to hold down a job. His longest one had lasted, what, like two weeks? And only that long because the manager of that grimy bar was just trying to get into his pants.
(Which hadn’t happened, because Klaus has standards . Few of them, true, but he’s not about to sleep with a guy wearing a wedding ring. That’s how people get murdered by jealous spouses , on TV shows at least, and honestly if his life wouldn’t make for a popular TV show (one with an awesome soundtrack, obviously) then he doesn’t know what would.)
Thankfully, Hitoshi doesn’t seem to mind his current freeloading status. He’s actually mentioned in the sideways sort of way that seems to be his default that he enjoys the company over getting lost in his own head, which is something Klaus can respect. The only things he asks are that Klaus not 1) store or get caught with any drugs in the apartment and 2) bring any partners over, which Klaus is actually more than happy to obey in return for easy and regular access to a shower and bed.
Or, couch. There’s only one bed, and that’s reserved for the guy that’s actually paying the rent. But the couch is a damn nice couch. Better than the bed he had as a kid, for sure, company and all.
The point is, him and Hitoshi? They’re probably the closest kind of friends Klaus has ever been a part of, and they have been for a while now.
So no, Klaus isn’t sure when exactly over the last five months he’d started slipping and having entire conversations with Ben in front of Hitoshi. Just that he had. And nobody involved had cared, or commented. So...he’s been freaking himself out and worrying about Hitoshi’s reaction for absolutely no reason.
He groans again, louder this time, and thumps his head against the countertop. Ben just keeps snickering, the traitor.
Hitoshi shakes his head. “Like I said, you haven’t been hiding it. It wasn’t hard to put it together. I might not know exactly who Ben is, but I get he’s a friend, and most of the rest of the things you see...aren’t. I figured it was a touchy subject, so I wasn’t going to say anything.”
Klaus blinks rapidly down at the countertop. That’s...wow. He doesn’t deserve a friend like Hitoshi, does he.
“You should tell him who I am,” Ben says. “He’s obviously cool with it, he’s not going to dismiss you like the others.” He doesn’t do a great job of hiding the hope in his voice.
“Yeah?” Klaus asks. He mulls it over, but Ben’s right. Hitoshi had just basically said he’d known about this for ages and didn’t mind whatsoever. “Hey, ‘Toshi.”
Hitoshi hums, filling up the water for the coffee machine.
(Isn’t it, like, three in the afternoon? He’s had a whole pot already. Maybe two, Klaus lost count. Why does he need more coffee? Did he even sleep at all last night? He swears the guy must spend at least as much money on his caffeine addiction as he does the rent. Not that Klaus is in any position to judge, considering how many things are currently hiding in his coat pockets.)
“I want you to meet Ben,” Klaus says. “For realsies.”
Hitoshi finally looks up at that. “What?”
Klaus tries for a grin and finds one coming a lot easier than he’d expected. He gestures to the ghost on the counter. “Hitoshi, this is Ben Hargreeves, AKA Number Six, AKA the most snarky ghost I’ve ever run into. My dear and dearly departed brother.”
Hitoshi’s eyebrows lift, but he pulls them back down and flashes that small smile of his as he looks to where Klaus is pointing. “Nice to meet you, Ben.” No hesitation. No doubt. Just pure trust in Klaus’s abilities.
...He really doesn’t deserve Hitoshi.
Ben’s own smile is wider than he’s seen in a while. “Nice to meet you too, Hitoshi. Thanks for taking care of Klaus.”
“Hey, I don’t need anyone to take care of me!”
To his horror, Ben and Hitoshi give him identical skeptical looks. They even lift the same eyebrow. Maybe introducing them is a mistake. Klaus feels himself cringe back at the double-whammy.
Sentiment delivered, Hitoshi turns back to the coffee machine and hits a few buttons. It hums as it warms up and the smell of coffee starts spreading. Ben leans back on the counter, still smiling.
A thought occurs to Klaus. “I gotta ask—why do you even believe me? Most people would assume the junkie who keeps talking to thin air is crazy, not that he’s that kid from The Sixth Sense .”
Hitoshi pauses. “I’m...not most people.”
Ben’s smile falters. Klaus squints suspiciously. “And you say that like that why? ”
This is about to be another one of those weird secret-for-a-secret things again, isn’t it. Sometimes starting one of these trading-information things is the only way to get Hitoshi to talk about himself, and Klaus usually hates it because it means he has to talk about himself too, but this time he’s just wary. What could Hitoshi possibly be hiding that would work as a counter-secret to Klaus’s powers?
Hitoshi doesn’t look up at him. He just keeps watching the coffee machine, which isn’t half as interesting as he’s pretending. “I never did tell you where I came from, did I?”
Klaus looks at Ben for help. All his ghostly brother does is frown at the purple-haired insomniac. No help there, then. “Uh….Japan?”
Hitoshi turns around and leans against the counter. He folds his arms and stares at the floor. “Well, yes. But. Not this Japan.”
“Oh!” Ben says, as if finally connecting the dots. “So that’s why he gives off weird vibes!”
Aaaaand Klaus is officially not drunk enough for this now. “What?”
“Not this Japan,” Ben repeats. “Don’t you get it? Klaus, he’s from a parallel universe!”
“A parallel what? ” Klaus does not shriek.
“A parallel universe,” Hitoshi says. “Or, that’s the best I can figure.”
Klaus just. Stares at him. Because what . “Ben, am I high?”
“That’s a stupid question and you know it,” Ben says. He actually looks excited about this. “What kind of parallel universe does he mean?”
“Ben wants to know what kind of parallel universe you mean,” Klaus says after a pause, because his brain is still trying to reboot. Parallel universe. What.
Hitoshi shrugs, like it’s a perfectly normal question. “My world is a lot like this one, but a couple hundred years in the future. There’s more technology, more hair colors, and, uh...almost everyone has superpowers? They’re called quirks, and most of them aren’t really anything special, but. Yeah.”
“Superpowers,” Klaus repeats with despair, giving up on making sense of reality. He pointedly ignores Ben’s hissed What the hell, that’s awesome from the counter beside him. “I can never get away from it, can I?”
Hitoshi winces slightly.
“No, I’m not upset at you,” Klaus says, scrubbing his hands down his face and trying to figure out what the mess of emotions trying to drown him mean. “I just. Superpowers . Next thing you’re going to say is that you were a child superhero too.”
Hitoshi is suspiciously silent.
“ Hitoshiiiiii…. ”
“I wasn’t officially licensed until I was halfway through high school,” Hitoshi says defensively. “And I’m only an underground hero, nobody really knows I exist. We’re more like glorified federal agents than anything. It’s not like I’m Deku or Ground Zero. ”
“I’m not even going to pretend I know what that means. You’re an actual superhero, what the hell. I can’t believe this. Ben, can you believe this?”
“Actually, I can,” Ben says. “He can fight, you saw him.”
“I—just because he can kick ass doesn’t mean he’s a superhero, Ben!” Klaus flails more than gestures, but it gets the point across. Maybe. Hopefully. He’s just kind of in shock, because he just learned that his best (only) friend is an actual superhero. From a parallel universe . Where everyone has -
“Does that mean you have superpowers too?” Klaus demands.
“They’re called quirks.”
And that’s not an answer, which in Hitoshi-speak means yes. Klaus wants to scream, just a little.
“What can you do?” Ben asks eagerly, the nerd. Klaus contemplates banging his head against the table again as he repeats it for Hitoshi.
Hitoshi presses his lips together. “My quirk is called Brainwashing. I can control people if they respond to me.”
That is...actually not as bad as Klaus was halfway expecting, if he’s honest. Sounds kind of like Allison’s Rumors. Which isn’t great, because he got to see how she abused that up close and personal, but it’s also not, like, the power to touch someone and turn them into dust, which is great.
Plus, it’s Hitoshi . He’s weird and almost scary intense at times (and apparently an actual superhero what the hell ), but Klaus will take him over Little Miss Number Three any day.
Klaus knows this. Ben knows this. Hitoshi, from the looks of it, is the only one who doesn’t. He’s just a little too stiff, a little too worried about how Klaus is going to react to his super—uh, quirk . Klaus gets it (he was feeling the exact same thing a couple hours ago) and he hates it. Hitoshi should know by now that if he hasn’t kicked out Klaus over his immature attitude and drug addiction, then Klaus isn’t going to kick him out over being able to control people or whatever.
Which is why he ducks around until he can catch his friend’s eyes and says, “Show me.”
Several things pass over Hitoshi’s face before it settles on resignation. Very, very reluctantly, he asks, “Are you sure?”
Klaus is then standing on the back of the couch.
When he’d just been sitting on a stool at the counter in the kitchen.
He tries to spin around and almost falls off instead, but Hitoshi jumps forward to grab him before he can hurt himself. “What the hell? ” Klaus all but shrieks.
“What the hell, ” Ben echoes, but he sounds more thrilled than confused. “That’s nothing like Three’s Rumors.”
“I noticed!” Klaus exclaims. Blacking out from drinking or drugs is one thing, blacking out when he’s almost halfway sober just from talking to someone is completely different. “I can remember what I do when I’m under Three’s Rumors!”
It’s weird. Very, very weird. Now that he’s thinking about it, he can kind of remember a fog falling over his mind when he’d responded to Hitoshi, but then it had gone blank. He can only guess he’d been ordered to walk across the room and stand on the couch to prove the point. Maybe with something in between for Ben’s benefit, since Hitoshi actually has confirmation about him now?
Hopefully he doesn’t have anything drawn on his face. Maybe he should check a mirror.
Hitoshi helps him back down to sweet, sweet solid ground, but pulls away immediately afterwards. He’s still tense, which isn’t cool. Klaus doesn’t think he gets that he doesn’t need to be nervous—sure, he’s a little freaked, but most of that is just because it was unexpected.
So, to prove his point, he drapes himself over the shorter man’s shoulders.
Hitoshi stumbles to the side under his weight and both of them almost crash onto the couch. “Klaus!”
“No, you don’t get to ‘Klaus’ me,” Klaus complains. “Not until you get it through that crazy hair of yours that if you’re not kicking me out over ghost stuff, I’m not kicking you out over quirk stuff.”
Hitoshi stops, looking closely at him.
Klaus waits. He really means it. If Hitoshi isn’t going to flip out over any of his spooky stuff or the drugs or the drinking, then he has absolutely no right (and no desire anyway) to flip out over Hitoshi’s stuff. At risk of sounding like the little kid he is at heart, that’s not what friends do. And he and Hitoshi are friends , no matter how unlikely a pair they make.
After a long stare, Hitoshi huffs. His tension slowly melts away. “I guess it was kind of stupid to think that, huh?”
“Just as stupid as it was of me to think the same thing about you,” Klaus agrees, relieved.
“Don’t worry, you’re both stupid,” Ben inputs, grinning. “Now hug it out.”
Klaus sticks his tongue out at Ben. Ben flips him off. Klaus flips him off back.
Hitoshi shakes his head at both of them with a smile, and heads back to his coffee.
Dropping down onto the couch, Klaus settles into a familiar pattern of bickering with Ben. If he grins just a little bit wider when Hitoshi pipes in with a comment every now and again, well. It’s not like the other two are going to complain.
Two days later, Ben bolts upright without warning. “Wait, Klaus—Hitoshi said his universe had more hair colors. Does that mean his hair is naturally purple?”
Klaus, with the dawning realization that he’s never once seen a bottle of hair dye in the five months he’s been staying in this apartment, gapes at his wide-eyed brother.
Together, they shout, “Hitoshi!”