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it takes a bit more

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The girl on the drums is good.

Keigo’s brain registers that—which means that he’s at least a little bit lucid. And that maybe he’s not quite as lovesick as he’d previously thought.

But then Keigo’s eyes trail away from the blonde girl in space buns who’s banging away on her set like it personally offended her. Like muscle memory (are eyes muscles? Keigo will Google it when he’s sober), his gaze zeroes in on the band’s bassist. Of course.

Dabi’s hidden behind the lead singer, a shrimpy guy with pale-blue hair covering his face whose name Keigo hasn’t bothered to commit to memory. Keigo half wants to yell at the lead vocalist to get out of the way, but he’s still got enough presence of mind to know that if he did, it would be rude. And embarrassing.

Still, Keigo can crane his neck, and… yeah, there it is. A mostly unobstructed view of Dabi, in all his emo, rail-thin, tattooed glory.

It’s a good view. Well… it’s always a good view, when it comes to Dabi. Unless he hasn’t eaten in a while, or hasn’t been taking care of himself in general. Even when he looks like shit, though, Dabi is always handsome. It’s who he is.

Right now, he looks especially scrumptious, kitted out in his patchy black coat and dark jeans and that damn shirt that’s so low cut it would get someone with an actual chest arrested for indecent exposure.

Dabi’s head is bent in a way that’s probably not good for his spine, and his fingers fly across the strings of his bass, pounding out a rhythm that matches the drummer’s perfectly. Keigo’s foot can’t help it’s tapping, and soon he’s absently nodding along to the tune.

The blue-haired guy’s vocals aren’t the best, a little too raspy and strained to be calming or crooning, but he’s not bad at all. His rough voice ties in perfectly with the band’s grungy, dingy alt-rock sound. So does his look. Keigo’s pretty sure he hasn’t seen a hoodie that ratty since his days on the streets.

One song melts into another, this next one with even more emphasis on the bass. Which means Keigo gets to watch as Dabi’s eyes close and he gets into the focus zone. Here and there, Keigo can see his tongue dart out to wet his lips, and Keigo nearly sighs out loud.

Someone snorts from behind him.

Keigo whips around to see the short bartender leaning on her elbows, smirking at him.

“Ya thirstin’?” she asks, quirking an eyebrow at him, clearly amused. “Over that freak show?”

Keigo is—more than a little bit offended. “Huh? He’s hot,” Keigo replies, clutching his chest.

“Maybe… if you like pasty emo boys,” she shrugs, coiling a strand of platinum hair around her pinky. As an afterthought she adds, “I don’t. Obviously.”

Keigo shakes his head in disbelief. “You’re missing out.”

“You know him?” she asks, efficiently scrubbing and then rinsing out a few glasses.

“Yeah,” Keigo nods, glancing over his shoulder at Dabi, who’s still playing. “He’s my, uh… my boyfriend? Yeah, my boyfriend. I guess.”

The bartender snickers as she uses a rag to dry the glasses, her red eyes glinting in the low light. “You guess? Y’all not official or something?”

Keigo ponders that. They hadn’t really had the ‘exclusive/official’ conversation yet, but he’d assumed… maybe he’d ask Dabi tonight. “I mean, I think we are.”

“How long for?” she asks, setting the rag aside and leaning forward on her hands again.

“Few weeks? A month?” Keigo asks. That sounds about right. At least, it had been a month or so since Keigo and Dabi had first exchanged ‘I like you’s. Longer since their whole thing had been going on.

She grimaces. “Ooh, buddy,” she says, shifting a hand to her hip. “I might have some bad news for ya.”

“Huh?”

The bartender nods gravely, long bangs flicking back and forth as she does so. “I saw your boy here a night or two ago, with some other guy. They were kissing and all, real PDA-ish couple.”

“What?” Keigo gasps. Probably not what his reaction would’ve been if he’d been sober, but he’d already downed more than he should’ve in alcohol. Still, he was present enough to comprehend what she was saying…

Dabi was cheating on him?

She nods again, looking sympathetic. “Yeah… sorry, dude. Hey, the guy was cute, but you’re cuter! I think. I mean, it’s kinda dark in here? But your hair is better. His was white, which, like, a look, obviously, but yours is definitely better.”

Keigo shakes his head, feeling nauseous. “You’re sure it was him? Positive?”

The bartender bites her lip, tapping blood-red acrylic nails on the countertop. “Pretty much. All-black ’fit, and everything.”

This is dumb, Keigo thinks. You shouldn’t be hurt about this. You weren’t even really official. He doesn’t owe you anything.

“Hey, bro,” she says softly, patting Keigo’s shoulder all gentle. As if she hadn’t just told him Dabi is cheating on him. He’s glad he knows now, and is definitely thankful and all that, but still… “I’m sorry. He doesn’t deserve you anyway, ya know?”

“Thanks,” Keigo replies, resting his chin on his hand and slumping forward on the counter.

The bartender pouts. “Dude… you don’t look so good. Anyone I can call?”

“Not really,” Keigo sighs. “Just him.”

She looks legitimately upset for him. “Hey, man. I was gonna meet up with my GF tonight, and we were probably gonna bang, but I can take ya home first if you want.”

Keigo pouts. “No, it’s okay. I don’t wanna get in the way of you and your girlfriend. You deserve to bang.”

The bartender grins, white teeth shining. “That’s sweet. I think so too. What’s your name, bro?”

“Takami,” Keigo replies glumly. “Yours?”

“Usagiyama, baby,” she says, flashing him finger guns.

“Usagiyama Baby? Your given name is Baby?” Keigo asks, raising his eyebrows in genuine surprise.

Usagiyama bursts out laughing. “Oh my God,” she cackles, wiping at her eyes erratically. “Oh my God. Dude. Takami. Dude. How drunk are you?”

“I don’t know,” Keigo shrugs. “You were the one serving me.”

Keigo gives Usagiyama a moment to chill out. Once she’s no longer cracking up, she says, “That’s fair, Takami, that’s fair. Okay. You wanna go? Cause I’m off in, like, ten minutes.”

“Leaving without me?” a familiar, raspy voice asks.

The relief that Dabi’s presence usually grants Keigo is nowhere to be found, having evaporated as soon as Usagiyama told him that he was cheating on him.

Keigo whirls around. “Yeah,” he says, crossing his arms over his chest. “Yeah, I am.”

Dabi raises his eyebrows. “What’s gotten into you, pretty bird?”

Keigo stands, albeit slightly shakily, and jabs a finger in Dabi’s direction. “None of your damn business. Apparently. Because I guess you think that screwing other guys behind my back is none of mine.”

Keigo watches the confusion appear on Dabi’s face. Oh, come on. He’s seriously going to act like he doesn’t know what Keigo’s talking about? Is he that much of a coward?

“Um, Takami, bro—” Usagiyama starts nervously, but Keigo ignores her.

“Nuh-uh. I need to say this,” Keigo says, flicking his fingers at her in dismissal. Turning back to Dabi, he spits, “I know we weren’t ‘official’ or whatever”—he underscores with air-quotes,—“but did you really think that I’d be fine with you cheating on me? Or did you assume I’d never find out?”

“Kei, what—?” Dabi begins, looking completely lost. But Keigo just doesn’t want to hear it.

“I can’t believe you’re acting like it never happened,” Keigo says, throwing his hands up. “You were here, with a guy, kissing and holding hands. Not ringing any bells?”

When Dabi shakes his head with a gobsmacked expression, rage boils in Keigo’s chest.

“So you’re just—just gonna keep on lying? Okay, nice,” Keigo hisses, dropping his hands. “Have a good life, Dabi. I’m done.”

With that, Keigo turns on his heel and storms out of the bar, clenching his fist as he goes. When he steps outside, he’s hit by a wave of cool air, and he reflexively pulls his jacket tighter around him.

It doesn’t do much; this isn’t his warm coat, it’s more of a light jacket. He left the other at Dabi’s place the last time he was there. He was going to get it tonight…

“Keigo! Keigo,” someone calls from behind him. Dabi grabs onto his shoulder and clings there, panting, for a moment.

When Keigo tries to shake him off, Dabi just tightens his hold.

“Let go of me, you shitface,” Keigo snarls, but Dabi keeps an iron grip on the sleeve of his jacket. For someone who is so malnourished that he gets out of breath running out of a small bar, Dabi has a strangely strong hold.

“Not… until… I tell you… the truth,” Dabi pants, head still bent over as he catches his breath.

Keigo rolls his eyes and taps his foot. “Fine. You have, like, two minutes. I’m damn tired, I’ve been here all night. Waiting for you.”

He takes another few seconds to reclaim his composure, and then Dabi straightens up and grabs both of Keigo’s shoulders.

“Keigo,” Dabi says, shaking him lightly. “I didn’t cheat on you. I promise.”

“Are you kidding? Usagiyama—the bartender literally told me she saw you at this place with another guy. Who had white hair. You were kissing him. She said PDA.”

“No, no, she got confused,” Dabi tells him, cerulean eyes boring into Keigo’s. “I just spoke to her. A minute ago. She thought you were talking about Shigaraki the whole time.”

“Who the hell is Shigaraki?” Keigo yelps. “Are you just making up random people? Seriously?”

Dabi’s jaw drops. “You don’t know Shigaraki? The lead singer of my band? The face of League of Villains?”

“The shrimpy guy?” Keigo asks.

Dabi snorts. “Heh, yeah. He’s shrimpy, alright.”

“Can we get back to the case you were making about not cheating on me?” Keigo asks, raising an eyebrow.

Dabi’s eyes widen. “Oh. Yeah. Right. Yes, that. Okay, the bartender thought you were staring at Shigaraki. Deadass. She was talking about his boyfriend.”

“But… she said…” Keigo trails off. ‘All-black ’fit, and everything.’ “All-black clothes?”

Dabi looks at Keigo like he’s a dumbass. Which. Okay, fair, he kind of is. “Everyone in my damn band wears all-black clothes, Kei. We’re a fucking emo alt-rock band.”

“Oh,” Keigo breathes out. He takes a moment to let this information register. “You’re not cheating on me?” he asks, just to be one hundred percent clear.

Dabi laughs. “No, Kei. I’m not cheating at you.”

Keigo sizes him up for a minute, gives Dabi a full look over. He has to tilt his head a little bit back to do so; Dabi’s got, like, five inches on him.

“How can I be sure?” he asks suspiciously. Dabi snorts and shakes his head.

“First off, let’s talk to the bartender,” Dabi says, placing his hand on the back of Keigo’s neck. “And I can show you a picture of Shigaraki and his boyfriend.” Dabi says that last part in a mocking voice, and Keigo looks at him questioningly.

Dabi sighs. “Remember my little brother?” When Keigo nods, Dabi says, “That’s Shigaraki’s boyfriend.”

Keigo quite literally does a double take. “Isn’t Shigaraki like twenty?” Keigo gasps. Dabi nods at him slowly, looking confused as to why Keigo’s in shock.

What the hell? How does Dabi not see how wrong this is? “Shigaraki is twenty, and Shouto’s fifteen!” Keigo squawks.

Dabi simply stares at him for what seems like a full minute.

Then he says, “Keigo, I really, really like you, but you are so stupid when you’re drunk.”

“Huh? You’re the one supporting your teen brother’s relationship with a whole-ass adult!” Keigo says, looking back at Dabi in disbelief.

“First of all, I don’t support it,” Dabi scoffs. “And secondly… babe, Shigaraki is dating Natsuo. Who’s nineteen.”

When it sinks in, Keigo slaps a hand over his eyes. “Oh, God, I really did drink too much, didn’t I.”

Dabi simply snorts and grabs Keigo’s elbow, leading him back into the warmth and noise of the bar. As they go, Dabi glances down at Keigo and says, “By the way, who told you that we weren’t official?”

“What?”

“You’re my boyfriend, Kei. Get used to it.”

Not a bad end to the evening.