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War changes things, that’s just how it goes.

It can, in theory, change things for the better. Or at least prevent them from changing for the worse.

In theory.

But reality is so often much messier than theory, and the reality now is that everything has felt markedly worse since the onset of the war. Heroes are considered all but obsolete, prisons are leaking villains at increasingly alarming rates, and Hawks can’t stop picking at the fresh scar burned into his face.

So the last one isn’t on the same level, really. Objectively.

But isn’t it the icing on the cake? You sell your childhood away to the government on the chance that you’ll get to help people, and what you end up with is blood on your hands, scarcely anyone on your side, and a fucking scar on your face.

And, y’know, down your neck and across your back.

Your exposed, wingless, leathery back.

Shit.

He knows he’s lucky to be alive, let alone still in action. Or, as “in action” as you can call it when he’s running around playing catch up with his two behemoth teammates and a teenager with little to no self-preservation instinct. His wings are growing back in as though they have all the time in the world, which is super convenient, given that time is something they simply don’t have to waste.

Which leaves him only good for recon at best, and even then, he has to work at a lower capacity than he used to. His mind’s still sharp, and they certainly need all the brainpower they can get right now, but his mind can only contribute so much when a giant acid-spitting lizard man decides that actually, melting an apartment complex would be a great way to resolve his childhood trauma.

Said giant acid-spitting lizard man is restrained now, and probably cooked to about medium rare. No thanks to Hawks, of course.

So just add “useless” to his current list of faults, maybe alphabetically somewhere after “murderer” and before “wholly undesirable.”

God, he feels like garbage.

The reasonable part of his mind knows that he’s being harsh, but these thoughts can’t help but creep in every time he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Or when he passes old advertisements, lays eyes on Hawks the model, Hawks the golden boy.

It’s at its worst during moments like these, where he stands on the sidelines chirping raspy strategies into his earpiece while Enji puts the weight of the entire country’s expectations on his shoulders and Tsunagu tries to pick up whatever slack to former allows. The three of them have already discussed—at length—the ways in which Hawks is most definitely still an asset to the team, which is all well and good when they’re hunched over a table trying to piece together rumors into something resembling a plan. But it’s different when they’re out in the field and Hawks is forced to the sidelines by necessity, nudged aside by the reality that getting too close would, if anything, make him a liability.

So, yeah. Several pegs down on the utility scale, and the cherry on top is that he doesn’t even have his good looks and charm to fall back on.

Heroes get scars, it comes with the territory. Hell, half the time the pros have a few scars racked up from their schooling before they even start the work proper. But Hawks had always been quick enough and aware enough of his own limits to avoid that.

Until he failed to be either of those things.

And it’s not like the good looks and charm are the core of the problem. Hawks’ goal was never to be the most handsome and charming hero on the scene, it was always about the value in the work itself. The protecting. But to be stripped of both in one burning swoop has left wounds settled deeper than those that now mar his back.

And It certainly doesn’t help any of this that Enji is suddenly back to rebuffing any advances he tries to make. A behavior that he had thought Enji had left behind ages ago, but seems to be another one of those fun changes that the war cooked up.

Maybe it would be less disheartening if they had had the chance to talk, at all, since everything went ass up. All the time spent corralling villains and dodging the public’s ire leaves little time for idle chit chat, and Tsunagu, in all his unwavering, denim-clad support, hasn’t exactly provided them with peace in the rare moments when the dust settles. The few chances they might have had a chance to talk, Enji has managed to withdraw, muttering what sounds an awful lot like the excuses Hawks thought they had long left behind.

About failure and family, and being a bad man.

It would probably help if his own self-loathing wasn’t echoed back to him tenfold by mobs of people every time they’re spotted in public. Enji’s always been too sturdy to look defeated, and he’s never prioritized his popularity. It’s always been part of the appeal.

So to see the flames come off, to see his shoulders slump and his head hang low every time they escape the public’s eye leaves Hawks feeling seasick. And he’s so powerless to do anything, was powerless from stopping Dabi broadcasting the worst of Enji to the world in the first place. It feels pathetic now, only able to offer a pat on the back and quiet words of reassurance when he wishes he could wrap Enji in his wings and block him out from everything.

It was bad enough when his back wasn’t enough to protect everybody, and now it’s not even enough to protect the one man in front of him.

Maybe it would be easier if Enji didn’t seem to be avoiding him. It would certainly help to ease Hawks’ mind, because he’s been left with a heap of questions and no avenue to get answers from. Instead his mind recites the data he has on repeat, scrambling to infer what exactly is going on with them.

He knows that there was a them, at least before the war. There had been something meaningful there, something so much bigger than what Hawks had anticipated the first time he tumbled into Enji’s bed. It was something that involved late night phone calls just to check in, and rearranged schedules to squeeze in lunches together, and Enji having coffee delivered to him on days when he was feeling particularly run ragged.

They had never really put a label on it, had just quietly settled into each other and agreed to keep things to themselves. To keep each other to themselves.

He thinks.

So, point one: they had something that could be called a relationship before the war. Point two: somehow in a world where everything is fucked, Enji’s life has wound up particularly fucked.

Fucked enough that the pull of the destruction has drawn his family back towards him, and his estranged wife is even trying to make something approximating amends. In a small, miserable way, Enji is getting his family back. Something that he’s wanted for a while, something he doesn’t believe he deserves.

Something that complicates his maybe-relationship with his 23-year-old coworker.

Point three: Hawks is a lot worse for wear than he was when their whole probably-relationship had started. The man that Enji held at night was pretty boy, child prodigy, model Hawks. What he has now is burnt, bloodied Takami Keigo, son of a thief and scarred to match his childhood hero whose face he’s also responsible for fucking up.

All of this courtesy of Enji’s first born, of course. Complications, complications.

The final point, and the one that stings the most these days, is that damn distance Enji is keeping him at. Or seems to be.

There’s a distance there, whether or not it’s on purpose.

They still interact, obviously, because what kind of hero team doesn’t talk to each other. But they talk about plans, they talk about next moves. They talk about how they can best support Deku, about how they can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic today to try and keep people from fully rioting in the streets.

Sometimes he’ll bring Enji a coffee, and he’ll get a soft smile in return. Other times Enji will lean in a little closer than he needs to while the three of them hunch over a laptop scanning for any signs of the remains of the Paranormal Liberation Front.

Enji gave him a peck on the top of his head last week, but that’s the last non-platonic physical contact they’ve made in the last week and a half. And even that felt stiff and restrained.

Maybe that’s just because Enji has a lot on his mind right now. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the whole “you thought your first born was dead but turns out he’s alive and he’s done several murders” situation has shifted his priorities somewhat. Maybe he’s just a little emotionally unavailable right now, and with time things will settle back to the way they were, at least between them.

It's the logical reason. Of course, he’d be emotionally unavailable, of course Hawks wouldn’t be at the top of his mental priority list right now. It would be exceptionally selfish to presume otherwise.

But maybe he’s not on the priority list at all anymore. Maybe any moment now he and Enji are going to have a really, really shitty conversation. Or, even worse, they’re just going to quietly fizzle out like a candle with no wick left to give.

If that isn’t what’s happened already.

None of this is what Hawks should be thinking about right now. He should be thinking about the mission in front of them, should be listening to Tsunagu give his explanation of where they’ll be staying for the night. Instead, he’s staring at Enji’s back as he talks to the police, sinking further and further into that murky swamp of self-doubt that runs so much deeper than he’d ever anticipated.

The fact of the matter is: there probably isn’t a real place in society for heroes anymore. And a hero is all Hawks knows how to be, all he was ever built to be.

And if there’s no place for him in society, and no place for him by Enji’s side, well.

 

Well.

 

“The police have it from here,” Enji rumbles, stalking over and taking his place on Tsunagu’s opposite side.

It probably doesn’t mean anything.

Tsunagu nods, making an adjustment to his hair as he does it. “Did they have any news on our target?”

“Nothing,” Enji replies. “This district had been quiet up until today.”

Hawks sighs, tries to slip a lighthearted grin on his face to ease the mood. “Guess we’ll have to keep out ears to the ground, just in case. Even if you two will have to bend over pretty far to do i—”

“Jeanist, have you heard from the hotel?”

The interruption drops the mood right back down, along with Hawks’ stomach. Enji’s just straight to business like he always is, it’s not personal, it doesn’t mean anything.

“All arrangements are taken care of, ready as fresh linens.”

Enji grunts and sets off in what’s presumably the direction of their lodging for the evening. Without casting so much as a glance in Hawks’ direction as he goes. Or acknowledging that he Tsunagu made these arrangements without consulting Hawks on it. Not that he doesn’t trust them, you’d be hard pressed to find two people in the world he trusts more right now. It’s the exclusion that stings.

Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, it probably doesn’t mean anything—

Mysteriously the sentiment it doesn’t mean anything has yet to untwist the knots Hawks’ insides keep contorting into, has done nothing for the way uncertainty hums just under his skin no matter how many times he repeats it to himself. His brain is so fried from keeping all these plates spinning, and no matter what he does he just can’t seem to let this go.

If the commission still existed to have power over him their disappointment would be palpable. He’s supposed to be better than this. He’s not supposed to be spiraling over something so trivial while they’re in the middle of a goddamn mission.

“You seem distracted,” Tsunagu muses, looking down to him as they move to follow in Enji’s wake. “Something on your mind?”

“Wondering how things are going with Midoriya,” Hawks lies, shrugging. He may trust Tsunagu, but there are just some problems that can’t be solved by his particular brand of textile pep talk.

At least that’s a skill he still has. Real heroic of him.

“Ah, I was wondering the same,” Tsunagu replies, entirely oblivious to the way Hawks’ eyes have yet to unlock from Enji’s back as they walk.

The sound of an explosion immediately shakes them both from the conversation, Enji leaping into motion in direction of the blast the moment it rings out. Jeanist is taking off behind him just as quickly, turning to yell to Hawks as he does.

“Perhaps you can call him while we tie up these loose threads!”

He’s around the corner before Hawks can protest, can offer some way he might be of help this time. So instead, he pulls out the new phone, tries to prepare himself to keep the scowl on his face out of his voice when All Might eventually answers his call.

He’s alone, standing in the alley, when the call goes to voicemail. And there’s something about that, about standing alone surrounded by refuse with nothing but All Might’s prerecorded promise to get back to him, that sets off a long forgotten but all-too familiar ache in his chest.

There was a time when Enji—well, no—when Endeavor was enough to ease that ache, the very idea of the man enough to burn through the bitter chill of hopelessness and push Hawks forward another day.

Now, the thought of Endeavor grabs that ache and tightens it, coils its grip around his stomach and leaves him feeling ready to empty his stomach onto the damp concrete.

But he takes off down the alley anyway, running in the direction Enji and Tsunagu had sprinted off in. Because no matter how badly it stings, no matter how the thought of him metastasizes and spreads through his body like poison, chasing after Endeavor’s back is still the only way forward Hawks has ever known.  


It’s equal parts frustrating and relieving when the rest of the day proceeds with nothing but petty crime and minor incidents. On the one hand, at least the danger level has been low enough that the damage done is minimal. On the other, they’re no closer to pinning down Shigaraki and the remains of the Paranormal Liberation Front.

Not that it’s any different from their usual pattern, they haven’t made any substantial progress since this whole operation began. Still, the sorry state of the world hasn’t prevented them from holding out against hope that every new day will finally be the day they make a breakthrough.

So the relief of knowing they kept this district safe for another day is soured by the knowledge that they’re continuing to do little more than tread water.

The fatigue is showing in Enji and Tsunagu’s slumped forms when they finally arrive at their hotel for the evening, a surprisingly luxurious location compared to the sort of places they’ve been staying lately. Few words are exchanged when they approach the front desk to get their keys, and even fewer are exchanged in the elevator and as they ride to their floor.

Enji still hasn’t said a word directly to him for the better part of the day and maybe that’s why Hawks is so surprised when the elevator comes to a stop and Enji mutters “Our room is on this floor.”

Our room.

So they’re still sharing something, it would seem.

The wave Hawks gives Tsunagu as he and Enji exit the elevator together is more enthusiastic than he means it to be, but the idea that he and Enji are going to spend even a single night alone together for the first time in months has his head spinning.

“You must have been the one who picked this place out, number one,” Hawks chirps as they move down the narrow hallway. “I’d recognize your taste anywhere.”

 “The staff here is still largely in favor of heroes, and known for their discretion,” Enji rumbles, still not turning to look at Hawks. “It’s better if our movements aren’t easily tracked, but it’s unfortunate that our last minute booking left the three of separated.”

“I’m sure our denim dynamo can handle himself for the night.”

Enji grunts in response, and Hawks is about to make another attempt at light conversation when Enji comes to a stop outside one of the doors. “This is our room.” He slots the key into the door, stepping inside and holding the door open for Hawks. “I’m going to take a shower, you can get comfortable.”

Hawks practically bounces past Enji into their room, feeling lighter than he has in weeks as the prospect of curling up together tonight. Maybe he really has been overthinking things.

Enji’s just been busy! Haven’t they both? If he’s been sparser with affections, that doesn’t mean he’s casting Hawks aside, it’s just an unfortunate consequence of the work they have to do to help keep the country safe. Not to mention he’s been troubled about his family, and maybe he hasn’t been talking about it because he’s afraid to burden Hawks, and not because he’s realized he can’t have his family and have Hawks at the same time.

It would all make perfect sense, Hawks has just been catastrophizing this whole time.

He grins up at Enji as he steps into the bathroom, slipping off his boots and appreciating the plush carpets of their hotel room. In response Enji turns to look at him for the first time in hours, closing the door too fast for Hawks to get the chance to properly read his expression.

But it doesn’t matter, the fact they have a room, have a bed together is enough that Hawks feels like he’s floating for the first time since he found himself on the receiving end of Dabi’s fire. He rounds the corner of the entryway, ready to take in the sight of the undoubtedly luxurious bed they’ll be sharing and—

 

 

 

 

And there’s two beds.

Just like that, Hawks is grounded once again, stopped in his tracks by the sight of the two beds next to each other. Of the space between them. Of the way there’s room for two nightstands between them, of the way one is closer to the window while the other is closer to a wall with a—

God.

A wall with an absolutely massive mirror on it.

If the two beds weren’t enough to take the wind from beneath his not-currently-existent wings, the sight of the man looking back at him from the mirror would be enough to do it. Tired eyes stare back at him, shining with a misery that betrays the panic that’s slowly resurfacing after his all-too-brief moment of respite.

It’s a sight he still hasn’t fully adapted to, isn’t confident he’ll ever fully adapt to. The scar that creeps up his neck and across his cheek seems like it’s glowing in the soft light of the hotel room, a glaring reminder of how much everything has changed. He knows his wings will grow back, but the negative space where they ought to be fills his heart with dread, reminds him of everything he isn’t able to do.

He hasn’t been avoiding mirrors, per say, but he certainly hasn’t been seeking them out, and for this exact reason. Every time he lays eyes on that scar it’s a reminder of his failures, of the first time he’s ever really failed to be fast enough.

At least it distracted him from two beds, if only for a moment.

But he holds no love for the glassy-eyed man staring back at him, so he turns his back to the mirror, willing himself not to spare another glance.

Don’t look at your back.

Hawks begins to slow process of stripping out of his hero gear, tossing his discarded garments on top of a short dresser near the foot of one of the beds. Leaning against the dresser are two small bags, the overnight gear Enji and Tsunagu must have arranged to have waiting for them here. He digs through the bag he knows to be his until he can extract an overlarge t shirt. No cutouts for his wings, but big enough to stretch over what’s grown back so far.

Don’t look at your back.

He’s down to just his boxers, and has the shirt halfway up him arms when his resolve slips. He glances over his shoulder, the mirror in the room keeping no secrets from him about the state of his back.

It’s the first time he’s looked at it directly since he was burned. The skin of it matches the scar on his face, pulled too taught over the muscle there after the damage from Dabi’s fire. His wings look pitiful, stubby joints peppered with little more than pinfeathers even after weeks of recovery.

They look as miserable as they feel, and as he flexes the joints he watches the skin of his back strain to accommodate the motion. It still hurts to do; the doctors had warned him the scar tissue would likely limit his mobility for some time, if not permanently.

He doesn’t know how long he stands there, gazing backwards at the man he’s become.

It’s no wonder, really, that Enji has been keeping him at arm’s length. Not when he looks like this, skin marred with a visible reminder of all his failures as a person and no wings to cover them.

He wouldn’t want to share bed with himself either.

Eventually the sight becomes too much, and he hastens to turn away and pull the shirt over his head. When he’s finally changed, he flops onto the bed closest to the window, plugging in his phone and pointedly keeping his back to the mirror.

So Enji doesn’t want to share a bed with him anymore. That much is obvious, why else would he arrange for them to have a room with two of them if not because he’s uninterested in sleeping next to Hawks again?

The thought sends a shiver down his spine, and he feels a twitch in the tips of his wings that he knows aren’t there.

It’s only a matter of time before the shitty conversation. Maybe that’s why they have a room together in the first place, Enji thinking he could let Hawks down easy if they split a room and not the bed. Spare Tsunagu the fallout for the night, and then the two of them can emerge tomorrow like nothing ever happened.

Yeah, Enji is probably dense enough to think that would be a good plan.  

Resentment starts to coil in his stomach, seeping out and leaving a bitter taste in the back of his throat.

Really, none of this comes as a surprise. With the family back in the picture and all. It’s been years since Enji and his wife—god that word burns—have really had a place in each other’s lives, but who’s to say that those flowers weren’t a symbol of something more?

It makes sense, doesn’t it, that he would have his wife back if he could? The first step in being a family again. Sure, not all of the members seem on board, Natsuo in particular, but it’s only logical that Enji would rather rebuild those bridges than abandon the ashes in favor of building something new with Hawks.

And it has to be either or, because there can’t be a world where the other members of the Todoroki family would want to welcome him in. If they’ve barely warmed to the idea of including Enji in their ranks again then including Hawks has to be out of the question.  After all, isn’t his face a glaring reminder of their family’s greatest tragedy?

Isn’t he the one who failed to stop Dabi before he could air their personal business for the whole country to see?

Truly, it must be misery for Enji just to look at him. His greatest failure memorialized into the skin of Hawks’ face, every glance a sign pointing to the man he’s trying to leave in the past. But that can that man really be left behind when his ghost lives on in the raw skin of Hawks’ cheeks, circling constantly in Enji’s orbit?

No, no, there’s no way that Enji would want to keep him around given the circumstances, and Hawks can’t blame him. Hell, if it came down to Enji having to make the choice between his family and Hawks, he doesn’t think he would let Enji pick anything other than his family. The man has spent so much time wishing for that part of his life back that it haunts his dreams regularly, how could Hawks ever let him throw that away in favor of a man who’s managed to expend his usefulness by the time he was half Enji’s age?

Hawks rolls onto his stomach, pressing his face into the firm hotel pillows. It’s misery, knowing what has to be coming and having to lie in anticipation. Made worse by the fact that the old Hawks, the Hawks that was bright eyed and unsullied by the war, that Hawks would never let something he wants so badly slip through his fingers like this.

He’s become pathetic, really. He’d probably leave himself too.

Can it even really be called leaving? They had never really put a label on the something they had going, it’s possible that Enji had never considered it anything more than physical before. Maybe he was just entertaining Hawks this whole time, peppering in affectionate gestures to keep him coming back so he could have an outlet to vent the stress that comes with the weight of the country’s eyes watching him.

Has there even been anything between them, or has Hawks just been clinging onto rose-colored memories, letting his idea of what they were grow into something it never was? In his time with the Paranormal Liberation Front those memories were often what grounded him but maybe, maybe.

Maybe it was just a fantasy.

He rolls onto his back, taking the pillow with him to press against his face. He’s sick of maybes, he’s sick of marinating in the same repeated thoughts over and over and over again.

The broken record in his mind scratches to a halt at the sound of the bathroom door opening. He tries not to think about how he couldn’t hear the shower turning off, about how he can’t hear anything the way he used to right now.

Enji’s standing outside the bathroom now, towel wrapped around his waist despite clearly having already used his quirk to dry himself. His ever-present frown deepens when he looks at the beds, at Hawks now flopped in the center of his.

He looks perturbed, looks exhausted, enough so to distract Hawks from fully letting himself drink in the view in front of him. The scar from his far too recent surgery still glares an angry red from where it shines across his chest, standing out against all the other faint lines etched into his form. Another word in the story carved into his skin, a tale of a man who’s taken himself apart and put himself together again countless times in pursuit of protecting the very people who now hurl trash at him in the streets.

His posture is sagging again, and his age shows in the lines settled into his face now that it’s no longer obscured by flames. It’s a face that looks nearly as miserable as the reflection that Hawks saw staring back him from the mirror earlier.

It’s a vulnerability that’s both a privilege and a poison to witness.

“There wasn’t—”

“Dibs on the window bed,” Hawks quips, interrupting Enji and forcing a grin onto his face. “You can take that one, it’s got better phone charger placement.” He jerks a thumb towards the second bed, turning his back towards Enji as he rolls onto his side.

He wants answers, still, more than anything. Every inch of him cries out for some kind of closure. But he doesn’t want Enji to have to fight that fight, not when he looks so spent already. Even Hawks’ selfishness has limits, he’s not about to kick Enji when he’s down and give him another thing to worry about. So he’ll spare Enji another shitty confrontation today, will do the work for him.

Enji doesn’t have to let him down easy if Hawks makes it clear he knows what’s coming.

He doesn’t give Hawks a response, the only sound in the room the eventual shuffling of Enji’s feet on the carpet and the rustling of him digging through his bag.

That’s it, then.

Hawks closes his eyes as he listens to Enji slip into whatever he intends to sleep in, willing away the tempest in his chest that refuses to settle. He can hear Enji move to the bed, the expensive construction still not sturdy enough to resist groaning under the weight of him.

They settle into silence, Hawks’ eyes pressed closed against the soft light of the lamp Enji still hasn’t turned off for some reason.

The minutes pass unchanging, Hawks having to bite his tongue to stop himself from trying to cut through the silence. Silence is still something he isn’t used to, something he’s never really had the chance to experience before. But the damage to his wings has dulled the world around him to such an extent that all he’s left with little more than his own thoughts and the even pattern of Enji’s breathing to listen to.

Maybe if he could still hear Enji’s heartbeat across the room, it would be different.

Or maybe that would just make it worse.

But it’s just another layer of not knowing, of guessing but being left unable to understand. And he’s never had all of the answers, but he’s always had at least some of them, until now. Now he’s left with hypotheses and inferences, with no metric for whether he’s gotten this one wrong.

He sent Enji to the other bed expecting a feeling of closure, expecting that he could build the wall and let them both let go. But the closure he’s left with is a weak facsimile of the real thing, tainted by the unanswered questions that still swirl in the shaky silence between them.

Wait.

When did the silence become shaky?

Hawks rolls onto his back, propping himself onto his elbows so he can turn to Enji. Enji, whose breath as some point started to stutter out uneven into the quiet air between them.

What he sees isn’t the prone form he’s expecting, but rather Enji’s broad, upright back as he sits on the far edge of the other bed. His head hangs low, face propped against his hands. Until Hawks turns towards him, the sound of him shifting making Enji raise his eyes to the mirror.

They make eye contact in the glass, and Enji’s eyes are tired and red, and whatever world Hawks still had left feels like he’s crashing down around him when he sees the way Enji’s face contorts into a grimace at the indirect meeting of their eyes.

In an instant Enji is rising from the bed, stalking towards the door. He doesn’t look at Hawks when he calls to him, “I’m going for a walk.”

But that will leave one unanswered question too many, and Hawks doesn’t know why but he’s certain if Enji walks out that door right now then the answers will never come. Wings or no wings, he’s the fastest hero for a reason, and he’s up and out of the bed and grabbing at Enji’s wrist before he can make it out the door.

“Enji do—”

“Let go, Hawks.”

Enji’s tone leaves no room for negotiation, but letting go of Enji seems to be the one thing Hawks is incapable of doing.

“Enji what’s,” he takes a breath to steady himself, tugging Enji’s wrist just a bit closer and trying not to balk under the heat of Enji’s gaze. “What’s wrong?”

The scowl on Enji’s face deepens, and there’s something Hawks doesn’t quite recognize flashing in his eyes. “I don’t need your pity, Hawks. Let go.”

As if Hawks hadn’t already expended his pity for the day on the party he’s been throwing himself all afternoon.

But he still doesn’t let go, taking a full step back in his attempt to pull Enji away from the door and back into the room. Even with as downtrodden as he’s seemed lately, the way Enji is standing, the face he’s making, it’s all wrong, it’s not him. And as miserable as Hawks has felt since they’ve been in the room alone together, he can’t have Enji going off by himself when he’s like this.

Worst case scenarios flash behind his eyes and he gives another tug, Enji finally relenting and taking a single step back in when Hawks rasps “Enji please.”

With Enji coming back into the room Hawks allows himself to take another steadying breath, tries to find the words that are honest enough to get Enji to stay, but not so honest that he betrays how deep this new wound runs.

Talk to me.”

So much for “not so honest.”

Enji’s eyebrows raise at that, and there’s a flash of fire at his temple that quickly extinguishes. Next thing Hawks’ knows Enji is yanking his arm free, and he has the audacity to look angry with Hawks.

“You’ve already made it more than clear you’re not interested in talking,” he bites out, and the tone that comes out is less anger than it is hurt. Huh.

Hawks doesn’t have a chance to form a coherent response before Enji is continuing. “Don’t act like you’ve changed your mind just because I…”

His voice wavers, the particular shudder passing through it familiar, even if Hawks has only ever heard it once before. And this new piece of information doesn’t fit in with the puzzle he’s been constructing, nowhere in the picture of his current situation has Enji been so, well…

So sad.

“I know I’m pathetic,” he whispers, sitting back at the foot of the bed. “You don’t have to stay, for my sake.”

He looks down to the floor, clenching his fists hard enough that the muscles in his forearms visibly flex. Under different circumstances, the motion would make Hawks’ heart flutter.

Instead, it turns his stomach, because the puzzle is starting to shift and come together in his mind, and the new hypothesis it’s forming has the taste of bile rising to sting the back of his throat.

“I want to be here, you know,” he forces out. “I wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case.”

“Don’t lie to spare my ego,” Enji sighs, dragging a hand over the back of his neck and through his hair. “You’re better than that.”

Hawks barks out a laugh, shaking his head. “I’m really not, actually.” Enji turns to look up at him, and Hawks waves his hand in what he hopes is a placating gesture. “But I meant it when I said I would stick by you, and I still mean it now.”

If you still even want me here.

Enji heaves another sigh, head dropping back towards the floor again. “I don’t understand why you continue to put your reputation at risk on my behalf.”

What reputation?” Hawks snaps, incredulous. “The one as the son of the notorious thief, or the one as a murderer? What exactly do you think I have left to lose at this point?”

Other than you.

Enji doesn’t immediately respond, closing his eyes and folding his hands together. It’s a gesture Hawks has come to associate with this new vulnerability Enji has been carrying, a reflection of the feelings he’s still learning to navigate now that they can’t seem to stop bubbling to the surface.

When he still doesn’t answer, one of the last threads of Hawks’ patience snaps. “If you want me gone, just say so, and I’m out of your hair for good.” He pauses to breathe, years of practice keeping his voice steady despite his body crying out to shake. “But I’m only leaving if you want me gone.”

There, he can have the ball in his court. Since Hawks may have had this all wrong.

It’s enough to make Enji finally look back up at him, that shine from earlier back in his eyes.

So much for not making him more miserable.

“I don’t,” he starts, and the waver in his voice is enough to make them both pause. He closes his eyes for a moment, then starts again. “I don’t know what you want, Hawks.”

Isn’t that the million dollar question?

Hawks wants a lot of things. He wants to find the remains of the Liberation Front, wants to pin down Shigaraki and end this wild goose chase. He wants the fourteen-year-old they’re following from a polite distance to have the chance to be a kid for a bit, since he hears that’s supposed to be pretty enjoyable. He wants people to feel safe again, to feel like they could trust heroes. He wants that world where heroes maybe even have some time to kill.

He wants his wings back.

He wants Enji back.

He wants to know if Enji is even something he had in the first place.

But how can he say all of that now? Hell, how can he say any of that? The man in front of him runs himself into the ground every single day to the benefit of a public that would happily see him reduce himself to cinders, and they’re in the middle of a war for fuck’s sake. Now isn’t the time to go whining about how it’s hard, or how Enji isn’t giving him enough attention.

Hawks is practiced in conversation, is an ace at knowing the right cards to play at the right time regardless of how he’s feeling. But there’s no right answer to this question, no honesty that he could show that could let Enji relax his shoulders for the night or give him a way to move forward.

For all his talk of wanting to lift the man up, everything he actually wants is only going to drag him down.

So Hawks doesn’t answer, picks at one of his nails instead. Desperately tries to search through years of training for some way to deescalate, to change the subject. Before he can manage that, however, Enji starts to speak again.

“I thought you’d like having some space to ourselves,” Enji says more to the floor than to Hawks. “I had assumed you’d want to talk, but…”

He trails off, and Hawks is grateful Enji is still looking at the floor so he can’t see the way his jaw drops.

“Forgive me for assuming, big guy, but the two beds sent a pretty clear message.”

That snaps Enji’s eyes back to him, another flash of fire at his temples. “You think there’s two beds in here because I wanted to send a message?

It’s been a long while since he last saw Enji get good and proper angry. It would almost be a comfort to see this side of him again, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s directed his way at present. Instead it only serves to make him feel two inches tall, further hammering in the nail of stupid, stupid, stupid that keeps driving itself further into his mind.

Enji rises off of the bed, fists clenched but not moving any closer to Hawks. “Since when am I the type of man pull some stunt like that to send a message?”

“Well I don’t mean—I didn’t,” Hawks fumbles over his words, caught off guard by the direction this outburst seems to be moving in. Enji uses the fumble as a chance to interject yet again.

“Did it occur to you that it could be a booking error?”

No, actually. It didn’t.

“A…booking error?”

“There wasn’t supposed to be two beds in here,” Enji says, pinching at the bridge of his nose and heaving out a sigh. “That’s what I was going to say when I got out of the shower, before you interrupted me to run off to your corner.”

Hawks feels his own heartbeat pick up, yet another new piece of information slotting into the puzzle that’s nearly completed itself in his mind.  

Enji thinks Hawks pities him, Enji thinks Hawks doesn’t want to be here, Enji thinks Hawks was trying to push him away.

Enji, the loneliest man Hawks has ever met, made lonelier by the idea that the one person who’s supposed to have his back has decided to put distance between them.

Hawks is an idiot.

He tries to ignore the sting in his eyes from the tears that threaten to spring forward. “I thought you were going to—I don’t know, split things off. Formally,” He tries to explain, his words sounding lame even to his own ear. “I thought the second bed was you trying to give me space. I guess.”

“Split things off.”

“Yeah.”

Enji pauses then, gazing down at him.

“Is that what you want?”

“No!” Hawks blurts, not even pausing to think. “I don’t know what this is,” he gestures from himself to Enji. “But I know I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”

Enji holds his gaze, even when Hawks feels a traitorous tear slide its way down his cheek. Before he can manage to wipe it away, Enji is reaching forward and brushing it off with a calloused thumb, eyes finally softening from his outburst. The feeling of their skin making contact is enough to loose the rest of the tears Hawks was holding back, but neither man looks away.

Enji moves his hand from Hawks’ face, reaching down and taking Hawks’ hand in his own and giving it a squeeze. “I guess we haven’t really talked about this.”

“No,” Hawks sputters, reigning in the tears he let slip. “No, we haven’t.”

“You said you don’t want to give this up,” Enji hums, pausing to look down at him. “Did you mean that?”

Hawks nods dumbly, and that’s answer enough for Enji to let go of his hand.

“Then let’s talk.”

As he says it Enji moves and takes a seat on the side of the bed, spreading his knees wide and gesturing Hawks over. Hawks cocks an eyebrow at him, not expecting things to escalate to this point now all of times.

Not that he’d say no, but come on, the tears are still on his face.

Enji answers the raised eyebrow with a scoff. “Come here, sit.”

Hawks shuffles over, and as soon as he’s in range Enji grabs him and seats him in the space between his spread knees. Immediately, warm arms wrap around him, trapping him against Enji’s chest. Hawks realizes a moment too late that they’re right in front of that damn mirror again and he could almost laugh at how pitiful he looks right now. Eyes puffy and red, tears still staining his cheeks.

“I should apologize,” Enji says, right into his ear as he rests his chin on his shoulder, preventing Hawks from being able to protest their current positioning in the room. “For not making it more clear what you mean to me.” He punctuates the statement with a press of his lips to Hawks’ temple, momentarily ceasing all of Hawks’ cognitive functioning abilities.

“You don’t have to,” Hawks starts when his brain fires back on, scrambling to piece words together as Enji’s grip tightens on him. “You don’t have to do this. I know I’m not…”

He trails off, too much of a coward to finish the thought out loud.

Not what you signed up for. Not really “the wing hero” anymore. Not the man I used to be.

Not useful. Not—

“Enough,” Enji huffs into his ear. “Do you think I’m so fickle that this—” he brushes his palms over the healing tissue of his back that ought to be covered by wings, “is enough to change my opinion of you?”

Hawks shivers, uncertain as to whether it’s from the heat of Enji’s hands through his shirt or the weight behind his words. He tries to cook up a smart response, something that can break the emotional tension they’re both suffocating in this evening, but Enji presses on, not leaving him a moment to interject.

“I was never here for your wings, Hawks.”

His hands trail up the planes of his back and over his shoulders, warm thumbs kneading into the tired muscle there, expertly navigating around the base of his healing wings. Enji’s long had a talent for that, finding the exact way to move around the extra appendages to get at the overworked muscles surrounding them.

Less overworked these days, but growing new feathers always leaves him aching like hell. Not to mention the way the newly scarred skin leaves him itchy and stiff, and he’s powerless to rectify those issues himself.

But Enji’s hands are heavenly as he works over the loosening muscles, pausing his ministrations only to place a too-soft kiss at the base of Hawks’ neck. “You’ve always been more than that.”

Hawks feeling the threat of tears stinging at his eyes again, and he quickly turns his head to try and pull Enji into a kiss, if only to get him to stop.

It’s too much, he doesn’t deserve this. Doesn’t deserve this tender treatment, to be blanketed in warm caresses while Enji somehow manages to whisper exactly what Hawks needs to hear.

But Enji dodges his kiss, eyes warm as he murmurs “Eyes forward, little bird.”

Hawks groans, but he’s never been one to disobey a direct order. When he brings his eyes forward he’s looking back at that massive mirror, and he watches his own expression as his mouth falls open in a gasp.

He’s always known that Enji is bigger than him, to put it lightly. But he’s never taken the time to really look at how they look next each other, and it’s, well.

It’s a lot.

Enji’s reflection smiles at him over his own head, as Hawks’ eyes trail over just how narrow his torso looks by comparison. Enji has to be nearly double the width of him, let alone the difference in height. It makes Hawks’ look tiny, look surrounded, as he watches Enji’s hands move up over his shoulders and down his arms.

“Look at you,” Enji whispers, running his hands back over Hawks’ back. “Perfect.”

Hawks wheezes out a laugh, leaning forward so he can break eye contact with the mirror. “Far from perfect these days, big guy.”

“No,” Enji hums, strong hands pushing Hawks forward even more. “Just as perfect as before.”

Soft lips make contact with his back through the fabric of his shirt, scratching against the scar tissue beneath. All at once it’s too much sensation and not nearly enough. Even through the barrier Enji’s mouth is hot against tired muscle and tight skin as he works his way up to Hawks’ neck. One hand works soothing circles into Hawks’ lower back, the other coming up to cup the right side of his face, gently tilting his head to the side and exposing more of Hawks’ scars.

“Enji,” Hawks sighs as he presses a kiss against the curve of his jaw. Enji shushes him softly, moving to press his lips directly against Hawks’ scar where the marred skin cuts into his face.

Hawks wants to turn to him, wants to press their lips together and drown all these complications out in the ocean of heat Enji so often provides, but a strong hand holds his head forward. He’s left to confront his own blown out pupils, the way the skin of cheeks squishes between Enji’s hand and his mouth.

In the mirror Enji looks at him with nothing shy of reverence when he murmurs, “So strong.”

It has what remains of Hawks’ wings twitching, phantom sensation passing through feathers he’s many long days from seeing again. But Enji doesn’t stop, he wraps his hands around Hawks’ front now, pulling him back until his back is flush against the broad chest behind him.

“So dependable.”

Enji’s hands trail to run over Hawks’ thighs, his touch firm enough to relax tense muscles but soft enough to send another shiver up Hawks’ spine.

It’s not the first time Enji has touched him like this, obviously. But the praise, the praise is new. The storm in Hawks stomach doesn’t stop churning, every word whispered against his skin crackling like lightning in his core.

Hawks watches Enji bring his hands back over his chest, sliding them under his shirt to apply warm pressure directly against the skin beneath it. The reflection betrays the way his nipples are already hard, the visual mixing with Enji’s praise in his mind and making his head spin.

And then Enji’s pressing his lips against Hawks’ hairline, and his eyes are closed when he barely whispers, “So easy to love.”

Hawks’ eyes widen, and it’s an almost out of body experience to watch the way the flush ignites on his face and burns down his neck. He’s about to gasp a question, to ask anything to make sure that Enji can actually hear what he’s saying, when Enji gives a gentle pinch to his chest that melts his question into a whimper.

Enji shushes him again, fingers working more insistently against Hawks’ chest. “I know you want to talk,” he hums, giving a twist that Hawks feels down to his toes. “But for now, let me show you.”

Hawks gives a feeble nod.

This man is going to be the death of him.

He can’t manage to peel his eyes away from their reflection as Enji puts more heat into his ministrations, hands trailing and twisting in all the right ways while he sucks a mark into Hawks’ shoulder. It’s mesmerizing, watching the way his skin purples under Enji’s mouth, the obscene way his shirt bunches over Enji’s hands as they continue their work on his lean torso.

God, his hands are huge.

Hawks shudders out a moan, and he almost thinks it’s pretty, the way his own eyelashes flutter as he does. The heat from Enji’s hands, from his entire body wrapped around him, seeps in through his skin and settles low in his gut. He can see the way his cock starts to curve against the thin fabric of his boxers, the way his thighs quiver every time Enji strokes him just right.

And Enji must be in a giving mood, because he’s tracing his hands back down as he speaks again.

“I’ve missed this.”

Calloused fingers tease at the edge of Hawks’ boxers as he leans back against Enji’s chest, eyes locked onto the glass in front of him. They’re pressed so close he can feel every shift of Enji’s muscles as the heel of one hand presses against his cock.

“Me too,” he gasps, arching into the touch. The motion presses his already sensitive back further against the warm, soft muscle behind him as he sighs “I’ve missed you so much.”

Enji hums as he grips him through the fabric, soft strokes creating a friction that blooms from his core and fans through every muscle fiber in his body. He tilts his head back, resting it against Enji’s shoulder, panting out soft breaths as Enji fractionally increases his pace.

Enji turns to press his lips against his scar again, punctuating the affection with a nip to Hawks’ jawline.

“Don’t look away now,” he murmurs into Hawks’ neck, nosing at the curve of his jaw. “Not when you’re doing so well for me.”

Hawks tilts his head back down, and their eyes meet in the mirror. Enji’s cheeks are tinted to match Hawks’ entire chest, a quiet fire simmering in his eyes as he presses another kiss to Hawks’ jawline. He sees his own pupils dilate when he catches a glimpse of the visible dark patch starting to form under Enji’s hand.

“Good boy.”

As he says it he hooks his thumbs under the waistband of Hawks’ boxers, and Hawks lifts his hips to allow Enji to slide them off. One of Enji’s hands slides back up under Hawks’ shirt to tease a nipple again, the other returning to its place on Hawks’ cock.

He gasps as Enji makes direct contact, easily sliding his hand in languid, practiced strokes. Hawks is already dripping from the teasing, and Enji’s hand against him is slick and loud and so big.

It has him feeling like he’s floating again, encased in their own little reality where all that exists is the points where their skin makes contact and the space that can be captured by the mirror. And good god Hawks will never tire of the way his cock seems to disappear into Enji’s hands, a perfect reflection of all the other ways he feels so utterly engulfed by the man. It’s all the better to see it reflected back at him, to not just feel but to see all the little jerks and twists of Enji’s wrist and the way it makes him squirm.

Enji pulls his hand away, and Hawks would curse at the loss if he weren’t still so captivated by the sight of himself.

The flush has fully crept down his chest now, a glowing light that directs the eye down. Down to where his cock bobs hungrily from beneath his shirt, leaking from between spread thighs. Marks are already blooming across his neck and shoulders, and he can see the way his chest is heaving with the ragged breaths that Enji’s heat always manages to pull from him.

Enji’s hands bunch under his shirt again, and he doesn’t even have to ask for Hawks to raise his arms so he can tug the garment away.

And fuck, if it wasn’t enough the way Enji makes him look so small when he’s tucked in front of him, the sight of himself fully naked and exposed while Enji sits fully clothed behind him is enough to make his head spin.

They look good together. Look right.

“Are you starting to see it?” Enji’s eyes lock with his in the mirror once again. “How stunning you are?”

Hawks tosses his head back, letting out another groan, and a warm chuckle rumbles through Enji’s chest. The vibration presses against the pinfeathers just barely starting to poke through his skin, making Hawks feel like Enji is laughing directly into his brain.

He’s giddy with the feeling of it. It’s the most sensation he’s felt in his wings since he was set ablaze, and his cock jumps at the feeling.

Enji doesn’t make another move immediately, instead wrapping his arms around Hawks’ torso and drinking in the sight in the mirror in front of him. He hooks his ankles around Hawks’, using their intertwined limbs to spread his legs open further.

It’s more than a little embarrassing to watch himself be presented so openly, but the nerves he feels only manage to fan the flames at his core, and he feels his dick give another twitch as he watches himself flush.

Traitor.

“Let me show you just how much I’ve missed you,” Enji coos into his ear, and Hawks is left with scarcely a second to wonder what else the man could possibly have planned when their positions are shifting. Enji presses Hawks’ torso forward until he’s looking straight down at the floor and oh wow does it do something good to his brain to have Enji bending him over like this.

But then warm hands wrap around the front of his thighs. In one smooth motion Enji lies back on the bed, yanking Hawks’ legs with him. It’s only years of being a hero and honing his reflexes that allows Hawks to get his hands under himself before he faceplants directly onto—

Well, directly onto Enji’s dick.

The sight of which has been obscured by his own body up until this point, and now has his mouth watering. Enji’s hard, already, and the fact that he’s like this just from running his hands over Hawks and whispering sweet everythings into his ear makes his arms shake.

Plus, the sight of the thing curved hard under Enji’s sweatpants has always been a personal favorite view of Hawks’.

Enji’s hands are still wrapped warm around Hawks’ upper thighs, but he’s not about to waste a potential opportunity when he has one. He learns forward to press his mouth against the fabric in front of him, but the moment he makes contact Enji levies a soft swat against his ass.

“Eyes up,” he chastises, slowly kneading his thumbs just under the curve of Hawks’ ass. He presses a kiss against the skin he just struck, despite the fact that the contact wasn’t even enough to sting.

“Come on big guy,” Hawks groans, lifting his head and making eye contact with himself in the mirror once again. They’re positioned in what Hawks can only consider to be ideal sixty-nine formation, what is he supposed to not try and suck Enji’s dick? “Let a man participate.”

Enji gently sinks his teeth in the meat of his ass, pulling back only to direct Hawks once again.

“Just watch.”

“You know, you really say that a lo—” Hawks’ smart reply melts into a moan as he feels Enji drag his tongue in a long swipe over his asshole. He tugs Hawks’ legs down closer to the mattress, closer to his face, and presses his tongue against him more firmly.

Ooh boy, has it been a minute.

Hawks’ thighs jump with every point of contact, the zing of pleasure shooting from Enji’s tongue out to his fingertips. He barely registers the sounds that whimper out of him, but there’s no way to contain himself when Enji so expertly teases his tongue around the rim.

Enji eases his hands up to where thigh meets torso, and it makes Hawks’ skin hum the way he’s able to nudge Hawks into an upright position with the strength in his fingers alone.

It’s obvious that Enji has his plans for how this is going to go, and Hawks has been reduced to too weak a pile of goo to do anything about it. So he sits back onto Enji’s face, watches as full body shudders wrack through his body with Enji’s every move.

He watches with a breathless fascination as his cock jumps every time Enji pushes his tongue insistently against his entrance, at the way his shoulders visibly tremble when Enji pulls back enough to drag his tongue in a straight line from his balls to the cleft of his ass.

“I’m almost jealous,” Enji hums against him. “That you get to see your face right now and I don’t.”

Hawks stutters out a laugh as Enji continues slowly working him over. “Y-you want me to, ah, take you a picture?”

He feels Enji’s lips stretch into a smile before he replies, “Next time.”

Next time, next time okay.

Because there’s still going to be a next time, hell, still might be several next times.

It sinks in then, settles into Hawks’ bones as he quivers against Enji’s mouth. How wanted he feels, how wanted he looks, coming apart on Enji’s tongue. Enji’s movements are occasionally punctuated with soft groans that vibrate against Hawks’ tailbone and shoot up his spine, the sounds dripping with a pure pleasure that makes Hawks dizzy to think about.

Like Enji is exactly where he wants to be.

Shit, Hawks is a pretty big fan of him being there too.

If that weren’t enough, it’s in that moment that Hawks catches a glimpse of Enji’s cock giving a valiant twitch from the confines of his sweatpants. Apparently, he’s having a great time down there.

Hawks begins a slow grind back against Enji’s face, the rough scratch of his stubble stinging against sensitive skin, but that’s a problem for later. As he presses back harder it pulls another groan from Enji’s lips, and he brings a hand up and around to tug lazily at Hawks’ cock.

It’s not enough to finish him off, just enough to lull him into a pleasure drunk haze as he continues to grind back. They stay like that for a while, the room filled with the sounds of the wet slide of tongue and skin against skin, punctuated with Hawks’ whimpers and Enji’s low hums.

Eventually Enji pushes Hawks’ hips forward, placing a final kiss against the side of his ass.

“I could stay here all night,” he hums, and Hawks is inclined to invite him to do just that. “But we’ve got work to do in the morning.”

Hawks sighs at the loss, but manages to nod in agreement. “You saying we should get this show on the road?” He hopes Enji can hear the grin in his voice.

Enji swats at his ass again, the playful gesture pulling a soft chuckle from Hawks. “Don’t try me.”

Hawks inches himself forward, allowing Enji enough room to prop himself up on his elbows. The man’s expression in the mirror is blissed out, chin shining with spit and a satisfied quirk to his lips.

“Left side pocket of my bag, go,” he rumbles, pushing Hawks forward. Hawks scrambles off the bed and to the dresser where their bags are piled, digging the lube out of the indicated pocket before making his way back over. That familiar tingle of being wanted passes through him at the thought that Enji came prepared.

Sure, there’s a matching bottle in Hawks’ bag, but really that’s a given. It’s the fact that Enji wanted this as bad as he did that has giddy pleasure radiating out from his chest again.

He crawls back into Enji’s lap, pressing their chests together and pulling him into a slow kiss. It’s the first time their lips have made contact tonight, hell, the first time their lips have made proper contact in weeks.

Relief and heat pulse through Hawks’ system in waves from the moment they make contact.

It always drives Hawks wild, kissing Enji when he still tastes like him. But every time he tries to speed up, tries to frantically grind his poor, desperate cock against Enji’s core, Enji pulls him back, slows him down. He luxuriates in kissing him, in slowly trailing his hands over every inch of Hawks’ exposed skin he can reach.

When he pulls back fully his light eyes are made dark by dilated pupils, and Hawks is reminded of that little ‘L’ word Enji let slip earlier.

They’re going to have to talk about that, after all this.

For now, Enji taps the side of his hip, whispers “Back where you were, little bird.”

Hawks clamors to lean back over Enji, placing his knees on either side of his chest. He can’t resist the temptation to watch as Enji squeezes the bottle of lube over his entrance, and even though he can’t see what Enji’s looking at, the look of hunger in Enji’s eyes as he watches it drip down Hawks’ skin makes his toes curl.

It’s cold against the sensitive skin, the temperature a shock after so much warm attention from Enji. The slow trickle is also maddening, and he rocks his hips back to encourage Enji to pick up the pace.

The message must be received, because the next thing he knows there’s a thick finger circling his entrance, teasing its way through the mess of lube. The tease radiates through his entire body as he pushes back again, exhausted of soft and fleeting touches and desperate for something more.

“Always so eager,” Enji muses as he slowly works the first finger in. “Always so good for me.”

Hawks whimpers at the intrusion, the slide tight after weeks without practice. The burn of it is familiar, and the ache he feels as Enji pushes in further makes the tender base of his wings flutter.

They’d be flapping out of control at this point, he’s sure of it. Can almost feel the phantom sensation of his feathers shuddering as Enji slowly works him open.

As if sensing that Hawks’ mind has had room to wonder, Enji carefully works in a second finger alongside the first, pushing and twisting them just right. They’re going to be like this for a while, Hawks bent over and moaning while Enji stretches him open. Hawks grips onto the duvet underneath him, starting to rock his hips in time with Enji’s fingers.

“You take my fingers so well,” Enji hums, stretching his fingers apart in a way that makes Hawks’ knees shake.

Hawks’ cock gives another valiant twitch at the praise, and Hawks feels like the temperature in the room rises another ten degrees. It’s almost suffocating, the literal heat of the room mingling with the heat behind Enji’s words and leaving him foggy headed like he just stepped into a sauna.

“There are—ah, there are other things I do well too, you know,” Hawks manages, attempting for the second time tonight to nose against Enji’s cock through his pants. This time Enji doesn’t stop him, simply chuckles as he responds, “If you’re that eager.”

And oh is he eager.

He wastes no time in opening his mouth, pressing his tongue at Enji’s cock through the fabric of the sweatpants. It won’t be enough for the man to feel much of anything, but it’s the thrill in the buildup before the main event that has Hawks rocking his hips back that much harder in his enthusiasm.

Enji lets out a sigh as Hawks works his tongue over the fabric, alternating between long licks and firm presses of his lips.

Hawks’ skin hums in anticipation when he finally sits up to work his thumbs under the waistband of Enji’s pants, Enji lifting his hips to allow Hawks to slide them down. Hawks can’t suppress his groan when Enji’s cock springs free, lying hard and eager against toned muscle.

He dives in at once, too tired of being teased himself to have any teasing left to give. He wraps a hand around the base and takes half of it down in one go, reveling in the stretch in his throat from that alone.

Why the fuck haven’t they been making time for this?

Enji groans as he does it, and the two of them easily settle into a rhythm together, Enji’s fingers pressing in time with the bobs of Hawks’ head. It’s exhilarating to feel so surrounded, so filled by Enji. Each press of Enji’s fingers, each dip of his head as he takes in more of his cock, only serves to shove more of his worries out of his mind.

His entire world right now is nothing but Enji, Enji, Enji, and he couldn’t manage to be happier about that fact if he tried.

But he was doomed at birth with a need for air to live, and when he pops off Enji’s cock to breathe he’s rewarded with the feeling of a third finger stretching its way inside. The pull has him tilting his head back with a moan, eyes landing once again on the mirror as he does so.

Hawks lets out a manic little chuckle when he sees himself, sees the way nearly half of his face is obscured by Enji’s cock in front of it. He’s never had any illusions about how big he is, he’s well acquainted with that fact. But to see it thrown into such harsh relief has him shaking, has him eager to test how much farther he can push.

He’s out of practice, but what he lacks in training he makes up for in enthusiasm as he bullies Enji’s cock further down his throat. He flicks his eyes up to the mirror when he feels his nose brush against Enji’s pelvis, and just catches the sight of the tears trickling down his face.

He looks absolutely wrecked, and the sight has him moaning around Enji’s cock, prompting him to jerk his hips and push that much deeper down Hawks’ throat.

Oh hell yes.

They fall into a new rhythm then, Enji’s fingers and hips working in tandem while Hawks is happily powerless to do anything more than ride it out.

“God you’re amazing,” Enji gasps out after a particularly firm thrust. “Perfect.”

There’s that word again, the one that makes Hawks’ brain crackle like a New Year’s fireworks display. He pulls off Enji’s cock with a groan, reveling in the nasty, wet noise it makes as it pulls from his throat.

His voice is blown out when he manages to gasp, “Enji, please.”

“Alright,” Enji hums, nudging Hawks’ hips back towards his lap. Enji easily shifts him until they’re back in the position where this whole thing started, and Hawks feels a giddy shame bubbling in his stomach when Enji spreads his legs in the mirror once again.

“You’re not going to—”

“Mm, we are,” Enji murmurs. He presses a soft kiss against Hawks’ scar, rocking his hips so he can grind against Hawks’ ass. He’s still mostly dressed, pants only pushed down enough to let his cock hang free, his cock that’s occluded in the reflection by Hawks’ own trembling body.

“I want you to watch,” Enji hums, lifting Hawks into the air by his thighs. God, he doesn’t so much as furrow a brow as he does it, because Hawks has to way absolutely nothing to him. Shit. “You know what to do.”

Hawks reaches behind himself to help Enji ease his cock into him, at least until the slow press in knocks the air from his lungs.

It’s been long enough that it’s slow work, and the gradual ache as Enji settles inside him out borders on transcendent. They’ve done this so many times before, this is nowhere near the first time he’s experienced the stretch of Enji inside him. But it feels so different now, so careful as Enji sings praises against his skin, petting soothing strokes down the muscles of his core.

The sight in the mirror has him shaking almost as much as the cock inside him, taken aback by the arch of his own back and the way he’s nearly gone cross eyed as he lowers on to Enji. He’s nearly all the way down now, and he revels in the sight of the last inch of Enji’s cock disappearing inside him as he’s fully seated.

They don’t immediately move, Enji pulling him close and pressing his mouth against any skin he can reach. Hawks closes his eyes, takes himself through a series of deep breaths as he tries to adjust to the way he’s been absolutely hollowed out by the man underneath him.

Finally, Enji gives a slow roll of his hips, whispering into Hawks’ hair, “Look how well you take me.”

Electricity crackles in Hawks’ gut as Enji repeats the motion, the sound of his repeated praises lost in the way he gives another slow grind of his hips. Hawks weakly lifts his hips so he can bring them back down, and the sight of Enji disappearing back into him combined with the feeling of him pressing against his insides is enough to snap whatever’s left of his self-control.

He brings himself up on his knees, as high as he can without risking Enji slipping out of him before slamming his hips back down.

Oh fuck yeah.

He repeats the motion, eyes locked onto the way his own cock bounces as he slams himself down.

He does take him well, and he wants to show Enji just how well he can do.

It doesn’t take long for him to build to a frantic rhythm, nerves fried from the teasing he’s endured up to this point. His thighs burn with the exertion of repeatedly grinding himself down on Enji’s cock, skin glowing from the flush and shining with sweat.

He’s so hot, and full, and surrounded, and he never wants to be anywhere else.

“It’s like you were made for this,” Enji growls into his ear when Hawks gets a particularly deep thrust going that makes him absolutely see stars.

“Mmm, fuck yeah I was,” Hawks croons, reaching back to wrap an arm around Enji’s neck.

Enji answers him by wrapping strong hands around his thighs, lifting Hawks himself and raising his knees into the air before dropping him back down onto his cock. The adjusted angle has Enji hit him just right, and the force of it punches an oh fuck from his lungs.

Shit Enji, do that again.”

He sees Enji’s smile flash in the mirror before he sets a relentless pace, dragging Hawks up his cock and letting him down like he weighs nothing. Hawks is left to just revel in it, alternating between throwing his head back and panting and trying to track their movements in the mirror. The change in the position leaves nothing to imagination, putting the place where their bodies meet on full display.

At one point their eyes meet in the mirror, and Enji brings him down particularly hard as he murmurs, “Absolutely beautiful.”

It’s the last straw, Hawks can feel his own climax curling in his gut and threatening to snap at any moment.

“Ah, Enji, fuck,” he pants between thrusts. “Fuck Enji, touch me, please.”

Enji acquiesces, letting go of Hawks thighs so he can tug at his cock. His rhythm is as frantic as Hawks feels, strong pulls punctuated by quick, shallow jerks of his hips.

“Let go, Hawks” he whispers, giving a twist of his wrist that has Hawks sinking his nails into the shoulders behind him.

He doesn’t see himself come, vision whiting out in a flash as his orgasm practically rips through him. Hawks feels like he’s floating away, like he’s suspended in bliss, even as he starts to come down.

He opens his eyes again to watch Enji give a final thrust, feels the way he releases inside him. It’s hot and sticky and filthy, and Hawks wants to stay like this for the rest of the night, society be damned.

He watches as Enji’s cum already starts to drip out of him, slipping out around the man’s softening cock. It matches perfectly with the mess Hawks has made of his own stomach, with what currently drips off of Enji’s hand down on to his waist.

A sudden relief bubbles up in his chest and he can’t help it when it escapes as a laugh. The laughter is still dancing in his eyes when he turns to look at Enji, the man himself and not the reflection, and the same laughter is reflected back at him in Enji’s eyes, even if the smile is much more subdued.

He’s not sure what compels him to do it, but when their eyes meet he reaches down to grab Enji’s soiled hand, dragging one of the large fingers into his mouth. He makes a show of laving his tongue over it, making sure not to break eye contact as he tastes himself on Enji’s skin.

There’s a dark flash in Enji’s eyes as he does it, and Hawks nearly thinks he may have squeezed in a victory for himself when that same hand grabs him by the cheek and pulls him forward into a sloppy kiss.

It feels filthy as their tongues meet, Hawks shifting to move closer and Enji’s soft cock finally falling free from him. Everything is hot and sticky and utterly overwhelming, and the warmth Hawks feels bloom in his chest is different from the one he’s been simmering in.

This man is perfect.

Well, he’s not perfect, a fact that the whole world has been made aware of. But he’s as a good as, regardless of the scars on his skin and the skeletons in his closet. His jagged edges slot seamlessly into Hawks’ own and maybe, maybe that’s what it’s about.

They both have some work to do. On the world and themselves. But they can do that work together, can both be worthy of the support.

Hawks sighs into the kiss, and Enji pulls away for air, all at once scooping Hawks into his arms and gently lying him on his back in the bed. “Wait here,” he calls, moving to the bathroom. Hawks closes his eyes, cracks a smile as he hears the sound of the air conditioner in the room humming to life.

How considerate.

When Enji comes back he has a damp washcloth in hand, and Hawks keeps his eyes closed so he can soak in the sensation of the gentle brush of damp cloth against his skin. Enji cleans him so slowly, so carefully, taking his time to not miss a single inch of him.

Hawks finally opens his eyes when Enji places a surprisingly chaste kiss against the tip of his soft, oversensitive cock, the sensation jolting him upright. But Enji just flashes him a small smile, leaning up to press an equally chaste kiss against Hawks’ lips.

Hawks smiles back at him while tapping the empty space open next to him on the bed. “Come here, stay a while.”

Enji reaches over to turn off the light before flopping next to him. He doesn’t hesitate to pull Hawks in close, brushing his lips against his forehead as he says, “I’d like to stay, if you’ll have me.”

Hawks throws his head back in a laugh in response, giving Enji a playful push away as he giggles “God who says things like that.”

But teasing aside, he can’t help that the warm feeling from his chest blooms further, spreads over his whole person at the words.

Speaking of words.

“I have to know,” he starts, trying to choose his own words carefully. He doesn’t want to break whatever spell they seem to have fallen under today, but even in the afterglow he still wants some answers. “Earlier, you said, well, you said I was—”

“Easy to love?” Enji hums, and his forthrightness stops Hawks dead in his tracks. He gives a weak nod, and Enji pulls one of his hands into his own. “I meant it, Hawks. It’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever done."

Hawks doesn’t cry as Enji presses a kiss against his knuckles. Absolutely not. There’s another explanation for why his voice shakes when he wraps his arms around Enji’s neck and whispers “I thought you wouldn’t want me around anymore.”

Enji’s voice is steady when he replies, “And I thought the same. I guess we’ve both been fools about this.”

“So are we, is this…is this real? Obviously we can’t go public with anything, hell, there may never be a good time to go public, but—”

Enji cuts him off by pulling him into a kiss. “We’re partners, Hawks. There’s nobody else I’d rather have by my side right now.”

“Oof, don’t tell Jeanist that, he’ll start to feel like a third wheel.”

Enji groans, rolling his eyes at the way Hawks ruins the quiet moment. “He really doesn’t give us a moment’s peace, does he?”

“It’s his job,” Hawks grins. “We’ve got a world to save, he knows I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off you if left unsupervised.”

Enji hums in response, closing his eyes as he pulls Hawks close.

There’s still one more answer he’s after.

“What about your family?” He whispers, keeping his eyes closed as he braces for Enji's reply. He feels Enji’s chest rise and fall against his own as he sighs, and Hawks worries his lower lip as he waits.

“Rei and I have already discussed pursuing a divorce,” he finally answers. “Obviously we have…other matters to take care of first.”

“And the kids?” Hawks hopes the relief isn’t too apparent in his voice, a shudder passing through him at the thought that there really is still a place for him by Enji’s side.

“I am certain my kids will find you just as easy to love as I have,” Enji murmurs into his forehead. “When given the time. Now let’s get some sleep, little bird.”

The weight of their responsibilities slowly starts to settle back into Hawks’ muscles, and he can feel the shift in Enji too, but for the moment, it doesn’t seem quite so hard to bear. There’s no predicting exactly what they’re in for, even if they both know it’s not going to get any easier.

Hawks presses his face into Enji’s chest, lets his worries for tomorrow be lulled by the even pattern of Enji’s breathing. Somehow, they’ll get through this okay, together.

When Hawks plants a kiss against Enji’s collarbone, he hums, “You know I love you too, big guy.”

Enji doesn’t give him an answer, but the smile that creeps onto his face and the hand that gently cards through his hair is answer enough, for tonight.

Tomorrow they’ll get up early, all of their demons waiting for them on the other side of that hotel door. But that’s tomorrow, and for now Hawks allows himself to be submerged in the feeling that against all odds, he’s wanted here.

For tonight, behind these doors and with this man, Hawks is enough.