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You were sure he was dead.

Otherwise, he would’ve come looking for you.

That was the reason you applied upon the fact that, after the worst fight he had had with his father, your high-school boyfriend and the guy you considered to be the love of your life disappeared completely, both from your life and everyone else’s that knew him leaving nothing but a goodbye text behind. Yes, you were aware of the deep hatred he harboured toward that part of his family, but you thought the mere thought of you, of his siblings and mother, would be enough to make him stay.

The image of the last day you had spent together was engraved on your memory like a pebble on your way that you couldn’t shake away, with him seeming so happy that you couldn’t understand why he hadn’t come back the next day. His hair, his piercing blue eyes, the smug smile that was usually plastered on his face whenever he was with you, all those things became what you looked for on the streets, amidst the crowd. You expected he’d come back suddenly, surprising you as he went up to you and held you tightly against him and promising that things would be alright – it proved to be just an illusion quick, as days turned into weeks, then into months, and then a full year had passed before you lost all hope.

You were resigned to live a life without him after that limit, the mourning finishing without anything happening but the little spark never really went out; finishing your studies, you lost contact with his family before you went to college to pursue your dreamed career and became what he would call an ‘average’ member of society. It was all going alright, until one specific day while doing the groceries’ shopping, you felt something on your back, as if someone was watching you, but you shook the feeling off as you looked back and saw no one else in the aisle but you, although the weird sensation didn’t leave until you made it back home.

Little did you know about the pair of eyes that were, indeed, scanning your every move from afar, hiding behind some shelves on the opposite side of the aisle.

-

He was desperate – how else could you describe a man like him?

It had been years, 5 to be exact, and during that time he had made sure to stay away from prying eyes that could give away his identity, although it was well hidden now.

During the first few months of him being away, he had taken a time to get used to his new appearance, the one his Quirk had left him with: there were big pieces of scarred skin all across his body now, something he wouldn’t have given a second thought to if it wasn’t for the deep purple colour they presented. In an attempt to give the whole package another touch, he managed to get little folds of saggy skin stapled together, giving him an overall normal look – or what could be considered ‘normal’ in his life. He dyed his hair black and got a few piercings made as well, and taking it all as some form of catharsis someone new was born from all the hatred and sorrow that had tainted his life up until that point. Dabi, as his new name indicated, was also a hint at his Quirk, something he had inherited from his father and that even though he had fought it for so long he had learned to adapt it for himself. The League had helped him in that sense, providing him with many methods of controlling his power on levels he had never even imagined.

While it was true that he had hated his past self with a passion, he was still aware of his growing heartbeat whenever he thought about you, and as he wondered where you could be or what you were doing the idea of you being with someone else made his rage grow even though he blamed himself for leaving you without notice. It occurred to him that he could try searching for you… but how would you react when you saw who he was now?

Dabi was someone strange still even to himself, but he was set on finding you anyways; he’d just have to set some rules if he did find you, such as not approaching you out of the blue. And so he did just that, managing to find you after three years and keeping an eye on you to make sure you were just fine.

At one point he did consider himself your guardian angel, but what kind of angel has burdens like his?

-

It was a cold autumn night and you were returning home from one of your friends’ party, the world around turning ever so slightly thanks to the few beers you had drank. Things would’ve been okay if it weren’t for the fact that half-drunk you had the amazing idea to cut a portion of the way back through a partly dark, empty street that led you faster to your apartment. You were still conscious enough to walk properly and as a few hiccups escaped your lips you couldn’t help but giggle.

Then you heard it.

Steps behind you instantly setting off every alarm system you had in you – for what you could count in your dazed state, there were three people, but you knew better than to turn around to check if you were right. You cursed at yourself under your breath for using heels instead of something more comfortable, and as you started to pick up your pace whoever was behind you kept following, their feet moving quickly as well. Panting as you reached the corner, you felt them closing the space between you and them rather fast, and fighting back the urge to cry you didn’t notice one of your shoes getting stuck in a crack on the ground, making you trip and land on all fours as soon as you raised your foot.

Your instinct told you to curl up and back onto the nearest wall with your eyes tightly shut, waiting for the worst, but nothing happened even as you heard voices and screams all around you along with various noises, some close to you and some across the street. The atmosphere suddenly heated up, a few beads of sweat rolling down your cheeks as you felt yourself trembling with your head hidden on your arms.

Just like it started, it all soon became quiet again, the sounds of the city reaching your ears once more.

Shyly, you looked up as you fought tears of fear and were shocked to see someone standing right in front of you extending a hand for you to take. Unable to look at the stranger straight in the eyes, you grabbed it and surprised filled you as you noticed how soft his touch was and the purple colour that decorated his forearm; you ignored the pain on your legs as you got up, and hoped that there wouldn’t be any blood. Your gaze fell upon three different bodies thrown all across the street, two of them showing signs of being burnt, smoke still coming out of their clothes. “T-thank you,” you managed to mutter, still holding onto the stranger’s hand and letting one or two tears roll down your cheek, “you saved me – you’re my hero.”

“I’m no hero.”

A deep, husky voice made you freeze in place as the man in front of you let you go and turned around, starting to walk away; before he could make it to the middle of the block, however, it was as if the gears in your mind started to turn on their own, putting some pieces together. It couldn’t be – it shouldn’t be. Taking off your heels and dropping them, you quickly ran after him, grabbing his arm as soon as he was in your reach. “Wait!” you exclaimed, the alcohol making you dizzy. It was now his turn to stop on his tracks, but he made no movement as your grip on his blue coat tightened. “Please… turn around…”

It sounded as if you were begging but you could’ve been for all you cared. A sigh was heard and then the stranger looked at you as he slightly turned his head around, and what followed were the most bizarre five seconds of your life as you recognized those bright blue eyes and droopy eyelids that had once made your heart flutter and that now had left you a confused mess. His face was different, brand new, his attitude colder, but it was him; it was still him, and that was the most shocking fact of all. He only left a small scoff escape his mouth and then turned around once more but before he could do anything you wrapped your arms around him, still not understanding what was going on.

“What are you doing?” was the only question out of his mouth, but you didn’t respond, instead holding onto him a lot tighter to the point where he looked unable to breath. Only then did you pull away, your arms still around him. “Let me go (y/n).”

And that was the deal breaker for you, your name being spoken in that soft, caring tone you hadn’t heard in years and that you would’ve waited a lifetime to hear again. You started sobbing while pressing your face on his back, memorizing the new shape of his body and letting his scent of ashes and sweat soak your clothes and senses. You were beyond speechless – you didn’t know what you were supposed to say in a situation like this, reuniting with your long-lost lover after so long, and it felt so much like a dream that you didn’t even dare blink just in case he’d vanish away just like in every dream of yours he had starred. He was tense beneath your touch; you wondered what had happened, where he had been, but those were questions that would have to wait to be answered, especially if he didn’t wish to talk.

After what seemed like forever he seemed to give in, one of his hands timidly reaching up to touch yours and the sensation made a chill run down your spine. A smile crept its way onto your lips as you softly grabbed his shoulders and made him turn around, letting out an involuntary gasp as you took in his new features. “What?” he asked with a frown, making you realize you were staring at him. “Are you going to say anything?”

“I…” you started, but then the weight of the situation fell upon you like an anchor from the skies, making the effects of alcohol dissipate completely from your body – you remembered all the nights you had been awake crying your heart out, thinking that you weren’t enough to make him stay, how you thought he was dead, and how you were forced to start anew without his warmth next to you. For all of that and more your anger grew, and soon you looked up at him with the most enraged glance you could muster, and he stared back with a bored expression as tears poured down your cheeks again. Fuck, you had missed him way more than you would be willing to admit. “You were still there! You were alive this whole time and did nothing to let me know; you have no idea how it was for me to carry on with the mourning! Did you ever think about what it was like for me to start over? Fuck you, you bastard, you were totally ready to leave me again when we met just moments ago after 5 fucking years! You’re the fucking worst but I still love you and I can’t believe I do! Who even are you anymore? Is this really you?”

You punched his chest with little force as you let it all out screaming, but right in the middle of your little speech his strong arms enveloped you and you buried your face on his neck, your tears wetting the collar of his V-neck. He waited patiently until you stopped talking while a hand caressed your hair with care, the staples on his palm creating small tangles that he apologized quietly for. “You done?” he asked as he saw that you didn’t speak anymore after a while, and you only nodded once in response. “Great, because I couldn’t take another second of your bickering.” You were about to pull away and slap him when he added in a slow voice, “I have you back with me after all these years – I just want to have you close.”

“Why did you do it?”

Your voice was weak compared to his, and as you ran a finger across his chest you felt the need to unnecessarily ask about the scarred skin. “Why did I stay away?” One more nod was all you gave. “After I left my father’s house things… changed for me,” he explained. “I no longer wanted to be seen as someone who held something of his. You could call this a catharsis, you could call it stupidity, but I honestly don’t care.” You looked up at him, his blue hues burning right through you as he pulled away and raised a hand, an equally blue and vibrant flame appearing on his palm. “I’m someone different now; I’m not the guy you knew. I tried to keep you out of troubles, but you’re like a fucking magnet.”

Taking a moment to reassure yourself that you weren’t talking to an illusion, you sighed and reached out with both your hands to cup his face, turning it side to side to gather as much information about this new him as you could find; his new hair was a pleasant surprise, and you wondered if his scars had played a big part in him keeping his distance throughout the years. “You’re wrong there in one thing,” you said with a gentle smile that you could tell had confused him. “You’re still the same; I can feel that – my heart hasn’t changed, either.”

“Even if I look like Frankenstein?”

You giggled and leaned against him again, welcoming his heartbeat as it soothed most of what you were feeling. “If anything you look hotter, love.” You stood like that for a moment, embracing each other as you thought about what you could say to him to break the ice when something popped up in your mind. “You said you weren’t the same? Who are you, then?”

And with a voice that could’ve sent chills down anyone else’s spine, he leaned forward until his lips were right beside your ear and then whispered, “The name’s Dabi now, babe.”