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Crimson Tidings

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Before the evolution of quirks, before the technological advancements in society, and spanning before even that of ancient civilizations who were merely a dream of tomorrow. It is said that there was an old man that lived in a silver palace on the moon surrounded by white rabbits. One night, as everyone slept, he looked down to earth and wept at their sorrow and loneliness.

Weaving long ruby red strings, he set to work on tying the strings loosely around everyone’s pinkie fingers. Whispering gently into their dreams he delivers the instructions of his gift to all of humanity.

“I have witnessed your sadness and in turn, brought sadness upon myself. I have seen into your hearts and know of what you truly seek in life. I have tied a red string around each of your pinkies, follow the string and find that of who you share a heart with.” His soft words resonated within everyone’s hearts and upon waking up, they followed his instructions.

 

Through the flow of time, possessing the ability to see the red strings have become unheard of and in turn, it only stands as more of a myth of lonely romantics than that of the truth.

While the old man continues to watch from the moon, he makes no move to help. They have taken his gift and they have squandered it. He continues to reside within his shining silver palace, watching down in sorrow.

Even after the development of quirks, possessing the sight for the red string is still nearly unheard of. There’s still a select few who can see, they never step forward to claim this amazing ability. Their gift of seeing is passed down to their own children, all of them vowing the same silence of that of the old man on the moon.

Countless millennia after the old man’s gift, a woman possesses the ability to see the red string. Her hair is as white as the rabbit’s fur and her eyes glow silver like the old man’s palace. It’s rumored that she has a voice to rival even the sweetest of singing birds. She is meek and kind to everyone, never having a single negative thing to say. Even yet, people stay away, her touch is as cold and unforgiving of dry ice.

She says nothing as a man with flaming red hair comes into her life, strong and proud. He’s confident in his future and eventually, her future as well. She still says nothing, watching as her and his red strings are not connected.

She tells herself that, they are still capable of love even if their hearts are not bound as one.

Even as she drowns in her own sorrow, a flower wilting under the harsh heat- she tries to convince herself of a love not present.

As she bears his four children, she does not pass down her knowledge. She remains silent in the prison of her home. And so she stays silent until her eldest comes up to her one day.

 

Touya bites his bottom lip and watches silently as his mom moves through the kitchen with all of the grace of a ballerina. As she flits from one end of the room to the other, he studies the bright crimson string that twirls around with her.

“How do you never get tangled up?” She pauses, looking over her shoulder and smiles.

“Tangled up in what?”

“Your string.” He motions to the string that falls against the floor. He looks down to his own, Touya has always been so careful to not get his string bunched up or dirty. He’s never seen it dirty or tangled but that doesn’t stop him from being cautious. It shines redder than even his hair and he’s always loved to look at it glimmer in different lights. Touya’s favorite is to watch it soak up the soft sunlight, turning it into a deep ruby.

“My string.” Rei repeats slowly, swallowing thickly and Touya furrows his eyebrows. He’s known that some people can’t see them, like his twin. Yet, he’s always thought that his mom could. As far as he could remember, there was always a sadness in her eyes when he would catch her staring down at her thread and sighing softly.

“Yes.” He doesn’t know what else to say, confused. Rei sets down a glass and makes her way back to him. His eyes flicker up to the string dancing in the air. She stops in front of him and kneels down, cold hands resting over his shoulders.

“I suppose I should’ve known you could see, Touya. You’ve always been so kind and gentle.” Rei pauses once more and her fingers tighten around his shoulders before she gives him a soft smile.

“There are some people in the world, like you and me that are able to see the red string of fate.”

“What’s on the other side?” Sometimes, Touya would watch as his string waves wildly around as if he had ensnared a wild bird on the line. Rei’s smile falters faintly and her eyes shift to look above him, still so sad.

“It’s said that on the other end of the string is your soulmate.” Touya chews on the inside of his cheek and squints down at her string once more.

“Yours doesn’t go to father’s. He doesn’t have any.” He points out bluntly.

“Yes, well, you don’t have to share a string to be in love.” Touya nods slowly as Rei gathers him up into a hug. He smiles as her long hair tickles his face, the warm vanilla of her perfume comforts him.

“Some people don’t have strings and they still find love too. Some people even choose never to meet who’s on the other end.” She murmurs into his hair and he pulls away, smiling widely at her.

“That’s good!”

“Oh?” Touya begins to his mother how he could watch his string fly around him as if it has a mind of its own. She merely laughs and ruffles his hair, going back to washing the dishes.

Ever since that day, Touya would always watch his mother closely and each day- his heart would weep for his mother. She may have convinced herself that she truly loves his father but he can see the sadness in her eyes as she stares at her string.

 

It’s strange. As Touya grew and eventually burned to ash, that string still remains attached to Dabi’s finger. Sometimes, he twirls a finger around the silken thread- after all these years, still captivated by how it glimmers in even the dim and flickering lights of the League of Villains’ hideout.

He can only shake his head, after so many years of that talk with Rei- it seems that the person on the other end of the string still possesses boundless energy. Often in the dead of night, Dabi will lay in bed and think about who could he share a fate with. It’s more of a pipe dream than a wish for reality. He still has no interest in finding out who it is, he’s a villain- not some lovelorn fool.

Dabi finds it very interesting on how everyone seems to fall into place within the League of Villains. Shigaraki and Spinner share the same bright red string. Watching them go from never being able to stand each other to finding common ground and even slowly shifting into whatever mess they’re in now was certainly an endless source of amusement for Dabi.

Not to Dabi’s surprise- Twice and Giran also share their own string. The shift of their romance wasn’t as entertaining, with them- that flame had always been between them. Sadly for Dabi, there was no drama. As with Twice and Giran, Mister Compress and Kurogiri had just fallen easily together like pieces of a puzzle.

Toga, in Dabi’s eyes is just a nightmare. She’s one of the few that have more than one string tied to her, yet, more than half of them are severed and frayed. Knowing Toga, he can only guess what had happened to the person on the other end. Even yet, there’s still one that shines brighter than all of the others tied around her. Dabi can only hope whoever that one is, they won’t end up as her next victim. Dabi finds it very interesting that Magne seems to be the opposite of Toga. Where Toga has a mass of tangled and severed threads, Magne has none.

 

After the fall of All for One, the arrest of Kurogiri and Magne’s grisly death- lots of things had changed for the League of Villains. Times are rough and moral is buried well down below the ground. Even so, they all continue to get up each day and give it their all. Dabi supposes at this point, there’s really no turning back. To turn back would only land them in cells right next to Kurogiri. While Mister Compress might like that idea, Dabi likes the taste of freedom. So time moves on, wounds heal and the League continues to put one foot in front of the other.

 

Everyone in the League gathers around a cracked television screen and watches as the new top ten heroes are announced. Nothing can make his lip curl back into a snarl more than seeing Endeavor finally take the number one spot within his flaming fists.
Each of the top ten heroes’ speeches are always the same. Dabi could recite them from memory. ‘I promise to keep the streets of Japan safe.’ ‘I’ll stop at nothing to bring an end to villains.’ “I would like to thank my family, friends and most of all my fans for always encouraging me to continue forward.’ It’s always been the same form over the years of watching the announcements. Dabi closes his eyes, bored of listening to the same buzz of repeated and dull words of false insincerity.

”Who cares about all of that?” Dabi cracks open an eye and peers curiously at the television, wondering who’s the man either brazen enough or stupid enough to speak so freely on live television.

A young man with soft gold hair and carmine wings grabs everyone’s attention as easily as breathing. His smile is dazzling in the spotlight as he expands his wings and lifts off into the air. Dabi watches silently as the new number two hero hovers in the air, wings stretching and throwing the camera in his shadow. From above, he’s haloed in a wreath of bright light.

Everything is still as the man continues to ask the heroes to speak more like heroes and not beauty pageant nominees. Dabi can’t hold back an amused snort, wondering how in the world had this little hero even became number two with such an unfiltered mouth.

 

Dabi finds out his name is Hawks. Finding out his name wasn’t anything too exciting for Dabi. Nothing in his life changed, he continues to scour the dark alleys and seedy bars for recruits- all of which fail to meet his criteria.

Everything remains static, in its place with no surprises- just as Dabi likes it. One day at a bar, he’s thrown for a loop when there’s a light tap on his shoulder. Turning around, he comes face to face with someone he’d never thought he would see in person.
Hawks looks up at him with a soft smile, the short and slender man crosses his arms and tilts his head to the side.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re with the League of Villains- right?”

“What’s it to you?” Hawks picks up Dabi glass of beer and swirls the amber liquid in the light. Looking over the lip of the glass and to Dabi, his eyes remind Dabi of drops of honey in the sunlight. Hawks remains silent for a heartbeat as he takes a long drink from the glass and setting it down on the counter.

“What would you say if I told you that I want in?” Dabi looks to the glass and back at Hawks, quirking up an eyebrow and crosses his arms.

“I’d tell you to get your head checked.” Hawks only nods and hums quietly.

“What a shame, I could get you insider intellect but, hey, who am I kidding? Obviously the League of Villains don’t need any help. All those failed attacks and kidnappings must’ve just been part of the big plan, yeah?” Dabi wants to let out a curse, of course he’d be stupid to think that Hawks wouldn’t be following the news. Shigaraki’s League of Villains had certainly been making a name for themselves, their failures seem to outweigh their successes though. Even if their name still strikes fear into the common folk, they’re seen as nothing more than nuisances in the eyes of the heroes.

“Good bye, hero.” Dabi stands up from the bar and disappears into the crowd. He knows that this won’t be the last time that he’ll see the hero. However, he needs time to weigh the pros and cons of having a hero join their ranks- the number two hero at that.
There’s something else that makes Dabi hesitate. Even with just the brief encounter with the man, Dabi hates him already. He hates how the man is so full of himself and he hates the very idea of how close he is to Endeavor. He hates the bright carmine red of Hawks’ wings.

There is one thing that he hates above all else. Something that isn’t even entirely Hawks’ fault, nor is he even aware of. Even yet, Dabi can’t help but feel the waves of disgust that fills his very being every time he looks at Hawks.

What he despises the most is the thin crimson string that binds them together in a cruel twist of fate.

 

Months pass and Dabi was right, wherever he goes- Hawks seems to always be in the corner of his vision. Finally one night, He’s had enough of it. Waiting silently on the rooftop of a building, he stares up at the stars. As he predicted, there’s a soft gust as Hawks lands just behind him. If Dabi has to say anything about the man, it’s that he never gives up on anything. Turning around, he crosses his arms and shakes his head.

“Don’t you know who I am? It’ll be easy to just set you on fire, no one would ever even find your body.” Dabi murmurs, watching Hawks closely. He watches as liquid gold flashes up towards him and the curving of Hawks’ lips as the man stretches up towards Dabi’s ear.

“Trying to intimidate me isn’t going to work.” Hawks breath is warm against Dabi’s ear and as the hero pulls away, Dabi tilts his head to the side.

“Oh? Clearly I’m not doing my job properly then.” Dabi crosses his arms and leans against the roof railing. Bathed in the moonlight is the man that Dabi hates yet, he constantly leaves Dabi wanting more.

“You’re not.” Hawks agrees. “If you had been, you’d let me in and help.” Dabi’s eyes drift down to the string binding them together and has to close his eyes. Everytime he sees Hawks and that cursed thread, his head hurts. He doesn’t know what that apparent old man on the moon was thinking when entwining their fate. Dabi makes a vow that if he ever has the chance, he’s going to punch that old man in the face. He doesn’t appreciate the only gift he’s ever gotten from his mother nor does he appreciate the shitty joke of being stuck with a hero.

“Alright then, little bird. Since you want in so badly, prove it to me.” He smiles down at Hawks, hellbent on pushing the hero to the brink of a mental break. Just because of who Hawks is, that doesn’t mean Dabi is going to go easy on him. Rather, he will throw everything he has at Hawks. Dabi won’t rest until Hawks will be nothing more than a broken mess with pieces too small to glue back together.

 

Hawks continues to only amaze Dabi with his ability to bounce back from everything that Dabi has to offer. Every mission, Hawks comes back with flying colors and an easy smile. It seems that there’s nothing that Hawks can’t handle, always demanding Dabi for a more challenging mission.

With each meeting, it grows more difficult for Dabi to even look at Hawks. Within his heart, there is something that stirs. A soft feeling that makes his heart flutter and skip a beat. A feeling so soft that he doesn’t even realize the small smiles that flicker over his lips at even the mere mention of Hawks’ name. It’s a warm feeling, a gentle warmth that spreads over his body. Dabi is entirely unused to such a tender warmth, he had gone up in flames of the terrifying bite of his fire. For the longest time, only the harsh scorch of his quirk and the hatred that drips from his very being like venom kept him alive.

Now, that warmth that started only in the pit of his heart now envelopes him. It’s comforting and forgiving. It leaves him needing more and to his horror- Dabi realizes that all this time that he’s not the sun. Rather, Dabi is Icarus. He’s fallen in love with what he should never get near. Yet, here he is, continuously daring to push himself to fly closer and closer to the golden danger that constantly stays two steps in front of him. For Dabi, that’s enough to be so maddening yet enticing enough for him to want to reach out to Hawks.

 

All it takes is a feather light touch one night for that soft feeling to blossom into something that Dabi can’t even ignore anymore. Every part of his mind screams at him to stop as he takes hold of Hawks, a burning hot hand hooking under Hawks’ chin- forcing him to look at him.

No words are exchanged between the two. Gold meets turquoise. Before Dabi can pull away from Hawks, the hero leans forward and steals a kiss from Dabi. There is no room for hesitation as Dabi deepens the kiss. A soft moan escapes from Hawks’ lips as Dabi pins him against the wall. Their hearts beat as one and under the moonlight, the crimson thread almost seems to glow.