Chapter 1: the room beside yours
It was raining, which wasn’t too surprising this time of the year. The wind was cold too, blowing through the streets, making anyone wandering across them shiver with cold, tugging their clothes firmer around themselves. He walks slowly, shielded from the downpour by a simple, black umbrella. The long leather coat helped to ward off the chilly winds, not that he cared if he was hot or cold.
Soon, the complex comes into sight.
Slipping through the gate silently like a ghost, his gaze drifts across the yard, spotting something on the side alley beside the building. Something he'd half-expected to find, and the world did not disappoint him; some souls were all too predictable with their actions.
He paces there, noting the rain was getting heavier. It could even become a full-blown storm if the darker clouds ahead were anything to go by. Not a good weather to be sitting on an alley, seemingly drunken.
That was exactly what one of his neighbors was doing.
It wasn’t the first time either.
He’d seen the young man wander home late, often drunk. Sometimes with a woman, or a man.
Mostly, he was alone.
Now he just sat there, staring into thin air with an empty gaze.
The pale figure shifts and paces to his field of vision, making the blue eyes drift up towards him. They didn’t focus properly, perhaps he was under the influence of worse substances than alcohol.
The tattoos under his eyes worsened the worn out look, and some might've questioned the man’s strange fashion choices. He understood their meaning better, though he'd rarely seen so many. One did not often need this much protection from spirits. They clearly did not work like they should, either.
The pale young man did not in particular care for this neighbor of his, but the sight was too pitiful to ignore.
”Can you get up?”
His low, raspy voice barely broke through the thrumming of the rain, hitting the ground, the roof, the walls. He seems to have been heard anyway, as the young man shifts, scrambling to get up slowly. He almost topples over however, forcing the pale figure to bring out an arm, keeping him upright with a sigh.
His neighbor doesn’t respond, and he doubted he could even hear those words. This wasn’t the first time they’d done this song and dance either. He’d helped him back home before, few weeks ago, two weeks ago, a week ago. He’d been equally silent each time it happened.
The soaked man allows him to bring him inside, escorting him to his door.
There was no name-plate, just a number.
He’d never asked his name. Neither had he asked for his.
That was fine, Tomura had no interest in getting too personal with anyone. Even if he knew he was being watched by the person. Digging out the man’s keys from his pocket, Tomura opens the door, bringing him inside to the plain, near empty apartment. It looked more like a shelter than home.
It probably was.
He lies the man down to the couch, propping his head up with the pillows. Blue eyes kept following his every move, but he pays it no mind. Tomura slips to the kitchen, getting water and painkillers ready for the morning. The fool would be hangover and need those.
Placing them to the old, stained coffee table, he finally let’s his red eyes focus on the pair watching him.
”I’ll be going now. Preferably you’ll be still alive in the morning.”
With that, he straightens himself, slipping out of the room, closing the door behind him.
The man listens to his footsteps grow distant, and eventually, door opens further back the corridor.
As it closes again, he closes his eyes too.
He wasn’t sure where it started.
Perhaps in the midst of the silent chaos in his head, one slight anomaly, slight difference in the dullness surrounding him was enough to give him a bit of a fixation.
He had not paid his neighbor much attention at first, just another face in the sea of faces.
A flower shop worker, he did not speak much outside his job, mostly staying in his apartment. You could almost never hear anything from there, but if the window was cracked open, you could smell the scent of a lot of flowers.
He kept plenty even inside his own home.
It wasn’t that strange, some people did that.
He just didn’t look like the kind of person who would.
Maybe that was it.
His mind had hard time connecting these things together.
Flowers represented life, and warmth.
When Dabi had first locked eyes with him properly, he’d seen death.
He wasn’t even sure why he’d thought that; perhaps it had been the alcohol in his system, perhaps he just had one of those faces that made you think he was willing to murder you for bothering you with your gaze alone.
Yet....it wasn’t that kind of death.
It wasn’t a sense of danger, your instincts alarming you of a potential hazard.
The sensation he got when those red eyes looked at him was more akin to certain kind of emptiness.
A silent finality no one would escape.
It was such a strange feeling to have about a person’s eyes, so perhaps that’s why he kept looking.
Sometimes he wondered, if it was his ’gift’ letting him see things others didn’t. He saw it more as a curse though. Being able to tell when something wasn’t fully human was sometimes tiring.
Especially because the ability left his mind vulnerable, and he was already fucked in the head.
Last thing he needed was some being trying to possess him or something.
The first time the mysterious florist had helped him into his house had been a surprise, but he’d been too out of it to question it or anything. He never really said much, never told him off like you’d expect. He just dropped him there and left, sometimes leaving him with treatment for morning hangovers.
Dabi didn’t even know his name.
Just like his, the door next to him had no name-plate on it.
Sometimes, if he could, he’d sit by the park bench near the flower shop and just observe. He didn’t know why exactly he did so, it was probably coming off creepy. The same time though, the florist seemed to be the kind of person who’d tell him off if it bothered him, and so far he hadn’t.
Lot of people visited the shop, mostly women and children, or young teens.
He’d picked up on some regulars by now.
There was this kid, a teenager with green hair.
He was a peculiar one, given he tended to leave the shop with flowers in his hair. Either a few, or a full crown. Dabi had once caught a glimpse of the pale florist making him one.
Maybe they were related, or at least friends of sorts?
Another common sight was an old, kind of skeletal looking blond man. The kid from before seemed to know him as they often chatted happily if they happened to be around the same time. The old man usually bought the same kind of flowers. Sometimes, the red eyes would look out of the window and see him there. His expression wouldn’t change, and he’d look back long enough for Dabi to avert his gaze.
Once he looked back, the florist would be gone.
He clearly knew he was watching, but didn’t react to it.
Or maybe those long stares were him trying to tell Dabi to knock it off.
It didn’t feel like it though, he’d caught him smiling at times.
An amused little turn of lips, barely noticeable, but enough to make him shift and leave.
The weather wasn’t as bad as last time, it wasn’t pouring with rain.
Still, his head was too dizzy to make it to the door; alcohol was racing in his veins, making his mind fuzzy and lightheaded. The few friends he’d made here would likely worry in the morning, provided he’d make it that far.
Dabi closes his eyes as he leans against the wall, wondering if he was ever gonna get up again.
The door opens, and there were footsteps nearby.
Cracking his eye open, he was not surprised to see his pale neighbor standing there. The spot he’d sat down on was near his window, so he’d likely seen him slump down.
Red eyes examine him closely, and Dabi notes there was a peculiar glow to them he’d not noticed before. Perhaps his mind was doing tricks on him, that wouldn’t have been the first time.
His neighbor eventually sighs and crouches down, helping him up.
Dabi doesn’t resist, allowing him to drag his useless ass indoors.
Might as well, if he was gonna drop dead due to alcohol poisoning, better do it in your own house than outside where you’ll spook the kids.
The complex had families living in it after all.
He’s placed on the couch as usual, but this time his neighbor does something peculiar.
Instead of getting up and leaving, the pale figure leans closer, hand resting against his chest as half-lidded red eyes examine him closely.
Was this payback for all the staring?
Something uneasy tugged in his gut, something he vaguely recognized his spiritual sixth sense picking up for some reason. Maybe there was one of those bothersome nightmare spirits nearby. It wouldn’t be surprising, he tended to attract those a lot; they couldn't quite do as severe damage to him as some others due to his protective tattoos, but they were still annoying.
”....No, not yet.”
He mutters out with his low voice suddenly, making Dabi feel a little confused. It was hard to focus on that confusion though, given his head was still spinning.
”.....I probably shouldn’t either way. It’s bad for me.”
The dry lips turn into a slight amused smile, and his neighbor pats his chest, before getting up.
”Still though; try to do something about that will you? It’s getting tiring living next to you, makes me hungry.”
He couldn’t really ask anything, as the pale figure disappears through the door, leaving him with those bizarre, cryptic words.
That night, he dreamed of being surrounded by butterflies, moths to be exact.
Jin wasn’t surprised to see him hangover that morning; Dabi often was after weekends. Sometimes during the week.
“Dude, you gotta stop doing this, the boss will fire you otherwise.”
“Yeah yeah, don’t worry about it.”
Dabi mutters out rubbing his eyes, as the light hurt his eyes. Working on a grocery store wasn’t exactly interesting, but it paid the bills. At least his co-worker was a cool dude, if a bit of a mother-hen sometimes. Jin sighs and puts the stuff he’d been carrying away into the nearby shelf, turning to look at him with crossed arms.
Dabi could feel the parenty tone coming up, which was funny given Jin was maybe like….five years older than him or so, and could barely take care of himself too if his messy place was anything to go by.
“If you absolutely need to drink every weekend, you should at least then come and hang out with me. You’ll end up passing out in the middle of the street and get mugged or something."
“Now wouldn’t that be a riot. The fuck they’re gonna steal from poor ol’ me? My socks?”
Dabi mumbles out, slipping on his work-clothes.
Jin shakes his head, scratching it for a bit before heading back to work. He knew It wasn’t the easiest to reason with Dabi when he was hangover; the young man tended to stonewall everyone when he was like this.
He did stonewall people a lot in general, being a loner.
Later that day, as the two head to the back for a smoke-break, Jin tries his luck again, hoping Dabi was in a bit more reasonable state.
“For real; you can come and hang out anytime. You don’t have to hole up alone in your place.”
The blond places a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it encouragingly.
“I know you got your issues man; you don’t have to face them alone.”
Dabi hums, blowing a cloud of smoke out from his lungs, watching it disappear into the air.
“We both know I got issues you normies can’t help me with.”
Jin sighs and shakes his head, shoving him lightly with a shabby but well-meaning grin.
“Not everything’s about your ghost-vision, buddy. There are things others can help with, like loneliness.”
“You know all about that, don’t you?”
The blond goes quiet, caught off-guard by that comment. he then averts his gaze, taking a drag from his cigarette. After the silence had mounted long enough, Dabi began to feel bad about that comment, so he apologizes, rubbing his eyes with a sigh.
“It’s alright. I’m just trying to say, I’m here for you if you need to talk. I can’t advice with spirit-stuff as I can’t sense shit, but anything else, I’m free game.”
“Except with scoring dates.”
Jin chuckles at that, blowing out another cloud of smoke.
“I doubt you need help with that one.”
After a full minute of the pair just standing there, Dabi breaks the silence again.
“My neighbor brought me home again.”
“That weird florist you mentioned a few times?”
“Yeah, t’s weird, t’s like he’s got some sixth sense too; he knows when I’m sitting outside too wasted to get in.”
“Well, that’s nice of him, making sure you make it home.”
Blue eyes turn to look at Jin, a bit clearer from this morning, indicating his hangover was easing bit by bit.
“He said something hella weird to me, or maybe I was just too drunk n’ imagined it.”
Jin blinks, turning to look at him curiously now. Dabi inhales rest of his cigarette, before throwing it to the ground, turning it off with his foot.
“never-mind. I definitely imagined it. T’s too weird even for someone like him.”
Jin watches him head back inside, still curious. He knew not to push however, Dabi didn’t like it when you did, and that would result in awkward silence for the next week or so.
He did not let people in easily.
Later that day, as he was stacking up some magazines, a presence appears nearby, and Dabi glances down, finding a short old lady looking up at him.
The way she was staring was a bit unnerving, and he turns his gaze away, trying to ignore her presence.
“I see death has marked you as his, boy. I hope for your own sake you can better your situation.”
Dabi glances at her, snorting lightly; what the hell?
“S’my existential crisis and depression that obviously visible?”
It was said with sarcasm, but as usual, the words had a seed of truth in them. The old lady just shakes her head with a light chuckle, though it had a sad quality to it.
“Spirits are fickle creatures. At least you did not attract something worse.”
Dabi frowns at that, turning to look at the tiny grandma confused; could she sense spirits too? Wouldn’t be a surprise, it seemed to be more common with older generations or those close to death. Most of them wouldn't go and comment about it so casually though. Then again, he was covered in tattoos meant to ward off spirits, most old folk would recognize them.
“Still though; guard your soul, boy. Life is worth living.”
Both turn to look towards the voice, and Dabi is admittedly taken aback, finding his pale neighbor standing there, frowning down at the old lady with weirdly peeved expression. He was wearing the same thick leather-coat he often wore, which made sense around this time given the weather was rather chilly outside. The lady turns to look at him with a smile, and her response indicated she knew the florist.
“Tomura-kun, it is rare to see you outside your chambers or the shop.”
The young man snorts and picks up a magazine, still looking peeved.
“Kurogiri forgot his crosswords this morning. All the old ones are filled.”
“That is kind of you.”
The pale figure just rolls his eyes, then looks up at Dabi, who again had that strange sense of…something unnerving hit him, when their eyes met.
“For the record, I tend to avoid junk-food. We both know what that does to me.”
The comment was weird.
Sure, junk food was generally bad for you, but why was he bringing it up now while glaring at him?
The old lady laughs at the comment, indicating she understood what it meant, and was therefore meant for her.
Why was the florist staring at him then?
“I certainly hope so. You get so awfully moody when you consume it.”
Tomura – that was his name, right? – snorts, walking past them.
“Understatement of the century.”
He comments over his shoulder, plopping the magazines to the counter, snapping Jin out of his slight sleepy daze. It was slow right now, so it wasn’t a surprise the blond nearly ended up falling asleep again. He had sleeping issues.
“The fuck was all that?”
Dabi couldn’t stop but ask, but the lady just shakes her head, patting his leg – that was the only thing she could reach given how short she was – telling him to keep his head up.
“Butterflies only feast at the end of the day.”
Dabi was pretty sure that wasn’t true.
He was also sure what she said was a metaphor.
A metaphor he had no clue what the fuck it meant, and he didn’t wanna ask.
Going back to his job, Dabi slips into the snack isle now, to put the few more things he’d carried in their rightful place. A quiet laugh catches his ear, and blue eyes turn, finding the florist standing there again, likely heading out because the door was just across from there; you had to go past the snack isle if you wanted the shortest route outside after all.
“What’s so funny?”
“You’re right at home here.”
Dabi blinks, then turns his gaze away, slipping some of the chocolate bars in place.
“Aww, you think I’m a snack? That’s a new pick-up line if I’ve ever heard any.”
Tomura snorts at that, pacing to head out of the door. He does stop behind him briefly however, and somehow Dabi knew he was smirking just from his voice.
“More literally than you might think.”
Blue eyes watch him disappear out of the door, honestly a little spooked now. If that was flirting, it sure as hell was a weird way of doing it. Dabi shakes his head, figuring he needed to focus back on his job for now.
Dropping the magazines onto the table in front of Kurogiri, Tomura shrugs off his coat, glancing around the greenhouse portion of the shop. He preferred to be there over the front, not being much of a people person, but there were some customers he did not mind. Including the one currently looking through the plants in the greenhouse.
The green haired teen looks up and waves at him enthusiastically, making Tomura pace there. He was with someone, probably a classmate of his or so. A blond who’d dyed a black lighting shaped streak into his hair. He looked rather intimidated as he approached, which wasn’t surprising; Tomura knew he had a very intimidating aura to himself. Mostly he enjoyed it, but sometimes it could be annoying.
“You’re here surprisingly early.”
“Our lessons today got cancelled because Mic-Sensei who was supposed to oversee a field-trip managed to get himself stuck in a pasta machine and refused to come to school.”
“He ain’t your teacher though, is he?”
“No, but Aizawa-Sensei was so amused by the situation that he decided to give us a free day. He did give us extra homework though.”
The boy sighs, his companion looking equally defeated over the said homework, making Tomura chuckle for a bit.
“Sounds like the Aizawa Shouta I know. So what brought you here?”
The boy glances at his companion, who was trying to sort of hide his face into the collar of his over sized sweater.
“Kaminari’s …….mum has a birthday soon, and he wanted to get her some flowers, but he knows nothing about them and needs help choosing.”
Tomura lifts eyebrow amused, noting how much the kid was fuming now.
“Mum you say?”
Both boys nod, not at all convincingly.
Midoriya wasn’t the type to make such obvious lies, so likely his classmate was the one who didn’t want to admit what the flowers were actually for. He let it slide for now, glancing around.
“She got a favorite color?”
The boy mutters out from under his hiding, and Tomura tries to keep his amusement to a minimum.
Crushes seemed to be such a big deal to teens, they could get really awkward and embarrassed over it.
Tomura looks through the purple flower selection, sensing the two fidgets behind him.
He picks out a few, making a bouquet out of them, then also adds few yellow ones into it, making the blond look at him curiously.
“Yellow and Purple are complementary colors.”
Tomura explains simply, picking up one of the daisies nearby and slipping it into Izuku’s hair. The boy blushes for a bit but then laughs, picking it up from his hair.
“Mum was wondering why we haven’t had any new daisies back home. You always give me one or two."
Kaminari glances between them confused, but Tomura says nothing, offering the bouquet to the boy.
“I’m pretty sure your “mum” will appreciate the gesture even if “she” doesn’t care for flowers.”
“I think I know your mum, and I’m pretty sure “she” came in the other day asking about flower meanings, because “she” wanted to give someone a bouquet too.”
Tomura flashes the now blushing boy a slight grin, ruffling his hair.
“Good luck with your date, kid.”
Kaminari had gone completely red, handing Izuku the bouquet while he hides completely into his sweater, letting out a high-pitched whine.
After the two leave, Tomura focuses on some of the hanging flowers near the window; Kurogiri was whistling a tune behind him, likely another one of those older songs he didn’t know.
“You seem pale today.”
He suddenly comments, and Tomura hums, glancing outside. His neighbor wasn’t there, in the bench right now. It wasn’t surprising, he was at work around this time, unless he skipped it. Given he’d seen him in the store today, he wasn’t skipping despite his hangover.
“Not-enough-sun pale or not-enough-food pale?”
Kurogiri was now standing beside him, frowning slightly as he brushes some of his hair aside.
“Your hair is changing color again.”
“Well, that is concerning.”
Tomura mutters out, adjusting the flowers.
He understood why Kurogiri was worried about that.
His skin going paler wasn’t that much of an issue.
When his hair began to bleach, that usually meant he was having cravings again, that could go out of control.
His red gaze drifts back towards the empty bench.
He knew full well who the source of the craving was.
“He really needs to get his shit together.”
Tomura muses out, satisfied with the flowers, walking back towards the greenhouse portion.
Kurogiri watches him go, releasing a slow sigh. It had been a while since young Tomura had had this problem.
Sure, he’d learned to control it, but still….
Last time he’d devoured a soul, a city had been destroyed.
Chapter 2: butterfly dreams
Dabi hangs out with Jin, he keeps seeing weird dreams.
Something is brought to Tomura's territory
That evening, Dabi had finally given in, and allowed Jin to join him on the bar trip. It was a bit awkward at first, as he was not used to having someone with him from the get-go. It was kind of nice though, having the blond chatter away about random things, even if he wasn’t really listening at all.
What did annoy him was the fact Jin was trying to limit his drinking, pretty much telling him after the fifth glass to get some water or at least something less alcoholic.
”It’s for your own good buddy. I don’t want to have to drag your ass home where you can’t even walk.”
Dabi mumbles and accepts reluctantly the lighter drink Jin orders for him. He didn’t want to argue, the thing about his co-worker was that getting mad at him just made you feel bad later. Bubaigawara was a chill guy, who just wanted to have people to talk to; he had the kind of aura to him that made you think of a lost puppy, or a kicked puppy if he was sad, and it just, as said, would make you feel really bad.
Taking a sip, Dabi grimaces lightly as it was too sweet for his taste, but again, he did not feel like making a fuzz, understanding where Jin was coming from.
”You still checking out that florist?”
Dabi almost spits out his drink, turning to look at Jin annoyed.
”I’m not ’checking him out.’ M’just wondering why he tickles my sixth sense.”
”Can’t you tell from the sensation alone?”
”Nah. I didn’t exactly finish studying the paranormal bullshit, ’cause the old man thought it was a waste of time. Not to mention the shit that happened, kinda made me averse to read into any of that anymore....”
They fall silent after that, which wasn’t surprising; Dabi’s family had always been a sore topic, he hated talking about it even a tiny bit. Jin didn’t know much details, only that his mother was hospitalized relating to the "shit that happened" as Dabi put it, and his dad was a jerk, to put it lightly.
”I mean, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not like I really care to find out. I was just wondering.”
Dabi huffs out a sigh, gulping down rest of his drink. Jin hums but says nothing, wondering if his companion was aware he was lying, pretty badly at that. Given how often he mused about the florist, it gave Jin certain vibes.
But, it was none of his business.
As they head home later that night - Jin basically forces him to stop and leave the bar, wanting to make sure Dabi wouldn’t be that hangover in the coming morning - their attention is soon drawn towards a brawl nearby, that had garnered people’s attention.
”I think we should...”
Before Jin could finish the sentence, Dabi had already slipped there, curious to see what was going on. Two drunkards were having an argument over something, who knew at this point given how wasted they were.
The pair was currently struggling on the ground, one yanking on the other’s hair. It was kind of funny to watch, and the people around were cheering them on, which again, wasn’t surprising given how buzzed the crowd itself also was in all likeness.
”Dude, maybe we should alert someone.”
Jin tells him cautiously, placing a hand on his shoulder. Dabi just shrugs, and rubs his neck, not really caring to do that. He did not know the pair in question so it didn’t matter if they beat each other up.
Suddenly, one of the two pulls out a knife, jutting it in the bigger man’s gut, making him groan. The audience gasps now, clearly having not expected that, and finally some move in to pull the knife-wielding psycho off the other guy.
”Stabbed me! That bastard stabbed me!”
The man holds his bleeding side, glaring up at the other drunkard, who spits on his face, before the crowd forcibly separates them properly. Some are on their phones, probably finally calling the authorities like Jin had wanted to do. Few help to address the wounded fighter, and the crowd slowly starts to dissolve.
Eventually, only Jin and Dabi still stand there, looking at the bleeding guy who was still loudly complaining about his wound.
The woman treating him sighs and shakes her head, then looks up at the other two.
The pair soon realize she was in fact one of the bartenders working in that place, who’d likely come to the back to see what the fuzz was about.
”You know this guy?”
”Nah. Just wondering if he’s gonna be alright.”
Jin explains with an awkward shrug, and the redhead turns her gaze back towards the pouting man.
”He’ll be fine, it’s just a flesh-wound, didn’t even hit anything vital.”
”Who told you to go and start a fight in the first place?”
That shuts him up, allowing her to finish addressing it, before hauling him up, bringing him back inside.
”I’m still gonna call an ambulance to check on you.”
”Oh, we can do that! You don’t have to.”
Jin declares, making the woman blink and then nod. The pair heads back inside behind her, and she puts the drunkard on the couch of the back-room in the bar, probably meant as a break room for the workers.
”My name’s Magne by the way.”
”Jin, and this sullen looking guy with cool tattoos is Dabi.”
”Nice to meet you.”
Dabi just shrugs, not in the mood for this. He watches Jin make a call to order the said ambulance. He doubted it was needed given how much the guy had been able to whine, but hey, better check the injury so it wouldn’t get infected.
”Feels like you’ve done this before.”
He points out to the woman, who shrugs, bringing out her phone.
”Seeing stuff like this is common around here. You’d be surprised how many fights I’ve had to break up.”
Seeing her strong frame, Dabi did not doubt she was capable of doing that.
”Alright, the ambulance will be here in five minutes!”
Jin announces once he closes the call, gaining a thank you from Magne, who turns to look back at the drunken guy, giving him a stern scolding.
”You got lucky he missed anything vital. While he should not have pulled a fucking knife at you, you started that one. One more incident like this, and we'll have to ban you from here.”
The man grumbles but doesn’t deny anything, just chooses to avert his gaze towards the window.
That’s when he suddenly grows pale and let’s out a sudden yelp, startling the trio.
Magne asks him what was wrong, but the man just backs away in his seat, pointing towards the window.
”T-t’s one of those things! Mama always warned me ’bout them! It’s right there!”
The group glance towards the window confused, but all they could see was the back-street the window was facing, and people passing by through it.
”He really must’ve had a lot to drink.”
Magne muses out, but the man shakes his head wildly, now climbing so far back that he fell off the couch, hiding behind it’s armrest. His injury didn’t seem to bother him so much, being able to do that without flinching.
”I’m gonna die aren’t I? Mama always said when you see them, they’re coming for your soul! Because you’re gonna die and they wanna eat you!”
They had no fucking clue what that meant, making Dabi wonder if he was on something else than just liquor. As the blue eyes drift towards the window again however, his eyes suddenly spot something.
A familiar pale face was staring back at them from across the street, and Dabi felt his sixth sense pick up again.
Red eyes drift up to his, and a slight shiver ran down Dabi’s spine, making him take a slight step back reflexively.
The sensation was stronger than usual.
Both Jin and Magne look at him confused now, glancing towards the window.
”Oh....ain’t that the florist dude?”
Jin questions with a surprised expression, gaining no answer.
The man behind the couch let’s out another whimper, making the two look at him puzzled, but Dabi kept his gaze locked with the red eyes looking at him. Their expression was strange, and it almost looked like the florist’s eyes were shining.
”Wonder why he’s around here?”
Dabi still doesn’t answer, unable to turn his gaze away.
Tomura shifts suddenly, dry lips parting slightly as he flicks his tongue over them, and another shudder runs down Dabi’s spine. His sixth-sense was now almost screaming into his ear, and he had no idea why. A wave of dizziness hits him, and for a second, he sees something else standing in the florist's place.
Something with wings and a wide, terrifying grin.
Then, the illusion breaks as the florist suddenly shakes his head and closes his eyes walking away wordlessly.
Only now does he register that Jin had been trying to gain his attention. Blue eyes snap back at the blond, then look around, noting the injured guy was still hiding, muttering ’I’m gonna die’ under his breath, whereas Magne was gazing at him with a slight frown.
”....Are you alright?”
”Ah...yeah I just...drifted off for a bit.”
”....Maybe you should bring your friend home, he seems like he’s had too much to drink as well.”
Jin just nods, agreeing with her assessment. There was clear worry in the man’s eyes, but Dabi ignores it, trying to make sense to what just happened.
Tomura was gone now, as they step out of the bar, but Dabi could still feel that gaze on him. He had a feeling whatever made that man panic related to the strange florist. Maybe he had some spiritual sensitivity too, even if he didn’t seem like it. Those less versed in it tended to have their sensitivity increased exponentially when under influence of drugs or alcohol.
”Jeez dude, did that guy’s ramble spook you that bad?”
”You’re really pale.”
Dabi huffs out a sigh, managing to flash him a smile.
”M’good, just tired.”
That night, he dreams of butterflies again.
He could smell the scent of flowers.
It felt a bit like someone was watching him.
Kurogiri watches the boy a little concerned, noting his hair had lightened up a bit more again when compared to yesterday.
He was also starting to develop the black circles under his eyes.
Still, he seemed mostly calm, so there was hopefully no reason for further concern.
The door opens, and a familiar sleepy-looking man steps in. It was a bit of a surprise, usually it was his husband who came to buy the flowers if they needed some.
”Good day Aizawa.”
”Kurogiri, is the boy here?”
The man frowns for a bit, gesturing towards the greenhouse. The man mumbles out a thank you and paces there, finding the boy tending to some of the roses at the far back. He frowns lightly upon noticing the bleaching hair, but doesn’t comment on it.
”Tomura. I need to speak with you.”
The young man turns to look at him, and Aizawa could tell even more now why Kurogiri had seemed a bit concerned.
”Before you even start, I’m fine. I can’t help the physical symptoms from appearing.”
Tomura snorts, clipping off last dry leaf from the rose bush, before putting the clippers away and crossing his arms, fully focusing on him now.
”What is it?”
”.....I need you to come see us after work.”
Tomura lifts eyebrow at that.
”Is this about why Hitoshi came here asking about flowers and meanings all of a sudden?”
Aizawa snorts at that, flashing him his trademark Cheshire grin.
”Let’s leave that for later. This is something more serious.”
”You’d think your child having a crush would be considered serious.”
”There’s somebody I want you to meet.”
Aizawa tells him bluntly, ignoring Tomura’s comment. The pale young man blinks, tilting his head now admittedly curious. If Aizawa wanted him to meet someone, it had to be important.
”Is there something I need to know beforehand?”
”....preferably come with a calm state of mind.”
Tomura frowns at that, but Aizawa refuses to explain anything further. He doesn’t get the chance to ask anything either, as more customers show up into the greenhouse portion. The man gives him a pointed look, then heads back out. Tomura watches after him now extremely curious.
As he enters back to the shop, Kurogiri looks at him questioningly. Tomura just shrugs and heads to the back storage room now; he’d have to water the plants on the window next, some of them felt little dry and void of life.
Aizawa’s house was always a peculiar experience of contradictions; on one hand, there was the loud, bright husband of his who hosted a radio-show that was quite popular, and then on the other hand, we had the quiet, sleepy teacher himself who was much more than meets the eye. They were such opposites, yet functioned well together.
There was also their adoptive son, a purple haired kid who, like his sleepy dad himself and Kurogiri, was spirit-sensitive.
He did not visit there often, but when he did, the same thing tended to leave Hitoshi’s mouth each time.
This was no exception.
”Dad, loud-dad, the Grim Reaper has arrived.”
Tomura rolls his eyes at the teen who flashes him an Aizawa-worthy smirk, before going back to cuddling with one of their hundred cats. Or at least it felt like there was a hundred; each time he came in, there would be a new one peeking out from somewhere.
Most of the cats tended to avoid him, which was fair.
Only the very old ones, those who weren’t afraid of death and pretty much waited for it to come, would come and cuddle him. Such was the case with the grayish black one that always came to greet him. Tomura closes the door behind him and kicks his shoes off, before crouching down to pet it, gaining a slight tired purr as a response.
”You’re still here huh? You’re a stubborn old man, a bit like your owner.”
”Pot, the kettle called...”
Tomura looks up at Aizawa, who was leaning against the kitchen doorway, his arms crossed.
He was wearing simple pink sweatpants and a black sweater, looking lile he’d just woken up from a nap. Then again, he always looked like that.
"I'm pretty sure you have me beat with stubbornness. Though some of my students could give you run for your money."
”What did you want to talk to me about?”
The man sighs and turns to look back at the kitchen.
”Bring her here Hizashi.”
Tomura blinks confused, then watches as the blond man walks there, offering him a smile as a greeting, though it wasn't as wide and loud and obnoxious as usual. The man was holding something in his arms. The red eyes widen, as he suddenly realizes what it was.
Instantly, his aura starts to flutter restlessly, and Aizawa could spot the outlines of his wings appear.
”....I’m assuming that is a reflexive reaction, given I told you to come here calmly.”
Tomura says nothing, just closes his eyes and forces it all back for now, before looking back at the small child in the blond’s arms.
In his territory?
”You probably understand now why I asked you to come here.”
Aizawa tells him cautiously, keeping a close eye on him. Tomura just nods faintly, examining the small girl in Hizashi’s lap. Her red eyes were wide, and she was looking at him uneasily, likely sensing the kinship. His presence had to be overwhelming, given he was older and thus had a stronger aura.
Not to mention it was partially wretched when compared to hers.
”....Where did you find her?”
”Long story. The fact is she’s going to be staying with us now, and to my understanding...”
The man pauses, glancing towards the slightly uneasy girl, who looks back at him with that same widened look. She was clearly a bit scared, and Aizawa didn’t blame her. It was bound to happen given the situation and how these things worked with their kin.
”....as this city is technically your territory, you need to give her permission to stay here, correct?”
Tomura remains quiet for a long time, then paces closer. Hizashi shifts nervously, glancing st his husband, but Aizawa shakes his head faintly, telling him wordlessly to stay calm.
The young man stops in front of the two, his gaze fixated on the little girl.
She was very young.
He’d never met someone this young; their kind were so rare that having new ones to be born in this day and age was near unheard of.
Yet, it was clear it had happened again since his birth.
”...What’s your name, kid?”
The girl glances up at Hizashi, who gives her an encouraging smile.
Tomura hums, examining her closely.
Typically, his kind did not like to have others in their territory, but the girl being young did help her case. She did not feel like a competitor after all, so his instinctual side was being less of an asshole about it.
Plus, he could see it in her eyes.
They were kindred spirits in more than just literal sense.
Tomura brings up his hand, and wind picks up outside, letting a flower drift in through the open window. A daisy to be exact. Wordlessly, he plucks it in her hair, and she blinks, then looks back up at her two apparent new parents. Both smile and nod, and she looks back at tomura, thanking him shyly.
Tomura had a feeling she was too young to understand the significance of the gesture, but that was fine.
She should not need to worry about bullshit instincts and territorial possessiveness at her age anyway.
Plus, if she was lucky that instinct wouldn’t be that strong with her generation anymore, it wasn’t with his.
The only reason he still felt it the first place was due to his human personality and the shit he’d gone through.
”Well, I did kind of consider asking you who is sending my son love letters.”
Hitoshi let’s out a sudden noise, almost if he’d choked on cat-hair or his own breath, blushing madly while his dad grinned, and his loud dad laughed for a bit.
”...............But for now, yes. I just figured this needs to be done as soon as possible, before it causes problems. If you wish to hear her story later on, I’ll explain, but you probably should head home before the rain hits.”
The man gestures towards the window, and indeed, there were dark clouds looming in the horizon again. It wasn’t too surprising given it was fall; it rained often during this time of the year. Tomura hums and nods slightly, turning to head back towards the door. He does glance at the man over his shoulder, bringing a finger to his lips with a slight grin.
”Death tells no tales, Aizawa. You have to ask your son about it.”
”I’m pretty sure the saying is about a dead man, not death itself.”
”Quiet, eggplant. Go back to cuddling your kitten and daydreaming about your crush.”
Hitoshi shuts up pretty fast, hiding behind to couch again as he turns beet red.
Tomura smirks, giving the old cat one final pat before heading back outside.
He did not live too far, but the rain still manages to reach him. Tomura doesn’t mind, just tugging the hood of his leather coat over his head, speeding up his steps for a bit.
That’s when he almost bumps into someone, and the pale figure steps back, sneering lightly at the person he’d collided with. Red eyes widen however, as he recognizes the surprised looking young man, holding an umbrella.
It was his neighbor.
”.....Well I guess I can understand you being in a hurry in this weather.”
He chuckles awkwardly, shifting his weight from one leg to another. Tomura shakes his head to clear his head, frowning at him.
”Shouldn’t you be at work?”
”Nah. My shift ended early today.”
Tomura’s eyes narrow even further. There were bars nearby, and he could guess were the fool had been heading. His glare clearly unnerved the tattooed man, as he shifts back a little, asking what was up.
”You’ll kill yourself with alcohol poisoning at this rate.”
His neighbor seemed surprised, having him figure out exactly what he’d been planning to do, though at this rate it was likely easy to deduce, given how often the florist had helped him to get inside his apartment after getting totally wasted.
”It’s not really your business, is it?”
The man asks, now clearly feeling slightly defensive given his tone.
Tomura huffs out a sigh, rubbing his eyes.
”It actually is. It’s causing me problems.”
”You don’t have to pick up my sorry ass from the ground every evening, nobody’s forcing you.”
Tomura snaps at him, making the man almost jump in surprise. He pulls his anger back however, shaking his head irritated as he walks past the man, nearly shoving him to the ground.
”Get your shit together.”
Blue eyes just watch him go, not understanding the outburst at all.
That night, Dabi actually makes it in by himself, slumping to his couch with a sigh. He’d just not felt like drinking that much for some reason. The bizarre interaction with the florist still haunted his mind, let alone that incident from few nights ago, where he’d seen him outside that bar.
What had he even been doing there?
Tomura didn’t seem like the type to go out for drinks.
Dabi huffs out another sigh and turns to his back now, just staring at the ceiling.
It was none of his business, he should not wonder about it should he?
He digs out the pack from his coat pocket, lighting up one and watching smoke disappear into the ceiling. Yeah, it was not like they were wrong. He did probably drink too much, it just...he couldn’t help himself. It helped to numb your senses, so you weren’t going insane over the excessive amount of shit you sensed with your third eye or whatever.
He still hated having inherited this trait.
Blowing out another cloud of smoke, Dabi notes the shape kind of looked like a butterfly. He’d been dreaming about those a lot lately for some reason. Usually moths to be precise, which was...weird.
It probably meant something.
What he did recall from studying spiritual realm, dreams when you were spiritually sensitive tended to be omens, especially if they repeated themselves. E just had no clue what exactly that omen would be about in this case, and he really didn’t want to dig out all those books he had stored under his bed to find out.
He wanted nothing to do with this ability.
Eventually, Dabi drifts to sleep.
There were butterflies again, but also something else.
Something bigger was looking at him through the darkness.
That something came closer, until he could feel breath brush over his ear.
Dabi is startled awake and he sits up, staring at the pale figure who backs away, looking equally bewildered. For a moment neither of them spoke, until Dabi finally finds his voice. His cigarette was on the floor, though thankfully it was off, or it could’ve sparked a fire.
It looked like someone had stomped it off to be exact, and Dabi was pretty sure he was looking at the culprit.
”Why...what the hell are you doing inside my house?”
He demands, his heartbeat still beating violently against his ribcage.
”Your door was open.”
The florist tells him simply, gesturing towards the open door.
Did he forget to lock it?
That was possible, he’d been kind of out of it, even if not as wasted as usual.
”I was wondering what the hell was that about so I came in, and saw you almost trying to burn this place down with your careless cigarette droppings.”
Tomura frowns at him, and Dabi averts his gaze, feeling a little sheepish right now. He had no good comeback to that.
A hand suddenly grasps his jaw, forcing him to look up at his surprise visitor, whose red eyes examine him closely for a moment. By the time Tomura let’s go, Dabi rubs his chin, pretty sure it was bruised. He also suddenly notes that some of his tattoos there were glowing faintly, a sign something spiritual had touched them.
He looks up at Tomura again with a frown.
”Look at you, you’re not completely wasted for once.”
Tomura snorts, then glances around for a bit, heading to the kitchen to grab the brush, getting rid of the ashes and cigarette on the floor, dumping them to his trash. Dabi keeps watching him the whole time, now more curious than ever. Sure, he’d been aware of some sort of spiritual connection, but only full-blooded spirits tended to make his tattoos glow if touching them.
The fact Tomura hadn’t flinched one bit indicated he was not your run-in-the-mill spirit either.
Of course he wasn’t, he was clearly an individual living being, rather than a husk of once living person like most average spirits.
At least, Dabi supposed so.
He didn’t really give the typical ghost vibes.
”You really like staring me, don’t you?”
The florist’s words snap him out of his thoughts, and Dabi looks him up into the red eyes now.
”Why were you around the bar that night?”
The question clearly takes him by surprise, as Tomura blinks, then averts his gaze.
”None of your business.”
”You keep harping on me fer drinking, yet you sneak around doing the same thing.”
”First off; I ’harped’ at you about drinking only once. Second, I wasn’t out for liquor.”
Tomura huffs at him annoyed, placing his hands to his hips. Dabi shifts to stand up, thankful he was able to do so without too much dizziness, pacing to stand in front of him, hands in his pockets. They were about the same height, Tomura was maybe an inch taller, though given his usual slouching posture it was difficult to notice. You only could tell when he stood like this.
”Ya can’t blame me fer being curious. You don’t seem the type to go out a whole lot. I’ve only ever seen you at home or at work.”
Dabi shrugs, gaining a narrow-eyed look from his neighbor who seemed positively annoyed by him right now. He just couldn’t help it. Seeing his tattoos glow like that, it had made him extremely curious. Tomura doesn’t respond, just stares up at him still mildly annoyed.
Dabi tilts his head lightly, noting the pale figure’s eyes were again glowing like that night. He was now sure it wasn’t his imagination, they genuinely did that at times.
”What are you exactly?”
The florist remains quiet, then slowly lifts his hand, pressing two fingers against one of the tattoos on his collarbone, without breaking eye-contact.
”Since you’re so curious, why don’t you find out yourself? Someone with so many protective seals oughta know their spirits.”
With that, Tomura turns around swiftly, leaving the apartment. He slams the door closed behind him rather loudly, leaving Dabi standing there a bit taken aback.
Normally spirit folk weren’t that open about it.
The florist was clearly something special.
His fingers brush over the specific tattoo he’d touched; it was a moth.
Have another chapter.
I dunno why I like making Eri interact with Tomura.
Probably because of their glaringly obvious parallels in the canonical story.
Chapter 3: nighttime troubles
Tomura can't sleep, then a sound from the neighboring apartment alerts him
Tomura couldn’t sleep.
No matter how hard he tried to ignore it, the tempting flicker from the room beside his kept bothering him. Even lighting up tons of scented candles to mask up the soul-scent didn’t help. Not that he’d expected it to honestly, Tomura was just getting a bit desperate.
It was making his skin itchy.
Having the fool leave his house to drink was both good and bad.
Good because the scent disappeared, bad because he could turn up dead, and that could be bad.
Sure, this....this wasn’t the first time he’d actively resisted the temptation, but last time wasn’t this bad. The previous person had been easier to handle. His neighbor was clearly in a much deeper hole, and Tomura wasn't sure how to deal with it. He'd thought he could approach him easily like he'd done last time, but...something about the young man made him cautious and unsure on how to do it.
Then again, the previous case he'd dealt with hadn't been fully human, not like this one.
Humans were complicated creatures.
He sighs and gets up from his pillow nest, wondering if he should just head out himself for a walk, given his neighbor was apparently not going out tonight. Then again, it was raining heavily, so Tomura wasn’t keen on doing that either. Water didn't really bother the spirit-kin, but he had enough human in him to find the cold rain sticking to his skin and/or clothes - and sometimes wings - highly unpleasant.
So, instead, he decides to make himself some nectar tea, and focus his attention on the flowers. His apartment was filled with them, which was rather typical. The tables and counters had them, the windowsill, the floor, even his couch had been converted to hold plants instead. He did have an armchair free for Kurogiri if he visited, and an actual bed in the bedroom, though he almost never slept on it, mostly preferring his pillow nest in the living room.
Nesting was again, rather typical for his kind apparently.
The bedroom was often just storage for his clothes or other random things.
After making the tea, he walks to the ones in the windowsill, examining them for a bit. They felt a little dry, which was ironic given the downpour outside.
He picks up the small watering can he had, pouring out few droplets of the faintly glowing water. It wasn’t normal water, it was purified and infused with his essence, making it glow slightly greenish. Sure enough, the flowers began to look and feel happier, standing up a little taller.
It was such a strange thing to be able to do, after all those years of death and destructive forces.
Still, seeing those delicate little beings actually gain life instead of losing it under his touch, it did make him feel a bit more at ease with himself.
Walking through many of the other plants, his mind manages to drift away from the tempting smell on the other side of the wall, right up until he heard something crash, making him jump and drop the water into the floor, spilling it all over the place.
Tomura curses as he picks the now empty can up, glancing towards the wall.
What was that?
Tomura knew he probably shouldn’t, but...
With a slight curse, he puts the watering can away and tugs on his pants, slipping out of his apartment to head for his neighbor’s door. The hallway was very dimly lit around this time of the night, and there was nobody else on sight naturally. Majority of people would be asleep at this hour after all, apart from him, occasional parents waking up to their baby crying, and apparently, his neighbor.
Tomura stops in front of the door and hesitates for a moment.
Should he knock, or just go in?
He was still not very good at reading people’s souls, outside from being able to discern if they could be potential food soon.
Tomura couldn’t tell if the man was in trouble or not.
He wasn’t dying at least, his scent hadn’t gotten any stronger.
With a sigh, Tomura knocks firmly on the door.
He really wasn’t sure if his neighbor would bother even opening if he was awake, but....
Tomura almost jumps back in surprise as the door does in fact open, and he is face-to-face with the blue eyes, who seemed equally surprised to see him. He was holding a cool pack against his head, indicating he’d hit it into something. That was likely related to the sound Tomura had heard.
”......Did I wake you up or somethin’?”
He then asks cautiously, and after a moment, Tomura just nods, frowning at him.
”Well sorry I s’ppose. The walls are kinda thin around here.”
The man shrugs, cracking his neck, then flinching. His head clearly hurt pretty bad. Tomura sighs and forcibly pushes past him, catching the man off-guard. Red eyes scan his surroundings, but couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
Whatever he’d done, it hadn’t happened in the living room-kitchen area.
”You know, I did not invite you in.”
Tomura ignores his comment, instead he turns around and basically forces his hand away from the injury, looking at it more closely. It was just a small bruise, he wasn’t even bleeding. Good, if he’d had a worse injury that could be bad.
Then again, if it had been a worse injury, he’d be struggling a whole lot more right now.
”What, you worried or something?”
”I’m not worried about you. It’s just if you drop dead, that could be bad for me.”
”I don’t get what that means.”
Tomura snorts, letting go of his wrist, allowing him to put the cool pack back against his injury. It did not look like anything further needed to be done at this point, which was good.
”What were you even doing to cause that?”
His neighbor shrugs, averting his gaze.
”Just reachin’ for something high-up, and then the stuff fell on my head.”
Tomura lifts eyebrow at that, but the man refuses to elaborate. Honestly, it didn’t matter what it was; all he needed to make sure was that he wasn’t dying or anything.
”Ugh, I feel like m’gonna vomit.”
The man suddenly mutters out, and he pretty much slumps to the floor to lie down, as a dizzy spell hit him. So maybe he wasn’t dying, but he’d likely suffered from a concussion of sorts.
What the hell did the idiot drop onto himself?
Tomura crouches down beside him, trying to ignore the tempting scent wafting off him. Sure it didn’t matter that much right now, as the fool did need to die first before it could become an actual problem, but....
Ravenous, thirsty spirits like him were a terrifying sight. Some could even die just by seeing them, and since this fool was spiritually sensitive, he could probably end up doing that. Right now though, it did not seem like he was seeing through his human shroud, given he did not start panicking or freeze or anything.
”Ugh....I guess I hit m’head a tad harder than I thought...”
Tomura lifts the hand holding the cool-pack against the bruise again, examining the wound bit more closely. It still did seem like just a bruise, so this was likely indeed just a concussion.
”....D’you always smell like flowers and shit?”
His neighbor mutters out as Tomura puts the cooling pack back on top of the injury. The blue eyes were fixated on him tiredly, making the florist wonder if he’d stayed up very late and the incident had happened due to his sleepiness.
Red eyes focus on the blue ones.
”Professional hazard you could say.”
”I s’ppose. Yer whole apartment musta smell like a greenhouse. At least it does when you open a window.”
”That a problem?”
Tomura asks snappily, and his neighbor actually chuckles for a bit, before grimacing again.
He manages to mutter out finally, some of the paleness leaving his face, indicating he was starting to feel better. Tomura releases a slow sigh, asking him if he could get up.
”Gimme a minute.”
”That probably needs to be bandaged just in case.”
Before his neighbor could say anything, Tomura had already gotten up and headed for his bathroom. As expected, there was a first aid kit there, and Tomura grasps it, walking back to the man. He’d now managed to sit up, leaning against his couch still clearly dizzy.
”Alright, can you remove that thing so I can fix you.”
His neighbor blinks at him, looking a little puzzled.
”Why are you helping me?”
Tomura huffs out a sigh, pulling his hand and the cooling back away forcibly, before preparing to wrap the bandage around his head.
”Because you dropping dead would be bad for me.”
”You said that, I still don’t get it.”
Tomura doesn’t respond, just focuses on wrapping the piece of cloth around his head. He had added some of the healing essence subtly, hopefully making the injury go away sooner. Having any sort of wounds - even non-life-threatening ones - when his soul was already very tempting wasn’t ideal.
It could make it worse.
Even if the idiot wasn't dying, his scent could cause unpleasant side-effects for Tomura. The skin itchiness and the lightening of his hair were just the mildest ones.
Some fool would probably then ask, why did he not just move away, if this was such a huge problem. The problem was pretty much the fact that he'd have to leave his entire territory behind, and there was no fucking way he was going to do that. He was here first, his neighbor moved in couple of months ago.
After he was done, Tomura leans back, noting his neighbor was still a little pale, and he also seemed sleepy.
“….You probably should haul your ass back to bed.”
“Yeah yeah, whatever.”
The dazed man mutters, then attempts to get up, failing miserably. Tomura lets out a long-suffering sigh and hauls his arm over his shoulders, helping him up. If his neighbor was surprised by it, he didn’t react much. Dragging him to the bedroom, Tomura notes there was a pile of random stuff on the floor, in front of an open closet door. Whatever he’d been trying to get, had been stored there.
“You really need to organize your things better, and not make them so hazardous like an idiot.”
“I got a name y’know?”
His neighbor mutters out a protest, and Tomura drops him to the bed, placing his hands on his hips.
“What would that be then?”
“Why should I tell you? Yer bein’ nasty n’ cryptic.”
“You are the one complaining to me for calling you – rightfully so – an idiot instead of using your name.”
His neighbor huffs out a sigh, bringing his hand up to hold his head for a moment.
“Alright then, Dabi. I’ll go and get you some painkillers, but you better not try anything stupid tonight. Don’t even think about going out in that condition.”
“…Wasn’t gonna. Why….”
“I’m not going to repeat my reasons. As a spirit-sensitive person, it is YOUR responsibility to understand the danger this is posing to you and others.”
Blue eyes crack open, looking at him for a moment.
“…. Is this like, some sorta spirit thing where yer kind aren’t allowed to say shit, or?”
Tomura snorts at that, disappearing to the bathroom to go get the painkillers. He only gives him one, and just in case, keeps the rest. The alcohol abuse issues were already a problem, he couldn’t be sure if he’d have a drug addiction too, or at least the potential for it.
Once he comes back, placing the pill and a glass of water on to the nightstand, he suddenly realizes Dabi was still waiting for an answer.
The man let’s out a slight chuckle, closing his eyes and covering them with his arm.
“So you’re just being difficult for the sake of it.”
“It should not be MY job to teach you about the dangers you should already know.”
Tomura pokes his arm sharply, making the man flinch and look at him peeved. The spot he’d touched was also glowing now, reacting to his direct presence. They clearly weren’t strong enough to ward him off, which was pretty unfortunate for Dabi.
If they did, this would not be an issue right now.
Those symbols would protect his soul even after death.
They could also lessen the temptation for him. Unfortunately, he couldn't exactly cast spells that would hindrance himself, so Tomura could not take matter into his own hands with this, even if he wanted to. Plus...spells strong enough to ward his kind off were very old and difficult to master, even Kurogiri couldn't do one perfectly.
“Besides, I gave you a hint already.”
He states, poking the moth-symbol on Dabi’s collarbone again, making him swat him with his arm.
“Stop poking me.”
“Stay here tonight.”
Tomura orders him, gaining an eye-roll and a turned back. The pale figure huffs out a sigh, cracking his neck and turning to look at the mess Dabi’s nightly shenanigans had left behind. Mostly it was just random stuff you’d find on a closet; clothes, boxes with more clothes, books, some tools.
His eyes soon hit a specific book however, and Tomura walks closer, crouching beside it curiously. It was a familiar looking piece, Kurogiri had this particular spirit guide too. He picks it up carefully, examining it. Given the slight dent, perhaps this was the thing that hit Dabi's head. It was a weighty book so getting a concussion wasn't that surprising.
Or maybe Dabi had drank something, even if his breath was liquor free.
It was a bit different from Kurogiri’s; his was mostly in pristine condition and well-kept. This one was faded and had stains in the cover. There had been a layer of dust on it too, indicating it hadn’t been taken out from wherever it was kept in a while. It also had scraps of paper inside it, all of them having notes in a handwriting that probably wasn’t Dabi’s.
As he peeks into the first page, there was a name written down on it. It wasn’t a surprise, Kurogiri had his name in his guide too.
“Rei Todoroki? I wonder….”
Tomura glances up at Dabi, who’d apparently knocked himself out already. Turning his gaze back to the book, he gets up and paces back to the bedside, placing the book beside the glass of water. He had a feeling this old book was likely what Dabi was trying to reach for.
He gazes at his sleeping neighbor for a moment.
There was a story behind all this, likely linked to why someone as spiritually sensitive as Dabi couldn’t apparently tell instantly what he was. He had the potential, but...he seemed to lack knowledge, which was unusual given his complex symbols. Almost if he had studied into this for a while, then...stopped for whatever reason.
With a sigh, Tomura shifts and leaves the house, closing the door quietly this time around.
Entering back to his own apartment, Tomura notes the rain had stopped, and half-moon was starting to peek through the clouds.
Perhaps he could finally get some sleep.
Decided to update this one today given I had a clue on the chapter. This fic was kinda begun on a whim so...I actually don't have a coherent plot in mind outside the basic concept, which is both extremely rare for me AND potentially a bit of a problem, as normally I'd plan ahead as far as possible to avoid writer's block heh.
Luckily I got other fics to work on the same time, so if I got no ideas for this, I'll work on the other ones instead.
Chapter 4: flowers and butterflies
Dabi's still dealing with the aftermath of his clumsiness
Tomura has to do something unusual to deal with his uncomfortable state.
Dabi woke up that morning to a phone-call.
It was Jin, asking where he was.
Glancing up at the clock, he notes with a curse it was already 8.30; he was late from his shift.
”Seriously dude, I began to worry that something had happened.”
”I’m...I just had a lil mishap last night, that all.”
Dabi manages to sit up, bringing a hand up to touch the bandage around his head. He could still smell the scent of flowers, weirdly enough.
”I was reaching for somethin’ high up, and shit fell on me.”
”Jeez dude! Are you okay? Did you pass out? Are you bleeding?! Should I—”
Dabi cuts him off mid-ramble, rubbing his eyes with a tired sigh.
”I’m fine. It happened last night. My....my neighbor showed up and fixed me up.”
He glances towards the nightstand, noting there was a painkiller and water waiting for him if needed. His head did ache, so he takes it, gulping down the entire glass of water. That’s when Dabi notices the other object on the nightstand. For a moment blue eyes just stare at the book dully.
”Dabi? You still there mate?”
”...Yeah, I...to be honest I might have a concussion, I dunno if I can come to work today.”
"Boss isn’t gonna like that. You’d need a doctor’s notice for that excuse.”
”How the hell am I supposed to get that in such a short time-period?”
Dabi huffs out frustrated, managing to scramble up from the bed, heading for his bathroom. The movement alone made him a little nauseous, but he manages to make it there without vomiting or falling flat on his face. Looking up at the mirror, he did seem pale - more so than usual - and had to sit down to the floor against his bathtub, breathing out a slow sigh.
”....You don’t sound good man.”
”I know. I really, really don’t think I can come today.”
”What the hell even hit you?”
”Buncha old books that were kinda heavy.”
”....Didn’t take you for a reader.”
”Why do you think they were shoved at the back of my closet?”
Jin let’s out a slight chuckle at the other end, before sighing.
”I’ll...I’ll try to convince the boss about this.”
”I can send you a pic of the bandage around me head and shit.”
”No no, I should be able to do it. It’s not like you’ve skipped work that often in all fairness.”
”I’m pretty sure the amount of sick-days I’ve had so far is a tad questionable.”
Jin remains quiet at the other end, likely unable to really deny that.
”I need to go; the shop is gonna open now. I’ll talk to him. I’ll ask you for the pic if he doesn’t believe me.”
Before Dabi could respond, the call closes, and he’s left sitting there, his head still spinning somewhat. He sighs and drops his head back against the edge of the bathtub, closing his eyes for a moment. His mind inevitably drifts back to last night, making him wonder about his neighbor again. He’d likely already left to the flower shop; he walked past it when going for work, and Tomura would be there around seven already, watering the plants.
Eventually, the dizzy spell passes, and Dabi manages to wash his face, before picking up his phone again to pace to his bed, slumping to sit down on it. He gazes at his phone screen dully, wondering if Jin would be able to make excuses for him.
Well, his state wasn’t really an excuse; he genuinely couldn’t imagine picking up heavy stuff and arranging it right now.
Why the hell did the books have to weigh so much?
Dabi’s gaze drifts towards the particular book on the nightstand.
He’d not opened it in over two years now, having shoved it back into the dark corners of whatever place he’d been living in, not wanting to look at the damned thing. His hand lifts up absent minded, brushing the spot florist had poked him. What did he mean by having already given a hint? Dabi didn’t understand it.
He glances down, but couldn’t really see his own tattoos there clearly in this angle.
With a sigh, Dabi reaches out for the book, carefully picking it up. The thing felt heavier in his hand than it likely was, and just looking at it brought back unpleasant memories.
Dabi closes his eyes tightly, sucking in a few deep breaths, before opening them again. He was too curious.
Maybe....maybe mum’s guide had something.
Opening the book cautiously, Dabi does his best to avoid looking at his mother’s handwriting directly, instead focusing on the actual information within the book. The problem was, he did not know what he was looking for exactly. All he knew really, was that Tomura was some sort of powerful spirit type, and for some reason his current state was somehow bad for him. Eyes scan the list of spirit types mentioned, but none of them really gave him any clues either. He knew only about one third of the cryptic mentioned in this spirit guide, given he’d stopped giving a fuck before finishing his studies.
Trying to read the text wasn’t working well either in all honesty; his vision kept jumping over lines and re-reading the same sentences over and over. Dabi slams the book closed and throws it to the bed, slumping to lie back down.
His head was still too much of a mess, he could figure this out later.
It wasn’t that important anyway.
He was dreaming again.
The same dream of being covered in butterflies.
He could also feel a presence watching him again, creeping closer.
It was hovering above him now, but he couldn’t see anything. He wasn’t sure if his eyes were open or closed either.
The presence shifts closer, until he could feel a breath brush over his face, something soft tickling it, almost like hair. The butterflies had disappeared, almost if scared off by the shadowy presence currently staring down at him.
Dabi’s could see it now.
Red eyes, inches away from his face.
Something on the presence’s back, something big that was fluttering in a wind he couldn’t feel.
Suddenly, a wide, near inhuman grin appears beneath the eyes, and an abnormally long and thin tongue flicks out, brushing against the faint blue glow that was now surrounding him, making it flutter uneasily.
It wasn’t a human tongue, or a snake’s for that matter.
It made him think of....
Dabi’s eyes snap open for real now, and he sits up abruptly, too quickly in fact as his head starts spinning. Lying back down he places a palm over his eyes, trying to get his breathing under control.
What was that?
What was that thing?
The second it had touched the blue glow around him, he’d been filled with some sort of instinctual terror, forcing him awake.
His heartbeat was still rapid, but his head was starting to clear finally, making his vision void of colorful blurry spots. Dabi pushes himself up again, this time slower, looking around cautiously. He couldn’t sense anything right now, and his tattoos were also dormant.
Nothing was around right now, but something had definitely accessed his dreams.
Or it was his instinctual third eye giving him a warning of sorts. He could vaguely recall his mum talking about how sometimes the spirit realm would warn her of upcoming dangers via dreams.
If that was such a warning...
Did it relate to whatever Tomura wanted him to figure out, or was it something else entirely?
Dabi releases a slow sigh, noting that he was starting to feel a bit thirsty. Food probably would not go down anytime soon, but he could at least make himself some tea.
He gets up, this time more carefully, pacing to the kitchen to turn on the kettle. Normally he’d prefer strong coffee, but his nerves were too on the edge right now, so tea it was.
He ends up going back to his bed to drink it, noting he was still dizzy. Damn those books really hit his head hard. That, or his spiritual over-sensitivity made it worse somehow. You never knew with that shit, it had always given him random side-effects.
Dabi props some pillows up to lean against them, looking through the news feed while he drank his tea. There was nothing new really; life was horrible all around, people were being shitty and treating each other like garbage.
He closes it off quickly, not on the mood to read that shit.
There was a message from Jin, informing him the boss had accepted the excuse for now, but unless he’d have a doctor’s notice about the concussion, had demanded him to come to work tomorrow or he’d be sacked. Dabi couldn’t bring himself to care too much, but he sends Jin an acknowledging response anyway. He’d only taken the job to pay the bills, he barely had motivation for it.
He barely had motivation for anything.
Most days Dabi would’ve preferred to just lie in bed, but this society did not really accept such nonproductive behavior. It would screw you over real hard if you did do it.
There was another response, asking if he’d need a ride for a doctor’s visit.
Dabi contemplates on it, but figures he’d probably be fine by tomorrow. Even if he wouldn’t be, the idea of going to see a doctor just wasn’t very pleasant to him. He couldn’t have cared less.
He tells Jin as much - the first part anyway - getting an ok with a thumbs up emoji as a response.
After that, he puts the phone away to the nightstand and just drinks his tea, still trying to calm his nerves down. The book was still sitting at the feet end of the bed, looming almost unpleasantly at his field of vision. Dabi moves and kicks it off, making it fall to the floor with a thud.
It was much better when he couldn’t see it.
As Tomura returns home that afternoon, he notes his neighbor - Dabi - was home. It was surprising, given from what he’s observed, his shift wouldn’t have ended until thirty minutes from now. Had he skipped work again, or was his injury perhaps worse than what he’d initially surmised?
He did not feel like he was dying or anything so...he probably just used the concussion as an excuse to skip work.
Tomura stops in front of his door, wondering if he should check on him just in case. Again, it was stemming from sense of self-preservation. It would be better for him and everybody else, if Dabi got his act together. He could just explain his spirit-sensing neighbor what the problem was exactly, but...Tomura wasn’t sure if it would really change anything to either direction. Maybe giving him a mystery to solve could kick some life back into his drained soul.
After all, Dabi was definitely curious about him.
Tomura sighs and walks past the door, slipping into his own apartment wordlessly.
As expected, his boss wasn’t too happy with him the next morning he showed up, but at least the bandage around his head and the fact he was still a little pale had confirmed Jin’s story for him, so the man did not proceed to yell at him too much, just gruffly told him to get to work. Dabi didn’t say much to it, just headed for the usual mundane task of arranging the shelves. He still felt lightheaded occasionally, having to take support from the wall and such. Jin did catch him do it a few times, but he’d always deny something was wrong.
Then, while he was putting some cleaning stuff on an upper shelf, a strong dizzy spell hit him, and Dabi could feel his world tilt, as he lost his balance. The cleaning supplies crashed to the floor, one of the bottles even opening and spilling the contents everywhere.
He was luckily caught by Jin, who’d spotted his face going pale and his body starting to tilt.
”Hey! Are you alright? Dabi?!”
The young man just lets out a slight groan, unable to really focus on Jin’s face hovering over him. Soon enough it was joined by their boss, who tells the blond to bring him to the back room.
Dabi could vaguely feel Jin lift him off the ground and carry him there. It was hard to focus, he felt so dizzy.
He is put to sit on the couch at the staff break room, and Dabi could still hear Jin call out his name, asking if he could hear them. He just lets out an acknowledging grunt, squeezing his eyes shut to try and stop the world from spinning.
”Did you go to see a doctor, boy?”
His boss asks, and Jin let’s out a huff, already knowing the answer.
”It’s clear you should have.”
Dabi says nothing, finally managing to open his eyes as the dizziness was starting to pass. His boss was examining him closely for now, before releasing a slow sigh, shaking his head.
”It’s clear you’re not fit to work today. You need to get yourself to a hospital.”
Dabi protests, definitely not wanting to go there.
”Well, you should at least go see a doc in case that’s worse than just a concussion.”
Jin proposes hesitantly, gaining a sigh from Dabi. Yeah, he probably should. He just...
”Well I suppose you can’t go there by yourself right now.”
Jin tells him with a half-smile, gaining a snort from Dabi, who tilts his head to look at him, cracking his eyelids open enough to see the blond’s dumb smiling face.
”No shit sherlock.”
Jin chuckles at that, and Dabi closes his eyes again, resting it against the back of the couch.
”M’fine. Just give me a minute.”
”The lunch-break will be in an hour. You can bring him home during that time, unless there’s somebody you can get to pick him up.”
Jin shakes his head with a sigh, looking back at Dabi.
”He’s bit of a loner so...”
”Who would’ve thought.”
Their boss comments sarcastically, before giving Dabi a stern look, telling him again to go see a doctor. Dabi just gives an acknowledging hum, eventually hearing the pair leave the room.
He’s left alone there, with just the ticking of the clock on the wall to accompany him. The repetitive sound was starting to make him feel drowsy, or maybe it was just how he felt in general right now. Passing out probably wasn’t good, but...
Before he could even try, Dabi was out cold.
Butterflies, all around him again.
The presence was there too, though this time it was behind him. He couldn’t turn to take a look at it, all he could do was be aware that it was there.
It crept closer, until something reached around and it felt bit like someone wrapped their arms around him, pulling him closer until he could feel that breathing in his ear again. The limbs were skinny and pale, turning black towards the hands, ending in sharp looking claws at the end of each finger. They looked fragile, but were not. One of the hands then lifted itself, creeping up like a spider, fingers spreading to rest atop where his heart was beating.
Then, they dug in, until blood began to seep out.
Dabi snaps awake, almost knocking heads with Jin who’d come to shake him awake. The man backs away startled, watching him pant for a moment.
Jin asks hesitantly; he knew that Dabi sometimes had those about his past.
Blue eyes remain wide and manic for a moment, before Dabi closes them and rubs his temple, sucking in a deep breath.
”...something like that.”
”Jeez, you really need to go home, and see a doctor or so.”
The blond rubs his head, and Dabi now notes he’d tugged his coat on. Glancing at the clock, it was already lunchtime; he’d dozed off a full hour.
”You think you can walk to the car at least?”
”Yeah...don’t worry about me.”
”My duty as a friend, buddy!”
Jin laughs for a bit, patting his shoulder, then watching cautiously as he got up, making sure Dabi was indeed able to walk.
The drive home was quiet, as Dabi just gazed out of the window dully, with his companion glancing at him every now and then uncertain. Once they arrived to the apartment complex, Jin helps him up the stairs, noting his feet were still too wobbly to carry him properly.
”You should really go check this. Maybe we could call a doc for a home-visit? They do that, right?”
”Jin, I’m fine. Just need some rest.”
Dabi tells him snappily, the following flinch instantly making him regret for getting so annoyed. How could someone look so much like a beaten puppy?
”It’s alright, I get it.”
Jin reassures him, dropping Dabi to sit on his couch. He straightens himself and looks around, rubbing his head.
”Just call me if you need anything, yeah? I’ll come and check on you after work.”
The blond huffs out a sigh and shakes his head, before waving to him and heading back out of the door. Dabi shifts to lie down now, holding a hand on his forehead. He was pretty sure this wasn’t just concussion, it was likely caused by some sort of spiritual sensitivity overload.
He was pretty sure it was connected to his neighbor, but Dabi was too exhausted to think it further.
Thankfully, now when he slept, there were no dreams.
Not about butterflies or anything else.
Tomura stares at the ceiling, his entire body itching now. His throat felt parched, and there was an unpleasant tug on his gut, all of it making him want to claw himself till he bled.
It wasn’t this bad last time.
He began to wonder if it was due to Dabi being human that it was worse. It could be.
Tomura pushes himself up slowly, feeling a shudder run down his spine. Scrambling off, he manages to find his way to the bathroom, to examine himself from the mirror.
Great, he looked like an addict or something.
His hair was now completely white, his skin was excessively pale, and there were dark circles under his eyes. His eyes also threatened to switch into their true form almost constantly, flickering between white and black scleroses with each blink.
He plops his head against the cool surface of the mirror, letting out a borderline pained moan.
This was starting to be too unpleasant, he had to do something about it. Calling Kurogiri was not something he wanted to do however; Tomura did not want to admit he needed help right now, not when he’d been so confident to him that he could deal with this.
He’d done it once before.
Pulling himself off from the glass surface, Tomura considers what to do.
He could ease the feeling by feeding, but...
Ah, fuck it.
It felt weird to do, but that was because he was more human than spirit. If he’d been raised a full spirit, he’d probably not care it was weird. Spirits did not have the same kind of boundaries humans did.
Stepping out, Tomura goes to stand in the middle of his living room, closing his eyes and breathing in deeply. He regretted it almost immediately, given he got a strong whiff of the source of his problems. Tomura forces it out of his mind, focusing on transforming.
Soon, his body began to glow reddish, all the plant life and flowers fluttering around him, turning away slightly.
As he opens his eyes, they were now black and red. He could feel his wings flutter on his back. Looking down, he notes his skin still looked bleached to hell, apart from his hands and forearms that always were black.
With a sigh, Tomura paces to his window, pushing it open and slipping out of it, heading for the skies. There were people on the streets even now, most of them late night workers or bar-goers.
Majority would not see him, and those who did would chug it off to sleepiness or alcohol.
Tomura navigates his way through the city skies, eventually arriving to a familiar residential area. He still felt a bit odd about doing this, but he couldn’t exactly find a proper excuse to wake the family up and ask them if he could visit.
It was too weird.
Landing on the roof of the house, he searches for a bit. The boy’s aura was easy to spot; between him and his mum, his was much brighter.
Phasing through the roof now - yes he could’ve done that back home too, but it actually felt really weird so he preferred not to as much as he could - Tomura slips into the room the boy was sleeping in. It was so weird, he felt kind of uncomfortable doing this, which, again, was ironic given his kind did things like this a lot. It was again his more human nature that made it weird.
Izuku was sleeping soundly in his bed, cuddled up around a large yellow bunny plush. It had the most obnoxious smile Tomura had ever seen, and he almost wanted to laugh.
Probably a gift from Toshinori, he had a weird taste.
He slips to sit beside the boy, tugging his feet to his chest.
There was a vase with daisies on his table, probably those he’d given. Tomura wondered if the boy ever found it strange they didn’t seem to die that easily. Then again, maybe his mum had explained him something about it, she was spirit sensitive too, though weakly. She could not tell what he was, even if she could sense he wasn't fully human.
He closes his eyes and just sits there silently, feeling the boy’s aura slowly ease his condition. It was so strange honestly, how doing this didn’t really cost the person being fed from much anything. Perhaps they’d feel a little colder briefly, but that was it.
Kurogiri had sometimes compared it to a plant feeding from the sunlight.
The sun did not lose anything even when a plant took bit of its light to grow; it had far too much energy to care for a single flower chipping on it.
Tomura was pretty sure plants needed more than that, but supposedly it was a good analogy.
After a while, he breathes out a bit relieved, noting the itchiness had stopped. He still stays there for a while still, wanting to soak up as much as possible, so he could stand his neighbor’s presence longer. It was not a permanent solution really but would ease him for few days.
In all fairness, Tomura wasn’t sure how to do this.
Iguchi had been more open from the start with him. There was something about Dabi that told him he’d be more difficult to approach.
It wasn’t just that he was a human.
Eventually, he slips away from the bed, turning to look at Izuku, who’d curled up more under the blanket. He tucks him in properly, brushing the green hair for a bit.
Tomura straightens himself, gazing at the daisies on the vase on his table. Lifting his hand up another one appears onto his hand, and he slips it among the others. A peach colored rose.
He slips back out, flying back towards his house.
When Izuku woke up in the morning, he was confused to find a new flower on his vase. He picks it up carefully, walking to his mum in the kitchen.
“Morning Zu! …What do you have there?”
“I found it from the vase. I don’t think It was there before. Tomura-san usually gives me daisies.”
Inko hums and picks the flower up curiously, examining it closely.
“A peach rose?”
“What does it mean mum?”
Izuku asks as he plops to the breakfast table, pouring himself a glass of orange-juice. His mum knew a lot about flowers so, maybe she had a clue. She’d once told him that the daisies represented innocence, which was perhaps why Tomura usually gave him those.
It had made him blush for a bit; he knew he could be naïve and all, but was it really that bad?
“I think…if I recall right peach colored roses mean gratitude.”
Inko smiles and slips the flower into his hair now.
“I suppose you did something nice to someone.”
“I wonder if I just missed it? Tomura-san always gives me a few when I visit.”
Inko hums at that, taking a sip from her tea. She had her suspicions about the young man, and the flowers he kept giving to her son. She’d read about some nature spirits giving those to people they generally liked. She wasn’t sure what kind of being he was though. It was rare for a nature spirit to live with humans casually.
Either way, she wasn’t too concerned about it, given all the flowers given had a bit of harmless, friendly spiritual energy attached to them.
Plus, she’d discussed this with Toshinori who was also spiritually sensitive, much more than she was, and he’d reassured her that Tomura’s tendency to gift Izuku with the flowers was natural and harmless. The man likely knew what kind of spiritual being the boy was, but she hadn’t asked further, figuring it would be impolite. Spirit folk were very cautious about giving out their self to mortals, and could get really upset if you were being too nosy.
“Maybe so; last time he did give you quite a bunch, and you did put it away quite fast as you were heading out in a hurry.”
Izuku hums and nods, taking a bite from his food.
That was probably it.
So, there was a looot of mixed information about flower meanings, but I did see peach/yellow roses being stated as meaning gratitude in multiple places, so I went with that one. I dunno how correct it is again, because like said there was a lot of conflicting, confusing info.
Chapter 5: Old Friends Reunite
An old friend of Tomura's returns to the city
Dabi finally reads his mum's guidebook, finding a potential clue as to what Tomura is
Dabi was gazing at the book, now sitting at the edge of his kitchen table. He’d picked it up this morning from the floor, but couldn’t bring himself to open it. Jin had come by in the morning and asked if he was feeling better. He’d said he was fine, but his friend had apparently felt he looked terrible, driving him to a doctor just in case.
As he’d suspected, she diagnosed him with light concussion, and recommended him to stay put for few days. At least now his boss wouldn’t fire him, as he had a doctor’s notice informing the man he was unfit to work right now.
”It’s fine dude, he hired a new trainee I’m gonna look after today, he can cover your stuff.”
”Ya sure he’s not just planning to replace me with the new guy in case they’re good.”
Dabi had pointed out, gaining nothing but an awkward chuckle as an answer, given, well, it was a possibility. Then again, if his boss did plan on firing him, he would’ve said it already. He was a strict man but not one of those horror bosses who looked for a reason to fire you.
”Just rest properly, don’t go out for a drink, got it?”
”Yeah yeah, get your ugly mug off here.”
As Dabi had pushed Jin out of his door, he’d caught a glimpse of his neighbor heading out towards the door. Light had hit his hair at that moment, and Dabi noted it looked weirdly white.
Wasn’t it usually light blue?
He’d shaken his head and gone back inside.
Dabi couldn’t stop but think back on the dreams he’d been having. In those dreams, the figure that was staring at him also had white hair....and red eyes....
He’d looked himself in the mirror earlier on the bathroom, trying to figure out what tattoo Tomura had touched exactly, but he could no longer remember.
He sighs, reaching out to pick up the book with a frown. It felt a bit like he was holding a ticking time-bomb, which was understandable given the negative memories associated with the damn thing. Still though....if the florist was not going to explain himself - which wasn’t too unusual for spirit folk admittedly - he should try and figure out himself what the issue was.
It was probably big, spirit folk did not mess around with this stuff.
Also....if those dreams did relate to Tomura, they did offer him a clue.
Something to do with butterflies.
He opens the book cautiously, now trying to find something relating to said insects. It was still a bit hard to read as his head kept aching occasionally. Dabi decides to go and get up, slouching to his bedroom as the curtains were drawn there, and it was a bit dimmer despite the sunlight outside. His kitchen was too bright at the moment, it was dimmer in the bedroom, but he could still read.
Slumping to his bed, he props some pillows up to lean against them, before turning his attention back to the spirit guide.
There were a couple mentions of butterflies, so he turns the pages to the first one he sees. Nothing in that spread really sounds like what he’d been experiencing in his dreams though, and really, Tomura did not exactly come off like a faerie anyway. As he reads through the next pages, they don’t sound that familiar either. Besides these ones manifested as children only, and Tomura was clearly an adult.
He sighs and skips to the third entry much further in the book. Upon seeing the symbol beside the name of the spirit type, he is hit with a sense of Deja-vu.
Dabi frowns, his eyes scanning the text now.
Acherontia Omen, named after a type of your average moth due to the connections on death both have (and because people were bad at naming things back then.)
That last line was a note his mum had written on the book long time ago, and Dabi swallows down hard, quickly continuing to read.
He didn’t want to think about her right now.
They are more commonly known as the ’spirits of fortune and misfortune’ are spiritual beings usually manifesting in the form of a humanoid with moth-like features. They have a duality attached to their nature, which is common to a lot of most powerful nature spirit classifications.
They are classified as Soul-eater types, but unlike most soul devouring beings, they do not hunt their target down actively. They are more akin to scavengers when it comes to souls, as Acherontias do not prey on their target the same way other soul eaters do. They do not actively hunt or try to cause their meal’s demise majority of the time. They simply linger around and wait for them to die, and for the soul to exit the body.
So like, spiritual vultures?
That was a new one.
They usually target people who are at the brink of a troubled death/have died a troubled death, be it from a crippling, sudden illness, a homicide, devastating accident or suicide. Acherontias generally are not known to go after souls that pass peacefully.
That....sounded kinda freaky, Dabi was not gonna lie. It was also curious too.
Most soul eaters weren’t that picky with their food.
These spirits while their dark side is more known among spiritualists, actually feed mostly on people’s auras, which tends to not cause any harm to the person in question, apart from slight dizziness and feeling of brief cold. Most commonly, they tend to go and befriend children or elderly, giving them gifts that can bring fortune and good health, most commonly in the form of an enchanted talisman, usually a flower.
These two opposites of feeding types are the reason why Acherontias are considered dualnatured beings, something rather atypical for a spirit classified as a soul-eater.
Dabi blinks, lifting his gaze up as he thinks back on what he’d observed.
Tomura did...there was that one kid that often left the shop covered in flowers and shit.
Was that perhaps....?
He frowns and turns the page, noting there were more notes and drawings on the next spread.
There were some diagrams describing the process of feeding from the aura, just showing a glowing child and a small moth flying around him. There were also some flowers, listed as most common gifts from these things. Daisies.
The kid usually was given daisies.
The picture on the second page catches him off-guard, and a stronger sense of Deja vu hit Dabi, as he stares at the rough sketch silently for a long time.
It was a picture of a sleeping man, with a figure drawn looming above them. A face with a long tongue that reminded the thing butterflies used to drink nectar with, a scraggly white hair and a wide inhuman grin.
That was....that was exactly what he’d seen in his dreams.
A sudden sound startles him, making Dabi drop the book, and he looks around, before realizing the ringing noise was his phone on the nightstand. With a sigh, Dabi picks it up, noting it was Jin calling.
”.....Are you doing alright?”
Jin releases a slow sigh at the other end, and Dabi began to feel like he wanted to ask for a favor, but wasn’t sure if he should, given he was under doctor’s orders to rest.
”I...got a bit of a problem. The new guy.”
”Let me guess; he did not live up to me.”
Dabi chuckles for a bit, gaining a similar sound from the other end, though it dies down quickly.
”No no, Iguchi’s great. It’s just, I just got a call from him. I sent him to pick some stuff up, but since he’s new in town he got lost. I’m terrible at giving directions, and can’t leave right now so I was wondering if you could show him the way back to the shop? He’s somewhere nearby your apartment complex from what I gathered.”
”.....I’m sure he can just ask around or some shit.”
”He’s one of those extremely shy types.”
Dabi releases a slow sigh and rubs his eyes, getting up from the bed. The weather wasn’t too bad, and well, the doc didn’t explicitly tell him not to go out, only that he should not work for a few days and lift heavy objects.
He could probably take a little walk.
”What does the guy look like?”
”I’ll send you a pic and tell him you’ll pop up to help him.”
Dabi closes the call, and soon receives a text. The guy looked like your general, unassuming young man, though he did have kinda wild purple hair. Or was it magenta? Some sorta reddish purple either way. He glances towards the book on the bed.
.....He could think about all that later.
Jin had been right, the guy was pretty close by his apartment, waiting at the corner of a nearby food market. He was holding a bag of something, and Dabi had a feeling it was meant to be Jin’s lunch. He had a habit of forgetting it sometimes, Dabi had gone to snatch him some grub before as well, if Jin couldn't go himself.
What caught Dabi off-guard was something unexpected.
His instincts suddenly picked up, and the next second, the young man began to change shape in front of his eyes. Between blinks, there stood either a normal human man, or some sort of...lizard?
The guy turns to look at him, eyes widening in surprise.
He likely knew that Dabi could ’see’ him.
For a moment they both stood there awkwardly, before Dabi breaks the silence with a sigh.
”You’re Iguchi, right?”
”Y-yeah. Are you the guy Jin said would come and help me out?”
There was another moment of silence, and Dabi had a feeling the guy was pretty bothered by his tattoos – a symbol of somebody well versed in the spirit-folk - and the fact he could see his true form. It was understandable, lot of cryptids tended to react that way, given humans hadn’t exactly treated them well throughout history.
”Relax. M’not gonna make a big deal about it.”
Iguchi looks up at him slightly suspicious, and Dabi paces closer, tapping one of the symbols on his neck. It wasn’t the best way to ease a tense spirit about him, but it was better than nothing. It was a small solace he leaned more towards mum’s sensitivity rather than the old bastard.
”Guardian, not a Hunter. Well, former anyway. Didn’t exactly finish training.”
Iguchi’s eyes widen in surprise, and his posture relaxes for a tiny bit. Not fully, but even that was pretty good. Which also was admittedly a sign this guy was a little naïve. There were folks who did not exactly take the Oath of a Spirit Guardian to heart and used it to exploit their trust for their own gain. An older spirit would know not to trust him just for having that symbol.
”I...didn’t know there were any of you around here anymore.”
”Yeahh it’s rare. M kinda retired anyway.”
Dabi shrugs, glancing at the bag he was holding.
”Did Jin forget his lunch again?”
”Yeah, I said I could get something for him since I already ate.”
Dabi hums and nods slightly, looking around for a bit. This was Jin’s favorite place to go to grab his lunch beforehand. He didn’t come here during lunch-hour however, as that could result in him going back a tad late and too full of greasy shit. Dabi wasn't sure how Jin had convinced the guy to run all the way here, or maybe Iguchi had insisted, not realizing it was so far.
”So you got lost.”
”Y-yeah. I...I forgot to ask him exactly where this place was, I kinda stumbled to it by accident.”
Iguchi explains with an awkward chuckle, rubbing his head as he starts walking with Dabi. He was clearly still nervous, and again, he wasn’t surprised. Most spirit folk were surprised to meet a human who could see them. Most would also be more suspicious for obvious historical reasons.
All those stories about scary ghosts, and humans were still the worst thing on earth.
”Thanks for coming by the way; Jin mentioned you had an accident, so...I guess it’s not easy to come around here right now?”
”T’s fine, I’m already better. Probably can’t lift heavy shit yet.”
Dabi shrugs, deciding to take a shortcut through the park. This area was a bit convoluted, he was not surprised Iguchi got lost.
”....So. I’m not that up to date with my spirit lore.”
He eventually breaks the silence, once they were far enough into the park with not many people around. Iguchi glances at him, then turns his gaze away hesitantly.
"You don’t hafta answer. Y’all don’t usually share your kin easily anyway. Was just curious.”
Iguchi replies hesitantly after a moment of silence, gaining a hum from Dabi.
”Reptilian type? You guys are rare. Most shapeshifters are like, cats and dogs, fluffy shit. Not that it’s a problem. Reptilians are cool.”
”Yeah, uh...thanks I guess.”
They turn quiet again, and as Dabi turns for another path that would eventually lead out of the park nearby the store, he notes the sky was getting darker.
”Really? It’s gonna rain again?”
”Well, it’s fall so...”
”Yeah yeah, I know. Just annoying ta have it rain constantly.”
Dabi mutters out, rubbing his neck.
Suddenly, Iguchi’s gaze drifts somewhere, and his eyes widen in surprise. Before Dabi could ask anything, the shapeshifter already sprints off into a different direction, forcing him to follow.
Soon, he spots what Iguchi had; a figure with white hair, wearing a familiar black coat.
Judging from Iguchi’s next words, he seemed to know the florist much to Dabi’s surprise.
”Tomura? It’s you right?”
The florist stops and turns to look at them slowly.
Dabi is instantly hit with how exhausted he looked, having dark rings under his eyes. He could now see more clearly that his hair very much was white for some reason, it wasn’t just a trick his mind was playing. Iguchi’s tone now shifts into a concerned one, indicating he knew why the florist looked like that.
”Are you....having problems again? It’s not because of me is it?”
Tomura snorts, lifting his hand and cracking his neck slowly. His movements were kind of...odd right now, weirdly fluid almost. Like his spirit side was more prominent than usual, or something.
”No, it’s not you. Why are you back in the city, Spinner?”
The shapeshifter seemed a bit upset by the seemingly cool greeting, but also apparently understood, not bringing it up as he just answers the question instead.
”I just...it’s my hometown you know? I wanted to give it another chance now that my head’s in a better place.”
”Good I suppose.”
The florist mutters out, his red gaze drifting towards him. Dabi was reminded of that night at the bar, where he’d seen Tomura through the window. There was that same vibe in his gaze now. It caused a chill travel down his spine, making him take a step back.
”Do you...still work at that flower shop?”
”Yeah. I need to get back to work.”
Iguchi was now a bit more obviously disappointed by the cold dismissal, making Tomura sigh at him.
”Sorry, I’m not on the mood for a chat right bow for obvious reasons. You can come by the shop later in the afternoon if you can. Or just call me, you still got my number, right?”
Iguchi nods after a moment, and Dabi could’ve sworn he saw a blush on his reptilian cheeks.
They watch Tomura turn and disappear eventually, and Dabi paces beside him, lifting an eyebrow at Iguchi.
”He...helped me through some stuff last time we met.”
”Aww, you got a crush or something?”
Iguchi’s blush worsens, and he gives him an annoyed glare, before huffing out a sigh.
”Not...like that. I just...he was my first proper friend and all.”
”It’s fine, you can admit if you have a crush. Jin n’ I will only tease you for a little bit.”
Dabi pokes him with his elbow, gaining another annoyed stare as a response.
”I told you it’s not a crush! I’m just really grateful for how he helped me.”
”Suuure, blushy boy.”
Iguchi let’s out a long-suffering sigh as Dabi snickers at him, and the pair heads out, back towards the store. In all honesty, he did believe Iguchi about it not being a romantic thing; the shapeshifter didn’t give him such an impression with how he’d behaved towards Tomura. It was more like seeing someone you admire a lot again, someone like a mentoring figure or shit. Or a friend you look up to.
Basically it gave him the same vibes when he saw that green haired kid talk with Tomura, not like someone who wanted to fuck the florist or romance them.
Jin was more than glad to finally get his lunch, and that Iguchi had made it back safely. He does the obligatory check up on Dabi, before allowing him to head back home.
Instead of going by the park again, he diverts to his usual route, eventually stopping to the bench across from the flower shop. Tomura was already there, his back currently turned to the window as he was tending to one of the hanging flowers.
His mind drifts back to what he’d read from the book.
Was that what he was?
The florist suddenly turns, looking directly at him. He seemed rather annoyed to see him, but quickly diverts his attention inside, as someone had likely called for him. Tomura disappears from the window, and Dabi slowly turns, heading back towards his apartment.
Kurogiri had noticed his condition almost instantly, and pretty much pleaded with him to do at least some form of dispelling spell that could help mask the scent that was causing this. Tomura had initially refused, but upon seeing the fool on the window, he’d relented and allowed Kurogiri to do it. The small glowing symbol was now tattooed to his left shoulder blade, but Tomura knew it would fade overtime.
For now, it did ease his tension, but it wouldn’t be enough.
He’d been surprised so see Spinner back in town and felt kind of bad for his cold shoulder response. He just really wasn’t up to talking with him when Dabi was RIGHT THERE beside him, making him extremely uncomfortable. Regardless, Tomura hoped Spinner wouldn’t be deterred and would call and come see him before his workday ended. The hours were still the same so, he kept an eye out for his shapeshifter friend.
For his relief, he does spot Spinner heading there near the closing hours, and walks out of the greenhouse portion just as the young man steps in to the flower shop, greeting Kurogiri who also seemed surprised to see him there.
“Shuichi-kun, you’ve come back?”
“Ah, yes. I ran into Tomura earlier, when he was heading for work.”
Spinner rubs his head awkwardly, then turns to look at Tomura, who walks there, wiping off the last bits of soil on his hands. For a moment the two just sort of look at each other, and it was clear Spinner wasn’t sure what to say given their earlier interaction.
Finally, Tomura sighs, lifting his hand.
A yellow rose appears in his hand, and he plucks it into Spinner’s hair, making him blush and smile.
“Welcome back. Also stop blushing all the time, people will think you have a crush on me.”
The shapeshifter groans, hiding his face for a moment as he obviously blushes more. Tomura smirks at that, and Kurogiri seemed amused as well.
“Don’t tell me; Dabi already made that assumption.”
Tomura lifts eyebrow at that, and Spinner proceeds to explain the chat they’d had after Tomura had left.
“I mean, I don’t really mind if people misunderstand or anything, but it’s just really awkward when I try to explain that it’s not like that, I don’t see you like that, I just ......blush easily and all…..”
“......And you’re not used to people being decent with you, so you might get overtly appreciative of them.”
Tomura finishes his sentence, still smirking at him.
Spinner gives him a pouty look, but it vanishes quickly, and he asks hesitantly if Tomura wanted to come and hang out in his new apartment.
“……I suppose I can drop by for a bit, that’s fine.”
“Oh, great! I still got that one game if you wanna play….”
“Sure. You’ll still lose, miserably.”
“Not this time, I’ve improved since last time we played!”
Tomura narrows his eyes at him.
“Was that a challenge?”
Spinner knew he was probably screwed, but hey. Might as well go with it.
He nods with a determined smile, ultimately knowing he was going to pretty much do what Tomura said he would.
“I’ll hold you up on that.”
So basically. Spinner's deal is that he gets easily blushy when people are nice to him/tease him, and I feel like it might become bit of a running gag here where his friends tease him about having gazillion crushes because of this trait.
Of course its good-natured teasing, not like mean or anything.
If something turns out to be an actual crush, they naturally approach it differently. (not that its gonna happen in this fic, I don't really ship Spinner romantically with anyone tbh.)
Chapter 6: the rooftop
Dabi gets to see something surprising, Tomura chats with his friend
As expected, Spinner didn’t do too well, playing against Tomura.
He was still master of fighting games. It was fine, the shape-shifter was just glad to be able to spend time with him again.
He was still concerned though, given the state he’d seen him in when they’d first met again.
Tomura’s hair was now more bluish again, and the bags under his eyes had eased, but Spinner was pretty sure it would come back. The hunger would come back if it was that bad.
After few more rounds, Spinner asks him hesitantly if he wanted something to drink; he didn’t really have any flowers to make nectar juice from - he tended to kill off most plants - but he had herbal tea.
Tomura shrugs, and Spinner gets up, heading to make some tea for them both. The florist himself stands up as well, cracking his back before walking to the kitchen table and slumping down to sit there.
”Nice place by the way. Bigger than your last one.”
”Ah yeah. I got lucky to get this one.”
Spinner stirs the cup and eventually hands it to Tomura. For a moment they just sit there in silence, as Spinner fidgets in his seat, watching Tomura blow and sip his drink. He really wanted to ask, but...he did not want to intrude or anything. This was a very difficult and personal topic after all.
”It’s my neighbor. He’s got some alcohol issues.”
Tomura huffs out after a moment, looking up at him tiredly.
”O-oh. Well. That sucks I guess?”
”Yeah. I’ve dragged his ass home more times than I can count. It don’t help when he’s spirit sensitive, so he both smells stronger than average person, and also can tell he’s bothering me.”
There was another one like Dabi around here?
”Weirdly enough, he didn’t seem to know what I was. Given the symbols on him, you’d think he knew instantly.”
Tomura holds his chin thoughtfully, making Spinner blink. Wait, symbols?
Like Dabi’s symbols?
Was there really another.....or....
”...Are you...talking about Dabi maybe?”
”Ah yeah. You guys met I forgot.”
Tomura hums, taking another sip from his tea.
”My co-worker asked him to come and help me find my way back to work as I’m still somewhat unfamiliar with the area.”
”I’m surprised he bothered to drag his ass outside.”
”That bad huh?”
The florist releases a slow sigh, drinking his tea. He looked slightly frustrated, which was probably understandable in this situation; dealing with the soul hunger wasn’t easy, given to get away from it Tomura would have to move out from the entire city. It wasn’t something he wanted to do; Spinner had learned long ago that the florist rather faced his problems head on. Yet...it seems when it came to Dabi, he had not made much progress.
”I don’t know how to deal with this case to be honest. You were easier because, well, you’re also spirit folk, so it’s easier to connect. He’s a human.”
”Is that all?”
”I...there’s just something extremely guarded about him. Whatever caused his mental state, it might be worse than what you went through....not that I should go and compare people's traumas or anything, but I suppose you get the point.”
Red eyes look up at Spinner with a deep frown, the expression making the scars on his face stand out even more. You could tell Tomura had had a rough life so far, but at least he was doing better now.
”At least when it came to you, I could feel you still wanted to do something, deep down. He feels like a walking corpse at times.”
”Whoa, that’s....really bad. Maybe you should try and, I dunno, make him see somebody?”
Tomura snorts at that, drinking half of his tea now.
”Doubt he’d listen.”
Spinner goes quiet, not really knowing what else to say. He had no solutions to such situation, and probably should not get too nosy about one’s personal matters. He didn’t really know Dabi, he was only concerning himself with this because he knew Tomura was struggling because of him.
”.....If there’s a silver lining, at least making him try and figure out himself what I am seemed to kick some life into him briefly.”
Tomura comments with a shrug all of a sudden, drinking down rest of his tea.
”So....wait. He didn’t know?”
”I told you about that already, didn’t I?”
”But...it’s so weird. He said he was part of the Guardian sect. You’ think he was taught about that stuff....”
Spinner pauses, thinking back on the conversation he’d had with Dabi. The man had said he was in fact a former Guardian and retired or something, meaning...
”That is an extremely stupid move. Blurting it out like that to a spirit kin. I swear the dumbass is trying to get himself....”
Tomura pauses, then huffs out an irritated sigh, rubbing his eyes.
"Yeah, I’m not even gonna finish that. That’s exactly what it is. Though he's probably not doing it consciously, at least yet.”
Spinner just sips his tea awkwardly, not knowing what to say.
Tomura doesn’t head home until very late that night, as they’d ended up gaming a lot longer than expected, then watched some random old ass movies together with shitty special effects. Spinner had eventually fallen asleep, drooling on his shoulder. Tomura had rolled his eyes and made him lie to the couch, turning the Tv off as it was probably for the best for him to head home now.
He did have a lot of plants that needed tending; some were enchanted so they required his attention almost daily.
Stepping outside, Tomura notes it was full moon.
Full moon was always a bit of a special time to spirit kindred, making them more active than usual.
It naturally had an effect on him too.
Usually he didn’t mind the tingly feeling, but right now becoming more sensitive and alert wasn’t ideal, given the hunger pains.
It basically could make them worse, even when he wasn’t within smelling distance of Dabi’s soul.
Tomura huffs out a sigh, pacing towards a nearby park. Most would avoid it this time of the night, but he was not just any random young man.
Sure, technically speaking his kind did not actively hunt the souls they wanted - for them feeding on a soul you’d basically torn off the body yourself was a bit akin to a human eating another human - but he was more than allowed to rip them to shreds as long as he didn’t then devour the spirit of the person.
Of course, the problem was, his hunger pains were pretty bad right now.
If some fool triggered him to actually maul them to death, well...
Thankfully most night dwellers could sense the subtle danger he emitted. Tomura was rarely jumped during his night wanders, and even those times he had been, one single look from him tended to make people back off.As he kept walking across the empty pathway, only light coming from the pale orb on the sky, Tomura felt his skin become more and more itchy. Eventually he has to pause in his steps, forcing his hand down as it wanted to go up and scratch his neck.
Red eyes glare up at the moon, as if it personally offended him with its existence, which, it kind of did right now.
It was making him extremely uncomfortable with that damned light, at least in this form.
He glances around, scanning his surroundings. There was nobody on sight, nor he could sense a soul nearby. Tomura closes his eyes and breathes out slowly.
It could ease his condition a little bit, plus he’d get home faster.
A faint glow surrounds his body, making the black coat he wore disappear slowly. Large dark blue wings appear to his back, alongside few other traits his spirit form had. He was honestly glad he could not feel cold in that form, given how bare it tended to left him. Apart from the loincloth and bandages wrapped around his limbs, he didn’t really wear anything.
Opening his eyes, Tomura spreads his wings and leaves the ground smoothly, not making a single sound as he rises to the skies again.
It was admittedly always fun to fly, it made him feel so free, something he had not felt much in his childhood. Tomura takes a moment to fly higher up, just to examine the city below him. He could sense a lot of familiar souls all over, including Kurogiri, Spinner and the kid. He could sense Aizawa’s latest adoptive child too, she shone a bit brighter than the rest.
Tomura shakes his head and flies towards his home. Letting his full spirit form soak up the moonlight helped to drive the itchiness away, although he knew he had to switch back pretty soon once he got back, or Dabi would start giving him problems again.
Eventually, his apartment complex comes to view.
He decides to land on the roof, putting more space between him and Dabi for the switch back. His feet touch the ground, and Tomura lands softly, not making any sounds like when he’d started flying.
He was generally really stealthy.
Straightening himself, red eyes gaze at the scenery for a moment, soaking up a bit more of the moonlight. It did help feeding him a little bit, but not as much as other spirit types. It was basically just drinking water. You could survive for a bit, but eventually starve.
Releasing a slow sigh, Tomura closes his eyes for a moment, mentally preparing himself to head down. He would probably have another long night ahead, especially if Dabi was having a bad day, because his scent tended to be stronger then, for obvious reasons.
Honestly, he could just move out, it would make it easier.
But he’d been there first, and he liked his apartment.
He could probably get Dabi to be kicked out, but Tomura didn’t really want to do that either. That would just be pushing the problem away rather than dealing with it, and after what happened in the past, after what he’d managed to do with Spinner, the florist refused to take the easy way out.
He just had to figure out how to approach this….
The door to the roof opens, and he almost jumps, whipping around. Sure, whoever it was probably would not be able to see him in this form, but….
It was Dabi.
Tomura was so taken by surprise to see his neighbor there, that for a moment he just stares. His gaze was clear, so if he had been drinking, he clearly had not gotten drunk yet. There was a pack of cigarettes in his hand, and Tomura belatedly realizes that yeah, there was a spot for smoking on the roof.
The blue eyes just stare at him, and it takes Tomura a second to realize that yeah, he’d never seen his spirit form, and from human perspective he was pretty naked.
Tomura shifts his wings lightly to cloak himself, frowning at Dabi irritated.
“……Well, I certainly did not expect that.”
Dabi finally manages to voice out, and Tomura notes he seemingly couldn’t bring himself to stop staring at him, as the blue eyes kept drifting back towards the florist.
“Damn. I guess that does confirm it.”
Dabi flashes him a rogue grin, bringing up the pack to light himself a cigarette.
“I read some interesting stuff from the book you left on my nightstand.”
“Oh, so you bothered to actually do some work?”
Tomura snorts, turning his back towards Dabi for a moment to shift back into human form, his coat reappearing from the glowing particles dancing in the wind, to cover him. When he turns back, Tomura notes slightly confused that Dabi’s expression looked almost disappointed.
“….Your hair’s still white.”
“Yeah. Since you’ve done your homework, can you guess why finally?”
Dabi hums, blowing a cloud of smoke out of his lungs.
“….You wanna eat my soul or some shit?”
Tomura snorts, cracking his neck irritated, as he paces closer to Dabi, who did not seem bothered despite finally having figured out what he was apparently.
“No, I don’t “want” to eat anyone’s soul. It’s a bit like a drug addiction thing. You know it’s bad for you and don’t want to do it, but there’s a part of you that’s urging you to make some very bad decisions.”
Dabi hums, blue eyes examining him calmly. It was a pretty good example of how bad his mental state was, when even after learning all this, he wasn’t bothered or intimidated the slightest.
“I’ve heard before that I’m a snack, but not like this.”
“Dabi, this is no joke. I don’t know exactly what that book had about my kind, but I can say for my case, eating a soul is very bad, for everybody.”
Tomura pokes his chest now, actually making Dabi flinch and back away, rubbing the spot he’d poked. The tattoos there were glowing, which wasn’t surprising.
“I did read you guys get some sorta power boost from it?”
Red eyes bore into the blue ones now, and finally, Tomura could see a hint of intimidation there, though it was probably not for the reason it should be.
“For me, it’s a tad worse; I’m too powerful for my own good. If I devour a soul, I will lose control over it, and I can potentially destroy an entire city in an instant against my will.”
Dabi remains quiet for a long moment, before taking a drag from his cigarette.
“That does sound bad.”
Tomura huffs out irritated, bringing his hand up to rub his eyes. Part of him kind of wanted to shove Dabi off the roof, but that would be a very bad idea for multitude of reasons. It was not like he did not understand why Dabi was so dismissive about this; that was the very reason Tomura’s spirit instincts found his soul tempting.
His mindset was just the kind his kin would be attracted to.
Still, Tomura’s human side found it frustrating.
“So, if I’m such a big problem, why don’t you just move out or something?”
“Because I’m done running away from my problems.”
Tomura tells him sharply, then marches past him. He did not have much energy left to deal with his neighbor right now, and it did not seem like he’d do anything stupid at the moment.
Still though, he stops on his tracks and turns to look at Dabi with a stern expression.
“Get back inside; it’s going to rain heavily soon, you’ll get sick and you’re already in bad shape from that head injury.”
“…..Okay, I’m now starting to understand why yer worrying over me. You really are just doing it for yourself, are you?”
Dabi huffs out an amused sigh, before blowing out another cloud of smoke. It floats up between them, before disappearing into thin air slowly. Tomura remains quiet for a moment, examining him closely now.
“….That is up to you to decide.”
Dabi blinks at that, but he refuses to elaborate, just heads inside, slamming the door closed behind him.
He watches the florist go, still processing the surprise encounter. He’d headed upstairs for a smoke simply because he wanted to go out, but not really go out. He’d not felt like going out for drinks given he still felt wobbly.
Being greeted by a slightly glowing, half-bare winged Tomura had certainly been .....an experience.
He’d even had fluff around his neck and shoulders, probably because of the whole moth-deal. His wings were pretty big and had this weird shift where they looked blue in one light, but also had a reddish hue to them.
He was admittedly surprised to find the scraggly, thin looking florist actually had slight muscle to him, he’d half-expected him to just be a skeleton under his clothes.
Maybe his human form was, Dabi didn’t know yet.
He shakes his head, realizing that wording had slightly problematic implications.
The fact he hadn’t been able to stop staring so easily also had problematic indications.
With a sigh, blue eyes turn their gaze towards the skies, and he takes another drag from his cigarette. Sure, now that he understood what the problem was…he should probably move.
He didn’t feel like it.
He’d just managed to somewhat settle in after all.
“Because I’m done running away from my problems.”
Those words rang in his ears, and they stung too, given, well…that’s what he was doing. Running away. That’s why he’d come here in the first place. To run away from something that he didn’t want to face.
Dabi walks to the roof ledge, leaning against it to gaze at the city now.
There was…another part of Tomura’s words that eventually stuck to his mind too, making him wonder what they meant.
“That’s up to you to decide.”
It had been such a weird response; he couldn’t really understand it. Tomura was clearly only giving a shit about him because apparently, he was creating a risky situation with his presence. Yet that comment made it sound like it wasn’t…or rather, it didn’t have to be that.
Blowing out a bit of smoke, Dabi suddenly began to feel curious again; maybe he could go to work tomorrow and ask Iguchi about the deal with Tomura. What exactly had happened, what he’d helped the shape-shifter with?
Once his cigarette runs out, Dabi heads back inside.
He could see his neighbor peeking from behind his door, watching him enter his house. Tomura would’ve probably come back up to drag him downstairs soon if he hadn’t left himself.
Only five minutes later, the rain hit the roof hard, the sound so strong it almost felt like someone was playing drums up there.
The weather during fall was just the worst.
You can bet Dabi doesn't forget THAT anytime soon
Chapter 7: soothe and learn
Dabi has another strange dream
Tomura guides some clueless teens in flower stuff
Jin was surprised to see him at work the next morning.
”Are you....are you sure you can...?”
”Yeah yeah, don’t worry.”
”But, your sick leave the doctor granted hasn’t ended yet.”
”It’s fine. The new guy can just handle lifting the heavy stuff anyway.”
Dabi reassures his friend once more, who eventually sighs and shrugs, figuring maybe Dabi had it under control for now. Iguchi was surprised to see him too, but did not mind doing all the necessary heavy lifting for Dabi for now. As they work on putting stuff in place, Iguchi hesitantly asks why he was on sick leave.
”Dropped a heavy ass book on my head and got a concussion.”
Dabi shrugs, slipping the lighter cleaning stuff on to the shelves. Thankfully the bottles were mostly well sealed, the cleaning chemical smells would’ve otherwise made him dizzy probably.
”Oh wow. That must have been a really heavy book.”
They switch to another part of the store, and Dabi takes the opportunity to ask something in turn.
”So, how did you meet that grumpy florist neighbor of mine? Didn’t seem like the type to make friends.”
Iguchi pauses, then continues lifting the box of stuff to the upper shelves.
”Well, I was going through a rough patch, and he saw it and decided to help me.”
”Really? He just marches in and helps you, not giving you the option not to accept it?”
Dabi let’s out a light chuckle, slipping the lighter objects in place. His companion glances at him, remaining quiet for a moment. Dabi wasn’t sure if he was just hesitant to talk about this, or if he’d offended him somehow.
”I was just joking you know?”
He mutters out awkwardly, gaining a sigh from Iguchi.
”Are you asking me about all this because you found out what he is?”
The shapeshifter asks quietly, and Dabi remains quiet; it was kind of yes and no, given he’d already had a hunch about it. Last night’s encounter simply confirmed it.
”Just....just so you know, you’re not in danger as long as you don’t die.”
”I know that.”
They go quiet for a long time, and it wasn’t that surprising; the topic was kind of difficult and awkward to approach for multitude of reasons.
”I don’t know what’s going on with you, a-and it’s none of my business really, but....”
Iguchi suddenly comments, making Dabi look up at him. The shape shifter seemed hesitant, like he wasn’t sure how to put his thoughts into words.
”Let him help you. It’ll be worth it in the end.”
Dabi hums, turning his gaze away.
”He’s only giving a shit because he can apparently really fuck things up if he gobbles up my soul.”
His tone was slightly bitter, and Dabi couldn’t really help it.
It wasn’t the first time he was simply used as means to an end.
This was kind of similar in a sense.
”His reasoning my stem from self-preservation, but...”
Iguchi sighs, lifting another thing to the shelf.
”He’s not against making friends with the people he helps. He came to me because he was struggling with his hunger due to my....issues, but instead of pushing me out of the city, something that would’ve been easier, he chose to help me instead. Even after things got better, he still....he’s still my friend.”
”Just ’cause it worked out for you, don’t mean it’ll work fer me.”
”Maybe not, but, at least give him a chance? Tomura's really cool person once you get to know him...”
Dabi honestly didn’t know what to think about the whole thing; it was such an absurd situation. Someone wanted to help him, but only because otherwise they could end up blowing up the city or something if he kicked the bucket.
If Tomura had been just a random person, would he have cared?
”I doubt he can help me with anything. I don’t need a friend, I got Jin already.”
”I doubt having more is a bad thing.”
Dabi hums again, but doesn’t say anything further.
Jin offers him a ride home, still not wanting to let him walk back by himself despite the fact he’d made it there without incident in the morning. As they arrive, Dabi notes Tomura had just come home too, walking towards the building entrance.
”Oh, ain’t that the florist neighbor of yours?”
Dabi notes his hair was back to pastel blue. It made him wonder if that related somehow to how soul-hungry he was or whatever. Jin parks the car to the parking space briefly, letting Dabi step out of the vehicle.
”Don’t do anything stupid. Preferably don’t go out by yourself yet still, got it?”
”Yeah yeah mother hen, get outta here.”
Jin chuckles and Dabi slams the door closed, watching him drive off eventually.
As he turns, Dabi notes Tomura was still standing on the door, watching him. It was admittedly a bit...awkward, knowing what he knew now.
After a long moment of silence, the florist finally huffs out a sigh and turns, heading inside with his long coat fluttering behind him, making Dabi think back on the wings he’d seen that night. He’d never ever been in this kind of situation, despite attracting a lot of spirit activity naturally.
Bothersome nightmare ghosts, poltergeists, or just random pixies wanting to play tricks on you. He’d dealt with a lot of that as a kid, and sometimes even now.
He’d never gotten the attention of any of the heavy hitter types, the kind that were actually extremely dangerous potentially. It was even weirder when the said spirit apparently didn’t want to just brutally murder him, but instead...help him somehow, so he’d stop smelling so tasty.
Dabi can’t stop the snort and amused, tired chuckle from escaping his throat.
The situation was such a riot.
He didn’t know how to react to it.
That night, he was dreaming again.
The same usual nightmares he often got, most twisted versions of his childhood memories. About failed spells, about his mum getting possessed, his little brother getting injured.
He saw then so frequently, that sometimes...sometimes Dabi couldn’t even feel the dread and fear they caused.
Sometimes he just watched it all happen, waiting for himself to wake up.
Once he did wake up, he’d just gaze at the ceiling, counting his own heartbeat until it settled down.
His body still reacted, but his mind didn’t.
However, another kind of dreams had begun to invade his mind.
Dabi now understood them a bit better; those dreams were manifests of his spiritual sixth sense, the warnings they were giving to him about the presence of something highly dangerous near him.
Tonight’s dream was different.
Tonight’s dream was not flashes of bad memories, or vague feeling of dread with something lurking in the shadows, creeping towards him yet never quite showing itself.
It started out with the usual chaos, but then all of that faded away, almost like wind had blown the images apart like they were made of sand.
He was standing on the yard of his family home, but the house was empty. There were no lights in the windows. There was a light behind him, and Dabi turns towards it, his movements slow and sluggish given it was a dream.
There was a glowing figure, standing there with their back turned to him.
The figure had wings, butterfly wings.
It was Tomura.
He looked like what he’d seen on the rooftop that day, except perhaps a bit more...unreal.
The way he moved was very slow and almost liquid-like.
Dabi could barely recall that yes, the florist did kind of have fluid movements in real life too, but not this much.
He was turning towards him, up until the red eyes met his, sending a chill down Dabi’s spine.
His mind felt kind of foggy, like he’d drunk too much again, or taken something stronger.
He hadn’t though, at least Dabi was pretty sure he didn’t go out for drinks that evening...?
The blue wings flex, and a hurl of wind hits him, making everything around him suddenly decay to dust. The house, the grass, the trees, even the night sky slowly cracked and crumbled to pieces, leaving only an empty void and the two of them.
It was strange, because....it didn’t feel threatening.
It didn’t feel like the world around him had suddenly gotten destroyed, but rather...the dream, the nightmare he’d been having had been erased, leaving with the empty void of nothingness, only filled with the presence of the moth spirit.
Slowly, Tomura paces closer, and Dabi can’t really bring himself to move, like often happened with dreams.
Eventually, he stood right in front of him, and the lulling, drugged feeling increased somewhat. A hand rises up, pale fingers reaching towards his face. They slip against his cheek, the touch very light, he could barely sense it.
Yet...it felt a bit more real than anything else in the dream.
Tomura was now very close, and Dabi could feel his heartbeat pick up, though he wasn’t sure why. He began to see butterflies dance around him.
Both pale hands were now grasping his face, and there was a light frown on Tomura’s forehead.
”I suppose....I can at least do this for now.”
Dabi did not quite understand those words, all he knew was that Tomura’s voice had a strange lulling effect on him. His eyes slide closed almost involuntarily, and the next second he feels a bit like he’s just...floating.
Floating in somewhere relatively warm.
He could still feel a touch on his cheek, and hear the low, slightly raspy drawl speak to him.
When Dabi woke up, he noted he felt weirdly calm. Normally he was groggy and/or hangover. Instead of a pounding headache or just general distain towards waking up, he was greeted with....calm. That was the only way he could describe it.
Slowly, Dabi sits up and slips out of bed, pacing to the kitchen. His phone had been charging there, and Dabi glances at it, noting it was fairly early. There was also message from Jin, asking if he’d come to work today as well, given there hadn’ really been incidents yesterday. Spinner would still be doing the heavy lifting for him if necessary of course.
Dabi hums and walks to make himself some coffee, his body still buzzing from the weird lull he was into. As he turns his coffee maker on, Dabi suddenly notes some of the tattoos on his arm were glowing faintly.
He pokes one of them, trying to rattle his brain in order to remember what the symbol was for. Before he could focus any further however, another beep echoes in the air as a message appears on his phone, distracting him.
It was again from Jin, informing him he needed an answer asap, as the boss was apparently now asking the same question.
”I’ll be there. I feel kinda good today.”
"Oh great! I’ll tell him.”
Dabi huffs out a sigh, brushing through his hair. He could solve this mystery later, he had to go to work anyway. As much as he didn’t really enjoy it, it was what paid the bills. Plus, he was still curious to learn more about Iguchi and his relationship with the florist.
Especially given their last chat, it indicated that Tomura had gone through something similar with the shapeshifter, what was apparently happening because of him now.
After drinking his coffee and dressing up, the man heads out, figuring he didn’t need to call for a ride as weather was alright.
As he goes, pair of red eyes follow him from the window above.
Tomura sips his nectar tea, watching Dabi disappear behind the corner. He still did not know how to approach him, but at least he could do something about those dreams.
He’d noted that Dabi tended to go out for drinks and come back hammered after having those nightmarish flashbacks. At least Tomura assumed the images he saw were flashbacks, given they involved people that looked very similar to Dabi and had a memory-like flavor to them.
It wasn’t ideal, but it was the only thing he could think of doing right now.
He was not a people’s person, and like he’d told Spinner, something about Dabi just felt...
He felt like he wanted to keep people at arms’ length, emotionally speaking.
When he’d ran into Spinner the first time, it had been different.
The shape-shifter had simply been somebody in search of someone, anyone to listen.
Anyone to lean on.
All he had to do was offer his hand, and Spinner had taken it.
Dabi was different.
He could not just offer his hand the same way, he would not take it.
Tomura sighs, taking another sip from his tea, before disappearing from the window further into his flower infested apartment.
Today, they had a bit of a special occasion in the flower shop.
Namely, they’d been asked to do something a tad bigger than normal; the sakura festival was coming up, and they’d been asked to supply a local school with the festive flowers and decorations, given Tomura’s secret magical touch made their product of notably high quality.
Secret because only few people knew about it.
Tomura usually didn’t like the idea of such big projects, but this was for Izuku’s school, and specifically the boy’s class was responsible for this part of the arrangement. Class B would deal with the stage set up for the shows, and class C - Hitoshi’s class if Tomura recalled right - dealt with the foods and drinks.
The boy and his classmates naturally wanted to help out with everything, which was both endearing and annoying, depending on who was in question.
Currently, he was listening to the blond brat debate with the pink haired girl over what kind of flower arrangements to get for the doorway to the main hall. It was the Sakura festival so the actual flowers were an obvious choice, but they still hadn’t decided on the style.
”They should totally be something cool looking, like a shape!”
”No way, let’s make them like those hangy things on the window! Looks more organic.”
”Did you learn that word from Hitoshi? Because I doubt you’d usually know it.”
The blond teen blushes madly, glaring at his friend with a pouty look, gaining an a used snicker from the musical girl nearby. Some of the more responsible kids were discussing with Kurogiri about the more practical side of the arrangement, alongside their homeroom teacher, who happened to be Aizawa. The sleepy man just nods at him, before turning back to listen at the conversation probably only half-interested.
Tomura hums, turning his attention back to watering the flowers. This was more Kurogiri’s business, he’d help out once it was time to put everything together.
”...Maybe you should just ask the pro.”
The musical girl suddenly cuts off the argument between the pair, nodding towards Tomura who turns to look at them with lift eyebrow. He knew his default face could be intimidating, but seeing the blond and pinky turn very nervous was a tad amusing.
”What do you want?”
”They were trying to decide on the arrangement style for the flowers we’ll be putting at the gym hall entrance, where the shows will be kept.”
The music girl explains, clearly less spooked by his ’resting bitch face’ or so, as he admittedly sometimes called it.
Tomura just had the kind of face that made you think he was plotting your murder when he was just blank faced.
...Well he did sometimes plot murder, but he'd rarely actually do it.
”Mina wants it to be some elaborate shape, sparky thinks - probably his crush’s influence - that it should be more like what you’re watering right now.”
Tomura glances at the hanging flowers, then turns back slowly to look towards the pair. The blond was still blushing madly, and he almost wanted to take a photo and send it to Hitoshi, but Tomura refrains from taunting the poor brat.
”....Given how your entrance is like, the hanging flowers is more reasonable and easier to do. If you want special shapes, you’d need to build a special structure to hold it, and that could not only take too long, but also get too expensive for your school.”
”Aww dang it!”
The pink girl pouts, while the blond smiles triumphantly.
”If you absolutely want to write something in flowers, you can do it on the school grounds. You did plan on having an open market area as well for the visitors, didn’t you?”
Tomura continues, turning his gaze back to the plants he was tending. The girl’s face brightens instantly, and she rushes to their teacher, asking if they could do that.
”Thanks. Sorry for having to deal with those two, I know their eccentric nature can be tiring.”
The musical girl sighs, giving him a slight smile.
Tomura hums, his gaze never leaving from his current task.
”It’s not that bad. You brats are noisy, but some are tolerable so it balances out. Plus I like your teacher.”
”I guess that’s the best compliment we can get from you.”
The girl laughs before heading after the pair from earlier.
Tomura is left at peace again for a while, until another presence gains his attention.
As he turns to look at the kid now begging his attention - not literally but still - he is hit by a sense of deja vu. The boy had two-colored hair and eyes, and one side of his face looked kind of burned. What caught Tomura’s attention was none of that, but the fact he’d seen this kid’s face before.
He’d seen him in Dabi’s dreams.
”Uh....Kurogiri said I should ask you about this, but if you’re busy...”
”....What is it?”
Tomura notes he was sounding noticeably softer than usual, perhaps due to the injury on the boy’s face, and the fact he was still shocked over meeting somebody he’d seen in his neighbor's nightmares.
”I....I’m going to go visit someone after this, who stays in a hospital a lot, and I wanted to bring her flowers. I just...don’t know what kind of flowers to get. I’m not good at things like this.”
The boy explains hesitantly, keeping his gaze averted for the most part. He also spots something on the boy’s hand, as he rubs his neck.
There was a symbol on his wrist, similar in style to the tattoos Dabi had.
Was this kid...?
”I’m sorry, I understand if you’re busy.”
Before the boy could leave however, Tomura lets out a sigh, gesturing him to follow. The teen follows him confused towards the further back, the area where they had flowers meant for this specific purpose. Tomura tended to arrange them in a manner where each part had flowers for different meanings, it was both for convenience, but also to teach more frequent customers on where to find whatever flowers they needed for the messages they wanted to convey.
You know, so he wouldn’t have to interact with them all the time and be explaining the same shit over and over.
”Most people tend to give daisies or sometimes peonies in ’get well soon’ bouquets. Go ahead and choose the colors you think the person might like.”
He instructs the boy, who looks around cautiously. He eventually picks some basic white daisies, and purplish blue peonies to make a bouquet. Tomura notes he also picks up something else somewhere upon seeing it, but doesn’t comment on it. It was likely a flower the person receiving the thing liked.
”You got everything you want kid?”
The boy looks at the bouquet and nods hesitantly, and Tomura gestures him to hand it over.
”I’ll tie it up for you.”
The boy hands it over and watches him finish the floral gift up. He also plucks one daisy from it, much to the boy’s confusion, and slips it in his hair, on the red hair side.
”I feel the person you’re gonna see finds your visit more of a gift than this bush.”
Tomura comments playfully, and the boy picks the flower from his hair, looking at it for a moment, before slipping it back on. He looks up at Tomura now, and he had this strange, searching gaze on his face.
”.....I know my face’s weird, but that’s a bit much.”
Tomura tells the boy, poking his forehead, and the teen rubs his forehead, muttering out an apology and accepting the bouquet, before walking back to others with it. Tomura watches him go, having already deduced what that look was, given the tattoo he’d seen.
The boy turns to look at him hesitantly.
”What was your name again? Can’t be bothered to remember all you brats, but I suppose I should try since we’re gonna work on this big project together for a bit.”
Tomura gazes at him blank faced for a moment, then nods, shooing him off as he turns his attention elsewhere.
That name didn’t say anything to him but....something told him it was important.
He should probably ask Kurogiri about it later.
As the teens exit the shop, all varying levels of exited about the upcoming festival, Izuku notices a detail on his classmate’s hair.
”Tomura-san gave you a flower?”
The green teen flashes his classmate a bright smile, pointing up at his hair.
”He gives those to people he likes. He always gives me one or two.”
The boy then points at the daisy he had in his hair as well.
Shoto turns his gaze back towards the bouquet.
He knew some nature spirits did that kind of thing, but...he couldn’t tell what kind Tomura-san was. He’d not really studied all the possible types yet, and asking was kind of rude and invasive.
If he was some sort of danger though, father would’ve likely done something already.
Most spirit folk were peaceful if you left them be, a detail many humans unfortunately kept forgetting. He at least tried to be wiser about it, and not anger any. He’d seen his eldest brother suffer due to his father’s actions in angering some, and did not want to cause such a thing to anyone else.
It was something he still had nightmares over, the day Touya left, the day mom got possessed.
Shoto shakes his head and heads after the rest of the class, forcing those images away from his head.
He’d asked from Sensei beforehand, if he could drop by the hospital as it was along the way.
Hopefully she’d like the flowers.
So again, I'm not sure if the symbolism thing here is accurate, given you keep finding conflicting info. But I got the image that the two flowers mentioned were those you give as "Get well soon" flowers.
I might start updating my fics less frequently in the future, due to some IRL reasons btw. I'm not entirely sure about that, but we'll see
Chapter 8: Surprise visitor
Tomura gets struck by lightning.
For the past few days, his sleep had become strangely peaceful.
Dabi could vaguely recall the sensation of someone watching him in his sleep though. He could also recall a fuzzy image of a dream, but it always faded away from his mind once he woke up.
He was pretty certain his spirit neighbor had something to do with it, but he did not feel like asking about it. Everything relating to the florist was kind of awkward honestly, given what he now knew.
That and he hadn’t seen Tomura around since.
Even when he walked past the flower shop, or stopped to watch for a moment, he did not appear on the windows.
It made Dabi wonder if Tomura was even going to work, except he clearly was. Dabi could still spot the green haired kid, leaving with a flower in his hair that he previously didn’t have when he entered. A sure sign the florist was in there, he just refused to come near the windows to tend on the flowers there for whatever reason.
There were a bunch of those kids going there for the past couple of days for some reason, and it took him a moment to remember the reason. That flower festival thing was coming up, so they’d probably hired the shop to help them with the decorative arrangements. Perhaps that’s why he did not see the florist around, he was likely really busy, mostly working at the school grounds.
Dabi sighs and continues walking, heading back home.
He kind of wanted to go out for drinks later, but the looming headache would likely prevent him from doing so. Not that he’d gone out for drinks much lately in the first place.
The nightmares tended to drive him to do that, but because he hadn’t really had them recently...
Looking up, Dabi notes it would probably rain today again, and maybe even thunder given the dark clouds.
Maybe he really should stay home for the night.
As he’d suspected, that evening was filled with heavy rain and occasional lightning strikes. It wasn’t a severe storm, but a storm nevertheless. He just sat on his couch lazily, a cigarette between his fingers. He’d shut down majority of the electric appliances just in case, despite knowing the apartment complex was protected from lightning strikes. He mostly just did it to listen to the rain, the sound was strangely soothing.
The occasional rumble did not bother him much either, though occasional flashes of light did make Dabi jump briefly.
Taking another drag from his cigarette, he pulls out his phone, noting there was a message from Jin, asking if he was home. He sends a simple ”yes, don’t worry mother hen” as a response, before putting the phone away. It soon beeps, but he doesn’t even bother checking the response, just closes his eyes to listen to the steady thrumming against the roof. Normally his head would be filled with a lot of unpleasant memories that he was trying to avoid. His brain could be like a damn minefield with that stuff.
Now however...his head was still mostly blank.
As the sound of the rain starts to fade for a bit, something else catches his attention.
There was a loud thud on the roof, almost like something had crashed onto it. Dabi sits up and gazes towards his ceiling; suddenly his instincts had gone to high alert.
Something was on the roof.
Some of his tattoos glow too, confirming his thoughts.
The fact they were glowing was a sign that whatever the thing was, it was distressed somehow, and potentially dangerous.
He gets up, hesitating for a moment.
Could it perhaps be...?
But surely he’d come home already.
With a frustrated sigh, Dabi heads out from his apartment, walking to the staircase that led up to the roof. There was nobody in sight at the corridor, which made sense as given the time, most of his neighbors were already home, or had gone out for drinks. A decision they probably regretted given the severe weather
Once outside, he notes the rain had indeed died down somewhat, but water was still falling from the skies, soaking everything under the clouds. His gaze soon lands on the glowing figure on the roof however.
It was Tomura, he was in his spirit form.
What was unusual was the fact he was...smoking?
Dabi walks closer hesitantly, soon noting the wisps of smoke were coming from his wing. There was a hole in them, it had burned edges, almost if.... Almost if a lightning had hit him. There was that weird veiny pattern surrounding the hole, the kind of scarring you’d get from a lightning strike.
Tomura was completely limp too, and Dabi wonders if he’d been struck just now, or if he’d managed to fly here with that broken wing.
Dabi crouches beside him, grasping his shoulder and shaking him gently. The rainwater felt cold against his bare arms and scalp, weighing his hair down until it was matted against his skull.
”Oi, Tomura? Can you hear me?”
There was no response, indicating the spirit was unconscious. He was not entirely sure how to approach this, he hadn’t exactly finished reading the bit about Tomura’s kin. He had no idea what to do, and how would Tomura react if he tried to help. Either way, he could not leave him out there in the rain.
Even if spirits could not feel cold the same way humans did, the sight of him laying there half-naked was pretty pathetic.
Carefully, Dabi pulls him off the ground, somehow managing to pick him up into his lap, noting the wings kind of folded like a cape behind Tomura. Given he was still out cold it was probably reflexive, and he did flinch a bit, moving his injured wing. Dabi carries him down into the building, considering if he should try to open Tomura’s door. He probably had something to treat the wing with.
However, he did not want to linger in the corridor for too long like this.
Most people would not be able to see Tomura in this form, but they could see him, seemingly carrying something invisible.
That would weird their neighbors out for sure.
Sure, the chances of anyone popping up were small, but still.
So, he sighs and decides to go for his apartment instead, closing his door with his foot.
Dabi carries the unconscious spirit to his bedroom, placing Tomura carefully on the bed. Almost instantly, Tomura rolls on his belly, probably instinctively to get the pressure off the injured wing. It smelt a bit strange, like burned wood or grass, more than flesh. Then again, Tomura was a moth spirit, and those wings likely weren’t made from human like materials.
Clearly they still could get injured.
Dabi scratches his head for a moment, wondering what to do.
The hole on the wing wasn’t too big, but clearly painful, and it was still smoking lightly. He sighs and goes to find his mum’s book, hoping to see if there was anything helpful in it. Dabi doubted it, but it was better than just standing there like a complete clueless idiot, even if he kind of was one with this particular issue.
As he comes back however, Tomura was shifting lightly, letting out a groan.
He was waking up.
”....This might be a stupid question, but are you alright?”
For a moment, the red eyes just look around dazed, clearly trying to make sense where he was. As they finally find Dabi, his vision clears, and the gaze in them sharpens. As Tomura tries to get up however, a jolt of pain seems to hit him, and he slumps back against the bed with a pained groan.
”No shit sherlock.”
Tomura grunts out, clutching the canvas of his bed.
That really had to hurt like a bitch, looking how Tomura was reacting.
There was also something admittedly slightly inappropriate about the sight, and Dabi averts his gaze quickly, rubbing his neck awkwardly.
”....Anything I can do? Besides carrying you down here. You’re surprisingly heavy for a spirit.”
”Just...go to my apartment. There’s a jar with green stuff on it on the cabinet, above the sink.”
Tomura almost orders him, sucking in a deep breath and maneuvering the injured wing slowly, spreading it out beside him to the bed. Dabi was briefly mesmerized by the shifting colors, but upon seeing the red eyes stare at him annoyed, he quickly averts his gaze again to head out.
He stops on the door however, pointing out he didn’t have a key.
”I’ll unlock it for you, just go!”
”Okay princess, chill.”
Dabi huffs and heads out, a bit miffed by the bitchy tone.
Then again, Tomura clearly was in pain and needed whatever was in that jar fast, so it was kind of understandable.
Once he reaches the door, a green symbol appears on it, and it swings open, startling him for a second. Dabi then shakes his head and steps in cautiously, unsure on what he was gonna find.
The place was filled with flowers. It was almost like stepping in their shop, only beneath all that greenery were normal household furniture. Some of the plants were really big, probably bigger than they would normally grow, others were glowing slightly, clearly infused with some sort of spirit essence. There was a large rounded pile of pillows with a clear imprint on it, indicating Tomura perhaps slept there instead of the bed. The fact that the said bed was filled with random stuff confirmed that fact. It was clearly used more as a storage than a sleeping spot.
Dabi was almost overwhelmed by the strong floral scent, but he quickly gathers himself, heading for the sink. Indeed, as he opens the cabinet above, there was a small glass-jar with no label on it, filled with slightly glowing greenish stuff. Taking a sniff from it, he noted it was some sort of herbal mix, accompanied with spiritual essence probably given the glow.
He hurries back to Tomura, showing him the jar, and the pale figure nods, closing his eyes for a moment to suck in another deep breath.
”Just... take a bit of that stuff and spread around the edges of the damn hole. It should heal it.”
”So it’s like some magic healer potion?”
”Dabi, I get why you’re curious, but right now it feels like my spine is getting stabbed by thousands of hot needles, so if you please—”
”Okay okay, I’m on it, chill!”
Dabi sits to the bed carefully, and Tomura folds the wing slightly to allow him to access the injured spot easier. The weird goop felt cold to the touch, and as he spreads it over the burned areas, it almost looked like tiny ice-shards appear on those spots. Then, those said shards start to change, slowly turning into what seemed to be made pf similar tissue to Tomura’s wings.
It really did seem to regenerate it.
As Dabi looks up at Tomura, he notes the florist still seemed to be in pain however, with how he was gritting his teeth and panting, hands clutching on the bed-sheets so firm Dabi expected them to tear.
”This shit doesn’t seem to help with the pain.”
”.............Gone through... worse.”
Tomura tells him bluntly, squeezing his eyes shut and pressing his forehead against the bed, while keeping his upper body propped up with his elbows. The white hair was now hiding his face, but Dabi was fairly sure it was still twisted in agony. He watches the florist weather the painful healing process for a moment, before turning his gaze aside, hesitating.
He knew a spell that could help.
Pain relief spells were something his mum had taught him very early, given how useful they were in the household.
Blue eyes drift back at Tomura, and he bites his lip, before voicing out his offer hesitantly.
”.....I know a spell. It could make that a bit less unpleasant.”
Tomura peeks at him from behind the hair, and his gaze was a tad intense, making Dabi swallow down almost nervously now. Eventually Tomura just squeezes his eyes shut again however, telling him between gritted teeth to do whatever he wanted with that. He was probably too incapacitated by this to care.
Dabi shifts to lean over him, feeling a bit awkward as he basically had to sit on Tomura’s legs. This spell worked the best when drawn on the person’s back however, and this was the only way he could really reach it. He notes Tomura had a lot of scars there, making him wonder if the ’gone through worse’ referred to those, whatever they were.
He shakes his head to focus, trying to recall the symbol he needed to draw, as bits of blue spirit energy start to dance around his hand.
This specific one should work on spirit folk too as it was an universal spell, at least he hoped so.
Bringing two fingers up, he starts drawing the symbol, leaving glowing lines against the pale skin, while chanting the words needed for the spell.
Tomura tensed at first feeling the touch, but as the spell starts taking an effect, Dabi notes thankfully he seemed to relax, indicating the casting was working.
Once he was done, Dabi takes a brief moment to examine him a bit more, trying to see if there were any other damaged areas from the lightning strike.
.....At least he assumed it was that.
”.....flew home. Didn’t notice the storm. Fucking bastard of a lightning struck me.”
So he’d been right, huh?
”This happen often?”
”No. Normally I would not fly in this weather.”
”I didn’t know spirits could be hit by lightning.”
Tomura snorts, glancing up at him. His eyes were a little hazy now, perhaps a side-effect of the pain-nullifying spell.
Dabi was suddenly acutely aware where he was sitting, so he quickly shifts off Tomura, slipping out of the bed before turning to face him again. The hole on the wing had almost completely healed now, but the florist did not make a move to leave his bed. He just slumps his head down against Dabi’s pillow with a sigh.
”We’re mother nature’s little bitches as much as you humans. Just a little more durable.”
”....That’s one way to put it.”
Tomura hums, burying his face deeper into his pillow.
”....You’re not seriously considering on falling asleep are you?”
”That...salve has the tendency to...make me sleepy. Your healing spell didn’t help the issue.”
Tomura mutters out, his voice very slurred and weighed down. Before Dabi could say anything further, he was out cold.
The young man just stares at the surprise visitor he had, not knowing how to react.
Should he carry Tomura to his home?
Would the door still be open?
....Maybe he should just wait and see whenever Tomura would wake up soon, he did not feel like carrying him around across the corridor again, in case a neighbor would see him do it.
It was closing in on midnight now, and the florist still hadn’t woken up. It seems that magic stuff he had really knocked you out good. Dabi huffs out a sigh and gets off the couch, feeling extremely tired. He did not want to sleep there, but honestly felt it would’ve been a dick move to shift Tomura there, especially looking how comfy he seemed in his bed.
He was completely spread out on his belly, apart from his arms that were clutching onto the pillow his head was resting against. His wings were folded over him like a cloak of sorts now, and the moth head thingies were also folded against his head.
He looked so
cute peaceful, Dabi honestly would’ve felt bad moving him.
Looking at the bed, now that Tomura had shifted his wings to cover himself like they were a blanket, there was actually enough space for him.
It would probably feel awkward later, but right now he was too tired to care, so Dabi just takes off his socks and pants, turning off the cigarette on to the ashtray on the nightstand. He manages to slip under his covers despite having Tomura weigh them down, snatching the free pillow.
” I feel like you owe me a favor or some shit for this.”
He mutters out before closing his eyes, hoping to fall asleep soon before this got too awkward.
Ultimately, despite the unexpected visitor for the night, Dabi falls asleep fairly quickly.
Sometime in the night, he stirs briefly, feeling something else covering him, alongside the blankets.
Glancing at himself, he notes Tomura’s wing had spread over him now. The spirit himself was still asleep, his head turned away from him.
Maybe he wasn’t aware he was doing that.
Dabi was too tired to question it, so he just goes right back to sleep.
Shorter than my average chapters, I just felt this one didn't need much else. This fic unlike my others is truly mostly planned chapter by chapter (apart some very rough basic red line plot I have), which probably also results in shorter chapters.