Chapter 1: It Went Around and Around and Around
I wasn't expecting my life to end in such a way. At least, if I had a choice in how it ended, I definitely didn't want it to be like that. My plans for that day had started off in ruins anyways. Nothing seemed to be going right and I just couldn't figure out why. It was supposed to be fun - supposed to be exciting and new. Something I hadn't done before, but if you know anything about me like you claim you do, then you should know that I always seemed to mess things up. Sad, isn't it?
That morning, I woke up with a playful gait in my step. I threw on the new outfit I had picked out specifically for the day, fluffed my hair, brushed my teeth, and hurried downstairs. I reached the bottom step and for some reason, my legs decided that was the perfect time to learn an Irish-jig. My left twisted in front of my right only to fling my body flying forward in a loud crash. I'm sure the spectacle I just created would've been funny to anyone else that had the chance to witness it, but for me, it simply hurt.
But it was alright, because I picked myself up from the ground and pretended that I hadn't just fallen. Even though you know me better than that. What can I say? Falling seemed to be ingrained into my bones.
A low groan rumbled through the room and I pressed a hand to my now-throbbing headache. I slowed my movements down and went to the kitchen where my mom usually was. I half-expected her to be up making breakfast like every other day only to be sorely disappointed that breakfast wasn't on the menu for today. I huffed - weird, I know. Me? Huff? - and threw open the fridge door to check for something quick. Nope, it was empty. She had left me a note on the counter explaining her absence, along with the surprising lack of food.
She had gone shopping.
I didn't have time that morning to just wait around for her to come home and make something to eat. I was late enough already, so I just scribbled a few words on her note to let her know I would grab something to eat on my way.
You see, that day... was going to be the start of something new for me. I was thrilled and couldn't keep the smile from spreading across my face because today... I had my first date.
She was a pretty little thing. The usual that you would expect out of a transfer student from the states. Blonde hair and big boo - erh, I mean - blue eyes? Right, big blue eyes. She didn't know the area very well and I offered to take her out. It took all of my nerves to just take those few steps toward her desk after school. She had been trying to pack all of her supplies away when I interrupted her.
"Uhm, h - hey." Real smooth, I know, but I was a lady-killer. It was just... buried somewhere deep, deep, deep, inside me. Apparently, it didn't want to emerge that day. For various reasons.
"Hey, you're Izuku Midoriya, right?" She immediately threw out her hand for me to shake but like the 'ladies-killer' that I was... I just stared at it. It was like she had spoken to me in some foreign language and I couldn't seem to wrap my mind around what to do with a hand that was outstretched in front of my face. After blinking at her pale, thin wrists and those delicate, petite fingers, I finally snapped out of my daze when she spoke again.
"I'm Melissa Shields, w - we shared a book together last period because I didn't have mine and I saw your name written in the corner. D - Did I read it wrong?" She stammered.
Melissa Shields. Melissa. Melissa, Melissa, Melissa Shields. Ugh, it was beautiful. Everything about her was just perfect. She was everything I had ever looked for in a person. At least, I thought that was the case. From the way her pert little lips moved with each syllable, I was utterly swooning. She knew my name before I even had the chance to introduce myself. I was thrilled and finally moved to take her warm hands within my own.
"R - Right, that's - uh - me. I just wasn't expecting you to know who I was already. S - Sorry." I was never one for making good first impressions, but at least I tried, right? It was more than some could even say.
"I was won - wondering if you've had the chance to look around t - town at all yet? I mean, if you have that's awesome and that would mean that I was just wasting my time. Not that you're a waste of my time or anything like that! I didn't mean that! I just meant that I was wasting your time or rather the time that we both had left in the d - day..."
I could feel the heat rushing to my cheeks the longer she fluttered those gorgeous eyelashes up at me. There wasn't even a hint of taunting in her gaze and I knew I had no reason to be so worked up, but I couldn't help it. I had never gone up and talked to a girl before like I was with her. Much less still be holding her hand or hear her voice say my name. It was all so surreal and I was living on cloud nine. Wherever that was.
In the midst of my stuttering catastrophe, she brought her hand up to her lips and giggled softly. She giggled. I was done then and there. That angelic sound graced my ears and my world tilted in a rosy haze. The sigh that forced its way passed my lips was one of pure and blissful peace.
"I - I was wondering if you were free this weekend and wanted to hang out? I could show you around town and there's a carnival going on. I know it's not much, but I thought that maybe you would enjoy going... uhm... together?" I could feel the pitter-pattering of my heart in my chest with each passing second while I waited for her response.
"Are you asking me out on a date?" She had cooed. The longer we sat there talking, the more nervous I knew I would become. It was only a matter of time, really. I could only do so much to keep the flaming red away from my cheeks, but I knew it was there nonetheless. The temperature in the room rose by 30 degrees in those few moments, I swear.
"I - I mean... if th - that's okay with you, I am." She smiled softly when my whispered words graced her ears and I immediately thought I fell in love. Keyword: Thought.
So, there I was, racing out the front door and working my way to the central plaza that we had agreed to meet at. The large clock-tower that was attached to the water fountain. It was hard to miss and a usual meet up spot for everyone in the area. So, I didn't think it would be too hard for her to find. It wasn't, but she was late.
I did my best to hold down the nerves by walking along the edge of the fountain, teetering between plummeting into the crystal clear water on one end or falling to my inevitable conclusion on the other.
Fortunately, it didn't take her much longer to find me.
Unfortunately, when I heard her call my name in that sweet, sing-song voice of hers... I fell.
For the second time that day.
I landed in a clump on the concrete just beneath my feet and scrambled to get back up so I could greet my date.
She giggled at the skeptical and didn't seem to mind it when I reached out to take her hand and lead her away from all the prying eyes. It was a simple date - one filled with small coffee shops and browsing through the mall. We walked around all the various places that our town provided until it was time for the carnival.
She seemed excited. There was a certain glint in her eyes every time she looked up at all the rides. Of course, she begged to ride the Ferris Wheel, but demanded that we go just before the sun went down. She wanted to see the sunset. Maybe, if we went earlier, things would have been different. Who knows.
I bought her some cotton candy while we waited in line for the ride. She plucked off small parts to feed to me every now and again; which was adorable. I would say that our date was practically pulled straight out of those romcoms. It was cute, fluffy, and perfect. But, for some reason... I felt like it was missing something.
Only now do I realize that it was missing you.
I couldn't have known that at the time, however. I just wasn't feeling any romantic feelings toward the beautiful woman in front of me. It was a shame, really. Especially when she plucked another piece of cotton candy out and told me to close my eyes. A shame... when instead of the soft, melting sensation I was expecting, I was met with tender, plump lips. They were warm and everything I was hoping for. They even tasted sweet and I nearly let my tongue dart out to deepen it all, but... I couldn't.
Instead, I pulled away and flashed her a bright grin. My face was still flaming red, I knew that would never go away. It was practically a part of me, but I didn't say anything to her. How could I? She looked so happy and I didn't want to be the one to take that happiness away from her. Instead, I let her link her fingers through my own while she hummed in peace.
We boarded into our small cart and took seats across from each other. She continued to hum while flashing her eyes up at me every few seconds. I thought it was cute, I really did. But, still. She wasn't you.
Yes, I know. I didn't know you, but I swear that was the problem. That was the whole problem. While our cart slowly circled up into the air, I couldn't pull my eyes away from the falling sunset. The sunset that seemed to swirl in beautiful pinks and oranges, dancing across the ever-darkening sky.
The sunset that kept rising up into view only to dip away with each revolution that our ride made. Each revolution that seemed to speed up with every second that passed. I frowned when I realized the wind was picking up its pace and glanced down to the carny that was working that day. For some reason, he wasn't there.
I thought that was odd, but what was even more strange was when I glanced up at Melissa... and she wasn't there. I was alone on the Ferris Wheel that continued to spin around and around and around. Each passing twist, the bolt just outside my cage jiggled. It kept wiggling and jutting out from its spot, over and over again.
A lot of thoughts ran through my mind in those last few moments, you know? A lot, really. They say your whole life flashes before your eyes just before you die and I would have to say... whoever 'they' is... 'they' were right.
I thought about my mother who would probably be cooking dinner for the two of us right at that moment. I thought about all the friends I would be leaving behind... only to remember that I had none. So, that was a bust. The other family members? Oh, no. None of those either. Nevermind. I couldn't think about people that weren't there.
But, I could think about the mysterious blonde that somehow disappeared before the end of our date. Disappeared from within the confines of our ride. Strange. Really. Maybe, she was actually just the Grim Reaper and she stayed to help make my last day on earth worth something. If so, she did it out of pity. Thinking on how my pour soul never even had a date and I was bound to perish like that. Nah.
Maybe, before we got on the ride, she had given me the kiss of death for my soul to be whisked away just moments later. It made sense, so I decided that was how I would rationalize her disappearance. I had nothing better to do in my time while I was violently rocked about in the metal cage. Don't judge me, I know you are. It's okay, though. Because I would too.
The screams from the festival-goers on the ground below barely registered in my ears when a large clank resounded. My body felt weightless and time seemed to almost freeze. I couldn't help but think... that for the third time that day... I was falling.
I guess the first two times didn't do their job right. I was still walking around after those falls, so they had to up the ante somehow. You know what 'they' say, don't you?
The third times the charm.
Well, I guess they succeeded. Like I said, I never expected my death to come like it had. I thought I would die of old age - bitter and alone - surrounded by 40 cats that would eat my steadily decomposing body. Perhaps, I would die in a car accident or have a heart attack. Normal things, you know? Not from the spinning wheel of death during a date with the Grim Reaper. That demise was in the furthest reaches of my mind. Even then, I knew the end was coming so I had to quickly think of what my last words were going to be. I could see the ground while it sped up to meet my metal cage. I scoffed when I saw it steadily approaching and decided to grin at my fate.
I was going to die... a fucking virgin.
Chapter 2: There Was A Psychopath In My Graveyard
It seems that when you die... you don't go to where I had always thought everyone would end up. But, I'm just preaching to the choir here, I know. For some reason, though, I pictured death to be... less? Less trees, less dirt, less noise. Maybe I pictured it to be nothing more than a blanket of darkness, but this? I know I definitely wasn't picturing this.
I distinctly remembered the horrible sound of the battered cage I was in crunching all around me, but after that, I was met with nothing but silence. It was peaceful, but after some time, I just wanted that silence to go away. I could only handle the monotonous drone that rang in my ears for so long before I had to shake the headache away.
Which was weird, because... wasn't I dead?
I was pretty sure that I was dead. Especially since I felt nothing at all of my body. Either that, or I was stuck in some paralytic state. I didn't know which one would have been worse, but I found a strange part of me hoping that it was the former.
Not that I wanted to die! No, definitely not! But, if I was managing to get a headache in death versus being stuck in bed for the rest of my life never feeling again, I had chosen the death-ache. Because, at least then I was feeling something. That had to be better than nothing right?
So, I shook my head to free myself from the pain and the drone, only to realize that I could do more than that. That the dull thudding went away and was replaced by more familiar sounds. I could hear the soft hum of a city that teemed with life somewhere in the distance. An owl hooting off to the side or the croak of a frog from somewhere further along.
I knew that if I was still alive, I should at least be in the hospital. But, if that were the case, then how come I felt like I was outside? Frowning, I sat straight up and opened my eyes to look around.
You know what I found, don't you? Of course you know, but let me remind you.
When I blinked away the darkness and let my eyes settle on the environment surrounding me, I quickly came to the conclusion that I was in a graveyard. Now, the normal response to something like that would have been, "Oh, yeah. I'm alive."
No, not me. While I did breathe a heavy sigh in relief, I also whispered something out loud.
"At least I didn't die a virgin." I had just been talking to myself and wasn't expecting a response to my words. I mean, could you blame me? I was in a cemetery - presumably all alone - in the middle of the night. The last thing I wanted was to hear someone speak back to me.
"That can be arranged." The sinister voice whispered directly against my ear and I shivered. Or at least, I think I shivered. I had still been trying to gather my bearings and for some reason, even though I was clearly awake and sitting upon the ground, I still couldn't feel much of anything. It was weird.
But, I tilted my head back to look up at the figure that was leaning over me. A wide grin was spread across his face and a scythe dangled across his shoulders. Purple, oozing flesh littered almost every inch of his body and the way his breath stank of rancid meat almost made me hurl then and there. He would have been extremely attractive otherwise. What with the blue glowing flames that danced over his black spiky hair and down around his weapon. The flickered - enchanting me to keep my eyes on them - while I let his words slowly start to sink in.
"Arranged, how?" I had pondered. I didn't understand right away what it was that he was trying to say to me. It wasn't my fault though! I had just woken up from what I believed to have been death. I wasn't expecting to have a conversation right from the get-go.
"Easy, just let me have a little nibble of that delicious looking soul of yours and you'll finally be able to pass on."
My what? I mean, what? Huh?
I must have looked as confused as I felt in that moment, because he seemed to see it as his chance to make a move. His scythe twitched ever so slightly out of the corner of my eye and my fight or flight instincts immediately kicked in. Sure, I didn't have a ton of friends back in college. But the bullies sure as hell kept me on my toes. I learned fast in life to hone in on my reflexes if I wanted to make it back home in time to eat dinner with my mother.
Yes. College. I was in college. Shocker, huh?
I know, I know. You probably wanted to ask why I was still living with my mother while in college. Money, obviously. Besides, we only had each other and obviously I wasn't going to be moving out to start a family of my own if they only girl I ever asked out on a date turned out to be the Grim Reaper.
So, yes. College. Yes, I was a virgin in college. No, I wasn't going to let the creepy scythe-wielding soul-eater munch on my virgin essence any time soon.
I scampered to me feet and started to dodge between tombstones, knowing not to turn around and look for the soul-sucker. If I did something like that, chances of me... falling... increased. I fell a lot, it happens, okay?
A burst of maniacal-sounding laughter ripped through the foggy atmosphere from somewhere that I had just been resting. It was like the call of a banshee before it pursued its catch. That was exactly what was going to happen, too. He was going to chase and chase until I wore out.
I wasn't expecting to have a near-death experience only to awaken in a graveyard for yet another near-death experience. I could see the city lights twinkling in the distance and knew that my best bet was to somehow make it over there. So, as fast as my feet could carry me, I took off toward what I believed to be my safety.
But, when I tried to cross the threshold of stone that surrounded the entirety of the graveyard, I face-planted into an imaginary wall. And.. well... fell. My breath hitched in my throat and I braced myself for the pain to come from the scythe that I knew wasn't too far behind me. Only, it never came.
Furrowing my eyebrows, I slowly squinted up to look at the crazed, flaming-blue eyes of the man that hovered dangerously before me. He crouched down so that the tip of his nose nearly grazed my own and I froze. Carefully, he sniffed before letting out a loud scoff.
"How the hell did you bind your soul so fucking fast?" He barked at me. I will be the first to admit... I had no clue what he was talking about.
"I literally just killed your dumbass, so why are you bound already?"
"Uhm..." Yeah, real intelligent. Wait, he killed me? "What?"
"To think I put up with all that shit, just to starve!?" He rose to his feet and ran an angry hand through his hair.
"What s - shit?" I stammered. I know now, but at the time, my confusion was soaring to new heights with each passing second.
"Your stupid idea of a fucking date! God, that was awful!" He sneered down to where I was still lying flat on my back.
"YOU'RE MELISSA?!" I shrieked loudly. The scoff that followed made my blood run cold.
"Yeah. A swift glamour can fool any mortal as stupid as you. I was starving, too, but now you're fucking bound to this disgusting soil. It's no matter, I can wait for your binding to end. Shouldn't be too long. Don't go running away from me now, little one. I'll be waiting for you just beyond this wall. The moment you're able to step foot past it is the moment that I'll finally get my reward." With that, he turned on his heel, swinging the large scythe on his shoulder and walked briskly out of the cemetery.
"Oh, one last thing. The name's Dabi, Izuku. Not Melissa. Idiot."
He said it like I was supposed to just magically know his name. However, I didn't have too much time to just sit around and think about what his name was. No, I was too concerned with what he meant by his earlier words.
Big boo - blue-eyed, blonde, Melissa was that! Really? He also said that I was dead? I was really, really dead?! And eat what now? My soul? Of course, why wouldn't he want to eat it? Virgin souls. Heh, delectables, I guess. But, bound? That I didn't have the slightest clue what he meant.
Nothing was making any sense while I laid there on the ground staring up at the night sky. Those days would have been easier for me if you were around. But, you weren't. Not yet.
Granted, I did have Dabi to keep me company every now and again. He would just show up to taunt and tease me, like he was begging for me to snap and leave the grounds of the graveyard. But he knew. We both knew. I couldn't move beyond the stone wall that kept me stuck in one place. I didn't understand it at the time, but as the years drifted on, I slowly began to realize that somehow, before I had fully woken up, I had managed to possess the holy ground that I was buried in.
It took just a few nights for me to figure it out, actually. I mean, to figure out that I was in my graveyard. I was just wandering around one night and tried to find the spot where I first woke up.
When I read the words on the tombstone... I cried. Like a baby whale. The tears could have created another ocean for the world with how much water just kept pouring out of them. Like I said, I didn't want to die. I also didn't want to be trapped in a graveyard for the rest of eternity. Especially one that reminded me of how little people cared for me when I was alive. Only a single bouquet rested at the tombstone.
I knew who it was from because she came almost every day for two weeks straight to refill it with fresh water or replace the weeping blooms. She couldn't see me. No matter how many times I screamed and shouted for her to just look up. It didn't matter. My words never graced her ears. Nor did they pierce through the minds of all the other visitors that came to the graveyard during the day.
I started to sleep during those times. It hurt too much to just sit there and watch the few lives that I could when they came to visit. I couldn't hear their voices, but I could see them talking; crying. No one laughed when they were burying their loved ones. At least not laughter fill with joy, but maybe a bitter scoff here and there. Either way, I started sleeping during the day... when my own mother stopped coming to visit me.
It was easier to be awake at night for me anyways. I don't fully understand why, but it was like the sun drained my energy and the moon replenished it. I took what I could get. It was the closest thing to food that a wandering soul trapped in a graveyard for all eternity could ever devour. Not that I ever went hungry, actually.
It also didn't take me too long to realize that I wasn't wearing the clothes I had when I went on that 'date' with 'Melissa'. I was just wearing simple clothes and some bright red shoes. However, I did have a white cloak draped over my shoulders that I was super grateful for. I couldn't exactly feel anything around me, but at the same time, I could. It was strange. One moment, I would be sitting there humming whatever toon I could remember, the next a bone-chilling breeze would fly up from out of nowhere and have me shivering down to the core. I would wrap myself up in the cloak on those nights.
I tried asking Dabi about it on one of the rare visits he would make to the cemetery, but of course, he didn't give me a direct answer. I didn't know why he bothered to stick around when he visited. All he had to do was try to drag me out of bounds to know if I was still stuck to the ground of not. Instead, he would sit somewhere nearby in complete silence. Every now and then, he would talk about a soul he managed to catch and eat recently. I hated those talks. I knew he was doing it just to rile me up and remind me that we weren't becoming friends over time. No, he just was waiting so he could have the best meal of his life.
Apparently, he can't eat a soul if it's bound to something. He refused to go into details, even though I never dropped the subject over the years and our conversations did progress slightly. His companionship was something that I started to look forward too and I think he noticed it. I regret ever trying to befriend him in any way.
Maybe the reason I had tried so hard was because I just felt lonely. Or maybe, it was because there was this sinister fear of the soul-sucker that lingered somewhere deep within me and if I could become his friend, maybe he wouldn't want to eat me. I didn't know what happened to a soul if it was eaten, but if there was an off-chance that reincarnation was a real thing, then I needed my soul to stick around. Not be digested in the stomach of a soul-sucker.
However, the dreams of becoming his friend were short-lived. Short-lived for me, I mean. I lived a long time, so those few early years were nothing in the grand scheme of things. Regardless, one day he came up to me with a wide grin on his face. The way he held his stomach and licked his chomps made me cringe. But what made it worse were the words that followed.
"That ol' crone of yours finally died. Best damn soul I've had in a while."
I stopped talking to him after that. His visits were no longer visits. They were that of a watchdog over his prisoner. No amount of screaming and crying would ever bring her soul back. I knew that. It didn't mean that I didn't try. I did. I fought, kicked, and begged. But, nothing worked because the deed had already been done.
Eventually, I just grew tired of it all. Tired of staying awake only to be met with silence or the painful reminders that he was lurking somewhere in the shadows, just watching me. Somewhere so he could reach out and eat what little shred of life I had left. I didn't want that anymore. I didn't want to be awake when it happened. I didn't want to know he was devouring me. I wanted to rest. So, I tried it. I closed my eyes and laid down on top of my grave, just to rest.
But you know...
Ain't no rest for the wicked - until they close their eyes for good.
It was a song, right? Just another toon for me to hum while I tried so hard to sleep the nights away. But, my sleep would never come. I must have truly been 'wicked' in my life if I couldn't even fall asleep forever. Even still, time did pass while I laid on the ground and Dabi never said anything to me on his visits. Maybe he truly thought that I was sleeping for the rest of eternity. Either way, I enjoyed the peace while it lasted.
But, just like everything else in life. All good things come to an end. Even if the only good thing I had was a faux-eternal slumber. I couldn't hear the sounds of the engines or the motors, but I could feel the ground beneath my body shake. I sat up with a jolt and stared wide-eyed at the destruction and chaos that was unfolding all around me. They were tearing down the graveyard that had been my prison for who knows how long. I watched in horror as each body was carefully removed, documented, and placed off to the side with all the others. I didn't know why they were tearing it all down, but I did know that meant Dabi would be coming for me soon. The sun had set long ago and they were working in the dark with large lights. Dabi only visited at night.
Soon, he would be there soon.
The fear crept into my soul when I turned on my heel and started to race down the beaten path down the center of the graveyard. In the distance, I could hear his laugh. His ear-splitting laugh at the sight of my fleeing figure. I didn't know if my hunch was wrong or right, but I could feel the connection between me and the soil snap. I knew I had to be right with how fast Dabi was chasing after me. I was free now. Free for him to feast on if my feet didn't pick up the pace.
And then I saw it. The most beautiful sight a terrified soul like me would ever see. You. There you were in all your glory. Walking so radiantly down the moonlit street just beyond the graveyard. I wasn't sure if I was seeing things or not, considering it had been centuries since I had last woken up to see someone else or not. But I knew what I was hearing. I could hear your footsteps. So maybe, just maybe, I could feel you too. Maybe I could talk to you. Maybe we could be friends. I didn't know what I was really wanting at that particular moment in time.
All I knew was that you were there. Right in front of me. You weren't Dabi, trying to eat my soul for hundreds of years. You weren't the owls and the croaking of frogs - the only sounds I really ever knew anymore. You were something different. Something that pulled at whatever heartstrings I had left and I prayed that maybe... just maybe... you could help me escape the scythe-wielding psychopath at my feet. The closer I got to you, the higher my hopes would soar. Your back was turned, but the soft little ears - ears? - at the top of your head twitched in my direction. You could hear me barreling down toward you and just when you turned around to shout for me to fuck off or whatever other string of profanity you planned to use... somehow... I managed to barrel straight into you.
Would you believe me if I told you that...
I simply fell?
Chapter 3: Flying Space Freckles from Outta Nowhere
Every little thing about that night pissed me off, you know? Everything. From the moment I woke up to the time I went to bed. So, yes, that included your dumbass, too. Especially, your dumbass.
That night I had just left a party - having stayed there all of two hours before calling it quits - and was begrudgingly on my way home. I didn't want to leave it so early, not with the night still young. But, I just couldn't stand sitting around and waiting for something to happen - something more. It was boring, for the most part. Everything was boring to me back in those days.
I had been dragged out from the comfort of my own bed by the redhead that calls himself my 'friend'. Heh. More like 'friends-with-benefits'. That was all the more I would have ever been to him - will - ever be to him. But that wasn't what I was wanting between me and the rambunctious red-haired Oni. Not that night at least. I let him haul my ass out the front door and down the road to where our ride sat waiting for us.
Half-way through the party, though, he walked in. All cheery smiles or happy waves and I knew right then and there, why it was that I had been forced to attend. A wing-man. The red-headed Oni needed a wing-man and that asshole had chosen me. Me?! Of all the people that he knew - which was a lot, mind you; the bastard was sociable like that - he chose the one person that would be hurt the most from it all. Not that he knew what the issue was with it all because I never told him. But, the vibrant yellow hair and fluttering bat wings were all the more I needed to prove that my existence had just been turned into that of the 'third-wheel'. Fuck that shit.
After dealing with their flirtatious banter for what felt like hours - it was hours - I decided that I had enough of it all. Watching them laugh and smile out of the corner of my eye messed with my emotions. I loved to see the two of them getting along and everything. It was about damn time. But, they didn't even realize that it was at my own expense.
No one would just realize something like that, though. Not with the way I treated people. Always indifferent. Always harsh. Always tough and never, ever, giving two-shits about the person next to me. It wasn't a 'front' or anything like that. No, it was just the way that I was. Maybe, I acted that way to everyone around me because they let me act that way. They just took it all in stride. Sure, they would scold me every now and then, but they never did show whether my words had any effect on them or not. I wasn't the only one that was hard to read. They were, too. But you? You were different. So different. An open book filled with nothing but pale blank pages for me to write our story onto. I could read those blank pages for hours and never get bored. Maybe, it was because of you that I finally learned what it was like to live again. Maybe.
But, when I first heard your footsteps barreling down at me from behind, those thoughts were in the furthest reaches of my mind. In fact, all I cared about was the high-pitched squealing of the asshole that was chasing after you. I had just wanted to enjoy my peaceful walk home in the middle of the night after ditching my friends, but no. I couldn't even do something as simple as that.
The moment I turned around to scream for the two of you to shut your traps, you were gone and he had frozen mid-step. His head twisted this way and that in search of where you had just disappeared to, but he didn't have to look for very long. A swift chill ran up the center of my spine and my entire body shivered just once before it settled into this strange warmth. The crazy scythe-wielding banshee-shrieking maniac squinted his eyes and tilted his while observing the shocked expression I knew was plastered across my face. Shocked because never in all the years that I had been there had someone had the audacity to use me in such a way that you did.
"What... in the... hell!" I growled. My tongue clicked on the consonants with a force to be reckoned with. The scythe-wielder's face contorted into a shit-eating sneer while he looked at me up and down. I could see the way his beady little eyes were sizing me up. It was more disturbing than the strange comfort I felt shifting around inside of me. I didn't even know what I needed to focus on first. The squirming of you within my body or the maniac that was licking his chomps like no tomorrow.
My thoughts drifted to settling on the focus of you, but that was until the warm sensation that radiated throughout me began to burn like a hellfire had just been released from the heavens above only to simmer back down. When it cooled once more, something inside just - clicked - and then the warmth was back.
I was sure the maniac in front of me was probably just as confused as I was, what with the way his eyebrows rose up at my own squirming. By that point, my face had to have been beat red. I didn't know if it was because of how scalding hot everything had just turned - Seriously, I thought I was going to melt in a matter of seconds - or if it was from the sheer embarrassment at wiggling around like a fucking school girl with a damn mouse down her shirt.
Things only became weirder after that for me. The rotting-flesh face of a scythe-wielder took two steps closer and peered down at me from above. My scowl apparently did nothing to intimidate the man; neither did the low rumbling in my chest. It was a clear warning that whatever he was doing, I didn't fucking like it. His hot breath made me want to gag and his words only spurred the chaotic mess on further.
"Izuku ~ " he cooed in a disgustingly-sweet sing-song voice. I looked at him like he was crazy - because he was crazy - and wondered why this freak was calling me 'Izuku'. "Either you come out here right now, or I just slice you both in two."
"What the fuck? Like hell you will," I scoffed and crossed my arms. My eyes roamed over the curved, metal blade that was tossed over his shoulder and I cocked an eyebrow. That thing looked like it hadn't seen real action in years. The only intimidating feature about the man - besides that of his rancid flesh - was the small blue flames that licked at his wounds. He looked more like he was trying to put up a farce than anything. I had more bite to my bark than he ever would.
Instead of following through with his empty threat, he reached out to grab onto my shoulder and began to shake.
"Fucking stop it!" I hissed while he simultaneously shouted his own load of horseshit.
"Get the hell out here right now, you stupid little pesk! I swear to - Just, get out, Izuku!"
It didn't take too long for me to get sick of his attitude. In fact, he didn't even get to finish his rant before I was snarling in his face and forcing him back.
"Put your filthy hands on me one more time, ya half-baked banshee, and you won't be wielding that scythe of yours no-more." The moment my words left my mouth, your warmth exited my body, leaving behind nothing more than an icy-chill in your wake. Soft hands grabbed onto the back of my arms and I knew that the person that the maniac was screeching for had finally decided to reveal themselves. You had emerged.
"I'm out, Dabi! I'm out! J - Just don't hurt him. He's not involved."
Oh, gods, your voice. I couldn't see you - cowering behind me like you were and all that - but still, your voice. It was strong and determined - even when it wavered. Your word choice was definitely poor because even the blind could clearly see that this 'Dabi' couldn't lay a hand on me.
"Hurt me? The hell you going on about?" I scoffed at the enchanting sound that was still ringing in my ears. Singing the deadly song of sirens with its beautiful toon and I was ready to jump in just to get a taste.
"H - He just sai - "
"Look, there's no way in hell this punk is gonna lay a hand on me, ain't that right, ya fucking zombie." My taunt seemed effective enough. Especially when he recoiled in disgust at being compared to one of those undead that roamed the streets.
"I'm not a walking-corpse, mangy-mutt. Know your place and give me back my little soul. This isn't any of your business, so return what belongs to me and run along to chase a ball or some shit."
Two things were wrong with his statement. Just two, really. I was sure I could find more but those were the ones I focused on. If that pretentious asshole thought he could get away with calling me a mutt, he wasn't just blind, but stupid too. Then, to think I would just walk away after he tried to tell me what to do? Nuh-uh. Nope. Not today, motherfucker.
I tilted my head to the side with a swift twist and grinned when the bones in my neck popped audibly. My lips pulled back to reveal fangs so sharp they could kill you with a single glance and my knuckles cracked when I pressed them together.
This was going to be fun. I just knew it.
Dabi frowned, "Dude, I seriously just want the soul behind you. Just move, dammit."
"Nah, I could care less about a shitty-fucking soul. I don't like being told what to do."
What followed promptly after was a whirlwind of catastrophe. The warmth that had been placed at my back suddenly disappeared, but I was too engrossed in the man that I was about to rip to shreds to realize that you had even taken off. I jumped up into the air - launching myself at the asswipe - and just before my fingers dug into the decomposing flesh of his corpse-face, an invisible force yanked me in the opposite direction. Needless to say, I wasn't the only one bristling in confusion when my back landed with a thud against the pavement.
"Now what the hell!?" I griped. It didn't take me long to scramble back onto my feet and turn to glare at the offender. Only, there was no one near me. At least, not close. However, you were still there. You were off in the distance, groaning in pain and holding a hand to your head. Slowly, you rose up from the ground and glanced over toward where I was now standing with Dabi.
"Uhm... guess... I - uh... can't run to get help, can I?" Your silky-smooth voice cooed through the air, enticing me to run forth and wrap you up in my arms. Sure, that may not have been your intention. Probably not. Okay, definitely wasn't your intention to try and lull me with your siren-song, but it worked, dammit. Because, in that moment, when we finally made eye contact, my entire world tilted upside down. Grey's gained color that hadn't been there before. My heart thudded in my chest and my tail twitched ever-so-slightly.
I didn't know if it was good or bad - or if it was because I just landed flat on my back - but the air escaped my lungs and danced away from me to greet you. I swear. It left to be by your side, because it knew more than I did that day. It knew that was where it belonged - that those glistening emerald gems flicking back and forth between me and the walking-corpse - was my home. If only I knew what the air in my lungs knew that day. Maybe, then, I wouldn't have fought you almost every step of the way while you struggled to remain by my side.
Those curling locks of green bobbed on top of your head when you scurried back to your feet and trotted down to meet us once more. Dabi just stood with his arms crossed and the size of his flames increased with every passing second. If I wasn't so enraptured by the beauty of the stars that shimmered across the coral expanse of your cheeks or the playful gait in your step when you approached, then maybe I would have cared about the smoldering of my jacket with each flame that licked across it. I only noticed it when those verdant-green saucers of yours widened in size and your pale hands shot out to pat the flames away - desperately trying to save me. It was cute. God, you were so perfect. How could I not see it then?
"What the fuc - Geez, calm your flames, asswipe!" I hissed when I finally noticed what was going on.
"Y - You... again? You - to him?!" If Dabi's voice was that of a soprano in an opera, I wouldn't have been so impressed. It cracked toward the end and I couldn't help but snort at the sound.
"Shut up, fuck-munch. You wouldn't be laughing if you understood your own shitty situation. If you understood what just happened. Should've just given him back to me before it was too late. Fuck! Whatever! I can wait. I can wait. I can totally fucking wait. I've waited this long, what's a couple hundred more??" Dabi grumbled while he walked away. I was utterly confused, but more than anything, I was pissed off. I just wanted to stay in the comfort of my own bed all night long, and somehow, nothing wanted to go as planned.
"Whatever crawled up his ass and died is long past its expiration date. It reeks. Either that, or it's his damn breath. Someone needs to give corpse-face a damn mint," I huffed and then turned back to you.
"Fuck off, freckles," I spat and started to walk away. You hadn't even said anything yet and I was already pissed off at you.
But, do you see? If only I knew then what I know now. If only I admitted to myself what it was those freckles of yours meant for me. Instead, I had my own head shoved so far up my ass that I didn't give two fat-flying shits at the moment. I just wanted to get to my house - which happened to be nearly another thirty-minute walk from where we were - and lay down in the comfort of my own warm bed. I planned on enjoying every last second of that midnight walk in complete silence, too. That was until the decadent velvet of your voice drizzled across my ears, sending shivers down my spine once more.
"Freckles?" Yeah, that was all you said, but god, did I want to curl up in a ball and roll around in whatever chocolate concoction it was that dripped out of your mouth. But, chocolate's bad for a canine... or so I've been warned.
"W - Wait, you probably don't wanna - "
"Huh? Don't wanna what? The only thing I 'don't wanna' is hear the rest of that fucking sentence. I can do whatever the fuck I want." I should have listened to what you were going to say. In fact, there was a lot in life that I should have listened to from you.
Just a few steps further from where you were idly standing - twiddling your fingers until they looked like they wanted to fall off - and I suddenly felt strained in my motions. It was like there was a chain tied between me and whatever damn rock was holding me back. I frowned and continued to trudge forward, feeling the invisible rope stretching and stretching until... it flung me backward through the air once more.
This time, your dumbass raced forward in an attempt to catch me from landing on the pavement again. But, you failed. What else was I expecting? The pain that radiated through my head when we collided with each other overpowered my confusion for just a slight moment until I realized what was going on.
It wasn't that I was being held back by some invisible force. Well, it was. But it wasn't just any invisible force. It was yours. You. Your very existence. In those few moments where you had stumbled your way into my body, you bound the entirety of our souls together. I groaned and stifled the pained sound in my voice while struggling to pull myself back up.
Turning over, I shot the most menacing glare in your direction and watched you slink back in fear. It was satisfying - in the moment - to see you cower like that from me. It was even more satisfying to hear the squeak leave your throat when my next words that were laced with a deadly poison escaped me; having had every intention to seep into your skin and kill you from the inside out. That was, if words could kill.
"You're fucking dead, freckles."
Chapter 4: Welcoming Curse of My Left-Footed Tango
Crimson. Vermillion. Scarlet. Ruby.
Call them what you will, but damn. They were gorgeous. The way the moonlight reflected off of your ash-blond spikes of hair. The way your irises shone and sparkled with a ferocity that I barely paid attention to. Bottom eye-lid twitching. Eyebrows furrowing. Plump lips curling back in a snarl with every movement. God, was it beautiful. I wouldn't have minded if you sunk those canines into me in the moment, I was so far gone. In fact, I didn't even know what you were spewing out at me, but whatever it was, I was sure it was heavenly.
" - uck off, you over-sized bedsheet."
Or maybe not quite so heavenly. But the deep timbre in your voice definitely made me want to melt at your feet. Not that I was going to, considering you were inches from my face and seemed to be looking to pick a fight. I had experienced enough in life to be able to spot someone like you from a mile away.
And apparently everything I ever wanted in a man - Hell, I didn't even realize I wanted a man, but that was just a minor detail at that point. I quickly waved it away. Maybe I never looked at men in that way before because they weren't you. Maybe it was the fact that our first meeting had me fully encompassed in your entire being. Literally. Feeling someone so intimately on accident. But, still, that warmth was undeniable.
I felt comfort for the first time in so long. You were inside me in ways I never knew someone could be - because before, it was impossible. But, being a ghost, I supposed impossible could become my reality and damn, did I want that again. If I thought I was head-over-heels for 'Melissa', then clearly my head wasn't screwed on right since I came crawling out of my m - You know what? Not going there. Besides the point.
Something about you drew me in. Call me crazy. Maybe, I was. Maybe everything that was happening was some twisted dream in my comatose-state. Just a way for my body to conjure up a life beyond that of the shriveling body that held my mind captive for the rest of eternity. Damn, that was a depressing thought and it was definitely not a thought that I had the time to focus on, because your breath was suddenly bearing down on me from above. Everything in your body was screaming that you were done with my never-ending silence. You were clearly beyond done with my gaping mouth and the way my eyes were unconsciously roaming over your figure while I eye-fuc - Uh, I mean... stared at you?
Then, you raised your arm and grabbed onto the front of my - uh... sheet? Cape? - whatever it was that I woke up wearing. That was when I knew I needed to pull myself together otherwise I was going to be walking away with a bruised face of sorts.
"Wait, wait, wait! Please don't hit me, yet!" I shouted.
"Yet? Heh. So you agree that you deserve to be hit, though? Good. That means you're not completely stupid. Listen here, you shitty-poltergeist," you said. "Undo your possession. Now."
"Uhm - well, you see... here's the thing... I only kn - know of one way to get rid of the bond and that's - apparently - for the 'ground' to break. Or, I guess in your case, for you to die? So, you don't really need to worry about it too much! I'll be quiet and before we both know it, you'll be dead and I'll be free! It's a win-win situation, really!"
I was hoping you were stupid like all the other jock-headed pricks I had met in my life and I thought, for a fraction of a second, that you were. Your face seemed to contort into confusion, but then I realized it wasn't confusion. It was more like you quickly caught on to just how ridiculous I sounded. Even I realized it. Didn't take someone with even half a brain to figure that one out. You definitely didn't seem to appreciate the fact that I had just tried to pass it all off like that either because the scoff that ripped passed your lips was a whole 'nother force to be reckoned with.
"You're fucking useless, ya know that?? First of all, just because you won't be stuck with me for the rest of your life, doesn't make that a win for me in any way. Second, for your information, dipshit... we're fucking immortal! This is the afterlife! What rock have you been living under?!" Finally, you let go of my sheet-like-cape and I crumbled down to the ground.
For some reason, I knew what it was that you were saying to me. But, that didn't mean that I had to accept your words. I was still in the world of the living, but they were living all around me like I didn't exist. From beyond the boundaries of my graveyard, I watched life shift and change in all sorts of different ways. The society I had once grown up in was no longer the world that surrounded me on every side. So, I knew something was up and yet, I had it in my mind that it would be simply Dabi and me for the rest of our lives. I don't know where that thought even came from, but it was probably due to the fact that Dabi was all I really knew anymore. I hadn't even had a proper conversation in who knows how long.
All of these pegged even more questions in my mind. Why was I still living even though I was dead? What happened in the afterlife? Why was it filled with monsters I had only heard about in fairytales. How much time had passed?
I had so much I wanted to know, but that all had to be shoved on the back-burner for a while because you were still staring me down like I had an answer to a question you hadn't even asked.
And then clarity rammed into me like a freight train. Immortal. You said we were immortal. Meaning, there was no 'ground' to be broken. There was no 'patiently waiting for death to come' moment. None of that was going to happen. The possession I had mistakenly created when I fell into your body was permanent. At least, I thought it was. I didn't know how to break the bond that had been created between our souls and no amount of glaring on your end was going to suddenly change that for me.
"Immortal. Permanent. Oh my go - " I gasped when I finally found my voice after the initial shock wore off. "I'm so sorry! I never meant for any of this to happen! I swear. I don't even know how I possessed you. It was all just warm and fuzzy and somehow I was inside your body with no way out. Until, I calmed down and stopped squirming, finally. Taking a few deep breaths definitely helped. Not to mention the terror I had for the two of us being split - literally - in two by Dabi. That was like the shove I needed to figure out how to get out of your body. But, I think that if I were to do it again, I wouldn't have the slightest clue how. I kno - "
"BREATHE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!" You suddenly growled in my ear. I flinched slightly at the rising anger in your voice and ducked my head down while twiddling with the hem of my sheet.
"M - My point is, I don't know wh - what to do," I whispered finally. I really hadn't planned on sticking with the burden of my problems, but somehow that was what ended up happening. I still didn't understand the slightest thing outside the walls of the graveyard and there were still so many questions that rang through my head, but for that moment, all I cared about was that I had caused you problems. Not only did you manage to stand up for me against Dabi but now you were stuck with me for - what I assumed would be - forever.
"You don't know what to do. Wow. Fucking wow." You rolled your eyes and turned on your heel, beginning to saunter away and I didn't know what I was supposed to do - again. So, I just stood there, watching your back while you walked. Hands shoved into pockets and shoulders tossed back with a confidence that I fiercely admired. Then, you paused and threw an exasperated glance in my direction.
"You gonna fucking stand there and gawk the damn night away or are you going to follow me so we can get the fuck out of the street?"
I definitely wasn't expecting to be invited to wherever it was that you were going, but the moment the offer presented itself, my feet were moving on their own while I scurried to catch up to you. Thinking back on it now, I wasn't sure if that was the stupidest thing to ever do or the best move I had ever made in my life.
On one hand, you were a complete stranger. A stranger that wanted me to blindly follow you to who-knows-where. For all I knew, you were planning on dragging me to the nearest corner and murdering me in cold-blood; leaving my ghostly corpse behind to rot so that you didn't have to deal with my burden any longer. Honestly, if that had been your plan, I couldn't fault you for it. I wouldn't want to deal with some stranger's issues for the rest of eternity, either. I mean, if Dabi claimed he could kill me, then didn't that mean so could you? So, it was plausible. Somehow.
Then again, on the other hand, I was apparently already dead. I had watched the lives of all the mortals surrounding me for so long that, even if I tried to deny it all, it was definitely true. Somewhere, deep inside me, I knew I couldn't fight it. My death had happened. I had wept at the foot of my own grave right along-side my mother for more years than I cared to count. I watched people come and go. I watched society shift and change in ways I would probably never fully comprehend now.
For years, I hadn't had the chance to decently speak to someone, let alone feel their touch or hear their words - besides that of Dabi. But, he barely counted because most of the time, he was silent, too. Just like the rest of the world that had surrounded me. But, not you.
You weren't silent. Even when you weren't speaking, I could still hear you. I could hear the soft breaths you took with each small puff of cloudy mist that left your nose only to drift away in the chilling air. I could hear the thudding of your footsteps against the concrete beneath your feet while you led me blindly through the night. The rustling of your clothes whenever you shivered against the wind or the clenching of your teeth together while you stewed over something in your mind - most likely over the new predicament I had placed us both in.
Things were a bit... confusing, but I still followed you anyways. It was better than the alternative. Which was to wait for Dabi to come along and eat my soul. Not exactly on my list of things to do any time soon.
While we walked, I glanced around at the scenery and noticed something strange that I hadn't recognized before. Each building we passed seemed to almost shimmer slightly. Every now and again, the shimmering would stop and the building would solidify before fading into the shimmer once more. I frowned and looked around at the happenings of the world that I had missed for so long. I hadn't realized that we had already made it into the city that I could see in the distance - always just beyond my reach. I couldn't even hear the soft hum of life from where I was at. Just the croaking frogs and hooting of the owls. Nothing more, nothing less. The world was quiet at the cemetery. At least it was until the mortals dug it up with their large machines and blinding lights in the middle of the night.
"Why do the buildings shift?" I questioned out loud. I was half-expecting to be ignored because I knew you were irritated by my presence. Especially from the way your ears twitched in my direction or the way your tail would flick occasionally. I still had tons of questions for the wolf-boy before me about that. But for now, I figured questioning his - uh... race? Species? Geez, was he even human? - regardless, it could wait.
You didn't halt in your brisk pace, but you did cock an eyebrow high into the air at my question.
"Where the fuck do you live? Under a damn rock?" You barked. I shrugged my shoulders, causing my feet to do that embarrassing Tango they seemed to enjoy so much and stumbled slightly. Luckily, it wasn't too bad. I cursed my two left feet before I returned to the present.
"Uhm, I guess you could say that. I've been stuck in that graveyard for some time now. I woke up there and was only able to leave when they started to destroy the ground and mere seconds after being free... I stuck my problems onto you." I thought my explanation was simple enough, but this time, you did come to a halt.
"The fuck? For how long?"
"I don't know?" I shrugged again. I really didn't know much of anything anymore. It was all just a massive tangled mess and I was hoping someone - Dabi, I was talking about you - would have shed some light for me, but he never did.
"What year is it?" You asked and again... I shrugged.
"I think it was like... 1980 something? I - It's been a while." I could tell by the way the world was moving around me that time had passed. A lot of time had passed.
"Fuck. You don't talk like someone from the 1980s." I wasn't expecting to be chastised on the way I spoke when you asked me what year I thought it was.
"Uhm, I'm sorry? I was never one that people came to for conversations, really, and the only person I had to speak to since I woke up here was Dabi, so..." I trailed off and let you connect the dots.
"Yeah, no kidding. Doesn't take someone with half-a-brain to figure out that you're not good at it. It's 2096." After dropping that massive bomb on me, you turned back around and continued to walk down the sidewalk like you owned the place.
2096. Over 100 years. Nearly an entirely new century. No, wait. It was an entirely new century. How I managed to listlessly let the years pass by in complete silence while faking my own slumber while Dabi drooled over the chance to devour my soul was beyond me.
"So, you have no home and I take it, no friends except for the talking-corpse?" You asked.
"Well, if you put it that way, then, you're correct, I don't."
"Heh. Lame." Your lips curled in a sneer at my own misfortune before the grin left your face and you spoke once more. "The shimmering is the glamour between our world and theirs. They overlap. So, yeah. You see their shitty buildings every now and then. It pisses me off because it gives me a damn headache every fucking time. And then the dumbasses like to walk right through you sometimes, too. Ugh, it's all so annoying."
My mouth formed an 'O' while I processed the information you provided me. I didn't want to ask you any more questions while we walked and face whatever wrath you might have stored up toward me, so I grew silent. Before I knew it, you were leading me up a path to a tall building with a gate surrounding a small courtyard. You swiped a card of sorts and the gate opened up. I was ushered inside and followed you up the stone steps to the building, then through the lobby, up an elevator, and finally into what I assumed was your home.
"You can have the couch. Touch nothing or I will literally rip your fucking arms off and feed them to the harpy down the hall. We'll discuss this shit you caused tomorrow night, for now, the sun is rising and I'm fucking beat. Blankets or shit are in that closet. Get them yourself. Oh, and one last thing. Don't you dare wake me up. This night has been so fucking annoying. Just one thing after the next. Damn! I'm so pissed. I just want my bed." You wrung your hands down the sides of your face in utter frustration and I couldn't blame you.
You were letting some stranger into your home and giving him a place to stay. We had literally just met and already you were forced to deal with me. I was nothing more than a burden, I knew that. So, I couldn't fault you for being so upset. It only made sense. I was even slightly peeved by the whole ordeal. Not because I didn't think highly of you already or anything, but because I didn't even give you a choice in the matter. Hell, I didn't even get a choice in the matter. It was just flung upon us both in the heat of the moment. Call it fate or whatever. Maybe, it was more like a curse for us both at the time. But, a curse I heavily welcomed in the end.
A curse that was brought upon by the spontaneous dancing of my two left feet.