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BNHA October Scribbles

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“So let me get this straight,” you say, your voice tinged with the same disbelief it’d held before he’d given you the whole spiel, “I, an ordinary person with no knowledge of anything even vaguely otherworldly, somehow managed to piss off some ten something—“

“—Tenesomnium.” He corrects you for what feels like the seventh time in the span of five minutes.

“Yeah whatever. Point is, my energy pissed a guy…er, Tenewhozitwhatzit off enough that he sent you to give me nightmares. Is that what you’re seriously telling me?”

“Yup.”

For a creature of the underworld, he sure seems…lazy. You’re pretty sure you even catch him yawning, which isn’t entirely unexpected, seeing as he’s the thrall of an actual dream demon. He doesn’t exactly look the part, though. His purple hair sticks out in every direction and a crooked silver circlet sits at the center of his forehead. The robes he wears are dark and creased, but not in an “all-knowing ancient being” sort of way. It’s more of an “I threw these in a pile a week ago and only just now realized I need them” style.

Still, you have to admit there’s something otherworldly about him. The way his eyes seem to sap the light from the air. They’re the color of amethysts, but also so flat looking. Not entirely alive—and not just because the bags under them make him look like he hasn’t slept in years. The tattoos along his bicep seem to show all the energy his eyes lack. The curved lines travel with every move he makes. Sometimes they twirl and curve and snake down to his wrists. Other times they go up, up, up, sneaking beneath the fold of his robe and disappearing.

You force yourself to stop staring for long enough to finish your conversation.

“And you’re just gonna…hang around? Wait ‘til I’m sleeping and sap this power from me?”

“That’s the plan.” The demon sighs. His tattoo slides back out to his arm and slows along the underside of his forearm. “Wait until you’re sleeping and siphon it out of you. Maybe leave a nightmare or two in its place for good measure.”

You nod, pondering it all for a moment. Then, barely even realizing it, you begin to grin.

“The big boss does know I’m an insomniac, right?”

The demon’s jaw cocks to the side, his eyes pressing shut. He inhales slowly, and you’re about to ask if demons even need to breathe when he speaks again.

“Just my luck.”

And that was the beginning of your two year stint with an exasperated dream demon by the name of Shinso.

Chapter Text

The scales are smooth to the point of feeling dusty, leaving a tingling in your fingertips as they slide past and shrink back into his shoulder. Soon, it’s like they were never there in the first place, and all that’s left beneath is skin, warm and deceptively human.

“Your parents really kicked you out the day you turned 12?” You ask, idly pressing into his arm, seeing if you can feel anything abnormal resting beneath his skin. As usual, you find nothing—just bones, not unlike your own.

“Yeah, but that’s actually pretty late for us; usually, you’re out by the time you turn 10.”  He states it matter-of-factly, without a trace of resentment or malice. “Gotta make room for the next clutch, ya know?”

“It’s still sad.  You were just a kid.”

He must hear something in the tone of your voice, because there’s a thoughtful pause before he speaks again.

“It’s not like it is with your kind. We’ve been like this for millions of years, for longer than humans have existed.”  He reaches over, places a hand over your own, giving it a squeeze. You’d never suspect he was capable of cracking your bones between two fingers—he’s always so gentle when he touches you.  “What your parents did was wrong. You shouldn’t have been trapped up here alone.”

It isn’t the first time he’s said it. Still, hearing it out loud is…nice.

“Good thing I’m not alone.” You smile, and he returns the gesture without hesitation.  “Good thing you found me.”

But then without warning, every one of his limbs goes taut.  His gaze darts to the window, open as always, and his lips part to reveal teeth, sharp and menacing.  A deep rumbling courses through the walls, and it doesn’t take you long to figure out that the sound is radiating outward from his chest.  You don’t hear the horses, the voices , until a few moments later.  

Adventurers coming to claim the heart of the cursed royal.

Kiri .” Your voice suddenly withers into a weak thing—thin, laced with a fear that’s become too familiar over the past ten years.

Kirishima looks back over at you, crimson eyes blazing with an uncharacteristic sort of anger, one he saves for occasions like this.

“I’ll deal with it.” He says, his voice sinking deeper with every word.  By the time he’s finished the sentence, every trace of anything even vaguely human is gone.

The transformation doesn’t stop there. As he rises and walks over to the window, you can see the scales re-emerging up his arms, along his neck, down the entire length of his back. By the time he peers out into the plains below a pair of blood-red wings are beginning to peek out from the space between his shoulder blades.

He swings a leg over the windowsill.  “Keep out of sight until I get back, okay?”

You nod quickly, and Kirishima leaps. The beating of heavy wings against the air almost completely drowns out the surprised shrieks of the adventurers below.  You crawl beneath your bed, nerves easing when you realize that you’re in good hands—er, claws?

Chapter Text

“The water’s nice today.” A familiar voice calls out.  He’s close, you can tell, but his words seem to echo over the entire lake, so you can’t pinpoint exactly where he is.  “Why don’t you walk in, wet your feet a little?”

You laugh at the mere suggestion.  You’d been careful to avoid dipping so much as a toe in the water. You knew how his kind operated—luring in unsuspecting swimmers so they could do god-knows-what to them.

“So you can drag me under? No thanks.”

“Ouch. Color me offended.”  He’s on your right side now. At least, that’s how it sounds .  But when you look over, there’s nothing.  Just more water, more places for him to hide. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t feel a bit less secure about your safety, even though both feet are firmly planted on dry land.

“You’re saying you wouldn’t?”

You hear the bubbles before you see them, to your left this time. You turn quickly to see a mop of black hair rising from the rippling surface, but by then, it’s too late.  The lakeweed is tight around your ankles.

“No,” he says with mischievous eyes and lips curled upward in a perpetual smile, “I’m offended you think I need you to get closer before I can force you under.”

“Sero—“ Before you can finish, a pressure on your ankles makes you stagger forward. The soles of your feet splash at the edge of the shore—the beginning of his domain.

“No pleading. I only wanna hear you apologize for underestimating me.”  The whole time, his voice sounds playful.

This is a game to him, you realize as another tug yanks you further in. The water reaches your knees now.

“ ‘I’m sorry for underestimating you, Sero.’ ”  More lakeweed twirls around your calves. “ ‘You’re so awesome and strong, Sero.’ ”

You’re getting a little frantic by the time you’re waist-deep, so you decide to abandon what little pride you have and just do what he asks.

“I—“

Without warning, your feet are swept out from beneath you.  You sink, immediately losing any and all hope of orienting yourself in the murky depths.  The fact that you swallow about three liters of water probably doesn’t help.

In the midst of your flailing, something warm curls around your waist and you’re dragged in a direction.  Up, down, sideways—you can’t quite figure out which .  Then, before you even have time to struggle, you’re back above the surface, sputtering and scrambling to blink away the blurriness in your eyes.  You extend your legs outward, trying to plant your feet in something even a little bit solid.  You can’t seem to find the ground, but you do notice that the weeds are gone, replaced by something slimy .  

Something that feels like a tail.

“Well?”  Sero says, arms tightening around your waist.

“You nearly drowned me.”  You inhale again, heart pounding heavily in your chest.

“That quick?  Nah. You had a solid minute left until you lost consciousness.”

“My lungs are burning .”

He snickers as he releases you, leaving you to tread water as he descends into the lake, disappearing from sight again.  Your pulse quickens.

“But I was right, yeah?  The water feels nice?”

You shut your eyes tight and brace yourself the moment you feel his fingers, webbed and warm , curling around your knees.

Chapter Text

The scrape rattle of the chain link fence is background noise at this point. It should be, considering the fact that you’ve had to listen to it nonstop for the past thirty minutes.  Still, that doesn’t mean the sound doesn’t make you wanna shove wads of moss into your ears, just a little.

“Will you stop moving ?”  You grunt, bracing a foot against the fence, pulling at one of the twists in it.  Really, you aren’t the least bit surprised when you fail to loosen it even a little.  Still, you can’t exactly give up—not without feeling like a complete monster .

“I’m trying.  But my neck—it hurts .”  He whines, fidgeting again .  His hooves kick at the dirt, dry from weeks without rain, and stir up a tiny dust cloud, which you, unfortunately, inhale.

You really couldn’t seem to catch a break today.

“It’s not my fault you thought a fence was the best way to scratch the itch at the top of your head.”  Sweat clinging to your forehead and hands rubbed raw, you reach an arm around him in an attempt to get a new angle.  “I mean, you have arms.  You’d think a freakin’ faun would be able to figure that much out.”  

“I couldn’t think straight!  It was an instinct !”  He clasps at the place where his horns meet his scalp, wincing when you shove the fence again.  “ Ow, ow, OW!   Be gentle!”

You sigh, backing away from the fence to survey the situation for a second time.  Your effort seems to have been for nothing—your little problem is still just as stuck as he was when you’d first found him struggling to free himself.  Really, you’re at a loss for what else to do.

But then suddenly, you remember that you have arms too.  And hands. Hands good for using tools .

You turn on your heel, high-tailing it back to your truck.

“Don’t leave me!”  He shouts, frantic.  His golden eyes are pathetic and pleading as he struggles to look back at you over his shoulder. “You promised you’d help!”

“I am helping!”  You rummage through the backseat, searching .  The bow saw had moved around while you were driving, but after a moment of sorting through wrappers and other crap, you find it.  Sure, there was probably a way better place to store it, but you’d worry about sorting that out later .

“You’re really gonna need to hold still, pretty boy.”  You say, careful to reveal the tool slowly .  The last thing you wanted was to spook him and get floored by a kick to the gut.

The color drains from his face the moment he sees it.  

“No.”

“Kaminari.” You’re sure to keep your voice soft, using the name he’d given you earlier.  People…er, creatures liked that, right?  “You’ve gotta let me—“

“No.  Not happening.  My horns are my life.  I’ve been growing them for years and I’ll just stay stuck here before I let you—“

“Kaminari.”  You cut him off, resisting the urge to roll your eyes.  “I’m cutting the fence .”

“Oh.”  The faun relaxes almost immediately. “That’s okay, I guess.”

With some brute strength and a whole lot of patience, you manage to free him.  Still, seeing Kaminari trot off with a chunk of chain link clinging to his horns and that stupid grin across his face, you can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t the last time you’ll have to help him deal with the consequences of an instinct .

Chapter Text

Your new apartment was awesome .  The kitchen was decked out with all sorts of high-tech gadgets, the bathroom had granite counters, a sink, and a tub, and for the first time since moving out of your parent’s place, you actually had a washing machine .  You’d gotten it for a steal too; originally, you’d thought paying rent would mean eating ramen noodles for the rest of your life.  But everything was surprisingly affordable.

The only downside?  You had a roommate.

He was… uh, nice?  Yeah, he was totally a nice guy.  But considering the fact that you hadn’t been informed that you’d have a roommate when you’d signed the lease, you couldn’t say you were exactly prepared to deal with his…quirks.

“Welcome home!” His voice booms, making picture frames rattle against the walls.

You shriek, and the groceries in your hands go plummeting to the ground—eggs and all.  You let out a little whimper when you hear the crunch and piece together the fact that you’re going to have to make yet another grocery run.  Frowning, you direct your attention towards Mirio, who seems to have realized his mistake by now.

“Oh…did I spook ya’?” He asks, rubbing at the back of his neck.

Jaw tight, you just glare.

“Sorry about that.  It just gets a little lonely around here when you leave, ya know?  Can’t really go out or anything…” To his credit, he actually sounds remorseful.  Not that you’d be able to stay mad at him, even if he didn’t— Mirio just had one of those faces.

“It’s okay,” you sigh gathering your grocery bags from the floor, “just…next time give me a little bit of a warning before you make everything start moving .”

“Absolutely!”

But true to his nature, he’s too excitable to realize just how shocking it can be when he appears out of literally nowhere.

“Hey, I’m trying to—why are you screaming?”

You think it’s a pretty natural reaction, considering the fact that he’s literally poking his face through the floor while you’re in the middle of your shower.

“Mirio, get out !” You shriek, rushing to cover yourself.  

He sinks back into the tile almost immediately, thank god, but within a second, you can see his swirling form waiting on the other side of the shower curtain.  The steam in the bathroom is thick, so he’s a bit harder to pick out in the middle of it. Not that that’s a priority right now.

“Sorry, sorry!  I’m just so used to popping in, I forget that’s not a thing people do!”

“Mirio you’re an absolute sweetheart, and I get that you’re a ghost and all, so you can’t really help it,”  say, giving your pounding heart a moment to recover.  “But sometimes you’re scary without even trying to be.”

“What?!  That’s no good!  I’ll work on it!”  He says, and you can see his shadow expanding, growing less human-like and more amorphous with every word.  It doesn’t exactly inspire your confidence in his self-control.  “No more fazing for me!  I mean, unless I reach a closed door, because, ya’ know…I can’t really push those things open.  But other than that I promise, no more surprises! No more haunting!”

“That’s great, Mirio,” you say, “now could you please do me a favor and get out ?”

“Sure thing!  Got it! Leaving now!”  And true to his word, he just disappears into thin air.  

At least he’s trying .

You groan, shoulders slumping as you reevaluate your whole living situation.  Amenities were good, yeah. Rent was good, yeah. Your roommate was interesting, yeah.  But the two of you definitely had some boundary issues to work out.

“Oh, and you’re out of coffee by the way.”

Mirio!

“Ah, sorry!”

By this point, you know his enthusiasm isn’t exactly something you can phase out in one day.

Chapter Text

“You aren’t the one we want.  Step aside.”

Behind you, Deku clutches at his chest.  He cycles through many forms, many faces—some more human, some more beast.  His hands can’t seem to decide if they’re claws or fins or branches; they stretch, then recede into themselves, never settling on one shape for more than a second.

All the careful years of concealing his true nature—what he really was—turn out to be for naught.  That much is as plain as the disgust in the villagers’ faces.  The malice in their eyes.

They don’t care that this is the same man they’d known for nearly a decade.  They were going to kill him anyway, familiar or not.

“This is the last time I’ll say it: move aside.”  The knight points his blade past you, towards Deku, who’s still wincing, struggling for control over his own appearance.  “That thing’s a shape-changer.  A demon that wears human skin to trick us—make us trust it.”

“He’s Midoriya !  The blacksmith!”  Your voice hurts from how desperately you scream it out to them.  Like it’ll make an actual difference .  “He made the damn sword you’re swinging around, and you’re just going to turn on him?  Just like that?”

A dull chatter starts up in the crowd.  

The tailor mutters “ liar ” to the stablehand beside her.

“Hellspawn!” Shouts the tavernkeeper.

“Kill him!”  Someone in the crowd demands, fist stretched to the sky.  The others echo, and dread pools in your gut.

It really was just you and Deku against the many.

But you can’t just let them take him from you.  This was Izuku Midoriya, the sweet boy you’d grown up with.  The one that’d shared his meals with you, even when he barely had enough to feed himself.  The one that’d let you cry on his shoulder. The one that’d taught you how to shoe a horse, how to shoot an arrow.  He was gentle. Capable of displaying more humanity than the people you’d grown up with, even if it turned out that he wasn’t, himself, human .

“Close your eyes,” Deku commands, his body finally still and his voice suddenly low, “I don’t want you to see.”

You grit your teeth and yank a dagger from your sash.  Your knife is nothing compared to the knight’s sword, you know.  Likewise, you’re too smart to pretend you don’t know standing against the village is a death sentence.  You do it anyway. Because Deku hadn’t done anything wrong—not a single thing wrong in his entire life. His only crime was existing .  Being different —a mystery, and not human enough to just leave in peace.  Not human enough to let live .

It wasn’t fair.

The knight you’d been speaking with—old, with a cruel face and marred armor—is the first to take a step forward, breaking the cautious boundary between you and your aggressors.  The villagers that’d raised both of you.

“Run.”  You say it under your breath.  You only had seconds until the others in the hunt abandoned their caution and followed the trailblazer—you’re sure of it.  “I’m not letting them have you. Get to the tree line and shift. You’re fast; you’ll make it before them if you go now .”

But when you peek over your shoulder, you see that he’s still hunched over, making no move to straighten out, to leave already.

You open your mouth, but he cuts you off before you can repeat yourself

“No.  I’m done hiding.”  Deku’s eyes, once wide and curious and kind , are different now.  Glowing red with…something you can’t name.  A look you’ve never seen cross his face before.

Before you can blink, a whip-like shadow, black and inhuman, curls around you.  Your breath catches in your throat when it expands, forming a shroud that seems to swallow you, blocking out the villagers, the torches, everything .  You can’t even see yourself—all that’s left is darkness and the thumping of your own heart in your ears.

“What are you doing?!”  You reach out to where you assume Deku is, only to find that you’re being held in place.

In the nothingness, there’s a silence—a moment that feels like it lasts hours.

“I’m becoming the monster they expect me to be.”

Then, the screaming starts.

Chapter Text

You’re alone on the street, the clamor of the day having given way to the lonely sort of stillness that only comes with the night.

But it isn’t still—not completely.  As you walk, you hear them behind you.  The footsteps, light on the pavement. Arrhythmic and getting closer with every second that passes.  You know better than to peer back over your shoulder though. Doing that would mean acknowledging that you’d heard them, that the figure trailing only a few feet behind you actually existed .

A chill tickles your ear, cool, but not that much colder than the night itself.  It makes your skin prickle regardless.

“You’re being followed,” whispers the wind, barely distinguishable from the sound of your own breath, “but you already know that, don’t you?”

Your next exhale is shaky and uneven despite your best effort to remain calm.

“What are you going to be about it?”

What were you going to do?  The quickening of the steps behind you—the careless crunch of them as their owner grows more confident—makes a stinging taste creep up the back of your throat.  Terror clutches at your gut and twists .

“Help me.”  The words come out on their own.  There’s no thinking involved—it’s all primal instinct, a need to protect yourself now, regardless of all future consequences.

“And you remember the price?”  There’s a rise to it, a degree of amusement in the question.

You nod quickly.  Because what other choice did you have?

“Then say it.”

Your last opportunity to change your mind.

A hand clutches at your shoulder, nails digging into your skin through your shirt.  It hurts .  You turn on your heel, eyes squeezing shut.

“Aizawa!”

Suddenly, it’s all too loud.  The trash cans clattering onto their sides as the wind grows stronger, more violent.  The crinkle and crack of leaves being lifted, swirling through the air. The bloodcurdling scream that echoes in your ears when the hand on your shoulder recedes.

Then, it’s silent.  Still. You tear open your eyes and find your aggressor has vanished.

But you aren’t alone.

He stands tall, more solid—more human —than you’d expected him to. There’s no denying what he is though; the whisps of darkness swirling under his feet make sure of that fact.

“Done,” he says, mouth unmoving. He raises his hands, dark eyes pulsing as he turns them over, studies them.

They’re new to him, you realize.  He’s so used to imitating, mimicking the form of any object he can cling to, that the idea of having a fixed shape is foreign.

His eyes shift their attention to you.  The tendrils beneath him extend outward, forming a shroud over the sidewalk.  Reaching. They loop around your ankles, and although you know what they are, you can’t dismiss the thought that they feel right as they crawl up your legs, along your arms.  Like a second skin.

No, that was wrong.  The darkness felt more natural that your own skin ever had.

“Now you belong to me .”  His lip curls upward and he extends his hand towards you.

You inhale, breathing him in willingly.  A warmth washes over you despite the frigid October air.  When you reach back towards him, something thin and shadowy and alive bursts from the ends of your fingertips, spanning the distance between the two of you.

Chapter Text

A smooth sort of sound, more a hiss than anything else, jolts your attention from your reading for the third time that night.

“How many times do I have to say it?” You swivel in your chair and turn away from your desk.  “In this house, all of our cursing will be done in a human language.  I’m afraid they never taught me how to speak demon growing up.”

“I said,” Shinso leans into each word, pressing a finger into his temple and refusing to so much as look at you as he speaks, “I was molding dreams that could topple civilizations while your people were eating dirt .”  

“Cool story, dude.”  You roll your eyes and turn back to your work.  A figure floats into your peripheral vision, carried on a cloud of purple haze.  

Shinso plants a palm over your textbook page and you sigh, peering up at him.

Sleep .”  He commands.  You stare, unfazed.

“Oh wow, great idea.  Revolutionary.  No wonder the big boss sent you .”

His gaze narrows as his lips furl back, frustration displayed as plainly as the bags beneath his eyes.  They were getting darker these days.

Sleep .”

His eyes glow a purple color, and a yawn crawls from your throat.  It doesn’t matter—drowsiness isn’t enough for him. Neither is a ten-minute power nap.  In order for Shinso to do what he needed to do to finally be free of you, he needed something more substantial.  An actual night of sleep.

Hah .  Poor guy.

“Sleep isn’t due tomorrow.”  The blurriness blinks away from your sight easily enough.  “My anthropology essay is though.  So mister million-year-old dream demon, you wouldn’t happen to know anything about the migration patterns of salmon, would ya?”

Chapter Text

Metal shavings and grease and gunk gather beneath your fingernails, coat the entire top layer of your skin. But that doesn’t matter now. Not when you’re this close.

You look over everything for what feels like the hundredth time—tighten a joint or two that seems like it just might be just a bit too loose, might compromise the integrity of everything you’ve worked so hard to build.  You’re just finishing up when you notice something. A twitch. You tell yourself you still have a couple minutes until everything’s finished.

You’re wrong .  He jerks upward suddenly, sitting up and taking wheezing breaths, each louder than the last.  It catches you off guard; in your surprise, you jolt backward and knock your tools from their tray.

“Where—“ he gasps, clutching at his chest, wincing.  “Where am I? I was in the alley and Midoriya and Todoroki were there, and I—“

You place a hand on his shoulder, then immediately realize your mistake.  He swings an arm out, grasps your forearm and squeezes hard.  The hinge in his wrist clicks as his fingers, impossibly cold , dig into your skin.

“I can’t see anything.  Why can’t I see anything?!”

“I have some things to help with that right behind me,” you say, keeping your voice even and low .  The last thing you needed was to confuse him any more.  “I’m going to grab them now, okay?”

His grip eases, just a bit.  Then he releases you completely.  You reach behind you, groping at the air, searching.  Eventually, you find the lenses along the countertop, grateful that they hadn’t clattered to the ground with the rest of your things.  You don’t thing they’d have survived the fall.

Slowly— carefully— you lean in.  His eyes try to focus on any single thing, but fail, darting between your fingers, your face, anything that moves.

“I’m going to do something.  This might feel strange, so please bear with me for just a moment.”

Before he gets the chance to question you, you’re holding his chin in place, using your other hand to position the thin layer of glass correctly.  He fidgets, naturally, but you’re too quick. In a span less than thirty-seconds you’ve snapped both lenses into position.

The second you release him, he pulls back, blinking the blurriness from his gaze.  It’s probably an unfamiliar feeling, you recognize—he’s still adjusting to everything.  Brow furrowed, he goes to wipe at the corner of his eye.

His whole body goes rigid when he sees his arm.  A masterpiece of metal and springs sits in the place that used to be occupied by bone and blood and skin .  It’s made to resemble what he’s lost, but it’s by no means a perfect replacement.  Less than organic.

“What is this?” he breathes, holding up the limb.  He looks to you with wide eyes and a trembling jaw.  Confused. Fearful.  “What happened?  Why am I here?”

Your heart sinks.

“You don’t remember what happened, Iida?”  

There’s nothing—no shift in expression, no sign of any sudden recollection of events.  A numbness creeps into your fingertips. For the first time in a long time, it isn’t because of the hours upon hours you’ve spend slaving over every mechanism, every tiny bit of metal.  It’s because the truth of it is…

“You don’t remember who I am.”

It isn’t a question.  His silence is an answer, regardless.

“You were in a…an accident,” you say, trying to be strategic with your word choice, “and you were hurt.  Badly.”

How badly?”

You inhale.

“One of your arms and both of your legs had to be replaced.”

Iida looks down to his legs laid out in front of him.  He bends one, hears the telltale creak of metal rubbing on metal, and sucks in a shallow breath of air through his nose.  You almost don’t want to tell him the rest, but figure it’s better that he hears it sooner rather than later.

“Also both lungs and a good portion of your stomach.”  

He lets out a short, choked sound.  A laugh—not a gesture made in good humor, but rather in disbelief .

“So what you’re saying is that I’m more machine than person.”

45% is less than half .  You know better than to say it out loud, though.

“You’re still Tenya Iida,” you offer, taking a seat beside him on the table, “still alive , and still human, regardless of how many other bits and bobbles you’ve got floating around in you.”

Iida exhales.  Then his eyes meet yours, his shock giving way to curiosity.

“And who are you?”  He asks, trying to swing his legs over to the side, grimacing when one of them doesn’t want to comply.  “Your voice…I’ve heard it before.”

You pause, chewing on your lip.  Then you smile, even though the muscles are out of practice.  Stiff, like a gear that’s rusted over.

“I’m a friend.  The one that put you back together and the one that’s gonna help you get back into the swing of things.”  You find the offending pin in his knee and pop it back in. “So just trust me for a little while, okay?”

Iida wasn’t completely ready.  Not yet. But he would be soon.

Chapter Text

His palm is cold beneath yours, but you can sense it thudding beneath the skin there. The warmth—the beginnings of spring just beginning to bud, lying in wait.

“Hold me tighter,” you say, and he complies without hesitation.  You tear your hand from his in favor of burrowing further into him, laying your head across his chest.  Shutting your eyes, you listen .  Hear the wind in his sighs, the rustling branches in his heartbeat, the falling snow in his wordlessness.

“I’m going to lose you soon.”

He tenses beneath you, breath hitching. A chill rises from his skin.

“Why?”  There’s a hint of hurt in his voice. “Have I ever left you when the seasons change?”

“No.  But you change.”  He turns his face away from you, lips pulled back in a tight frown.  You grab his chin and pull him back. “It’s true. If not with the spring, then with the summer.  Your eyes will go red and the snow will melt and the cool will give way to heat .”

He huffs, swiping at your hand.  You’ve upset him, you know. Pointing out truths like this, making him aware of the few things he still has no control over, tends to do that.

“I don’t choose to be this way.”

“I know.”

“Nature changes and I follow.”

“I know. And I love you as much in summer as I do in the winter. You’re full of energy—passion, strength…” You reach out for him again, relieved when he lets you rest your fingertips along his cheek, still cold.  “But I won’t be able to hold you like this—not without burning. So please, keep me close and let me enjoy what time I have.”

Todoroki is the type to cling to his frustration, let it fester before he releases it. Still, when you ask, he complies. His gaze softens and his hands find their place along your back.

You inhale, breathing in the remains of winter.  It’s fading, you know, but he is here.

Chapter Text

“One more step and your demon ass is gonna get blasted with enough holy water to literally cleanse the hell outta you.”

Was that an actual thing that was possible?  Probably not. Did that mean you weren’t gonna try?  Uh, absolutely not.

Neither of you moves for the longest time.  The entity—all-for-something or whatever (you hadn’t really been paying attention during his whole monologue) —begins to hover forward and you immediately pull the lever on your spray bottle.  The creature hisses when the stream of water hits him, and if he’d actually had a face , he might’ve looked irked. Like one of those ridiculous hairless cats with the rubber skin and the terrible personalities.

“I’m here to claim what is—“

“—you’re here for Tomura.  Yeah, I know. This is the third night in a row you’ve freakin’ fazed through the door at 3 AM.”  You sigh, lowering your spray bottle in favor of pinching the bridge of your nose between two fingers.  “Listen dude, the guy’s already got like, mad anxiety and all sorts of other family crap to deal with.  It’d be really nice if he didn’t have to worry about an actual potato trying to coerce him into some dark contract every night.”  

“It is not a contract .  He will serve as one of my thrall, agreement or not.”

You suck in a breath of air over your teeth and drag your hand down the side of your face.

Yeah , that’s really not gonna work.  See, I’m kinda trying to tap that,” you gesture over to the bed, where Shigaraki has (somehow) managed to keep his eyes glued to his GameBoy throughout the whole encounter, “and I can’t exactly do that if my man is in the underworld doing who-knows-what for you.”

There’s a tense silence.  The demon drifts forward a fraction of a centimeter and you ready your spray bottle again.  He flinches, backtracking. You half-think he’s going to try to dash past you, grab Tomura and bail, but then you hear a sound—something akin to a sigh —and his shoulders (if he even had shoulders beneath that sad excuse for a robe) slump.  He turns.

Tomura flips the creature off as he fazes through the door, still focused on his game, and youre pretty sure you’ve never wanted him more than you do in that moment.

Apparently , a couple demons wanted him too.

Mm, Hot .

Chapter Text

The rattling is what clues you in, tells you that something is wrong .  You can hear it, thin and glassy, but you can’t find where it’s coming from.  Not when you’ve got three different people talking to you at once.

“…so then Bakugo was all angry—but let’s be real, when isn’t he angry—and he told the sidekick to…” Kaminari rambles on and on, never noticing the way you’re not actually listening to him.  Your eyes dart from shelf to shelf, searching.

“Come on man,” Kirishima cuts in, “you’re forgetting to mention the fact that this dude literally called Bakugo ‘the human equivalent of a chihuahua.’  That pissed him off more than anything incompetent the guy actually did.”

“What does that even mean?”  Sero asks, taking another sip of his bubble tea.  “ ‘Human chihuahua?’ “

The rattling doesn’t stop, but you can’t actually see anything moving anywhere in the house, and now you’re about ready to yank your hair out in frustration.

“It means he’s rabid.  Like, actually a rage demon trapped in the body of a rat-dog.”

When you’re the only one that doesn’t snort at Kaminari’s less-than-scholarly explanation, the boys finally realize that you’re focused on something else entirely.  They just stare at you until you finally stop twisting and turning for long enough to address them.

“Do you hear something?”

But the question is pointless.  By the time you ask it, you’ve already figured it out.  The sound is above you.  You look up, see the edge of the stairs and the vase teetering dangerously close to the ledge.  

The orange paw, nudging it closer, closer until—

You shove Kirishima’s chest and he goes stumbling back in time to narrowly miss having ceramic shatter against the top of his head.  The two others in the room leap back about a foot at the deafening crash that echoes across the hardwood.

“What the crap?! ”  Denki shouts, clutching his chest.  

Sero recovers quicker.

“Why would you put a vase at the top of your staircase?”  He asks, scratching at the back of his head and looking up to the spot where it’d fallen from.

“I didn’t .”  You grit your teeth and step around the mess.

“Hey,” Kirishima follows the line of Sero’s eyes, “I didn’t know you had a cat.”

“I don’t.”  You say, sprinting up the stairs.  

The creature bolts, tail swishing like a pendulum.  But for once in your life, you’re faster than him—after all, you’re fueled by pure, unadulterated rage .  You catch up quick and scoop up the little hell-beast, one hand grabbing at the scruff on his neck as he yowls and struggles.  Kirishima, Sero, and Kaminari just watch as you mutter a stream of curses and stomp out your front door, slamming it behind you.

“What the hell , Neito?!”  You scowl when you get far enough away from the street to be inconspicuous .  

The creature in your arms stops fidgeting, looks up at you with wide grey eyes and face framed by about a metric ton of fluff.  You scoff at the tiny chirp he gives you, then let the muscles in your arm go loose—let the little pest go plummeting to the ground.

He lands on his feet, as usual.  Fur gives way to skin, claws to nails.  The eyes stay though, just as large and devilish as they always are.  For probably the hundredth time since you’d met him, you thank god that this whole thing isn’t like one of those trashy romance novels, the ones where the animal changes back into its human form as naked as the day it was born.

No with Monoma, you only had to worry about his trashy personality.

“Is that how you let down all cats?”  Monoma asks from his spot squatting atop the pavement, smoothing down a bit of blonde hair with the back of his hand.  His tee is about two sizes too big for him, and you have to wonder just where he’d stolen it from.  

“Only the ones that don’t know how to behave .”  You snap back.  “What were you thinking?  You could’ve seriously hurt someone!”

You can’t say you’re glad when he rises and towers over you, but having something human to direct your frustrations at certainly makes this whole affair feel a lot less like animal abuse.

“You were taking too long and I was hungry.”  His smirk tells you what you already know—he doesn’t feel the least bit guilty about what he’s done.

“Then go buy some food.  You can do that, you know.”

“With what money?”

“I don’t know !”  You pinch at the bridge of your nose, breathing .  “You never seemed to have trouble finding food before.  Lots of little old ladies like strays—go find one of them.”

“But none of them are you .”  Monoma purrs, leaning in just a bit.  Those eyes—those freakin’ beautiful eyes—fix on yours and sap the air from your lungs.

You try to say something, voice any of the millions of complaints floating around in your mind.  But you cant—the words die in your throat and when his gaze is on you like this, you can’t seem to speak, let alone chastise him.

“I have company over.”  You finally manage to get it out after what feels like an eternity of fighting.  Why was he so damn good as making your resolve just melt ?!

Please? ”  His voice rumbles, low and deep in his throat.  

A chill courses down your spine at the sound.  You chew on your lip.

“Give me an hour.”

He blinks slowly.  “You have ten minutes.”

You let out a frustrated huff of air through your nose.  Monoma’s lips twist further back, so far that you think they might split .

“Fine, but you owe me a new vase.”

Chapter Text

He looks human , you realize, and a tight, twisted feeling takes a hold of your gut.  You’d only ever shot beasts before—never men.

There’s nothing overtly monstrous about him.  The ash clings to his frame the same way it would to any other, staining him grey-blue in splotchy patches.  You see no horns hidden beneath the mess of pale hair atop his head, no spikes nor ridges trailing down the length of his back.  He’s extraordinarily ordinary , no different from any person you’d grown up with.

But then, you notice that some things are off. There’s the way the lava laps at his ankles, the way it doesn’t scorch him as it pools beneath his feet.  There are the embers clinging to his breath, hanging in the air surrounding him. Most jarring of all are the flames. They shoot forth from his palms, scorching the trunks of ancient trees, setting their leaves—still parched from the drought—ablaze.

They burn as easily as your village had when he’d come through.

The twist in your stomach loosens.  It’s released and becomes something hot , something that travels up to your head and makes your vision go red.

He hasn’t seen you yet—this is your only chance.  You notch an arrow and draw back the bowstring.

And he turns.  Although the fire roars around you, consuming anything and everything in its path, none of it burns quite as wildly as the blaze in his eyes.  Red and pulsing, they siphon oxygen from the air until it feels thin in your lungs.  Despite your breathlessness, your aim never strays.  The tip of your arrow remains directed at the soot-coated crest along his neck.

Then, he laughs .

“People really never learn.”  His lips pull back into a malicious sort of grin.  From the space between his teeth, you can see an orange-tinged glow.  It grows brighter, brighter— a trace of the fire raging in his chest, occupying the place where his heart should be.  “Come here to kill me then?”

Legends called Bakugo the “flamebringer.” A scourge on the forest.  A creature capable of leaving an inferno in the shape of his footsteps, setting entire cities ablaze in the span of minutes.  You’d seen the destruction he was capable of firsthand, seen the huts reduced to rubble and the charred bodies littering the ground.

You inhale, feeling the muscles in your arm begin to strain.

Bakugo huffs, and a new wave of cinders scatters across what used to be the forest floor.  Now, there are just pools of magma, inching outward with every second passed.

“Let me see you try.”

Chapter Text

“Ma’am, I’m sorry that you think your latte tasted, um…too much like coffee .”  Saying it out loud makes you feel physically ill .  “Would you like anything else?  I can—“

No .  I don’t want anything else.  I want what I ordered .  I want to watch you to make it again, correctly this time.”

It takes every ounce of effort to keep your mouth shut, to keep your jaw from hanging open at the insanity of the whole situation.

“Okay, but first, please help me to understand how I can help you better.  You ordered a latte.” You inhale. “A latte is espresso with steamed milk.  So it will taste like coffee.  Is that what you want ?”

“No, you aren’t listening to me.”  The woman scoffs.  “I want it without the coffee.”

You can already feel a new batch of brain cells dying.  Maybe if you stuck your head in a blender, you could get the rest of the day off.  Yeah, that was sounding like an awesome idea right now.

“You want a latte…without the coffee.”

“Yes.”

This was all sorts of messed up.  You just know that the coffee gods, wherever they are, are sobbing .

“So you want milk.  You came to a coffee shop and you don’t want coffee—you want me to charge you four dollars for a warm cup of milk.  Is that correct, ma’am?” It’s the wrong thing to say; you know that the second the words leave your mouth.  Still, you’d be lying if you said you didn’t take joy in the way her face contorts, the way it cycles through nearly every hue on the color wheel, all in the space of thirty seconds.

“Where is the manager?  I want to speak to your manager.”

Whelp, you’d seen that much coming.

“I own the store, ma’am.  I’m the boss.”

“Then let me speak to the building manager.”

Stupid really knew no bounds.

“That’s…ma’am, that isn’t how any of this works.”

“Call them.  Call them now because this is ridi—“

“Oh my god .”  A new voice, one you don’t recognize, groans.  You follow the sound to one of the tables and see a young woman—the only other person in the store—gripping at tufts of her own pink hair.  “You’re gonna leave a terrible yelp review, we get it, Deborah.  Please just do that and leave the rest of us in peace already.”

You shouldn’t laugh.  You really shouldn’t laugh.  It would be unprofessional and you were a business owner, and in a customer service profession, so you should be used to—

Screw professionalism.  You end of shoving your face into your sleeve and cackling like hyena.  The only downside is that you can’t see the “Deborah’s” face when she sees you do it.

“Before you say anything else,” pink-haired girl cuts in, you imagine to stop another bout of insanity before it begins, “let me offer you the answer to all your problems: there’s a doctor’s office down the block.  Check it out, because I think it’s about time you made an appointment to get that massive stick yanked out of your ass.”

You’re still laughing.  How could you not be?  Tears prick at the corners of your eyes, but you lift your head because that’s it —you need to see everything, to imprint that customer’s mortified expression into your grey matter.

Unfortunately, the terrible customer looks…unbothered by it all?  Not unbothered actually, but not necessarily angry either.  Her face is blank, like someone took a slider in a video game and set it to the most neutral setting available.  Without another word, she turns.  She doesn’t gripe at you, doesn’t demand snack vouchers or even an apology.  She just walks out the front door and leaves .

That’s a first.

“I’ve been trying to get her to leave for the past ten minutes.”  You say, finally getting your first good look at your savior.

And crap, she’s hella cute.  Wild pink hair tucked beneath a snapback.  A bomber jacket over a striped crop top, tight dark-wash jeans with a pair of white sneakers.  Is it weird to think the get-up suits her? After all, you’d never so much as seen her before, and now you were already…

She snickers, and you’re snapped from your moment of introspection.  

“I know—I was watching for a while.”

“You’ve gotta tell me how you did that, then.  Save me from suffering at the hands of another ‘Deborah.’”

Her grin widens, her eyes glistening as she takes on a playful tone of voice.  “I don’t know if I can do that.”

“Why not?”

“It’s a secret—dark magic and all that juicy stuff.”

“What a shame.  Here I was thinking you were here to save me from a life of customer service drudgery.”  You sigh, doing your best to seem disheartened. It’s difficult when she’s staring at you like this; you don’t think your act is all that convincing, considering the fact that you can’t stop smiling .

“Dammit, now I kinda feel bad.”  She leans back in her chair, fiddling with the brim of her cap.  “How about this: I’m gonna show you one trick, but it’s gotta stay our secret, ‘kay?”

“How could I ever refuse?”

The woman holds her hand out in front of it, flattening it like she’s carrying something in her palm.  Her mouth moves, but you can’t quite make out the words—they don’t seem like they’re in any language you know.  Then, she puckers her lips and…blows you a kiss? Her grin never fades, even when you raise an eyebrow.

Whatever snarky comment you were scheming up dies in your throat the moment something brushes against your cheek.  It’s light, so much so that for a second, you think you’ve imagined it. But then, there’s a warmth, one that seems to sink beneath your skin.  Your jaw feels like it’s buzzing. It’s nothing serious though, nothing uncomfortable.  More a persistent humming than anything else.  It can’t be your imagination either, because in it, there’s a rhythm—a name —echoing on repeat.

Mina .

Chapter Text

It hits the ground with a dull thump .  You see it fall, see the way its owner carries on with his heavy, uneven steps, never once noticing he’s missing anything.  

You’d like to think that you’re a good person.  You were never the sort to intentionally avoid doing a nice thing for anyone, even if they were a stranger.  Honestly though, this time it’s too much .  You’re planning out exactly how you’re going to feign ignorance, keep your eyes up and mind your own business.

Unfortunately, your conscience starts to get the better of you.

The sidewalk was narrow, so you were gonna have to walk past it eventually.  You’d dealt with nastier things in your life, and if worse came to worse, you could always just hold your breath.  Would it really take that much extra effort to just lean over and pick it up? To be a kind person and help out a man that was obviously struggling to do something as simple as walking without falling apart at the seams?

You groan when you reach the dropped…item and realize that your stupid sense of morality isn’t gonna let you just continue on your walk.  You plug your nose with two fingers and reach down to grab it.

Don’t look at it Don’t look at it . Don’t—

You’re dry-heaving the moment you scoop up the hand, the very instant that the fingers—icy and stiff—begin wiggling all on their own.

Being a good person sucked .

“Hey.”  You call over the pavement, suppressing the urge to gag when you feel some of the crustiest nails ever grazing your wrist.

He doesn’t turn, doesn’t even acknowledge that he knows you’re talking to him.  Which is, like, impossible, given the fact that literally nobody else is around.

“Hey, you!  Dude in the trench coat!”

This time, he stops.  Then he turns, and you begin to question every decision you’ve ever made to lead you to this point.

Walking dead— that’s what he looks like.  His skin is flaking away in thirty-seven different places, his jaw hanging low like he doesn’t have the strength to keep it shut.  You’d say that his eyes—pale and empty and unnerving as they fall on you—are the most difficult thing to stomach.  But that’d be a lie. The man was a monstrosity from head to toe.

And now you had his undivided attention.

You inhale, and you can practically taste the stench of death clinging to the air.  Holding your breath, you raise the limb in your palm, very aware of the way it writhes even more beneath his gaze.

“Need a hand?”

Chapter Text

“Tell me how old you are.”

It’s not a question, so much as a demand.

“That’s a dangerous thing to ask, little one.”  He says, eyes drifting down to yours. They harbor knowledge, the wisdom that comes with many lifetimes—secrets you know he’ll never share.  Not willingly , at least.

You bristle at the nickname. “Little one.” He knows you absolutely loathe it, the way it makes you feel like a child. Knowing him, that’s probably the reason he’d chosen to use it in the first place.  He did it for the same reason he always resorted to using the same patronizing tone whenever you became too curious for his liking.  It was meant to serve as a reminder that you were not, in fact, like him.

As if you didn’t already know that much. As if you didn’t wake up and think about that fact every time you saw him lying beside you, every time you studied his face, lost in sleep, and wondered how many others there’d been before you.  How many people he’d shared a bed with. How many people he’d loved .

“Good thing I’m not asking.”  You huff, resting your head into the dip of his shoulder.  “You know everything about everything —things that could start wars, topple civilizations—yet you still refuse to tell me something as meaningless as your age .”

“If it’s meaningless, then why do you want to know so badly?”

“Because I know nothing about you, Shota.  Because any time I ask anything, you get all cryptic.”

Knowing never changes anything.”

You scoff.  “See what I mean?  You sound like you’re reading from a fortune cookie.”

The silence that follows is familiar, too familiar to be uncomfortable . Still, you’d be lying if you said it didn’t make you seethe, just a bit.  He always did this when he was done with questions.

You weren’t though.

“Do you like it?”  You prod, ever defiant. “Being the way you are?”

“ ‘The way I am?’ “

“You know what I mean.  Immortal .”

He rolls his eyes and shoves your head off of his shoulder. You make an irritated sound which he promptly ignores as he turns onto his side, leaving you speaking to his back.

“I hate that word.”

Your irritation gets the better of you, and you press on.

“Would you prefer the word ‘ everlasting?’  Imperishable?’ ‘Undying—‘“

“I’d prefer it if you’d just shut up and go to sleep already.” There’s a finality in his words—not so much a request as a demand.   

There are other things in them too, things hidden in the cracks of that unbothered facade he likes to put up.  There’s exhaustion. Frustration. An unspoken resignation as well as the deliberate decision not to address the source of it all.

Which makes sense, really. At least, it does when you take five seconds to think past your own damn curiosity and consider his side of things.

He was stuck in one spot. Never growing, never changing. Forced to sit back and watch as the same narrative played out over and over again with a million different people. Never once being able to participate, to be a character in his own story.  When everyone else lived and died in the time it took for him to blink , how could anything he did ever matter ?

“I’m sorry.”  You say, the words brittle and muttered in a rush. Teasing was one thing—you never sought to intentionally upset him. “Sometimes I forget that it isn’t a choice.”

Aizawa exhales once, heavily, and his form shifts with the weight of it.

“It’s fine.”  He sighs. “If I really wanted to, I could end it.  Find a witch somewhere and ask them to let me finally rest .”

A numb, fuzzy feeling seeps into your skull at the confession. “ Rest. ”  You know what that word really means.

“Why don’t you?”  You’re not even sure you want to know the answer. Still, the question seems almost compulsory at this point.

He doesn’t speak for a long while after that. You can’t be sure it isn’t because you’ve managed to aggravate him again, what with your incessant badgering.  You’re already planning out five different ways to apologize when he turns to face you.

His dark eyes meet yours again. They seem wise, yes.  Tired too. But there’s no irritation lingering in his gaze, only a pensive sort of look that morphs into something else the longer you stare—something more akin to fondness. Attachment .

Love.

Then, he speaks.

“I always find some reason to stay a little bit longer.”

Chapter Text

You’re not too cold—you can’t be when you’ve got a layer of moss laid over you, warming you better than any blanket ever could.  Still, you notice an absence, a person that’s no longer at your side.  And even though you could very well stay as you are, curled up, napping through the entire morning, you don’t.  You sit up and blink away the bleariness along with a bit of frost that must’ve formed along your eyelashes as you’d slept.

When your vision clears and you look further into the forest clearing, you notice her.  The snow is patchy along the ground—the brief storm last night hadn’t been intense enough to leave much more than a single thin sheet in its wake—and you see the way her bare feet sink straight through it, making contact with the brown earth below.  She’s seemingly unbothered by the chill that clings to the air, squatting down low, examining something you can’t quite see.  

It’s in moments like these, moments where she doesn’t know you’re watching, that you can’t help but admire how beautiful she really is.

Her hair is as dark as a night with no stars, but it always seems to have something colorful woven into it.  A branch of holly in the wintertime.  A bundle of bright yellow flowers in spring, a cluster of leaves from her favorite tree in the summer.  On this crisp autumn morning though, you’ve managed to catch her before she’s readied herself. Her hair isn’t braided, as it usually is.  It isn’t decorated with orange leaves or a woven circlet of twigs. Instead, it hangs along her back, clinging to it the way the morning dew might cling to the grass.  It’s so long that it gathers along the ground beside her feet.

You’re about to rise, to walk over and greet her, when she twists her head just enough to see you out of the corner of her eye.  A rosy flush crosses her cheeks as she stands to her full height and turns to face you. When she does, you can see that she’s got a small pile of dirt gathered in her cupped palms.

You open your mouth to question her, but she quickly shakes her head.  You obey the unspoken request and remain silent, watching as Yaoyorozu lifts her hands close to her face.  

She exhales.  The mist from her breath curls around her fingers, fading when it travels too far from its source.  Then, she repeats the action. The second time, the earth in her fingers rises with the air, flecks of brown dissolving into nothing piece by piece until all that remains in her palms is a small rabbit with fluffy white fur.  

“It was time for a new coat.”  Yaoyorozu says, almost a whisper.  She peers down at the creature in her grip, running her thumbs down its sides.  “It’s almost winter.”

“It is,” you agree, more-than-pleased when the goddess lifts her eyes to look at you, “and it’s awfully chilly over here without you.”  You purse your lips and let your moss cover fall away from your chest as you stretch your arms out to her. “Be my coat?”

The pink returns to her cheeks as she shakes her head again.  Still, she can’t hide her smile when she leans over and releases the rabbit from her grip.