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Coming of a New Dawn

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Screaming. There was so much screaming. He hunched over as bile forced its way through his throat. Senses were assaulting from all directions. Make it stop. Please! He pleaded to no one in particular. He opened his dry throat but he could other nothing but a silent cry. He blinked away the tears stinging his eyes. The once beautiful land he grew on lay barren before him. Fire danced across the surface. He remembered thinking how something could be so beautiful yet so destructive. The embers licked at the bodies of his comrades, his enemies and the innocent. A sickening roar bellowed across the battlefield, shaking the boy to his core. Well, technically he wasn't a boy anymore, he was reaching a thousand years old but he still looked the same since the day he was fourteen. He tried keeping his youthful innocence with him even after all these years of war and bloodshed. A shrill cry shook him out of his paralysis. He watched as his friend soared over the land and over to the monster, the cause of it all.

Blue fire spewed from her mouth in her onslaught. The monster, though he would hardly call it one, shrieked in pain and made his ears bleed. It was too heartless to be given an acronym of a living thing. He decided to settle for the term 'demon' which seemed very fitting for this moment. The demon lifted a heavily deformed arm and swatted at the bird. Even from this distance, he could hear the crunch of bones being shattered from the impact the body suffered. The boy covered his head in reflex as the large body shot back and crashed into the ground. His friend wheezed as she shifted back painfully. "Get up!" She shouted over the battle cries of the people on their side and the inhuman sounds of the monsters on the other.

"Shit! You're bleeding!" She cursed. "Xera come here!" The girl shouted again, this time to their other friend who was busy healing the wounded. The boy watched as blood drained from his friend's face from one glance at his wound. To be fair, he didn't know he was wounded at all. He was known for having the highest pain tolerance in their group. Adrenaline was keeping whatever major pain he was in at bay at this point. The boy looked down at his wound. There was a hole tearing through his stomach and strangely enough, he wasn't healing. This had never happened to him before.

"H-He's too far gone. I can't heal him I'm sorry," Xera didn't know how to break the news to the girl. She was the closest to the boy in their group.

She shook her head vigorously in disbelief and tried to shut out the sound of metal upon metal. She rubbed her palms together. A soft green flame glowed dimly in her hands.

"Stop! You can't!" The boy desperately pushed her away. The green flames dissipated immediately.

"You can't risk healing others at this point! Not when the injuries are just going to be transferred to yourself! I'll be fine I promise!" He flailed his arms about. He saw the glance of doubt being transferred from the two shifters in front of him. They had no more precious time to waste. The numbers on their side were dwindling. Fast. He pulled them into a tight hug. 

"Let's go travelling around the world when we're done with this okay? Just the three of us. Maybe if we're lucky, the other two will join us too!" He chuckled as he released them. He got up and stretched himself, sucking in a breath as pain erupted through his body. Dark spots were already beginning to fill his vision. He had to get this done with as soon as possible. Powerful green wings carried him into the air as he roared a cry of his own at the demon.

The fight as a gruesome one but their attacks were finally doing damage to the behemoth of a creature. He swore to himself that he would never fight something like this ever again if he could help it. But when innocents were involved, he didn't have the heart in him to deprive them of his help.

A final attack blew him back to the ground. All of his strength had left him. He could only watch as his friend summoned a powerful sealing spell onto the demon. She had always been strong, even if she was scared shitless on the inside, and he respected her for that. So seeing her still have the strength in her to cast that kind of high-tiered spell didn't take him by surprise but he was filled with a warm feeling of respect and awe even if he already lost feeling in his lower body.

 

She did it! She saved them! The hollow eyes of the demon sent shivers down her spine even though she knew it would not move again, for all eternity. A sudden jolt coursed through her body and she raced to her friend whom she saw got blown back by that shockwave. She could save him! She knew she could!

The girl's knees buckled under her the moment she saw the life fading from her friend's beautiful green eyes. She tried to summon the healing flames again but no matter how hard she tried, she was too weak to produce a flame of any kind. A spell like that shouldn't have taken that much energy away from her! It was impossible! She had cast spells that were of much higher caliber before, so why couldn't she do such a basic spell now?

She squeezed her friend's hands tightly, silently hoping the pain would be enough to keep him from slipping away. 

"Hey... it's okay. I'm going to be okay," he forced a weak smile and cupped her cheek with a hand. The baseless reassurance only proved to tear her heart apart. He sounded too weak, way too weak.

"Swear on your dragon that you'll take care of yourself okay?" He coughed as he leaned back down.

Fuyu watched as he closed his eyes and took in one last labored breath. She caught hold of the hand that was already starting to turn cold before it had the chance to fall back down. Xera was a man of few expressions, but she knew the painful silence screamed his grief.

"I swear."

Chapter Text

Distant chattering was all he could hear from this distance, not even his superior hearing granted to him by his powerful blood could help him. His eyesight though, despite at a young age, was well-developed and good enough to help him see what was going on in the village from his hiding spot. Why was he hiding? That question was something he himself did not understand, but his mother's word was gospel and he had to obey it. Although he did manage to sneak away from his mother when they went out on their morning stroll. She never said that sneaking off wasn't allowed, so it was okay. Right? For a few minutes he observed the children throwing and kicking a round object amongst themselves. What's so nice about doing that simple action over and over? he wondered to himself. But after observing longer, he figured that it began to look fun to him too, since the children were laughing gleefully and seemed to be in high spirits. Or at least until a boy decided to forcefully try to take the round object from another.

"What do you think you're doing huh?" The victim snarled and bared his teeth at the boy,loud enough for the hiding boy to hear, and tightened his grip around the ball. The boy in hiding found himself coming out of his hiding spot when he laid eyes on the eyes of the other. They reminded him of the stones his mother would bring back home for decoration. Rubies, she called them. He managed to stop himself in time though. Even if his mother hadn't told him what would happen to him if the people in the village found him, he did not want to find out. Ruby, he decided to name the boy, raised his fist and struck the other boy, knocking him to the ground. He flinched in his hiding spot, that must have really hurt. The cheek of the boy on the ground was starting to bruise while the struck boy laid stunned. "Not so tough now that you got your ass beat are you?!" He shouted. The boy on the ground seemed to be saying something but he was too far away. He sighed and slowly got up from his hiding place, careful to not attract any attention. He quickly scanned the area and tried to find a closer place that allowed him to hear what was happening at the moment. He managed to find a place in time and settled down just as a fight broke out between the two boys.

The other boy seemed older and bigger than Ruby, but Ruby had no trouble beating him to the ground again. He noticed blood dripping down Ruby's fist and almost dashed out to inspect his injuries but caught himself, again. He didn't know why but he felt simply felt compelled. "That's not very nice," he muttered to himself. "Right?" A voice whispered near him. He yelped and whipped around so fast but regretted that decision instantly as he placed a hand over his sprained neck and another hand that was covering his mouth.

 * * *

The sound called him out from his pummeling. His head snapped to the source of the sound but saw nothing but shrubbery. That action was a mistake though, but his reflexes saved him from getting punched by the boy who had the audacity to try to take his ball away from him. He wouldn't allow someone as great as himself to be injured by some weakling. That would be an insult to his name. He growled and resumed teaching that nuisance a lesson.

 * * *

"Sorry for scaring you there, little buddy. But are you Izuku?" The source of the voice asked and slowly removed her hand from his mouth to allow him to speak. Taking some time to recover from the shock, he took in a deep breath and nodded. He took a good look at the girl before him. She didn't seem that much older but the air around her gave off the feeling that she was much older than she looked, not to mention oddly familiar. He thought his hiding was perfect since his hair practically blended in with the bushes, so how did she find him? "Well, Izuku, do you know what else isn't nice?" She asked. Izuku swore he could glimpse razor sharp canines but he couldn't be certain. He gulped, giving her the sign to continue. "It's making your mother worry. She's looking for you everywhere y'know," the girl continued. Sunlight that managed to escape and pierce through the canopy of the trees made her hair shine bronze and her brown eyes the colour of pure copper. He knew this because they were the two things that his mother would collect the most. 

"Copper," he blurted and slapped his hand over his mouth. The girl laughed and got up, giving her hand to him. "Come on, let's go look for your mom." He nodded. Giving a quick glance back to the village, he sighed. He hoped he could see Ruby again but after making his mother worries, he doubt that would happen anytime soon. He took hold of the girl's hand and followed her back into the woods.

 * * *

"-you should really stop beating other people up. How are you gonna make friends like this? Look! The other kids are terrified of you. Hey, Bakugou brat are you listening to me?!" His mother's shrill voice and a sharp yank on his ear brought his attention back to her. He snarled at her and rubbed his abused ear. If she hadn't interrupted, he could've had a good glimpse at the boy he thought he saw turn around before going into the woods but no, his unbelievable mother chose the worst possible timing to make sure he was listening. "It's not my fault that he's weak and got beaten by someone younger than him. I don't care about friends. I don't need them," he growled. They aren't worthy of him anyway. Someday, he pledged, he would marry the strongest of them all, gender wasn't much of an issue for him.

"Don't growl at me I'm your mother," she growled back, displaying her growing canines. When his mother got really angry, Katsuki noted, the lioness in her would take the opportunity to surface. And when it did, Katsuki didn't want to bear the wrath of it. Over his dead body. Looking down to the ground in defeat, he pushed pass his mother and made his way back to the comfort of his home. After all, what could a four year old boy do against a Hunter that had the blood of a lioness shapeshifter coursing through her veins? From previous experience, nothing at all. Thinking back to the wicked smile on his mother's face as he was being taught a lesson, he shuddered. As much as he took pride in his mother being one of the strongest warriors of their village, it wasn't a good thing too.

 * * *

"So, what were you doing back there? Saw someone you like?" The girl teased. Izuku didn't know why but he blushed at the comment when a pair of bright red eyes flashed in his mind. "N-Not someone but something," he muttered. 

"What?" The girl raised her eyebrows. She figured that this boy was very interesting indeed. She couldn't help but feel a stab of disappointment too. If he loved someone, or in this case as he claims, something, who was she to deny him of it. "Nothing! I said I was curious about the village," he laughed nervously. "My mother told me not to go there but she didn't tell me why so I decided to see for myself." He continued. The girl sighed and looked away, occasionally tilting her head up to sniff the air he noticed. Scared that he had disappointed Copper, he called her, he quickly asked,"Um, how do you plan to find my mom? Knowing her she could be anywhere by now..." He trailed off, feeling guilty. 

"You knew that and still chose to run off?" She laughed. "I'm finding her the way I found you. By smell," she answered matter-of-factly, pointing to her nose. Copper suddenly stopped and squatted down at eye-level. Izuku jumped at the sudden motion. He couldn't help but feel on edge when Copper moved.

"Well it seems that I've found your mom. You see? No biggie. Before I go though, I need you to promise me something alright? Promise that you'll take care of your mom. I know that life hasn't been good to you in your four years of being alive but trust me, it will always get better. Even if it's just one good day out of so many bad days, it's something to look forward to. You need your mother and your mother needs you. All you guys have is each other. Also promise me that you won't worry your mother again okay?" She smiled softly. Izuku didn't know why but tears fell down his cheeks. His heart hurt too. It was a feeling he was too young to comprehend at that time. He hiccuped and nodded. "Swear on your dragon that you'll take care of yourself okay?" She asked, offering him her pinkie. He didn't know what 'swearing on your dragon' meant but he knew what a pinkie promise was so that was what he did. 

"Alright then, your mother is a little ways off in this direction, so you'll meet her after you run a bit," Copper ruffled his hair as she stood up. She wiped a tear away and nudged him gently into said direction. Eager to see his mother, he began running.

"One more thing!" She called out. " There's a gift waiting for you at your doorstep! It's not much but y'know! And if you ever need me, just call me and I'll be there!" She shouted but the boy was already too far to hear the last part. After the boy was far away from her sight, a bitter taste filled her mouth. The exact same name huh, what kind of sick joke is this? She grit her teeth and slammed her fist into the nearest tree.

* * *

It took him awhile to find his mother and he wondered how Copper could smell her from this far away. Even his mother's sense of smell wasn't that good. When mother and son spotted each other, tears shot out of their eyes like geysers. "Izuku where have you been? I've been looking for you everywhere!" Midoriya Inko swept her only son into her arms and rubbed him against her cheek. "I-I'm sorry. I just wanted to see the human village," he hiccuped. "The village?! Oh Midoriya Izuku promise me you won't do it again!" She scolded. "I swear on my dragon!" Izuku said hastily. He did not like seeing his mother angry, nor did he like seeing the way his mother paled at what he said.

"Did I say something wrong, mother?" He gulped. What if Copper had taught him a bad word? He wouldn't be left out of his house for the rest of his life! "Wh-Who taught you that?" Inko smiled nervously. "Copper taught me that. Oh! She's the one who brought me back," he replied in all his child-like innocence. "Although that's not her real name though. She seemed to let me call her that because her hair looked like bronze while her eyes shone like pure copper in the sun. You should've seen her! You would've loved her! But I never asked for her name... I hope she doesn't find me rude..." he rambled on. Inko did her best to shake the uneasy feeling away. Her baby was back safe and sound, and that was all that mattered.

"Thank you so much, Guardian of the Woods," she whispered to the wind. As if in reply, a small gust of warm wind blew past the two, sending shivers down Inko's spine. She decided that it was time to go home and give Izuku another talk about wandering off and scaring her to death. When she reached their doorstep with a sleeping Izuku in her arms however, she noticed something glimmering on the ground.

Curious, she bent down slowly to pick it up but recoiled when her fingers were shocked by a small static of electricity. "Ow!" She yelped. Izuku drowsily opened his eyes and saw the object. He perked up instantly and struggled in Inko's grasp until he was put down. "Copper really left a gift as she said she would!" He said excitedly as he reached for it before Inko could stop him. Strangely enough, he did not seem to be affected and inspected the object in his hand. Magic, she instantly realised.

"It's a gem!" He exclaimed, more excited by the fact that he had a gem of his own now. Inko opened the door while she used his hand to see what gem it was. "Oh, lucky you honey. It's fluorite!" She smiled. It seemed to her that her son has a guardian watching over him after all they've been through. As night fell, one household had their annual screaming and shouting competition between mother and son as the father nonchalantly continued eating his meal, his ears saved of the noise with the help of a noise-reducing spell while the other household already ate their dinner and were preparing for bed.

"Mom can you tell me the fairy tale about our Guardians again?" Izuku squirmed in excitement as he was being bundled up in his blanket. 

"Of course, honey. Anything for you," Inko smiled, tickling his chin.

"Well,once upon a time, thousands of years ago," she started,"there used to be a village not too far from here. The villagers were thought to be blessed by the gods indeed. They were beautiful and very talented, both in terms of skill and mind. Many across the kingdom would travel to the village to catch a glimpse of its beautiful inhabitants-" "And with them brought trade and treasure alike!" Izuku piped. Inko laughed and absent-mindedly combed his hair as she continued. "Yes, but another village that lived near this village was filled with jealously. They were on bad terms with each other and this only made their relationship worse. So one night the elders of that village got together and schemed. They summoned the presence of a god in one of the elders. They demanded that the god curse the village. The god agreed, but only if a human sacrifice was given. As crafty as they were, the elders were not going to give one of their own in the expense of the other village. The next day, they sent out their most skilled hunter to follow a family. He waited until night came to kill the family, sneaking into their house and killed all but one. And thus the poor girl was burned at the stake and the curse was cast.

The first shift happened out of nowhere. Everyone started noticing something off with their bones. They were changing in size and moving about in their body while their skin crawled with energy. As the price for having one of their own sacrificed, they did not suffer from the pain of their shift. The forms of the villagers ranged from the smallest of birds to the largest of animals. Little did they know, their jealous neighbours saw this opportunity to tell the king about the village of demons. The king was a proud man, and he believed that he did not want to waste his precious time on mere villagers, so he sent out his best soldiers to get this issue solved quickly. 

Everyone would've been killed in the attack, if not for the five strongest fighters who protected what was left and stopped the attack. Deciding that the village was no longer a safe place to stay, the rest of the villagers left to live on their own. The five villagers made a pact and left to the four farthest corners of the kingdom while the last decided to stay near the remains of the village, to watch over any of the shapeshifters who asked for their aid. And that's the story of the five Guardians. The end." Inko ended.

"It was sad what happened to the girl and her family," Izuku whispered, startling Inko. Normally he would be asleep by now. "Yes it was,"she agreed. "What did she look like, mom?" He asked. Inko rubbed her chin, trying hard to recall what her grandmother had told her many years ago.

"Some say that she was no older than twenty, and that her hair was more pure and rich than the purest bronze, and her eyes were the most beautiful shade of brown,"she recalled. A shiver ran down Izuku's spine. Copper can't be her right? The girl is dead after all, he thought and shook his head violently to dismiss those thoughts. Feeling sleep steadily creeping in, he quickly asked,"What forms did the Guardians have?"

"There was a wolf the colour of ash and could run as fast as the wind. A leopard that moved so gracefully, you would have mistook her for water. A deer whose antlers branched out like the branches of the yggdrasil tree. A dragon who was smarter than anything and last but not least, a phoenix who could heal any injury." Inko replied. She heard soft breathing and sure enough, Izuku had fallen asleep. "I'm gonna find them someday," he mumbled as he turned to switch sides.

"Don't worry," Inko whispered. "By the looks of it, you've already met one."

Chapter Text

"Come on honey! Don't let an elderly woman like myself beat you!" Inko laughed warmly after seeing her son trying to carry the same amount of fire wood as her for their home. "Says the one who has the strength of a dragon helping her," Izuku muttered under his breath. Normally a shapeshifter first shifts at the end of their fourth year, and the shift comes naturally. Izuku however, belonged to that ten percent of shapeshifters who fail to shift. This happens when a shapeshifter marries a human, or, in Izuku's case, the animal that resides in his body has deemed him unworthy to lend its strength. When this case occurs, most shapeshifters spend the rest of their lives as a normal human being apart from the heightened senses. That miniscule percentage that remains belongs to the group that as they mature and grow throughout their long lifetime, the animal spirit has finally decided that the vessel is worthy of being used.

And because of this terribly small percentage, Izuku had not given up hope just yet. "I heard you!" Inko shouted over her shoulder as she lifted even more logs into her arms. "I know you can, that's why I said it," Izuku stuck out his tongue at her. She playfully chucked the log she was holding in her hand at him and walked off to the direction of their house. Izuku picked the log off the ground with a sigh. One reason being he was tired from cutting firewood and transporting them to the house over and over since he couldn't carry as much as his mother could. Another reason being because he reminded himself again of the fact that he had not seen Copper nor Ruby since the last encounter ten years ago. I must've messed up big time, he groaned inwardly. 

Struggling with one hand, he tucked the fluorite necklace he made for himself, since his mother couldn't do it, back into his shirt and followed after his mother. They didn't have to worry about anything out here. It was generally peaceful and the only thing that came and went were the seasons and the animals and shapeshifters that came with it. Speaking of which-

"Need any help boy?" The friendly shapeshifter called out. The man was a dragon shifter like them too. He didn't have a permanent home like them but instead he would simply shift and sleep wherever he deemed fit in the area. Izuku sometimes wondered why there was another dragon shifter with them. His mother would explain that shifters who had similar forms had a tendency to live together. Dragons weren't as rare as humans or Hunters expected them to be. They just didn't like to show themselves.

"Ah! It's fine mister! Thank you!" Izuku replied and waved the shifter goodbye.

It was autumn now, the leaves were beginning to turn yellow and the ground was blanketed in an array of yellow and red. A shiver went down Izuku's spine. Something felt off today and it made him particularly on edge, as if something was going to happen soon. "Oi! Don't go too far brat! I might be with you but if you anger the Guardian, I won't be able to save your sorry ass," a voice was carried by the wind to Izuku's ears.

He almost dropped the logs in shock. No human ever ventured this far into the woods. He steadied himself, even if there were humans here, they were a distance away so he had time to warn his mother and think of their next course of action. The mister he saw earlier on was strong enough to take care of himself. "Mom!" He called as he opened the door. "What are you doing?" Izuku blanked. Inko had an axe in her hands and her skin already had a thin layer of dark green scales covering them.

"You heard them too?" She asked, putting the scales and axe away as her son continued to keep away the fire wood as if nothing had happened. His mother was easily spooked after all. One time his mother threatened to set him on fire through the door when he came back after sunset and was mistaken for a human who had wandered too far into the woods. So technically speaking, coming face-to-face with a dragon shifter in mid-shift holding an axe was nothing compared to being set on fire. He did not want to be like the girl who was burned to death in the fairy tale. It sounded like a bad way to go. The feeling of your flesh being burned away and eaten by the flames as you can't do anything but scream until you're nothing but ashes didn't sit well with him.

"Yes. To be more specific, the voice of a woman. Maybe I could've hurt more if I tried but I rushed back here," he replied. "So what do we do?" Izuku enquired, closing the the chest that held the fire wood. 

"I don't even know what you want to find here? We're in the middle of fucking nowhere!" The woman's voice came again, and she sounded angry. "Oh I don't know?! Maybe a fucking boar or a bear? Maybe the Guardian so I can kick their fucking ass?" Then came a young male's voice, followed by a hard 'thwack' and a loud 'OW YOU FUCKING H-" "Watch your fucking language punk." 

"They're approaching," she noted quite obviously. "Yep, shall we go?" Izuku popped the 'p' as he replied. He twirled the fluorite between his fingers nervously. Noticing her son's anxiousness, she reached over and slowly swipped her finger across one of his furrowed eyebrows in assurance that only a mother could give. He grabbed her wrist and smiled in return. He had done his best to keep to the promise Copper made him make and took care of the both of them to the best of his ability. He would leave early in the morning to look for food and herbs, only to return before sunset to help prepare the food.

His father was never in his life. When he asked Inko about it she would become uncomfortable, so Izuku stopped asking her about it, even though the thought would keep him up at night. He would find himself thinking if the cause of his father's absence was due to the fact that he could not shift, but all his concerns would fade when he would hear the quiet sniffings of his mother as they slept. So until he became independent, Izuku figured, he would be there for his mother until he was certain he was no longer needed.

But now, when faced with potential danger, Izuku was at a crossroad. He could confront the humans, pray to his lucky stars and the Guardian that he would best them, or leave everything behind and find a new home with his mother. "Oh Guardian tell me what I should do," he silently prayed. A deep roar resonated through the woods, echoing for what seemed miles and miles. The Midoriyas perked up in attention, pupils narrowed as they waited for something to happen. The roar sounded a few more times, each time getting closer to where they were. At once, his anxiety disappeared and was filled with a sense of peace. The rapid beating of his heart calmed down almost immediately. He had got the answer he needed. He was to stay put with his mother in the protection of their house.

The voices began to fade into the distance as the roars continued. Izuku figured that the roars stopped once the humans were out of the woods. "Well that was close," Izuku breathed out a sigh of relief. His mother and him could be in peace once more. But his peaceful days were popped in the most brutal way he could ever imagine.

 * * *

"Wh-Who are you?" Izuku gulped, hands up in surrender as his body was pinned to the ground and a dagger pressed against his neck. "I should be the one asking you that, chucklefuck," the assailant growled. He was the one that got close to their home that night! Izuku paled. He squeaked as he felt the dagger press harder. Daring himself to open his eyes, he found himself staring into the same ruby eyes he saw all those years ago. This time, he had a closer look. Sandy blonde hair nearly covered the ruby eyes and unlike Izuku's curly hair, Ruby's hair resembled spikes that grew in every direction. Izuku was reminded of the lone wolf who would occasionally pass by his home during winter to be given scraps by his mother.

Izuku tilted his head in wonder. Catching himself and snapping out of his thoughts, his cheeks burned in embarrassment. In his shock and from the sudden adrenalin, he threw the bigger boy off him and scuttled a few feet back. 

 * * *

Bakugou Katsuki managed to sneak off from his village a few days after his mother dragged him back from the woods seconds after they heard the roar that night. It was the first time he had seen his mother this scared. If he could come back with evidence that he had killed the creature that made his mother scared shitless, he would be hailed as a hero. Maybe then he would be allowed to travel to the capital and serve under the king. No one in his village had ever done it before, so he decided he was going to the only one to make it that far.

He walked back to the place he hoped was where he and his mother were a few nights ago. Before he could even advance forward to discover even more about this unknown territory, his eyes caught a glimpse of white in the distance. A calloused hand flew to his dagger as he sprinted forward, lunging at the figure before it had the time to react. Using his bulk and the muscles he gained from years of training, he tackled the figure to the ground. "Just a fucking human," he spat. Before he could chew the boy's head off for staring and making him very uncomfortable, Katsuki found himself being thrown to the ground.

"What the fuck?" He growled, rolling back up. 

 * * *

"Please don't come near me," Izuku whimpered. He rolled into a ball instinctively and covered his face with his hands. He spent every season watching the neighbouring squirrels curl into a ball as they slept so he hoped he was doing it right. If he tried he could tuck his head into the over sized shirt he was wearing. The footsteps continued to move forward and he shot back a few more feet. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" Ruby growled. "I-I-I-"

"I-I-I- What? What are you now, a fucking fox?" 

"N-No! I-I've never talked to a human before so I don't know what to do..." Izuku trailed off and curled tighter into his ball. If he could shift he would fly away this instant. A hand was yanked back so roughly he thought it was going to get ripped off. "Hah?" Ruby shouted. Shaken, tears started pouring out of his eyes. The grip on his hand leasened slightly but that was enough for Izuku to free himself from the iron grip.

He held out his hands in surrender and tucked his head between his knees. "Please don't hurt me," he whispered.

 * * *

What was this guy on about? Katsuki wondered. He was certain he didn't grip that hard. It wasn't his fault this boy's wrist was so thin he could wrap around it easily. Seeing his curled up, shaking form, Katsuki took note of the forest green curls that made up the boy's head and the scars that littered his hands. The boy certainly didn't seem to be well-fed and he could certainly have more muscle on him but he was all skin and bones. Katsuki instantly wondered if he was being abused at home. Why else would a weakling like him be out here this far with that creature lurking about?

"Is everything alright?" The boy dared to peek from behind his knees. Katsuki was taken aback by how green his eyes were. They reminded him of the peridots that decorated his village's weapons and jewellery. He snarled his teeth at the boy, feeling satisfied as he watched the boy hide again behind his knees. 

 * * *

Noticing the state of his shirt, Izuku almost fainted, the fear he was feeling gone. "Oh you can't be serious. Mom is going to set me on fire for real this time," Izuku groaned.

 * * *

Fire? What did he mean set him on fire? Katsuki paused. 

* * *

Izuku inspected his shirt. If he could make a rush for the stream now, he would be able to wash the dirt off in time to not see a speck. Today was the wrong day to wear a white shirt. "Or is she going to chop me up with that axe?" He wondered aloud. "Is she going to make me hunt for food the whole day? What if she sends me far away to look for cotton plants? Would I have to go shirtless for the winter? Not that that would be anything new-" Izuku rambled, clearly ignoring the presence of his steadily getting worried assailant.

"Okay it's decided!" Izuku concluded. The boy beside him subtly flinched at the sudden loudness. Izuku stood up and reached his hands over his back to remove his shirt. He didn't want to make it dirtier, or his mother was really going to skin him.

 * * *

"OI OI WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING YOU DUMBASS?!" Katsuki yelled. This boy went from one end of the spectrum to the other in seconds. He clearly did not expect him to start undressing after talking about what seemed to be torture methods. The boy jumped out of his skin, he must've forgotten Katsuki was there and this got his blood rising. "Oh um, I'm going to go wash my shirt?" The boy's cheeks grew even redder and attempted to cover his chest with his dirty shirt. "And where do you think you're gonna do that?" Katsuki scoffed.

"By the stream up ahead?" He replied. This boy was really rubbing him the wrong way and he did not appreciate it one bit. "The hell if I care," Katsuki clicked his tongue and began to walk back.

 * * *

Izuku began to worry that he had done something to piss the taller boy off. Before he knew it, his body shot forward and he grabbed hold onto the boy's hand. He instantly flinched back as if he had been burned. "I-I'm sorry if I've done something to make you angry but I hope you have a safe trip back. The village isn't really close to here," he ended with a bow and took off, leaving the boy speechless.

 * * *

Katsuki held himself back from calling after the boy. There was a big ugly scar on his back too. Maybe he should have suggested to the strange boy to come back with him. He looked down at the palm that was held not too long ago before continuing back home. He made it back to his home before nightfall but even that didn't save him from his mother's wrath. "Where the hell did you go? Your father and I were worried sick! Oh hell no you better not tell me you went back to that god-forsaken place?!" Mitsuki had every right to be worried, especially after hearing that thing, who wouldn't be.

"Oh please! Get off my fucking back. We would have to go back in eventually. In fact, I'm going back in a week!" He snarled. He saw his parents exchange glances. "Son, you mean you plan to go to the woods for your Hunt? Are you sure about this?" His father asked gently.

"Of course I am! If I hunted down that thing we heard that night, I would be strong enough to leave the village. No one will be fucking strong enough to stop me then," he chuckled darkly. Mitsuki staggered foward, which was something Katsuki never hoped to see. "You listen up and listen well fucking brat, and when I say don't go in there, you swear on your life that you don't! You are so goddamn lucky that you haven't become a Hunter yet because if you had, believe me, you wouldn't want to go anywhere out of the village for the rest of your life after hearing what that thing said," she shook him by the shoulders before falling to her knees.

Masaru was beside her in an instant. "Why don't you go to rest, son? You must be tired," he smiled faintly. Katsuki didn't have to be told twice. He sprinted to his room and bolted the door, catching his breath and trying to rid the look of horror on his mother's face from his mind. 

"I tried to warn him! I tried to warn him!" Mitsuki cried. Masaru rubbed her back,"I know you did." "No Masaru you don't understand! That thing, that thing knows! That thing knows what we're going to do and it's coming for us! And you know what it said, Masaru? It said,"Countown to 10 days. 10 days before your flesh and blood cover the broken spirits of my brethren. 10 days before their souls are finally put to rest!'" She wailed. The ability to understand animal speech was something Katsuki learned to be a blessing and a curse.

As each passing day drew to a close, the Bakugou family seemed more and more on edge but Katsuki was determined.  He was waiting for this day his entire life and he was not going to let some rabid animal get in his way. The fateful day finally came. The village buzzed with energy at the thought of the children who turned fourteen this year would set out to claim their first kill. It was a tradition that was passed down since the first Hunter came into existence. The children covered themselves in hunting gear and adorned themselves with weapons.

Katsuki picked a bandit's sword,it was heavy and packed a punch. He tugged at the tight fit of his shirt. The purple material glowed from the magic imbued on it. Time ticked by and soon they were called to the entrance of the woods. "The time has come for you, our next generation, to..." Katsuki didn't bother to pay attention to what the village elder had to say. He had been hearing this same speech ever since he could comprehend what the adults were saying. At this point, he had the whole speech memorised. "Listen to what he has to say, brat," his mother scolded softly. "Oh don't get me wrong I was forced to overlook this hunt along with a few others." Mitsuki had definitely seen better days but she would give them all up to make sure her son came back to her safely.

"And your time starts now! May the gods overlook your hunt and keep you safe from the wretches of the Guardian!" The elder shouted as the participants broke off into a sprint and into the territory where the hunters would soon become the hunted.

 * * *

Off in the distance, Izuku heard the sound of many footsteps entering the forest. 'She is not pleased' 'She is not pleased' The winds seemed to whisper. 'The Guardian has been enraged. This land will be soaked in the blood of the Guardian's children and her enemies alike' Izuku dropped the mint plants that were in his hands and sprinted toward his house. "Please let mom be okay," he prayed. As he neared the area, a lone howl pierced through the air, followed by a blood curdling roar. He had never heard it before but it made his blood boil in response. It was the roar of a dragon.

Chapter Text

Inko woke up to an empty house. She wasn't one to worry because she trusted her son,but today was different. The atmosphere was off, wildlife in the woods was quiet. It seemed as if the woods had been frozen in time. Everything was at a standstill. Leave, her dragon told her. Leave before they come. She knew very well who her dragon was referring to. After all, they were the ones who took her family and most importantly, her husband that fateful day. She certainly wasn't going to let them take her son away from her too.

"I thought I made sure we moved far enough away from them. How did they find us?" She asked.

Their numbers have grown, Inko, the dragon growled, there aren't any more shapeshifters near their village. Inko was terrified, yes, but she wouldn't go anywhere without her son. Even if he could not shift, he was still in danger of being identified as one if they had experienced Hunters who identify those with shapeshifter blood. She would stay here to fight them, she decided as she picked up the sounds of approaching footsteps. She couldn't risk running away to find Izuku. It would only spell disaster for both of them. So she will try to lessen their numbers as much as possible and draw as much attention as herself as possible. Inko prayed that Izuku was safe wherever he was and that he would not come back to their hut anytime soon. As she waited for the footsteps to disperse and get closer, she wondered why they would do such an inhumane thing, hunting down her kind and drinking their blood simply because the Hunters were different than normal humans. The blessed ones, they would call themselves, while shapeshifters were called cursed. That didn't give them the right to decide that shapeshifters had to be wiped out. This thought only made Inko's blood boil more. This is your last chance to run Inko, her dragon warned.

"Let's give Izuku a place to come home to," Inko replied, determined. 

Upon hearing the footsteps just several feet away from the door, she willed herself to change.

The unsuspecting Hunter stood no chance. Like a viper, Inko shot herself forward and had the child limp in her jaws in no time. The adult that accompanied the child cried out in surprise at the sight of a dragon, a creature said to be extinct, before him. Inko spat the dead body out. She didn't want such vile things in her mouth. She was small for her species but it was enough if she was against them. She could see the Hunter shift, it was disgusting and not like how a shapeshifter would do it. For her kind, their bones would shift nicely into place without pain. It was a perfect transformation.

For Hunters however, as the cost for taking in a substance that wasn't suited for a human body in the first place, their bones would jut out of their place beneath the skin accompanied by the sound of cracking and crunching. By the looks of it it seemed incredibly painful. The jade dragon swiped the wolf Hunter aside effortlessly, digging her razor sharp talons through the ribs and shredded the body apart as it passed. She could clean this later, she thought. The cry from earlier had certainly caught the attention of other Hunters and they were on their way here. Inko met them halfway, again taking the handful of Hunters by surprise as she lunged for them. Blood decorated the ground and the nearby trees. She bit down hard on the unlucky Hunter, feeling the metallic taste of their blood run down her mouth and throat and hearing the sound of bones crunching between her teeth. Seeing another Hunter approaching with their dagger drawn, she flung the body at them. They flew back and collided with a tree. Inko spared a few precious to see if the Hunter was alive, but seeing that they remained motionless, she continued her onslaught.

She whipped around when she sensed an additional presence but she relaxed when it was only the dragon shifter whom they associated with. A silent nod of agreement was passed between them before going separate directions.

 * * *

Mitsuki straightened up at the sound of her friends' cries and shouts. Whatever was happening couldn't be good. She had been on edge ever since they entered the forest. In all honesty, she just wanted Katsuki to find a shapeshifter, kill them and be done with it, but her dumbass of a son wanted to find the beast they heard that night. It was just a rumor that it was the Guardian of the Woods, a shapeshifter that made that sound, but it was enough to make him continue his pursuit. They were too close to where her friends were. Whether Katsuki could hear them, she didn't know. "Why aren't they using their magic?" She said aloud. "Huh?" Her son called in front of her, irritated. Sure Hunters had an affinity for magic, but unless they were against a creature that could take that skill away from th- 

"Oh no you can't be fucking serious," Mitsuki gasped. If the dragon, if she had guessed correctly, made its way here, her son would be killed in the process. She had to kill it before it got to them. She ran up to her son and cupped his face. "What do you think you're d-" 

"Listen to me Katsuki. You're the best thing that ever happened to me in my life after meeting your dad. I love you so so much, more than life itself, but there's something I need to do okay?" She smiled, bumping her forehead against his and sprinted off. She thought her knees were going to buckle from the pain she felt during the shift but she didn't have time to spare. "MOM?" Katsuki called out from behind. Mitsuki's heart hurt from having to leave her son behind, but make sure he lived to see another day and fulfill his dream, she would be willing to face anything. She had confidence in her strength but against a dragon, what could a lioness do? She spotted the winged lizard, its ashen scales drenched and covered in the blood of her people. Mitsuki leapt over the torn body of her neighbour and ran forward. She jumped and sunk her canines into the dragon's neck, somewhat managing to pierce through its hard scales, but she couldn't get a good grip. The dragon cried out in pain and tossed her off its neck. It growled and bared its teeth at her, displaying its blood-stained teeth. Glancing around at the mutilated bodies of the people she once regarded as family, Mitsuki roared in rage and attacked.

 * * *

Inko could handle wolves, they were easy. But face-to-face with countless of Hunters built of nothing but pure muscle, she wasn't sure if she could escape with minimal injuries, she didn't want Izuku to be concerned after all. She spread her leathery wings and lifted herself up into the air, gaining leverage on the lioness. She beat her wings repeatedly, managing to blow some of them away. Inko felt a stabbing pain in her right wing. True enough, a hooked spear had wedged itself in. Reinforcements had arrived faster than Inko had anticipated, as the Hunter at the end of the chain attached to the spear yanked hard, managing to rip out a chunk of her wing. Inko fell to the ground as several more spears hooked themselves to her body and the Hunters brought her down from the air. She swiped at some of the Hunters who held the spears. Looking at the number of Hunters around her, she instantly knew that she wouldn't get out of this alive. But she sure as hell would take them down with her. I'm sorry Izuku, she thought as she took in a deep breath and roared, making sure that it travelled across the forest and hopefully woke the fabled Guardian from her slumber. "LEAVE US!"  Inko didn't care if they couldn't understand her, but if she could stun them for just a second and take their magic away from a second then maybe she had a chance- a single howl came. It sent shivers down her spine and halted the Hunters around her. The howl brought an ominous feeling with it, as if to signal a powerful force was coming. The Hunters stood paralysed, now was her chance-

Like invisible chains, her snout snapped shut while her limbs gave away below her body. She brazenly bared her teeth at the approaching Hunters carrying sharp daggers and swords.

 * * *

Bakugou Katsuki had made many decisions in his life, but if he had a gold coin for every time he had a wrong decision he would,well, have one gold coin. At the sight of the dragon he immediately regretted not taking a magic enhanced sword before the trial started. He figured he didn't need one since he had confidence in his speed and strength to deal enough damage to whatever he was going to encounter but a normal sword would do jackshit to a dragon's scales. Especially to a dragon of this size and caliber.

He had almost slipped on the puddle of blood to get to the dragon. Seeing his mother covered in cuts and her sandy fur stained with dirt and blood, he muttered a "Fuck it" and charged forward. He channeled magic to his palms and let loose a string of explosions at its hind calf. He smiled in satisfaction as he saw the hard scales break under impact and the blood oozing from the wound. He silently thanked the jaguar for distracting the dragon as he mastered enough magic to blast through the scales and break the ribs. The dragon bellowed in pain and struck for him. He closed his eyes to brace for impact and was knocked back. He felt an intense heat but nothing more.

Opening his eyes, he felt his heart drop. He saw the calm face of his mother's form and the red eyes that were filled with pain. He watched as his mother got off him and went back to face the dragon. Her back was badly burned. The fur had been singed off and nasty blisters formed on the burned tissue. The dragon opened its mouth wide again towards them, the back of its throat glowing bright. Mitsuki moved to protect her son from the fire again even though it hurt like a bitch but nothing came. Instead, she saw life fade from the beast's eyes as it fell to the ground.

Judging from the amount of cuts and spears embedded in its body, blood loss finally did its job. She looked around her while she shifted back. Many of her friends had been killed by this creature but thinking back and using common sense, there was a possibility there was another in the vicinity.

"Be on the lookout for another one,"She yelled as she turned back to her son and quickly inspected him for injuries. Finding none, she motioned to the dying dragon. He understood the message and got up. He brushed the dirt of his pants as he walked towards the dragon. Katsuki thought he deserved it. He was pretty sure the big gaping wound that revealed bone at the ribs did the trick. He could see the left lung slowly, painfully, inflate and deflate. He had to be quick to deal the final blow, otherwise the soul would be lost. The form of the animal would only go to the Hunter that killed it, since they proved that they were stronger than the shapeshifter. Dull,ember eyes trailed his every move as he unsheathed his sword. It wasn't what he wanted but the dragon would have to do. They were revered as the embodiment of strength after all. He knelt down beside its head. For a dying creature it was still a sight to look at. A mighty beast brought down by the hands of mere Hunters. It would be an honour to die by the hands of his people. He nodded at the dragon in acknowledgement and thanks as he placed his sword at its throat. The dragon's eyes flashed anguish as the sword slid across the soft underskin before losing its light completely. 

Katsuki hastily took out the leather pouch strung at his belt for him to collect the blood of his kill. As he drank it, his fellow villagers cheered. It was disgusting, but it had to be done. The blood of the shapeshifter would mix with his own and in a few days, he would be able to shift.

"Why don't you head back first Katsuki? We'll clean up here. Go tell your father about your kill," Mitsuki clapped his back and pushed him towards the direction of the village.

"Mitsuki! There's another dragon we need to clean up to the East!" Mother and son raised their brows in surprise. Looks like there were still many dragons running around at this day and age.

"No fucking way am I not coming along for this one," he smirked.

The group walked together. Some talked amongst themselves cheerfully despite what occurred. Bringing down a dragon was a great feat in all of Hunter history. There was only a handful of Hunters who could shift into mighty dragons. 

When they reached the place, it was no better than what happened on their side but true enough, a jade dragon lay still on the ground, its chest motionless. Katsuki clucked his tongue in irritation at the thought of some other weak kid being a dragon shifter like him.

"Hey brat-" Mitsuki spun around to speak to her son but noticed thick wisps of smoke fill the sky in the direction of the village. He huffed at the expression of her shock and turned around well. They stepped forward in tandem.

"Mitsuki look out!" A Hunter cried in urgency and Katsuki was pushed forward. A large shadow loomed over him. He gagged at the sound of broken bones and dared himself to turn around. A large dragon, much bigger than the one he killed, glared at him, its emerald eyes alight with rage, in its mouth held his mother. Her lower body was in its jaws as her upper body struggled to stay upright. The feeling of multiple sharp knives on her back combined with her burnt skin made tears flow uncontrollably. "Run Katsuki!" She choked out and managed to hold out an arm out. Katsuki stood rooted to the ground. Surely she didn't expect him to leave her like that. "But-" "RUN!" She roared, bringing her fist down on the lower jaw of the dragon.

His legs obeyed the command immediately and brought him to the village in record time. He didn't have the time to look back was what he told himself, but in reality he knew that he was too much of a coward to look at his mother in the jaws of death. Not that the village helped either. "Everything is going to be fine. They're just throwing a huge bonfire that's all," he reassured himself. Fate seemed to like to make him suffer today. Hot ember fell on his cheek. He quickly brushed it off and cursed aloud. Looking up, he fell to his knees. The entire village had been burned to the ground as it were nothing but dry wood. Smoke filled his lungs and he coughed violently. Tears pricked his eyes as the ash made his eyes sting. How could this be? Did another shapeshifter come when the fighters were away? That couldn't have been possible since there were strong fighters here too.

The remains of a house fell to the ground near him. He covered his eyes to avoid the ember from getting into his eyes. When he opened them, he saw a figure emerge from the blazing flames. A bear? No, a tiger stalked out. It turned back as if to look at its handy work. It made something that sounded like a scoff when its eyes fell on Katsuki. His hands fell to the ground. He felt paralysed at the mere presence of whatever that thing was. It was the size of a grizzly bear,like one that the Hunters had killed and brought back summers ago. Katsuki glared at the behemoth of a tiger, determined not to lose just yet. He had just gotten his first kill damnit. He also needed to get back to his mom. As if to add insult to injury, the tiger didn't spare him a single glance as it slauntered pass him. 

"OI WHAT THE FUCK. IF YOU'RE GONNA DO IT THEN KILL ME TOO YOU FUCKER!" He roared. Was he not worthy enough to be killed? The tiger stopped at its tracks. Despite having walked through fire, its snowy white fur remained clean and blew with the wind. Its sapphire blue eyes stared at him with disgust while, Katsuki then noticed, its ten tails swished angrily side to side. It opened its mouth and left. Tears were flowing nonstop now. Katsuki shouted as he struck the earth with his fists before his burning village. Emotions poured out in his cries, from the fear he felt as he saw his mother in the dragon's jaws to the pain that ripped his heart apart from seeing what was once his home reduced to nothing but ashes to the insult he felt as the single word uttered from the tiger's mouth struck home. "Pathetic," he repeated its words when he couldn't scream anymore. 

That was the day Bakugou Katsuki lost his family.

 * * *

Izuku ran as fast as he could to their home. "Please let mom be okay,"he repeated over and over. Explosions rung in his ear as he neared the place. The thick stench of blood made him gag and lose his footing when it reached his nostrils. Red was all he saw when he saw a group of humans standing around his mother. She isn't moving! He cried. A great pain overcame him. In an act of desperation, he reached out his hand for his mother as darkness filled his vision.

 * * *

The screams and yells for mercy that rung in her ears reminded her of the event that occurred ages ago. She was only one person and when countless of voices were calling for her help, there was only so much she could do. Seeing the bodies of the shifters she knew the day they stepped into the world, she slowly began to fill with rage. The last straw was taken when she heard the pained cry of Izuku reach her ears. She tossed away the dead body of the Hunter and took charged to the village she hated to the core of her being.

She had already done what she had to do. She warned them, countless of times, but her words only proved to have fallen on deaf ears. She slapped herself hard when she wondered why she allowed something like this to continue all these years.The elders even had the audacity to bargain with her! Pathetic. She huffed when she thought back to what the elders said.

"Last time! This will be the last time we do this so have mercy!" One of them cried the second she stepped foot in the village. She recalled the villagers around her  looking at her curiously and tensely. Some of them already had their weapons drawn.

"I never agreed to your conditions,"she spat. "You're just lucky that I have been tolerant all those years when you have been practicing your disgusting trials. Time to pay what you're due,"she shrugged as she stepped forward. The group of elders staggered back in fear as Hunters blocked her from advancing. She sensed the magic whirling around in the air and heard the cracking of bones.

" Wh-What right do you have?! You are no god! You're just a lowly insect!" Another yelled.

"I may be no god, but I am someone who has seen enough bloodshed of my people to last me a lifetime. Enough is enough,"she hissed. The elders yelled for the Hunters to kill her. She sighed once more as she brought her hand up and snapped her fingers, flicking a spark on the ground.

She took a whiff of her shirt and choked. She reeked of smoke. The smell of blood grew stronger as she closed the distance between her and her destination. Her foot struck something soft buried beneath the fallen leaves. She simply sighed and kicked the dismembered arm of a woman away. The place had become a literal bloodbath filled with spilled innards and body parts. Not like it was anything new to her, so she continued forward until she came across what she was looking for. His curls weren't green anymore, his hair stuck together because of the blood. He generally seemed unscathed. Unconscious, but unscathed. She looked over to the still body of his mother. Her heart cried for them, for her kind. They did not deserve this. She knelt beside the head of the dead dragon. "It's okay. I heard you Inko. I heard you," she whispered as she ran her fingers across Inko's snout. "You don't have to worry about him. I'll take care of him for you." She looked over to the boy, his chest rose and fell steadily.

"It's such a shame huh. He just wanted to pluck some mints for you for your birthday, did you know?" She continued to no one in particular. The tips of her fingers lit alight as they fell onto the scales. Slowly the body burned to ash. A gust of wind blew through the trees and carried the ashes with it. The ashes whirled in the air in a sorrowful dance before disappearing completely. Indeed the proper burial for a dragon.

As she went back to pick the boy up, she dropped to her knees and clutched her heart, tears streaming down her cheeks when she laid eyes on the scar she once thought was beautiful adorning the boy's back.

That was the day Midoriya Izuku lost his entire world.

Chapter Text

"Izuku? Izuku come on buddy wake up,"a voice coaxed. Izuku stirred as he woke. He sat up in alarm and looked around him. His head throbbed as images flooded his memory; the taste of blood in his mouth, the feeling of rage he felt at the sight of the humans, the feeling of flesh and the crunching of bones as he tore apart the woman in his mouth, the feeling of torn flesh, and his mother. Oh his mother! Bile rose up to his throat from the thought of seeing all those dead bodies and discarded innards spilled on the forest floor. His body lurched forward as he uncontrollably emptied his stomach. A hand rubbed his back as he continued to gag. "Here, have some water,"the voice said as they passed him a wooden cup. He jumped and looked at the source in fright. "It's just me buddy, it's just me,"Copper said softly as she backed away to give him space. 

"Copper?" He coughed out. She nodded as she passed him the cup. He uttered thanks and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. His hands shook as he brought the cup to his mouth. Copper rushed to rub his back again when he choked on the water. "Easy buddy,"she said and gently took the cup of water away from him. "Where are we?" Izuku wheezed as he looked around him. Wherever he was was spacious and seemed to have several floors to it. "Oh. I hollowed out a tree. Pretty neat huh?" Copper basked as she looked at her home. She brought her eyes back to him and seemed to look into his eyes. "You haven't ch-changed at all,"Izuku laughed nervously as she continued to scrutinise him under her gaze. "It's okay to cry y'know. You can't be strong all the time. Think of yourself too, you don't have to act anymore,"she smiled sadly. 

Tears filled his eyes as he gasped for air and wailed. He felt Copper wrap her arms around him and he leaned into her touch. It was warm, like his mother. This thought made him cry louder.

* * *

She felt her heart tear apart at the sight of him breaking apart. He was too young to go through whatever he went through. No one should ever have to through that, no matter how wicked they might be, especially not this boy who had already been through too much. Her body shook with him as he cried into her shirt. "There there, there there. Let it all out,"she hummed. She sympathised with him. She knew she was a softie, but she had to be strong for him too. She couldn't be there for him in the past but she could now. His breathing eventually as slowed and his body went limp. Looks like he fell asleep huh, she thought. The girl heaved and carried the boy into her arms with ease. She figured she'll clean her home, something she hadn't done in years because she was simply too lazy and can't be bothered, since she now had someone to look after. 

* * *

Izuku opened his eyes slowly and sat up. He was in a bed now. He leaned back down on the soft material and laid a hand on his forehead. Crying definitely helped him, but all he felt now was emptiness and feeling shitty. He didn't know what to do anymore now that the only person he ever knew and loved was gone. Izuku didn't bother to get up as he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. "So you've woken up,"Copper commented as she walked over to him, carrying a tray in her hands. He simply hummed and stared at the branches of leaves that made up the ceiling.

"This is one big tree," he stated. He heard the girl agree as he thought to himself and tried to connect whatever thoughts there were. "How long was I asleep?"He asked.

"Well, you've been asleep for one day. But that was after you cried. Before that you were out for three days, and you haven't eaten since then so you must be starving,"she replied, lifting the tray of porridge in her hands. "I see you have more things to say. And believe me when I say I have all the time in the world, so be out with it,"Copper stated bluntly.

"What are you?"Izuku demanded, not able to take it anymore. "What is this?" He motioned to the fluorite on his neck. "What is all of this?" He motioned with his hands in big movements. Copper sighed and placed the tray aside on the bed side table. She crossed her legs as she slapped her hands on her thighs.

"What am I? I am a shapeshifter. What is that? That wards of negative energy and keeps your form in check, but by the looks of it, I did not anticipate your form to be that strong. And what is all of this? This is my damn house, a tree, a big ass tree,"Copper answered.

"No, no, no, you misunderstand me,"Izuku shook his head and hands. "What are you? It has been ten years since I've last seen you and here you are, still looking the same all those years ago. You haven't changed a bit."

Copper sighed. "I," she paused, seeming to contemplate her next words carefully. "Am a Guardian," she continued. "I know every shapeshifter that has lived in my territory ever since the day they stepped foot in here or the day they were born." She braced herself. She could see the five stages of denial taking shape right before her eyes and it was not going to be pretty.

"So you. Are telling me. That you are a Guardian. One of legend. That can't be. The legends take place thousands of years ago. Even if they were real they're dead. You've GOT to be shitting me . This is a dream right? Please tell me this is a dream." Stage one, denial.

"As much as I would like to say, this isn't a dream Izuku," she said. "This is very much real." Izuku looked up to glare at her, his emerald eyes blazing.

"If you are what you say you are,"he growled. "WHERE WERE YOU WHEN WE NEEDED YOU? WHEN MY MOM NEEDED YOU? 'Someone who lends aid to whose who need it' my ass. Some kind of Guardian you are. You left my mother alone to fight some humans! I bet you left her body where she died-"

"Izuku-"

"You didn't even grant my prayer! You are not worthy to be a Guardian, you don't even know what it's like to have your family taken away from you-"

"IZUKU!" Copper yelled. Izuku stopped but he continued to glare at her. Stage two, anger.

"Izuku I am just me. I am just one person. There are others, screaming in pain and anguish whenever this- this massacre happens. I go where I am needed. And I am very, very sorry that I am not strong enough to be there for your mother when she needed me to be there. I gave her a proper burial, rest assure. I-" Copper stopped herself. She had no right to run her mouth and concerns to Izuku who had been through hell. She didn't deserve sympathy, much less a listening ear.

"You're a Guardian right? Don't you Guardians have special powers? Can't you bring her back? Can you at least let me see her again, for one last time?" Stage three, bargaining. "You know I can't do that. I have no right to raise the dead either. If I could I would've done it a long time ago,"she replied.

"I shouldn't have left her alone. It's all my fault. If I had gotten to her in time she would still be alive. This is all my fault, I'm pathetic. I shouldn't be alive,"he wailed. Stage four, depression. Copper stopped herself from reaching out to him. That would only make things worse.

"If I may be blunt," she said hesitantly. Izuku looked at her, the rage from before dissipated. "Inko gave up her life for you. She could have escaped, but she didn't want to risk them killing you. So she fought. And she fought hard. Be happy for her, be happy for the life she's given up for you. Don't let her death be in vain,"Copper said.

Izuku's lips trembled. "Mom did that for me?" He asked. She nodded sadly. "You're right. Mom would want me to continue with life and be happy. You're absolutely right. I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry,"he whispered. Copper looked on in silence. Stage five, acceptance.

"Take all the time you need to grieve. It's absolutely okay and normal to grieve, I just wanted you to know that,"she said before leaving him alone. She walked down the steps to the first floor.

Human your bad thoughts are here again, a voice from the back of her mind stated as a few others agreed in silence. She apologised. Sometimes her thoughts would make themselves known to the animals in her. They were the ones who kept her sane as she lived alone all these years. Copper really hoped he ate the porridge. She hoped even more that the porridge was edible. She hadn't cooked for anyone else before. When she was by herself she would just hunt for food. "I guess I have to sleep on the chair now,"she said aloud as she looked around her living room.

Izuku eventually came down, his eyes red and puffy from all the crying. Copper glanced up from the book she was reading and resumed as he awkwardly made his way and sat on the chair facing her. "So, um,"he started. "Hmm?" Copper hummed from the book. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry for directing my anger to you just now,"he apologised, fiddling nervously with his fingers. Not looking up from her book, she said,"It's fine, no worries. It's completely normal. I don't blame you."

"And, uh, well, since you know all about me I want to know you too,"Izuku continued. "Sure,"said the girl. "What do you wanna know?"

"First, what's your real name? I mean, I call you Copper but I think it's rude to not call you by your real name,"he asked. Copper stopped reading for a minute and stoned, trying to come up with an answer. "I don't really remember my name, but I think it's Fuyu,"she said. "If I'm not wrong." She continued. She couldn't risk triggering anything.

"Winter, that's a nice name. How old are you? Because you don't seem that much older than me."

"Three thousand and sixteen," Fuyu said casually. Izuku nearly fell out of his chair. "Th-Th-Th-Three thousand. And sixteen? How?" He stuttered.

"Well,"she put her book down. "You would've probably heard this before but I was from the village thousands of years ago."

"The fairy tale about the Guardians,"Izuku said in awe.

Fuyu nodded and continued, reminiscing about the past. "Everything was peaceful. Everyone knew everyone in the village. My parents would go out to put food on the table while my older brother and I stayed at home with books to keep us company. Outsiders would come almost everyday for trade, so my mother would make us stay at home to keep us out of trouble. But one day as my brother was sleeping, I managed to sneak out. Stupid, right? I know. I thought it would be okay if I didn't step foot into the woods so I walked around the village. One boy seemed lost, so I asked him if he needed help. He was so good looking that I thought he was one of our own,"she laughed to herself. "For a split second I thought it was love at first sight. How was I supposed to know? I can count how many times I was out of the house with one hand. We talked, laughed, all those friendly stuff. I sent him on his way and went back home. 

Mom and dad came back home, made some food, ate some food and talked about our day. I didn't want to worry my parents so I lied about having gone out. I was in my room when it happened. There was a loud bang and a scream. My brother and I rushed outside just to see my dad getting slashed across the chest and stabbed multiple times as he tried to fight off the very boy I helped earlier on. I could remember thinking why no one was helping us. Maybe our walls were too thick, or maybe the door was closed so no sound could get out. My mom yelled at us to run away, but we couldn't just leave her like that. So she got killed too. Stabbed in the neck and all that. And my brother, oh my brother. I was never on good terms with him. He always acted like an asshole, bullying me and stuff. But you know what he did? He really fought for me that day. Got a couple of hits of too. He managed to disarm the boy but that was a big mistake.

Instead of a quick death like my parents he got a slow and brutal one. Beaten to death, head bashed in and blood pooling everywhere. At that moment, excuse the language, but I thought I was fucked. I remembered thinking, and still do by the way, that it was all my fault. If I hadn't gone out, this wouldn't have happened. But that would mean it might have happened to someone else. I braced myself but he just knocked me out.

When I came too, I was in a dark place, like a cave. There were people dressed in some weird clothing around me, and the boy who just slaughtered my family standing at the back of the crowd. My jaw hurt a lot, my hands too. I tried moving them but I realised that my hands and feet were bound to a stake. There wasn't much I could do at that point so I gave up. I prayed silently that my family was in a happy place as the weird people started chanting. I was hoping they stab me, but since I'm as smart as a pile of rocks, I did not expect them to light the hay that surrounded the stake on fire. Fear overcame me as I felt the intense heat approach me and the fast pace of the fire spreading. I can still remember the feeling of when the fire first reached my feet. Screams just escaped from my mouth until my throat was dry and bleeding. The pain was indescribable. Just imagine your skin being ripped off, have scalding water put over it. Then rip the tissue off. Add more scalding water, but have someone dig their fingers into the wound now. Then goes everything else except for the bone. So yea I had to go through that for what seemed like an eternity. I thought I could finally see my family you know? But wrong.

What looked like a chicken on fire spoke to me and told me that I was sacrificed just so that a curse be placed on my people. It told me that I was going to be a vessel, and a pretty good one too because it called its friends over. Before I knew it I was alive again. Naked, but alive. Angrier than satan himself, but alive. And naked. One of my forms taught me how to make dragonweave cloth and I made my own clothes. I went back to the village and everyone rejoiced. They thought I was missing since they didn't find my body with the rest of my family. So there you have it. I'm three thousand and sixteen years old because three thousand years ago was the day I died. The chicken on fire thought it'd be funny to tell me how many years have passed. And it has been a couple of lonely thousand years." She concluded sadly.

Izuku sat there stunned. "I-I don't know what to say,"he said finally.

"I figured,"Fuyu laughed. 

"So what form are you?"He asked.

"Take a guess I have many."

"Well, what's your main one?"

"Isn't it obvious enough? What other creature rises from the ashes?" She chuckled as she picked her book up again.

Izuku gasped. "A phoenix,"he breathed.

Chapter Text

Fuyu never had anyone stick around in a long time. This rekindled feeling was annoying her. She clicked her tongue in irritation as she once again tried to refocus transmitting energy to her fingertips and attempted to cast her spell for the umpteenth time that night. Izuku had gone to bed,her bed, and last she checked he was asleep,minus the tossing and turning.

The boy woke up with a start. A week has passed since then, but he would be haunted by the images and screams of the people he killed. Lately memories that didn't belong to him made their way to his thoughts too. He didn't dare close his eyes for the fear of seeing bodies soaked in blood and discarded innards decorating the ground. He would only sleep when it overtook him completely. But this was one of those nights where the nightmares scared him awake. He rubbed his face in exhaustion before looking up at the leaves and branches that made up the ceiling. With winter approaching, he wondered if the snow would fall in through the gaps of the leaves just like how the light reflected from the moon and stars did. Figuring that he would not be sleeping anytime soon, he got up and decided to check on Fuyu.

The girl had her back towards him when he walked down the stairs. She was casting a spell on herself. "Can't sleep?"She asked, managing to not break her concentration.

"Yes. I also wanted to see what you were doing. I thought you would be asleep by now,since you liked to take naps in the afternoon. What are you doing by the way?"He asked.

"I would sleep if the woods weren't so noisy tonight."She replied.

After realising he didn't know what she meant by that, she continued,"You might think that having many animal spirits residing in cool and all. I agree that it's cool but it isn't all that nice either. The drawbacks are a pain to deal with. The animals argue and talk amongst themselves in your head nonstop and the accumulated senses of everything on top of your own is just, overwhelming. Overwhelming would be an understatement if I had to be honest. Imagine being able to hear the rustling of leaves in the wind, the walking of animals and the rushing water in the stream all at once everyday. And if you're close enough, I am able to hear your heart beating, not to mention the contraction and relaxation of your muscles. So all in all it's just,"she ended off by making an exploding action with her hands at the top of her head. Izuku sympathised for his newly made friend. 

"So I cast this noise-reducing spell on me to keep myself sane,"she stated. "I also sleep a lot because my dear, life itself is very exhausting. I needa recharge."

Izuku nodded slowly and distracted himself as she continued casting her spell by looking at some books. His mother taught him all that she knew by using a stick and writing words in the ground whenever she had the time to teach him. She didn't want to risk going to a human village and getting caught just for some books, but they managed. The books that lined the numerous shelves seemed very old, but otherwise in good condition. He saw a title that interested him and took it out.

"Herbalism,"he read allowed. "That teaches you how to make very useful medicine or very potent poison from numerous plants. Plants have so much potential, but its a shame that people kill them without a second thought,"she commented after she was done with her spell. "Did you know that comfrey can be used to stop bleeding but also potentially cause severe liver damage if taken internally?" She recalled from memory with a bright smile.

"Is it okay if I borrow this?"He asked. "Sure, but if you return my book in bad condition I'll repay you in kind for whatever you did to it,"she warned.

"Noted. Is there any spell for sleep or to take away nightmares?"

"Yes but you do know you can't keep relying on them right? You should face your demons head on, as my mother would tell me. That's the most effective method,"she advised. "But don't you get nightmares from whatever happened to you?" Izuku inquired. 

"Of course. From being alive almost every night to seeing the faces of the people I killed, which I guess is your case. For me, those nightmares stopped when I've come to terms with it. I'm just punishing them for the unforgivable deeds they've done to my people. So when my mind understood it for an act of revenge, I could sleep again." She said. He took that advice to heart. Wisdom does come with age, he thought.

"I heard that," she called from the kitchen as he plopped himself down on a chair next to a candlelight. "You hear everything,"he said softly. "Damn right I do. My hearing may be reduced but you still aren't far enough away from me,"she stuck out her tongue. He thought back to the same conversation he had with his mother and it warmed his heart. He didn't know he was crying until he felt a tear drop down on his arm. Fuyu heard sniffling and snapped her head out of the kitchen. "Hey, what's wrong?"She asked softly. Did she say something to make him sad? 

"Oh it's nothing. I'm just thinking about the past,"he wiped his tears away on the long sleeves of his shirt. He read silently to himself, trying to remember as much as he could since it might be useful in the future if Fuyu got badly hurt. Inko would take him to familiar parts of the woods when she wasn't busy with chores and would tell him the useful properties of the plants he knew. That nurtured his interest in plants, and now that he had a book, he could know about them that he couldn't before! Fuyu stared at him deeply engrossed in the book and sighed. When you haven't lived for long, you are given more opportunities to learn about new things. She quietly walked over to him and placed a cup of chamomile tea on the table next to the chair. She could always make another cup for herself. "I sincerely hope you aren't allergic,"she whispered to herself as she took a sip from her warm tea.

The mumbling she heard from Izuku proved to be a wonderful lullaby as she fell asleep peacefully for the first time in years.

Fuyu woke up to the first rays of sunlight streaming in through the windows. To her surprise and horror, Izuku was still awake, his eye bags bigger than ever as he droned off about the contents of the book. She was amazed to find the cup empty too. This boy is still scary as ever, she thought to herself. "Izuku,"she called for his attention. He looked up expectantly at her. She rolled her eyes to the window. "O-Oh! It's morning already?!" He gasped. "But this book was so informative. See? I've already memorised half of the book!" He beamed. "Oh really. What does the dandelion do?" She asked. 

"It's used to treat fevers,"he answered almost immediately. She sighed and leaned down inches away from his face. "Go to sleep Izuku,"she said, staring deep into his eyes. "A-After I finish memorising this book!" He backed away nervously. "I said,"she repeatedly firmly, feeling the tingling sensation in her eyes as they changed form,"Go to sleep." The boy fell asleep immediately. Fuyu pried the book away from his hands after using a leaf that was lying around as a bookmark.

I never figured you would use it on him, a voice snickered. It had to be done, Yugure,shh, she hushed her. Fuyu decided to preoccupy herself by harvesting the herbs she had before the dropping temperature had a chance to ruin them. She also made a side note to find a human-only village where she could get some seeds and vegetables to plant since Izuku recalled the days where he would take care of his crops with his mother. She hurried inside when she heard a familiar cry. She chucked the plants to the nearest table and rushed out back out to mimic the cry. The girl held out her arm for a square-tailed kite to land on. Fuyu cooed at the bird as she brought them back inside. The bird flew off her arm in a flurry of wings and landed on the armrest Izuku was sleeping on after she took the letter that was attached to one of the bird's foot. It pecked strangely at this strange guest. All its life where it delivered letters to this shapeshifter, it never once saw another sign of life in this house, so it was very perplexed.

"So your owner is coming to visit huh?" She asked. The bird replied with a chirp before resuming inspecting the sleeping boy. Not being able to figure out what this person might mean to the shapeshifter, it titled its head from side to side.

"I understand your confusion but make sure not to wake him. He's had a rough week. Let me see if I have any dried meat for you to eat before you go,"she whispered as she searched through her storage compartments. After finding a generous size of meat, she whistled the bird to her. She tossed the meat into the air and watched as the kite catch it with ease before screeching its thanks and flying off. She hoped her visitor wouldn't choose to stay the night. There was no more space for him and besides, he had a kingdom to run. Fuyu looked around her house. It looked...acceptable. Right? Apart from the scattered paper on her table and the quills and inkwells. She properly stored the herbs away and tried to tidy up her table.

She wiped her hands on her pants. Surely the house would be fine if she left for awhile. Her visitor would also take some time to arrive. Fuyu cracked her neck and stretched her back muscles as she shifted into a peregrine falcon. She caught a drift that took her high up into the air. Using her tail feathers to maintain balance, she scanned the land for a village. Fuyu managed to find one after some time and landed a safe distance from the village. She had thought about stealing but decided against it since pure humans were nice people, and she loved nice things. Fuyu grumbled as she hesitantly handed three silver coins to the old vendor lady. The crop she were buying were pricier due to winter making it harder for them to grow. On the bright side, she was given free crop that could thrive in winter for free. She loved free stuff too so she flashed the lady a bright smile and waved good-bye. 

She headed back to the forest where she landed and took off back home, carrying the bag of crop in her talons. What Fuyu totally did not expect to find, however, was her door fully ajar and the sound of the poor boy screaming bloody murder. She raced in to see a fully grown four hundred and twenty pound big cat crouched on the boy. He looked at her for help.

Once again she tossed the bag aside.

"Toshinori what the hell man,"she sighed as she pushed the lion off him. He had the equivalent of a whine and grumbled something about him thinking that the boy was an intruder since she never had anyone else over while he shifted back.

"So you attacked him in his sleep?!" She shrieked. "Well, yea I guess?" The blonde replied.

Fuyu helped Izuku up and pointed a finger back towards the man towering over her. "Izuku, this is tree of a man you see here behind me is the king of Yuei which is situated quite a distance from here. And how he got here so fast is beyond me. His is a kingdom where humans and shapeshifters coexist in peace and all that is good and dandy. And Yagi Toshinori, this small boy is Midoriya Izuku. I've taken him under my wing so no he is not an intruder." She introduced them to each other.

"I'm very sorry about that young Midoriya. I hope you can forgive me. Oh! You can call me All Might,"he hunched over and apologised, covering Izuku's hands completely with his own. Izuku bowed nervously at the sheer pressure he gave off.

This man is so cool! He screamed internally. Not long after, Fuyu came back with a tray of tea and the second volume of 'Herbalism' for Izuku to read and memorise after he was done with the second volume. Toshinori thanked her and sat down comfortably on the biggest chair while she sat opposite of him. Izuku soon found himself deeply engrossed once again until the two's conversation became nothing but white noise. He would occasionally hear words like 'successor' and 'One for All' and decided he was too young to be a part of this conversation.

"You." Fuyu said loudly. "Want me. To fight for you in a war?" She asked incredulously. Izuku startled and nearly knocked down an inkwell near the book. That would've been bad. "Toshinori I'm just sixteen years old!" She exclaimed, placing a hand over her chest, faking insulted. Toshinori eyed the young boy hesitant to continue. Fuyu sunk back into her chair,"he's heard it. Might as well be out with it. He may have to fight in it too, so let him know what he's getting into. I trust him."

"How can I say no when you've basically given your seal of approval?" The man chuckled brightly before turning serious. "I don't know what kind of person you take me as, Fuyu, but I will not have young people fight for old men's wants. And I'm not the one insinuating the war. If Endeavor insists on sending Hunters and his army to take my kingdom, I will not sit by idly as my people get killed. I strongly live by the saying 'Always seek for peace, but be ready for war.' So if that wretched man wants a war, it's a war he'll get. And I simply do not have the men to spare, Fuyu. Especially not with All for One waking up." 

"I understand your conviction, Toshinori. And didn't I seal him away from good two thousand years ago?" She raised a brow, perplexed. 

"Yes, but it seems that someone has taken off your seal,"he replied.

"Wow." She blanked. This was certainly new to her in her three thousand and sixteen years of existence. "And what good will I do in ensuring the tide is in our favour in the prominent war? Believe me when I say that I am not strong." 

"You underestimate yourself too much my dear friend. You are stronger than you think, and I'm very much afraid that that will one day be your undoing. You are without a doubt the strongest of the five. And if I have your approval, the rest will definitely follow." It was obvious that he spent many nights thinking about this. "So what do you say, my dear, old friend?"

"Who am I to say no after a cherished friend of mine traveled all the way here and ask for help? I go where I'm needed and lend my aid to whoever asks of it. But you know that a dragon Guardian hasn't been born yet,"she sighed as she burned her seal, that of a phoenix rising from flames, onto the magic parchment Toshinori brought along with him. "Let me know if any of the young ones make a fuss! I'll be there to negotiate for you!" She called after her friend's disappearing form as he galloped away.

"What was that about?" Izuku breathed, breaking the suffocating silence. "Looks like the great war that took place two hundred years ago won't be my last. And this war is about to the biggest one yet,"she sighed. "Is that a drop of ink I see on my book?"

 

Chapter Text

Izuku looked up from his third volume of 'Herbalism' at his companion who seemed to only pace around the house, whether it was in boredom, he did not know. What he know was that Fuyu has been tense for the few days ever since All Might came to ask for her assistance in the imminent war.

"Fuyu you're making me nervous too," he commented. She seemed to be walking around faster now. "Shouldn't you be doing something else? Helping others in the woods?" Izuku suggested.

"Up till now only you, your mother and a handful of others called for me for help. Not many believe that the Guardians exist in real life, so there's not much I can do either. I can't also show myself to anyone who enters the woods, it's dangerous,"Fuyu replied and finally plopped down on the big chair. She looked up and stared at the ceiling. If Izuku tried hard enough, he can make out the soft mumuring under her breath. 

"What are you thinking about?" He tried to lighten to mood. There was no reply. The girl bit her thumb absentmindedly before springing up.

"Put that book down Izuku we're teaching you how to shift," she huffed somewhat triumphantly. He barely had time to put the book down before he was yanked out of the house. "B-But I can't shift," he protested, rubbing his sore arm. "You did it once, you can do it again. You've got to feel it, show your dragon who's in charge," she remarked.

"The last time that happened I slaughtered a bunch of humans in cold blood,"he muttered,feeling low. Fuyu said nothing about that comment and stood several good feet away from him. She beckoned him to try with a motion of her hand. "They were bad people who did bad things. You don't need to regret about the thing you did,"she reassured him. Izuku shut his eyes tightly until he could see stars and thought of shifting his bones and transforming into a dragon. He opened his eyes to see that he was still a human.

"Shifting is about the synchronisation of vessel and spirit. Don't just think about shifting! Get a hold of your animal first. Think about how you felt before you shifted that time!" She advised from where she was. She was ready to keep him in check in case his dragon went berserk. Izuku thought back and tried to recall the feelings he had. He gasped and fell to the ground heaving. Fuyu was next to him in an instant.

"I can't!" He cried, gripping his hair with his hands. The memory was too scarring. She crouched down next to him in worry, but she had to bring it out of him sooner or later, at least before she left.

"Take deep breaths, everything is going to be okay. You're not going through this alone. I am here," she quoted what Toshinori usually said as a greeting whenever he appeared through her door. She could see the confliction in his eyes. Realising that they won't be getting anywhere today, she supported him back inside. Izuku hugged himself tightly to stop his trembling, releasing himself only when Fuyu came back with a cup of warm tea.

"That you have there," she motioned to the fluorite hanging around his neck. "Stops you from shifting uncontrollably when you feel strong emotions like rage and grief. Seeing how you shifted last time, we can safely cancel out the rage and grief options. But be careful though, even if you might not undergo a full shift, an outsider can see it from your eyes or your skin. So you have to control your emotions really well." Izuku nodded and promised he would try again later. But meanwhile.

"Could you tell me about our history?" He called out to her.

"I'm pretty sure I have books for that,"Fuyu said.

"Yes but I want to hear it from you, see it from your eyes as someone who has lived since the beginning of it." He reinforced.

Fuyu sighed. "Which part do you want to know?"

"What exactly are Hunters and how did they come about? Surely they mustn't have been able to shift just like that."

"Well, from their name, they hunt our kind. The first of them came about when a shapeshifter fell in love with a human. The child's initial term was a Halfing. Depending on which gene was dominant, they could either shift like a normal shapeshifter, or needed an external source. Those that needed an external source had DNA that was easily compatible with those of a shapeshifter's and the gene strands can intertwine, allowing them to finally shift.

But just like two sides of a coin, there were the good and the bad. Those that hated us started to spread rumors, that they were the chosen ones born to kill shapeshifters since the only two ways you can kill one is magic, thought that is very difficult, or fighting fire with fire. Thus came about the tradition," Fuyu brought her hands to together. "The practice went from generation to generation. Each year when the child reaches fourteen they must prove to the village that they are strong enough to take down a shapeshifter and drink their blood. Maybe they thought it was cool to drink the blood of another living being. Or maybe it was the most effective method. I will never know.

Sometimes I wonder if the children know what they're actually doing. Our numbers are thin and continue to dwindle." She finished sadly.

"And what about the great war?" 

"The great war, huh?" She whistled as she leaned back. "That was really something. Three of us Guardians were present:me, the dear and the dragon. Even with the three of us our side almost lost the war. Many died, including those unlucky enough to be caught in the crossfire. We were up against a being called All for One. He used to be a Halfing once, a cheerful boy, until he became obsessed with power. He began killing many shapeshifters and drinking their blood until his body couldn't take anymore and became this big monster. Because he had the different abilities of many shapeshifters, he had the ability to take magic away too. I just barely sealed him and now some prick had to come along to unseal him. Great. What's even more great is the war that might happen. I'd give it a few years. 

Judging by the fact that Toshinori plans to gather all five of us, it's going to be the biggest one yet. Guardians were known to help kings in the past, but I only joined my first war which was the one I just mentioned." Fuyu sighed. She got up and ruffled his hair as the boy cried out in protest. "Swear that you'll practice shifting on your own!" She called over her shoulder as she went up the steps. She couldn't bear to relive the memories that never fail to keep her up at night. Fuyu lied when she said she had come to terms with whatever she had done in the past.

"I swear," Izuku replied before resuming his book. 

It was pass eight when Fuyu came down again visibly dirty. Izuku had finished memorising all three volumes of 'Herbalism' by now yet he could already feel boredom eating away at him. He scimmed through the bookshelves and found a book on magic. He flipped open a page and muttered a spell under his breath. He held out his hand as he did and nearly fainted when he saw a fireball fly out.

Fuyu whipped her head around, blood draining from her face as she saw the fireball. She swiftly stretched her hand out and drew it back in the direction of the flame, extinguishing it in her palm. The house was quiet for a good while.

"Never cast magic in my house again," she glared at the boy, taking the book which he gave up so willingly away from him. Nobody talked during dinner that night.

The next series of events that happened after a week was something he did not expect to happen so soon. 

Izuku was outside practising his transformation when a kite crashed into him. It beat its wings furiously and screeched at the boy, struggling in his grasp. Izuku rushed into the house after noticing a letter attached to its foot.

"Fuyu! There's a letter for you, from All Might,"he read. Said girl came tumbling down the steps in her hurry and took the letter from the boy. She spent no time reading it before taking off to gather some things.

'Negotiation failed. Come to Yggdrasil Forrest immediately.' Izuku read. Wait, did that mean Fuyu was going away? Was he going to left alone again? He clutched his head in alarm. "Where are you going?" He paled as Fuyu came back down. He knew he was asking a stupid question but he needed confirmation.

"Yggdrasil Forrest. The stupid insect deer said no. It's located... North-East of the Yuei if that's what you meant. Don't worry, you'll be staying over at Toshinori's castle while I clean up his mess. You'll be taken care of there," she said rapidly. "But the letter didn't mention-"

"Seal of approval." She flashed and passed him a parchment with her seal burned on it. "Tell them you are looking for Yagi Toshinori. I have to go now take care of yourself okay?" Fuyu said and flew off with a blast of wind.

Izuku took some time to process what just happened,his already messy hair much more of a mess. "So...what do I do now?" Izuku stared at the ruffled up kite. He had absolutely no idea where Yuei was and even more so in how to get there. 

He spent the next few days walking aimlessly around the house repeating his cycle of wake up, wash up, practice, study and sleep until his transport finally arrived. Strong gusts of wing banged against the door and rattled the windows. Izuku peered out of the slight crack in the door. He screamed in fright when a large slit pupil was inches away from his face. The dragon nudged the door open and tried to squeeze his head inside.

"Yo!" The dragon chirped. Izuku nearly screamed again when he could understand the dragon's speech. Looks like his practice was paying off! He couldn't understand a single word from an animal in the past.

"H-Hello," Izuku greeted and stretched his hand out. The red dragon nuzzled against his hand saying,"Nice to meet you! I'm Kirishima! Kirishima Eijirou! All Might sent me to pick you up! You're Midoriya Izuku right?" 

Izuku nodded. "There's more of us?" He gasped. "Yea of course! Plently of us in Yuei. All Might keeps us safe. Well get a move on! I have a schedule to follow," Kirishima blew warm air into his face. 

Izuku rushed up to gather whatever he could in a small sling bag. He packed some potions Fuyu had concocted on the second floor and some herbs. He didn't dare bring any books with him. If he lost any, who knows what Fuyu would do to him. The boy came down to see another boy in the dragon's place. He had spiky red hair that reminded him of the leaves in autumn and equally red eyes when he turned around to face Izuku. 

"Kirishima?" 

"Yea dude what's up?" He smiled brightly, showing a full display of his sharp teeth. He wore a vest that left his chest bare and a scarf around his neck. Izuku also noted an inking on his upper right shoulder. "Come on let's go! I'm so stoked to finally have someone to talk to back at the castle.  Everyone else is too serious about their work," he motioned to Izuku and stepped back outside.

Izuku nervously slung the bag over his shoulder and not forgetting Fuyu's seal, he tucked it away securely in the bag. "Ready to go?" The once again dragon pranced around like an excited puppy, shaking the ground beneath him. Not waiting for a reply, Izuku squeaked as he was lifted up in the dragon's mouth and placed on the area at the base of the neck.

"And we're off!" Came the warning before Kirishima took off into the sky, leaving Izuku to hang onto one of the spikes protruding from his back for dear life.

Chapter Text

"We're here!" Kirishima cheered as he lowered his body to the ground to allow the smaller boy to get off. Izuku could barely stand on his own two feet after that traumatising experience. Kirishima shifted back and steadied Izuku in his arms. Izuku managed to utter thanks before lurching forward and emptying his stomach of his breakfast. "Oh shoot,"Kirishima cursed and yelled over to someone. "Uraraka over here!" The brown haired girl noticed the new presence on the courtyard and rushed over with her staff. "Kirishima what did you do?! Oh poor thing,"she scolded and pointed her staff at the sick boy, muttering a spell as her staff glowed with a green light. Colour returned to Izuku's face and he latched onto Kirishima's arm to maintain balance. 

"Thank you very much,"he bowed. "And thank you for taking the trouble to bring me here,"he said to Kirishima whose cheeks was dusted with a tinge of pink and grinned widely.

"Don't mention it!" He hit Izuku's back a little too hard who fell forward. "Ah,"Kirishima deadpanned. "I'm banning you from ever laying hands on this boy," Uraraka hissed. After helping the boy up again, she introduced herself. 

"Nice to meet you! I'm Uraraka Ochako, a human mage. Kirishima over there is part of the castle's guard despite his young age."

"Midoriya Izuku,"the boy replied shyly.

"Are you two done dilly-dallying? All Might requests for this boy's presence immediately,"a boy with a raven's head approached, his whole body dressed in black, on a shoulder perched another large raven. The boy acknowledged Izuku's presence with a bow and took him away from the two.

"Tokoyami Fumikage,halfling, at your service. This right here is Dark Shadow. All Might has told me about you, Midoriya Izuku. The fact that you are taken in under a Guardian's wing is astounding. It's certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Alas we are here. All Might is waiting for you inside,"he said as they walked down the quiet corridor leading to the king's workplace. Tokoyami knocked on the door and awaited for the approval to enter. He motioned Izuku inside with a tilt of his head and closed the door behind him. Izuku felt disappointed when he found that only All Might was in the room. Maybe Fuyu was hiding around somewhere? Or would she arrive later?

"It's nice to see you again Young Midoriya,"the king beamed. "Fuyu is still in the midst of her negotiation with the deer Guardian. I came back because I can't simply leave my kingdom unattended for too long." He answered the questions Izuku had in his mind. "I made a rendezvous with Fuyu and we've come to an agreement that you would be my envoy. In return for your help I will teach you everything I know. You will have unlimited excess to the castle's facilities and you will be taught by the best in whatever you want to learn."

Izuku couldn't help but feel that this was too good to be true. "Forgive me for asking but what's the end game for all of this? I'll just be your envoy and that's it? Not that I'm ungrateful or anything,"he waved his hands.

"Fuyu decided that you will be much safer here in Yuei. And she has your best interests at heart. That girl never thinks for herself. She wants you to continue with your studies and expand your knowledge, more than what she could ever provide for you."All Might explained with his hands on his hips. "And now for the serious issue, how would you like to be my successor?"

"Excuse me your what?"Izuku blanched. 

"My successor."

"What for?"

"My power called 'One for All'. It allows the user to call upon any animal spirit to their aid. I believe that this will help with your shapeshifting issue. It only calls out to those of a selfless and courageous heart. And it,my boy, has chosen you."All Might gave Izuku his hand.

Izuku was taken aback. "I'm not strong enough for this All Might. I am not worthy-" "Maybe in your eyes, but the power has recognised your potential. One for All is never wrong, my boy. You will have the power to protect those you love." 

Tears fell from his face at those words. The desire to protect,so that was what it was. His body shuddered as a loud roar echoed from the back of his mind. He had finally found his purpose and slowly but surely, his broken world was being pieced back together again.

 

The next few months were absolute hell for Izuku. His day would start before the sun rose with physical training with Kirishima, followed by breakfast and bath, then it was magic lesson with Tokoyami, alchemy with Uraraka, swordsmanship with a fellow knight called Iida and to close off the day, he would spar with All Might. Their matches would occasionally be spectated by a panther shifter called Aizawa who claimed he had nothing better to do.

All these activities would leave him collapsed and motionless on his bed, sometimes too tired to even remove his clothes. His bones would creak in protest every morning as he got up. He hadn't gotten used to it even after a couple of months. Eventually after two years, he had finally gotten used to the pace around here. He noticed his body had gained significant muscle even though he looked scrawny under his clothes. He could keep up with his peers and the king during his physical exercises and he surpassed Tokoyami and Uraraka in their respective studied too. 

He couldn't help but lonely despite all the new friends he made, however. Fuyu never paid him a visit once. When he asked All Might about it, he would tell him she was still negotiating with the Guardians on their side of the border. Today marked a week after his  seventeenth birthday and the whole castle seemed on edge. Kirishima didn't try to start up a conversation or sling his arm around Izuku like he used to.

Izuku nearly tripped on the carpet and bulldozed through a couple of staff,including one of maids he grew close to, Tsuyu a frog halfling, as he sprinted towards the king's chambers and slammed the door open, heaving. 

"You called for me All Might?"He wheezed. He looked at the thin form of All Might expectantly. The first time he saw All Might like this he nearly cried, partly due to the fact that only he and a couple of knights who were really close to the king knew about his other form. 'Ah Young Midoriya. Yes, but first have some water."

After Izuku finished the cup, his mentor broke the news. "It appears that King Endeavor is on his way to pay us a visit and-"

"NOW?" He yelled, pointing a finger to the ground. He had only heard rumors about the king. He was a strong fire user who displayed his beard as flames as a show of power and that he married a shapeshifter for her gift in ice magic simply because he wanted a weapon he could control. Izuku hoped to never meet him. Ever.

"Yes, I understand your alarm. If anyone should be yelling it should be me. To get back on topic, I need you to stay by my side at all times. No matter what. Never leave my side. And now,"he got up as the castle bells rang, signalling the arrival of a very important visitor. "Let's see what he wants." The king reverted to his mighty self.

Izuku tried his best not to fidget in his spot and tugged at his white collar beside his king as the visitors entered the courtyard. Oh goodness those are some big horses, he gulped. The whole group just screamed 'danger' and his mind blared red sirens. At times like this he wished he was back home with Fuyu sipping some tea, reading some books. "Midoriya I can hear you," All Might warned.

"Ah Yagi, getting friendly with your servant I see,"Endeavor greeted him while he looked down on the boy. I

wanna go home, I wanna go home, I wanna go home, Izuku shrieked in his head but made sure to keep his face neutral when he was pretty sure his shirt was sticking to his back.

"It's an honour to welcome you to Yuei, your Highness," Izuku placed a hand over his heart and bowed deeply, sucking his tears back in as he did so. There was indeed a beard of fire on his face and he was almost as big as All Might. Does he not feel hot? The boy wondered. The king looked at him in surprised and roared in laughter. "Looks like your servant does know what to say. And here I thought he was mute and constipated!" He chanted Fuyu's mantra in his head over and over to keep his anger and embarrassment in check.

"I'm pretty sure you are here on a more important matter other than running your mouth and disrespecting my envoy,Endeavor,"All Might forced a smile but Izuku could hear his fists clench.

"Of course. Why don't we adults go and talk about more urgent topics away from the ears of children?" The other king offered, trying to lead the way. "My envoy comes with me," All Might said firmly. Endeavor stopped in his tracks and raised his brow, not used to being challenged.

"So that's how we're doing things. BAKUGOU COME HERE! LEAVE THE HORSES TO THE SERVANTS!" He roared to someone from his group. Izuku tried not to stare as a well-built blonde who had a red cape following after him jogged over to join his king. He averted his eyes to get away from the blonde's glare. Izuku could have sworn he saw those eyes somewhere before but the memory-blocking magic he cast on himself was preventing that from happening. Reason being was as he gradually got more connected to his dragon, the memories of that fateful day became more vivid to the point where Kirishima, with the sharp hearing of his, would shake him up from his nightmares more times than Izuku can remember.

"This is the best Hunter and fighter I have in my arsenal, Bakugou Katsuki. He has the determination and skills of no other," he heard the king say.

"Let's not waste anymore time then,"All Might said and turned his heels to walk away. Izuku stuck to his king's side like glue. He definitely did not want to be left alone with the blonde who was trailing behind the group, but Izuku could still feel the intense gaze on the back of his head.

"What is he? And how much did you pay for him?" Endeavor referred to Izuku. He tried to match his pace with All Might after he nearly stumbled.

"I paid nothing. He is a human and he's the child of a very dear friend of mine," All Might lied as he opened the door open for his visitors. Izuku looked at the ground as they passed him. "Breathe Young Midoriya, breathe. I'm not going to let anything happen to you,"he smacked his envoy's back and pushed him inside. The kings sat at the two opposite ends of the long table while their envoys took their place behind their respective kings.

"Let's drop the facade Yagi. I'm going to say this once:let's merge our kingdoms and combine our strengths to take down All for One." Endeavor got right to the point.

"And I'm saying that I have to decline. My people are the highest priority and right now, your large army of Hunters and humans are putting them on edge. We don't need to merge our kingdoms to combine our strengths to defeat All for One."

"You know what I think you are, Yagi? You're a coward who sprouts nothing but lies and is too dependent on his citizens. You're a king for fuck's sake.How do I know if you really listen to your people's opinions and not just assuming what they feel?" A wave of fury washed over Izuku but the fluorite on his chest sent a static of electricity, snapping him out of it.He sucked in a breath and withdrew in shock but he saw Bakugou's hands fly to his sword at the sudden movement. "Let the servant boy speak, Yagi," Endeavor snarled. 

Izuku looked over to him for approval. Only he could hear the soft sigh of his king, but apparently that Hunter boy could too, for he growled in disapproval. This negotiation was doomed from the start, Izuku thought as he opened his mouth to speak,"My king has only had the best interests of his people at heart. A king can only come to be due to support of his people. What is a king if he is alone? Surely your Highness knows the tension and the history of Hunters and shapeshifters that stretch back to three thousand and eighteen years ago. All those bloodshed can't simply be put aside if you want a kingdom to prosper. Seeing how badly you want to merge kingdoms, you don't care about what your or my people feel at all and that speaks volumes of what kind of king you are, your Highness." 

The room was filled with silence. I SCREWED UP I SCREWED UP! Izuku paled.

"You motherfucker,"Bakugou growled and withdrew his sword.

"I HEARD DRAMA AND CAME AS FAST AS I COULD!" A foot banged open the door. "You can't go in there, miss..."A soft voice pleaded.

"It's fine," Fuyu dismissed the voice as she walked into the meeting room, pulling two other unknown figures into the meeting room by their ears. She walked over to Toshinori's side and sat on the table.

"Who the fuck do you think you are?" Bakugou snarled, baring his teeth.

Fuyu scoffed at the pathetic display of intimidation. She leaned back on her hands placed on the table and said,"You already heard his answer Enji. Between the options of having to join forces with you and you most likely seizing control over the two kingdoms yourself and cause more pain and suffering, and fighting to protect the well-being of his people, I'm pretty sure it's obvious. Although seeing how you have been trying to make this plan work proves that you are too dense to see it." 

"You're not having this kingdom Enji, not as long as I live. So back off,"she gave a snarl of her own, branishing her longer and sharper canines. The sound that rumbled from the back of her throat made Izuku's knees buckle. Thankfully he caught All Might's chair in time. Endeavor chuckled. "If that's how it is, then so be it." The fire mage got up. Thoughts and ideas ran through Toshinori's mind a million miles per second before he finally found a solution that could potentially spell disaster.

"I have one last preposition to make, Endeavor." All Might said to the king and beckoned him to retake his seat.

"I will send my envoy, Midoriya Izuku, over to your kingdom. He will observe how your kingdom is run ,and by his judgement and his judgement alone, he will decide if we are to merge kingdoms upon his return."

Fuyu  and Izuku widened their eyes in alarm as they whipped their necks simultaneously to look at him. But only she knew how this could turn out. She yelled in ancient shapeshifter tongue and slapped the back of his head before she could stop herself. All Might replied hastily in the same tongue which was too complex for Izuku to understand while Fuyu cried in disbelief. "Seriously?!" She glared at her friend. Blood lust radiated off her skin in pulses. 

"I agree to your terms," Endeavour cackled darkly and got up to leave. "But, my Hunter shall do the same. He shall stay here until that boy is ready to leave." Izuku felt shivers down his spine as the Hunter stared at his king, opening and closing his mouth as if to give a retort. On his way out, he stopped and turned around,"if anyone is more prepared for war in this room it's you Yagi. You seem to have already begun gathering your army. Give me your names,"he demanded to the three.

"Gale, Guardian of the Northern territory," the man with long black hair and a scar running down his cheek growled.

"Lignum, Guardian of the Eastern territory,"came the other man whose silver hair was tied in braids.

"Fuyu, Guardian of the Central territory,"Fuyu spat.

The three Guardians stayed in the room as Izuku and All Might went to send their visitors off.

"I look forward to your stay,"Endeavor smiled. Izuku watched as he patted the Hunter's shoulder while he walked past and saw the king's lips move, but the green haired boy couldn't pick up what he said even with his superior hearing. He only knew whatever was said couldn't be good.

He felt like he could puke from the tense exchange but the most important thing was that Fuyu was back safe and sound with two of the Guardians.

Chapter Text

"To be honest, I never thought I would see you this worried. Stop it darling, you're going to get wrinkles," Lignum huffed as he stared at the girl pacing around in circles.

"That king also didn't take us seriously when we told him we were Guardians, so calm down," Gale reassured. Thinking back to how the king merely scoffed at their claims and commented about how Fuyu needed to go back to her parents, she glared at the floor.

"See what you've done? You made her angry, good job mutt," the deer Guardian sneered, swishing back his braided hair with a hand and making sure it hit the onyx haired male square in the face. Whether Gale made a comment, she didn't hear it as her ears were filled with pounding footsteps headed back to the meeting room. True enough, Izuku crashed through the door and lifted Fuyu up in his arms with ease.

"Where have you been?" He laughed as he spun them around.

"Indeed where have you been?" All Might repeated as he entered not long after, the Hunter following loosely behind.

"Izuku I am overjoyed to see you too but please put me down I am very angry,"she smiled sweetly at the boy,gaze changing to a glare at the king.

"Here it comes,"Izuku heard the braided man sigh. He looked at the Fuyu tensely. She didn't try to mask up her impending anger so she must be really angry. This was certainly new.

"Hunter boy by the door, Bakugou was it? Could you be a dear and close the doors? I don't want the whole kingdom to hear me shame their beloved king," Fuyu called out the Hunter. Not expecting to be called out in this way, Bakugou nearly jumped up in shock but tossed the girl a snarl as he did what she asked. When he did, however, all hell broke loose.

"I sincerely apologise for the upcoming use of language but YAGI WHAT THE FUCK? I just came back from chasing these two little shits behind me for THREE FUCKING YEARS and succeeded in doing something a king known for his successful negotiations couldn't do! Imagine having to chase down something that literally ran as fast as the wind and having to play hide and seek with a deer who could disguise himself as a tree. A TREE, YAGI! A FUCKING TREE! IN A FOREST FULL OF OTHER FUCKING TREES! And I come back to find you with Endeavor discussing about some shit I didn't care about until you made a deal to send Izuku over?! I have seen the actions of many kings who caused the fall of their kingdom countless of times in my thousand years but your's is the most stupidest one yet! Oh and I don't care of there is a guest over so I'm giving you FIVE seconds to come up with the best reason you've got or SO HELP ME, Endeavor won't be the one burning down your kingdom," she yelled and pinched the bridge of her nose when she was done.

"And there it is," Gale commented, finally breaking the thick tension in the room.

Somewhere in the castle compounds, Kirishima paused his training with Iida to wipe the sweat off his brow and whistled in amazement at the sheer anger in whose ever voice that belonged to. Iida called out to him asking what's wrong. The boy dismissed his question with a wave and continued their training.

"Five," Fuyu started counting down when the king was still recovering from her outburst.

"Four." "Fuyu I'm sure All Might has a reason-" Izuku pleaded. Or at least tried to.

"Nope. Don't stand up for him Izuku you're much more better than that- Three."

"Two," she growled as All Might opened his mouth to speak,but words failed to come out.

"One- that's it I'm burning the kingdom," Fuyu sighed as she started to walk towards the door, whisps of smoke emerging from her skin.

"I can explain!" All Might found his voice just in time as his friend reached for the door. The girl huffed and sat on the nearest chair.

"Since you've been gone helping me upon my request I've ensured Izuku's well being and growth in your stead and he has become the greatest person I've ever met. Izuku is strong enough to take care of himself and this will give him an opportunity to explore the world he lives in before he succeeds the throne! I am proud to say that he has far surpassed his peers both in combat and in studies. He will be fine, I'll ensure it," All Might said. He had other plans in mind for sending Izuku over but he was not as stupid as Fuyu said he was to say it in front of a potential enemy.

"So,"she said,"you're telling me. You want to send him. To Endeavor's kingdom. Full of Hunters." All Might internally smacked himself.

"What the fuck is wrong with that? All Might said he's a human so he will be fucking fine. We have a barrier that prevents shapeshifters from passing through so you can't go with him even if you fucking wanted to," the Hunter commented from the door. All Might might as well burn himself now. Droplets of sweat poured down his cheeks as he forced himself to meet Fuyu's gaze.

"Oh you done fucked up dude,"Fuyu simply stated.

"Really fucked up," came Gale.

"Splendidly fucked up," snorted Lignum as he watched his fellow Guardian break the doors off their hinges when she rammed through them.

* * *

Katsuki never expected his day to go like this. From meeting the boy he thought was dead after that massacre in the woods and feeling downright insulted when said boy didn't spare him a single glance, to feeling amazed and anger when he insulted his king. And he never expected his king to make him stay behind to watch the boy and the King's every move and learn as much about them as possible, army, battle strategies and all. Much less hearing this bird-nest looking girl yell at the king and seeing the two others that came with her and the king himself, chase her down before she actually had the chance to burn anything.

"I'm sorry but have we met?" A soft voice came from his left.

His heart instantly felt as if it had stabbed. How dare he? Was he not worthy enough to be remembered? Katsuki menacingly turned his head to look at the boy.

"Ah! I'm sorry! I just thought I may have seen you somewhere before and-"

"Hell if I care," The taller boy sneered. He ignored the sickening feeling in his gut when the boy looked down to the ground in shame. After the girl came back, All Might requested that the mop-head show him to one of the rooms for his stay while he stayed behind to talk to the so-called Guardians. Katsuki believed in them once, but not anymore after his whole village got slaughtered. He learned about them from the stories his mother told him and from the books he read. He believed that they actually helped everyone, no matter who they may be. But when no one came to save his people when they needed it most, so to hell with Guardians. They didn't exist, so what right did the wanna-be's in the room have to claim themselves as Guardians.

Katsuki remembered collapsing onto a dirt path after what seemed like weeks of walking. There he was found by a member of the royal palace who turned out to be the king's eldest daughter. His first shift came out of nowhere which resulted in the castle's west wing being completely destroyed. The king, Endeavor, recognised his power, he jolly well should have after all the shit Katsuki's been through, and trained him along with his son, or as Katsuki would like to call him, 'Half-n-Half Bastard'. He reached the top of the ranks in no time and soon he was assigned to Endeavor's guard. But seeing this good-for-nothing boy stand beside All Might as one of his trusted few, he couldn't help but feel extremely jealous.

His father would tell him of the deeds of a heroic man called All Might who saved people with a smile. Katsuki saw himself as a guard for All Might when he was young, but fate had it that he was serving Endeavor. He was glad too, he didn't need a weak king who cared so much for his people and tried so hard to avoid war. Coming back to his senses, they were still walking to what was supposedly was his room.

"Oi Deku, where's your room?" He asked. This was taking too long, and if his king told him to stay as close as he could to this fuck, he was going to do just that.

"My room? Um let me think-"

"Hah? You don't even know where your room is? You're really just a deku aren't you?" He sneered.

"D-Deku? I-It's just that I think my room is all the way in the other wing and today has been a real experience,"the boy scratched his head sheepishly and muttered something under his breathe.

Katsuki heard it well but he didn't want the boy to think he could get away with it.

"What did you say?" He growled, taking into the space between the smaller boy's feet and into his personal space. The boy, or Deku now that Katsuki found a nickname for him, panicked and backed away until there was nothing but a wall cutting his escape. Katsuki slammed a hand next to his head and leaned in centimeters away from Deku's face. It was then he noticed the freckles that decorated his cheeks. They reminded him of the stars and constellations that lit up the night sky above his village.

"What did you say?" He repeated. Deku opened his mouth to reply but he was interrupted by a much louder source.

* * *

That sunshine of a friend came at the right moment. Kirishima pushed Bakugou away from Izuku and stood between them.

"Is this guy bothering you Izuku?" Kirishima asked, lifting his chin up to gain that extra height over this foreigner who seemed too close to his friend. "It's fine Eijirou! He was just upset that I couldn't remember where my room was," Izuku frantically explained.

He had seen the damage Kirishima could do when he beat some drunkard to the ground after that guy harassed Izuku and his group of friends during one of the kingdom's festivals and pulled a knife on Izuku. Kirishima had used his hardening magic to disarm the man and knock him out with one hit to the jaw. Izuku wanted to prevent the same thing from happening to Bakugou.

Kirishima frowned at his friend. "Well he can't blame you. Your memory-blocking spell is still in effect right?" to which Izuku nodded, embarrassed.

"Why the fuck does he need that spell for?" The blonde said. Izuku waved his arms around to stop his friend from replying but he already beat him to it.

"Izuku has some really bad memories of his past so he doesn't want to remember some of them. But this also effects the present as well. I'm sure there are some things you want to forget too right?" Kirishima pointed back to Izuku shrinking behind him.

"I'm not some coward who has to rely on something like that," Bakugou spat.

"I don't care how you deal with it but don't put down others just because they're different from you. We all have our different ways of coping," Kirishima replied with a tilt of his head. The dragon shifters instinctively looked down at the sound of a clenching fist. Izuku came in between them at the sight of smoke coming out of Bakugou's palms.

"H-Hey! I'm very sorry I forgot where my room was. It's my fault so leave Eijirou out of this! Please,"he pleaded. He sighed with relief when the smoke disappeared. Thankfully the blonde didn't comment and motioned him to show him where his room was. Kirishima managed to make the trip less awkward than it already was, sometimes pointing out whenever Izuku made a wrong turn. They eventually made it to his room. Izuku really owed him one. "Why did you want to see his room bro?" Kirishima chirped, forgetting about the tension between the two of them earlier. "Isn't it obvious, hair-for-brains? I'm sleeping here,"Bakugou chuckled darkly before stepping inside while leaving Kirishima to deal with a perturbed Izuku.

Chapter Text

After gaining back his bearings and successfully reassuring Kirishima that he was going to be okay, Izuku shakily entered his room. He was expecting the blonde to be looking through his belongings for some reason so he sighed in relief when he found the boy just laying on his bed.

His room was nothing extravagant. The stone walls were lined with a couple of oak shelves for his books and miscellaneous items. A study table decorated with ink, scratches and a mini alchemy set took its place in front of a wide window that overlooked the pathway that led to the forest. A simple wardrobe, nothing too big, stood a couple of feet away from his bed, and a fireplace was positioned in front of the bed.

Bakugou seemed to stare blankly at the ceiling. After a few weeks of living here Izuku found the darkness to be unbearable so he asked All Might for permission to decorate his ceiling as well. When he received the go-ahead he cast a simple spell that mimicked moonlight shining through leaves in constant motion. Not wanting to disturb the boy, Izuku figured he would go ask the maids for a spare mattress.

"Where the fuck are you going?" Bakugou's voice nearly scared Izuku out of his skin.

"To get another mattress?" Izuku choked out. His room may be small but there was definitely enough space to fit another mattress beside his bed.

"I'm not going to sleep on a half-assed mattress!" Came his reply, clearly insulted.

"It's not for you, it's for me. I can't sleep anywhere else other than my own room so," Izuku trailed off at the last part.

Bakugou stood silently and walked over to him. When Izuku made no sign of moving, he clicked his tongue and flicked his head to move him along.

"Go on, we don't have all fucking day,"he spat.

The journey to the storage room was awkward. The castle staff would be scared off by Bakugou if they didn't clear out of the way fast enough or if they were too close to him for his liking, so now the corridors were deserted of people. Izuku silently wished there was someone around to talk to. Apart from the angry boy of course.

The duo finally reached the storage room after a couple of minutes of Izuku taking wrong turns.

He sighed as he spotted a couple of maids dart out of his way the second they spotted him. Hopefully whoever he hoped to find wouldn't do the same.

"Tsuyu?" He called out as he opened the door. Thankfully the girl was there and only batted an eye when she spotted Bakugou looming over her friend's shoulder.

"Hello Izuku. What do you need?" The frog halfling croaked.

"Do you happen to any spare mattresses lying around? I need a place to sleep," Izuku replied sheepishly.

The girl stared at him in question before excusing herself to look for the item he asked for. The boy twiddled his fingers nervously. Bakugou's impatient teeth grinding was putting him on edge. Izuku prayed that Tsuyu would return soon before he exploded.

"Sorry Izuku, we don't have any spares left," Tsuyu emerged.

Izuku's heart sunk at the thought of possibly sharing his bed with Bakugou. It could only end horribly, he imagined with a shudder. Perhaps he could share a room with Kirishima-

"But," Tsuyu's voice cut him from his thoughts. "You can go to the square to ask for a mattress. Look for a girl called Hagakure. Tell her I sent you."

He perked up. There was hope after all!

"Thank you so much! I'll be off then!" Izuku chirped.

Izuku hurried down the corridor to get to the gates, Bakugou never failing to stay close to his heels. He passed by his friends who didn't seem to be affected nor care about the additional presence sticking to their friend like glue. Iida though, was apprehensive.

"Leaving for the square?" The knight called out from his post beside the gate. Seeing Iida instantly made him feel safe, maybe it was because he was decked out in full armor. Who knows?

"Well do be careful! We don't want another dagger incident happening,"he nagged. His warm smile went away when he took notice of Bakugou.

"And who might this be? I figured we had guests over but I wasn't informed that one of them would be staying here,"he reached for his sword. Izuku didn't have to look at the blonde to know that he was bristling. He quickly reassured his friend that Bakugou was only staying until Izuku was ready to leave. Iida finally relaxed after some persuasion and a bribe or two. The knight repeated his warning of staying safe before letting them leave.

"Keep to yourself! Fucking four eyes," Bakugou barked over his shoulder.

"I think he would have kept to himself if you weren't so intimidating all the time," Izuku sighed. "Kacchan," he added hesitantly.

"If you are to call me 'Deku' then it's only fitting that I call you something too. Although it isn't as degrading as 'Deku',"Izuku panicked after seeing the look of anger and shock on the boy's, now Kacchan, face.

"Where did all that tongue come from?" Kacchan growled as he pushed pass Izuku.

He didn't tell me to stop, Izuku wondered. He completely expected Kacchan to chew his face off for giving him a nickname, much less 'Kacchan'. So Izuku took it as a sign of progress.

The square buzzed with life as always. It was late afternoon so there weren't as many people as there would be in the evening. Izuku trudged along the cobblestone floor, stratergising how he would find Hagakure. He was pretty sure she visited the castle some time before since she was good friends with Tsuyu, but he never had a chance to get a good glimpse of her because of his packed schedule. Izuku figured the bed shop would be a good place to start. Obviously.

Over his stay, he managed to make friends outside the castle when he had to run errands. One privilege was that he could get free things from time to time.

"Yo Midoriya!" Satou called from his bakery with a wave of his gloved hand. When the envoy was close enough, Satou shoved a freshly baked bread into his mouth. Izuku's look of surprise morphed into happiness as the sweetness of the fluffy bread swirled around in his mouth.

"Cinnamon?" Izuku managed to say through his stuffed mouth. Satou gave a thumbs up at his guess and packed a few more into a small basket to give to him.

"I was experimenting around so I have a couple of extra batches. You can share some with your friend too!"He hurried the duo along.

Izuku offered the basket to Kacchan as he munched on another piece. Kacchan didn't appreciate being offered food it seems. He initially tried to scare Izuku away by clicking his tongue in an aggravated way and shoving the basket away roughly with his elbow. But Izuku persisted. If he learned anything from his time staying in Yuei it's that Satou's food is the best bonding material and he was determined to get on Kacchan's good side. If he had one. Who knows? Maybe there's a nice boy hidden beneath that explosive layer. If you never tried to get to know someone, can you really say you know them through visual judgement alone?

"You haven't eaten, have you? You must be pretty hungry," Izuku coaxed, making sure that he popped up from rear view when Kacchan averted his glare.

"I'll stop pestering you if you take a loaf," he finalised. That seemed to do the trick. Kacchan snacked a piece of bread with a grumble and tore into it, his sharp canines visible. Izuku tried to read any sort of contentment he himself felt when he tasted the bread but Kacchan remained unreadable. But as he promised, Izuku didn't bother Kacchan anymore.

They finally reached the part of the square he didn't recognise. He never had the chance nor the reason to venture this deep into the crowded place so it was logical that there might be a bed shop lurking somewhere in here. To make things easier, for both his and Kacchan's sake, he decided to ask around.

"Excuse me do you know if-Oh! Aoyama you work here?" Izuku mused at the sight of the peacock shifter and his familiar grin.

"I mean it would make sense that you work in a clothes shop since you have extravagant clothes..." he rambled, only to receive a sharp jab to the ribs by Kacchan followed an irritated "shut the fuck up Deku".

"Right! Sorry! Anyways Aoyama do you know where I can find Hagakure?"

Aoyama stared at them silently for a few long moments, resting his head on his palms on the marble counter top.

"...Yes I work here. For someone as sparkling as myself it would be logical. Walk straight to the end of the walkway then make a left," he winked.

"Your friends are so fucking weird," Kacchan muttered as they left the shop.

"I never thought you be one to call yourself weird Kacchan," Izuku laughed softly before running ahead when the shop came into view, leaving Kacchan no time to formulate a retort.

The shop was nothing too fancy. It was cozy even. A small wooden sign with a small bed carved into it hung above the door. If it weren't for the sign, one could easily mistake it for a simple house and pass it by. A bell sang a soft chime as Izuku pushed the door open slowly. The shop was empty however. He found it weird that someone would leave a store unattended with the door unlocked.

"Hello!"

Izuku screamed, causing a chain reaction with Kacchan flinching. The voice came from nowhere but it sounded really close.

"I didn't mean to scare you! It's my magic you see. Well you can't actually see but anyways what can I help you with? I'm Hagakure by the way," the invisible girl said.

"Ts-Tsuyu said you can help me with a mattress?" Izuku stuttered awkwardly. He didn't know where to look.

He heard the girl hum in understanding as she walked away. She came back soon faster carrying a decent sized mattress and passed it to Izuku, saying it was for free since he was a friend of Tsuyu's. Izuku stumbled a bit. He didn't know where to grab. Eventually he got himself together after he could hear the ticking timebomb about to explode if he didn't hurry up. Izuku thanked her hastily and reached  the castle in record time.

Surprisingly Kacchan didn't complain much throughout the quest so that amused Izuku. Perhaps there was a soft spot to him after all. And Izuku was determined to find it.

 

Chapter Text

Everything was going great after what seemed like an eternity of suffering. He grew up without a father for his whole childhood. Heck, he never knew who he was. He grew up with only his mother and friend to raise him but she was killed before his very eyes at fourteen years old on her birthday. He relived countless nights of nightmares of blood and spilled guts. That was until his best friend Fuyu came along. She gave him the same warmth his mother gave him and slowly pieced his broken world back together again. He got to know the bravest man to ever live through her as well. He even got to learn under the man for goodness sake. But the thing about life, he most recently learned, is that misfortune strikes the moment you let your guard down. Or maybe it was just him. His life seemed to be an extract from a series of unfortunate events. Tragically unfortunate events. His world came crashing down once more.

"I-I- Oh I really don't know how to say this Izuku, but I'm dying."

It was the morning before Izuku was to leave for Endeavor's kingdom. After successfully finding a mattress for him to sleep on, he managed to catch Fuyu on time before she was about to leave again and after much persuasion, got her to stay. Like he hoped, they managed to catch up, though not much, during his free time when he wasn't busy preparing for the trip or with his studies. Kacchan was always there right beside him, if not nearby, never failing to scare the other castle staff away.

Katsuki never forgot about his mission. He took note of every single piece of information that he deemed useful, such as what kind of shifters the kingdom had, who the strongest fighter or magician was, their battle formats, past war histories and anything of the like. He didn't have to worry about writing anything down so he wouldn't forget. He was confident that in another world, he would be the smartest, if not somewhere at the top, amongst his peers. But looking at Deku and being around him for a few days, he figured Deku wasn't really deku after all. Deku's fighting style could really use a lot of work but his analytical skills were nothing to scoff at. That boy might just have more information than the whole of his king's library and advisors combined.

As always, Deku was seemingly excited for some reason and it was beginning to irritate him.

"What the fuck's got you so hyper?"

It took a few seconds for his question to register in the boy's brain.

"Oh! Well we're- no I'm going to back to Fuyu's house for the first time in years! She left first because she said wanted to clean up before we arrive. I learned a lot of things there so that place means a lot to me I suppose..." he rambled as he struggled to close his bag strap with trembling hands. They were about to leave the gates when All Might called him back. Kacchan moved to follow Izuku but was given a look by the king and decided it was wise to stay where he was

"How is your language coming along?" All Might tested Izuku, speaking in shapeshifter tongue.

"It's going smoothly! I wouldn't have done it without your...your...uh help!," Izuku fumbled, struggling a little bit to form a perfect sentence. "Though I never knew we had our own language."

"It's a dead language so only a selected few know it, especially those who lived long enough to learn it and pass it down. Getting back on track, I hope you haven't forgotten about your task. It's a dangerous world out there so do be careful," All Might patted him on the back and passed him a small flask with a red liquid. "That is what will grant you One for All, my boy. I would have liked it if we had time to practice but time is of the essence," he explained after seeing Izuku's quizzical look.

"But this is blood," Izuku choked. He didn't need to bring the small flask closer to his nose. He could smell it really well.

"It's either that or my hair. I thought blood would be easier to consume than hair. And One for All is passed down through the DNA of the previous holder," the king scratched the back of his head sheepishly. Izuku thought he made a good point and pinched his nose before downing the blood. He shuddered at the taste.

All Might walked with him back to the gate.

"Do you know how to shift, young Bakugou?" He asked.

"Of course I can. Who the hell do you take me for?" Katsuki tried very hard to censor his words.

"Great! Then your journey will be much quicker-"

"Hold on your Highness I didn't agree to carry anyone. I'm not a mode of fucking transportation," and there goes his censorship.

"I understand. Sorry for making less of your pride my boy. Take care of my son now, Katsuki," the king warned, his eyes flashing with a danger that vanished as soon as it came and pushed the duo gently outside the gates before bidding them goodbye with a small wave and wide smile.

It certainly took them a long time, to be more accurate, a couple of days, to navigate their way through the villages and the forest to finally reach Fuyu's home. The tree was as spectacular as ever. Even after all this time, Izuku never failed to be amazed by the sheer size of it. Its leaves were as vibrant and bountiful as he last remembered. The herb and vegetable patch were cleared by Fuyu most probably. They must have withered away after the neglect. He could hear Kacchan have his breath taken away as well. Izuku sighed contently before knocking on the door to announce his arrival and letting himself in.

Everything seemed a lot smaller now. He grew up after all. As if it were only yesterday that Fuyu gave him the herbalism book and a cup of tea, the girl popped her head out of the kitchen.

"Take a seat while I prepare some tea. If I can find any that is," he heard the girl grumble.

"Kacchan you coming in?" He asked. Kacchan gave no reply but plopped himself down at the entrance of the door. Izuku sighed once again and closed the door gently. He took the opportunity to look around. The amazing display of shelves were dusted down and the books were properly put in place. Everything had stayed the way they were the day he rode on Kirishima's back to Yuei. The desk he could always find Fuyu at was cleaned. The stack of papers and parchment placed nicely at the corner, the inkwell capped and a feather quill lay beside it. The mini shelf of magic books for once in a neat array. Izuku absentmindedly traced his fingers on the decorative scratches on the desk, dwelling in the memories of the past.

He sat himself down on the chair that he first sat on as Fuyu arrived with two cups of tea.

"Chamomile," he breathed in deeply as he reminisced, a smile escaping his lips.

She gave him a smile in return and got to the point. She explained that she was going to cast a spell that would mask his shapeshifter blood completely. Izuku's eyes widened in alarm at the thought of Kacchan listening to their conversation.

"Don't worry. Soundproof spell," she winked.

Fuyu struggled with her next words carefully. Izuku saw the distress on her face and was filled with worry. He never saw her this conflicted before.

"I-I- Oh I really don't know how to say this Izuku, but I'm dying." She most certainly didn't want to say this. It was extremely selfish but it would be more selfish of her if she didn't tell him at all. Fuyu shot forward to catch the cup that fell from Izuku's hands but the cup too slipped from her fingers.

She withdrew her hands. She gave them a couple of clenches. Her strength was fading. In fact, everything was fading. Her hearing was not at sharp anymore. She could no longer hear the slightest movement of muscles, she realised, only big, wide movements like swinging arms. The forest was never this quiet before.

"But that's impossible. You have got to be kidding me. You're the phoenix for fuck's sake." Fuyu heard a wet sob and forced herself to look up. Big tears were running down Izuku's face and they weren't showing any sign of stopping.

"My power is fading Izuku. I really wish it was a joke too," she looked back down to the floor.

"Maybe your body is just feeling the wear of time. You'll be reborn again right? Because that's what phoenixes do," Izuku tried to reason, mostly to himself.

Fuyu opened her mouth to reply, but her words failed her. She had already taken too much for him.

"Yes, maybe so," she smiled.

While she was losing the very power that kept her alive, someone else was getting stronger each passing second.

 

Chapter Text

"One more thing," Fuyu said, taking notice of the small shift in Izuku's eyes. "I'm certain you've met him before." Izuku heard light footsteps descending the stairs and a lavender-haired male with a tired look written all over his face, accompanied by dark circles beneath his eyes and prominent eyebags took his place beside Fuyu.

Of course Izuku met him, although they never actually shared an actual conversation before. Most of the times he actually saw this boy was always the boy following Aiwaza closely wherever he went. Whenever Izuku tried starting a conversation, he would be given a glare or get ignored.

"You!" Izuku jumped up from his seat, clearly surprised. Fuyu had never mentioned him before so why the sudden appearance?

"Yes yes. Igloo was it? How are you on this fine day?" The boy interrupted, shooting him a nice smile.

"It's Izuku act-" The green-haired boy blanked out.

"Sleep,"Shinsou dropped his fake smile and turned to the girl, ignoring the sound of the body hitting the floor. He really didn't want to be here, but he was indebted to her for saving his life. Her coming to him for a favour actually surprised him. He never expected a Guardian to ever come to a normal person like himself for help.

"Is this really necessary?" He asked.

"Of course. If I were to give it to him outright he would never accept it," Fuyu explained while rubbing her palms together vigorously. The skin from her chest to the tips of her fingertips glowed a warm ember light. It leaked from her fingers like small rivers of lava into her cupped hands. As more light pooled into her palms, the glow from her skin faded until nothing was left except a small ball of fire in her hands.

"Who else knows? Apart from him," Shinsou said, his eyes stuck on the dancing fire.

"All Might, you, Aizawa and a few other knights that have close ties with the king," Fuyu replied as she squeezed the fire into a tighter ball.

"Not the Guardians?"

"Nope," she popped the 'p'. "We don't tell each other when we're going to die. We just go when we have to. We can sense it though, when one of us has passed," Fuyu explained. She knelt down beside Izuku and pressed the ball into his chest, watching as it disappeared completely.

 

 

Impatient knocking grated her ears. The two shapeshifters groaned and covered their ears. Shinsou went to get the door while Fuyu hoisted Izuku over her shoulder with one arm with ease. She dumped the boy into the arms of the explosive boy before he could get a word out.

"What the fuck did you do to him?" Katsuki demanded, struggling to hold Izuku up in a more comfortable position to allow him to fight the Guardian.

"Oh please. Don't need to get your panties in a twist. I just put him to sleep. No big deal. He will wake up soon," Shinsou dragged a hand down his face. Despite being somewhere around late noon, it was still too early for this shit."Best case scenario." He deliberately added with a grin. Katsuki turned his neck so fast Shinsou wondered if he suffered a whipslash.

"You fucking prick-"

"Enough." Fuyu stepped in between them, a trace of authority hinted in her voice. Katsuki wasn't sure if it was the food he ate prior to arriving at this gods' forsaken place but something in him made him back down immediately and wanted to fall to his knees in submission. The purple prick wasn't as affected as he was but there was certainly caution in fear in his eyes.

"Ah such is the blood of a Hunter," he heard the girl scoff. She closed the distance between them, her face centimeters away from his own.

"Listen here boy. You take care of him. Protect him with your damn life or I swear I will release myself from the clutches of death itself and emerge from my grave to drag you back to the depths of hell with me if I ever find out that he got hurt under your care," Fuyu growled, grabbing the front of his cape to reinforce her point. Her brown eyes shone brightly with bloodlust, her round pupils narrowed to needles. "This is the only reason why I spared your life that day when I had every reason to end it," she nodded her head to Izuku and jabbed her free finger into Katsuki's chest.

His blood boiled with anger. It was her after all!

"FUCK YOU!" Katsuki shook himself free. He felt his skin prick with his emerging scales, unconsciously tightening his hold on Izuku.

"Nah man I'm asexual. I ain't into that shit," Fuyu gave a peace sign, unaffected by his outburst.

"Go kill yourself you sick fuck," his voice was beginning to sound distorted, his vocal chords changing shape to make those of his form.

"Believe me I already tried, but here I am," she raised her hands in surrender. "Shinsou dear is there a way you can bring them to Enji's kingom?" Fuyu asked him over her shoulder. Shinsou shrugged. 

"Might as well give it a shot," she heard him grumble. "Oi," he snapped his fingers at Katsuki.

"Now what you fuckwad?!" He snarled.

"First of all, rude. Second. Shift into whatever form you have, I could care less, and travel to Endeavor's kingdom with Midoriya safely. Do not stop until you touch the castle grounds," Shinsou droned. He wished he had a contraption to allow him to capture images because the blank face on Katsuki's face can give Kirishima a run for his money.

Without uttering another word, Katsuki placed Izuku, still sleeping soundly without a care in the world, on the ground and shifted. The sounds of breaking bones popping out of their sockets was enough to make them flinch. Shinsou closed his eyes. He could go without seeing something like this ever again, thank you very much. When there was nothing but silence, he hesitantly opened his eyes. He couldn't help but let out a whistle at the boy's form. The dusty gold dragon was certainly built for standing on his hind legs, so his body slopped slightly downwards when he was on all fours. His forearms were as built and toned as his hind legs. The head was decorated in a crown of sharp spikes that extended all the way down to the tip of his tail where more spikes protruded from the sides. The scales seemed like it could withstand all sorts of weapons and magic. The soft underbelly was covered in a lighter shade of soft scales.

Katsuki opened his mouth, revealing teeth that could shred through steel like it was nothing. He breathed a huff of hot air over Izuku and picked him up gently in his mouth, careful not to close it entirely. His wings covered the sky above them as they stretched. Fuyu's and Shinsou's hair suffered from the aftermath of Katsuki launching his large body into the air. They watched as the form grew smaller and smaller into the horizon.

"Damn. Who did he kill to get that? I thought you guys were rare?" Shinsou cupped his eyes like binoculars.

"The first dragon Izuku ever knew besides his mom."

"Ouch. Why didn't you give him the fight he was raring to go for?"

"If I did, he wouldn't have stopped until one of us dropped dead."

"Also, I'm not sure if carrying someone in your mouth is counted as safe," Fuyu flattened her lips and slowly turned to him.

"How can it not be? That's how mother cats do it," he scoffed as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"So you're telling me that big scaly thing that just took off is a cat?"

"...Fuck."