The mid afternoon sun was warm. It shone down on the crystal clear stream as it bubbled down its path. Its rays feeding the earth, nurturing plants and crops.
And the sun smiled on and warmed the scales of a baby Red Dragon as he slept in the most perfect spot along the bank. He had started out curled up nose to tail, but had since sprawled on his back. His big, round tummy was exposed as his back legs fell open and his front legs stuck straight up in the air.
He slowly woke up and his mouth felt dry from hanging open while he had his nap. He felt the happy sun on him and smiled back at it. His smile was full of gaps and was a little lopsided because he had a mix of baby and big dragon teeth, he didn't think the sun would mind.
He reached up to scratch his left horn. Mina had said hers were itchy when they were growing in too, but that didn't make it any better. She wasn't a full grown up yet, but she did have all her big dragon teeth, so that had to mean she knew for real.
“Rise and shine Eijiro!” There was Mina now!
Eijiro rolled to his side and got to his feet. He padded his too big feet over to his sister and gave her his brightest smile.
Eijiro was a happy baby, which some may have considered strange given that he was a Red dragon. Those were the fire dragons. Reds, while having immense power, were reputed as being mean, greedy, and very unfriendly. Eijiro did not want to be any of those things.
He wanted to be more like Sero, the Silver dragon. Sero was like Mina in that he had all his big dragon teeth too, but he was not quite an adult dragon either. He used to live on the same mountain as Eijiro. Many battles raged between Silvers and Reds, leaving them hard pressed to get along, but when hunters swarmed their mountain home, Sero could not leave a new and orphaned hatchling alone to die. Even if he was already the size of a puppy. Being newly hatched, his parents were supposed to keep the fire that the egg was in going, so it could harden his little scales. But his parents were gone, the fire was out, and Eijiro’s scales were still tender.
Tiny, days old Eijiro waddled down the mountain after Sero. He tripped a lot and scraped his little face on some of the rocks, but Sero made sure he stayed quiet like a big, brave dragon and did not give their location away. His chin healed quickly, but he cut above his eye really bad on a razor sharp rock. It left a scar and Sero assured him he looked big and tough because of it.
When they got to the base of the mountain, Sero had tried his best to find food for Eijiro but he was still losing his baby teeth himself so he did not know what he was doing.
Then Sero found a pretty girl dragon a few months older than himself. As an Amethyst dragon, she thought Silvers were foolish and hated Reds with a passion, but after witnessing Eijiro’s sunny disposition - and Sero appealing to her needs as a natural born leader - she took both of them under her wing.
Mina had been much more competent, as expected given that she was older. She didn't have parents either but she had been surviving on her own for a little while. Mina was so smart. She even knew Reds needed fire to harden their scales. The two of them were making sure Eijiro was the best baby dragon he could be.
The trio traveled together for a while, unable to stay in one location too long in order to avoid hunters and to stay out of the territory of other dragons.
Along the way, they collected Denki, a Crystal dragon far from home that was in between Sero and Eijiro’s age. He had been left for dead by humans, the membranes of his wings torn off. It looked as though Denki would never fly again. Eijiro was far too young to understand the implications of that, but for now he enjoyed it. He couldn't fly either. He had wings, but they were too small and he was too round.
But of course, just because he could not fly properly did not mean that he would turn down a good adventure. Denki told him that when he woke up from his nap, he would have a plan for something fun to do. Eijiro had a hard time falling asleep he was so excited, but eventually he did.
Mina gave him his wake up snack like she always did. It was lizards this time, and Eijiro used his flames to toast them before swallowing them whole. He could only make tiny puffs of fire at a time, so it took him a few moments to get them nice and charred. He set some of the grass on fire too, but Sero had taught him to stamp it out right away.
Eijiro burped as he finished his lizards, a tiny flame escaping and landing on the grass. He jumped on it.
“Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!” He yelled as he put out the embers. With a proud smile he scampered over to Denki.
Eijiro loved Denki the most out of their odd little group, which Mina said was called a Thunder. He was the most fun, always coming up with fun tricks to play. Mina got tired of those tricks though, and often threatened to kick Denki out of their ragtag Thunder of misfits. At first Eijiro did not understand that she was playing around and cried, begging her not to send him away. But now that he was becoming a big dragon, he understood that she was not serious.
Although Denki's latest prank may make her become serious about it. The more he whispered in Eijiro’s ear, the wider those red eyes got.
“Can I really do that?” Eijiro whispered excitedly. Denki's eyes twinkled as he nodded. They both looked over at Mina who was rolling her eyes at something Sero had said. Eijiro always found her eyes interesting. Where his were white with red colouring, hers were black with gold colouring.
When those eyes had turned away from him, Eijiro tiptoed into the bushes. He scampered away in the direction Denki had pointed him in.
Just outside of the forest in the small territory Mina and Sero had selected, giants were passing by on their way home to the Valley of the Giants, home of the defenders of Yuuei. Eijiro had never seen a giant before, but he had heard about them. They made the ground all rumbly when they walked.
Sero said giants were good guys that tried to save their home from the bad guys and had gone to the mountains to fight them off. Mina said they were unbeatable heroes that were friendly and wanted to help everyone. Denki said they had magic hair and if a dragon were to eat one, they would gain superpowers.
Eijiro tried his very best to fly over to where they were, but it was hard work! He wondered how big dragons did it. He had to take lots of breaks before he finally made it.
But there was a giant blocking his path!
Eijiro hid his face behind a rock, not knowing the rock was too small to hide his body. He peered around the rock.
The giant was sleeping. He had dark hair. That wasn't All Might. Everyone knew All Might had sunshine hair. This giant was wrapped up in a big blanket.
He looks like a calapillar! Eijiro thought. What he actually meant was a chrysalis, or a caterpillar's cocoon, but he always forgot that word. Can giants become butterflies? He hoped so! He liked making friends with butterflies.
Eijiro moved around the sleeping giant. His eyes got huge as he saw lots of giants all around. Some were sleeping, some eating, and some were just talking. Those must be the boring grownups. He didn't see any kids playing.
Eijiro tiptoed passed all the awake giants. He was so sneaky! No one saw him. Finally in the sunlight, he saw sunshine hair. The man was laying on his side in the grass.
He went around to face the giant who also seemed to be sleeping. Eijiro wiggled his bum and pounced on the sunshine hair that lay on the ground. He grabbed it with his teeth and tried to pull with all his might, but fell back onto his behind, hair still attached to All Might.
Eijiro thought and thought, and thought some more. He tried hitting the hair with a stick. He tried chewing on it, but he didn't have enough teeth. He should have asked Denki how to get it.
All Might opened his eye a crack and watched baby Eijiro try to think of a way to get the hair.
The blond giant rolled his other side, subtly shifted to pull out his knife. With minimal movement, he cut the front pieces his hair off.
Eijiro had squeaked and gone behind another too small rock when the giant moved. After seeing the giant wasn't waking, he scampered around to face All Might once more.
He grabbed the hair in his teeth again and tried to pull. This time they all came out! Eijiro trilled a happy “kiri" sound and then looked around to see if any giants heard him. He sagged with relief a little since no one noticed him.
Eijiro scooped up the hair in his mouth and trotted off proudly towards his Thunder, forgetting he was supposed to be super sneaky.
All Might sat up and gave a loud yawn and stretched. He reached up and found that his bangs were missing. He let out a loud gasp. He leapt to his feet and looked in the direction opposite of Eijiro, shielding his eyes from sun so that he might find the culprit.
“I AM HERE,” the giant boomed, “LOOKING FOR WHOEVER CUT MY HAIR!”
Eijiro’s eyes widened and he squealed, flapping his wings trying to get in the air to get away. His weight to wing ratio was no good causing him to drop frequently. He flapped extra hard to get back up into the air, the hair clamped tightly between his teeth.
He barely made it into the forest when Eijiro tumbled down to the ground. He didn't land very good and his foot slipped under him and he toppled over on the crest of a hill. Unable to stop, he rolled and rolled down the side of the hill and finally crashed into a clearing.
Eijiro got to his feet but swayed with dizziness. He shook his head a little to snap himself out of it. He heard a crack of a stick behind him. He tried to jump around to see who found him, but he tripped over his too big feet.
His face scraped across a rock, but it was okay because his scales were hard like a big dragon's now. He didn't get cuts anymore like he did when he was a baby.
He turned and saw a shirtless boy no more than seven or eight years old. He had wild blond hair and a sneer on his face. He held a wooden sword out in his hand.
Humans are bad, Denki's voice sounded in his head. They like to hurt dragons for no reason.
“Dragon!” he growled, sword pointed at Eijiro. The dragon squeaked and backed up until his back hit a tree trunk.
Realizing that Eijiro was scared, the boy lowered his sword and got so close Eijiro could smell the boy's lunch on his breath. His tummy rumbled. He liked lunch.
“Are you hungry?” the boy walked over to his pack and got a piece of dried meat. He offered it to the dragon. “Here.”
Tentatively Eijiro crept over. He dropped All Might’s hair and slowly took the food.
“Kiri!” Eijiro trilled.
“Kiri? Is that your name?”
It wasn't but that was the sound little Red dragons made, in the same way that a cat is not named Meow even though that is its noise.
Eijiro could understand Katsuki, but he couldn't talk back to him. His mouth couldn't make human words and that made him sad. All he could do was trill and make dragon words his new friend couldn't understand.
But if Eijiro could make friends with butterflies and the sun, then he could make friends with a human boy too.
The two played for a bit, chasing each other around and Katsuki even tried to wrestle Eijiro. He didn't do very well though.
Nevertheless the blond proposed a challenge. “Hey Kiri? If I we fight and I win, you have to be my dragon forever, okay?”
Eijiro’s heart soared like it was a big dragon. He was having so much fun and this boy wanted to play with him forever! This just proved Denki was wrong when he said all humans were bad.
“Kiri!” He trilled happily. Katsuki lifted his wooden sword and this time Eijiro knew he wasn't going to be hurt.
The two tussled, chasing each other around the clearing. Eijiro was chasing Katsuki when suddenly the blond whirled and ran at Eijiro with a yell, waving his sword.
The dragon screeched and bit down, snapping the sword in half. They both looked down at the broken toy in sadness. Eijiro moved to nudge Katsuki’s shoulder in apology, but paused and opened his mouth.
Two of his baby dragon teeth dropped into the grass.
“Whoa!” Katsuki’s eyes were huge. “Wow! Kiri can I have these?!” He picked the teeth up and looked at them. The little red dragon nodded and was rewarded with a hug around his neck.
Just then they heard the sound of people approaching. Katsuki’s eyes filled with panic.
“Run, Kiri! Hurry! You gotta go! Run!” He hissed.
Sensing his friend's panic, Eijiro ran as fast as his little legs could go. But his feet were too big for him so he tripped a lot. He had just gotten to the trees when he realized he forgot All Might’s hair!
He ran back and tried to pick it up, but the pieces weren't all together this time. Seeing what he was doing, Katsuki helped him collect the hair and put it in the dragon's mouth.
“Now go!” He whispered.
Eijiro had just gotten out of sight when he heard a grown up talk to his friend.
“Hello Katsuki. Who were you playing with?”
“No one. I was playing pretend and making voices.”
His voice got more and more faint as he headed back to his people, leading the grown up farther away from Kiri.
“Eijiro!” Mina ran to him the second she saw him. She held him tight to her and nuzzled him. He looked up at her as she licked across his face. Why was she so weird?
“WHERE WERE YOU?!” She shrieked, still holding him. “And what's in your mouth?”
Eijiro looked over to see Sero and Denki were hanging around like they were worried too. He opened his mouth and the hair fell out. “I cut off All Might’s hair!”
“WHAT?!” Mina whirled on Denki, teeth bared. “This is your fault!”
“I'm sorry, Mina. I didn't think he would get lost.” Denki was slouched.
“I didn't get lost! I was getting his hair. And playing with Kassuki!” The “ts" in his name was hard.
“Who is Kassuki?”
“A boy I met. He gave me food and said if he won our fight I would be his dragon forever! But I broke his sword by accident.”
“Eijiro,” Mina spoke carefully. “Is Kassuki a human?”
Denki visibly flinched. Sero frowned at the Red dragon.
“We told you to stay away from humans, Eijiro.”
“I know, but-"
“No buts. They are dangerous! They want to hurt you.”
“No!” Eijiro’s eyes welled up with tears. “Kassuki is my friend.”
“Humans can't make friends. He was lying to you.”
Fat tears ran down his cheeks and he pushed Mina away. He ran to his bed and flopped down. He cried hard, his tears soaking the ribbons he had put there - the beginning of his own treasure hoard.
Why didn't Katsuki want to be friends with him? Why would he lie?
Meanwhile, some distance away, a certain blond haired boy had just gotten home.
“Mama! Mama!” Katsuki yelled as he ran into his home, a stone hovel with a thatched roof that was tucked safely at the edge of the woods. It had originally been a shepherd's hut, but had been abandoned some time ago.
The Bakugo Clan were nomadic people. As the highest ranking individuals, the Bakugos got possession of the hut while the other clan members set up tents in the surrounding area.
“Katsuki. What's got you so excited?”
“Look Mama!” His red eyes were shining with wonder. “I fought a dragon! And I got its teeth! There's still blood on them!” He opened his hand and revealed two dragon teeth.
Mitsuki picked up one of the teeth and looked it over. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him set his broken sword on the table. “These are real dragon teeth.”
“Tcch!” Katsuki rolled his eyes. He was not going to lie about something as honourable as winning dragon teeth from fighting one. “Can I put them on a necklace?” It was tradition in his Clan that warriors wore trophies of dragons they fought, be it teeth or nails, as jewelry.
“Yes. You clearly took them right from a dragon.” Her son cheered. He was a real warrior now! “Where did you see the dragon, Katsuki?”
“When I was playing.”
Katsuki’s eyes sharpened as he caught on. He may be young, but he was perceptive. His family were dragon hunters. They wanted to hunt his friend, even though his dad said they only hunted bad dragons.
“I won't let you hunt Kiri!”
“Kiri? Is that the dragon?”
Katsuki glared at her, refusing to say another word.
“Katsuki Bakugo, you tell me this instant!” She grabbed for his arm, but he bit down on her forearm. She hit him upside the head to make him loosen his bite.
She was no longer concerned about the dragon, but rather stopping the bleeding.
Katsuki bared his bloody teeth at her.
He would never tell her where to find Kiri. And when his Clan went looking, he silently vowed to sabotage their attempts.