Aizawa looked around the camp and sighed. The band had lost people over the years, and now was down to the last four members. Kayama was sleeping next to the fire, cuddling with Thirteen and Yamada to keep warm. Snipe and Ectoplasm had left to settle down and protect a city, Ishiyama had gotten married and stayed behind in a village, Kan and Ryo had left to travel together across the continent, Tensei had left to raise his brother.
Aizawa moved closer to the fire and poked it, wanting to make sure it wouldn’t die during the night. He stared out into the woods, watching for any movements that would threaten the small group’s sleep. There were small noises, common to a forest, that he ignored, not wanting to become jumpy because of a bunny.
“Hey. It’s my turn to keep watch.” The rogue looked over at the raspy voice and nodded at Kayama. The succubus smiled and shoved him gently on his shoulder. “Go to sleep, everything will be fine. We will find the heirs. Promise.” Aizawa glared at her and walked over to the other members and dropped down at lay next to them, quickly falling asleep.
Kayama watched her teammates fondly, proud of how far they had all come. Yamada was no longer refusing to speak, Thirteen wasn’t afraid to use their magic or speak, and Aizawa was joining them and calling them all friends. And her, well, she no longer felt ashamed of her species.
Ryuko huddled in the cave she shared with her family, clutching her hands over her ears tightly, not wanting to listen to the fight outside. As a massive roar shook the foundations of the mountain cave, she whimpered, tears slipping down her face. She would lose her entire family today, she just hoped she would be able to bury them properly.
A young griffon shifter peaked over the edge of his family nest, wanting to see the world outside. He longed to be allowed to fly up among the clouds and one day touch the sun, though his parents told him he would get burned if he tried. He preferred to ignore his parents, as they had a tendency to only use him when they needed him for his age or innocence.
He stared at the sky longingly, wishing he was strong enough to leave this all behind. However, he knew he wasn’t and wondered if he ever would be. Until that day came, he would continue to stare at the sky and daydream.
A young man stared out of his window, ignoring the screaming outside his door. His father was infuriated with him and his mother had decided to try and protect him for once. The young man didn’t particularly care what his father did, instead choosing to stare out his window and daydream of freedom. A life without the weight of an iron crown, where he could burn as brightly as he wanted to. A life he would never have. Sighing, he turned to door and braced himself in the sudden silence.
10 Years Later
Kirishima flew above the clouds, making sure he couldn’t be seen by anyone below. He looked around, searching for anyone hunting the band he traveled with. He was the only shifter in the group and so he was often tasked with being the watch, making sure the group stayed safe and warning them if any trouble was headed their way.
He snorted smoke out of his nostrils and sighed. He didn’t mind doing this for the group, but sometimes it got lonely. He was the only shifter, and no one else understood him sometimes. It could be draining and tiring, but mostly it was lonely.
The young dragon shook his head to clear himself of those thoughts. He had a job and he would stay focused on it. He looked around and watched the ground below him, eyes narrowed as he searched for any suspicious people near his group. Seeing none, he decided to land and rejoin the party for the night. He could see them beginning to make a camp to rest.
Landing heavily, he grinned toothily at Sero and Jirou, who were setting up the tents for the camp. He quickly shifted back, adjusting his vest and the cloth tied around his waist before bouncing over to help them. Bakugou, Ojiro, and Shouji would be out hunting, while Shinsou, Tokoyami, and Mina would be going into the town nearby to meet up with Hagakure and Momo.
Sero smiled and moved to the side to allow Kirishima to hold down one of the pegs so he could tie it down. Jirou finished her side and walked over to crouch next to the fire, rubbing her hands together as she warmed herself up. Sero and Kirishima quickly finished and joined the young siren, the three friends quietly sitting around the fire to wait for the others to return.
Bakugou strode through the trees into the camp proudly, dragging a deer behind him. Shouji followed with another deer over his shoulder and three birds held in his other hand. Ojiro was last, carrying four rabbits and two birds. The three dropped their haul towards the edge of the campsite, Ojiro and Shouji staying there to skin and prepare the meat for cooking. Bakugou made his way over to the three sitting by the fire and dropped down across from them.
“Shitty hair, anyone following us?” Bakugou barked his question as Kirishima poked the fire to make sure it was burning enough to cook the meat quickly. The red head looked up from his task and grinned at the young berserker.
“Nah, not right now. There’s no one anywhere near us except in the town where Hagakure and Momo are. We should be good for tonight.” The others nodded, glancing at the woods around them slowly. Finally, Bakugou spoke up again.
“We will still keep watch tonight. Jirou, you and Mina will take first, Sero and Ojiro will take the second watch, Shouji and Momo will take third, Kaminari and Tokoyami will take the last shift. Wake me up if anything happens.” Sero and Jirou gave a thumbs up to the blonde, while Ojiro and Shouji simply nodded from where they were finishing up with preparing the meat.
The two boys brought the meat over to the fire and placed pieces on the metal grate Sero had put over the fire to help cook. The group cooked around five pieces at a time, storing the extra meat in bags for when the rest returned. Everyone present eagerly ate their portions, starving after the long day of walking they had had.
Shinsou sighed as the group finally reached the edge of the campsite. If he had to listen to Mina and Hagakure go on for another minute, he would scream. He quickly left the girls and walked over to Ojiro, sitting down next to the rogue, who smiled gently at the necromancer. Ojiro handed Shinsou a couple pieces of meat to eat and settled against his side with a sigh.
Tokoyami watched the other man leave and sighed silently, heading towards Shouji quickly. He sat down next to him and leaned on the knight tiredly, exhausted after a day of walking. Shouji wrapped an arm around the smaller boy’s shoulders and slowly fed him pieces of deer. The shadow mage silently thanked him and closed his eyes. The knight sighed quietly and stood up, carrying Tokoyami to their tent for the night, nodding at the others still gathered around the fire. Shinsou and Ojiro quickly stood up to join them, not wanting to disturb the two later in the evening.
Momo, entering the campsite, quickly made her way over to where Jirou sat and dropped down next to the girl, smiling kindly at her. The siren grinned at her and offered her a stick with speared pieces of meat on it. The knight sighed and took it, tearing the meat off with her teeth and hungrily swallowing it all down. Jirou snorted at the lack of manners displayed by her girlfriend. Momo narrowed her eyes at her suspiciously before turning back to her food.
“I have first watch with Mina, you should get some rest tonight. You and Shouji have third after Sero and Ojiro. Oh, and make sure you wake Kaminari and Tokoyami up when you’re finished, they have the last watch.” Momo nodded and quickly finished her meal. She wiped her hands and mouth off before kissing the other girl’s cheek and heading into the tent they both shared with Mina and Hagakure.
Jirou watched her go before looking across the campfire at the other two girls. Catching Mina’s eye, she jerked her head and watched Hagakure quickly disappear into the tent for the night. The two Fey girls watched as everyone slowly dispersed to the tents, Kaminari and Sero finally joining Bakugou and Kirishima in their tent.
Seeing that everyone had finally gone to bed, Mina and Jirou settled down across the fire from each other, occasionally poking it to keep the fire alive. They settled back, resigned to a long and boring night.
Hawks looked over at his companions, sighing softly. They both looked peaceful and oh so very young while asleep. He wished he could give them this peace permanently, but he knew nothing could give them that. Instead, he turned to look out the window of the inn room they had rented and sighed again. So far, none of them had managed to get any jobs, and they were slowly eliminating which kingdoms they could travel to. Already, they had narrowed the list down to three, and it looked like with this new addition, the list would be narrowed further.
He snorted softly and looked back at the two people laying on the beds. His partner, who had been through so much pain already, was curled protectively around a young girl, who they had met earlier in the week at a town nearby. The two men had already decided to keep the girl with them and try to help raise her properly.
Hawks shook his head and looked back out the window, settling in to watch the dawn. His companions would wake soon enough.
Ryuko looked around the room and narrowed her eyes. This group was supposed to be the best, and she supposed she would have to trust that. She looked at the band of ten and nodded decisively before standing.
“I need to hire you to find my brothers. Will you do this?” The group looked around at each other before each of them looked at the woman. Snipe and Ectoplasm placed their hands on their weapons and nodded, Ishiyama folded his hands together in preparation, Ryo and Kan both shrugged, holding hands under the table, Tensei smirked wildly, Kayama flicked her hair and studied her fingernails, Yamada grinned excitedly, and Aizawa simply nodded thoughtfully. Thirteen looked at their companions and smiled gently at the young dragon.
“We will.” Ryuko heaved a sigh of relief and smiled thankfully at them all. They all stood up and slowly left the room, Aizawa leaving last and resting a hand on her shoulder as he walked out. She slumped against the table and closed her eyes, relieved her brothers would finally be coming home.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
Ooof, it's been awhile and I'm very sorry about that. Hopefully, this makes up for it a little bit??
Kaminari watched Tokoyami carefully wake everyone up and turned back to watch the edges of the camp, cautiously looking through the trees for any intruders. Feeling an arm around his shoulder, he startled and looked over at Sero, who smiled broadly.
“Hanta!” He hugged the potions master happily and grinned up at him. Sera laughed quietly and nodded, wrapping his arms around the mage.
“Hey, Denki. How was your watch?” Kaminari shrugged and closed his eyes, stealing a moment to rest his head on the other boy’s chest.
“I survived didn’t I?” Sero snorted and nodded. The two sat at the edge of camp for a moment, watching the woods and listening to the others wake up and slowly break down the camp. Eventually Mina came over and tapped their shoulders, smiling brightly at them.
“We’re ready to go now!” She handed them each a wrapped sandwich and an apple. They smiled in thanks and quickly gathered their bags and weapons before rejoining the group. Bakugou looked around to make sure everyone was there before nodding to Yaoyorozu, who gestured for the group to head into the woods. Hagakure and Ojiro quickly melted into the trees ahead of everyone, acting as sentries to make sure the way was clear. Mina unfolded her wings and flitted up into the trees to watch the skies while Tokoyami faded into the shadows to watch the path behind.
The group slowly made their way through the forest, heading towards the border of the Mortal Kingdom where they would meet with a group of people Momo vouched for. They would rest there for a few days before moving on.
Shouto watched the door intensely, ignoring the clamour behind him in the living room of the small house he was staying in. Yaomomo was supposed to arrive either today or tomorrow with her group, depending on if they ran into trouble or not. He didn’t want to miss their arrival, so he continued to stare at the door, barely blinking.
Uraraka gently laid a hand on his shoulder, smiling down at him gently. He startled and looked up quickly before returning his gaze to the door, not wanting to look away for too long. She chuckled and sat down next to him, closing her eyes as she made herself float to practice.
“They will get here when they get here. There’s no need to stare at the door all the time. You need to eat. And shower, you smell disgusting.” Shouto growled softly and swiped at her without looking. She grinned and dodged the hand before returning to poke his shoulder. “Shouto. Go eat. And shower. Or else I’ll sic Tsuyu on you!”
Shouto turned to glare at her before slowly standing up and making his way upstairs to the shower. Uraraka grinned to herself and floated herself into the kitchen, dropping down on a stool next Midoriya, who turned and smiled at her.
“You got him to go shower?” She nodded and grabbed an orange to happily munch on. Midoriya nodded and turned back to his conversation with Tenya. Uraraka looked around the kitchen and smiled happily to herself.
Dabi woke slowly, not wanting to leave the warmth of the bed. He blinked his blue eyes open and looked around, noticing his partner sitting by the window, gold eyes sharp as he watched the town street outside. The fire mage carefully slid out of the bed, tucking the blankets back up around the young girl before walking over to the smaller man. He wrapped his arms around his shoulders, resting his chin on the man’s hair.
“How long have you been awake?” Hawks looked up and grinned tiredly, shrugging slightly.
“Not sure, but it’s been awhile. Just wanted to make sure no one came in, nothing happened to either of you.” Dabi’s smile dropped and he sighed, burying his face in the man’s shoulder, gently pressing his lips to his neck.
“You know you don’t have to. We are far enough away in the Mortal Kingdom that my father won’t find us here. I would be amazed if he’s even looking. We will be fine.” Hawks sighed and stood up, gently pulling away to lean back against the window.
“But how do you know that? How do you know for sure that none of the people looking for us will ever find us? One of us has to be on guard, and you deserve your rest. You’ve been through enough.” Dabi frowned and reached out to grab the smaller man by the waist, pulling him down to sit on the fire mage’s lap.
“Hawks. Stop. Take a breath. We will be fine. We can take turns keeping watch at night, set up other safety measures, and stay away from big cities and towns. But I need you to trust me that we will be fine.” Hawks sighed and nodded, closing his eyes tiredly as he curled up and leaned against Dabi’s chest. The scarred man smiled fondly down at the shifter and turned to watch the room carefully, making sure his little family was being kept safe.
Aizawa looked around the small camp and sighed, noting the faint undercurrent of tension running through everyone. He stood up and walked over, resting a hand on Yamada’s shoulder as the siren stared at the fire.
“We need to talk about it. All of us.” Eight heads popped up around the camp, looking over to stare at the two. Kayama made her way over and sat down next to the couple by the fire and hummed softly.
“There’s a lot of things we need to talk about, which one are you referring to?” Aizawa glared at the succubus, who just smirked in response. Yamada looked up and smiled softly at the rogue, patting his hand. He sighed and sat down next to his partner, looking around as the rest of their companions joined them around the fire.
“We’ve been given a quest to complete as a group. This means we will have to work together. We haven’t spoken to each other or seen each other in ten years. So, we’re going to talk to each other now, about anything. And everything. Okay?” He leaned forward and stared at everyone, red eyes glowing in the firelight.
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
Momo took a deep breath, looking at the large house in front of her. It had been two years since she had last seen Shouto and she was sure both of them had changed, gods know she had. Slim fingers intertwined with hers and she looked over, smiling faintly with gratitude clear in her eyes. Jirou always knew when she was overthinking things and was always there to bring Momo out of her thoughts with gentle reassurance. The knight steeled herself and knocked on the door, three loud sharp knocks, before stepping back, the rest of her group behind her.
The door opened slowly to reveal a young woman who looked an awful lot like a frog. Tsuyu looked up at Momo before nodding shortly and turning away from the door to head back into the house, allowing the group to enter. They did, slowly, and looked around as they all followed Tsuyu down the main hallway that eventually opened into a large living space with chairs, couches, tables, and a fireplace.
One couch was occupied by three men, all asleep on each other. Tenya still had his glasses on, Midoriya had a book open in his hand, and Shouto had collapsed across both of their laps. Sitting in an armchair across from them reading a book was a young woman with short brown hair. She looked up from her book and noticed the group, a wide smile spreading across her face as she quickly stood up and motioned them all into the kitchen, away from the sleeping men.
“You’ve made it! Oh good, now Shouto can stop freaking out. Okay, we will get you all settled and then you guys can go from there? I’m sure you’re all tired from your trip so far, so we will let you rest for today before getting to business tomorrow.” She looked around the group, making sure they all understood before continuing. “We’ve prepared five rooms for your group, we couldn’t get anymore because another group is going to be staying with us soon and since we weren’t sure how long you guys were going to be staying or when the others are going to be arriving, we had to split up our free rooms as if both groups will be here at the same time! So, Tsuyu and I can show you to your rooms, they’re all on the second floor.” The air mage began walking towards the large staircase next to the main hallway, meeting with Tsuyu who was already standing there, waiting for them.
As the group made their way up the stairs, they talked quietly among themselves, too tired to truly make noise or trouble for their hosts. Finally, they came upon a grouping of rooms in a half circle around a balcony looking down over a small courtyard. Uraraka pointed to each room as she spoke, counting off who was sleeping in each room from the far left side of the crescent across to the far right side.
“Okay, so Kaminari, Mina, and Sero are sharing the first room, then Bakugou and Kirishima, Shouji and Tokoyami, Jirou and Momo, and finally Ojiro, Shinsou, and Hagakure. We’ll let you all get settled now, feel free to come downstairs when you’re ready!” The two woman waved and walked downstairs, talking quietly to each other. The rest of the group slowly split up and divided into their rooms, absently waving to each other as the doors shut quietly behind them.
Kirishima flopped down on the bed, letting out a heavy breath and staring at the ceiling. After a few minutes, a head full of spiky blonde hair invaded his sight and he sighed, smiling tiredly. The berserker moved out of his line of sight for a moment before the red dragon felt a weight drop onto the bed next to him. He rolled his eyes over and smiled at the blonde, who poked his cheek gently.
“What’s got you so down lately?” The red head rolled onto his side to face Bakugou, smiling tiredly as he thought about his response. Seeing those red eyes narrow, he decided it would be best to simply be honest.
“I miss my brother and sister. I know she originally sent us away to protect us, but I haven’t been home in ten years and I haven’t seen my brother since then. He’s my twin! I just miss him so much and flying makes it so much worse because all I can think about it how much fun we used to have flying around Ryu.” He closed his eyes as his words broke off in a quiet sob. He could feel the homesickness clawing at his heart and he didn’t have the strength to pretend it wasn’t there anymore.
Bakugou wrapped his arms around Kirishima, bringing his head to rest on the blonde’s chest. He had nothing to say that would comfort his partner, but he could at least give him this, a place to rest and arms to catch him.
Momo walked downstairs back to the living room, hoping to talk to Shouto for a bit. Jirou had decided to take a nap for a bit before talking to Mina, Kaminari, and Sero, so Momo had decided to find her best friend. Making her way into the living room, she smiled upon seeing the fire mage sitting calmly in a chair, looking at a cup of tea steaming in front of him.
The knight made her way over and sat down next to him, smiling softly at him before nudging his shoulder. He jerked around to look up at her with wide eyes, throwing his arms around her and burying his face in her hair. She giggled, the sound watery and tense as she leaned back in her chair, gently rubbing his back. The two best friends had missed each other while she was gone on her adventure.
Hawks and Dabi walked slowly through the city, watching the young girl bounce along in front of them with fond smiles. Himiko hadn’t been allowed to wander around for a very long time, so now whenever the two men got to a new city, they walked around the streets with her exploring in front of them for the first day they were there. As the two men watched, she bounced around, twin buns bouncing with her energetic movements.
“Hawks! Can we get this?” She turned around to beg with him, golden eyes wide and pleading. Himiko was standing in front of a small booth selling cute jackets, and she was pointing to a red one with buttons and bows on it. Dabi covered his mouth as he snorted in amusement while Hawks simply sighed, resigned to spending his money on the girl. After all, the two had decided to do anything to keep her happy.
The shifter made his way over to the booth, the fire mage following slowly behind. The shorter man smiled tiredly at the woman running the booth and nodded to the red coat, Himiko bouncing on her toes next to him.
“How much for the red coat?” The woman pulled it down and smiled warmly at the girl before turning her sharp gaze to Hawks.
“For her, seven gold.” Hawks closed his eyes briefly before reopening them, smiling tightly at the woman as he pulled a small pouch off of his belt. He opened it and carefully counted out seven gold coins before handing them over, accepting the red coat in exchange. He handed it to Himiko before guiding her away from the booth with a hand on her shoulder, Dabi catching up with the two to walk next to them.
“Here you go, Himi. Just be careful with it, alright? This is your present in this city.” The girl nodded quickly, eyes wide and blonde buns bouncing as she quickly put the coat on, twirling around to show it off. Dabi clapped slowly, both him and Hawks smiling at Himiko’s obvious glee. Suddenly the purchase didn’t seem as bad of a decision.
The group of ten sat around the smoldering fire, not looking at each other at all. Instead, they looked down at their hands, focused on their weapons, or even stared into the fire. Finally, Aizawa sighed and spoke up again, calling everyone to attention.
“Most of you left this group ten years ago and haven’t seen each other since. We all lost extremely close friendships for a decade. However, we have been given a job and we need to work together in order to complete it. All of us. So, who wants to speak first? Thirteen, Kayama, and Hizashi, you’re going last.” He looked around the group expectantly, red eyes intense and serious. Across the fire from him, a man in basic armor raised his hand. The rogue nodded at him and he began to speak.
“Ten years ago, my baby brother was six years old and our parents died. I left our group to return to the Mortal Kingdom and raise him. I apologize for not speaking with any of you once he got older, but I was afraid. First for him, I didn’t want to bring him to the attention of any enemies we had made. Then, I was afraid of your anger that I had been gone so long. It was my mistake and for that I apologize.” Tensei bowed his head, face solemn and voice quiet but sincere.
Yamada smiled tiredly over at him and nodded, leaning into Aizawa’s side. He had felt the absence of his group members the most over the years, being the most emotional of the four who had stayed. Aizawa gently rubbed his shoulder and nodded at the knight as well.
“Thank you. I’m glad you decided to return to us and I’m sure your brother is making you extremely proud.” Tensei grinned and nodded, moving to sit down next to Yamada and gently bumping the siren’s shoulder with his own.
Ishiyama, the quieter knight from the Mortal Realm, spoke next, his voice deep and intense as he stared at his shield, resting at his feet.
“I have no excuse for not staying in contact. I fell in love and got married, which all of you were present for. I then decided to stay behind in that village to live with my wife. However, I should have spoken to you all about my decision, or at least sent letters to you while you traveled. I did not and give no excuse for my lack of action.” Kayama laughed shortly, shaking her head at his words.
“You’re right. You should’ve talked to us or sent us letters and you didn’t.” She sighed, suddenly looking very tired. “But you didn’t and we have to move on. We don’t have time for grudges and anger. You’re here now and that’s what matters.” Ishiyama smiled at her gratefully, appreciative of the succubus’s acceptance. The woman nodded in return and turned to look at Kan and Ryou, the two men sitting together but apart from the others. Kan frowned and opened his mouth to speak, before Ryou elbowed him in the side and shook his head, electing to speak instead.
“We were the worst, and I freely admit that. We left in the middle of a city and never looked back or told you why. You are our family and we should not have done that. I could not tell you why we left without saying goodbye or why we never said anything to you afterwards.” The dog shifter spread his hands, shrugging apologetically as he looked at the other eight people around the fire. The blood mage next to him shifted uncomfortably in his seat, not enjoying the intense gaze of the group on him and his partner. Finally, Aizawa spoke once more.
“As Kayama said, you’ve returned when needed. Don’t leave in silence again. We became family the first time, none of us want to lose that again.” The two men nodded quickly, leaning into each other with relief shining on their faces.
“We found a city that had previously been protected by a fey, but when the fey died, the city was left vulnerable. Even after we, as a group, left the city, Ecto and I couldn’t get it out of our heads. We felt we had to return and protect. We should’ve told you, but we didn’t. And we almost died multiple times, without having said goodbye. That’s my, our, biggest regret. I’m sorry.” Snipe’s voice was soft but serious, his eyes intense behind his mask as he met each member’s gaze while he spoke. Thirteen offered a faint smile, which he returned, grateful that his best friend had forgiven him for their actions. Despite having not spoken the whole time, the space mage now spoke, voice quiet and intense.
“I never left. I stayed with Yamada, Kayama, and Aizawa the entire time, the whole ten years the rest of you were gone. Sometimes I regret that, other times I don’t. I’ve been alone most of my life, I refuse to go back to that. We are a family and I’m not letting that be ripped apart, not even by ourselves. Understand?” They looked around the group, pitch black eyes boring into everyone’s gaze before moving on. Everyone nodded, ashamed by their actions and lack of communication. Thirteen, while the youngest of the group, was often the wisest and calmest, leading to most everyone listening to them when they elected to voice their opinion.