Chapter 1: Of a World Seen Anew
It’s quite a thing to See the world as it actually is. To See the old aspects of it, of those who trod these lands for longer than any mortal. Izuku has always been drawn to the Neighbors that congregated near natural lands: like a park or near the ocean on the cleaner area of the beach, or the forest just outside the outskirts of the city. Each Neighbor — quite mind-boggling, truly — come in all forms and colors. Izuku’s Ariel Neighbors always greet him in the mornings by rapping on his bedroom window. They bring him flowers in exchange for a spoonful of honey. Sometimes they weave the flowers into his hair and other times they form crowns and settle it atop his head. Izuku loves it.
His mom takes his flowery hair in stride each morning and often wonders why they go through so much honey, always raising an amused and inquisitive brow when Izuku’s giggles as she muses about it aloud.
Izuku always answers honestly, “It’s for our Neighbors!” and so life goes on.
Until Izuku one day feels nauseous. His vision blurs and he falls to his knees during lunch at school. His Ariel Neighbors, ever the constant source of companionship since his fallout with Kacchan five years ago, yell in panic and Wisteria flits around nervously in front of Izuku’s face, snapping her fingers and slapping her hands on his nose to get his attention. But Izuku’s eyes glaze over, and he starts to heave and choke. There’s upheaval and then there are hands, human hands, that grasp at him. Izuku heaves once more and coughs up blood that makes his throat burn. Wisteria is beyond worried, as are Chrys and Iris, and all settle in Izuku’s hair when the paramedics finally arrive to whisk him away.
Izuku is in the hospital for five days following the day of his episode for testing. His mom is worried sick and hardly leaves his side, bringing him honey and small flowers — like Baby’s Breath or Forget-Me-Nots — that are later on weaved into Izuku’s hair by his Neighbors when no one is present. Chrys tells Izuku about the Queen of the Fae, Titania, and her husband the King of the Fae, Oberon. Iris weaves tales of magic to entertain him, about a Sleigh Beggy named Hatori Chise and her husband, the Thorn Mage Ainsworth Elias. Both who have lived in a small Cottage in England for the past three centuries. Wisteria, on the other hand, keeps on weaving the Baby Breath’s his mother had brought in earlier that day into his hair, humming a joyful tune under her breath.
“What am I?” Izuku asks on the third day of being hospitalized.
Silence follows, all three exchanging wary glances but then Chrys nods his head in determination and floats up in front of Izuku’s face, a good arm’s length away.
“You are a Sleigh Beggy,” Chrys says at last, “probably one of the last of your kind.”
“A Sleigh Beggy.” Izuku echoes despondently, and there are tears threatening to fall from the corner of his eyes.
“I don’t want to die ,” he sniffles, hunching into himself. His Neighbors converge on him, whispering soft reassurances. “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to leave my mom all alone, I don’t want to leave you guys. I don’t want to die! I want to save everyone with a smile, like All Might, and how can I do that if I’m dead?”
“Izuku,” Iris says softly. “We won’t let you die.”
“But that’s not a promise you can keep.” He wails.
“It’s one we can try to keep,” Wisteria says, “and have all intentions of doing so.”
Izuku merely nods. He allows them to wipe his wet cheeks and lull him to sleep with their soft singing.
On the fourth and final day of his hospitalization, Izuku wakes to see a thick flower crown made of Lavender on the table beside his bed. Chrys is snoozing in the middle of it while Wisteria and Iris are nowhere in sight. Izuku does not feel rested, at all, and instead feels as if his bones were suddenly weighed down with how lethargic he moves.
Then the door slowly opens and Izuku moves his head to greet his mom, only for the words to die on his lips when he sees that who’s at his hospital room door is not, in fact, his mother. Instead, a young woman with short red hair and brilliant green eyes stands at the door. Most peculiar is the lone glove on only one hand.
“You—” Izuku licks his chapped lips, “you’re not mom.”
The woman smiles, “I’m afraid not. May I come in?”
The woman settles herself elegantly on the chair beside his bed, and something in the back of Izuku’s mind strikes her familiar to him. It takes a second for Izuku to register that he himself asks the question, “Do I know you?”
The woman shakes her head, “You don’t know me personally, but what I could gather you’ve heard about me.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Hatori-Ainsworth Chise, a Sleigh Beggy, just like you.”
Chrys plops the flower crown on Izuku’s head when he takes too long to answer, apparently having woken up sometime during the exchange.
Izuku rights the flower crown on his head, stalling some, before turning back to Hatori-san. “I’m Midoriya Izuku. I was told of your accomplishments to pass time by one of my Neighbors.”
“You have kind Neighbors, Midoriya-kun.” Hatori-san praises, directing the sentence to Izuku as well as to Chrys, who preens at the attention. “They came to me at dawn today, asking for a favor. Once I heard your story, my husband and I agreed to the favor. On a condition.”
A condition ?
“We’ll explain everything to your mother and if she is willing, we will accommodate both of you with us and train you in the ways of magic.” Hatori-san’s countenance is serious. “That means, however, that you will have to move. Move away from here, from your home and friends, and leave everything you know behind to go to England.”
— move? He clenches his fists, deep in thought. He’d have to move from everything he’s ever known, everything he’s ever cared about and made memories of, cherished, loved. But, at the same time, his life is on the line, his very future keeps dwindling every time he takes a rattling breath. He’s willing to make such a big leap if only to have a future to look forward to; to see his mother smile with no restraint, without lines of worry etching on her face.
“I don’t want to die.” He says with finality. “I want to live! To look forward to the future with my family. I don’t care if I have to move for that, I’ll do it!”
Hatori-san smiles again, and another voice pipes up from behind her, from her shadow, actually. “You have the conviction.”
Izuku stills his trembling hands on the comforter when the shadow warps, rising and forming into the humanoid body of one Ainsworth Elias — the most prominent feature of all is certainly the skull (perhaps of some canine: a dog? Wolf?) and curling horns. He’s dressed impeccably, and honest to god absolutely towering.
“Ainsworth-san,” Izuku says, trying to bow in greeting but a gloved hand from Hatori-san stops him in place.
Hatori-san gives him a wry quirk of her lips, “Save your energy, Midoriya-kun.”
“She’s right,” pipes in Chrys, “especially after your episode last night.”
Izuku’s lips curl at the memory. He’d woken up at the crack of dawn, with his own blood choking him until he was blue in the face and the nurses forcing him up into a sitting position until they got the blood to flow out of him naturally into a bucket. The amount lost had made him dizzy afterward and he had passed out. Come to think of it now, they connected him to an IV. A quick peek and yeah, he has an IV needle poked into his arm. Wonderful.
“How many of these episodes have you had?” Hatori-san asks worriedly, exchanging a glance with her husband.
Before Izuku can reply, Chrys butts into the conversation again. “His first one was at school, and since then, he’s had about two episodes since being hospitalized.”
Izuku looks at Chrys, betrayed, but the Ariel is unrepentant as he stares back.
“That’s quite a few,” Hatori-san says, sounding strangled.
“We’d have to make the move soon.” Ainsworth-san states. “You’re quite susceptible to magic, it seems. You’re intaking too much of it without anything to stifle it.”
“We’ll have to commission Althea,” Hatori-san continues, “have her make something like her mother made for me."
Hatori-san smiles, all soft and caring, like his mom’s. “We won’t let you die, Midoriya-kun.”
Izuku feels fresh tears start to gather at the corner of his eyes, and he can’t help but sniffle. Chrys settles on his shoulder and hugs his neck, muttering soothing words.
Until his mom arrives, Hatori-san shows him small bouts of magic and her wand. She talks about magic and what it entails, how wonderful it can be, and also how careful one should be when studying it. She explains that her longevity is caused by an Immortal Curse that she gained by Joseph’s Eye, and how she eluded the repercussions of being a Sleigh Beggy up until that point.
“I used to be very uncaring about myself,” she explains, “to the point where I was uncaring if I lived or died. I didn’t have the same will to live as you do, and it took me a while to find that same conviction to keep on going, to strive forward, and until Elias offered me a home and a family, I was just a husk going through the motions.
“Then, alongside Elias and Ruth and Silky, I found my will, my conviction, to keep striving forwards. I guess that was a key stepping stone in my life.”
“Since being diagnosed as quirkless,” Izuku says sometime later, beaming when Hatori-san places his flower crown on her head. “It’s been hard. I lost my childhood friend because he believed himself to be better than me due to his quirk. The other kids look down on me for my quirklessness, they belittled me. But, throughout all that—" Izuku finds it hard to breathe past his swirling emotions.
“You had your Neighbors.”
“I had my Neighbors,” Izuku agrees with a shaky grin. “I would blind to not see how caring they are of me.”
Hatori-san matches his grin.
On the fifth day of his hospitalization, his mom agrees to the condition, taking everything about magic in stride. Midoriya Inko is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the well-being of Izuku, and so they sign Izuku out of the hospital despite the many objections of doctors and head home with Hatori-san; her husband lurks in her shadow.
“We’ll move you guys today,” she explained back at the hospital, “magic can travel great lengths in a short amount of time. So pack what you need for now, and we’ll be back at a later date to collect everything else.”
When they enter their apartment Izuku is nearly tackled off the ground by his exuberant Neighbors. Chrys, Iris, and Wisteria immediately settle in his hair and Sara the Salamander begs to be lifted into his arms, whining incessantly. He complies, nuzzling into her as she coos. The two Cotton Flies glide in circles around him, bumping into his legs and overall happy that he’s back.
“Quite the band of Neighbors you’ve got here, Midoriya-kun.”
His mom is trying hard not to stare, but her eyes keep looking at him, pointedly staring at his arms where it must be weird for him to be holding something she cannot see. As if he were cuddling the empty air.
“Yeah,” says Izuku. “They’re the best.”
By the time his mother and he finish packing, the sun has bathed the sky in warm colors of late evening. His Neighbors are either on his person or in one of his bags, stubbornly refusing to just let him go. Izuku gives Hatori-san a what-can-you-do face at the antics of the Neighbors, to which she shrugs, clearly amused.
His mom is doing one last round in their apartment, silently saying her goodbyes to their memories.
“Are you ready?” Ainsworth-san asks, forming behind Hatori-san.
Izuku glances at his mom, who steels herself with a newfound resolve. Izuku nods.
Ainsworth-san starts to chant. “Nettles in the shadows...A wheel of hollies...Ten-folds and twenty-folds...Weaves the spider's thread of the nest to the branch.”
Long tendrils of briar start to sprout and swirl around them. Then, they’re simply gone.
Off towards the next great adventure.
Chapter 2: Sweet dreams, little merlin
It is... almost 2:20 in the morning as i write this.
Mistakes will be made and seen to later on.
Please enjoy and leave a comment!
It’s a bit disconcerting arriving in England while the sun is at its highest. It bears down on them as the briars unweave and disperse, leaving them standing on the yard in front of a homey tan-bricked house. There’s ivy covering a good portion of the walls, and Izuku can’t help but feel at peace. His mom’s white-knuckled grip on him loosens enough for Izuku to take a step-forward in awe. He spins on the balls of his feet, giggling in delight as his Neighbors fly and hover around him, sharing his glee. He could feel a flow of energy so unlike the one of Musutafu, like a low hum of a song he’s always known but never fully heard.
Vaguely, Izuku hears Hatori-san say, “welcome home,” and Ainsworth-san’s quick, “excuse me,” but, to begin with, he’s not paying much attention. Sara the Salamander slinks off into the house when he’s not paying attention; Bo and Peep, the Cotton Flies, shake themselves free from his bags and fly off towards the shade of the trees, but not before giving him a nuzzle, each, beneath his neck. Izuku giggles.
His mom is teary when he turns to her, and his face falls in worry. “Mom?”
“I—” she sniffs, wiping away her tears. “I haven’t seen you this happy in a while, Izuku!”
“She’s relieved,” Iris whispers into his ear. “Go on, hug her.”
So Izuku hugs his mom, trying to convey his gratitude and overflowing love he has for her. His mom’s arms tighten around him, and she sniffs again before pulling free, a shaky smile stretching her lips. “You’re my world, Izuku, never forget that.”
Izuku can only hiccup in response, too choked up to respond.
Hatori-san gently guides them into the house. Izuku wipes his remaining tears away, furiously scrubbing at his face. The feeling of maternal love from his mom just a minute or two back made his resolve to live to strengthen. He didn’t want to die prematurely on her, nor did he want her to wallow in grief about the death of her only son.
Especially since his father—
Izuku locks those thoughts away for now.
The foyer of the house is nice and spacious, and there are various pictures hanging on the walls. Hatori-san gestures for them to follow her up the stairs, and they do so after briefly shrugging off their respective shoes. Izuku and his mom are guided towards the end of the hall, Hatori-san pointing out her and her husband’s room, and the upstairs bathroom.
“This is where Midoriya-kun will be staying,” Hatori-san says, twisting the knob on the door furthest from the stairs. “I figured I’d show you where he’d be staying before we showed you where you’ll sleep, Midoriya-san.”
“Thank you, dear,” his mom says, “and please, call me Inko.”
Hatori-san bows her head. “If only you call me Chise,” she then turns to Izuku, “that goes to you, as well.”
Izuku flusters, sputtering before the calming weight of his Ariel Neighbors settle in his hair and shoulders.
“He’s too socially inept,” Iris teases from his shoulder, patting his cheek.
“That’s Izuku speech for, ‘I accept, please call me by my given name, as well.’ ” Wisteria says mischievously from Izuku’s hair.
“ Hey —! ”
“Please take care of us!” Chrys imitates Izuku’s voice, before falling into a fit of giggles.
“I can talk, you know?” he grouches, earning a weird look from his mom, but he then smiles. “But, they’re right. Call me Izuku, Hatori-san, I mean, Chise-san.”
The woman smiles and tilts her head towards the bedroom. Izuku nods and enters, his mom hovering behind him as he takes it all in. It’s a cozy room, with a single-sized bed pushed against the right wall by the window. The bed itself has fluffy comforters and pillows that make Izuku want to jump and throw himself onto, but he holds himself back. Instead, he throws his traveling bag on it. There’s a desk, as well, alongside some shelves set up, and the overall atmosphere of the room makes Izuku buzz with excitement. It’s cozy and homey, and it makes Izuku feel every bit alive and not as if he’s experiencing life by its’ bare, spindly threads.
He can’t wait to slowly decorate this room into his own. Because, this—
— this is his new home . His Neighbors quietly echo his thoughts, tittering cheerfully as they open the window and fly outside, sparkles following them out.
Chrys comes back in, quickly, and kisses his cheek. “We’ll be back by dusk,” he promises, “just gotta straighten things out with the other Neighbors in this area, alright, Midori-chan?”
“See you around, then.” Izuku ignores the nickname and watches as he flies off, catching up to the others before Izuku falls back onto the bed with a happy sigh. His mom peers out the window, perhaps trying to piece together the one-sided conversation she heard alongside the sudden strange gust of wind inside, but then the inquisitive look on her face vanishes as she simply sighs and shakes her head with a wry quirk of her lips.
“This used to be my old room, back when I first moved here,” says Chise-san, leaning against the doorframe. There’s a nostalgic look in her eyes as she takes in her surroundings with a soft expression. “And now it’s yours.”
“It’s perfect,” he breathes out, relishing on the bed with the soft spring breeze coming in. He closes his eyes, inhaling deeply, before pushing himself upright and opening his eyes to meet Chise-san’s own green set. “Thank you.” He bows from his position on the bed. “For taking care of us.”
His mom ruffles his hair, and he squawks, causing both women to laugh.
“Inko,” his mom snaps her attention towards Chise-san. “Let’s get you settled in your own room, we’ll be serving dinner a little earlier tonight, at five, so that you may rest.”
His mom nods in understanding and follows Chise-san out, but not before pressing a quick kiss to his temple.
Izuku falls back onto the bed, relishing in the feeling of the soft comforters and spring breeze wafting into his bedroom. His eyes trail the shapes of clouds passing by, and then he sits upright and leans out the window, holding back his hysterical giggle.
Because whizzing by window back and forth are Bo and Peep, with Sara clinging onto Bo. They appear to be having fun if Sara’s loud coos are anything to go by. Bo and Peep bleat excitedly, and Izuku watch them for some time with his chin propped up by his hand, allowing himself to breathe in deeply and enjoy the peacefulness of (what he’d been told is) the English countryside. His eyes slide closed, and he flops back down on the bed, exhaling softly.
This is his life now, and he can’t begin to feel bothered by the turn of events. Not when it’ll help him in the long run, and neither will he feel bad for trusting Chise-san and her husband, not when they have already gone out of their way to help him and his mom. He’s not sure what Chise-san told his mom back in the hospital, nor why his mom took the word of a complete (but genuine) stranger to heart, but he has his suspicions that his mom already suspected something otherworldly happening around Izuku, because, well, he wasn’t exactly subtle about his friendly Neighbors, nor did he ever lie to her about it. He only allowed it for her to interpret it as she seemed fit, and didn’t mention his Neighbors as often as he grew older.
Especially after he had been told he had no quirk. With proof, no matter how much he had vehemently denied it, that stated on legal and official papers that he’d be classified as quirkless.
How could you explain the unnatural (but fantastical) occurrences without the excuse of a quirk underhand?
Suddenly, something heavy flops on his chest and Izuku wheezes in a breath, startled from his brief blip of sleep. The thing has stubby little legs that Izuku immediately recognizes as Sara’s, and they’re digging into his stomach and ribs. He peeks his eyes open to see her wide pink face and her mouth opening in a gummy smile. This is her cutesy, mischievous smile that sets Izuku on edge. He knows what she’s about to do, he knows she’ll lick his face and slobber his face up, as she tends to do when he’s lying down.
“Sara, don’t you dare! ”
She does it anyway.
He gently bats her away, but he’s always rebuffed by more and more licking until she stops and yawns. She curls into herself and slides off his chest, onto the soft comforter.
“Un-be- lievable .” He pokes her back, “You, missy, are an absolute riot .”
She merely yawns again and curls further into herself.
He stands and heads towards where he believes the bathroom is, knocking on the door just to be sure. He’s quite proud when he opens the door and the site of a bathroom greets him. He sets about his business and washes his face, using a spare towel (after some contemplation) to dry off.
He’s smiling into the mirror when he sees his own face as it contorts into something unpleasant, and he hacks and hacks until blood splatters the sink. It’s not one of his worst episodes, he decides after he’s no longer choking up his own blood. It is a rather mild one, and how sad is that to think of?
There’s a soft knock on the door, and his mom’s worried face peers in after he croaks out a “come in!”
He allows her to wipe the dribbling blood from his lips with the used towel when she kneels beside him. She bites at her lips, and her lips twists as if she’s swallowed something particularly sour. He doesn’t blame her. He looks like a mess. Feels like one, too. His stomach feels thick with abdominal tension, and his lungs are screaming at him.
“Oh, honey,” his mom dumps the bloodied towel in an equally bloodied sink. “Let’s get you to bed.”
Izuku stubbornly shakes his head.
She purses his lips.
“I’m hungry,” he insists, “I’ll go to bed afterward, I swear.”
“Dinner won’t be ready for another half an hour,” she tells him.
Izuku nods, “That’s fine.”
After about a minute or two of silent contemplation, his mom helps him to his feet, and he does his best to avoid the mess that is the sink as they walk past it. She guides him to his bed and sits him down.
“I’m going to let someone know about the bathroom sink,” she tells him, and his face twists in a grimace. “I know, I know sweetheart.”
She’s back before he knows it, letting him know everything would be taken care of.
“Tell me about our Neighbors,” she requests after they both settle down on his bed, with her leaning her back against the wall and him laying his head on her thigh. She threads her fingers through his hair, humming a tune. “What are they like?”
Izuku smiles brightly when she says ‘our’ instead of ‘your’ Neighbors, and so, he tells her.
He allows himself to get lost in the telling of their shenanigans. How, when he first met Wisteria, Iris, and Chrys, that they sang lullabies to him to help him sleep. Of how they taught him the rule of equal exchange by bringing him flowers to weave into his hair, only asking for honey in exchange.
“So, when you said the honey was for our neighbors, you really meant them?”
“I never lied to you,” he confesses, but then he averts his eyes, “only omitted the truth as I grew older.”
“Oh, Izuku,” she sighs before she smiles and runs the pads of her fingers across his cheek and the bridge of his nose. “Continue.”
Izuku smiles and does so. He goes on about how Sara just latched onto him one day during first grade and how the pink salamander refused to let go, no matter how many times he brought her back to the forest until Izuku resigned himself to her. He talks about Sara’s mischievous nature, of how, just earlier that day, she’d been riding on Bo with Peep hovering nearby.
“Bo and Peep?” his mom questions.
“They’re Cotton Fly,” Izuku yawns, “imagine small sheep with three pairs of dragonfly-esque wings, and they can fly, of course.”
“Of course,” his mom parrots his same tone of voice.
They keep talking until Chise-san knocks on the doorframe, letting them know that dinner will be served shortly. She hesitates, exchanging a worried glance with his mom, before she says, “After dinner, I have something for you.”
Izuku perks up, “Really?”
“Yes,” she says, approaching the duo and holds out a hand to Izuku. “Now, up you go, dinner is to be served. Unfortunately, Elias won’t attend dinner. He’s still resting.”
Dinner is a pleasant affair, and he gets to formally meet Ruth-san, Chise-san’s familiar and friend, alongside Silver Lady, who Chise-san calls Silky. Ruth-san himself is a tall man with chin-length wavy hair. Silky is a sort of delicate-looking beauty, with an old-style soft pink dress, bonnet and shawl. The blonde takes one look at Izuku and immediately coddles him, serving him first and hugging him whenever she has the chance.
Chise-san laughs softly during dinner when Izuku asked her what he’d done to deserve such attention. “That’s Silky to you,” she says, before sobering up. “She did the same to me, and now, especially after she heard and saw about your condition, she’s going to make sure you’re comfortable here.”
Then, it hits Izuku. The blood. She’d seen the bloodied sink.
He’s mortified, but then arms wrap around his shoulders and squeeze him in reassurance.
Silky smiles at him when he looks up at her and Ruth-san says. “She’s assuring you that you shouldn’t be ashamed.” Silky nods her agreement.
They go back to eating their delicious chicken dinner after that.
He hugs Silky and thanks her for the meal after dinner is done and over with, and she hugs him back before waving him off from the kitchen with a smile.
His mom and he exchange their goodnights, even if it’s weird with the sun still up and about, with his mom making him promise to wake her up if he even feels remotely bad while they’re resting.
“I’m just down the hall,” she says. “I mean it, Izuku, wake me up if you feel bad.”
Izuku promises to do so, and she kisses his cheek before he heads upstairs. Ruth-san’s trudges up the stairs with him in his Grimm form, side-eyeing him the whole way up.
“I’m not hurt nor am I an invalid,” Izuku says wryly.
« That would be more convincing if you weren’t so similar to Chise, » Ruth-san says. « The both of you, too stubborn for your own good. »
“I’m better than I was centuries ago,” rebuffs Chise-san as she walks out of her own room, a large teddy bear in her arms.
« No you’re not, » Ruth-san says immediately.
Chise-san shushes him before she turns to Izuku and hands him the bear. “This is Ollie, he was a gift from Elias to me, and now I’m giving him to you.”
Izuku tenderly takes the bear, holding it to his chest and looks at her inquisitively. “Are you sure I should have him, then?”
Chise-san grins, “Never been surer in my life. Ollie will serve you well.”
The question Izuku doesn’t know how to word must be palpable because she answers it without it having to be vocalized. “Ollie siphons the excess magic in you, and makes something out of it.”
What does it make? Izuku wants to ask, but the light in her eyes lets him know she won’t divulge that piece of information.
“Thank you,” he says instead.
“You’re welcome.” Chise-san ruffles his hair and heads downstairs, Ruth-san right behind her. Izuku stares at Ollie, shaking the teddy bear some before he turns on his heel and walks down the hallway to his room. Izuku barely has half a mind to change into his pajamas that he thankfully remembered to pack before he flops on his bed, mindfully of a still snoozing Sara; Bo and Peep come in from flying outside and plop themselves onto his bed. Their arrival reminds him of the open window and he closes it and drags the curtain across. Smiling, he settles down to sleep.
— o— o—
It’s dark out when there’s tapping on the window panes. He blearily drags the curtain across and opens the window to allow his Neighbors inside before he shuts it again and settles down.
Chapter 3: All things have a rhyme and reason
I'm so sorry I made you all wait so long for this chapter, but it's here! I have a good bit outlined so bear with me as we slowly trudge along with this story.
You guys, thank you all for all those amazing comments! I smile like a lunatic anytime I get them!
Also, in other news, it's my birthday! Woo!
When Izuku wakes, the sun hasn’t even risen yet. His room is clad in the eerie shadowy darkness of dawn. Izuku wants to burrow deeper into his covers and sleep on, if only because he feels as if he should still be doing so, but there is no lead weighing his eyelids down, nor is his mind drowsy with sleep. He is, for all intents and purposes, wide awake. He groans and shifts, turning over to hug Ollie the Teddy Bear, but something feels odd with Ollie. It feels almost… prickly and stiff, akin to crystals.
Izuku opens his eyes, though he can’t see much, it only takes a few seconds for his eyes to adjust. He can make out small protrusions, glistening in the remnant moonlight and barest of sunlight, like some type of flower growing from the large teddy bear.
“ Wah— ?” Izuku blinks several times, rubbing his eyes with the heel of his hand. Nope. It’s still there. He scrambles backward and promptly falls off the bed in a tangled heap. “ GAH! ”
He clicks his tongue as he struggles to disentangle himself. “I’m fine, just startled.”
He flicks the light on once he can make it to the light-switch and narrows his eyes at the sight on his bed. Growing on the bear as if it were natural are flowery crystals, and they glisten delicately in the light. The flowers themselves are growing on the top of Ollie’s head, the entirety of his right side, and there are some buds in half-bloom on the teddy bear’s left shoulder.
“What is this?” Izuku muses aloud, picking at one of the blossoms. He offers one to Chrys, who’s closest to him, and plucks two more blossoms for Iris and Wisteria when they throw a jealous glare at Chrys and crowd around him. He knows how spiteful his Ariel Neighbors can be, has seen it firsthand, and he’d rather not see it happen nor think about it. He rolls his eyes when Sara whines and nudges his hand expectantly, and hands her one as well. Bo and Peep eye him, inching their way slowly across the bed towards him and Ollie.
“Get over here, you two,” and they do. They quickly scurry their way towards him and gently take a blossom each between their teeth.
“Ollie siphons the excess magic in you, and makes something out of it.”
“Huh,” Izuku turns to face his more vocal Neighbors, “is this my magic?”
“Yeah~” Iris sighs rather dreamily as she stares at the crystal (apparently magical ) flower. “It’s very lovely, Izuku.”
Wisteria nods furiously, “We’re keeping these.” Izuku notes it’s a statement, not a request. He exhales a small laugh at that.
“I don’t mind you all keeping these,” he says, and then turbulent thoughts of strange unknown Neighbors getting their grubby hands on his manifested magic pop into his mind. He shudders, “Just, don’t leave the room with the flowers.”
He turns to address Sara, Bo, and Peep and stops at the sight of them chewing on their respective flowers. Sara burps in satisfaction.
“Guess that solves that.” Two more burps.
He gets his outfit ready for the day, making sure to muffle his steps as best as he’s able to as he pads to and from the bathroom to do his business and wash. The shower is refreshing and everything Izuku needs, allowing for him to wash off the dirty feeling he’s had ever since his episode yesterday. When he’s back in his room, with his hair still dripping, his Ariel Neighbors take it upon themselves to use their magic to dry off his hair with a gust of wind, making it stick every which way.
Iris hands him his hairbrush and looks at him expectantly. Izuku blows a teasing raspberry and sets to work, untangling and smoothing out knots in his hair. He watches as Chrys and Wisteria work together, making a new flower crown for the day. It’s a pretty white flower with either five or more petals (or is it petal-like sepals? Izuku isn’t sure) and various stamens.
“What flower is that?” he asks them, curiosity boiling over the brim.
“Windflower is our favorite name for it, but you can also call it a wood anemone, thimbleweed, or smell fox,” Wisteria explains, as per usual. She then tacks on, “Never eat it though, it’s poisonous, especially the root, it’s an irritant.”
“It also has a musky smell to it, usually,” Iris adds, “but we took care of that.”
Chrys hums as he diligently works on the flower crown.
Izuku glances at Ollie the Teddy Bear, and then at the sprouts growing from it. They look familiar as if Izuku has seen that flower before, but he can’t think of wherehe remembers it from. It’s on the tip of his tongue, there but not quite. “What about the flowers from Ollie? I can’t remember what they are.”
“Sakura blossoms,” all three speak in tandem with a dreamy sigh.
“I think it fits Midori-chan,” Chrys says, plopping the flower crown on Izuku’s head. He can smell that musky odor Iris had remarked about, though it’s faint. “They do represent a pure and gentle heart in hanakotoba.”
Wisteria nods when he turns to look at her questioningly. “Beautiful, pure and gentle. Just like our Midori-chan.”
Izuku is about to duck his head in embarrassment when Peep headbutts him. Sara’s, “ Oorru!” and Bo’s own bleat make him blink. Even though they aren’t able to vocalize their thoughts, that doesn’t mean they aren’t creative in getting their point across.
And Izuku is pretty certain they just told him to not be embarrassed and to keep his chin up, in their own loving way. Which apparently includes headbutting as the answer.
Iris straightens the flower crown in his hair. “As they said, Izuku, chin up and look forward. Don’t be bashful.”
He murmurs lowly. “I’ll try.”
Chrys kisses his cheek. “That’s our boy.”
The sun has risen considerably by the time Izuku stops meandering around in his room. He fiddles with his flower crown until Iris kicks his knuckles and hisses, “ Stop touching it! It’s an irritant!”
He doesn’t want to question why they’d even make him a flower crown out of an irritant plant. He can, however, admit that it is lovely. So, he stops fiddling with the crown and instead rubs his smarting knuckles. He’s making his way downstairs when a question pops into existence, and he turns to face his Neighbors, just in time to dodge Bo, Peep, and Sara, with the Salamander riding Bo once again. The action makes the question disappear entirely from his mind. Sara coos delightedly as they race back and forth until Silky opens the front door and out they go.
Silky looks at him, deadpan, and all Izuku can do it shrug helplessly. What can he do? His Neighbors do what they want, when they please, as they please.
Silky guides him to the kitchen and gestures for him to sit, and it’s not long after he does so that he’s served a steaming cup of tea and a bowl of mixed berries.
Izuku sniffs the tea, beaming when he smells that it is lemongrass. Silky hugs him, gently squeezing him once before patting his head and setting to work around the kitchen. He takes his time drinking the tea, savoring the taste and aroma, sharing the smaller berries with his Ariel Neighbors. They chat animatedly and, when people start to trickle in, Izuku stands to greet Chise-san and Ruth-san. Chise laughs softly and pats his shoulder.
“Sit,” she says, and so he does.
Ruth-san leans towards him and sniffs his head, raising an inquisitive brow. “Wood anemone?”
“Isn’t that a skin irritant?”
“Yes,” Izuku replies, straight-faced.
“Alright.” He has to blink a few times at the lackluster response before he smiles grandly.
“That reminds me,” Izuku turns to face the red-haired magi after a few minutes. “Ollie, well, he manifested my magic into crystal flowers. He’s supposed to do that, right?”
“Yes,” Chise-san says, calmly sipping her own tea. “As I said last night, he siphons your excess magic and forms it into something.” Here, she smiles slyly. “A good surprise, was it not?”
Izuku laughs, and that’s an answer enough.
Izuku’s mom kisses the crown of his head when she enters, carefully avoiding the flowers, and then she sits beside him. Silky is quick to serve more tea, bread, and berries.
“Is Elias-san okay?” asks his mom, buttering a slice of bread. “I haven’t seen him since we arrived.”
“He’s fine,” Chise-san answers. “A little exhausted, but fine. He’s replenishing his energy after the big jump yesterday.”
“Did magicking us here take a lot out of him?” Izuku asks, curious. Magic must have a drawback, and having to cover that much distance in a span of a short minute must certainly have its downside. The amount of energy needed to do so has to be outstanding, let alone perhaps improbable for a human. But it’s doable, that’s for sure.
“Not as much if he didn’t have you and I with him, but yes, it’s exhausting.”
“I see,” mummers his mom. “Right, Izuku; Chise and Ruth will take you into the city today, so make sure you are dressed appropriately.”
Izuku turns to her questioningly but all she directs at him, in turn, is a serene smile.
Breakfast wraps up a little while later with Silky placing a set of folded clothes onto his arms and ushering him upstairs to change. As he’s heading down the hallway he stops by the magi’s bedroom door for a second or two, wondering if Ainsworth-san was okay and if he should check up on the skeletal mage, before shaking his head and continuing down the hallway. Ainsworth-san is only resting and, what Izuku can assume as, restoring his depleted magical energy.
So, minding his own business (for once, shocking ) Izuku gets ready for the day with the new set of clothes Silky had gifted him.
It only takes a forty-five minutes train ride to arrive at King’s Cross Station in London, and Izuku is brimming with exuberance coupled with nerves. It all makes for a rather sickly feeling in his stomach that has Chise-san throwing concerned glances at him out of the corner of her eye. Midway through the train ride, she settles a hand on his shoulder to still his relentless energy, before moving it up to his head to ruffle his hair, carefully avoiding the flower crown. Iris had taken the flower crown and weaved some purple windflowers into the crown before he left, warning against him touching the crown too often, and kissed the tip of his nose as Wisteria settled on Izuku’s head. Chrys and Iris would stay behind to keep an eye on his mom while Wisteria would accompany him, Chise-san and Ruth-san into the heart of the city.
Ruth-san, on Izuku’s other side, settles a large hand on the back of his neck and rubs soothing circles with the pads of his thumb. Chise-san takes Izuku’s hand in her’s and settles it in between them. It’s a grounding presence, and slowly, but surely, it makes Izuku’s tense form relax and his stomach unknot itself.
“Better?” Ruth-san asks, and Izuku nods his head in affirmation, rubbing the edges of the grey cashmere sweater Silky gave him. His mom made him take a rather large yellow wool coat that was comfortable, and he’s rather glad she made him take it before he headed out, that with the cold spurt currently settled in England.
“Thank you,” he says after a beat. Ruth-san squeezes his neck in answer and Chise-san does the same with his hand. Wisteria hums a small tune from within his hair.
Chise-san and Ruth-san take him out to sightsee at first after they arrive at King’s Cross. The unfamiliar lettering on signs and shops throw him off at first, but he learns to ignore it along with the constant babble of English in the air. In a way it’s rather exhilarating and, well, Izuku wishes he could have shared this experience with his mom.
Chise-san, accompanied by Wisteria, goes to buy them hot chocolate while Izuku and Ruth-san are in a bookshop, per Izuku’s request. Izuku ends up just wandering around, scouring for any Japanese literature, but turns up empty-handed by the end. Ruth-san hands him a relatively average-sized book, with a dark grey cloth covering. In the center, there’s a small red square, with the simple drawing of a tree with some leaves adorning its branches within it. There’s bold, weirdly-shaped lettering for the title, and all Izuku can make out is the word “kill” and “bird” . Izuku stares at the Grimm, a bit skeptical.
“The title translates as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ I thought it’d be a good idea to use this to help you along with your studies English.”
“Right,” Izuku says, holding the book close to his chest. A gleam shines in his eyes, and determination makes his heartbeat. Izuku is now dead-set on mastering English, and nothing will get in his way from achieving that. Ruth-san nods, satisfied, and they meet up with Chise-san and Wisteria after paying for the book.
Izuku is confused when they enter another bookshop soon after, but then Chise-san guides him towards the backroom and knocks on the door. They wait for a few beats before the door squeaks open, revealing a young woman, perhaps in her mid-to-late twenties, with dark brown hair and eyes, who doesn’t hesitate to throw her arms over Chise-san’s shoulders and squeeze tightly. They exchange pleasantries back and forth in English, with Ruth-san chiming in a few times, before the woman turns to Izuku and, in fluid Japanese, asks for his name.
He blinks, astounded, but then Wisteria pulls at his ear and his face burns. He quickly rectifies his mistake and says, “Midoriya Izuku,” and bows in greeting.
The woman grins, turning to Chise-san once Izuku straightens up with his face still lit aflame. “I like him.”
“Izukkun, this is Althea Barley, an artificer, and a mage. She’ll be helping us today to equip you with some magical essentials.”
Izuku nods, and they’re ushered inside the backroom. It’s a spacious room, with various crystals in boxes and half-finished projects laying around. There are colorful bubbling liquids in glassware on the shelves. Izuku peers around, edging closer to the crystals to get a better look. They thrum with untapped energy, calling and reaching out to expand, to be used, and Izuku’s own magic hums beneath his skin and at the tips of his fingers.
Chise and Althea talk back and forth, with the dark-haired woman writing things down on a handheld notebook. Ruth-san is laying on the floor in his Grimm form, having apparently transformed while Izuku was not looking, and overall keeping a keen eye on their surroundings. Izuku turns back towards the shimmering gemstones, trying to identify some of them. He looks at the green gemstones mostly, they remind him of his family.
“Well, what do we have here?”
Izuku yelps, whirring around and accidentally brushing his fingers across a rogue green stone. He’s met with the widening eyes of an older woman who shares the same features as Althea and an aquatic-looking Neighbor hovering beside her. The older woman opens her mouth as fear enters her eyes and she reaches out, for what, Izuku isn’t sure. That is until he hears it: a cracking sound.
Izuku is yanked away from where he was standing by a breathless Ruth-san, held against his chest protectively. Izuku can hear the strong staccato of a heartbeat against his ear and can feel his own heart beating rapidly from within his chest. His shoulders and hands shake from the scare, and he can’t help but feel strangely tired, as if all his energy had been zapped out. He leans heavily into Ruth-san’s protective embrace, breathing in deeply with his eyes growing heavy.
His magic, which had been coursing relentlessly beneath his skin, itching to be let out, is subdued. It’s as if it were satisfied, and Izuku has no idea why until he turns his head and peers with lidded eyes at the spot where he’d been standing previously. Because on the table, in place of all the gemstones, stands a rather large green statue of an eastern dragon breathing fire up into the air.
And for reasons unknown the sight makes Izuku’s heart wail.