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Pebbles On My Doorstep

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Izuku Midoriya never thought much of himself. He was smart and obedient but other than that he really didn't have much to offer. While his friends got married and left town for bigger and better things Izuku stayed behind in the town with an unusual name to help his mother. She wasn't getting any younger and he feared something bad would happen to her in his absence so he quickly forgot about college and getting married. There wasn't anything he wanted to do in particular and no one had fancied him enough, and vice versa, to think about dating and getting hitched. 

His life was simple. He liked the daily routines he and his mother completed. Nothing changed and nothing bad ever happened. People were kind and safe in the small town. As long as his mother was happy and healthy then Izuku didn't feel like he was missing out on anything in life. 

"Izuku," His mother calls out to him one day. 

He notices the concern in her voice and quickly responds, running to the front door and finding her staring at a pile of stones on their welcome mat. The stones are pretty, he notes, and there are so many in different shapes and colors. Pastel blues, pinks, orange, and purple. They sparkle in the sunlight and Izuku swears he feels something shift in the air around them. 

"Get inside."

Izuku flinches at the sharpness in his mother's voice. He doesn't hesitate, however, and does as he's told. He watches her toss each and every stone in a garbage bag and head to the river just behind their home. He didn't understand why she was throwing away such beautiful stones but he didn't question her. Perhaps old age was finally setting in and taking his mother's mind. That was probably why she locked the doors and windows that night, instructing Izuku to stay in his room, and cloaking the entirety of their home in darkness.

The next morning, Izuku wakes to the sound of his mother's sobs. He'd rushed downstairs to see if she was alright only to find her at the front steps once again. 

"Mother?" He asks, leaning over her crouched form to find more stones waiting for them. This time, the colors are dark. Blood red, coal black, and midnight blue. They're still gorgeous to look at but they cause his mother pain. For some reason, she doesn't move from her spot for hours. He tries to coax her to leaving the house with him to get groceries from Aizawa's little market but she just sobs the evening away, ignoring Izuku who is trying so hard to see what it is that is upsetting the chubby woman. 

On the third day, Izuku learns the truth. 

He spits on fairy tales and is skeptical of the supernatural. He believes the stories the adults told him and his friends as children are lies and if there's one thing he can't stand is to be lied to in the face. He loves facts and seeks the truth if he can find it. But what his mother tells him is too much. He respects and loves his mother, she's never lied to him before, but the thought of being courted by a monster just seems laughable. 

"You can't expect me to believe this!" He says, "You've been brainwashed. Someone must be pulling a prank on you."

His mother shakes her head, "It's no use. Once they find someone to court they won't stop until they have you. I can keep you hidden for now but the time will come when you'll disappear and I'll never see you again." 

She's a sobbing mess but Izuku can't be bothered to care about her at the moment. He's frustrated at the story she's come up with. 

She claims that a monster, which no one has seen, has set their eyes on Izuku. That the stones they've found are for him and if he makes the mistake of accepting them then he will be taken by the monster by force. 

"You've never seen this thing," He tries to avoid eye contact. It pains him to see his mother in such a broken state but he can't seem to back down from what he believes. 

"People have disappeared before!" She yells, "Haven't you ever wondered why your friends were in such a rush to get married and leave this place?"

His shoulders stiffen. He had tried so hard to forget about that. He keeps his lips sealed tight as his mother continues.

"The stones and the disappearances are linked. I learned long ago that something was courting the young and innocent with these pretty little things." She gestures to the stones, "If you were dumb enough to be fooled by the colors and shapes, bringing them inside your home or carrying them around with you, then the monsters would think you were accepting their proposal and come for you."

Izuku remains quiet. 

"Why do you think I was pushing you to find someone to marry? To leave this place and venture out into the world?"

"Then why haven't they come for everyone else in town? Why me?"

A long silence.

"Because," She begins, "They only court virgins."