Chapter 4: The Pollywog
"Eh?!" An unnerving pair of red eyes were hovered over you when you woke up. You jolted backwards before you realized they belonged to the nearly-harmless fugitive boy in the tent. "Tomura... It's weird to stare at someone while they're sleeping... Don't do that."
"No?" He tilted his head.
"No..." You let it go upon seeing his doe-eyed expression. "Where's Kaminari?"
"Gone." Shigaraki said, holding out his hand. Your eyes widened, and you shakily eyed his sleeping bag for any signs of ashes. He noted this and corrected himself. "No. I meant he left the tent this morning." You heaved a huge sigh in relief.
"Phew." A bead of sweat rolled down your head. "Alright. He probably just went to get breakfast. Stay here and I'll be right back."
"What's breaking fast?"
"What? Oh. No. Breakfast. It's like morning food."
"There's food you can only eat in the morning? Does something bad happen if you eat that food at night?"
"I don't have time to explain this right now. Stay here." Without thinking, you exited Kaminari's bright yellow tent, only to be immediately noticed by Midoriya. He was yawning and stretching a few feet away, abruptly stopping upon catching sight of you.
"F/N!" He covered his body bashfully, as if his pajamas were indecent for some reason. You turned your palms up in a clueless fashion.
"Hey... What were you doing in Kaminari's tent?"
"Oh gosh!" His face contorted with concern, running over to take a closer look at the cuts on your back. "Are you alright?! What happened?!" Thankfully, your injury had distracted the sweet boy from his former interrogation.
"Ah... Well... I fell, you see. And he helped bandage me up."
"That looks like my-"
"I borrowed your first aid kit because I didn't have one..." You confessed, biting your lip. "I know should have asked first but I really didn't want to wake you..." He frowned.
"I wish you had..." He touched your shoulder gently. "F/N... if you need help, please don't hesitate to ask me next time." His emerald eyes flickered with regret. You returned it with a smile.
"I'll be sure to walk into your tent with trumpets next time." He chuckled at that. "By the way, where is Kaminari?"
"He went into the woods a little while ago. He said something about hunting a monster." Your eyes widened in horror.
"And you didn't try and stop him?!" Your mouth fell open.
"Well no... I thought he was just making things up, like his Mad Max story."
You grimaced, knowing that Denki had lost all credibility from his tall tales. It just dawned upon you how dire this situation might become. Being the idiot that he is, Kaminari was seeking vengeance on this terrifying beast for hurting you. His electricity had been effective once, but seeing how quickly the creature grew and adapted, Denki might be in terrible danger. You gripped Midoriya's arms, voice full of grave severity.
"I have to tell you something..."
After a lengthy explanation, Midoriya blinked at you a few times, trying to process it all.
"So... that's why I need your help." You pleaded. He looked down, pondering it for a moment before clenching his fist in resolve.
"You can count on me!"
And with that, the two of you entered the woods. There was no time to lose because you imagined Kaminari must be miles away by now.
"He will probably be along the river bank." You said, guiding Midoriya along the lazy shoreline. Since it was November now, the days were much shorter, and you had only walked for a few hours before the sun began to set behind the mountains. You prayed for Kaminari's safety, unnerved more and more with every passing hour he remained missing. Izuku had been mumbling plans to himself every now and then as you walked and he stopped you, apparently finally settling on one strategy.
"F/N... If something happens, I can lead it away and-"
"You have got to stop with these suicidal plans, Izuku." You took his hands gently in your own. "I don't want to lose you either." He looked at you, that familiar flawless determination flickering in his eyes.
"...okay..." You were hesitant, but he definitely had speed on his side with that wild quirk of his. You decided not to underestimate him and went along with the idea. The last of the orange sun descended over the trees and you noticed Midoriya kick a pebble down the bank. An ominous alarm went off in your head when you followed the path of the pebble, noticing Kaminari's fishing pole and bag.
"Look." You pointed at it, gaze following the line until a pang of dread hit you. There sat his pile of bait, laid out on the gravel; the same thing that drew the monster to you in the first place...
"What was that..." A gloopy sound came from beneath the calm river. The two of you turned to see a shadow lurking in the deep. "Stay back." You pulled Midoriya away from leaning over the bank. "When the monster attacked us, it jumped out of the water and-"
"AH!" Just as it once had, the creature launched out of the water like a bullet, flying high over your heads. It was definitely the same size as a human now, not the medium-sized tadpole from before.
"SMAAAASSSSHHHH!" A huge gust of wind shot it flying. "I'll drive it away! Now GO!" You didn't doubt Midoriya and ran farther down the river, zigzagging between trees as you went. Kaminari had to be close, and you needed to find him fast.
With his quirk, Izuku was able to outmaneuver the monster while it pursued him. Unfortunately, after chasing something so incredibly fast, it was a natural instinct for the creature to switch to a slower prey...
'It's so dark.' Behind grey clouds there was hardly any moonlight and you could barely see where you were going. You hoped against hope that you would find Kaminari before the creature did. But fumbling in the darkness made you just as easy of a target. You heard rustling in the trees, knowing something was near by. And based on the distinct movement, you could tell that it was neither of your friends. Out of the corner of your eye, you saw it leap effortlessly near you. You held your breath, inching around the side of a tree in the hopes that it would pass you by and not notice your presence.
Fear gripped you and all you wanted to do was yell for Midoriya or Kaminari or Tomura, but you knew you couldn't. Calling out would alert the swift creature to your location. The best bet was to stay stealthy and keep perfectly still. You had no hope of running away silently either, as the crunchy fall leaves on the ground would have been a dead giveaway. All you could do was press your back farther against the tree, trying to become one with it.
Suddenly, something constricting and wet bound you to the tree, arms pinned to your sides. The texture was strange, a slithering appendage. 'Is this a tentacle?! Can this thing shapeshift?!' The slippery thing made another wrap around the tree, restraining you further. 'No wait... this is...'
You gasped as the monster's shadow approached you, making a croaking noise. You were done for, wiggling and helpless, a fish on a hook. You prepared yourself to yell, taking a huge breath before this thing could suffocate you.
"Wait." You paused when it spoke. The voice of the monster sounded so normal... so... human... "Please don't scream. I'm not going to eat you."
"Wh-what?" You were baffled as the creature revealed itself in the moonlight, face to face with you. 'Wait... it has a face! A human face!' For some reason that fact washed you over with some relief. However, you weren't out of the woods yet, for this thing still had you tied up with... it's tongue?! So many questions flew to your mind at once. "Wh-who are you..."
"Call me Tsu."
"Are you... from the oopsy-doops?"
"What the heck is that?"
"The realm you're from..."
"You mean the inside-out? Who on earth called it an oopsy-doops..." And the creature laughed, making you feel a little more at ease. It took a few steps closer and a break in the canopy cast light onto it's face. It was a girl... kind of a frog girl... but still a girl about your height, peering at you with big round eyes, just like Izuku has.
"So... if you aren't going to eat me... what are you hunting for?"
"A mate." She said simply.
"Are you my mate?" She asked with a smile, face an inch from yours.