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Stressed Witch Blues

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He’s always tired lately. Not that he hadn’t been before, it’s just so much harder to deal with now. After the sports festival’s end and midterms everything seemed too heavy.

Smoke isn’t something Shinsou usually enjoys — the fires it came from were too bright and the smell was hardly ever pleasant — but burning sage was always a welcome sight and scent. It reminds him of his mom, how his clothes always smelled after spending the weekend at her apartment. When his depression got bad she’d always fan the smoke around him and buy a flat of edible cookie dough to split.

The first time he’d tried to do it in his room he’d had the windows open to let the smoke out. Someone had passed by and for the next two weeks half the class had called him a pyro while the teasing about being a villain doubled. To avoid a repeat he’d kept the windows closed the second time. The result wasn’t much different when he ended up setting off the fire alarms.

Fed up with having to deal with people but still wanting a taste of home, Shinsou heads to the roof. He sits on the edge, folding his legs under himself and pulling the sage stick from his pocket. After lighting the tip with a cheap lighter he had taken from Aizawa’s desk at home he leans back, admiring the the smoke as it curls and twists. The shapes change with the air, rising and losing form while more are produced to replace them. He waves the stick a bit, watching the sharp lines left behind by the suddenly motion.

The sunset casts a red and yellow backdrop, staining the smoke pinks and purples over its natural blue. A few quick taps on his phone and the playlist he and Yamada had been making since he was three starts up. The beginning of Bring Me to Life has his shoulders relaxing, nostalgia flowing through him in waves. The only thing he’s missing is a yellow sleeping bag and it would almost be like he was back at home. The thought is both comforting and saddening.

The shuffling of feet lessens the illusion but doesn’t shatter it, drawing Shinsou’s attention to the neighboring building.

Midoriya is standing hesitantly, glancing between him and the door like he can’t decide which to walk to.

“Sorry, I didn’t know you’d be up here,” the boy apologizes nervously.

Shinsou shakes his head. “It’s fine. Just as long as you don’t mind the music and the smoke you can stay up here.”

Midoriya hesitates again before moving to sit on the edge closest to Shinsou. They share a comfortable silence, content to their own devices until the purple haired boy starts drawing with the smoke. An ‘I’, a ‘Z’, a ‘U’, until he’s spelled out a messy “IZUKU”.

Midoriya only blinks back into reality after the ‘K’ and as such has no idea what the drifting shapes mean. It makes Shinsou smile.

Another run through of the letters and Midoriya looks simultaneously confused and flustered. The sight makes Shinsou giggle as he snuffs the sage on the concrete.

“Isn’t it against the rules to burn things in the dorms?” The green haired boy asks, cheeks still rosy.

“Yeah, that’s why I’m doing it on the roof. Got in trouble for burning the sage in my room last time.”

Midoriya squints. “Why are you burning sage in he first place? As far as I know you can’t get high off of it and it’s not like it’s got much appeal to someone who would like fire.”

The question is one that Shinsou’s heard a lot of in his life. “Why do you burn sage?” “Why don’t you celebrate on Christmas?” “Why do you have a knife on your nightstand?” After explaining the answer a thousand times each, a person’s will to repeat kind of dies.

But this is Midoriya and he’d never mean anything by it except honest curiosity.

“I’m Wiccan and I’m stressed,” he supplies.

The other boy’s eyes seem to light up, his hands fanning back and forth in the air above his lap.

“I’m not Wiccan myself but I’ve heard about it. I thought it was really interesting. I hope this isn’t too invasive of me but, do you have an alter?”

Shinsou smiles. This is amongst the warmest of the reactions he’s gotten after telling someone he was Wiccan. It sends a warm feeling cascading through his chest. He nods his affirmation, describing his favorite parts of his alter and where he got them.

“They wouldn’t let me bring any of my knives into the dorms. I was really sad about it until I met Momo at the sports festival. I got her to make one for me and made her lunch in exchange.”

“She talked about that a lot. I heard she said it was even better than Kacchan’s cooking,” Midoriya laughs. “I’m just glad Kirishima was able to calm him down before he did anything violent.”

By now the sun had set and the light breeze had changed to a full wind. Any smoke in the air was long gone, through the smell still stuck to their clothes. Midoriya gave a softer smile this time, getting as close to eye contact as he dared.

“We should do this again sometime.”