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Metanoia

Chapter Text

Long, long ago, there was a prince. A prince born with golden hair, glowing like sunlight. His name was Denki, son of the king and queen of Kuranos. He had a blessed gift, for his sickened mother was saved by the magic of a flower which had been struck by dry lightning, summoned by a witch. Unfortunately, the flower had been guarded by a man with dual charred marks in his hair, Seiteki Rusuban. He’d guarded the flower for eons, keeping himself young and healthy as he watched his comrades die around him.

When the prince had been born, a mysterious, windless dry lightning storm in the distance, he snuck into the castle and attempted something treacherous under the cover of darkness. He was nowhere near the best singer in the land, but he knew an ancient song sung among witches.

Oh, the darkness of the sky, which destroyed the land, like the rain it came with a blessing in hand. From death came new life, and joy replaced all strife, the golden glow of fate; alas, it came too late. It came from the heavens, the power I now invoke, as an eye for an eye, to return to days of folk, with these words I do beckon. Restore what I see, to how this used to be.

The golden hair of the prince glowed, gentle warmth and honeyed energy buzzing off of it. A rush of adrenaline came across the intruder, rolling off his shoulders in waves and draped across him like rain pouring down onto a desert. Licks of gray faded to black and blonde covering his eyes, and he took his knife as he lifted bits of hair.

With a cut, the rain stopped, and everything returned as it faded to black.

“No,” The man hissed, beginning again and cutting piece after piece from the sleeping babe. He realized it wouldn’t work, and raised his cloak. Seiteki had no issues stealing a child; he’d done so much to keep it safe already. To keep it his. So, he took the prince from his crib and left under the cover of darkness.

This is where half of our story begins.


The first time Denki ever thought of leaving his tower, he was seven, and his hair reached the floor. He asked his father, innocently, “Why can't I leave the tower, papa?” And Seiteki turned to him with an upset look.

“Denki. People will try to hurt you for your power, got it? See the black marks?” He knelt down to the boy, who reached up into his hair and felt over the short strands of blackness, and nodded

“Yes, Papa.”

“They’re from when someone found you and tried to hurt you. Your power must be protected, so you stay here. Understand?”

“Yes Papa, I understand.” But he didn’t. He’d been told of scary people, been told how nasty the world could be, but his innocent eyes didn’t see how someone could ever want to hurt him. So he obediently nodded and returned to his drawing. The child had found a love of painting and reading, feeling it took him away from his tower and to another place. He could go where he wanted, could do as he pleased, and no one could tell him otherwise. When he drew or sang for his papa, or read or cooked or daydreamed to the sound of rain, he could be anyone he wanted.

It made him feel less alone in his tower, though he knew it wasn’t real.


Denki was eleven when he got his best friend, Ei, and his hair trailled behind him by almost a yard. Ei had been a blessing, really. A red toned raccoon. Denki’d been so lonely, with how his father had been gone. He’d been left alone for days on end, and had begun talking to the walls. Talking to his drawings, even. What else was he to do? He couldn’t do anything, not being strong enough to lift up the tile his father used to get into the tower. He wanted to leave. He wanted to talk to someone, with his energy being drained from him without anyone around.

His father noticed, and Denki decided to take a chance.

“It’s so lonely up here, papa! There’s no one to talk to, not even an animal!”

“Will you shut up and stop acting crazy if I get you one?!”

“Yes!”

That had been how most of their arguments went. Denki did something his father didn’t like, and his father promised him something in return for doing what he wanted. So, the man went into the woods and came back with a raccoon, held by his tail and thrashing about in the man’s hold. Denki had named him Ei, because he’d gone straight for the sharp kitchen knife. Ei meant sharp, after all.

Denki was sure he’d have gone mad if not for Ei, despite the raccoon’s tendency to drop food out the window, though his father never believed him. It was never there when his father came to see him, for some reason. It made him curious about what was down there that Ei wanted to feed, or if it was just absorbed by the ground or washed away in the river. But despite that, Ei was more human than any animal Denki had ever met, not that he’d ever met another animal, as Ei seemed to understand exactly what he meant when he spoke to him. He sometimes responded, with chittering looks of dissapointment when he did something wrong and squeals followed by crashing down the stairs when he walked into the blonde’s room and saw something he shouldn’t have, like he was embarrassed. Ei seemed to laugh with him, dance with him to tunes they made up using the pans in the kitchen and some forks, even playing games too.

The oddest things about the raccoon, however, were his incredibly sharp teeth, and the idea that he wasn’t nocturnal like normal raccoons. Denki rose with the sun, went to bed shortly after it set, and Ei always joined him, curled into his side. He watched the floating lights as they came, every year, on Denki’s birthday. They listened to the dry lightning storm, hearing thunder rolling over the hills. But it always turned wet and into rain by the time it reached their tower. On nights like these, Ei dropped more food and tried to lean over the railing to see something better, though Denki never knew at what exactly.

He always seemed to know something, and dropped to a bow like pose when Denki danced with him. It confused Denki, but he didn’t want to lose his only friend in the world so he never mentioned it. He was very happy, however, that he complained to his papa on that fateful day.


The first time he touches the ground, he’s sixteen years old, and his hair was almost as long as the tower was high. He attatched some rope he’d found to the end and slid down like a pulley, Ei in his arms. He knew he shouldn’t, but he wouldn’t leave the clearing so it couldn’t be that bad, right?

He’s excited, though he stops mere inches from the ground beneath him, and he’s scared, when his legs brush the rock of the tower. Ei nuzzles him under his chin, making him laugh and fall to the earth, feeling the sensation of grass and dirt slide over his skin. It’s a little runny, dirtying his bare feet and staining his cream colored shorts, but he can’t bring himself to care. Each blade of grass tickled him lightly, and he spread out over it and felt it between his fingers. The warm summer sun filled the land with such calm that Denki felt fuzzy all over, looking around in curiosity.

A rustle to his right made him yelp and scatter back, thinking of every story his father had told him. Ruffians? Thugs? Canibals or snakes? What even was a canibal?

Every thought went out the window as he saw Ei approach the bush it came from.

“Ei! Get back here!” He said, his voice tight as tears came to his eyes in worry over his friend. “Please! W-we need to go back inside!”

But Ei didn’t listen, and nudged into the bush. It rustled again, before a bunny with a soft, creamy pink tone jumped out. Denki breathed a sigh of relief, watching Ei begin to bounce around with the bunny. They seemed to be playing, nuzzling eachother and Ei made cute chittering noises as he nuzzled over the fluffy body of his friend.

“So, Ei had another friend down here?” Denki said, and the rabbit looked at him curiously, then to Ei and made a weird noise. Ei bounced, running back over to Denki, then to his friend, and back. It was pretty cute.

“Do you want me to bring them back up, too?” He asked, and Ei nuzzled him in affirmation with a nod. Such a weird raccoon.

“Okay! I will. But first, you need a name. I’ll call you…” Denki pondered for a bit, looking at the two animals and reaching out to pet the bunny who twitched under his hand. “Mina. Your name is Mina. Mi means three, and it sounds like mine! Because you’re my new friend!” He said with a smile, watching Ei snicker and Mina bounce around, then into his lap.

They spent the better half of an hour down there, playing in the grass and the river. Mina had her own personality aside from Ei; less protective and more prone to mischeif. When Ei tried to stop him from running right after being in the river, Mina tried to push him to do it. Of course, he couldn’t understand her as easy as he could Ei, but he assumed he would by the time his father showed up next.

When he decided enough was enough and he was getting hungry Denki scooped both animals up into his arms, but found himself unable to climb back up, as his arms were full. He looked at his animal companions, their damp fur soaking through his violet vest and lilac shirt, his heart clenched. He knew it would be cruel to leave them separated again, no matter how much he wanted his friends, both new and old.

He must’ve made a noise, because Ei and Mina were nuzzling him. It only made it harder, because he set them down onto the ground.
“I love you both, but I can’t take both of you back up there with me. I don’t wanna separate you two again, so Ei?” He said, his voice choked up as he teared up, “Stay here with Mina. Keep her safe.” Before they could do anything, he was climbing back up into his tower and curling up inside, his shoulders shaking. He fell asleep there, with his hair trailing out the window.

He woke up to Ei in his lap, and leaves in his hair. Mina, still on the ground, with what felt like eternity separating them.


When Denki decided he wanted to see the lights he always saw in the distance, he was almost eighteen, and his hair was longer than his tower was tall by quite a bit. He’d been trying to gather the courage to ask his father to bring him to see them, but hadn’t been able to yet. Ei seemed convinced he needed to stay in the tower, which didn’t help the situation. He’d decided to distract himself by playing his favorite game with his favorite raccoon; Hide and seek.

Ei had run off to hide somewhere while Denki counted, though he knew exactly where he'd be. On the windowsill, waving down to Mina.

“Ninety nine…. One hundred! Ready or not, here I come, Ei!” Denki laughed as he walked out of his room, looking around the tiny tower for in case his friend had decided to surprise him. One by one, he stepped down the stairs and listened to them creak, especially the bottom with it’s storage box, silently listening for his friend’s tell tale chittering.

Silently, Denki stalked over to the window and grabbed the shutters, taking a deep breath before wrenching them open. He looked out onto the mountain view from there, for just a second, before he sighed.

“Welllll, I guess Ei isn’t out here… Oh well, guess I’ll have to look somewhere else.” He shrugged, though he saw the raccoon’s fluffy tail behind a flower pot. At the small chittering, he walked away and counted to three.

One.

Two.

Three.

He ran back over and grabbed the fuzzy creature’s tail, exclaiming, “Got you, Ei!” Ei let out a loud squeal of surprise, red eyes staring at his friend as he was pulled to his chest. “That’s eight hundred ninety two to me. Best out of four hundred fourty six?” Denki suggested, and Ei gave him a blank star. It was his way of saying, Seriously?

Denki sighed and took a deep breath. “I’ve gotta get my mind off it, Ei. I’m going to do it. I’m going to ask Papa to let me see the floating lights.”

Chapter Text

Sero was an adventurer; he’d been one for as long as he could remember. From travelling with old friends to the new ruffians he was currently gallivanting with, he’d always been on the run. Today, he’d grouped with his friends Dabi and Toga to raid the castle. Not just anything from the castle, of course, but the Crown of the Lost Prince. The biggest heist in the kingdom's expansive history.

Or, more accurately, three idiots with too much time on their hands.

And, of course, Sero was all for it. He had watched over the guard's routes, bribed inside sources for their inner workings, and studied for weeks in preparation for this. The twins were under the impression of the same thing he was; it was a perfect plan, so long as all three of them could keep their big mouths shut. Which meant it would most certainly fail.

Still, worth a try, right?

The first hurdle to conquer was simply getting on the roof. Sero and the partner he called Jin went around with lengths of rope, while Bubai snuck into the castle and made his way to the roof. Turns out, a heist is a lot of waiting around for your partners to get their tasks done before you can move on. Sero had never cared for such waiting around, but he knew it was necessary. Even if he didn't like it.

Ah, that was their ride. The second hurdle to overcome; getting to the loose panel on the roof. Bubai, a month ago, had infiltrated the castle with a friend of his and became roof repairers, only for her to discover a hidden entrance to the crown's display room. Really, who needed a room, just to display a crown? Well, the king and queen, of course. Stupid.

Sero let Bubai lead the way, using his own bit of rope to swing from one tower to another as quickly as he could. The easiest fortune he ever made, really!

And, oh, the view. Just as Bubai opened the hatch, he turned just to the right to ensure the guard's passing, and he gasped. From his place, high up in the sky, he could see for miles. Every roof, the people walking around the streets, even down into the forest. The sun off into the distance, and the feeling of the breeze blowing through his tied back, pitch black, hair He felt the ribbon against his shoulder and shuddered lightly, before letting out a sigh of amazement.

"A guy could get used to this, ya know?" He chuckled, his cheeks warming as he appreciated the view. From the feeling of the sun washing over him, the light breeze, and the wonder of watching everything from his pedestal high in the clouds; everything was bliss.

"Sero!" Jin huffed, ever the angry one, while Bubai rolled his eyes and nudged his twin with a huff of, "What's the harm? Enjoy it!"

"Shh," Sero chided, pausing their talk for dramatic effect, and took one last look over the skyline. He could even distantly see the dammed lake, though he couldn't see the waterfall or river which he knew it led to. "Yep, now I'm used to it." He laughed, turning back to his compatriots, "Guys, I've decided. I want a castle."

"If we do this job, you can buy your own castle," Jin growled, walking over to him and yanking him up by the collar, "But neither of us are light enough to be lowered down; or do I need to remind you again?!"

"C'mon, Jin, let's get this done!" Bubai interrupted, tossing Sero the rope to tie around his chest. "What are we waiting for?!"

"Awww, guys, I wouldn't be me if I didn't appreciate the view," Sero joked as he tied himself up. He'd learned how to properly tie knots from an old friend of his, and could do a sturdy knot in his sleep by now.

He slipped through the opening, and slowly descended down. The inner chambers had six guards all facing the door, which was pretty stupid by Sero's standards, and they were all armed with lengthy spears. The thoughts and jives which came to his mind as he came ever closer to the crown were none too appropriate to speak, as was for the best.

A sneeze and cough came from the guard in front of him, and Sero had to bite his lip to keep from commenting.

No, don't do it. The crown is right there, just grab it!

Don't do it. No. Don't.

I must...

NO!

"Hay fever?"

Damn. He did it. He couldn't help it, ya know! He'd always been the one to crack jokes. Only this time, he'd grabbed the crown and was beginning to shove it into the satchel, so it wasn't as useless as some may believe.

"Yeah," The guard said before Sero was being brought up by his buddies with a laugh.

The next thing he knew, they were running over the Kingdom bridge, satchel in hand, with most of the guard chasing them into the wood.

"Can you imagine me in a castle?" He laughed, throwing his head back as Bubai laughed with him. "'Cause I can!"

"It's too early for your crap!" Jin yelled, and Bubai raised a finger in questioning.

"It's only eight am! What do you mean it's too early?"

"This is gonna be a great day! Maybe the best day of our lives!" Sero interrupted as they finally breached the wood, making good time, especially against horses. What Sero didn't know was that really, this day would be one of the best days of his entire life.

Chapter Text

To say that Sero never expected to be running through the woods, satchel in hand, away from a single horse and rider which appeared dead set on killing him would be an understatement. Perhaps the understatement of the century-- Nay, the millenia. The ashen, flax gold color of the horse reminded him of a field of hay, but he didn’t have the time to admire the silky coat.  He just had to keep running; away from the two men he’d betrayed, he really didn’t want to split the loot anyway, away from the manic horse which was gaining fast. How the hell was he supposed to outrun a horse?! A. God. Damned. HORSE.

He didn’t even remember how they could catch up to him! Really, all he’d done was stop for a minute, half out of needing to breath and half to revel in victory, when he had noticed a wanted poster on the side of a tree…

Sero was completely out of breath, heart pounding and mind racing at the thought of what he’d just done. He could barely breathe, leaning against the tree for stability before leaning back and glancing at the trunk.

Oh shit. That was a wanted poster.

“Oh no, no no nooo… This is bad,” He’d said, exasperation filling his voice, and Jin stared at him in curiosity. Bubai let out a soft grunt and turned to him with a look of incredulous annoyance.

“What?”

Sero took a deep breath and turned the photo around so they could see the travesty he held in his hands. The pure offense upon his face read clear, and his voice reflected as such.

“They just can’t get my smile right!”

“Really? Who cares?!” Bubai growled, throwing his hands up in the air in disbelief.

“Oh C’mon, you two look great! They just needed to draw you once and copy it!”

He couldn’t outrun the rider and the horse. He just had to outsmart it! He remembered a plan which he’d used in his younger, earlier days and decided to roll with it. Sero hadn’t done this in years, around seven or eight, but he figured it wouldn’t change much. Just use more strength. So, when the horse got too close, he grabbed onto the tree and spun around kicking off the current rider and mounting the horse himself with a small cheer of victory. He couldn’t help but smile and took the reins with a tight grip.

“Let’s go horsy!” He grinned, before the horse skidded to a stop. Sero was confused, raising an eyebrow, “C’mon, lets go! Giddy up?”

The horse, obviously, didn’t respond but immediately began bucking, attempting to get him off of him, but Sero was persistent and refused to let go despite how he was being thrown about. His head ached and his body was thrashed about, but he held fast to the horse.

“Are you trying to kill me?!” He exclaimed, before being launched off the beast and subsequently letting go of the satchel. Sero gasped as he was sent crashing to the ground, but the horse didn’t stop. He ran at Sero and the only way the raven haired adventurer managed to doge was by rolling to the side, where he saw the satchel had landed on a light cliff with a branch extending from it.

Oh hell no. Sero was not going to die because of a horse!! He barely managed to avoid getting stomped on, grabbing onto the edge of a branch and swung over to the main limb, grabbing onto the bag just before the horse climbed onto the same limb. There was a snap and next thing he knew, he was plummeting down the cliffside.


Denki couldn't wait for his father to get home to the tower. He was going to ask to leave to see the lights, finally!! All he had to do now was wait. Except, he'd never been very good at waiting.

Ei was sitting on his lap, nuzzled up against his stomach and warmly wrapped in a blanket. The little raccoon was more than happy to try and distract him from the outside world, knowing exactly what would happen if his power was discovered, but he could only keep a teenager entertained for so long. Seriously, how was he supposed to do it on his own? Mina may be able to help…

“Oi! Kid! Let down your hair!” Came a voice from the base of the tower, and Denki jumped slightly at the sound.

“Yes, father!”

He set Ei to the side and gathered up his long, blonde hair, and looped it over the hook, letting it fall down to the ground. Lifting up a fully grown man by one’s hair was no easy feat, but when he did it every single day, it became easier. Denki didn’t quite know when it started, but he remembered when he was told it would get easier. Except, it didn’t. Not significantly, at least. It still strained his arms, still made him feel like they were about to break.

It still felt like his hair was about to be ripped right out of his head, though he knew it wasn’t. He felt the strain on his neck, and it made tears come to his eyes as he hauled the man up. It burned against his hands, each strand feeling like it was going to cut through the calluses on his hands, ripping into the tissue. His breathing was labored, lungs burning with each breath he took. It had never been easy, but he couldn’t drop him! That was his father for Pete’s sake!

As soon as he saw the man in the window, he held the weight for a solid three seconds before he touched the ground, and Denki took in a deep breath and let go of his hair.

“Damn kid, I don’t know how the hell you do that all the time!” Seiteki exclaimed, setting his bag down on the floor.

“I’m ha… happy to do it!” Denki said with a smile, breathing onto his hands to soothe the burning. He watched as his father set about organizing the things he’d brought in; a basket of fruit, ingredients for soup, and a bottle which Denki knew his father would down that night. He took a deep breath, turning to the man and smiling. “How was your trip?”

“Long. Tiring.” He grumbled, and Denki’s excitement rose. When his father was tired, he tended to be more susceptible to doing what he wanted.

“Do you want me to sing for you?” Denki offered, running over to where his hairbrush was as he felt the weight of his hair drag behind him. He’d never weighed it, but he’d compared the weight of his hair to Ei and Mina. It weighed approximately the same as Ei thrice over, and Mina quadrupled. It was hard to drag behind him some days, but he never minded.

He heard his father grunt in approval, which made his heart soar. The man had never been particularly outwardly caring to him, but after living together for so long, one learned the nuances of someone’s personality. Some days, Denki would sit down with him for dinner and ask what happened on his father’s trips. The man was incredibly strong, a known fighter and he often killed his own game for their food.

Denki wanted to be like that. To prove he could be just like his father; be someone who could handle himself in the real world. He idolized everything the man did; how could he not? He’d been raised by him and books, of course! So of course he’d adore him! He had fond memories with the man, and would always be grateful for his involvement in his life. He’d warned him of the dangers of the world, so many times… And after all, parents knew best.

Denki handed him the brush and began singing, hoping if he did it well then he may have his request granted. He sang quickly, letting the man brush through his hair as much or as little as he cared to do. The song was over almost as quickly as it began, and he felt a tug on his hair as a warning to slow down and not rush through it as he tended to do.

“Damn kid, what’s gotten into you?!” he exclaimed, and Denki merely smiled at him.

“It’s almost my birthday, father!”

The bearded man groaned, and released the blonde. “Oh, yeah. I assume you want somethin’?”

Denki’s heartbeat fluttered, increasing in pace. He knew exactly what he wanted! 

“I wanna see the floating lights in person!”

The room was silent for a moment, and Seteki bust out laughing.

“You-- You wanna see the stars?!”

“No, papa! Not the stars! They only show up once a year, after the big lightning storm on my birthday!”

“Kid, I knew you were an oddball, but man that’s somethin’ else! You don’t know crap about that storm!”

“I know it only comes once a year! C’mon, I’m gonna be eighteen! I should be able to go!”

Seiteki stopped, turning to his kid and leaning against the table. A smirk slowly spread across his face, and Denki knew just what that meant. It meant he was in trouble. Big trouble. He gulped as the man began a slow, deep chuckle which echoed throughout the room. A shudder came through Denki’s body, his hair flowing freely around him almost like a security blanket he could wrap around himself.

“So, you wanna go outside? You wanna run with the big boys? A scrawny thing like you, you’d be eaten alive! The second you left this tower, a wolf would come and eat you! Not that there’s all that much!”

“But-”

“If you have a death wish, there’s tons of fucking people who would be willing to do it! Worse, they'll sell you from person to person for your power! Stay here. It's safe.

“But Papa-”

“Denki, where are you safe?”

“Here…”

“So, Denki, where are you going to stay?”

“I'm going to stay here. At home.”

“Good. And, Denki?”

Seiteki moved forward, standing in front of the other blonde and kneeling a bit to see him better. Worry filled Denki as he looked up at him, trying not to get hopeful that he'd be allowed to leave again, and he nodded to show he'd heard the man.

“Never ask to leave this tower again.”

Denki sighed, his hopes falling with his dreams. He knew it wasn’t good to imagine leaving; he’d even stopped going down to the ground as often to see Mina after he’d tracked dirt into the tower. He didn’t want to get into trouble, and he didn’t want to give him a reason to make him get rid of Ei.

“Yes sir.” He said, looking down at the floor as he shifted on his feet.

“Love ya, kid.” Seiteki said, pulling Denki in for a hug. Warmth blossomed in Denki’s chest, and the teenager couldn’t help but smile.

“I love you more.”

His father ran his fingers through the teen’s hair, their conversation coming to the same end as most of their other interactions.

“Love you most.”