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To Carry a Tune

Chapter Text

 

    “Izuku,” I called above the rushing crowds around me. The shorter boy had run after Katsuki and Uraraka, who were trying to get us a spot on the lifeboats. It was our job to find Ilda and Tysu, but now it was just me, packed into the middle of a crowd.

    The boat under me rattled with a reverberating explosion. The people started to use their elbows to make progress in getting to the boats, calling out for each other. Nearly tripping, I forced myself back upright and made my way to the railing on the opposite side of the rescue rafts and lifejackets. The water was turning black, oil spreading through the ocean.

    “(Y/N)!” I heard my name in the distance. When I looked back, all I saw was the flash. Bodies colliding into mine. My hearing was stunned, and blood was rushing from my lips. The people in front of me weren’t moving. Then the boat was tilting up and sinking faster. The stars were covered in a thick black cloud. More and more explosions sounded off. With each passing boom, I dug my head father into my lap. There were only a few others still alive on the top deck, and with each pop less got back upright. Once there was a lull in the fire, I pushed the packed, sweaty bodies off mine,  and used the rail to stand.

    The water was on fire. Waves of inferno were sweeping swimmers under left and right. I had no choice, but to wait it out. There were only a few more pops from the ship and a sudden increase in angle. Gripping myself to the rail, those who were dead or unlucky fell backward, hitting the bar or water below. I dodged chairs and lounge umbrellas. Fingers barely clasping to painted metal rails.  Mom. I promised I would come home, so I gripped tighter and kept my head down.

    “Dancing bears. Painted wings. Things I almost remember. And a song someone sings, once upon a December.” I sang my heart out, edging my body onto the other side of the rail. “Someone holds me safe and warm.” From this new angle, I see the ship was in pieces, some fully submerged, and others nearly there. “Horses prance through a silver storm.” I climbed lower towards the water, seventy feet from the bottom of the fiery pit. “Figures dancing gracefully across my memories.” Serval bodies had been caught in the wire's pattern, and I carefully climbed over them. “Far away long ago, glowing dim as an ember. Things my heart use to know. Things I long to remember.” I was gonna die alone. “And a song someone sings… once upon-a – December.” I stumbled at the end. Dying, I was practically dying, and no one was there to hear me. There wouldn’t be another December for me, no more lullabies before bed, or cuddles. My cat was going to miss me like crazy.

    “Waa,” a woman whose arm was stuck suddenly shot up and squalled. She clawed at my throat, and I lost my balance.

    My flowing dress fluttered around my ankles. Time slowed. The heat was the first thing to hit me. Bubbling heat. I was headfirst into the water. Plummeting deeper, I opened my arms and slowed my descent. I saw the fire lighting up the water’s surface. My arms ached, but I tried peddling up. I gulped with pain. Grabbing my throat, I kicked harder. Legs tangling into my gown.

    My head lulled. Black spots smothering the warm light. Head lolling with the current. Gone.

 

    Rolled onto my side, I puked up water with a breath that I had lost under the sea. A small amount of vile mixed with salty water sunk into the sand. Taking a short quick breath between each heave, a hand was rubbing up and down my spine and shoulders.

    “You saved me,” I whimpered once I had stilled my stomach. A nearly naked man looked me over with intense scrutiny. Maybe it was my chubby form that caused him to cringe or the fact that I was possibly covered in puke.

    “Yes,” he said, clutching the back of his neck. “I did.”

    “Thank you.” I sat up, only to fall back down with the weight of my skirt. “Where are the others? What’s happening?”

    “They will be alright. You need to be still.” He pulled me into his arms and quickly scooped me up and walked closer to the tree line. “You landed on your shoulders out there. You’re going to be in a lot of pain when you’re not in shock.”

    “My friends, they’re still out there. I should-“He pushed his finger to my lips and then on my pulse.

    “You just drowned, focus on taking depth breaths, okay?” he undid the buttons on my overall dress and slide it past my shoulders to my waist. “What’s your name?”

    “(Y/N),” I couldn’t fight my body any longer, lulling my head to the side. “Who are you?”

    “Hitoshi Shinso.” The fire cast a red glow to his unnatural purple hair, even though it was a wet mop, it stood on itself into wild points. It must have been rough getting us both to shore, the flush on his checks supported that notion.

    “Some vacation,” I wheezed, coughing up more water, my throat closing with the salty aftermath. “I just hope my friends are okay…”

    “I’m sure they will be.” A gust of wind revealed the thin sliver of moon in the sky, and I knew it was out of my hands now. I have survived or been rescued, but things were about to change.

    “I better get a book deal out of this.” I forced myself upright, Shinso supporting my back so I wouldn’t fall.

    “You don’t listen,” he hummed, closing his eyes. “What are their names?”   

    “Huh?” I piqued. He stood up and dusted his pants off.

    “Your friends, who are they. I’ll go see if they’re out there.” He rubbed the back of his neck and gazed down at me.

    “No way. You just got us both to shore, and I know for a fact I’m a heavy load. There’s no way you can make it back out to the boats and not succumb to the waves.” I grabbed his pant legs. “It’s too dangerous.”   

    “It’s fine. I’m the best swimmer in- I’m a great swimmer. Just tell me.”

    “I- Izuku, Katsuki, Iida, Tsyu, and Uraraka,” I mumbled without much thought. “One has spikey green hair, so that should be easy to find if he made it out. He left me right before the string of explosions. I know the rest were near the boats, I think.” 

    “He left you?” Shinso furred his brows, then scoffed. “I’ll find them. Just lay still till I get back, and under no circumstance are you to go back into the water. We got a deal?”

    “Yes. Just be careful.” I laid on my side and nuzzled into the sand to make a comfortable spot.

    “Alright.” I heard the splash when he jumped into a wave. I hoped that he was telling the truth about being a great swimmer. If everyone died out there, it would be just me on an island, full of guilt.

    Serval minutes felt more like hours. An occasional boom in the distance, and screams. That’s what matters, is there are people left to be making sounds. I wanted to watch the stranger swim out, but I had promised to rest, so I looked at the dark clouds with no real borders.

    Tears sprung from my burning eyes. Salt on salt on salt. Gripping to the sand I rolled onto my stomach, the tide was coming in fast, and the water was lapping my ankles. Wiggling back and forth, I shimmed up the beach like a seal, before giving in and letting my legs be soaked again. Tears wouldn’t stop pouring, and the throbbing in my upper body was increasing. Of course, falling fifty feet should have killed me, but thank God I only hit the water, and the waves helped break my fall. Of course, parts of my dress were burned, but my skin only suffered blisters on my arms.

    It had been too long; hopefully, they all were coming back. We’d all be so lucky to live and be on an island. Maybe there was a city just past the tree line…

    “Uh- fuck fuck fuck,” I sobbed, getting onto my knees. Surely if there was civilization on this island, they could help. I looked back to the water and saw a few lifeboats making circles around the wreckage. It was up to me. “Ooo, yup, gonna be feeling all of this tomorrow.” I keep talking to myself as a distraction. I took uneven steps on the sand, I had to do something.

    One foot after another, I stumbled thirty feet up the bank. Slipping through the vines, the ground was starting to be stable. Making longer strides, I ran into the brush. “Hello?” I called out, “can anyone hear me? Our ship is sinking.” Branches slapped against my arms, my skirt dragging the ground and collecting mud. There was a small hill ahead, so I got ready to slid down the incline.

    A body slammed into mine. Staying upright with a battle for balance, I held back a murmur of pain. “I said, stay still.”

    “You said to rest and not go into the water.” I corrected Hitoshi, smiling. “So you didn’t drown, are my friends? Are they alive?”

    “You shouldn’t be in here alone,” he sighed, looking around. “They are all fine, and on the boats. Come on, we need to get back to the beach.” He placed his hand on the small of my back and guided me back to the sand. “Can you walk?”

    “It hurts a bit, but my upper body is what hurts the most.” I admitted, “I can’t believe this happening right now. Shouldn’t we keep looking for anyone that can help?”

    “If there were anyone on this island that cared, they would have come already.” He bit his lip and paused for a moment. “(Y/N) was it?”

    “Yes.” He wiped under my eyes. The gritty sand and salt spreading with his swooping touch. We were back to the shore, and I crouched down by a palm. Falling to my bottom, I leaned against the trunk and closed my eyes. Everything was going to be okay.

    “I’m going to take care of you.”   

Chapter Text

    The sun pelted my face in shifting rays. Unable to raise my sore arm, I turned my head to the side and opened my eyes. After a few seconds of adjustment, I could see a wall of palm leaves over me. The makeshift shelter had kept the rain off of me while I was asleep. The sun was fully visible, and when I peeked out of the cover, I could see people slinking around the shoreline. There were bodies washing up, I didn’t try to focus on the carnage, but I saw a few bodies were missing limbs and bloated. It was enough death for a lifetime.

    My memory was foggy, but I remembered the boy who saved me. Perhaps I wasn’t as grateful as I could have been, but it was too late to worry about that now. A green mop caught my eye, and I weakly smiled.

    “Izuku,” I yelled, his green eyes widening at the sight of me.

    “You’re alive,” he crashed to his knees and grasped both of my hands after crossing the dunes to my side. “I believed that guy but Katsuki was super against it.”

    “What?” I asked, cocking my hand. “Shinso?”

    “The guy with purple hair, he asked for our names and said you were worried but alright. He wouldn’t get int the boat with us, which was weird. That water was super rough… he was the only person who we saw alive in the water actually.” 

    “It’s not natural.” Katsuki tossed a coconut into my chest and crossed his arms. “Anyway, people are already hoarding supplies, so you better enjoy that till help gets here.”

    “Yea, we were saving it for you.” Izuku leaned back on his forearms.

    “So everyone really is okay?” I fumbled with the husk of the fruit and kept my gaze from the bodies piling ahead... I was bad at it so far.

    “Yea, Tysu hit her head pretty hard, but other than that she’s fine.” Izuku handed me a sharp rock, and I worked at the husk with more success.

    “So what’s the plan? Shouldn’t emergency services already be here?”

    “No. Word is that the ship was off course.” Katsuki kicked the sand and gritted his teeth. “No one knows where we are, and no one knows who put all those explosives on the ship.”

    “Who’d think we’d ever be on board a terrorist attack.” Izuku gulped.   

    “It never crossed my mind; this was on purpose. Of course, it was but, do we know who did it?” The boys gave each other a knowing look.

    “People have ideas, just stick to our friends. And it will be okay,” Katsuki growled, clenching his jaw.

    “ Well, my friends weren’t there last night,” I shot at him, catching his warning.

    “You're too stubborn for your own damn good.” He kicked the base of my shelter, and it collapsed.

    “Being stubborn saved my life.” I stood up and scrunched my face in agony. “I don’t need this from you Katsuki, we all survived. Let's just be thankful, and not ruin hours of work over your hunch!” I puffed out my lower lip and slipped my skirt past my hips. Both boys looked away and covered their eyes.

    “I’m going to hang my dress us, so it dries out, and then I’m going to hug you both.” I flung the dress over a low hanging branch, and bear-hugged Katsuki, and then Izuku. “We survived, and I don’t care who or what happened to that boat, from now on, we are a team. Trust me that, Shinso is a nice guy, okay?”

    “No way in hell.” He jutted out his lower lip but had hugged me back. I grew up with both idiots, though I wasn't nearly as close to the duo, I was still their friend.

    “Good thing this isn’t hell, suck it up.” I put on my best Mitsuki impression, and he growled. "Ya bastard."

    “You think it’s a good idea to remind me of my mom when we’re on an island?” Katsuki shot back, gritting his teeth.

    “I know my mom will be worried,” Izuku frowned.

    “We’re going home at some point. If we all work together, we can make it back.” I assured them, my stomach growling. “We should work on a new shelter and get rolling.”

    “Fine, you do it,” Katsuki handed me the main beam branch that hadn’t snapped.  

    “I’ll work on dinner. Izuku, look for water with the others.” Katsuki sauntered off like the leader, and I plopped back down, in the sun this time. 

    “What an ass.” I looked at Izuku. “Hey, your mom will be fine. I’m sure Mr. Yagi will keep her company.”

    “Hey, don’t tease me like that!” He gushed red, wiggling in shame. “I’m sure she’s heard by now.”

    “And she won’t rest till you are back home. So let’s make this bearable to the best of our ability.”

    “Right,” he nodded, running off toward a group of with Uraraka and Ilda. Pausing, he turned, “I’m sorry for leaving you on the boat.”

    “Thank you for saying that.” I chewed my lip, “I’m just glad we all made it.”

    “Me too. But even that seems so selfish, most people died last night.”

    “Well, we didn’t die for a reason. Not that they died for a reason, but they would want us to be happy and keep fighting.” I assured him.

    “You’re right,” he hummed. "When did you get so smart?"

    “Always have been,” I worked on the coconut in my hand again. He started to jog again, not looking back this time. Perhaps that was his superpower, to keep going without hesitation. If I had power, it was my ability to remember the little things that made people feel special. My weakness would be coconuts..

 

    Hours ticked by and no one had returned. I was still unable to crack the green coconut and had started making a larger shelter. Maybe if Katsuki had kept his act together, I would be resting instead of crafting a rain shield. Somewhere down the beach, bodies were piled high, I could hear people talking about it as they passed by. Serval people had been fighting for power, but they all agreed to leave the bodies be till rescue came our way.

    To me, the whole thing seemed more traumatic then it needed to be. Still, it didn’t have to affect me at the moment. At that moment I was just another girl weaving palms together. By mid-afternoon, I was resting over the new shelter and clanking the coconut to a rock with little luck. Headache in full swing, I needed water.

    “Hey,” I lazily looked up to the voice. It was a blonde girl with a tattered uniform. “I’m Himiko Toga. What’s your name?” She joined me under the roof and offered her hand for me to shake.

    “(Y/N),” I took her hand, and she gripped mine tightly.

    “You’re so familiar, were you a child actor or something?” She plopped beside with a chipper smile. She was coping well, no doubt.

    “Nope, I’m just as boring as the next person,” I laughed, resting my hand on the back of my head. “Maybe you saw me at karaoke?”

    “Hmm, maybe.” She touched her lip. “So you can sing?”

    “I can’t, but I do it anyway. My mother forced me into the choir and really focused on being a musical household.” The lump caught in my throat, and I forced it down with will power. “Do you think we’ll be rescued soon?”

    “Of course not,” she cocked her head to the side.

    “What?” I repressed my judgments.

    “We were super off course, this is just a needle in a haystack. Maybe they will find us, but I doubt it will be before we are all dead.” She jumped up, dusting her skirt off.

    “I’m sure there was a GPS on the boat, you should have a little more hope.” I tried to encourage her, she must have had a psychotic break after the accident….event. 

    “No, I-“

    “Come on,” a man with tattoos all over his body grabbed her arm. “We need to go Toga.”

    “No way Dabi, I’m making friends.” She dug her heels into the sand but dragged on anyway.

    “You’re so annoying,” he scoffed and pulled with more vigor.

    “Nice meeting you,” she beamed waving as she left.

    “Same?” I processed the encounter with the strange girl and reached over for my coconut. It was long gone, and I suddenly realized what had happened. “Gosh darn it.” I would have cried, but I needed the water to stay in my already dry eyes. There was no need to blame the girl, or that Dabi fellow. Neither one had it on them, but someone took the opportunity to sneak past me.

    Huffing, I pulled myself up slowly. The forest was being explored already, but it wouldn’t hurt if I just walked the edge. There was no need to get lost, or in some sort of itchy plant just to find water. I knew that almost any body of land had a stream running into the ocean. Perhaps if I went down far enough, I would find it.

    My dress had dried, so I dusted off the sand and slipped over my body so I wouldn’t burn more skin than necessary. I let my matted curly hair down to cover my shoulders and paced the tree line.

    Forty minutes into my trek, and far away from the others, I was starting to wonder how wide the island really was. I hadn’t noticed last night when I was on the boat. Sure there was a load of smoke and fog, but an island this big doesn’t just sneak up on someone.  After covering about a mile, I hadn’t seen much of a curve from the beach.

    There were a few rock structures filled with seagulls and washed up plants, but nothing much more. Of course, I should have been scavenging for food, but I didn’t know what was safe to eat or even touch. I would leave that someone with more skill.

    The trees had offered me a bit of shade, but the sun had worn my body down to the point of no return, so I laid down and got comfortable in a sand pile. Throbbing waves of pain, in my head, arms, and upper back. I’d make it back to the others before dark, but for now, I just needed a break.

    Surely, that was the reason I came out here to start with. To take a step away from the others and just take in reality. If what that Toga had said was true, then it explained why we hadn’t so much as seen a rescue boat come by.

    Well, we did have the rescue boats; maybe a few out of us could go out and bring back help. We’d need to gather supplies and maybe find a map, but we could get the help that way. It’s not like I had much to go back too, but I knew the others did. Husbands and children, pets, and jobs, all those things that tie you down to a certain city that will grow old long before you do.

    “I really am bitter,” I cooed, rolling in the warm sand. “My heart is priced by cupid, I disdain all glitter and gold. There is nothing that can console me, but my jolly sailor bold.” Lowly I sang the tune and choked on my own lack of spit. “His hair it hangs in ringlets, his eyes as black as coal.” The words slipped my aching memories; being alone made things easier. I didn’t have to worry about what I remembered or said being correct. No one would question my authenticity here.

    “You sure keep getting into trouble.” I didn’t bother to lift my head.

    “Hitoshi Shinso.” I greeted him. “What brings you-“ I hacked, the dry skin in my throat rubbing together like sandpaper. “Why are you here?” 

    “Well, I was looking for you. Before you wander off, you should let someone know.” He kneeled, and I could see the slight smile he offered me. “Not that your friends seem very nice.”

    “It’s a stressful time.” I kept my sentences short, the agitation making me want to drink seawater.

    “Of course. Good thing I’m around to help out. You look like death.” He helped me sit upright, and the world spun. Resting my hand on his bare chest, I waited for it stop. “Now drink this.” He produced a gallon jug, filled halfway with water. He popped the cap and held it to my lips.

    Once it was passing my gullet, I could feel the life coming back into my body. With each guilty, greedy gulp, I felt more inclined to take the jug. “Sorry, I shouldn’t drink all of your water,” I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand.

    “I brought it for you.” He stated, encouraging me to keep going. “It would have been full, but I gave your friends some….I think that’s what you would have wanted.”

    “Yes, thank you.” I pushed it to him. “You need to drink too. Hopefully, we can find water on the island soon, or more will wash up.” I carefully pressed the jug to his mouth and he took a few small sips.

    “So what are you doing out here?” He passed the jug back to me, and I looked at the semi-cool water.

    “Looking for water, avoiding people, letting it sink in. Just the normal routine for being in a traumatic situation…" My lips pressed into a line, ”I can’t get them out of my head.”

    “Who?” he tensed, but keep an even tone.

    “All the people who I climbed over, whose bodies covered mine during the blasts…the ones being pulled out this morning. I don’t know when or how you saved me, but before I hit the water, I was climbing down the rail. Women, whose arm was stuck in the slat came too, and she screamed.” I glanced at the discoloration on my hands. “I got scared and fell. What if I had stayed calm, and helped her to get free. Maybe she would have lived… maybe we’d all gotten into the lifeboats, and I wouldn’t have needed you to save me.  You could have drowned out there trying to get us both in... I just  haven’t been much use to anyone yet.”

    “The past will always haunt us.” He held the back of his neck and looked out to the ocean.  “I’m sorry you had to see all that death. Maybe if I had been there, it would have been different.”

    “You were there,” I retorted, “you saved my life. All I did was nearly drown and cause trouble. Bakugo says I’m a problematic girl, but I really was last night.”

    He bopped my head and sternly frowned. “You’re not a problem, you’re a goddess.” He assured me. A blush flew over my checks, and the headache eased.

    “Goddesses are also problematic,” I whispered, looking at my hands again.

    “You wanna know what happened?” Shinso stood up and pointed out to where the tip of the ship was still up on the air. 

    “Yes.” I wiped my eyes and drunk long swigs from the water.

    “I was already in the water when I saw you dangling off the side.” He kept his back to me. “The smoke got in the way, but once it cleared and there was no more singing. So I came to find you.”

    “You heard me singing?” I cocked my head to the side. His story was simple, but now I was red in the face.

    “Of course, it was beautiful,” he cleared his throat. “When I found you, there wasn’t any life left in you. I- I blew breath into you under the water and brought you to land. There I resuscitated you further.”

    “Oh, so that silly old song was more than my final plea to the earth, but my saving grace.” A lifeless body caught a wave and disappeared before I could be sure of what I saw. “Shinso, I was so selfish last night. Did your friends make?” I clutched my chest, hanging on his long gaze to the sea.

    “I don’t have any. It’s just me in this world.” His shoulders were racking, and now I could see he was crying. I rushed towards him and flung my arms around his shoulders. He stumbled forward, but adjusted quickly, not relaxing but letting it happen.

    “That’s not true anymore.” My hands locked together, trapping him in my hug. “I’m your friend now. You don’t have to feel so lonely.”

    “I’m not crying over the- okay.” I squeezed tighter, despite the ache in my arms, he needed it.

    “Don’t look out there, it’s too sad.” Twisting his body, I pulled him into a proper hug. He was a bit taller than me, but it didn’t make much of a difference. I just pushed his head on my shoulder and swayed with him like a baby. “We’re going to be okay.” There was no reason to believe I wasn’t telling the truth, but I knew it was a lie. The knot in my stomach suggested that I was a liar. Deep down, I was the worst person to ever live. I did all the good that I could, but it would never make up for my sins.

    “How did that song go?” he cooed. “About memory?”

    “Once Upon a December. It was in a popular princess movie.” I pulled back and took his hand, walking down the beach. “It was my favorite.”

    “So you wanna be a princess?” He teased, following my lead after grabbing the water, his smile returning.

    “I wanted to be a dentist.” I frowned but corrected my lips. “But being a Queen right about now would be good. In the movie, she actually turns down the thrown and goes on an adventure. This is after she overthrows the evil villain.”

    “Villain, huh.” He slowed down. “Do you think I’m the villain?”

    “Of course not.” I tugged on his hand, but he stayed firm. “Shinso?”

    “The others, they seem to think I had a part in this.” He looked down and held his neck. “Being accused of being evil is getting really old.”

    “Villain’s don’t save people,” I affirmed to him, the sun was starting to go down. "Villains don’t care about anyone but themselves.”

    “What if I saved you because I’m selfish?” He let go of my hand and faced the ocean again.

    Grabbing his face, I got into his personal bubble. “Saving a stranger is the most selfless act anyone can perform. Don’t beat yourself up.” I knocked my forehead to his. “Man, you're stubborn today.”

    “Say’s the girl who can’t follow directions.” He fired back, crossing his arms.

    “Touché,” I flipped a shell with my foot. “Did you build that shelter?”

    “I did,” he took my hand and lead the way. “Why did you remake it.”

    “Uh,.” I cringed thinking of Katsuki’s outburst.

    “So you rebuilt it with your injuries?” He raised a brow. “Not good enough for you?”

    “No, it was wonderful, I really appreciated it. I sunburn so easily, it really saved my ass. It just kind of fell.”

    “Well, you did a good job remaking it. Kind of odd that most of those branches were snapped…” he knew what happened, but didn’t press it.

    “So where did you sleep yesterday. I think I’d remember if you were there with me. I wouldn’t care to share, in this situation, but were you there?” I rambled for a bit before tripping on a buried piece of driftwood. Catching myself, I took the water from his grip and downed a long swig to recover my composure.

    “I looked for any more survivors. The water so rough, I believe most drowned long before I got to them.”

    “So you haven’t slept?” The dark circles under his eyes made more sense, and I just took in his face. His carved jaw, thin but full lips, and slight smirk, he was truly handsome.

    “Not yet,” he took my hand again. “Maybe when I get you back to camp I can take a nap.”

    “Such a busy fella. Saving lives and thinking that he’s a villain.” With a burst of energy, I wrapped my arms around his waist and buried my face into his back. “You’re a good guy. I like you, and I’m glad it was you that saved me.” 

    “Thank you,” he whispered, laying his arms over mine.  He smelled like saltwater and coconut, and his skin was smoother than ice cream, plus nearly as pale. Sure I was starting to crush on the boy, but I wasn’t his type. I was just his friend… his only friend…. Who needed to focus on being good at that…. Damn.

 

Chapter Text

     Three days had passed since the ship went down. The chatter about Shinso was becoming unbearable, and the fact he vanished at odd hours didn’t help. Then there was the ragtag group that kept showing up in the wrong places. Toga and Dabi didn’t seem all that innocent to me, but there was nothing that being skeptical would do for me.

    Today we planned to take one of the lifeboats and go back to the wreckage. Supplies were dangerously low, and most of the nearby coconuts were long gone. Things were desperate, and no one had found a water source inside the forest yet either. The fire around the ship had finally died down, the waves also settling. Now was the best time to get supplies before they were swept out to sea.

    “(Y/N), what are you thinking about?” Uraraka had her button-up around her waist, her shoulders already tan. I had no business in the sun… it’s not that I burned, I just blistered.

    “I think if I have to split one more palm leaf, I might throw myself into the fire.” I chewed the inside of my check, “how are you feeling?”

    “Okay, considering,” she wiped her brow, tying the a-frame together. “I’m just glad I helped dad with his construction work.”

    “Yea, shelters are important, but I don’t know why we’re the only ones who know how to make them. If I have to show that Mineta fellow one more time, I might just toss him to the sharks.” 

    “You’re awfully violent today.” She commented, licking her dried lips.

    “I’m ravenous,” I whined. Though I had been hydrated continuously because of Shinso’s stash, I still hadn’t a meal since the boat went down. Working all day in the sun was more than just tiresome, it was painful. “You’d think we’d have a rotation for meals. I mean, they killed a hog yesterday, but I didn’t see a morsel of pork.”

    “We just need to keep working. Deku, Tsuyu , and Ilda promised to bring us back some fish for dinner.” She paused her work and stretched her back. “Let’s call it quiets, for now, sound good?”

    “Yea,” I held my stomach, thinking about all the odd shelled creatures I saw on my walk days before. “Maybe we should try to go hunting for ourselves. At this point, we’re making shelters for everyone else, and they haven’t even fed us. I don’t really care if I poison myself or not with random shellfish.” Sweat oozed down my spine. The water did look good, taking a swim would be relaxing.

    “It can’t hurt, let’s get away from the others, so they don’t get grubby fingers.” She agreed, having listened to my tragic coconut story the day before.

    “Let’s go,” I cheered, leading her down the beach.

    It didn’t take too long to reach the spot I had scouted. My body had adjusted and was starting to loosen up again since I body slammed the ocean. Of course, I still wanted to rip my shoulder off, but it wasn’t so hard to stay upright. We shimmed our clothes off till we were in our underclothes. She was in a tankini that she had on before the shit went down, and I was in a tank top and worn blush panties.

    “This place does look like it’s full of life.” She kicked off her shoes and entered the small tidal pool where a few fish were stuck.

    “Careful, we don’t want to step on anything sharp,” I warned her, leaving my sock on, and following her into the water. Thankfully most of the dead bodies were added to the decomposing pile, to which I stayed above wind on at all times. Now I could really look into the water and not worry about a corpse sneaking up on me.

    “Look, it’s an eel,” Uraraka crouched to look at the end of a ribbon-like creature.

    I bent down, too, trying to keep my undies dry. “We better stay away, we don- feck!” Something pinched my ass, and I jumped swatting at my butt cheek.

    “What is it!” Uraraka stepped back and watched me twirl.

    “You tell me!” I screamed, too afraid to halt swatting at the creature.

    “Stop moving, you’re- it’s a crab.” She took a deep breath and laughed as I kept trying to shake it off.

    “It’s a perverted crab.” I wailed but stopped mid shake. “Wait, I just caught dinner.”

    “Oh, you did.” She rushed to me and kneeled in front of my ass. “How do we remove it?”

    “I have no idea, but it really hurts. We needed a bag or something, I know, let’s use my t-shirt.” I slowly walked to the shore, eyes bugling with each step.

    “Ilda isn’t going to believe this.” Uraraka grabbed my shirt and covered my tail in, wrapping the crab in the fabric. She tugged the creature, and I shrieked. “Should I keep pulling?”

    “Let me lay down before I fall on you.” I laid in the doggy position, rump in the air. “Try again.”

    “Here we go.” The tender skin was stretched and marked no doubt. The deep pain didn’t stop and the crab wouldn’t let go, but finally Uraraka fell back. “He’s free!”

    “Why does it hurt still?” I asked, looked back at her. The crab was now missing a pincher.

    “Shit,” she cursed. “I’m at a loss for words.”

    “Afternoon,” Shinso gave us a quizzical but amused smirk. “So, you used yourself as bait?”

    “Can you get it off?” Uraraka pointed to my rump. Scrabbling with the prissy crab in her hands.

    “Hey, maybe I don’t want him near my butt.” I shot back at her, red in the face. “But do you have an idea? It’s the biggest pincher I’ve ever seen.”

    Circling around, he let out a small chuckle, producing a fishbone. I put my head down and thought about anything but him near my throbbing buns. “Here, if you wedge this between the claw, it will open.” He handed me the bone, and I struggled to line up the bone.

“Could you help me?” I blushed, handing the bone back, leaning onto my forearms.

“Just hold still.” He ordered, sliding to his knees behind me and carefully pulling at the claw, forcing the fishbone into the slight opening. The pincher released, and I rubbed the sore skin in circles, not caring if he thought I was strange.

    “Thank God.” I jumped up and bowed, missing the cold waves that radiated from his body. “We’re hunting for dinner, want to join us Shinso?”

    “Yea, I say you’re hungry too,” Uraraka cheered. She had tied the cloth around the crab and set it on the shore.

    “I’m more interested in watching you too from the shoreline. I’m not in the mood for seafood.” He rubbed his neck and gazed at his feet. It was the first time I noticed the webbing between his toes. His legs weren’t nearly as muscular as I would have imagined.

    “Okay, sounds like a plan. Come on, (Y/N), let’s see what else we can catch.” Uraraka pulled me back into the tidal pool. Waves were crashing over the top of the bank, raising the water level. Hopefully, it would wash more grub in for us.

    “That was embracing,” I whispered. The eel-like creature from before was long gone, and instead, all I could find was long flowy seaweed. The plants tickled my calf’s. I pushed the weeds aside, I found abalone, some slow shrimp, and even a small conch shell. Uraraka had found another crab and had run it back to shore to put with the other. Getting her pinky caught in the edge of its claw. She put her pinky in her mouth and sucked on it.

    “Do you think there’s something weird about Shinso?” Uraraka flipped several rocks and keep looking for more crab nursing her finger.

    “No. I don’t understand why everyone is so skeptical of him, and not me.” I waded to the edge of the pool and sat down. “Yea, he was a great swimmer, but I made it to shore too. No one knows where I was when the ship went down. What if I’m the bad guy?”

    “We know you, (Y/N). You can’t even kill a spider by yourself.” Uraraka chuckled, splashing water at my face.

    “But I want it to die!” I refuted, plucking another abalone. “Don’t go around trusting me so easily.” Pouting, I handed her my haul so she could take it to our stash.

    “You’re something else,” she carefully stepped out of the water and back onto the sand.

    “You bet.” The ocean caught my attention, I bet there were a lot more recourses in the open water. There was no real reason past convince why I hadn’t ventured into deeper water. The tide was coming in, so now everything would be coming forward. Slipping my shirt off, I tossed it Uraraka on her way back. “I’m going for a swim. Maybe I can snag something good.”

    “Be careful,” Uraraka warned me, tying my shirt around her waist. I glanced back at Shinso. He was halfway up a coconut tree, trying to get the fruit at the very tip. I didn’t have a reason to call him at this point. He could fall so easily.

    I climbed onto the edge of the rocks and waited for a wave to sweep over. Jumping into the water, it sucked me back out with the tide. After fighting against the current for a few moments, I remerged on the surface and took a deep breath.

    Opening my eyes underwater was the worst part of not having my swim bag and googles. Regardless, I peered into the crystal clear water and spotted a few items from the ship. The water wasn’t very deep, but I still had to swim to the bottom to grab the drifting silver platter and fast moving sunglasses. Back above water, I struggled to swim and hold the random objects. I tucked the glasses into my underwear band, and then I slung the disk-like a Frisbee.

    Uraraka noticed this and walked to the edge of the tidal pool to grab it before it sunk. “Nice find!” She yelled, holding her thumb up.

    “Hell yea!” I called back, diving under the water again. This time I didn’t find anything of value off the bat. There were a few waterlogged papers and a broken armrest from a lounge chair. I thought there would be more food floating out here, but the random lost objects were more bountiful.   

    After an hour of swimming around, the only things else I could manage to hold were a few bottles of sun screen and a swiss army knife that had a foam keychain on it. The last thing that caught my eye was a blanket.  I had resurfaced for air and took a minute to look towards the shore. Shinso was standing with Uraraka, both of them cleaning our haul and working on a few coconut husks. I waved to them with a smile, to far away to say anything, but neither one noticed me.

    Something wrapped around my leg and pulled me under. In an instant, the blanket I had seen was wrapping around my body in a robust chain of waves. The tide was changing, and maybe I had made a mistake staying out so long.

    I pulled at the heavy downy material, somehow wrapping my other leg. My left hand got trapped with my leg, and then my head was covered. My mouth kept opening before snapping shut full of water. My lungs started to tingle with fire. I couldn’t reach the army knife in my undies, so I calmly kept working on the swollen knots. My wrinkled fingers kept griping ad pulling, but nothing was working. With my one arm and leg, I forg kicked towards the surface, blindly working with my bodies will to float.  

    Something slick ran against my back, knocking me forward. Then an arm wrapped around my waist, and shot up the twelve feet I was from the surface when I last saw the surface.  The blanket was suctioned to my face. Gasping for air, the water of the quilt was waterboarding me. It was peeled back quickly.

    “You okay?” A blonde with a black streak smiled wider than one might have in this situation. His smile was electric, and the wrinkles in his dimples let me know he was a happy guy. 

    “A little tied up but peachy.” I was pressed to his chest, the blanket spread over his body and mine. Coughing with every other breath, I weakly let him hold me, waves bouncing back and forth.

    “No fear, Denki is here.” He cheered, then looked to shore. “Hey, she’s alive! Your welcome!” I viewed the beach, Uraraka was helping Shinso off the ground, and both seemed so pale and small.

    “I didn’t think we’d get swept so far so fast. Can you make it back?” Still fiddling with my free limbs, Denki just pulled me to his chest. He pondered my question then ran his hand over my cheek.

    “I got this. Shinso might be the strongest swimmer, but I’m the fastest.” He grinned, swimming in an odd manner. Focusing his power from his legs.

    “So, you’re his friend?” I cocked my head to the side, spitting up another mouthful of water.

    “He doesn’t know it yet, but I am. Shinso’s had a rough past, ya know. But things are looking up.” Denki winked and swam under a wave. IT’s hard to think of this as a glass half full situation. Another fish brushed my leg, and I squealed under the water, some entering my lungs.

    “If there a shark out there?” I gagged, looking for fins, hacking every breath.

    “No, I guess you don’t know. Good thing, I was careful.” He laughed to himself. “You gonna make it two legs?”

    “What do you mean?” Another wave rolled over us, and I wiped my eyes.  I waited for his response.

    “Oh, there’s lots of bizarre fish out here is all.” He beamed. We were to the point we could almost stand. “Let’s get you untangled,” he let me hop on one foot, and we both worked at undoing the billowing duvet.

    “Hey, you guys, okay?” Uraraka was still on the shore. Shinso had his head between his knees and was looked like he was about to pass out.

    “Is Shinso okay?” I called back, losing my footing and slipping my head under. The slimy feeling was back, so I jumped back up and was steadied by Denki.      

    “He’s gonna be fine now.” Denki moved his hand up my thigh, and with one swift motion, the blanket was freed. If the sun hadn’t scorched my face, I was burning up like a red light.

    “Good,” I took a few steps with the waves and got to where I was waist-deep. “You coming to shore?” He wasn’t following my lead but instead swam back out.

    “I’ve got stuff to take care of out here.” He winked, then dove over the waves. If I hadn’t been in the sun so long, then I would have sworn he had a blue fishtail. Blinking the water from my eyes, I dragged the blanket with me and trucked on without another thought.

    “Can you walk?” Uraraka meet me part of the way and slung my arm over her shoulders. “That was so stressful to watch.”

    “I’m just so tired, like always,” I muttered. Shinso was still resting his head between his legs, mumbling under his breat. “What happened to Shinso?”

    “Well, he just got frail and nearly puked. He’s been in the sun way too long, in my opinion. It was weird. He got sick as soon as you went under. That’s the only reason I even noticed you hadn’t popped up. He just needs some sleep.” The water was now lapping at our ankles, and gravity was trudging me down. “And you need something to eat.”

    “True that.” With my last energetic burst, I slung the blanket on to the sand. No longer carrying the death trap, I stood on my own and walked over to Shinso.

    I plopped beside him and wrapped an arm around his back, rubbing circles into his muscles. “You’re going to be okay,” I cooed. He sat up suddenly and looked me up and down…

    “Denki, did you see?” he whispered, chewing his bottom lip. “Are you afraid?”

    “No, I’m not afraid of your friend. I was under the impression you didn’t have any, but I’m glad you do. He really saved my tail out there.” I smiled. Patting a hand up and down his arm, and squeezing.He tensed for a moment, before relaxing.

    “It’s a new friendship… I’m glad he was there. I couldn’t help…” He put his back in his lap.

    “We all get down and out. Besides, I would have made it out, it just was a lot easier with Denki helping me.” I laughed to lighten the mood, but it didn’t help. “Anyway, I’m starving, let’s get back to camp and cook up our haul!”

    “Actually, while you were out there, Ilda dropped by and picked up our food. So we should be able to just enjoy the meal when we get back.” Uraraka handed me my clothes, and I slipped them on while sitting. Of course, sand was getting all over my body and in my undies, but that was a problem for another time.

    “Let’s go.” I offered Shinso my hand, and he took it. I pulled him up, and he towered over my wet form. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me closer. An electric feeling passed through me where we touched, and I got a second wind. It was time to finally eat.A l

Chapter Text

    “You’re kidding me, right!” I bitched on. When we made it back to camp, all that was left was a few smaller abalones and a crab claw, probably the one that was on my ass.

    “We were hungry, and just didn’t pay attention,” Mineta was a smaller boy who had gone to school with Ilda. The purple-haired perv was shorter than anyone else on the island and liked to pose as a child to get exclusive perks.

    “You didn’t lift a finger for this bounty. And do I see a pretty girl chowing down on that conch I caught?” My foot was inches from the man’s privates, every fiber in my being calling for blood.

    “Hey, now, let’s relax.” Izuku waved his hands to distract me. “Mineta didn’t mean too. We’re all a little on edge.” Izuku rested his palm on my shoulder, and I shrugged him off.

    “I- I’m glad you all got your fill and that you shared.” I chewed on my tongue, resting my eyes on the silver platter that was used as a cooking vessel. “I’m not that hungry, but I know that Uraraka and Shinso are, so the rest goes to them.”

    “Hey i-“Mineta was about to argue, but Izuku covered his mouth.

    “He’s so thankful for your forgiveness.” Izuku darted off with the boy. I relaxed and trudged my dress off. Night was about to fall, and I only had a few hours to find something else to eat.

    “Hey, let’s eat.” Uraraka tried to pull me down, but I slipped her hold.     

    “I’m serious, after taking in all that seawater, I’ll just puke if I try to eat.” Shinso pursed his lips and stood from beside the fire.

    “You haven’t eaten in days,” Uraraka argued. “Just rest for a moment and dig in.”

    “It’s not enough for one person, let alone three. Go on and enjoy it.” I laid on my dress and decided to wait for the morning.

    “I’ll be back,” Shinso stated, walking back the way we had come.

    “Hey you didn’t eat!” Uraraka yelled at him, catching the attention of a few hungry survivors who were flocking our way. “He’s always running off.”

    “I’ll get him, just eat quick or you’ll have nothing left.” I patted her back and took one of the abalones, scurrying after Shinso.

    “Don’t abandon me!” She yelped while stuffing her face, as begging eyes scanned her platter.

    For a tall, purple-haired man, Shinso could disappear without much of a trace. It’s not like I ran after him, but I didn’t think I’d lose him that fast. Regardless of how tired I was, I didn’t want him to be out there alone and hungry.

    I reached a new part of the island. There was a small peninsula that led out into the black water, palms lining the center of the sandy path. Something called me out to the edge. A song in the distance playing ever so low. Humming to the slow tune, I danced my way to the peninsula. My hands twisted in my tangled hair, my feet moving in an unfamiliar pattern. The moonlit the water just enough to see the waves. I didn’t know the words, but they came to me slowly. Singing aloud, I repressed the coughs climbing up my throat. It was a language I had never heard, the words breathy and short.

    The longer I was singing, the less time I was allowed to take breaths. Deep and burning lungs, nearly belting what was gibberish to my tongue.

    At the tip of the beach, I peered into the water, unblinking. Yellow eyes glancing back at me. In my trance, I didn’t stop approaching the sea but instead started to dip my toes in. Inching closer to the yellow eyes, a hand grasping my ankle. My singing stopped, the claw pulling me deeper.

    “Stop it!” The hand let go, and my trance was broken. Falling backward, a familiar chest acted as my backboards. “Are you still here?” Shinso waved his hand in front of my face. “(Y?N), can you hear me?”

    I wasn’t on the beach, but deep into the woods. The moon was almost gone, and the stars were the only dim light remaining. I was being dragged from the edge of a lagoon, deeper into the words. Everything around me was shifting from palms to sweetgums. The sand was turning to a muddy mix of slate and grit. 

    “What was that?” I coughed. Pushing us both away from the corner of the unsafe water and practically climbing up into my hot ‘friend’s chest. Closing my eyes for a moment, waiting for things to change.

    “That was a Nix,” he spat, gathering me into his arms. “I never thought there’d be one out here.” A twig broke in the distance, and I shivered, digging my head into Shinso’s neck.

    “What’s that? A mermaid? I’ve always loved mermaids, but like I don’t want one to kill me…. What just happened?” I cried my subconsciousness altering, head spinning. “My memories, I think they’re changing? Are we even on the beach?” He bundled me up and commenced walking away from the lagoon.

    “A Nix isn’t a mermaid. I say it’s still got a hold on your mind. If we move, it should release soon,” he stated, going deeper into the forest. “Nix can shapeshift to look like mermaids, but they usually lure women to their deaths in freshwater. They are more of a spirit than a person. It’s weird for one to be this far out.”

    Smoke caught my attention, and then I saw the little campsite. A fish was roasting over the fire, and a few palm leaves were laid out for plates.  Shinso pulled back a makeshift gate and let me stand on my own two feet.

    “How do you know that?” I asked, hopping on one foot as I realized my ankle was throbbing. “What let you know that was a Nix?” I sat by the fire and examined the black marks wrapping around and up my calf. They were pulsating and almost growing.

    “There isn’t a mermaid alive that would harm you.” He stated, pulling my leg into his lap and examining the pattern. He took a moment and turned the fish over before rubbing his hand up and down the pattern.

    “What makes you so sure of that? I’m not a beautiful maiden or amazing swimmer. I am a virgin, so maybe that works?” I mumbled on to myself. Shinso finally pressing his finger to my lips.

    “You’re so stubborn and argumentative.” He slid his finger off my lip down my chin then peered for a moment. “I just know certain things. Now, let’s eat.” He pulled the fish from the fire and handed me a fillet.

    “You told it to stop, and it did. Why was that? Like I don’t push you for answers very often, but I almost died for like the tenth time this week.” I blew on a few bites and revealed in the moist heat. Licking the juice. “You know I’m not gonna toss you under the bus at this point.” I spat out a bone, then pursed my lips together, watching the flames cast beautiful shadows into the forbidding forest.

    “I’m sure you’ll figure it out at some point,” he frowned, nibbling on the white flesh, hands circled around me still. “You’re stubborn, argumentative, but you’re also smart and persistent. Just as I said that first night, I’m going to take care of it, okay?” He lifted my ankle closer to the fire, and the black pattern was replaced with a new blush colored pattern. It looked like a scaled gradient, fading in and out. He couldn’t hide his grin, he knew he was confusing me further.

    “Hitoshi, you are something else,” I mumbled, not knowing how true that statement was. “Fine, if you won’t tell me, and you believe I’ll figure it out, then I will. Of course, I won’t tell anyone else, but I have my theories.” I puffed out my chest and turned my nose to the side.

    He laughed; it was deep and melodic, “alright goddess, I look forward to it.” He pushed his hair back, then tossed another fish onto the fire.

    “I’m not a goddess,” I corrected him, relaxing my shoulders.

    “Then, what are you?” He asked coyly, raising a purple brow. “Because I’m captivated.” 

    “You’ll have to find out,” I winked, and finished off my dinner, longing for more. Pushing down the blush and not thinking of his smirk... “For almost being pulled to my death awhile ago, I feel so euphoric right now. Maybe it’s the food, the company, or the combination, but I’m just happy I don’t have to confront these ideas alone.”

    “I know what you mean,” he grabbed his neck, letting a low groan.

    “Looks like you and Uraraka, got along well today.” I rubbed my ass without thinking about it. It had been a downright tiresome day.

    “She was nice,” he agreed, handing me the freshly cooked fish. I didn’t fight him, but took a succulent bite, and let the heat burn my tongue.  I washed it down with fresh water, and then wiped my mouth on my sleeve. 

    “You’re friend Denki was a real lifesaver.” Shinso scouted a little closer and put another log on the fire.

    “He’s very supportive.” He chewed his lips and paused, “what about that Deku fellow?” 

    “Oh, Izuku,” I rephrased, “we’ve been friends since childhood. Though he was my best friend, Ka-chan was his. It’s an odd dynamic, but it works… I don’t know why I started off with that statement. It doesn’t really matter who was besties with who… It just pissess me off how mean Katsuki was and is. All I’ve ever done was take care of those two idiots, and how do they repay me?” I buried my head into my lap and took staggered breaths. I coughed up a little more seawater and fought off the tears. “They leave me by myself on a sinking ship, and then nearly ignore me on the damn deserted island.”

    Shinso didn’t say a word but ran his hand down my back awkwardly. “I wish I could just be happy giving to those two, but I want more. I needed more.” I pinched the inside of my thigh, I wasn’t about to start bawling. “I’ve always had to save myself…they are wannabe heroes, but they’re never there…then…then… Then you actually save my life, and they have the audacity to distrust you! My word doesn’t mean a damn thing.” Tears sprung from my eyes, and I curled deeper into myself. “What does this make? Two times you’ve been there at the right moment? Sure it could be chance, but I’ve spent my entire life up Katsuki and Izuku’s ass, and you know how many times I’ve nearly died? Five. Five fucking times.” I was having a pity party on a stranger… a new friend. I’m sure this would scare him away. It was a dumb move on my part, but I needed these thoughts out.

    “Sounds like they aren’t very attentive,” Hitoshi mumbled, hand resting on my shoulder. “I’m sure they have their good qualities, too, but they have it a little too easy.”

    “What does that mean?” I sniffled, rubbing my nose.

    “They’ve spent their whole life with the land and sea as their playground, and they couldn’t even treat their friends well.”

    “You haven’t spent much time with them to be fair, but it sure feels that way sometimes.” I blew my nose into a leaf and laid back to look at the stars. “I guess I’m just a whiney girl pinning after the hero… who is pinning after the hero, who is pining after power? What a pathetic cycle.” I chortled, more tears sliding down my cheeks. “You know, I could be the only girl on this island, and they just fuck each other into oblivion.” I slapped my mouth closed and sat up. Hitoshi’s eyes weren’t wide as I thought they would be, but he instead he was holding back a laugh. “That was super mean.”

    “Yea,” he smirked, running his thumb over my eyes. “Is that what you want? To be fucked into oblivion?” His fingers lingered on my heating checks, and my mouth hung agape.

    If this was flirting, I didn’t know what to do. My head swirling with responses, all I could utter was, “no.” I swallowed the lump in my throat. “I just want to be loved is all.” Scooting closer to Hitoshi, I laid my head on his shoulder and purred. “You don’t mind me talking about this stuff, do you?”

    “No,” He rumbled, pushing me down into his lap.  Curling into his thighs, I closed my eyes. “Get some sleep, I’ll watch over you.”

    “Who's gonna watch you, if I’m not there?” My eyes lids fluttered, the blood in my face rushing to fast for me to actually kill over. 

    “I’ll be fine, Kitten.” The fire popped, and I tensed up. Hitoshi ran his fingers through my messy hair and lightly began to sing. Any résistance, I had ebbed away. My muscles relaxed, and my skin was teased, his fingers running gently over my arms. The heat of the fire against how cold Hitoshi’s skin was, drew me to wrap around his waist.

    “I think I can approve of Kitten.” I cooed, puffing my checks up and blowing a raspberry. He didn’t stop his song, but chuckled through a line, my heart picking up momentarily. “Goodnight Hitoshi.”

Chapter Text

 

         “Don’t make me do all the rowing by myself!” Katsuki popped off, ready to chew Izuku’s ear off.

    “He’s doing just fine!” I countered him, not changing my pace. All of our attempts to get back to the boat had failed, the waves were too high during the day, so it was our first-nighttime attempt. It was my first time ever going back to the boat, but I wasn’t afraid. Now that I knew there were unexplained things on this island, I was able to stay vigilante.

    “I’ll work harder,” Izuku agreed, doubling his speed and making us tilt.

    “Not that hard idiot.” Katsuki was scaring off any fish that was nearby with his outbursts.

    “Just stay steady,” Tsuyu piped up, working across from me on her strokes. She had been incredible in the water, being able to swim deeper and farther than most of us combined, she had recovered a lot of lost objects in the tides. 

    “We’re so close, just stay even,” I reaffirmed, sweat mixing with the salty, humid air. The ship was just insight, a few parts of the boat remained above the water, and the rest were underneath, or already sept away.

    “It’s a good thing there hasn’t been any more storms,” Tsuyu croaked, pausing to eye the wreckage. “We should be able to fill the boat and make some huge steps tonight.”

    “Totally,” Izuku agreed from behind me. There was a noticeable strain on our relationship, but he had been the one to volunteer me for this excursion. This was the first compacted effort, with some of the more rested and well-rounded bodies. After Shinso had saved me from the Nix a few days ago, he had been guiding me back to his little camp for fish every night…even bringing snacks during the day too. It was our secrete. Guilt did eat away at me, but not as much as the constant hunger had before. One good thing was that Bakugo and his new friend Kirishima Eijirou had found freshwater on the opposite side of the island. It was a long journey, but we had made a few water vessels from traps in the rescue boats. 

    It was our goal today to find more water containers and any fishing supplies or medical equipment. My goal was to find some new clothes or a swimsuit that would fit. Perhaps my own suitcase would be nearby. I knew my goals were a bit selfish, but I was the one risking my life to come out here.

    “We did it.” Izuku cheered, jumping up and rocking the boat.

    “Cool it, Deku,” Katsuki growled, “I’m dropping anchor.”

    “Okay, I’ll get in first.” I swallowed the lump in my throat. Already in my undergarments, I carefully stood and peered into the black water. “That’s actually terrifying.” I chewed my lip and held my arms.

    “I’ll go,” Tsuyu leaped from the side, swam under the boat and popped up by me. “It’s all clear, come on.” She held her hand out to me, and I gripped it while jumping in.

    She pulled me to the surface and stayed close as I adjusted to temperature difference. My lip quivered, and I resisted my urge to curly around the smaller girl.

    “There, you got this,” she pushed my hair back and hummed.

    “Let’s get this over with, Deku watch the boat.” Katsuki tore his shirt off, his washboard just as toned as ever. He cannonballed into the water. When he resurfaced, he was halfway to the wreckage.

    Tsyu followed after him and even passed him. That left me by the boat, looking at Izuku. He didn’t know about the Nix, and I didn’t want to leave him alone. “Keep your life jacket on, and if you hear singing, block your ears.”

    “Why? Izuku frowned, leaning down to hear me.

    “I think there’s something on this island that isn’t …typical. Just be careful, I don’t want to leave you alone, but I have to help them.” I let go of the side of dingy, and dog-paddled to the other section that Katsuki and Tsyu had overlooked.

    Once my feet could reach the slanted floor, I grabbed the rail and pulled myself up and onto the flat top. When my fingers curled around the wires, images flashed across my eyes. Burning flesh. Screams. Explosions. Smoke. Oil.

    I gasped, not realizing I was holding my breath. Once on the level part of the deck, I could see a body in the distance, the lower half still floating in the water. When I got closer, the rump of the man’s body was missing. There were bite marks and floating tissue where the fish had tugged it lose.

    Puking up my last meal, I hit my knees and held my hair back. A dizzy spell washed over me in quick waves. “Why did they have to die… why did I live?”

    Lungs full of ocean water. There was no burning, no pain. My neck shifted suddenly, I could feel my toes again. There were hands on either side of my waist. Swirling waters. Euphoria. Slick fishtails rubbing against my legs, moving wildly. I wrapped my arms around the person. There was a person with me. Breathing in the water and being made whole. I knew what heaven was. 

    Grasping my throat, I pushed back the memory or dream. If my neck had snapped, I would have been long dead. Still, I gripped it tighter, feeling a raised part at the base of my head. Standing quickly, I jogged to the door leading to the interior of the boat. Slamming my hips into the handle, I busted in.

    There were the upper estate rooms, and a few had been blasted open. Climbing over the broken furniture, and roasted floorboards, I found a broken mirror. Pulling my wet hair back, I examined my neck. It took some wiggling to find a part of the mirror that was big enough to give me a clear view.

    It was a raised scar, with the faintest hint of a bruise underneath. There were small scales just under the skin. It wasn’t my imagination, I could feel them, faintly see them. People don’t have scales… people don’t live after their neck is snapped.

    I stumbled backward, foot catching on a fallen chair.  Grasping for something to hold ended with me clutching a broken wine glass. Hitting the floor and splitting my palm open, I trembled. Was it so wise of me to just trust Shinso? I mean, I trusted him with my life, but…I needed the truth. This was too crazy. It wasn’t good…was it even human? No it couldn’t be, that nix wasn’t…

    I twirled my ankle to the side and looked at the peach scales that were starting to be covered with new skin…that was it. Shinso must have had some kind of trick or power to heal wounds. But then that means- No

    “I don’t have time for this.” I dropped the glass and stood carefully. I shook my head a few times and evened my stance. “I need supplies. Hm?” I could hear chatting down the hall. Curious, I grabbed a towel, and wrapped my hand quickly, and slinked to poke my head from the room.

    “I’m telling you, there’s something special there Mina.” It was Denki, he was totally in the buff, walking alongside a girl, who was sporting an ornate top made of shells…she had pink skin and black eyes. I covered my mouth and ogled them.

    “I always knew Eijirou liked men,” she chuckled, twirling on her toes. “Now to get that Bakugo kid on board. Speaking of, has Shinso told his mate yet?” My blood ran cold. He had a mate.  Shinso belonged to someone else, and-

    “Not yet, he’s afraid they’ll leave. Not that they have anywhere to go.” Guilt overtook me as I  listened in, blood rushing through my ears. If Shinso was in love, I’d have to support him as a friend. I just needed to push that out of my mind. Instead, focus on how Denki and Mina were able to get out to this boat without drowning. I had never seen Mina around the campsite, and I doubt I’d forget someone with pink skin. So she wasn’t part of the group, and I don’t think Denki has ever been seen on land. This further confirmed my theory.

    “I wish he’s let us help,” Mina sighed.

    “She’s so beautiful, he’s afraid another pod will get their sites on them.” Pod? “Anyway, they are so-“I couldn’t hear them any longer.

    Stepping forward to take another peek down the hall, the floor gave out under me. I plunged through landing on the next level into waist-high water. Luckily there was a sofa cushion floating that broke my fall.

    “What was that!” Mina gulped, I could hear their footsteps above me.

    “Hello?” Denki was right above me now.

    I stayed still, till he moved on to look on the front deck. The door shut behind them. Taking the opportunity to slide into the water, I looked down the blackened hall. There so many unusual items floating throughout the crowded room. A muddled canvas, several large leather books, a moving body, a couple of coasters. A moving body. A moving body.

    “Hold on, sir!” I yelped, scooting through the debris and down the submerged gallery. The man was face down and bobbing back and forth. “Sir can you hear me?” Grasping his shirt, I pulled him towards me, but he was pulled down. When I looked below him, I saw it. A shark. It was working on the dead man’s torso, moving him around like a rag doll. Backing away, I realized my hand was still bleeding, and I had just used it to push the water around.

    “HELP!” I screamed, rushing away once the man stopped bucking. The water under me swished, and I could see the shark circling. It looked like a bull shark, around five feet or so. “DENKI! Help. I’m down here. I’m down a level!” I scrambled back to the mat and awkwardly shimmed on top, so afraid of my legs being bitten or hanging off the side.

    Something under the mat pushed it up, and I screamed. Every other breath, terror-filled shrieks, filled the corridors. “DENKI!”

    “(Y/N)?” He hovered over the hole and kneeled to hear me better. “What’s wrong?”

    “sSSHArk.” I gripped the mat, as it wiggled, fighting to keep my balance like I was on a mechanical bull.

         “You’re bleeding too,” Denki gasped, looking at Mina. “Hold on a second.”

    “We’ll get you up,” Mina assured me.

    “Noo,” I screeched, the mat flipped, and I was back in the Sharks playground.

    “Wait don’t-“Mina hollered. A splash washed over me, a light-emitting from the water. I grabbed a chair leg and whacked the sharks head when it approached me. But that pissed it off more.

    “I’m here now. Get back on the mat.” Denki emerged on the other side of the mat, ordering me to action. He caught the shark’s attention and baited it his way.

    “What-“I shivered, looking up and down the hall.

    “Trust me.” He shot me the most dazzling smile, and my nerves evened out long enough to scramble on the mat. “You out of the water completely?”

    “She is,” Mina answered for me. A yellow light emitted from Denki, electricity dancing across the water.  It lasted maybe three seconds, and I could feel the energy flowing through the plastic mat. I gripped my chest and covered my mouth.

    “That should put him out for a minute or two,” Denki swam back to me. I didn’t know why he wouldn’t walk, but it didn’t really matter… “Are you bitten?” Denki was already examining my hand. “Is this your only injury?”

    Ignoring his questions, I threw my arms around his neck, holding him tightly. “Thank you. Thank you. I- I don’t know what’s happening, but I-. Thank you, Denki.”

    “It’s going to be okay. Mina and I were just in the right place at the right time. Now let me see your hand again.” I placed my hand in his, resisting the blush working its way up my throat.

    “It’s deep, and since you’ve been in this dirty water, its probably gonna get infected.” I chewed my lip, seeing that my skin was already changing colors. “Good thing I’m here.”

    “What?” I raised my brow, his hand under the water. Then he came up with a few scales in his hand. “Where?”

    “It will feel weird, but I’ll make it fast.” He placed his hand over mine and began rubbing. The throbbing was similar to the other night when Shinso rubbed my ankle. Denki’s eyes were closed, and he was humming a tune, happy, and fast-paced. He looked so focused and content, I just wanted to get in his mind and figure out how he was so positive. “There, all better. Just don’t let Shinso or anyone else see that, okay?”

    My hand was filled with blue scales where the cut had been. The blood washed off, and not a tinge of pain remained. While processing the entire ordeal, Mina helped us both out of the hole. Denki had to steady the mat so I could stand up and reach mina’s hands. She didn’t struggle to pull me up like I anticipated but hauled me up in one long pull. When it was Denki’s turn, Mina made me go into a room and close my eyes…because he was naked.

    I knew why. It all made sense, and it had for a long time. But it wasn’t meant for me to know at the moment. There was a reason they hadn’t outright said it aloud. Like most things, once they are spoken, they become more tangible.

    While waiting for Denki, to I presumed to dry out and find pants, I shuffled through a cabin. To my pleasure, there was a woman who was my size that was staying in this room. And since this was a luxury room, her clothing was durable and made to last, pretty too. I found a black and white gingham swim dress that was cut in a 50’s housewife style. It was as close to sexy a swim dress could get. I preferred being covered for sun reasons, so it was up my alley. Pulling it over my undergarments, I found a plastic suitcase, and it filled it with underwear and bras that were just a cup size too big for me. Then I added a few shoes, some shavers, toothpaste, and any other toiletry I could shove in the bag.

    “He’s good,” Mina opened the door and smiled. “You look hot.”

    “Oh, um, thanks.” I fumbled with the bow at the valley of my breast and smiled. “Finding a swimsuit was my top goal.”

    “You lucked out,” she swirled to the back of my suit and looked at the size. “I’ll keep an eye out for anything that would fit you.” She grabs my repaired left hand. “I’m Mina. I’m sure you got it already, but I’m glad to finally met you.”

    “You are so beautiful, I would have noticed you on the beach if we had met before.” I stepped closer to examine her hair…there were two tiny horns poking from her hair. “So, are you gonna tell me the truth?” I purred, crossing my arms. “I’m not going to make you, but I just want to hear it.”

    “That’s not my place to tell you,” she pouted, tugging on the beads on her shirt. “You’re better off not knowing for now.”

    “Then answer my one question…” I took a shallow breath. “Who is Hitoshi’s mate? Are they good to him?”

    “You’re so funny,” Denki popped in the room and slung his arm around my shoulders. He was wearing some black denim pants and a loose t-shirt. “They’ve got him whipped.”

    “You would be whipped too,” Mina snarked, making a fist.

    “Oh, with a mate that spectacular, of course, I would,” he winked at me and nudged me forward. “So I’m guessing you are here for supplies?”

    “Yes, I’m looking for water bottles and medical supplies.” I carefully walked the hall, Denki, and Mina guiding me to the most reliable boards. 

    “We’ve been combing the place over and found a couple of things you might find useful.” Mina opened a door at the back of end of the hall. IT creaked open.  The floor had a large crack and a slight tilt that almost sent me headfirst. Mina laced her fingers with mine and lead me into the room. There were loads of clothes stacked on the bed, five-gallon water jugs, and loads of other items.

    “Woah, this is awesome.” I took a sheet and started to pile water bottles into the center. “This is going to be a huge help…um do you all stay in here?”

    “Ugh, for the time being.” Denki smiled, throwing more stuff to my pile. “The beach is a little to heated for our tastes.”

    “Makes sense when you got things to hide.” I punched Denki’s shoulder lightly and was zapped with an electric surge.

    “Oof, sorry,” he rubbed my knuckles. “I’m a little charged at the moment.”

    “Can all of you do something like that?” I asked, being vague as I could.

    “I can make acid,” Mina said, “but not everyone has a special attribute.”

    “Oh, that’s cool.” I tied the edges of the sheet together. “I should get back to the raft. I have a feeling you two are going to hide here till we are gone?”

    “Yup,” Mina clapped my shoulder.

    “Alright, then thank you both for the help.” I nodded and almost started dragging the sheet.

    “Let me,” Denki picked up the items, and started walking. The water jugs were empty, but they were still heavy.

    We got to the door leading outside. I stopped remembering the body just outside. I gulped, freezing with my hand on the knob.

    “What are you thinking.” Denki sat the bag down, taking a few steps to hoover behind me.

    “There’s a body right outside. I saw it on the way in and vomited all over the deck. I don’t want to look at it again…” I kept my vision to myself and clutched my chest. “I think that I’m supposed to die.”

    “What makes you say that?” subconsciously, I leaned into his chest and gripped his arms.    

    “It’s just a gut feeling,” I reached back on my neck and shook off Denki. “I better hurry. Thank you.”

    “No problem. Remember, no one needs to see your hand for a while.” He reminded me and tightened the cloth on my hand. “Be careful.”

    “I will. You two take care of each other.” I opened the door, and Denki stopped me.

    “Close your eyes, and I’ll walk you to the edge.”

    “You’ll get caught,” I retorted, tensing as opened the door.

    “I’ll be fine.” He put his hands over my eyes and tugged me outside. The wind was roaring and the ship rocking ever so slightly. He took careful steps, guiding around shrapnel and weak spots. His hand was soft and delicate against my eyes. The other hand pulling along my nap sack. “You’re near the edge. Be careful for real. It’s dangerous.”

    “I will.” I turned back to thank him, but all I heard was a splash, and he was gone. I tossed the supplies down the slop then lowered myself. With my new swimsuit, it was easier to glide through the black water. Though it was still awkward to tug along a sheet full of supplies.

    “There you are,” Izuku waved at me from the dingey, beckoning me over. There were a few boxes on the boat, but nothing as big as my floating sack of goods. “Wow you got all that by yourself?

    “I found five-gallon water bottles, I got super lucky,” I yelled back, glad I had the floating bag to cling too. The paranoia of a shark sneaking up on me was still in the back of my mind.

    “Here,” Katsuki reached down me for once I was in range. I took his hands, and he pulled me up and over with one quick motion. “What happened to your hand?”

    “Strained it, so I got a brace on it for the moment.” I lied smoothly, pulling at the large wet sheet. It took all four of us to get it over the side and onto the boat. “I found this cute swimsuit and a couple of other clothing items I could use. It was successful.”

    “It will be when we get back. I hope you saved some energy for the row to shore.” Katsuki shoved an ora into my chest and took his seat. The sun would be up soon, and we needed to get back before the waves picked up.

    “Right,” I nodded, taking my seat.

    “Lets go,” Tsuyu started to paddle, and we were in motion.

    I had learned a lot on this trip. There was no way I could pretend that I imagined things, but I also wasn’t ready to make it real. I also had someone to compete with for Shinso’s attention. I’m sure he’s running off with his mate when he disappears, and he just pities me. Yea, he just pities me.