Well, it's been a really long while. But I hope you like this chapter as much as I liked writing it.

Take care,
Thea


CHAPTER II

THE POINT OF NO RETURN

Three consecutive things registered in Rhea's mind as soon as she woke up that day.

First, she was feeling odd. There was no way to explain properly – no when she herself wasn't entirely sure what was wrong – but it almost felt like she was out of balance, which didn't make sense when you took into consideration that she was lying on her damn bed.

Second, despite the many, many blankets that covered her body – blankets she was sure hadn't been there when she had gone to sleep – there was a little chill traveling through her body. A chill she felt down to her very bones.

And third, the only part of her body that felt warm was her right hand, and that was probably because Sirius was holding it. Sirius, who – as far as she remembered – had gone to sleep in his room after he had finished telling her a bedtime story the night before, but who was now slumped over a chair by the side of her bed.

"Dad?"

Sirius' eyes opened almost immediately, as he had only been resting and not properly sleeping, and his worried expression settled into a relieved one after he finished scanning her from head to toe. "Hey there, little star. Feeling cold?"

"Yeah" she mumbled, burrowing deeper into the cocoon of blankets "Do I have a cold?"

"I wish" he snorted, twisting his fingers as he cast a warming charm over her "Better?"

She considered the matter for a second, the chill was still there, but it felt as if a fire blanket had settled over her bones, protecting her from the worse of it, so she silently nodded. "Thank you"

"Don't worry about it, little star. Especially because I know that didn't eliminate the cold completely" he told her with a little smile that didn't quite reach his grey eyes "Nothing I do will make the cold go away now, you're the only one who can do it"

"What does-?" she tried to ask, staring at him in confusion.

"It means it's time for your old man to tell you the truth about our family" he said, combing her hair with gentle fingers "I was hoping you were a little older… but, if it happened now, it means you're ready to accept the ancient duty of our line"

"…. I don't understand"

A genuine smile appeared on his face, lifting some of the worries that had settled in her stomach since the entire conversation had started. Sirius wasn't supposed to have that hunted look on his face in this world, no even if it was only a pale shadow of what had been once upon a time. "You are not supposed to understand yet. That's the whole point." he chuckled, getting to his feet "But if you want to find out, get changed quickly so I can do your hair, and then we'll be ready to leave" He paused for a second and then added "It's better if you don't eat anything in case your body decompensates after everything is done."

"What?!"

After that, no matter what she said or asked, Sirius refused to say anything else in the matter, going so far as to leave her room. So, knowing it was better to go along with it for the time being, she stopped asking questions and focused and got ready as quickly as possible.

Twenty minutes later, Rhea had been forced to wear – for some reason – her fanciest dress, the one made of white silk with the embroidery in gold and purple, and the one she'd never used before because it was too much – and it was too much even by Sirius' standards, who had never force her to wear it before, even when she had attended some of the company parties – and she was walking towards the apparition point in the family wing of the house where Sirius was waiting for her. He was wearing a grey tux that seemed a little too pristine to not have been done without magic, and, once more, she couldn't help but wonder what the hell was happening. If she had to guess, she would say they were dressed to impress, but she had never known anyone – and that meant anyone – whom Sirius had considered worthy enough to try and impress.

But instead of asking all her burning questions, she kept her mouth firmly shut, knowing she wouldn't get any of the answers she wanted.

Not yet at least.

Without saying a word, Sirius took hold of her shoulder and disappeared them both without prompting. The whole process took no more than a second, but she was left dizzy and a bit nauseous by the whole experience. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to get hold of herself, and only opened her eyes again when she was sure she wasn't going to puke. It was then that she realized they were inside a small room with no windows or furniture of any kind, and the only thing on it, besides the torches lit up with magical blue flames on the walls – was a big and ancient set of double doors on one of the ends of the room.

"What's this place? Where are we?"

"Several miles under our factory" Sirius answered, taking a small knife she'd never seen before from out of nowhere and making a cut on his right index. "This place is hidden behind generation after generation of our family's most powerful blood wards, so nobody but those of Peverell blood – or those expressly invited here because they are formal members of our family – can set a foot in here." With the finger that was still dripping blood, he touched the double doors, making a strange symbol over them. It looked like a vertical line and a circle enclosed inside of a triangle.

In the instant he finished drawing the strange symbol, the doors silently opened, letting her see a hallway of stairs – illuminated by more torches with blue fire – that would take them even further down. "Come, Rhea" Sirius said, taking her hand with his and leading her through the doors and then the long stairs "Let's go down before those doors close themselves. I don't feel like giving my blood to those things a second time today"

"They close themselves?" she asked, following him down and towards the unknown without hesitation.

"After all these generations, they had become somewhat sentient and because they like the taste of our blood, they close themselves as quickly as possible. That way, they follow the command they were given when they were created but they also create a chance to do what they want."

She opened her mouth, ready to comment on that, but closed it again when she saw the steam that was coming out of her mouth. It was only then that she realized that the cold she had been feeling wasn't just the chill in her bones, but it was also the cold air around them. And the farther down they went, the colder it became.

Finally, the stairs stopped into another set of double doors, identical to the one before. And, once more, Sirius cut himself to draw with his blood that same strange symbol on the doors.

This time, when the double doors opened there weren't more stairs on the other side. Instead, she was left staring, wide-eyed and petrified, at a big, circular room. There were at least a dozen torches lit up with blue fire, illuminating every corner of the room, from the unknown runes that had been drawn in the ground with what she guessed was blood to the familiar stone-pointed archway from which was hung the Veil.

There was something different about the Veil because while the cold – that felt exactly the same as the one she had been feeling since she had woken up that morning – was present, as well as the whispering voices that came from it, she didn't feel unwelcome. If anything, it felt like the Veil was welcoming her.

However, that didn't change the fact that, once more, she was standing in front of the physical manifestation of the entrance to Death's domain.

And, once more, Sirius was with her.

Quicker than she would have thought was possible, her hand shot up and grabbed Sirius' arm when he went to take a step towards the Veil. "Don't!" she shouted, panicked, as her mind replayed the moment Sirius had fallen through the Veil in another life "It's dangerous!"

"It is" he agreed, freeing himself from her grasp "but you are not supposed to know to that, little star. Not yet at least." he studied her curiously for a second before his expression cleared with understanding "I see... You've previous experiences with another version of the Veil. From our previous life, I take it?"

Too stunned by his words to move, Rhea could only stare at Sirius as he calmly made his way towards the Veil with determinate steps. And then, not looking frightened in the slightest, he put his still bleeding hand through the Veil despite her alarmed cry. But, instead of falling through it as he had done in their previous life, and like she had thought he would do again, he simply took his hand back as if nothing had happened.

And even more strangely, all the signs of bleeding and the wounds on his hand had disappeared completely, as if they had never been there before.

Too stunned to talk or move, she could do nothing but stood rooted in her spot, staring at him, without having any clue of what to say. What was she supposed to say when nothing made sense anymore?

Even more surprising was the smile on Sirius' face. It wasn't his usual big smile, nor the shark-like smirk he had for those occasions when he was dealing with the company's issues, or, for that matter, it wasn't any other smile she had seen before that day. If she had to describe it, then the closest description that came to her mind would be resigned amusement. "Don't look so freaked out, little star" he said, still smiling "All of this it's just another part of being born a Peverell."

"… I don't understand."

"No, I don't suppose you do. Especially if you encountered a Veil in your past life and that encounter ended in tragedy" He paused, suddenly looking intrigued by something he was considering "Is that how I died in my past life? That would explain why you looked so scared a second ago and why I was terrified by the mere sight of this Veil the first time my father brought me here."

She gasped, too overwhelmed by the mere memory and the confirmation that he knew this wasn't their first life, to be able to give him a response. However, it seemed her reaction was enough for Sirius, who nodded his head in understanding. "I thought so… Well, don't worry about it, little star. This Veil can't kill us, not when it's just another extension of the blessing Death gave us."

In her head, Rhea counted to ten, trying to calm herself down, and only when she was sure she wasn't about to start shouting, she open her mouth and said, as politely as she could "Nothing you're saying makes sense, dad"

To her surprise, Sirius threw his head back and laughed, his familiar barking laugh. "I'm messing it up, am I?" he said, still chuckling "I'm sorry, little star. I had my speech planned and everything but I'm too nervous to think straight so I'm rambling and making it worse."

"Why are you so nervous?"

"Because I'm not sure how you're going to react to the truth and everything it entails." He stared at her for a moment, looking pensive, and then he said, more to himself than to her "But you're a Peverell. You wouldn't have been reborn into this family if you were not ready for this."

Sirius nodded to himself, ignoring the wide eye look that had appeared on her face after he had mentioned the word that started with 'r'.

"Let me tell you a story, little star, about the true origins of our family…" he announced, asking her to get closer with a gesture of his hand. After the briefest of moments of hesitation, she did just that, walking until she was standing by his side, and receiving a gentle smile in response. "Once upon a time, many generations ago, as quirks started to appear in this world, a girl from an aristocratic family in England manifested the ability to predict and feel Death. And, as she grew older, she developed the ability to see and interact with the dead and she learned that, if she willingly gave away her blood, she could do incredible things, like heal those on the verge of death. But while she saw it as a gift that could help others, her family saw an abomination that didn't belong among them."

"That's awful, it's not like she could control or pick her quick" she frowned, indignant.

"True" he agreed with a nod "But those were different times... And you must consider that, even now, if someone said they had a power related to Death, the first thing most people will think was that the power belonged to a villain"

Her frown deepened with unhappiness.

"Even if the family feared her power, the girl was still their blood, and they didn't want her dead, so they decided to exile her" Sirius said, continuing with his story "They sent her to Japan, where their family had little connections, under the pretense of giving her the opportunity to study abroad. The thing was that, a year into her exile, the girl was in an accident that killed her but instead of moving on, her soul got to the in-between of worlds where she met Death."

"Death as in… Death?" she inquired, remembering her encounter with James Potter and what he had told her.

"Yes" he nodded "Anyway, because her soul was in-between worlds, the girl was able to remember her past life. And she remembered that, before she had been reincarnated, she had lived a life under the name of Ignotus Peverell." Sirius grinned at the expression that appeared on her face "In that past life, Ignotus was a very powerful wizard from a world where magic didn't die out and there was a whole portion of the population who were born with a magical core inside of them, which gave them the ability to wield that magic as they saw fit. In fact, Ignotus and his two older brothers were so powerful that they strived to conquer every branch of magic, including necromancy. And when they managed to create the Veil between this world between their world and the in-between worlds, Death decided to step in and appear in front of them. Because while they had done an incredible feat of magic, creating something like the Veil without Death's permission goes against the laws of nature"

Intrigued, Rhea nodded, thinking back to the Veil she had seen in the Department of Mysteries. Was that the same Veil of the story? And if so, why Death had allowed its existence if it had been created solely by wizards?

"But Death was curious about the three Peverell brothers, you see. So, it decided to test them by offering them gifts that carried a few of its powers to see what they would do with them. And, well, while the two older brothers failed Death's test not soon after they got their gifts, Ignotus did the impossible and he did not only impress Death anew, but he also became his first, and best, friend."

"His best friend?" she asked, astonished.

"Yes" Sirius confirmed "And because of that, Death made sure all of Ignotus' direct blood descendants were protected by his domain. He couldn't do anything for them in life but, in Death, they were blessed."

Rhea understood then, why James Potter had been the only one to come to her, and why she had gotten a choice in what to do. And she also started to understand how there was a Peverell bloodline in this new world.

"Death also made sure Ignotus would be reincarnated in a new world with its blessing"

"That's why the girl's quirk was connected to Death" she realized, also noting that, so far, Sirius had avoided mentioning the name of Ignotus' reincarnation.

"Exactly. And it's also why the girl met Death in-between worlds" he said, turning his head slightly to pointedly look at the Veil "Anyway, the reason they met there was because Death had a mission it could only entrust her…"

"Mission?"

He nodded. "The magic in this world died a long time ago and Fate, who is always looking to make every world a little more interesting, decided to start a spark of power within the living beings of the world, giving them the possibility of awakening a power that fit their nature, but there were little laws and balance to it, and Death was not pleased. Because he could see that, in time, those powers – that we now call quirks – would allow some of the humans to find ways to avoid death."

It made sense, she supposed. For everything Sirius had been saying, it sounded like Death had a problem with other people interfering in anything related to its domain of power. And there were so many different quirks out there that it was easy to imagine someone with the power of staying young, not dying, or bringing back the dead.

"Death wanted someone it could trust to give them its blessing and a piece of its power. That person would need to have a strong soul already tested and familiar with the feeling of death, who had already possessed and wielded magic already, and it would need to be someone willing to plead their allegiance to Death, to carry out its will among the world of the living and so, balancing everything out. Of course, because Death knew quirks were bound to grow stronger and more complex as time passed, it also needed someone who would be willing to swear all their future blood descendants was going to follow along that path, and every single one of those descendants would need to fit those criteria... And there was only one person, and their bloodline, whom Death trusted for that task."

"Ignotus Peverell and his bloodline" Rhea guessed.

Sirius nodded with a smile. "So, back to the meeting between Death and the girl in the in-between. Death offered the girl a deal. To go back to the world of the living with all the memories of her previous life with magic she once wielded at her disposal once more and the power of Death truly awaken in her. And the same would happen to every single one of her direct blood descendants. They all would have the soul of people who had been descendants of Ignotus in that other world or they would be the soulmates of one of them, they all would be born with their magic and, when their bodies were old enough to endure the power, they would awaken their connection to Death. In turn, the girl and all her descendants would need to plead their allegiance to Death for eternity, promising to follow its will and mandates… The girl accepted without hesitation, of course. When she came back to life, she changed her name to Hecate Peverell and became the first Peverell in this world. And, when she had her first, and only, child, she named him after the name of a star, honoring an old tradition from her old family. From then on, every Peverell that has come afterward had been named after Greek gods and stars, so that none of them would ever forget that their roots come from this world and our previous one."

Rhea stared at him, blood pounding in her ears, as everything in this new life became so infinitely clear. All those questions she had ever had about this new family of hers, now have an answer. However, there was something bothering her. "Plead allegiance for eternity… doesn't sound so good" Especially if Death asked something of them – of her – that would be impossible or unthinkable to do.

"It's not like that" he said, grinning, as he read his doubts on her face "For all intents and purposes, Death considers every member of our family its child and, therefore, we all carry its blessing. It would never ask something of us that we will not be able to do." Sirius pointed to the two stone pillars that held up the Veil "Every single member of our family who has pledged themselves to Death has done so gladly and has never come to regret their decision"

Curious enough to push past the reservations she still held over the Veil, she got close enough to see the long list of names that had been carved into the stones. On the right, from top to bottom, were carved the names of the blood members of the Peverell family. And, on the left, were the names of all the members that had joined the family through marriage.

With a notable exception.

"Mom is not there" she noted, feeling something squeeze in her chest.

"No, she's not" he agreed, his tone carrying a strange note she couldn't identify "Blood members of our family are told when the power of Death awakes in them, just like I'm doing with you. And no blood members are only told after they formally join our family"

"But mom was married to you"

"It wasn't for long enough to tell her the truth" he said, looking at the names in the stone instead of looking at her "This is a pretty big secret by anyone's standards, and we need to make sure those who married into our family are ready to accept it before we can say anything"

"I understand" she whispered, even if something within her was filled with sadness at the idea of never knowing how her mother would have reacted to this part of her, of them.

Instead, she followed his gaze and started to analyze the names more carefully. And, as she read the names, it occurred to her that she had heard about these people before. For years, Sirius had told her bedtime stories that, most often than not, featured a selected group of names for the characters, and she had always thought he'd used those names just because. But looking at the names on the stone, another explanation popped into her mind.

Because up there was Artemis, her great-grandmother, who, according to Sirius's stories, discovered how to turn herself into a raven so she could fly away to the sky every time her daily problems seemed like too much. There was Rigel, her grandfather, who didn't like to talk to strangers as a child, so he invented a spell that allowed him to draw quickly and then animate whatever was on his mind. And Chara, her great-great-grandmother, was so in love with her soulmate that she decided to create a bond between them, so they would always be able to find each other.

The names of all the main characters Sirius had ever used, were all there.

For years, Sirius had not only been telling her bedtime stories, but he had also been telling her different stories about their family. He had told her so many bits and pieces of their lives that, at that moment, as she stared at the different names, Rhea felt like she already knew each and every one of them. They were all her family and every single one of them, at some point in their lives, had stood where she stood and pledge to follow the path of their ancestors, the path Death had made for them.

Because, like her, all of them had been willing to do anything that was necessary for their family.

Rhea turned her head towards Sirius and found him already looking at her. And she knew then, down to her very bones, what she needed to do. "What do I need to do?"

He smiled, so full of pride and joy, and then took a small, shiny new dagger from his pocket. "Because our powers require blood, it's a family tradition to gift a dagger on this day" he said instead of answering, showing her the hilt of the blade, where her name and the strange symbol had been engraved. "May this blade accompany you on the long road ahead of you, heir of the Peverell line." He declared solemnly, putting the dagger on her hand, and then, using the dagger he had been using so far, he cut his thumb and drew something – probably that strange symbol one more – on her forehead. "May you find happiness walking with Death in your shadow, my daughter."

"I will" she promised because the words felt like the right thing to say.

"May Death, Magic, and our ancestors guide you along the way, my little star" he said, staring at her with his grey eyes shining before he put his hands on her shoulders and guide her to stand directly in front of Veil.

For a long second, Rhea stood there – feeling Sirius' hands on her shoulders, grounding her – and having no idea of what she was supposed to do next. And then she felt it, the magic and power coming from the Veil, welcoming her, and whispering to her what to do.

And, feeling almost in a trance, she did just that.

With his left hand, she lifted the dagger and used it to draw the strange symbol – Death's symbol, the voices whispered, the Peverell family symbol – on her right wrist. Then, with a hand that was shaking because of the pain and blood, she repeated the whole thing on her left wrist. And, without bothering to stop and think too much about it, she pushed both of her hands – palms up – into the Veil.

"I, Rhea Carina Peverell, willingly offer myself into Death's service" she declared, the words coming to her mouth from somewhere deep within herself without conscious thought, as she felt a cold, powerful presence gather around them. And while the presence was far more powerful than anything else she had ever felt in any of her lives, it felt familiar and non-threatening. I am right here – the presence seemed to say – Surrender yourself to me and everything will be alright. "I voluntarily choose to walk through the long road my ancestors built, just like all of them did before me. I offer my soul, my blood, my magic, and everything else I am to Death. From this day and for the rest of eternity, I pledge myself to Death."

Just as soon as she finished speaking, she felt it.

The power and magic of the presence she had been feeling but, this time, it was multiple by a thousand. She could feel it coming from all around her, from the little chamber in which they were standing, from the Veil, and from far, far beyond it too. And it was clear Death was testing her, bearing down into her soul and magic to see if she was worth it.

And Rhea, who had never backed down from a challenge, pushed back with everything she had. Here – she wanted to say, refusing to be cowed – This is me. And I'm not afraid. So do your best.

For what felt like an eternity, they stood at a standstill, as their powers clashed with each other, and then, between one heartbeat and the next, the feeling of the power bearing down on her changed, enveloping her whole and making her feel welcome. And, for a single split of a second, it felt like a pair of hands squeezing her from beyond the Veil, as she heard a voice whispering to her very soul.

"I welcome you, Peverell child" it said as the cold she had been feeling all day disappeared completely "From this day onwards, you will belong to me and be blessed with my power, my child"

Then, just as suddenly, everything was over. And Rhea was left feeling as if her magic had been overcharged to a level she had never experienced before, and, at the same time, feeling more tired than she had ever felt before.

"Breath" Sirius said gently in her ear, squeezing her shoulders. And it was only at that moment she realized the only reason she was still standing was that he was supporting all of her weight. "You did perfect… It's time for you to rest, little star."

The last thing she saw before she fell unconscious was her wrists, free of blood, injuries, or scars of any kind. Instead, it looked like Death's symbol had been tattooed to her wrists as physical proof of the pledge she had made.


&&&/02/&&&


Katsuki Bakugo was not stupid.

He might be a child, but he was not stupid. If he said so himself, he might be even considered a genius.

So, he knew something was up when Rhea didn't show for their shared extracurricular lessons after he was done for the day with the useless kindergarten classes. Because unless it was someone's birthday or an emergency, Rhea never skipped a single lesson. His uncle Siri made extra sure of that. And it was made even more obvious that something was up when his mom told him Rhea was feeling a little under the wheatear and she was probably going to skip their lessons for a few days.

Because if Rhea was truly sick, then his uncle Siri would have not stopped calling his mom every couple of hours, asking her opinion on everything he thought was important, hence his mom would have known all the details about what was going on with Rhea, including how long ago she went to the bathroom and how many hours she slept last. Not to mention that, even while she had been sick in the past, Rhea had made sure to let him know directly if she was alright or if Uncle Siri was blowing things out of proportion again.

But the hours passed that day and no one in their family knew what was happening. The only thing they knew was that his uncle Siri had contacted his mom very, very early that day to tell her that Rhea was not feeling alright, and she was going to stay at home for at least a few days.

And that meant something was most definitely up.

"But why I can't go to their house?" he pressed that night, after his mom failed to explain what was wrong with Rhea.

"Because we don't want to bother them" his mom said simply, tidying things up in his room as he spoke.

"But uncle Siri always said we can go whenever we want!" he protested.

"That doesn't actually mean whenever you want, Katsuki" his mom sighed, rolling her eyes. "We can't go barreling without invitation whenever we want. We don't live there, so we need to be patient and wait for news like anyone else."

Katsuki frowned, not liking the idea of waiting anymore. But, no matter how much he pushed his mom, she didn't agree to take him to Rhea's house, declaring over and over again that they were probably going to have news in the morning.

But morning came, and there was no news about what was going on. And he was forced to go to the stupid kindergarten his dad had chosen without knowing anything about Rhea.

Which made him very, very, very angry.

Because the thing he had never told anyone was that Rhea was his favorite person in the world. His mom could be too bossy and loud sometimes, his dad let everyone else do whatever they wanted, and while his uncle Siri was very impressive and powerful, he also could be too much sometimes. And no one else he knew – especially those stupid and weak kids from his kindergarten – could hope to match him. The only one who was his equal was Rhea.

For as long as he could remember, she had always been there by his side. Making him laugh and challenging him to a duel. Playing with him and standing her ground against him when he lost his temper. Listening to anything he would tell her and arguing back when she wasn't in agreement. Defending him from anyone and not doubting he was going to defend her as well. Rhea was his best friend, his sister, and his favorite person, and not being able to see her without knowing exactly why put him in a very, very bad mood.

So, that day, after a day of being forced to put up with his weak and stupid classmates and being forced to wait for his mom to pick him up from school while still not knowing anything about Rhea, Katsuki was a second away from using his quirk in the nearest person and make their head explode.

He was too busy feeling angry that it took him a while to realize that the bunch of moms who always picked up their kids together was standing a few feet away, talking about his mom. And about his uncle Siri too, he realized after a couple of seconds. But the words they were saying made no sense. Because who could his mom use his uncle for money? And why would his dad being her soulmate had to do with anything?

Confused, he turned his head in their direction, ready to ask them about it. But the moment they caught sight of him, they all went pale and then scurried away before he could say anything.

Alone with his thoughts once more, but now feeling more curious than angry, Katsuki took out his phone and searched the words he had heard them use, figuring it was worth a shot to try. Instantly, dozens of results popped up on his screen, and, not thinking too much about it, he clicked the article closest to the searcher.

Fifteen minutes later, when his mom finally showed up to pick him up, he was finally so angry he wouldn't have needed a quirk to spit fire from his mouth.

"Is it true?!" he demanded as soon as he was inside the car "Is it true you were about to marry Uncle Siri and then you ran away with dad?!"

At his side, his mom stilled for a long moment before she turned towards him with a very serious, and dangerous, expression on her face. He knew that expression, it was the one that said it was better to look for cover before she unleashed her temper, the one that would have made him fear for his life on any other occasion.

"Where did you hear that?" she demanded.

"Is it true?" he insisted, refusing to lower his head.

"Katsuki, tell me where you learned that, or I'm not going to tell you anything." she declared, looking a second away from grounding him for life.

And once more, it was important to note he wasn't stupid, he knew when it was better to not keep arguing. "I learned it on the internet" Looking at her frown, he added "I heard some of the moms saying some things about you and Uncle Sirius, and I didn't understand what they meant. So, I looked it up and I found a lot of clips and news about you." He glared at her, accusingly "You were in a relationship with Uncle Siri, and then you ran away with dad"

His mom was still frowning heavily but, this time, her ire didn't seem to be focused on him. If anything, she looked a second away from tracking down the moms and beating them up. "I was hoping to have this conversation when you were older" she said after a moment, sighing "About what you just said, that's not completely true"

"I saw all those clips of you and Uncle Siri" he insisted, still frowning "You were always together"

"We've told you before, we grew up together. We were as close as you and Rhea are right now." his mom said, no longer looking a second away from killing someone "The only difference is that our families wanted us to be together. They were the ones who made it public that we were a couple. But your uncle and I were never really a couple."

"Why not?" he demanded "You guys love each other"

Because it was obvious to anyone who would see them together.

His mom and uncle could bicker and argue worse than Rhea and him on a good day, and his mom seemed to like to hit his uncle to show affection, but there was never a doubt they both enjoyed every moment they spent together. He had never seen anyone – not even his dad – who could make his mom laugh as loud and carefree as his uncle did. And, according to his uncle's own words, there was no one he trusted more than his mom.

So, he could not understand why they had not been together when they loved each other so much. Just like Rhea and he did, even if they never said it out loud.

(For all his intelligence, he's still a child and there are some things he doesn't understand yet, like the difference between the types of love. He doesn't understand you can love someone with all your heart and still, not be in love with them.

He doesn't understand but he will, someday.)

"Yeah, but it's not like that" his mom read the confusion on his face and tried to find a way to explain the situation to a kid like him. In the end, she settled for saying "I don't love your uncle like I do your dad. Your dad is my soulmate, I love him and it's him I want to be with."

The answer didn't clarify anything for him. "Why is so important that he's your soulmate?"

"Because a soulmate is the other part of your soul" his mom said immediately "Being with your soulmate makes you stronger, you'll understand it someday"

Katsuki frowned, feeling more disgruntled than ever.

He had never thought much about his soulmate or the soulmark he had on the right side of his hip, even if he agreed with Rhea when she had said the double infinite symbol was cool.

It had never seemed important to him.

He knew Rhea cared a great deal about soulmates as they had argued about it on numerous occasions, but usually, those arguments ended up in shouting matches with neither of them as the winner. Mostly, it was because he couldn't understand why either of them would ever need a soulmate. They had each other, they didn't need anyone else.

Besides, while most people cared about soulmates because, after you met your soulmate, your quirk became more powerful every time they were close to one another, Katsuki hated the very idea of depending on someone else for his quirk to become stronger. And there was also the fact that soulmates were unable to use their quirks to hurt each other, and that just sounded like a huge weakness to have.

So no, he had never cared about soulmates. But listening to his mom at that moment, his disinterest changed to outright loathing.

Because the very idea of picking someone else over Rhea just because they shared the same mark on their hips seemed very wrong to him.

(It was the idea that would change everything and would be the root of all his future problems regarding soulmates.)

"That's stupid!" he spat to his mom, scowling more than ever "Those people were right! You betrayed Uncle Sirius! You don't have the right to call yourself his friend!"

His mom stilled completely, and her expression changed to something he had never seen before. "That's enough, Katsuki" she declared, her voice like ice "I don't want to hear you say those words again."

"But-"

"I said it's enough!" she all but shouted "You're going to forget what those people said, we're going home in silence, and you and I are going to talk about this again when you ready to listen"

He didn't want to, but the look on her face told him he didn't have any other choice, so Katsuki shut his mouth and didn't say anything else as they went back to their house. But even if he let go of most of his anger toward his mom – especially after Rhea and uncle Siri surprised them by showing up to dinner later that day, and Rhea told him she had caught a strange cold, but she was fine once more, and he saw once more how happy his mom and uncle were when they were around each other – he never forgot his newfound loathing towards soulmates.

It stayed with him even after his parents and his uncle sat Rhea and him down to explain more about their past and told them they were happy as they were, that nobody felt betrayed and that they should just ignore the comments of malicious people.

It stayed with him as Rhea's powers started to grow stronger every day – along with her control over them – and he was forced to train even more than ever to not be left behind. Because even though he loved her and he didn't mind if she was his equal in power, she was not allowed to surpass him.

It stayed with him as he was forced to put up with his weak classmates because his parents refused to let him be homeschooled with Rhea once more. It stayed with him as a group of said classmates started to follow him around despite his loud and constant protests.

His loathing towards soulmates stayed with him, hidden under the surface, in the weeks and months that followed that conversation with his mom, until the day Izuku Midoriya – the strange, meek, quirkless boy that always followed him around – lifted his shirt and show him, proudly, the soulmark that decorated his right hip.

The soulmark that was identical to his own.

And then, as he understood what it meant, he saw everything around him in red and, as if it was an erupting volcano, his loathing busted out of him, and he found himself punching Izuku with all his strength.

The moment their skins touched, his soulmarks flared alive, burning him from the inside out for a moment as he felt an invisible trend form between them. Then it was all over, and Katsuki found himself standing over a trembling Izuku, who was lying on the ground and was staring at him with wide eyes. And he knew, with a certainty he hated, that both of their marks were now golden instead of black.

The words that came out of his mouth next were the product of everything he was feeling, and he refused to acknowledge them. "Stay away from me, Deku!" he spat with all the loathing burning inside of him "I don't need a useless person like you as a soulmate!"


&&&/02/&&&


"Did you really need to punch him?" Rhea sighed, as she helped his idiot godbrother pack the last of his clothes.

"He deserved it" he spat.

"He's your soulmate" she couldn't help but point out, even if she had a pretty good idea of what he was going to say next.

"I don't care" he scowled, confirming her hunch "I don't need a soulmate. I don't want one."

She sighed once more, opting to not point out that, regardless of his wishes, he had a soulmate. And, even more important, he had already formed the bond between his soulmate and him. Because she knew how touchy he had become about the subject, especially since their parents had revealed to them that her dad and his mom used to be engaged but had broken it off after his mom had met his dad.

She didn't think it was healthy to blame soulmates on the entire thing, and she definitely didn't approve of him punching his poor soulmate just because he had anger issues he didn't know how to handle, but she wasn't about to judge him or be mad with him about it. Katsuki was her godbrother, she was supposed to tell him he was acting like an idiot – which she had already done. Repeatedly – but she wasn't about to turn her back on him.

"You didn't need to punch him" she insisted "It was the physical attack that got you grounded for life"

He grimaced. "It's not for life"

"Auntie said you were grounded for life" she couldn't help but remind him "We're being forced to participate in an anger management camp because of it"

"I am the one who is being forced to get to the stupid thing. You asked to join me."

"Of course I did, I'm not about to let you go to a place like that on your own"

Katsuki didn't say anything else but his grouchy expression – that had been almost permanent on his face in the days since the whole incident with his soulmate had happened – softened until he looked like he usually did.

"It's going to be a pain to go there" he complained after a moment.

"Well, we're going to be together. So it won't be that bad, right?"

A little smile tugged at the corners of his lips. "Yeah, I suppose so"

She grinned, pleased to have managed to make him smile.

"Katsuki! Rhea! It's time to go!" her godmother yelled from somewhere in the house.

"We're coming, auntie" she yelled back, pushing his backpack towards him, taking his hand, and leading him outside his room. "Let's go"

He huffed, rolling his eyes, but he dutifully followed her towards the living room where both of his parents were waiting for them. Her aunt was scowling – like Katsuki, it almost seemed like she had not stopped scowling since the punching incident – but her uncle smiled at them when he saw them.

"C'mon, kids" he said, sounding as gentle and kind as always "You don't want to be late on your first day"

There was very little conversation between them after that – mostly because both Katsuki and her aunt were back to scowling – as they got into her uncle's car and started the long drive towards the place where the camp was being held three times each week. Because of the distance, Sirius had offered a list of alternate traveling options but, for this very first meeting, both her uncle and aunt had decided to take time off work and take them there.

"You have to behave yourself in camp, Katsuki" her aunt said after a while, as the car crossed under a long, long bridge.

"If I behave, will you stop forcing me to go?" he demanded immediately.

"Why, you-!"

"As long as you learn to control your temper, yes" her uncle said, cutting off whatever Mitsuki was about to say. "That's the only thing we care about"

"It was only that time" he sulked, crossing his arms.

"You punched your soulmate!" her aunt reminded him, using the same tone she had been using all the other times this particular subject had come up "Knowing full well it was your soulmate you were attacking"

"…it's not like I could have used my quirk. I'm not stupid, I know my quirk wouldn't have worked on him"

Evidently, that wasn't the right thing to say because Masaru sighed, looking exhausted, and Mitsuki went red with anger, opening her mouth almost immediately afterward to, no doubt, berate the idiot once more. So, Rhea decided it was probably time to say something and save her godbrother from getting grounded until his next life. But, before she could say anything, she felt it. A familiar chill ran through her whole body.

A chill that, after months of training, she could easily identify as a warning that Death was going to claim someone close to her pretty soon.

Without thinking, Rhea opened her mouth, ready to shout a warning, even if that went against the rules, but she never got the opportunity to do so. Because, between one moment and the next, the car went off lane with a screeching sound, as the roads of the dual carriageway started to shake and the bridge over them started to fall apart in big pieces of concrete.

There was a series of screams as Masaru lost control of the car and it flipped a couple of times. There were more screams and pain, and someone threw themselves over her in an effort to protect her. And then blackness afterward.

"It's too soon for you, my child" a familiar voice whispered, breaking through the darkness "Wake up" And, with those words, she found herself waking up on the outside of the wrecked car.

"Rhea! Rhea! Wake up!"

She blinked, trying to push past the pain that she was feeling throughout her whole body and focused on what was happening. And the first thing she saw was Katsuki, her godbrother, who was kneeling by her side, bleeding and hurt, and, even more distressing, he was also crying.

"Katsuki, what-"

"You're alive!" he cried out, hugging her with all his strength, still shaking and crying. "You're alive" he whispered in her ear, over and over again, as if he couldn't quite believe it.

And it was only then, as her mind started to get clear, that Rhea realized she was the two of them were the only ones outside of the car. Her aunt and uncle were nowhere in sight.

She tried to sit up and tell Katsuki they should look for them, but she felt it then. The same chill she had felt just before the whole thing had started, the chill that usually told her that Death was near. But, at that moment, she knew, with a certainty that was almost scary, that this chill served to indicate that Death had already claimed someone. And she also knew, down to the heart that had started to hurt and bleed with that realization, who Death had claimed.

Mitsuki and Masaru Bakugo were dead.


What do you guys think?