His head ached, a blinding sunlight was visible from behind his eyelids. His arms the only thing cushioning his head. his back felt stiff, feet long ago fallen asleep, still resting on the old wood floor. His hair, now mess of dark green curls in his face. He didn't remember falling asleep, but he was so tired that he decided to brush it off in favor of sitting there a few more moments.
Although it was uncomfortable it was still warm from the sun that had been peaking through the windows for what must have been hours now.
A bell rung, the door creaked and it registered in his dazed mind that it was the doorbell to the library.
"Izuku? Honey?" His mother's voice hurled him out of his tired state.
he hurriedly tried to organize himself as well as the books and scrolls he had been laying on before she found him.
His mother appeared around the corner of a bookshelf, her face sullen with worry. She adorned her favorite robe, it was a dull shade of green, the bodice decorated with floral motif, As well as a shawl overtop.
"Izuku, there you are I was worried sick!" She hurried over to him and hugged him, "I'm sorry for yelling at you, please don't run away like that again, promise me you won't izuku! My heart can't take loosing you!"
Izuku hugged his mother back, " I won't mom, I just had tough day yesterday, I won't run off like that again."
"You swear?" She queried.
"I swear" after Izuku's promise she let out a deep sigh, then looked towards his clothing.
"Oh my, izuku your tunic is a mess." She pulled on the fabric. "Izuku did you sleep in this? I told you to stop sleeping in your day clothes. It gets them all sweaty, at least take your tunic off next time, it's brand new!"
Izuku snorted, his mother was worried about him one minute and his clothes the next. She looked towards the desk and read small fragments of the already open books, izuku noticed after a few moments what she was doing and picked them up.
"Izuku I told you it's ok to be a non-bendor, I thought you were ok with it now." Her face returned to being greatly concerned.
He stepped back, books still tightly held to his chest. "I am- but don't you think it a bit weird that you and dad are both benders and I'm not? I mean I'm not even naturally talented when it comes to helping people who are injured and that's your family's main thing! Dads main thing was stories and strength, Yours is being a gifted healer, and Kirishima's is being the village hero! What's my main thing? Is it being a distraction?… a failure? a disappointment?"
His mother wrapped her arms around izuku, "izuku your not a disappointment, maybe you just haven't found what your good at yet!" She smiled at him hopefully.
Izuku groaned, " but everyone else seems to already have something that makes them who they are! What makes me so different?"
She unwrapped her arms around izuku and clasped his hand in hers. "Can I tell you something about your father?"
Izuku nodded, she pulled a chair out of the desk next to the one izuku had slept on. She gestured for him to sit down then sat down herself.
"When I first met your father he was just like you, a trouble maker, at first I thought that he was just a bad apple. But the more time I spent with him the more I could see that he wasn't bad, he was just confused about who he was and who he wanted to be. So one day i told him that if he wanted to find who he was he should explore the world, see everything he could be before he just settled for what was in front of him."
Her eyes were filled with bereavement along with a sort of nostalgia at remembering times with his father. " so one night I helped him prepare to run away and see the world. We stole an ostrich horse and an old cart that we had packed full of food, clothes, money, and water in. And by dawn he was gone. I didn't see him for years after that, but one day while I was tending to my mother's garden, I saw him running towards me with the biggest smile on his face. When he reached me he pulled me into a great big hug and spun me around saying, 'thank you inko! Thank you! I love you! I love you'"
She laughed at the silliness of her younger husband, "He told me that he had seen everything and met everyone everywhere and none of them were like me, none of them had stayed on his mind for as long as I had, he said he wanted to do what was right no matter what. And that it would be wonderful if I was right there next to him through it all.
Inko looked up at izuku," of course I'm not asking you to run all over the world but how about while your out fighting for our home, you take in everything around you and learn who you are from it. And just make sure no matter what you do the right thing."
Izuku mulled over the story his mother just told him.
She seemed to be pulled from her nostalgic state as realization crossed her face." Ah right, izuku, Kirishima is waiting for you in the square, he insisted on helping you with your punishments. You shouldn't keep him waiting any longer, hurry along now, I'll be heading to the clinic to work if you need me."
She rose from her wooden stool and started to walk away.
Izuku sprung up from his seat before his mother left, then awkwardly spoke,"hey mom, thanks for telling me that story."
She smiled to izuku, "you're welcome honey."
He rushed passed her setting the books and scrolls he had previously been reading onto the librarians desk. He opened the door and almost immediately started running. He couldn't keep Kirishima waiting any longer!
Kirishima found himself often being embarrassed about having izuku midoriya as a friend. He was practically known for being a problem child in school. It seemed he was always busy dealing with a new punishment. He always seemed to be alone.
But to Kirishima's surprise years ago he realized that maybe izuku wasn't as bad as people thought. He thought izuku was a lot like him in a way. A three years ago Kirishima found izuku crying in an alley, feeling bad for the loner he asked why he was crying. Izuku told him about his father and how that day was the anniversary of him being lost to the fire nation.
That was a surprise to Kirishima because he had lost his mother to the fire nation as well. After that he felt closer to izuku and actually found himself enjoying spending time with him.
They sat at the edge of farmland removing the vibrant green weeds that were starting to take up nutrients and space in the fresh land. Sitting in the soil their clothes got messy from dirt and grime.
Izuku looked at him still suspicious," are you absolutely sure your ok with doing this. Because the longer you keep helping me the more likely your gonna get in trouble."
Kirishima grinned," I am sure. You got in trouble for no reason, and I don't think he said anything about someone helping you."
Izuku shrugged as he struggled to get a proper grip on the root.
Kirishima snorted then spoke arrogantly, "you need help over there?"
Izuku groaned as he ripped the root from its deep home. "Nope! But That was a rough one. They won't all be like this right?"
Kirishima chuckled, "I hope not for your sake!"
Izuku exhaled deeply before moving onto the next giant patch of weeds taking up space. "Why do we have to do this? Who usually does this?"
Kirishima walked over to help with the weeds izuku was dealing with this. "do you mean why Sir Kamui is Making you do this or who other than us would be doing this when your not being punished?"
Izuku thought for a second putting his hand to his chin."the second one."
Kirishima squatted by the weeds to face izuku,"Normally a few paid earth benders would be doing this."
Izuku looked towards the weeds, " of course" he rolled his eyes, and adjusted his oriental hat.
Kirishima smirked, "check this out!" Kirishima lifted the patch of weeds with the small amount of the earth that the roots were in. he rolled it over to the weed dump and dropped it in without even moving his feet.
Izuku's eyes glowed with admiration at the small hole in the land where the weeds had just been, "wow, totally unfair but still, wow, also your not getting paid so shouldn't waste the effort."
Kirishima shrugged "might as well it's good practice for when we go off and fight for our nation!"
Izuku looked up at Kirishima, confused "yeah but isn't your 16th birthday like months away?"
Kirishima also wore a confused expression." Were you to busy getting scolded by Sir. Kamui to not hear them change it from 16 to just our grade being sent out on the first of next month? Apparently it's easier for transportation and training and stuff like that."
Izuku's expression changed to a look of doom,"oh."
Kirishima was confused about the sudden change, didn't izuku want to go fight for the Earth kingdom? Didn't he want to fight for their village's honor?
Maybe even avenge his father?
"Oh crap Kirishima would you mind if I went and washed my shoes it feels like I got some mud or some thing- creature in them." He looked like he was on verge of sweating.
"If it's that bad I can help you-" Kirishima offered, concerned for Izuku's well being.
"No no no it's good I got it thanks though! I'll be back!" He ran straight through the freshly tilled soil.
He ran for awhile, or to be exact he ran until Kirishima couldn't see him at all anymore.
Kirishima looked back towards the weeds. He could finish removing the weeds, and by the time izuku was back, he would get to see his funny look of admiration again. He looked towards where izuku ran off too, he couldn't be to long. he was just gonna find the nearest water source then be right back.
Kirishima walked to the weeds, better get started now if he really wanted to impress izuku.
Izuku ran until when he looked back he couldn't see Kirishima. He scanned his surroundings, mostly fields and grass lands, a few trees scattered here and there. He looked towards his shoes, they were muddy but not to the point where it bothered him. He just needed a second to think and he didn't want to do that to Kirishima is around.
They were going to war in less than a month! There's no way- no way they can't just change plans like that! Can they?
He was torn from his thoughts when he heard men yelling from beyond the field. He couldn't distinguish what they were saying but they were saying it loudly and it seemed to be more of an order than anything.
He rushed over the the edge of the farm land to get a better look at what they were doing. He strained his eyes to see that they seemed to be transporting animals in cages, they were covered up with a large sheet, and tied down but he could still see the outline of the cages. The men seemed to be yelling at each other as well as the animals. Two armored dragon moose were pulling the cart full of animals in cages. Izuku's eyes widened, what were they doing this close to Gaoling? This farm wasn't just used as a farm, but as a barrier. Basically Their town serves as a wall for the wall. since most wealthy people live in Gaoling. So how were fire benders in this far without being killed?
Maybe their not exactly fire nation, perhaps they came to deliver the animals in those cages to someone? But Who? Who in the earth kingdom would trust someone from the fire nation for animals?!
While izuku watched the cart continue on its and the particularly large cage at the bottom caught his eye. Most of them were obstructed from sight because of the cover but he saw a heavily tied up and covered cage at the bottom begin to rattle, then a man hit the cage and yelled. izuku felt his blood boil.
They can't treat animals with such cruelty!
But what could he do, he can't even earth bend. He could call their authorities, call for Kirishima? He could walk away and pretend he never saw anything in the first place.
Izuku closed his eyes, fear running through him as he stopped thinking about what he could do. And simply ran forward.
"STOP!" His hair blew behind him as he ran forward with all his adrenaline.
A strange gust of wind seemed to push him forward with great speed.
A man turned to look at what had just caused that sound before izuku punched him with his left fist, causing him to fall onto the ground. No idea what to do now he continued the yell as he tried to untie the ropes.
"What the hell?" The man from the ground got up and a second man came from around the cart, along with one other.
Izuku tipped the cart over just enough for a few cages to fall of the top. The man he had punched grabbed him by his neck on instinct izuku bit his hand, as a defense the man whom he had punched started fire bending and before Izuku knew it his shoulder was in flames and he was screaming. He pushed the man to the floor and the flame that had burned his shoulder was suddenly in his hands and on the man he pushed to the floor.
The fire on his shoulder now extinguished the man behind him maneuvered his flames to surround his fists and he began to swing at izuku. He felt the heat pass before his face as he moved to the side and crushed a rock over his head.
Where had he got a rock at? How was he so light on his feet?
He watched as the last man fell after an unusually strong gust of wind. He moved to grab the keys attached by his belt and he got ahold of them. The man who had been set aflame was back up and without knowing what to do izuku closed his eyes and hit him with the keys. He opened them to find a rock smashed over his head. As the man who tripped regained footing izuku unlocked a random cage he had freed from the cover and ropes. Spider bats who had previously been imprisoned by these people immediately dove to scratch at the man's face making him fall right back on the floor.
He turned towards the cages. Luckily he recognized most of the animals aside from some obvious animals from the fire nation. Izuku had a good feeling that these animals would work just fine with the current environment. Or atleast he hoped. he quickly freed the dozen caged animals.
Izuku looked toward the animal on the bottom of cages, it was covered with a beige towel and tightly tied with dark maroon ropes. He slowly took the towel and ropes off of the cage to see a tiny animal curled into itself. it seemed to be a baby lion cub but it's tail was longer and had a strange poof at the end.
Another strange thing was that it had wings.
"Hello?" The small animal took its head out of its wings to reveal a pale, beige, rounded head with barely visible ear tuffs, as well a moderately sized hooked beak. Soon izuku was able to identify it as a barn owl.
It's eyes widened and it walked over to the edge of the cage where izuku was seated. "All right Buddy let's get you out of here."
He pushed the key into the lock and turned, pulling the door open. But the baby stayed in its spot and stared at him. Going on what he knew about barn owls and he'd say it had to be at most two months old, but for a loin cub maybe over 10 months? It had to have already been at its original home for awhile before the men stole it.
He grabbed the extra bread he had left in his pocket after lunch, then placed it in front of the strange animal. and soon it was all gone.
It turned its head to the side and looked questionably at Izuku. Izuku put his hand out towards the animal. "What exactly are you?" He said
It placed it's head in his hands and he scratched it's chin.
He chuckled, "you're adorable."
He moved his hand to pat its head. It was surprisingly fluffy. It's wings were identical to that of a barn owl's, perhaps stronger. though it's lower body resembled a Lion cub, but the tail was much longer than a cub. He thought it could be a type of griffin but he'd never read about one like this, plus the only griffin habitat was either in extremely cold mountains or in a few high up air temples. This group of Men from the fire nation wouldn't be able to get a griffin from either of those places easily.
But this also wasn't a typical griffin, it had the head of a barn owl, it was a species of griffin he had never heard of before. Perhaps it had the brain of a barn owl as well and stayed in old barns?
Unfortunately his animal identification class in school only went that far for trying to figure out what the animal was. He had no idea what it ate or what it needed to survive.
The barn owl seemed to grow tired of Izuku's thinking and crawled into his lap.
Izuku chuckled again." What exactly are you?"
He lifted the animal up in his arms, it had to have weighed less then 3 pounds. He decided to do something risky. he grabbed the cloth that covered it before and wrapped it in it. He walked back towards the field.
Izuku stared at the strange animal. "What should I call you? Unless you like 'it' or 'strange animal' because I can keep calling you that."
The animal did not reply but sat in his arms, warm in the cover.
"your being quite quiet, which is really weird most animals always try to claw my eyes out." He laughed at his bad luck with animals.
Then the name came to him, "how about Wynn? I mean you have wings and wing win Wynn?" Izuku sighed, the animal looked up at him, "ok I'll think of a different one later but for now your Wynn."
Wynn seemed to be happy as long as it was in it's cover and in Izuku's arms.
"Alright this is as far as I'm gonna bring you, I'll come back and get you so stay here, you'll be safe from those guys here too." Wynn seemed unwilling to leave izuku but eventually he gave in to being put in the hiding spot.
Izuku sighed and gave Wynn's head a pat before rushing to get back to Kirishima.
Explaining to Kirishima why he had been gone so long was hard, but honestly explaining why he had 2nd degree burns and mud still on his shoes was probably harder.
Well maybe just the burns. In fact izuku must have done such a bad job trying to explain why he was so badly burned that Kirishima pretty much made him sit in the middle of the field where he could see him, and finish everything with his earth bending. Izuku basically layed down in a field while Kirishima worked all through the night. Then Kirishima decided to carry him back, because he said they couldn't risk damaging Izuku's shoulder at all.
Izuku sighed as the village came into view. "I told you I can walk."
Kirishima, annoyed, snapped back," You can, when you tell me what actually happened."
Izuku grumbled," I did! There were these fire bender people and animals! And I beat the guys up and I saved the animals and let them all free!"
Izuku didn't think Kirishima would react well to Wynn, but he did think that if Kirishima's disbelief kept up he would tell him about Wynn.
Kirishima rolled his eyes," Izuku not to be rude but you barely get through training exercises! Let alone even compete in battle with a beginner earth bender! Did you beat up a group of vaguely suspicious children perhaps?"
Izuku scoffed," I don't beat up children! Suspicious or not! And I'm telling you I took them out it was awesome!"
Kirishima started walking a bit faster and izuku held on tighter to his shoulders, " izuku I think your going insane. Sure those weird stories are fine between us but you could actually start some conspiracies with that weird story and then you'd be in even more trouble. Do you really want that?"
Izuku's looked to the village. His eyes sadden, " no I don't and I won't go tell everyone about this. But you do believe me don't you? so can't I just start walking?"
Kirishima groaned," no izuku im gonna be honest your story is dumb and when we go to your mom's office we are gonna tell her that you were burning weeds or something."
Izuku gaped," what? But that's not what happened Kirishima-"
"Yeah but you won't tell me what actually happened other than your conspiracy about illegal animals for Gaoling." Kirishima spoke.
"But what if I have proof?" Izuku's eyes brightened.
Kirishima seemed skeptical," if you do then show it to me tomorrow, today you need to get treatment from a doctor and some rest."
"What if it's gone by then?"
Kirishima rolled his eyes yet again," then I'll get it for you. Just get some rest!"
Izuku beamed Kirishima may be skeptical now but when he sees Wynn he'll believe him. I mean how could he not?