“You had one job, Katsuki,” his mother told him when he was nine. She’d started to get angry, but then ran a hand through her hair and flopped down on the living room sofa and sighed.
He was supposed to take the trash out. He was going to, too, except he’d gotten distracted by the cat he’d seen slinking around the corner of their house, whiskers twitching and gray ears flattened in suspicion.
And then he’d set the trash bag down and followed after it, because hey, he was nine. He was a fucking dumbass when he was nine, but who wasn’t?
Anyway, he’d followed after the gray-eared cat and she’d gone into an alleyway, and he’d gone after her. She was probably hunting and he was probably disturbing her, but he was nine at the time and didn’t really care.
He just wanted to pet her, maybe, to play with her a little because he’d been begging his parents for years for a pet and they always said no because of Dad’s shitty allergies and Mom’s obsession with being a neat freak which he unfortunately took after (like everything else, he got everything from his mother, fucking everything). Of course the cat hadn’t let him because who in their right minds would want a grubby nine year old putting their hands on them? Katsuki wouldn’t.
But the point was, he wanted to pet the cat and he forgot to take the trash out, and if that wasn’t enough, it turned out that particular alleyway was a favorite hangout spot for those two sixth grade dipshits, Awase and Ken’ichi. They were fucking around, smoking or eyeing up girls or something, Katsuki was nine and he didn’t really care, and they spotted Katsuki immediately.
Apparently they still held a grudge from the time Katsuki had blown up their new handheld game because they’d poked fun at his absolutely badass skull t-shirt (no one did that and lived to tell about it, especially not two sixth grade dipshits) and so they decided that now was as good a time as any for payback. And of course Katsuki wasn’t just going to stand around and let that happen, so he whipped out his quirk and let off a few warning blasts.
Like he said though, they were dipshits. Stupid ones. They didn’t know what was good for them and so they kept coming at him like they thought they could take him.
They couldn’t, obviously, never in a fair fight, but then that goddamn motherfucker Ken’ichi thought it was a good idea to bring up the point that Katsuki had been following the cat, so naturally it must be his cat.
And then Awase, with his big, ugly, jeering face picked up the cat by the scruff of her neck and turned his fingers into a pair of fucking scissors, which was a shitty quirk if Katsuki ever saw one, and told Katsuki he was gonna cut her tail off.
It wasn’t even his goddamn cat.
But it pissed him off so fucking much that he didn’t even notice when Ken’ichi snuck up behind him and pinned his arms behind his back and held him there so Awase could do his best to beat the shit out of him, or something. He’d yelled and cursed at them and told them he was gonna blow their asses sky high if they didn’t let him go, and they’d sniggered their ugly dipshit laughs and Awase punched him in the stomach.
It fucking hurt, and Katsuki doubled over, gasping. He was gonna kill those motherfuckers, he was gonna murder them until they couldn’t walk.
And he did, because Ken’ichi’s grip loosened when Katsuki had bent double and he was able to twist one arm free.
He brought it up in Ken’ichi’s face and set off an explosion, not strong enough to blow his face up but enough to singe it. Those assholes were lucky he was so skilled with his quirk, otherwise they would’ve both been six feet under. Ken’ichi had yelped and jumped back but Awase kept coming so Katsuki had no choice but to murder him, too.
Awase swung with one fist and clipped Katsuki’s jaw, but Katsuki set off an explosion to his gut and stomped on his toes and then kicked him in the kneecaps as hard as he could. Awase crumpled.
Ken’ichi came back for more, since he was a fucking moron, and they brawled it out in the alleyway for a good five minutes longer while the cat quietly slunk away, forgotten. By the time Katsuki had beaten Ken’ichi satisfyingly black and blue and was sporting a good number of cuts and bruises himself, the cat was long gone.
He hauled himself back home, ignoring his nosy neighbor Mrs. Kobayashi when she asked him what on earth had happened, and then thought to himself, oh shit the trash, I forgot to take the trash out oh shit—
By then it was too late. The trash was already outside, neatly sorted, and fuck, now his mom was gonna be pissed. Especially when he walked inside looking like he’d gotten run over by a god damn truck.
“Katsuki!” His mom yelled threateningly from the kitchen when she heard the door open, and he braced himself, grimacing. “What the hell! Where’d you go, huh?! Your father had to get up to take out the trash because of your lazy ass, his back is killing him and you made him get up—”
She came out of the kitchen to greet him at the front door, spatula held menacingly in one hand. They already had dinner, so he didn’t know why she was still holding it. Probably thought it made her look more intimidating or some shit. It didn’t.
Well, maybe it did, a little. He glared at her and stomped on past to the sitting room where his father was sprawled out on the sofa with a heating pad on his back. Her face went from furious to shocked to pissed off.
“What the fuck, Katsuki! Your face! How the hell did you get into another fight, you damn brat?!”
He scowled and snatched a tissue from the kleenex box to scrape at the blood crusting beneath his nose. “There were two dipshits and they were gonna murder a fucking cat.”
His mother’s face did a complicated thing while his father looked on, somewhat passively. Katsuki glared back.
“You were taking the trash out,” his mother said slowly. “How’d you run into two brats?”
He said, “I followed the cat.”
His mother’s face did that complicated thing again, and she set the spatula down on the TV stand. “You followed the cat.”
He glowered at her resolutely and didn’t say anything else.
“Dear,” his father said softly from the sofa.
His mom rubbed the bridge of her nose. She ran a hand through her hair and closed her eyes and flopped down on the living room couch.
She said: “You had one job, Katsuki.”
It’s really fucking funny, the memories his brain decides to throw back at him when he’s practically an inch away from death. There are fingers closing around his ankles and then a massive force yanking him down, down, so hard that his head slams into the ground and he blacks out for a second.
Literally, he blacks out. His vision goes completely dark and his limbs go limp and he flops, like his mother had six years ago, onto the rubble below.
Then his eyes shoot open and he gasps once, heaving, and sets off the biggest explosion he can.
Dust billows up everywhere, and he’s not sure if he hit any of those motherfuckers but at least he can use this cover to run, to get away as fast as he can. He fucked up. God fucking damn it, he fucked up—
You had one job, Katsuki! His brain screams at him, except this time it’s in his own voice and the consequences are a hell of a lot worse than a detention after school for fighting and a two week grounding with no video games.
The cloud of dust makes it hard to see, but if Katsuki squints hard enough, he can see Kirishima and Deku and Iida growing farther and farther away, Kirishima’s face twisted in horror as he looks back. He probably can’t even see Katsuki anymore.
Maybe if he tries again, he can make it—he can fucking do this, it shouldn’t be this hard—fuck, his arms are numb and tingling. He overused his quirk, his muscle fibers feel like they’re literally separating from his bones.
He chokes on the dust and sets off another explosion anyway. It’s weak and gets him about two feet in the air before sputtering and dying out. Katsuki’s ass meets the dirt hard enough to send a painful jolt up his spine.
“Fuck,” he hisses, and starts crawling out of that fucking dust cloud even though he feels pathetic doing it. He can’t see Kirishima or Deku or Iida anymore. Maybe if he can get to All Might—shit, All Might is over there fighting the creep with no face. Maybe he can still get away before these fuckers find him again.
Something warm and wet is trickling down from the side of his head. He puts his hand to it and his fingers come away bloody. His skull is throbbing—if he has a concussion, he’s screwed. There’s a god-awful ringing in his ears that refuses to go away.
There are voices behind him calling out, rough and angry. He places one of them as that Shigaraki guy, and another one—that’s the girl with the knives. Katsuki’s heart pounds out of his chest. He’s not scared, dammit, he’s faced shit like this before and come out on top.
A flash of metal whizzes past his ear and impales itself in the ground a centimeter away from his hand. The knife girl says, “I’ll flush him out! Don’t worry, I’ll find him!”
“Fuck,” Katsuki mutters again, and staggers to his feet. He’s gotta run, it doesn’t matter where. Out of the dust cloud, away from the battle and out of All Might’s way—there’s gotta be some pros around here somewhere.
“No need,” a dry voice hisses behind him, and Katsuki whips around and sets off an explosion.
He doesn’t even think to lessen the power behind it this time to make sure he doesn’t accidentally murder someone, just aims and fires. He’ll toast this fucking hand-face. He’ll turn him into ashes—shit, is his heart supposed to be rattling his rib cage this hard?
Shigaraki screeches once and staggers back. The hand covering his face falls to the ground, charred black. The fucker’s face is red and blistering around the edges, hair singed and smoking. Katsuki can smell burned flesh.
It’s awful, the worst thing he’s ever smelled in his life and he thinks he might actually vomit, but the need to get the hell out of there overrides his urge to puke. Katsuki staggers away from Shigaraki, who’s hissing and screaming and clutching his burned face like he’s gone mad. He looks fucking deranged. Katsuki chokes on his own air and stumbles back, holding up a hand in warning.
“Sensei!” Shigaraki screams in a garbled voice, and lunges towards him anyway. Katsuki throws himself out of the way of those five outspread fingers. He knows at this point what they’ll do to him if they touch him.
His dust cloud is finally starting to clear. Katsuki glances around frantically. Through the haze, he can just make out All Might’s figure as he gets thrashed by that no face villain. That shouldn’t be happening—that’s not fucking right. That can’t be All Might.
Dimly, he registers that there are other bodies lying about, still and unmoving. A denim clad figure is settled on top of a pile of wreckage, limbs sprawled at awkward angles. Further back is Mt. Lady’s gigantic form, face-first in the dust. And on his right—
“Fuck,” Katsuki gasps, and just barely manages to throw himself out of the way before the masked marble villain latches onto him with a dirty, gloved hand.
The dust cloud is gone and the villains are regrouping, surrounding him on all sides. Shigaraki is still raving like a lunatic, clawing at his burned face and screaming for his sensei, but the others, knife girl and the magnet woman and the marble man and—freaking japanese Deadpool are all there and closing in, and—fuck.
“Stay back,” Katsuki says as fiercely as he can, but his bravado is fading away. One quick glance towards the skies tells him that Kirishima and Iida and Deku are long gone—they probably crash landed somewhere nearby, they couldn’t have gotten too far.
A small, selfish part of him hopes that they’ll come back. Katsuki squashes it.
“Stay back,” he spits again threateningly, when Knife Girl edges in too close. She grins dizzily at him, all canines and white teeth and glittery eyes.
“I wonder how your blood tastes,” she croons, and slides a knife from under her sleeve.
Fuck this. He means it—fuck this. He’s not letting them take him a second time. His arms feel like they’re going to fall off but Katsuki jerks his palms up to face outwards and lets loose the biggest explosion he can pull off.
His ears ring.
“Sensei!” Shigaraki shrieks as Katsuki runs, weaving on his own two feet and gagging on his own smoke. “Sensei, wait!”
The other villains are shouting, attacking, furious—the one with the magnet quirk lunges for him and grabs Katsuki’s forearm. Her fingers tighten around his flesh hard enough to bruise and he swears he hears his bones creak in her grip. His eyes widen. It’s gonna snap—
“Sensei!” Shigaraki is practically sobbing breathlessly, wrinkly gray hands outstretched towards the fucker without a face. No Face tilts his head in his direction and says—
“Go. Take the boy with you.”
Magnet’s sneering face leers down at him. This isn’t fucking happening.
“Fuck you!” Katsuki yells raggedly, and unleashes a barrage of explosions against Magnet’s rock solid gut. “Fuck you, son of a bitch, fucking let me go—”
“Feisty!” Magnet jeers. Katsuki grits his teeth and slams his palm as hard as he can over and over into the villain’s stomach, but hardly manages to singe a hole through her damn shirt. His explosions are weak as shit right now from how exhausted and in pain he is, and there’s nothing else he can do.
“Bakugou!” All Might calls to him desperately, and gets laid out so hard by No Face that Katsuki swears he sees a tooth fly out his mouth.
“All Might!” He screeches. His own voice sounds raspy and broken and so inhuman, he can hardly believe it’s his. All Might coughs up blood and bile and—this isn’t fucking happening.
Knife Girl and the marble villain are closing in and he struggles, giving up his pride to thrash like a wounded animal caught in a trap. This is wrong, all wrong on so many levels. Fuck, he’s fucking—he’s—
“Alright, that’s enough out of you,” the marble villain says, and claps a hand over the back of his neck.
Then it all goes dark.