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Clocks and Blades

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It was supposed to be a normal day for Bakugou Katsuki.

He had mapped his entire day out: wake up at 5am, have a silent breakfast in the blissfully empty common room, go outside for a morning workout while enjoying the first rays of sunshine, come back at 6am, ignore the few fucking extras talking about how “early” they woke up and go straight to the shower, go to class, be the damn best, and make it clear by the end of the day that he was going to be the one to outshine everyone in this class - nay, in this school.

Of course, it never went his way. There was always someone willing to somehow do everything in their power to fuck it all up and turn his good mood to ash and dust: half-n-half would try to compete with him and would snatch half of his victories away, all the while looking like it was no fucking big deal for him. Four-Eyes would loudly tell him off about every single fucking detail that displeased this annoying little rich kid, from the way he talked to the way he dressed, to the way he freaking walked. As if any of it was any of his goddamn business.

Kirishima and the rest of his “squad” would stalk him like puppies attached to him through an invisible leash, and although most of the time he genuinely enjoyed their company, other times he just wished there was a way for him to blast all of them into oblivion without actually hurting them. Or Uraraka - that annoying, hyperactive, Deku-loving fuckstick - would decide to meddle in his business and try to have a heart to heart conversation with him about how to behave around Deku - around Deku, that irksome, whinny, not-so-long-ago-quirkless, nerdy little piece of -

No. This day was going to be different. This day would be his.

And it actually started really well. During the morning lessons, Midnight-sensei gave them back the assignment they had to hand in the week before and stopped before giving him his, taking his paper as the example of what type of work she was expecting from them in second year and praising him out loud for the quality of his argumentation, which earned him the best grade in class 2-A AND 2B.

Then, during their afternoon practical field training with Thirteen-sensei and Aizawa-sensei, while everyone rushed head first for the big villain they were supposed to be looking for, Katsuki hesitated. He had spent way too many lessons with these two teachers, listening to their endless lectures after he had taken some rash decision that involved him going for the villains, and fake civilians pretending to be hurt. It took all of his will to begrudgingly turn away from the wide streets of Ground Beta, and wander in the small alleys and near the building entrances. He almost burst out laughing when he found not one, but dozens of black dummies lying all over the place, with a white sign reading “CIVILIAN” hanging around their neck.

He pulled out and piled up 24 of them in the street, when a loud shriek echoed throughout Ground Beta - immediately followed by explosions in the buildings he had just vacated. He wanted to dash to the origin of the noise, knowing that it was coming from the villain they were supposed to be looking for, but then Aizawa-sensei’s disappointed glare at him leaving allegedly hurt civilians came floating in his mind, and he pulled his pile of dummies out of harm’s way, cursing and fuming. His annoyance kept growing when dummies kept on appearing everywhere in the streets and in the buildings, forcing him to take care of them one by one. And just when he thought he was finally done, all the buildings behind him collapsed, raising a massive cloud of dust that almost suffocated him, followed by a loud horn sound - the assignment was over.

Cursing and swearing out loud, he made his way back to their meeting point, his hands in the pockets of his hero costume, thinking he had failed, too busy looking for some stupid fucking dummies while the others had the time of their goddamn lives kicking the ass of some crazy villain -

He was all wrong.

Upon arriving, Aizawa-sensei’s glowing red eyes were murdering everyone around him for being stupid enough to go straight for the villain, instead of securing the area first - had he taught them nothing? Had they not learned a single thing during their provisional license exam, last year? From all the crazy situations they were involved in throughout their first year? Were they worthy of being UA’s second-year students? Were they worthy of even dreaming of becoming heroes?

“The only one who took the time to assess the situation and think twice before rushing in was Bakugou,” he deadpanned. “Alone, he saved more than thirty people from the buildings you made the villain destroy by pushing him into a corner, and had it not been for him, they would all be dead.”

And had his ego been a balloon, Katsuki would have been floating away with pride. His grin kept growing impossibly wide as Thirteen-sensei explained to a crowd of flabbergasted extras why he had been the fucking best at this exercise, how he had matured enough to be worthy of becoming a great pro hero, and how they should feel encouraged to follow his example.

He was in heaven.

For the first time in a very long time, he wasn't even really bothered by Deku’s annoyingly high-pitched voice as they made their way back to the locker room, talking with Four-eyes while they changed about how much they still had to work before becoming pro heroes. When Deku started praising Katsuki however, he felt an irritated itch beginning to crawl up his chest as he remembered how strong that fucking nerd had been the last time they fought during practice. Just like that one time on Ground Beta, Katsuki won - obviously - but it was a close one. No matter what, whenever that stupid fucker said something like “Wow Kacchan, that was amazing!”, he inevitably felt like he was somehow mocking him, lying to him, deceiving him into believing he was weaker when really he was slowly becoming stronger and stronger by the day.

Now they were all heading out, a pack of twenty students, chatting and laughing loudly, walking in the warm sun of May. Katsuki inhaled the air - it smelled of grass freshly cut, flowers and summer. A small smile floated on his lips: today had been a really good fucking day. Looking at his watch, and then at his squad walking next to him - loud and stupid and obnoxious - he thought he could perhaps reschedule his evening workout session and hang out a little bit with them. He told himself that he had to anyway, or else the fuckers would be impossible all night, and would absolutely refuse to leave his side to let him get some work done. But if he was being completely honest with himself - which he wasn't - he didn’t really want this perfect day to be over just yet.

“Oi Kirishima,” he called, interrupting Pikachu in whatever bullshit explanation he was giving, “let's go to the arcades, I wanna kick somebody’s ass. Plus they have a new game, and it doesn't have my name ranked first yet.”

“Are my ears deceiving me?” Soy Sauce was now looking at him with a stupidly big smile plastered on his face. “Is the great, the one, the only, the amaaAAazing Lord Explosion Murder suggesting we have fun with him?”

Katsuki felt his good mood plummet as fast as his brow furrowed.

“First, I asked Kirishima, not you assholes,” he spat harshly, “and second - you know what? Forget it.”

He was about to turn around and head towards the dorm, but he had just lit a fire that, after an entire year, he was yet to learn to control: his friends’ enthusiasm.

“No no no no wait!” Kirishima caught him by the shoulders, laughing, and pulled him back to him, firmly holding Katsuki’s shoulders under his arm. “Let's hit the arcade! It's been forever since we’ve been there together, let's go have fun!”

“Yeah!” Buzz Face was almost sparkling in delight. “You’ve been so busy preparing for the Sports Festival, you’ve totally ditched us man, now you gotta make up for it!”

“If you guys had a little bit of brain left you’d be preparing too, the festival is in three days,” Katsuki growled as he shook hair-for-brains’ arm off of him, another type of frown settling on his face.

For a moment he had forgotten all about UA’s big event, and although he was more than ready, he still felt like there was way too much room for improvement. The happy-go-lucky extras from his class had grown stronger over the past years, but so had the others from class 2-B. Hell, they even managed to all pass their provisional license exam, and none of them had failed, while he and half-n-half - the two top students, the finalists from last year’s Sport Festival - had failed.

He had had more than his fair share of dust-biting over the past twelve months. He was not about to let himself down this time. Not again.

But of course, like every time he felt like bailing on him, Kirishima intervened.

“We are training,” he replied, still smiling, “but unlike you, we know how to also have fun.” He shrugged, falsely defeated. “But well, if you’re afraid Kaminari might beat you again at ‘Zombie Apocalypse 3’, then I guess there's no helping it -”

Somewhere inside Katsuki’s head, something snapped. He was better than Buzz Face at everything - everything - so the idea that, even as a joke, stupid Kirishima might suggest that this shitty little half fried pokemon could surpass him at something - anything - lit his soul on fire.

“What the fuck did you just say?!” he exploded, sweat collecting in his hands. “Take your asses to the arcade, I’ll show you who’s the fuckin’ best. When I’m done with you, y’all little bitches will be crawlin’ on your knees, beggin’ me to end your suffering!”

“Alright, I can feel the fire!” Kirishima cheered, indifferent to Katsuki’s fury.

“Let's get as many tickets as we can!” Tape Face continued, flexing his arms as if he was going to wrestle.

Buzz Face jumped and threw his fit in the air.

“To the arcade!!”

“What? You guys are going to the arcade?”

Katsuki turned around and found Racoon Eyes and Sound Bitch smiling at them, looking interested.

Fucking. No.

“Yeah, Katsuki wants to spend some quality time with us. He missed his friends, locked up in the cave he likes to call his room,” replied Buzz Face, running his fingers through his hair in a supposedly cool pose.

“You little piece of-”

Katsuki threw himself at the blond, somehow convinced that nothing would relieve him more than exploding his face until he became a helpless fried derp. He overheard Kirishima talking to the girls.

“Ashido, Jirou! Do you wanna join us? It would be fun!”

“Eh? I wanna go too, I wanna go!” Katsuki was too busy holding a pleading Buzz Face in a headlock to take a look, but he recognised See-through’s annoying girly voice. “Ojiro-kun, let's go to the arcade!”

“Everyone! We must not forget we have homework to do, and we must prepare for the Sports Festival!” Katsuki barely heard the end of Four-Eyes’ sentence, busy sending explosion in his victim’s face, but he could practically see him move his hands around like a fucking robot. “On top of that, we must absolutely respect the curfew our teachers and UA have agreed upon!”

“It’s fine Iida-kun!” Now it was Uraraka’s turn to throw up rainbows all over the fucking place. “We've all been training and studying really hard, and we still have a couple of hours before curfew. It's been a long time since class 1-A got out all together - ah wait, no, class 2-A!”

“I see … That's right! This might be the only opportunity to bond again before the Sports Festival” Like always whenever Uraraka talked to him, Four-Eyes seemed to have just discovered the ultimate hidden truth to an endless question. “Everyone! Let's go to the arcade and enjoy ourselves to the fullest!”

Just how easily could this chubby little freak manipulate everyone around her?

“You need to chill Iida,” Kirishima commented, playfully slapping his shoulder.

“Wow, class 2-A - time really flew by! It feels like only yesterday when we passed the entrance exam” Deku squeaked - fucking Deku.

“I know right? It feels kinda nostalgic, but in a happy way!” That Uraraka - fuck her round face and her endless optimism.

Now that he was done with Buzz Face, looking as fried as a shrimp left too long in the frying pan, Katsuki turned around to stare furiously at the entire fucking class heading merrily towards the school entrance.

“OI!” he yelled, trailing begrudgingly behind them, feeling like he was following them, rather than them tagging along. “I didn’t invite any of you extras so fuck off already!”

“So vulgar,” Ponytail commented with a contemptuous look, before she turned to her neighbour. “Todoroki-san, have you ever been to an arcade?”

“Ah … no, never. I guess this will be the first time. For you too Yaoyorozu, right?” As ever, Half-n-half was the fucking living embodiment of dull. It was like boredom and despair had met and decided to have a child, and painted him in red and white like a clown to try and make him a little bit less bland.

Ponytail joined her hands, her eyes bright with excitement.

“Yes! I cannot wait to see how ordinary people spend their free time!”

“Hey Yaomomo, that stung. We aren’t that diff- pffffft Kaminari, your face!” Sound Girl exclaimed before laughing out loud at Pikachu's happy derp face, his thumbs sticking out.

“Wheeeeeee-”

“Bakugou, you should stop toasting him like that, he’s gonna get stuck!” Soy Sauce laughed, tears welling up in his eyes as he, the squad and most of the class laughed at the expense of their friends.

Katsuki merely grunted, hands deep in his pockets, but he said nothing. He felt his mood improve slightly and gave up on trying to keep the shitty extras away. Oh well, he could still ignore them once at the arcade.

And on the way to the arcade.

In fact, he could even start now.

With a few quick paces, he caught up with Kirishima, Soy Sauce and Racoon Eyes, listening to them talk about the boys’ last match on that stupid dancing machine, and how Racoon Eyes was going to crush them to dust - and of course, they took on the challenge.

Great. Now that meant he was gonna have to watch them during their dance-off. Fucking. No. He looked around, assessing whose ass he could bust while he waited for them to finish their stupid match.

His eyes fell upon Uraraka, happily chatting with Toad Girl. She always hid behind her round cheeks and played nice with everyone, but Katsuki knew she was a beast in disguise. He had watched on TV how she had tackled and smacked Overhaul to the ground - the one villain no one should approach, because he could fucking disintegrate them. He remembered how eager she had been to launch herself into battle, when himself had threatened to explode her face that one time when she asked him to “play nice with Deku”. And he hadn’t forgotten how she had tried to and almost succeeded in crushing him with a goddamn meteor shower just a year ago.

It was decided then. He would whoop Uraraka’s ass while his shitty friends danced.

And what an ass, he thought as his eyes drifted slightly south, where the wind played mischievously with the border of her skirt, threatening to lift it at any given moment. He winced and turned his head sharply around. He had been doing that a lot lately, staring at girls, noticing their thighs, breasts, hair, shoulders, and how it all somehow organised itself to create a weirdly attracting idea, like an unstoppable and continuous whisper in his ear. And, well, Uraraka seemed to be the one to often catch his eye.

There was a scream. Then two. Then a wind of panic swept over the students gathered at the school entrance, and they all started running in every direction, away from the gates.

And Katsuki was pulled out of his thoughts in the worst possible way. In front of them, a warp gate was slowly opening.

“No way ... it's - The league of villains!” Deku screamed, while everyone around him gasped, horrified.

Katsuki felt his stomach drop and blood leave his face as his nightmares suddenly came rushing before his eyes. They came back for him. They were back, and this time they would not only kill him and turn him into a Nomu, but they would kill everyone in the fucking school in the process.

He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, cold sweat dripping down his back and fury boiling in his head - nothing compared to the playful anger he had felt earlier - clouding everything around him. They wanted him? They were gonna have to pull his dead ass from the ground then. He was no weakling anymore.

“Bakugou?” Kirishima raised a hand towards him, but before he could touch him, Katsuki launched himself forward.

“BAKUGOU!”

He couldn't tell who had yelled his name - many people. He didn’t care. He was gonna annihilate the motherfuckers. Make them pay for everything they had put him through - chaining him up, treating him like a fucking villain, trying to turn him into a dead brain, leading to All Might’s end - everything. His rage became white-hot, blurring everything around him as his hands became wet with anticipation.

He barely noticed the warp gate was not dark purple but cobalt blue, and when four people were thrown out of it and crashed onto the ground, he didn’t pause to realize they were wearing UA uniforms. He used one explosion to propel himself as high as he could, then, ignoring the screams surrounding him, he let gravity pull him back towards the ground as he spun around himself and let out explosions at the same time, turning into a giant exploding and burning tornado.

“FUCKING BASTARDS!!” he roared, putting all his strength into his explosions “DIIIIIIIIIIIE!!”

And then, for a few brief seconds before he landed, his eyes met the eyes of the one he was going to crush. It was a boy, probably his age, brown hair framing his face. For a second, he looked at Katsuki, obviously confused. Then understanding and realization flickered on his face, immediately replaced by a look of intense horror. His eyes grew impossibly wide, red pupils staring at him in terrified disbelief.

A single raspy scream escaped his lips and echoed across the school entrance as Katsuki let all hell break loose on the boy.

“DAD!”