It was supposed to be Deku's day off, but when Uravity called in telling him she needed his help... well, who needs a break anyway? He was used to working endlessly and being pushed beyond his limits, that was the whole point of attending U.A. when he was a teenager, and since he was well on his way to being the Number One Hero it was to be expected, really.
Izuku got changed into his forest green costume quickly, darting out the door and launching himself into the air towards his friend. He covered the city in a few, powerful leaps, landing lightly on his toes next to the young woman wearing pink, black and white, who barely noticed his silent arrival and yelped with surprise to suddenly see her fellow Pro Hero at her side.
“Deku-kun!” She gently smacked his arm, her bob of chestnut hair bouncing as she giggled off her shock. “I'm glad you're here, but do you really have to startle me like that?”
He laughed along with her, trying to muffle the sound with a gloved hand as his bright green eyes sparkled with mischief. “Perhaps you should work on your spacial awareness, Uravity-chan.”
“Perhaps I should use my Quirk and punt you into the sun,” she shot back at him with a playful glare, only to suddenly turn serious. “I'm sorry for disturbing your day off, but we've got a lead on that villain that's been causing chaos lately, and I figured you'd appreciate the opportunity to try and analyse his Quirk.”
“Oh, you mean Banisher?” He held off on the thoughtful mumbles, instead looking around him. “Whoa, that's a lot of police. It makes sense, though - he's done such awful things.”
“Hopefully we can take him down today and stop anyone else from suffering.” Ochako raised her fists with determination blazing in her brown gaze.
Izuku nodded at her with an equally intense look, clenching his hand into a fist within the elbow-length white glove he wore to support his scarred arm.
Banisher was a man who had been running rampant through Tokyo for the past few weeks. His Quirk was unknown, but all that remained of his victims was a splash of blood. He probably had some good connections with other villains because he slipped away so easily, causing Pro Heroes to get criticised for their failures despite the fact that the man was practically a ghost and seemingly uncatchable. Only a few pictures and videos of the killer existed, providing the police with a vague profile of a man in his mid-thirties, taller than average, a thin physique, and short, dark hair. It wasn't much to go on, but it was better than nothing.
Izuku raised his head as an officer approached. The woman debriefed them, providing blueprints of the building and explaining which angles they would be covered from when they entered. Both heroes spent a few minutes staring intently at the layout, and the scene gave him a warm reminder of the first battle trial at U.A., over a decade ago. They handed the sheets back and got into position at the front entrance.
On the signal through their earpieces, Uravity pressed her fingers together and floated skyward, curling up her legs and landing silently on the roof to search the top floor. Izuku activated his Quirk, easily slipping inside and pacing down the dark corridors, subtle green lightning flashing over his form and briefly illuminating the walls. With every step it felt more and more like the old battle trial at school, and he half expected to turn a corner and run into an angry Kacchan, but the building stayed silent.
The floor was filthy, covered in litter and dirt. Some of the walls were cracked and the ceiling groaned eerily. Soft breezes whispered through the rooms, ruffling through his green hair as they passed.
A soft 'clear' came from his earpiece, signalling that Ochako had found nothing on the topmost floor. He sped up his pace, keeping his footsteps as silent as possible with his reinforced boots and listening intently for any sign of life. There was nothing in any of the rooms, and it was starting to unsettle him, but he kept a lid on his emotions and surveyed the second floor.
It smelt like damp, and the water-stained corners explained why. Graffiti was scrawled across the walls, some of it bright and complicated, other parts in black ink and simplistic. Names had been carved into the cold stone, telling tales of couples from years ago. His footsteps echoed in the corridors and his breaths sounded uncomfortably loud.
Izuku reached the stairs, called in another empty floor, and headed up to the next level, keeping cautious and pausing before turning every corner. His Quirk thrummed impatiently under his skin, darting across his form in small crackles of emerald lightning as some of his power spilled over. He peeked into a room before entering, already seeing a big difference in the form of a sofa covered in a dusty, white sheet.
Something shuffled behind him, and if he wasn't on such high alert he would've missed it altogether. Izuku threw himself to the side, whipping around to see the man they'd been searching for as he tumbled into the room, hands glowing an ominous red and a face twisted into a manic expression.
“Third floor!” He gasped out to his comrades. “Second room on the right!”
He darted to the side again, reassured by his friend's voice as she responded instantly. The man lunged forwards, surprisingly fast despite his skinny appearance. Izuku kept an eye on the crimson palms, trying to work out what sort of Quirk that could suggest. His brain ran a mile a minute as he kept up the dodges, not wanting to recklessly throw himself into a brawl too soon and end up as a blood splatter on the disgusting floor.
The villain was trying to get in close, implying a touch-activated Quirk. But what happens when he touches someone? Does it cause an injury? Maybe it was a disintegration Quirk, like Thirteen or Shigaraki, which would explain the vanishing bodies, and somewhat justify the name Banisher. Was the emanated light a by-product of the Quirk? Would it function similar to Tokoyami's Dark Shadow, where it gets stronger in darkness? What sort of weaknesses would a light-giving disintegration Quirk have? Perhaps-
“You really want to know more about my Quirk?” The man snarled, his lips pulled back in a ferocious grin.
“That would be helpful,” Izuku responded, sounding far more calm than he felt.
“I call it...” He darted in close so suddenly that the young man was caught off guard, his back thudding against the wall. “...Obliterate.”
The villain's hands gripped the hero's forearm, and there was a moment of complete stillness. Uravity burst into the room in slow motion, gradually turning her head and locking eyes with her friend and-
Izuku screamed. It was ragged and guttural. Agony tore through his form, white-hot and blinding. Nothing existed but pain. It felt like he was being shredded. His senses were blanked. He had no idea what was happening, and he was terrified. Everything was terrible agony and he was sure he should've died ten times already, but the torture just kept coming, drowning him in anguish and pushing aside any thoughts until he begged for death, trapped inside a void of misery and-
He blinked open his eyes to bright sunlight. His gaze followed a baseball as it dropped from his raised hand, bouncing onto the grass a few feet away from where he was standing. The air was fresh and soothing, and the entire scene was nothing but tranquil, yet he still felt like crying. Slowly, Izuku turned around, cradling his arm. He froze, something cold settling in his gut.
Aizawa was there, with glowing red eyes and floating black hair, with his grey ribbons of capture weapon swirling around his head. “I erased your Quirk.”
But... It couldn't be him, surely. He might've been wearing the same black long-sleeved shirt, baggy around his torso, and loose trousers the same colour tucked into his shin-high boots, but it didn't make sense. There was no jagged scar on his right cheekbone from the USJ incident. His pale face had fewer wrinkles, the dark stubble over his jawline was messy and unkempt, and he looked... younger...
Izuku couldn't focus on what he was saying, and instead gradually lowered his gaze to his own hands. His chest tightened: there were no scars marring his skin. He recognised the familiar blue, red, and white gym uniform that he was wearing. It seemed as if he was shorter and smaller, too, with muscles impressive for a teen, yet so much slighter than he was used to. The entire scene was completely recognisable but entirely implausible.
His gaze flicked to the right, a feeling of icy shock trickling down his spine as he saw his old classmates, all looking fresh and bright with determination. None of them looked at him with the warmth and affection he'd grown used to. Kacchan was glowering at him in a manner Izuku had almost forgotten about over the years, after they'd reconciled and connected with a friendly rivalry rather than simmering hatred after years of suppressed emotions and aggressive actions.
“Do you intend to become incapacitated again and have someone save you?” Aizawa continued, seemingly oblivious to the inner turmoil his student was going through. “Midoriya Izuku, with your power, you can't become a hero.”
There was a hushed murmur that rippled through the crowd. Izuku was getting an overpowering sense of deja vu, and his mind was struggling to wrap around the events that had just unfolded. He had come up with several possible conclusions:
Banisher had killed him, and this was some sort of afterlife.
Banisher's Quirk created incredibly realistic illusions, possibly based upon memories.
Izuku glanced around, remembering how All Might had confessed to him, years later, that he'd secretly observed the assessment. There the man was, peeking out from behind a wall, wearing a bright yellow suit that strained against the hero's impossible muscles, face hidden with shadows but with an easily recognisable silhouette due to the two tufts of hair that stuck up on the front of his head like bunny ears. The boy hadn't seen his mentor at the time, so for him to notice such a thing now, it could imply... No, no... Surely, there wasn't a Quirk that powerful... But it made sense...
Banisher could send people back in time.
“I've returned your Quirk,” Aizawa informed him, letting the capture weapon settle back around his shoulders as he blinked, his bloodshot eyes fading back to the colour of black coffee. “You have two turns for the ball throw. Hurry up and get it over with.”
If it really was time travel, then he had to be cautious. Even if it was some other kind of Quirk, it would be best to pretend he didn't know what was going on until he figured it was safe, just in case it gave him an advantage later on. All he had to do was play along...
Izuku drew back an arm, firing up his Quirk and flinging the ball forwards. A blast of air pressure exploded from his palm as the ball rocketed through the air, tearing through clouds and shooting out of sight. He shifted his stance slightly as the wind rocked his form, keeping his radioactive eyes on the trajectory for a moment more before wincing and looking down at his forearm. Blood was spilling from his skin in the same place Banisher had touched. It wasn't much more than a cut, and he'd had much worse – or... he would have much worse?
He realised his mistake the moment he turned around to face his teacher, whose face was split in a manic grin that was no less terrifying than the first time he'd done so. Last time, Izuku had focused his power in a fingertip and broken it, getting an impressive 705.3m. This time, he hadn't even needed to think about it because he was so used to the power of One for All, which meant he had just punted the ball into the sun with the 75% of his Quirk he could handle.
Aizawa lifted the device, angling the screen towards his student. On the screen was an infinity symbol.
Ah, attention; precisely what he didn't want.
His freckled cheeks flushed with embarrassment and he slammed his face into his hands, regretting all his life choices. The students were muttering amongst themselves, all sounding awed after the casual display of immense power. Izuku raised his head when he heard footsteps pounding towards him, noticing Kacchan blasting his way over with murder in his crimson gaze. He didn't bother moving an inch, trying to fight the smile that threatened to appear as the volatile boy got wrapped up in Aizawa's capture weapon.
Well, at least this experience promised to be entertaining.
The moment he got home, he dived into his childhood bedroom, immediately rummaging around for a spare notebook. Izuku grabbed a random one and flipped it open to the first page.
Time was delicate and needed to be treated with caution, and caution required careful planning. He drew a line down the centre of a few pages, scribbling down the events of the day on one side and adding what he remembered of the original version on the other. Since there were bound to be two concurrent timelines running through his head as the weeks passed, he needed to make sure that everything of the - Future? Past? - first account was noted down to the best of his ability. Izuku added precise dates and times as accurately as he could remember, chronicling his whole journey to become a hero and taking special care to add more detail on the dangerous events. It took hours of frantic writing to cover all he remembered up to when he was twenty-eight and fighting Banisher.
Presuming that the butterfly effect was true, then he needed to avoid changing too many things, just in case he ended up creating an entirely different future that he couldn't predict. He also needed to keep a relatively low profile, so as not to slap an even bigger target on his back and make more trouble for his friends. He needed to be wary of what he mentioned to people to try and keep his sudden knowledge of the future on the down-low.
But... He wanted to befriend all his classmates more quickly. He wanted to stop Aizawa from getting his head smashed in by the Nomu. He wanted to warn All Might to not use up his time limit on the USJ day. He wanted to tell Todoroki he was his own person. He wanted to assure Shinsou that his Quirk was amazing. He wanted to save Ingenium from paralysis. He wanted to stop Kacchan from being captured. He wanted to stop All for One so All Might didn't have to use up all his power to win. He wanted-
There were a lot of things that could be changed, and now he had the chance to, it was difficult to stop himself from being tempted. At the very least, he had to keep his power incredibly low, so it didn't seem like he'd suddenly improved an impossible amount. Hopefully they'd accept the ball throw as a fluke, since he'd also pretended that the gash on his arm was caused by his Quirk.
He rubbed his knuckles over his forehead, still unused to the smooth skin. There was so much to think about, but at least his organisation skills could help ease some of the strain.
Izuku flopped into bed, pressing his face into the pillow and smiling to himself at the familiar scent of home. He had so much to do, but... it could wait for another day.