Bakugou didn't want to call it stalking, but he was hiding behind a tree watching that fucking nerd and the half and half bastard walk around the park holding hands. He wanted to feel disgusted, but all he felt was burning jealousy. He wanted to run over there and rip them apart. In fact, he was moving to take a step when someone spoke right behind him.
“Don't even think about it,” a rough voice growled as he was grabbed by the scruff of his neck, a hand going around his mouth. His first instinct was to fight, but a small explosion under his nose sent a shock through him. “Yeah, that's your power. My power. Our power shitty brat.”
The person spun him around and Bakugou found himself staring up at himself. Only taller, older, scarred, exhausted. He had an eye patch over his left eye and long jagged scar just down the left side of his face. His remaining eye was worn and tired. He was scruffy and his hair was too long. His battered clothes hung off his frame. He looked like a fucking bum, but it was still him.
“The fuck?” Bakugou breathed.
“Some shit happened,” the other him grumbled. “The end of the fucking world happened. And it's our fault.” He glared at Bakugou.
Bakugou bristled. “How the fuck?”
“Because we're a selfish greedy jealous asshole who doesn't deserve him. That's how.”
Bakugou gave him a confused look and the older version sighed. He suddenly looked even older as he glanced past Bakugou, looking over at the happy couple as they sat on a bench by the park’s fountain. Some weird emotions flickered across the other man's face. Pain, regret, longing, but mostly pain. “Fucking nerdshit?” Bakugou asked in disbelief.
Older Bakugou scoffed. “Yeah. C'mon shitty brat, I'll explain things to you so you don't fuck up the entire world a second time.” He kept a tight hold on Bakugou’s neck as he dragged him out of the park.
“So let me get this fucking straight,” Bakugou said. They were sitting on a park bench in a different park from where they'd left the lovebirds, having long since been kicked out of a coffee shop for their language. Bakugou was nursing a spiced chai latte the older man had ordered for him that tasted like the beginning of a crippling addiction. He sipped it, appreciating the warm spices on his tongue, before continuing. “If I break up the fucking nerd and half and half bastard, I cause the end of the world?”
The older him nodded, taking a slow appreciative sip of his own chai latte.
“Bullshit,” Bakugou snapped instantly. “How could something so dumb cause that?”
Older him sighed. “I knew it wouldn't be that fucking easy,” he muttered scrubbing at his face. “They told me not to give you details to save the integrity of the timeline or some shit, but we're trying to fuck up that shitty future anyway, so fucking listen up. We are the worst fucking boyfriend on the planet. We are a shitty toxic asshole.”
“Speak for yourself fucking geezer!” Bakugou squawked.
The older him glared him down. “Quit lying to yourself asshole. You're poison and you know it. It still amazes we that we had friends. Stupid fuckers had no sense of self-preservation. That's why they're all dead.”
Bakugou flinched. “Dead?”
“Yeah, starting with Deku. He was the first. We break them up because we’re jealous. We knew that nerd longer than anyone. He calls us Kacchan for fuck’s sake. If that doesn't give us the exclusive right to claim him, what does?”
Bakugou clenched his fist. It was like the older man was reading all the deep dark thoughts he didn’t want to admit to having.
The other man smirked darkly. “So we claim him. That stupid nerd is ours. But we're destructive. We don't know how to be gentle. We only know how to fuck shit up. And that's what we do. We fuck him up. We break him. We break his heart. But we don't let him escape. He's ours,” the man snarled.
Bakugou flinched. It was true there was some dark creature inside of him saying that, but to hear it said out loud makes it seem that much more twisted in the daylight.
“We broke him,” the older man said, quieter now. “You can call him quirkless all you want, but you know damn well that his real quirk was his never-ending well of hope and determination. That bright hope that pours out of his skin, we snuffed it out with our anger. We killed that. We killed him. With that hope gone, he battled All for One and he lost.” He stared out into nothing and Bakugou just knew that he was seeing Deku’s broken body. It sent cold shivers running through him.
“And then what?” Bakugou asked.
“Isn’t that enough?” the older man asked looking tired, more tired than before. He crunched his empty cup in his fist and tossed it towards the bin near their bench.
“No,” Bakugou snapped. “Cause it’s not the full story. What next?”
The man shrugged. “If we stop it now, the details shouldn’t matter, but the long and short of it is that All for One happened. Without Deku, no one else was strong enough to oppose him. I’m not sure what the fuck they were hoping to accomplish. They just fucked shit up. Destroying whatever they could. They practically sent us back to the fucking dark ages. Food was hard to come by. It was hell. And not just in Japan. He fucked up the whole fucking world. And we don’t know why. He might have just gone crazy after living for so long. Either way, everyone died. All the heroes, all our friends, all our hope. Everyone except me. I managed to hunt down someone with a time travel quirk. Pretty sure they died sending me back so far. So you better not make all that death be for nothing.”
Bakugou frowned. It was a lot to take in. He didn’t want to believe it, but the proof was sitting right next to him looking tired and old and staring off into a future that chilled him to the bone.
“So what do you want from me?” Bakugou asked.
The man smacked him on the back of the head. “Don’t be dense. You know exactly what you need to do. Leave Deku and his prince alone. Let them be disgustingly happy together and watch their backs. Train like a man possessed so when the time comes, you can be fucking useful and help Deku put an end to that shit before it goes down. Prepare yourself asshole, you need to be ready to save the fucking world.”
“I can’t save the world,” Bakugou argued. “I’m just one fucking person.”
“Yeah, but you’re not alone you little shit. Work hard with the people around you. Get stronger with them, drag them along. As a group, you’re fucking invincible. It just took us too long to figure it out. We’d lost too many people by then. But trust me, we could save the whole goddamn universe if we set our minds to it.”
“Sounds like a lot of fucking work for a maybe,” Bakugou muttered.
“Shut the fuck up. You love the challenge. I can already see the wheels in your head turning, just like Deku.”
Bakugou flushed in annoyance at being compared to that nerd, but the older man was right. He was already thinking about his classmates and places where combining their quirks could increase their power to devastating effects. He was drawn out of his thoughts by Deku’s voice.
“I swear I saw someone dragging Kacchan off,” Deku was saying to Todoroki as they walked into the park with cups of coffee from the same damn cafe he’d just gotten kicked out of in their hands.
“Shit,” the older him muttered, standing up and trying to turn away, but it was already too late, Deku had spotted them.
“Kacchan!” he yelled, waving his free hand. He stopped and frowned as he caught sight of the man standing beside Bakugou. “Kacchan?” Deku whispered, the coffee cup in his hand slipping from his grasp. It seemed to make far too much noise as it hit the ground and spilled its contents across the pavement.
“What?” Bakugou demanded.
But Deku wasn’t looking at him. He was looking at the older version, his eyes wide. The older version was looking at Deku like he was a glass of water in the middle of the desert. His eye drank in the sight of Deku young, healthy, alive.
“Kacchan, what happened?” Deku asked, approaching the older version without a hint of caution. He reached out, his hand going immediately to the long scar on his face. Touching him was like springing a trap. The man's arms wrapped around him tightly and Todoroki shouted a warning, stepping forward with his hand crackling with ice. He held back when the man didn’t hurt Deku, but he remained on guard. The older man held Deku close, pressing his face into Deku’s hair. The tension bled out of him, like the weight of the awful future had fallen from his shoulders.
“Deku,” the man whispered as he clung to the boy.
Deku was startled by the hug, by the way the man folded down around him like he was trying to protect him, but after a moment, he brought his arms up around the man and hugged him back. “It's ok Kacchan,” he said quietly. “It's ok.”
“What's going on?” The half and half bastard asked as he stood uncomfortably at Bakugou’s side, watching his boyfriend hug the older version of Bakugou. He looked like he wanted to intervene, but he wasn’t sure what to do.
“We're fucking saving the world,” Bakugou said, noticing that the older version of himself was starting to look suspiciously transparent. Todoroki gave him a confused look. Bakugou glared at him for a moment before coming to a decision. “You better fucking take care of him,” he said, looking over at Deku.
Todoroki followed his gaze, frowning as he also noticed the older man fading out.
“Kacchan! What's happening?” Deku asked, panicked.
The older man pulled back and smiled. “You're changing the world. Just by being here, by living, you're changing everything Deku.”
“I don't understand,” Deku said.
The man shook his head. “I don't want you to understand. I just want you to live and be happy,” the older version said, making eye contact with his younger self.
Bakugou swallowed as he realized that he couldn't tell Deku what was going on. He'd blame himself and worry about it and it was clearly not his fault. His older self, the one who knew Deku best, who came back in time to save him and the future, didn’t want Deku to worry. The truth would be his burden to bear. He nodded at his older self.
The man smirked. “And you assholes better take care of him!” he snapped.
“Of fucking course,” Bakugou snapped back even as Todoroki jumped to attention beside him.
“And be nicer to your fucking friends asshole. Maybe you’ll get some dick if you don’t act like such a dick.” Bakugou’s face flushed in anger an embarrassment. “For the record, Kirishima has a really nice one.” The older man smirked and Bakugou felt sparks of mortification snap across his palms.
“Kacchan!” Deku cried. They could see straight through the man. Deku’s hands were starting to slip through him.
“Be happy Deku,” the older man said, pressing a kiss to Deku’s forehead. Then he was gone.
Deku was left staring into thin air, tears leaking down his cheeks. He rounded on Bakugou. “What happened!?”
Bakugou crossed his arms stubbornly. He couldn’t tell him. Deku could never know what awful things he’d been thinking, what he’d been on the verge of doing, and especially not what the future had in store had he gone down that road.
“Kacchan!” Deku cried, stepping towards him.
“We saved the world,” he snapped.
Deku paused. “What? But how?”
Bakugou kept his mouth clamped shut. It was Todoroki who replied. “The future that he came from...somehow we changed it. It doesn't happen, so he doesn't exist?” He guessed looking at Bakugou.
Bakugou glared at him mulishly but gave him a quick nod.
“But how?” Deku asked again.
“Hell if I know. Time travel is crazy shit,” Bakugou lied.
Deku gave an almost hysterical giggle and Todoroki was quick to go to his side to wrap him in his arms. Deku buried his face into Todoroki’s neck and blubbered a bit. “Kacchan.”
“I'm right here, idiot,” Bakugou muttered uncomfortably.
Bakugou huffed. “Look, all that bad shit that happened to him, that might happen to me, to us, it won't now. He did what he came here to do and he was happy to go out in your arms. Respect that shit ok?” Deku gave him a wide watery look. “Just stop fucking crying.” Usually, he was stronger against Deku’s tears. But technically those tears were for him. His future self.
Todoroki used the edge of his sleeve to dab at Deku’s cheeks and received a weak smile of thanks.
Just a little gesture like that was like a needle to his heart reminding him that he’d be a shit boyfriend for Deku. He was always making him cry and he’d never once dried his tears. Todoroki was clearly the superior boyfriend. Still, he felt the need to do something to make Deku stop crying. “I’ll give you this if you stop fucking crying,” Bakugou said as he awkwardly thrust his cup at Deku. “He bought it for me.” He paused and frowned. “Well, he didn’t have any money, so he ordered it and I paid for it. But anyway, you dropped yours, so here. Maybe you’ll like it or some shit.”
Deku hesitantly reached out to take it. “Thanks, Kacchan.”
“Yeah, don’t mention it. Now, are we done with this emotion shit? It gives me fucking hives.” He grimaced.
Deku rolled his eyes. “Sorry for crying ‘cause your future self dissolved in my arms,” he said dryly.
“Don’t cry for me. I ain’t your boyfriend or nothing,” Bakugou said. His heart clenched as he said it, but he knew it was right. Chaining Deku to him with emotions was a shitty thing to do. The fucking nerd deserved to be happy.
“But you’re still my friend!” Deku insisted. “We've been friends for forever. I don’t want you to die!”
Bakugou stared up at him and thought about what a shit ass friend he was to Deku. All those years of spewing horrible things at him, beating him up, blowing up his shit and making him cry. How did he ever think he deserved to be with him? The answer was that he didn’t. He just wanted to possess him, monopolize him, keep him away from everyone else. It was selfish and ugly and it made a selfish and ugly future, a future he was going to work hard to prevent. Maybe they could be friends again, but that was as far as it could go. “Then get stronger,” he said. “Get stronger than anyone so you can protect the world.”
“Not just you. I’m not gonna let you take the top spot. That’s mine. But if you’re strong enough I’ll let you watch my back.” He smirked.
Deku grinned. “Ok, Kacchan.”
“You too, bastard. Someone’s gotta watch his back while he’s watching mine and you’re elected,” Bakugou said.
Todoroki snorted and squeezed Deku a little tighter. “You don’t need to tell me that.”
“Maybe you’re not as dumb as you look after all,” Bakugou said as he heaved himself off of the bench. “See you losers around.”
“Kacchan,” Deku started.
“Let him go,” Todoroki said quietly. “We can talk about it together, without exposing him to our yucky feelings.”
“You have those ice prince?” Bakugou shot at him.
The feeling of ice creeping towards him made Bakugou take off without looking back. He heard Deku scolding his boyfriend and ignored it. He sprinted back towards the coffee shop. He’d just saved the fucking world, he felt like he deserved another spiced chai latte. And hell, maybe he’d bring one to Kirishima. Not cause his future self implied that he had a nice dick or anything. It definitely didn’t make his own twitch in interest. He didn’t need his future self acting like a fucking wingman for fuck’s sake. He could do nice shit once in a while! He snorted. Who the fuck was he trying to fool? He didn’t do nice shit. But he had just helped un-fuck the future, so he might as well work on getting fucked in the future.