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The Ticking Time Bomb

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“Come!”

Bakugo doesn’t think.

He flies.

As he rocketed through the air, howling winds tangling his hair, Shigaraki’s scream of fury at his back and blood roaring in his ears, Bakugo has only eyes for the mismatched mass of bodies held together by fear and determination reaching for him, calling him amongst crackle of green lighting, a shark-toothed grin and a desperate cry. As he reaches his classmates in the sky, he’s too busy joining hands with a redhead to look back at his captors watching his ascension.

Because of that, he does not see.

He does not see All for One’s face, impassive and unmoving behind the black mask as he watched Bakugo get away. He does not see the villain roll his shoulders, he does not hear the low, satisfied hum coming from the man’s lips, as if happy with a task well done. He does not see All for One turn away to face All Might, ignoring as his League of Villains scrambled all around him to try and get the blond back in their grasp.

(He does not see, and everyone pays the price for it.)

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The moment one Bakugo Katsuki touches the ground, he regrets ever taking Kirishima’s hand. If he had the ability to rewind time, he’d just go back to the battlefield and face Shigaraki and his gang of knuckleheads again.

Anything was better than this.

“Holy shit. Holy shit.”

“Kirishima language.” Iida wheezes somewhere on their right like a dying animal. The class representative was starting to look a little too pale, edging towards green. Katsuki sure as fuck hopes he’s not going to throw up, because he’s pretty sure he hadn’t drunk or eaten anything in the past three days and the smell of vomit wasn’t going to help his case.

The redhead was having none of Iida’s reprimand, practically bouncing up and down against Katsuki whom, no matter how much he fought, couldn’t get him to fuck off.

“We did it!” His classmate shrieked, smile wide enough that it revealed all of his sharp, triangular teeth. Fucking hell, didn’t he know what personal space meant?! He was practically screeching right into Katsuki’s ear. “Holy crap we did it!”

Katsuki snarls, shoving a hand into the other’s face.

“Get off, dipshit!” Kirishima only laughs harder and clutches him tighter, hardened skin brushing off weak explosions and Katsuki can only begrudgingly accept that yep, this was his fucking life now, he might as well just lay down and accept the fact he was going to die with a red-haired leech dangling off his shoulders.

It’s not all that bad, a small part of him wonders as Kirishima continues to attempt manslaughter via asphyxiation.

It’s almost comforting to go through Kirishima’s particular brand of torture but like fuck he was going to admit it. He’d rather jump off a bridge than to believe that so that tiny, minuscule warm thought is promptly banished, thrown over a wall and into the dark pit that was the farthest corners of his mind.

After three days spent chained up like a rabid animal, half-conscious and with Mr.Handsy talking his ear off about joining them while simultaneously whining to his master about his lack of progress, it felt good to see familiar faces. He’s somewhat thankful that he spent a sizable chunk of it asleep, his loud snarling and bitching having driven them into leaving him the hell alone.

So overall, being free and able to snark at some familiar faces felt good.

Even if fucking Deku was part of the package.

At least he looked less like shit, Katsuki mutters internally. The other boy seemed a lot better, his arms bandaged but no longer bloody and mangled nearly beyond recognition.

“We need to get out of here.” Deku exclaims in front of them. His eyes are wide and just the slightest bit bloodshot. His breathing was hard and loud; Bakugo tracks the way his shoulders move up and down with each inhale.

As if sensing his gaze, Deku turns his head towards him. Their eyes meet, the shorter boy’s softening into something less panicked and more relieved.

Between the two of them, there’s things that need to be said, Katsuki realizes darkly. A lot of things. Things Katsuki didn’t really want to touch on, wants instead to keep locked shut in a corner of his mind -things that after tonight, after the training camp, had inevitably surfaced.

But that, thankfully, would be for later.

They still had to make it back home.


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All Might wins.

To Katsuki, who watched a frail, emaciated man stand over the faceless villain, skeletal fist raises in the air, it is a loss.

There’s a hole in his stomach, a trench that digs deeper and deeper in his gut as the realization that this was the end of All Might spears him right in the gut, cleaves him open and leaves him numb and raw and as if he was slowly being crushed.

Not even the roaring cheer of the crowd changes this. Their cries and applause around him do nothing to lessen the weight in Katsuki’s chest -the understanding, the horror at the fact that this was his fault could not be washed away.

Deku’s shaky, hiccuped sobs by his side only make it more painful.

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All Might is dead.


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Screams.

Yelling.

Sirens.

People cheer and cry and he can only stand there and take it. Watch as the world around him is torn apart and stitched back together again.

“Kacchan, the police’s this way…”

He goes, docile.


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I killed him.

It's my fault.


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Later, after he’s escorted into a police station, reunited with his parents and sent off home, Katsuki stumbles into his room, bleary-eyed and exhausted. The old hag escorts him all the way there -he can feel her eyes on his back, watching him silently. Hands tucked at her sides but twitching in a aborted attempt to reach forward.

Guarding him.

The fact she, a civilian, is doing that should make his skin crawl, but he’s too worn down to protest. Too tired to cuss her off, to have another of those shouting matches that made the roof rattle over their heads.

Just the thought made him nauseous, and it's not because of his wounded pride.

“Goodnight, brat.” She tells him from the door, her voice softer than he’s used to. Not exhausted, just soft. It’s almost alien to Katsuki, who is used to her biting remarks and sharp words.

He merely hums in response, sharing her weariness. “G’night, old hag.”

And with that, he’s alone.

And with that, the weight comes crashing down on his shoulders, harder than ever before.

The light is shut off, the only light filtering into the room coming from the cars passing by the bedroom window. His phone is left on his nightstand; Katsuki doesn’t even bother turning it on, too tired to deal with what likely was a flood of messages from his classmates. Mainly Kirishima, Kaminari, Ashido and Sero.

Fuck, he was not looking forward to coming back to class. He knows what to expect. The stares, the whispers, the attempts at watching over him like he was a child and not-

Shushing those thoughts away, he mechanically dumps his clothes on the floor, puts on a shirt and boxers and flops onto the bed, heaving the thick comforter over his head.

Immediately, he feels too hot. Too restricted.

The feeling tugs at something in his head, making his fingers twitch restlessly under the covers.

Grumbling, Katsuki kicks the comforter off himself and lays there with only a thin sheet over his body. There’s a faint pressure in his belly, something that has nothing to do with his empty stomach.

The weight of his own failure pinned him to the bed more effectively than the villains’ chains had kept him bound to that chair. And damn, didn’t that comparison remind him of how much shit had occured in the last three days. The camp, the capture, the chains, Shigaraki, All for One, All Might.

If only he’d been stronger, if he had been smarter, he wouldn’t have gotten caught. The heroes wouldn’t have had to come save him.

It was his fault Kamino happened.

His fault that All Might was nothing but a skeleton -a ghost of his former self. Dead and gone with only a weak, fragile man left in his wake. That all those people died when All for One faced the Number One Hero and tore most of Kamino down in their fight. That the world lost their greatest hero, their first line of defence.

It was all his fault.

Katsuki squeezes his eyes and tries to sleep.

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By doing so, he does not see the shadows twisting against the walls as he falls into a restless sleep, swaying to the rhythm of his breathing.