Bakugo Katsuki is a gifted child.
His quirk is the one of a hero, he learns things faster than the other kids and is a natural adventurer, always hungry for the unknown. Everything about him says how strong he’ll be in the future.
It’s his sixth birthday and the Bakugo family decides to make a very different activity for a celebration, something that the young boy has been asking about for a while now: mountain climbing. Mitsuki and Masaru have been planning this trip for a while so nothing goes wrong; they managed to get a job break at the same weekend, they bought everything that someone may need to go to a mountain and some more just in case - Masaru, the one most concerned about following the safety precautions properly, insisted for an extra bag of everything.
Katsuki had a normal birthday party at home, with his friends and family, a big chocolate cake and all sorts of sweets. The gift one of his uncles gave him was an All Might exclusive figurine. The young boy had the day of his life, but he was way more excited about his birthday trip and couldn’t stop talking about it to everyone within ears sight.
The weekend couldn’t come faster.
After 4 hours of car ride and 2 more to check-in with the mountain security base, climb their way with their heavy bags through the tilted, foresty environment, full of all sorts of wildly colored bugs - some of which Katsuki managed, somehow, to lure them into his empty water bottle -, the Bakugos starts to set camp on the specified area marked on their map.
They had a few activities listed to do during the weekend, the first one being to take a refreshing bath in the nearest of the small waterfalls spread across the trail, connected by an underground river. They arrive shortly after setting up their tent at the delimited camp area and depositing their bags inside.
It’s a beautiful view. The waterfall isn’t too high and seem to be way smaller with all the sectioned parts. The pool is also tiny and shallow, full of slippery rocks covered in old moss, the water not getting far above the adults’ knees. The small river continues down the mountain, calm and steady, clean water shining under the sunlight.
Masaru sets a picnic blanket in a dry spot and has to basically tackle down a very excited Katsuki to get sunscreen on him. Mitsuki sits by the blanket, big fancy sombrero shielding her face from the sun. As soon as his dad gives the clear signal, Katsuki runs into the water, ignoring all of the previous warnings about the slippery ground. Luckily, he didn’t slip a single time.
The parents are talking business, enjoying the natural, clean air, smartly keeping an eye out for their child, who’s intensely trying to capture tiny fishes with his hands. He keeps his hand still and the cluster quickly closes in, nibbling and tickling at his fingers, but they are quick to skedaddle to the smoothest of movements. It doesn’t stop Katsuki for trying for countless times, wandering around with water near his hips, eyes trained on his hand. He curses in frustration a few times and Mitsuki screams back at him.
He walks basically the whole extension of the pool, one side to the other, trying to grab the fish. Then, once again, he closes his cupped hands together and smiles wild when he feels the cold scales of the tiny fish wiggling against his palms. He runs back to his parents and as soon as he opens his hand to show them the fish, it flops itself high into the air and lands on the water, quickly disappearing inside the cracks in the rocks. Mitsuki laughs and Masaru tells him to not stress the animals while holding a giggle too.
Katsuki crosses his arms and pouts for a whole minute, then walk back to the middle of the pool, sits down and hugs his legs. It takes seconds for the fish to come back in mass to nibble at him and he does nothing but glare at them.
At night, Katsuki sees the sky in its true beauty. Far away from the cities’ brightness, the night sky is free to shine and sparkle, so full of stars that the young boy couldn’t even know where to begin to count. Laying down in the short grass, with the sounds of leaves, crickets, and birds around them, the Bakugos look up in awe, their own stars shining in their eyes.
Masaru explains to Katsuki that most of the stars they see are already dead, their light still traveling far within the unimaginable far depts of the universe. They could be seeing something that died way before Earth itself existed, still shining in all its glory, and that thought alone made Katsuki’s mind go places.
Katsuki wonders if he will grow up to be a Hero that shines for eternity.
The following day, the family decides to spice up the action. They slowly climb a few sections of the mountain that are easier and safer because of Katsuki’s lack of experience and resistance, eventually reaching the highest point they could before falling into exhaustion at the first plan spot they found. The view is worth the effort.
The sun is up high and warm, bathing the trees and few open trails of water with light. They can see the mountain security base, a tiny dot in the distance, and the main road where they came from. Mitsuki takes a lot of photos while Katsuki chugs dry his water bottle, groaning, with a few scratches over his hands and knees. But he’s feeling happy, nevertheless.
Katsuki’s tired body floats around the pool without a care in the world, eyes closed because of the sunlight, barely keeping himself awake. Mitsuki and Masaru are right below the waterfall, enjoying the natural hydromassage, relaxing their tired muscles from the morning climbing.
They already packed everything to leave back to town but decided to take one last bath to end their little vacation nicely. Katsuki was happy to obey.
Eventually, Katsuki floats near enough of the waterfall for Mitsuki to snatch him up. Their fight for a moment, Katsuki complaining for being moved like that and Mitsuki trying to tackle him to stand still.
The next minute, Katsuki is enjoying the water massage on his back too. It’s the best thing he ever felt thus far in his life.
Mitsuki glares at her kid’s relaxed expression and swims back to land, mumbling something about how ungrateful her brat is. Masaru laughs, chatting with Katsuki about the trip and when they could do it again.
Katsuki bends his head back, water hitting him fiercely straight in the face, making him feel muscles he didn’t even knew were hurting in the first place. Like a new interesting discovery, he flops around, trying to make the water hit other parts of his body to see how it would feel like, and pokes his head to the other side of the curtain, spotting the wall of cracked rocks covered in vines and moss, a hole in the far side, big enough for the boy to squish through. The current makes the water go that way, disappearing inside the dark hole with a mighty roar. Perhaps it’s from where the water goes down through the mountain, Katsuki thinks, sliding closer to take a better look. He puts his hand on a rock to balance himself, the current strong against his ankles and pokes his head inside the hole.
There’s barely any light inside, the water curtain obscuring most of it. It’s big and hollow, he notices, because of the way the noise of the water hitting the bottom echoes against the walls covered in big chunks of moss. It’s pitch black and Katsuki squints, bending forward, trying to see where the cave ends, noticing something glowing faintly in the distance. The extra weight makes the rock he’s holding onto crack and detach from the rest of the wall.
Gravity does its job and Katsuki falls.
What wakes him up is the noise echoing around his head. Someone is screaming his name, water is flowing and something is being crunched. Katsuki blinks, confused and hurt, trying to make his brain work at his favor.
The hole where he fell from is the only light source and it isn’t being very helpful. It’s way far to the top and it seems smaller in radius than before. The water falls from the hole without bother, hits the bottom and continues it’s path down the river, to someplace Katsuki probably would never know.
Katsuki’s body, waist up, is lying on a small emerged rock, his legs still inside the water, being slightly pulled by the current. He tries to lift his body and drag his legs from the water, but pain shots from his left wrist up to his arm and he screams, tumbling back down.
When he looks down, he notices how his wrist is bent in a way that it shouldn’t. Now with pain throbbing his arm, he gasps and rolls around, grasping his shoulder, feeling other equally painful parts scream in agony.
He hears the screaming again and it takes him a second to go past the pain fog and notice that it came from his mother. He looks up to the hole, blinks away the brightness from his wet eyes and uses his other arm to propel himself to a sitting position. He notices the corners of the entrance shifting and realizes that it’s his parents moving around, trying to see into the dark cave, looking for their son.
Mitsuki screams again.
“MOM!” Katsuki screams back, his broken voice echoing loudly around the cave, making him flinch.
“Oh, thank god!” the relief in her voice is almost palpable
“Katsuki, are you okay?! Are you safe, out of the water?” Masaru takes his turn to talk.
“I’m fine, I’m on a rock!” He looks down to his twisted hand and sighs, face twisted into a painful expression “I think my wrist is broken!”
“Don’t move, okay? We will get help! We’ll get you out!”
Katsuki bites his lip and tries his best not to cry, wiggling to find a more comfortable sitting position and blinking the tears away. He’s scared, but help is coming. There’s a stationary hero down the mountain base and they’ll come for him. He breathes hard, closes his eyes and repeats that thought as a mantra, keeping himself calm.
When he feels that his heart slowed down to a more even pace, he looks down at himself, properly noticing the actual damage.
His knees and arms are cut in lots of spots, but they’re all superficial. The water cleaned the blood away so now there’s only the aching bright red scraps and cuts. His left ankle feels numb, it’s probably sprained. He wipes his face with his good hand and winces, curling upon himself. He’s probably cut his face too.
Katsuki has no idea how he survived the fall and he would have started a line of thought about that if it wasn’t for a movement he caught out the corner of his eyes.
The first thing he sees is an arm. Only an arm.
He smacks his hand onto his mouth to keep himself from screaming, wide eyes focused on the arm, a weird shiver running down his spine. He feels immediately nauseated but does his best to keep his stomach under control.
Then he notices something peculiar that makes his curiosity wins over the fear. The arm isn’t made out of flesh; it appears to be a stone. It’s cracked, fractured, some pieces - and a finger - missing. From the small disruptions, under the blurry patches of gray skin, he can see layers and layers of faint shades of green that appear to be glowing ever so lightly.
Katsuki reaches out and pokes the arm with a shaky hand. It doesn’t feel squishy like a normal human skin should be; it’s cobble solid.
It’s just a goddamn rock.
Katsuki almost had an attack because of a rock.
He would laugh at himself if he wasn’t feeling so annoyed.
Groaning and cursing, he kicks the arm into the water and watch it sink as far as the light allowed him to see. He sighs heavily and returns to cradle his numb arm, glaring at his feet.
At some point, after a few minutes of absolute nothing, he lays down on the cold rock and closes his eyes.
There’s no need to worry, for now, there’s nothing he can do but wait.
There’s something there.
Katsuki doesn’t know why, but something in the back of his almost sleepy mind warned him that he isn’t alone.
Jerking his body up, he looks around the dark with wide eyes, the hair on his body standing up with a cold shiver. He’s scared and the fear is keeping him alert. Perhaps his mind finally processed everything that happened and is putting up defenses to protect himself, screaming at his face that he’s in danger.
Sighing, Katsuki shakes his head and frowns, feeling annoyed at himself once again. He couldn’t brush off the chill on his mind, no matter how much he tries. Looking up to the hole, he wonders how much time has passed. It doesn’t look like much, but enough for the sun rays angle to change and make the cave darker and creepier. It isn’t helping his mental state at all.
Suddenly, something breaks. Katsuki gasps so hard he almost chokes on the air, his body whipping around very rapidly, popping eyes trying to spot the source of the noise while his brain goes into overdrive.
Scared, trembling from head to toe, Katsuki starts crying in silence, his crimson eyes darting around the dark, hoping to see something, but not really. His good hand is open in front of him, shaking and ready to blast anything that happens to confront him.
The intermittent noise of the waterfall already became background noise for him, so it feels easier to spot any other sounds around him. And so he does. He hears something crunching like broken glass being stepped on, the same sound from before, echoing loudly against the rocks.
He seems a wild mop of green standing up, an upper body being hit directly by the sun rays. The mop, that is actually hair, made out of big chunks of waves pointing everywhere, shines in a beautiful hue of green, cascading past their shoulder, bathing everything in a meter radius with its light. The sunlight hits them square in the face, long green eyelashes blinking slowly.
It looks almost celestial.
They move their head to the side, looking at Katsuki’s direction. The dreamy vision crumbles to pieces, just like the shiny creature in front of him.
There are parts of their body missing; their entire right arm, a chunk of their left shoulder, the entirety of their legs. The other side of their face is missing, an empty socket painted green, framed by cracks, unseeing.
Their mouth opens, but before any word could escape, what’s left of their nose breaks and falls to the ground.
Katsuki screams and is up to his feet in less than a second, trying to back off from whatever the hell that is, but he feels dizzy from getting up so fast and his sprained ankle screams in pain as soon as he puts weight on it. He trips and falls backward, his head and shoulders safely hitting the water instead of the rock. He gasps and coughs, his body quickly snapping up to try and stand again, and again failing.
Katsuki swims and crawls until he hits another dry land. Coughing, he settles in there and looks back. The creature hasn’t moved and now there’s a bigger gap of distance between them. Good.
They’re still looking right at the boy, unmoving wide eye making chills crawl all over his body.
“It’s okay.” They whispered. “I won’t hurt you. I promise.”
They have such a calm, sweet voice. It sounds like a set of small bells ringing against a weak breeze. It feels like the chilly end of fall and beginning of winter. Their voice makes Katsuki relax against his will, makes him feel safe and warm, like a good night kiss from his father, or the brave smile of All Might.
“What… Who…” Katsuki croaks, his throat feeling dry and rusty from stress alone “Y-You…”
“I… I don’t really remember how I got here. Sorry if I scared you.”
Katsuki sighs loudly, his shoulders slumping with relief. He doesn’t even bother to wipe the hot heavy tears that roll down his face. He feels tired. He just wants to go home, play some video games and watch All Might videos under his blanket, probably with the company of a bag of chips and hot chocolate.
“How did you got here?” They ask.
“I f-fell.” his bottom lip wobbles and he swallows a hiccup.
“From the waterfall? That probably hurts.”
“Like a bitch.” Katsuki giggles between sniffs “But it’s okay.”
“Sorry I can’t do much to get you out of here.”
“It’s fine. Help is coming.”
Katsuki cries in silence for a few more minutes, letting his mind and body relax, giving less of a damn about staying sit inside the water. There is no danger. It’s just a weird person that looks like a living shattered statue that can’t even move around properly. No big deal.
Katsuki wonders, once again, what the hell is taking so long. The base is not that far away, and the Hero that’s there has some sort of climbing goat quirk. They should have returned already. Lots of possible scenarios crosses his mind, and none of them are good. He would start crying again if he wasn’t feeling so exhausted.
Truth is, not even 15 minutes have passed. It sure feels like an eternity.
“Your wrist.” They break the unnerving silence, concern dripping from their voice.
“Yeah. It’s just twisted. It’s not even hurting that much anymore.” That’s concerning, at least. Thinking about it, Katsuki notices that he can’t feel the tip of his fingers and fear rushes through his mind.
“Can I see?”
Katsuki stares for what seems an eternity before slowly crawling his way through the water, reaching the dry rock and sitting in front of them. The shiny hair blazes at his eyes and he blinks a few times, white spots dancing around his vision. Carefully, he gives his arm for them to hold by the elbow. Their touch is cold and solid, but somehow soft and delicate. It makes the boy wonder about what kind of quirk they have. They don’t seem bothered at all about the lack of body parts. Katsuki’s mind is still way too fuzzy to think properly, so he put the thoughts about this person’s quirk aside.
“It’s dislocated. Want me to put it back in place?” They say with a soft small smile, their hand resting lightly against Katsuki’s bent one.
“You can do that?” Katsuki, being the hyper-alert kid he is, already has his share of broken bones due to falling from bikes, swings, and stairs, but he never heard of such thing as putting it back.
He always had to use a cast for weeks and suffer for being unable to scratch the covered skin when it randomly started to ich. It sucks.
“Yes. The bone isn’t broken, it’s easier.”
“Does it hurt?”
“A little bit. But it gets way better afterward. It’s dangerous to leave it like this for too long.”
They guide Katsuki’s other hand to hold firmly the arm and instructs him to keep it still, no matter what. The boy returns to tremble with nervous energy, his mind already anticipating the pain. He closes his eyes and swallow dry, his breath caught on the end of his throat.
“Count to three, okay?” They whisper, their grip getting firmer on the wrist.
“One… T- FUCK! ”
Katsuki snaps his eyes open, hearing the loud clack his wrist made by being moved in a single hard swoop and feeling the zap of pain crawling through his whole arm. Then it ends. Glaring at his hand now in place, Katsuki wiggles his little fingers and feels nothing but a little numbness. With wide eyes and mouth agape, he stares at the person, who’s giggling and looking very pleased with themself.
“You said on three, you ass! That hurts!”
“I’m sorry. It’s how I’ve learned. How does it feel now?”
“It’s prickling a little bit. Where did you learn this?”
They never answer. Katsuki startles when they face plant on the ground, making a loud thwack noise. Their other arm, already fragile, breaks apart with the impact and a few more cracks appear here and there. What’s left of their face shows a frozen, peaceful expression, eye halfway closed, framed with the long green lashes. The shine from their hair seems to tone down, like a lamp being turned off. The boy stares with nervous wide eyes, calling out for them with light pushes and pokes. No response.
Katsuki assumes that they fell asleep. For his mind’s sake.
Falling into an uncomfortable silence and suddenly feeling very lonely and cold, Katsuki tears his gaze away from the broken person and hugs himself, exhaling a loud huff. And he waits.
Less than 7 minutes later, the boy hears his name being called. He looks up to the cave’s entrance so fast his neck could have flung off his shoulders. With fresh new tears of relief threatening to spill from his eyes, he calls back. His dad says comforting words and a new voice joins in; The Goat Hero, Equilibrium.
With big and strong goat legs and a long goat face with wide yellow eyes, braided maroon beard and small horns poking from the sides of his head, Equilibrium talks with Katsuki with a raspy, heavy voice, comforting him and apologizing for taking too long; something about the proper gear for this type of rescue being somewhere else.
After some clicks and clacks , a rope and a green glowstick dives from the hole into the water, illuminating the cave in a mystic, magic vibe. Equilibrium, using a set of climbing gear, slides down on the rope that’s tied to his waist, his powerful legs easing his fall by kicking against the rock wall every few meters. As soon as he reaches the water down below, he releases the rope from his gear, grabs the glowstick and hops from rock to rock towards Katsuki, who’s doing his best to stay still and wait.
As soon as the Hero gets close enough to see the statue-person, he gasps and stops dead on his track. He wants to lash and freak out, because what the hell, it appears to be looking directly at him, but he quickly recomposes himself to focus on his mission, telling his mind that it’s just a statue, because that’s clearly what it looks like.
“Bakugo Katsuki, right? I’m Equilibrium. I’ll get you out of here.” he says, kneeling next to the kid, keeping an eye on the statue, just in case. “Are you hurt anywhere?”
“My ankle is sprained.” Katsuki answers with a tired, low voice. “And my wrist dislocated, but it’s fine now.”
“Did you put it back on your own? That’s impressive.” the Hero checks on the kid’s ankle, noticing the purple blotch around it. Nothing he can solve with the limited first-aid kit he brought with him.
“It wasn’t me. They helped.” he points to the statue.
Turning around, Equilibrium stares at the statue with curiosity and a bit of despair. “You mean… This isn’t...?”
“Can you get them out of here too?”
“... Sure thing, buddy. It’s what a Hero does. Here, climb on my back.”
Being careful with the ankle, Katsuki hops to the Hero’s back, wrapping his little arms around his neck. Equilibrium wraps a piece of rope around both their waists just to be safe and makes his way back to the rope, climbing all the way up to the hole, dodging a big chunk of the waterfall.
They get out of the cave and Katsuki gets momentarily blind by the light hitting his face. He doesn’t have enough time to blink away the burn from his eyes because his parents are on him the second the Hero lets him go. Mitsuki and Masaru both are holding him and each other in a strong hug, relief words from the mother and silent tears from the father. Katsuki allows himself to cry once again, face buried on his father’s arm, a big wobbly smile on his face.
He’s safe and there is nothing else to be worried about now.
Equilibrium is completely, absolutely lost about what to do.
After receiving his praises from the Bakugo family and sending them on their way down the trail, the satyr-quirked man returns to the cave to deal with the statue situation. He’s been a Pro Hero for almost 30 years now and, even though he never sees much action for being just a rescue hero on mountain areas, he never has seen such a disconcerting and weird quirk during his career. If it is a quirk, he notes to himself.
Equilibrium can’t see any movement on their chest that indicates breathing, nor can’t hear or feel any heartbeat, so he can’t even know if their alive or not or if it would be worth it to take them to a medical facility. They can’t be an actual statue, because the Hero manages to move what’s left of their limbs around freely, but it feels stiffy like a doll. Even if this case is about a hardening type of quirk, it would still be too unnatural. The Goat Hero can’t get to a conclusion about this green statue-person, it doesn’t matter how much he uses his brain, he simply can’t figure out what this is about.
After gathering every single piece of the person he managed to find in the cave - which is basically everything but a foot - and putting it all outside on a pile, he glares at the mess of limbs and fractures for enough time to make his head hurt. Sighing and scratching his beard, he figures out that there’s only one thing he can do now.
He picks up his phone, scrolls past a few contacts and hits dial on one named Hikuo Daiya .