In the blink of an eye, the destruction that had been surrounding him only moments before vanished, leaving him standing in an unfamiliar store. He jolted in shock at the sudden change of environment. One second he was standing next to Izuku in a near-levelled building with sirens and sobs wailing in the background and the next he was standing in a completely different place all by himself. The old woman had used her quirk on him, he knew that, but the trip was so quick and seamless that he could hardly believe he had been sent eleven years in the past. He had been expecting a flash, or a bang or something, yet there was nothing but a change in scenery to indicate anything happened at all. But, then again, he had no prior experience with time travel to compare it to, who the fuck was he to say what was normal and what wasn't?
Katsuki took a deep breath of fresh air through his nose, letting it ease the pain in his lungs from breathing in so much smoke and looked around. He was still in a flower shop, that was obvious, but the way it was set up was different than the one he had just been in. Just from the isle he appeared in, he could tell this one looked newer and much less homely than the one back in his time, but then this one hadn't turned into ground zero to a devastating villain attack. No smoke or dust lingered in the air from the explosions that went off, no dirt from destroyed potted plants and bags of soil covered the ground and no trampled pink flowers to remind him of how he almost lost his daughter, again. Everything was neat, clean and calm even.
He knew right away that Kana was no longer here.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Katsuki steeled himself for the task at hand. He had to find Kana now that she was no longer in the shop. He didn't know what time she had been sent back or how long after that he followed her, but he knew one thing: There was no way she wondered off without anyone noticing her and knowing something was wrong. She was a four-year-old girl walking around without her parents, probably fucking crying and covered in dirt. If anyone walked past that and didn't think something was up, they were complete fucking morons. He had to check with the shopkeeper, first. They were the most likely to have seen her and because he wasn't around to get her, they probably called the heroes in the vicinity. Katsuki just needed to know which agency they called.
"Oi!" Katsuki called, wandering around the shelves of plants and gardening tools alike as he looked for the front of the store. "Anybody fucking here?" He turned a corner and walked right into a person- or he would've if he hadn't been honing his reflexes for the past fourteen years. Quickly stepping to the side, his arm shot out to catch the young woman by the shoulder before she could topple over. The action caused a sharp pain to dance across his shoulder blade, but he did his best to ignore it. If he could still move his arm, he was fine for the time being.
Pushing the thought from his mind, he focused back on the person he bumped into. Katsuki didn't know what he had been expecting to happen when the woman looked up, but having her scream wasn't it. The woman stumbled backward and landed on the ground, her eyes trained on him, wide with terror and it took Katsuki a moment to register that he wasn't the number two hero here and another moment to realize what he looked like and after that, he could understand why she looked so scared of him. To others, he was just a man that definitely wasn't a pro hero, covered in dust, dirt and blood that had come out of nowhere. He probably looked like some thug after a back-alley brawl.
Well, shit. He hadn't thought about that.
"Hey, hey, hey, it's okay." Katsuki crouched down to her level with his hands held out in a peaceful gesture, using what Kana had called his hero-voice. "I'm not going to hurt you, alright? I'm a pro hero." When she didn't move, still eyeing him distrustfully, he slowly moved his hand to his pocket to pull out his wallet and show her his hero licences. It felt like overkill, but he didn't need her calling the police when he left because she thought he was a villain or some other shit. He made it a point to cover his real name with his thumb as he held it up.
"I-I've never seen you before," she said quietly as he helped her from the ground. God, he really hated dealing with civilians even after years of being a hero.
"Not from here," he grumbled, already feeling annoyed at wasting the time. "You know which way the entrance it?" She nodded and pointed, "Then, if that's all, there's somewhere I have to be." Then he walked away, ignoring her protests and refusing to give her his hero name. Katsuki knew it was kinda rude, necessary, but rude all the same. There were only so many manners Kana could sweet-talk him into using. He didn't care to be nice right now, he wanted to find her as soon as he can and get back to Izuku.
Katsuki found the shopkeeper tending to plants outside the store, and after going over the same procedure of yes, I'm okay, And no I'm not a fucking villain, he found out that he arrived a whole day later than Kana and that she had been taken in by Best Jeanist's hero agency. Which was relieving and also pissed him off at the same time. She was safe at a hero agency, but she had been alone a whole day with heroes she didn't even know after a probably very traumatic event.
Kana was probably fucking terrified.
The thought made his blood boil. Why couldn't that old hag send him back to the very moment Kana had been sent back at. It would have made everything so much more simple. But then quirks were never fucking simple were they? Of course, everything had to be done the hard way.
Swallowing his anger, he resisted storming his way down the crowded streets to Best Jeanist's hero agency that very second. He needed to change before he could do that though, for more than one reason. He needed to be more inconspicuous, people in the streets were staring at him and not in the way he was used to, probably close to calling the police. Also, showing up to get Kana while he had blood all over him wasn't a great idea, no matter how much he wanted to see her.
Katsuki rushed into the first store that sold clothing and grabbed a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt to change into, along with a package of disinfectant wipes. He slammed the items down at the checkout, startling the cashier and pulling out his credit card before he remembered it wouldn't work because his account didn't even exist yet.
"Fucking hell," He muttered, digging through his wallet for any spare cash he had on hand.
"A-are you okay, sir?" the cashier asked warily, eyeing his injuries. "S-should I call a hero? Or maybe an ambulance?"
"I'm fine." he seethed, shooting a glare at the other man.
The man at the till watched him with a frown, unconvinced that Katsuki was actually fine and not just saying that. His injuries weren't as bad as they looked, after years of being a hero, he got good at telling which injuries needed immediate medical attention and which ones were mostly superficial.
Katsuki had almost counted up enough change when he heard a voice he hadn't heard in years outside of old news clips and documentaries. He almost thought he was imagining things at first, his hearing was never that great after all, but the voice spoke again, this time it was much closer.
Katsuki nearly froze in shock, but slowly he managed to turn around.
"All Might?" he choked out, nearly losing the grip on his wallet.
The former symbol of peace smiled at him, very little surprise showing in his piercing blue eyes, almost like he had been expecting him to show up. "Hello, young Bakugou." he said with a chuckle, "although, I guess you aren't so young anymore."
For a moment, Katsuki didn't speak. He just stared at Toshinori, taking in the sight of the thin, frail and very alive man. It wasn't that Katsuki didn't know he was still alive in this time, he just hadn't taken the time to think about it. All he had been thinking about was getting his daughter back, never once did he think he would see Toshinori again. Yet here he was.
He opened his mouth to speak but immediately shut it. He needed to be careful with what he said. He didn't want to mess with the future. Even if a simple warning to the man could very well prevent his death. Even though Katsuki wanted to, so fucking much, he knew he couldn't.
"Mind lending me some cash? My card doesn't fucking work here." he settled for saying, pushing the words past the lump in his throat and ignoring the fact that the older man didn't seem surprised in the least to see him. This wasn't the time to get all emotional. He needed to find Kana. He wanted his daughter back.
Toshinori chuckled again. "No, I suppose it wouldn't."
After leaving the store in silence and finding a public washroom, Katsuki changed and scrubbed as much blood and grime from his body as he could until he deemed himself semi-decent enough not to draw attention while in the streets. He also used this time to calm down and mentally prepare himself for the next little while. It was surreal seeing All Might again after so many years. He almost thought this was some mix between a nightmare and a fantasy, first Kana getting thrown through time and then meeting Toshinori again. There was so much he still had left to say to the man, but then again, he knew he couldn't.
Katsuki took a deep breath and splashed some water on his face, staring at his exhausted reflection in the mirror. He ran a finger down the scar above his eyebrow and closed his eyes. remembering the gentle caress of Kana's hand and the worried look in her emerald eyes as she asked if he was okay. He needed to focus. He was here to find Kana. She needed him.
Taking one last deep breath, Katsuki pushed through the door and approached the bench where the retired hero sat. He was still surprised Toshinori hadn't asked what had happened, but if knowing future events before you should was really that bad, he supposed All Might would know not to pry. That didn't mean Katsuki couldn't ask questions.
"You didn't look surprised to see me. That mean you know why I'm here?" he asked. Katsuki knew the old hag had said he shouldn't interact with anyone, but if people he knew had already seen Kana and knew who she was and where she came from, there was no point in sneaking around. At least that made it so much easier.
"You came to find your daughter," Toshinori stated simply, standing up to walk with him.
"Yeah," Katsuki grunted, keeping an eye on the street signs and using his memory to find Best Jeanist's agency. "Does that mean you met her?"
The older man shook his head, "No, I didn't have the chance. I was actually coming back from the police station when I ran into you. We were searching through the quirk database for a time-related quirk to send her back with, but I suppose you already have a way back if you're here."
"Wait," Katsuki said, halting in his steps. "You said 'we'. Do you mean U.A? Is that where Kana is?" That didn't make sense. Why the hell would she be there?
"Yes, my boy." All Might said, "That's where we took her when she appeared here yesterday. She's with you, actually."
He shook his head in confusion. "No, that can't be fucking right. If she's with me-" Toshinori made a face, it reminded him of the face Izuku made when he was making fun of him after something he said. "You know what I fucking mean." Katsuki grumbled, "If she was with me, why the hell don't I remember that?"
Toshinori seemed to consider this as they started walking again. "I don't know." he admitted, "It would make sense that you remember that. My first guess would be quirk-related side-effects, but don't take my word for it."
Katsuki groaned and ran a hand through his hair. "God, I'm so fucking done with this time travel shit," he groused. "Let's just go,"
"So, what you two are telling me is that you somehow managed to screw up the future." Aizawa summarized with a tired sigh, looking more exasperated than worried. Deku cringed and nodded his head sheepishly. Katsuki, however, shot a glare at the man, irritated at his less-than-delicate response to a situation that was causing him way more fucking anxiety than he knew how to handle. Yes, he royally fucked up, he knew that now, but he didn't come to Aizawa to have it shoved in his face, he came to fix his mess. Still, Katsuki grunted in confirmation, looking away because he wasn't wrong. He may be pissed, but that didn't mean he had a right to be angry. But the fact that Aizawa wasn't all that worried made Katsuki calm down slightly as well.
Katsuki glanced across the room where Kana sat at Midnight's desk colouring leisurely with a green crayon, blonde curls falling over her face as she leaned over the page. Her lips were tipped in a soft smile as she explained her drawing to the older woman. Midnight picked up a purple crayon and wrote something he couldn't see on her paper, it caused Kana to giggle and throw her arms up. Katsuki felt an unfamiliar ache in his chest at the sight, but he couldn't decide whether it was good or bad.
He looked away, focusing back on the man in front of him.
"Luckily," Aizawa began again, shoving his hands into his pockets, "that doesn't necessarily mean the damage is irreversible. If it were, Kana would've disappeared already."
Katsuki's shoulder's slumped in relief, most of the tension that had been building up inside him since the moment he woke up leaving his body all at once. His eyes once again found Kana, her arms moved around her animatedly as she mimicked what looked like punches and explosions. He remembered her rambling on about a dream she had last night as they left the dorms earlier. She must be telling Midnight about them now.
"That's good, right? It means we can fix it." Izuku said quickly, standing up, drawing Katsuki's attention back to the problem at hand.
Aizawa tipped his head in a short nod. "In theory, yes,"
Katsuki ripped his eyes away from Kana and stared at Aizawa with bewilderment, "Hold up," he said, slowly as if he was trying to comprehend what he just heard. "What the fuck do you mean in theory?" He repeated, angrily. "Are you saying there's a chance that I fucked up for good and no matter what we do she's going to just-what cease to exist anyway?" Katsuki shot up, a furious snarl masking the panic and confusion that he could feel growing in his chest. His hands shot to his head, carding them none-too-gently through his hair as he resisted blowing anything up.
Why the fuck was he so stupid? In the span of less than a day, he managed to fuck up the future-Kana's future just because he stubbornly insisted she was from an alternate timeline or some shit. He was so far in denial that he couldn't see the truth when it was right in front of him and because of that, she was going to disappear. He knew it was his fault. It was clear now. His decision to keep Izuku at a distance and his feeling to himself was the reason for all of this. He wanted Izuku to have better, and that was killing Kana.
Katsuki didn't notice he was hyperventilating until he saw Deku standing in front of him and holding his shoulders, telling him to breathe. The lightheaded-ness that was barely noticeable before came crashing back at him and he almost stumbled forward, but Deku's steel grip on his shoulders kept him in place. He took a deep breath and finally managed to right himself again.
"You good, Kacchan?" Izuku asked, releasing his shoulders and searching his eyes. The worried look on his face didn't make him angry, surprisingly.
"Shit- yeah. Yeah, I'm fine." Katsuki took another deep breath and shut his eyes for a moment. He had no idea what came over him. He felt so angry and helpless that he kind of just exploded, and not in the way he was used to. Opening his eyes again, he sought out Kana across the room. She was fine. She was still there. Everything was going to be okay. Feeling calmer, he chanced a look at their teacher who had been oddly silent the whole time he had been freaking out.
Aizawa raised an unimpressed eyebrow, but Katsuki swore he saw a flash of empathy in those cold eyes. He wasn't sure how he felt about that, but instead of commenting on it, he stepped away from Izuku and plopped himself back in the chair.
"Are you done?"
Katsuki shot a short glare at Aizawa but nodded anyway.
"Now, if you let me finish instead of assuming the worst we can figure out what went wrong and fix it." he began, "Supposing something really is wrong and not just effects of the quirk."
Izuku opened his mouth to talk, but Aizawa raised his hand to shush him and glared at him. "Let me finish," Deku bit his lip to keep from blurting out his own thoughts and nodded, sitting back in his seat. Katsuki was grateful. He really wasn't in the mood to hear Deku's rambling about how there is something wrong I just know it, but more than that, he didn't think he could handle hearing him so worried when he didn't even know the full truth. That Kana wasn't just one of his friends' kids', but his own daughter. A daughter he hadn't even had yet. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
"You said she 'flickered' correct?" Katsuki jerked his head in a quick nod. "And you're certain it's not just the quirk going through its natural progression and she's going back to her own time?" Another nod. Aizawa sighed.
"I've never encountered a quirk that had the ability to change the natural flow of time, but if what you say is true, then we can assume that something happened to change the course of history. Her presence here, in general, is enough to mess things up. Her parents knowing of her future existence before they were supposed to could also directly affect the moment that first decided her existence." He said, looking right at Katsuki who tensed under his intense gaze. "Decisions are another factor. Her appearance in this time affects the decisions and actions you would have taken had she not come here. I'd ask if there was something that happened that could've affected the future, but from what you said earlier, Bakugou, I think you already know what happened."
The blonde swallowed thickly, thinking back to the moment he decided he really would give up on Izuku. That was when it happened, isn't it? It wasn't a coincidence when the other boy barged into his room claiming Kana was disappearing. She had been fading from existence because of a decision he made... and she was going to keep fading unless they did something about it. Until he did something about it.
"Of course, this is still all just speculation; theory." Aizawa started again. "Time is a tricky thing. Until we find the person responsible for this, assuming that the person who sent her back exists in our current timeline, we won't know for sure if anything we do will work or even be necessary."
Katsuki wanted to believe that it really was just the effects of the quirk wearing off on her, but he knew that it wasn't. Yet he found, deep down in the darkest part of his heart, where the self-loathing and guilt dwelled, a thought that made his stomach churn: Maybe it would be better if he just let her disappear. Kana was never supposed to exist anyway. It must've been a mistake the universe made, and this was his chance to correct it.
The thought felt like a stab straight into his chest, ripping and tearing at his heart, yet instead of pain, it only made Katsuki feel numb. Just empty nothingness spreading throughout his entire body and leaving him feeling detached as if he wasn't connected to his body anymore.
"For now, we'll have to be more cautious with who Kana interacts with. Who all has seen her?"
Izuku grimaced. "Everyone in our class," he admitted, balling his hands at his sides.
Aizawa just sighed again. "Okay, just try to keep it that way, then. Now, I have some urgent phone calls to make. Get out of here, you two." he said in an obvious dismissal, turning away from Katsuki to motion at Midnight.
Izuku jumped out of his chair, following swiftly after their teacher. "Wait, Aizawa-sensei!" he called, "What are we supposed to do? I know you said it could just be the quirk wearing off, but what if it isn't? What if she just-"
"Calm down, Midoriya."
Aizawa held up a hand again. "We're working on it. That's what the phone calls are for." he said, not bothering to elaborate.
Izuku blushed and looked away, obviously embarrassed about his outburst. "Right," he mumbled. Just then Kana came running at them, holding up one of her many drawings proudly and flashing a bright grin. Katsuki avoided looking in her eyes.
"I made them for you! Do you like it?" she asked, placing the pages on his lap and then handing Deku a few. "It's me, you and Deku!"
Katsuki glanced down, taking the paper in his hands and staring at it. There was a drawing of him in a black and orange crayon wearing what looked to be his hero costume, Deku with a green, black and red crayon, in his costume, and Kana in the middle.
"Yeah, kid." he tried to agree, but his voice sounded flat. "They're great."