It’s a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Eijirou is enjoying his day off with Hanta and Denki—a rarity now that they’re in third year and have so much on their plates—before they’re unexpectedly interrupted. At first, it seems like nothing out of the ordinary, but the group soon find out otherwise.
As they cut through a park, they notice a pair of kids ahead of them. At the playground, a child is crying incredibly loudly, and the other is fussing about, pops of noise and light coming their hands as they pace about in agitation.
Eijirou wonders what could be wrong. It doesn’t seem like any adults are around; where are their parents?
The children are somehow familiar, which only becomes more apparent as Eijirou gets closer. The agitated child is blond and the crying child has messy green hair. Eijirou picks up his pace, and for a moment he swears he hears a whined, “Kacchan,” from the crying one.
“We should, uh. Check that out. See if those kids are okay,” Eijirou suggests.
His friends nod in agreement, eyes locked on the children.
Katsuki and Izuku had internships this morning. They should be back at the dorms by now. And yet.
The wailing child has familiar green hair and freckles, though they’re almost hidden by the redness of his face. The other is swearing loudly, with spiky blond hair, blazing red eyes, and explosions sparking off his palms.
Eijirou looks at the others, who nod at him in silent agreement. They approach the children.
“Uh. Katsuki? Midoriya?” Denki asks.
The blond one whips around and squints at Denki, stepping in front of his companion. “Who’re you?” he asks accusingly.
Denki raises his hands in surrender. “I’m Kaminari Denki. I’m a UA student. See?” Denki gestures to his uniform.
Eijirou does the same and introduces himself too, smiling at the kids brightly. This is weird as hell, but they can’t just leave random kids who might be their friends alone in this state.
The blond relaxes a little and nods. Behind him, the freckled child’s eyes go wide and excited. “Wow, Kacchan, UA shudents! So c- cool! I wonder what quirks they got.”
Well. That answers that. Holy shit.
(Is this a bad time to think little Izuku’s apparent speech issues are like... really adorable? Is that a mean thing to think?)
Katsuki turns to Izuku. “Shut up, Deku.”
Izuku’s expression drops a little.
Denki and Hanta share a concerned look. Eijirou frowns, coming closer and crouching as the two children continue to talk quietly.
“Sow- sorry, Kacchan...” Izuku apologises.
“Don’t say sorry, stupid. Everything’s weird, so we don’t need ta know their quirks now. We gotta find a hero first. I’d take us home myself but... I dunno where we are,” Katsuki says, pouting.
Denki and Hanta whisper behind Eijirou as he watches the children before him. Izuku clutches Katsuki’s sleeve in his little fist, and it strikes Eijirou just how small they are.
“Crap, guys, remember how they were at the start of first year? We should probably separate them,” Denki says.
“Shoot, you’re right,” Hanta says, immediately going to Katsuki and squatting just a little between him and Izuku. “C’mere a sec, mini Katsuki.”
Meanwhile, Denki moves to Izuku, fluidly detaching his death grip on his Kacchan. “Hey, little Midoriya! You wanna hear about my quirk?”
Izuku looks uncertain, and glances at Katsuki. He wrings his stubby fingers together. “I- I dunno, Kacchan said...”
Denki scoops him up from under his arms. “Come on little guy, don’t mind what grumpy old Kacchan says.” Izuku’s eyes fill with tears and he wriggles out of Denki’s grasp.
Ah, shit. He looks like he’s about to start wailing again.
“Hey, guys, maybe we should-” Eijirou starts, only to be cut off by Katsuki’s shout.
“Oi, what are you doing? Lemme go back to Deku!”
Hanta lifts Katsuki, writhing, into his arms. “Sorry little Kat, but-”
Hanta is interrupted by sudden, heart wrenching crying.
“Kacchaaaaaaan!” Izuku sobs, taking a breath with a sniffle and a hiccup. “G-give back Kacchan!” His eyes pour tears like an open faucet.
The teenagers freeze, unsure of what to do. Give back Kacchan?
“Hey, Izuku, it’s okay,” Eijirou tries. He reaches out and nudges Denki away from Izuku’s side.
“I want Kacchan! Go ‘way!” his little voice cracks.
Sparks crackle on Katsuki’s palms and he elbows Hanta in the gut. “Let me go!” He wriggles out of the teenager’s grip and drops to the ground. “Screw you! Lemme talk to Deku! He gets scared easy, you mean- assholes!” Katsuki glares fiercely, ducking though their legs to get to his crying... friend? The sparks on Katsuki’s hands die as soon as he reaches Izuku, and he reaches out to clasp their chubby fingers together. “Stop crying, stupid Deku. I’m here!”
Izuku seems to calm immediately. He opens his watery eyes and sniffles before a brilliant smile spreads on his lips, like he’s just been told he’s skipping his trip to the dentist to visit Disneyland. He lunges forward, throwing his arms over Katsuki and hugging him tight. “Kacchan!”
Eijirou watches, a little dumbfounded, as Katsuki frowns and gently hugs back, a tiny blush dusting his cheeks. A few moments later, when it seems like Izuku has no plans to end the hug, Katsuki lets go and pushes him off.
“You’re gonna get snot on me. Stop crying already.”
“Okay, Kacchan,” Izuku grins.
Denki clears his throat. “Uh... okay, I guess that’s a thing.” He looks to his friends, whispering, “What do we do?”
Katsuki crosses his arms, and once more places himself firmly between Izuku and the confused teenagers. “You’re doing nothing! I’m gonna take Deku an’ find a hero. You weirdos can just go away.”
Little Katsuki is adorable. Eijirou kind of wants to grab his phone, document this all for posterity. Or the next time Katsuki insults his poor study habits. There’s something so Katsuki that shines through, even in little Katsuki’s behaviour. It seems at his core, the boy has never really changed.
Denki looks mildly offended. “Hey, we aren’t weirdos! Come on, we can help you two. We’re UA students, remember?”
“No way,” Katsuki shakes his head. “Deku is useless, he doesn’t have a quirk! I’m strong and brave, so I can protect us.”
Shit, Eijirou can’t help think. Did Katsuki really grow up thinking that? His heart sounds like it’s in the right place here, but Eijirou can’t help but wonder...
Eijirou takes a step forward and crouches down. “We’re gonna be heroes, so we can definitely help, if you’ll let us. We know where heroes are, so we can take you to them!”
Izuku steps forward, but remains hidden behind Katsuki. “Kacchan... they can show the heroes...!” he whispers, eyes sparkling with excitement.
Katsuki looks at Eijirou, considering him for a long moment. “Hm. Okay, you can tell us where the heroes are. The other two weirdos can’t. And don’t you dare try anything funny, I’ve fought bigger kids before!”
Somehow, Eijirou doesn’t doubt that. He grins, painting the picture of utmost friendliness for the two wary children. The fact he got chosen over the others is a nice boost to his ego, so the expression comes easily.
“Okay, we can do that. I’ll tell my friends to go away.” It’s all Eijirou can do to not laugh as he makes this promise. He gives the boys a thumbs up before relaying the message to his friends. “You guys go ahead. Try to find All Might or Aizawa, okay? Make sure they’re around when we get there.”
“Why do they like you and not us?” Denki asks, gesturing dramatically.
Hanta clutches at his chest and pretends to wipe a tear from his eye. “Oof. I’m really hurt,” he says, then grabs Denki’s wrist. “Come on, Pikachu, we got a job to do.”
“Ughhhhh,” Denki groans, allowing himself to be pulled along.
“Bye kiddos!” Hanta waves.
Katsuki flips them off, and Izuku gives a small wave goodbye, still ducked behind him.
“Alright,” Eijirou says, “we’ll head to U.A. now. That’s where the heroes are. Follow me!”
On the way, Katsuki walks by Eijirou’s side, but keeps himself a step in front of the teenager the whole time and glances at him occasionally. Izuku tottles along from behind Katsuki.
Eijirou thinks he might be noticing a trend here.
As they walk, Eijirou gets them to ‘introduce’ themselves and finds out that Katsuki is five and Izuku is four. They don’t remember how they got to the park, nor do they remember anything about their teenage selves’ lives.
As Eijirou watches the children, acting so much like themselves, he knows this is gonna be a wild day.
When they reach U.A.’s gates, Eijirou has a minor oh shit moment; he’d forgotten no one can get in without ID. He turns to his friends, who look up at him and the gates with varying levels of curiosity, awe and distrust. Shiiiit.
“Eijirou!” A call comes from behind him and Eijirou freezes. How does he explain this?
He turns to greet Mina as she approaches, and mercifully, she’s on her own. “Hey Mina,” he says, stepping in front of their mini-friends for the moment. “You’ll never guess what happened, haha.”
Mina quirks her head, noticing the poorly hidden bodies behind him. Eijirou steps aside, smiling shakily. She looks between the two children, squinting.
“What..” Mina says quietly.
“Well, Mina, you see… uh. So this is Katsuki, but as a five year old, and this is Izuku, but as a four year old. They’re pretty cute!”
Blinking. Mina narrows her eyes at Eijirou. “What did you do?”
“They were like this when we found them!” Kirishima protests, raising his hands pleadingly.
“Bull. If I know you and the other idiots—which I do—there’s no way you didn’t get Katsuki and Midoriya involved in some kind of mess.” Her judgemental looks intensifies.
“Mina, I swear, we didn’t do anything wrong! They were like this already, and they were lost and we found them and don’t look at me like that!” he yells. He looks to the two toddlers at his feet, both smiling at the conversation, but minding their own business. “Please, Katsuki, tell her!” Eijirou pleads.
Katsuki shakes his head, grinning deviously. “No way!” he says, sticking his tongue out at Eijirou.
“Izuku?” Eijirou tries.
Izuku looks to Katsuki, who shakes his head firmly. Izuku turns back to Eijirou and shakes his own head.
Eijirou sighs, saddened and betrayed. Mina, finally, reacts. She laughs.
It’s a little scary, honestly.
“Mina..?” Eijirou asks carefully. He has to tread with caution. This is a girl who should not be underestimated.
Mina gathers herself after another moment. “Oh boy, you’ve really gone and gotten yourself into a mess, huh?”
Eijirou scratches the back of his head. “Well, I mean. You know. We couldn’t just leave them there! Who knows what they’d get up to.”
Mina snorts at the thought and smiles. “Yeah. Okay, here’s what we’re gonna do,” she says, and squats down before the two children. “Hey guys, I’m Mina! I’m in class with this guy. Our teachers are pro heroes, so we can take you to them, and they can help you out. But to get into U.A. you need special cards. Do you guys have any on you?”
Katsuki stuffs his hands into his pockets and pulls out his ID card. “I do!”
Oh, Eijirou’s an idiot.
Izuku searches his pockets and comes up with his own card, adorably big in his hand. “Me too.”
Mina smiles at the kids. “Awesome! That means we can head in now. Follow me, okay?”
Mina leads them in and the pair follows without complaint.
“Red Hair!” Katsuki points at Eijirou, then at Mina, face scrunched and serious. “Pinky is cooler than you and the two weirdos.”
Eijirou’s heart shatters like fragile, fragile glass.
(Children are supposed to be cute, damn it.)