Chapter 44: NEW LIVES
"Interesting move." All for One smiled at Izuku. They were playing chess as they often did whenever he invited the teen to his lair to have discussions. Sensei's chess set was this marble gaudy thing where the white pieces were sculpted to look like angelic warriors while the opposing black side looked demonic and hideous. "I heard Tomura is planning the attack on the U.A training camp without you."
"I did the best I could when teaching him strategic planning sir." Izuku said as he moved one of his white pawns forward.
"That you did." All for One moved one of his black knights to counter. "Which is why I felt I should return the favor with a special lesson, just for you."
"What sort of lesson Sensei?" The boy tilted his head curiously.
"What do you know about manipulation?" The ancient villain asked.
"Like getting people to do what you want? Or tricking them into making a move that benefits myself? Or forcing someone to follow your orders? There's blackmail. There's bribery." Izuku mumbled out loud as he stared at the board.
"I'm talking about control. How to truly rule people." All for One smirked. "How do you think I amassed so many followers in my time?"
"You told me that you offered to give and take quirks." Izuku remembered when he explained his quirk and a little bit of his history. The boy was quite shocked when the man told him that he was born during the dawn of quirks.
"Yes, but if you really think about it, there simply were not enough quirks to pass around at the time. So how did I get so many people in my corner?" The thought did cross the boys mind at one time or another. "Sometimes all you need is to control one person." Izuku pondered what he meant. "Allow me to illustrate." He picked his bishop and placed it around a group of his pawns. "There's one fact I've come to understand about human behavior is that almost everyone in this world has someone, at least one, that they deeply care for. Someone who they'd go to any lengths to protect."
'That's true.' Izuku thought to himself.
"Imagine these pawns care about this bishop." Sensei explained. "Maybe they're family, friends, coworkers, a loyal gang, you get the idea." He chuckled. "I don't just give quirks to anybody. I look for people that have a following of their own. This bishop wants a quirk or wants someone else's quirk taken and will do anything I wish should I grant him his request. Now that I have the bishop I have all the pawns."
"Its kind of like a pyramid scheme." Izuku noted.
"Exactly." All for One smiled wider as the boy understood. "My point being is in the end all you really have to do is control a hand full of people and through them you have an army. It's surprisingly easy."
"I'm sure with a quirk like yours it would be easy." The teen joked.
"Your right there. Alas in a world without quirks All for One would be useless." Sensei quoted poetically.
"This is going to be your room Eri." Dr. Higurashi said as he showed the little girl to where she would be staying. Eri looked around carrying her only possession, the large white stuffed unicorn that Izuku won for her during the U.A festival.
"Go on Eri." Izuku gestured for her to enter the room, assuring her that it was safe. The dark haired doctor smiled as they entered the room. It was about the size of a dorm room. Thanks to Midoriya's generous donations they had more than enough funding and could afford to give the children each their own room.
Izuku followed behind them as they entered. So many strings had to be pulled for this arrangement to be made. Blackmail had to be cashed in, social workers had to be paid off and a judge had to be bribed. Eri was technically a ward of the state. A ward that U.A adamantly wanted to take custody of. During the court hearing Izuku shut down that proposal very vocally. He explained that the League of Villains have targeted the hero school multiple times and that it was not safe for a young girl who couldn't control her quirk.
Nezu and his legal team attempted to counter that argument, explaining that the school's security systems have been extensively upgraded. To which Izuku argued that Tomura Shigaraki had a personal vendetta against U.A and that it was only a matter of time before their new security was breached again. He also explained that during the interrogation of Kai Chisaki's underlings it was revealed that the league was working with them at the time for those quirk erasing bullets however, they only knew that the ingredients came from the body of child. They did not know the child's name or face. With all the attention U.A gets it wouldn't take much for the villains put things together. Eri did not belong in that potentially dangerous environment. Izuku put his foot down on this topic.
In the end it was decided to keep Eri completely out of the media and that she would be placed under Dr. Higurashi in her child care center. The doctor was there during the hearing and fully supported Midoriya's arguments. She offered that her facility was well equipped to take care of Eri and that being around other children would do her some good, mentally and emotionally. However a concession was made for U.A. They'd be allowed visitation rights and Shota Aizawa was to attend all eventual quirk training which Midoriya agreed to.
"This is going to be your home from now on." Izuku told her. Eri turned and looked up at him with her big ruby eyes.
"Why can't I live with you?" She asked hopefully.
"Because Eri." He knelled down to her level. "I live on a military base out on the ocean. Its not a place for a young girl to live trust me on this."
"He's right." The doctor said. "Plus you'll be around other kids your age and be able to make plenty of friends here." She then looked towards Midoriya. "She's going to need some more clothes."
"I have people already on that." He assured her. Eri walked over and sat on the bed. Seeing her look a little dejected Izuku walked over and sat next to her. "I'll come visit you a lot." He could easily guess what was on her mind. "In fact. If you ever want to talk or to see me tell Dr. Higurashi and I'll be here right away." Izuku and the doctor stepped outside for a moment to give Eri more time to take in her room.
"I want to thank you again for your support." The gauntlet user told her. "I really didn't want U.A taking custody of her."
"I'm sure you had your reasons for that." Higurashi shrugged. "But this works out well for both of us. I wanted to get the other children to interact with more people who have quirks. Having someone close to their ages will really help them grow accustomed."
"When do you think we should begin helping her learn how to control her quirk?" Izuku asked.
"Let her grow comfortable living here first. We need some ideas on how to help her practice though. After what you told me her quirk does…" The doctor trailed off in thought.
"I have some ideas." Izuku supplied. Several ideas actually. Ever since he witnessed Eri's quirk first hand the more devious side of his mind ran through all the applications and uses for such a powerful ability. It took the rational and compassionate side of him to slap those ideas down and remind himself that she's just a child. 'I want to help.' He promised.
"Are you sure you'll have time for this? I know how busy you get." Doctor Higurashi questioned.
"I make my schedule, not the other way around." That was all he needed to say. If Eri needed him, he'd simply make time for her. Plus he planned on adding some new blood to his department to lighten the load on himself.
"You're a good person Midoriya." She left the director title out of his name. Higurashi didn't buy any of the slander that heroes, organizations and politicians spread about Izuku. He did some bad things, but she truly believed that he was good person at heart that just wanted what was best for everyone.
"Say that after Eri is living a normal happy life." He'd didn't feel like they were out of the woods yet in this case.
Danjuro Tobita sat alone in his cell. A sealed room without bars or windows with a vault like door reminiscent of a maximum security prison. The room was also equipped with sensors that detected the usage of quirks so he couldn't even attempt an escape without setting off the alarm. He had no idea what happened to La Brava. Midoriya had them taken to his base and placed in separate holding cells by his robots. He'd been here for over a week. The machines brought food and water to his cell regularly. He certainly hoped they were doing the same for his dear La Brava, wherever she was.
'Please be alright my dear.' Being locked in here alone for so long gave him a lot of time to think. He realized the situation they were in was completely his fault. If they just stuck to the original plan. If he didn't let his curiosity and desire for fame get the better of him.
'The consequences of a life of infamy I suppose.' He lamented.
The cell door suddenly opened, instead of the usual food hatch and in stepped a tall black Titan robot. The machine with a few rigid moves hauled the man to his feet and placed a pair of cuffs over his hands that were meant to block the use of his quirk. It led him outside where three more robots were waiting. They formed a perimeter around Gentle Criminal and began walking. He got the message and walked with them. Not like he could resist anyway.
He passed the large sealed door to the prison area of the base, it opened up just for them, shutting closed just as they passed. Gentle was led through several corridors until he was roughly shoved into a small room with a single metal table with two chairs on opposite ends. The door was slammed closed behind him and with nothing else to do he quietly sat down in one of the chairs. After a few silent minutes the door opened again and there appeared Director Midoriya, smiling brightly as he walked into the interrogation room, carrying a file in his hand.
"Sorry to keep you waiting." Izuku apologized as he sat down in the opposite chair. He placed the file on the table and flipped it open. "Let's see…" He tapped his gauntlet covered index finger on the metal surface as he skimmed through the information. "Danjuro Tobita." He spoke the man's real name so casually. "It took some digging, but we were able to put together a file for you. Nothing really all that noteworthy. Expelled from a low level hero school for public quirk usage and interfering with hero work. After that it seems like a downward spiral to well…this." Izuku closed the folder and looked the villain in the eyes.
"Though I can't help, but ask. What possessed you to break into my city office?" He leaned forward for just a touch of intimidation. Danjuro remained silent. "You can speak you mind. I won't get mad. I'm genuinely curious." The older man swallowed nervously and decided to come clean. In doing so he told Midoriya his whole story. How he became Gentle Criminal. How he met La Brava. His goals and his ambitions. There was no point in lying anyway.
"You know I understand on some level. I really do." Izuku told him honestly. "Everyone wants to be remembered be they hero or villain." He suddenly stood up from his chair startling the criminal. "Come with me I want to show you something." The teen waved his gauntlet and Danjuro's cuffs were suddenly detached from his wrists. The door to the room opened and Izuku walked out while the older man followed behind. He didn't even try to escape, not without knowing where his beloved sidekick was.
"Where are we going?" Gentle Criminal wondered aloud.
"I just want to show you around." Izuku said simply. "You got a little peak at the city office. I'm sure you'd appreciate a tour of the main base." He continued to lead him to another area of his headquarters, far away from the prison wing.
"Where is La Brava?" He practically demanded.
"She's safe." Izuku's voice wasn't threatening. He didn't want this man to think he had harmed her or had plans to harm her later. "I've already spoken to her. You'll get to see her soon." He turned and smiled back at him. "She's a very bright person and cares a lot about you."
"Listen…Director Midoriya." Danjuro began. "Everything we did was all my idea. La Brava had nothing to do with it. I forced her to work for me." He lied.
"That's funny. She said the exact opposite." His smile dropped as he turned and kept walking. "She said it was all her idea." They eventually walked into a chamber that appeared to be some sort of observation room, with one large monitor screen that nearly took up an entire wall with a series of control consoles before it. On the screen was brown haired girl with metallic wings fighting against a taller boy with engines in his legs. "Hm they're using the training room again? I thought I told them to take a break?" He sounded displeased but didn't make a move to correct this. "At least they're improving." They watched them practice for a few minutes. When Midoriya decided it was enough they left. He showed the captured villain around the main areas of the base. They even popped in on Hatsume in her workshop. Luckily nothing she was working on was going critical for once. Izuku ended the little tour, leading Gentle into an elevator. They didn't speak at all until the doors opened, revealing the outside.
"After you." The gauntlet user gestured for him to go first. They walked onto the helipad of the base. The captured villain's eyes strained at finally seeing sunlight after a week of imprisonment. When they adjusted he was able to get a good look around. From their position Danjuro could see the entire fortress and the ocean that surrounded it. Far off into the distance he could even see the city, but barely. He definitely couldn't swim that distance, so that escape was out. "Have a seat." The villain was startled out of his thoughts by Midoriya's voice. He spun around to see him sitting by a small table where a fresh pot of tea and two cups were waiting.
"Black tea?" Gentle knew what it was by the smell as soon as he sat down.
"A favorite of yours I understand." Izuku commented as he poured them each some and politely took a sip. Gentle followed his lead. "I like coming up here. I like staring at the clear sky. It's a gateway to a universe of endless possibilities."
"Do you want something from me? Is that why you're being so kind?" The man asked. It seemed odd someone of Midoriya's station wasn't treating him like the criminal that he was.
"Your right I do want something from you." Izuku said as he placed his cup down. "I was going to build up to it, but since you decided to be so forward I'll just cut right to the chase." He cleared his throat and smiled at the man. "How would you like a job Danjuro Tobita?"
"A job?" Gentle Villain was struck by the question.
"Yes a job. I'm talking about you working for me. Working as a part of the Hero Regulation Department." The gauntlet wearer explained so casually. "I think you and your partner are quite skilled. It would be a shame to let such talents rot away in prison." Danjuro looked away in thought. "You want to be remembered right? Why not be remembered as part of the revolutionary change that created a new hero society, rather than a petty washed up criminal?"
"I'm not very strong or smart. I don't see what use you could possibly have for a washed up criminal like me." He spoke dejectedly.
"You should give yourself more credit than that." Izuku argued. "The fact that you lasted as long as you did against Nemesis is impressive. Besides I'm not making this job offer based off strength alone. Both you and the girl were bold and determined enough to break into my city office. That's shows guts. I like guts." The two of them sat in silence. One in thought, the other waiting for an answer.
"What would this job be?" Tobita was curious now. The former villain known as Apotheosis smirked, seeing the man was seriously considering the offer.
"Mostly just security related. You and La Brava would be in charge of monitoring everything that goes on in the department, especially information, plugging leaks and all that. You would also have the run of the place whenever I'm not there. Employees will turn to you for things in my absence, so just compile a list organized by importance until I return." Izuku explained his possible future duties. "That's what your normal job would be. Would you like to know your secret assignment?" Seeing the older man raise an eyebrow he continued. "While you're working for me, I will give you the resources needed for you to dig up as much dirt as you can on the Hero Public Safety Commission."
'What!?' His eyes widened at what the boy just said. Going up against the Commission was dangerous, but then again so was going against the H.R.D. Gentle could attest to that himself.
"I'll let you in on a little secret. One of my overall end goals is to eventually dismantle and ultimately absorb that whole government department into my own." Izuku picked his cup again and took another sip, finishing it off very greedily. "The Prime Minister hacked off a good chunk of the Commission's authority and power when he created my department, but I want more than just a cup of tea. I want the whole pot." The teen smirked deviously. "I was able to find a few dirty little secrets to get me this far, however we all know where there's one roach there's a hundred more. The more secrets I have the more ammo in my guns that will be aimed at the Commission, ready to fire when I give the order."
"This sounds risky." Danjuro tapped his fingers on the table in thought.
"Says the guy that broke into my robot storage and took on my symbol of balance." Izuku mused. "Greatness comes with risks." Gentle paused. He'd said something similar like that before, to his companion.
"If I agree to this. I want assurances." The villain was seriously considering accepting this offer, but not just for himself.
"Let me guess…your partner." He already knew what he wanted. Izuku and La Brava already had a nice little chat. "She and I have come to an arrangement. We're just waiting on you." Once again he was several steps ahead.
"We won't be sent to jail." Was the second concession Gentle Criminal brought up.
"Considering you'd be in a police station cell instead of mine if I didn't see potential in you." Izuku chuckled darkly, but ultimately agreed. "Done."
"My criminal record wiped clean." Danjuro Tobita made his third demand. "For myself and my dear La Brava."
"Not a problem, but if you two break the law again I won't be able to protect you." The gauntlet user warned. "You work for me now and the new hero society."
"I don't think that will be problem anymore." The man smiled. His glory days of robbing stores and trespassing were behind him now. It was time for a new chapter in his life. "I guess you have yourself a new dedicated employee then." Maybe he could make a difference like he wanted to do when he was at the hero academy.
"Great!" Izuku suddenly stood up. He waved his hand and opened a portal in front of him. "Come. Let me show you where you two will be working." Danjuro stood up and followed him through the gapping warp gate. Looking around he noticed he was back in the city office that he broke in over a week ago. Instead of the empty dark halls and rooms it was well lit and bustling with employees. Many of whom smiled and greeted Midoriya with respect as they passed by.
"There's one thing I still don't understand. Why would you offer me this?" Gentle finally asked the question that had been plaguing him as they walked.
"Call it an investment if you want. Or maybe I just don't like to see talent wasted. Especially talent that the old society rejected." Izuku answered, referring to how his genius and talent for quirk analysis was basically ignored for most of his life. "Plus I feel I owe you both. Not only did you find a hole in my security system, you also helped put Nemesis to the test and because of that I spotted a few glitches and kinks we can patch out before we send him out into the world." He paused and turned to stare at him with steel green eyes. "Don't misunderstand my generosity though. You two will be heavily monitored and tracked at every turn. I will not be giving you any second chances beyond this one. Step one foot out of line and that will be it. " That threat was very real and Danjuro got the message loud and clear.
"And here we are." Izuku stopped walking when they reached the office. "Good morning!" He pushed open the door revealing La Brava sitting at the desk already at work on the computer. Cup of steaming tea placed above the scattered papers.
"La Brava!" Danjuro shouted as he ran over to her.
"Gentle!" She also exclaimed her joy at seeing him safe. The two of them hugged. Being separated for over a week was simply too long.
"She's been busy beefing up the security system and patching up the hole she used to break in." Izuku supplied. Gentle didn't notice that his companion wouldn't meet the teen's eyes. La Brava just continued to stare at the floor.
'Here are your options missy. Either you two end up working for me or you both go to prison, quirkless might I add. That's it. Look I don't want to be the bad guy here. I don't want to see you two just tossed aside like every other criminal in this society. I know you deeply care for him, so why not do this for him? You can look at that way if you like.'
That was the deal Midoriya and La Brava came to. She didn't like it, but she was smart enough to know that it was the best deal they were going to get.
"I'll make this orientation short." The gauntlet user began. "Your schedule will be sent to your computer. You will both be given a full access pass to this building."
"How will this go with the media?" Danjuro asked. Public image was important to Director Midoriya and his department.
"The official story is that you two turned yourselves in. You came to my office and surrendered personally to me." Izuku smirked as he fabricated the lie. "I was so impressed by your talents that I offered you a position." That part was true at least. "On the record you're both on probation. Off the record you will always be monitored but are essentially free to go." He smiled pleasantly. "Also your new living arrangements." He fished a set of keys from his pocket, which he tossed to the former villain. "I originally offered this new apartment to my mother but she turned it down, so it yours." Gentle read the address on the tag and was shocked. He knew that area. It was very high class and well off. A place he never dreamed that he would get to live.
"Thank you Director Midoriya." Danjuro Tobita bowed respectfully.
"You need a new outfit." Izuku remarked. "Tobita if you would please go down to the seventh floor and ask for Kenichi, he'll fix you up with some clean clothes." He waved him off. The former villain nodded and obeyed with one last assuring look at his partner. Izuku waited till he was long gone before he spun and faced the red haired girl in her chair. All friendless gone from his face.
"Now then. You have your official assignment, and you're unofficial off the record assignment." Izuku began. "Let me tell you about your third top secret assignment." La Brava looked up at him curiously. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a photograph and showed it to her. The picture appeared to be a black haired woman in a hero outfit smiling at the camera.
"Who's this?" The girl took the photo.
"This is Nana Shimura." He paused before continuing on. "She's a deceased professional hero from several decades back. This is part of an important personal investigation I'm working on. I need you to research her and find out all her known associates."
"That's it." La Brava was confused, that this seemed like such a simple assignment that anyone could do.
"If it was that easy we wouldn't be having this conversation." Izuku chuckled. "When you have a list of all of Shimura's friends and family. Then I want you to compile a list of each of their known associates and do the same for each person in those lists and so on so forth. I want you to go back as far as you can with this." She paled when she realized how extensive this project would be. "When you hit a dead end, then you're finished. I want the names and faces of all of them. I can't stress that part enough."
"May I ask why?" She wanted to know why the need for these people.
"All you need to know is that this is very important to me and that you are not to tell anyone about this, not even Tobita." He took a step closer so he was looming over her. "Do you understand?"
"Y-Yes!" La Brava stuttered out.
"Good luck then." Izuku smirked before leaving the office without another word.
Hey look at that I'm alive. Short chapter again.
Let's talk seriously for a moment. Some have said the story is boring now and nothing is happening. Yes I know. That is the point. First of all I want to remind everyone that Izuku has basically won. He's gotten everything he wanted and everything is on track to his ultimate end goal. I guess you could say he's still in the honeymoon phase of his plans. It's going to be a little while longer before someone comes along and challenges him. At the moment there's no one really a match for him. I did consider doing a time skip, but I really don't want to. Mainly because I want to focus on these relationships with the characters. So that way when characters start dying and betrayals happen later it will hurt more. Twist the knife so to speak. I'm mostly just doing set ups for later at this point.
Its one of the reasons why I've been working on my oneshots. Since nothing is really happening in this story that's very important. Again though I promise things will start to pick up. Five maybe six chapters. I am trying to chop it down a bit.
Thanks for reading.