Author's Note: This chapter was kind'a hard to write, so I hope you enjoy it.
10: To the Dark Tower Came
During the following week of the Joker's attack, Izuku and Mina were kept busy. Izuku was preparing for his trip up to the Watch Tower, as well as consulting with Mei Hatsume about some new Support Gear he wanted built. Mina, however, knew that there was something more to their meetings. Mei had no qualms about safety when if came to making something new. Whether it was gear, or recreating the process of turning Tenya Iida into the next incarnation of the Flash.
They were trying to keep the whole process quiet while Tenya himself prepared himself as best as he could. During class one day, Mina thought she caught him in the middle of writing out his Will. She couldn't blame him for that. As much as she wanted to help him, she knew that this was going to be dangerous. Meanwhile, she and the rest of the school were preparing for the Sports Festival. Not only were the students wanting to impress Heroes in order to gain internships, but everyone knew that Izuku was going to be choosing members of the League from the Festival.
Studying was hardly a problem for her as she had both Izuku and Momo helping her on her homework. She found it much easier than before. During the evenings at home, she spent as much time with Eri as she possibly could before turning in. Both of them, however, were beginning to miss Izuku. While he was around the house as much as possible, he was also away in the Support Course classroom. Whatever he was working on, she knew it was important.
"Are you sure you're not pushing yourself?" Mina asked as she and Izuku laid in bed one such evening after he'd left the Support Course, "You've been at it all week."
Izuku nodded, "Yeah, I'm sure," he assured her, smiling, "Honestly, if I didn't like being in the middle of all this, I'd probably leave my little project to Mei."
Mina snorted, "Oh, Mei, is it?" She mock pouted, "Should I be jealous of you spending so much time with another girl when you already have me and a beautiful daughter?"
"Definitely not," Izuku stammered with a small smile, "Honestly, I'm just making sure she doesn't blurt out that we're trying to give Iida superpowers again."
She giggled at that, "Come on, she's energetic, but she's not a total ditz."
"I know she's not," Izuku smiled, and pulled her against him, "Sorry I haven't been around this last week," he said, frowning slightly, "Things are probably harder on you than you actually tell me."
Mina gave a small nod of her head, "Won't go into any details, 'cause I don't wanna think about it," she said, sighing, "But my folks did drop by while you were in the Support class."
Izuku winced, "How bad?"
"Bad." She frowned, "Poor Eri nearly threw a fit, a fit from that sweet little cherub, when my dad tried to drag me out of the house." She sighed, "And I said I didn't wanna go into details..."
Izuku propped himself up on his elbow so he could look down at her. She rolled onto her back and gave him a sad smile. "They blame me, don't they?" Izuku asked, sighing, "I wouldn't blame them."
"Well, I would," Mina said matter-of-factly as she reached up and caressed his cheek, "My dad's always been overprotective, sure, but my mom knows exactly how much you and Eri mean to me." She said, "It was only after Eri started crying that Dad realized what he was doing."
"You should spend some time with them," he said, "It might put them at ease."
Mina shook her head, "I'm dead set on becoming a Hero, dating a rising star in the Hero world, and I have a beautiful, wonderful daughter that I want to watch grow up," she said, "They will never be at ease."
"Still, though - " he started but she pressed a finger to his lips.
"No more talk about depressing parents," Mina said, "I love them, and they know it, but I love you and Eri too much to risk them coming between us." She said and looped her arms behind his neck, "Besides...tomorrow's the big day, remember?"
Izuku nodded, "We're heading up to the Watchtower."
"Yeah, and that's gonna be unpleasant for a lot of reasons." Mina said, "So we really need to stop talking about this kind'a stuff because there's gonna be worse to face in the morning."
"You don't have to come, you know," Izuku said, shaking his head, "It's just gonna be - "
"I wouldn't miss it," Mina said, "Besides, they deserve to come home."
All Might sighed as he took in the three students in front of him: these were the Big Three. UA's top students. First from his left was Nejire Hado, the brightest child he'd ever met, and quite possibly the ditziest girl he'd ever met, but that had nothing to do with her Hero work under the tutelage of Ryukyu; she was quite easily Top Ten material.
Next came Tamaki Amajiki. He was a shy boy that had a Quirk called Reappearance, which allowed him to manifest characteristic of food he had eaten. Needless to say that his diet consisted mainly of meat and seafood.
Next came the most promising of the trio. Mirio Togata had been trained by his former sidekick, Sir Nighteye, and he was well built for what he had in mind, and from what Nighteye had to say about him, he was already close to being the Number One Hero as he once was. His Quirk was called Permeation, and allowed him to pass through physical objects and surfaces. That coupled with One for All would become a near unstoppable force.
"I'm sure you're all curious as to why I've called you here so late in the evening?" Toshinori asked as Nejire smiled sleepily at him.
"Are we being kidnapped?" She mumbled, still half asleep.
Amajiki calmed his face, "Nejire, just let the man talk."
Toshinori chuckled, "No, my dear, I'm not kidnapping you." He sighed, "I'm sure you all know that I'm looking to pass my Quirk onto a new person," he said, looking at all three of them in turn, "I would like one of you three to be that person."
Now Nejire was wide awake, as was Amajiki. Mirio looked stunned, "One of us, Sir?" Mirio asked, a smile coming to his face, "Wow, what an honor...but why us?"
"It's simple, really," Toshinori smiled, "Regardless of which one of you takes it, I plan to have all three of you join the Justice League soon."
"Wow, really!" Nejire squealed loudly, "Oh, that's so great! We get to work with Superboy and do Hero stuff without any mentors and stuff and - "
"Nejire!" Amajiki yelped, placing a clam shell over her mouth, "Let him finish!"
"You were saying?" Mirio asked.
"All three of you have qualities that true Heroes have," He looked at Mirio, "A strong will, and unbreakable spirit." He looked at Amajiki who jumped, "Loyalty, and a drive to push past your own short comings." He looked at a smiling Nejire, "A kind and gentle heart that brings comfort to those that know you."
"In truth I would choose any one of you to inherit One for All, but I would like to leave the choice to you," Toshinori said, spreading his hands out, "But you must know the risks that come with it. To master One for All is to fully master your own body all over again. It will break your bones, and shred your muscles if you use it irresponsibly, but should you begin to even scratch the surface, it will grant you even greater power. For within One for All are six other Quirks that the previous wielders of this Quirk had before it was passed to me."
The three students looked at each other before Amajiki spoke, "Uh, sir, I respectfully refuse." He said, "I have enough power with my own Quirk since it's so versatile."
"I'd take it in a heartbeat if I didn't still have trouble with my stamina," Nejire said brightly, "I mean my own Quirk drains my energy super quickly, and I pretty much pass out. If I use a Quirk like that, then I'd probably die, and I - "
"I get the point, my dear," Toshinori smiled, "and I respect your decisions." He looked to Mirio, "And what of you, Young Togata?"
Mirio cocked his head, "What would you do if I refused?"
"Find another successor," Toshinori said, "But you three were my top picks. You all have exactly what I like to see in Heroes, plus, you've all trained exceedingly hard to be where you are. Out of the three of you, no one is more qualified...except maybe one other person."
"Then why not pass the Quirk onto him?" Nejire asked.
"Because," Toshinori chuckled sadly, "I missed my chance."
Mirio remained silent for a little longer before giving the withered Hero a small smile, "All Might, Sir," he bowed his head, "I'd be honored."
Toshinori smiled kindly, "That's a relief," he said, before bulking up and reaching up to pluck a long strand of hair from his bangs, "Now eat this."
"To inherit my power you have to ingest some of my DNA, and this is the easiest way to do it, so eat!"
"But I -"
"Hold on -!"
The campus of UA was abuzz with activity as the arrival of the Javelin had become a school-wide event. Outside the gates were several news crews, all of them waiting to get a shot of the long-forgotten jet.
In front of the school itself stood Izuku, Mina and All Might alongside one other. A third year by the name of Mirio who was looking kind of queasy for some reason. Izuku had a guest of his own. Bouncing on the tips of her toes in excitement was Mei, eager to get up to the Watchtower and see the technology they had once used.
"Oh, this is so exciting!" Mei giggled madly as she bounced, "I can't thank you enough for doing this for me!"
Mina giggled, "We should be the ones thanking you, Mei," she said much to the girl's confusion, "You've helped Izuku so much with his Support Gear ideas, and with his other projects that we couldn't not bring you along to the most technologically advanced space station in history."
"But all that was fun for me anyway!" Mei pouted, "Feels like you guys are spoiling me!" She looked at Izuku, "But you'll be glad to know that the Flight Belts, and Flight Rings you asked me to make are pretty much complete," she smiled, "I managed to recreate Nth metal's anti-gravity properties through a little experimentation, so the rings gonna be a massive break through in Support Gear."
Izuku grinned, "I'd like to share them, but I was originally going to use them to mark members of the League." The boy said, much to Mei's disappointment, "But I do have other idea we can try to sell?" He said, trying to make her feel better. "Your substitute Nth metal will win you the Kyoto Prize."
Mei suddenly brightened at that, "Hey, yeah!"
Toshinori chuckled as he listened to their banter and looked at his successor, "Still feeling off?"
"Ugh, a little," Mirio frowned, his left hand cupped over his mouth. "I didn't expect it to be so sour."
He chuckled once more, "I'm sorry. It was probably my shampoo," he said, "So, you excited?"
Mirio nodded, "A little. I mean, I get to go into space," he smiled slightly, "It's just," he sighed, looking down at his feet, "Is it true? About all the bodies?"
"Every word," Toshinori said, "Izuku said that All for One gloated about it every chance he got." He frowned, "I don't know what you'll find up there, but I'd steel my nerves if I were you." He said.
Mirio nodded and looked over to Izuku and Mina, who were laughing at something one of them had said while Hatsume was hopping in place from excitement. He smiled and walked over to them. "Midoriya, right?"
Izuku looked at the third year and smiled, "Yeah, that's me," he said in a friendly manner.
"Cool, I'm Mirio Togata," he extended a hand toward the younger Hero, "Nice to officially meet you." He and Izuku shook hands, "You probably already know this, but All Might - "
"Passed One for All onto you," Izuku nodded, frowning, "You've got your work cut out for you. All for One's not going to pull his punches now that he's at full strength again."
Mirio nodded, "I know, but I've got more than enough friends to make it count," he said, flashing a broad smile, "I hope that I can count you among them someday."
The roar of an engine brought their attention to the approaching Javelin, "After today, I think you can count me in."
Mina plastered herself against the window, looking down at the Earth, "I never thought it could look so pretty," she sighed. Across the planet she could see bright lights of cities where day was turning to night, and whirling masses of clouds that formed hurricanes in across the oceans.
Izuku smiled at her, "It is pretty incredible," he said, looking toward the front of the ship, "Thanks a lot for this, Professor Shield."
David looked back at him, smiling, "It's not a problem, truth be told, I've always wanted to get up here myself," he said, looking across at his copilot, "And Melissa would never forgive me if I refused a request from Toshinori."
"Oh, Papa, stop it," the girl said, giggling. The girl was Melissa Shield, David's daughter, and a rising star within I Island's Support Gear industries. She was a pretty girl with long blonde hair, and bright blue eyes behind a pair of glasses. The moment she'd stepped off the Javelin to greet All Might, Mina had immediately sensed danger and latched onto Izuku with all her might.
[Jealousy is scary.] Izuku thought, thinking back on how close his arm had come to breaking without his Quirk activated.
In the seats next to them, Mei was peering out her own window in hopes of catching her first glimpse of the Watchtower, while Mirio was looking greener and greener. He was holding onto a airsickness bag like a lifeline.
"I never knew I could get airsick like this, ulp!" He gulped. "Sorry about this, Mei."
"Just don't barf on my tool bag, Tintin," Mei said offhandedly, making the young Hero blink.
"An early twentieth century newspaper comic character," Izuku replied, grinning at the comparison. "You do kind'a look like him."
Mirio grinned a little, "Well, since I'm the comic book character, I can provide the comic relief...get it?!" He laughed. The only one that laughed at his joke aside from himself, however, was Melissa who gave an amused snort. "Sorry," Mirio said a moment later, "Guess I need to work on my delivery, huh?"
"Speaking of delivery," David said, a slight tremor in his voice, "We're hear."
Mei yelped and bounced out of her seat to float up to the front of the ship. The girl's eyes widened as the massive orbital station loomed in front of them, "Oh, how you ever seen anything so beautiful?"
David shook his head as he marveled at the tower, "Never in my wildest dreams." David breathed he angled the Javelin toward one of the hangars, "Alright, we all need to get suited up. The Binary Fusion Generator most likely shut down a long time ago, so oxygen levels are nonexistent. Izuku, think you and Superman up and open one of those doors?"
"Ahaha! Super-Man-Up!" Mirio laughed, "That's a good one!"
Izuku grimaced at the bad jokes on both sides, and bulked up with his Quirk before heading for the back. "Hey, don't you need a suit?" Mirio asked.
Izuku shook his had, "Nope."
Sealing the door behind him, he opened up the cargo door, and was sucked right out into space. He righted himself quickly and flew toward the hangar. As he began to open the door, he found it difficult, even for his strength, before he put more effort into it, and forced the door to rise.
The Javelin drifted in slowly just as soon as he had the door wide enough before slipping inside himself and letting it slam shut once more. The others disembarked as he rejoined them, Mina looking at him worriedly, "How do you not need a suit?"
"With my Quirk activated, it produces some kind of field around me so that I create my own miniature atmosphere." Izuku grinned at her. She frowned and punched his arm, having to rub her knuckles afterward. "Um, ow?" He muttered, trying to make her feel better.
"Just don't turn off your Quirk," Mina told him, still looking worried.
David turned on his suit's lights, "Come on, love birds," he said, looking toward the control center, "We have work to do."
When the forced the door open this time, Mirio and Izuku worked together to get it open while the others passed through...only for Mina to let out a scream. Izuku panicked and nearly lost his grip as he and Mirio hurried inside.
What met their eyes was a scene straight out of a nightmare. The control room was littered with black blobs of old blood floating around, and staining the floors and walls. Men and women in purple uniforms, the crew of the Watchtower, floated around aimlessly, their clothes torn and littered with puncture holes. There were also...Heroes. Capes of every color, suits of every shape. And all of them were dead.
"They look like they could've died yesterday," Mirio said with a trembling voice.
Izuku said nothing as Mina drifted back to him and buried her face in his chest, reluctant to see the carnage. David looked sick underneath his helmet, while Melissa just closed her eyes. "It's the lack of oxygen," David sighed, "It's preserved them. Make no mistake, though. As soon as we turn everything back on, they'll be dust."
Izuku frowned, "Then we should take care of them first." He said, rubbing Mina's shoulders gently. "They all died fighting All for One, so they deserve - "
"Izuku," Melissa halted him, pointing up, "Look there."
Izuku followed her finger, and grew cold.
The Hero floating high above them looked almost untouched. There wasn't a single visible injury on him. His suit was entirely intact, the only blemish being the odd blood stains here and there. He was Earth's Symbol of Hope. One of the strongest beings that the world had ever seen, and he looked like he was sleeping. But Izuku knew better than that.
All for One hadn't spared him after taking his Quirk. No. Even as a Quirkless man, he would have been far too dangerous to leave alive.
Engraved with the signature "JL" of the Justice League, the League Flight Ring enables its wearer the ability to fly in both atmospheric environments and outer space. Flight Rings are composed of a metal compound that Mei Hatsume created to imitate Thanagarian Nth metal. While it wasn't true Nth metal, it served the purpose in giving the rings their anti-gravity capabilities. (Mei refuses to reveal how she created the metal.) The rings, like Lantern Corps Rings, are activated by conscious will power.
Author's Note: This chapter is slightly darker than what I'm used to writing, so I'm hoping that it turned out alright. If not, though, well, I'm happy with it. Anyway, Izuku and Mina have finally arrived that the Watchtower, and found the work of All for One during his earliest days. Now they've got the grim task of filling body bags.
You know what to do if you wanna find out what happens next. Adios.