Howdy all! I'd just like to say thanks once again for reading another one of my little stories, and would like to put up a disclaimer here real quick. Firstly, this chapter is going to be the darkest of all chapters in the story, as Izuku busts out of prison. I actually intend for this to be a rather fluffy romantic love story with some comedy thrown in, but after being trapped in Tartarus for a long time Izuku's got a little damage in his skull. That being said, as a recap, this is the darkest chapter in the story and everything after it is going to be considerably lighter. Prepare yourself for a bit of harsh language, darker themes, suicidal thoughts, and a few graphic descriptions (nothing disgusting though, don't worry. I dislike gore.)
NOTE AS OF 12/21/2020!
This story has undergone several revisions! If you're new to the story, don't worry about it! If you're a returning viewer, feel free to skip ahead to chapter 3 if you'd like a small list of revisions made. Overall, the story's much the same, however I have TOTALLY rewritten chapter 3, because I rushed it out after feeling pressure. After getting such a positive and large response for the story, I've decided to take it a lot more seriously. I didn't originally intend for this to be a very long fic, maybe 200k words at most, but we'll see where things go now. Again, there haven't been too many major changes, but I really delved into MHA research and got a better handle on how Quirks work and would interact with one another to make the story more… realistic, for lack of a better term.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing in this story, and all rights to the characters within go to their respective owners.
I'm not All for One, I swear! It's me, Izuku!
I wanted to stop a prison break, not start one!
Two years, four months, three weeks, four days, twenty-three hours, eighteen minutes and forty-three seconds, give or take the amount of time he spent asleep and lost track of his counting. Factoring in that information, it was reasonable to assume that he may have skipped over a month or two in his count, but he was beyond caring at this point.
In any case, he'd spent roughly that amount of time imprisoned here, restrained in this infernal chair. It wasn't even comfortable. Izuku had a lot of time on his restrained hands to think about random subjects, from the sciences to philosophical debate… but eventually even those trains of thought had reached their destination and he was forced to ponder others to occupy the time.
Namely, random bullshit that didn't matter at all in the grand scheme of things. If Izuku was being honest with himself, and he was forcing himself to do that a lot more in the vain hope that whatever God saw fit to deliver unto him this punishment would forgive him should he atone for… whatever it was he had done wrong.
Currently, the best guess for his sin was how dishonest he had been with everyone, even if he told himself it was for a good reason. Protecting All Might. Wait! He got distracted again, he was thinking about… the chair, yes.
He loathed this chair.
Right, right, he got f=distracted again. If he was being honest with himself, he'd prefer being stuck inside those plastic things bolted to the desks back in class 1-A. The one he was currently strapped into had no padding, no arch support, no ergonomics, and was the very definition of brutalist architecture in chair format.
Izuku shook his head to dispel the intrusive thoughts, doing his best to disregard his past life. The medical mask on his face pumping oxygen into his damaged lungs slid uncomfortably around scarred skin as he did so. Simultaneously, the barrels of six different ceiling mounted machine guns adjusted their aim ever so slightly, zeroing in on his head and chest as they subtly shifted around.
Still, he felt assured that they wouldn't fire. So long as he didn't activate (or think about activating) any Quirks, nothing would happen. He learned that the hard way mere minutes after he first woke up in the body of All for One. It was really drilled into his skull what would occur when his 'new' Super-Regeneration Quirk kicked in immediately after he was shot, causing every gun in the vicinity to unleash holy hellfire on the undying corpse sitting in the chair. It took a manual override from the control room situated off to his right to force the firing to stop and even then, he was subjected to painful electrical shocks until he fell unconscious. All of that just so the damned doctors of this facility could come and reconnect his battered body to that accursed life support machine.
Perhaps the worst part of this whole situation was that no one spoke to him beyond demanding he respond to the doctor that stopped by occasionally to ask questions about his health. Even when he was being fed by an attendant, he wasn't talked to, nor were his words acknowledged. Izuku was no stranger to social isolation, his childhood was practically filled with nothing but that in between getting yelled at and burned by Kacchan but even then, he had his mother to chat with at the end of the day. His lifeboat.
Here, he had nothing.
Of course, he tried to talk after the doctors were done strapping him back in a bullet hole-free straightjacket and explained the situation to them. How he had stupidly thrown himself into oncoming traffic to save the life of a little girl whose ball had rolled away from her onto the street, pushing her clear and taking the impact himself. How he was actually Izuku Midoriya, aspiring Hero and All Might fanatic. How bringing down any one member of faculty from UA to just hear him out would clear up this misunderstanding, and they could work on a plan for fixing the situation he found himself in.
The first week of his constant pleading he was reminded with an automated message that prisoners should not speak unless spoken too. The second week, guards started loudly demanding over the intercom that he shut up and take his punishment 'like a man'.
On the third week, those assigned to guard him had enough and forced the mounted guns to fire on the restrained figure, and he spent ten agonizing minutes in hell as Super-Regeneration kicked in, repairing all the damage he suffered at the cost of forcing the Quirk-activated guns to keep firing. He'd never felt so glad when the high-voltage electric shocks knocked him unconscious.
That was the last time anyone had talked to him beyond barking orders; when the Warden announced an annoyed and clearly insincere apology for his staff's behavior over the intercom, assuring Izuku that they would be going through a mandatory 'ten-minute corrective training course'. He could practically hear the sneer in his apology.
Unlike when he had broken his bones intentionally while still getting used to One for All, Izuku decided to actually take a lesson from the literal torture he'd suffered through in what he termed the 'third week' and shut the hell up.
All of this meant that for the last… ugh, what was it now? It'd probably been at least 10 minutes since his last count… yeah that sounded about right.
All of this meant that for the last two years, four months, three weeks, four days, twenty-three hours, twenty-eight minutes and thirty-nine seconds, he had been imprisoned in Tartarus, unmoving and unspeaking unless directed to.
Since he couldn't do much else, Izuku spent much of his time pondering the one who's body his consciousness now resided inside and explored every nook and cranny of its mind. What remained of All for One seemed… fragmented though. At least, that's the best way Izuku could explain it.
It was as if Izuku had moved into a new house (or in this case a body) and the previous owner left behind some of his furniture and personal belongings. As much as he wanted to deny it, he admitted there was a 99% chance that there was a not-so-subtle difference between the Izuku who had thrown himself in front of the truck and the Izuku currently strapped into this angular, blocky excuse for a chair.
Cementoss probably would have created something more comfortable for God's sake.
Wait, no. He was getting distracted again. What was he… yes! His mental shifts.
It was like… the insides of All for One had been scooped out and replaced with Izuku, and the remaining outer layer of the Villain had combined with its new innards. The thought that All for One was entirely whole, buried deep inside his mind and just waiting to escape flashed through his mind yet again. But whenever he tried to search for the villain inside his head… he found mostly nothing. Something approaching emptiness.
Izuku could and at one point had distanced himself from the mental leftovers of the Villain, but after the 'Third Week', he gave up. His mental state had been in a worse place than that time All Might told him to give up, and he honestly couldn't find any sort of reason to live. He had nothing to look forward to, after all. When he was a kid, he could comfort himself with his dream of being a Hero, but in Tartarus?
There was no future. Just whatever restraint system you happened to be strapped into.
After that 'Third Week', Izuku reached out and touched those mental remnants of All for One with the explicit purpose of hoping the Villain would re-assert control over the body and kill off Midoriya's consciousness.
After that 'Third Week', Izuku reached out and touched those mental remnants of All for One just to see what would happen. An experiment, really.
All Izuku learned was that if All for One was actually hiding out in this body still, he was doing a damn good job of it. A second thing he learned was that if he reached out and 'touched' those mental remnants of All for One, he got a sort of… perspective shift. Those bits would jump out and wrap around himself like a coat, coloring his every thought. Basically, it merged Izuku's own mind with what was left of All for One, and he would think differently as a result.
It frightened him a bit on some days but at the same time, Izuku could never bring himself to let go of the security. It was quite literally the only thing Izuku had to comfort him, and as such he never really… stopped using it. He wasn't entirely sure if he could at this point, nor did he particularly want to. While he didn't always like the roads his new thoughts went down sometimes, the benefits of All for One's superior mental stability outweighed some of the… darker aspects that occasionally flitted across his consciousness. Again, it didn't transform him into an entirely different person, but… it certainly provided a major personality shift.
His first clue that was true came from the fact that he was readily swearing like a sailor at every available opportunity, because while before the worst thing he'd uttered in his previous life was a single 'shit' whilst fighting Villains, now he could potentially rival Bakugou with how many 'fucks' he threw about like candy.
The second clue came when he tried to analyze the events leading up to his consciousness swap, and how he had saved the little girl. Or at least, Izuku hoped he saved her.
Yeah, he saved her from the semi-truck, that much he could remember before everything went dark, but the little girl was still on the road, he only pushed her away from the immediate threat. Still, he liked to think that his bloodied corpse frightened enough of the drivers on the road into slowing down or stopping all together.
He shook his head once more to dispel the humorous image of his classmates gazing down with tear filled eyes as the hero-wannabe Deku lay broken and bleeding in the road.
There, that right there. That was exactly what those 'darker aspects' he mentioned earlier were like. What part of his bleeding and broken corpse was funny?! That was… disgusting! Sighing, he forced his thoughts to go back to when he saved the child. As per usual when he thought of the event, a new, instinctive reaction appeared. A new thought that he knew he'd not had before.
Why would he dive in front of the truck?
If Izuku had tear-ducts, he'd be crying right now; and if he had eyes, they'd be watery. As it was, all he could do was take short, shaky breaths as his damaged respiratory system shuddered. He knew the answer, because it's what a Hero would do. It didn't matter what happened to him, if he could save somebody, then he would do it without hesitation, no matter the person. If Shigiraki was hanging off a ledge and about to fall, Izuku knew he'd be the first person to reach out a hand and save him.
This was his life now. For all the issues it brought though, all the strange, hypocritical thoughts and doubts it sewed into Izuku's skull, he still couldn't bear to part with it. The sole reason he had for even wanting to distance himself from All for One's remnants was that ever-present idea the Villain was still hiding inside, waiting to reassert control over his body.
The more he thought about it though, the more certain Izuku became that that wasn't the case. He was 96% sure that his old body was dead. Right before he found himself in this one, he felt… well, everything inside his old one break. His organs exploded from the force of the hit, and shattered ribs punctured anything that remained marginally functional inside his chest cavity.
One of the many theories he'd come up with during his time in The Chair was that he underwent a consciousness swap, not just a replacement. By that, he meant that All for One's mind had entered Izuku's body, and Izuku entered All for One's, with each side leaving behind little psychic imprints, or remnants, whatever you wanted to call them.
He heard mumbling from the guards occasionally, sometimes they even purposely left the intercom on so they could taunt him with their conversation, though any attempt to communicate back would be met with a shock. They talked about their jobs and the prisoners they watched over, and even villains that were at large and expected to be transferred to Tartarus upon their capture, but he never heard anything about Midoriya. Or rather, his old body.
Knowing All for One, he wouldn't just turn over a new leaf and try to live a normal life. He'd crawl his way back into a position of power by using Izuku's body and would've murdered everyone at UA by now, or at the very least All Might.
Plus, when the guards mentioned a while back that All Might had made a rather emotional televised statement about traffic safety, citing the death of one of his students, Izuku knew. His old body was dead, and any consciousness that resided inside his body at that time had died with it.
For probably the millionth time in his relatively short new life, Izuku shook his head. It was so easy to get distracted. Right, All for One hiding out in his mental skinsuit that Izuku liked to wear. What's the probability? About 8%, if he had to hazard a guess.
That was another thing he'd picked up. He now liked to think of things in terms of percentages, and found comfort in compartmentalizing information into handy numbers. Perhaps it was due to an intelligence boosting Quirk or something, maybe one that allowed him to do math really well. It'd certainly explain why whenever he thought back to old math problems he'd done in the past, he readily found the answer popped into his head like he had a calculator on his person at all times.
He sighed again. It really was a low point in his life when he started redoing old math tests in his head just to stave off the boredom. Couldn't they have at least given him like, a TV or something? Wait… he had no eyes.
Ugh… how could he keep forgetting that?
There were exactly two things that prevented him from just offing himself. One, Super-Regeneration. That damnable Quirk seemingly had like, no drawback whatsoever, besides being unable to heal scarred tissue or wounds that were cauterized. Basically, the wound needed to be fresh. In any case, there was the distinct possibility that Izuku snapping his own neck by utilizing one of his many strength augmentation Quirks would just result in his neck being healed, and while he had an idea of how to permanently end himself, he didn't know how he'd be able to move his arm into a position that would allow him to decapitate himself. The restraints keeping him immobilized may have looked like plain cloth and nylon, but they were as strong as steel. He could undoubtedly break out of them, but not before the guns or electric shocks immobilized him.
Secondly, and more importantly, he had a new goal. While he couldn't use any one of the vast multitude of Quirks housed in All for One's body due to the guns pointed at him, pain has a way of making one lose the concentration required to utilize a Quirk properly after all, he was able to sort of… peruse his inventory.
Take stock of what he owned.
Izuku sighed. He didn't own these Quirks, every single one of them beyond the original was stolen. Every single one… besides All for One.
A smile came to his thin, damaged lips which he quickly crushed. It was ironic, really. The more Izuku thought about it, the more he realized that the names should have been switched around. One for All and All for One… it would've been a more apt description if their names were swapped.
All Might's former Quirk, One for All, contained the very souls of those who had the Quirk in the past (which he would've really liked to know before he accepted it, All Might), in addition to any Quirks that the users themselves had. They combined into the 'core' of One for All, and gave its current user that incredible power. All of its previous users Quirks… for one person to use.
Well, that one person being him, anyways. Apparently, that was a 'new' thing that not even the vestiges of the previous users seemed to know about. Or rather, now that Izuku could re-examine his few interactions with them through the lens of All for One, they seemed to have had an idea but wouldn't voice it. Why, he didn't know and honestly didn't care.
The Quirk wasn't his anymore, it wasn't anybody's anymore (unless UA did some serious Necromancy to salvage the Quirk which, considering how important One for All was, might not be too far off from reality), so there was no point in puzzling over something that he'd never get answers to.
Meanwhile, the Quirk All for One certainly had the capability of stealing Quirks from others (the several hundred that Izuku could feel inside of him was a testament to that), but it could also give them to people. One single Quirk, that could give power to anybody.
If only All for One had been a nicer person. He would've made for a great hero. Wait! He got distracted again…
His head shook more, finding the ability to chuckle lightly as he imagined what the guns pointed at his head looked like as they danced with his movements. He'd have used his Infrared Vision Quirk to actually see it, but he'd have been shot for doing so.
As he had been multiple times in the past (the most recent time being about two weeks back, come to think of it).
For now, he'd just have to continue to suffer in the darkness.
He sighed. Idly, he noticed he tended to do that quite a lot. Right, right, his goal, his new dream. The one thing he had to keep him going in this world.
He didn't want to be a Hero anymore. Maybe it was that little bit of All for One that was now stuck atop his consciousness, maybe it was the deep-seated hatred he had begun to fester within himself when the guards read a letter addressed to him written by his former homeroom teacher. The one where he spelled out his complete and total disinterest in meeting with the man, in addition to the lack of caring showcased by apparently every other staff member at the school, a not at all subtle warning to never speak Izuku's name ever again, accompanied by a very nice reminder to 'eat healthy and exercise properly'.
Exercise in Tartarus amounted to the electrodes placed around his body being activated at a low voltage to keep his muscles from atrophying, plus a foul-tasting cocktail of drugs and vitamins to eat with his nutrient slop that was served in place of actual food.
He didn't exactly blame Aizawa, or anyone else for that matter though. He knew what it sounded like. Still, if they had just sent down somebody, anybody at all, he might have had an opportunity to get out of here. They denied him even that. Weren't Heroes supposed to help everybody, even their worst enemies? That's what being a Hero was all about. Butting into things where they didn't belong if they noticed something was amiss.
Still, that didn't mean he wanted to be a villain. The very thought of hurting someone, even the idea of taking someone else's Quirk forcefully… it sickened him. He could never do that. With… one exception. But he'd get to that later.
No, he had one very simple goal, and a plan for the future. Searching through his vast inventory of Quirks, he'd stumbled across one he'd worked with in his past life. When he was still Deku. He'd found Search; Ragdoll's stolen Quirk.
Curiously, he also understood that it wasn't the original Quirk he had, but rather a copy. He didn't have access to All for One's memories beyond a few fragmented bits and pieces, and all of them were random. The fact that about twenty of them appeared to be of him eating food was testament to that. But one of the memory fragments he had was of All for One talking with his close confidant and doctor, about his Quirk replication procedure.
He was a little confused at first, once he got over the 'please help me I'm not All for One, really, c'mon guys' thing and started to just… poke his Quirks around, because despite the sheer number of them inside him, he felt hollow. Still did, really. His best guess was that these Quirk Copies, while functional, were comparable to an animatronic version of a real person. It imitated a real thing, but it wasn't the real thing, and he could feel it. Each Quirk felt like it was missing… something, which was why he instinctively knew that All for One was currently holding onto a carbon copy of Ragdoll's Quirk, as well as his own Quirk, All for One (side note, who the hell names themselves after their own damn Quirk? That shit's confusing at the best of times).
As if that wasn't strange enough, Izuku all but knew the current holder of the original version of both of those Quirks… was Tomura Shigaraki.
Or he soon would be. Through the scraps of memories he could pick through, Izuku understood that All for One wanted Shigiraki to have his Quirk and follow in his footsteps (though not in the way Shigaraki wanted, which, really, Izuku always privately suspected was the case). Whether or not that had occurred yet was something that Izuku was unsure of. He didn't really get access to outside information here. Still, the guards weren't acting like the world outside was ending, so he felt confident Shigiraki wasn't in control of the power yet, and quite possibly never would be.
In any case, Shigiraki wasn't his problem anymore. Was it callous to think that? Perhaps. But Izuku was tired. Tired of everything. He just wanted to wake up, go to school with his friends, and be happy. He hadn't felt happiness in a long time until he went to UA and acquired his first honest to goodness friends in too many years.
He missed his friends…
As of now, he hadn't felt happiness for two years, four months, three weeks, four days, twenty-three hours, thirty-four minutes and eleven seconds.
He'd take the raw deal of waking up as a Quirkless weakling again too, at least then he'd get to hug his mother, tell her he loved her, and eat her katsudon once more.
He missed katsudon…
He smashed his skull into the back of his chair, eliciting a warning beep from the machine as the guns trained more closely on him. He knew the guards were on alert as well, intently watching his movements.
But he didn't care. He just needed to forget all of that. Izuku Midoriya was dead. All that was left was… whoever the fuck he currently was now. Some twisted version of his old self..
His goal was simple. He was going to get out of this hell hole, somehow, someway, and he was going to do one final act of good. He refused to die in this body without having helped anybody. He was going to find Ragdoll and give her back the Quirk she'd had forcefully ripped out of her body, so she could resume her work as a Pro Hero. He knew what being Quirkless was like. But having a Quirk all your life and then having it ripped away… it must be some kind of hell. Especially when her teammates continued to operate just fine without her direct assistance.
As for Izuku himself… well he wasn't sure. A part of him was screaming for him to just end it, to kill himself. But he'd been in situations like this before. Well… not like Tartarus but… suicidal thoughts. He'd battled with them before, so he knew from experience that waiting for a new day can really change one's outlook. So, while right now he couldn't find a reason to live beyond helping Ragdoll, he did understand that he may find a new one after he completed his goal. One thing he was entirely certain of however, is that he wasn't going to try and go back to his old life.
Izuku Midoriya was dead. He'd been dead for quite some time. Ignoring that little voice in the back of his head that told him nobody cared, Izuku understood that people mourned for him. His classmates. His mother. All Might. Aizawa himself probably skipped school for a few days to hide in his house; Izuku knew that the gruff man actually did care a great deal about his students.
That was just it though. It wasn't fair to them. Izuku couldn't just try and step back into those bright red shoes he always wore and go about life like nothing happened. Not to mention, he was now in possession of one of the most powerful Quirks in existence.
And several hundred others.
He was a liability. A major security risk. Even if through some magical means, the entire truth about Izuku's situation came to light, and people believed it, it wouldn't matter. He was a walking nightmare on legs, and all his friend's— no. All his former friend's hands would be tied on the matter. No amount of rep with All Might or UA would prevent Izuku from just being thrown back in Tartarus or some other similar prison for safety reasons.
And to be honest, Izuku understood. Truly. He knew the man whose body he now inhabited. Plus, with the possibility that All for One was still lurking somewhere in the depths of his mind, he could potentially be a ticking time bomb.
Coincidentally, Time Bomb that was another Quirk that Izuku understood he possessed. It was one he had filed under a mental cabinet labeled 'useless' because the quirk activated upon his death and would cause all of his organs to swell with blood and then explode. Not even in a destructive blast either, they'd just swell and burst pathetically, unlikely to even rupture through his dermal layer.
Why All for One ever decided he needed to steal that Quirk from somebody, Izuku didn't understand. It was, however, nice that All for One (the Quirk) seemed to come with the ability to have a basic understanding of how to utilize any Quirks that were stolen with it.
Izuku shook his head again. He kept getting distracted… right, life after succeeding with his goal.
To recap, didn't want to be a Hero, was never going to be a Villain in this life or the next (beyond the obvious illegal acts he'd be committing by breaking out of prison and then whatever he had to do to successfully hide out), and wasn't entirely sure he wanted to kill himself. That left one last option he could think of, and it seemed pretty appealing to him.
Just… running away.
Going off and living the life he seemed destined for at birth, that of a nobody. Not that he was saying being a nobody was bad, mind you, but just… being your average citizen. Didn't get in trouble with the law, maybe had a family, and never accomplished anything noteworthy in life.
That… sounded quite appealing to Izuku right about now. A family was something he hardly gave a second thought to in the past, since he was so young, had so many goals and desires to fulfill. Now that he had literally nothing but spare time on his hands though, he often thought about the what-ifs. What could have been. What may come!
Izuku liked the idea of being a Dad, it sounded… nice. He couldn't even remember what his own father looked like… and that hurt. All he had was the occasional phone call, not even pictures. It hurt when his Mom dodged the question of whether or not Izuku could be a Hero without a Quirk. He wouldn't make those same mistakes. If his son or daughter happened to be Quirkless and still wanted to be a great Hero… well who was Izuku to deny them that wish?
After all, he had a literal arsenal of Quirks they could freely pick and choose from. He could probably give them multiple ones if they really wanted.
The idea of suicide receded farther and farther back in Izuku's mind as he imagined a life where he had someone he loved at his side, and a beautiful child or two between them. Perhaps it was the social isolation and borderline torture he was going through that brought out all these thoughts, but the idea of family, the inseparable bond of blood and love… he wanted it more than he'd ever wanted to be a Hero.
Well… maybe not more than his previous desire to be a Hero. But that was in a past life. The world had moved on from Izuku Midoriya, and it was time he moved on too.
The only thing standing between him and Ragdoll, and by extension his eventual quiet life after helping her, was several thousand tons of steel reinforced concrete, armed guards, automated defense systems, and his crippling injuries that literally kept him more restrained than the actual physical restraints to this WORTHLESS EXCUSE OF A CHAIR!
The life support monitors rapidly beeped as his heart rate skyrocketed and he momentarily lost his cool, thrashing about in a desperate bid to achieve any modicum of comfort on the slab.
Prisoner 5687, cease your actions at once and—
"Maybe if you FUCKS invested any money at all into, I don't know… GODDAMNED PILLOWS, I might consider CALMING DOWN!" he screamed, devoid of any emotion beyond blind rage. His voice, deep and hollow with scratchy undertones, resonated throughout the cell he called his room.
Izuku missed his old voice…
He was rewarded for his actions with several painful electric shocks. He didn't care anymore though, continuing to cackle madly as his body convulsed. It almost hurt more, all the tubes and wires jammed into his throat being jostled around by his rancorous laughter, not to mention his lungs failing to intake the necessary amount of air for his actions.
Surprisingly, after ten or so more seconds, the electricity actually cut off.
Code Lavender? Understood sir we'll be—
Izuku managed to make out the sounds of several chairs being rapidly shoved to the side and boots trundling out of the observation room, likely leaving just a skeleton crew behind the observation window. Code Lavender… Izuku believed that to be code used when a prisoner was being difficult to move from room to room and presented an escape risk.
He was quite thankful that the guards decided to give each other a pop quiz on protocols about a year back with the intercom on, it gave him quite a bit of information on what all of the code phrases meant.
Taking a deep breath, or as deep as he could without hurting his damaged lungs and throat, Izuku managed to calm himself down a bit once he realized no guards were going to rush into the room to… beat him up or anything.
That hadn't happened yet, actually. Though they could be liberal with their automated firearm usage. Their electricity bill must be pretty high too!
He chuckled at that, a small pitiful chuckle that hurt his ragged and abused throat and made the blood in the back of his esophagus churn about, but he chuckled all the same.
He was going to escape this place, even with the risk of All for One waiting for exactly that to happen. He knew he should care, but he really didn't have it in him to think about others right now. He needed to be out of this godforsaken place.
He'd actually conjured up some pretty grandiose escape plans that had been thought out thoroughly and down to the last detail. He always skipped a single step though.
How to initiate them.
He knew exactly how to escape as soon as he was able to exit the room he was currently in, he could probably even squeeze out of here riddled with bullets assuming he was freed from this chair.
That was just it though, he couldn't get past the first stage of the game.
Ugh, now he was sounding like Tomura…
He was going to disregard that information for now however, and just go over what he'd do assuming he wasn't tied to the chair.
Nearly a year prior, he'd purposely thrashed around until the wires in his neck fell out, and his ventilator ceased functioning. Before the shocks knocked him out so the medics could re-enter and plug him back in, he noticed something.
He could still breathe.
It hurt like hell, and he knew he wouldn't be able to keep it up forever like that, but he could still breathe. He wagered he could force himself to do that for about five minutes before it became too much for his body, and then he'd need external assistance in the form of an advanced respirator.
At first, he figured he'd break free and meander his way towards the nearest medical station and force one of the doctors to jury-rig up some sort of breathing apparatus to keep him steady, or perhaps bust out of the prison altogether and make a beeline for the closest hospital he could find and demand treatment.
Eventually though… he remembered something.
Kai Chisaki was imprisoned in Tartarus. He'd seen the news report, Chisaki was found screaming on the highway and missing both hands, unable to use his Quirk; the handiwork of Tomura. But… he still possessed it. His Quirk was still in him, it's just that his Quirk factor, his hands, were gone, leaving him unable to activate it.
If Izuku could get out of this room, he'd be able to find Kai. How? Quite simply, he'd warp the man right to him.
All Might had told him about the Warping Quirk utilized by All for One on Kacchan after he was kidnapped by the League of Villains, where he vomited a foul-smelling black liquid and was teleported away.
If the Quirk sensing guns all around him were turned off, he'd be able to activate Ragdoll's power, locate Kai with literal ease and then warp his body right in front of him. He'd steal that child harming bastard's Quirk and then use it to heal himself.
He'd seen Kai use his abilities to fix damage to his own body and those of others, and he'd painfully sat through some of Eri's therapy sessions in a show of support while she described how Kai would rip her apart molecule by molecule and then piece her back together as if nothing had happened. Just because the damage was healed, didn't mean the pain being vivisected was any less excruciating.
Once he got a hold of Kai's Quirk, he'd be able to repair all the damage that this body had acquired and then GTFO… assuming he didn't pass out from the pain of using it on himself.
Well… he'd GTFO right after tearing Kai's body apart a few times and piecing him back together.
No… he'd fix him. He'd give him back the hands he lost to Tomura on the highway. Right after… right after he stole his precious Quirk from him!
It'd be the perfect torture! He'd have the tools to utilize his Quirk back, and he'd be unable to do anything at all with it! Then again… why couldn't he tear Kai apart, put him back together, and then return his hands? Yes… yes that was good. He'd make sure he suffered for what he did to Sir Nighteye, Mirio, and Eri!
He really was thinking like All for One now, wasn't he? Honestly though… he didn't care.
"yes… Yes, YES! HAHAHAHAHA—guhk!"
Sputtering, Izuku hacked up a small amount of blood as his emotions continued to get the best of him. Hey… at least he was acting more like All Might now. It was practically that man's hobby to spit up blood. Izuku couldn't stifle the chuckle his dark thoughts caused… nor could he stop the consequence of said chuckle, namely the tube he noticed falling out of his neck. That probably wasn't good. Any second now the shocks would come though, and the doctors would have him hooked back into his life support system so he could get back to his fantasizing.
At least, that's what should have happened.
Instead… well. The rapid beeping on the heart monitor was probably a good sign of how Izuku was feeling.
While Izuku couldn't see it, the lights in his room shut down and beyond the dull thud of his heartbeat, he could swear he heard the sound of all the ceiling mounted machine guns suddenly going slack, banging their chassis' against the wall as they powered down.
Deciding he really didn't have anything to lose beyond suffering a bit more pain, he took a risk and activated his Infrared Vision.
Deep blues, bright yellows, clear greens, and burning reds filled up his vision, as the Quirk quickly kicked in. The heat emitted from the objects changing the colors he saw, and quite simply, red meant hot, blue meant cool. He was able to easily distinguish everything in the room, and could perceive the depth, distance, and the size/shape of everything as well. Honestly, it was exceptionally close to what normal eyesight looked like, just with thermal imaging layered atop it.
Hey, Izuku wasn't about to look a gift Quirk in the mouth. Another great thing Izuku had noticed… he wasn't getting shot. He wasn't being shocked. He could faintly hear the sounds of panic from the guards coming through the glass of the observation window… but this was it. He could fulfill his goal if he acted now. If he channeled his inner All for One and was truly ruthless. He would try his best not to kill or harm anyone… but he was getting out of here. Tonight.
Oh, and Kai was the exception to his self-imposed rules.
"Sorry not sorry, Chisaki…" he rasped, before putting his plan into motion.
Izuku quickly activated one of the Quirks he had seen All for One utilizing against All Might in his final battle, Spearlike Bones. Izuku barely gave a passing thought to the… well, spear-like bones as they protruded through the skin on his arms and was pleasantly surprised to find that they didn't hurt him at all as they exited his skin (then again, maybe he just could feel that pain thanks to all the other torment his body was going through). The flaw in his plan was soon discovered however, as Izuku realized he couldn't exactly cut his way out of the exceptionally strong straightjacket with his immobile limbs. He did succeed in making two holes in the side of his straightjacket though.
Canceling the Quirk, he rapidly applied two separate strength enhancers through his body, grinning as he felt his muscles bulge and tighten a bit in response. Well… he supposed one last callback wouldn't hurt too much, right? One last hurrah, as it was.
"Just like All Might said…" he whispered to the empty room, "Clench your butt-cheeks and yell… SMAAAASH!"
Izuku's arms easily broke free of the jacket, the X-shaped keypad buckling him into the chair flew off as well, smashing against the farthest wall and crumbling into various mechanical bits and circuitry. While standing up after not having moved one's legs much for over two years may have been difficult for others, Izuku's strength enhancers thankfully augmented the miniscule muscles that remained behind in the limbs.
What all of this really meant though was that Izuku had no issue at all with standing up and kicking that infernal chair directly through the observation window where a skeleton crew of two guards cowered away in the corner from the deadly force now freed from his restraints. Izuku didn't even feel pain when the tubes were ripped from his throat, so great was his excitement.
He had no time to get distracted though, those guns could come online at any time…
Glancing behind him, he vetoed the idea of punching his way through the likely locked vault-like door that served as the entrance to his cell. It wasn't that Izuku felt he couldn't do it, but he was already feeling a bit tired from how he had exerted himself. He needed to get somewhere without the automated turrets, so he could warp Kai to him and heal himself.
Turning back to the now smashed widow of the observation room, Izuku ignored the burning in his lungs and throat as he vaulted over the shattered glass, not bothering to cover his hands. He just let Super-Regeneration heal the deep cut his palm suffered from grabbing onto the jagged material as he bypassed the terrified guards and opened the door that was the staff entrance.
Time seemed to freeze as soon as he stepped into the somewhat narrow hallway that connected all the observation rooms to one another. On either side, Tartarus guards froze in fear at the scarred figure of All for One panting heavily in the middle of their walkway, unsure of how to proceed.
Their hesitancy allowed Izuku all the time he needed to apply Springlike Limbs to himself, before pointing his open palms up and down the hallway.
Izuku found himself unable to keep the smile from his face as he activated All for One's favorite Quirk, Air Cannons, watching through his thermal vision as everyone in the hallway was blown respectably far off their feet and, more importantly, away from Izuku's position; additionally, any doors that happened to be open in the hall as well found themselves slammed shut or ripped off their very hinges. Because he hadn't applied as many Quirks to himself as All for One had in the Kamino Ward, it wasn't nearly the destructive typhoon that the cameras had recorded in his fight against All Might, but it was still a force to be reckoned with.
He'd just need to hide inside one of these rooms for a moment to complete his plan…
Taking a few steps to the left, he entered the observation room next to his own and slammed the door shut, quickly jamming an office chair that was unlucky enough to be next to him under the door handle to buy himself a bit more time. By now… he could hear panic all over the place. He was pretty sure that the way the entire building seemed to shake and the flickering lights above him meant that there were plenty of other criminals loose. Plus, he could hear the prison guards panicking out there in the hallway, loudly debating on entering the room or waiting for armored support before proceeding.
The loud alarm blaring over the prison's intercom system also clued him in.
Izuku frowned as he finally noticed the single guard that was still in the room, slowly reaching for the gun on his waistband. There were always complications in his life…
Black spots danced around the edges of his thermal vision as breathing became more and more torturous with each passing second, but Izuku still managed to whisper out, his voice was more akin to sand paper than anything else at this point, "T-touch that… and your Quirk is mine."
It seemed like something All for One might say, in any case. Even if it wasn't, it certainly had the effect he wanted as the trembling man's hands suddenly shot up directly in the air, a clear sign of surrender. Izuku approached and disarmed the guard, readying himself to toss the gun into the corner of the room.
A quizzical look crossed what remained of his face right before he did though. Shrugging, Izuku activated another Quirk he had made a note of, Hot Hands, and turned his palm into a biological smelter. The gun rapidly became red-hot in the face of such astonishing temperatures, quickly turning to metal sludge.
The mortified look on the guard's face was all the reward Izuku needed to know his plan had worked. He wasn't going to be trying anything heroic.
Turning off all non-essential Quirks, meaning everything beyond a single strength enhancer to keep his legs stable, he activated Ragdoll's Search. Perhaps it was because he had fought the Villain before and met him in-person, but Kai's presence was rapidly located. In fact, it was the first person he sensed.
Actually, there was an 87% certainty that Search was locating those he had previously interacted with in the past because after that, he zeroed in on Muscular, Moonfish, and the presence of someone young, whom he somehow instinctively knew to be named Mustard, from the attack on the training camp all those months ago.
He chuckled, the horrible raspy sound emanating from his throat failing to convey any form of amusement to the horrified prison guard held captive in the room with him. Perhaps Villains needed to stop picking names that started with the letter M. They didn't seem to be having a good track record here.
Izuku was just going to ignore the fact that he sensed the Hero Killer Stain and Kurogiri moments later, it'd have ruined the small amount of humor he found in the situation. Shaking his head, Izuku focused in on Kai's location, activating his terrible warping Quirk. It wasn't quite like Kurogiri's Warp Gate, in that it could only bring people to and from the Quirk's user. Still though, it was all Izuku needed.
He sensed that a puddle of exceptionally dark blue liquid pooled on the floor in front of him, which meant that the stuff must've produced next to no heat. As the pool transformed into a large pillar of goo, he noticed a struggling red and green form thrashing about inside the mixture, tainting the deep blue with shades of color as the struggling transferred enough energy into the liquid to signify a temperature change.
The sludge eventually disappeared altogether, leaving behind the lithe form of Kai Chisaki grasping at his neck with the stubs where his hands used to be. It was hard to make out with his Infrared Vision, but Izuku thought he could see the splotches on his skin where Kai was beginning to develop hives.
Izuku scoffed at the coughing germaphobe, desperately trying to take in a satisfactory breath of air.
"A-all f- haaa… ack… A-All for One?" the former villain managed to hack out, his eyes staring at the sunken splotches of scarred skin where Izuku's eyes used to be. Or were they where All for One's eyes used to be?
Izuku shook his head as he placed his hand on Chisaki's head. He didn't have time for this, it was getting harder and harder to breath by the second.
"DON'T T-TOUCH …a-arkhg… me…!" he cried, but it was far too late. For just a second, Izuku felt pity. Felt that what he was about to do was beyond cruel. But then he remembered what Kai had subjected Eri to, and what he had done to Sir Nighteye and Mirio.
The rest was surprisingly easy.
Pulling on that mental trigger that constituted the Quirk of All for One… Izuku felt a surge of power go through his hand on Kai's forehead. He noticed that in his Infrared vision, his hand actually dropped its temperature for a few moments before rapidly heating back up to one of the deepest red's he'd ever seen.
Izuku barely heard Kai's scream of agony as his dreadful Quirk was removed from the murderer's body, he was so in awe of the power he felt coursing through his veins and eventually… his entire body. While it only lasted about three to five seconds… he'd not felt a rush of power like that since he'd last used Full Cowl in his old life.
He really wanted to slow down, to have the time necessary to process… everything that was going on. What he was doing, if it was worth it… but he didn't have time. It was almost impossible for Izuku to get a satisfactory breath anymore, and he heard talk of hostages from the hallway, no doubt meaning they were already discussing strategies to bust the door down and take him out.
He could feel it inside him, Chisaki's Quirk. That terrible power of his; Overhaul. It really was a shame Chisaki turned out to be a horrible person, his Quirk was exceptionally versatile.
"It doesn't matter…" he croaked, turning his own hand on himself and placing it upon his damaged throat.
Izuku would make sure to put Kai's Quirk to good use. That man… he didn't deserve such power.
Thanks to All for One's capability of having a basic grasp of the Quirks he stole, Izuku was already mentally preparing himself for the task of repairing his damaged body. Izuku hoped his lack of knowledge in the field of biology wasn't going to impede him in his task, as that would mean he'd need to resort to plan B.
Plan A was to simply work on repairing his lungs, using Overhaul to fix the damage like how Kai was able to heal himself and his subordinates with his power. However, All for One's Quirk informed him that his hypothesis about Overhaul was correct: Kai could manipulate and change matter, not create it. Seems the Law of Conservation of Mass held up even under the physics/logic defying reality of Quirks.
Izuku could not create a new lung out of thin air. It was his hope to use other parts of his flesh to fix the damaged bits, and let Super Regeneration cover up any damage he accrued from cannibalizing himself for the job.
Plan B piggybacked off Super-Regeneration as well, but Izuku wasn't keen to try it. As he'd been all too aware of throughout his entire stay at Tartarus, he was coughing up blood. Even the doctors couldn't stop him from doing it, his lungs were just… broken, much like All Might's. That meant there was an open wound in his chest, which, by extension, meant Super Regeneration wasn't functioning correctly where his lungs were concerned. Sure, it couldn't heal scarred tissue, but scarred tissue didn't bleed. Scars were what formed when the body healed. Something in his chest was just wrong, and Izuku was very afraid that it was the organs themselves.
If he ripped out his lungs, there was a fifty-fifty chance that he'd either grow a brand new pair of perfectly functional ones, or he'd totally ruin his chances of, well, living. Honestly, it was even less than a fifty-fifty chance. All for One had Super-Regeneration for several years, and a damn doctor at his side nearly 24/7. Super-Regeneration was fast, but not impossible to get around. There were certainly speed-enhancing Quirks and surgical tools that could be used to outpace/get around the regeneration factor.
Izuku highly doubted that the intellectual powerhouse that was Dr. Kyudai Garaki hadn't considered the idea of just using Super-Regeneration to grow a brand new pair of lungs before, which meant for whatever reason, the idea had been considered and promptly disgarded. If All for One wasn't willing to do it, Izuku certainly wasn't keen on figuring out why, since All for One's health problems were now his health problems.
It was particularly odd when the Quirk kicked in, it was like… his thermal vision was switched off and he found himself in a blackened void, surrounded by nothing but grayscale representations of the object he was working on. In this case, it was himself. He wasn't going to look a gift-horse in a mouth though, he was concerned that he wouldn't be able to see his work properly with Thermal Vision being a major limiting factor (not to mention the fact he had to uncomfortably crane his neck downwards just to peer inside his chest), but the grayscale removed that issue.
The smile on his face grew a small bit as his hands operated with the skill of a dozen surgeons, pulling the skin of his chest away with near-practiced ease, pushing apart the muscle fibers, ribs, and other organs that blocked the path to his lungs.
By the time he'd reached his destination, Izuku was able to determine that they were rather pitiful lungs. They looked blackened, veiny, and more closely resembled something he'd seen in those anti-smoking PSA's his middle school forced him to watch during health class. Each passing second chipped away at his resolve as the already-daunting task he'd set out to do became all the harder.
Izuku shook his head and was thankful that Overhaul slowed down his perception of time. He didn't have to focus on his near-inability to breathe right now, and could just focus on the task at hand. If ever there was a time to go Plus-Ultra, it was now.
All Might always said that it was important to think about Quirk usage in an easy to understand manner and back when he was wielding One for All, he went for the egg in the microwave, desperately trying not to make the egg (his old body) explode. In this case… the Quirk Overhaul was like… hrm… yes!
This was exactly like playing with Legos.
Every molecule was a brick, and while he didn't have an instruction manual to follow to piece things back together, he could see his lungs looked… crooked. With a literal flick of his fingers, he cracked one of his lungs open like a walnut and blanched at the severely damaged structures inside. His damn trachea (what he could see of it anyways from his awkward, upside-down position) looked like it'd been set on fire and his… well, he believed the correct term was 'bronchi' were pitiful, as were the… alveoli they connected to.
Of all the things Izuku hadn't expected to happen today, struggling to remember his anatomy classes wasn't one of them. In any case, most of those internal structures were, much like the flesh of his lungs, blackened and shriveled. With quite literally desperate energy, he started tearing the damaged and clearly non-functioning structures apart, looking for any sort of usable material. Underneath all the blackened gunk was… grey gunk, which Izuku hoped was viable tissue. What looked like healthy parts of his lung were grey-ish, so the young man hoped this was a 'close enough' situation.
Izuku's respect and disgust for Kai increased yet again. His knowledge of the human body must've been unparalleled. The former greenette easily acknowledged that the man could've been a scientist at I-Island with his intelligence, something Izuku already privately suspected was the case back when he was rescuing Eri from his clutches. The former Yaukuza boss was the head researcher in his own personal laboratory, and while his methods were unnecessarily cruel and sloppy in the name of efficiency (why waste time drawing blood when you can just make someone explode and collect the run off), he still developed Quirk erasing bullets by somehow managing to devise a method of not only activating someone's Quirk (Eri's Rewind) from cells that had been removed from the original host's body, and then somehow shoved that technology inside a fucking bullet.
That knowledge only made Midoriya hate the man all the more.
Izuku continued to rip all the grey chunks away, setting them off to the side (and wasn't that weird, setting chunks of his own lungs off to the side of his lungs), before very carefully taking apart what was clearly a healthy bronchi and alveoli. He studied their structures, looking at how all the molecules seemed to fit together like the Lego bricks they were, and after he felt confident enough (that is to say, not at all confident), he slowly started assembling all those grey chunks he'd set aside earlier into mostly-perfect replicas of the healthy parts he'd observed.
To the outside observer, his hands were moving faster than a speeding bullet as blood sprayed out of his chest. To Izuku… he was building his own Lego set, doing his best to make it look nice and neat.
Two seconds had passed in the 'real' world, but it felt more like five hours to Izuku. Thankfully, he'd yet to feel any pain but he knew that as soon as he stopped using Overhaul, his nervous system would kick in and it'd be a struggle to just remain conscious.
He had managed to assemble the Lego house that was his lungs, and in what he would consider a semi-decent manner. Quite frankly, he was rather disheartened by the final product, but it was the best he could do.
By his own estimates he'd removed, very nearly, 43% of his lungs. Considering they were already shrunken and damaged before he started his task, that meant he'd removed a little less than half of what remained of his lungs. He didn't need to be a mathematician to know that wasn't good, by any definition of the word.
On the bright side, what was left consisted only of totally healthy or partially-healthy tissue. Anything that looked like it could squeeze out even a molecule of oxygen, Izuku kept. All the remaining necrotic tissue that resembled charcoal more than anything else was lumped into squishy, disgusting ball of flesh and blood floating in front of Izuku, which he was perfectly content to let drop to the floor to be forever forgotten. He was quite certain he'd be breathing better than he was before, the only question was would 'better' be enough?
Only one way to find out, really. The former greenette grabbed the ribs he'd removed from his chest cavity and let float around in the void that surrounded him, clicking them back into place as easily as one would stick a magnet onto a slab of iron. His other organs were arranged in a neat fashion, the muscle fibers and skin gently laid back atop his chest like a blanket slid atop a mattress.
Izuku inevitably ran into another problem because his life seemed to be one car crash after another (once, that metaphor was quite literal) and his hopes of feeling any sort of 'decent' after this impromptu surgery plummeted. His neck was, without a doubt, riddled with holes, and his esophagus felt like it was loaded with scar tissue. While Izuku could crane his neck down to peer inside his chest, he couldn't do the same thing for his throat. While he had a 'rubbery limbs' Quirk that he could utilize to stretch himself around like Mr. Fantastic to acquire the correct angle, he wasn't entirely sure how well that would translate with his wounds, nor how that might impact his surgery. Hell, he wasn't even sure he'd be able to fix himself with a mirror if he had one, because that was diving into the mechanics of how his vision worked with this weird grayscale Overhaul provided.
Was this simply piggybacking off of his Thermal Vision Quirk, or was Overhaul providing him with an entirely separate method of vision? If it was just piggybacking off Thermal, he wouldn't be able to utilize a mirror in any way, shape, or form. Gritting his teeth, Izuku realized he'd need to do a patch job of some sort if he wanted his work to have any effect, so he tore himself open and fumbled around with his hands to search for any issues in lieu of visual confirmation. If he felt rough scar tissue, he tore it off and smoothed it over with nearby flesh like he was spreading butter onto a slice of bread. Holes, he treated much the same. He could only hope the flesh he was cannibalizing for the job wasn't too important in its original position. This was seriously cutting into his chances of actually making it out of here, but Izuku mustered up the willpower and resolved to do the best job he possibly could, even when he was performing his own surgery blind. He needed to get out of Tartarus; he unequivocally refused to get back in that chair. If a guard stood between him and freedom (the opposite of getting strapped back into that literal torture device) he wasn't sure the guard would be walking out of that situation alive.
(If worst came to worst, he wasn't even sure he wouldn't purposely cut himself down to prevent that from happening, even if it meant Ragdoll would never get her Quirk back.)
With that in mind… he resigned himself and figured that he'd done the best job he could considering his limitations. Izuku folded the skin of his esophagus and neck back over, before canceling out Overhaul… only to immediately collapse onto his knees, fighting to remain conscious as mind-numbing agony coursed through his entire body.
Searing, startling, blinding white-hot pain flooded his every thought as the skin upon his chest flew off his muscles, before those too were tossed callously out and to the side. Ribs popped right out of his chest while his lungs exploded and then imploded immediately afterwards in a matter of seconds as everything else painfully reassembled itself to a state of perfection.
Just as quickly as that pain appeared… it ended.
Izuku had suffered from a condition known as sciatica in his old body, wherein the muscles in his leg would occasionally squeeze down, crush, or otherwise rub the sciatic nerve that ran down one's leg, even though said nerve was not meant to be crushed or squeezed down upon. The end result was an exceptionally painful sensation actually rivaling that of when he broke his bones. The thing about sciatica though, was that the pain was instantaneous and didn't linger.
It was pure agony for the split second when he felt it… but then it'd go away just as quickly, not even a hint of tenderness or soreness left behind. Of course, it'd return as soon as the muscles clamped down on the nerve, but the blinding pain was there and gone in a flash. That… that was exactly what using Overhaul on himself felt like.
Suffering on an immense scale… for but a few seconds. His nerve endings were torn apart, and then pieced back together as if nothing was wrong. He felt… well, he felt far better than he had before he used the Quirk, and while the pain was definitely seared into his memory… his chest felt considerably better off than it had before. He wasn't quite able to tell if there was any pain through the mental aftershocks that had him reeling, but for the first time in two years, four months, three weeks, four days, twenty-three hours, fifty-one minutes and eight seconds, Izuku took a breath fairly painless breath of fresh, non-machine supplied air.
It seemed that he wasn't able to take a very deep breath, but again, he was still breathing under his own power without too much issue now. He could, without a doubt, work with this.
The smile that graced his face was probably thin and crooked… but it was made with genuine happiness. Forcing himself back onto shaky legs, Izuku's Infrared Vision noticed the guard's hands, once raised in the air, had flown to his mouth and were poorly holding back a spray of liquid that spouted out around his fingers. His eyes seemed to be focused on a green-ish orange, rapidly deforming ball on the floor in front of Izuku, but then again, it was hard to tell which way he was looking in Thermal Vision..
The guard promptly decided to punch out from his shift in the waking world, as his body slumped over and he promptly slid out of his chair, face-first into the aforementioned ball.
That 'ball' was probably all the bits of his discarded lungs, now that he thought about it. Actually, no, he didn't want to think about it, because then he might want to vomit too. In an act of mercy, Izuku rolled the guard off the lump of discarded necrotic flesh with his foot, before turning his attention back to Chisaki's still-twitching form.
It was time for Izuku to escape. He'd just use Chisaki's Quirk to make a tunnel underground and bail through there. As a bonus, he could even use Overhaul to erase any evidence of his tunnel having existed as soon as he was done using it! Truly, the power to manipulate matter itself was a frightening one. It was too bad Chisaki seemed content to just build massive spikes to impale people with. He could've been a powerful doctor, or an infallible sculptor with a gift like this. Not to mention, all the possibilities of what he could have done as a Hero.
Izuku felt something bubbling up inside him, the unbridled yet normally suppressed rage he felt as Izuku stitched together with the calculating coldness and tendency to gloat of All for One. Words came spilling out of his mouth before he even thought of saying them.
"… I never… hah… thought I'd say this but I must… but I must thank you, Kai Chisaki. You squandered your gift when you used it to torture Eri, and killed anyone who stood in your way. Now though… I see you for what you actually are. You were simply a vessel designed for the… the explicit purpose of ferrying me this wonderful Quirk, w-weren't you?" Izuku said, his voice much clearer than it had previously been. It still wasn't what Izuku would consider healthy, but it was better than his previous 'eighty-year-old smoker' voice. He was struggling to breathe around his words, but he was still doing it. It'd suffice for now.
His musings were cut off by the—
"All for One! We know you're in there! Release the hostage and surrender yourself peacefully, no one has to get hurt! It's impossible to break out of Tartarus!"
Izuku smacked his head to focus his mind, he was running out of time. He was equal parts relieved and disappointed that he wouldn't have the time he wanted to torture Kai for everything he put Eri through, but he had a prison to escape from. Still, he'd be leaving Chisaki with a parting gift.
"Right… yeah, how about… how about no? I'm way too young to die… to die in prison. Well… technically speaking anyway. I suppose… I suppose it's not.. it's … hah… not—"
Izuku realized the issue before it became one, and smacked himself upside the head to stop his mumbling before it progressed any further. He didn't have time for that, not to mention his habitual motormouth wasn't exactly compatible with his new inability to properly breathe. Quickly, he bent down and touched Chisaki, activating Overhaul.
Unfortunately (for Kai or for Izuku, he wasn't entirely sure) there wasn't much left of his hands that could be reassembled into appendages. In fact, there wasn't anything left, which meant Izuku had absolutely no idea on what to do. He wasn't about to Overhaul himself again just to see what the internal musculature of a hand was supposed to be like, and he wasn't sure Kai would appreciate Izuku cannibalizing other parts of his body to acquire the necessary amounts of bone and flesh to remake them. Growling, Izuku was forced to concede that stealin-, er... liberating Overhaul from him would have to suffice for revenge.
Well… actually, no it didn't. There was always plan C, after all.
Thinking quickly, Izuku ripped apart the man's ribs much like he did his own, reaching down into his chest cavity and parting everything haphazardly as he reached for the man's lungs. Like the sharpest scalpel in existence, his fingers parted the flesh of Kai's organ and spread one wide open, his perfectly healthy bronchioles and alveoli fully visible in Overhaul's strange greyscale.
It was tempting, oh so tempting, just to reach in and grab several handfuls of the stuff, just so he could rip himself apart again and stick Kai's healthy bits inside his own chest. The sole reason he didn't was because at the very last second, when his other hand had reached down to peel back his own chest, Izuku recalled several old biology lessons about organ transplants. In addition to the fact that Izuku wasn't sure what his new blood type was compared to Kai and he didn't feel like learning why doctors only gave blood transfusions to people with compatible types, there was the very real chance that his body would reject anything he removed from Chisaki and put inside himself, which would only compound his current issues.
He might not have been as healed as he'd hoped to be, but he was still standing, and could (barely) breathe without assistance. Again, it'd have to do for now.
Reluctantly, Izuku closed the man back up with the bare minimum of care he could muster, but he was about 99% sure everything was back in the correct place.
Alright, 98% sure.
Snapping out of Overhaul's grayscale was, again, jarring, and he couldn't hold back the coughing fit it sent him into, nor the flecks of blood he spat up from the action.
It seemed that Izuku's… exploratory surgery had woken up the former Yakuza leader, but the former grenette paid him little mind.
"Welcome back to the… to the waking world, my friend," he wheezed, feeling what he hoped was saliva and not blood start to trickle out the corner of his mouth and down his chin. Unfortunately, the pain he felt in his throat and the coppery taste in his mouth discounted that idea.
"This is my… this is my punishment for you. That Quirk… the ability to manipulate molecules themselves… it's not your anymore. You didn't… you don't deserve it. Do your best to recognize that this is… hah… that this is what you get for torturing… for torturing Eri and... killing Sir… hah… Sir Nighteye…"
Sheesh, talk about a broken record…
Izuku wasn't entirely sure Kai heard any of his rant. Either way, he had bigger problems to contend with. Namely, a lack of oxygen.
As the knocking on the door grew louder, Izuku barely held onto consciousness as he crouched (collapsed) down to the tiled floor, struggling to take in not-so-deep gasps of air. He literally almost mumbled his way into unconsciousness this time, if the flickering of his thermal vision was any sort of indication, which was… well, he'd say it was an issue, but he was instead going to look on the bright side and treat it as 'motivation to get a move on'. The flickering dissipated after a few seconds, so with renewed vigor, the marginally healthier man touched the floor with his hand and activated his appropriated Quirk. As soon as Izuku did, a hole appeared in the ground and swallowed him whole, not unlike something from those old Looney Toons shows.
The door was finally kicked down and several heavily armored riot guards charged into the room guns and Quirks blazing only to witness the gaping hole before them vanish in front of their very eyes, turning itself into a jagged mess of crisscrossing spikes that denied any and all entry into the escape route.
A screaming, twitching, and hive covered Kai Chisaki, a passed out guard covered in… what appeared to be blood and necrotic entrails, plus a circular section of spiked, untiled floor were all that remained in the room besides the similarly confused guards. Everyone shared looks with each other, unsure of how to proceed but silently acknowledging the facts at hand.
All for One… had escaped Tartarus after nearly three years in captivity. For Izuku though, he knew the truth in that moment. All for One was gone… for the most part.
Izuku had escaped Tartarus exactly two years, four months, three weeks, five days, zero hours, one minute and four seconds after waking up in the body of Japan's most notorious Villain.
It was time to find Ragdoll.