I am made of glass. Beautiful I once was; No longer I am.
If there's one thing about himself that Izuku absolutely hates it's the fact that the scent of burned flesh and death follows him everywhere. How smoke lingers on his skin and how ash settles on his clothes. How the roar of the flames haunts his every waking moment.
Everything about himself repulses him. The scars that litter his torso makes bile crawl up his throat and fills the inside of his mouth with copper. Even catching a glimpse of his own hands fills him with the need to pick up the cleaver stored in the back of the bar and chop off those dirty, hideous, traitorous fingers one by one.
Izuku despises himself.
Absolutely loathes the way blood gets into every little dip on the canvas of his palms, and fills his nose with its tangy copper-like scent. How the weight of every body he's burned, minced, and buried seem to latch onto his ankles and drag behind him.
Izuku stands before a large furnace. A huge bulky stone construct built right under the headquarters of the league of villains. It reeks of death and charred flesh, the stench permanently ingrained into each carefully laid brick. Flames lunge at his feet, heat nips at his neck, and embers snap by his ears.
He doesn't even so much as flinch when he makes a step forward. Instead, Izuku grits his teeth and tightens his hold on the body's wrist. Willing as much willpower as he could muster, so he could toss the body into the flames, while desperately trying to avoid looking at those lifeless blue eyes. It takes a lot longer than Izuku expects but eventually he throws the body into the flames, and furiously making a point to stare at the blood-stained shirt it had worn instead of its slack-jawed face.
The flames practically screech the moment the body goes in. Forcibly drawing his eyes into its hypnotizing dance. Hot fangs flickering left and right. Sinking its heated blades into flesh and bone. Devouring everything in its greedy jaws.
Izuku can barely recall a time when fire didn't mean death or smell constantly like burning flesh. A smaller, more tame fire flickered once on a candle, rested on a cake. Decorated with the themes of his supposed favorite hero. Only small blurred details that he can never remember with any real clarity.
Only the ghost of a warm hug and the fleeting feeling of wishing for something he could never have been left in the fragments of his memory.
A loud beeping noise emits from the right side of his head that tears Izuku out of his headspace. The earpiece shrills loudly for a brief moment before Kurogiri's monotone voice crackles through, "Status report RA-01."
Dredges of the blurred memory rattle through his head and slides down his back. It takes a bit longer than a couple of seconds for Izuku to pull himself back to reality to reply. Bringing up a finger to press against the earpiece's button.
"All bodies disposed of. Returning to upper levels for a new assignment." The words taste like ash.
"Make sure you come back in a presentable state. Sensei has business with you when you return." Kurogiri's voice cuts off immediately, leaving Izuku with nothing but the crackling fires and a heavy stone resting in his stomach.
I am made of glass. Beautiful I once was; No longer I am.
There's a limo parked outside the bar with dark windows shining in the light of the evening sun. Izuku's skin suddenly feels like it's been drenched with slime. The collar of his dark vest feels tight against his sticky skin as beads of sweat roll down his back. His palms turn clammy with anticipation (fear?).
Izuku's mind twisting itself into circles trying to think of something he had done wrong. What had he done wrong? What had he done in the past couple of months that could have incurred a one on one meeting with All For One. Fear wraps itself around his neck in a vice lock as anxiety starts crawling up through his throat and threatening to spill out onto the sidewalk. His pulse beats rapidly under his skin as the countdown begins as he becomes hyper-aware of every second that ticks by.
He goes over what he thinks are days, weeks, and months in his mind. Tentatively looking through every detail while skimming through flashes of decayed limbs, and mauled faces tinted blood-orange. The putrid scent of burning flesh tickling his nose briefly before he screws his eyes shut and forcibly shoves those memories back into their place.
He had done all his assignments and hadn't even tried to skip a single one in the past couple of weeks (months?).
What was wrong?
He goes through all the training sessions with his various handlers next. Phantom bruises ache all across his body, and scar tissue feeling painfully tight. But nothing comes up to him as out of the ordinary. For the past couple of months (years? months?) he had trained without an inkling of defiance, unlike his early days.
He's still getting a grip on the newer practical lessons but it hasn't even been a week yet. So why? Why?
Izuku wrings his fingers tightly already starting to feel the panic bubble up his throat. His fingers start twitching, and his lungs start to tighten. His vision swarms and shakes as his brain begin to fail him. Heart thundering in his chest while everything inside of him starts constricting. The next breath he takes comes in short and scratches the lining of his lungs. The realization that he was starting to hyperventilate makes him start freefalling.
Panic seizes his body at the dawning horror that if he breakdowns here with All for One looming over the horizon he'll be thrown to the wolves. His brain backtracks to his early days when he had been only six years old.
The memory is blurred around the edges like everything is in soft focus but it does nothing to make remembering it any easier. The vertical scar slashed from the base of his neck to his tailbone burns as he tries to refocus his flailing brain. He can't afford to break down here. Not when the clock is ticking down until he has to face the wolves. God knows what the punishment will be this time and he had barely survived the last one.
Izuku's not so sure he could endure another one.
Blood coats his tongue and it's coppery taste slides down his throat as he swallows. Internally wincing as the inside of his cheek starts bleeding profusely. The pain offers him a small refuge from the storm raging through his mind.
But it's not enough to pull him out (it's never enough).
Desperation worms its way through the rising tide of panic as he starts worrying at the torn flesh on the inside of his cheek. He tries so damn hard to just push everything into the back where it should be. But blood stained floors still flash by his eyes and desperate wailing still echo through his ears reverberating through his skull and vibrating through his veins. The phantom feeling of his skin turning to ash and cracking like glass rages through his nerves.
Everything filling his mind with its cacophony.
He wants to scream, to do something, anything to get it all out of his head.
But he can't.
Sensei is here.
A small dark car is rolling down the street and Izuku's body starts to rebel against his instructions to remain in place.
Running would do him no good. If he makes a single mistake he'll be signed off as defective and returned to the lab (but hasn't he already?). He couldn't afford another one even if he'd been nothing but obedient for the past couple of months (years?).
He simply couldn't afford it. He just couldn't, he just couldn't, he can't afford it, he can't-
"RA-01." Izuku jerks backward stumbling on his own two feet as he sucks in a large breath. Eyes flitting rapidly trying to grip onto a single focal point. They lock onto a figure wearing a neat suit. Izuku gets the distinct feeling the man is smiling underneath the bulky mask.
"Sensei." He grits the words out like their made of stone. Syllables grinding against his teeth as its sharp corners cut into his tongue.
"I thought we taught you better manners than that RA-01." All for One takes a step forward. His footfall sends vibrations through the ground and tremors up his body as his throat goes dry. His presence is like a choke hold. Stifling everything that dares to exist within even a meter of his existence.
"Of course Sensei." Izuku forces a smile on his face. Silence reigns over them. His heart thundering loudly in his own ears.
"Let's get going, shall we? I have quite the surprise waiting for you my little RA-01." His voice picks up that strange high pitched lilt at the end that makes Izuku feel like he's being talked down on.
All for One signals for the limo door behind him. Ice flooding his veins. The tinted windows glint darkly at him forcing his own sickly reflection into his line of sight. A gaunt face decorated with dark bags and hollowed eyes greet him.
Izuku barely gets his legs to work. It takes all his willpower to just take one step towards the car without having All for One watching him with what feels like a critical eye.
The moment he steps into the Limo and is seated the door slams shut making his heart jump as he flinches away. All for One is already turning away from the window and walking towards the opposite side. Leaving Izuku with a few precious seconds to pull the remnants of himself back together.
All for One steps in right when Izuku has tried to subtly dig his fingernails into his forearm. He snaps his wrist back and presses his fingers together into a tight fist.
For a long while, neither of the two inhabitants speak. The silence pushes against Izuku like a battering ram. Suffocating him the same way All for One's presence does. Pressing its imposing weight against his chest until its crushing him. Panic stalks at the edges of his mind ready to pounce if he even so much as slips on the thin tightrope.
When the seat starts vibrating and the dark blue lights that line the roof light up All for One finally speaks. "You're not in any trouble RA-01. No need to act like I'm about to bite."
Izuku's lip twitches upwardly wryly. I wouldn't really know now, would I?
There's a blur of colors whizzing beyond the tinted windows as neighborhoods blur into each other and the bright blue sky mixes in with the clouds. He doesn't quite remember the journey when they arrive at the final location located deep in the woods. But by the time they stop and Izuku spies the familiar branches of trees he knows that he's about to enter a man-made hell one far worst then anything Shigaraki or that small blond haired child had given him.
I am made of glass. Beautiful I once was; No longer I am.
If there's one thing Izuku likes (or likes about as much as Izuku could like this detestable man) about All for One is his complete lack of theatrics, unlike his student Shigaraki. When they step out of the limo he doesn't gloat about the power he holds over Izuku or starts complaining about how much he hates hero society and All Might while 'subtly' threatening to disintegrate his face.
All for One is instead completely silent when he slips behind Izuku pressing a palm against the small of his back.
To anyone outside, it would have looked like a comforting gesture, like a father would a son about to go to the doctors for the first time.
But Izuku understands the action for what it is. A thinly veiled threat.
"Let's go." All for One rumbles.
They move forward with leaves crunching under their shoes and nothing but an autumn chill to keep them company as they proceed towards the facility that Izuku knows all too well. It's dark-reinforced one-way glass glints in the evening sun as if anticipating how fast his life was about to spiral downwards.
Each step they take forward makes his legs feel like jelly. The muscles threaten to collapse in on themselves as his muscles shake and jitter. His whole body repulses at the idea of taking another step instead there's a desperate urge to turn and flee. To simply run as fast as he could in the opposite direction. But the firm pressure on his back keeps him moving forward because as much as Izuku despises this place, he despises All for One a lot more.
The both of them come to a standstill at the back entrance like they're waiting for something. The rusted grey door gives a quiet beep before there's a click and the door slides open.
Izuku's blood turns into ice. Copper trickles over his taste buds as he keeps reminding himself he's survived worse in order to placate his rabbiting heart. He has survived worse. Even if the scars that litter his body burn and the bones that have never been set correctly say otherwise. (But deep down in that treacherous part of his mind, he knows nothing he's gone through would compare to his time spent here.)
Once they step into the building one of the guards wraps a blindfold around his eyes and takes over for All for One who disappears to wherever creepy, manipulative, and brooding villains disappear to. Izuku can't help but be a little smug with the blindfold. They started blindfolding him since his first escape attempt and it's something Izuku has been proud of since (but the blindfold never blocks out the distant screams that echo through the hallways everytime they walk.)
They spend most of the long walk in silence with only the echo of their footfalls to keep his ears occupied. His nose is hit with the familiar scent of must, blood, and chemicals but it's almost always faded in the hallways of the building. They come to a stop at some point the guard(s?) shuffles around behind him before there's a satisfying click and something blows cold air across the skin of his face. For another couple of moments, there's absolute stillness before the blindfold is removed and he's shoved roughly forward with the butt of a gun. A loud slam resonates behind him as Izuku takes his time readjusting his eyes back to the blinding sterile light of the facility.
Izuku takes a while to recompose himself blinking rapidly as his eyes try to readjust to the blinding lights, but he has a distinct feeling he's in the physical examination room that Izuku is all too familiar with.
"On the table." It's a gruff voice with a low pitch that is soon followed by the rustling of paper but Izuku doesn't dare take more time to get his eyes to readjust. He stumbles forward towards the voice hoping it's in the general direction of the table and praying he's not about to piss this guy off for taking too long.
Izuku ends up crashing into something cold and solid. A tight pressure wraps around his shoulder and he's being hauled onto an uninviting metal surface roughly. When he tries to open his eyes they're immediately assaulted by bright surgical lights that burn into his skin and bleed warmth through his clothes. Izuku doesn't dare open his eyes again after that already feeling distant memories crawling forward.
Consciously Izuku knows this is only a physical checkup. After all, this was the room they did it in every day for his younger years. But something can't help whispering in his head that this wasn't the examination room but the awful one filled with doctors and plastic tubes that were filled with a viscous black liquid that they pumped into the people strapped to the table. But he can't help it if his hearts pounds painfully as if he's waiting for hands to strap him in. Readying himself for the scratch of leather restraints against the porcelain skin of his wrists and ankles. He can feel his whole body tense up.
Don't open your eyes Izuku, don't open your eyes, don't open your eyes, don't open them, don't look, don't see their cold distant eyes, the blood-stained surgical masks, red tipped sterile gloves, and the cold glint of a bloodied scalpel.
He tries. He really did try to restrain his panicking body. Tried so damn hard to shove the memories away to where they belong. But they stubbornly persist at the forefront playing out like a badly shot movie. His chest constricts and his heart hurts as it pounds faster and faster his whole body tensing up anticipating the first touch of cold metal before blinding pain. Izuku furiously keeps his eyes shut, and tries to persuade his mind that he's not there anymore. He's not he hasn't been there in a long time. But the dark corners of his mind whispers he will be. He'll be returned to that room that smells more like blood and rotten flesh with the stink of death clinging to his skin.
If not now he will be returned eventually.
The sudden jolt of a stethoscope being pressed onto his still clothed chest makes him flinch back wildly eyes snapping open. Dark silhouettes of multiple people standing over him their fingers dipped in blood, the stenched of his own vomit filling his nose, and the glinting metal scalpels prepared to cut into his flesh again--
Izuku shoots out wildly to grab one of the doctor's wrists and moves to twists it between his fingers. An audible crack sounds and a familiar crunch reverberates under his sticky palms. But he can't anything over the blood roaring through his ears and the adrenaline pumping through his taut body.
He can't, he just can't go through this again, not again, not again, not again. He starts thrashing wildly moving as frantically as possible to keep the doctors away. When he raises his knees poised ready to kick at the doctor who surely has a taser ready for him he freezes. There are no leather straps holding him down.
Izuku's heart drops as he blinks rapidly looking around trying to clear his vision. There's only one doctor and he's at least 6 feet back nursing his right wrist glaring at Izuku with venom. There's a phone pressed between his ear and shoulder as he barks out sharp orders his breaths coming out in short gasps. There's a clipboard that's clattered to the ground and paper strewn all around the floor. His brain comes to a complete stop at the horror that dawns across his own face. There's a loud crash somewhere to his left and his head is slammed back against the metal table harshly. His vision is greeted with the sight of the dark visors the guards wear. Distantly he's aware their shouting words and telling him something but their words fly through his ears never quite registering.
He's gone and done it now.
When he's pulled off the table he can't help the small stream of relief that flows through him but it's quickly burned away when he realizes the situation he's put himself in. Metal cuffs are slapped onto his wrists and he's shoved out the door unceremoniously falling multiple times as they make the trip outside. A blindfold is wrapped around his face roughly as they keep shoving their gun into his back to keep him walking.
His ears are buzzing with cotton as his mind races. Izuku can practically feel the executioner's ax that's swinging over his head. The thin hairs on his neck prickles each time they shove their gun into his back barking their rough words.
The cold air that he sucks through his lungs stings his overheating insides and it does little to keep him from hyperventilating. Izuku forcibly drags his mind away from the looming thought of the future and instead tries to focus on keeping himself steady instead of bumbling around like a newborn calf. It's a lot of effort trying to keep himself walking in a straight line with all the rough shoving and the amount of willpower he needs to keep his knees from buckling on themselves. But each step he takes he counts it in his head in a pitiful attempt on keeping his mind from straying to any other thought.
"Stop." The words are soon followed by a rough hand yanking him back nearly making him fall flat on his ass but he regains his sense of balance soon enough. Though it's more muscle memory than active effort. There are more shuffling sounds as the guards slide in a keycard before a loud beep sounds. Afterward, they untie the blindfold and shove him hard enough that he falls onto the ground of his new cell.
Pain rocks through his chin and shoots up the side of his head but he doesn't bother to move. Instead, he simply lies on the cold cement taking in deep shuddering breaths that shake his whole body as he tries to recompose himself. But the memories don't let go. Instead, they claw even harder to make themselves known no matter how hard he presses his nails into the palms of his hands.
Images flicker by his eyelids as his breathing quickens. Memories of his first days in captivity are by far the worst.
The cages were suffocating. Always smelling of rot and blood and low groans of pain filling the space. Sometimes occasionally when a new unfortunate soul was brought in there would be screams, and begging to be let out but they always fell quiet eventually.
He remembers sitting in the dimly lit space filled with stacks upon stacks of cages that contained people. When he had woken up there the first time he had screamed and cried fat tears. He asked questions, begged for answers even but no one answered and eventually, Izuku tired out and fell quiet just like every other newcomer. Most of the time it was adults that were carted in and slotted into a spot but sometimes there were children like him. The guards would cart by his row with someone on occasion but he'd never seen their face. Sometimes they would be screaming or crying, but most of the time they were silent.
Izuku tried twice to talk to his neighbors but they never replied. Their dead eyes simply flickered to his face before reverting back to the ceiling of their cramped cage.
The second week he spent there was even worse. He hadn't been given water or food at all in that first week up until the following Sunday the guards came for his cage and started carting him out. He tried to ask them questions but his words were too raspy and quiet to come out for them to hear. Izuku's wasn't even sure if they would have answered him anyways. They brought him into a room filled with 10 other cages of people. They dropped a plastic bowl filled with dark brown pellets and a small water bottle in his cage before leaving him there.
Eventually, Izuku learned to hate feeding time too. In the center of the room, there would be a metal table with leather straps and they'd take the people out of the cages and force them onto the table. Izuku watched in horror as the people were pulled out of the cages. Sometimes they would be screaming and clawing as they were dragged, others were silent. But all of them had their skin painted ashen white under the surgical light with the only drop of color spilling out of their bodies and staining the dark floor and flowing through the sewer drain under them.
A lot of them begged for death on the table. Screamed and wailed for it but the doctors never gave them that mercy. Simply moving on and plugging them into their injections before continuing with their scalpels. They'd thrash against the restraints sobbing and laughing all the same. Sometimes they would drop dead with their head thunking against the metal and lolling around uselessly as their eyes became glassy. Those would be kept on the table dissected by the doctors their stomachs cut open to reveal rotting innards and pollute the room with the sickly sweet scent of rot before being disposed of and their cages cleaned and shipped off for the next person.
When it came to his turn he screamed and cried too. And just like all the other's they never listened. Sometimes he'd wonder if they were deaf. Only someone deaf could ignore these cries of anguish and agony.
Only once Izuku got to find out what happened if the liquid they injected into people worked. The skin of their body would start rotting right off their flesh and their bones would crack loudly as their faces morphed into a beak as they started turning into some inhuman color.
Those people never screamed again after that.
Izuku had sat across one of those beasts in his cage for a whole week after that. He'd watch their unmoving flesh rot off the brittle bone throughout the week as their skull cracked and fell to reveal the still pink flesh of the brain.
Izuku couldn't eat when he was fed for a whole three weeks after that.
The memories were relentless after that. He could have spent hours laying there listening to distant screams and cries, remembering the smell of rot as people vomited up black liquid. It could have been hours, or maybe only five minutes that his breath bounced back to his face but eventually, he forces himself to get up and crawl onto the cot in the corner.
The scratchy material tears at his skin and he already knows it'll be impossible sleeping on this uncomfortable cot. He's overcome with the urge to just scream and slam his fists into the wall like a child. He opens his mouth but nothing comes out. He tastes copper on his tongue as his throat tightens up because he can't will the strength in him to do it.
All he had wanted was to be a hero, to help people like All Might. And then what? He had been born useless, and quirkless. There's bile crawling up his throat. It feels like something wants to come out but it can't. Like it's stuck and clogged inside this wretched twisted body that doesn't even belong to him anymore. Everything burns. His blood boils, and his skin itches against the scratchy cotton. There's a heavy weight sitting on his shoulders knowing he'll have to sit here for god knows how long before being taken out to meet the consequences of his mistakes.
Maybe if he wishes hard enough they'll kill him this time around instead.
It's hilarious really. The only thing he could remember from his childhood was that all he had wanted was to be a hero! As far as he could remember he hadn't done anything wrong, or at least nothing bad enough to deserve this hell!
But here he is kept tightly under the thumb of villains with no hero coming to save to him. He begged, and prayed for all he was worth when he was younger. Wishing for All might to burst through the walls and announce he was there to save him and all those poor people who have likely been there far longer then he had been.
But All Might never came. No hero came. And he felt his childish hope wither away with each passing day.
This was reality.
Heroes don't show up and save the day.
Really it's funny. It's fucking hilarious that this is his life now. He doesn't miss the irony of his life as he starts laughing. Hiccuping in between sporadic breaths and wheezing so loudly that you could have confused it for sobbing if you hadn't seen the upturn of his lips. He's laughing because he can't scream anymore.
Izuku didn't believe in a god after that first month.
The hollow laugh rings about the room releasing all the glass shards of his hopelessness. The laugh feels like he's coughing out nails, and scratches his throat like sandpaper. He wants to cry, to give out those ugly sobs with the shuddering shoulders and gasping breaths. But he can't no matter how hard he tries it's just a deep hollow chasm inside of him.
Even now if a hero came they couldn't (wouldn't) save him and all the sins that drag him down to the deepest and darkest pits of hell.
I am made of glass. Beautiful I once was; No longer I am.
When they took him out of his cell they dropped him into the Coliseum instead of doing what Izuku thought they would have done he can't help but feel elated that he won't have to go through that again.
There's a long moment of silence as he's standing behind a closed metal door already feeling himself wither away. He takes in the familiar cracked stone beneath his feet and the spider cobwebs hanging in the corner.
They threw him in here to die. Is this mercy? Is this the mercy that God has finally decided to give him? The rusted metal in front of him screeches open and the noise hammers through his skull giving him no time to continue that train of thought as he shields his eyes from the blinding light in front of him.
"Go." One of the guards states gruffly shoving his back with the butt of their gun.
Izuku takes slow measured steps forward already taking into account the ruined state of the age-worn arena. There's another set of rusted iron gates across from here and Izuku already knows what's waiting for him. When those gates pull open a massive nomu comes out. It's the biggest he's ever seen. Even if it's back is hunched over it stands at least 10 feet taller than Izuku.
The moment it steps out and sees the light of the arena it starts rampaging and swings out with its right fist. It hits nothing but air as it opens its maw to let out another ear-piercing screech cracking the concrete under its sickly green feet. Its brain is pulsing visibly while its protruding eyes frantically look around the arena.
Everything about it makes Izuku want to vomit the remainder of his
admittedly small lunch. The lower jaw of its beak gives a sickening crunch when it lets out another loud scream as the withered feathers on its arms and back starts straightening up as it stands straight with an audible crack as it's spine pops. The very cement it stands on starts cracking and gives way under its immense weight. Everything seems to rattle and tremble in its presence with every step forward. For a brief moment, they lock eyes and Izuku greets death like an old friend.
With another jaw wrenching scream it throws its whole body towards Izuku. It flies towards him at scarily high speeds and right before the moment of impact, everything comes to a standstill feels like it's frozen in time as they lock eyes. All of Izuku's senses start working in overtime, a habit that Izuku can't quite seem to shake even when he's willing to die because he simply doesn't want to endure what hell is surely coming for him. His vision zones in on the Nomu's body absorbing every detail. He notes the pulsing veins on its bedraggled torso, and how flakes of its horribly dry skin fall off. Saliva flies from its crooked paled orange beak and drips down to the rubble beneath its massive bird-like feet. Even the huge ragged dark-green feathers growing from it's back come into his eyes in such fine detail he can make out each individual hair that makes the feather.
So when it's outstretched hand with it's peeling skin starts getting larger and larger he suppresses his instincts to move and lets the palm slam him into the cold ground. He hears a loud crack which he's sure is his skull as every sound he hears becomes muffled under the darkness of its musty palm. Pain ricocheted through his whole body as his head starts feeling the strain of all the pressure being pushed onto it.
The palm finally lifts and his coming migraine infinitely becomes so much worse when it lets out another scream. His vision is rapidly starting to blur as black spots dance in his vision. He's dizzy and for a moment he doesn't remember where he is or who he is. His eyes flicker over the area skimming over the gruesome details of the body looming over him and instead opts for something a little more pleasing to look at.
The arena with it's cracked wall and broken cement. His eyes skim over the spectator stands there's a couple of employees milling around watching the fight with distant eyes but there's one audience member in particular that catches Izuku's eye.
All for One is there sitting patiently in the red velvet seat with his hands neatly folded in his lap with his head tilted in such a way that makes Izuku think he's looking straight at him. All for One looks for in all the world like an innocent man who's done nothing wrong.
Izuku despises this man with every ounce of his body. Hates him for the pain and agony he's caused him. But it's not just to Izuku, but to every poor soul, he's turned into a nomu and every innocent he has locked away rotting in the cages in the basement. This is the man who decided to throw Izuku into this god damn hell to die. This is the man who decides all of his punishments, who decides what he's worth, who decides whether Izuku deserves to live.
Fuck him and his shit plans.
In one fluid motion Izuku wills himself to call upon every battle training he's been in with the League of villains and rolls out of the way of another slam. Anger and hate boil through his blood and shoves the pain into the back burner.
Fuck this guy and everything he fucking stands for. If he wants me to die then he's getting the exact fucking opposite.
The ground beneath him shakes as the Nomu's outstretched hand collides with the cement. Sneakers slamming on to the ground, he picks up one of the loose pieces of rubble nearby and hurls it at the hideous thing. The Nomu makes an unnecessarily large arc with its arms before slapping the concrete away. The rubble cracks against the wall before splintering and shattering into the ground.
There's rubble everywhere and it's a battle between making sure he doesn't trip and avoiding the nomu hot on his tail. Right on cue It lunges forward throwing its fist into the ground and pushing off with its hands as it leaps into the air. Casting a shadow over the room.
Izuku feels it before he thinks it and he just moves. He tucks his shoulder in and rolls out of the way before getting up onto his feet and picking up another loose piece of rubble to hurl it at the beast in an attempt to buy himself more time. The full body slam literally has the whole room shaking and bits of concrete falling from the roof.
This is by far the most dangerous thing he's fought in the arena before.
Every moment continues forward like someone kept their finger on the speed-up button of the remote. The Nomu is relentless in its attacks. Each fist flying in one after the other throwing gust of wind in its wake. Izuku is forced on to the defensive stuck into a pattern of rolling out of the way or barely escaping a direct hit. Even for its humongous size, it was fast. It's massive legs covering more distance in one stride then Izuku can make in five. It was only by sheer force of rage and willpower that he was still alive forcing his body to move and work. The nomu digs it's heels into the ground as it prepared another hit. With another scream, the large bedraggled feathers on its back twitch for a brief moment before detaching themselves and launching at Izuku.
Wind whips at his face as strands of his hair get into his mouth and obscure his vision. He watches with morbid fascination as a feather flying right past the right side of Izuku's face leaving a thin cut across his right cheek.
He needs to end this in one decisive move, he has no stamina for a timer end (assuming there's a timer end on this fight) and there's no telling if he could actually fight this damn thing. His brain kicks into overdrive taking note of everything. Nothing about it's fighting is refined at all. Nomus were always brain dead never capable of thinking for itself with little to no combat prowess but they made up for it through sheer force of strength and speed.
Untrained, wild, and frenzied. The way it splashes its actions against a billboard practically screaming at Izuku about every move its about to make before it even does it and a single glaring weak point that he could strike at. Its Incapability to formulate a plan of action. It only knows to attack anything and everything that moves. It's not much of an advantage but beggars can't be choosers.
Those are the only thing Izuku could take advantage of. It's unrefined fighting style, it's lack of ability to think, and it's Achilles heel.
The plan already starts clicking into place as the puzzle pieces attach themselves together.
It's now or never Izuku.
It's high pitched voice grates against his eardrums like nails on a chalkboard as another flurry of feathers come at him. Izuku reaches forward with his hand feeling the sharpened edges of the feather slice through the tender flesh of his palm as he stops its course.
He sucks in a deep breath centering himself again.
He was quirkless and useless that's what he had been told his whole life as far as he remembers. People have always been telling him what to do, what he was worth, and what he would never be able to achieve. All for One was one of them. He has deemed Izuku unworthy and sent him to his death. Maybe all those other people thought that he should have just died. Should have just tossed his sorry little self right off the roof of his school.
But Izuku will be the first to admit he was a coward. He remembers distinctly as a young child he had complimented the idea for a little bit but decided against it. Instead of saving his mother the trouble of having a useless son he burdened her because he was selfish and stupid.
Each heavy footstep sounds like a bell toll. Every rumble of the ground feels like the earth would crack open beneath him to swallow his body in its massive jaws.
Izuku hates himself. He absolutely despises himself and all the sins that paint his body. But he hates All for One even more.
The nomu reaches for a large chunk of rubble lifting it above its head as it casts a dark shadow over him. Every ugly detail comes into focus like it's under a microscope as he sucks in a calm breath readying himself.
It's now or never.
Izuku's off like a shot tightening his hold on the feather he has in his hand before tossing it like a throwing knife straight at the nomu's gut. There's a little squelch sound as it digs into the abdomen and inky black blood squirts out from the injury. With another loud screech that rattles Izuku's very insides and makes his head throb, even more. It tosses the huge chunk of cement at him angrily the veins on its skin pulsing as it wraps its hands around the feather and yanking it out.
It's now or never.
Izuku just narrowly dodges the chunks of cement he could feel the whoosh of air behind him and the bits of rocks that bounce harmlessly off his back. He snatches up another piece of loose rubble while running towards the nomu before tossing it right at its head. Predictably it raises its arm to swat it away wit ha large arc of its arm. Taking advantage of the large swing Izuku ducks under the hit slides under the beast between the legs. It screams again and Izuku starts feeling his brain turn to mush as he staggers back up and starts scaling the back of the nomu.
Izuku leaves a bloody handprint across it's back like a canvas as he climbs. It screams angrily rapidly shaking its body in a desperate attempt to shake off the pest on its back.
Izuku keeps an eye on the spectators out of the corner of his eye watching their expression of confusion and shock decorate them. This isn't fair, this fight had never been fair. Life had never been fair. The odds had been stacked against him since he had been born for fuck's sake. He knows that life isn't fair it's a lesson that's been burned into his flesh and carved into his bones. He hates the cards he's been given, he hates how little control he's had over his own god damn fucking life.
It's now or never.
Izuku knows the dangerous position he's in knowing that the feathers could be hardened so he has to avoid those when he climbs his way up. The skin crumbles beneath his hands as the feathers start regenerating rapidly prepping for another launch. He needs this done fast. He'll be dead the moment those feathers finish growing.
With a massive amount of effort, he wraps his hands around the thick base of the neck before hauling himself up. Desperately ignoring the pounding in his head. Just a few moments longer, just a few moments longer. The rapid shaking the Nomu makes is nauseating but he clings on for dear life as he wraps his legs around its neck as quickly as he can.
It's now or never.
Izuku sucks in a deep breath as he wills himself to calm down for what he was about to do. He pushes his fingers into the exposed brain. The organ is wet, and slimy with every wrinkle pressing against his skin like a mound of dead worms. The organ pulses against his hands the vibrations thumping like a drum pounding against his senses. It's juices sliding in between his fingers and pressing themselves against his palms making them slick. Blood gushes against his hand's like an oil spill disgustingly viscous and shiny.
If the Nomu was crazy before it was nothing compared to how it was now. It screams and thrashes, swinging its fists around wildly reaching to tear him off its head with its massive palms. With each scream that leaves its throat, it gets higher and higher pitched. Making his own ears ring practically splitting his head in half.
Swallowing down the bile that's starting to rise up, he curls his fingers inside the brain with a loud 'squeeesh' noise desperate to end this fight before he's plucked off. For a brief moment, he feels the wrinkles in the organ press against his skin when blood spurts a bit from where his hands were shoved in.
Then in one single motion, he yanks out a whole chunk of the pink tissue violently with his right hand, before following up with his left. The slimy solids are thrown out and hit the ground. Which makes them spatter and stain the ground upon contact.
There's a blissful moment of absolute stillness that settles around the arena before the body drops lifeless. Izuku crashes against the ground rolling away from the body with as much effort as he could muster in his exhausted body. Every breath of air that Izuku draws into his lungs feels like he's inhaling spikes. It scratches his throat and tears at his lungs like a starving bear.
His muscles twitch and it takes a considerable amount of willpower for him to stand up. Everything is throbbing. His legs and head are pounding like a hammer to an anvil with his vision swimming.
Izuku blearily looks up to the audience stand. He imprints the look of their wide eyes and eyebrows drawn together in a tight line. Izuku basks in the spotlight and revels in his victory. He finds he likes that look of fear and shock on their faces.
Call it an acquired taste.
All for One simply sits there as Izuku glares at him for a long while before the guards enter the stage ready to drag Izuku out of the arena. Shocked silence reigns over the place as they pick him up by his armpits.
His glare remains firmly locked onto the masked man.
All for One stands up gracefully and starts clapping. The sound echoes and reverberates through the arena. The sound waves rolling through the air and bouncing off the walls. He claps slowly at first like he's contemplating an idea before rapidly quickening his pace like this was an event was truly something to be celebrated. It's the only sound that occupies Izuku's concussed head as he's dragged out by his knees with his head rolling around.
The metal gate screeches closed behind him and he's wrapped in the welcoming embrace of darkness as he's finally out of the blinding arena lights.
Everything from the fight finally wilts out of his body as he lets the carbon dioxide drag out of his body with the crushing realization he had been playing right into All for One's hands.
If he was an awful person before, he was irredeemable now.
I am made of glass. Beautiful I once was; No longer I am.