Four senses. All of them needed to be checked.
Touch. He could feel the soft sheets beneath him. They were made from the same fabric as his old ones were. Soft and warm, but practical. Interesting, he didn’t imagine the heroes would give him luxuries like this if he was captured.
He shifted, moving his arms away from, then towards his sides. He could feel no restraints on them, just the shifting of fabric against his skin. There was no way the heroes would leave him unrestrained.
Taste. His mouth was dry, he needed water. Nothing else to be concluded.
Hearing. He listened closely, every small creek of wood a thunderous roar to him. The soft chirping of birds. Those things did not exist in Tartarus.
Smell. He breathed in deeply. It smelled like the cleaner he usually used on his place, which finally settled it. Somehow, rather than locked up in a max security prison, he was at his home.
It took All for One a few more minutes to adjust to this new situation. He sat up slowly, then with more confidence. He moved his arms around in circles, enjoying the luxury of freedom he had not had since he was defeated by All Might. He ran his fingers down his clothes, which happened to be the ones he always wore to bed each night.
He made his way around the room, feeling every nook and cranny, each dusty corner. Many of the things he used to have were there: many of his books, and nearly all of his suits, although some were those he had not used in a while but had instead replaced. Unfortunately, he did not decorate his room with many personal belongings. He found himself drifting to his cabinet, opening up the top drawer, and pulling out a small figurine.
Tomura had bought him this when they boy was just a child, young and recently fully convinced of All For One’s way of thinking. There was no way the heroes knew enough about him to recreate this small item, especially as it would shatter their perception of him, and oh how he knew the lengths heroes would go to if it meant convincing themselves the way they viewed the world was reality.
So he really had escaped then. The next question was how? Could it be that Tomura- no, that couldn’t be it. Tomura was good. He was finally learning, growing in strength, both quirk-wise and as a leader for the League of Villains it was something he could see his student attempting, certainly. But All for One knew how badly a jailbreak attempt like that would go. For all the league was meeting and in some ways exceeding his expectations, smuggling him out of Tartarus and back to his house was impossible, at least at the moment. Besides, he would’ve known at some pointed that he was being broken out of jail.
That itself shot down a number of possible explanations - he would’ve woken up at some point. One did not go from a straight-jacket in Tartarus to their well kept house - there was no dust on any of the surfaces he had touched, even him being gone for a short time would have left some traces. The room was recently used. And the existence of Tomura’s figurine proved that this was not the work of the heroes, so he could rule out being in some sort of simulator.
Perhaps he should summon up some of his quirks to see if he could use them. Naturally, he had been in tight quirk restraints following his capture. He seemed to have his infrared senses back, but he couldn’t tell is he had his other quirks as well. He wanted to see how they would affect him now, or if they worked at all. .
He would try Ragdoll’s quirk first, as it was the last one he had acquired. Concentrating, he summoned up her quirk, expecting to be bombarded by information status reports or the equivalent about Tomura, Kurogiri, and Dabi’s location and weak points. Instead, he felt nothing.
All for One frowned. So he couldn’t use Ragdoll’s quirk. Frustrating. That was not defeat, however, as All for One was never one to give up after the first try. So his heat vision worked, but not his sensory quirk. One quirk that worked, one that didn’t. A balance. Naturally, the next step was to find out which quirks were on which side of the balance.
Air Walk? Check. Kinetic Boosters? Three out of four. Warp? Check. Impact Recoil? Check. Muscle Augmentation? Hadn’t he given that one away? Interesting.
All for One went down the list of his quirks. While it took a long time (to his immense satisfaction,) at the end he was able to reach a general conclusion about his powers.
It seemed that he kept all quirks he had received a little over two years ago, and nothing after that. That which he had given up had been returned to him, and that which he had not acquired at the time was missing from his arsenal.
There was a conclusion to draw from this, he knew, and an obvious one. But even in a world full of superpowers, of villains and heroes, it was still considered extremely far-fetched. Absolutely ridiculous.
And yet, it made a lot of sense. All for One moved from the spot in his room that he had been testing his quirks, and made his way to his kitchen. Everything seemed to match his theory, from the texture of the walls to the way his furniture was arranged, it all matched up to his memory from two years ago. And considering how long he’d lived, recalling something from two years past was like recalling something from a few minutes ago.
One of the wonders of technology was that he could have something read out to him. So when he found his phone and asked it the date, he finally got his answer.
So it was true then; he really was in the past. January of a year and a half past, to be exact. This was fascinating, and opened up a whole range of different questions and possibilities. How did he get here? Did someone out there truly have a quirk that could send people to different times? If so, why would they use their quirk on him? Did Tomura find an ally with such a powerful quirk?
And if it wasn’t due to quirks, then what was it? What other force could be powerful enough to do something such as this? All for One had lived a long time, and seen the world twist and change in ways that no other human being could imagine. Perhaps this was just another twist in the chain of history.
Of course, in the end, unless it would directly harm him, how he got there was unimportant. The fact was All for One was in the past, before All Might struck the final blow. Before his cursed enemy past his quirk onto...Midoriya, and the boy and his friends could interfere in any way with Tomura’s plans.
One for All smiled. It was an ugly smile, that stretched unnaturally across his face, all teeth and edges and danger. He threw back his head and laughed, something he had not done naturally in a long while.
It was all just so perfect. Of course he would have much preferred he was sent back to a time when he still had his eyesight, so he could take care of All Might and stay in his prime. Mostly, of course. Even with the value of foresight, he couldn’t see himself walking away from that fight once more with no severe injuries.
Still, this was a good time to be in. All Might most likely had not accepted his position at Yuuei yet, and if he had, there was still time to lure him away from that job. Perhaps there was an easy way to do that, without risking too much on his part. He should go ask the doctor how the nomus were coming along; with his knowledge, they were sure to speed up the process tenfold. A few cleverly placed tricks and All Might would come running right into his trap.
And...the boy. Midoriya. He would soon be finishing up his second year of Junior High. All for One doubted all Might had come to choose him as his heir yet. There must be a simple way to prevent their intended meeting. He would just need to go digging a little to find it. The boy had no reason to be in the hero course otherwise - without One for All, Midoriya would pose little threat to anyone, much less him and his plans.
And that Bakugo child that Tomura had wanted for the League. Clearly at the point in time during which Tomura took him, he was set on becoming a hero. But a little interference could go a long way. It wouldn’t be too much of a push, really. All for One was sure he could make it happen.
When it came to matters of the League...while he didn’t quite agree with Stain or his motives, the man had proved a beacon, a call to action that so many new recruits had responded to. Without his silly proclamations, the League may have never inflated to the numbers it had, especially not after what had happened with his first publicised nomu at the USJ - not that he intended for that scene to be recreated again, of course - and no matter what course of action he took, larger numbers would always be important, an advantage he’d like to use to the fullest extent.
And for that, he needed Stain to in some way ally himself with the League of Villains. A daunting task, perhaps, but one that could certainly be accomplished, especially if undertaken by one such as himself.
There were, of course, some recruits that he certainly wanted to join the League, and if he had to take steps to ensure their loyalty went past admiration for the hero killer, he was fine with that. There was Toga, of course, although from what he had gathered he had no need to worry, she would come in her own time.
And Dabi. Although the man was rebellious, he had an extremely powerful quirk, one that All for One did not want to go to waste as some petty criminal. He was a bit trickier, of course, although not by much. He followed Stain so excessively because of his terrible history with his father, the number two hero. The man would’ve been the number one hero after his and All Might’s last fight. Clearly his adversary had nothing left by the time it was over. And of course, Dabi would fight even harder for the League after that.
But in the current time, he needed another way to gain Dabi’s loyalty. Wasn’t- ah, yes, Dabi had three younger siblings, of which the youngest seemed to be forced to take up their father’s legacy and doomed quest to surpass All Might.
He had kept an eye on Todoroki Shouto, as the boy was close with Midoriya. It would be good to have him put out of the way, and served as a wonderful way to earn Dabi’s loyalty. After all, the man hated his father more than anything, and All for One would hand him Endeavor’s creation, Dabi’s little brother, and keep him where they could keep an eye on him.
There were others, of course, many others. People whose destiny's were his to shape and tweak as he pleased. Quirks he wished to acquire to make his destined battle with All Might go much smoother than before. All for One would not have built the vast shadowy empire that he did without understanding some basic concepts: While taking care of enemies by ending their lives might seem compelling, it was not only more satisfying to manipulate them as he pleased and eventually break their spirit, it was practical. Killing those like Midoriya or Todoroki was unnecessary, when they could be re-purposed and focused elsewhere to aid in his plans.
All for One had a lot of work ahead of him. He needed to look more into class 1-A who had been apart of and foiled so many plans, there must be more to them. He needed to gather his allies, begin preparations for a far better future than the one he left behind. He needed to do many, many things.
But for now, All for One sat back in his chair and savored his rediscovered freedom, if only for a few minutes.
He was not getting killed by a One for All user. He was not going back to Tartarus.
He would succeed. It was certain.