I can fix you . That was what he said.
Dabi had been desperate, skin mutilated by his own quirk, dirty bandages falling loose around his malnourished body. He would have taken most offers, so long as it meant he didn’t have to go home, but there were still a few things he would not stoop too. He might be homeless, broken, half-dead and probably infected, but he still had a little pride.
“I can fix you.”
“What do you want in return? I ain’t a fuckin’ whore.”
The man observed him silently, eyes cold above the black mask that covered the lower half of his face. “Oh, nothing like that. I’m a man of science, you see. I simply want to run a few tests.”
“You gonna take my organs or something?” Dabi asked, rocking his head back against the filthy alley wall he was slumped against. His arms were broken, useless and soft in his lap, the result of trying to steal money from the wrong people. His quirk still ran hot beneath his skin, ready to go if things went south, but Dabi knew it would hurt if he tried to use it. The burns were still fresh enough to sting, the bandages covering them rubbed the few scabs out of place due to the poor wrapping.
The man hadn’t made any violent move yet, he stood at a comfortable distance across the alley, gloved hands in his pockets and gaze trained on the bloody mess sprawled in front of him. The two young men must have been around the same age but they couldn’t have been more different. Compared to Dabi, he was pristine. His clothes were nice, neat lines and expensive leathers that gave the impression that he was someone with money to burn. His skin was clear of dirt and blemishes, his hair neatly trimmed.
“No. I assure you you’ll walk away completely intact. In much better condition than you are now, with a pocketful of cash. There is one thing I must ask you though,” the man said, calmly. His gaze slid sideways when a piece of ash floated onto the shoulder of his jacket. He raised a hand and flicked it away, the mask crumpling up as he wrinkled his nose in disgust. “Do you have a quirk?”
Dabi nodded. “Yeah.”
The injured man drew in a pained breath, cracked ribs aching as he tried to sit upright. He stretched out a hand and allowed his flames to spark to life in his palm. The pretty blue looked eerie in the dank dim of the alley, casting shadows over the sharp planes of the strangers face. His eyes widened in interest and he crouched down on the balls of his feet to take a closer look. Dabi released the breath he’d been holding as he let the heat spread up his arm, burning through the dirty bandages to reveal the foul burns beneath. He hissed and extinguished the flames, trying not to retch at the pain and the sound of his skin sizzling unpleasantly. It stank, the dead skin stank.
“Perfect,” the man said, standing back up. Dabi drew his arm close into his chest, wondering in what state of mind the man must be to consider him in any way perfect . “I can fix you.”
“What does that mean?” Dabi asked, quietly. “I ain’t going back to the hospital.”
The man shook his head and tucked his gloved hands back into his pockets. “Nor would I take you. I can help with the burns. Let me run a few experiments, blood samples and the like. And you have my word, I will fix you. I will give you a place to stay for the duration and compensation for your time afterward.”
What did he have to lose? Dabi doesn’t doubt that he will die in this alley if he remained there. He nodded slowly, unconsciously curling his body protectively inward. The man’s eyes shone with the satisfaction of someone who always got what they wanted. He was probably one of those types who thought if they threw money at something they could have whatever their heart desired. Frankly, Dabi didn’t care.
“Good. I’ll have Hari come and get you. We’ll need to put plastic on the carseats,” he mumbled to himself, scratching a gloved finger over his cheekbone. The man paused and turned his gaze back to Dabi. ”What is your name?”
His new name fell awkwardly from his lips, barely used and ill-fitting. “Dabi.”
“Dabi,” the man repeated. The mask crinkled as if he were smiling. “I’m Chisaki.”
Does it hurt?
There was drool running down his chin and out of his mouth in thin stretches onto the concrete below. He was strapped face-down onto a cold metal gurney, head and arms hanging over the edges. His wrists are bound to the legs of the contraption using thick, fireproof restraints. An intravenous drip has been placed into one of his arms, slowly forcing some unknown drug into his system. It doesn’t make him hazy, so it can’t be a sedative, if anything it has made his nerves set alight, raw. It feels as if the liquid seeping into him is burning him from the inside out. Dabi’s heaving, trying not to throw up, throat raw from the myriad of screams that have been forced out of him.
“Does it hurt?” Chisaki asked, from somewhere above him.
Dabi wanted to raise his head but he has lost the energy to do so. His back is throbbing aggressively from whatever chemical Chisaki has poured over him, over the burns that are fizzing and popping and hurting . He was panting, guttural whines falling from his lips every few seconds or so. He wanted to tell Chisaki yes , yes it fucking hurt. Oh god, oh god, it was worse than anything he’d felt before, worse than the way he burned his own skin in the first place. It hurt and this wasn’t what he signed up for, but he’d been on the gurney for over a week now and he knew that the pleading would fall on deaf ears.
He wasn’t a religious man, he’d always thought it strange to place one’s faith in a being that didn’t seem to care, but he was remained curious. However, now that Dabi found himself uttering oh god, oh god please , please over and over again he found any remaining belief snuffed out. God didn’t reply, didn’t help, he was alone.
“I asked you a question.”
“Yes,” Dabi hissed, spitting out the saliva pooling beneath his tongue. “Yes, it hurts .”
Chisaki hummed thoughtfully and pressed his hand flat against the burns, ignoring the throaty scream that it caused. “Use your quirk, get my hand off.”
Dabi howled, thrashing beneath the tight straps as best he could. He called forth his quirk and a few weak flames burst from the raw skin of his back, right where Chisaki’s were digging in. Chisaki stepped back, removing his hand before the flames burned him, and sighed in annoyance.
“This is unfortunate,” he complained, moving around the gurney to where Dabi’s head hung. He crouched down and dragged the other man’s head up by his hair, so their eyes could meet. A look of disgust passed over his face when he caught sight of the mess of blood and spit that covered Dabi’s chin. “Why isn’t this working on you, huh? Everyone else was unable to call their quirk back at a much lower dosage.”
“Oh yeah?” Dabi slurred, on the verge of passing out. “Maybe there’s something wrong with me.”
Chisaki snorted derisively and let Dabi’s head fall. “That much is obvious.”
You said you’d fix me.
Dabi was sat upright in a chair this time, forearms strapped to the arms and ankles to the legs. There was a wide band around his throat too, keeping him upright. The IV was still in place, pumping fire into his veins. Chisaki was sat on a wheeled stool in front of him, one leg crossed elegantly over the other and hands laced in his lap. He looked annoyed - that wasn’t good. Dabi had learned that the worst days came when Chisaki’s brows were drawn and he replaced his latex gloves more than once every thirty minutes. He could watch the clock on the wall to tell - he’d already changed fives times and it hadn’t even been an hour yet.
“You said you’d fix me.”
Chisaki sighed in irritation and tapped his fingers against his knee. “I’m trying. You’re defective.”
Dabi laughed, the noise little more than a wet gurgle in the back of his throat. “Heard that before.”
“Yes, I can imagine you have,” Chisaki retorted as he stood, crossing the small space between them to rest a hand on Dabi’s shoulder. He tensed immediately, well aware by now of the destructive force of those hands. The shirt he wore was shredded by Chisaki’s quirk, leaving him only in the pair of boxers one of the Yakuza’s men had given him earlier that day. Chisaki peered down at him, distaste obvious on his face. He laid a hand against Dabi’s neck, the latex rubbing unpleasantly against the burned skin there. It was less painful than before, the burns were starting to grow numb. When Chisaki pulled his hand away a disgusting amount of skin lingered on the latex, enough to make Dabi heave.
“Disgusting,” Chisaki stated, wrinkling his nose. “You’re falling to pieces.”
“So fix me ,” Dabi gasped. God, he felt sick. “Do something.”
For a moment Chisaki stared at him, eyes unrelentingly cold as they traced over the oozing sores that covered the majority of his body. He lingered on those beneath Dabi’s eyes, the ones that had scabbed over already. “Not yet.”
“Then when?” he replied, exasperated. “You gave me your word you fucking bastard!”
Chisaki scoffed as he peeled off the skin-soiled glove and threw it into the bin beside the table of instruments that Dabi had grown to know all too well. The glove was quickly replaced by another then one of the instruments, a particularly wicked looking spindle, was taken in hand. Chisaki was muttering to himself as he picked up something else, something that looked like a ball of metal twine.
“What’re you doing?” Dabi asked, now struggling against the restraints. He gnashed his teeth as Chisaki grew closer. “Get away from me you fucking cunt!”
“If you burn me I will hurt you,” Chisaki stated, dropping back onto the stool. He rolled closer and began poking the twine through the end of the needle.
“What’s that for?” Dabi asked, tugging aggressively at his restraints. The Yakuza raised the needle and scooted closer, legs coming to rest on either side of the other man’s knee. Dabi was starting to get hysterical, thrashing beneath the tight bonds with earnest, desperately trying to free himself. “Get away from me! What the fuck are you doing?”
Chisaki clicked his tongue as if the young man’s plight was a casual annoyance. It was a condescending little noise, the kind one might direct toward a misbehaving animal. That was probably how he saw Dabi, a wounded little puppy that he could injury further.
“Calm down. I’m going to fix your face, since you keep whining. The skin is falling off, it needs to be patched up,” he replied, as calm and even as ever. Slowly, he raised his hand and gripped Dabi’s hair to stop his head twisting around. “Calm down. This is what you wanted.”
“Not like this! Fuck, give me some painkillers or something!” Dabi yelled, glancing back and forth between Chisaki and the needle heading toward his face. “Fuck off, get the f-”
The hand left his hair and struck him hard across the face. The Yakuza’s knuckles whacked straight into one of the sores beneath his eye and he howled in pain, tears starting to form. Chisaki grabbed his hair again and yanked his head back into place. He felt the press of the needle against his cheek.
Are you going to let me go soon?
His burned skin was stitched and stapled into place over the course of a week. Chisaki fixed his broken arms using his quirk, then broke them again, then fixed them. Tests , he called it. Dabi learned to grit his teeth and bear it but Chisaki still mocked him for crying. When the final stitch was sewn, Dabi had collapsed back into the chair with a relieved sigh, hoping that the worst was over.
“Are you going to let me go soon?” he asked, quietly. Chisaki didn’t like it when he was loud.
The Yakuza set the bloody needle down and replaced his gloves before replying. “I don’t know.”
Dabi scowled at him, feeling the tug of staples against his cheeks. That would take some getting used to. “What the fuck is that ‘sposed to mean?”
“Don’t curse at me, Dabi,” Chisaki snapped. His veneer of calm and collected was starting to crack, Dabi could see it in the way his hands twitched and his eyes narrowed. “I won’t have a filthy little street rat talk to me like that.”
Dabi had always had a mouth on him. It had gotten him into trouble on multiple occasions at home, gotten him screamed at and beaten. But no matter how many times he felt his father’s belt across his backside he never stopped mouthing off. He didn’t want to back down and take the shit that was thrown at him, he didn’t want his siblings to think that what was happening to them was something that should be ignored. His rebellion had cost him but boy, was it worth it to see the same flicker in Shouto’s eyes. He only hoped that his brother would be more successful at crushing their father than he was.
His mouth would probably cost him in this place too, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t about to roll over and take it from the pompous asshole who made a stitched up monster out of him.
“Oh fuck off, asshole,” Dabi smirked, revelling in the way Chisaki visibly winced at the insubordination. “You’re just being pissy ‘cos your shitty little science experiment ain’t working on me. Maybe you’re not as clever as you thought you were.” Chisaki twitched and his gaze fell on the IV still jammed into Dabi’s arm. Just to get his point across, Dabi let a few flames roll over his shoulder, grinning smugly as Chisaki continued glaring at him. “I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to stop my quirk from working, ain’t ya? Doesn’t seem to be working, does it?”
“Shut up,” Chisaki hissed, taking a few steps forward. “It worked on everyone else. You’re just a freak .”
Dabi chuckled. “Yeah well, takes one to know one mate.”
“I’ll make it work,” he insisted, running a hand through his hair. “I’ll make it fucking work, even if I have to keep you here indefinitely you little shit.”
It was the first time Chisaki had cursed at him and Dabi found himself laughing. He’d wormed his way beneath that cool facade enough to rile him up and he couldn’t be happier. If Chisaki was going to make his life a living hell then he was going to return the favour.
Are you going to let me go today?
He asked that question every morning after he was removed from the small bedroom he’d been placed in and dragged, kicking and screaming, back to the chair. One of Chisaki’s larger associates would strap him down, one gigantic hand wrapped around his throat, while Chisaki watched hawkishly from the doorway. It was only when Dabi was tightly restrained that he crossed the threshold and dismissed his underling.
“Are you going to let me go today?” Dabi asked, panting slightly from the exertion of struggling. He wasn’t given much food so he tired out pretty quickly.
Chisaki pursed his lips behind the mask. “What do you think?”
Dabi sighed, going limp against the chair as best he could with the restraints keeping him upright. “So what the fuck have we got lined up today, Doctor Death?”
“You have an irritating mouth,” Chisaki growled, snapping on a pair of gloves. “I’m seriously debating sewing it shut.”
“But then your sick sadist ass wouldn’t get to hear me scream,” he drawled in response. The Yakuza gave him a disgusted look. “What? Why are you looking at me like that? I’m not the one with the weird fetish.”
Chisaki winced and glanced away from the other man, back to the table of instruments that had been prepared for the day. He picked up a scalpel, holding it delicately like a conductor’s baton, then crossed the room to stand in front of Dabi. His eyes were shining with anticipation, it made Dabi wonder whether or not his jibe might be true.
“Sick fuck,” Dabi sneered, lips curling up into a smirk. “I bet you go back to your room after this and-”
“Keep talking, give me more reasons to hurt you.”
“-jerk off to the thought of cutting me up, don’t you?”
The scalpel dug into the unblemished skin of his chest, eliciting a pained whine from Dabi. There was excitement in the way Chisaki’s eyes widened, the way he smiled beneath the mask.
“You’re disgusting,” Chisaki said, dragging the blade across his pectoral muscle. Dabi gritted his teeth and screwed his eyes shut as he dug it in deeper but was unable to keep from screaming when he twisted it. “I could take your quirk and reassemble you a thousand times and you’d still be filthy. I wonder what it’ll take to make you crumble .”
Dabi forced out a laugh despite the pain, despite the blood oozing down his chest. He stared Chisaki down, bloodshot, teary gaze never wavering. “Fuckin’ bring it, freak. Bigger fucks than you have tried and failed.”
Chisaki drew the scalpel back and removed a glove before pressing his fingers to Dabi’s chest. The skin he’d cut knit itself back together under the pressure of his quirk, leaving his chest as good as new. His fingers lingered a little too long on the skin before drawing back.
Just open up, it’ll be easier.
The IV was removed one day. Chisaki had found a better, more humiliating way to force the drug into his system. His thumb and forefinger were clamped over Dabi’s nose as he waited patiently for the man to run out of breath.
“I couldn’t get you to close your damn mouth before,” he grumbled, rolling his eyes. “Just open up, it’ll be easier.”
Dabi glowered at him, refusing to budge. His lungs were burning and his vision was swimming from the lack of oxygen but he did not want to open his mouth. Eventually, inevitably, his lips parted to drag in a breath and that was all Chisaki needed to force his fingers into Dabi’s mouth. The latex tasted vile as he pushed further along Dabi’s tongue, all the way to the back of his throat. Dabi gagged, heaving violently when he felt pills being forced down his gullet. The hand holding onto his nose moved to his neck, gripping firmly to feel the muscles beneath as they tried to force the pills and the fingers out.
Dabi spluttered, tears spilling down his cheeks. He didn’t want to, he wanted to bite down and make the fucker bleed but his mouth was stuffed so full that he could barely breathe. So for once, he did as he was told. Chisaki smiled as he felt the movement beneath his palm and slowly removed his hands, clearly enjoying the way the other man was coughing and heaving.
“There we go. A double dosage, more concentrated in pill form. If that doesn’t cure you then nothing will,” Chisaki hummed, happily. He patted Dabi’s cheek before turning away. “I have a meeting today so I can’t stick around to play.”
“F-fuck you,” Dabi rasped, stumping forward against the band around his throat. “Lemme out of this thing.”
Chisaki gutted as he opened the door. “No. You’ll stay where you are until I return. I want to see the effects when I’m done. It’ll only be a couple of hours.”
The door shut.
What is wrong with you?
The cool veneer shattered entirely when Chisaki opened the door to find Dabi’s shoulders aflame and the man laughing his head off. The reaction was almost instantaneous. The door was slammed shut, the Yakuza stomped across the room and stood in front of Dabi, face red and hands trembling with rage.
“What is wrong with you?” Chisaki asked, voice shrill. “Why won’t you do what I want?”
Dabi grinned, unafraid of the consequences. “Aw, little brat didn’t get what he wants? Poor thing.”
“Fuck you,” the Yakuza hissed, narrowing his eyes.
The first hit landed on his cheek. It hurt, broke apart the seam between burned and normal flesh, it pushed a few staples into the tender muscles beneath his skin. Dabi gasped and steeled himself for more, knowing that the evening was far from over. After the third hit he let out a weak burst of flames to push Chisaki back. The Yakuza hissed and stumbled back a few steps, clutching his fingertips that were now blackened from the flames. Dabi let out a gasp and spat out a wad of bloody saliva onto the floor, heaving from the pain of having to call forth his quirk on skin that was still raw. That, along with the fact he was malnourished and tired, meant that he couldn’t keep his flames burning for long. He wouldn’t be able to fight back for long.
“Little shit,” Chisaki snarled, clenching his fists at his sides. He stepped forward when the flames burned out and peeled off his gloves. “How can you- after all of the drugs and- and you’re weak , how can you still create that fire?”
Dabi shrugged. “Fuck if I know. Maybe I got good genes. Maybe I’m strong.”
His latter statement is supposed to be a joke. Clearly Dabi isn’t strong. He’s got a fucked up body, a quirk that doesn’t fit and a sickly constitution - he might be tough but he sure as hell wasn’t strong. Chisaki was looking him up and down like he was seeing him for the first time, inspecting the wiry muscles for a reason why.
“Maybe,” Chisaki repeated, curiously. “Maybe there’s a better use for you.”
“Oh yeah? Something better than your personal pin-cushion? Surely not.”
The Yakuza clicked his tongue as he turned away from Dabi and headed for the door. “It’s something I’ll need to think on. You’re a pain, I don’t know if you’ll be suitable among the rest of us - aside from Rappa, of course. That jacka-”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
Chisaki paused, hand stilling on the doorknob. He shot Dabi a glare before turning away again. “I need to think. I’ll have someone take you to your room.”
The room was sent into darkness, leaving Dabi alone to ponder his fate.
I’d like to offer you a job.
It came as a surprise when the door to his bedroom was opened and for once it wasn’t the gargantuan mobster come to take him back to the chair. Instead Chisaki peered at him from the other side of the threshold, sharp eyes trained on the patchwork monster he’d created.
“I’d like to offer you a job,” he stated, bluntly.
Dabi’s brows furrowed in surprise. That was not what he’d been expecting. He’d been expecting a knife in the throat or bare fingers against his face, a pre-warning before his head would be splattered across the walls. For all Dabi knew the offer was a trick of some kind, his hackles were immediately raised.
“What the fuck are you talkin’ about?”
Chisaki pinched the bridge of his nose and pushed himself away from the door. He removed one of his gloves and pressed his fingers against the cuffs around Dabi’s hands. They burst apart almost instantly, freeing him. “I thought you’d be smart enough to understand what a job is.”
“I know what a fucking job is, dickhead. I just don’t know why you’re offering me one,” Dabi grumbled, rubbing his sore wrists. “You’ve spent the last- fuck knows how long torturing me.”
“Don’t be so dramatic,” Chisaki replied, rolling his eyes. Dabi growled under his breath and stood, glad of his extra height over the other man, who took a step back. “You’re stronger than I thought you’d be. I could use someone like you in the Precepts.”
Dabi clicked his tongue. “And why the fuck would I want to join someone like you?”
“Because you’re homeless and penniless and likely to get infected again,” the Yakuza listed, pulling his glove back on. “I can give you a place to live, money, security.”
“Oh yeah?” Dabi scowled, wrinkling his nose. “And what do you want in return? The fuck does this ‘job’ entail?”
Chisaki hummed under his breath and the mask creased up as he smiled. “If I tell you to burn something or someone, you’ll do it without question. That’s all.”
Dabi searched his face for dishonesty but found none. He shouldn’t accept another offer from this man, not after everything he’d done to him. But part of him is intrigued and fuck knows it would be better than living on the street again. So hesitantly, still uncertain and wondering if he had gone mad, Dabi extended his hand.