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Project Pinocchio

Chapter Text

Dazai Osamu woke up. That should not have happened.

A tube was inserted into his mouth. A tube was inserted in his penile shaft. There were wires attached to patches on his chest. There was the pain of something attached to his left hand. He heard bored melancholic beeps near him.
Intensive care management, huh. So he had been almost successful. Almost.

He lifted his eyes and found the boss. Not his boss, per se. The boss. Meaning, he was answerable to him, and give the boss fealty. But the boss was not a father to him, nothing close to that, no matter how rather kinder he was to Dazai.

"Welcome back, Dazai," the boss greeted with a smile that masked thoughts.

With a tube through his mouth and another tube through his nose and into his stomach, Dazai could only keep staring at Mori, standing by the bed, his hand on the railing.

"As soon as you are fully awake, the endotracheal tube and the artificial respiration will be removed," Mori, a doctor in his earlier life, said. Then he raised a thick envelope, with 'Confidential' marked over it. "I have a job for you. Supervisory. This holds all the information. I expect you to go over it and initiate the job the soonest you are able."

Dazai nodded slightly, that he heard and understood.

"I expect your best work for this long project. As always," Mori added. "Your brain is not expendable. It can be replaced. But while it is available, it is a vital asset to the organization. Remember this, Dazai."

Dazai nodded again.

"Well, then." Mori left the envelope on the medicine table.

He shut his eyes again and let the mechanical ventilator assist what disappointed breathing he was doing.

Why had he done this? He forgot. He had forgotten. He just knew it was getting so unbearably boring to be alive, even as the mafia was gaining sufficient control of much of Yokohama's underbelly. Also, he was rather tired of seeing so much violence and death, a good amount by his own hand or by his subordinates.

He wanted to fade into nothing, to be nothing. He already felt nothing, and felt like nothing.

Dazai Osamu woke up.

That should not have happened. Not after a whole bottle of sleeping pills, around twenty opiate tablets, and more than one glass of brandy. He had already closed all his pending cases and files, one of the rare times he managed to complete all his paperwork and duties for the Port Mafia, just to ensure that he left nothing unfinished before he went to sleep.

He had even filled a notebook with his handwriting, as neat as he could make it, all giving endorsements and instructions about how to do the work he would leave behind, to whoever replaced him. That was how complete his plans were. Because he had absolutely no plans to wake up after he went to sleep.

But he did. He did wake up.

He had no idea how long it took before he was found. He had tried to make it a bit harder, by taking a room at a motel not under the Port Mafia's protection. It seems he might have missed that one of the employees or the manager was in debt to the mafia.

He also did not know how long he had been asleep before he woke up. He just took those pills and tablets in rapid succession, drinking them down with the brandy. As soon as he felt incredibly dizzy and sleepy, he settled into bed, and that was that. At least, that was how he had hoped.

Unfortunately, now he was awake again, in a bright room with a strong scent of antiseptic, with beeps in various tones sounding in a boring way.

##

But he woke up again, the mouth tube removed and replaced with an oxygen mask over his face. Some of the wires and other attachments had also been removed, leaving the line attached to his hand. There was still some bored beeping beside him. His heart and maybe his breathing.

When he turned, the envelope with the 'confidential' markings was still beside him.

He weakly reached out for the envelope and tore off the seal.

It was a classified government file, for a discontinued project. Code name: Project Arahabaki. This meant that the government had thrown out the project, and the mafia had bought the information from an insider. It was now under mafia control.

He sighed. This was bad. He was interested. Very interested.

Now he had to stay alive, for quite a while.

He pressed buttons to raise the head of his hospital bed until he was half-sitting while his head was fully pillowed by the bed.

He opened the file.It was a project to create a human cyborg unlike so many in Yokohama, in the country, in the world. At the exterior, the cyborg would look like any other human, a teenaged human. But...

There were pages and pages of technical schematics, for each enhanced organ and limb of this enhanced human. The cyborg enhanced would have been designed to surpass most if not all cybertechnology available. And it would all fit into this compact teenage human.

This would create a superhuman, almost a god hidden inside a human frame. Hence, the codename. The humans tried to house a god inside a human.

It was not so much that the technology hid guns and cannons and super-lengthening or such like. Rather, all the technology made the human the fastest, most agile cyborg to walk the streets of Yokohama, the fastest and most able to inflict heavy damage, if ever he was released into the underworld.

It would also hide a powerful ability, previously unseen: an ability to control gravity, both for the human project, and the world around him. An ability to throw gravitons, if needed. An ability to manipulate the gravity of all objects within his range.

An ability that would make the boy be like a god on earth.

Dazai sighed as he closed the folder. He would look at it again when he felt less tired. But this was annoying, very annoying.

He was intrigued. He was interested. He wanted to see this cyborg. He wanted to see him in action. He wanted to know this strange cyborg boy.

He was interested. He had to stay alive to stay interested.

##

Days passed.

Soon enough, with nutrients and antidepressants forced into his system, he grew sufficiently well to walk around weakly. He bandaged his hands again, to once again hide and control the nullifiers embedded in his palms.

He was still alive. He was being made to stay alive.

He still ate small portions, without an appetite. But he had to shove several spoonfuls in, or Mori-san would hear how he disobeyed. He still felt unable to fight against whatever Mori would deal with him if he disobeyed.

What kept him moving was that file, that confidential file. He needed to see and meet that unusual new acquisition. After all, he had been tasked to supervise him.

As soon as he was able, he dressed into his work suit, dark and somber. He took up the file, hid it inside the suit.

Then he slowly made his way to the first level basement of the organization headquarters, where he was told the subject was kept.

He approached a room with large panel windows, clearly showing the inside. There was an even deeper room, after a small room that held scientists and assistants, sitting in front of monitors and keyboards. The larger inner room could also be seen from the entrance, as it also had large panel windows.

Within that larger inner room, overhead lights, machines, and scientists hovered around a figure, who looked human enough, placed over something like a modified operating table. He could not see much yet from that distance, but it looked like a male, a boy.

Dazai opened the door to the basement laboratory.

Immediately all the assistants rose from their seats, followed by the scientists. They all bowed together to the youngest executive of the Port Mafia.

Kaiji, the lead scientist, was the first to rise. He gave Dazai an interesting grin. "It's an honor to be visited by yourself, sir. I think you'll find the result of our work most interesting."

Dazai smirked, hiding the weakness he still felt everywhere. "Schematics," he said. An order, not a request or an inquiry.

"Of course," Kaiji answered, turning to a keyboard and pressing a few buttons.

Immediately after, several windows appeared on the display, presenting various parts of the boy before them. Chest cavity, abdominal cavity, each arm and leg, brain and skull, face.

They confirmed and updated the contents of the folder Mori gave him to study, showing the upgrades Kaiji and his team had added to an already powerful, strong, but lithe creation.

And yet, and yet. It all felt wrong.

In front of him were diagrams and schematics for a robot.

Dazai nodded, and the schematics were removed. He faced again the view of the mechanized body over a surgical table, with fiery hair.

"I have only one request," he said, staring forward at so much titanium, wires, pneumatics, and cables. "A humanoid shell."

"Make him look less a cyborg?" Kaiji confirmed.

Dazai nodded again. "Such that it's not immediately noticed that he is a cyborg, instead of emphasizing it. It will provide an element of surprise, some delay that will provide useful to us."

Kaiji bowed, then lifted his head quickly. "Ah! A good suggestion, from the youngest executive! It shall be done."

Dazai headed to the inner door. "Don't kill off your people with overwork, though. I've heard it happen."

Kaiji chuckled uneasily. "This is noted."

Dazai opened the door into the inner area, where the subject lay, rendered unconscious and nonfunctional as the scientists and engineers did their work.

Several assistants gathered around him and gave him the necessary protective gear before he approached. He nodded to them all as they completed the work and bowed as they moved backward.

He walked forward, nearer, until he reached the surgical table.

He stood beside the table where the cyborg lay.

The boy looked around his age, just shorter and more... battle-hardened, or life-hardened, or both.

The face was angular but not thin and not weak. While the eyes were closed, they looked delicate, fragile. The nose was just so. The lips were pale, slightly open. The fiery hair was pulled back but visible.

He tilted the chin slightly upward. He observed the area where the human neck ended and the mechanized section began, a rather drastic shift, with the cables and tubes still visible where they connected. It made one feel like observing the inside of a corpse, just robotic.

Then, he kept observing the face. It was... he was intriguing, this new acquisition. He was not destined to be a foot soldier, nor just a simple weapon of destruction. He was made to be feared, revered.

Dazai found himself the first one to revere.

He shook his head, trying to clear it of the many thoughts. But the boy's face stayed in his mind.

He requested to exit. "Inform me as well when all the preparations are complete," he told Kaiji as he opened the outer door.

The scientists bowed as he left.

##

Dazai woke up again. He sighed that he did, but he did.

He still felt the fog, of not wanting to be awake, of not wanting to be alive. The medicines only kept them at bay, from not reaching a point that he wanted to act on wanting to not be alive. But sometimes he still wanted not to be alive.

Something felt a little different about his room, though.

He tried his best to be alert. He was generally good at it, but not immediately after sleeping for twelve hours or more.

In the fog, he sensed it and tightened. A person was in the room. Walking around it quietly, maybe observing him.

He peeked out of the blanket.

Oh.

The cyborg.

The boy.

The boy he was supposed to supervise. The boy was in his room, looking at all the books and the visual screens.

A leather choker was around his neck, hiding the connection of the human neck to the mechanized body.

The boy's fiery hair fell in a short trickle past his neck and shoulder. He wore a tank top that hid his torso, and trousers and shoes that hid his legs. But the arms were visible, housed in a humanoid casing, as requested.

The boy walked with hesitation, half practicing, as it were, as he observed the books and furniture.

Interesting.

Dazai finally decided to sit up from bed. His whole body ached. His brain still felt numb. But his brain also remembered. That he was interested in this boy, past the assignment.

Of course, he rather realized that Mori knew exactly what to use to gain his attention. But for now, he was going to let Mori have his way.

The boy turned and faced the bed. He found Dazai on the bed. "You sleep so long," the boy complained.

Dazai smirked. So the boy had a retained personality. Interesting. "Do you sleep at all... little cyborg?"

"I am NOT little!" The boy protested. "I am designed to be light and fast!"

Dazai kept smirking, kept being interested. "Thus, small and short. A chibi."

"What!"

Dazai raised a hand. So loud. So noisy. So early in their relationship, whatever it was. "Your name?"

The boy immediately stiffened and bowed from the waist. It was a standard greeting of a robot to a human. "My designation is A5158. Government issue humanoid cyborg."

"Number one," Dazai corrected, "You belong to the Port Mafia now."

The boy glared at him.

“It is true. Ask both Mori and Kaiji,” Dazai said. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Number two, I didn’t ask for your designation. I asked for your name.”

The boy kept staring. He blinked a few times.

"What? Don't you have one?" Dazai asked.

"I have a name!" the boy declared.

Dazai smiled. At least no mind-wipe was done on this cyborg. "Well, chibi? I'm still waiting for it."

"You first, human," the boy demanded. "I have been assigned to you. I wanna know who I'm dealing with."

Dazai smirked. “Well, then. The name is Dazai Osamu.” He lowered his head deeply to bow to the boy. “May I know your name, subject A5158.”

"I have a name! I have one!" the boy insisted.

"So, tell me."

"Whatever!"

The boy marched up to the bed, and stood up to his full height, even though it was less than Dazai's.

“Before I was captured, they called me Chuuya. Nakahara Chuuya. Is that all you need?”

“For now, yes,” Dazai said.

“So, now, what?” Chuuya asked.

Dazai shrugged. “After I get a shower and breakfast? I really don’t know. But you’re in our organization now. You’ll have work to do. Soon enough.”

"They already gave me a job to do," Chuuya said, smirking back, squaring his shoulders, folding his arms over his chest.

"Oh? And what would a chibi like you be told to do?"

Chuuya kept the smirk. "I have been tasked to protect and monitor you."

Dazai raised an eyebrow. It was... reasonable, seeing that Mori can't keep tracking him every moment. But that he was to keep an eye on the cyborg, and the cyborg was supposed to keep an eye on him, that was an interesting arrangement.

There was more to this. Definitely.

"Interesting. This could get really interesting," was all he said to the new boy.

For now.