To Dabi, it was a complete accident, absolutely unrelated to his mission.
When Shigaraki ordered him to follow around Eraserhead for a few days, Dabi didn’t do much except show some token annoyance before inevitably agreeing. Recently, life had slowed down for him a little since Hawks hadn’t answered his calls in a week since their fight and the League was idly standing by as they recuperated from losing Kurogiri.
The first couple of days had been dull; Eraserhead didn’t do much but go to school, stay in his apartment, and patrol around a shabby neighborhood on the other side of town.
The last one surprised him since most pro heroes preferred to stay in the city where there were flashy villains and great publicity opportunities. Yet, Eraserhead seemed to prefer the quiet shadows of the night, perched on top of rundown buildings like a gargoyle and taking down criminals in a silent, blunt manner.
Dabi could respect that, of course. He had nothing specifically against the pro, at least not to the extent that he hated Endeavor. Really, the only conflict came from the training camp which had strictly been business.
Dabi had had a goal, Eraserhead had stood in the way. Simple.
Still, it was a surprise when, on the fifth day of his assignment, Eraserhead left his apartment and walked in the opposite direction of the school.
Instead, he went to a semi-crowded mall, standing awkwardly around the entrance in pink sweatpants and a baggy sweater that mimicked his hero outfit.
Dabi watched from a safe distance, pulling his jacket over his nose and hiding behind the shrubbery surrounding the mall. It was always the hardest for him to blend into crowds. He didn’t like being touched and he didn’t have much of an exit strategy once someone recognized him.
However, this was potentially the best opportunity he had in figuring out a few more pieces of Eraserhead’s weaknesses and life. Since he spent so much time at the school, Dabi could do nothing more than stand outside and reply to dumb memes that Toga sent him before Eraserhead finally left.
Maybe he was meeting a relative or a significant other, Dabi wondered. If Dabi could find someone that Eraserhead cared about that wasn’t a blonde psychopath, a green time bomb, or then maybe they could use that to their advantage.
It was worth a try.
Dabi peered around the tree and saw Eraserhead take out his phone. The man sighed, before stuffing his phone in his pocket and trudging into the shopping center.
Dabi moved to follow him before stumbling into a random teenager.
“Watch it,” Dabi hissed.
“Sorry, dude,” the teenager grunted before meeting Dabi’s eyes. His face went slack as he stumbled over the next few words of his sentence. Dabi shoved him past him and the teen scrambled away in fear.
“Dammit,” Dabi muttered when he noticed that he had lost eyes on Eraserhead. He ducked his head, sliding through the crowds of people, as his eyes searched for even a shred of pink fabric.
Dabi quickly found himself in the middle of the shopping center, his target completely gone in the crowd of people.
He bit back a growl, stuffed his hands in his pockets, and took a seat nearby. He kept his eyes on the area, certain that the exhausted hero would soon show up.
Not much time passed by when Dabi finally noticed something. Barely anything had really stood out, except for the occasional person that gave Dabi an off look. Yet, it was a cascade of pure white hair and a bright pink dress that caught his attention.
Dabi tilted his head as a small girl tumbled through the crowd, clutching a black stuffed cat in her hands. She had big, blood eyes and long white sleeves over her pink overall dress. Her bottom lip trembled as she searched frantically through the crowd, clearly lost. The most catching thing about her was the horn sticking out of the side of her forehead.
Dabi shrugged it off, lost kids weren’t worth blowing his cover over, until a large, boxed man approached the little girl.
“Whatcha doing here alone, girlie?” The man had leered, crouching down to her level. Despite this move, he still towered over the girl with his body, attempting to cage her in.
The child took a step back, her face impassive yet her shoulders shaking. She didn’t respond to the man, just curled into herself and looked anywhere except his cold eyes.
Dabi sighed, flicking his half-lit cigarette to the floor. The encounter between the man and child looked friendly on the outside but he wasn’t naive. He had a sharp eye, something Dr. Ujiko constantly complimented, and he always noticed eyes that always lingered too far and too long.
They weren’t always the same. Sometimes it was the first paralyzation of fear and absolute horror as they gazed upon skin that was falling at its seams. Other times it was the disgust and sneer when they saw Spinner out in the world, doing nothing wrong but living his life. Then others, the ones he loathed the most, were the creeps that attempted to look up Toga’s skirt or lure her in with promises of lukewarm saki and the illusion of rebellion.
Toga could always handle those men on her own, he knew that, but this girl, this girl didn’t have a fraction of Toga’s independence.
Dabi stood from his seat, brushing off the ash on his worn-out jeans and walked towards the girl and creepy man.
“Why don’t you come with me and I’ll find your parents for you?” The man said, offering his hand. The girl shrunk back, the horn on her head letting out a dull glow.
“Why don’t you leave her alone?” Dabi grunted.
The man gave Dabi a neutral, if not disgruntled, look, straightening from the floor. “And you are…?”
Dabi squared his shoulders. “None of your fucking business. Now get the fuck out of here and leave her alone.”
“I’m her father,” the man lied.
“You ain’t nothing but a pathetic bastard, that’s what you are,” he spat out. The girl let out a squeak and buried her face in the cat’s smooth fur. The horn turned brighter, almost pulsing with shaken power, but Dabi barely noticed as he stared the man down.
“Don’t talk to me that way,” the man hissed. “Not in front of my—“
Dabi lifted a hand up, his fingertips coated in blue. A long time ago it would’ve hurt to use it, but all of the nerves in his arms had been burnt to a crisp. All he could feel was pressure and numbing sort of pain that moaned in his bones.
“Why don’t you get out of here before I burn you alive,” Dabi growled.
The man’s lip trembled, stumbling back. Recognition entered his eyes and, if they weren’t in a crowded shopping mall, it would’ve been the perfect time to burn his body into a heap of ashes.
“Go,” Dabi hissed, flicking a flame onto him.
The man yelped, ripping his coat off himself, and ran in the opposite direction of them. A few people looked at him cautiously but none of them noticed the smoking coat on the floor or Dabi for that fact.
Dabi chuckled at the disappearing figure, his fire going out.
He turned to the girl. “You okay?”
The girl didn’t move, frozen like a statue.
Dabi sighed. “Everything’s good now, the creeps gone.”
“…why don’t I bring you mall security? They’ll figure this shit out.”
Dabi internally groaned, he used to be so good with children. He never found it hard to comfort his siblings when he was younger. Even when he smelt like a corpse and had his skin peeling off, barely kept on by the bandages, he could always coax a smile or a surprised laugh.
“Hey,” Dabi said, his voice getting softer. “It’ll be okay.”
Dabi dropped into a crouch, placing a tentative hand on her shoulder. “I promise.”
The glow of her horn hadn’t gone away, but it now looked like a dull nightlight instead.
The girl sniffled, pulling the cat away from her face.
Dabi smiled—at least, as much of a smile he could muster with his stitches.
The girl looked up at him, her eyes widening as she took in his countenance, and she went rigged.
Dabi immediately removed his hand, the small joy in his chest instantly smothered. He held his hands up for a small sign of peace.
The girl’s eyes filled with tears, her lips falling open as she let out a scream.
The last thing Dabi saw, or even felt, was a sharp, blinding light.
Then he was gone.
It was a lazy day at the PLF.
There were no missions on hand, no plotting needed to be done, nothing but just a lazy silence. Miraculously, all of the original League of Villain members was at the home, all congregated in the living room.
Even Hawks was there, invited over by Toga earlier in the day.
After introducing them to each other, Toga immediately clung to the winged hero. She demanded his number and spent hours sending him silly emojis along with pictures of cute teenagers she saw on the street.
Spinner played music on a portable speaker, mostly pop garbage, but a fairy popular slow song switched on, bringing the atmosphere to a comforting lull.
Hawks lightly kicked Dabi’s boot, grabbing his attention. “Let’s dance.”
Dabi snorted into his beer. “I don’t dance, birdie.”
“I wasn’t asking,” Hawks replied.
Dabi waved him off. “Go annoy Toga.”
Hawks grabbed his hand, his thumb caressing the staples on the back of his hand. “Please?”
Dabi sighed, putting down his beer and getting up from his seat. “One song.”
Hawks smiled and led Dabi to a spacious part of the living room. Dabi awkwardly put his hands on Hawks’ arms, unsure where to be.
Hawks let out a chuckle, guiding Dabi’s hands to his waist before circling his arms around Dabi’s neck. They were pressed tightly together as Hawks swayed to the music, dragging Dabi into a strange, disjointed rhythm.
Despite how out of sync they appeared, they eventually fell into an almost comforting pattern. Dabi could feel Hawks’ breath on his neck, warm and reassuring. His pulse thrummed lowly as he buried his nose in Hawks’ golden locks, his headphones hanging loosely from his neck.
“You’re beautiful,” Hawks murmured, kissing the staple at the corner of Dabi’s mouth.
His heart rate spiked his grip on Hawks’ waist tightening. This was a horrible idea, he knew this. Yet, somehow along with the snarky comments and late nights, he found himself finding love in his enemy’s embrace. He’d break him, kill whatever is left of his cracked heart, but Dabi almost didn’t mind if it meant having moments like this.
It’s not like he expected to stay alive for very long.
“Aw,” Toga cooed, nudging Twice and Shigaraki. “You guys are so cute together.”
Shigaraki grunted, refusing to look up from whatever game he was playing on his hand console.
“Adorable!” Twice cheered, followed by a “disgusting!”
Dabi snorted, his hands retreating. “Yeah, yeah, the show’s over.”
Toga pouted. “Don’t be a baby, Dabi! There’s nothing wrong with love!”
“Yeah, Dabi,” Hawks teased, his hands sliding to Dabi’s shoulders. “Nothing wrong with love.”
If most of his skin wasn’t gone, Dabi would’ve been blushing. “Whatever,” he brushed him off as another crappy pop song came on.
Hawks smiled, leaning into him and giving him a real kiss on the mouth. Dabi chased the kiss, his eyes closing as he got lost in the idea of Hawks.
The first thing Dabi noticed when he awoke was that he was comfortable.
There was no pain, the heaviness in his bones gone. He was warm, wrapped in blankets that didn’t scratch or irritate his scars.
He cracked his eyes opened, squinting against harsh, fluorescent lights. Everything was painfully white and the thrum of a heart monitor filled his ears.
Dabi groaned, rubbing his eyes and he froze as the familiar feeling of the staples on his face and hands were gone. He pulled his hands back and stared in a mix of amazement and horror as he gazed upon unblemished, perfectly pale skin that followed up into the sleeves of the light blue hospital robe he wore.
“What the…?” He choked out.
Thoughts and questions raced through his head as he racked his brain for answers. The last thing he remembered was… the little girl with the horn!
He had… there was a light… pain… but no pain…
One thing was for sure, he had to get out of here.
Dabi threw the covers off himself, glancing down at his legs. His purple, shriveled up legs were healthier, thicker and covered in pale, untouched skin.
In fact, Dabi almost felt healthier. As if years of drug abuse and self-harm had simply been washed away from his soul. The world was brighter, no longer cloudy and covered in black spots, and sounds seemed to clearly flow through his head.
He felt good… and it only intensified his panic.
Before Dabi’s feet could touch the floor, the door to the hospital room opened, a man with a stethoscope entering.
The doctor didn’t look up immediately, too preoccupied with the chart in his hands. Dabi had to be quick to escape.
Dabi moved his left arm to cross his chest, willing for blue flames to coat his arm. But, as he called for his quirk, nothing happened.
There was no blue light bathing his face, no immediate heat, or nerves screaming on end. He searched for the fire within him, for the anger that had sparked when he was just a little boy being beaten half to death by his father, but nothing came.
There was only emptiness.
The doctor glanced at Dabi. “Ah, Mr. Todoroki, you’re awake.”
Dabi’s body went rigid, his insides turning cold and numb. “What did you just call me?” He hissed.
“Your name is Touya Todoroki, correct?” The doctor asked, oblivious to Dabi’s anger. “We ran your DNA and found you with missing persons. You’ve been asleep for roughly twenty hours.”
Dabi could feel his heartbeat in his ear. “…what?”
“You had a quirk related incident involving a child at a shopping center,” the doctor explained. “We couldn’t identify anything physically wrong with you, you seem to be in great condition. However, we want to keep you here for a few days just to make sure there aren’t any complications. We contacted your family and they should be here soon—“
“My… my family?” Dabi croaked out.
The doctor nodded. “Your father is currently out of the country on business, but we did manage to track your next of kin, your sister—“
Dabi heard nothing else, blood rushing to head immediately as he clutched the bed sheets tightly. Fuyumi… he couldn’t… he hadn’t seen Fuyumi in years. Not after the incident, he couldn’t even muster up the courage to check up on her when he became Dabi. He couldn’t risk seeing the disgust on her face if she even glanced at his scars.
“—I’ll be back with your test results in an hour or so,” the doctor continued. “Until then, I’d recommend you lay down and get some rest. Since this was a quirk related incident, some police officers will come by to clear up any confusion.”
“What confusion?” Dabi asked, words finally coming back to him.
“We just need to make sure everything was an accident—“
“Of course it was an accident,” Dabi snapped. “She was like, five.”
The doctor nodded sagely. “And you can tell the police that. For now, just sit tight and don’t hesitate to call the nurse if you need anything.”
Dabi scowled at the doctor as he left. The second the doctor closed the hospital door, Dabi jumped out of bed.
His legs immediately buckled underneath his weight and he caught himself on the bed frame for support.
Dabi scanned the room, finding a pile of his clothes on one of the chairs. He stumbled to the chair and ripped off his hospital gown, rushing to get his clothes on.
He slid on his jeans and shoved his feet into his boots. As he flung his shirt and tattered jacket on, Dabi noticed his reflection in the mirror.
His entire body went rigid as he stared at his reflection in horror. Gone were the staples on his face barely keeping his skin on and black, burnt hair. Instead, his face was flawless, almost hauntingly handsome, and his hair was back to its soft, fiery red locks.
He looked like Endeavor.
Dabi rushed to the window, not daring to risk being outside in the hospital. Luckily, he was on the second floor of the hospital and jumping from that height would definitely hurt, it wouldn’t injure him too much.
He slid the window open, his breathing coming out in rushed puffs of air. He swung both his looks over the window sill, his grip the only thing holding him back from falling.
Just do it, Dabi commanded himself. Stop being a coward and just do it.
Dabi hesitated… would it be so bad if he stayed? It was obvious from the lack of handcuffs that they didn’t know who he was. And, he didn’t have his quirk and there was no way he could figure out what that little girl had done to him if he didn’t stay.
Plus… would it really be so bad to see his family again? At least once? Then he could runoff.
Yet, fear smothered these hopeful thoughts. Fear of getting caught, fear of Endeavor, fear of breaking his family’s heart again, fear of failing to protect his family.
And with that fear, Dabi made his decision.
The hospital door clicked open and Dabi let go.
“Hey!” Dabi heard someone scream as he crashed through the air. He almost found comfort in the fall, in the wind in his hair. It was reminiscent of his dozens of flights in Hawks’ arms.
Dabi hit the floor with a grunt, groaning as he pushed himself onto his knees. He scrambled off the wet grass, ducking his head and running as fast as he could.
Hunger gnawed at his stomach, pain—normal pain, the type of pain someone gets from running for too long or aching from sleeping on the wrong side of the bed—wracked his chest as he blindly ran.
There was a ringing in his ear as someone called out to stop him. He tried to think of a way to go, maybe a place to hide, but all that rang through his head was the word away.
“Ow!” A woman’s voice screamed as Dabi collided with a frail, yet sturdy figure. His body toppled over, bringing the person down with him as he skidded across the rough pavement.
“Fuck,” Dabi hissed as his nose collided with the ground.
“Hey! Watch where you’re going, asshole!” A man yelled at him.
Dabi brought himself to his knees, looking up to swear at the man who had yelled at him when his turquoise eyes met a head of untamed white hair.
Natsuo glared at Dabi as he helped Fuyumi off the ground. Yet, he wasn’t really looking at Dabi, more concerned with Fuyumi.
Every part of Dabi told him to leave, to disappear, but he couldn’t move an inch off the ground.
Dabi turned his head to the side as he felt someone staring at him. Next to them, just a few feet away was Shouto… his baby brother, looking at him as if he had seen a ghost.
A sharp intake drew Dabi’s eyes back to Fuyumi and Natsuo.
Fuyumi’s warm grey eyes met Dabi’s, her bottom lip trembling.