The Missing Piece (Chapter 12)
gang! au / ceo! au
characters: dabi x f. oc, lov
read on ao3 here.
a/n: i really like this chapter heh, hope u enjoy! 😚
The staircase leads all the way to basement. I wondered why they would hide such steep, hidden steps in Dabi's office when they could create (much) shorter, more accessible ones from the first floor.
But I'm guessing that's the point.
This isn't supposed to be easy to reach. And Dabi's office is the one place no one would dare enter.
Aside from us, of course.
The basement is completely dark, forcing me to draw myself even closer to Dabi. I enjoy the weight of his hand in mine. He has a firm, tight grip. But just as the thought warms my cheeks, I shake it out of my head.
Within seconds, Dabi turns on the lights.
My eyes widen, taking in the sight before me.
A lot of it.
Though it looks dried, like it's been there for ages.
I spot a wall of different sized knives on one hand. A gun display on the other. A shelf of jars, filled with a murky looking liquid and...I don't even want to know what that is inside.
Dabi watches me.
There's a simple, plastic white table in the center of the floor with a large white board behind it.
The place is much messier and less...classy, than the rest of the Blaze.
But I have the feeling it's because it's not meant for outside eyes.
"You okay?" Dabi asks.
I nod, squeezing his hand to comfort myself.
Before the others reach the bottom, he whispers in my ear, "Whenever you want to leave, let me know. You don't have to be here."
"And," He takes another glance at the stairs as the others begin to appear. "Again, Rina. This place does not exist. Anything we say here does not leave this room. Got it?"
I glance warily at the knives.
"Why are you so worried?" I try to smile so he doesn't pick up on my nervousness. "I don't have anyone outside of you guys anyway. Who would I talk to?"
My comment seems to confuse him. "What about-"
"Welcome to the League!!" Toga jumps off the last few steps and swings into full view.
I shoot Dabi a look. "The League?"
"The League of Villains, of course!" Atsuhiro follows Toga, a dramatic grin on his lips. "Only the baddest group of bad boys in town."
"And girls!" Toga calls out.
"League of Villains?" I cackle. "Who came up with that?"
Dabi lets go of my hand and motions for me to take a seat on one of the plastic chairs.
I pick a red chair near the board.
"So what is that you guys really do?"
"I told you," Dabi says. "Special services to people willing to pay up."
Given where we are, that suddenly feels a lot more sinister than it did when he first told me.
I look back at the knives and jars in the background.
"So like, a gang? Where you steal things and hurt people if someone pays you enough? Like the movies?"
"Guess you could put it that way."
"And there's actually people that pay for this stuff?"
Dabi shrugs. "It's a niche market."
There's a lot more questions in my head, but now is not the time. Maybe later.
As Dabi moves to take a seat, his abdomen brushes against the edge of the table and he hisses in pain.
It releases blood again.
"Fuck!" He grips the skin.
I move closer to him, gripping his hands again. "It still hurts?" I ask worriedly. "Is there anything we can do?" I look around at the others quickly.
"Yes!" Toga says, a little too eagerly.
"What is it?"
She hops over to knives behind us, and takes a moment deciding which one she wants.
She brandishes a short but sharp blade and lets out an excited squeal, as though she enjoyed this.
"Fire please!" She calls out.
What's she doing?
Dabi groans and pulls a lighter out of his pocket. He tosses it toward her, and she carefully holds it under the edge of the blade, running it up and down for several minutes until it turns red.
She's going to seal the wound so it doesn't get infected.
"Lie down, boss," She says in a sing-song voice.
I clear the few papers were scattered on the table and move so Dabi could spread himself over it.
He lifts the edge of his shirt to his midriff, and my breath catches in my throat when I see his abdomen.
The skin is covered in large swaths of reddish purple.
Like parts of it were burnt off...
"These are old," Dabi looks at me. He's watching me carefully, wanting to see just how I'd react. "Still want to be here?"
I swallow my anxiety as I stare at Dabi's mismatched skin. I won't give him the chance to say 'I told you so.'
This must be why he wouldn't let me dress the wound.
He didn't want me to see this.
No wonder the stab didn't phase him.
What else has his body been through...
"Here I come!" Toga grins.
She was all too eager to take the scorching knife and press it to his stomach.
Dabi clenches his teeth immediately, leaving me to hurriedly stand next to him. I squeeze his hand to soothe him, but he grips mine back so hard I think he might break it.
I brush his hair out of eyes and press my hand to his forehead to calm him.
"It's okay," I tell him softly. "It's over."
The others stare at Dabi's wound uncomfortably, like they've been under Toga's knife before.
I wonder if they have similar wounds.
Dabi releases his harsh grip on my hand and begins to breathe slower.
One things strikes me though.
Despite all the pain he's undoubtedly feeling right now, not a single tear drops from his eyes.
I think it might just be him trying not to appear weak in front of us.
But as I look into his eyes, I'm surprised to find them completely dry.
"Are you superhuman or something?" I joke with him.
He looks at me quizzically.
"All of that and you didn't cry?"
Dabi closes his eyes. "I don't cry." He grits his teeth.
I roll my eyes.
Whatever you say.
The others slowly help him sit up straight. I take the first aid kit from Atsuhiro, picking out the cotton, gauze and antibacterial wipes.
Dabi is less reluctant when I try to wrap the area this time.
"You can hold onto me if you want," I tease as I wrap the gauze around his body.
A small smirk appears on his lips. His arm suddenly snakes around my waist, pulling me close to him.
I blush and the gauze falls out of my hands.
Dabi tilts his head. "What's wrong? Thought you wanted me to hold onto you?"
The guys snicker behind us.
I push him away from me, and he laughs as I take another piece of gauze and try again.
"You guys can talk now," I tell them focused on what I'm doing. "What exactly happened today?
Did Mr. Lane find out about the League? Is that what made you a target?"
Dabi is silent.
His silence puzzles me. I look to the others to see if they knew anything.
"Dabi tried blowing up his car!" Toga volunteers.
Could this be just because of how Mr. Lane treated me?
No. There's no reason for it to mean that much to Dabi.
Enough to get angry, sure.
To harm Mr. Lane?
"Why would you blow up his car?" I ask.
Tenko pulls up a chair. "We did some research on him. He's working with some really shady people. And Dabi told us about the whole Todoroki affair."
I shoot Dabi a look.
"They're trying to trick people into thinking they're heroes. That they should be put on a pedestal and admired. There's people out there telling their kids to be like them. Meanwhile they're going around-"
"Enough," Dabi interrupts Tenko. "Point is, they're fakes. They built up their media empires off that fake image. And we're going to expose them."
"But you guys are also doing...you know," I don't know how to say it in a way that isn't offensive. "I mean, you tried blowing up his car. And I'm guessing you probably have done more...if I'm not reaching."
Their eyes harden.
"We never pretended to be good."
I know I should stay silent, but I keep going.
"Right, but you have a double image too. There's the Blaze, and then there's the League."
They shake their heads.
"The Blaze is to funnel money into the League. Yeah, sure it's a front, but those who need our services know where to find us. We can't have masses of people finding out about the other shit we do, can we?"
"But how did this all start? What are you trying to achieve?"
"We just hate hypocrites. We'll help a bad guy to bring down a worse guy. Those that act like angels in public are our favorite targets. I don't care if we have to steal, blackmail, or kill them," Dabi's eyes shine with evil. "Whatever it takes to beat their egos down. Reveal the private faces they hide. Until they're forced to show their bloody hands before the world. Someone like Enji is using Lane for media coverage. Lane is depending on him for protection and cash. We can take them both down."
"What if you get caught?"
He dismisses the question, like it's not even worth his time. "By who?" He scoffs. "Lane? As soon as we take down Enji, Lane's done for. Since he's your old boss, we can give you leeway with how badly you want us to go after him." Dabi says this like that's what I'm genuinely concerned about right now. "Lane's a scared little prick anyway, as soon as he saw me he bounced out of the car and screamed for protection." He laughs like he can picture Mr. Lane's pathetic position as we speak. "But he'll fall. Just like the rest of them."
"I meant the police, Dabi."
The question puzzles him as if he's never considered it before. But the look in his eyes tells me they're even less of a concern than Mr. Lane.
"Don't worry about that," He says. "That's the least of our problems, to be honest."
I let them speak uninterrupted for the rest of the night. They have business to take care of, and if I keep asking questions like this, they'll never get to finish. It's enough that they waited all day for me to leave so they could start. Can't hold them up at night as well.
The Todoroki name was brought up several times, among others. It seems strange now, considering Dabi knows it was Mr. Lane's relations with Enji that led to me leaving the company the way I did. Turns out he knows a lot more about Enji than I do.
I try to keep track of the other names as well, but there's so many and I'm so tired, I can barely keep up.
"Here's where Rina comes in," Dabi continues.
My eyes widen at the mention of my name.
"Enji's using Lane for his image. Rina, you said they were working on a movie or something?"
"A documentary, yes."
"We need to make sure that shit doesn't air."
I bite my lip, trying to remember as much information as I could about the documentary. It was supposed to air already. I remember Mr. Lane saying it would be within the month.
But it hasn't yet.
Which means I need to find out more from Al.
"My roommate still works at NNTV. She's the floor manager so she might have some idea of what's going on. I can ask her."
"You sure you can trust her?" Dabi asks with a frown.
"Well, I'm not gonna tell her any details, she's the one that's gonna need to have trust in me, no?"
Atsuhiro cracks his knuckles and rubs his neck. "I don't know, I don't like the sound of that. We have our own ways of finding stuff out so-"
"It won't hurt to try," I insist, looking at Dabi since he's the one that has final say on these matters. "Having 2 avenues of information is better than 1."
Truth be told, I just want to feel useful. I want to feel like I have a role to play, not just that I'm here to "sit and watch".
I want them to feel good about me being here, not apprehensive about whether this was a good decision.
After some deliberation, Dabi sighs. He looks to the others for input. "Might as well?"
"I mean she's here," Tenko says monotonously. "Might as well use her."
Dabi nods and then turns to me. "Just don't be stupid with it. Lead her into the conversation, don't bring it up out of nowhere. She'll be curious about why you're bringing it up. Don't say anything that'll make her ask questions. The more questions she asks you, the more suspicious she'll be."
"Relax guys, I got this." I smile. "Besides, she's a chatterbox. She'll open up at the slightest nudge and go on forever. She's the one that told me about all the.." I grimace. "..issues with the Todoroki company."
Plus, she's my friend! Of course, I can trust her. We've been roommates for years. If anyone could tell me about Mr. Lane's current plans for the documentary, it'd be her.
"So it's settled!" Toga claps. She takes a marker and goes up to the white board, drawing a flow chart with all that's been discussed today. She adds my part last, circling my name and underlining it several times for emphasis, over a big red INTEL SOURCING.
The sight of that makes me smile, like I have a role to play in all of this. I look around at the others but they're all preoccupied with moving things around and discussing their own parts.
The lack of enthusiasm isn't surprising, I mean this is normal for them.
But all I can think of is how exciting it'll be if I have something to contribute the next time we meet. If they'll call me down, and look at me expectantly. I imagine the looks on their faces with glee and the thought almost makes me giddy.
"Okay, are we done here?" Dabi asks.
A bunch of 'yes'es and 'yup's fill the basement.
"Alright then," Dabi grabs a leather jacket from on the wall and checks to make sure his keys are inside. Then he walks my way and grabs my arm.
"Time for you to go home," He says, moving me in front of him.
"Now," His eyes narrow. He moves his head in a silent nudge, telling me to turn around and make my way upstairs.
The others watch us curiously, and Toga lets out a snicker at my expense.
"I'm jealous!" She calls after us. "Wish I had someone to drive me home!"
Dabi groans, nudging me to keep moving.
"Bye guys," I wave back at them from halfway up the steps. "I'll see you tomorrow!"
They all wave warmly and I can't help thinking how grateful I am that they trusted me with this.