Overhaul waited, in the small room on the first level of the maze. This meeting, while important, is not worth risking everything. He had calculated the possibilities, the chances - he had to find a way to make her comply. She was getting older now, after all. Something had to tether her to him, his home. A short knock echoed throughout the lavish meeting room. Leave nothing to chance, Chisaki. That is our way. A blonde head peeked through the door.
“Overhaul. I’m honored you’ve called me here.” He was a low level yakuza member, merely in charge of operating one of the northern branches - small, but important. His quirk and his...connections, though, kept him important enough to keep at hand.
“Do not flatter yourself. It is not you I am after.” It’s important to keep the lower members in line, after all. Overhaul had goals he must accomplish and egos will only interfere with his plans. The young man tried not to grimace, but failed. Unfortunate, considering his status. He should be better.
“Oh? Then how can I help you, young head?” Obedient, respectful. Good, Overhaul can work with that. Best to get to the point then, this plan has the highest chance of success the sooner its implemented. A new shipment is arriving soon, and the source isn’t getting any more obedient.
“You have...a son, correct?” A son, a tool, they’re all the same thing. Children were only tools to further their parents agenda. That was their only purpose in a world determined by usefulness.
“If you mean the battery, then yes. He is kept at the remote northern headquarters, powering your operations.” As leader of the Shie Hassaikai, Overhaul knew as much as one could know about his own organization. The northern headquarters was one of the only locations that Overhaul had managed to keep hidden from the overbearing police watchdogs - after all, a building that has no electricity bill must have no one inside.
“Bring him here, he will assist you with your new position here at headquarters. Do not be followed, and do not let anyone see him.” This was the most imperative part of the whole operation. Everyone knows that cops - and those goddamn heroes - get bloodthirsty when they suspect children are involved.
“Yes, young head.” The minion had a contemplative look on his face as he bowed respectfully, backing slowly out of the room. Overhaul uncrossed his legs and grinned as he stood slowly. It’s about time for her next appointment, after all.
“You are being taken to the headquarters. This is an honor, battery.”
“But why? I was doing good! Please, I’ll do better! Please -”
“Shut up, brat. The young head has requested you specifically for the next phase. Consider yourself lucky to receive such an invitation.”
Denki couldn’t remember the last time he had been out of the small headquarters he was raised in. The world outside of the generator room was bright, and large, and amazing, even from inside the back of the supply truck they had decided to transport him in. Secrecy, and all that. He felt the truck go below street level and slow to a stop. Struggling to his feet with his hands bound by quirk suppressors, he was ready when his father opened the trunk and yanked Denki out.
The maze he was lead through was confusing, and way above Denki’s pay grade. Most of the long trek was spent trying to stay on his feet as his father led the way deeper and deeper into the grey underground. Denki knew better than to talk and ask questions about his new role - he was nothing but a tool for the Shie Hassaikai. He knew better.
Denki kept his head down as his father stopped in front of a non-descript door. Daring to glance through his thick blond bangs, he could do nothing but watch as his father opened the door and peered in. He glanced back at Denki, who quickly averted his gaze to the floor. The sudden release of his cuffs and shove into the out-of-the-way room caused him to fall to his knees as he heard the door click behind him.
“You can’t just leave me!” Denki yelled, swinging around to hit the locked door. What am I supposed to do? What are my orders? Denki didn’t know what to do without the Orders - how else would anything get done? The fading footsteps echoed in Denki’s head as he slowly took in the rest of the room. The first thing he noticed was the floor - the cold stone seeped into his bare feet, like the rest of the maze, but colorful and glittery toys were littered everywhere. Denki was pretty sure he recognized one of the brands - was that from the glitter squad line? - and the general shape of a couple of stuffed toys. A cheap plastic mirror reflected the rainbow that glistened off the dimly lit walls, surrounded by optimistic pictures of green grasslands and unicorns and suns. Stuff you would expect to see in a toddler’s daydream, not painted on the walls of a room in the yakuza’s basement. A small whimper drew his eyes to the large bed and pink sheets in the center of the room that held a small girl. She couldn’t have been older than six, with beautiful long white hair, big red eyes, and a tiny horn on her forehead.
“Oh. Uh, hello? I didn’t see you there earlier.” Denki slowly starts crawling towards the bed, staying low to the ground and maneuvering around the multitude of toys and dolls. Another whimper made him pause, but when he didn’t make any more unwanted advances, she shuffled closer to the edge of the bed and tilted her head.
That’s probably as much of an invitation as I’m going to get. “What’s your name? They call me the Battery, but you can call me Denki. I’ve been housed at one of the other locations, and I’ve never seen your cute little face before.” He smirked softly as he continued to shuffle forward until he reached the edge of the pink bedspread, leaning his elbows on the edge.
“I noticed you haven’t opened any of your pretty new toys. It’s ok, I didn’t have a lot of toys when I was your age either. Do you want to explore them together?” Denki asked, glancing at the small piles of toys surrounding him. All of the toys collected by the bed were soft plushies, teddy bears and pillow pets abound. One caught his eye as he reached down and grabbed a stuffed unicorn. It’s white fur was soft and accentuated by a rainbow horn and hair. He held it out to the small girl and smiled again. His smile grew as she started to inch forward from the headboard.
“It looks like you! Isn’t that awesome?” Denki held out the toy and flinched as the girl threw up her hands in front of her face and threw herself back at the headboard, trembling. He frowned at her reaction and mentally floundered - how was he going to fix this? Good job Denki, you idiot!
“Aw, I’m sorry I scared you. Here, I’ll uh, leave this on the edge and you can grab it for yourself, ok?” The unicorn was placed gently on the edge of the bed as Denki scooted backwards, landing a few paces away and wrapping his thin arms around his knees. The cold stone seemed to slowly seep into his bones as he waited for the child to register that he wasn’t a threat and wasn’t invading her space. His smile grew as she slowly gathered the courage to reach toward the stuffed unicorn and place it in her lap. She ran her little fingers through the soft mane and looked up to give her a small smile.
“See? I loved stuffed animals when I...well, was younger.” Denki frowned - now is not the time, idiot - before shaking himself out of it and crawling back to the edge of the bed. His elbows now reached a scant few inches of her knees sitting criss-cross applesauce. He smiled at the girl again, giggling as she blushed in the dim lighting.
As they sat in the same space, Denki realized that he had just been referring to her as the child or the girl. That wouldn’t do, especially if he was going to be spending a good amount of time in the headquarters. “You never told me your name earlier. What should I call you?”
Denki saw her lips move as she whispered her answer, but her soft voice didn’t reach his ears. He pushed himself up to his knees and leaned as close as he dared.
“What was that, cutie? I couldn’t hear your pretty voice!” He gave one more reassuring smile and made a show of leaning his ear closer to make sure he caught every word.
“You can call me Eri.”
“Eri! That’s a beautiful name, Eri. Well, it sure does look- hey, are you ok?” Denki asked, leaning forward even more to examine what looked like a loose bandage that had gotten caught on the tail of the unicorn and was slowly unraveling around Eri’s right leg. Eri started fidgeting and moved her right leg under her.
“Um…they were going fast so...the bandages are coming loose early.”
“Can I fix those for you? I won’t touch you ‘till you say it’s ok, promise.” Denki looked for her signal, and when she gave a small nod and extended her leg he moved to rebandage the multitude of cuts that littered her tiny leg.
“You’ve got a lot of scars too, huh? Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of! I’ve got lots of them too.” Tucking in the last scrap of fabric to secure the wrap, Denki rolled up the sleeves of his simple black turtleneck to unveil delicate, branching scars that littered across his arms and led back under the shirt. Eri leaned forward and ghosted her small fingers across the lines, following the pattern down to his palms. He gave her a soft smile. “Ya know what they mean, right?”
“It means you’ve survived, Eri. And sometimes that’s the best you can do.” Her eyes watered as she listened to Denki’s truth, the truth that got him to where he was. Tears fell down her cheeks as she tried to hold back a small yawn. He chuckled as he brought his hand to her head, running his fingers through her beautiful hair.
“Try and get some sleep, ok? I’ll keep watch right here.” Eri looked at him, staring deep into his eyes before she yawned again and grabbed his hand, giving a little tug. Denki went easily, following her up onto the bed and letting her settle him against the headboard. He pulled back the covers for her to slip under and gave her another smile as she gave him a look with her big eyes.
“You can put your head on my lap, ok? I’ll make sure to wake you if anyone comes in. Promise!” She blessed him with a small smile as she burrowed her head on his thigh, sighing as his long fingers threaded through her hair, luring her into the most peaceful sleep she had had in a long time.
Denki let out a small sigh as he settled into his watchdog role. His eyes were firmly settled on the locked door on the other side of the room as he settled a new fact of life in his soul - Eri was his, and she deserved the world. Denki would give it to her.
“Good news, young head. The two assets have bonded faster than expected.”
Overhaul smirked. Everything was coming together - Master would be proud of his work. “Excellent. Continue with the plan.”