This had to be a nightmare. Some kind of fucked up trip. A sick joke. Maybe he finally lost his mind. Yeah, maybe that's it. He'd rather it be that, rather it be literally anything, anything , but what it appeared to be.
Recruiting is always interesting because Dabi never knew what kind of quirks he'd come across. The universe has so many different types of powers, some mundane and useless, others more practical. Some were dangerous, others were harmless. He didn't know which category this particular quirk he'd been hit with fell into, but goddamn it wasn't a quirk he ever wanted to run across again.
The guy had no actual use like usual, just trash wandering around and taking up space, wasting air. They never like when he tells them that, but Dabi's never gave much of a shit what people were offended by. Wasn't the first time he was attacked with a quirk in retaliation while recruiting, wouldn't be the last (and honestly he should just start burning all them alive the moment things went bad, what'd he have to lose? That worked the last few times perfectly.), It wasn't even close to being the most painful - in fact, the quirk didn't hurt at all. But it was arguably the worst.
He caught sight of himself in the window's reflection as he gets to the hideout, a face he doesn't recognize but not in the usual way. A face he hasn't seen in years.
Yeah… it was definitely the worst.
Twice was sitting in the makeshift living room when Dabi walked in and slammed the door behind him. The masked villain looked at him long and hard for a few minutes, the surprise apparent even through his mask. "Guys… the fuck you doin' in here, kid!? Guys! A kid just wandered in here!"
Dabi glares at the man on the sofa, who's still staring at him.
"Get outta here! Guys, what do I do?! Get in here!"
"Shut the hell up." He snaps at the other man, "stop fuckin' yellin'!"
"Who the fuck taught you to talk like that , pipsqueak ! I'll knock your ass out, don't fucking curse for fucks sake, you little shit! Guys! The little kid is cursing at me!" Twice calls again, then leaned forward and squinted, "yo, that's Dabi's clothes. How'd you get Dabi's street clothes?"
"Fuckin' moron, I am Dabi!" He yells back, "I got hit with a quirk."
Twice stands up then, walking over and Dabi stumbles backwards on instinct at the hulking figure towering over him. Jin was always much bigger than him, but when he's in the body of his twelve year old self the doubling villain is just so much bigger.
"Holy shit! It is you! Whoa, you're fuckin tiny. Your hair's pink, man! And you don't have your patchwork."
"Of course I don't have my scars, what, you think I just came out like that?"
Compress and Toga enter the room finally, drawn in by the commotion. The magican tilts his head in confusion, "oh my, a child really did wander in here. Well, this isn't good."
"Let's keep him! Yay, I get to have a little brother again!" Toga squeaks, voice shrill with excitement, "no, wait, nevermind. let's kill him!"
"Himiko, we aren't kidnapping or killing a child." Compress sighs deeply, stepping forward and bending forward to appear less threatening. He uses that tone of voice people use with little kids, and Dabi's half tempted to punch the mask off his face, "hi there, no need to be afraid. Where are your parents, son?"
Compress jerked back in surprise, straightening his back, "now that isn't very polite."
Twice interrupts them, nearly shaking with excitement. "Dude, dude, dude! He's Dabi!"
"Jin, that's obviously not Dabi. That's some little kid that wandered in here." Himiko rolls her eyes.
"It is Dabi! He's just small. Well, y'know, Dabi's always been small but now he's like, smaller than usual?" Jin demonstrates with his hand lowering in height, "tiny."
"The fuck? I'm not small." He realizes how dumb that sounds considering he's probably standing at four feet tall currently. Even fucking Toga is taller than him.
"Oh… oh my, you are Dabi!" Compress exclaims, looking a bit closer, "I can tell by the look of hatred and bitterness in your eyes!"
"Oh, shut up before I set you on fire. I'm in a bad mood."
"Yep, that's Dabi alright! How'd you get so tiny?" Toga asks, her hand reaching to poke him but he quickly steps out of the way.
"Some asshole with a quirk." Dabi grumbles, "and stop calling me tiny."
"But you are tiny!" Twice ruffles his hair, chuckling when Dabi shoves his hand away.
"Himiko, Jin, stop teasing him." Compress says with a sigh, much like a tired Father scolding children. Dabi doesn't like that he made that connection, but he did. "A quirk, you say? Well hopefully it's temporary. Do you know any details?"
"Not really." Dabi groans, strolling over to sit on the sofa with his face in his hands, frustration building up. He runs his hands through his hair, noticeably softer without the years of heat damage and hair dye. "All the guy told me was that it was a deaging quirk that would wear off in seventy-two hours and couldn't be reversed. Apparently takes the person back ten years, so I'm stuck as a twelve year old for three fucking days. Then I burned him alive."
"You don't look twelve." Himiko mutters.
Dabi looks up with a forced, sarcastic grin, "yeah, childhood malnutrition is a bitch, thanks."
"Seven-two hours? You'll be stuck like this for three days?" Compress asks, tapping his fingers on his mask to think, "well… this isn't good. We'll all need to lay low, especially you. Heroes might spot us and think we've kidnapped a child, you know, again." He looks Dabi over, "are you alright? Are you hurt or injured anywhere?"
"I'm fine." Dabi says through his teeth, "other than bein', y'know, fuckin' twelve. "
The sensory overload is getting a bit much, he isn't used to feeling his entire body like this. Feeling fabric against his skin, the air on all of his face. Nearly seventy percent of his body as an adult had dead nerve endings, and the overstimulation on his senses is beginning to make him shake.
"Well, your clothes are much too big for you. Perhaps we can find something that'll fit without falling off of you. Himiko, do you think you have anything around his size? He's smaller than you, but it's better than wearing his adult clothes." Compress notes.
Dabi shivers at the bad memories even suggesting it bring back, "I'm not wearing girls' clothes."
"Well, you can't exactly wear what you're wearing, Dabi. It won't be anything too feminine." Compress promises, just for Himiko to cut him off.
"I'm gonna put you in a skirt and put your hair in cute little pigtails!" She squeals, vibrating with excitement.
"I'll fucking murder you." Dabi hisses. "I'm not a fuckin' doll you can play dress up with, you nutcase!"
"She's joking. Himiko, just go find him something that'll fit him that's simple. Can you do that?" Compress asks, shaking his head as he watches the girl dash off to her room. He turns back to Dabi then, "and you're positive you're alright."
"Yeah, I'm goddamn peachy."
"I meant physically, you're sure you aren't hurt?" He clarifies.
Dabi's shoulders tense, looking away, "yeah… I'm fine."
"Alright well… you are awfully thin. Why don't you go eat something while Himiko finds you some clothes?"
Dabi cocks his head, "I'm not a little kid."
"No, no, of course not! I just noticed you haven't eaten in a few days, and, well… you should get something to eat."
"Tryin' to parent me?"
"Of course not!" Compress says, then calls after him as he goes into the kitchen, "make sure it's healthy! With vegetables!"
Dabi stood on the tips of his toes trying to reach the kitchen cabinets, brows frowned in frustration when he was still just fingertips away from the box of food. He tries to jump to reach for it, but falls short. Grumbling curses under his breath, he tries to climb up the bottom cabinets, so close but yet so far. Just a bit more, maybe if he climbed on top of the counter then- shit. His foot slips on his too-long pants leg.
Scaled hands grab his arms before he falls and set him down carefully, then let go to reach up and grab the box he was reaching for and hold it out.
"Hey!" Dabi snaps at Spinner, snatching it rudely from his hands.
"What? Would you rather I let you fall on your ass?" Spinner asks with a bit of a smirk, leaning against the counter as he watches Dabi tear open the microwave meal, peeling open the edge of the package before he shoves it into the microwave and slams the door to punch in the numbers.
"Didn't know you dyed your hair. I thought it was naturally black." Spinner comments casually, cracking open a can of soda.
"No, it's pink. That's why I dye it." Dabi mutters, glancing over at the other man with a smirk, "who'd take a villain with pink hair seriously? He'd be a laughing stock."
Spinner chuckled, running his hand through his own pink hair, "rude little fucker. If you weren't a little kid right now, I'd kick your ass for that."
"Fuck them kids, kick his ass anyway." Shigaraki chuckled, digging through the fridge for an energy drink, "seriously, Shu? I swear you drank that whole case by yourself."
Spinner takes a quick gulp or two before handing the can over to Shigaraki, "sorry, babe."
"You two are fuckin weird." Dabi rolls his eyes, going back to looking at his meal cooking. It was gonna be interesting, to eat without having his staples in his mouth pull when he tried to chew.
He lays the change of clothes in a pile on his bed, quickly digging through his dresser for bandages before he takes off his now oversized jacket, hissing in pain when the fabric rubs up against the burns on his arms.
Dabi scowls at the assortment of various bruises, welts, and burns on his arms, knowing there's more on his back and stomach, but he has to start small, he'll figure out how to handle the harder to reach places once he gets his arms bandaged.
He changes his pants first, then sets the first aid kit on the nightstand, gingerly cleaning the tender skin around the burns. It hurts. He forgot about how much it hurt back then, forgot about all the pain and tears before his patchwork. He's almost mad at himself for ending up like this, both currently and in the past. Angrily, he scrubs the wounds clean on his right arm, applies ointment, and wraps the limb from his wrist up to his upper arm in gauze.
He jerks when the door opens, revealing Twice standing in the doorway. He was about to say something, but the words die on his lips.
"Hey, ever heard of knockin'!?" Dabi shouts at him, and the other man quickly closes the door, pulling up his mask so it just covers his forehead. His eyes are wide as he stares at the wounds, hands hovering in the air but not touching.
"Dabi, you… you said you weren't hurt?"
He shakes his head, a bitter laugh tearing his throat as he goes back to cleaning his other arm, "yeah, well, I lied."
The blond frowns, and Dabi can't understand why he's looking at him like that. Just staring with this sad puppy dog look on his face.
"Take a damn picture already or get the fuck out." He glances over, narrowing his eyes. But Twice ignores him, sitting down on the bed beside him.
"Can I help?" The older villain asks in a soft voice.
"No, you can't fuckin'-" Dabi stops himself, remembering he can't do his back himself. Natsuo used to always do that for him. He'll struggle with his left arm too, being left handed. He swallows, his pride wounded at the thought of letting anyone, let alone one of these freakshows, help him… but... "Yeah…" he sighs, closing his eyes, "just don't tell the others about this. I don't want nobody asking questions."
Twice frowns as he takes the unbandaged limb, looking it over. Dabi's hand is so small in Twice's big one, he could probably break his arm with a simple twist of his wrist. Dabi shakes himself of that thought, resisting the urge to yank away from the man's grip as he takes the first aid kit and gets to work.
"This is really.. nasty looking… what happened?"
"Jus' said I don't want nobody asking questions." Dabi reminds him.
"You should tell me anyway. Yeah, right, sorry… not my business." He sighs, carefully cleaning the burns with more consideration than Dabi uses for himself, surprisingly gentle despite how Twice is. "Is this from the guy that de-aged you… or before? Like, when you were a kid?"
"Yer asking questions…" Dabi grumbles, wincing when he cleans out a particularly sensitive burn on the inside of his wrist.
"Right, sorry. Somebody do this to you? Gimme names so I can kill them. Hey, stop, he doesn't wanna talk about it. Too bad. Respect his boundaries." The man argues with himself so Dabi tunes him out, focusing on not reacting to the pain as the rest of his injuries are cleaned out and wrapped up in white gauze from wrist to shoulder.
Twice looks at him when he's down, and Dabi hates the pity in his eyes, how he almost doesn't seem to want to ask, "is that… is that all?"
Dabi sighs, shutting his eyes before taking off his shirt and turning around to show him his back. He hears a soft 'holy shit' then a rough 'what the hell?' then the cold washcloth starts wiping at the welts on his back. Unconsciously, Dabi flinches away from the pain, biting his lip to muffle the whimper as best he can. He can tell Twice wants to ask about the injuries, wants to know who did this to him, but bites his tongue. Dabi convinces himself he doesn't like these fuckers but… but he can't deny how much the most talkative one out of all of them respecting his wishes and keeping quiet affects him.
It takes a few minutes, but finally Twice presses in the last of the medical tape and his hands withdraw, letting Dabi sigh in relief at not having to be touched anymore.
"All done." Jin whispers, uncharacteristically quiet as Dabi grabs the smaller shirt Toga loaned him and puts it on. It's still too big, but loose fabric feels better on the bandages. "Hey… you don't ever got to, but if you wanna talk or anything… you know where to find me."
"Yeah, uh…" another blow to his ego, "thanks… you got a cigarette?"
Twice chuckles and ruffles his hair despite the glare he gets in return, "sorry, don't feel comfortable giving cigs to a twelve year old, lil buddy."
Dabi rolls his eyes, "I swear, Twice-"
"I'm just kiddin', just kiddin'! Just don't tell Mr. Magic Dad."
Okay… maybe this wasn't so bad afterall...