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Bystander Effect

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Toga rests her hand on Bakugou’s head, stroking his hair, her fingers entwining and curling the ends, teasing them. She smiles when he leans into her hand. “You’re a wonderful boy, you know,” she hums, but Dabi would say she was teasing horribly though her voice didn’t tell it.

Dabi watches from across the room, leaning against the wall, through the smoke he exhaled. Poor fucking kid, he would say but instead took another drag, what a really poor fucking kid. His sympathy for Bakugou didn’t extend as far as to help him. Instead, he watches as Toga pulls the fifteen year old over her lap, holding his head against her chest, and lets her fingers spread through his hair, down his shoulders and back, and sees how much he relaxes to her touch but not daring to return the favor, keeping his hands on his lap limply. She nuzzles her cheek against the crown of his head, spreading her twisted affection.

Dabi wants to shudder.

He takes another drag, slowly this time to take his mind off the scene in front of him. He pushes himself off the wall once he exhales and burns out his cigarette in the ashtray on the tabletop that Toga and her pet sat on the other side of. Toga looks at him through her half-lidded eyes and lazy smile, almost like she was daring him to say anything. Dabi scoffs, not taking the bait, and Toga shrugs, going back to gently petting Bakugou’s ash blonde hair. Really, though, what a poor fucking kid.

 

 

 



“Isn’t he a cutie?” Toga asks him one day, suddenly appearing out of nowhere to sit next to him. This time Dabi didn’t have a cigarette to keep his mind occupied.

She sat with one of her legs pulled up to her chin, the other dangling over the edge of the couch,not quite touching the floor. Her arms wrap around the bent leg. “He looks even cuter when I love him.”

In this case, ‘love’ stood for when Toga got clumsy with knives and small nicks would appear on Bakugou. Or when she wasn’t clumsy.

“Why are you telling me this?”

She shrugs, looking up at him with an almost silly smile, ‘Because you would like it too’ was something Dabi thought she’d say. Her eyes, calm, seem to piece right into him with those accusing unsaid words. Instead, she said, “You should lose your hero attitude, Dabi. It doesn’t suit you very well.”

With that, she jumped onto her feet and left, leaving Dabi staring at her back.

What an ugly girl.

 

 

 

 

Both Shigaraki and Kurogiri love him. They’re nothing like Toga’s interpersonal, handsy displays but Dabi is still just as uncomfortable witnessing them. Not because the creep Shigaraki would treat the boy like a pet but because Shigaraki himself was much calmer, happier even. When the other members notice, they were much happier interacting with their leader when Bakugou was present.

Dabi leans over the counter, downing the shot Kurogiri poured out for him only moments ago. It was a quick affair, right after he gave Dabi his drink, Kurogiri was already speeding off to pour another cup of milk for Bakugou who sat two seats down from him. He wasn’t allowed alcohol after all, and Kurogiri lately had been making small talk over what are the best brands of juices to buy.

It’s a sour feeling.

“We weren’t able to… uh, recruit her, she, uh-”

Uh? What?” Shigaraki nearly hisses and Dabi could see the telltale sign of twitchy fingers and a hot temper. He pours himself another shot but instead slowly sips it, watching the sure to be interesting display in front of him. Dabi wonders if the poor guy will get off with only a maiming and feels a bit disappointed by that outcome. “Well? Spit it out already.”

“Um, you see , it’s-... what happened was-”

He’s cut off by Bakugou’s yawn and the tense atmosphere clears instantly. Dabi’s shoulders sag. Not a bit disappointing, incredibly disappointing.

Shigaraki’s mood changes drastically, quickly sending off the henchman with a wave of his hand and turns away. The man couldn’t have left quicker.

His voice even takes a turn, instead of the deep gravelly scornful speak, it’s lighter and easier, looking at the tired eye boy with whatever his version of softer is. “It’s getting late.” Shigaraki then looks at Dabi, twisting his mouth into a frown. “And you should leave.”

Dabi shrugs and downs the rest of his shot then saying as he hops off the barstool, “Didn’t want to see this gag worthy display anyways.” He drops a couple hundred yen on the counter and leaves.

He can hear Shigaraki scoff and also the gross murmurings to his precious little pet. Dabi really does want to gag.

 

 

 

 

It’s Toga again.

“Come on, Dabi,” she teases, leaning in close with Bakugou in tow. “He’s so cute!”

Dabi pushes her away. “Not interested.”

She laughs and smacks his hand off her forehead and now leads Bakugou closer instead while she leans back. “You’d really like him, Dabi, he’s such a sweetie, so stop being such a killjoy and try him .” Although she talks with her usual cheerful manner, Dabi doesn’t miss the thinly-veiled threat in her words. Even she’s getting testy with him. Good .

Dabi moves Bakugou away, a lot gentler than his treatment to Toga earlier. “You’re really fucking disgusting, you know that?”

“I get that a lot.” Toga threads her fingers in Bakugou’s hair and urges him forward. This time, Dabi doesn’t stop him and shifts uncomfortably as Bakugou’s weight sits over his lap. Toga gives a small hum in appreciation. “Was that so hard?”

“Incredibly,” Dabi responds irritably. He tries not to look at Bakugou.

Toga tsk’s lightly and moves to stand behind Dabi, leaning down and taking his wrists. “Let’s fix this picture,” she says simply and places his hands on Bakugou’s hips. She presses down hard on them as if to say ‘ and keep them there ’, then leads Bakugou’s lax hands to place them down on Dabi’s chest. She makes minor adjustments, like turning Bakugou’s head, arranging his hair, and even widening Dabi’s fingers (it’s a weird sensation, muscle under such soft clothing). Her hands linger along Dabi’s arm and he could feel her smile radiating as she admires from the back. She leans in by his ear, Dabi tries not to flinch away. “Isn’t he cute? I think he wants you to kiss him.”

Dabi grimaces and tries to pull away but he could feel Toga push back at him as she rests her head over his shoulder and loosely wraps her arms along his chest.

“Don’t be shy.”

It’s hilarious to think of now how the once ferocious boy was now pliant on his lap, almost like some sort of doll, and how the organization stripped nearly everything to create a dolce and compliant thing . Dabi would shudder, he would be disgusted, but he didn’t do anything to really stop Shigaraki’s and Toga’s project. Dabi also knows that if Toga gave the word, there would be no hesitance of Bakugou just igniting dozens of explosions right into Dabi’s chest.

So he plays along, through the apprehension. Toga giggles and kisses his cheek, “That wasn’t too hard, was it?”

Dabi’s just as guilty, really.