Chapter 1: Stranger on the Freeway
Rachel’s heart is pounding. Blood is roaring in her ears while she grips the steering wheel with so much force that her arms had long begun to tremble. Despite this, she can’t seem to tear her eyes away from the scene ahead. Sure, people had been talking about the League of Villains for close to two years now, but she never thought they would ever be in front of her like this. The leader- a lanky, blue haired man with what looked to be…actual severed hands covering most of his extremities- turns to head back to their truck farther up the road.
Were they just leaving? No higher plan or mass slaughter of civilians? In any case, she should be calling the police! They needed to alert a hero to come help!
Just as Rachel is reaching for her phone, the wailing begins.
It was an awful sound to hear. The cries of a broken man cut through the air clear as day. It strikes through her own fear, making her reach for the handle of her driver side door. Her eyes lock on the truck far ahead, and only when it begins to leave does she shove the door open. Rachel lurches out of the car, not hesitating for a second now that she could hear the screaming so clearly. Empathy drove her forward, running to the man who lay alone and bleeding onto the freeway.
He doesn’t notice her right away, probably making too much noise to hear her running steps. Rachel nearly recoils in horror when she sees his forearms are completely gone. She drops beside the stranger, hands quickly undoing the leather straps keeping his legs tied down the way he was. Why? What was she THINKING?
The sudden snarl and half lunge from the injured man makes her flinch back, nearly busting her ass on the road. With the straps still tight around his chest, the stranger couldn’t get after her like he tried, but that doesn’t seem to really matter to him. His golden eyes are wild; tear filled, and boring right into her. Like he could physically keep her at bay if he glared hard enough. “Don’t TOUCH me!”
Rachel is breathing heavily with surprise, and the sounds of sirens begin up on the edges of both of their hearing. She moves forward again with webbed hands raised to undo the buckles.
The man throws his head back against the metal of the slab this time, snarling out again. “Keep your disgusting hands off of me!”
She doesn’t listen, and nimble fingers work fast to free his hips and torso. Her soft pink frills are pressed back as flat as they can against the sides of her head in a subconscious attempt to seem smaller, and non-threatening. “please, I just want to help…”
It was the first words she spoke to him, and god does she sound pathetic, even to herself. So quiet and shaking with the uncertainty. She tells herself that without arms, he can’t hurt her. When she finally reaches for the last strap across the stranger’s throat, he jerks back with a harsh frustrated snarl.
‘What a handsome face’, she thinks.
Rachel goes for the restraint anyways, freeing him from the last binds while he glares to the side at nothing in particular.
The dark-haired man is limp with defeat for only a beat before he sits up slow, baring immaculate white teeth at the woman who was still closer than he ever wanted anyone to be in his life. He reaches to viscously scratch his throat where her pink skin had dared to brush, but there’s no feeling of blunt nails scraping away the germs. Right. He had no hands…
The girl begins speaking frantically, and he’s slow to register she’s begging him to stand. To get up and follow her to her car. “I can’t touch you, more or less LIFT you! Come!”
Chisaki Kai stares at her for a few seconds, wondering what cruel trick fate was pulling on him now, and when the rug would be pulled out from under his feet…but her pleading eyes held no malice. This was his only chance.
The stranger moves as the sirens grow louder, getting one leg under him, and then the other; until he’s properly on his feet. Rachel is shocked by how the man towered over her in height. Most people did, but laying on the floor had fooled her into thinking he wasn’t an intimidating man. She rises quickly to help bring him back to her car, but he gives her the dirtiest look when she moves to help. Fine then. He can walk on his own, surely.
Four times he stumbles on the short walk to the car, twice going down on one, or both knees. Each time, Rachel quietly waits for the man to rise again. She opens the back door silently as the sirens grow loud enough to only be moments from showing up. This was his only chance of freedom. Kai half collapses onto the leather seats, feeling lightheaded from blood loss.
Rachel slams the door shut behind him and slides into the driver’s seat. Before the police can come over the horizon in her rearview mirror, she kicks it into gear. It takes a few moments to wind through the burning wreckage, but soon she has nothing but road ahead. As soon as the girl can, Rachel exits the freeway and seamlessly blends in with the rest of the casual traffic on her way home.
Rachel’s home is a lovely place. High walls separate the two story building from the surrounding neighbors, and the entire front portion of her lawn has been transformed into an oasis of flowers of all kinds. She pulls into the sheltered driveway beside the home, pushing a button to close the electronic gate to the property.
When she opens the door to the backseat, the man she had taken from the accident has his body pressed as far back against the opposite side as possible. Like a cornered animal. Maybe he was. She didn’t know the kind of person she unwittingly was bringing into her home for medical attention.
Chisaki holds his ground until the woman steps away to open the door to her home. Only when she puts a sufficient amount of space between them does he scoot over to heave his battered body out of the car. It takes him two tries to get out, and when he does, the black spots in his vision dance larger than before.
The short walk to the house’s side door is agonizingly slow, but nothing can be done about it. When Chisaki reaches the tiny step necessary to pass the threshold, he staggers and feels himself falling forward. It’s only because the woman intervenes that he doesn’t plop face first on the kitchen floor. “Hold on, you’re okay…,” Rachel reassures. Chisaki can’t even bring himself to register her arms are wrapped around him. Hell, he can barely see. “It’s okay, almost there, lets just get you to the guest bedroom. You can do that, right?”
He wants to spit at her, ‘Of course I can! Who do you think I am?’, but he saves his strength for taking a few more critical steps.
They are nearly out of the kitchen when he suddenly becomes much, MUCH heavier to Rachel. She braces herself in front of him when he pitches forward to keep them up. “hey, we’re near-H-HEY!” her voice sharpens to try to snap him out of it when the stranger doesn’t right himself this time, bearing down on her with his full weight. Strain as she might, she can’t stop him from collapsing on the living room floor on top of her.
It takes her a moment to find a way to breathe around the fluffy jacket collar, and even longer to wiggle herself out from under his passed out form, but it gives her time to get herself together somewhat. Going this far for a stranger, hah. Her friends would scold her for making such a rash move like this. Some might even never speak to her again. Rachel rushes back to close all doors and finds the medkit tucked under her bathroom sink.
No matter what the outcome, in her heart she knew he needed someone right now. And he REALLY needed her medical attention.
It is a hard task to turn the man over onto his back, but at lease while he’s unconscious it’s easier to work with him. She quickly ties long strips of rubber that come with the kit on his upper arms, making sure they are tight to stop the blood as much as possible. She disinfects the wounds quickly while her breathing gradually picks up. The smell of blood as beginning to make her stomach churn. Her eyes flick up to his face, noticing he’s pale, and sweating bullets. What if he died in her home? How was she going to move him then? How would she EXPLAIN it if she needed to call someone to help?
Nervously, she presses two fingers to his neck to check for a pulse. As rapid and slow as it was, it’s a good sign. Now came for the part she didn’t enjoy.
Rachel fishes out a small, somewhat familiar scalpel from the med kit and grips it tight. She could do this. Easy. Without this help, he would die. The woman has to take several deep breaths with the blade pressed against her smooth palm. It felt like her airways were tightening up the longer she waited.
Rachel clears her head of thoughts, holding her breath when she brings the knife across her fragile skin in one quick, savage cut before she can chicken out. She cries out, and blood bubbles to the surface quick, collecting in her palm before spilling onto the wooden flooring below. There’s already a large mess to clean anyways, so what does a little more matter? After a couple seconds, the scarlet blood stops; being replaced with a clear oozing slime. That’s what she had been waiting for.
The axolotl girl scrapes her thumb across the cut-as painful as it is- collecting as much as the ooze as possible. Rachel takes what she can get and slathers it over the bloodied stump that was the man’s left forearm. It begins to steam heavily where It touches. Quickly, she collects more from the cut in her flesh before it can close up, using it like a salve.
The horrid wound sizzles softly as the man’s skin heals over in seconds. The area is still fragile, and somewhat raw , but at least It’s no longer a life-threatening injury. Before Rachel can collect enough of her own slime to help his other arm, the slit in her pink skin sizzles shut, leaving her palm completely smooth again.
She anxiously chews her bottom lip , bringing the blade up. One more time should be enough. Just one more.
Rachel spends the next two hours setting as much as she can back to normal. His stumps are wrapped, and clothes stripped for a much-needed wash. Spending close to 20 minutes struggling with his limp form to get him laying face up on the couch had sucked, but it is well worth it to be able to proudly drape a blanket over his resting body in the end.
She cleans up the floor while she waits for his clothes to wash, using bleach to scrub away the blood trail left all the way out to the car. Speaking of the car, it wasn’t as easy to clean the backseats, but thank god the leather repelled most of it.
When the scrubbing is done, she folds clothes and lets herself finally take a moment; leaning against the still warm metal of the dryer. Slowly she slides down into a sitting position. The poor girl brings her knees up to her chest before hugging them to her body. What has she gotten herself into.
Chapter 2: A Proper Meeting
They finally get some words in, and Rachel performs her first tasks as Chisaki's arms.
I've been workin on this throughout the day, but 05am's comment in particular motivated me enough to clean it and post it before I went to bed. Its a slow burn chapter, but next one we're getting that delicious angst and setting main goals in motion so I beg for patience. I needed to set the scene properly or else I feel like I suck.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The first thing that Chisaki notices when his eyes open is that he’s in an unfamiliar place. That, and it's warm. A somewhat thick quilt as been placed over his body, and he’s relieved to find that it smells extra clean; like laundry detergent. He then remembers the events that had lead to being here and sits up quickly, taking in his surroundings. The home around the villain is quite open, with lot of soft pillows decorating the couches and dozens of potted plants at every windowsill. Natural light streams in, bathing the living room in rich, fiery colors of the setting sun. It’s quite nice actually. Better than expected.
Chisaki’s eyes finally settle on the recliner, noticing the woman who had helped him escape had fallen asleep with her legs tucked up to her chest. Vulnerable. He could leave right now, probably. Slip away and…go where? The Yakuza estate had been raided, and there would be nothing left to go back to. Not to mention the fact that people would be hunting for the escaped, and now quirkless “Overhaul”.
He clicks his tongue in irritation, making the move to stand to explore the house without the girl breathing down his neck. Chisaki is surprised to find that he’s actually nearly naked under the quilt. In addition, his stumps have been wrapped cleanly with utmost care. Irritation flares hot in Chisaki’s chest when he realizes she must have touched him all over to do this much. Just when he’s about to open his mouth to wake the stranger up and demand answers, his parched throat spasms with a loud fit of coughing. He’s very thirsty. So much so that his tongue felt dryer than a sheet of paper.
The sound of him coughing jolts Rachel awake instantly; unused to hearing others in her home. When she notices Chisaki, awake and attempting to move about, the relief that washes over her is immense. He had survived the worst. It wouldn’t be necessary to fess up her questionable actions to the police just yet. “you’re awake!” she stands up from her chair, already having a water bottle on hand to give him.
Chisaki forces himself to hiss around the coughing when she steps into his personal bubble. “Don’t-touch me with your- your filthy hands.” He pridefully jerks his head away from her reach, angry that he sounds hoarse and pathetic.
Rachel stands awkwardly, holding the bottle of water in one hand, and the bottle cap in the other as she processes his rude words and behavior. She examines her hands. Maybe she had something on her, but, no. Her skin is clear and clean. “My hands aren’t filthy,“ she protests.
He then realizes that the girl had only intended to give him water, but it’s still a slap to the face. A bitter reminder that he couldn’t perform even that simple task by himself. This simple kindness only serves to feed the self disgust beginning to gnaw on him from the inside out. “They are! You’re filthy, and your disgusting quirk is all over you!”
Rachel’s expression changes to one of hurt, quietly retracting the bottle until its held close to her body. Her voice is softer now, unable to hide that maybe she felt a little put down by his words. “That’s rude.” The odd frills framing the woman’s face swipe back against the sides of her head like a dog pinning its ears back. “ I-I can put some gloves on if you’d like.”
Chisaki opens his mouth to berate her some more when another coughing fit attacks. He doesn’t get to express just how humiliating it was to have a person lay hands on him- especially someone with a full body mutation quirk. How badly he wants and needs that water. It outweighs the disgust of being helped with such a trivial task.
Without another word, Rachel sets the bottle down on the coffee table, leaving the living room to fetch one of the few pairs of gloves she kept under the sink for cleaning. Ordering more would be a good idea if this was going to be a regular thing.
Upon her return, Rachel somewhat proudly presents her freshly gloved hands to him. She waits for a word of approval between the coughs, but gets nothing. Still, she picks up the water and steps forward a second time.
The girl is careful when she finally tips the water bottle against his parched lips, letting him gulp down one eager mouthful after another. His desperation doesn’t surprise her one bit as most people she lended her healing ability to always needed a good drink soon after. Although this time feels more intimate than it really should be. Whether it’s because of the man’s Adams apple bobbing every swallow, or the fact that his entire upper body was exposed, Rachel find’s herself feeling warm in the cheeks and ears.
Half the bottle is gone when she begins to pull away. It must have still been too early, because that harsh, intimidating golden gaze snaps to her in an instant. He’s demanding more without having to say it and Rachel obliges, letting him drink the whole bottle. Chisaki sucks in a few heavy breaths once there’s nothing left.
“Better..?” The woman gives him a gentle smile, setting the empty plastic on the coffee table.
Chisaki doesn’t acknowledge her question, moving on to the next priority; his missing property. “Where are my clothes?”
Rachel is happy to hear how much smoother his voice is now that the man had something to drink. Even happier that she was the one who helped. “I had them washed, wait here.“
The man follows her with his eyes until she’s out of line of sight entirely. He wonders if the woman was behaving this way purely out of purely empathetic reasons or if she was just plain stupid. She must know he was a villain; and if she didn’t, a simple skim of the nearest news outlet would alert her. Who knew, maybe she was already aware and was too afraid to ask him to leave. He straightens a bit when the humorous thought hits him. Maybe she was a villain, who knew?
He doesn’t get to dwell on this train of thought for very long before she returns, presenting him with freshly washed clothes…only, his jeans don’t seem to be in the stack. The black dress pants had instead been substituted with grey sweats of all things.
“Where are my pants?” His upper lip partially curls with disgust at the offending piece of clothing.
“I washed them as well, but these will be a lot easier to get in and out of. No buttons or zippers. Sorry, they’re going to be short on you, but I’ve got nothing in your size. “ Rachel sheepishly sets down the stack of clothes and begins to gather the t-shirt in her hands like a mother preparing to pull it over a toddler. Before he can protest, she’s shoving the shirt over his head.
It wasn’t the most graceful of movements, but it’s a quick and effective to get his now struggling form dressed. Chisaki only gets to protest in the fabric a few moments before his head pops out the neck hole, giving Rachel a look that is only a step below murderous. She returns the look with a sweet, genuine smile. It was too bad he liked wearing clothes more than he hated the shame of being dressed like a child. The loathing pit in his chest grows wider, and more painful.
“Arms up, please” Rachel holds the bottom of the shirt in place around his hips, allowing him to put his own stumps through the sleeves. It a little thing, but something he can do himself. For that, he finds himself the tiniest bit grateful.
Chisaki watches her gather the pant legs of the sweats in her webbed hands, taking this moment to properly examine the person who helped him. He assumed she must have a salamander quirk or something, but he’d never seen an animal with these features. Her unnaturally smooth skin is a pale pink with a unique speckling of dark spots in areas like her cheeks and shoulders. The strange frills that frame the woman’s face are unlike anything he’s ever seen; darker in color, and as fluffy as feather dusters. They move of their own accord, adding to her expression of emotion. She also had a tail, but he couldn’t imagine it useful for anything other than maybe swimming. It’s flat, and wide, but so thin he could see partially through it. Rachel has him stand so she can pull the pants up and tie them at the waist. His next question startles her with it’s…oddly predatory tone.
“What’s your quirk?”
The girl looks up, set on edge when she realizes just how intently Chisaki is staring. His golden eyes aren’t holding emotion, and after a moment he asks again. His voice is composed and smooth, but something about this reminds Rachel of meeting a wolf in sheep's clothing. She takes a subtle step back, finally coming up with a response. “Tell me your name and I’ll tell you my quirk.”
An interesting proposition. The ex Yakuza intends to give her the title ‘Overhaul’… but hesitates. He holds a long look with the girl while debating internally. Was he even worthy of that name now? Without a quirk? without his forces?
It’s a long moment before he does concede. “Chisaki.”
“Is that you’re last name?”
A last name…well that was better than just calling him a ‘stranger’ from here on out. Rachel pulls off the rubber gloves, dropping them in a bin right beside the couch. “I have a mutation quirk that lets me do everything an axolotl can. “ The man gives her a look that encourages her continue, and she obliges. “it’s a kind of aquatic amphibian native to south America. They’re nearly completely extinct in the wild because of pollution, but a lot of people like to keep them as pets.” She leaves off any more specific details.
Rachel watches him dwell on this new information for a moment before she asks her next question. “Do you want to know my name?” Chisaki almost tells her no, that he merely expressed interest in her quirk to humor himself, but she continues anyways. “It’s Rachel. “
A boring name really, Chisaki thinks. Especially with an arguably ‘flashy’ quirk like that. The question of why she had decided to help him rises again in the forefront of the villain’s mind. He wonders if this is the best moment to bring up something like that, but now was as good as any.
“Why help me?“ His voice grows cold, and sharp, expecting maybe a twist answer like she intended to collect reward money or something for his return into custody…but if that was true, she wouldn’t be treating him so humanely. She also could’ve done it by now. Chisaki doubted she knew the kind of person she was dealing with, but still, it wasn’t that hard of a puzzle to piece together….so why was he still here, receiving her aid? What intentions did she have? “Why would you go out of your way…?”
Rachel’s frills twitch up and down nervously as she searches for an answer. When she speaks, Chisaki Kai finds himself just as confused as the moment he woke up.
“Because you looked like you needed help.”
Yay, these little bitches actually spoke to one another. Chisaki is perplexed. give me validation or give me death (A.K.A., comments are food on my table. ) Excuse me while I plan my next slice of life moves and put those cracks in the dam that is Overhaul's self worth muhahaha
also, he WILL be getting his arms back in this story so dont worry. We like happy endings here, but only after P A I N.