esp_dragon: (M-21)
[personal profile] esp_dragon
Fandom: Noblesse
Summary: M-21's skin itched.
Rating: G
Genre: General
Word count: 1,675
Total word count: 24,195
Status: Work in progress

M-21's skin itched. It had been something he'd gotten used to after a transformation, something that always happened before everything settled again. He'd assumed it was his skin getting reacting to...whatever happened while he transformed. It only lasted ten minutes after a transformation, thirty minutes if it was after a bad fight and it was all he could do to focus on the pinpricks travelling up his arms, jabbing into every pore, attacking every nerve.

Except this time.

There hadn't been anything new about the recent fight, apart from how they'd extended the crater's edge even more and soon that thing was going to reach the outskirts until the city was a massive U shape rather than a circle.

He hadn't felt too different from what he normally did after a fight, with the usual bone deep aches and the burning sensation as his regeneration kicked in so the rest of him didn't shut down.

The aches faded, the heat abided, but the itching didn't.

He could ignore it most of the time, even when his clothes swept over his skin, but this time his clothes ignited the itchy feeling, like they'd taken a layer of his skin off with each movement.


M-21 heard but he was too busy glaring at his arms, the angry red streaks down them. He'd scratched at them but that hadn't been enough. In fact, scratching had made it worse and maybe if he just-

M-21 hissed when cool hands slid around his own, stopping him from scratching again. "Let-" He glared at Takeo, but Takeo didn't let go as Tao peered at M-21's arms.

"You've broken skin, M," Tao said, his voice soft.

"And you've got your claws out," Takeo added, and M-21's nostrils flared, identifying the scent of blood in the air. It wasn't just his own (and how hadn't he noticed before?) but Takeo's as well.

M-21 glanced down and his claws were digging into Takeo's skin. He jerked back, his hands slipping free of Takeo's. "Shit," he said, seeing blood glistening along the edge of his claws, his fingers covered in silver fur. "Sorry."

Takeo just smiled, shaking his head. By the time Takeo had swiped the blood off his own hand, the punctures had already healed.

Gritting his teeth, M-21 forced his transformation back. It was harder than usual. He wanted to use his claws, and intent was all he needed for his transformation to come through sometimes, depending on how strongly he felt, and what he wanted right now was to rip his skin off his flesh.

Bit by bit, breath by breath, his transformation faded until only his skin was there. M-21 growled, staring at his hands. The itchy feeling had gotten worse. Right around where his transformation had been.

"Frankenstein?" he heard Tao say.

"Yeah," M-21 said, more a growl than a word, lowering his hands to keep them out of sight. He wasn't sure what Frankenstein could do, but anything had to be better than this.

* * *

They went through the usual questions, the usual scans. The scan was fine, but moving on the scanner grated on M-21's nerves and he clutched the edge of it to stop himself from scratching after he'd sat back up again, the metal strong enough to not buckle under his strength.

Takeo held out his shirt but M-21 shook his head. If he put it on now, he would start scratching again.

"Your power has increased," Frankenstein murmured, peering at the data scrolling past on the monitor.

M-21 hissed, pursing his lips. He wanted to get stronger, strong enough so he wouldn't need to be rescued all the time, but if that meant he ended up like this...

Frankenstein hummed, taking notes on his clipboard. After he'd filled half a page, he nodded. "I think I have a temporary solution I can make for you while I create something more long lasting. It shouldn't take me longer than an hour to create. Will you be all right during that time?"

"If M-21 isn't, we can tie his hands up so he won't scratch!" Tao said and M-21 huffed.

"I...should be fine," M-21 said, standing up. He could last an hour now that he was aware how bad it was. Should. So long as there was something distracting him from his skin, and with Takeo and Tao around, that was easy.

Tao nodded, checking his phone. "Raizel-nim and the others won't be back for another two hours."

"Very well," Frankenstein said. "You can walk around without your shirt."

M-21 glanced at his shirt. "I could stay in my room," he said, shrugging, his skin tingling. It didn't matter that much to him.

"But there's a TV in the living room!" Tao said, his eyes wide.

"And we can make something to eat," Takeo said.

M-21 huffed, a smile curling his lips. "Fine." That would keep him occupied.

* * *

No-one else came home while the three of them were in the living room, though they kept an ear turned towards the front door in case the others arrived home early.

They'd made snacks to eat, but that had only distracted M-21 for a while. The intensity of the itchiness increased until Takeo and Tao had a hand each to make sure he didn't reach for his arms again. There was a growl constantly rumbling in M-21's chest and he flexed his hands over and over, ignoring the show they'd started watching as he concentrated on not transforming again.

It was a relief when Tao's phone buzzed, Frankenstein telling them he'd finished whatever it was ahead of time.

M-21 didn't run down, but it was a faster walk than it would have been normally.

* * *

Frankenstein held out a tub wider and taller than his palm for M-21 to take. "This cream is to be applied once daily on the affected areas-" Frankenstein said as M-21 opened it. The cream was off white but it didn't have smell that tried to cram itself up his nose. "-and three times every half moon."

M-21 snorted, closing the lid again. "Of course it's tied to the moon phases."

Frankenstein gave him a wry smile. "Unfortunately, yes. I'm sure you've noticed the effect they have on you."

M-21 grimaced. He was more energetic in the half moon before the full moon and then lethargic in the following half moon. And with full moons...

He didn't want to know what his skin would feel like when he transformed fully.

"Got it," M-21 said. "Thanks."

"I'm less certain how long it'll take me to create something more permanent," Frankenstein said, "but tell me how this feels."

"Of course."

Together, M-21, Tao, and Takeo left the lab.

* * *

M-21 blinked at Takeo and Tao when they didn't split off to go to their rooms once they reached the top of the stairs.

"You're going to need help putting the cream on, you know?" Tao said, waving a hand towards M-21's back. "Unless you're really flexible."

M-21 could have raised an eyebrow and asked if both of them were needed to do that, but he let them into his room, unscrewing the tub's lid as he walked in.

He tossed the lid onto his bedside table and used a finger to scoop out a dollop before he started spreading it across his skin.

He let out a shuddering breath, the cream like ice against his skin, soothing and calming the itchiness.

He held the tub out when he saw Takeo and Tao reaching for it, turning his back to them.

"Should we spread it thick?" Takeo asked as M-21 felt someone spread the cream over his shoulder blades.

"There isn't that much," M-21 said, eyeing the tub just before Tao took it from him with a cable, keeping it in the air within easy reach for all of them.

"An' this is Boss we're talking about," Tao said. "This is probably some super concentrated stuff and we only need a millimetre of coverage."

"So long as it doesn't melt my skin off," M-21 said, covering his left arm, seeing his tattoo disappear under the cream.

"If there was a chance that," Takeo said, humour in his voice, "Frankenstein would have said."


Hah. Takeo and Tao had told him about when Frankenstein had given them T2.

M-21 exhaled, the tenseness in his shoulders eased as more of the cream covered his skin.

It didn't take them long to cover the areas where he transformed and there was still a lot of the cream left.

"How does it feel?" Takeo asked, handing Tao the lid to screw back onto the tub.

"Better," M-21 said, dropping down onto his bed. "I don't want to tear my skin off anymore."

"Good." Tao tapped a couple times on his phone and then slipped it into his pocket. He rocked back and forth on his heels. "Sooo..."

M-21 shook his head, starting to smile, already guessing what Tao was going to say. "You want to stay in case I start scratching in my sleep?"

Takeo and Tao nodded.

"Are either of you going to sleep?" M-21 said, glancing between them.

"We'll take turns," Takeo said.

"Which is why both of us are needed!"

M-21 huffed, not bothering to hide his smile. Not when the others knew him well enough to know how he'd react so there was no point hiding.

They'd stayed in each other's rooms often enough that it only took them a minute to set everything up, Tao leaving to grab his and Takeo's nightwear.

M-21 gently touched the blanket, nodding when he didn't leave a smear across it. He lay down on his front anyway, where there was the least amount of cream on him, just in case. It wasn't a position he normally slept in, since that made it harder for him to act if he was attacked, but as Takeo and Tao settled down on either side of him, he relaxed.

He would be all right.


Written for deep water writing prompts' 'The cream was to be applied once daily, and three times every second half moon.'
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