Dazai looks at the package delivered to him. It’s a fresh bouquet of camellias, plus some premium-grade scotch. There’s even some imported chocolates there!
Naturally, Dazai treats it as one would treat a bomb. Keeps it untouched and undisturbed in the middle of his desk—oh, it would be lovely if it would explode and take out all of the boring paperwork piled there—while he observes from a ‘safe’ distance so that he can be blissfully taken out in the resulting explosion.
Atsushi blinks rapidly at the chocolates, wide eyes looking very, very interested. "Dazai-san, congratulations!"
"This doesn't merit congratulations, Atsushi-kun." Dazai gestures to the pile of gifts on his table, as though he needs to drag further attention to it, when the entire agency has been staring at it since it was delivered fifteen minutes ago. There had been some whispers about some poor soul who actually thought it was a good idea to romance Dazai Osamu, but more than that, there had been a lot of sighs about wanting to get a similar package. Yosano even made a quip about stealing ‘Dazai’s man’ so she could get her hands on the very tempting bottle of scotch. "This is a sign that the Yokohama's Postal Service is undergoing a terrible time.”
Atsushi’s gaze is caught by the chocolates, but he does try to look at his mentor. "...It is?"
"It is," Dazai confirms. He points to the card, addressed to 'love', signed ‘Chuuya’. "They’ve apparently sunk down enough to incorrectly deliver things!"
"Of course, there's a possibility that the hatrack actually meant for this to be delivered to me!" Dazai says, loudly and a tinge hysterically, ignoring Ranpo’s quip from the back that sounds too much like 'wow, you think?', followed by Poe immediately falling all over himself and Ranpo’s lap to hush the genius detective. "Having this delivered to me so that I’ll think that it's the delivery guy's fault! But that chibi's too simple-minded to think of throwing me off my game like this!"
Atsushi blinks again. Hard. "......Really?"
"So, Atsushi-kun! Come with me! We’ll have to break into the post office's records!"
There really isn’t any other proper reaction aside from, "Um, why?"
"So I, I mean we, can find out who's the actual recipient of this! I’ve been keeping an eye on Chuuya’s lovelife and I am ashamed to say that I have no idea that the chibi is courting someone! I wouldn’t be a productive member of the Agency if my surveillance and detective skills have fallen so low! You must help me rectify this situation!"
Kunikida rubs at his forehead as he disappears to the pantry, wanting to be far away from this as much as possible. But as he goes, he distinctly mutters, “You don’t care about productivity and stalking a Port Mafia member, much less an Executive, isn’t really ideal…”
Back beside Dazai’s desk and still fervently hoping he can get one little taste of the heavenly-smelling chocolates, Atsushi tries to engage Dazai in the insanity. "Why do you need to keep an eye on—"
"Because! We might need it for further negotiations with the Port Mafia! If that hat-for-brains becomes Boss, we can kidnap his love interest for some coffee and he'd definitely come barging in here!" Dazai’s eyes look very bright as he imagines it—and Atsushi’s very unsure if he’s imagining the kidnapping or the fact that Chuuya will kick open the Agency door or probably have a grand entrance by smashing over the third-floor windows.
Atsushi just hopes that if ever it happens, that he won’t be the one relegated to clean-up duty because glass shards are a literal pain to clean. Atsushi would know—the last time Chuuya’s paid a visit to one of the Agency’s satellite offices, it was through a suitably dramatic entrance accompanied by a lot of broken windows, which is just a little bit sad, considering that it’s a ground-floor office and the door’s quite wide, certainly can’t be missed.
Despite his misgivings, Atsushi is a good person who believes in his mentor. So he just says, "That’s definitely not what we want to happen," while his fingers inch ever-so-closer to the chocolates.
"And I need to have a good, long talk with them as to how they could ever think that it'd be a good idea to be the object of that chibikko's affections." Dazai’s eyes are looking a bit glazed and everyone in the office collectively thinks and shudders about (a) poisoned mushrooms and (b) urgh, stupid emotionally constipated men.
Oh no. Atsushi clears his throat and hopes Kunikida-san will hear him from the pantry. "Kunikida-san, please assign me to a different mentor. I don't believe that I’d be a good detective if I’m working under someone like Dazai-san."
On an ordinary day, Dazai would have dramatically complained and bemoaned the fact that his subordinate is treating him like this, but today, Dazai’s too distracted in making a hitlist - or rather, the list of possible suspects for being Chuuya’s beloved.
Atsushi just bemoans the fact that his senpai in detective work apparently needs to ~detect~ his way out of this ridiculous scenario.
An hour later and Atsushi finds himself tailing after Dazai, half in hopes of preventing his mentor die from getting kicked and half because his pocket is full of cellphones and cameras and more importantly—money to buy himself chocolates and chazuke. Ranpo’s words before they leave for lunch are to tell Atsushi to make sure that he gets a lot of good shots of what will happen next, because Poe apparently needs some inspiration for a new novel that he’s writing, featuring plenty of romance subplots. Atsushi doesn’t dare tell them that he has a feeling that this will end up a straightforward murder-mystery, with the only mystery being whether Dazai’s body will be left recognizable afterwards.
As it stands, Atsushi stuffs himself full of chazuke from a restaurant too-near the Port Mafia headquarters, seated across Dazai, who’s humming contemplatively as he takes a cup of coffee for lunch. There was a time when Atsushi was worried about his mentor’s eating habits, but when he had brought it up and Dazai had replied with something like (a) he’s not like Chuuya who’s too-heavy for his size and (b) he’s doing a hunger strike because Chuuya’s refusing to cook for him—well, stubborn he may be, but Atsushi knows how to quit losing battles. He’s pretty sure that his sanity will never win against Dazai’s insanity.
Atsushi finishes lunch and is flabbergasted to find Dazai actually pay for their meals. Atsushi wonders if getting too flummoxed by getting an actual romantic gift has been the key all along to financial responsibility. Maybe he should get Akutagawa a cute gift too, so he can make a dent on that man’s very large monthly paycheck. Atsushi quickly discards that train of thought though, because cute gifts are good in theory, but Atsushi’s morally opposed to extracting the blood of Akutagawa’s enemies (he has a feeling it’s just him and regeneration aside—just no) and he’d really rather not give Akutagawa further ideas by gifting him a knife, even if Atsushi’s very sure that those would bring a smile on Akutagawa’s face. A terrifying, blood-curdling smile more suited for haunted houses or Poe’s murder mysteries, but a smile nevertheless.
While Atsushi’s mentally debating the pros and cons of gifting Akutagawa, Dazai has apparently already finished paying and is rather absent-mindedly walking away already.
“Where are we going, Dazai-san?” Atsushi sees them approaching the Port Mafia Headquarters, even though he’s relatively sure that Dazai’s original plan is to grab lunch then break into the Post Office.
“We’re meeting a contact,” is Dazai’s reply and Atsushi makes questioning and questionable faces at his back. Said contact appears to be one of the Black Lizard guys, an old man who looks like he could be everyone’s grandfather already. There are deep stress lines on his face and Atsushi already feels sorry for him before Dazai even opens his mouth.
“Hirotsu-san,” Dazai starts, as they meet in broad daylight, just at the mouth of an alley a block away from the imposing buildings that serve as the Port Mafia’s headquarters. “Did you know that Chuuya is courting someone?”
Atsushi makes various distressed shakes of his head, but ‘Hirotsu-san’ is looking at Dazai with… oh my god, are those tears in his eyes?!
“…Dazai-kun, everyone knew.” Hirotsu takes a deep breath, as though to compose himself. “Are you here to… meet with Kouyou-san? To formally accept?”
“Accept? No, I’m here to crush whoever Chuuya’s beloved is.”
Atsushi chokes on his own spit. He feels a rare spirit of camaraderie—an odd thing to feel now, even though the truce has been in place for two years already—as he witnesses disbelieving discovery dawn on the older man’s face.
“…Dazai-kun, it appears that I have pressing matters to attend to,” Hirotsu says quickly, backtracking from the crazy. Oh god, someone sensible. Atsushi’s both impressed and betrayed, because he’s going to be stuck with his genius mentor who doesn’t realize love even though it’s staring at him right in the face, because he vowed to be a good person. But it seems that Hirotsu has more mercy than the usual Port Mafia member, because he adds, “I, however, know who can answer your concern.”
And then, immediately proves that he’s a merciless Port Mafia member after all: “Chuuya-kun will be at the office until his meeting finishes at 3PM, so you can break into his house to investigate.”
“Break into…?” Sounding a bit lost, Dazai mumbles, but then smiles sunnily at the suggestion.
Atsushi sends a frantic text to everyone telling them that if he ends up getting kicked or squashed by gravity once Nakahara Chuuya inevitably catches them in the act of trespassing at his home… that he wants them to know that it’s Kunikida’s fault for not granting his earlier request to be assigned to a different mentor. And that he’s sending the rest of his meager earthly belongings to Kyouka, save for maybe 500 yen to buy a knife for Akutagawa.
Sadly, the only one who replies immediately is Akutagawa who only says: ‘I don’t understand stupid jinko emoji-speak.’
And then another text, with a link as to how horrible dying while being swallowed by a black hole could theoretically be, because he’s an asshole like that.
Atsushi more-or-less hides himself behind Dazai’s back when they waltz into a very posh-looking apartment building a couple of roads away from Minato Mirai. It’s a very expensive part of the city, which is why Atsushi’s very confused when the front desk receptionist (it has a reception area and it’s not even a hotel!) actually smiles and greets him by name. At first, Atsushi chalks it up to Dazai’s unique ability to get himself to the graces of the female population (shortly followed by getting slapped and/or rejected after he asks them for a double suicide).
Something strange happens.
They don’t get stopped by security guards. They actually get into an elevator without fuss, they actually pull up to the penthouse suite, Dazai swiping a card on the elevator so he can gain access to it. They land on a floor that apparently only has one apartment. There’s a sitting room, a waiting area for guests, complete with wingback armchairs and a gramophone and a couple of expensive-looking vases on display. Which Dazai bypasses, as Atsushi tries not to breathe too loudly in case he accidentally destroys something.
Dazai swipes a different card on a panel beside a lavish-looking door, then bends down a bit so that his eyes could get scanned. Atsushi’s not sure if they’re about to enter some strange cigar club from the 1920s or a military base, given the odd mix of Old World charm and the biometrics. A few moments later and the door swings open, Dazai gesturing for Atsushi to follow him.
“Um… where exactly are we…?”
Dazai takes care to toe off his shoes—oh, this is possibly the first time Atsushi’s ever seen Dazai’s socks. It’s weird, because Atsushi has never even imagined his mentor as the type to wear socks. Like, it seems like such a normal thing and Atsushi’s mind is getting overloaded. And there’s a great cause for it—because the penthouse suite that opens up to his eyes is very, very lavish, with very expensive-looking furniture and displays every which way.
The foyer opens up to a huge living room, with a humongous television screen that’s possibly the same size as the entire wall of Atsushi’s dorm. There’s an L-shaped couch lining one of the walls, but to call it a couch is an injustice because Atsushi’s futon can fit into it and have enough space for two more. There’s very soft carpet lining the floors and Atsushi wants to cry.
Dazai’s soldiering on and marching towards—oh. Atsushi barely has time to stare at the dining room and kitchen and—is that a library?—because Dazai apparently makes his way towards the master bedroom. It looks like the largest room in the whole suite, with a huge canopy bed being the focal point, dark wood cabinet dresser now opened as Dazai ransacks the drawers underneath. Atsushi can see a lining of black suits on the left-hand side, then shirts that he remembers on Dazai’s person on the right-hand side.
“So you, uh… sleep over here a lot?”
Dazai waves him off to sit on the very comfy-looking beanbag chair at the foot of the bed. Atsushi remains standing, kind of wants to snoop around, maybe steal a vase or two. It’s not like it would make a difference, right?? But that reminds him to open the sound recorder that Ranpo provided earlier.
“Only when I’m in the mood to see the monstrosity of a closet made for hats,” Dazai says as he apparently moves on from rummaging through—oh my god, are those underwear?!—the first drawer and is now moving on to the safe beside the closet. Atsushi blinks at the glass-paneled drawer on the other side of the bed, and true enough, there are a lot of hats on display.
“And… Chuuya-san is okay with that?”
“It’s not like I don’t pay rent,” Dazai mutters as he apparently fails to find evidence of who Chuuya is courting from the fact that he’s easily twirling one pair of briefs (that are way too tiny to belong to him, oh my god now he’s imagining those tiny things on Chuuya, abort abort—) over his wrist as he flips through Chuuya’s side of the dresser. Because there are sides of the dresser, because they’re apparently living together.
“So you… uh, live together?” Atsushi clears his throat. “And you keep your clothes in his dresser?”
Dazai’s moved on to rummaging through the vanity desk. “Where else would I keep them?”
“In your room?”
“We’re in my room.”
Atsushi takes a fortifying breath. “You keep hats in your room?”
“Urgh. Don’t remind me.” Dazai makes a moue of distaste. “But we’ve agreed that everything on his side is fair-game, so… I’m still thinking up ways to renege on that promise… I’m sure I can find a way to burn a hat… or ten…”
Atsushi rolls his eyes so hard he thinks he knocks himself out.
“So you sleep together in the same bed and you wonder why you don’t know who Chuuya-san is courting?”
“Exactly!” Dazai exclaims, nodding at Atsushi like he’s the best subordinate ever. Atsushi knows that he should feel a little bit proud, but he just feels like he wants to jump off the building and take himself away from this madness. Akutagawa would literally never—would be more likely to literally kill for a chance to be working closely with Dazai like this, but then again, he’s busy being a mafioso and busy being luckily spared of this insanity. “He couldn’t have hidden it from me!”
Atsushi decides that he really needs to leave soon, promises of money if he gets Dazai and Chuuya on tape, be damned. His sanity is more important than this, he wants to be fully lucid when enjoying his chazuke, okay?!
“…Dazai-san, you really are kind of stupid, aren’t you?”
Chuuya’s three o’clock meeting ends up slipping over a few minutes, but that’s more than fine. He affixes his signature on a couple of documents that require his approval, some budget concerns and some employee reshuffling. Hirotsu-san looks at him with something akin to pity and dismay. Actually, not just Hirotsu-san. Even Ane-san is looking at him like that, just not as blatantly.
Before he stands from his chair, Chuuya asks, “…by the way, can I get the next two weeks off?”
“Yes!” Ane-san exclaims quickly, bypassing the usual questions about reasons for extended time-off. “Take all the time you need. I’ll be more than happy to look after your squad for you. If you need me to introduce you to eligible bachelors who would treat you well, just let me know, Chuuya-kun.”
Chuuya coughs. “I’ll be fine without the last bit, Ane-san, thank you.”
“Oh, Chuuya-kun,” she says with her pity and dismay being a hundred times more apparent.
“We’ll make sure to handle things here, so you could take time to nurse your heartbreak,” Hirotsu-san adds solemnly, a sentiment echoed by apparently every single on in the meeting.
Chuuya doesn’t quite roll his eyes, instead thanking them for their understanding.
Maria-chan greets him as soon as he steps into the apartment building, his hands full of groceries. He greets her back and waves off her offer to call up someone to help him bring up his purchases. It’s past four in the afternoon and summer’s too hot outside. Chuuya hopes that the ice cream he bought hasn’t melted yet.
Chuuya rolls his eyes as soon as he sees Dazai’s shoes haphazardly lying about on the foyer, makes sure to step over them multiple times so that they become dirty.
“Welcome back!” Comes Dazai’s voice from further back—that lazy ass is probably rolling around the bed again with the A/C at full blast, that fucker.
Chuuya’s gratified to feel the cool air of his suite, because apparently Dazai being home early has its uses, the suite’s temperature already cold enough. Chuuya sorts through the groceries without bothering to shrug off his coat first, because the ice cream needs to be in the freezer ASAP. He raises an eyebrow when he spots the beef already taken out of the freezer and defrosting.
So Dazai being early is really useful.
Chuuya places the fresh vegetables he’s planning to use for tonight’s dinner on a basin that he fills with water, as he finishes up the put-away of today’s purchases. He feels Dazai approach, hears the soft pad of feet over the floor and smells Dazai’s shampoo. A bony chin digs on Chuuya’s shoulder as Dazai hands link themselves over his stomach, swaying alongside his movements. Chuuya’s had too much practice with lugging the huge mackerel about to be really bothered by the additional weight, though Chuuya still makes a show of complaining and stomping his feet over Dazai’s.
“Welcome back,” Dazai murmurs again, licking off the sweat from the summertime temperature on Chuuya’s nape. “Did you get the two-weeks off?”
“Yes,” Chuuya grates out, with a lot of fond irritation. “Though now they all think that I’m a heartbroken fool, you shitty ass. Did we really have to do it this way?”
“Pfft, Chuuya, it was your idea!”
Chuuya wriggles and squirms inside Dazai’s hold, but Dazai just locks his arms tighter. “I just thought it would be funny! I didn’t think you’d take it seriously!”
“It’s okay, Chuuya~~~♪” Dazai presses their cheeks together, as they walk towards the bedroom, Chuuya’s feet on top of Dazai’s. Dazai used to tease Chuuya about walking this way must make him feel like he’s standing on tall stilts or maybe like a tengu with wooden, tall slippers—but well, it’s been two years and Dazai’s already aware that Chuuya would no doubt not show any mercy with jabbing him in the stomach for that kind of comment. “The Agency thought that I was crazy. Or stupid. So it’s just equivalent exchange!”
“You are crazy and stupid,” Chuuya says with a chuckle, snapping at the black thong wrapped around Dazai’s wrist like a bracelet. “Case in point: do you not know that you’re not supposed stretch this thing?”
“Mm, but it looks so pretty around my wrist!”
“…well, if you really want to use my thong as your bracelet, far be it from me to stop you.”
“Chuuya! You’re such a good person!”
“Just do it while I’m, like two prefectures away. I don’t want to be associated with the likes of you.”
Dazai hums as they finally reach the threshold of their bedroom. “Ah, but even if Chuuya acts like a tsundere, I know what he really means anyway!”
“It means I think you’re a disgusting piece of shit,” Chuuya clarifies, but it’s not like Dazai is listening to him, having busied himself with the act of shoving Chuuya to the bed as soon as they reach it, falling on top of him like he’s a hapless apple just succumbing to gravity.
“Mm, but Chuuya still goes along with my plans.”
“Urgh, don’t remind me.” Chuuya rolls his eyes, but Dazai is taking extra-care in unbuttoning his shirt and taking him out of his stuffy clothes, so he figures he could let it go today. “They practically chased me away, telling me that ‘my one true love is out there’ and that I shouldn’t lose hope.”
“Ehhhhhh,” Dazai drags the sound against Chuuya’s newly-exposed bellybutton. “How can your one true love be out there when I’m right here?”
Chuuya flicks the space between his eyes. “It’s your plan to make them think that you’re too stupid to understand my affections, damn it!”
Dazai stills, and Chuuya feels his face flush, realizing his too-honest-for-his-comfort words, so he flicks at Dazai’s eyelids instead, out of embarrassment. “Urgh! Forget I said anything!”
“I can’t forget anything like that, Chuuya.”
“I don’t care! Forget about it!”
“Nope~~~♫” Dazai grins against Chuuya’s abs. “I’ll remember that for the rest of my life!”
“I’ll fucking end you right now,” Chuuya threatens, but even with his furrowed brows and his glittering-eyed glare, he looks more fond than angry. He tugs at Dazai’s hair, tugs the other’s face up so that they can share a kiss or ten.
“The scotch is already in Yosano-sensei’s hands, probably,” Dazai murmurs after a few minutes of there being nothing but the soft sounds of lips upon lips, the steady hum of the A/C acting as white noise. “And Atsushi-kun is probably inhaling all the chocolates as payment for the mental trauma.”
Chuuya shifts so that they’re both laying on their sides, instead of having to bear with Dazai’s lanky limbs weighing him down. They continue chatting, their mouths brushing together every other syllable. “That’s fine, I wasn’t planning for you to drink that.”
“Soooo mean, it was premium-grade scotch!”
“I literally have a collection of better scotch,” Chuuya points out with a roll of his eyes. “That are like, aged twenty more years at least. That you like to drink, even when you shouldn’t be!”
“But it’s the first package I got from Chuuya,” Dazai complains with a ridiculous pout. “You even called me ‘Love’ there!”
“W-W-What else was I supposed to write?!” Chuuya bristles and hides his blush by nipping at the corner of Dazai’s mouth. “I was not supposed to write your name for our plan to work!”
Their plan—or rather, their prank—is to get them both out of their work for two weeks so they can vacation together, because Chuuya’s being prepped to take over the Port Mafia soon and Dazai… well, to be honest, the Agency would probably be more than happy to let Dazai go for the peace of mind of everyone. Thing is, Chuuya hasn’t ever taken a vacation, and they’ve been discussing how to best… reveal the fact that soukoku has finally—for the first time, contrary to a lot of people’s expectations—become partners in every sense of the word. Chuuya had said something about people probably going to be shocked about the reveal, followed by a quip as to how most people would definitely more shocked about the fact that someone would willingly shackle themselves to Dazai, which led to one thing and another, until they’re dizzy with kisses and the idea of a prank.
“You could have addressed it to ‘honeybuns’ or ‘cupcake’ or—”
“You’re disgusting,” Chuuya declares imperiously. “I don’t wish to associate with the likes of you, get the fuck out of my bed.”
“Is that a no to the hotel room I booked with an overlooking view to the ocean?”
“You probably just used my card anyway,” Chuuya mutters, but without much heat.
“Of course I did,” Dazai whispers back, kisses Chuuya’s nose while he’s at it. “I’m the one being courted, after all.”
Chuuya drags his hands over Dazai’s forearm. “Once we return from our vacation, I’m showing everyone your embarrassing sonnets about my eyes.”
“The only embarrassing thing about them is that they’re not longer,” Dazai says shamelessly. “You should show them my ode to your ass.”
“Please think of the children,” Chuuya says as he rolls them over so that he’s on top of Dazai. “Do you want your dick to be cut-off by Ane-san for daring to sully Kyouka’s mind?”
Dazai blinks at Chuuya. “Should we think of children?”
Huffing, Chuuya rolls his eyes and bops Dazai’s nose. “You’re impossible.”
“Eh, Chuuya, where are you going? I thought we’re just getting started!” Dazai pouts even more from his spot on the bed, not that Chuuya is paying attention, having moved away from the bed.
“I’m starting something alright,” Chuuya says as he removes his coat and hangs it on a coatrack beside the bedroom door. “Make yourself useful and make sure our things are packed already while I cook dinner.”
“…only if you add lots of beef and mushrooms.”
“It’s beef sukiyaki. There’s bound to be lots of beef and mushrooms.”
“Fiiiine.” Dazai doesn’t move from the bed however, opting to flop his arms about, like he’s making a snow angel, only over bedsheets this time. “Ne, can I pack some explosives on your suitcase?”
From the kitchen, Chuuya yells: “Do that and die!”
“Gladly, then!” Dazai yells back, rolling around in bed, in hopes of hiding his pleased grin. It doesn’t work, but then again, he figures that it’s useless to try to hide his happiness recently. He can’t wait for their vacation and for everyone’s reactions once they return.
Back at the Agency:
“Why can’t they just take vacations like a normal couple?” Atsushi moans and cries a little as he complains to the person on the other end of the line.
Atsushi’s seated on Dazai’s desk, where the chocolates are, and because that’s where Dazai’s office landline phone is, which is registered on Akutagawa’s phone apparently, because the other man picks without even waiting for the first ring to complete. As revenge for Atsushi’s tactic of making Akutagawa pick up his phone, Akutagawa mercilessly tells him that he’s already figured out the fact that Dazai and Chuuya apparently planned the entire thing just so they could saunter off to some Caribbean island and post a lot of couple pictures to announce their relationship.
“Why must they do this complicated prank?”
“I do not understand your complaints, jinko. You are gorging yourself over the chocolates, are you not?”
“T-T-That is irrelevant!”
Akutagawa rolls his eyes so hard it’s audible over their phone call. Atsushi grins, chocolate-tinted. “By the way, do you want to… take time-off together too? Just to, you know, forget all about today’s insanity.”
“You are the only one insane here,” Akutagawa tells him bluntly. “Also, you are just as bad as Dazai-san and Chuuya-san. But I… accept. Do not disappoint me, jinko.”
Atsushi blinks at the sound of the dial tone, before banging his fist on the table in success. It seems that Dazai and Chuuya’s insanity has it uses after all.