It was strange to find a reminder of one’s mortality lying still on the park bench. Chances were that it had died yesterday and already it was emanating a miasma melancholic enough to rival that of its observer. Dazai was compelled to stare at the scene. One eye blinked behind the thin bandages that functioned as a partial veil or well adapted membrane between him and the immediate reality by which he was so solemnly surrounded.
“Dazai. Everything okay?”
The source of the quiet voice did not have to be turned towards for identification. Dazai could recognize and respond to it in his sleep. He felt Oda’s presence beside him and suddenly the air did not seem as thick as when he had first arrived.
“Should we bury it, Odasaku?” he asked, unmoving.
His friend followed his gaze to the bird's rotting corpse. There was a line of ants surrounding it already. A line of natural order assuming such a thing truly existed. If Oda was wondering why a dead bird was getting more of the infamous Demon Prodigy’s respect that the countless humans whose falling he was witness to then he did not mention it. In some sad way Dazai knew Oda probably understood why. He was the only one who truly could.
“We should, yes.”
They were going to die soon. Dazai knew it. His fingers were covered in dirt after they had patted the makeshift grave by the tallest tree in the park. He stood upright, pushed the hair out of his eyes and hoped he didn't sully his face with the soil. Truth be told, he did not care much if it did. Oda seemed to have uttered a silent prayer even though both of them knew they were far from being men of faith. Dazai almost teased him for the gesture. A part of him wondered if Oda would pray for him at his own funeral. Even if it were as void a prayer as the space in between his rib cage where he was told there had once been a human soul.
“You have...” Oda started, hand lifted as if seeking permission, “You have something...” he said brushing off a few grains of dirt from Dazai’s cheek. Suddenly Dazai did care. He did care if his face was sullied. He had half a mind to return it to its former state under the pretense of brushing his hair out of his eyes once again. Just so he could feel Odasaku’s fingers underneath his chin and the caress of his thumb on his cheek.
“Thank you for the company.” he whispered, instead. They patted their hands clean together. The walk out of the park was made in silence.
_ _ _
Odasaku’s couch was very comfortable to lie on. He used to sleep over here when he was younger. If the weather was colder Oda would lift the end of his blanket invitingly and Dazai would curl into the warmth of his bed even though he insisted he would be fine through the night. They were careful not to touch each other but these were always the most comfortable dreamless breaks of sleep Dazai had ever experienced nonetheless.
“Come.” Oda said this time, and Dazai could see his familiar visage behind the comforter. He did not protest. He climbed into Oda’s space and, this time, instead of lying down he kissed him. Oda touched Dazai’s shoulders and let out a sound of surprise. It is difficult to pinpoint when this felt like the right thing to do but Oda’s hand running gently down his back felt correct and dissolved any need to question any Whens, Whys or Hows . His lips were so soft, so Dazai bit and pressed his body into the kiss, hoping everything he felt could somehow be translated into it. He let out a gasp when Odasaku pushed him into the covers, touch rough yet soft as ever to meet their eyes. Their breathing was erratic and they could feel their chests rise and fall against each other. Dazai thought it was just like Oda to slow them both down when he picked up their pace to a breakneck speed and he couldn’t hold back a small smile.
_ _ _
“Why are you crying?”
It was easy to pretend the tears did not sting when he wiped them away from his eyes. Oda tilted his head to regard him with a kindness he knew he did not deserve.
“Mori killed it.” he said, placing the dead butterfly in Odasaku’s hand. It had half a wing torn off and half folded but its corpse was otherwise intact. He could tell Oda felt it too. Being surrounded by death all the time could get suffocating. No matter how desirable a fate it might be.
_ _ _
Dazai had wanted to kiss Odasaku a lot ever since then and that was precisely what he did. In all sorts of places. The alley behind the diner, under the tallest tree in the park, beneath the comfort of Oda’s covers and, when he felt particularly bold, in the glass elevator at Port Mafia headquarters. Oda seemed to prefer initiating the ones in relative privacy. Dazai simply couldn’t get enough. This time it was at Lupin with not a soul in sight and his hands pulling Oda close by the lapels of his beige jacket.
“I had,” he said, in between little nips at the jaw, “A dream yesterday, Odasaku.”
Fuck. He did not like being apart from the man for too long. It had been a week since Dazai had last felt his skin due to his constantly shifting schedule assigned by none other than the Boss himself. All he saw when he closed his eyes were nightmares. It was only when he lay beside Oda that a black reprieve greeted him when he succumbed to fatigue at night.
“Mmm. What did you see?” Oda asked, fingers running through his hair in a way that made Dazai want to melt into his body and fall asleep in his arms right then. He knew he would be carried home safely should he act upon the desire.
“I saw you, Odasaku.” he replied instead, “As a bird.”