Chapter 1: The Port Mafia Traitor
He's never been so scared in his life. The metal is cold and undesirable in his mouth, the barrel barely missing the back of his throat where his lips hold it in place. It scratches on his teeth when he shifts, still tugging on the bounds around his hands and feet, sending awful shivers down his spine. By far the worst thing is, he can't use his ability, the pill they'd shoved down his throat subduing the power given to him for goodness knows how long. It makes him feel weak and useless, never mind the nausea and fear curling in his stomach. He can see the bullets in the revolver, all six holes full with the ammunition ready to send him to hell nearer to zero seconds than one. He's keeping in mind that he should be glad he's not blindfolded, but at the same time, he doesn't want to see his death coming. The warehouse is dark, the dingy smell of rotting flesh and dried blood reeking, a sign that this place wasn't abandoned, it was a murdering ground. A body dump. The lights above flicker menacingly, a buzzing getting seemingly louder with each struggling breath he took.
Chuuya doesn't even know how he got in this position. Or why they wanted him in particular. Because it wasn't a random guy, or a random mafia executive wanting blood.
No, it was the Port Mafia themselves. Mori was in front of him, currently crouches about three feet away spouting bullshit about Chuuya being a traitor to the greater good, about knowing why Dazai left and where he was. Of course, Chuuya knew neither of these things. Even if he did, he wouldn't tell them, he respected the bravery Dazai had to leave too much. It wasn't just the bounds they had on him, but the split lip from shoving the gun in his mouth, the wound on his head he guesses he took before arriving here, a couple cuts on his arms and legs from knife slashes. Mori is laughing, but Chuuya tuned out the moment he walked into the warehouse, with his arms spread. A grand entrance, by his own standards. Not Chuuya's. He looked like a dick really.
Panic reared in his chest when the long haired man wrapped his hands around the gun, trigger finger at the ready. Chuuya's heart pounded, and he found himself thrashing violently, trying to dislodge the gun from Mori's hands whilst trying to get it out of his mouth all at the same time. It's brining him back to the awful reality of where he was far too fast after he'd been in his head for the whole time he was here. Dissociation, he believed Dazai called it.
"I'd stop if I were you."
Foreign metal pressed against the back of Chuuya's head, and the ginger froze. That was no revolver, more of a double barrelled shotgun. There's tug on his hair, sending his hat flying, and eventually, Mori's holding the gun once more. He's smiling sickly, laughing behind a pale hand again. Akutagawa is somewhere here too, amongst the fifteen or so of Mori's men. How embarrassing. Dazai's ex-subordinate was watching his ex-partner cry with the fear that his life was about to end. Chuuya closes his eyes, shutting out the world as he thinks hard on what to do know. He can't use his ability, and he can't yell for help, although the muffled screaming whenever someone touches the gun is coming from him. He can't do anything, so he thinks of what's happened in his life worth remembering in his final moments, because he can only scream.
He's always said to anyone he met that he wasn't afraid to die. What a lie that was turning out be, huh.
He supposed meeting Dazai should be a big pro in his life. Maybe getting his motorbike? More like stealing the motorbike. Learning the fact he could use his ability to ride it on walls. He would giggles childishly at the memory of Dazai's face when he turned up that time riding it. It was so much fun riding that thing about as recklessly as possible and not getting in trouble. That was one of the only things about Dazai that Chuuya knew, he was closing to that garage than anyone would ever realise. Hiding in plain sight, what a joke.
Chuuya feels hot tears run down his face at the realisation that he probably won't get to see Dazai's stupid fucking face again now, not like he'd seen it in a year anyway. That man would appear out of nowhere in some really convenient places, at some really convenient times. Not now though, apparently. He doesn't have anything to do with the Port Mafia, so why should he. Dazai and his stupid coat, stupid bandages. Stupid smile and those stupid suicidal tendencies. God, Chuuya didn't realise how much he needed to see Dazai. He needs to see that smile one last fucking time. Only one memory sticks out in his panicky haze, and that's the day Dazai gave Chuuya the ring that he wears on his left index fingers. A silver and pearl one, a present for his birthday long forgotten until Dazai found out when it was, with the strict instructions to use it whenever he...
Whenever he was in trouble.
Chuuya prays to any existing and non-existing god that no one noticed the wave of relief that washed over him so thickly he would've collapsed if it weren't for the bounds and the gun in his mouth. His fingers fumble behind hid back, and he makes it look like he's struggling again, and pressed what he thinks is a button made to look like a diamond. Someone shuffles, there's a miniscule beep as he cries out, and he thinks it's over. But no one raises their guns again. No one had heard it. He softly gags on a sob around the gun, clacking his teeth against it painfully. Mori laughs at that.
"You look pathetic. If you had just told the truth this would've been over in seconds." Mori giggles like a child so much so that he stumbles on his feet, and Chuuya can't bring himself to look at the man. The information he wanted wasn't in Chuuya's brain, he had no idea where Dazai went, because he hadn't seen him for five months before he even left the mafia. The Port Mafia had done nothing but destroy him, both of them really. Dazai and Chuuya were essentially broken souls at the end of the day. As he looks down, Chuuya shakes his head, clenching his eyes shut and unshed tears seep through his eyelashes, trailing down his cheeks and dripping onto the cold floor. Right now, he'd take Dazai's taunting over this. For the first time in his relatively short life, Chuuya wanted Dazai.
He wanted Dazai. He wanted Dazai. He wanted Dazai. He wanted Dazai. Dazai, where the fuck are you?!
He's long forgotten about composure and his reputation as an upcoming executive.
"You've been naughty poor Nakahara, failing us."
His given names sounded like poison from that mans mouth, and he hopes it tastes the same. Slim fingers raise his chin, and he screams past the gun, and Mori is quick to grip it, as is the person behind to press their gun to Chuuya's head firmly. Suddenly, he finds that he can't stop screaming, the noise echoing around and around and around.
"I think it's time we put you to sleep."
Still screaming, Chuuya thinks of Dazai. No one else comes to mind. He curls most of his hand around his ring, begging Dazai to come for him just this one last time.
And as the gun fires, Dazai is on Chuuya's mind.
Bang Bang Bang
Chuuya opened his eyes...
To a warehouse full of dead bodies, and that's including Mori's that was spilling blood from a head wound, but still breathing. There's no longer a gun pressed to his head, and the gun in his mouth is slipping out, and so he lets it. It clatters to the floor, a line of spit connecting it to Chuuya's mouth still, but his whole chin and knees are practically soaked, so he didn't pay much attention. Gaping breaths escaped his lung as his mouth was no longer full of metal, and he coughs a few times. That was before dissolving into relieved sobs that wracked his body so violently one would think he was having a seizure. It's gross, the tears creating small puddles on the ground. His fingers are completely numb now, and the feeling was rising to his wrists.
He curls into himself the moment he hears footsteps. Oh god, one of them is alive, his mind shouts at him. Those relieves sobs turn into hysteric panic, and he's still gasping for much needed breath. As they get closer, Chuuya grabs his ring again, and is barely in the right mind-set to register that it's vibrating, and it's getting stronger as the footsteps get louder. Another slim hand had reached out and grabbed his chin, and like a scared cat, he flinches and shuffles away, trembling with fear.
"I'm sorry, 'm sorry, sorry, sorry." He's repeating over and over against like a mantra.
There's no fucking way. There's no way he's this lucky to avoid death like this. He couldn't have been kissed by death like that. Chuuya trembled worse as he opens his eyes to find a tan coat. Shit, it's not him. It's not him. But as the hand raises his chin, the two people meet eyes, bloodshot blue meeting dark brown.
Dazai has never run so fast whilst texting someone. Thankfully, in the half year he'd been evading the Port Mafia, he's met a few friends, enough to create a small group of men enough to take on the mafia if needs be. He'd been sitting at the dining table about two minutes ago, enjoying some sake when his phone had gone off. It went off one hell of a lot less since he left, so he checked it immediately, only to practically break his chair getting up and gathering his keys, running towards the front door and ramming his body into every other door in his way.
The app had pinpointed a certain location of a ring given to someone special a long time ago, when Dazai knew the other would need it one day. To be honest, he wasn't ever expecting to have to follow the rings signal.
He knew one fact, Chuuya's motorbike was still in the third garage from the left about five hundred metres from Dazai's safe-house, not really planned but helpful nonetheless. And it would be quicker than having someone pick him up. So, with the keys chuuya probably forgot he'd given him, Dazai pulls the garage door open, having sent the message out to his men, and climbed on the bike.
He didn't really know the rules of the road, and so went all hell for leather down the road, towards the warehouse on the abandoned shipping port his phone had linked to. He had to admit, it really was fun driving this fast, and he no longer blamed Chuuya for stealing it. Chuuya was only supposed to use that ring in case of a serious emergency, and now he himself was panicking that his ex-partner was going to be dead by the time he got there. And if this was a set-up, both of them were going to die anyways.
His men were already there when he parked the motorbike in the middle of this warehouse complex, and winced at the loud screaming that he soon came to register as Chuuya, propping up the bike nearby quickly.
"Get a sniper as far up as possible." Dazai orders, the men nodding and moving about. Dazai already knew how had Chuuya, it was pretty obvious considering the two vehicles they could see parked outside that weren't there's. Plus, one had a dent on the front fender that Dazai had given it.
"What's the signal?" One of them asks.
"There isn't one, just kill everyone." Dazai says, "Except for the two I hit."
Dazai runs in as the sniper fire. Akutagawa doesn't attack him.
"Take him and run. Leave." He says, before letting Dazai take him out using the butt of his gun, then Mori who had been too entranced in laughing to care. It was stupid, they'd let their guard down and Dazai almost laughed himself. The rest of the men shot at him and yelled orders at one another, and it was messy, but Dazai didn't get hit, nor did the collapsed man in bounds. When the gunfire stops, Dazai waves his hand to get them on guarding duties, and he slowly begins to walk towards Chuuya, who he's approaching from behind.
He stutters in his step when the heart-breaking sobs wrack through the mans body, and he's practically screaming, much louder now that the revolver was on the floor. He won't look up at Dazai as he crouches in front of him, reeling away giving Dazai the chance to take in his face and body. The cut on his lip is down to the middle of his chin, and would definitely scar, and the rest of his face is dirt from being pressed into the floor. Tear streaks break through the blood from his head, and a mixture of blood, drool and tears soak into his trousers and the floor.
Chuuya is repeating his apologies, almost like he was begging not to die.
Chuuya throws himself at Dazai as best he could, who catches him in his arms. He's thrashing still, trying desperately to get the binds off his arms. Dazai calms him with a singular hand on the flat of his back, and the glint of his knife is obvious to Chuuya. The knife goes straight through the rope like butter, and the blood comes rushing back into Chuuya's arms and hands. The ginger doesn't give a shit about composure or anything now as he wastes no time gripping onto Dazai, sobbing viciously into his chest, not properly upright due to the rope remaining on his legs. Dazai soon cuts those ropes too, and Chuuya shuffles on his shaking knees to press himself as far into Dazai as possible without hurting the wound both have only just noticed on his abdomen.
Chuuya hadn't felt a feeling like this before, intense relief so bad that he finds himself unable to stop crying, soaking Dazai's coat. He didn't recognise him at first, both through bleary vision and the fact he's changed his style completely. It was nice to see all of Dazai's face, no longer hidden by stupid bandages, although his neck was covered now, as were his forearms. Wait, were those covered before?
"Chuuya, calm down, we need to get you out of here." Dazai's voice is like the heavens to Chuuya.
"I thought I wouldn't get to see you again." Chuuya sobbed pathetically, moving his hands to Dazai's hair, trying to get a grip on something to ground himself, bring himself back to the reality that Dazai is right here, Dazai came to his rescue. The brunette holds Chuuya back, arms around his waist and holding him tight.
"You can't get rid of me that easily. Now, we should go."
Dazai doesn't really want to move Chuuya, not thinking it's the greatest of ideas but only god knows how long Akutagawa and Mori will stay unconscious for, and he already had a headache from the stench. Grabbing Chuuya's hat for him, he gathers the man in his arms, and rushes out of the warehouse. Chuuya's heart almost bursts upon seeing his motorbike, and he curls into Dazai, the brunette getting the idea of why. Chuuya's weak, his arms barely holding their own weight as they grip onto Dazai's coat.
"Can you stay conscious long enough to ride on the back?" Dazai inquires, and Chuuya slowly nods.
Once Dazai gets Chuuya on, he climbs on and wraps Chuuya's arms around his waist, waiting for the man to tighten his grip. When he assures the brunette he's okay, Chuuya closes his eyes and removes one arm to grab his hat, tucking it between him and Dazai before regaining his position as Dazai slowly pulls away from the building. Chuuya feels every bump and hears every sound on the back, despite the fact his eyes are clenched shut and his head is pressed against the mans shoulder blades, focused on not letting go of Dazai. He doesn't register pulling into the garage, or Dazai somehow getting him on his back and carrying.
In fact, the last thing he does register, is the soft bed beneath his aching body, and the warmth of a hand running through his hair.
Chuuya wakes up in pain. Not too much pain, but just an aching feeling. He rolls over slightly, and finds that there's horrific black bruises around his wrists, and he can just imagine the same around his ankles. His jaw aches, and there's thick bandaging around his abdomen and a couple around his head. When he hears a click, he looks over his shoulder to the doorway. Dazai appears, and he's holding a tray with food on. He smiles gently, and slips into the bedroom> Chuuya slowly shuffles himself up, and the duvet pools around his waist.
"I'm glad to see you're awake."
Dazai's voice is purposely quiet after all the shouting and screaming of yesterday. He places the tray down, and goes to take off one the plates, but Chuuya accidently keens lowly in his throat, catching both of them off guard. When Dazai turns round, Chuuya is barely raising his arms, but just enough for Dazai to get the message, and climbs into the bed with him.
"Just five more minutes," He whispers into Chuuya's hair, "then food, and cuddles. And a bath."
Chapter 2: Little Fishies
-Chuuya and Akutagawa are part of the Armed Detective Agency-
Referenced Child Abuse and missed childhoods.
The aquarium episode we didn't know we needed.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"What's a jellyfish?"
The question escapes Atsushi's mouth without him realising what he'd said as he reads over a news article. Yosano is the first one to look up from her work, then the rest of them seem to realise what he'd said and look up too. It's Kunikida that speaks first, after fixing his glasses and getting over his silent shock.
"You don't know what a jellyfish is?" He asks, and Atsushi slowly shakes his head, looking sheepishly at the other feeling as if he'd done something wrong, slowly putting his phone down on the desk.
"I don't either." Kyouka's voice is quiet from the window she'd been staring out of, watching the people in the street below run their daily errands, and suddenly, Junichiro is jumping and latching onto Kunikida, for once the blonde man not shouting immediately.
"Let's take them to an aquarium." He says, and both Kyouka and Atsushi look quite frightened as they share a glance. Chuuya snickering behind his hand whilst Dazai struggles to contain his more than happy smile.
"I don't see why not." Kunikida says, and Junichiro fist pumps the air whilst twirling away.
"What's an aquarium?"
"So, this place is full of fish?" Kyouka asks innocently from where she's sat on Junichiro's shoulder, above everyone else and smiling like never before. Chuuya and Dazai are conversing quietly behind them, and Yosano and Kunikida are trying to discourage Naomi from pushing Atsushi off the ledge he's currently running across that dropped down onto the beach. Akutagawa is dropping into each conversation, mostly staying by Chuuya's side but watching Atsushi out of his peripheral vision. The silver haired is in his own little word, arms spread to keep balance as he hops over a small gap and continues to run across the wall. Dazai had given him a hand up there the moment it came into sight, and Atsushi had immediately began to run. He's totally away with the fairies, and everyone knew it. Akutagawa had been jumped this morning by Dazai, begging for him to come, and it'd dawned on him he'd only been to an aquarium once, so why not.
"Yep, there's sharks too. And jellyfish." Junichiro replies, using light snow to create a vision of a small whale swimming through the air that Kyouka giggles at, hands gently curled in Junichiro's hair. Ranpo and Poe had been genuinely upset at not being able to come with them, but they were both needed by the special Ops Division the other side of the city. Kenji was sick so he couldn't come either. Chuuya watches as Atsushi shuffles his way around a lamppost and continued to run. He wanted to smile almost sympathetically but he knew Akutagawa was watching. He really hasn't had a childhood. And watching Kyouka reach out for the whale in the air, he realised she hadn't either.
"There's lots of water too." Dazai singsongs, but doesn't get far as a book lands on his head with the force of a thousand suns, almost sending him sprawling into Chuuya.
"Don't you dare think of suicide." Kunikida yells in his ear, causing Akutagawa to snort, which resulted in him coughing, and Chuuya shakes his head a little, nonetheless smiling.
"How dare you think of such a thing!" Dazai gasps, feigning offence, but ultimately giggling too.
Atsushi runs ahead of them on the ledge, determined not to loose balance as he hops over more gaps, and then he comes across a staircase that leads to the beach. The jump isn't too far, and he was sure he could do it without his power, but just as he bends down, there's someone gripping at his waist, picking him up and depositing him on the other side. He turns to find Chuuya smiling up at him, and he grins back. But neither of them say a word as Atsushi continues to run on the wall, whilst Chuuya falls back into step with Dazai and Akutagawa. He only trips once, landing on his hands and knees on the ledge still with a hiss that he'd been quick to brush off. He's glad to find that he didn't hurt his knees or anything, and washes away everyone's doubt with a smile. There's a burning on his palms, but he ignore it in the favour of standing stock still staring at the large building in front of him, bright neon lights indicating exactly what it is. Kyouka sees it too, and her face lights up beautifully.
"It's huge!" She whisper yells as Junichiro settled her on the floor.
Then, and only then, does Atsushi realise his mistake of coming here.
"There's how much water?" He asks, and Dazai simply shrugs.
"Fish live in water, so enough. But don't worry, it's behind glass." He replies, like he knew what was going through Atsushi's head, and he probably did to be fair. He opens his arms and Atsushi takes the hint, jumping from the ledge into the welcoming arms, who also set him down. Kyouka runs up to him and grabs his hand before they both take off running towards the building. It was still quite a run, so the walk was even longer, but it gave the little girl, and the mentally little boy, time to run about and have fun.
"Have you been to an aquarium before?" Naomi asks Akutagawa.
"I believe so."
Akutagawa can't help but watch the two of them run in slight awe, finding it funny to watch Atsushi stop and tie up Kyouka's undone shoelace before she tripped, considering they were all dressed in casual attire, and Atsushi was drowning in a hoodie. It'd been quite hard to get Kyouka in non-traditional clothing, but once she agreed, she looked adorable in dungarees with white tights and cats on. A sense of jealousy is hot in Akutagawa's chest, ugly. All three of them, himself, Kyouka and Atsushi haven't experienced something like this before. Suddenly, Akutagawa can't stop the urge and breaks into a sprint to catch up with them, hoping his face doesn't give away the fact that he loves the feeling of the passing wind in his hair. He catches up with them soon enough, and Atsushi ends up whispering something in his ear that he finds impossible to ignore. They both take one of Kyouka's hands and on the count of three, they throw her up in the air, receiving a shriek of laughter afterwards.
Akutagawa smiles like an idiot as Atsushi calms her, before they throw her up again. The force ends up twisting Akutagawa to the side, and the group behind them become aware of the smile on his face.
"Come on now, calm down. We need to get inside." Kunikida tells them, and Kyouka agrees, still holding hands with Atsushi as they walk into the building. The first thing they walk into, is a blue entrance hallway where they pay to get in, and the sounds of water and the smell of it simply takes the girls breath away. She smiles up gleefully at Atsushi, who's too invested in the photo's on the wall to notice. Thankfully, Naomi had the sense to bring her camera. Kyouka is almost bounding with anticipation.
"What are these?" Kyouka asks Yosano as she hands everyone the small pieces of paper.
"They're our tickets to get in, now, here we go!"
Kyouka follows Yosano, letting go of Atsushi to hold onto the doctors hands as she guides them forward, and Atsushi falls to the back of the group, still completely lost in his own world. Chuuya has to take his hand to get him through the doorway and keep him from getting left behind. He almost stumbles for a second, quietly apologising to the ginger. The first few tanks they come across have an array of fish, all bright and different colours, and Kyouka can't help herself press her hands against the glass. Junichiro crouches to her height, and explains what he knows about these fish. Her eyes are so wide as she tries to take everything in at once. Chuuya and Dazai smile as they turn to find Atsushi looking at a different tank, a few meters away from them all on his own. It stands in the middle of the room, and goes all the way to the top of the building two floors above them, and the big floor below them. It's full of moon jellyfish. Both of his hands are on the glass, and Chuuya has to take the camera from Naomi to quickly capture it.
Atsushi can't stop staring. The jellyfish move almost hypnotically, and they move with such grace and effortlessness. Atsushi finds himself wondering what it would be like as a jellyfish, completely at the hands of the ocean, with the ability to explore the whole world. It would be lonely, Atsushi comes to that conclusion quickly.
Akutagawa spots him too, but before Dazai can ask him where he's going, he's walked over to Atsushi.
"You having fun Tiger?" Akutagawa asks quietly, still kind of awkward around the agency considering he did try and kill most of them. The nickname was no longer full of hatred, more an acknowledgement to the amazing gift lingering beneath the boys skin.
"95% of these things are water." Atsushi tells Akutagawa what he'd just read, "But they only live for a year as an adult."
Atsushi really can't take his eyes off them, and Akutagawa can't decide whether to look at him or the jellyfish. When he turns to find where the others were, he gets immediately distracted, and a light gasp escapes his mouth totally against his will. Dazai hears it, and wonders what Akutagawa had seen, Chuuya by his side too.
"What?" Atsushi's attention is on him, and he rounds the tank to get to him. Akutagawa feels his chest warm at the idea of Atsushi being concerned.
"Broadtail mood goldfish." He says, pointing to the small tank in front of him, the last one in this room, "They're my favourite."
Atsushi is gently intertwining his hand with Akutagawa's and dragging him forward before he can recognise. They both stumble over to the tank and Akutagawa watches the fish with shiny eyes, both due to the waters reflection and his interest, moving his fingers to guide one fish along the tank and back. Kyouka appears from somewhere, and Akutagawa straight up picks her up to get a better look. She's on his hip, and quietly, he begins to ramble about these fish. Kunikida's reading the wall mounted posters whilst Junichiro and Naomi sit down just to watch the younger ones giggle about these fish. Chuuya and Dazai are still watching the colourful ones, their hands together with Dazai doing the same as Akutagawa, guiding one fish with his finger. Chuuya watches the other with an expression of pure love that Naomi gets on her camera perfectly.
"There's penguins on this floor."
No one, and I mean no one, has seen Atsushi turn round that fast. It makes Kyouka laugh into Akutagawa's shoulder, and Yosano laughs too. Atsushi looks over to Dazai and Chuuya, who both nod to confirm that there really are penguins here, and his face breaks into the biggest smile yet, and Kunikida feels a smile of his own pulling at his lips. Akutagawa carries Kyouka through the rooms until they reach the penguin area, which is open and smells like pure salt.
Chuuya still falls behind as does Atsushi, the younger becoming so distracted that he completely forgot about the penguins until Chuuya slowly pulled him away. He wonders why the boy was so deep inside his own head.
Kyouka is set down so she can run over to Kunikida, who tells her his extensive knowledge on penguins, whilst Atsushi begins the descent into the penguin zone. No one follows him as no one notices at first, and only a few people are the zone anyways, so Atsushi felt alone enough to crouch by the window screen that showed what the penguins could do underwater. One of them takes an interest in him, and he smile at it. When he waves, it shakes his whole body in return as he giggles. It must be albino, as it's mostly all white, except for three or four dots on it's stomach of black.
"Hi, my names Atsushi." He says quietly under his breath, as he follows the penguin to the surface, where it jumps onto a small rock formation to get closer to Atsushi. It slowly waddles about, dipping in and out of the water to greet Atsushi. He flinches when an arm lays across his shoulder, and he slowly turns to find Akutagawa, smiling gently at one another.
"You've made a friend?"
"Y-Yes!" Atsushi stutters through his blush, and Akutagawa smiles a little wider.
"I've never seen a penguin before." Akutagawa admits, and Atsushi laughs slightly.
"Neither have I. But I really like them, have done since I was little." Atsushi replies.
"I like dolphins more." Akutagawa whispers, leaning his head on Atushi's shoulder lightly, barely even touching him.
"Dolphins are harder to keep in captivity." Atsushi mumbles.
"I don't think any of these animals deserve to be in captivity." Akutagawa replies, and Atsushi nods with an agreeing hum.
"But I suppose I like it too, since I like being here." He adds on, noting Atsushi's smile as one of affection. He thinks.
The others end up joining them soon, and Kunikida announces that there's a feeding show in ten minutes. Atsushi pulls out his phone in the meantime to take pictures, and laughs behind his hand when Akutagawa yelps as a fully black one jumps out of the water closer to him that he'd expected. The albino one comes back often, and the group come to terms with Atsushi's new friend.
Kyouka's on Junichiro's shoulders again, holding hands with Naomi as they watch the keeper throw fish to the penguins, who jump in all directions to catch it. The keeper must've spotted that Atsushi was there before, as she makes her way over and asks if he would like to help. Of course, Kyouka is allowed to follow, and they both help feed the penguins, Kyouka mostly hiding behind Atsushi with the fear that one was about to peck her to dead. Kyouka does feed one in the end, and she giggles happily, and grins up to Atsushi with a bright face. They learn the albino's name is Cookie, and that his mate is the fully black penguin, Kiomi.
What they don't know, is that Kunikida and Chuuya had asked if Atsushi and Kyouka could be allowed to help.
Two hours later sees them entered one of the last rooms, which has one large open tank and an underwater walkway.
"Look Atsushi! We can touch the stingrays!" Kyouka says as she runs forward. it has no top with a step so the little kids can touch the fish inside, and Atsushi's heart misses a beat. It's the worst fear in the world in the middle of a goddamn aquarium.
"You trust me, don't you?" Dazai's voice is closer than he'd expected when they step onto the little platform, and so Dazai stands behind him as a deterrent for anyone to grab his neck and push him under. With the closeness, Dazai can still feel the pounding of Atsushi's heart as he dips his hand in and touches the flat back of a passing stingray. He flinches as the fish brushes against his hand. Akutagawa and Chuuya can also see the fear in his eyes, and the ginger nudges Dazai, and the brunette gets the hint.
"Atsushi, do you wanna look at the tanks?"
Atsushi nods, and they both step away, but Akutagawa catches Dazai, and they swap. Akutagawa lets Atsushi guide him to another tank, and they both sit on the floor in front of it.
"Such a stupid fear isn't it?" Atsushi whispers as he watches a little pufferfish swim about. Between them, their hands lay flat on the ground, their pinky fingers curled again one another in attempt to hold hands without the other realising. They both realised.
"I don't think so. I still flinch when Dazai moves too fast." Akutagawa whispers in reply before they get jumped by Kyouka.
"I think we're leaving now, but Kunikida said we could go to the shop."
It turns out they'd been sat in front of that tank for half an hour.
Kyouka looked in heaven the moment they entered the shop, Atsushi still lagging behind as they walked back through the jellyfish hallway. Instead of Chuuya falling back to grab him, Akutagawa stays by his side, slowly pulling him towards the front so they can leave, but letting him stand with the jellyfish for a couple minutes. Atsushi forces himself not to look at all the plush toys and little aquarium gifts as they walk out, knowing that he'd far too old to be carrying around a jellyfish plush toy. Although, Kyouka does leave carrying a close fish and clinging onto the siblings.
"We'll catch you up!" Dazai yells, and pulls Chuuya back for a second.
"We'll go and get ice cream, you two stay for Dazai and Chuuya." Kunikida tells Akutagawa and Atsushi, and so they both haul themselves to sit on the ledge, watching the sea roll in and out. It's almost as hypnotic as the jellyfish. Akutagawa is acutely aware that his breath is coming out and eventually, and he has to take action. Slowly, he takes Atsushi's hand, letting their fingers slot together. Atsushi glances down and then look up to face Akutagawa, who's wide eyes, and begins to let go, but the grip tightens.
"Don't... Don't let go."
Atsushi's voice is nothing but a pure whisper, and Akutagawa blushes heavily.
Atsushi looks up, startled at Akutagawa's quite voice.
"What do you mean? You haven't done anything wrong?"
"I hurt you, I hurt everyone. I'm sorry for... telling you to let go of the past. I know it's difficult, and I know it's practically impossible, so I'm sorry for making you feel weak." Akutagawa speaks as if he's planned all this before, but in truth, he'd panicked and said the first thing his mind decided to come up with, and that seemed to be enough. Atsushi drops his head momentarily with a smile.
"I never felt weak when I was with you. Sure, I'm not the strongest out of us, but you... you made me look up to you. You're mentally strong, so much more than me."
That time, Akutagawa laughs.
"I'm not strong mentally at all. Just good at hiding." He says. Atsushi grips his hands tighter, turning to him a little more. The silence between them is deafening. And for some reason, some magical reason both their minds say the same thing at the same time. The same exact time.
They both lean in and kiss. The moment their lips meet, it's like fireworks on a dark night, and it's like their minds opened up to a while world, a new chapter in their lives. Atsushi's thinks this is perfect, and so does Akutagawa as he leans in a little more to capture the moment in a true kiss, the force behind it enough to say so. Atsushi pulls away first, and the embarrassment causes him to bury his face in Akutagawa's shoulder.
"I'm so sorry." Atsushi whispers, beginning to pull away but a hand on the back of his neck stops him, calming him.
"I think... I think I love you Atsushi..."
"Good... Good, cause I love you too."
"Now, can I show you the surprise!"
Both boys almost scream, startled as they pull away to turn and find Dazai and Chuuya both laughing their heads off at them. Atsushi puts the claws away as Rashomon disappears into the air. Akutagawa immediately wants to die, and jumps off the wall to attack Dazai with all of his mite, whilst Atsushi hides his face which is useless as his entire neck is blushing. Once they'd calmed down, and Chuuya had apologised for the both them as Dazai was insistent that that he wasn't sorry (He wasn't.) ,Dazai gives the bag in his hands to Atsushi that he hadn't previously had.
"Open it when you get home."
Akutagawa ends up having to go on a mission, some sort of stake out, and so Atsushi is home alone. After eating, he realises that he still never opened the bag that Dazai had given him, and so he sets himself on the sofa with the bag on his lap. Putting his hand in, the first thing he comes across is something made out of glass, and he pulls it out of the bag to find that it's a glass sculpture of a tiny jellyfish. He immediately places it on the coffee table, and begins to realise that there's more things in the bag. There's a small notebook, with a bunch of fish on that move when he shifts the notebook about, and he spends five minutes playing with that and messing about with his head.
The last object, he ends up curling on the sofa with, pressed against his chest as he brings the blanket up to his neck.
A baby blue, jellyfish plushie, almost as big as his entire chest.
He falls asleep, with the thoughts of Akutagawa, Dazai and Chuuya in his mind. It felt like...
It felt like he had parents again.
Can you tell I really like jellyfish and that comes from Clear - Dramatical Murders
Chapter 3: Depression
Implied / Referenced Suicide attempts, Depression and Suicide notes.
Depression. It's like waking up, but never realising you're awake, weighted to the bed and sinking into the mattress below whilst the world moves around you like a dream. Most days, Dazai felt hands all over his body, trying to push him or pull him over a limit that's invisible to him. He notices that most people try and make their life feel like a reality, steering clear of the dreams they could easily live in, and get help with their mental issues, but Dazai often found himself doing the opposite. A suicidal maniac, making fun of his own depression to make his life seem like a dream, in the hopes that one day he'd wake up to something better. The hands, he couldn't tell whose they were, and had no idea of whose they could be, but they made his stomach churn when they wrap around his neck. He's sure that once or twice, Kunikida had turned to face him when the panic of the hands settled in, but Dazai is more than trained in the ways of keeping his face straight.
Chuuya is the only other person he'd realised had noticed. The way he'd furrow his eyebrows from just underneath the brim of his hat the same time Dazai felt the hands wrap around his neck and clench, choking him with an inhumane strength. Dazai had gasped. The first time it'd happened after he reunited with Chuuya, he'd grabbed the Mafioso by the arm and clawed at his bandaged neck, finding his breath only after Chuuya slit the bandages slowly with the penknife in his pocket. Even when he's fighting small-time criminals for some lovely lady, he'll ignore the hands all over his body, tugging at his hair, pulling at his coat. It was yet to sabotage or disrupt an investigation.
And at the end of the day, he'd let the hands drag him into bed, and he'd sleep riddles with endless nightmare he couldn't wake from.
Dazai knew people saw his suicidal tendencies to be a joke, rolling their eyes after another failed attempt of ending his own life. He felt like a glorified Hollywood character. Perhaps, he could finally gather the courage to use the gun hidden underneath the fake bed of his top drawer. It had enough bullets to look like a Port Mafia member killed him, but that wouldn't work either. People were smarter than him.
Suicide to him, was his only escape. His only re-do button. His only start again.
Chuuya just had to walk into his apartment at the wrong time, didn't he?
The apartment wasn't really decorated, a few fake plants on the windowsill that Dazai had brought on a whim. The fridge door held two photo's, one of Atsushi and himself, and the other one being a photo Chuuya hadn't seen in what felt like a thousand years. They're both fifteen, possibly sixteen, standing beneath an umbrella somewhere on some form of mission, and Chuuya is holding onto his had, whilst Dazai truly smile himself. That smile had been missing for far too long now. To be honest, Chuuya was lucky Dazai was even here, considering he mostly stayed at the Agencies dorm next to Atsushi on the same floor. Chuuya ad just gone for where he believed Dazai would be on what he believed to be a bad day after Dazai was practically silent.
The rest of Dazai's apartment is painted beige, the furniture mostly black and everything basic and simple. The smell of bleach is overwhelming and Chuuya wishes he could ignore the broken bar on the ceiling with the remnants of a rope ties around it. Most of the shelves along the far wall above the sofa are empty and a thick layer of dust covers them. Chuuya doesn't have to see his bedroom to guess that Dazai doesn't really own anything personal except for the things he wore on his body, and the things he carried in his pockets. He'd been here enough times to know where everything was in every cupboard, and still remembers the first time he was here, after almost dying by the Port Mafia's hands.
Dazai to this day doesn't know why he'd slipped the spare key into Chuuya's fist.
After turning the corner, Chuuya finds himself stalling as he finds Dazai sat on the balcony. He's not sat on a chair or anything, just on the concrete flooring, staring nonchalantly over the cities skyline as if taking it all in for the very first time. Each building must look different each time he comes here, and Chuuya's sure he's never been here in the dark, or he has and he was asleep. Perhaps that might change now, as the sun was slowly falling in the sky.
On second glance, Chuuya notices the gun in his hand, the same one that's slowly raising to press against the side of his head.
He quickly restarts almost as fast as he'd stalled, and opened the balcony door, slipping to sit beside Dazai, legs collapsing gracefully. He doesn't flinch or startle at the company.
"Why are you here?"
Dazai's voice sounds wrecked, and Chuuya takes a look at his face, or at least, what he can see of his face from where he's looking down at his palms. He's pale, and Chuuya can make out the thick black bags under his eyes. His eyes themselves are bloodshot from lack of sleep. And that explains the wrecked voice, a nightmare or something to push him far enough to scream. Perhaps he's been screaming a suicide note to Yokohama. Chuuya gradually raises his hand, and takes the gun out of Dazai's grip, receiving no struggle at all, setting it down on the floor on the other side of himself, far away from Dazai.
"To stop you, apparently." Chuuya replies, taking off his hat and relishing in the suns heat. He decides against letting Dazai know the real reason, that Chuuya was bored out of his mind and wanted company, someone to bicker with.
"That's the first time you've tried a gun." Chuuya regretfully adds on, whispering the words and loosing them to the wind, but still, Dazai catches them.
"And next time, it'll work." Dazai replies straight forwardly as if he didn't just say that. When Chuuya looks back, he's shocked and a little scared to see tears strolling down the males cheeks. His shoulders don't shake and his body is totally rigid as he cries, making no noise whatsoever as if the whole world has stopped to watch him. Chuuya genuinely didn't know how to respond. His mind won't stop telling him that if he was just a second too late, or if he hadn't snuck in at all, he would've lost Dazai altogether, but it seemed like Dazai didn't care. But when had he cared?
However, this also marks Dazai's first time not making a joke at the failure.
"Y'know, the world would be a shit place without you in it." Chuuya mumbles, and if Dazai wasn't already rigid, he was now. His eyes went wide and he slowly gazes up at the ginger. The simple exhaustion laced in his eyes is enough to tell Chuuya that this time, he really was serious about suicide. Okay, so all his other attempts had bought him quite close, but this time...
This wasn't a dream.
"What... the fuck... are you on about? Since when the fuck have you cared? I'm joking, aren't I? This is all a meaningless joke, I don't want to die, it's all for attention. Apparently, my reality is that I'm a suicide obsessed freak. No one will ever take this seriously until I die." Dazai snaps, voice beginning to rise as his words got sharper and more in depth. As Chuuya begins to respond, Dazai continues.
"And... And the hands... keep getting me, Chuuya, the hands. I can't get them off me." Dazai sobs, dropping his head back down and letting the tears drip into his beige white trousers, voice cracking. He's breaking down.
Chuuya keeps his eyes trained on Dazai's face as he looks up despairingly, as if Chuuya should know what he's on about without him having to explain. But of course, Chuuya had no clue what went through Dazai's mind at times like this without the male having to help him out. He can't begin to figure out what's going on inside of Dazai's head, the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions doing on. This is the worst state he's seen Dazai in, and that's a long shot, considering he's seen Dazai overdosed and drunk.
"I don't know, Ch-Chuuya. But they keep grabbing me and choking me." He's tugging on his collar as if it's choking him right this second, like a helpless little child as he sobs.
Chuuya moves. He pulls Dazai's shoulder towards him, and the male just follows his bodies movement, failing useless into Chuuya's awaiting arms. He feels vulnerable, and doesn't have to voice that to make it clear, the way his body instinctively curled up and tucked into Chuuya's front. It's at this point that Chuuya really, really understands this suicide attempt was... legit. He was really going to do it and succeed.
"But I want to die interestingly," Dazai singsongs, Chuuya rolling his eyes at him, "A gun is too simple and boring, but it would be my last options I suppose, if all else fails."
Suddenly, Chuuya's crying. They collect at the bottoms of his chin and drop onto Dazai's face, and the other one looks up at the Mafioso in similar shock. Neither say a word, a mental form of understanding making the pieces of the situation fall together like a perfect masterpiece of a puzzle. The last piece was to...
"Let's get you into bed." Chuuya whispers, taking trained breaths as to not dissolve into the sobs that he'd just on the brink of creating. He slides his arms beneath Dazai's knees, and hauls himself to his feet with a grunt, leaving the gun on the balcony for now, locking the doors behind him as he takes the brunette to his room. For the small amount of time Dazai is in Chuuya's arms, the man rests his head on the ginger's shoulder. He kicks open the door and sets Dazai on the edge of the bed. Seeing as he makes no movement to take off any item of clothing, Chuuya does it for him. He slides off his coat and folds it neatly over the back of the desk chair, and the best and leather boro tie follow it. Chuuya doesn't touch his trousers, feeling like he was already pushing some dangerous boundaries, but he knew Dazai didn't care the moment he began to climb beneath the cover with what he remained wearing.
Chuuya deposited his hat on the desk, then set his coat down too, folded into square and placed underneath. He slips his hand beneath the best and undoes the harness he wore on his chest, letting the leather slide out, and he places that too, beside his had. His fingers linger on his vest.
Dazai's voice is almost lots in the sheets, and Chuuya only hums in acknowledgement.
"I was already planning on it."
Chuuya slips into the bed too, and it's not long until Dazai shuffles closer until the room between them is non-existent. Chuuya slides his hand into Dazai's hair.
"I wish people saw... my suicide attempts as serious attempts to end my life." Dazai whispers, "Because now, it feels like a game I play for them. I'm an app on their phone to keep them happy, to get annoyed at when i do the same thing all over again. It's hard to wake up now Chuuya... How broken can I get?"
Chuuya... hasn't heard this before. As he's saying himself, Dazai's always seemed so joking about the wanting to die. He's always seemed far happier about death than one should be.
"If I was here, when you woke up, would it be less painful?" Chuuya asks as he threads his fingers through Dazai's hair, feeling Dazai shrug.
"I'd feel a little more like I wanted to live perhaps."
"Chuuya, there's a box under the bed... your names on it." Dazai whispers sleepily, and before Chuuya can respond, he's fallen asleep in his arms. Chuuya breaths heavily, trying to intake what he'd just heard until he can find the strength to pull away from Dazai, slipping his head onto the pillow so slowly it must take a minute. Chuuya slowly slips off of the bed, and sits cross-legged on the floor as he pulls out the first box his fingers brush against in the dark. True to his word, it had his name taped to the side and the top, the most he can see in the dark. He doesn't flick on a light in the bedroom, wanting to leave Dazai in the darkness, so he can continue sleeping, and so Chuuya picks up the box and takes it to the living room, where he can freely turn on a light.
It's full of letters, and Chuuya feels his heart sink to his stomach so fast he has to push down a gag. That's not the only thing. There's a stack of photo's bound together by a single blue elastic band, and what looks like a pendant necklace too. He reaches into the box, and takes the letters first, setting them on the coffee table and spreading them out. There's nineteen and Chuuya doesn't know whether he was the emotional capacity to read them .
To be honest, Chuuya didn't really take Dazai to be the person to leave a suicide note, but of course, with all the attempts there had to be at least one. He spots that there's dates written on each of them, and so he works out which one's the earliest.
"Oh Christ, we were sixteen." He finds himself whispering as he peels off the sticker slowly, and begins to unfold the letter inside.
This marks my first suicide note! Be glad you're the first! I'll try hanging myself for the third time, suicide for the tenth. I hope nobody interrupts. Life isn't worthwhile enough to live, I thought I'd find the opposite in the mafia. Well, I'll apologise for this being short, but you probably won't even glance over it.
Chuuya's gonna need a bottle of wine if he's going to survive reading these notes. Dazai was already depressed when he met at fifteen or whatever, and he had probably gotten worse over time, so how the fuck were the remaining letters going to go. Chuuya hauls himself off the floor, and goes on the hunt for some form of alcohol, but stopping before he fully reaches the kitchen. He shouldn't drink, not a time like this. Not when Dazai could possibly be a danger to himself. Twisting on his heels, he sits back on the floor and finds the second letter, peeling the sticker off again and delving in.
Fuck I want to die so bad. I've learned that sticking two fingers on your tongue at the very back makes you gag, so no more feeling sick from eating too much at Mori's parties. i guess today might be the day, overdosing this time.
I'll see you soon Chuuya.
Chuuya drops the paper down and holds his head in his hand.
"I can't fucking do this." He whispers, as he opens the next one.
I'm sorry for today. I wasn't meant to hit you, it was an accident. I know you won't take my apologise, so this will be my formal one to make up for all the shit attempts. I, Dazai Osamu, am sorry for the misuse of a gun and potentially putting you in danger. In return, I will drown myself.
It takes all of Chuuya's self preservation to not rip or crunch the paper up. He glances back at the door leading to the bedroom, and sighs heavily. Silently, he was praying there weren't any other suicide notes addressed to anyone else. Chuuya skips forward and picks up the more recent one, and realises it's a couple days before he left the mafia.
I'm going to leave you. I'll be a traitor and you'll be told to kill me on sight. But don't worry, I'll be dead tonight. Hopefully, you'll find this note next to my body, and if not, I'm sorry for having burdened you until you find this. I'm sorry for not being dead and leaving you. And if I am dead, one word of advice.
Corruption isn't bad, you aren't a bad person.
I'm the bad one.
Take care Chuuya.
Chuuya picks up the most recent
Tell Akutagawa I'm sorry. No scrap that, tell everyone I'm sorry. Tell them they should be happy I'm dead, because the world will be at peace now. Tell them not to cry over me, or even think about me. Tell them to forget me Chuuya, tell them to completely fucking forget me. I've lost count how many times I've tried, but I hope this gun will be the answer.
Good Night Chuuya
Hand on, I should write this properly.
I love you Chuuya. I always have since we met at fifteen. I knew I loved you the moment you rode in to save the day on that obnoxious motorbike. I think you're hot, and I think you deserve so much better than me. Live you life Chuuya.
Take care my love
Chuuya drops it and gets up, flicking off the lights and unbuttoning his vest. He climbs back into the bed with Dazai, who subconsciously curls into his body warmth. Chuuya cries himself silently to sleep, and doesn't let Dazai out of the grip
Sleep well, my love.
Chapter 4: Familar
So, this is just me making Atsushi suffer.
Plus, Soukoku being the best parental figures in the whole world and Akutagawa's coat.
Something in Atsushi's chest told him he knew that woman. That woman led on the beach with a slit in her throat, blood soaked into the slowly drying clothes in the midday sun, with about ten police officers and most of the agency members. That woman with tear streaks down her face and a heartbroken expression on her lips, looking as if the world had betrayed her. Atsushi had followed Dazai and Kunikida to the destination, meeting up with Ranpo and Chuuya, whilst Akutagawa had joined them five minutes ago, purposely staying back to avoid the police officers giving him dirty looks. It was her black hair, splayed across the rocks, and the way her hands were delicately placed on her stomach that made him think about her. She'd been dragged onto the beach, and thick seaweed wrapped around her ankles.
The case was pretty simple, but Ranpo was still taking his time before he used his ultra-deduction. Almost like he was trying to prove his knowledge before showing off. Fair enough, he wanted the praise.
"Atsushi, do you mind holding open her eyes for a second?" Chuuya asks, and Atsushi is quick to crouch by the woman's head, gladly taking the latex gloves from the ginger to slip over his hands, shoving his leather ones in his pockets. Dazai is now watching them whilst half listening to Kunikida. He gently manipulates the woman's eyes into opening, and holds back the gag that threatened to leave as dead eyes stare into his soul. Chuuya had also cringed, a shiver running down his spine.
Chuuya repeats that to Ranpo and the officers writing in their notepads. If Chuuya weren't currently shining a torch for some unknown reason into those yes, Atsushi would've let go and walked off.
"Ranpo, what did you say this woman's name was?"
Ranpo spins around after finishing his conversation with the police officers, and walks back over to stand with Dazai. He starts to put on his glasses, and the world becomes his oyster.
"Her names was Yuki Nakajima. Forty-nine. She had a husband, but no other relatives apparently."
With those glasses on, Ranpo can't be wrong, but something inside of Atsushi clicks and twirls, disagreeing with every word. Thankfully, Chuuya stops, and Atsushi can let the woman rest again, and he chucks the gloves in the nearest bin whilst readjusting his own. He spots Chuuya doing the same.
"It's not often you find someone with the same name Atsushi." Kunikida hums, and Atsushi nods sheepishly, hoping no one saw his face drop when he turned away.
"She was stabbed, obviously. But with what Chuuya worked out, there was no struggle or oxygen deprivation. Almost like she didn't hear them coming." Ranpo reels off.
She didn't hear them coming? That meant someone had killed her with an intention, not just a meaningless murder. It's about ten more minutes until they leave the beach, walking along the bay towards the city. It's a half hour walk back to the agency building. The sky was grey, almost like it were mourning the loss of another soul in Yokohama to those of the gifted kind. Atsushi felt like he was leaving a part of himself behind on that beach. He was glad it wasn't cold, he hadn't brought a jacket, and he wasn't prepared to shiver all the way home.
"I guess out next job is to find her killer."
Suddenly, Atsushi is stopping and turning to face the scene they are walking away from. His heart pounds in his ears as his mind comes to the conclusion of who that woman was, and it falls into place. He's heard her name, he's seen her face before. Without warning, tears start filling his eyes, and he can feel his bottom lip trembling. That woman was... Atsushi quickly curls into himself, trying to rid of the pain in his chest, clenching his eyes shut as he begs himself not to sob, which fails horrifically as his hands shake against his chest. He doesn't want to be a bother, not right now. But her body was stone cold to the touch.
He was orphaned at one year and eleven months, so his memory wasn't very good. But he knew who that woman was. He knew what she'd done to him. The scar on his cheek told him so.
Dazai had stopped the moment he noticed Atsushi wasn't talking by his side, and the others also stopped. He turns around first, to see what had held up Atsushi, and slowly breaks into a job to stop the boy from collapsing. He, at first, thinks something impaled in Atsushi's chest, but the moment his hands come into contact with Atsushi's shoulders, the boy falls into his arms and sobs. Sobs. Atsushi breaks down faster than ever in his mentor's arms, clinging to him as if it were keeping him together. He can't see what he feels, can't talk whatsoever. Dazai finds himself holding the boy on his feet. It's absolutely heart-breaking, and his body is shaking with heavy breaths.
"Atsushi? What's wrong Tiger?"
Dazai knows Atsushi isn't going to answer, and knows they can't stay here for any longer, as the others at the agency were expecting them soon. Chuuya comes a little closer, and mouths the word 'traumatised' with a questions expression to which Dazai lightly shrugs before taking matters into his own hands. Literally. He gets Atsushi's legs around his waist, thankful for the height difference and picks Atsushi up. The boy sobs violently into Dazai's neck, soaking the mans coat, and practically limp in his arms. Akutagawa looks genuinely concerned as they catch up with the group, Ranpo getting Kunikida to text the rest of the agency.
"Let's get him away from the scene, he's overwhelmed." Kunikida says softy, and Dazai nods.
Atsushi doesn't have it in his body to struggle, and certainly doesn't have the energy to stay awake for the last ten minutes of the walk, falling asleep in Dazai's arms. Dazai would tell a lie, but he's absolutely adoring having Atsushi like this in his arms. He's always thought of the younger as a child like figure. Despite being eighteen, this boy needed someone to represent his parents, even if he can't truly, Dazai can try his goddamn best.
"Do you want me to take over?" Chuuya whispers.
"No, I'm fine." Dazai whispers back, "He's really not heavy. "
"Does anyone have any pictures from that case the other day. But, before she dies, like an ID photo." Atsushi asks into the open room, flicking through his phone where he'd taken a picture the other day at home, now he was finished with a report. It wasn't of the body.
In the orphanage, stealing something was one of the biggest no-no's in the entire place. Well, for the other kids. But Atsushi had been given something one of the other kids stole. it was a document and the kid had laughed in his face, telling him that he really wasn't wanted and here was why. After realising what the document was, Atsushi had hidden it in a bag pocket before he'd left. It still haunts him to this day, knowing what trouble he'd be in if he was found with this document.
His birth records.
So, yes, he knew his parents name, and what they looked like. He didn't know where they lived, but did know their ages. Just names and ages.
The orphanage was a terrifying thought still. It made him scared to think about what the future would hold if one of the staff found him, and took him back. He wouldn't have the courage to fight them, he would just follow like a lost puppy wanting food. The headmaster still haunted his dreams, haunted his mind with every move he made. sometimes, the voice in his head is so loud he falls into walls or doorways just to catch his breath and realise no one was really talking to him. Kyouka had caught him once, and asked him what happened. He couldn't reply through heavy breaths.
"Yes, here." Kunikida brings him out of his head as he passes over the woman's investigation folder, and Atsushi holds it up to the woman's picture on his phone. The moment he took a look at the two, he tears up. They're the same person, same name. Same age. Hoping no one would look up, he passes the folder back and gets up, leaving his bag behind as he walks from the room, and into the main hallway. He presses his back against the wall, and stares at the phone.
He didn't know why his parents abandoned him, but he could make an educated guess. He was a weretiger, a monster. Everyone knew except him. Perhaps they just didn't want him. He looks at the picture, looking straight into her eyes.
"Atsushi? Hey, what's going on?" Dazai calls out, and catches the boy just as he lest his arms drop, looking up to face him. Atsushi's face is a mess again, and Dazai is blurry in his vision. When... When had he started to cry?
"What's wrong?" Dazai asks quietly, using his thumb to wipe away the stray tears collected on the boys eyelashes, his voice is soft and comforting but Atsushi can't answer, just shoving the phone at Dazai, who takes it, and has a good look.
"This is an older photo, what's it got to do with her?"
"Look at the previous photo." Atsushi lets his voice crack, sobbing as he drops his head. The previous photo is of the full birth certificate. Dazai does as he's told with a concerned look, and holds in the gasp that threatens to leave. He wishes someone else was talking so the entire office didn't hear him.
"Atsushi, she was your mother?"
Atsushi's knees give out, and he almost screams, the wall doing nothing to help his body stay upright. The first time he'd met his real mother, and she was dead. Murdered by some random ability user. Now, he was would never find the real reason as to why he was left behind, why he was abandoned and forgotten about only to suffer at a horrible orphanage. Dazai moves the boy into his lap, both sat in the middle of the hallway as the poor boy cries his heart out. Dazai tries to hush him, but to no avail. The rest of the agency are in shock, Chuuya reeling off a healthy list of swear words in every language he's ever learnt, which is quite a few, and Akutagawa look ready for fucking murder. The siblings both looked close to tears at the revelation, and Ranpo almost look disappointed for not working that out.
They'd literally forced Atsushi to study his dead mothers corpse in order for them to solve a mystery.
This is so much worse than before, because Atsushi's whole body is trembling, and Dazai can't get him to calm down.
"She's DEAD! And I did NOTHING!" He shouts into Dazai's shoulder, but unable to cough anything else out as he really does turn hysteric. It's like Dazai is holding a small child as he begins to rock him, the movement becoming quite calming for the boy as he tries to focus in on it. Dazai can feel the bruises on his arms from where the boy had tried hitting him earlier, something that Atsushi clearly didn't know he was doing, all the strength gone now. Akutagawa falls down next to him, and slowly takes off his jacket to hide Atsushi slightly. To be fair, he's not sure whether Atsushi is shaking because he'd cold or because he's absolutely miserable, but either way, Akutagawa drapes his coat over the boy. Atsushi grips it with one hand, the other gripping Dazai's tan coat. The coat also works as a shield so Atsushi knows he's in a safe space.
"Tiger, calm down." Akutagawa whispers, all but lost in Atsushi's sobs, but he doesn't blindly reach out for Akutagawa to take his hand, intertwining their fingers once they meet. Akutagawa looks lost when Dazai glances up. Dazai continues to rock their bodies.
The rest of the agency remain silent, not really knowing what to do with the new information at all. Kunikida does let the president know that the meeting later would not happen now, briefly explaining why. Atsushi calms down with the rocking motion, but eventually sobs until his eyes grow tired, and Dazai finds himself with the boy in his arms once more. Dazai feels like he's holding his breath as Atsushi relaxes, resting his head on the older ones shoulder as his eyes close, wet eyelashes fluttering against the bandages of Dazai's neck, which he can just feel. He's safe here, and he knows it. He knows that Dazai means safe. Dazai moves his arms to the right position as he stands up, holding Atsushi against his chest again in the hopes he'd get him to sleep.
None of the agency tell him that he's lightly bouncing on his feet to get the boy to sleep.
"I'll take him back." Dazai mumbles to Akutagawa, "Just... I don't know. If you find the killer, don't hold back. And try and get as much information on her as possible."
By that time, Atsushi asleep against his shoulder.
For once, Dazai really doesn't want to walk home from work. Of course, he doesn't mind the free time either, but looking after Atsushi was right at the top of his list. He doesn't take a shortcut or diversion, just takes the boy straight to the shared dorms belonging to the agency. Dazai supposes the walking is creating a motion to get him to sleep. He halts at Atsushi's dorm, and slowly decides what to do. Just feeling the deep breaths, the boy is fast asleep, drained by the day, possibly even the week of knowing that awful information and note telling, not letting on that he wasn't okay. Dazai continues to walk and takes his time unlocking his own front door and slipping inside, forgoing the small hello in his empty dorm. He realises all too late that Akutagawa's jacket is still wrapped around the boy, but the dark haired boy hadn't said a word when they were leaving, so he gathered it would be alright until tomorrow.
Dazai lays Atsushi on his futon, having drawn back the thick winter duvet with his foot. He places Atsushi down slowly like one would a baby, and the boy immediately curls into the duvet once Dazai drapes it over him, leaving Akutagawa's jacket by his side in case he woke up distressed. Dazai knew that tomorrow, or possibly tonight depending on when he woke up, would be difficult. He knew Atsushi would have questions that Dazai would simply be unable to answer. But for now, Atsushi is asleep, and Dazai would let him sleep, slipping away and sliding the door to the bedroom shut.
Around six, three hours since Dazai got home, Chuuya knocks on the door and lets himself in. Dazai doesn't hear him at all so invested in this recipe he's making. The whole house smells like chicken soup, so Dazai must be doing something right. When he finally hears Chuuya, he smiles lightly and turns around.
"Is he alright?" Chuuya purposely keeps quiet, cocking his head towards the bedroom whilst sipping at the wine he'd clearly bought over judging by the bag on the counter.
"I don't know, he hasn't woken up yet." Dazai whispers. Chuuya leans against the doorway to the kitchen, his eyes on the door.
"Do you mind if I check on him?"
"Wake him, and I'll kill you hat-rack."
Chuuya grins as he puts down his glass, reassuring Dazai quickly and quietly that he wouldn't dream of such a thing. Chuuya slowly opens the bedroom door, and smiles to himself at the sight. Atsushi is still very much asleep, on his back with one arm keeping the now unfolded coat, belonging to Akutagawa, to his chest and face, whilst the other arm is spread eagle his other side. The duvet is pooled in his lap, and he looks in bliss. Apart from the clear stickiness of the tears on his face. Silently, Chuuya slips in as Dazai comes to watch, and he slowly pulls the duvet up to his chest, and watches as the boy curls further into the warmth, pressing his face properly into Akutagawa's coat.
When Atsushi finally wakes up, the room is dark and the moon is high in the sky, and the clock on the wall showed the time being half one. As he sits up, he becomes aware of the slither of light coming from under the door, and he guesses that Dazai is still awake. From the voices he becomes accustomed to, it sounds like Chuuya is there too. He rubs at his eyes with his rolled down sleeve, taking away the dryness of the past tears and sleep. He's still incredibly tired, mostly emotionally drained, but the rest being pure exhaustion. It takes him a minutes or two to get his legs used to holding his body, and he makes his way slowly to the door. Cracking it open, he comes to the scene of Dazai and Chuuya on the same sofa, watching some random television show as they look at something on Chuuya's laptop.
Dazai spots him first, and his expression softens immediately. They share a sweet smile, and Atsushi fully comes out of the bedroom. Chuuya spots him, and also gives him a wonderful smile, before saying something about soup and ducking into the kitchen. He's not really awake enough yet to register everything that's happening. But he does walk over to Dazai and sit next to him. There's a long silence between the three.
"How are you feeling?" Dazai whispers, slowly sipping his arms behind Atsushi's head and resting on his shoulders so he could bring the boy in for a side hug. He watches as Atsushi brings his knees up sleepily, relaxing finally into Dazai's side.
"Okay... I think. Just tired." Atsushi whispers back, "And a little hungry."
"Then you're in luck, "Chuuya sais as he reappeared from the kitchen carrying a tray with a steaming bowl of soup on top, and some bread that had clearly come fresh from a bakery today, "Dazai was making this when I arrived."
Atsushi whispers his thanks as Chuuya sits on the coffee table despite the empty space on the other side of Dazai where he previously sat. He's twisted to the side as he types on his laptop before closing the lid, sighing into his hands. Atsushi keeps sipping on the soup and dunking the bread into the warm goodness, listening to the two males converse quietly about what they were watching on the television. Atsushi really doesn't want to go to sleep again, but his eyes really seem to go against that. Thankfully, Dazai realises this before he can spill the three or four spoonfuls of soup let in the bowl all over himself, and so he takes it and places it beside Chuuya on the table.
"Do you want to sleep again?"
Atsushi shakes his head like a stubborn, exhausted child. He also feel the stubborn tears of tiredness and the misery he felt deep in his stomach prickling at his eyes. There's a foreign hand in his hair, and he opens heavy eyes to find Chuuya knelt in front of him.
"Why don't we go and lie down anyway, we can talk away until you get tired." He whispers as Dazai switches off the television. That, Atsushi can't argue with. To be honest, Chuuya and Dazai both look drained, and he hopes i's not because they were waiting for him to wake up. This time, Atsushi gets to change into one of Dazai's shirts, whilst Chuuya pulls open a lower drawer to find his own clothes in the button. Atsushi had seen the way they both held hands, and didn't even question it.
"Atsushi, would you like to sleep in the middle of us?"
It's... exactly what Atsushi had dreamed of. When he was a child, a terrified little boy stuck in his room, he'd dream his time away of being taken away by a loving family, getting to eat whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Being allowed to run around the garden whenever he wanted, even in the pouring rain. Being allowed to climb into their bed after a horrible nightmare. Suddenly, he's being shaken, not literally, out of his thoughts by hands on the sides of his face.
"Come on Kitten, let's get you comfy." Dazai whispers.
"Kitten?" He whispers back.
"Oh, sorry, didn't mean to... call you that." Dazai must be blushing in the darkness.
"No... I like it."
Chuuya chuckles from behind him, laying down on the futon with an extra duvet. Atsushi could burst into tears the moment Chuuya's arms lay over his hips, as do Dazai's when the elder is led down. His back is pressed against Chuuya's chest, and his face is buried in Dazai's collarbones. He's safer here than anywhere else.
"Your mother loved a lot. She really did Atsushi, and we've found letters to prove this. All we need to do is go and get said letters. But I promise to you, your mother loved you so much." Dazai finds the courage to speak quietly into the darkness, feeling Atsushi's hands tighten around the duvet.
"Then why?" The boy breaths.
"Because your father knew something she didn't. He knew about the tiger, she didn't. Your mother would've given up the world to keep you."
"How do you know?"
"Because she had a similar ability to Dazai. She would've been able to control your tiger." Chuuya mumbles.
"But she hurt me... My cheeks scarred because of her."
"I know Kitten, and she's an equally horrible woman for doing that to such a young baby. Kitten, no person should hurt their child, and I promise I'm not trying to make the pain you went through sound like a good thing. She loved you, she tried to save you but didn't know of your tiger, didn't know that orphanage was going to hurt you." Dazai replies.
"And Kitten, you didn't deserve any of this."
There's a hitch in Atsushi's breathing, and both Dazai and Chuuya shuffle closer, tightening their grip around the poor boy between them. His hearts breaking with every word they say. He can't bring himself to ask anything about her anymore, so he attempts to divert the conversation, not getting as far as the next words out of his mouth betray him.
"Will you replace them? Please?" He whispers shakily, the exhaustion creeping up behind him. He's barely awake to hear the answer. As he falls asleep, curled in Chuuya and Dazai's embrace, safe, warm and above all else, loved, he hears a sentence that would probably change his life.
"Kitten, we'd give yo the world for you."
And of course, it's the truth.
Chapter 5: Akutagawa's rainy days.
I'm awful at writing Dazai and Akutagawa, so this will be completely out of character.
Some days, the rain captured Akutagawa in its grip and wouldn't let go. he's found himself multiple times stood on a random bridge in Yokohama, absolutely drenched to the bone just staring at the moonlight peaking out from behind thick black clouds. The rain would seep into his soul, and he'd begin to feel a little more like himself with each time. Perhaps one day, the rain would bring him to the conclusion of who he really was. It wasn't even a voluntary decision to go standing in the rain, more like an impulse of his body. He'd let his feet carry him from the agency building to wherever his body wanted. He was starting to believe that his coat spent more time drying rather than on his body. he had no intentions of jumping off these bridges, unlike a certain someone, but just leaning on the railings watching the rain hit the road or water below, creating ripples or splatters on car windows.
At time like these, he wonders whether he really belonged here, in the Armed Detective Agency, learning how to good for the world. He wonders whether he deserved to live after all the bad things he'd done, much worse than Dazai ever did.
However, today proved to be the first time someone had found him.
The bridge was one of the few Akutagawa recalls ever going to. Most of them he doesn't remember where he was, but this particular bridge held memories in his mind. The sky had been grey all day long, but no rain fell from the gloomy clouds until after sunset, when the sky was tinted a light pink, when Akutagawa was the only person in a good miles radius. It was this type of weather that made his joints ache. The first few drops were smaller, evaporating immediately on the boys open palm, but then the heavens opened. The bigger drops ran underneath his coat, slipping down his pale back where he shivered and curled his hands under his arms. When the first strikes of lightening lit up the sky, Akutagawa's eyes widened and he flinches as the rumbling thunder overhead increased in volume. His eyes follow the lightening across the sky.
"What're you doing out here?"
Akutagawa whipped round to find his ex-mentor, Dazai, standing just as soaked as he was. Two feelings wracked through the boys chest immediately. Guilt, and anger. Well, the guilt was much heaver than the anger to be fair. He turns back as Dazai walks to lean on the same railing, ignoring the rain altogether.
Their relationship had gotten a tenfold better since Akutagawa joined the agency, with the most anxiety inducing meeting he'd ever had in his life. Of course, Chuuya was already there, so that helped a little, and Atsushi really shouldn't have been as willingly helpful as he was. Kunikida still spared him worried yet warning filled glances whilst the others seemed quite scared of him. He found himself sitting the corner as far away as possible to not worry anybody quite a lot now, and didn't even look at Kyouka in the fear that she was going to burst into tears or have a panic attack. He understood Junichiro and Naomi being scared of him, so he avoided them so much. His heart fell at ease the few times Atsushi had come to sit with him, silently working whilst sat on the same large windowsill. But having his mentor once again felt... How should he put this?
Nice? Kind of. It felt like he'd been missing for years, and was now back to pretending to be all happy happy. No, that's exactly what is was. Dazai hadn't really changed much, he still had his suicidal tendencies and still tried to flirt with every woman that entered the agency, despite how he and Chuuya were so obviously pinning. He still smiled the same, but his eyes now glittered a little more. He was happier away from the stupid hell the Port Mafia brought.
"I don't know." Akutagawa finally replies, turning back properly to face the water under the bridge as another burst of lightening lit up his small world, lighting up the many ripples in the water.
"It's cold, why don't we go back?" Dazai almost had to yell over the rain.
Akutagawa shakes his head, letting his soaked hair stick to his face. He doesn't really feel like going home, especially not with Dazai, and not right now anyway.
"You'll go, I'll see you in the morning." He replies, his words practically lost in the rain. A tug on his arm brings him back and he glances at Dazai.
"I'm sure the rain would do wonders for your cough."
Akutagawa hates his sarcasm, always had done. He also hates the way he's right. Following like a damp puppy, Akutagawa falls into step behind his previous mentor, still cowering under the thick thunder rumbled with Dazai's hand still wrapped around his wrist so he doesn't get left behind. Dazai takes the back alleyways, a few main roads and little paths through gardens and parks. He's still soaked when they reach the dorms, and Dazai doesn't hesitate in opening the door, ushering Akutagawa inside and shoving a prepared towel over his head. He doesn't shake it off, just stands by the front door as Dazai slips off his coat. It's surreal, and he's completely at the hand of Dazai now.
"Are you okay?"
Dazai's voice is uncharacteristically soft. He's not used to hearing that tone yet, especially not directed at him. He looks up through damp eyelashes, and suddenly, his world is falling apart in front of him, slipping through his fingers as if it weren't shattered on the floor already. This isn't the same Dazai he remembers, the one who shot him in order to learn how to use Rashoumon as a shield. This isn't the same man who hit him to the point of insanity or a breakdown instead of giving him proper tips on how to ridge and become a true Port Mafia member. This is the man who helps others now, saves the day. Is the person Akutagawa could never dream of becoming.
Dazai still wants to die, still wants to make a mission out of pissing off everyone in the office. Still wants Chuuya to fuck him. Like that hasn't been going on for the last, what, nine years?
He's not sure Dazai even notices at first, because he doesn't say a word. But when the first sob falls through his lips, Dazai is snapping to look at him. There's tears slipping over his lips and he weakly catches them with a swipe of his tongue, dropping his head in order to hide himself from the man in front of him. The string in his eyes gets worse as he tries to hold back more oncoming tears. In blurry vision, Akutagawa watches Dazai's feet come closer, and feels hands on his head, gently rubbing the water from his hair.
"Why the tears Akuta?" Dazai keeps his voice low and quiet, soft as he tries to calm the boy down just like he does with Atsushi's pure soul. Akutagawa tries not to get lost in the feeling of Dazai's hands in his hair, but it's too hard when it's one of the only source of contact he's had in days.
"I...I tried to kill you. I tried to kill... everyone... and you still... take me in." He sobs weakly, and with no warning, there's arms around his body. Dazai is taller than him, so his head automatically falls onto his shoulder, arms not going all the way around him, but just enough to grip his vest in trembling fingers.
"And... I don't... want to scare people anymore. But everyone in the office... is frightened of me... Because of what I've done."
Shit, at times like this, Dazai forgets all about what Akutagawa's done, what hell his mind must be like if his own is all messed up.
"And I was part of the Port Mafia, an organisation I'm now hell bent on destroying. And I'm glad that you're not part of them anymore, so I don't have to watch you die. Just continue what your doing, people will recognise you're better soon. And listen." Dazai slowly pushes Akutagawa off him, so he can look him in the eyes. Akutagawa looks miserable and it twists something awful in Dazai's chest.
"When they had Chuuya, and they were going to kill him, you didn't stop me from saving him. You let me take him. From that moment, I knew you weren't as bad as the world was telling you."
"I don't care what you've done to Atsushi, what you've done to me and the agency, that's what you needed to do in order to survive."
His sobbing only gets worse, and his knees feel weak as he depends on Dazai to keep him upright. He's forgotten over time what hugs felt like, and he also had forgotten what how big Dazai's hands were. There's one in the middle of his back, and the other one is slowly stroking his hair, now that the towel was gone. It was overwhelming, and Dazai knew it too. Akutagawa hopes the man can't feel his nails where he's gripping the back of his shirt, and really hopes he can't hear the gross sniffling through the sobbing.
"I'm sorry for what I did to you Akutagawa. I know sorry isn't really enough for fucking up everything, but you're a good kid. And I'm so proud of you."
And that's all Akutagawa needed. It's like he's unconscious in the body but not his mind. Dazai tried to keep him upright, but his knees were going very much against that idea, and so Dazai slowly helps him to sit on the floor. Well, mostly to sit on his lap. Dazai welcomes Akutagawa back into the hug, and holds him tight, both still dripping wet but warming one another as best as two soaked people could. Eventually, as the cold started to seep into the bones, and the exhaustion settled in, Akutagawa fell silently, his head cocked to the side so his nose was pressed into Dazai's neck.
And he stayed there until the violent shivers settled in, and Dazai moves the both of them apart, wordlessly taking Akutagawa's hand and leading him to the bathroom, where the heaters were pumping away and the room felt like a sauna. After taking off his tie and vest, Dazai slipped away to find some clothing for the both of them. Akutagawa was coughing up a storm when he got back, doubled over the sink gasping for air.
"I told you it wouldn't do any good standing out there." Dazai says as he slips a large shirt over Akutagawa's bare arms, paying no attention to the boys thin frame and his soft 'I know', slowly buttoning it up before sliding over and beginning to undress himself. Dazai makes quick work on it, and turns back to find Akutagawa tying a neat bow in the drawstrings of his joggers before washing his hands. There's a knock on the front door, startling Akutagawa into flinching, but Dazai runs a hand over his back.
"It's just Atsushi, I asked him to bring dinner."
Atsushi... Akutagawa certainly didn't deserve someone like Atsushi in any world. Someone as kind and thoughtful as him, someone who really saw through all the anger and hatred and saw a broken soul inside of him. It wasn't just that, Atsushi was...
Yeah, he was cute. The sound of the door opening brings him back to reality and he ignores it for now in favour of seeking out a blanket to hide under for now, still warming up. He soon finds one that he plants over his shoulders and curls into. He stares out of the window on his left at the pouring rain as it battered the windows and sort of listens into the conversation a few feet away.
"I got every, because I don't know what he likes or if he's allergic. I got drinks too, again I don't know what he likes so-"
"Calm down Atsushi, I'm sure he'll like everything."
"Even the mochi?"
"There's mochi?" Akutagawa quietly calls out, and turns his head. Atsushi looks... warm. He's donned a large hoodie with cat ears on the hood. He smiles and pulls out the sweet treat from the bag. They're strawberry flavour, and he makes his way over with the packet in hand whilst Dazai begins to heat up the rest of what he'd bought. Atsushi sits on the coffee table, and begins to unwrap the main packaging, before handing it over the mochi to Akutagawa, who takes a big chunk out and savours the taste. Atsushi smiles before jumping up to help Dazai with the warmed food, carrying it over with chopsticks tucked under his arm. Akutagawa stays curled in the blanket even when he eats the soba and rice with chili sauce. Atsushi didn't eat much, but at this point everyone knew that. Which made Akutagawa wonder, shouldn't he have one hell of a fast metabolism? He can turn into a tiger and regenerate, there's no way eating just one big meal a day could suffice.
"Do you have a favourite food Akutagawa?"
Atsushi's voice is quiet, clearly afraid of crossing a line, but Dazai hums in agreement as he doesn't know the answer either.
"White chocolate." Is Akutagawa's replies, sinking his teeth into the fried chicken from the small plate on the side that Dazai had just brought out of the bag, and said man grinned by his side.
"I forgot that was your favourite."
The rain was pelting down, and the entire office was filled with the noise of it. They'd all gone home before the rain had gotten worse, and Akutagawa promised to lock up when he was ready to leave, and so now it was dark, he was all alone in the office watching the rain with no intention of leaving any time soon. It felt better to be indoors than out there, watching it hit the window so violently that it caused him to flinch every few minutes when it got back. There's a lamp on in the furthest corner of the room, and so Akutagawa is just casted in an orange glow.
He's warned by a single knock before the door to the office opens to reveal a soaked Atsushi. Akutagawa snorts lightly as Atsushi places down the white plastic back on the nearest desk so he can shuffle out of his coat. Then, he shakes his head. Flicks of water fly all over the room as he shakes like a dog. Or a distressed, soaked cat. Akutagawa doesn't move, because Atsushi is already walking to him, perching on Dazai's desk opposite him.
"I bought pizza." He says, holding up the bag and passing over the box to Akutagawa, also setting down an array of sauces in between. Akutagawa opens his to find pepperoni, and he smirks lightly.
"Did you ask Dazai?" Akutagawa says around a mouthful of pizza, and Atsushi lightly shakes his head with a smile.
"No, Dazai asked me. He's worried about you, though you'd go standing in the rain again." Atsushi whispers, his voice still far too loud in the silence of the office, yet quiet against the hammering rain. They stay silent for the time it takes them to eat pizza, and eventually both gravitate to the window seat in the corner behind Yosano's desk. There's not a lot of room, so their legs are tangled as they sit opposite one another.
"It was fun, the other day. Y'know, the aquarium." Atsushi whispers, leaning his head on the window as he looks at Akutagawa.
"It was, yes. And I'm guessing Dazai and Chuuya bought you that jellyfish."
Atsushi's ears redden.
"How did you know that?"
"You spaced out for a good three minutes staring at it."
A little 'oh' escapes Atsushi, and he shakes his head. They fall into silence once more. That is before Atsushi moves. At first, Akutagawa thinks he's getting up to leave, but instead, he's burrowing himself into Akutagawa's body. It takes a moment for him to relax. There's no way it's comfortable, but they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle with Atsushi's head on his shoulder, legs intertwined as are their hands. Atsushi can feel the hot blush against his neck, and before he can ask, Akutagawa is clearing his throat nervously.
"I...er... I think you're... cute... Atsushi... I really like you, and I'm sorry."
It's now Atsushi's turn to flush red, and he continues to hold Akutagawa.
"I really like you too, so don't apologize."
A confession in the rain, all Akutagawa's ever wanted.
And that's how the Agency find them in the morning. They haven't moved an inch, except for now, Akutagawa's jacket is draped over him, and one of his legs is touching the floor. Dazai smirks as he chucks Chuuya the two empty pizza boxes, whilst the siblings take multiple pictures to use as blackmail for next time Akutagawa didn't want to do something. It wouldn't work on Atsushi, that kid did everything everyone told him to do. It gets to half eleven before Atsushi wakes up, and in turn his slight movement wakes Akutagawa. Everyone stays dead silent as they watch Atsushi shuffle into a better position, whilst Akutagawa yawns.
"You alright?" Akutagawa's voice is thick with much needed rest, and Atsushi makes a form of mewl slash whine. It doesn't take long before they're both drifting back off, and the agency can breath again.
Chapter 6: Exhausted Dazai
Fifteen era Dazai and Chuuya!!!
Dazai is so tired. Literally, on the brink of death, tired. He blinks slowly, soft brown eyes burning as his eyes close for longer each and every time they do, and he misses his phone going off in his pocket more than once. He can genuinely hear Ango's slightly drunk voice in his head telling him off for not sleeping. There's a perfectly good sofa in the corner, leather with puffy pillows and a blanket thrown over the top, but it was nothing compared to his bed in his and Chuuya's shared apartment. There's piles of a mixture of finished and unfinished reports for him, and his coat on his back was creating the perfect warmth for him to sleep comfortable. Eventually, whoever's trying to get a hold of him gets annoyed, and his phone finally rings. With closed eyes, Dazai pulls the phone out, ignoring whoever the caller is, and presses the phone to his ear. Before he can even ask, he hears a voice too familiar to him.
"Where the fuck are you? It's one in the morning, and you're not here. "
Chuuya? Why would Chuuya be calling him? Racking his brains, Dazai tries to think of anything they had planned, whether it be a movie or just eating together. Since becoming a team, both of them had gotten a little closer, definitely since being moved in together and sharing an apartment. He really like spending time with Chuuya, even if it's just cooking their separate dinners together or trying to write reports whilst the other plays a game. Dazai gathered Chuuya didn't like their time together already, and was just putting up with it for now.
Dazai had learnt a few things about Chuuya. He was much better than Dazai at cooking, and didn't really drink with the aim of getting drunk, despite how underage h e was. He also worked out that Chuuya had a nicer bed, because it was so much softer than Dazai's, which wasn't a problem until over a week ago, when Dazai had snuck in to steal some of his chocolate and found him asleep. Chuuya sleeps in any position his body deems comfortable, and that day Dazai found him flat on his back, one arm over his chest whilst the other holds a pillow to his side. It was at that very moment, Dazai realised he had a disgusting urge to climb into bed beside him and just sleep.
It'd been eight days since then, and Dazai hadn't slept once.
But it wasn't just that. Chuuya was pretty. He was hot at the same time, and Dazai just wanted to be with him. What love was, he had no idea, but if it was warmth in his chest whenever he saw him, and the soul destroying hurt he felt when Chuuya walked away, then he was in love. His mind had been all over the place whilst trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol and not sleeping. Odasaku doesn't know, and that feels like shit too, but he'd going to take a guess that he'll work it out soon. He's not an idiot. Even the suicide had taken a step down as he tries so hard to get Chuuya off his mind just for one day, and so far, that hadn't happened.
"Dazai, are you even listening?"
"Oh my god, I'm coming to get you."
Dazai barely hears any of that, as his head and arm had fallen onto the desk, and his breathing was beginning to even out, deepen, and he was asleep. He was still in his late fifteens, being overworked and now his mind wouldn't shut up about joining someone he wasn't supposed to like, in bed. His mind was begging him not to fall asleep, but it was impossible not to, and he gave into the darkness.
Chuuya waltzes down the decorated hallway towards Dazai's office with his hands shoved into his pocket, yawning perfectly for the time of night it really was, two in the morning and freezing. He's happy no one's about, because it would be hard to explain that he was here to drag Dazai home, plus he'd left his hat at home. If Mori found him, he'd giggle about how they were dating for the next three weeks and Kouyou would question him about being gay until Chuuya was forced to do something else embarrassing to get them to shut the fuck up. Chuuya doesn't know what he's expecting to find, probably Dazai hanging from the ceiling or something. He doesn't knock on the large oak door, just lets himself in and sighs upon the first thing he sees.
Dazai is drop dead asleep now, arms resting on the desk so his head can be propped up like a makeshift pillow and his phone is now on the floor where he'd clearly dropped it after Chuuya called. He takes a wild guess that this sleep was involuntary just by the fact he hadn't turned off his lamp or anything. He walks over, light on his feet as he makes his way around the desk, dropping to a crouch to pick up the phone and turn it off. Reaching over Dazai's prone body, he flicks off the lamp and clasps on his pen lid, before lightly tapping the fifteen year olds shoulder with barely a fingertip. His ability circles the teens body in red, and makes his entire body light enough for Chuuya to carry him on his back. It's not hard to manipulate his body into flopping over his back, and eventually he's standing. Dazai doesn't move whatsoever, just a heavy contempt sigh on the side of Chuuya's neck.
Chuuya carries him down the halls after locking the office door. Dazai probably wasn't heavy without he ability on him, but Chuuya wasn't ready to risk that mid walk, so he continues his focus on his ability. He knew from Mori and Kouyou that the boy hadn't been sleeping, and Odasaku had mentioned something the last time he and Ango came round to check on them. According to Odasaku, sleeping was something Dazai tried to take for granted, and so hearing that Dazai wasn't sleeping, was slightly concerning. Chuuya had caught him nodding off during reports and things, but he almost always woke himself up as soon as he realised what was happening and chugged some coffee in the hopes that he'd stay awake. He's even spotted him drifting off in meetings only to be called and make a joke in front of everyone.
Dazai doesn't wake up during the car ride either, or the journey in the elevator or to his bed.
In fact, he doesn't wake up until four in the morning when he's screaming his lungs out.
Chuuya woke up to that heart-stopping scream, and he threw back the covers and grabbed the gun on his bedside to throw open his bedroom door. There's nothing there when he slams the light on, throwing the open plan living room diner into light. And nothing in the whole apartment when he inspects it as fast as possible. He knows for a fact that Odasaku and Agno were on the other end of security camera that were mostly activated by hand, but if they needed to be, sound. So that scream was sure to alert the both of them, and they were sure to have seen Chuuya. In the end, the only room left to check is Dazai's. And slowly, he lets himself into the boys bedroom, to find something he'd never thought he'd see.
In the time it'd taken him to check the apartment, Dazai had ripped open his bandages covering his arms and was now staring at them in horror with pale, sweat soaked skin. He's barely been asleep for two hours. Chuuya sighed heavily as he ran a hand through his hair, and chucked the gun onto the nearest flat surface to make his way over. Chuuya doesn't spot any blood on the sheets, so that's a win-win.
"Didn't... mean to wake you." Dazai pulls out finally, having slowly gathered his words. Chuuya sets himself on the free side of the double bed, keeping his back to Dazai. Now, Chuuya wasn't a person to really give a shit about people's personal issues, but Dazai's bandages were something he'd learnt not to ask about. Not that he ever had, Ango had been the one to ask, and for the rest of the evening, Dazai was silent with a blanket curled around him so tight it's surprising it didn't rip, and his head had been pillowed by Odasaku's lap. So, nobody actually knew what lay beneath those bandages, and now Dazai's sat here, clearly crying and panting for breath, completely vulnerable to anyone.
"It's fine, a good test run for waking up the reflexes. Are you okay?" Chuuya speaks into the beige room that was currently cast in a yellowish glow where Dazai had turned on the light just seconds before Chuuya walked in. There's a shuffle, and Dazai's shaking ceases for long enough for him to find Chuuya's hand resting on the bed. At first, Chuuya thinks he's going to hold his hand, but in reality, he's pressing two fingers against the major pulse point, and checking that he was still living. Still alive.
"So it was just a dream, huh."
"Do you want help wrapping your arms?"
Both of them speak at once, and they both stiffen at the other ones sentence. Well, Chuuya was mostly frozen because that was nowhere near what he was planning to say to the obviously distressed brunette, and he's probably just gone and distressed him even more.
"The third drawer down, you'll need two rolls."
Chuuya nods slowly before getting up, crouching once again to open the third drawer. He's not surprised to find it stacked full of bandage rolls that were clearly stolen from Mori's office, not that the Boss really minded. He picks out two and closes the drawer with his foot, and climbing back on the bed. This time, Chuuya does see Dazai's arms.
They're pale from lack of sun, and both are covered in cuts, both old and recent, in every direction cutting his arm into intricate shapes. There's old bullet scar too, where perhaps he's covered his face or something in protection. Other than that, it's all self-harm. There's burns too, and Chuuya can't work out exactly what the word says, but it's etched into his skin by knife. Both arms are like that, and Dazai slightly shivers when he runs his fingers over the wounds, carefully as to not aggravate anything. Dazai looks broken when he looks up, and Chuuya slowly begins to cover his left arm.
"You were dying... I couldn't get to you in time, corruption took over. You were begging me to save you, but I couldn't get near to you. I watched you die..."
Dazai's tears trip onto Chuuya's hand, and he ends up stopping just to let Dazai rest his forehead against the ginger's shoulder. He's breathing heavily through tears, chest heaving with the effort of containing sobs. He can't crying in front of Chuuya. Chuuya lets one of his hands slip down, and he rubs tiny cirlces into the boys palm.
"I'm tired Chuuya."
"Then sleep." Comes Chuuya's quiet reply as he gets to Dazai's forearm, wrapping so carefully in case any of the cuts are still sensitive.
"I haven't been able to sleep since last week." Dazai whispers pathetically.
"And why's that?" Chuuya does inquire, because if something is going on, he'd need to let Odasaku know.
"You're not here with me."
"I don't even want to be in this fucking room, and it's stupid. I only went into your room once and now I'm fucking obsessed with needing you by my side and fucking falling in love with you. I hate this Chuuya, why's it gotta be you?"
Chuuya silently finished up the rest of Dazai's arms whilst processing the words, before taking his hands. No words are exchanged as Chuuya pulls Dazai from his bed, flicking off the lamp and pulling him into his own room where the light still glowed bright yellow from a new bulb. Chuuya doesn't let go as he climbs into his bed, and Dazai slowly follows him. From there, the two fifteen year olds slide under the covers, and Chuuya grabs his legs, the shorts Dazai's wearing exposing also bandages thighs. Now he knows what on his arms, he hopes it's not the same on his chest and neck and fucking thighs. The ginger positions Dazai's legs slightly over his own and lets him rest his head on his bicep. There was something about the whole thing that felt like they were home. Dazai's eyes fluttered against the soft skin, and he weakly smiles.
"You're an idiot, you know that. Not sleeping... Drinking... I knew something was wrong." Chuuya whispers as he turns off the light, not really expecting an answer as soft little snores escape the Mafioso. The slim fingers on his chest curl into a weak fist, and he sighs into Dazai's hair. He hadn't realised really until that moment that he'd taken off his sleep shirt after getting Dazai home.
Odasaku and Ango don't make a sound as they enter the double black apartment, slowly toeing off their shoes before walking to the kitchen.
"I stopped watching after Chuuya went into Dazai's room." Ango whispers, chastising himself for sounding weird, but the cameras had caught everything except for what had happened in the two bedrooms. He follows Odasaku to the doorway of Dazai's room to find nothing except ripped up bandages covering the bed and an abandoned gun. Miniscule panic ran through Odasaku as he quickly checked the bathroom, thankful that there was no injured Dazai or a singular drop of blood. Then Ango drags him to Chuuya's room.
To find Dazai fast asleep on top of Chuuya, head tucked between the gingers shoulder and his head, inhaling the soft scent of Chuuya's weird cologne he wore with every breath. They're both shirtless, but Dazai's chest is covered in a cross work of bandages, but other than that he's shirtless. Chuuya's head is slightly inclined so his face is resting in Dazai's brown curls. The best thing is, Chuuya's right arm is extended to the bed as is Dazai's left, and their hands are tightly intertwined whilst the other is curled around the other's body. Odasaku leans against the doorway and shakes his head with a smile pulling at his lips.
"I'm not surprised." Ango whispers as he walks away, Odasaku following after pulling the door to. Leaving a note on the counter, the two men leave the apartment with nothing else to say.
Chuuya wakes up when the front door closes, and he takes a wild guess at what had gone one whilst he was asleep. But he doesn't move, or shove Dazai from his chest.
They're both fifteen, in a world full of blood and endless murder under their hands. They're both fifteen, hopelessly trying to figure out whether they love each other. They're both fifteen, drinking anything alcoholic they can get their hands on.
They're both fifteen, and falling asleep in the morning sun.
Chapter 7: Atsushi's headache
"I can't believe we lost him."
"Don't worry, he'll come to Yokohama."
Atsushi's curled up in the passenger seat as Dazai slowly drives down the highway towards Yokohama. The clock on the dashboard said half one, and their bodies knew it was at that time too. Even from here, it's still a three hour drive until they reach even the outskirts of Yokohama, and the agency dorm buildings were in the very middle of the city. It's pitch black, apart from the not too often streetlamps and the even rarer headlights on either side of the road. They were completely alone, apart from each other. Thankfully, the agency kept a few blankets in the back of their shared car, mostly Kunikida's, and one of them was currently tucked around Atsushi as he tried his best to stay awake. Dazai smiles weakly as he changed gear, hiding a yawn behind his hand once he can remove it from the gear stick.
"What makes you so sure he'll come to us? All his murders have been in the middle of nowhere." Atsushi asks, pressing his head against the cool window to try and rid of the headache he's had for the last twenty minutes.
"That's where the agency and Port Mafia are. If not for us, he'll go for the Mafia." Dazai speaks quietly, reaching over to gently pet the boys hair. Atsushi lets his eyes close for the short amount of time spent with the elders hand in his hair. It's so quiet between the two. Their legs ached from running and jumping between buildings after a hot pursuit only to end in Atsushi going the wrong direction, splitting up from Dazai and ultimately loosing their chase. His phone goes off and he slowly pulls it from his pocket, finding a message from Akutagawa, just letting him know he and Chuuya were still doing reports, and for him to go to sleep soon.
Dazai checks the clock again, and takes a moment to count how long it would really take to get home. Of course, Atsushi could sleep but with how the boy had been trying his best, and failing, to hide his headache, sleep was never going to happen easily. He makes the silent decision to stop somewhere, and spend the remainder of the night in a hotel so both of them could rest. Thankfully, neither of them had gotten injured, so Yosano wasn't needed anytime soon. Pulling off the motorway, Dazai follows the signs for the nearest hotel, which still ends up being three miles away from some ungodly reason.
"Dazai, where are we going?" Atsushi whispers, and Dazai reaches over again, this time gently pressing his hand against the boys forehead. There isn't a fever, but he's not feeling too good either. If he weren't careful, that headache was going to turn into a migraine. Atsushi's body soaked up the comfort like a sponge as his body curled further into the blanket.
"We're stopping at a hotel, you need to sleep in case that headache gets worse."
"I don't have a headache, keep goin'." The weretiger mumbles, but still clenching his eyes shut as they pass more buildings with bright lights on, "We haven't got any overnight things anyway."
"So, after the drive tomorrow, we can get changed and rest again."
Atsushi doesn't disagree with that, not after realising how nice a bed would be right now. Plus, for once Dazai is talking like the adult he is. Quietly, he follows Dazai's instructions on locking up the glovebox and taking the guns with them just in case. Dazai pulls into the car park, helping Atsushi out who's wincing harshly at the lights surrounding them. Dazai practically smiles, and leads the boy into the hotel. The lobby is even brighter, and the boy holds back a whimper as he tiredly rubs at his eyes. He doesn't register Dazai sweet talking the woman and getting them a twin room, not until Dazai's sitting him on the edge of a bed, and untying his tie. When he blinks finally, there's no light on, and he can just about make out Dazai in front of him.
"I don't have any medication, which Yosano will kill me for, so I'm hoping you can sleep away that headache." Dazai whispers as he slips the tie from round the boys neck.
Atsushi shrugs lightly, "It's not the worst I've had."
Dazai smiles gracefully, watching the boy slip out of his braces, dropping them next to his tie, and then shedding his shirt even slower than his braces. His gloves join the mix and eventually, he's curled in the duvet, putting his phone on silent before he places it on the side. He hopes Akutagawa doesn't mind that he forgot to text him. His head is pounding now, even when he closes his eyes, and buries himself into the bed.
"Kitten, are you sure you don't want me to get you medicine?" Dazai whispers as he tucks the duvet around the boy properly, where he's only half-heartedly done it. Atsushi shakes his head, regretting the action immediately with a pined whimper.
"I'll be fine tomorrow."
Somehow, Dazai doubts that. The sudden hand on his heat with slight pressure makes it go away momentarily, and he starts to fall asleep.
"Wake me if it gets worse." Dazai whispers, but doesn't get a reply as the boy falls asleep with the slight pressure on his head. Dazai stays there for a good ten minutes just keeping pressure on the boys head until he slowly moves away, and slipping out of his own clothes and into the bed. But not before he lets Akutagawa know that his favourite tiger isn't feeling too god. Akutagawa swears at him over text and then three minutes later sends a thank you.
It's half four when he next wakes up to a quiet whimpering and it's heart-breaking when he realises it's coming from Atsushi. The very morning sun is making the room a light blue, and he looks over to find Atsushi in a mess of sheets. His hands are clamped around his head trying to get the pain out of his head. Dazai gets up as quickly as he can without making too much noise, and leans on one knee on the boys bed. He's not awake like he'd first thought, still asleep. Dazai frowns at the beading sweat on his forehead, but upon touch, his skin is freezing.
And so he tucks him in. Of course, it's not the first time he's tucked the kid in, but this time, it was calming to watch him curl into the sheets. He begins to press his thumbs into the sleeping boys head, and he can see the way the boys breathing gets slower until he's deeply asleep, mostly unaware of his headache. Grabbing his phone, still on Atsushi's bed, he messages Chuuya and tells him to get some strong medicine for when they get home, and get Akutagawa too. Atsushi whimpers, but this time, he's waking up.
"Oh, Kitten." Dazai whispers, and Atsushi weakly sobs, although no tears fall. Dazai slowly climbs in beside the boy and Atsushi immediately tucks into his chest, trying to block out the ever-growing morning light and the bursting pain in his head. It's clearly getting worse, and so Dazai takes action. He shouldn't have stopped, he curses himself for this.
"Kitten, I think we should leave and get home. Do you want to do that?" Dazai whispers, and Atsushi nods fast, whimpering and gasping in pain. Dazai slowly pulls away and grabs Atsushi's shirt, sitting him up against his side and even slower, trying to get his arms in his shirt. Once that's done, he pockets the weapons and whatever accessories they'd left on the floor, and picks Atsushi up bridal style, his head lolling on his shoulder.
He manages to pay for the room and get Atsushi to the car in record breaking speed, opening the back door so he could lay the boy down. Atsushi sobs dry again, and Dazai climbs into back footwell, hiding his parental panic well enough. He shuffles out of his jacket and lays it over the boys head, whilst shuffling another folded blanket for him to hold to his ears to hide the sound of the running car. As soon as he gets out, he's rushing into the drivers seat to pull away and get back on the motorway.
Dazai drives as fast as he can without getting pulled over and or killing them both. Once he's stuck in a red light, he pulls out his phone and dials Chuuya's number, before hanging up just as quickly as he was reminded of Atsushi's painful presence behind him with a pained whimper. He'd rather not make any more noise. Chuuya replies almost instantly with a text that he'll be ready and the doors unlocks. He then gets a text again saying 'never mind i'll come out and grab him." . It's cute, Dazai thinks, that Chuuya's panicking enough for him to not grammar his text properly.
It's a relief when twenty minutes later they finally reach Chuuya's apartment at smack on Seven in the morning, but Chuuya's already standing there in the car park outside. Despite Chuuya's height (or lack there off) he can carry a surprising amount of weight, but he's certainly not expecting Atsushi to be quite as light as he is, and he's not even using his ability. As he's carrying him, Dazai following close behind, he watches as the poor boys eyes open then clench shut, but it's enough time for him to recognise who's carrying him.
Or at least, that's what Chuuya gathered until the pained, gut wrenching whisper left his mouth before falling unconscious.
"Dazai, on the counter is the medicine, but I need you to get me a towel and bowl of lukewarm water." Chuuya speaks confidently, or as much as he can whilst panicking over the boy he's currently settling on the sofa. Atsushi is completely out of it, enough for him not even to flinch when Akutagawa bursts into the room. He's panting, which can't be good for his lungs, and takes a breather before rushing over to Atsushi.
"He had a headache that developed." Dazai states the obvious when he comes back with the goods, setting them on the coffee table for Chuuya to do what he needed to. Instantly, Chuuya is ringing the towel with the water and gently presses it onto Atsushi's face, making sure it covers his eyes and his forehead. He then looks over to Akutagawa.
"Make sure that doesn't go cold. I know it's probably better cold, but it's fucking freezing at the moment and he was shivering badly so." Chuuya reels off as Akutagawa nods, his weak hand moving through Atsushi's hair.
"He's hallucinating a bit." Dazai mumbles, and Chuuya nods.
"What do you mean?" The worry in Akutagawa's eyes is startlingly obvious.
"He called me 'mummy'." Chuuya explains, his gaze softening as he looks over at the boy. His face is still embedded with pain, and Chuuya wanted to cry on his behalf.
They're all sitting round the coffee table the next time Atsushi wakes up, and if it weren't for the pain that came with it, it's clear that Atsushi would be screaming right now. Akutagawa holds him to his chest, keeping a pressure on the boys heat whilst Dazai and Chuuya grab an arrangement of thing that half wouldn't be needed. He's sobbing and trying to hit his own head, and in the end, Akutagawa is forced to use Rashoumon to hold his arms back. it takes a while for him to calm down, but when he does, he looks up at his boyfriend with tears streaming down his face and bloodshot eyes.
"It hurts..." He whimpers, and Akutagawa whines deeply in his throat, and turns to Dazai. Dazai sits the boy up using his chest, and Chuuya slowly coaxes his mouth open to slip the two pills into his mouth, with one gulp of water, they're down. Once Atsushi is led down again, he's struggling with what to do with himself as the pain was far too much to handle. Akutagawa does what he's seen Dazai do before, and puts Atsushi's head on his lap, using both hands to hold his head down with pressure. And then, Chuuya begins to whisper-sing.
"Hush, little baby don't say a word, Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird don't sing. Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring."
In all their lives, Dazai and Akutagawa have never heard Chuuya sing anything, much less a lullaby. Atsushi's face is no longer screwed up and torn in pain, but he's beginning to fall asleep. Chuuya continues.
"And if that diamond ring is brass, Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass."
He sings slowly, quietly as to not hurt the boys head any further, and he slows to a stop as he thinks he's fallen asleep.
Chuuya weakly smiles as does Akutagawa, and his hand goes up to caress a cold cheek. He thought the boy had gone.
"What was that little kitten?"
Chuuya slowly blinks before thinking up another lullaby that he knows. He glances back at Dazai, who's smiling at all three of them. He decides quickly, and Atsushi recognises the look on his blurry face, closing his eyes and relishing in Chuuya's voice and Akutagawa's warmth.
"Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high. There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby. Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true."
"Someday I'll wish upon a star. And wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where the troubles melt like lemon drops. Away above the chimney tops. That's where you'll find me."
Atsushi is asleep at this point, but Chuuya can't find it in himself to stop.
"Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can't I?"
"If happy little blue birds fly. Beyond the rainbow. Why, oh why can't I?"
Atsushi is making tiny, kitten like snores and his hands that were previously clamped around Akutagawa's wrists loosen until they fall down by his head, and he really does look like a baby. Dazai sneaks up behind Chuuya and drapes a blanket over Atsushi, ruffling Akutagawa's hair quickly before he and Chuuya curled up on the opposite sofa.
"Where did you lean how to sing like that?" Akutagawa whispers, and watches as Chuuya shrugs lightly.
"I'm not sure, I suppose perhaps my childhood." Chuuya whispers back, smiling gently before shuffling so his head just burrows in Dazai's neck. Before Chuuya drifts off to sleep, he makes a plan. He'll get Atsushi to take some more tablets when he wakes up, make something to eat, probably soup, and then go from there really. Unless Atsushi wanted to talk about it and brought it up himself, Chuuya wouldn't mention what he'd called him.
Chapter 8: Fyodor's struggle
TW- Implied child abuse.
Fyodor learnt from an early age that he was a monster, a soulless monster with no concept of life. But this was wrong, to an extent. Of course he had a concept of life, he watched his own life drain away like blood in the rain with every decision he made. When his ability developed for the first time, he'd been holding hands with his mother in the ballroom of their mansion, deep in the Russian countryside blocked in by snow. The brilliant light exploded from his hands and with that, his mother lay dead on the floor with her blood painted his face, whilst the record scratched to a stop, their dancing lesson halted. If it weren't for the circumstances, the younger Fyodor would've been happy to stop dancing. He hadn't known why at first, and his heart had broken, sobbing violently in his dead mother's arms until his father arrived home. His father had also been an ability user, nothing like his own, but it was powerful enough to leave scars. He misses his mother every day, and the scars on his gloved hands did well to prove his own upset.
It was three years later when Fyodor realised he could kill his father. And with no remorse, he did just that, when the man was asleep.
And suddenly, he was alone.
Just like he was in currently time, half four in the afternoon. He wasn't sure if Dazai had confirmed a time as he zoned out during their conversation after he left prison. He'd sent a letter too, to the Armed Detective Agency stating his apology and he did get one back, from a certain white tiger, who had accepted his apology and written to say that the rest of them would take time to do the same, but eventually they would be on good terms.
Good terms, Fyodor wants to scoff or scream, perhaps both. How could there be any good terms when he could kill any person he touched? He curls his fingers into a fist, the leather covering his hands squeaking in protest. He can't be... good. He's never been good in his entire life, a killer through and through and yet this foolish child wants to redeem him. But, after all, Fyodor is nothing but a foolish child himself. He'd lost his mother, then had been forced to grow as quick as possible to understand what his father was hurting him for, why the man felt so paranoid that all the maids had been fired and it was just he and Fyodor in such a big house. It's hot in Yokohama, nothing like Russia's winters, and Fyodor feels completely naked without a hat or cloak. Other than that, he's feeling okay stood on his own by the harbour watching as boats float in and out of the horizon. The letter sent by the tiger sits on his desk in the home he holds just outside of Yokohama, just to have a small notion of proof that there's someone out there who believes that he's somewhat good.
"I'm sure you feel out of your comfort zone, so far out in the open."
Fyodor wasn't sure whether he flinched or not, but he still made himself turn to the voice slowly.
Dazai looks horrendously out of place without his coat. Actually, Fyodor has to flick his eyes up more than once to check that it's actually Dazai standing in front of him. After confirming it's actually Dazai, he turns his back to face the harbour without so much as a greeting, leaning on the railing. In the hopes that Dazai begins to talk first, Fyodor stays silent. He'd say he'd be keeping his thoughts to himself, but as of currently his mind is full of sweet nothingness.
"It's been a long time, hasn't it?" Dazai says, sliding his long legs through the lower bars of the railing so he can sit on said bar and lean his upper body on the top bar. Fyodor stays leaning on his elbows.
"I suppose." The words feel thick on his tongue, cotton filling his brain.
"How was it?" Dazai asks, just inclining his head towards the Russian, not actually moving his sight from the boats.
"How was what?" Fyodor asks. In the seconds of silence between his and Dazai's next, Fyodor realises that he's on about his time in prison. To be fair, a bunch of shit happened since he'd left because he'd been back to Russia since and hated every single moment of it. How could that be, it was his motherland?
"Never mind," Fyodor says before Dazai can even open his mouth, "Prison was fine."
"Ahh, Fedya... That is not what I meant. How was your visit to Russia?"
Dazai can read his mind. Always has been able to like an open book in the corner of the library. Once, when Dazai had gone to visit him in between his time in the Port Mafia and ADA, he'd read his mind and told him it was okay to play cello to an empty room, although Dazai's presence was almost unbearable as he played whatever came to mind. Dazai has always had the ability to make him shiver, make him feel human with the way he can touch him without Fyodor ever killing him. He was the only exception in this world to Crime and Punishment.
"How so?" Dazai replies.
"Cut to the chase Dazai." Fyodor has all the time in the world for this conversation, but if it's concerning Russia and or himself, he has no time. If it were listening to Dazai talk nonsense about that Chuuya or perhaps even his recent suicide failure, it would be somewhat bearable. And to be perfectly honest, at this point, Fyodor would let him talk until he tired. Which he wouldn't, because he's sure Dazai's never even sleeps. Of course, he did when he's visited Russia. Fyodor tries not to reminisce on their nights together too much. (Mostly because he misses them but he won't tell a soul that.)
"I have nothing to say Fedya, apart from ask you how you are. I'm not as dense as you remember, I can see the blood on your sleeve."
How could he be so stupid? Okay, so it was a stupid idea from the first moment he'd spotted the blade, but it relieved some of the pain he was feeling from the world so why not? Dammit, it was Dazai's job to do this. Yes, that's what lies beneath every single one of those bandages. How did Fyodor know? Well, those previous nights spent together. Yes all those nights spent unwrapping him like a Christmas present and pressing gentle lips to them. Fyodor glances down at his sleeve, and true to Dazai's word, just the littlest of blood stains his sleeve, something so small that only Dazai would notice and call out.
"And why is blood such a new thing to you?"
Fyodor has suddenly had enough of staring at the open sea leaving his thoughts about like that, and so he turns and leans his back on the railings instead, giving himself the view of the city of Yokohama behind them. It's quieter now, even so for such a busy, crime ridden city. He doesn't know why he did that, and it's the worst feeling in the world having someone else know what you've done to yourself.
"It isn't for me, but for you... For you such blood shouldn't be showing... What'd you do it with?"
"A blade." Come Fyodor's simple answer.
"The blade of which my father used to carve his lovers names into my shoulder so I'd never forget the woman I took from him."
That much was true, his mother's name was carved into his back, quite small on his shoulder. And with that, Fyodor begins to walk away. He has no time explaining last nights quarrel with his own mind with a blade and an empty bathroom, but apparently Dazai wanted to listen to more, as he grabbed a hold of Fyodor before he'd even taken a second step away from him.
"We don't have to talk here... Come back home with me."
The word 'home' makes his stomach flip and he places a gloved hand over his mouth in case the bile rising up his throat became more than just a feeling. Distantly, he's aware that Dazai's still talking to him, but home is echoing his head. He knows Dazai just means his apartment, not just the ADA dorms, but his apartment. Of course that's what he means, he's not about to shove plane tickets to Russian into Fyodor's hands and push him to an airport. No, he's going to take him to his apartment and probably strip so he can bandages up these wounds. He's lost count of how many cuts after twenty on both.
"Fedya, come back with me."
He hates Dazai's gentle voice, he hates the way he thinks Dazai's care. He hates the way he's scared of what Dazai will do to him. Dazai is probably wary of him because he's a murder, a man who kills everyone in his path. In reality, there's a reason why he can disappear after whatever sin he's committed.
Fyodor nods an okay, and Dazai smiles very weakly. With every step, Fyodor feels his body burning and shivering all at the same time, like a fever had rid his body of it's heating control. Dazai's mind works the exact same as his, taking to back alleys and small pathways towards the building where he lived, whilst Fyodor prayed that he saw nobody he knew and nobody attacked him. Dazai's talking he thinks, but what he's saying gets lost in the noise in his own brain. Somewhere along the way, they have to stop at a crossing, and if it weren't for Dazai's tight grip on his arm, he would've walked straight into the line of a truck.
"Careful Fedya, please."
After that, Fyodor looses track of where they are and where they'd going, in a state of oblivion as he lets Dazai lead him up a staircase, he thinks into an elevator and through a doorway, and only really comes conscious when he's sat down somewhere.
"Why does Fedya always get hurt?"
Those words bring Fyodor back to reality, and he becomes aware of where he's sat. It's a black leather sofa pressed against large windows on the fortieth floor above Yokohama. The rest of the room is pretty empty and warm. Dazai's bumbling about in the kitchen, and eventually he returns and sets a basket on the coffee table, one that's full of rolls of bandages and cleaning supplies for wounds. Dazai slowly, effortlessly takes his left arm and pulls it towards him, rolling the sleeve until it reaches his elbow and out of the way of the however many cuts there are on his arm. There seems to be more than twenty, from where he'd lost count.
"Babushka graced me with her presence." The words spill from Fyodor's mouth completely unwarranted. Dazai hums a little, prompting Fyodor to continue. He had met her once, on an unfortunate occasion where Fyodor was forced into attending a ball of which he dragged Dazai along with the hopes people would avoid approaching him and dancing. The last time he want to a ball alone, he'd ended up in a bed with a man he didn't even know the name of. Dazai had a knack for dancing, so it was somewhat comforting to twirl around a ballroom with him and have everyone take their eyes off him.
"For the whole time I was there... they treated me like a dog. The whole time I was in Russia." Fyodor manages to spit out though his tongue still feels thick, heavy in his mouth like an unwanted rubber gag, or something. His grandmother had brought about half of her relatives that Fyodor doesn't remember, and work friends, with her to visit her only grandson, and all of them knew of what Fyodor had done, what he'd become. His grandmother worked in a brothel in the central of Moscow.
"What do you mean?" Dazai whispers. He's not used to Fyodor talking like this, so down and depressed in just his tone of voice.
"It's like they were kings and queens, and I were the useless pawn. They sat me on my knees and... fed me by hand, forced me to tell what I'd done under hot poker. They wouldn't dare touch me unless... I was scared Dazai.. Scared..." Fyodor closes his eyes as Dazai begins to wrap the bandage around his lower wrist.
"Are you tell me you're hurt somewhere else?" Dazai whispers again, but Fyodor doesn't get to answer, as the front door is opening and Fyodor is freezing.
"Dazai-San! Are you home?" A young voice calls out, and Dazai lets his shoulders slump.
"it's just the tiger," He says to Fyodor, "In here Atsushi!"
The albino boy takes a minute to what sounds like take his shoes off, before appearing round the corner. Despite the fact Fyodor is sitting there, Atsushi smiles and gives a little wave, placing his bag on the counter before leaning over Dazai. He's more staring at what Dazai's doing rather than the wounds on Fyodor's wrist.
"What happened?" He asks innocently.
"Just a little slip, don't worry." Dazai replies, reaching up to ruffle the boys hair. Fyodor smiles a little at their closeness.
"Oh, you must be Fyodor. It's nice to finally meet you." Atsushi says, gently holding out his hand. Fyodor takes it, and his smile grows a centimetre bigger at the fact Atsushi's not scared of him. And then, Fyodor flinches away from both of them, causing them to flinch too. His eyes are wide and Dazai comes to the conclusion very quickly, reaching forward to regain his hold on the bandage roll.
"It's okay, you won't hurt him, you won't kill him."
"Oh... Can-- Are you sure?"
And then, Atsushi's holding his hand out again, both of them in fact.
"Me and Dazai are working on trying to get the agency to realise that you are in total control of your ability." Atsushi says, whilst slowly setting his fingers into the free hand of the Russians. Atsushi's skin is smooth, nothing like the roughness of his own or Dazai's.
"But... I killer her..."
Dazai knows who Fyodor's on about as he moves to the other arm, painfully taking it away from Atsushi, not that the other boy minds as he's more concerning with getting whatever wounds he has fixed.
"That's because you were young," He says, "Abilities area learnt, just like any other skill. Over time you became more in control. If you wanted to kill Atsushi, you would've, but you don't. You wanted to kill that officer back in the café, so you did."
"What he's saying, is you're not a monster, just one of those misunderstood villains so to speak." Atsushis says, settling his hand on Fyodor's shoulder, and letting it sit there for the moments of silence.
"When I go home, you'll come with?" Fyodor whispers to Dazai.
"Of course Fedya," He replies, then glances over to Atsushi, "And I'm sure our tiger here would love to see Russia."
Chapter 9: I'm hurting Atsushi (Again...)
Yes, I'm hurting Atsushi but next chapter shall be cute and all about mothers day! I also need more Yosano content because we love a queen.
"Everybody be careful, our client believes this man's ability can separate your ability form your body." Kunikida speaks confidently, voice unwavering as he pulls into the abandoned ship-yard, leaving the car between two boat carcasses and Chuuya's motorbike pulled in behind them, the wooden remains being the only thing left behind with such a distinct smell of fish and salt. It was a mission so high stakes that all of the Agency had been requested to come and deal with the mysterious man with such an ability so strong. Fortunately for them, only a few of their abilities were dangerous enough to kill them. It was exactly like that fog from Shibusawa, just ten times and in human form. Atsushi had thought about men like these, so strong yet with an ability so clearly in the wrong hands. Dazai seemed to agree with those thoughts, saying the same things along those lines as they step out of the car. Yosano pulls out her gun, readying if it needs be and if this man didn't come without a fight, which was very likely, considering the people they dealt with on a weekly basis. Sometimes on a daily basis, depending on the situation.
"What happens if that happens?" Atsushi asks, taking the gun from Akutagawa which wasn't really needed, but if it gave them all a little distance to the man, the better. He follows them towards the meeting point with their client.
"Then we fight your ability to get it back to you." Is Yosano's reply, Kunikida agreeing with that. For some reason, Atsushi sticks close to the doctor.
"Can I suggest we protect Akutagawa and Chuuya mostly? Their abilities are the most dangerous in the wrong hands." Ranpo says, and Akutagawa scoffs.
"As if I'd let him touch me."
Currently, it was all going to plan, using their client as bait to the abandoned ship-yard, and now it was all going tip-top, although there was no sign of their perpetrator just yet. They were all stood in a variation of places, Kyouka currently climbing to the top of a half built boat whilst Naomi clung to Junichiro. That was, until Atsushi felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned a little, expecting it to be Dazai, but what he saw was the face of someone completely unknown to him, and matched the picture perfectly.
"Such a pretty ability." The man whispered.
He lets out a surprised shriek and without a second thought, he fired the gun into his face, and sprayed himself with blood whilst leaping back with the power of the tiger.
Of, what he thought was the power of the tiger, instead he just took a step back and fell. He'd felt like this before, like a part of him was missing and that much was clear, when a roar echoed around so loud that it broke any nearby glass. This was the last thing anyone had expected, and of course it had to be Atsushi. But better him than Chuuya. Atsushi's bullet had landed on its shaking target, downing the man, but that wasn't the problem at the moment, as everyone was frozen as the tiger ran at Atsushi with intent. He'd seen this before, in his mind when fighting the tiger and Rashoumon, back when Shibusawa was so intent on bringing Yokohama to the ground. With no hesitation it it's movements, the tiger pounced onto Atsushi, and sunk its teeth into his neck, adding to the blood on his body already, spraying across the floor around him. Horrendous cries echoed around from his friends, but they all blurred into one concerned noise, but that was barely anything to convey how concerning it was for Atsushi to barely scream or even yelp. He just stayed silent as if he was aware this was going to happen. And to an extent, he was.
"You hate me." Atsushi whispers, and the tiger gives a whine, a painful whine of a mourning mother. Dazai's struggling to grasp the scene in front of him, knowing all he needs to do is touch the tiger and activate No longer human but he can't. And in those seconds, Akutagawa takes back everything he's ever said about letting go of the past, because it's clear the past still haunts Atsushi and follows him everywhere he goes.
"I know you hate me." The blood is pooling around Atsushi, and it transfers to the previously pristine white fur of the tigers neck as Atsushi's hands go to weakly hold him like a toy.
"I hate me too."
And the tiger leaps away from Atsushi, taking offence from his words, and the boy drops, staring at the sky before his vision clouded and he lets his eyes fell shut, the blood still dripping from his neck. The tiger looks up straight at Dazai and Chuuya, the two of them slowly moving into a fighting stance when the beast begins to walk towards them. They don't attack it, and it doesn't attack them. Instead, the tiger nudges itself into Chuuya's hands much like a cat would. Then it does the same to Dazai, before the brunette activates No longer human and the tiger disappears. Yosano is the first to move, running over to Atsushi's body and bringing him into her arms. The tiger isn't doing its job of healing him. His eyes flicker open, and mild panic shivers through his body. She's shaking, for one of the few times in her life, as she swipes back his hair like a mother would her child.
His mouth opens and closes weakly, words leaving him, before his eyes clamp shut, tears escaping and he lights holds onto Yosano's shirt. The previous adrenaline starts to fade, and Atsushi's breathing begins to pick up, clearly strained and painful, but he's crying nonetheless, and there's nothing Yosano can do in this current moment apart from watch and stifle her own sobs. She's not sure why she's so upset.
"Dazai, take the motorbike and get him back, I'll take Yosano." Chuuya speaks with a sudden burst of confidence that his voice hadn't held before, and Dazai nods, making his way over.
"What do you mean?" Kunikida says.
"Chuuya is the only person who can keep up with a motorbike on foot, he'll carry Yosano whilst I take Atsushi on the motorbike and yes, it's perfectly safe. I've done it before." Dazai says as he scoops the young boy up, shushing the little whimpers at the unwanted movement.
Yosano has no quarrels as she climbs onto Chuuya's offered back, suddenly feeling lighter than ever as he activated For the tainted sorrow. They wait until Dazai has the boy secured on the bike, mostly against him. In all his years practising, Dazai had become quite good at riding a bike with one hands, especially at speed. Most of the time, it was so Chuuya could continue to fire whilst sat on the back, or vice-versa, considering it was his bike after all. The others watched as chuuya leaps into the sky as Dazai speeds off, and Chuuya does an amazing job at keeping up with the bike all the way back to the agency, Yosano clenching her eyes shut all the way.
"He's beginning to heal, but it's nothing like it should be. Using Thou shalt not die wouldn't be advisable." Dazai says as they ran up the stairs to Yosano's office, but then Yosano stops. It's probably better to take Atsushi to the hospital, but all the things they needed were right here, thanks to the Port Mafia, and Yosano had more than knowledge on the human anatomy.
"How's his breathing?"
"It's deep, like he's sleeping... shit- wait-"
"Chuuya, grab the keys, we need him in the infirmary, he's slipping into a coma." Yosano speaks hurriedly, slightly panicking as is Dazai who's the one holding him. One Chuuya has the keys, he raced forward to get the door open and turn on the lights. As Dazai settled Atsushi on the bed, Yosano dashes around the room to get all the equipment on or in his body once his shirt was off. She slips the oxygen mask around his head, watching for a minute as the beeping of the heart monitor by his bed starts to listen to his body and matched his chest movements. Then, she inserts the cannula and starts to attack it to the drip by the bed. When the others arrive, they hide Kyouka from the room, not wanting her to see Atsushi in that state.
Atsushi doesn't wake up for the next two weeks. And for that whole time, Yosano doesn't leave his side. He hasn't been taken off the drip unless it was to rearrange what was entering his body, and the only time the oxygen mask left his body was for Yosano to sterilize it with a wipe, before placing it over his nose and mouth again with gentle hands. The only time Yosano had noticed any movement was the heart-wrenching expressions his face made like a poor child stuck in a nightmare and struggling to wake up, and in those moments, Yosano swept his hair back, repeating the motion until his face relaxed and he was slipping back into a deeper state. Naomi and Junichiro took it upon themselves to make sure she ate, bringing her food whenever someone went on break. Dazai often came and sat with her on a few times, a little scared in doing so in case something inhumane were to happen to Atsushi during the time sat there, despite how Yosano had insisted he wasn't going to start convulsing. On two occasions so far, Dazai had walked in to find Yosano asleep on the nearest chair to Atsushi's bed, head cocked in an uncomfortable position that would hurt her neck when she woke up. Dazai wouldn't sit for long when he found her asleep, just tiptoeing across the room to grab another beds blanket to settle over Yosano and leaves her to it.
The one time chuuya had gone in, he'd found her just gently running her fingers through his hair, before she looked up and caught his eyes through the slit in the door. She'd ushered her in, and he'd gladly sat beside the boy, holding his limp hand whispering a weak greeting. Chuuya offered her a little bag, and upon opening it later on when no one else was in the office, Yosano had found a few snacks and speciality tea to keep her going.
"According to Dazai," Yosano speaks lowly into the room on the sixteenth day, turning off the big light and replacing it for the lamp in the corner that threw the room into an orange glow instead of such a harsh white, "that Kunikida messed up his ideals today and went 'batshit crazy' if one were to take his words."
Atsushi, of course, doesn't respond, but something in her stomach tells Yosano that he's listening and in his mind, giggling over the image of Kunikida loosing his shirt. As the room fills with orange light slowly growing with the warming light blub, Yosano takes out the bottle of Sake, but quickly decides on water before she gets the chance to fill herself with alcohol. Taking one last look at Atsushi, the doctor settled back in the chair, settling the glass of water beside her and bringing her knees to her chest, assuring her skirt is covering her modesty before closing her eyes.
There's something about Atsushi that makes her feel like a mother, so much more than a big sister she'd felt towards Kenji and the twins. Even after learning of the headmaster's death, and somewhat accepting it, Atsushi still didn't trust his mind. Dazai had spoken the truth, when someone's father dies they usually cry, but what sort of father figure was that man? He's hurt Atsushi is such a way that he hated himself? That man was a monster and Yosano was prepared to live by that. No one should hurt an innocent child, even that with an ability such as Atsushi's, they don't deserve the horror of what Atsushi lived through.
But no longer than half an hour later, there's a weak whine that echoed the room, and in her half asleep state, Yosano ignores it for a noise her slightly stuffy nose had made. And then, just seconds later, the noise repeats itself but just a little louder. This time, Yosano begins to wake herself up and glance around the room. She watched, and then flinched when Atsushi's slim fingers jolt against the bed-sheets. Her mind is quick to wake up, and she finds herself standing over Atsushi's bed without a single notion of hesitation. The twitching continues until his eyes begin to flutter.
"Come on Atsushi, wake up for me." Yosano finds her voice desperate as she holds the limp in hers, the other one running through his greasy hair.
His eyes become more aware as his grip tightens on Yosano's hand. When he watched his eyes flick about, she knows that he's aware of where he is and who she is. Slowly, she removes both of her hands to slip the oxygen mask from his head. She watched his face as he takes the first few unassisted breaths, but then he begins to breathe as normal and grimaces at the ache all over his body. As he opens his mouth, Yosano is quick to hush him.
"Don't speak love, you haven't had a sip of water in two weeks, you'll hurt your throat." The alarm in his face is clear, and Yosano stops her current movements of checking his vitals immediately. His eyes are panicked.
"Don't worry, nothing had happened in that time, and you are of perfect health." Yosano replies. Seeing that he wants to answer, the doctor reached over and grabs her glass of water, before pressing a button on the side of the bed to slightly elevate him, holding the drip tube so it doesn't get caught. His hands are far too weak from lack of real sustenance, so Yosano holds it up to his cracked lips, letting him drink as much as he wanted before tapping her wrist once he'd wet his throat.
"I... what happened?" He says, voice crackly as Yosano moved to remove the cannula now everything seemed to come back okay, but halts in her movement. Instead of removing the whole thing, she reaches up and switched out the nutrition bag for a painkiller and attached that to the drip, attaching a new drip tube to the cannula and glancing up when Atsushi weakly gasps. He doesn't like the needle side of medical things.
"Not too much, I can assure you. Although, I wouldn't know, I haven't really left this room." Yosano admitted sheepishly before slowly removing the heart monitor from Atsushi's chest, and letting him sit up on his own before checking over him gently.
"Why?" Atsushi's voice is quiet now, like he'd realised that it was half past midnight, and pitch black outside, the curtains over the windows pulled shut. He moves slowly until his legs are crossed, gently dragging his nails around the area of his cannula. He feels dirty, exactly like one would having been in a coma for two weeks without getting a bath or a least a shower. Yosano seems to be writing something down in her diary. Atsushi raises his unrestricted arm to run through his hair, and he grimaces at the feeling. He must look awful. The last thing he remembers is the tiger biting him and then the pretty sky above him.
"I didn't want you to wake up alone, and I wasn't sure how long your coma was going to last." Yosano says.
"Coma?!" Atsushi looks down at his body as if it wasn't his, and then looks at the clock where underneath says the eighteenth, and their mission had been on the second.
"You lost a lot of blood, and the tiger wasn't doing its job." Yosano finished up and sits on the edge of the bed, patting to make sure she's not going to crush his legs.
"I know... I asked him not to."
Yosano's head whips round, catching Atsushi's off guard and he drops his head within seconds of him saying so. She doesn't exactly know how to respond to that, apart from reaching up to almost hold Atsushi's face. He can't find it in himself to look up.
"Why? Darling, you could've died. I couldn't use Thou shalt not die , and we were all scared." Yosano uses this moment to text the group, telling them Atsushi was awake and would stay overnight now.
"You... were scared?" Flicking her glance back, Yosano finds that the boy looks in total, utter shock.
"We were scared? Of course we were scared Atsushi, you were on the verge of dying." Yosano says, shifting her weight so she's facing Atsushi more than she was before. The boy hands his head again, and this time, small dots begin to appear on the bed sheets. Yosano moves and finds herself holding the boy close, and letting him sob into her shoulder, and after a little movement, sobbing into the side of her breast, not that she cares. She hushes him and shuffles them both into a more comfortable position.
"I thought no body cared... the tiger listened to me when I was hysterical and scared, and didn't know what was going on and... wouldn't it be better? Everyone would stop going after me and putting the agency in danger." He sobbed.
"And leaving us all behind? Atsushi, darling, you're part of this agency, and by the gods all of us love you." Yosano says, running her hands all over his hair, ignoring the grease, still being careful of the cannula. Slowly, Atsushi pulls away, looking the doctor in the eyes. Yosano wipes away the tears on his cheeks.
"You love me?"
As Yosano lays him back down, and she slides round the bed to perch on the other side, letting his head rest against her chest a little as the excitement died down a little.
"I love you very much, just like my child." Yosano whispers as Atsushi's breathing evens out, and when she looks down again, he'd fast asleep. Yosano may only be a few years older than him, but for her, Atsushi is just a little child deprived of practically everything. Tomorrow, she'd let him wake up whenever his body did, and bring him Chazuke, his favourite meal yet such a easy one of the stomach. Plus, if she could get Kunikida to pick up some chicken, it would be a little better for his nutrients.
Yosano doesn't hear the door open until she spots a little glimmer of light behind her, and twirls to find the older members of the agency stood there. Ranpo, Dazai, Kunikida and the director stand in the doorway to her infirmary. She can't see past them, but she can hear Chuuya bumbling about.
"If you wake him, I'll kill you." Yosano says, and smiles weakly at the child in the bed.
"You'd suit being a mother Yosano." Dazai says, and Yosano looks up and simply deadpans him, whilst holding Atsushi's hand.
"I think I already am."
Chapter 10: Chuuya and Kouyou
Chuuya never knew his parents. Actually, did he have parents? He guesses he doesn't, when he finally reaches sixteen after what feels like the most stressful year of his life, trying to figure out how the Port Mafia worked, and what his parentage was, and it strikes him on his most recent mission that he doesn't have a mother whatsoever. Dazai doesn't, to be fair, but he doesn't seem bothered by it. They'd only mentioned it once, and he'd deadpanned it and said 'my parents didn't love me, they forgot about me, so I forgot about them, and they burned to death anyways'. Chuuya didn't mention it again.
Chuuya and Dazai had been asked to watch a woman who had anonymously sent Mori a personal message, more like a personal threat, to murder him at the next big ball. Of course, not much can slip through the Port Mafia, and so they found who it was pretty soon, and sent the demon prodigy and his dog on it. And so they followed the woman all the way from her central home, to a small school, and the two boys had shared a look that simply said it all. 'Shit, she has a child', but they knew Mori wouldn't care. As long as the child didn't have to die. Both of them had walked behind the woman solely without making their presence known, and they'd turned and twisted down alleys until they reaches a playground in the middle of nowhere, where no one else sat or would even visit, like a secret hideout a mother and daughter had made.
"Let them play." Chuuya had whispered, and they'd stood there mumbling to one another for ten minutes, whilst watching the daughter scream with laughter until Mori finally text saying to get on with it.
Dazai pulled out his gun, and hadn't taken a second glance at Chuuya before firing, and sets the bullet into the woman's skull. The little girl had turned at the loud noise, and watched as her own mother died right in front of her, blood pooling around her head where she lie. Slowly, the realisation dawned upon the little six or seven year old, and she screamed as tears spilled out of her eyes. Chuuya didn't take his eyes off the scene as the girl shook her mother violently, trying to wake her up but to no avail.
It had scared him more than he'd realised.
As soon as Dazai had begun to walk, Chuuya fell into step, and they broke into a run through alleys to get into the car nearby to escape quickly. They clamber in and the door barely shut before they were speeding off.
"So, slug, how was that?" Dazai said when they were finally safe. He hadn't expected Chuuya's foot to jam his foot into his thigh with as much force as it had, and yelped.
"Fuck off..." Chuuya's voice had been weak, barely holding the swear word to seriousness, and Dazai had left him be.
Chuuya hadn't spoken throughout the whole report and now he was on his own, could run the moment he was out of sight of the Boss and Dazai. He didn't stop until he reached the garden. The garden was full of more than a hundred types of flower or bush from a variation of countries and had beautiful traditional Japanese arches and shrines tucked away. It was one of Chuuya's favourite places in the Port Mafia, just one below the large library near Boss' quarters. He jogs through it until he reaches the massive weeping willow that was imported from England. He ducked under it, and hid behind the long drooping branches that made a natural hideout. Right now, he'd like to stay away from everyone for as long as possible.
He wishes he had a mother who would take him to the park, carry him around and get him ice cream. It feels like a part of his life was missing, someone to show the fear and weakness to in the dark, when nobody else could see it. Tell secrets to that wouldn't be told to anyone. Hold when the nights got too much. But at the same time, he doesn't want one. No one in the Mafia had much family, so why should he? He doesn't want to feel safe and attached because something will happen, and just like that little girl, he'll loose it right in front of his eyes. Perhaps letting Corruption roam free would be fine. Perhaps in his next mission, he should run away and summon Corruption and let it kill him.
His heart misses a beat suddenly. He's just become as suicidal as Dazai. It gets darker and darker as he thinks, wonders who exactly would miss him if Corruption did kill him, stuck in his thoughts, but he didn't make any move to relocate. It gets much closer to eight o'clock. Death suddenly didn't scare him. In fact, it felt... comforting. He could die right here right now, he doesn't know how far Dazai is to him.
He goes to rub his itchy eyes, and finds them watery. He pats his cheeks, finds them damp.
That little girl was going to suffer for the rest of her life, she won't escape that nightmare of watching her mother die for years upon years until her inevitable death and here Chuuya is wishing he was dead too. Perhaps he could've jumped in the way of the gun, taken a bullet instead. No, Dazai would've still shot her. But there was nothing he could've done. Stopping Dazai or attempting to would've meant failure in his mission which would've meant a punishment. Punishment meant unnecessary pain of which he won't be comforted for.
Chuuya doesn't hear any footsteps, until a section of drooped branches is hooked out of the way in front of him. He should've hid behind the thick tree trunk and his chances of going unnoticed would've doubled.
Kouyou stands there, using her closed umbrella to push the branches out of the way, and the moonlight behind her throws the sixteen year old into light. Chuuya hastily rubs his face, ridding of the stupid tears on his face, shuffling so she can't see his face anymore and resting more of his body against the tree trunk. But she pushes her way through, with a flame lit lantern in her hands, hanging from one of her fingers. Placing the lantern on the ground, Kouyou sits herself next to it, watching as Chuuya still rubs his face, making it more red and inflamed.
"Please go away." He whispers, the end of his sentence hitching into a disgusting sob. He doesn't ask much of anyone, and just hopes for once she'll listen. He's indecisive of if he really wants her to go away.
"You and I both know I can't do that."
"PLEASE! Just... fuck off..." He shouts at the woman, but he finds himself unable to continue shouting as he remembers who he's trying to shout at. Angrily, he takes off his hat and throws it, Kouyou suddenly catching it with an outstretched arm. She knows, she just knows through instinct that something deeper down is wrong here. She watches his hands tremble.
"Chuuya?" The woman is shocked, slightly worried about what's going on in his head.
"He just killed her, AND SHE HAD A CHILD! That kid's gonna grow up and be FUCKED UP! And... I didn't do anything..." Chuuya throws his head back against the tree trunk with a loud thud, and he just lets the tears fall, slightly illuminated by the lantern.
"What do you mean, Lad?"
"I mean, she had a mother and we ripped that away from her." He sobs, the tears rolling down the side of his ears where he keeps looking up. Kouyou comes to the realisation of where this had come from, and now understood. Underneath both him and Dazai were just children.
"Is that what you think happened to you?"
"Of course not... I didn't have a mother. I was just created, a body to hold Aharabaki, a god. I'm just a vessel for a higher being to be discarded one day... Why should I have a mother anyways? I'm a murderer." He says, hissing the words but still not glancing down. Yes, Kouyou understands now. Chuuya can't bring himself to face her.
That is until Kouyou's hands slides up to cradle his face. He moves to look her dead in the eyes, and finds something he wasn't expecting. Her face is purely upset, something that really doesn't belong on her face. The night growing cold, and he can barely see her through the flicker of fire light.
"Everyone should have a mother, Chuuya, everyone."
"But I didn't," He sobs, "I didn't have one. "
"You have me." Chuuya's teary eyes widen, and he shakes his head gently but he can't disagree with that. He's had Kouyou around for a year, and she's certainly something, especially since she let him share her Mafia apartment in the base. She cooks for him when she's there, there to make sure he's okay. She remembered his favourite tea for what occasion. She's the closet thing he has.
"I... I have you..."
"You have me." Kouyou repeats as she tucks her legs closer, and Chuuya takes no hesitation in climbing into her lap and beginning to weakly sob into her shoulder, soaking her robe. If someone where to find them, she'd have to kill them. Weakness like this wasn't widely excepted in the Port Mafia, although Mori did make enough exceptions when it came to the children, but not enough to shield them from the horror of street warfare. Chuuya's shuddering violently, and her arms wrap around his small body, still growing up and filling out, slowly loosing that baby fat on his cheeks, of which are currently squished against her neck.
"Talk to me when we're inside, when we're warm."
"Dinner?" He sobs, and Kouyou chuckles lightly.
"Of course... How about I carry you?" Kouyou whispers, and a fevering nod confirms that's okay, and she moves Chuuya's small legs around her hips under her robe, and his arms wrap around her neck.
Somehow, it feels natural to the both of them. With one strong arm, she keeps him steady on her hips as she takes the lantern and umbrella, and stands. Despute her fragile look, Kouyou is incredibly strong. She carries him thorugh the corridors as his sobs die down, and exhaustion catches up with him, his noise digging into her neck to soak up the comfort being provided. She carries him into their shared room in the base. After setting him down on her large bed, she pulls away and takes off his hat.
“Talk to me, Lad.” She says, before pulling out his hair-band and unclipping his stupid little choker that she hates, but knows Dazai left it on his bed before he was truly allowed into the mafia. Thankfully, the leather harness he wore and his shoes were a gifrt from Kouyou. She had one more that she wanted to give him yet. Now wasn’t the time, but perhaps later.
“I didn’t have a mother… And I… Shit, I can’t say it.” He says, slipping out of his waist coat and letting Kouyou take it and fold it upon her desk. He unbuckled the leather harness and drops it to the bed.
“You view me as a mother, don’t you?”
“You really don’t think I never noticed you always being awake whenever I come home? You making sure I have no injures and making sure I’ve had a cup of tea every morning. You don’t think I haven’t realised where those chocolates come from every Sunday on my bed? Honestly Lad, I wouldn’t be an executive if I didn’t spot these things.”
Turning round from folding his clothes, she finds Chuuya sitting there with his knees against his chest, and he’s holding a hand over his his mouth to contain more sobs. Thankfully, he’s kicked off his shoes before doing that. Falling gracefully to her knees, Kouyou lifts his head up. He drops his knees to cross them, looking at her straight in the eyes.
“My boy, do you really think I don’t feel the same? I mean, come on, we have the same hair colour, don’t we?” She smiles when Chuuya does but then he frowns against her hands.
“I… before you came… to find me, I… uh… I thought about… letting Corruption win. Running away and putting enough time between me and Dazai… Perhaps jumping in front of his gun.” He manages to spit out, and Kouyou frowns herself. She’s seen Corruption take it all over Chuuya’s body and leaving him in pieces. Suddenly, he think she’s going to slap him and tries to reel away. Instead, she’s pressing her lips against his forehead, he finds his eyes fluttering shut and he lets his sobs win, shaking horribly against her hands.
“You don’t wish that, do you?” She mumbles against his forehead, knowing the answer already.
“No… I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don-“
“Hush, shhh.” Kouyou picks him up again, and he wraps around her again, pressing his nose into her shoulder. By that time, her hair was down and so Chuuya threaded his fingers in her locks, holding him until sniffles die down.
“Let’s go and eat.”
Dinner is a quiet process, the only noises being the quiet radio and the bubbling water for the noodles. He’s sat on the counter beside her whilst stirring a sauce, slowly putting some spices in and glancing up for her confirming nod that it’s okay. They don’t share words often, unless she needs handing something or Chuuya needs some help, but other than that it’s a silent process. Eventually, she dips a delicate finger into the sauce to try, and smiles widely at the taste. He doesn’t need words to flush red and grin back. He’s glad he can help. Chuuya watched as Kouyou drains everything and pours the sauce over the top, slowly stirring and combining it all into one delicious meal. They eat whilst talking about a variation of things, and eventually the night draws to a close.
Chuuya follows Kouyou into the hallway, but stutters in his step between his and Kouyou’s bedrooms, before the woman holds out her hands, not looking in the slightest miffed. Tiredly, he follows her and she tucks him in before taking off her make-up. When she finally begins to climb in, Chuuya is fast asleep, arms reaching out despite being unconscious, and Kouyou shuffles both of them into the position she knows he wants. This way, he can hear her heartbeat, chasing away all the imminent nightmares, and worries. She knows he’s scared of corruption, she knows he would never let it take over. She knows that he knows all this.
It’s not long until her heartbeat fails to stop the nightmares. It’s two in the morning when she wakes up to weak shuffling, and then whimpers.
“..ma… mama… mama…” His face is all scrunched up, sweat beading on his hairline, and lips trembling. On her side, Kouyou swipes his hair away from his face repeatedly in attempt to wake him up. She finds herself pressing her lips to his forehead until is does wake up, with a shaky gasp and body jolting. His eyes are wide through the moon lit room and he stares up at Kouyou with a relieved expression for a while.
“Mama…” He shuffles into her chest, and wraps his arms around what he can reach of her torso. With her free hand, she reaches over and tugs the sheets closer to his back.
“I’m right here, I’m not going anywhere.” She whispers, and she feels him yawn widely, eyes flittering shit.
“’Love you… Mama.”
“I love you too sweetheart.”
And Chuuya sleeps in the arms of his newfound mother.